David Raped Bathseba Yet She Has Been Slut-Shamed* By Men In Positions of Ecclesiastical Power Throughout History

Woman by the sea at golden hour link

“She has fought many wars, most internal. The ones that you battle alone, for this, she is remarkable. She is a survivor.” ― Nikki Rowe


*Special thanks to Colin Huber: The ‘Bad Girls’ of the Bible Deserve a Fresh Look and Kyle Worley: Why It’s Easier to Accept David as a Murderer than a Rapist


 A few years ago, I was in a Bible study with women “of a certain age.” Wonderful women. Our study was heavily edited, and we were not allowed to discuss our thoughts beyond “What do these verses say?” Usually, I don’t participate in studies like this, but this one dealt with a number of the minor prophets of the Old Testament. I did not feel strong in this area, so “fill in the blanks” was helpful in this instance. One day, however, we studied David and Bathsheba. A surprise open-ended question was asked. “What do you think about this?” It should not come as a surprise that I said, “David raped Bathseba.” The two dear ladies leading the group visibly paled and quickly noted that the story did not seem to indicate that conclusion. I then said, “Of course it does.” and proceeded to list some reasons, like the guards sent to bring Bathsheba to David. They said it was time to “move on.” One lady later whispered in my ear that she agreed with me. It dawned on me later that even women can be guilty of slut-shaming Bathsheba.

In 2018 I wrote a post that is one of my favorites. Why I Believe That King David Assaulted Bathsheba. #JusticeforBathsheba #MeToo. Please visit it. There are paintings, pictures, and other tidbits one might find helpful.

Since then, I found more folks, even theodudes, who appear to agree with me. It’s becoming quite the topic for debate, both pro and con. Even more unexpected is that people like John Piper and The Gospel Coalition agree with my thinking on the matter. Or do I agree with them? I wrote first, so we’ll leave it. They agree with me.

Who got it wrong?

Owen Strachan of Grace Bible Theological Seminary. No surprise there.

Britannica gets it really wrong.

A beautiful woman, she became pregnant after David saw her bathing on a rooftop
and had her brought to him. David then ordered that Uriah be moved to the front-line of a battle,
where he was killed. David married the widowed Bathsheba,
but their first child died as punishment from God for David’s adultery and
murder of Uriah. David repented of his sins,

Britannica states that Bathsheba was bathing “on the roof.” She was not. King David was acting like a peeping Tom on the roof. It also claims that David’s sexual abuse of Bathsheba was simple adultery. Not so. There is nothing in the Scriptures to say she consented.

Why is it challenging to accept David as a rapist?

It is far easier for some to place the blame on Bathsheba, who they believe acted like a seductress by bathing on a roof, hoping to catch a king’s eye. Of course, poor King David was tempted and couldn’t help himself. As usual, women are responsible for men’s lust. Except, Bathsheba was not bathing on a roof but was most likely purifying herself after her period in a mikvah. Also, she may have been fully clothed. Please read my earlier post linked above.

Men wrote history. Men did the preaching. That preaching and teaching affected artists. As you will see, Bathsheba is usually portrayed by the great painters(also men) as a seductress because that’s what they were told. Men were more comfortable looking at David as a murderer as opposed to a rapist and so Bathsheba as a temptress was repeated over and over again through the millennia.

Even in modern times, Leonard Cohen’s haunting “Hallelujah” sings of Bathsheba bathing on a roof. (I like Jeff Buckley’s version better.)

What is the  OT definition of rape?

Some of the theodudes argue that Bathsheba’s predicament did not constitute rape. Christianity Today wrote Why It’s Easier to Accept David as a Murderer than a Rapist. This is something that I hadn’t thought of. The Hebrew understanding of rape includes direct physical force and a cry of anguish from the victim.

This is not a new conversation, which is always important to remember in our age of hot takes. Denny Burk, Boyce College professor and president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, points to a journal article by Alexander Abasili that addressed this question in detail in 2011, years before the scrutiny of the #MeToo movement.

Not all interest in this issue is a result of current cultural pressure or capitulation; there is a legitimate, significant question over how we understand David in this story.

I agree with Abasili’s analysis that the story doesn’t include the details that seem to be specific to instances of a Hebrew understanding of rape—namely, the use of direct physical force and the victim crying out in anguish for help.

That does not fit the modern definition of rape which would include an understanding of the power dynamic. David was a king. Bathsheba was the wife of one of his military leaders, and she was the girl next door. David sent his guards to bring her to his palace after he snooped on her from his high perch. There is absolutely no romance involved if one reads the Scriptural account. He didn’t woo her. He didn’t send roses. He saw her, wanted her, had sex with her, and sent her back home. This reminds me of that derogatory college meme:  “Wham! Bam! Thank you, ma’am!” which describes an unromantic sexual encounter.

As an afterthought, who was around to hear if Bathsheba cried out or if David used force? The guards who “escorted” her to David?

Why do David’s actions with Bathsheba appear to be rape?

The CT article points out.

According to a basic reading of Old Testament law, looking upon a woman with lustful intent doesn’t meet the criteria of adultery. But, when we read the command against adultery through the lens of Christ’s instructions on the law, we find that looking upon someone who is not one’s spouse with lustful intent is, and has always been adultery.

Then the author, Kyle Worley, hits a home run.

What is happening in David’s heart and mind when it comes to Bathsheba?

Thinking of the question this way, the defense that David’s actions don’t meet the criteria for rape weakens considerably, and in fact, misses the point.

The prophet Nathan condemned David’s actions yet likened Bathsheba to a lamb.

2 Samuel 12:1-17 NIV link

The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.

“Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”

David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over because he did such a thing and had no pity.”

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!

In this book of Samuel, Nathan goes on to tell David that he showed utter contempt to God and calamity would fall on his household because of his actions. On the other hand, Bathsheba is called out in the lineage of David. See how she is listed in Matthew 1.

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,

Few women are mentioned in that lineage, which makes the mention even more special. She is listed as the wife of Uriah, not David. Ouch!

Christians have slut-shamed Bathsheba throughout history.

CT says:

And, if the preponderance of sermons is any indication, Christians have historically been willing to slut-shame Bathsheba to keep any stink (beyond adultery) off of David. It’s nonsensical, particularly because in Scripture, Bathsheba is never accused, indicted, or even maligned in any way for what happened.

Have we misunderstood what it meant for David to be a man after God’s own heart?

CT/Worley says:

The phrase we so often associate with the biblical king is not a blanket endorsement for David’s example, nor the idea that he represents what it means to be like God as a man. It means that David was God’s chosen man as king of Israel. John Woodhouse says this phrase “is talking about the place the man has in God’s heart rather than the place God has in the man’s heart.”

Who stands to gain most for ignoring David’s sexual abuse of Bathsheba? Today’s leaders like the pastors in the SBC who have been involved in abuse.

Today’s leaders stand the most to gain from hiding the real implications of David’s actions. All we have to do is to look at the pastors in the SBC who abused women like Christa Brown, Tiffany Thigpen, and Jules Woodson.

CT/Worley posted:

Is it any wonder that this great evil has largely remained unexplored in David’s story when the majority of those entrusted with telling the story stands to profit from not pointing it out? When we get to the story of David and Bathsheba the ones who would benefit most from sitting under the sobering impact of the story are those who are responsible for the telling. The spiritual leaders in our churches, mostly male pastors, must be willing to tell the story the way it is written: as an indictment of the spiritual abuse of power for exploitation.

I hope more men will stand up and take responsibility for making our churches an empowering place for women by carefully preaching the truth about Bathsheba and other women in the Bible.


Comments

David Raped Bathseba Yet She Has Been Slut-Shamed* By Men In Positions of Ecclesiastical Power Throughout History — 219 Comments

  1. Lori Alexander wrote on this a few weeks ago where she was saying how David did not rape her. I have been in a few churches where the sin is placed on Bathsheba. So glad to see more and more realizing that she had no choice but to submit. The comments on her FB some men were saying Bathsheba wanted to be with the King and she bathed in public on purpose.

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  2. Serendipitously, this subject has been the topic of a series of posts at Andrew Perriman’s “Narrative Historical Interpretation” weblog, with some vigorous discussion in comments.

    I’m inclined to think that there’s a strong hint of “force” in the 2 Sam 11 account, especially if one reads on into chapters 12 and 13. Nathan prophecies that YHWH will bring on David’s family the kinds of things that David had done to others. The immediately following chapter, 13, describes Amnon’s rape of Tamar and Absalom’s murder of Amnon. It seems pretty likely to me that the narrator intends us to understand that these are “recapitulations” of David’s sins, but directed against his own family in fulfillment of Nathan’s prophecy. (There is also a later recapitulation, when Absalom lies with the palace caretaker concubines after David flees Jerusalem, and Absalom then pursues David with deadly intent. Perhaps there were others not mentioned.) If that’s valid, it suggests the narrator viewed David’s conduct toward Bathsheba to be analogous to Amnon’s later conduct toward Tamar, and the text is unambiguous that Amnon forced himself on Tamar.

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  3. Thank you.

    >>>Samuel goes on to tell David that he showed utter contempt to God and calamity would fall on his household because of his actions. On the other hand, Bathsheba is called out in the lineage of David.<<<

    Shouldn't that be Nathan instead of Samuel, and the lineage of Jesus instead of David? (or maybe I'm misreading it)

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  4. Carmelita Rocourt: wanted to be with the King

    The way some church leaders operate (private planes & such), would they love to be king? So, projecting?

    In 1 Samuel, the prophet Samuel warned Israel about a king:

    “The king that reigns over you will take your sons for his chariots, and as horsemen; some will run before his chariots.

    “He will appoint captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; to farm and reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war and chariots.

    “He will take your daughters to be confectionaries, cooks, and bakers.

    “He will take your fields, vineyards, and oliveyards, the best, and give them to his servants.

    “He will take a tenth of your seed and vineyards, and give to his officers and servants.

    “He will take your menservants, maidservants, young men, and farm animals, for his work.

    “He will take a tenth of your sheep.

    “You will shall be his servants.”

    Not enough. King David sent soldiers to collect a married woman for his sex demands when her husband was out of town. Sex with a woman via power is rape. Duh. The very definition.

    What did the Houston Chronicle document in “Abuse of Faith” about the LE & DOJ public records of pastors, hundreds, maybe thousands now?

    Would the prophet Samuel today warn us about pastor kings?

    Indicators that a pastor operates as a king: …

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  5. To his credit, when confronted with the fact that his sin was known, David confessed that he was the one responsible and guilty. And didn’t go on and on about anything she did to entice him to his behavior or other things that would excuse him (drugs, etc).
    There would be a lot less to talk about here if the current subjects reported on would follow that part of his example.

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  6. No matter the shortcomings of those analyzing what occurred with David and Bathsheba in hindsight, it is still wise to be very precise and not go beyond what is written.

    Whether people want to stay with a concept of where David’s mind was and his inclination was (as well as hers), there is enough silence on key parts of the matter that it does not seem wise to make a definitive declaration. Now, is the first thing that comes to mind concerning the initial encounter that no matter the initial physical impetus, two hearts found love at first sight in the initial encounter? Possibly not, but we actually don’t know because of the dearth of information, so it does not seem that can be definitively ruled out.

    This is pertinent when we do have the case of Amnon and Tamar, where even though it is said that he initially loved her, the encounter shows clear evidence of Tamar resisting her brother due to her words (2 Samuel 13:13) and that the encounter occurred as he was “stronger than her, and humbleth her“ (cf. 2 Samuel 13:14). And in the next verse, we read about how Amnon “hateth her” and that “greater [is] the hatred with which he hath hated her than the love with which he loved her”. Once again, there is clear information that can lead to a definitive conclusion as far as their hearts, which is not the case on certain aspects of the heart as far as the initial encounter with David and Bathsheba.

    Again, not going into the motives of those who might be using certain interpretations towards their own agendas and narratives, but one of the reasons people can speak definitively on David’s adultery and his role in Uriah’s death is because there is abundance of written evidence. The point about not impugning Bathsheba based on presumptions not made clear in Scripture is legitimate. However, as what transpired in her heart is not clear, it does not appear we can speak definitively as far as absolute victimhood as much as one might be able to regarding Tamar. That’s even with Bathsheba being subject to the great weight of pressure brought to bear with kings and guards etc. While cases be made with references to circumstantial evidence, it still does not appear to be clear enough to be able to definitively declare before God and man with a level of certainty.

    It also comes to mind — as it has some similar elements though it is assuredly not apples to apples on the power dynamic, so bear with the thought — that we also have a case of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife as far as pressures brought to bear by those with authority. Obviously, Joseph had the physical strength to tear away (and she was evidently relying on no other servants being there, which is another difference in dynamic), but it evidently was a case of pressure being brought to bear with consequences for resistance, and where levels of resistance were made clear in Scripture as they seemed to be with Tamar. Again, the common thread that I’m trying to focus on has to deal with how much is actually made clear in Scripture, and the limits that that creates as far as definitive conclusions.

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  7. As far as David being a man after God’s own heart, one’s heart can be in the right place, but as all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (cf. Romans 3:23), sinful actions – – and even willful sin to the degree demonstrated in the case of David and his actions with Bathsheba and Uriah – – can still occur in such a person.

    I’m not familiar with John Woodhouse – – though searching his name has it pop up under the Gospel Coalition, but does the Scripture actually bear out that this phrase — which appears to be referenced again by Paul in Acts 13:22 — “is talking about the place the man has in God’s heart rather than the place God has in the man’s heart”? Looking at the words David including all of the Psalms, it appears that God was repeatedly and truly exalted in the heart of His “servant David” (which also evidently includes Messianic prophecy aspects, cf. 2 Samuel 3:18, 7:5, 8, 1 Kings 11:32, 14:8, 2 Kings 19:34, 20:6, Isaiah 37:35, Ezekiel 34:23-24, 37:25, Luke 1:69, Acts 4:25).

    Here are some previous thoughts on the matter of David’s heart despite the aforementioned willful sin. David, a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22) thanks to God’s work (Psalm 51:10), certainly held the law in high esteem given words attributed to him (Psalm 1:1-2). He had been anointed as king and was even involved by God in an everlasting covenant (2 Samuel 7). David appeared to have looked to all of Scripture, even contributing to its writing under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Many of the psalms attributed to him spoke of the goodness of God’s law and of keeping God’s commandments.  Something happened, though, despite the state of his heart and the intimacy he had with God, His Spirit, and the law.
     
