As a young girl, Bathsheba receives a prophecy asserting that she will one day be mother to a man who will affect the fate of Israel. Her family protects her, knowing that Bathsheba’s extraordinary beauty makes her vulnerable to the desires of men. When her father gives her in marriage to Uriah, the warrior, Bathsheba and her family are confident that her fate is sealed and Uriah is the man who will give her this legendary son. But Bathsheba cannot conceive, and Uriah is sent off to war.
Nathan, the prophet, falls for Bathsheba’s beauty at a young age, but God tells him she will not be his wife. Instead, Nathan keeps special watch over Bathsheba from a distance, even after taking a wife and having daughters. When Nathan receives a vision of King David seeing Bathsheba’s beauty and taking advantage of her, Nathan knows he must help protect Bathsheba. God gives him visions of the future, of the son who will build a temple in Israel, and the fate of King David who killed a man to take his wife.
Bathsheba and Nathan tell the story of the ramifications of David’s sin as God’s wrath is poured out generation after generation, from death, to war, to rape, to plagues on the lineage of King David.
Angela Hunt took great care in preserving the Biblical accuracy of Bathsheba’s story. While there was no prophecy of Bathsheba’s future son, Bathsheba’s story otherwise lines up with scripture, and the author does not take liberties that alter the meaning of the original Biblical narrative. Hunt masterfully weaves historical detail through the story, creating an intricate tapestry of ancient Israel and the Biblical legends that inhabited it.
Rather than focusing on the single event that makes Bathsheba infamous, Hunt expounds on Bathsheba’s story, showing the impact not only on the woman herself but the fallout in King David’s house for disobeying God. This story is not just about Bathsheba; this book gives insight into the struggles of King David and the lineage of destruction that befell his house.
Bathsheba’s story inevitably deals with some disturbing subject matter, including rape, murder, and warfare. While some material may not be suitable for younger readers, Hunt’s telling of the events is in no way graphic; the author makes these scenes palpable through an emotional connection rather than visual.
For a book entitled, Bathsheba, by the end of the book, I still felt that I didn’t really know Bathsheba. This is partially due to the fact that so much happens during the course of the novel which follows Bathsheba from her first meeting with the King until she is an old woman. Because the book is fast-paced and plot-driven, Bathsheba’s character is only faintly sketched out. Similarly, the relationship between her and David is so complex, an entire novel could be written centered around their marriage and emotional healing. My only complaint would be that I wish more time was spent delving into Bathsheba’s character and her relationship with David.
Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty was a powerful telling of the Biblical narrative with compelling themes of forgiveness and faithfulness. I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting deeper insight into Old Testament Israel and a new perspective on one of the Bible’s most controversial female figures.
You can purchase your copy of Bathsheba from Bethany House, or grab a copy from your local library!
Hunt, Angela. Bathsheba Reluctant Beauty. N.p.: Baker Pub Group, 2015. Print.