Bathsheba—the woman King David took in an adulterous relationship. Bathsheba—the woman King David murdered to keep. We’re all familiar with the story of Bathsheba, but most of us seem to figure the fault lay with the woman, not the lust filled man. Angela Hunt has reimagined the Biblical backstory on this story—to help us see the woman who was caught up in the king’s desires, and who had no choice in her destiny.
We see a woman much in love with her husband, Uriah, and the blissful year they had together after their marriage. We see the love Uriah had for Bathsheba and how he treasured her. We also see a man who, although a Hittite, was totally loyal to King David and to his role in the king’s army. In addition, Angie shows us the politics in play in the court, in the harem, and among the king’s sons. She sets the stage beautifully for the drama that played out in Jerusalem during David’s reign.
This Bathsheba seems to be quite naïve about marriage and about life. She was older when married; eighteen—practically ancient in that culture. She adored Uriah and was pleasantly surprised to find life with the man delightful. She admired his strength, his passion, his loyalty, and his gentleness. Bathsheba was distraught when the time came for him to go back to the battle front. She was also dismayed that every month during their year together brought proof she had not conceived a child—and was depressed when after he left, she discovered yet again she was not with child.
While in the mikvah (bath) in their backyard being purified after her time of uncleanliness according to the custom, she was seen by the king, who was looking over his balcony at the houses below. She was summoned. She went thinking the king had news of her husband. She was dismayed and appalled and shocked and shamed when he raped her and then sent her home.
You’ll want to read this wonderful book. The characters are warm and well-drawn. The passions run hot and strong. The politics are evil and manipulative. Life and death is only a heartbeat away at any moment. I grew to love Bathsheba. I mourned with her when Uriah is killed. Living in the harem was eye-opening. Michal and Abigail, two of David’s other wives, came to life for me. David becomes more real—you begin to understand the man behind the legend.
Angie Hunt is a prolific writer with over one hundred books to her credit that have sold over five million copies. She has won a multitude of awards—RITA, Christy, Holt Medallion and others. She completed her doctorate in Biblical Studies in 2008 and is working on her ThD. She and her husband and their mastiffs live in Florida. And she takes the most wonderful photographs of dogs in their local rescue facility to aid in their adoptions.
Bethany House, a division of Baker Books, gave me a copy of Bathsheba in exchange for my unbiased review.