You can’t attend church for a very long time without reading the story of David and Bathsheba. Most of the time when you hear this story, you will hear what a wicked woman Bathsheba was, and how she tempted David with her body and assisted in the murder of her husband to cover her sin. But what if that just isn’t true? Angela Hunt paints a much different, and very intriguing picture in her book Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty.
In this eye-opening novel Ms. Hunt portrays Bathsheba as a young woman very in love with her new husband, Uriah. Even though they tried for six months after their wedding to conceive a child, they did not, and Uriah was forced to return to battle with David’s army. While performing her monthly purification ritual in her garden, Bathsheba was spotted by King David and called to his chamber. Once she was there he had his way with her and sent her home. When Bathsheba discovered that she was expecting a child, what was she to do except to tell the king what he had done? He told her that he would take care of it, and worked his deceitful plan to kill Uriah.
Of course there is no way to prove if this story is the truth of that happened so many thousands of years ago, but I found it to be a wonderful alternative to the one I’m used to hearing. It is expertly researched, and the details are amazing. It is a story that opens up so many new possibilities and avenues to a familiar Bible account. It gives a very interesting look into palace life in David’s home. It offers explanations for so many events that took place during that time period, with viewpoints offered from both inside the palace and out. Ms. Hunt has a way to open the reader to the feelings of the people living the stories and making them come to life. Another aspect of the story that I enjoyed was the recounting of the acts of Amnon and Absalom. I could never understand why David didn’t interfere in the situation between his two sons. Ms. Hunt has given a wonderful explanation of these events, and why David acted as he did towards the young men. There is a painful retelling of David’s flight from Jerusalem when Absalom tried to take the throne, as well as David’s heartbreak at his son’s death.
There are so many wonderful things in this book, that I cannot tell about all of them here. I, for one, will never view the story of David, Uriah, Bathsheba and Solomon in the same way again. I highly recommend this book to all lovers of Biblical fiction, or anyone looking for a new perspective to an old story.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.