Sunday, June 19, 2022

Bathsheba Tempted Nobody!

I'm sure you've heard the story about how Bathsheba was bathing on her roof, was seen by King David, and because of that she and David had an adulterous relationship, and Uriah (Bathsheba's wife) was murdered as part of a cover up.  And had Bathsheba not been bathing on the roof, David would have never seen her naked and never would have lusted after her and acted on that lust.  It's the classic story of what happens when a woman doesn't sufficiently cover herself.

Except that's not what happened.  And the interpretation of the events is completely wrong!  First off, Bathsheba was not bathing on her roof.  It was King David who was on his roof!  Bathsheba was likely bathing in a river, which would be the normal place to find someone bathing back then.  And it wouldn't matter even if she was bathing on the roof, because she is not the one who sinned!  Read 2 Samuel 12:1-4 very carefully.  Bathsheba is likened to an innocent lamb that was needlessly slaughtered.  This goes well with Deuteronomy 22:25-27, where God likens raping another man's wife to murder.  In other words, Bathsheba wasn't willing.  She was forced!  And all of the blame goes squarely on King David, who forced her, and then murdered her husband.

So, what if Bathsheba was bathing on the roof?  Why doesn't she get blamed for anything?  Because that's not how lust works!  Ignoring the fact that a river (the typical place to bathe back then) is a public area where many people could be bathing together at the same time without any gender or age segregation, lust is simply desiring to have something (or someone) that does not belong to you.  It is on each person to control their own desires.  And "immodesty" does not cause lust, as demonstrated by the numerous examples in the Bible of men getting into trouble concerning women without the woman's clothing (or lack thereof) ever being brought up.  For example, in Genesis 34.  But why let facts get in the way of doctrine?

You might object, saying "didn't David commit adultery with Bathsheba because he saw that she was beautiful to look at?"  Obviously the answer is yes, but her lack of clothing in this one instance still changes nothing.  And the fact that both men and women were made in the Image of God, without any clothing whatsoever (Genesis 2:25), and that God called everything he made "very good" (Genesis 1:31), it's pretty clear that women are designed to be beautiful in the eyes of men, regardless of their clothing or lack thereof.  Likewise, God designed men to find women beautiful to look at, with or without clothing.  So it is not sinful for a man to look upon a woman and find her beautiful, even if she has no clothes on.  What is sinful however, is for the man to desire to have his neighbor's wife as his own wife, or to desire to have sexual relationships with his neighbor's wife.  It's also sinful for a man to actually have sexual relationships with his neighbor's wife.  And it is sinful for the woman to be willing to have the adulterous relationship.

What about the issue of temptation then?  If Genesis 3 is anything to go by, it is wrong to deliberately cause someone to sin.  But temptation to commit sexual sin at the mere sight of an unclothed female body is a modern day conditioning of society, as already pointed out here and elsewhere.  And it all starts with the incorrect view of the human body, which is the view that the human body is obscene and not fit to be looked at.  It ends with a realistic, Biblical view of the human body, that it is the very good image of God, which is designed to be seen.

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