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For Bathsheba

Reading 2 Samuel 11 will provide context for this post.

I wonder if Bathsheba thought she was barren.

I don't know how long she'd been married to Uriah, but she didn't have a child yet when he was sent to war. It could have been a few months, it could have been years. I don't know if there's any good in speculating about this, but it makes me wonder how she felt about conceiving from one night with David.

If anything is clear, it's that this story is not.

In speaking with a Bible and Theology Professor at Wheaton, I learned that the Hebrew translation shows that Bathsheba is always the direct object. Meaning, that her plot in this story isn't an act of hers but rather a plot acted upon her. She bathes, so that is of her own action. But then it says David sees her. David beckons her. David sleeps with her. She is the recipient of the actions, but we have no idea what level of involvement she had in any of this. It's frustrating to have massive questions unknown in this story. Few of these women have any voice in the Bible, but hers is the quietest of all.

I'm of the mindset that, given what we know about the Hebrew text and given that all the men had been called to the war, it is natural that Bathsheba wouldn't be aware of David's presence in the city, let alone the palace wall. I believe it is inappropriate for us then to place sin on Bathsheba. She might not have been fully innocent, in fact, few among us are, but I don't think there is any Biblical support for the argument that Bathsheba seduces David from her rooftop with her bath. I may be wrong, but I'm not willing to say with certainty that Bathsheba intentionally sought out David.

I wonder what the weeks between the conception and her knowledge of the child were like. Did she talk to anyone about it? Had anyone seen her journey to the palace and back? Was she in communication with her family? Did they know? Did she know David called Uriah back to the city? If she did, did she want Uriah to come and sleep with her to disguise the pregnancy and save face?

There is so much unsaid. How do you respectfully tell the story of a woman whose voice is silenced without misinterpreting the story? What we've created for this scene feels the most accurate portrayal to me, but we may be romanticizing the relationship with Uriah, we may be inaccurately telling Bathsheba's story. So much of this project has been playing with various options in these stories and leaning into the ones that feel the most accurate to the cast and crew. It's at times like this when acting out the stories instead of speaking them becomes especially helpful. I can't imagine trying to write out her story in words.

Three things are certain: 1) I have questions. 2) I'm grateful for the chance to have devised parts of this story. 3) My cast and I's interpretation may be wrong.