After sending his army to besiege another king’s capital, King David forces himself on Bathsheba, a loyal soldier’s wife. When her resulting pregnancy forces the king to murder her husband and add her to his harem, Bathsheba struggles to protect her son while dealing with the effects of a dark prophecy and deadly curse on the king’s household.
Combining historical facts with detailed fiction, Angela Hunt paints a realistic portrait of the beautiful woman who struggled to survive the dire results of divine judgment on a king with a divided heart.
I’ll admit that I’m one of those people who enjoys trying to see both sides of the story. So when it comes to the women in the bible, I think it’s extremely unfair to blame them for all of the sins of man. Especially since, as a history buff, I know that women were only considered slightly more valuable than livestock during ancient times, if they were lucky. How else can you explain why it would be an accepted practice for God’s anointed Kings to not only have several wives, but to also have a harem of concubines waiting in the wings? So when it comes to biblical women such as Bathsheba and Mary Magdalene, I don’t automatically assume that what is commonly believed from modern interpretations is the entire truth behind their stories. Therefore, it was an enjoyable experience to have an author actually try to explain another possibility of the true story of David and Bathsheba. One that is actually highly supported by some of the scripture, but is not spelled out blatantly.
In Angela Hunt’s version of this story, King David forces himself on the beautiful Bathsheba. Now, I’m not entirely sure why this is considered to be impossible just because he was beloved by God. But I appreciate the fact that it paints a more realistic view on what could have possibly happened. As Hunt points out later on in this story, if Bathsheba was summoned by King David (which is stated clearly in the Bible) she was at his beck and call. As King, he had every right to order her execution, so for her there was no choice. I don’t know about you, but when a woman has no real choice when it comes to having sex with a man, I see that as rape. At the very least he abused his power and authority as King and even if she consented, had she not, there was nothing to stop him from taking what he wanted or having her executed for the offense. Therefore it is truly my belief that she had no choice in the matter and probably did what she had to do to protect herself and her family. Why else would a beloved king go so far as to send a woman’s husband to his death? I also feel the prophet Nathan’s accusation of David makes it clear enough that God’s punishment on David for his actions was because he was the one who sinned. Regardless, I think it’s about time that everyone starts questioning how much validity that it is the biblical women who are to blame for all of man’s sins.
As for the story, I felt it was a much more solid story as opposed to Esther: Royal Beauty. Perhaps this is because Bathsheba and King David were together for decades and Esther’s marriage lasted only a few years. But also, it may have been because Esther’s biggest conflict came only a few years into her marriage, while Bathsheba was forced to deal with multiple dilemmas, including that of trying to protect her son, the future king, Solomon. Nevertheless, I think it’s apparent that I sympathize with Bathsheba and I feel she has been unfairly misrepresented as a seductress. But even if it as everyone has believed, there’s no way of knowing because the Bible only paints its tales with broad strokes. We may never know the true story. Either way, I’m excited to read Hunt’s next book, Delilah to see how she would use fiction to fill in all of the missing pieces.