Revisiting Bathsheba - One spring part two
King David's men were off fighting a war, without his leadership. Fireside tales of each day’s exploits, strategy planning meetings for tomorrow’s battles, and that pulling together in warrior camaraderie were missing from David’s life. He had his family, but a harem of wives and children can be anything but peaceful. David’s home may have been his castle, but it was unlikely his haven. He had servants and advisers but no comrades, no friends nearby. Vacillating between laziness, depression, and restlessness, he probably spent hours dozing in the middle of the afternoon and spent night owl evenings on his rooftop. This could explain why he arose from his bed in the evening and started pacing his roof. Had it been in the dark of the night, his neighbors would have been sleeping, but he happened to hit early enough in the evening to catch one of his neighbors bathing in her courtyard.
Why this beautiful woman chose to bathe in her courtyard in view of the palace roof is a question only she could answer. (For the record, the courtyard would have been surrounded by the walls of her house, either an internal courtyard accessed through her home, or less likely, an external courtyard facing the street.) The Bible indicates that Bathsheba had recently purified herself, which is likely the reason for this evening bathing ritual. This also suggests that she was a devout law abiding Israelite.
Some see her as a temptress, purposely enticing King David. But I think we need to be careful not to minimize David's sin. When we excuse sin or try to justify it because we blame the other person for leading us into doing something we shouldn't, we lay responsibility on them rather than on ourselves.
In truth, Bathsheba snagged the king’s attention - unintentional or not. From his rooftop, David noticed. Then watched. And lingered. Until imagination ran wild.
Mistake number two was in full swing.
(To be continued…)