    After the aforementioned everlasting covenant, David was involved with the willful sins concerning Bathsheba and also Uriah. It’s highly unlikely that it was a matter of insufficient knowledge of the law, especially of the spirit of the law and of God’s will, as he was described as a man after God’s own heart. As in Deuteronomy 30:11-14, the word was very near him, and the commandments not hidden from him, yet willful sin in the form of adultery and murder still emerged in such a man rather than perfection.  Some have insisted — citing the separate sacrificial protocol connected with non-willful sin in Old Testament law as well as what they glean from a particular reading of Hebrews 6 — that willful sin is not forgivable and that willful sin would cause the Holy Spirit to depart from a believer; if so, where would that have left David? 

    Were the issue all about man’s regard for the law and the fruits of his striving, would we not all be lost, as David would have been? Rather, godly repentance appears connected to and dependent on the abounding and overflowing of the grace of God as He regards our sinful and hapless state.   The answer is found not in man’s successful keeping of the whole law after having fallen short of it (and thus failing to keep it sufficiently), but through Christ and His grace. David’s willful sins involving Uriah and Bathsheba were followed by God’s mercy, even though David didn’t meet the condition of law keeping.  David’s sincere repentance was accepted by God — not by quid pro quo or an obligation that David’s actions demanded, but “according to the multitude of His mercies” (Lamentations 3:22).
     
    Similarly, the notion that “with the merciful You show Yourself merciful” (2 Samuel 22:26) seems to speak to God’s desire to abundantly bless those who trust Him and walk in His ways. Per 2 Samuel 22:1, those words came from David “on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.” These verses (2 Samuel 22:21-25) directly preceded those words: “The LORD dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his rules were before me, and from his statutes I did not turn aside. I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from guilt. And the LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight.”
     
    As we know concerning David’s willful sin which appeared to be well after his deliverance from Saul, would David have received God’s mercy after that according to David’s righteousness, the cleanness of his hands, by keeping the ways of the LORD and not wickedly departing from Him or turning aside from His statutes, by being blameless before Him, or keeping himself from guilt? Or rather, wouldn’t David have received mercy from God according to the multitude of God’s mercy? According to 2 Samuel 12:13 “David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.” Again, David was a man after God’s own heart, and God is the One who put that heart in him. Genuine repentance acceptable to God is evidence of God’s work in a person’s life. Psalm 51, written by David “when the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba” (cf. Psalm 51:1), shows evidence of someone with a repentant heart who acknowledged his sin and sought restoration and renewal in his soul and in his relationship with God.
     
    Scripture indicates how David demonstrated his willingness to rely solely on the only One who truly overcame sin.  Romans 5 continues the emphasis not on man’s record (especially given what is written in Romans 3 while referencing a Psalm about humanity’s sinning and falling short), but on the record of the One who demonstrated singular obedience to the law to the perfect standard of God. “For as by the disobedience of the one man, the many were made sinners, so by the obedience of the One, the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19).

    Rather than maintaining a focus on what a person should be or should not be able to achieve per Deuteronomy 30:11-14 etc., we may focus and depend on the actual perfection that Christ achieved. This is good since it is through the righteousness of Christ alone and the payment for sin by His blood that His people can be clothed and covered (cf. Rev. 3:4-5, 3:18, 7:14), and His righteousness and victory over sin and death are what can justify in God’s sight those who have fallen short rather than their actions.  Jesus did charge penitents to sin no more; thank God it is on His righteousness and the abundance of His mercy we may hope and rely rather than our track record when we fall short.
     
    If those in Scripture who were deemed as people after God’s own heart or under other approving terms did in fact encounter difficulty (in some cases, in a willful manner) even after true intimacy and favor with God, we ought to be comforted that we have been offered to have our standing before God rest on a sure foundation — the work and grace of the only One who achieved God’s perfect standard of righteousness.

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  8. JDV,

    I’m inclined to think that the author’s intent in chapters 12 and 13, is that the subsequent events of Amnon/Tamar and Absalom/Amnon are to be understood as the first, prompt, fulfillments of Nathan’s prophecy that YHWH would visit on David’s family what David had done to Uriah’s family. That would tend to support the inference that in spite of the terse language of chapter 11, which could be cited to justify a posture of uncertainty on the matter, the David/Bathsheba liaison was, from Bathsheba’s perspective, not consensual.

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  9. The David and Bathsheba story could be a case study in people reading their own cultural assumptions back into the text. The biblical account never assigns blame to a single person but David, and David himself is depicted as accepting that blame in full. Yet the story has been subjected to all sorts of distortions.

    JDV,

    Honestly your comments were TL:DR.

    This jumped out at me, though: “as what transpired in her heart is not clear, it does not appear we can speak definitively as far as absolute victimhood”

    What?? Her immediate contemporary, the prophet Nathan, had no problem figuring out she was a victim (even though what happened to her may not have met the legal definition of rape at the time). The perpetrator, David, agreed with Nathan’s assessment. Seems to me we can be quite definitive without going an inch beyond the text itself.

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  10. Just because you are a theologian does not mean you can have enough spiritual sense to have the final say on Biblical text. The institutional church is cluttered with the teachings and traditions of men who don’t get a lot of things right. As a young man, the first time I read the David/Bathsheba story, I thought “My God, David raped Bathsheba and put a plan in motion to have her husband killed!” … then I got exposed to preaching which tried to explain all that away since David was a man after God’s heart, etc.

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  11. Max: I thought “My God, David raped Bathsheba and put a plan in motion to have her husband killed!” … then I got exposed to preaching which tried to explain all that away since David was a man after God’s heart, etc.

    Given contemporary examples covered on this blog, Mighty ManaGAWD and indulging sexual appetites under cover of Authority/POwer go hand-in-hand. WHich is probably one of the reasons why it being All Bathsheba’s Fault became The Party Line.

    I have similar experiences to your first thought. When I was just starting out, my first thoughts were a lot like yours. Then I got exposed to The Party Line on pain of God’s Wrath, where anything other than The Party Line was As The Sin of Witchcraft.

    The main difference was in The Age of Hal Lindsay, The Party Line was entirely concentrated around Genesis 1, John 3:6, Altar Call Salvation, and the entire Book of Revelation/Book of Daniel/Late Great Planet Earth. i.e. What you’d find in Jack Chick tracts.

    Jack Chick + Hal Lindsay is a VERY destructive combination.

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  12. JDV: Now, is the first thing that comes to mind concerning the initial encounter that no matter the initial physical impetus, two hearts found love at first sight in the initial encounter?

    Since you can imagine love, maybe you can also imagine a married woman’s terror when armed guards come to the door and force her to go see a despot, who happens to hold her husband’s life in his royal hands.

    If this happened to me, I would be far too frantic and terrified to do anything but try to survive.

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  13. Another woman that gets shamed is the woman at the well. What we know from scripture is that she has had 5 husbands, and the man she now has is not her husband. How often do you hear sermons that make her into a very sinful bed hopping woman?

    Truth is, we don’t know. She could be just that. But given the culture of the time she could simply be a woman unlucky enough to have had 5 legitimate husbands die on her. Or 5 decide to divorce her. Maybe she had bad breath, lousy cooking, carried a disease like typhoid, or maybe her dear old dad had not supplied much of a dowry. Maybe she simply could not or had not conceived and born children.

    Maybe she did not want the life of being a harlot, had no one to provide for her, and so agreed to move in with this dude. Maybe he felt he would be shamed if he became husband number 6.

    No matter what her past, Jesus saw fit to make her the first real evangelist. Nuff said.

    Let’s remember Lot wasn’t exactly a paragon of virtue but he made it into the faith hall of fame in Hebrews 11. It truly isn’t about what we do, but about what He did.

    I tend to agree David raped Bathesheba, but since I was not there and scripture does not tell me, I have no clue if she was a loyal wife of Uriah or saw this event as a chance to move on up. That knowledge will have to wait til heaven and a long glass of sweet tea with the lady. That David sinned is clear, the state of her heart can only be speculation.

    And praise God with us–we got 1 1/4 inches of rain last night. Still short about 5 inches or so for the year, still burned up and in extreme drought officially, but any water from the sky helps.

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  14. Do Not Blame the Victim! Arcangela Tarabotti (1604-1652) “Why on earth publish lying fictions just when you dedicate yourselves to assaulting the fortress of chastity as Cupid’s disciples? You preach a sheltered life for women, digging up evidence from the tale of Bathsheba: while bathing in an open place she made even King David lie—that holy prophet whose heart was in tune with God’s. Ask yourselves, witless ones, who was the true cause of her fall, and then deny it if you can. It was nothing else but the king’s lust. Uriah’s wife was at home, minding her own affairs bathing—whether for enjoyment or necessity, it matters little—but David eyed her too. Her beauty inflamed him, and his eyes were the gateway to his heart; by various ruses he obtained the satisfaction his sensuality demanded. What blame can one possibly attribute to that innocent woman, overwhelmed by the splendor of the king’s majesty? She is more worthy of pardon than the royal harp player: she allowed herself to be overcome by a force from on high, as it were; he succumbed to the pull of flesh doomed soon to rot and darts from two eyes that pierce only those wanting to be wounded. (Paternal Tyranny).

    2 Samuel 11:3–5 (12S12K12C:OTV5): David the Monster. John Calvin: Now here is a story that should make our hair stand straight up on end whenever we think of it—that a servant of God as excellent as David should fall into such a serious and enormous sin that he could be judged as the most morally lax and promiscuous person in the world. For it would be extremely difficult to find anyone anywhere among the tyrants, or among those who have been the most desperate of all, committing such an excessive crime as David, who thus put himself in the class of monster! For here was David, who was the king and consequently ought to have been the soul of the law in order to give it force. He should have maintained control so that each person could enjoy their own possessions. He should have been the protector of chastity in order to preserve marriages. He should have maintained the life of his subjects. He should have prevented anyone from committing any violence or extortion. (Sermons on 2 Samuel) (Although he does also say that Bathsheba should have exercised discretion so as not to be seen, and cites the stories of Susannah and Isaac and Rebekah as cautionary tales).

    (Source: Reformation Commentary on Scripture: Old Testament, Vol 5, 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, 1-2 Chronicles
    Edited by Derek Cooper and Martin J. Lohrmann).

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  15. Muff Potter: Brainy women have always been an aphrodisiac for me.

    One would hope brainy men and brainy women can work together without the complication and self-gratification of sexual excitement. Or, any men and any women can work together, the same.

    Last night we watched the bio of Shania Twain on Netflix. Admirable how she is beautiful but never sinks into the sleaze of the entertainment industry while working mainly with guys. Their comments endorsed her drive and talent, but never aphrodisial.

    That being said, it’s always nice when people try to look and act their best, if only for pleasantness while working together.

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  16. Max: He was a “Peeking David”

    Lots of references to eye candy in the Bible:

    In Genesis, the forbidden fruit was pleasing to the eyes…

    In 1 John 2: things of this world, lustful to the eyes … are not of God.

    David’s eyes wandered, he abusively used his power, he raped then murdered, and was deceitful throughout.

    Earlier comments mention a man after God’s own heart who later turned out to be treacherous. It seems like power got to David, even after he was carefully seeking God wholeheartedly in his youth.

    Like some of these pastor kings who rise in their kingdoms then go off the rails?

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  17. Friend: Since you can imagine love, maybe you can also imagine a married woman’s terror when armed guards come to the door and force her to go see a despot, who happens to hold her husband’s life in his royal hands.

    If this happened to me, I would be far too frantic and terrified to do anything but try to survive.

    That was allowed for in what I referenced, noting “Bathsheba being subject to the great weight of pressure brought to bear with kings and guards etc.” In your response, you talk about where your head and heart would be at, which is made clear in your words. It is not explicitly clear or stated in Scripture in terms of Bathsheba’s thoughts, no matter the surrounding situation. It is not discounting that factor but acknowledging it, while focusing on taking the circumstantial evidence and taking the next step into making a definitive declaration that appears to be dependent on what was in the heart of both of them.

    This might be an example that goes towards making the point or it might completely fail, but here goes. I’ve never read the book for Gone with the Wind, but watched the film version quite a while ago. A woman I know well made a reference to having an issue with the story because of what she called when Rhett carried off Scarlett and then “raped her” (her words IIRC) as she objected and struggled. An issue raised was that her mom seemed to see the incident in romantic terms and that as we see the Scarlett smiling in bed the morning after and seeking after Rhett, it was what she really wanted etc. especially in the greater context of the story.

    It seems clear that somebody objecting as Scarlett was portrayed as doing seems to clearly fit definitions of rape. And lest someone think I’m going down the path of saying it’s a matter of perspective, what I’m trying to get at is from the communicating among church folk perspective (which seemed to be the focus of the article), people are already going to be coming in with their preconceived notions. It seems prudent to be precise as possible on what we can make definitive declarations on and what we can’t, as things can devolve and go into certain directions with strawmen being raised and such, as one would think that’s not going to serve the purpose of recognizing abuse of power dynamics.

    Going with explaining the circumstances as spelled out in Scripture will hopefully convey the aspect that both you and I referenced of dealing with somebody in authority with guards in isolation, as people have to ponder the realities associated with that. Not that I feel I have to signal bona fides as it were, but I hope the I’ve conveyed in my posts here over the years an appreciation for the dangers inherent in power dynamics and the need to call it out and turn it over to authorities.

    If somebody wants to couch concerns with the initial encounter in terms such as “under the current definition of Wisconsin law as far as the power dynamic as well as the perception of imprisonment as to what would trigger charges of abuse, rape, what have you under statute X, the district attorney could use the circumstances as contributing to such charges”, that’s one thing.

    However, the article was referencing how people in a church environment would interpret biblical text. Once again, that was my focus and on what could be definitively stated about it versus not having enough definitive information, and (I thought) I took pains to make that the focus (thus, the length of the response at least one found problematic). The reality is that someone could legitimately challenge a categorical, unequivocal declaration that David raped Bathsheba by commenting on the state of their hearts.

    Again, the point that I’m making has to do with unequivocal statements related to David and Bathsheba’s initial encounter and where their heads and hearts were at as far as what is exclusively stated in Scripture. It seems wise to be careful not to go beyond what is stated, especially with the propensity of people to come up with their own narratives and agendas and abuse that.

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  18. Samuel Conner:
    JDV,

    I’m inclined to think that the author’s intent in chapters 12 and 13, is that the subsequent events of Amnon/Tamar and Absalom/Amnon are to be understood as the first, prompt, fulfillments of Nathan’s prophecy that YHWH would visit on David’s family what David had done to Uriah’s family. That would tend to support the inference that in spite of the terse language of chapter 11, which could be cited to justify a posture of uncertainty on the matter, the David/Bathsheba liaison was, from Bathsheba’s perspective, not consensual.

