Bathsheba: The Rest of the Story (Part 2)

As we begin to consider the rest of her story, let us give attention to: BATHSHEBA'S GODLY HERITAGE.

Bathsheba was born to a man named Eliam (II Sam. 11:3), whose name means: "God is my kinsman." We could just as easily say his name means, "I am part of God's family." Biblical names often were prophetic and descriptive of a person's life. For example, Jacob was a deceiver, David was beloved, and Moses means to draw out (an apt description of the exodus). It appears that Eliam was an Old Testament example of a true child of God.

In II Samuel 23, there is a listing of David's mighty men of valor. Men who excelled in virtue and fighting skills became his most trusted allies and confidants. There were only 37 of them in all listed. Eliam was a member of this exclusive group (23:34). So, Bathsheba's father had a name that means God is my kinsman, and he was one of David's most valiant and trusted soldiers. So, it would appear Bathsheba was raised in a good family.

There are two more important facts from her father's life that we should note:

(1) The man he chose for his daughter to marry was Uriah the Hittite. Did you know that he was also one of David's mighty men of valor (23:39)? We are confident Uriah was a proselyte to the Hebrew faith, perhaps inspired by the life of David to do so. If Eliam was the devout Hebrew we believe he was, he would have been very careful whom he would choose for his daughter to marry. Marriages were arranged in that era. He would not have selected a Hittite husband for his daughter unless he saw great character and nobility in the man. The wisdom of that choice manifests itself as Uriah proved himself to be of more noble character than that of David himself, in the few brief glimpses we have of his life from II Samuel 11. Uriah is actually a Hebrew name that is translated "light or flame of Yahweh" or "Jehovah is my light." This is evidence that he was a Hebrew proselyte. A tragic irony in this story is that David may have murdered a man whom he had won to the Lord! Yet David is still known as a man after God's own heart. Friends, what I want to suggest to all, both young and old alike, is that you are very special in God's eyes even with the mistakes you have made. It is good to start well but finishing faithfully is even more important! It is believed that both David and Bathsheba finished well in God's eyes.

(2) The name Eliam chose for his daughter, Bathsheba, means "daughter of the oath." This is either a reference to the promise to Abraham, or some vow made to God by Bathsheba's parents. Either way it again shines a light on the genuine faith her father had. She was raised in a home that honored God, displayed bravery against the Lord's enemies, and was a close confidant of one of the greatest heroes of the Old Testament. Birds of a feather do flock together. Eliam was a great man of God.

Next, let's back up a generation and talk about Bathsheba's grandfather, Ahithophel.

Ahithophel is listed as Eliam's father in II Samuel 23:34. This was the Ahithophel who was David's counselor (cf. II Sam. 15:12). He wasn't just any counselor; he was the best! Consider what II Samuel 16:23 states about him - "Now the advice of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, was as if one had inquired at the oracle of God. So was all the advice of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom." While it is true that Ahithophel later turned on David, lay aside the betrayal for a moment. What is recorded here is an accolade of the highest order. Ahithophel, Bathesheba's grandfather, showed himself to be a man of great wisdom. That wisdom no doubt came from a close walk with God (cf. Prov. 1:7).

Also, it is believed that David was referring to Ahithophel in Psalm 55, where he describes a man of faith - "For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; then I could hide from him. But it was you, a man my equal, my companion and my acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked in the house of God in the throng" (Psa. 55:12-14).

In that passage, which is also applied to Judas and Jesus, David is describing the shock that one who had worshipped God with him regularly was also the one who betrayed him. And why did Ahithophel betray King David? Although the Scriptures do not explain, there is one primary theory: Ahithophel turned against David because of what the king did to his granddaughter and her husband. David had sought her out, not vice versa. She was married to a mighty man of valor and renown in the kingdom, and that was all tarnished, as was Ahithophel's family name, with what David had done. A good name is rather to be chosen than riches (Prov. 22:1). With the adultery and widespread public shame that would eventually follow (cf. II Sam. 12:14), that good name was tarnished for Bathsheba and her family. I am not condoning what Ahithophel did to David. I'm merely explaining a possible motive for why such a godly man would turn against David his friend and confidant. If David was the mostly guilty party and he did that to your granddaughter and your family reputation, and all of a sudden there was another man rising in power (i.e., Absalom), what would you do and where would your allegiance be?

We will continue this study in our next lesson.