The other day I was reading through the account of David’s sin with Bathsheba and I was suddenly struck by a detail that I had previously overlooked. Now if you are anything like me you may have thought, or been taught, that Bathsheba was not the most innocent of ladies. She was perhaps a little loose, a little flirt, a little willing to commit adultery and the evidence for this is that she was bathing on her roof. Well, rather than me recount the tell, read it for yourself:

In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. ( Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house.
And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.” (2 Samuel 11:1-5)

So what do you think? Do you come to the same conclusion that I stated above? Was Bathsheba a woman of ill repute? Personally I’m starting to think no and it has a lot to do with the phrase “Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.” When we look at the culture of the day bathing on the roof wasn’t as uncommon as we tend to think. After all on the roof of your home was probably the most private place you could go. The observation that I make is that she was following the Law. Leviticus 15:19, 28 give specific instructions concerning a woman’s menstrual cycle. So for the seven days of a women’s period she was unclean and then after she was allowed to resume her place among the clean in society.

So what then do we make of the rest of the account? There is no doubt that David and Bathsheba committed adultery and were in sin, but maybe we should reconsider our opinion of Bathsheba as a lady of the night.

Advertisements