Gilbert House Fellowship #378: 2 Samuel 11–12; 1 Chronicles 20

DAVID’S PLOY to take the wife of Uriah the Hittite is another story that shows that the Bible has not been cleaned up to make the humans used by God look more, well, saintly. 

Bathsheba, whose name probably derives from Hurrian meaning “lady of Hebat,” the chief female deity of the Hurrian pantheon, was impregnated by David while her husband, Uriah the Hittite, fought with the army in Ammon. After trying unsuccessfully to avoid responsibility for his child by convincing Uriah to be with Bathsheba while on leave from the army, David plotted with his nephew Joab, who commanded the army, to leave Uriah unprotected in battle so he’d be killed. 

This despicable ploy was transparent enough to Joab and anyone else with eyes to see, but it was obviously not hidden from God. This led to an epic confrontation between David and the prophet Nathan, who came to David with a story about a wealthy man stealing a lamb from a poor man. David declared that the wealthy man deserved to die—to which Nathan replied, “You are the man!” 

We discuss David’s response to the decree that his child would die, and that rebellion would arise within David’s house. We also note that the entire incident with Bathsheba is missing from 1 Chronicles, possibly because the writer of the account compiled after the Babylonian captivity found the story just too distasteful to connect to David. 

And we talk about the Philistine giants in 1 Chronicles 20, a preview of a deeper discussion we’ll have when we read the parallel account in 2 Samuel 21 (in about six weeks, if we keep to our posted schedule). Basically, the Hebrew phrase translated “descendants of the giants” does not mean what the English words imply. Goliath and the other Philistine “giants” were big, yes (although the Septuagint translation and the first-century Jewish historian Josephus write that Goliath was 6’9”, not 9’9”), but more importantly, they were members of a warrior cult. 

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