The Biblical tale of King David, Bathsheba, and her husband Uriah the Hittite is one of the most infamous ones ever, because of not only the way it depicted the king, but also how it depicted God. David may have killed Uriah, but God killed a BABY!
God was a hypocrite?!
Why couldn’t the story have been rewritten to make both David and God look a lot better???
And as the war against Ammon waged on, King David was informed that one of his loyal soldiers, Uriah the Hittite, was killed in battle and he left behind a wife, Bathsheba, who was pregnant. David sent for the widow to give her his condolences. But when he saw her, he felt she was beautiful and deserved better than to be a widow of a soldier, so he offered to marry her so her child could be raised in the royal palace. She agreed and thus became his wife and gave birth to a son a few weeks later. But a few weeks after that, the baby fell sick and died, causing Bathsheba to mourn again. Even worse, a nasty rumor was soon spread that the baby was actually David’s, that the king had killed Uriah to get his wife, and therefore the baby’s death was a punishment from God. David was furious and demanded that the one who started the rumor be found and put to death. But the prophet Nathan urged restraint.
“Sire, the people who started that rumor are not worth bothering about,” Nathan said. “Those who are loyal to you and know your true nature will ignore such gossip.”
David accepted the prophet’s advice. But in reality, it was Nathan himself who started the rumor as a means of undermining the king. And centuries later, Nathan’s claims were recorded in the Bible, tarnishing David’s reputation forever!
Geraldine Brooks is a Pulitzer Prize winning historical novelist. Her latest book “The Secret Chord,” tells the story of King David. NPR’s Rachel Martin spoke to her about her conception of the flawed king.