Thursday, June 24

Disciple Bible Study: Week 3, Reading 5


Ick.  David and Bathsheba.

I’m participating in Disciple Bible Study, a 34 week intensive. Every day, we have different readings (except on the seventh day…resting!). I have decided to document my initial noticings from a close reading of the scripture. Well, an attempt at a close reading.

Week 3, Reading 5: 2 Samuel 11:1-12:7, Psalm 51

From 2 Samuel:

  • 11:1 - spring is the time when kings go out and battle.  Isn't this ultimately sad?  Battle is deeply embedded into our life cycle.  Isn't spring a traditional time of new birth?  Destruction and new birth held together.
  • Of course, there are so many problems with David's role here that are anti-what he is supposed to do.
    • David did not go out and battle (11:1)
    • David used what could be termed the "divine right of kings*" to take Bathsheba. This brings up the question of consent.
    • David has intercourse with Bathsheba during her menstrual period.  Uncleanliness questions.  In fact, Bathsheba is the holder of the holy mystery during this encounter because she is the holder of the both/and.  Being in more than one place at once.
    • Plots to kill Uriah.
    • Plots to kill Uriah during Sukkot (11:1).  Interestingly, this is no longer spring.  We are into fall, then.  A sacred time for the Jewish people.
    • Has Uriah killed.
  • 11:26 - How long is the lamentation period?  It looks like 30 days.  Maybe.
  • 11:26 - What do we know about first born sons and the Bible?  Doom!
  • 12:5 and 6 - After Nathan confronts David with the story about the rich and poor lamb owners, David is incensed.  He has a great heart for the poor here.  And we can see an inkling, within this ugly story, why he is so loved.
  • 12:7 - G*d gave David Saul's wives and house.  Bathsheba is one of many.
  • 12:8 - So interesting!  An anomaly.  Can someone tell me why the house of Judah and Israel would be mentioned?  Aren't they united at this point in time?  Sweet!

Psalm 51

  • Verses 15-17 sound very liturgical.
  • And nobody can tell us that the Ancient Jews didn't know what a true sacrifice was.  This idea that Christians have a corner on spiritual sacrifice or giving of our hearts to G*d is not new.  Here it is:
    • "For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased."
    • "The sacrifice acceptable to G*d is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."

* The divine right of kings was a much later doctrine.  However, it seems that David's actions here fit the concept.

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