    A posture of uncertainty on the matter is justified because of the limit as to what was said. Of course, bring up the further context to the likes of Strachan as far as things to consider may serve the point of pointing out the dangers of abuse of power dynamics. Going beyond that, however, carries the aforementioned risks of making categorical assertions where the lack of information works against supporting that.

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  19. Max: and just how many wives has Brother Hal had? more than David?

    “His personal life and details about his marriages are all kept hidden behind the curtain, except for the names of his wives, which can be gauged from his book covers. He is now in the course of his fourth marriage with Jolyn Lindsey, having divorced his first three wives.” (www.truechurchfalsechurch.com)

    Hal Lindsey.

    Do his prophetic views and interpretations last longer than his wives? Just wondering.

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  20. Ava Aaronson: It seems like power got to David, even after he was carefully seeking God wholeheartedly in his youth.

    Like some of these pastor kings who rise in their kingdoms then go off the rails?

    Mega-mania has created some bad-boy preachers who started out on the straight and narrow … until the pursuit of power and prestige led them off-track. Of course, some of them were off-track already and deceived followers into believing otherwise. In my long journey through the American church, I’ve known only a handful of church leaders after God’s own heart.

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  21. Friend:
    Without reference to any one comment here, the phrase “women secretly want it” leaps to mind. That mentality is a deep problem, and it always has been.

    Such a mentality has been shown on these pages over and over and over. And a broken, unaccountable power dynamic void of oversight allows for the narcissist, predators, “my wife don’t understand me” opportunists to feast on that. Yet another reason why all sides need to stick with what is written. All of a sudden, those casting Bathsheba definitive as the conniving temptress on the roof are going to need to produce the Scripture categorically stating that when challenged, especially as many are probably assuming it.

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  22. Headless Unicorn Guy: The main difference was in The Age of Hal Lindsay, The Party Line was entirely concentrated around Genesis 1, John 3:6, Altar Call Salvation, and the entire Book of Revelation/Book of Daniel/Late Great Planet Earth. i.e. What you’d find in Jack Chick tracts.

    Jack Chick + Hal Lindsay is a VERY destructive combination.

    Dunno about the others, but Hal Lindsey is a money machine, published by Penguin Random House – so big numbers, big bucks.

    Lindsey has it all figured out … not the future, as in prophecy, but the now, as in how to make money off of seekers.

    His gospel is grift, selling books via hooey.

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  23. Ava Aaronson: Dunno about the others, but Hal Lindsey is a money machine, published by Penguin Random House – so big numbers, big bucks.

    That’s what a shrink told be back in the Eighties. After my breakup with Ann, I was taking (non-Neuthetic) counseling for a lot of built-up things in my past, including End Times Paranoia which triggered strong panic attacks with every Rapture Scare rumor.

    Said counselor had run across Hal Lindsay in person, and told me “He wrote those books entirely for the money.”
    To which I replied “Great. He’s laughing all the way to the bank while I’m having flashbacks like a ‘Nam Vet.”

    P.S. The Rapture Scare panic-attack flashbacks did not fade away completely until around 1990. (With one exception earlier this year when the Russo-Ukranian War kicked off and Putin started threatening Nuclear War.)

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  24. linda: I tend to agree David raped Bathesheba, but since I was not there and scripture does not tell me, I have no clue if she was a loyal wife of Uriah or saw this event as a chance to move on up. That knowledge will have to wait til heaven and a long glass of sweet tea with the lady. That David sinned is clear, the state of her heart can only be speculation.

    Whatever the details, Nathan took into account the Power Differential when assinging blame.

    Something today’s Mighty MenaGAWD seem to overlook for their own convenience.

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  25. Ava Aaronson: He is now in the course of his fourth marriage with Jolyn Lindsey, having divorced his first three wives.” (www.truechurchfalsechurch.com)

    Hal Lindsey.

    At his age, Mr. Lindsey probably won’t catch David … who had 8 wives named in Scripture (possibly more).

    For the record, I don’t have anything against David … just the false teaching about his encounter with Bathsheba. Mr. Lindsey, on the other hand, should know better about keeping his pants on.

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  26. Max: Just because you are a theologian does not mean you can have enough spiritual sense to have the final say on Biblical text.

    Sounds a lot like
    “You don’t need any Intellect to be an Intellectual.”
    — G.K.Chesterton, one of the Father Brown Mysteries

    Though I am always leery of “Spiritual This” and “Spiritual That”. As Tatted Todd of Lakeland and the Pagan Temple Screamers of the NAR have illustrated, “Spiritual” can all to easily be used as a Weapon and/or an Excuse Machine. We need an infusion of Jewish grounding in the here-and-now. Remember…

    “God Lives in the Real World.”
    — Rich Buhler, Eighties radio talk-show host
    Personally, I

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  27. JDV: Now, is the first thing that comes to mind concerning the initial encounter that no matter the initial physical impetus, two hearts found love at first sight in the initial encounter

    It happened and she immediately went home.
    “She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home.”
    Sounds like the “walk of shame.”

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  28. JDV,

    JDV: However, as what transpired in her heart is not clear, it does not appear we can speak definitively as far as absolute victimhood as much as one might be able to regarding Tamar. T

    There is a clear power differential.As for the heart, I think there are some things we could say. Nathan compared her to a lamb not an adulteress.

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  29. Samuel Conner: That would tend to support the inference that in spite of the terse language of chapter 11, which could be cited to justify a posture of uncertainty on the matter, the David/Bathsheba liaison was, from Bathsheba’s perspective, not consensual.

    I agree. Nathan did not throw shade on Bathsheba. He likened her to a lamb. Then, she is listed in the lineage of Jesus. She is mentioned as Uriah’s wife, which indicates to me that was where her heart was.

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  30. Muff Potter: I’ve always been drawn to the ‘bad girls’ of the Bible, I believe they had brains too.

    My favorite clever girl story of the Bible is that of Tamar and Judah. She wasn’t a prostitute but played a similar role cleverly, one time, in response to injustice or unkept cultural promise, if that is injustice.

    Gen 38:26 Judah recognized them (his seal, cord and staff). “She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah.”

    “And he did not sleep with her again.” I’ve always read that as a sign of respect, provision and privilege, rather than punishment.

    And later when Judah offers his own life to his father as assurance for Benjamin’s return from Egypt, I was impressed that he had more of himself in the process than some of his other brothers, it seems to me in the story.

    I love that Judah and Tamar are both listed in the genealogy of Jesus. I don’t think their story gets enough billing time…

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  31. This particular post paints with an industrial size broad brush
    This is a huge leap to claim rape, when we can’t know Bathsheba’s heart, too big an issue to make that/this assumption
    Does this assessment apply today, in recent events????
    We have had multiple presidents from both major parties to be accused, of this type of sin/crime.
    The power dynamics are equal, or at the least very comparable.
    So are you guys/gals going to say that these former presidents are in fact rapist?

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  32. dee: the “walk of shame.”

    2 Samuel 12, Nathan confronts David, where the shame belongs.

    Regarding the back and forth about Bathsheba… did she want it? and such.

    What a question. With the women of the time, does “what she wants” even exist?

    The context: polygamy, power hierarchies (all male), prophets all male except 5 who each get 1 verse except Huldah who gets 6 verses, priests all male, kings all male and only one queen. Wouldn’t this be considered a man’s world?

    With this level of power in the men’s corner, it would behoove a man to be a gentleman. David failed. He ogled, dispatched his enforcers, dropped his drawers, then ditched the woman. Not a gentleman.

    Whatever Bathsheba wanted or didn’t want was never a factor.

    Faulting her is the same thinking that faults NOT the professionals – mainly men sometimes women – (pastors, scout leaders, counselors, teachers, police) who engage in on-the-job indiscretions that should end their careers.

    “Aw, poor little professional who couldn’t keep their privates to themselves in their profession, ‘cuz temptations arise on the job.”

    If anyone should have shown discretion and responsibility, it would have been the king after God’s own heart. The king’s heart strayed, big time, to rape and murder.

    For those who blame Bathsheba: Who was at fault for the murder of Uriah?

    For the pastors who preach that men get a pass on adultery, because of David, is murder OK too? Is murder, like adultery, just a part of being a normal red-blooded man in a world of tantalizing women? Go ahead, ‘cuz God forgives? Is that the next step for all of the adulterous clergy we see in the News nowadays? Who are discovered in indiscretions, granted forgiveness, then put back in place as spiritual leaders?

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  33. Benn: This is a huge leap to claim rape, when we can’t know Bathsheba’s heart, too big an issue to make that/this assumption

    It’s a long time since I was single, but I don’t remember any guy sending guards to fetch me. That was not a known technique for kindling romance in my circles. Typically the guy asked me to the ice cream parlor or the movies.

    Follow me for more non-King-David dating tips.

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  34. Headless Unicorn Guy: “Women Secretly Want It”…
    Isn’t that what a RAPIST would say?

    Headless, take a look at the rapist character in the film ‘The Last Duel’ and there is portrayed a person who seems to ‘imagine’ that woman he rapes is actually ‘willing’,
    so was this ‘cultural’ in the ‘old days’ of ‘western civilization’?

    Good grief. I can REMEMBER in my own life-time that some courts permitted ‘slut shaming’ and it worked against the victims of rape in those days.
    How entrenched was ‘slut-shaming’ in our Western tradition??? How long has it been used against women victims and to protect male rapists???

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  35. Linda, re the woman at the well, I read a post recently (shame on me, I can’t remember where) as to why she had five husbands. The writer made a point that perhaps she was infertile, didn’t get pregnant, so each man divorced her. Admittedly, we have no proof of this. We don’t know the whole story. Still, offspring (especially males) were important and there were few men like Elkanah who loved his barren wife. Ditto Zechariah and Elizabeth in the New Testament.

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  36. Lowlandseer: John Calvin: Now here is a story that should make our hair stand straight up on end…

    Calvin is a mixed bag. He also wrote this:
    “From this it is easy to conclude how foolish and frail is the support of divine justice afforded by the suggestion that evils come to be not by [God’s] will, but merely by his permission. Of course, so far as they are evils, which men perpetrate with their evil mind, as I shall show in greater detail shortly, I admit that they are not pleasing to God. But it is a quite frivolous refuge to say that God permits them, when Scripture shows Him not only willing but the author of them.” (John Calvin, The Eternal Predestination of God)

    And this:
    “Let him, therefore, who would beware of such unbelief, always bear in mind, that there is no random power, or agency, or motion in the creatures, who are so governed by the secret counsel of God, that nothing happens but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed.” (John Calvin, ICR 1:16:3)

    Per Calvin, all the abuse talked about on TWW is exactly according to God’s secret plan, for his pleasure and glory.

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  37. Benn,

    “This is a huge leap to claim rape, when we can’t know Bathsheba’s heart, too big an issue to make that/this assumption”
    +++++++++++++++

    not know Bathsheba’s heart…

    darlin, how should we calculate the probability that a woman who is married would be jumping at the chance to have sex with a man known as ‘king’, and royal guards escorting her up to the palace was her dream day?

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  38. Friend,

    “Without reference to any one comment here, the phrase “women secretly want it” leaps to mind. That mentality is a deep problem, and it always has been.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    well, how many decades of film have we been exposed to where this very thing is depicted?

    sexual assault happens in private. so the closest imagery society has been exposed to is curated by the film industry, for example.

    i have so many recollections of watching a film (or tv) from the past where a man playing a hero role forces himself on a woman,

    she struggles, struggles, oh the drama, and the scary music reaches a crescendo and then

    breaks into major mode with something akin to the love theme from Tchaikovsky’s Romeo & Juliet as she is suddenly overcome by his irresistible manliness and gives in to him.

    goodness, art is a powerful influence.

    the truth reflected back to us is not necessarily at face value of what we’re supposed to be seeing/hearing, though.

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  39. I don’t know if the timing is coincidental, but the history blog Tales of Times Forgotten just wrote an article on it as well. It includes coverage of some recent voices in the evangelical world.

    Not surprisingly, it is often easier for non-believing scholars to read the Bible at face value than it is for believers.

    https://talesoftimesforgotten.com/2022/07/16/yes-king-david-raped-bathsheba/

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  40. Rev Ed Trevors is an Anglican priest in Canada’s Maritime Provinces who runs a YouTube channel of the same name. Today I got linked to this video of his from about a year ago, going over the Bible verses (priarily Leviticus and Corinthians) usually used as clobber verses for Same-Sex Pelvic Issues (i.e. GAWD H8S FAGS):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thBLhWiMKso

    He presents that in the original language, a lot of the same-sex taboo verses seem to be referring more to Forced Sex via Power Differential. Like KING David and commoner Bathsheba; like slaveowner and slave; like Penetrate/Colonize/Conquer/Plant and Lie Back and Accept; like Commander ESQUIRE and OfDoug his Handmaid; like Pastor and Pewsitter; like Youth Pastor and Youth Group jail bait. Lowborn victim says “No”, Highborn predator invokes “GOD”.

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  41. Muff Potter: Only a cruel and petulant tyrant would take pleasure in what Calvin describes.

    What do you think the God and Christ they have been catechized with IS?
    Just add “Omnipotent” to the description.
    Omnipotent but NOT Benevolent.
    Just the opposite – always one Divine Temper Tantrum away from destroying the Cosmos and casting into Eternal Hell. He Holds the Whip, We Feel the Whip, Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! (Or Else!)

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  42. Paul D.: Not surprisingly, it is often easier for non-believing scholars to read the Bible at face value than it is for believers.

    IMHO, the key is scholarship.

    History, scholarly factual history, with regard to the Bible, clarifies and enlightens.

    Historians Dr. Beth Allison Barr at Baylor, Dr. Kristin Kobes Du Mez at Calvin U, and Dr. Ruth Ben-Ghiat at NYU, have all produced historical works that shed light on men and women throughout history, including biblical history. What do they believe? No idea. But they certainly believe facts.

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  43. Jeffrey Chalmers: KINGS at the time could “legally” do whatever they wanted …

    True, and we know what King David wanted. It’s written:

    He ogled, saw beauty, lusted, ordered his guard to collect the woman, plundered her, discarded her, then rubbed out her husband – to hide what he knew was sin. So lust, rape, murder, lies.

    What did Bathsheba want? We don’t know but in context, there was no “I want” for women. It was a man’s world.

