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Thread: Did David Rape Bathsheba?

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    Professor Zymologist's Avatar
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    Did David Rape Bathsheba?

    There's been some recent discussion about this online. To be honest, it hadn't occurred to me until I saw some people asserting that yes, David clearly committed rape. Thoughts on this?

    The "power differential" idea is worth noting, since, David being king, obviously Bathsheba could very well have been put in a difficult spot by his summoning her. Still, it also seems obvious that David was not a rapist when considered in the context of the Mosaic law, and that the argument he committed rape seems pretty anachronistic.

    But I think the biggest problem with the idea is what Scripture describes his true crime to be--both given what Nathan said and David's confession in Psalm 51, which focus on his blood-guiltiness in murdering Uriah.
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    It is anachronistic to speak of power differentials.

    The Lord told the people that having a king would mean that the people's king would take away their daughters. This was sort of an exception clause to the recommendation to have one wife.

    Nathan's confrontation of David doesn't show any indications of sin against Bathsheba. I think we would have to favor the idea she was enticed by the David's summons. She was a willing participant.

    David and Bathsheba would be guilty of adultery. However, David's adultery paled by contrast to his promotion of the death of Uriah.

    If Uriah were to have lived, it seems that Bathsheba would have been willing to say that she had relations with her husband. She would be on track for covering up the fact that David was the father -- otherwise, David wouldn't have been pushing for Uriah to go to his house while back in town.
    Last edited by mikewhitney; 10-22-2019 at 11:17 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikewhitney View Post
    It is anachronistic to speak of power differentials.
    Why? If anything, power differentials were greater in the ANE.
    The Lord told the people that having a king would mean that the people's king would take away their daughters. This was sort of an exception clause to the recommendation to have one wife.
    No, it wasn't. One of the Deuteronomic injunctions to kings was to not multiply wives for themselves.
    Nathan's confrontation of David doesn't show any indications of sin against Bathsheba. I think we would have to favor the idea she was enticed by the David's summons.
    I'd say that deliberately bathing where the king could see her was the first sin committed in the whole affair, making the claim of rape faintly ludicrous.
    David and Bathsheba would be guilty of adultery. However, David's adultery paled by contrast to promotion of the death of Uriah.
    I don't know that adultery would be considered insignificant next to murder.
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  4. Amen Chaotic Void amen'd this post.
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    I think this claim is right down there with David and Jonathan being homosexuals.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    I think this claim is right down there with David and Jonathan being homosexuals.
    I think it has at least some merit to it (i.e., not overtly ridiculous), as opposed to what you mention. But ultimately I don't find it convincing. It's too speculative.
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    (sorry. I had edited a few things into my first post0

    My point about power differentials is that we don't have indications in scripture that anyone was talking about 'power differentials' in an employer-employee situation nor with respect to kings. Nor does Bathsheba appear to be compelled to go ... but rather seemed more enticed.

    The Deut 17:17 verse mainly expresses a cause and effect -- wisdom more than regulation. In 2Sam 12, Nathan speaks of the Lord giving David his master's wives ... but then saying he would have added more things (vs 8) (wives? if wanted?)
    Last edited by mikewhitney; 10-22-2019 at 11:51 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    I think this claim is right down there with David and Jonathan being homosexuals.
    I don't think it's even close to being on the same level in that I would not question the orthodoxy of someone like John Piper who holds the rape view but I would with the other.
    Last edited by KingsGambit; 10-22-2019 at 12:12 PM.
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  9. Amen Cerebrum123 amen'd this post.
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    Yes, I tend to view it as rape, mainly because of the power differential.

    The reason she was bathing on the roof is entirely a matter of speculation. Actually, AFAICT, even the *fact* that she was bathing on the roof, while almost universally accepted, is speculative in that it is not specified in Scripture. *David* was on the roof. How sure are we that his location did not give him a great view of Bathsheba's window?
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorrinRadd View Post
    Yes, I tend to view it as rape, mainly because of the power differential.

    The reason she was bathing on the roof is entirely a matter of speculation. Actually, AFAICT, even the *fact* that she was bathing on the roof, while almost universally accepted, is speculative in that it is not specified in Scripture. *David* was on the roof. How sure are we that his location did not give him a great view of Bathsheba's window?
    Actually it does state David's location, and that he was on the roof of "the king's house". So regardless of whether it was the actual palace, or something like a separate house he likely had a really good view of the surrounding area.

    2 Samuel 11:2 Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance.

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    I haven't reviewed material by people who thought this was rape. But, this is what I would observe about the situation. Sorry for being a little repetitious with point 1.

    Point 1: The coverup
    1. David found out Bathsheba was pregnant
    2. David called Uriah from the battle so Uriah would sleep with Bathsheba
    3. Bathsheba would have to agree to the deception that Uriah was the father.
    4. David had to count on Bathsheba holding to this deception instead of telling Uriah that David and she had relations.

    Point 2: Nathan's charges
    1. In 2Sam 12, Nathan brings up the issue of the murder of Uriah and of taking Bathsheba as a wife
    2. There is no charge of rape and no indication here that Bathsheba wasn't cooperative

    Point 3:
    David didn't have a history of such behavior -- based on what I recall.

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