Here's a blurb from the author's website:
Can love triumph over treachery?
Bathsheba is a woman who longs for love. With her husband away fighting the king’s wars, she battles encroaching loneliness–making it frighteningly easy to succumb to the advances of King David. Will one night of unbridled passion destroy everything she holds dear? Can she find forgiveness at the feet of the Almighty? Or has her sin separated her from God—and David—forever?
With a historian’s sharp eye for detail and a novelist’s creative spirit, Jill Eileen Smith brings to life the passionate and emotional story of David’s most famous—and infamous—wife. You will never read the story of David and Bathsheba in the same way again."
In all truthfulness, knowing the story in its entirety before picking up the book isn't going to change what a page-turner it is.
I just have to start out with this: the largest intellectual shift for me came in the characterization of Uriah. In my mind's eye, I thought of him as this boorish, hairy man who never fully appreciated his beautiful wife. Don't ask how I got this impression....perhaps from his name. Uriah just doesn't have as handsome a ring to it as David. But there is nothing in the scriptures to give indication of my assumption. He was a godly man, one we should hold in high regard.
Donning my therapist cap with this book review was a bit odd. I mean, these people were just Bible characters before reading this book. Now they are actual people to me, not just characters, and even more, they were real people in the lineage of my Lord and Savior.
But real people suffer from trauma, and biblical times were fraught with it (war, famine, etc). We all know the story of Bathsheba: David spied her on her roof and couldn't shake the desire her nudity flamed to life. He summons her while her husband is away at war, and Bathsheba, being a female in those times, did what she was told and went to him. David's handsome face and lyrical voice are intoxicating to her, and, fighting the loneliness she feels with Uriah away all the time and no baby to warm her arms, she agrees to stay the night with him.
How many clients have sat in my office ruing one single choice? One moment where they chucked everything to the wind and followed their desires? One brief second when emotions won out over rational thinking? Bathsheba is no different. Years of fidelity crushed with a single kiss.
Her mourning has just begun, compounded by the knowledge of the Law of Moses and what is to become of an adulterous woman. Her sweet, unsuspecting Uriah delivers his own death warrant to his company commander when David can't convince him to return home to sleep with Bathsheba. She loses her husband as a direct result of her own actions. David offers to become her kinsman redeemer, a political farce to cover what he wanted to do all along. Bathsheba endures the shunning of the other wives and the looks of skepticism when she gives birth to a child 2 months early who looks full-term. At long last she has a baby, but he's ripped from her arms at the prophet Nathan's proclamation, which also turns the nation against her as they now know she's a wife of fornication and adultery.
It's little wonder Bathsheba didn't go insane with the amount of grief inflicted upon her. Jill portrays Bathsheba's heartache well, including how she would want to shun David, the one man who had basically brought ruin to her life. But their story is one of grace and forgiveness, both from God and toward each other. They are blessed with another son (and many more), their relationship reaches new heights of love, and they are strengthened against future adversaries.
But the Bible clearly shows that they regretted their past sins, sins which held far-reaching consequences in their lives. This is real life, folks. The Bible isn't a prosperity gospel. It doesn't say life is going to be all peachy when we accept Christ, but it does promise us forgiveness if we reach out and take it. Bathsheba's story is an example for how far and wide Christ's love is for us all.
Jill has all sorts of bonus features on her Wives of King David website, including a Bible study and discussion questions. Check it out when you have a chance.
Available March 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
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