I recently read a book on Bathsheba (fiction), and I really liked it because it made the story come alive. (It was Unspoken, by Francine Rivers.) I've read other books, too. Well, it seems that some place the blame of adultery on Bathsheba, while others exonerate her. One author even claims that the wording indicates that she was taken unwillingly. I don't know what to think; I never thought it was rape. What do you think? -- Christina

Hello from Vietnam, Christina! About your question:

a.  According to OT law, if an unmarried woman was assaulted, and she was in the city, she was supposed to scream (Deuteronomy 22:23-24). Presumably the principle applied to others, as well. Did Bathsheba cry for help? I have no idea. But it seems unlikely. Just imagine how intimidating it might have been to be summoned by the king himself. Many persons--men and women alike--would be speechless.

b. David clearly took advantage of her, yet in the absence of violence, rape is not an accurate label for the lamentable scene of 2 Sam 11. I'm not saying she wasn't forced (at least psychologically). Bathsheba may have felt she had no choice, but that doesn't make it rape. Bathsheba may have been complicit--is she bathed in plain view of the man on the palace roof. Then again, she may have had no inkling that she was visible.

c. David clearly sinned. Everything leading up to his commission of adultery was suspicious: he should have been at war (an implication of the text). He covered up his guilt, and amplified it by scheming to murder Uriah. Apart from God's pardon, he should have/would have died (2 Sam 12:13). The king is not above the law; there is no favoritism. I doubt the same would be said of David's rich and powerful contemporaries.