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  44. Max: Benn: So are you guys/gals going to say that these former presidents are in fact rapist?

    “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”

    “I did not know that woman in the Biblical sense.”
    — Doug Phillips, ESQUIRE

    In both cases, No Tab A went into Slot B, so it wasn’t really sex.

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  45. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    With reference to the first quotation, Calvin also says this “ What cause, or whose cause is it, then, that Paul maintains? After he had adopted the. above axiom–that God hardens whom He will and has mercy on whom He will–he subjoins the supposed taunt of a wicked reasoner: “Why doth He yet find fault? For who hath resisted His will?” (Rom. ix. 19.) He meets such blasphemy as this by simply setting against it the power of God. If those clothe God with the garment of a tyrant, who refer the hardening of men even to His eternal counsel, we most certainly are not the originators of this doctrine. If they do God an injury who set His will above all other causes, Paul taught this doctrine long before us. Let these enemies of God, then, dispute the matter with the apostle. For I maintain nothing, in the present discussion, but what I declare is taught by him.“. (The treatise is a lengthy one and covers all sorts of points).

    As for the second, the preceding sentence gives the context “ But as unbelievers transfer the government of the world from God to the stars, imagining that happiness or misery depends on their decrees or presages, and not on the Divine will, the consequence is, that their fear, which ought to have reference to him only, is diverted to stars and comets”.

    But all this is a diversion from the topic under discussion, unless you are implying that God is the author of David’s sin.

    Muff, HUG and now Friend no doubt have their own reasons for their sarcasm and misrepresentation, but they too are going off topic.

    David was forgiven, Bathsheba was blessed and God’s purpose fulfilled – Great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

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  46. I think the heart of it is whether Bathsheba could have said no to David. It seems clear to me that she had no capacity to do this, she was coerced into it, even if she wasn’t dragged kicking & screaming.

    I have worked with young victims of date rape who have told me quite clearly that they knew the quickest & safest way to deal with a man determined to have sex with them – no matter what they wanted – was not to resist, but to do it & get it over & done with.Their choice was either rape without violence, or rape with it.

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  47. Muff Potter,

    Lowlandseer,

    Lowlandseer, your badly chosen quote doesn’t shed good enough light on Paul’s intention.

    Then the low calibre religious leaders whom we criticise rabbit it out for the audience they have trained to be unthinking.

    What God actually counsels is that people, including those in power over others, have to be allowed to harden their own hearts beyond what is in their lights (informed conscience). The entire Bible is an indictment of bad religious leaders.

    At the same time the rest of us are asked to supplicate for those leaders that their hearts be softened, thus if we don’t do so, we enter in some degree in complicity with their carelessness and cruelty.

    Moses ten times asked Pharaoh to do what was right, doing him the kindness of informing his conscience.

    If we are supplicating, maybe hitherto bad religious leaders will find their hearts softening to follow their consciences. Look at Zacchaeus the high status extortioner.

    Older style writing up to the time of Paul was shorthand proverbs and just-so stories. This is his method of working God’s sovereignty in together with His respect for our free will. This is also the theme of Gen chapters 3-4.

    Paul did not intend later theologians influenced by sophistry (a kind of pharisaism) to pass this off as a logical analysis per se; the reader and hearer is trusted to use power of inference as well as insight into the actual work of Jesus and Holy Spirit.

    The word is not the same as the thing and we always have to make the effort to get good code out of language.

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  48. Lowlandseer: David was forgiven, Bathsheba was blessed and God’s purpose fulfilled – Great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

    But Servetus was burned at the stake using green wood to prolong the agony (Calvin thought beheading was more appropriate). My point was Calvin is a mixed bag, and therefore not a great example to cite on the topic of abuse.

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  49. elastigirl,

    According to “finishing school” stiletto heels and “bust thrusting” (and latterly, inches deep in make up) were supposed to help boys and men along in making friends.

    (Not to knock individual ladies’ ideas of feeling the way they are.)

    Whereas quite a lot of boys and men valued straightforward behaviour as an aid in making friends.

    The chillingly attentuated vision of “friendship” among secular and christian thinkers alike, underlies these problems and no wonder everyone has to “contrive” to have anything resembling friendships of whatever level of intensity, or to cope with “being in love”.

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  50. Friend,

    Friend, maybe you never had an entourage sent for you.
    Or wasn’t escorted back somewhere to a powerful/famous/rich man who had people sent to get you
    I have never had that experience either. So I can’t say what emotionally that would have been like.

    I am reminded of a bit that Richard Jeni ( absolutely the funniest person I’ve ever heard say in his comedy show A hot steaming pile of me ( you tube it, be forewarned it has every four letter word known to man in it, but he was a comedy genius)

    A vagina with an agenda a vagenda, was David and Bathsheba rape, or was it a vagenda, or somewhere in between, we will never know for sure, it could have been rape.

    Elvis had women escorted back to his dressing room all the time, ( he wasn’t the king of Israel, but he was the king of rock n roll, an in huh, thank ya thank ya very much) .
    Mary Tyler Moore was asked once that Elvis said he slept with all his co-stars but one, was she the one?

    JFK had women escorted to the White House, you just don’t walk right in there ( unless you know Hunter maybe) so is it a different dynamic in our day and time? Yes and no

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  51. Like father, like son….

    Amnon and Tamar

    13 In the course of time, Amnon son of David fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of Absalom son of David.

    2 Amnon became so obsessed with his sister Tamar that he made himself ill. She was a virgin, and it seemed impossible for him to do anything to her.

    3 Now Amnon had an adviser named Jonadab son of Shimeah, David’s brother. Jonadab was a very shrewd man. 4 He asked Amnon, “Why do you, the king’s son, look so haggard morning after morning? Won’t you tell me?”

    Amnon said to him, “I’m in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.”

    5 “Go to bed and pretend to be ill,” Jonadab said. “When your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘I would like my sister Tamar to come and give me something to eat. Let her prepare the food in my sight so I may watch her and then eat it from her hand.’”

    6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. When the king came to see him, Amnon said to him, “I would like my sister Tamar to come and make some special bread in my sight, so I may eat from her hand.”

    7 David sent word to Tamar at the palace: “Go to the house of your brother Amnon and prepare some food for him.” 8 So Tamar went to the house of her brother Amnon, who was lying down. She took some dough, kneaded it, made the bread in his sight and baked it. 9 Then she took the pan and served him the bread, but he refused to eat.

    “Send everyone out of here,” Amnon said. So everyone left him. 10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food here into my bedroom so I may eat from your hand.” And Tamar took the bread she had prepared and brought it to her brother Amnon in his bedroom. 11 But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, “Come to bed with me, my sister.”

    12 “No, my brother!” she said to him. “Don’t force me! Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing. 13 What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you.” 14 But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her.

    15 Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her. Amnon said to her, “Get up and get out!”

    16 “No!” she said to him. “Sending me away would be a greater wrong than what you have already done to me.”

    But he refused to listen to her. 17 He called his personal servant and said, “Get this woman out of my sight and bolt the door after her.” 18 So his servant put her out and bolted the door after her. She was wearing an ornate[a] robe, for this was the kind of garment the virgin daughters of the king wore. 19 Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornate robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went.

    20 Her brother Absalom said to her, “Has that Amnon, your brother, been with you? Be quiet for now, my sister; he is your brother. Don’t take this thing to heart.” And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house, a desolate woman.

    21 When King David heard all this, he was furious. 22 And Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar.

    NIV

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  52. Lowlandseer: Muff, HUG and now Friend no doubt have their own reasons for their sarcasm and misrepresentation, but they too are going off topic.

    David was forgiven, Bathsheba was blessed and God’s purpose fulfilled – Great is the mystery of godliness …

    A man tried to rape me one time. I fought him off like an animal. He was not expecting a fight. The element of surprise saved me, although my clothes were torn beyond repair.

    I do not worship a God who glorifies himself through rape.

    Go ahead, accuse me again of misrepresentation and going off topic. I have plenty of time.

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  53. The thought occurs that there is a useful connection between the narrative in 2 Samuel 11 to the end of 2 Samuel and present-day thinking about the implications of Jesus’ teachings about interpersonal forgiveness.

    In 2 Samuel 12:13, after David’s self-accusation, Nathan responds that “YHWH has taken away your sin.” Huzzah! Forgiveness! Reconciliation!

    But there’s more: the “under the sun” consequences of teh transgressions are not erased and will still be dire for David. Things will not go back to the way they were before the transgressions, and in fact the sword will not depart from David’s family; the consequences will be permanent, at least in an “under the sun” sense.

    —-

    This would seem to bear heavily on assertions that victims must forgive, reconcile with and trust their allegedly repentant abusers and put things back to the way they were before the transgression. God didn’t do that for repentant David; it seems to me highly unreasonable to demand that present-day victims do that for their allegedly repentant abusers.

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  54. Wild Honey: Makes you wonder if some beans were burned on purpose.

    I was worried about that the first time my wife made biscuits and gravy, one of my favorite foods. We had only been married a couple of weeks and she cooked some B&G for breakfast … it was so thick, the spoon literally stood up in the middle of it! (I was greatly relieved when all subsequent batches were perfect)

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  55. Benn: So are you guys/gals going to say that these former presidents are in fact rapist?

    If you have followed this blog, you will know that I do not do comment on political issues. My expertise, so to speak, is within the faith as well as within abuse issues that apply to those in the faith. I do have opinions on those situations you mention but those I discuss with family and close friends (and even then have had serious relationship issues.) So, no comment.

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  56. dee: If you have followed this blog, you will know that I do not do comment on political issues. My expertise, so to speak, is within the faith as well as within abuse issues that apply to those in the faith. I do have opinions on those situations you mention but those I discuss with family and close friends (and even then have had serious relationship issues.) So, no comment.

    Fair enough Dee, political issues are visceral, what about the power dynamics of rich/ powerful/ wealthy entertainers i.e. Elvis, Almost famous situations, is this an either/or or both/ and situation
    Are these type situations cut and dry, or are there individual situational circumstances at play?

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  57. Benn,

    If you rejected a King in those days, they could very easily kill you on the spot… no questions/issues…
    Do you think Elvis could have people killed? Point is, I am sure plenty of women said no to JFK, Evils, Clinton, Sanatra, etc…. I find it hard to believe these modern day hound dogs had women killed for their rejecting them..

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  58. dee: I wonder if we should wonder if Bathsheba was secretly glad that Uriah was killed by David.

    My guess is that Bathsheba was honored to be married to such a good man as Uriah. David tried to make the pregnancy appear as Uriah’s by calling him from the battlefield to be with Bathsheba. We get a glimpse at just how noble and faithful to king and country Uriah was:

    “Then David sent word to Joab, saying, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the people were doing, and how the war was progressing. Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house, and wash your feet, spend time at home.” Uriah left the king’s palace, and a gift from the king was sent out after him. But Uriah slept at the entrance of the king’s palace with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. When they told David, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Have you not just come from a long journey? Why did you not go to your house?” Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in huts (temporary shelters), and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Should I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? By your life and the life of your soul, I will not do this thing.” Then David said to Uriah, “Stay here today as well, and tomorrow I will let you leave.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. Now David called him to dinner, and he ate and drank with him, so that he made Uriah drunk; in the evening he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, and still did not go down to his house. “In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. He wrote in the letter, “Put Uriah in the front line of the heaviest fighting and leave him, so that he may be struck down and die … people among the servants of David fell; Uriah the Hittite also died … When Bathsheba heard that her husband Uriah was dead, she mourned for her husband” (2 Samuel 11)

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  59. Samuel Conner: But there’s more: the “under the sun” consequences of teh transgressions are not erased and will still be dire for David. Things will not go back to the way they were before the transgressions, and in fact the sword will not depart from David’s family; the consequences will be permanent, at least in an “under the sun” sense.

    Because what David did to Bathsheba & Uriah set a chain of events in action that will come back to bite David’s Royal Family, HARD.

    Amnon wants Tamar, so Amnon Rapes Tamar. I’m heir to the throne, Dad got away with it, So Can I. NO matter that’s it’s incest, Dad got away with MURDER!

    Tamar’s full brother Absalom kills Amnon for this, setting off a civil war.

    And the dominoes keep falling for over 400 years, until the Chaldeans step in and reap the benefits.

    WHEN THE BIBLE TALKS ABOUT “GENERATIONAL CURSES”, THAT IS WHAT IT’S SAYING! NOT GOD SAYING “I’M GOING TO CURSE YOU UNTO THE WHATEVER GENERATION – SMITE! SMITE! SMITE!”, BUT WHAT YOU PULLED PUSHED OVER THE FIRST DOMINO AND NOW IT HAS TO RUN ITS COURSE!

    (This is another insight I had before The Christian Party Line locked in!)

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  60. Benn: Friend, maybe you never had an entourage sent for you.

    Fancy surroundings do not blind women to the violence of rape.

    I knew the man who tried to rape me; in fact, I had known him for years. I was a nobody, and he had power and influence. He lured me with a charming invitation, and then attacked me. I did not report the assault to the police, because I would have been accused of having a “vagenda.”

    Of course, that left him free to go find more victims. But hey, maybe some random women fall in love with rapists, particularly if they have nice mansions.

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  61. Friend,

    Friend, I think you are a very thoughtful and compassionate individual, so so sorry for what was done to you. I have a niece that was sexually assaulted by her older sister’s boyfriend ( or we thought he was at the time), won’t go into details but it destroyed my niece.

    In a nutshell all I’m saying is- the Bible doesn’t give us enough details to know for sure
    David’s actions make it virtually impossible to ever view him in any favorable light, even if it wasn’t rape.

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  62. Jeffrey Chalmers:
    Benn,

    If you rejected a King in those days, they could very easily kill you on the spot… no questions/issues…
    Do you think Elvis could have people killed?Point is, I am sure plenty of women said no to JFK, Evils, Clinton, Sanatra, etc…. I find it hard to believe these modern day hound dogs had women killed for their rejecting them..

    I totally agree with everything you just said…..
    And if you follow the narrative in the O.T. You will see the full impact that David had on Bathsheba ‘s family, research the genealogies.

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  63. Lowlandseer: Muff, HUG and now Friend no doubt have their own reasons for their sarcasm and misrepresentation, but they too are going off topic.

    In addition to being a crime, rape is also an act of tyranny.
    The burden of proof is on you to show me how, Muff, HUG, and Friend are off topic.
    If you can, I’ll go to the peanut gallery, sit down, and shut-up.

