Did David Rape Bathsheba?


You know the story of David and Bathsheba, right? David took a walk on his roof one afternoon, and saw Bathsheba bathing. So he had her brought to him and spent the night with her. Bathsheba sent word to David that she was pregnant. So to cover the affair, David had her husband Uriah killed in battle and quickly married Bathsheba.

Now, there’s been a growing interest in saying David raped Bathsheba. Some have gone as far as insisting we must interpret the story this way, or else victims of abuse will feel betrayed by the church. That sounds less like a right understanding is being drawn from the text, and more like social concerns are being imposed onto the text.

Setting aside varying defintions of rape, the Bible doesn’t say David raped Bathsheba. In fact, 1 Kings 15:5 says that David did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all his days, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.

Besides, you could make as much of a case that Bathsheba seduced David—bathing in the afternoon where she knew the king would be taking his constitutional? You might say, “But the Bible doesn’t say that!” Exactly.

Here’s what the Bible does say. David was a shepherd turned King of Israel. He was entrusted to shepherd the people of God, and he took another man’s wife and had that man killed. From the line of David would come the greater Shepherd King, Jesus Christ, who laid down His life for the sheep.

In mourning over his sin, David prayed, “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God of my salvation,” and the Lord was merciful to him. No matter the sin—whether it’s adultery, rape, theft, or murder—forgiveness is found in Christ, when we understand the text.

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