Bathsheba the Adulteress?

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vison
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Post by vison »

My second favourite Bathsheba is Bathsheba Everdene. :)
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Pearly Di
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Post by Pearly Di »

Wampus, :hug:
Maria wrote:Bathsheba is a beautiful beach in Barbados with large interesting rocks. I never knew the name was biblical in origin.

How disappointing. I assumed it had something to do with the beach being a good bathing place.
Why is it disappointing to find out the origins of a particular name? :scratch: Bathsheba means 'Daughter of the Oath'. 8)
vison wrote:My second favourite Bathsheba is Bathsheba Everdene. :)
Mine too. :) (That is my favourite Hardy novel, probably because he doesn't kill his principal characters off. For once. :rofl: )
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Post by Elentári »

Of course, Bathsheba went on to become a very powerful woman - the Queen Mother, once she had secured the throne for her second son by David, ahead of an older half-brother...

With reference to the reputation of and apportionment of blame to the male participant, both in this story and that of Tamar, it seems that in ancient Middle Eastern societies the sexual potency of the king was closely linked with the state of the nation. If the king was no longer able to have sexual relations, it was a bad omen for the well-being of the country.
As David grew older, eventually, concerns arose about the king's continuing virility.

'So they searched for a beautiful girl throughout all the territory of Israel, and found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king. The girl was very beautiful.' [ 1 Kings 1:1-37. ]

When, despite her beauty, the king could not have sexual relations with Abishag, it was considered time for a co-regency. This meant that someone would rule alongside David, to help him. Most people took it for granted that this co-regent would be the next king.
This website gives a good overview/explanation of the story...it offers the interpretation that David and Bathsheba would in all likelihood have been known to each other before the bathing incident, and that Bathsheba was a shrewd opportunist, not a naive ingenue.
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Maria
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Post by Maria »

Why is it disappointing to find out the origins of a particular name? Bathsheba means 'Daughter of the Oath'.
Because a beach named "Bath" with "Sheba" thrown in for pizzazz isn't nearly as disturbing as what this thread is about. Rape beach? Coerced sex beach? Abuse of power beach? :help: Yuck! Who decided on that name? Not cool.
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Post by SirDennis »

Elentári wrote:
This website gives a good overview/explanation of the story...it offers the interpretation that David and Bathsheba would in all likelihood have been known to each other before the bathing incident, and that Bathsheba was a shrewd opportunist, not a naive ingenue.
Interesting analysis at that site. I wonder who built the castle? Also the question of whether God wanted Bathsheba to bear King David a son (Solomon) by whatever means does not appear to be addressed. Since conjecture is heavy upon the article, I wonder why they did not also address that question?

The most obvious bias is seen here:

"Bathsheba was summoned to the palace. She went. Did she go willingly? Feminist literature likes to think she was a victim taken to the palace against her will, but the text gives a clue that she went willingly. The sentence reads '...David sent messengers to get her, and she went', suggesting that, though young, she was ambitious and strong-willed enough to seize her chance - even though it must have meant ignoring the pleas of the other women of Uriah's household."

That's a lot of extrapolating to make a point... and that so called clue could be interpreted in many different ways (from the sensible to the ridiculous, from respectful to the mean spirited). For instance she might have gone because: she was summoned by a king; she wanted to address her concern about her husband's assignment; she left an ear ring behind at her last visit; and so on... who knows? (For the record the last idea, to me, is the most unprofitable and baseless line of reasoning, in case anyone was curious ;) )
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Post by JewelSong »

Maria wrote:
Why is it disappointing to find out the origins of a particular name? Bathsheba means 'Daughter of the Oath'.
Because a beach named "Bath" with "Sheba" thrown in for pizzazz isn't nearly as disturbing as what this thread is about. Rape beach? Coerced sex beach? Abuse of power beach? :help: Yuck! Who decided on that name? Not cool.
Maria, as Di pointed out, Bathsheba means '"Daughter of the Oath." Bathsheba was noticed by King David while she was bathing, so that might be why they named the beach for her. Many places have names that are Biblicaly or historically based.

I think it's kind of funny that you thought the word "Sheba" was just "thrown in for pizzazz!" LOL!
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Post by Lalaith »

Elentári wrote:Of course, Bathsheba went on to become a very powerful woman - the Queen Mother, once she had secured the throne for her second son by David, ahead of an older half-brother...

With reference to the reputation of and apportionment of blame to the male participant, both in this story and that of Tamar, it seems that in ancient Middle Eastern societies the sexual potency of the king was closely linked with the state of the nation. If the king was no longer able to have sexual relations, it was a bad omen for the well-being of the country.
As David grew older, eventually, concerns arose about the king's continuing virility.

'So they searched for a beautiful girl throughout all the territory of Israel, and found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king. The girl was very beautiful.' [ 1 Kings 1:1-37. ]

When, despite her beauty, the king could not have sexual relations with Abishag, it was considered time for a co-regency. This meant that someone would rule alongside David, to help him. Most people took it for granted that this co-regent would be the next king.
This website gives a good overview/explanation of the story...it offers the interpretation that David and Bathsheba would in all likelihood have been known to each other before the bathing incident, and that Bathsheba was a shrewd opportunist, not a naive ingenue.