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  64. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Yes. The consequences for David’s family flowed very naturally from the original transgression. David was furious with Amnon, but it appears that he was powerless to discipline him, since David himself had got away with his crime — is a prince to be held to a higher standard than the king? For the same reason, he couldn’t punish Absalom in a way that was proportional to the offense.

    One wonders if David’s withdrawal from public life (no longer judging cases, which gave Absalom his opening to “steal the hearts of the sons of Israel”) was necessitated by widespread knowledge, spread sotto voce , of what David had done. Perhaps people even lost confidence in his ability or willingness to render just judgments. Would you want your case judged by someone with that reputation?

    And David’s promise to make Solomon, a son who should never have been, his successor did not turn out well. The kingdom was sundered within a few decades of this promise.

    Verily, “the thing David had done was displeasing to YHWH”, and the whole nation ended up paying for it.

    I’ve long thought that 2 Samuel should be on everyone’s Bible study agenda. It’s a good way to learn to fear sin.

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  65. Lowlandseer: But all this is a diversion from the topic under discussion, unless you are implying that God is the author of David’s sin.

    You introducing Calvin into this discussion was going off topic. It added no value to the discussion, and it arguably distracted from the topic by introducing the thoughts of a very divisive person. Who were you intending to help with this diversion? As far as I can tell, Calvin never said David raped Bathsheeba. Calvin always called it adultry. Was there any redeeming value in quoting Calvin, or was it only an attempt to provide yet another defense of Calvin and Calvinism?

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  66. Samuel Conner: One wonders if David’s withdrawal from public life (no longer judging cases, which gave Absalom his opening to “steal the hearts of the sons of Israel”) was necessitated by widespread knowledge, spread sotto voce , of what David had done.

    It would not surprise me.
    Even long before Social Media, such a scandal goes Very Viral Very Fast.
    I wonder if David also had to watch his back around his own military after what happened to Uriah. They sure couldn’t trust him after that. Maybe that’s why Joab rose to prominence.

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  67. Headless Unicorn Guy: So Rape Glorifies God?
    That even goes beyond The Pious Piper.

    Even the most evil people have some noble words and thoughts that can be taken out of context to paint them in a better light. Every one of the toxic people highlighted on TWW have some great quotes that most of us could agree with. I found a great quote by Mark Driscoll, for example, that is very similar to Calvin’s on the topic of David’s “adultry.” This is what makes them so dangerous. If they did not sound normal often enough no one would take them seriously. It makes it harder to see the doublespeak for what it is.

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  68. Samuel Conner: I’ve long thought that 2 Samuel should be on everyone’s Bible study agenda. It’s a good way to learn to fear sin.

    And a much more grown-up way of teaching it. How what you do has echoes throughout the future. How “What Could Possibly Go Wrong?” gets followed by “But How Was I To Know?”

    All too often it’s taught as God Waiting for a chance to SMITE! SMITE! SMITE! for any little thing or instant of hesitation. Teaching Coverup and Virtue Signalling.

    Anyone remember a Nineties TV series The Young Indiana Jones? Chronicling the youth of the pulp hero of Raiders of the Lost Ark? Putting the future pulp hero in position to see (and sometimes influence) major events of history being made?

    Well, the most depressing episode of the series was “Versailles 1919”, about the wheeling and dealing that formally ended World War One. It showed how all this wheel-and-deal between the winners dismantling and crushing Germany/Austria/Turkey (and reaping the immediate benefits) planted the seeds that grew into World War 2, The Cold War (i.e. slo-mo World War 3), Vietnam, and the entire Middle East mess/Islam’s Revenge Binge.

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  69. Ken F (aka Tweed): This is what makes them so dangerous. If they did not sound normal often enough no one would take them seriously. It makes it harder to see the doublespeak for what it is.

    In Intelligence Warfare, When pipelining Disinformation to an enemy you first have to establish your credibility with true intel info. Then you gradually introduce the Disinformation, being careful not to get too blatant and keeping plausible deniability (i.e. you passed bad information you were given which looked solid, or were delayed until the true info you passed was too stale to make a difference). Only when you have established credibility can you start with Major Disinformation/The Big Lie.

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  70. I think it’s important (for our benefit today, and others today, in the “land of the living”) to call the dynamic between David and Bathsheba, what it was then , an abuse of power and coercion, that is rape and that’s what it is today. I’ve heard/read that the word “sex” ought not be used for this dynamic either, it’s violence, actually. It’s done without honoring human dignity/ informed consent.

    If there’s a resistance to using a current culture’s language that makes the dynamic clearly a humanitarian violation (since women are actually human, were then, and are now), then I do have to wonder whether there’s a game of normalizing rape, or keeping rape normalized, going on. And these thoughts apply to more than women, they also apply to children and men who may be targets and not targeteers.

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  71. Friend: Of course, that left him free to go find more victims. But hey, maybe some random women fall in love with rapists, particularly if they have nice mansions.

    I’m sure some random women will.
    I’m sure some random women have.
    Isn’t that the whole premise behind Fifty Shades of Grey?
    (And i don’t mean choice of colors at a car dealership.)
    And its predecessor Twilight?

    There is also “Harley Quinn Syndrome” (don’t remember the actual psych name), where a dangerous abuser and/or predator triggers an “OOOOOOOO MY SOULMATE! HE’S SO (gasp) EXCITING!” reaction. And the more abusive and dangerous he is, the stronger the reaction.

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  72. Friend: I do not worship a God who glorifies himself through rape.

    Men rape men, too. How would that feel, guys? Like to God be the glory?

    How is it that no matter how violent the sexual assault, there is still the eye-wink suggestion, or even worse the theology, that somehow underlying it all, both female victim and God wanted it? Projection? Justification?

    Simple observation: the God be glorified viewpoint is generally a male preacher projecting that lens onto female victims of the most awful crimes. The theologies of schadenfreude and sadism, it seems.

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  73. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    I disagree Ken. I introduced the Calvin quote to show that he did not excuse or justify David’s action. I introduced the first quote by an early 17th century nun (who has been described as a “proto-feminist”) to show that the question of whether it was rape or adultery has been on the go for a long time and is not new.
    As for your general point, most commentators I’ve read have called it adultery, with a few exceptions.
    For example – Here’s what we know about Bathsheba from the biblical text:
    • She was bathing in a location that could be seen from the palace. This is probably the (flat) roof of her house.
    • The narrative does not imply that David had forced sexual intercourse with her (compare Gen 34:2), though he was a king, so not having sexual intercourse with him likely would not have gone well for her.
    • David comforts her when the child born of their adultery dies (2 Sam 12:24). This suggests that David loved her.
    • Eliam, Bathsheba’s father, may be one of David’s elite soldiers (2 Sam 23:34) and the son of Ahithophel, David’s trusted counselor (2 Sam 16:23).
    Scholarship on Bathsheba
    The story of David and Bathsheba serves to introduce the narrative of Absalom’s rebellion and the events that followed—the “Succession Narrative” (2 Sam 13–20). The story of David and Bathsheba may have been fictitious (Nicol, “Alleged Rape,” 45, n. 8; Exum, Fragmented Women, 171). Miller and Hayes consider the story to be folk legend (Miller and Hayes, A History, 152). Baruch Halpern claims the story was invented to provide Solomon with a fictional Davidic ancestry (Halpern, David’s Secret Demons, 401). James Flanagan and Craig Ho argue that 2 Sam 11–12 is historical, but was adapted for 2 Sam 13–20 (Flanagan, “Court History,” 176; Ho, “Stories,” 514–531).
    David’s act is usually described as adultery, but it may have been rape (compare Gen 34:1–4, the rape of Dinah; Nicol, “Alleged Rape,” 43–54; Exum, Fragmented Women).
    No information is given about Bathsheba’s feelings. She is only mentioned in the adulterous affair and at the end of David’s life. The text does not explain the source of her influence over David.
    There are different ways to explain Bathsheba’s role in her affair with David (2 Sam 11–12).
    • She may have been a victim who was later able to use her situation to advance her and her son’s interests. This was common in the ancient Near East, especially in polygamous households (Malina, New Testament World, 122, 124, 128; and “Biblical Characters,” 136–137).
    • She may have been a victim who rose to become influential (Solvang, A Woman’s Place, 133).
    • She may have been a victim, and her husband Uriah may have been the same person as Araunah—the last non-Israelite king of Jerusalem (2 Sam 24; Wyatt, “Araunah,” 39–53).
    • She may have betrayed her husband because of a desire for motherhood—if Uriah was sterile.
    • She may have desired the power she would gain from marrying David (Klein, From Deborah to Esther, 55–71; Nicol, “Bathsheba,” 360–363).
    • She may have been a victim who later became involved in royal politics in order to eliminate Joab, the man immediately responsible for her first husband’s death (Wesselius, “Joab’s Death,” 345–348).
    (Taken from the Lexham Bible Dictionary)

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  74. Did David rape Bathsheba? I believe he did.

    But we have to realize that while it is quiet perfectly plausible that she only gave in due to the power differential, we have to remember that in that culture she was ALSO merely chattel to Uriah. He may have been an aces hubby, or he may have been an abusive jerk. Her response to David does not in any way shape or form let him off the hook for the rape.

    We simply cannot assume she loved Uriah, did not love him, or mourned him the way we think of when we read she mourned him. She could have just fulfilled the cultural funeral mourning.

    Her emotions are not the point in considering the guilt of David. If she “wanted it” he still used his power to get her and defrauded, then killed, Uriah. If she was pure as the driven snow, he still did all that. If she detested David and what he did but was not all that truly upset to be rid of Uriah and move into the Big House, David is still just as guilty.

    Bible is not real clear about her as it is about him. So anything about how she must have felt is only projection and rationalizing on our part.

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  75. Benn,

    It seems that for some, this discussion is titillating. That’s always a liability or pitfall of reporting, discussing, writing about: sex crimes, which are power and force at the core.

    The armed guard or Secret Service or soldiers become the “entourage”. The lustful man in power who plunders then discards, becomes the prince on a white horse that a woman longs for. An everlasting nightmare is translated into a dreamy fantasy. How convenient.

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  76. Lowlandseer: introduced the Calvin quote to show that he did not excuse or justify David’s action.

    Who cares what Calvin wrote about this other than Calvin defenders? Calvin was not exactly a role model of Christian virtue. Why not quote someone like Mark Driscoll? Here is a Driscoll quote on this topic:
    “Despite polygamy being forbidden for kings (Deuteronomy 17:17), he married multiple women. This included committing adultery with a godly soldier’s wife named Bathsheba, impregnating her, and then murdering her unknowing husband Uriah to cover his crime.”
    Does this quote absolve Driscoll? Bringing Calvin (or Driscoll) into the discussion causes more harm than good.

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  77. JDV: Yet another reason why all sides need to stick with what is written.

    Nathan likens Bathsheba to a lamb. I think that tells us what really happened here. I think it is possible to get a good idea of what happened in this story. I do not make my belief that David raped Bathsheba out of some sort of wish to push a narrative on pastors and rape. I have long studied this story and became concern a number of years ago about the misrepresentation of Bathsheba in art. If I remember correctly, I spoke about this in a course I taught on church history in which I reviewed great art. That would pin it to 25 years ago, well before the #metoo movement. Max has also said he came to his conclusion some years ago.
    I do not believe “true love” is possible in this situation on the part of either party but especially on Bathsehba’s part because of Part 2 of the encounter. Would we be able to say that Bathsheba wished for the painful death of her husband? Was she a party to that murder? Can you imagine the effect of that death on her as she had to consider her pregnancy?
    I think it is impossible to fully speak to anyone’s motives.As a pastor friend would often say “Even on my best says, my motives are mixed.” That is why, in this situation, we have to lean heavily on Nathan’s depiction of Bathsheba as well as her listing in Matthew’s lineage of Jesus a “the wife of Uriah.” Those speak to the heart of issues of Bathsheba while we need to watch the development of David’s messed up heart and his eventual punishment.

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  78. Lowlandseer,

    Good comment. Thank you for the references.
    I disagree that she was bathing on a flat roof so David could see her.She was most likely in a mikveh which in many households were outside due to the need for “living” or flowing water. There is also no reason to assume she was naked. Many women in those days, and currently, will wear robes into the water.
    Women had no power in those days. Had she paraded her naked self around, Im sure Nathan would have come up with a better description of her (she is likened to a lamb.)

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  79. Lowlandseer: • She was bathing in a location that could be seen from the palace. This is probably the (flat) roof of her house.

    This never excuses King David sending his guard to fetch her, so he could plunder her, then discard her, then murder her husband to hide his first sin. No excuses: Not personally, not spiritually, not legally.

    Every day male doctors see beautiful women that they do not assault. Teachers of all ages teach attractive young students. Counselors meet with lovely clients who share their most intimate secrets. Law enforcement comes to the aid of needy beautiful people for their rescue. Pastors disciple good-looking parishioners. Is the power position to be an avenue of plunder or sex? Never. Moral law and civic law condemn this.

    The professional upholds their position by honoring respectable boundaries in doing their job, no matter the vulnerability or exposure of those they serve. King David became unfit to be king by his own decisions and actions.

    Every sermon I’ve ever heard on this story faults Bathsheba for tempting David, then forgives the poor guy King David who “fell” into her entrapment. Sick. No wonder the Houston Chronicle can document hundreds, thousands, of wayward church leaders who seem to just “fall” into entrapment because like David, they simply can’t help themselves.

    Fortunately, Jesus paints a completely different picture in his interactions with women. He met them at their most vulnerable places and never crossed a line. Never lust, always love. Jesus. Jesus followers do the same: love, never lust, never twisted, just love.

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  80. Ava Aaronson,

    A well known broadcaster and journalist, Nicky Campbell (presenter of Who do you think you are) has recently opened up about his own experiences about such abuse at a top private school. You can find a report here – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-62308621. He also has a podcast on the subject. He is currently trying to have one of the abusers extradited from South Africa.

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  81. dee: That is why, in this situation, we have to lean heavily on Nathan’s depiction of Bathsheba as well as her listing in Matthew’s lineage of Jesus a “the wife of Uriah.” Those speak to the heart of issues of Bathsheba while we need to watch the development of David’s messed up heart and his eventual punishment.

    Good point.

    Nathan the prophet – good enough for Nathan and approved by God would be good enough for me, in my understanding of the authenticity of a true prophet of God. (There were false prophets.)

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  82. dee,

    The thought occurs that even if one were to reckon that Bathsheba was intentionally tempting David, he always had the option available to him that was taken by Joseph when he was pursued by Potiphar’s wife.

