Revisiting Bathsheba - One Spring part four
When the palace messengers arrived at Bathsheba’s door that fateful night, the Bible indicates that she followed them to meet the king. One might wonder if she was surprised by the summons. Did she know that the king had seen her bathing? Could she have glimpsed his shadowed form prowling about the roof? Throughout the ages people have speculated about Bathsheba’s character at this point in the story. Was she a temptress, purposely seducing the lonely king? Or was she a neglected wife with no children to occupy her time, longing for a husband’s love?
Some have imagined that she was surprised by the king’s summons, fearing that something had happened to her husband. Others believe she expected his call because she had practically thrown herself at him by bathing in the open court.
Some have surmised that the courtyard was a common place to hold a ritual purifcation, and that her actions were purely innocent. Still others feel that she could have and should have chosen a more private location.
Whatever the case, when the king’s messenger’s knocked on her door, she went with them. In her defense, she probably had little choice in the matter at this point – after all, this was the king we’re talking about. How does one refuse the invitation of the king?
So whatever her motives, whether she suspected David’s intentions or not, she obeyed the summons and went to the palace.
However, when she arrived and found herself alone with the king, this is where she faced her most critical decision. Should she respectfully request permission to leave and return to the safety of her home? Should she run from temptation like Joseph of old when confronted with the king’s improper advances? Or should she succumb to her own heart-pounding desire and stay?
Personal and national consequences rested on her choice.
(More to come…)