This novel takes a key story from the Bible, so often discussed and presented from King David’s point of view, but told here from the victims point of view. And clearly that is what she is – a victim of a hideous assault on her life, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
We don’t know much about the character of Bathsheba from the biblical account, so this book helps us to imagine the person, the feelings and the situations. It is wrapped in the culture of the times, offering great context for all that happened. We can get close to her likely hopes and deep fears, living in a culture that could have led to her death at many points along the story.
The author adds a lot of colour and atmosphere to build the story, highlighting Bathsheba as the innocent victim of a man’s abuse of power, even by the standards of the time. And the violation that she suffered led to profound shame and fear.
Through no fault of her own, her life fell apart, shattered and she was sent into turmoil and mental anguish. A brief moment of lust led so quickly to a trail of deaths, lies, broken lives and a change in direction of history. Throughout, faith stood firm, and allowed God in, so as to be able to bring some good out of it all, to build relationships and to further His purposes.
Considering the story, when much of it could have been presented very graphically, the author has handled it very sensitively, and no readers should be offended by the way it is described.
Rightly, from Bathsheba’s point of view, her opinion of King David was far from positive and at odds with how history often sees him. But it is fascinating to read how her love developed and their relationship blossomed. That he knew his failings and ultimately managed to redeem himself with her. An interesting point of view and one I would like to believe.
Out of her weakness Bathsheba found strength, becoming mother to King Solomon, a man of great wisdom. Her strength, courage and wisdom are presented as sourcing from her faith, which stands firm through the most difficult of situations. This is perhaps why she gets a mention in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1, as one of just a few special mothers who’s importance is noted. Without her story, this line of Jesus would not trace back to King David.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author, but was under no pressure to provide a favourable review.