The story of David and Batsheva is one of the most famous “romantic” stories in the Biblical canon, and one of the most controversial.

Batsheva’s first husband, Uriah, was a soldier in King David’s army. The Midrash tells us that Uriah gave his wife a “conditional divorce,” as did all soldiers in David’s army. This agreement stated that if the husband did not return safely from battle, the couple were officially divorced as of the date of the husband’s departure for war (so that there was no question about a woman’s ability to remarry if her husband never returned).

The army went to battle, however, King David remained in Jerusalem. One evening, David saw Batsheva bathing on a neighboring roof. He invited her to the palace and, well … When Batsheva informed him that she was with child, David called Uriah back from war and instructed him to take a visit home. Uriah, however, insisted on remaining with his troops. Angered by Uriah’s refusal to follow his orders, the king quickly dispatched him back to the front, where Uriah was killed in action.

David erred in trying to cover up his actions, but because Uriah refused to visit his wife and then died before reuniting with her, the conditional divorce went into effect from the date of Uriah’s departure to battle, allowing David and Batsheva to legally wed.

Nevertheless, the prophet Nathan chastised David for his actions. The depth and sincerity of David’s repentance is one of the qualities for which David is praised.

Batsheva and David’s first son died, but their second son, Solomon, survived.

This Treat is taken from NJOP’s Aishet Chayil Study Program.

Copyright © 2018 NJOP. All rights reserved.