When it comes to Bathsheba, we can't read this story as a love story. David and Bathsheba didn't meet at a party or at a gathering with friends. David spotted her, desired her, and ordered her soldiers to take her. In this story, Bathsheba doesn't speak. We don't hear from her perspective. All we see in the story is that the soldiers came to take her and she went with them because she didn't have a choice. David's power allowed him collect women and so he did, with Bathsheba as his victim today. She returns home, washes, and eventually realizes she's pregnant. David does all that he can to separate the pregnancy from him before arranging for Bathsheba's husband's death. This is not a beautiful story and it's difficult to witness David's actions here and align it with the image of the little shepherd boy who defeat Goliath so many years prior. This Scripture, when read closely, focuses solely on David. He, and he alone, is responsible for his actions.
So what do we do with this text? It's part of Scripture so we can't ignored it. It's part of our heritage and proclamation as well. It's also a piece of Scripture that is lived out in the lives of women and girls all over the world who are raped and assaulted. Scripture doesn't try to run away from the human story. Instead, it reflects honestly the darkness that exists in our world.
Maybe one thing to take away from this text is the fact that we know Bathsheba's name. Scripture is notorious in not recording the names of women. Even Jesus's ministry among women and with women supporters is not recorded fully. But in this story of violence, Bathsheba's name is there. We know her husband and have hints about her family life. She's not just an object but is a person with a name, history, and story. She's known. And that knowing is not just something that God does. We're called to be like God and know others. Women are not objects. David's actions are not holy. His exercise of power in this way is not what God wants. God wants all to be known and to thrive because, when we follow Bathsheba's story, that's what happens to her. She thrives in spite of what David does to her. But thriving after violence isn't God's desire. God's hope is that violence doesn't start at all.
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