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Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam, was the seventh and last recorded wife of David, King of Israel. She had been the wife of Uriah the Hittite,[1] Since the only other mention of the name Eliam is in connection with David's elite forces, it is likely that Bathsheba was both the daughter and wife of two of the closest men to the king.

Having chosen to bathe outdoors, she was visited by an officer from the court of King David, who lived nearby. The king had summoned her to come visit her. Having caught his eye, she consented to sleep with the king.

In a sin that ruined his career and brought shame to the integrity of Yahweh among Israel's enemies from that day forward, Bathsheba not only had become pregnant, but lost her husband Uriah in David's desperate cover up.

Bathsheba would lose this child within a week of delivery, but would go on to give birth to four sons by him, two of whom would be in the royal line leading to the Messiah.

Etymology

In an odd reference in the first book of the Chronicles, penned years after the account in the second book of Samuel, both Bathsheba and her father are given slightly different names. Bathsheba was called "Bathshua" while her father Eliam was called "Ammiel". This is not a contradiction.

In the process of time the pronunciation of some letters changed in the Hebrew language. Or probably more likely, Israelites became influenced by the Aramaic spoken in the exile. The sound of the letter wau went from "wuh" to "vuh" and then to "buh." And then, the "B" and "V" became interchangeable, Though one loyal to an oath (sheba`) might come into wealth (shua), the transfer of sounds is more likely.

With Eliam, the transfer of syllables moves "El" (God) to the back of Eliam's name. Instead of "My God is kin" the name changed to "God is my kin." The two parts: El and `Am swapped the use of the first person possessive ending.

Biography

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Early life

Bathsheba was born into the house of Ahithophel, to his son Eliam[2] (later called Ammiel[3]) late in the reign of King Saul. Ahithophel was a political operative in David's administration.[1]

Her younger years were most likely spent within the ranks of the band of rebels that were loyal to David while he was a refugee from the courts of of King Saul. Her grandfather supported the efforts of the crown prince, while fearing that the king would take his wrath out on him.

Adultery with David

One spring day, when Bathsheba's husband Uriah was away on a routine military mission that the king had not joined, David walked around on the roof of his palace and saw Bathsheba bathing.[4] The king asked who she was and had her brought before him. This eventually led to them committing adultery.[5] In the course of time, Bathsheba realized that she was pregnant and told David.[6] David sent for Uriah and tried twice to get him to sleep with his wife, but failed.[7] So David sent Uriah back to the battlefield to give the general Joab a message. The message was Uriah's death sentence. Uriah was to be in the front where the fighting was fierce, but the men were to fall back, leaving Uriah to be killed. It was successful, resulting in the death of Uriah.[8]

After a period of mourning for her husband,[9] Bathsheba became David's seventh wife.[10] The child she carried would be the talk around the court in the months following the royal wedding. The treachery of Uriah's death seemed a safe secret among David's closest advisers.

Despite this, God knew of David's sin. He sent the prophet Nathan to convict David of his sin. Nathan did not outright condemn David, but told him a story of an injustice, a story of two men. One was rich and had many sheep, while the other was poor and had only one sheep. The poor man loved his sheep as if it were one of his children. One day the rich man had a guest but didn't want to use his sheep for a meal for the guest. So he had his servants go and take the poor man's sheep and prepare it for the meal.[11]

This story enraged the king and said that rich man deserved to die and had to pay the poor man for the lamb four times over.[12] Then Nathan revealed that the rich man was the king himself, and that he had stolen Uriah's wife and killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. As a result, the sword would never depart from David's house. Even in his own household there was to be calamity on him. Before David's eyes would his wives be taken from him and be given to one who was close to him, and that person would sleep with them in broad daylight.[13]

David confessed his sin and repented, and Nathan said that the LORD took away his sin, therefore he would not die. Yet because he should contempt for the LORD, Bathsheba's son that she had born would die.[14]

Having children

Sometime prior to Nathan's visit, a son was born to Bathsheba. But things did not seem right with the child. When Nathan left David after confronting him, the child became deathly sick, and there looked like nothing could be done. David fasted and wept before the LORD, praying that God would spare the child. The words of Nathan the prophet were fulfilled and before the week was out, the child was dead. Yet when the child died, David stopped weeping and fasting and got up and cleaned himself up. He then worshiped God and later ate.[15] As soon as her days of impurity were passed, David once again brought her into his bed. The child born from this was named "Solomon," meaning peace.[16] They had paid the price of their sin and were at peace with God. When Nathan heard that the child had been born, he sent his blessings, naming the one God had chosen to be Israel's third king, Jedidiah (meaning "beloved of Yahweh," from DWD, the root from which his father's name came).[17]

Later, Bathsheba would have three more sons: Shammua, Shobab, and the prophet's name sake Nathan.[3] Though God had chosen Solomon to be King, his brother Nathan would bear the blood of the Messianic line[18] which would bring forth Mary, mother of Jesus Christ. Mary's husband Joseph, as direct descendant from Solomon,[19] would adopt Jesus as the rightful heir. In this Bathsheba joined a select few that were twice ancestors of the Messiah.

Queen Mother

As her husband David aged, the couple began to see the fruit of their sin. A lust for power[verse needed] had moved David to take a woman he knew was not his to have — and she had agreed. Nathan had warned that this kind of power politics would plague his family for the rest of David's life.[20] Though Bathsheba's son Solomon was the promised King, there had six sons born to six wives that all had eyes on the throne. Two had died, but Adonijah, the next in line, did not think Solomon should be king.

When word came by way of Nathan, Bathsheba notified David, putting into motion the coronation of Solomon as co-regent in Jerusalem.[21] This stopped the rebel prince in his tracks, but he did not give up. Once David had died, Adonijah sought to make David's final concubine, a slave girl named Abishag, his wife. He came to his stepmother for permission, but Solomon saw the ruse (in marrying the King's woman, the prince became heir) and had his half-brother executed for treason.[22]

Verses

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