With all of the drama in our “Bathsheba series” of the former episodes, there is still need to conclude on a good note…. therefore, we…
Nathan left for David’s palace. He had a message for the King. No sooner had David sighted the Prophet than he stood in a frenzied state to welcome him. Nathan hardly ever visited the palace except on an important mission. He had brought with him, judgment to be passed on the King. David scanned through his mind in split seconds in a bid to decipher the purpose of his visit. Blank was the expression on the old sage’s face, but his gait spelled urgency!
Without exchanging any pleasantry with the King, the prophet relayed his message with a story… A story of an unfair deprivation of a poor man’s prized possession. David’s response to the story was actually to his own detriment, as he was unaware that the prophet’s tale was a foreshadow of his recent encounter with the late Hittite’s wife. David had already passed judgment on himself.
A quick replay of that fateful day with Bathsheba enveloped his thoughts. In addition to his schemings upon Uriah’s recall from battle and his subsequent death. There was no gainsaying to the fact that he had actually killed the Hittite and taken his wife. It was all coming back to him now!
But why had his conscience been so ridden with such evil scheming? His assumption to the throne of Israel was entirely by divine election. Why had lust blinded him? Realizing how inhumane and possessive he had been, David acknowledged the fact that he was a bedsharing King…and a murderer!
Judgment had been passed already. The child conceived on the altar of adultery would die. It was the sentence as spelled out by the Prophet. David’s plea to God was unfruitful as the child suddenly took ill. All attempts by Bathsheba to alleviate the child’s ailment were futile as the child’s fever raged on for many days unabated.
David fasted and sought the Lord’s face for days unending, refusing food or comfort. Some of his other wives feared for the King for they thought it wasn’t worth it. David acknowledged that this child was a seed of adultery, yet it wasn’t its fault that it had been conceived and born. Bathsheba wept unending, seeing that David, her solace was on a soul fast, shut out from his commitments to the Kingdom of Israel.
Fortunately, on the 5th day of the fast, the child’s health improved slightly. Bathsheba gave thanks to the Lord seeing her child was coming on. However, David remained indoors and continued in mourning for the child. Unfortunately, Loud wails filtered Bathsheba’s chambers on the seventh day.
THE CHILD WAS DEAD!
Many people saw the child as an accursed one, with unsteady health as a seed of David. Bathsheba wept more now than she did upon Uriah’s death. It was her fault. She was to face the judgment for her sins. Did the innocent child have to pay for her sins? It was more painful as her emotions could not be overtly expressed. That would be tantamount to blowing her covers open. She was slowly dying inside.
On the other hand, the Kind rose from his place of intercessory exercise on the child’s behalf. Discarding his cloak of mourning, he had a change of clothing and refreshed himself physically. He ate heartily, the meal presented before him, upon his request. Apparently, judgment had run its full course His countenance was not the least perturbed and this left his comrades in awe. The King’s changed! They had earlier feared to disclose the news of the child’s death to the King. Now, the King was acting contrarily to what was to be envisaged. How strange! There was more to their King than what they really knew!
David comforted his wife, Bathsheba. With much reassuring of his love irrespective of recent events. He made several promises to her, some of which no one heard. They had both agreed to start their marriage on a clean slate. The King’s harem of wives had grown weary of jealousy, seeing that the King’s love for the ‘conniving widow’ (as they thought of Bathsheba) was a closely knit one. Convinced of God’s mercy over his life, David lovingly comforted his wife and before long, she became vulnerable and open to him. His commitment spiked daily as she always found solace in his company, cuddling up in his manly, yet gentle arms.
Nevertheless, Bathsheba sought the Lord’s face for mercy over her marital life. Having become an unpleasant story to her family and a by-word to some of her co-wives in the palace, she always looked forward to seeing David again. She might never have attempted adultery if Uriah had been a little more responsive to her womanly needs. In a bid to make amends, she sought the Prophet, Nathan and submitted to him over the recent events.
Impressively, she opted to learn the ways of the Lord at the feet of Nathan. Bathsheba was not a Jew by birth. Much more than being Queen, she desired to be properly integrated into the Jewish customs. David’s influence on her was beyond the love-struck cord that fuels the physical intimacy of man and wife. Although, before the encounter, a part of her had always admired David: his gait, strength, resilience and his love for the Lord. Bathsheba maintained a fast and steady growth under Nathan’s tutelage: waxing strong in the knowledge of the secret ways of the Lord, beyond the Jewish rituals and occasional feasts. The recent development further strengthened the relationship of the royal couple.
Momentously, Bathsheba was with child. However, she nursed secret fears for her child’s life, seeing that her recent progress plus the King’s undying affection for her had made her a center of attraction. Fortune seemed to have smiled on her again! The guilt of judgment slowly faded from her heart.
Weeks ran into months. The child was born. Word spread as the townspeople thronged the palace, but what was special about this child? What was the frenzy all about? Were they really concerned or seeking for new themes to fuel their local gossip? Bathsheba realized that not all of these persons really were well-wishers.
David felt a fond attraction to this child. He was convinced that it was different. More still, his fact was corroborated by the message of the Lord through the Prophet, Nathan, who named the child JEDIDIAH meaning “Beloved of the Lord”.
Click here for previous episode: Bathsheba: The adulterous widow