    At this point in his life, David may have already left off from shepherding Israel with integrity.

    It’s hard to know when things began to go downhill for David, but at some point he started “collecting” women. Maybe it would have been good to have not married Abigail, after all, nor anyone else at all after Michal. Rulers in the New Testament church are to be “one woman men.” It may have been better had this been the practice in Old Israel, as well.

    Regarding Nathan’s employment of “lamb” in the allegory with which he elicited David’s self-accusation, that could have a darker interpretation. Lambs are property and the sin, in the allegory, was the deprivation of the poor man of a beloved piece of property, which would make the whole thing about David’s sin against Uriah, first by cutting in on his marriage covenant, and then by killing him. It may be that “sin against Bathsheba” is not even in view in Nathan’s thinking (that’s a bitter pill to swallow, but the ancient Hebrews did not think about these things the way we do. Per the provisions in the Law, Amnon’s crime was … not marrying the women he had forced himself on. And he probably didn’t bother paying David the bride-price, either).

    Having said that, my sense of the story and its aftermath, is that Bathsheba was an unwilling participant.

    But I’m not sure one can draw firm inferences from this (Bathsheba as “lamb” in the allegory) aspect of the story. That Bathsheba had little agency in the situation, however, is clear and I think that is acknowledged by everyone who has commented thus far, including those who are reluctant to firmly decide the matter of consent one way or the other.

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  83. I seem to recall that in the culture of David and Bathsheba’s times that “adultery” was a law violation and punishable by death. On the other hand, “rape”, as I recall did not have as severe a punishment for the rapist, anyway, except economic. It’s less clear to me how rape would have been viewed in David’s time but just saying it seems to me I recall that death was not the punishment.

    So, in light of that, in today’s culture where the word “adultery” isn’t a violation of civil law, although it may be seen in some church environments as worthy of shunning, even there it doesn’t carry a death penalty. So, the word doesn’t carry the weight that it did in David’s time. But rape, back then, was associated with a clear acknowledgment of the perpetrator and, if named today carries a clear acknowledgment of the perpetrator. Back then the perpetrator ( did the woman have a choice of agreeing or not to this?) was suppose to provide for the victim, if victim agreed to live with them going forward. I’m not completely sure about this.

    So, adultery isn’t a heavy enough word to teach the weight of David’s sin in today’s culture. And he and Bathsheba were saved from the law’s penalty( that was applied to both, I think, back then) and it seems that they lived out the penalty, optionally, of rape.

    Today, adultery certainly doesn’t carry the death penalty weight in culture or church . David and Bathsheba lived out something closer to the penalty of rape. Today, rape is a violation of civil law, apparently not church life law, in some cases. But since the word is associated with a violation of civil law and that is an Avenue of justice for victims ( while church life is not). I think rape is a more appropriate word to carry the weight and meaning of the dynamic of the events during David’s time…….with the hope that they are instructive for today.

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  84. Lowlandseer: What has Mr Driscoll to do with the price of bread?

    Same thing for Mr Calvin. Calvin’s views are irrelevant on this topic because he is just one voice among many. What makes his view so bad is his doublespeak. I only quoted a few of the instances where he says God ordains all of the details. Without knowing the mind of God, it is not helpful to quote someone who says God decrees all things, even sin, for his glory and pleasure. How does it help anyone to believe God is somehow pleasured by their abuse?

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  85. Lowlandseer: Look four comments down

    Yeah, providing quotes of Calvin (pbuh) in context is visceral hysteria. The reason so many religious figures get away with so much abuse is because their followers cannot see how badly flawed they are. Religious leaders ahould be examined and held to a higher standard, not coddled. Calvin is a case study in this. Defend Calvin all you want. I find his teachings to be a gross and damaging misrepresentation of God and his ways.

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  86. Lowlandseer: Which also shows how far off topic you all want to take it.

    You brought Calvin into this discussion. Not me. Anyone here is free to read the section I posted from his ICR to see for themselves whether or not I misrepresented Calvin, and to decide whether or not Calvin should be emulated in the context of abuse. His doublespeak is dangerous.

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  87. Ava Aaronson: The armed guard or Secret Service or soldiers become the “entourage”. The lustful man in power who plunders then discards, becomes the prince on a white horse that a woman longs for. An everlasting nightmare is translated into a dreamy fantasy. How convenient.

    Actually reminds me of Driscoll’s take on Esther.

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  88. Ella: And he and Bathsheba were saved from the law’s penalty( that was applied to both, I think, back then) and it seems that they lived out the penalty, optionally, of rape.

    I;m not so sure about this since I don’t think Bathsheba was in a position to consent to an adulterous relationship.

    Ella: And he and Bathsheba were saved from the law’s penalty( that was applied to both, I think, back then)

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  89. I agree with what many others here have said, that given the power differential and the fact that David sent his guards after Bathsheba — guards who were undoubtedly male and much stronger physically than Bathsheba — and the fact that Nathan compares Bathsheba to a lamb and lays no blame on her at all — that David most likely raped Bathsheba. I highly doubt that it was an “affair” as so many fundygelicals claim, and I do believe Bathsheba gets a bum rap, and I think it’s yet another sad, pathetic picture of sexism in the institutional church (which is, for the most part, an abuse-enabling piece of garbage, I speak from painful experience.) There’s been some talk in this discussion, too, about the End Times and Hal Lindsey. I don’t really pay that much attention to Hal Lindsey anymore, but to the person who said that Hal only wrote his books just for the money alone, it wouldn’t surprise me very much if that were true. But even though there are some con artists who are guilty of twisting God’s word and causing panic just to make money, it doesn’t nullify end times Bible prophecy. As a matter of fact, all you have to do is look at the daily news and look at end times Bible prophecy and see that it’s starting to come to fruition before our eyes. The one world government, one world religion, and one world economy (Mark of the Beast system) — the stage for those things IS being set up right now. I don’t say this to make anyone panic. If your trust is in Christ (who is NEVER an abuser or abuse-enabler, who took a big stand against the religious oppressors of His day, the Pharisees) then you have nothing to worry about. He will protect you from what’s coming. It’s just so important to be aware of it. Again, I don’t say any of this to upset anybody or cause panic. But if I say nothing and some people who may come to this site are unaware, and they remain unaware because I refused to say anything, I will answer to God for my negligence. It’s so important to get saved now, just as soon as possible, if you’re not, because nothing is more important than knowing where you’ll be spending eternity. I say this because I care, even if it makes some of you angry at me or whatever. Yes, the church SUCKS. I get it. I experienced a boatload of abuse enabling garbage because of the worthless institution that dares to call itself the Christian “church” that is really just a sick imposter. But the REAL Jesus is NOTHING like that worthless, abuse-enabling, sexist institution that calls itself the “church.” Nobody cares more about the abused and the oppressed than He does. I say that from personal experience as well. Much love to all who see this comment.

    expreacherman.com

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  90. dee:
    Ella: And he and Bathsheba were saved from the law’s penalty( that was applied to both, I think, back then) and it seems that they lived out the penalty, optionally, of rape.
    I;m not so sure about this since I don’t think Bathsheba was in a position to consent to an adulterous relationship.

    Ella: And he and Bathsheba were saved from the law’s penalty( that was applied to both, I think, back then)

    Yeah, this is pretty unclear/confusing. I’m going to try one time to clear it up. I’m not a Bible expert. I think we are of the same opinion regarding Bathsheba not being in a position to give consent. IMO, Bathsheba was raped by David, could not give consent. I think I clearly expressed that in some other posts on this story, but want all my posts, on this story, to clearly represent that.

    David and Bathsheba did not have to face an “adultery” law violation penalty. IMO it was not adultery, since Bathsheba could not give consent.

    I didn’t mention this in my referenced post, but the story indicates, from my understanding, that David, solely, was responsible for Uriah’s death.

    My understanding of the penalty for rape, in that time and culture, is that the rapist was required to take the victim into his household as his wife and provide for her. My understanding on this may not be accurate or complete. The dynamic of David taking Bathsheba into his household, as his wife, and providing for her, seems like the same dynamic that the penalty for rape would have been in that time and culture.

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  91. Ella: it was not adultery, since Bathsheba could not give consent.

    Good point.

    Commander-in-Chief, King David, was Uriah the soldier’s boss, adding another dynamic to the dilemma for Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba.

    Bathsheba was beholden to the King as a citizen (a woman, so second-class citizen), as well as because her husband worked for David. She had, at the very least, to follow orders to protect not only herself but her husband and his job.

    Unfortunately, King David was so evil about the pregnancy (that he caused), that he murdered Uriah, her husband, by proxy.

    In the end, through no fault of her own, Bathsheba was not able to save her husband’s job nor her husband’s life. All power was in David’s position. All power. This whole deal was his doing.

    Run or duck or hide when a powerful leader messes up. He will even take a life to cover his ego and his tracks. (This lesson is what should be in the preachers’ sermons about David and Bathsheba, instead of throwing shade at the woman – typical for some preachers. Throwing shade at women is what some do and they use their preacher platform to do this. Misuse, that is.)

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  92. Ella: I’m not a Bible expert.

    No worries. None of the “Bible experts” that I’ve heard preach/teach on this story got it right, I feel, after reading this post with all of the comments. So, another great post from Dee, and wonderful discourse from the TWWers. Thanks to all. Ever grateful.

    Recommendation to preacher teacher types: follow and read TWW. Y’all might learn something.

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  93. The only person in the story that is not doing what he was supposed to be David who was at home instead of with the military. Bathsheba is doing the purification ritual; Uriah is at war, even when David tries to manipulate him.

    In Nathan’s story, the power differential is a big part of it. The rich man took the poor man’s cherished lamb. That would make it rape. (I understood it to be rape when I first read it, too)

    Another part of this story often is overlooked. God’s judgment was also that the baby would die. Of course, that makes people very uncomfortable.

    I think there needs to be a lot more talk about how God feels about leaders who abuse their power and oppress people. That tends to make people uncomfortable, too.

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  94. SoSickOfAbuseEnabling,

    “…the stage for those things IS being set up right now.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    although it seems to me that every generation since NT eschatalogy became a thing has had the same conviction.

    i was a little girl in the ’70s, who was so troubled by this thing called the rapture that she slept with her stuffed animals in a big bag next to her so she could grab it and take them all with her.

    i overhead my mom and aunt talking about what they thought life would be like in the futuristic year 2000. my aunt said, “i don’t think we’ll be here,” with this this look of wonderment and anticipation in her eyes.

    (not unlike marshall applewhite of heaven’s gate)

    and so i’ve observed my parents’ generation not planning ahead, not caring about the environment & the earth and its creatures since it’s all going to burn and we won’t be here anyway.

    the lack of personal responsibility is abhorrent to me.

    i prefer to appreciate & invest in the here & now & tomorrow, for the sheer joy of being alive and on principle for the greater good of others.

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  95. Lowlandseer: I’m not a Calvin defender 1
    I’m not even a Lowlandseer 2

    1 – I think St Paul woul say “who is Calvin” jesus maybe as well? Calvin’s philosophical basis was sophistical and hence moralistic (it is one dimensional)

    2 – I’m genuinely intrigued. Certainly we need more seers. I took the first word as a geography reference? (I’m in England)

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  96. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    Only to show the element of agreement between two opposing camps on the subject of David’s sin, nothing more. I could have used other quotations cited in the book –
    Zwingli “it was accidental”
    Menno Simons “it was unintentional at first but got worse”
    Johannes Brenz “he was enticed to sin”
    Daniel Dyke “blame the flesh”
    John Davenant “mortify the flesh and it won’t happen”
    But these seemed to be excusing David’s actions.

    Having said that, I came online this morning to apologise for overstepping the mark in some of my comments yesterday. I am sorry.

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  97. Lowlandseer: I introduced the Calvin quote to show that he did not excuse or justify David’s action.

    Do you have any quotes from Calvin that acknowledge David sinned against Bathsheba? In his commentary on Psalm 51 Calvin said David sinned against Uriah and the army. He was silent on David’s sin against Bathsheba.

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  98. Ava Aaronson: In the end, through no fault of her own,

    I was looking for a quote were Calvin acknowledged David’s sin against Bathsheba (still looking). In looking for that, I found this sermon by Alistair Begg where he insists she was a willing participant with something to gain. This seems to be the norm among way too many preachers.
    https://www.truthforlife.org/resources/sermon/david-and-bathsheba-second-samuel-eleven/

    I read one article that listed age among all the other power differentials. That article suggested Bathsheba could have been 16-19 because that was marrying age and she had not yet had children.

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  99. Ava Aaronson,

    Thank you for this description of Bathsheba’s dilemma. It was an impossible situation for her.

    One wonders whether property values in the vicinity of David’s palace in Jerusalem may have declined after news of the scandal leaked out. Who would want to live close enough to the palace that this might happen to them?

    Ella: IMO it was not adultery, since Bathsheba could not give consent.

    I think that, per the provisions of the Law, the consent of the female is an issue only for the purpose of determining her guilt and penalty (thus the bit about whether the act took place in a remote area, where there was no-one to hear a call for help, versus a populated area where a call for help would more likely have been heard). I think that what determines whether the act is “adultery” is the marriage/betrothal status of the female. If she is married or betrothed, the act violates her covenant with her husband or intended husband and the male perpetrator is presumptively guilty, regardless of the consent or non-consent of the female.

    I think your suggestion accurately reflects modern thinking, where the violence against the female victim is the thing that holds our attention, and in that case the violence against the marriage relationship to which the female victim is party is secondary — if there is no consent, the act is rape and not adultery (by either of the parties). I think that within ancient Hebrew culture, the order of concerns is reversed. For them, adultery was about the exclusive right of the husband over his wife. An act could be rape from the perspective of the female but it would still be adultery (breaking in to her marriage covenant with her husband) from the perspective of the male.

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  100. I haven’t read all the comments but I look at it that the bible sees Bathsheba as a possession not a person.

    The Bible sees Uriah as the victim – making a the point in the new testament to identify her as “Uriah’s wife”.

    Using old testament law David games the system to ensure Uriah was killed so he can possess what was Uriah’s. That’s the true crime as the biblical writers see it In old testament law David doesn’t commit rape because the woman has to cry out and protest. Heck, in old testament law, she’d be stoned.

    So what we see as a egregious offense, the bible sees as a misdemeanor. David keeps his stature as God’s anointed with a minor black mark on his file.

    Christianity defines marriage as a monogamous relationship. Back in David’s time, if you could afford it, you could have as many wives (and concubines) as you could fit in your harem, and still be God’s chosen one.