The article was interesting but did seem pretty biased with the personal interpretations and assumptions of the author, imo. It certainly is one possible view of the situation, though I tend to disagree with the author's assumptions.
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Post by SirDennis »

One of the radio ministers I catch from time to time (Swindol I think... it was on Mars Hill Network out of Syracruse NY, a network that is the most apolitical one I've had the pleasure of listening to btw) was talking about the life of King David.

On Bathsheba the speaker made this observation:

When David saw her bathing and naked he asked someone who she was. Rather than saying "oh that's Bathsheba, daughter of so and so," which would have been customary, the advisor said "that's Bathsheba the wife of Uriah the Hittite."

In other words, as if anticipating David's mind, his advisor said, "Oh that naked woman there? That's Bathsheba. She's married." Because of this the commentator went on to say "David [but not Bathsheba] was guilty of adultery."

Also, (this is me talking) based on the information as it appears, since David asked "who is that?" the idea that they had some sort of ongoing affair or even acquaintance before the bathing scene simply is not supported (unless he was being coy, which doesn't sound like King David at all).
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Lalaith
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Post by Lalaith »

That's interesting, SirD, and I agree with you.
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Post by Cerin »

I think technically it is correct to call Bathsheba an adulteress, since she was a married woman who slept with another man. I'm not sure calling her that would necessarily be meant to impute blame, given the circumstances. In other words, I'm not sure the word carries an imputation of motive in and of itself. Lalaith, how did the discussion proceed, that you originally referred to? Did the pastor call Bathsheba an adulteress and then go on to focus on her as blameworthy, or was it done in passing with the focus on something else?
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Post by Sunsilver »

vison wrote:She wanted to get pregnant, IMHO. AND to provide Judah with a child of his line, AND to trick him and shame him.

IF only prostitutes wore veils (which seems odd on the face of it), then why did Tamar have one in her closet?

Maybe "decent" women went veiled, as is common in Islam. Maybe she put on the veil in order to leave the house on an ordinary errand, and then took it off.
Vison is on the right track. Culture in the Middle East hasn't changed all that much since Bibical times. A friend of mine got lost while on a tour in Israel. She was walking along beside a busy highway, and the men were honking their horns and making 'come hither' gestures at her. She put up a hand to shield her face from view, and they backed off. A veil or head covering is a pretty universal sign of virtue. Even traditional Catholic churches still require women to wear head coverings of some sort.

Tamar must have done something else to make Judah think she was a prostitute. Maybe seductively exposing her legs and ankles by hitching her skirts up, or something similar...

I have a feeling that Jewish culture was more similar to Muslim culture at this time, and likely any unescorted woman would be viewed as a possible prostitute or woman of loose virtue.
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Lalaith
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Post by Lalaith »

Yep, my post is missing here, too. :(

I'll give it a while to see if it reappears. If not, then I'll try to remember what I posted.
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Post by Cerin »

I saw your post, Lalaith, before it disappeared, so no need to repost on my behalf! :)

I think it's certainly unusual to focus on Bathsheba when discussing this story. Reaching any kind of conclusion about her motivations or culpability requires too much speculation to be legitimate, I think.
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Lalaith
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Post by Lalaith »

I would agree with you, Cerin. :)
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

I saw it too. I'd still like you to repost if you could, just to complete the loop. If you don't feel like it, that's fine, too.
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Post by Lalaith »

I think my response was mostly in answer to Cerin's direct question to me, so it really wasn't anything profound.

(The answer was that, yes, he felt that she was guilty of sin, saying that a person always has a choice to sin or not. That was what raised my hackles because I felt Bathsheba having to choose between sex and death was analogous to a woman being raped. And, certainly, we would not say that a woman who has raped was somehow guilty of a sin. The sin would fall on the rapist, as should the sin fall on David in this situation.)
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Post by Elentári »

Frelga wrote:The term used is "temple" or "ritual"'prostitute,'although I heard it is anachronistic.

The entire set of circumstances that governs the actions of the participants of the story is so inexplicable to us. The balance of power is not as distorted as with Bathsheba but it is certainly tilted in Judah's favor. I would speculate that had Tamar announced herself, she would have been at his mercy. Presumably that's why she secures his seal, ring and staff - as my Rabbi said, the equivalent of handing over the passport and all credit cards. That way, it wasn't her word against his anymore.
I've been looking at this story again, because my daughter is being confirmed later this year, and it is the custom in our church to choose either a Biblical or saint's name to take at Confirmation...Tamar happened to be a name she rather liked!

I found this in-depth look at the story in Genesis 38, and thought it valuable to the earlier discussion in this thread. Definitely provides further food for thought...

Tamar: Seductress or Survivor?
Last edited by Elentári on Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by SirDennis »

That fleshes the story out nicely. Thanks Elen.

I've been wondering for some time why the story of Joseph just gets started then takes a detour for all of Genesis 38... the notion is a bit hazy... not sure yet how to say it, but here goes:

The theme of Genesis 38 mirrors the over-arching theme of the story of Joseph (Genesis 37, 39 - 50), which is, God will have his way, regardless of the exercise of free will, or of circumstance. That the story of Tamar and Judah was later invoked as a blessing in Ruth is curious; but it fits nicely with a main point of the Joseph story, "what you thought for harm (evil), God intended (used) for good..."

I'll have to think on this some more. Thanks again.
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