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Book Review: The Wives of King David Book 3, Bathsheba by Jill Eileen Smith

You know you've read a "soul-stirring" book when days and weeks later you are still thinking about it!

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Paperback $9.49
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Paperback $14.99

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Published by Revell March 1, 2011/352 pages
Historical Fiction/Wives of King David/Old Testament

Most people are familiar with the story of David and Bathsheba, it is probably one of the most famous of the Old Testament stories. I had read the story numerous times; yet I had never delved deep in to the story until Jill Eileen Smith took me by the hand and walked me through it step by step. Jill has a talent for noticing the details in the story of David and Bathsheba that I'd not noticed before. The story was no longer just a Biblical story of people that lived long ago. It is a story that all humans can relate in some way to, the crafty ensnarement of temptation and what our choice will be, will we fall in to temptation not wanting to think about the consequences, or will we flee like Joseph?

King David chose not to go with his men in to battle, but instead he remained at home in Jerusalem. David was middle age, feeling restless, fidgety, and without aspiration. While walking on his roof in the cool Spring evening, he notices a very beautiful woman bathing. Instead of taking his eyes off her and fleeing this intoxicating and arousing sight, He sends his servant to bring her to him. There have been people to lay the blame entirely at the feet of Bathsheba, maybe she did have her own part in this story, maybe she was not entirely without fault. But, David was King, and he knew that if he asked for anything, his servants including his people would obey. After Bathsheba became pregnant, David created a plan A and a plan B in dealing with Bathsheba's husband Uriah, but neither worked. He then resorted to murder. But the sins that he had committed "wasted away at his bones and God's hand was heavy upon him." Read Psalm 32. God sent Nathan the prophet to confront David with his sin. Nathan told David a story about a beloved ewe lamb, and this of course touched David's shepherd heart. Then Nathan told David "ahish atah" (Hebrew for) "You are the man!" David you are the man! David acknowledged, admitted, and repented his sin and stated, "I have sinned against the LORD." 2 Samuel 12:13
(See also Psalm 51. David acknowledged his sin, he confessed and repented, and God forgave him, but there were still consequences.)

Scripture references are given, I did not find anything "added" that was not Biblical.
Emphasis was not on the "love story" of David and Bathsheba, although that is apart of the story. The emphasis is on the temptation, sin, how the sin ate away at their spirits, and the repentance, forgiveness, and restoration between them and God.
The strictness of Old Testament laws are explored, including those that specifically affected women.
We see that life at this time seemed to be 1 battle after another, and that the men were often gone for long periods of time.
The problems with David's other wives and his children are involved in this story.
The book follows David from the time of his relationship with Bathsheba till the end of his life.

Bathsheba gives a "soul-stirring" account of sin and guilt and confession and repentance, and most importantly our need for forgiveness. The story is alive and breathing, it leaps off of the pages and grabs a hold of your heart and squeezes out any drops you may have, of unconfessed sin and guilt. It is in your face with the disgusting, vile, and pitiableness, of what was thought to be greener pastures.
I grieved for Uriah, when I'd read this story out of the Bible before I'd not reflected much on him.
I grieved for Bathsheba, for her losses and her messy entanglements in a man who was King.
I grieved for David, because he was, "a man after God's own heart" and how could he have done this grievous thing.
But, I am a child of the King, and I too have sinned in my life.
Praise be to God that He had a magnificent plan and that was the cross. The cross that God's son Jesus would shed His blood on and because of my belief in Him and in his atoning work, I am forgiven!
This is an awesome book, and a reminder that Christian fiction can teach as well as or if not more than a Christian non-fiction book; because it creates a vivid sensory picture in your mind that will impact your life.

Blissful Reading!


I have to say I kind of wondered how biblical a book like this would be, and I also wondered if the emphasis would be on David and Bathsheba's love story, which wouldn't seem right since what they did was so wrong. But your review makes me think it would be worth reading. I'm glad nothing was added to the biblical account, and that the emphasis was on their temptation and sin and the consequences of it. Great review!