I am so excited to announce that this month Vindicating the Vixens: Revisiting Sexualized, Vilified, and Marginalized Women of the Bible comes out! Dr. Sandra Glahn serves as the General Editor and a diverse group of 16 scholars contributed. Chapter 4, on Bathsheba, is written by yours truly.
Earlier this year, five of us authors participated on a panel moderated by Dr. Glahn during chapel at Dallas Theological Seminary. You can watch the video below:
Recently, fellow Moody Alumna Dalaina May wrote a blog article for the Junia Project on “What You Need to Know About Bathsheba.” It’s often hard to find positive things about Bathsheba (or much on her at all for that matter), so I wanted to highlight some of the things I appreciated in Dalaina’s article:
- An Acknowledgment of Bathsheba as the victim—She points out that Bathsheba was not an adulteress but instead the victim of a “power rape” and rightly points out that the biblical author places the full blame for the immoral incident on King David (for more support of this point, see my earlier blog article “Bathsheba’s Story (Part 1): How I Changed My Perspective.”
- An Acknowledgment of Bathsheba’s profound influence on Jewish and Christian history—We don’t always talk about the positive influence Bathsheba had on her son Solomon. For example, many scholars believe Lemuel’s tribute to his mother in Proverbs 31 is tribute made by Solomon to his mother Bathsheba. In sum, Bathsheba’s voice played an important part in history.
- An Acknowledgment that your role in society does not limit how God uses you—Bathsheba was a victim, but her influence was long lasting. I love Dalaina’s concluding line, “Even though the stories of powerful women often go unnoticed, God used women to usher in his kingdom throughout scripture. He still does.”
In contemplating Bathsheba’s lack of responsibility, many current observations and applications call for attention. Earlier this week, I took a look at Rachel Marie Stone’s perspective based off an article she wrote for Prism Magazine. In yesterday’s post, I looked at Chole Sun’s perspective. Today, I want to take a look at some things pointed out by Heather Celoria. (The following is content taken from my Master’s thesis written for Dallas Theological Seminary.) Read more
In contemplating Bathsheba’s lack of responsibility, many current observations and applications call for attention. In yesterday’s post, I took a look at Rachel Marie Stone’s perspective based off an article she wrote for Prism Magazine. Today I want to take a look at another interesting angle from Chole Sun. (The following is content taken from my Master’s thesis written for Dallas Theological Seminary.) Read more
In contemplating Bathsheba’s lack of responsibility, many current observations and applications call for attention. Practically speaking, some countries today have laws in place to protect minors from sexual abuse that go beyond what the Old Testament mandated.
For example, the organization RAINN stipulates boundaries concerning a person’s age, capacity to consent, and agreement to an act. Bathsheba did not have the same legal recourse as many individuals have today. Yet, despite the increase in protective legislation, abuse and suppression still remain. Some Christian leaders abuse their power in sexual relationships. Others continue to put part of the blame on victims instead of the abuser, perhaps even more so in cases where the abuser is in a leadership position. What might be done to change this and give victims a greater voice? I want to share a portion from my Master’s thesis written for Dallas Theolgical Seminary on Rachel Marie Stone’s perspective. Read more
This past week I’ve posted some stories about misunderstood women of the Bible: Mary Magdalene, Jephthah’s daughter, Bathsheba, and the Woman at the Well.
A friend of mine kindly pointed out that I hadn’t done any posts recently about men in the Bible and that my blog might be more balanced if I included some male characters. I thought he might have a decent point, so I begin to think about what I could say about other stories. But I ran into a few problems… Read more
When I did research on Bathsheba for my thesis, a few people asked me why she was bathing outside, and some thought she was even bathing on top of a roof.
This month’s issue of Today in the Word from Moody addresses a similar question about Bathsheba: “Shouldn’t Bathsheba share a part of the blame in David’s moral failure in 2 Samuel 11 since she was bathing outside, attracting David’s attention?”
I was very pleased with Dr. Winfred Neely’s adamant response that Bathsheba was a victim and shared no part of the blame. Far too often I’ve seen her receive partial blame for King David’s sinful actions.
Here is a short exert from the fourth chapter of my thesis, which explains a few reasons why Bathsheba’s bathing does not not make her responsible in any way for David’s sin. Read more
It seems we love scandal, gossip, and all the juicy details of other people’s lives. If this were not the case, shows like the Bachelor would probably disappear forever. Which might not be such a bad thing…but I digress.
When it comes to reading the Bible, we encounter numerous stories of sin and grace. (PTL for grace!) And sometimes, it’s not hard to make them a little more dramatic…it makes for better sermons. Other times, we cater too much to certain traditions and ideas. Or, other times, some stories simply come across to modern readers as sounding different than they really were.
The rest of this week I hope to look at a few of these stories, which I think tend to be overdramatized or misunderstood in their retelling.
Many could make the list, but here are a few examples:
- Mary Magdalene often gets referred to as a prostitute with little to no evidence to suggest this.
- Bathsheba gets referred to as a woman who seduced King David into an affair instead of a victim who was raped by a powerful king.
- The woman at the well is often called immoral instead of a virtuous woman respected by her town.
- We say Jephthah sacrificed his daughter on an alter instead of saying that she was dedicated to temple service for the rest of her life.
Earlier this summer, four young men from North Carolina State University attempted to design a nail polish that would help protect women from date rape by detecting unwanted drugs in their drinks.
The nail polish (which unfortunately doesn’t seem to actually work) generated some concerns. While it’s good to promote steps to help women protect themselves, many point out that this treats the symptoms rather than the problem (i.e. teaching people to avoid getting raped instead of don’t rape). Advocates against rape also worry that this sort of thing may promote more victim blaming. Read more
My formal research on Bathsheba revealed a variety of opinions about Bathsheba, which I divided into three categories: (1) immoral and complicit, (2) reformed sinner, and (3) helpless victim.
Some people think that Bathsheba had no qualms about having sex with the king, perhaps even instigating it herself. Some take this view a step further by claiming that she was a repentant sinner whose sin God redeemed. The third group views her as a victim, not a sinner, and in no way at fault. Read more