The Norman Transcript


May 9, 2014

About Bathsheba and Beersheba

NORMAN — Herbert Mandl, rabbi emeritus and Rockhurst professor: King David is one of the most fascinating personalities in the entire Bible. In the Jewish tradition the Messiah is seen as a descendant of King David. Furthermore, King David is idealized in the Jewish tradition because of his authorship of the Book of Psalms, which is traditionally ascribed to him.

Historically, King David was responsible through many wars and conquests for the creation of the Kingdom of Judah, a period in which he was the second and perhaps the most powerful king of the Jewish people.

David always had the desire of building the Holy Temple; however, he was stopped by the Almighty because of “blood on his hands” from his many wars. But it is Bathsheba who makes King David a very controversial figure in biblical history.

King David became aware of this beautiful woman and summoned her. He was aware she was married and did not let that deter him. When Bathsheba announced she was pregnant by him, David immediately tried to “cover his tracks.” He summoned home her husband, a famous and noble warrior. David dined with her husband, Uriah, and told him to go home to his wife, trying to set a scene where Uriah could possibly be seen as impregnating his wife.

Uriah refused, saying “how could he sleep with his wife when his troops are out at war?” Nevertheless, he went home but slept on the doorstep for that night. Realizing how complicated his relationship and pregnancy with Bathsheba had become, David then ordered Uriah into battle, where he was slain.

As a result of the king’s sin, the prophet Nathan informed David, their sickly baby would die. But with the death of Uriah, King David married Bathsheba, and they bore a second child, Solomon, who later became the famous King Solomon.

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