    This is why pathological patriarchy leads down so many dark paths. It takes the cultural mores of thousands of years ago and kit bashes them into the 21st century.

    Those patriarchs were very libertine and I think those who style themselves as a modern patriarchs are very frustrated because the modern Christianities don’t let them have harems.

    But modern patriarchs shouldn’t despair, thanks to Peter having a dream, Christians today can enjoy the surf n turf at Red Lobster with no restrictions.

    For David, such pleasure was forbidden.

    Take that, old testament….

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  101. Ella: David and Bathsheba did not have to face an “adultery” law violation penalty. IMO it was not adultery, since Bathsheba could not give consent.

    Sadly, David as king could have gotten away with this. Many kings were known as “doing evil in the sight of the Lord. In the end, God thought David was worth it. Nathan confronted him. God punished him. David repented.
    The one I wonder about is Bathsheba. Can you imagine the horror of her husband being killed because David wanted to cover up her pregnancy? I wish we knew “the rest of the story.”

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  102. dee: Can you imagine the horror

    I think there’s a hint that David recognized the gravity of his crimes and the magnitude of the trouble he created for Bathsheba in the fact that he gave Bathsheba’s son the succession, skipping over at least 3 who conventionally would have had preferential claim (Amnon, Absalom and Adonijah [Kileab, #2, seems to have died or for other reasons to be out of the picture by this time]) due to their birth order. And all three died one way or another as a consequence of David’s crimes. (I suspect this is what is behind David’s anguished “Absalom my son! Would that I had died instead of you!”; had David received the just penalty of his deeds at the outset, Absalom may very well have lived into old age.)

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  103. Jack: This is why pathological patriarchy leads down so many dark paths. It takes the cultural mores of thousands of years ago and kit bashes them into the 21st century.

    Square Peg, Round Hole, Sledgehammer:
    “YOU’LL FIT!”
    SMASH!
    “YOU’LL FIT!”
    SMASH!
    “YOU’LL FIT!”
    SMASH!

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  104. elastigirl: i was a little girl in the ’70s, who was so troubled by this thing called the rapture that she slept with her stuffed animals in a big bag next to her so she could grab it and take them all with her.

    i overhead my mom and aunt talking about what they thought life would be like in the futuristic year 2000. my aunt said, “i don’t think we’ll be here,” with this this look of wonderment and anticipation in her eyes.

    (not unlike marshall applewhite of heaven’s gate)

    “Heaven’s Gate was a closed society, suspicious of the external world. In place of the kooky fun most contactees, Heaven’s Gate was deadly serious. … Shaved heads led to castration, which led to suicide.

    “Unlike most other contactee groups, and practically all of the individual contactees, Heaven’s Gate found little that was good in human nature, little that could give them hope. What hope they had was thought to be coming from above, a starship in a comet’s tail. They had given up on transforming the world; the best they could do was to escape it.”
    — Gregory L Reece, UFO Religion – Inside Flying Saucer Cults and Culture, p.155

    and so i’ve observed my parents’ generation not planning ahead, not caring about the environment & the earth and its creatures since it’s all going to burn and we won’t be here anyway.

    When The World Ends Tomorrow (at the latest) and It’s All Gonna Burn, don’t expect anyone to dare great things or do anything regarding the future. Because there IS No Future.

    But the Future has this way of coming to pass whether you have a Future or not. And the Future has not yet been set in stone. So if you have no Future (as in just looking up clutching your Rapture Boarding Pass), you won’t say or do anything that could influence that Future. And when that Future comes to pass without your influence, you WILL find yourself Left Behind.

    “Remember when we were young and had no future?
    Well, this is it.”
    — Blank Reg, Max Headroom

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  105. dee: I wish we knew “the rest of the story.”

    Fast forward … David is on his deathbed … his servants bring in Abishag, a beautiful young woman, to keep him warm … Adonijah, David’s son by another mother, sets himself up as King behind the scenes … Bathsheba shows up to remind David that he promised her son Solomon the throne … David grants her request … Solomon becomes King … David dies … Adonijah is upset; stripped of the Kingdom, he visits Bathsheba requesting that at least give him Abishag to be his wife … Solomon didn’t like that idea and had Adonijah killed … the long story keeps getting more interesting until Jesus becomes King of Kings! And then ‘your’ story in Christ begins!

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  106. dee,

    I’ve looked up several Jewish sources now, and have yet to find anybody blaming Bathsheba. She was, after all, the wife of David and mother of Solomon, and so is revered. This Orthodox Jewish source is headed “David meets Bathsheba” but omits any mention of rooftop bathing, the guards fetching her, etc. Yet it places huge blame on David while heaping praise on Bathsheba:

    https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/463977/jewish/David-and-Bathsheba.htm

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  107. Jack,

    “the bible sees Bathsheba as a possession not a person.

    The Bible sees Uriah as the victim – making a the point in the new testament to identify her as “Uriah’s wife”.

    Using old testament law David games the system to ensure Uriah was killed so he can possess what was Uriah’s. That’s the true crime as the biblical writers see it In old testament law David doesn’t commit rape because the woman has to cry out and protest. Heck, in old testament law, she’d be stoned.

    So what we see as an egregious offense, the bible sees as a misdemeanor.”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    thank you for articulating this. i’ve thought similar things.

    a good example for why it behooves one to see the so-called ‘biblical worldview’ as suspect, warranting great caution.

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  108. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    You’re mistaken. The commentary makes it plain that all the sins stemmed from his initial sin against Bathsheba. “He speaks of his sins in the plural number. His transgression, although it sprung from one root, was complicated, including, besides adultery, treachery and cruelty; nor was it one man only whom he had betrayed, but the whole army which had been summoned to the field in defense of the Church of God. He accordingly recognises many particular sins as wrapt up in it…….None was aware of the double wrong which he had inflicted upon Uriah,” Also in note 272 you have this “There may be another reason why David here affirms that God would not accept of a sacrifice, nor be pleased with a burnt-offering. No particular sacrifices were appointed by the Law of Moses to expiate the guilt of murder and adultery. The person who had perpetrated these crimes was, according to the Divine law, to be punished with death…….his criminality was of such a character, that the ceremonial law made no provision for his deliverance from the doom which his deeds of horror deserved;”
    And as far as your comment about Alistair Begg goes, he is only reflecting a view that has been long held – “2 Samuel 11:4–5 (1 & 2 Samuel (Lange’s)): Ver. 4. Short but very vivid narrative of the sinful deed committed by David in spite of his learning that Bathsheba was a married woman. That David used force or artifice to get possession of the “innocent” woman (Mich.) is not indicated in the expression: “and he took her.” The narrative leads us to infer that Bathsheba came and submitted herself to David without opposition. This undoubtedly proves her participation in the guilt, though we are not to assume that her bathing there was “purposed,” in order to be seen (Thenius). She was moved doubtless by vanity and ambition in not venturing to refuse the demand of David the king. Her purification (which was according to the Law, Lev. 15:18) was performed while she was yet in the king’s palace. [Eng. A. V., Philippson and others not so well make the purification precede her coming to the palace, putting a full stop after the word “uncleanness.”—Tr.]—Ver. 5. Adultery was, according to Lev. 20:10, punishable with death. Her message to David had in view the avoidance of the consequences of this sin (Keil).” (Commentary on the Books of Samuel, Rev. Dr. CHR. FR. DAVID ERDMANN, 1873)

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  109. elastigirl,

    How much of this comes from the old Christian habit of erasing the power of women in Scripture? The Jewish sources I’ve cited point out Bathsheba’s abiding influence, despite David’s transgression against her. Among Christians, who are the most prominent heroines of Hebrew Scripture? Not Eve. Maybe Ruth. But Christians do not revere Bathsheba, Deborah, Esther, Judith, or Miriam.

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  110. dee: Can you imagine the horror of her husband being killed because David wanted to cover up her pregnancy?

    In my imagination, this would be twisted horrific trauma for Bathsheba. I imagine that she grieved Uriah’s death and help from David getting through that, or after, would have been very disturbing.

    Fortunately, for me, most or all, of the previous church spaces that I’ve experienced did NOT include representations that Bathsheba was a seductress in this story. But, the focus in those previous church spaces was all on David, IMO, and quickly moved through, or did not lean in to, at all, the horror of the whole story. Seems like the main teaching points on this story in those previous spaces were to get back to comfortable representations of David, quickly, with no concern for Bathsheba or other household members.

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  111. Lowlandseer: She was moved doubtless by vanity and ambition in not venturing to refuse the demand of David the king.

    Thank you for these interesting sources. It is confusing to me that there is an assumption made that she didn’t venture to refuse David. She was brought to the King by guards and we can assume that she was alone with David but that there were guards all around. I know the Jewish law demands an outcry but in such a circumstance, an outcry would be unsuccessful and could conceivably bring beatings, etc. since she did not comply with the King. In other words, it was hopeless. She could have attempted to convince him this was not a good idea but David’s thinking at this moment was his lust for her.

    Women sure had it tough in those days.Natahn did not refer to her as a haughty, vain little lamb but as a lamb.

    A recent comment by a questionable pastor on Twitter was interesting. he said a woman should accept death when faced with an impending rape. She should do anything to get away, including die if necessary. The comment was not well received.

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  112. Lowlandseer: You’re mistaken. The commentary makes it plain that all the sins stemmed from his initial sin against Bathsheba.

    This is an argument from silence. I thought it odd that Calvin highlighted David’s sin against the Army and against Uriah but not say anything specifically about his sin against Bathsheba. It’s as if she did not matter so much, which is very much what still happens to women today. I have not been able to find any quotes from Calvin that more specifically focus on David’s sin against Bathsheba. Have you been able to find anything? It seems like Calvin believed Bathsheba was a willing, and perhaps equal, participant in the “adultry.”

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  113. A modernization of David and Bathsheba?

    A prominent married man tells a young God-seeking woman or girl: “God has spoken and said [with the authority of sending soldiers to get her] that we should be together,” then splays her out on his office floor.

    Yes, our society has kings that misuse authority and power.

    [The book of Proverbs fully plays out the evil of women who do chase after and entrap men – so that does exist, too. My husband nicknamed one of our son’s girlfriends, “Entrapment” and then warned our son about her. She has moved on. But this has nothing to do with David and Bathsheba, obviously.]

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  114. Samuel Conner: I think that within ancient Hebrew culture, the order of concerns is reversed

    Thanks for giving your thoughts on this.

    I think I get that, given the understanding that Hebrew culture was patriarchal, there would be more concern for men’s rights and actions that affect men’s territory than concern would be given for acts that harm women. And women, children and slaves are thrown into the territory part there somewhere without their perspectives or concerns being of primary cultural concern.

    I sensed a reversal from ancient to modern culture in looking at the penalties, then and now, of both law violations, adultery and rape. For defining rape, who’s the perpetrator, who’s clearly deserving of consequence and who ought to be regarded as innocent is pretty clear. It’s more difficult to sort out adultery and penalties in various scenarios in a patriarchal system, especially with such heavy partiality built into the system. Then, as now, sometimes people at the top of the pyramid get away with all kinds of law violations, not so in terms of eventual consequences, though, I guess. This little adventure was a bit more difficult to take than I thought it would be at the time.

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  115. Lowlandseer: You’re looking to find something that isn’t there because you don’t like Calvin.

    That goes both ways: “You’re looking to find something that isn’t there because you like Calvin.” If Calvin thought David did anything like the equivalent of rape, he did not appear to state it in any of his writings. All of his written emphasis was on how he egregiously sinned against the men, not how he sinned against the woman. If it turned out that Bathsheba had been the instigator, like Potifer’s wife, Calvin would not need to change anything he wrote because it was all about the harm David caused the men. The need for Calvinists to find ways to defend Calvin highlights the problem with people wanting to believe their leaders are better than reality. It’s what allows people like those highlighted in TWW to get away with abuse. The more I read about Calvin then more I think he would fit in well with the men highlighted on TWW.

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  116. Lowlandseer,

    And how is another man’s wife who is minding her own business, while the husband is out of town, being fetched for one purpose and one purpose only, for a king by a king’s soldiers in any way consensual?

    It seems that grammar construction interpretation of a couple of words right there would be grasping at straws. Anything to share the sin, or let the guy off?

    King David saw and chose to not look away. He conceived sin way before he conceived the child. James 1:15 “After desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

    Most people have moments in life when they accidentally see another person naked, but do not end up assaulting a woman then murdering her husband. Even if the other person is attractive. Professionals see nakedness or vulnerability all the time and most never cross a line. If they do, it is to their ruin, like it was to David.

    Personally, I believe Solomon becoming King was to honor Bathsheba (assaulted by a king who murdered her husband – who was the husband of only ONE wife), NOT to honor David, in the grand scheme of God’s plans. Only God knows, so simply my thoughts.

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  117. elastigirl: a good example for why it behooves one to see the so-called ‘biblical worldview’ as suspect, warranting great caution.

    What they mean is the Bible and its interpretation from their viewing angle.
    And yes, caution is the way to tread.
    No other book (my opinion) in human history has been abused as much as the Bible.

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  118. Friend,

    my religion really is unethical, destructive, & stupid, when it’s not being silly.

    but what’s a girl to do. it’s not like i can jump religions like jumping trains. (at least not with honesty… but i can’t stay with honesty either)

    it’s sort of like living on my own planet all by myself. lonely, except for some friendly moons not far off, with sympathetic people waving hi, such as yourself.

    or maybe you’re on a spaceship passing by now & then…

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  119. Ella: This little adventure was a bit more difficult to take than I thought it would be at the time.

    I take a lot of comfort from Jesus’ words to the apostles in response to their inquiry about “why did Moses write that a man may divorce his wife for any reason’, that it was because of the hardness of men’s hearts that he wrote that.

    I think that principle could be extended to other aspects of ancient Semitic culture (and these are not unique to those cultures; they were pretty widespread) that we find troubling, such as slavery and polygyny, both of which are permitted (though with a measure of regulation).

    The fact that YHWH tolerated in Israel something that Jesus disapproved of to my mind has significant potential implications for how one reads the New Testament, too. Perhaps the residual hints of patriarchy that one finds in Paul’s letters are also things that the Creator tolerated at that time because of the hardness of people’s hearts, but that were not Intended from the beginning.

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  120. Samuel Conner: I think that principle could be extended to other aspects of ancient Semitic culture (and these are not unique to those cultures; they were pretty widespread) that we find troubling, such as slavery and polygyny, both of which are permitted (though with a measure of regulation).

