The First Reading for this coming Sunday – the 9th After Pentecost – is one of the most popular passages in the Hebrew Bible, though the reasons for its popularity vary.
2 Samuel 11:1-15 relates the story of David and Bathsheba. The king committed adultery, then tries to cover it up. When that failed, he had poor Uriah – Bathsheba’s husband – killed. This story has led many people to wonder how Jews could regard David as the greatest king of Israel.
Even after inquiring about Bathsheba – whether or not she was married (presuming that he would have added her to his harem if she was not) – David succumbed to temptation. One could assume too, that since Bathsheba was having a ritual bath after her period, David would have known that it was a time when she would very likely have been pregnant.
Ironically, Uriah’s loyalty to David resulted in his death. He even carried his own death warrant.
If this were the end of the story, we would indeed not view David as the greatest king of Israel. This story was one of the puzzles that the Men’s Bible Study group at Christ Church Cathedral wrestled to solve – or at least to understand.
There is more to this story ahead, and how it serves as a lesson towards transformation.