Bathsheba by Jill Eileen Smith is the third book in the Wives of King David Series. Bathsheba is the beautiful young wife of Uriah, one of King David's Thirty, his leading warriors. War often keeps Uriah away from home, and Bathsheba is lonely and a bit angry that his absence has kept her from becoming pregnant. She knows a child would fill her heart and keep her from missing her husband quite so much, but Uriah is devoted to all of the various rules and rituals of the church, as well as his king. King David has just faced the death of his beloved Abigail, the only wife he has truly loved and the one that kept him from marrying other wives. Her faith in Adonai fueled his, but now that she's gone, David feels lost and refuses to lead his troops into battle in his depression. Smith has a wonderful talent for bringing to life the well-known stories of the Bible, breathing fresh air into them and giving readers new perspective and insight. The story is rich with historical detail until readers can practically see the bustling markets. King David's court is thick is manipulation and jostling for power from Ahithopel, Bathsheba's grandfather, to David's son's who fear any threat to their control. Smith makes Bathsheba and David both incredibly sympathetic and real. Even readers who are familiar with the story and know how it ends will find themselves holding their breath at each turn of the page. Smith is one of the best writers of biblical fiction today.
I don't recall if I have ever read Biblical fiction before reading Bathsheba, so I really wasn't sure if I would enjoy it or not. But, the story of Bathsheba and King David is a well known one and I was interested to see how Jill Eileen Smith would write a novelization of the story.
Let me just say, this book is fantastic. I was very surprised by how quickly I became engaged in this story and really had a hard time putting it down. It always amazed me when I read a story in the Bible that so completely applies to modern day life. The way Jill wrote the story of Bathsheba's and King David's I was able to see that slippery slope of temptation and sin that so many people fall into today. Bathsheba's loneliness caused her mind to go places a married woman's mind should not go and as Bathsheba and King David learn, there are consequences to their actions. The sin nature of humans has not changed from the days when this story takes place and Jill has done a masterful job of bringing this story to life for her readers to learn from.
Bathsheba is a truly remarkable story and I admire the author for doing such a good job with this book. I loved reading it and I don't think I'll ever have to think twice about reading Biblical fiction, especially if it is written by Jill Eileen Smith.
What does a woman do when her husband is away at war for months at a time and she is lonely for love and intimacy? What does she do when the king summons her to his palace? Can she refuse his advances without personal repercussions to herself and her husband? Is she truly aware of her own culpability in the situation?
Jill Eileen Smith, in her book, Bathsheba, gives us an insider's view of the inner conflicts and feelings of both Bathsheba and King David, both before and after their adulterous relationship. Her rendition is in-depth, personal and real. Although this book is fictional in relation to the actual conversations and specific circumstances, Jill does a superb job of keeping true to the Scriptural account.
When Bathsheba finds herself â€˜with child' and sends a message to King David, Jill's creative storytelling allowed me to personally feel David's palpable shock to the message, as well as the silence Bathsheba had to endure until she heard back from him.
The story shows the depths of sin's consequences emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. The depth of the deceit and depravity are astoundingly told, and brings the Biblical account to a deeper level. Jill brings out God's solution and consequences to their deceit and depravity, along with His gracious forgiveness when repentance is real.
It was difficult to be â€˜included' in the deceitful plans of murder and the following consequences. Also difficult was dealing with the animosity and jealousy that comes with multiple wives in one home; thus the reminder of being the husband of one wife.
This is a story of what can happen to anyone whose relationship with the Lord is aloof, a story of sowing and reaping, and an example for our admonition; lest we think we are incapable of doing such a thing. God's forgiveness always comes to a repentant heart, but the consequences remain to be lived out.
Jill's exemplary version of Bathsheba and David's story brings a new, personal perspective that won't be easily forgotten.
This book was provided by Donna Hausler, Publicity Assistant, of Baker Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review. No monetary value was exchanged.
As I opened the pages of, "BATHSHEBA", I felt as though I was delivered back in time. It was as though I had a front row seat into the lives of Bathsheba and David. One temptation. One night. One choice. Everything changed forever.
I was blessed to read, "ABIGAIL", book two in, "THE WIVES OF KING DAVID SERIES", by Jill Eileen Smith. What research and detail she put into this book. Once I began reading I couldn't put this book down. I read it in one afternoon. It left me breathless in my thoughts.
What a mighty God we have. A God that reaches grace to us even in our darkest times of betrayal to Him. We see the heart of David. We see the love Bathsheba has for her husband, Uriah, and the passion they hold. But Uriah is at battle more than he is at home, and that makes Bathesheba yearn even more so for comfort and touch. What she doesn't realize is that, Uriah, feels the same way. He loves his wife with all his heart. Uriah was a man of honor. He held himself as a servant of God. God came first in Uriah's life. Bathsheba was faithful to the Lord. But one temptation led to another and before she knows it, she is called to King David's and finds herself in his bed chambers. What now? Where does she go from here?
David was a man after God's own heart. After the death of, Abigail, his heart was never the same. He allowed his own selfish desires to overcome His faithfulness to God. He began to make one bad choice after the other. Did God punish? Yes, He did. But He also gave mercy and grace.
Through it all, Bathsheba, is blessed to have, Tizrah, at her side. Her faithful servant. Tizrah, is more than her servant. She is a true friend. I loved watching this friendship. This kindred spirit between these two women. No judgement. Only love.
If you love history this book is for you. Love, passion, friendship, redemption and forgiveness. This book is filled with page after page of life lessons we can learn from. This book is beautifully written and will touch your heart giving you a passion to seek God and dive into His Word for more.
If anyone still believes scripture is dead and dusty after reading this book, that person would do better in front of a television set.
Smith faithfully follows scripture in her rendering of King David and Bathsheba in this third story of the Wives of King David. In a different world, a different era, survival often depended on a whim. David had such power and sometimes used it to his and others ruin. Smith's take on David was that he truly loved and felt complemented, first by Michal who had little control of her life and ultimate betrayal; Abigail, the subject of the second novel in the series; and Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, whom he loved in his middle years.
I appreciate that Smith gave a cause to David's reason for not going out to battle - the first time he'd just lost Abigail in childbirth; a reasonable theory, and later for having just added to his harem, a Biblical reason. Thus he was home at a time when Bathsheba's husband was away at war. He saw her in a ritual bath, desired her, and sent for her. Smith fills the story with a daunting catalog of the rituals and legalism which rules this Jewish society, a nice, though sometimes slow, contrast to the struggle over breaking these rules and the agony and punishment that occurs when temptation gives birth to desire, desire leads to sin, and full grown sin to death. Uriah is drawn so lovingly that I hoped perhaps David would change his mind this time and not send the man to his death.
While occasional repetition fills out a couple of chapters of scripture into a whole adult novel, Smith's story is resplendent with the richness and depth of the grace of God to everyone who knows better but continues to struggle with temptation.
Available March 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
A copy of the book was provided by the publishing company for review.