Women in Jesus’ Genealogy: Bathsheba

We now come to possibly the strangest addition to Jesus’ Genealogy in Matthew 1. After investigation, we can see why Tamar and Rahab were included: their faith, resilience and courage stand out as testaments of their character, despite their past. Ruth, even on the surface, is an amazing example of faith, loyalty, and joy. But the next woman on the list is a completely different case. During her tale, as told in 2 Samuel 11, she barely speaks or thinks, and in Matthew’s genealogy, he doesn’t even mention her name. She is listed as one who “had been Uriah’s wife” (Matthew 1:6). Why on earth did Matthew include Bathsheba in this list?

It is hard to know much about Bathsheba’s character since we hear from her so little. The focus here is more on David; David saw Bathsheba bathing on the roof, David took her and slept with her, David killed her husband to cover his sin. The baby born from their union died as a consequence of God’s judgement of David’s sin. But we do see a few little glimpses of Bathsheba’s part in all of this.

The text lays no blame on Bathsheba – she is never judged for bathing on the roof or for sleeping with David. It seems that he was where he should not have been, he let his eyes linger, he used his authority to take what he wanted. When she heard that Uriah was dead, Bathsheba mourned for him; she clearly loved her husband. Later, when her baby died, again we see her grief. Her second son, born when she was David’s legitimate wife, was given two names: Jedidiah, which means ‘loved by the Lord’, and Solomon, which means ‘peace’. God had already made a covenant with David that his house and kingdom would endure forever, and he used Bathsheba’s son, Solomon to do that.

So, why is Bathsheba included in the genealogy of Jesus? I tend to think it’s because she is a constant reminder of David’s sin. He was the greatest king Israel ever had, a ‘man after God’s own heart’ who wrote most of the Psalms. It could be very easy to put David on a pedestal and give him higher praises than he deserves. Though he is a definite high point in Israel’s history, he was still capable of grave sin, with terrible consequences. He coveted what was not his, and then committed adultery and murder – that’s three of the Ten Commandments right there! And even though David repented (see Psalm 51), and they had a son of peace and love together, from then on David was depicted in 2 Samuel and 1 Kings as an increasingly weak and tired king.

Though we do not know much of Bathsheba’s character, we certainly know what she stands for. Her presence insists on the grace of the coming Messiah. Even the best people among us are tainted by sin, every single person who has ever lived except one – Jesus Christ. The salvation and redemption offered by Jesus is all the more amazing when we look at Bathsheba and remember that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). She reminds us that, even in the midst of sin, weakness and failure, God is constantly and sovereignly working through fallen people to bring about His great, redeeming plans. And so, Bathsheba, David’s weakness, deserves her place in the genealogy of Jesus, God’s redemption.

Thank God for His redemption plans for David & Bathsheba and for your own.

(Written by Natalie Crawford)

SONG: Psalm 51 by Sons of Korah – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RnDuwbz5UI