Who Is Bathsheba In The Bible


Bathsheba is a figure featured in the Bible’s Old Testament, and is a woman who is integral to a series of events which shaped the history of the Israelites. Some scholars have speculated that the figure of Bathsheba is a personification of the moon, according to ancient religions and traditions, and her story is believed to be a pre-Christian myth that was later incorporated into Biblical religious texts. Though little is known with certainty about Bathsheba’s background, her story is one of royalty, deceit, and late-life redemption.

Early Life

Bathsheba is thought to have been of a wealthy, noble birth and the daughter of the King of Geshur. Visiting King David’s domain, her name was brought to David’s attention. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that she belonged to a respected family and David had her brought to his palace, where he used his authority as king to take her as his wife.

David’s Infidelity and Adultery

Though it is unknown whether or not Bathsheba consented to the union, her marriage to David ended in infidelity when David committed the sin of adultery. It was the attendance of an out of town bathing ritual that alerted King David to the beauty of Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite. Though it was forbidden by the law to marry a married woman, being king enabled David to overlook the law and court with Bathsheba in secrecy. Eventually, Bathsheba became pregnant with David’s child, leading David to arrange the death of Uriah in battle.

Life After Uriah’s Death

With Uriah no longer an obstacle to their marriage, Bathsheba and David were wed. Together they had a son, Solomon, who would go on to become the next king of Israel. Despite bearing David a son, Bathsheba was seen as having few rights in the eyes of the law, and as time went on, David’s affections for her dwindled and he took on other wives and concubines. Though not using her name herself, Bathsheba was instrumental in Solomon’s accession to the throne, being part of the strategizing and decision-making processes which eventually placed Solomon in a position to replace David as the ruler of Israel.

Solomon’s Reign

Under Solomon’s rule, both he and Bathsheba were given more respect and respectability. Now as queen mother, Bathsheba was one of the most powerful women of her day, and went on to have an enduring influence on the kingdom during Solomon’s reign.

Final Years

Little is known definitively of Bathsheba’s life after Solomon’s rule ended. However, certain rabbinic recounted traditions tell of her living to a grand old age and continuing to abstain from intercourse with men, even in her twilight years.

Influence on Ancient Judaism and Christianity

Bathsheba has had many interpretations throughout history due to her influence on the Bible, and her story has been retold in the oral tradition of ancient Judaism and Christianity, as well as being part of many religious and artistic works. Her story provides evidence of the pre-Christian Great Goddess faith, with her character often seen as a symbol of sacrifice and redemption.

Ancient Literature and Artwork Based On Bathsheba

Bathsheba plays an active role in many pieces of literature, artwork and historical documents of antiquity. She is a prominent figure in religious and cultural texts such as the plays of Euripides, the legends of Terence, and the paintings of the Renaissance. Later, Sofonisba Anguissola depicted her in her painting ‘Bathsheba Bathing’ and she has had a role in creative works including the novels of the 19th century author George Meredith and modern films such as ‘Solomon and Sheba’.

Bathsheba in Popular Culture Today

Bathsheba remains a powerful force in popular culture today, often seen as an icon of female empowerment, spiritual awakening and redemption. An excellent example of modern tellings of this ancient story is the musical Godspell, which is based on Jesus’ parables in the Gospel of Matthew and includes a song about Bathsheba. Her influence has extended to internationally renowned brands such as L’Oréal Paris with their ‘Bathsheba’ collection, and she is seen as a symbol of female strength and resilience in the face of injustice.

Bathsheba’s Legacy

Bathsheba has been known to faith and history for centuries and her legacy has been passed down through generations, primarily through her role in the Bible. Even within societies with more relaxed values regarding premarital sex, Bathsheba’s is remembered as a story of an indiscretion that has heavy consequences. Interpreted differently by varying cultures, the moral behind her tale of deceit and redemption remains one which is still scrutinised and debated.

The Role Biblical Characters Play in Popular Culture

Biblical figures are still being used in popular culture today as ways to convey certain messages and feelings to audiences. They can be used to describe a modern concept in an engaging and relatable fashion, often hinting at a deeper message or emotion. Whether an attempt to create fear, love, or caution, their interactions, relationships and even misfortunes are written in such compelling ways that audiences are captivated by the story and take away important life lessons.

The Role of Women in Ancient Societies

To this day, Bathsheba is seen as symbol of female strength and resilience. In ancient times, women had very few of the rights and freedoms we enjoy today. They were seen as objects to be used, with many cultures practicing polygamy and even using women as currency to pay debts. Bathsheba stands as an example of a woman who was able to navigate a broken and oppressive system, push back against the status quo and emerge victorious.

Biblical Influences in Modern Day Feminism

Though detractors may point to more oppressive values held by certain Christian denominations, the Bible can also be seen as a source of strength for feminists. The story of Bathsheba has been an inspirational tale to many and a reminder that despite challenging circumstances, people of all genders can persevere. Women have found value in stories like those told of Bathsheba, which use ancient tales to show how far the rights of women have come in modern day society.

The Role of Women in Contemporary Culture

Though Bathsheba’s story can be inspirational, women still face numerous challenges in contemporary society. Education initiatives worldwide have provided tremendous opportunities for girls and women, yet many are still living with limited access to healthcare, education, and equal rights. Women still find themselves fighting to be taken seriously in a world where far too often their voices are not heard or their opinions not taken into account. Despite these challenges, the women of the world have and continue to demonstrate incredible strength in the face of a social and political world which still has a long way to go when it comes to full gender equality.

Hilda Scott is an avid explorer of the Bible and inteprator of its gospel. She is passionate about researching and uncovering the mysteries that lie in this sacred book. She hopes to use her knowledge and expertise to bring faith and God closer to people all around the world.

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