Focal Passage: 2 Sam. 11:2-5, 26-27a
Bathsheba appears in the genealogy of Christ (lit. her of Uriah; Matthew 1:6). Matthew presents Bathsheba — along with Tamar, Rahab and Ruth — in order to assure his listeners/readers that in spite of the irregularities of the situation, Mary is indeed part of God’s providential plan.
While hard to believe, Bathsheba becomes a spiritual forerunner to Mary. Frank Tupper explains: Behind Mary, moreover, Matthew has already included four women in his genealogy: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and the wife of Uriah (Bathsheba) … These four women have two biographical features in common with Mary: First, each of these women had a well-known story of marriage that contained varying elements of sexual scandal — unions, however “irregular,” which continued the lineage of the Messiah. Second, each woman actively participated in events that became part of God’s purpose in the fulfillment of the messianic heritage, identifying them as instruments of the providence of God (A Scandalous Providence: The Jesus Story of the Compassion of God, 1995, 95).
Addressing the four women in Matthew’s gospel, Ulrich Luz writes that “the greatest Jewish female figures are missing: Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel … A divine irregularity is a common denominator among the four women. God’s saving activity sometimes takes unexpected turns. This interpretation would permit a connection to the virgin Mary, with whom the irregularity reached a peak” (Matthew 1-7: A Commentary, Hermeneia Series, 2007, 83-84).
The initiative for the adulterous relationship resides in David.
The narrative in verses 2-4 reads that “David rose … he saw … he sent someone to inquire … he sent messengers to get her … he lay with her.”
So insignificant are Bathsheba’s feelings that they remain unrecorded.
She is the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah, both elite warriors of King David. She is beautiful, and David is filled with lust.
This adulterous act becomes a royal nuisance when she informs him “pregnant I-am” (heb. harab anoki; v. 5). This two-word declaration represents the only recorded words of Bathsheba.
Unwanted pregnancies are one of the consequences of disorderly sexual relationships. For Bathsheba this could mean death, thus her haste to notify the king.
David unsuccessfully attempts to provide a liaison between Uriah and Bathsheba.
King David’s alternative solution involves betrayal and murder. When Bathsheba’s legal period of grief is over, David sends for her. King David has the habit of “gathering the wives of other men” upon the men’s death as is the case of Saul’s wife Ahinoam, Paltiel’s wife Michal (to whom he had formerly been married), and Nabal’s wife Abigail (Tikva Frymer-Kensky, Reading the Women of the Bible, 2002, 153).