    Solomon had something like 900 concubines, Jesus didn’t discuss polygamy or slavery which were normal at that time.

    Per Exodus, Hebrew male slaves could be freed in 6 years, if you sold your daughter though, she could never be free.

    Deuteronomy states a Hebrew male or female Hebrew slaves should be set free, Leviticus goes back to kinsman but implies all Israelites shouldn’t be slaves.

    So god flip flops a bit but the ‘regulation’ is don’t enslave your (ostensibly male) countryman.

    Now foreigners were completely fair game when they weren’t slaughtered to the last man, woman, child and donkey (donkeys must have been back talking, like Balaam’s did), they enslaved the women and children.

    God ordered it, so yeah, I guess it was “regulated”

    Paul tells slaves to accept their lot and be happy.

    I don’t think we can whitewash the reality of life in antiquity and all Christians have to make their peace with scriptures but I think a lot of religions problems with abuse stem from literal reading of these texts.

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  121. elastigirl: my religion really is unethical, destructive, & stupid, when it’s not being silly.

    but what’s a girl to do. it’s not like i can jump religions like jumping trains. (at least not with honesty… but i can’t stay with honesty either)

    I was raised Christian and for both good and bad, I may be an apostate but could not convert to anything else.

    That being said, apostasy is not to be taken lightly.

    My advice is to look at what works for you. You know right from wrong, you have a conscience. Maybe these folks who are silly and unethical are the problem.

    My wife is a Christian (an evangelical one at that). She told me it isn’t about wondering if the bible is true or accepting craziness from your “coreligionists”, for the message of redemption and forgiveness are the core.

    She believes in the Resurrection and what it stands for.
    Whether it’s literally true or not is not the stumbling block it is for her literalist husband.

    As the band MGMT says in “kids”

    “Control yourself
    Take only what you need from it”

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  122. Max: And most of that has come at the hands of theologians. Highly educated in jots and tittles but not inspired by the Holy Spirit, they released law into the church, not life.

    Mild protest from here in the cheap seats. I’ve known some deeply faithful and highly educated theologians. A God worthy of worship should also be worthy of lifelong study by the finest minds. People of faith don’t have to be scholars, but it does help when scholars devote their lives to studying Hebrew, Greek, the history of the canon, etc.

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  123. Friend: I’ve known some deeply faithful and highly educated theologians. A God worthy of worship should also be worthy of lifelong study by the finest minds. People of faith don’t have to be scholars, but it does help when scholars devote their lives to studying Hebrew, Greek, the history of the canon, etc.

    Help what?

    There’s more, IMHO, so another mild protest from even cheaper seats.

    Some very educated in Hebrew, Greek, & history guys somehow managed to preach/teach that Bathsheba tempted & duped poor little old King David into sin.

    Some very educated in Hebrew, Greek, & history guys have also greatly mishandled CSA cases in churches. Etc.

    Here’s only one example:

    Iain Donald Campbell (1963-2017) was a minister, former Moderator in the Free Church of Scotland, and prolific author on a range of Biblical topics and church history. Campbell
    killed himself amid allegations of multiple extra-marital affairs. -wikipedia

    This type of scholarly knowledge is important, yes. For church work, it would be nice if they also studied the scholarly work of, for example, Roy Hazelwood.

    Roy Hazelwood (1938–2016) was a former FBI profiler of sex crimes and is generally regarded as the pioneer of profiling sexual predators. He worked for much of his career for the FBI. Hazelwood was also a Christian, a devout Presbyterian. – wikipedia

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  124. Jack: Paul tells slaves to accept their lot and be happy.

    I think that’s a bit of a simplification of Paul’s counsel to slaves; IIRC he advised those who were able to become free to do so.

    My point, however, is simply that one should not read the Scriptures with the assumption that everything one finds described there without explicit condemnation should be considered normative or moral in our time; I think we agree at this point. Jesus thought that Moses’ divorce criteria were too lenient to the husbands, and attributed that to the hardness of men’s hearts, a bad thing. It seems highly plausible to me that this argument, that “sometimes what Scripture permits is actually bad, but is tolerated because of how hard people’s hearts are” may also apply to cultural phenomena we see in New Testament times and that present-day literalists would like to regard as still normative.

    Would Paul support slavery in our day, were he able to be present and offer his views? I find that almost inconceivable.

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  125. Samuel Conner: I take a lot of comfort from Jesus’ words to the apostles in response to their inquiry about “why did Moses write that a man may divorce his wife for any reason’, that it was because of the hardness of men’s hearts that he wrote that.

    It’s hard for me to find comfort in this section of scripture. I’m impressed with Jesus trying to draw listeners back to consider how it was in the beginning, although that’s hard to imagine, for anyone, but Jesus. But, I get that hard heartedness was/is the problem, and it is refreshing to hear the problem acknowledged, then and now. And that adjustments were made due to this makes some sense, which I’ve read somewhere may have been somewhat protective for women involved. It may be that I’ve been around too much misleading/misused teaching on marriage and divorce to take comfort from this section of scripture.

    I’m more comforted by thinking of / imagining that home in Bethany where Jesus liked to hang out. That is, a home with a brother and two sisters and Mary was welcomed to sit at Jesus’ feet and learn along with other disciples. There’s no mention of a wife or husband in that home. And when I imagine that home it seems like something other than hard heartedness is going on.

    Samuel Conner: The fact that YHWH tolerated in Israel something that Jesus disapproved of to my mind has significant potential implications for how one reads the New Testament, too.

    Yes, I agree.

    Samuel Conner: Perhaps the residual hints of patriarchy that one finds in Paul’s letters are also things that the Creator tolerated at that time because of the hardness of people’s hearts, but that were not Intended from the beginning.

    Years ago I spent quite a bit of time reading CBE writers on interpretations of Paul’s letters. From reading these, it seemed that Paul didn’t want disorder, worked with the culture of the time, but his hints were more toward Gal. 3:28, Junia, Lydia, Priscilla as teachers and co-workers among others.

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  126. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    It’s equally scientific and scholarly and needed. Hazelwood, for one, did amazing work. There are others, and more all the time, advancing our knowledge about what we’re dealing with. IMHO, required study for church leadership.

    I also recommend my own book but it is a novel not scholarship. I feel that when I write, it’s like Charles Dickens going after the debtors’ prisons and such in England. Social change via realistic story or simply what really happens. We need good voices and excellent multi-faceted research.

    I think we see a lot of good stories and research here at TWW. So, thx again, Dee & TWWers.

    But what you point out is exactly the problem.

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  127. Max: Muff Potter: No other book (my opinion) in human history has been abused as much as the Bible.

    And most of that has come at the hands of theologians. Highly educated in jots and tittles but not inspired by the Holy Spirit, they released law into the church, not life.

    And the rest comes from Blind Faith in a Hyper-Literal “Plain Reading” or Charismania fads, both so Biblical(TM) or Spiritual(TM) that they have ceased to be human. There is only SCRIPTURE(TM) or SPIRIT(TM) Du Jour.

    Christian Monist’s book Butterflies in the Belfry, Serpents in the Cellar goes into detail about this, how dividing the Spiritual completely from the Physical has caused a lot of damage throughout Christian history.

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  128. Friend:
    elastigirl,

    How much of this comes from the old Christian habit of erasing the power of women in Scripture? The Jewish sources I’ve cited point out Bathsheba’s abiding influence, despite David’s transgression against her. Among Christians, who are the most prominent heroines of Hebrew Scripture? Not Eve. Maybe Ruth. But Christians do not revere Bathsheba, Deborah, Esther, Judith, or Miriam.

    To your point, Ruth is mostly (in my experience) revered for her marriage to Boaz. I’ve only ever heard her preached on in the context of a singles’ group.

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  129. Wild Honey: To your point, Ruth is mostly (in my experience) revered for her marriage to Boaz.

    Almost as if she has no legitimacy in her own right.
    I find it galling.
    I even heard one fundagelical nitwit say that Esther could not have done what she did (saving her people from holocaust) without Mordecai as her ‘covering’.

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  130. Headless Unicorn Guy: how dividing the Spiritual completely from the Physical has caused a lot of damage throughout Christian history.

    Physical reality counts. Matter matters. Expertise in the various sciences, including behavioral sciences, is essential.

    A detective shares her knowledge after her interview of a guy brought in for questioning:

    In the interview the guy said, “She [the girl] was compliant.”

    The interviewing detective later reflected, “At that moment I knew we had our suspect because that is exactly how a rapist talks.

    (Interviewer in the case of rapist Glen Samuel McCurley who raped and then ended the life of Carla Walker. So “compliant” and “liked it rough” so she ended up dead? By accident? Or her fault?)

    Is that what King David said about Bathsheba? She was “compliant”?

    Exactly what a rapist says according to the expertise of the detective.

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  131. Samuel Conner: Would Paul support slavery in our day, were he able to be present and offer his views? I find that almost inconceivable

    Paul also is credited with stating women should have their heads shaved for speaking in church. He was very much grounded in “the law” so it’s impossible to know what he would or wouldn’t condone.

    I think we agree that without context, literal reading of the bible can lead down dark paths.

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  132. Muff Potter,

    Satan quoted the Word of God to Jesus. Imagine Satan does the same to everyone else.

    Personally, I find several things work well:
    -Read the Bible for myself. No middleman.
    -Compare translations, paraphrases. Be aware of who translated, paraphrased.
    -Read the entire Bible. The Bible explains itself.
    -Consider context or history.
    -Read often, like Daily Devotions without the devotional, without getting legalistic.
    -Never be ashamed or shamed about Bible reading. Free country, freedom of Bible reading.
    -Know that the Holy Spirit is part of the deal, according to the Bible.

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  133. Jack: Paul also is credited with stating women should have their heads shaved for speaking in church.

    I think you are mistakenly conflating two distinct, but controversial by present day standards, things (and ignoring a relevant third thing) in Paul’s letters to the troubled church at Corinth.

    Paul admonished that wives not interrupt church proceedings to ask questions — remain silent and ask their husbands afterward. One might argue that he should have admonished the husbands too; fair enough, but perhaps the husbands weren’t doing this to begin with in that congregation.

    He also said that women should pray in church with heads (ie, hair) covered. Prayer, of course, involves speaking — it’s hard to see how Paul forbids females to speak in church. The head covering thing seems to be connected in Paul’s thinking (and perhaps in his readers’ thinking too) about the length of female hair, which is where the “let her be shaved bald” thing comes up:

    He certainly did not command that heads be shaved as punishment for speaking in church. What I think you are alluding to is his cryptic remark that females who cut their hair short, which he seems to think that the Corinthians themselves understand to be “contrary to nature”, may as well cut it off entirely.

    We don’t know what that is about, though there is an intriguing proposal that this related to ancient Mediterranean understandings of the structure of human head hair and its role in male and female reproductive biology. Paul’s “pray with head covered” may have been asking that females not flaunt part of their reproductive anatomy during their public prayers, when listeners might turn their gaze toward them. It doesn’t sound at all outrageous if that’s what he meant. Of course, we don’t think about hair that way today, and neither head coverings nor female hair length are considered to have any religious or physiological significance (unless one is a literalist who insists that what was appropriate in the 1st century church at Corinth is mandatory for all time).

    Here’s an entertaining and provocative podcast on the subject:

    https://nakedbiblepodcast.com/podcast/naked-bible-86-the-head-covering-of-1-corinthians-1113-15/

    I’m not sure we should be hasty to criticize ancient writers for writing things that their readers presumably understood but that we don’t understand. The past is a very different place, and we generally don’t know our way around it very well.

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  134. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Birds of a feather. They all find each other. In their favorite Hunting Ground (aka kirk).

    It’s amazing how “nice church folk” of Polite Society don’t see this. Choose not to? Uncomfortable? Happy Blinders?

    OTOH: “Read about rogue pastors, rich pastors, leaders who cover up child sex abuse, minimize domestic violence & those who brag about leaving piles of bodies under the bus.” (written up by/for TWW)

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  135. Samuel Conner: I’m not sure we should be hasty to criticize ancient writers for writing things that their readers presumably understood but that we don’t understand. The past is a very different place, and we generally don’t know our way around it very well.

    Sure I can. Slavery and misogyny are bad. They were bad then, and they’re bad now. I don’t care if it’s “scriptures” or not.

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  136. Ava Aaronson: It’s amazing how “nice church folk” of Polite Society don’t see this. Choose not to? Uncomfortable? Happy Blinders?

    Or “Everything’s so Nicey-Nicey Nice Nice Nice — AND DON’T YOU DARE ROCK THE BOAT!”

    Christian Monist wrote about some sort of Elder in the rural Tennessee church where he grew up. It was an open secret that Elder was a pedo, but boy could he sing hymns like an Angel! When a new family with children joined that church, the Respectable Pillars of the Church would steer them to Elder Pedo so he would rape THEIR kids, not Ours. But such things were Never, Ever spoken of on pain of The Sin of Gossip.

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  137. Headless Unicorn Guy: Polite Society

    Thought you’d offer the quote along the lines of sociopathy.

    Re: the music minister. Yeah, there’s a current video of a worship service where the old guy pedo is still up there at the front at the keyboard, leading the music. One of his victims put that out there. His church is still the Hunting Ground and everybody there knows it. Yikes!

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  138. dee,

    Did he think that in the end? Not to me. David was a really messed-up guy. He throve on violence. He just did.

    All those tales of him don’t speak well of his personality or his actions.

    Also, though i realize you may disagree – history is written by the victors, not the vanquished. IMO, Saul is turned into a villain by those who wrote the pro-David narratives in I and II Samuel.

    These guys weren’t exactly on a par with, say, the emperors of Persia. They wrre chieftains of tribes in a fairly marginalized geographical area. The talk of kingship makes us, today, think of royal purple, pomp and circumstance. Well, we can read early Irish lit, about regional kings and queens and the High King at Tara – they were all petty chieftains. Most of what’s in the poems and myths as “high deeds” proves it, too – cattle rustling was their biggest thing (when they weren’t at war), because cattle were wealth on the hoof.

    I think that, in reality, what’s said about David’s good character = David when he was quite young. As he got older, he became an amoral individual, as with how he treated both Bathsheba and Uriah. Maybe “amoral” is too strong a word, but he certainly wanted what he selfishly wanted *when* he wanted it.

    And i absolutely believe he raped her. I cannot imagine having a posse of armed men at my door who then proceeded to drag me off to satisfy a ruler’s momentary lust.

    Bathsheba’s story is probably one of the 1st #MeToo accounts in literature of any kind.

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