David's love (and sin) with Bathsheba has long been one of the most intriguing relationships in Scripture. In one night of senseless passion, God's golden-boy--the chosen shepherd/king--makes a decision that leads him to commit the two most despicable sins of any culture: adultery and murder. How could our hero, David, do such a thing? And how could a righteous God forgive him...let alone allow David to continue as Israel's king? Jill Eileen Smith takes us beyond these questions to struggle with the object of David's sin, Bathsheba. Did she enter the king's bed willingly, or was she simply acting in obedience?
Jill Smith has been one of my favorite writers because of her careful attention to historic accuracy and detail. She remains meticulously true to the biblical account, and because of her cautious respect for Scripture, I trust her interpretation of the characters she portrays. When one reads biblical fiction, it's always important to remember that the story is indeed FICTION. However, because of Jill's intense study, I believe she embraces the fullness of the biblical characters' strengths and weaknesses.
For these reasons, David's torturous mourning over the loss of his wife Abigail makes his longing for love believable. We see a powerful, yet lonely man, surrounded by people. Bathsheba, too, is a believable young wife, yearning for her warrior husband, who has been called away to war more than he's been home. The adulterous encounter is not sensationalized or unnecessarily dramatized. Jill masterfully draws the reader into these main characters' emotions, then allows them to become deeply flawed, broken and then forgiven.
Though this book is the last in the series of three, it can stand alone. But true biblical fiction readers will definitely want to read all three books describing The Wives of King David as seen through the heart and mind of Jill Eileen Smith.
Bathsheba, book three in the Wives of King David series, is the latest book by Jill Eileen Smith, and it doesn't disappoint at all! While the story itself is not new to me, the delivery of the story is what makes this book so special. I love the descriptions of David's palace, like the extravagance of the food and the elegance of his garments, which make the story come to life on the page. I also love the emotion that is displayed in the love triangle which is Bathsheba, David, and Uriah, and Jill does not hold anything back!
Jill Eileen Smith has seriously found her niche in writing Biblical fiction. I'm hard pressed to find anyone else at the top of their game in that genre as well as she is right now. She has such exceptional talent that explodes on every page with her emotional characters and words that breath new life into age-old Biblical stories. I highly recommend Bathsheba for fans of Biblical fiction!
I have been anticipating reading Bathsheba ever since I finished Abigail and once again Jill Eileen Smith has delivered a vivid portrait of one of Kind David's wives, with historical detail and intelligent conjecture. Bathsheba, her husband Uriah and King David are all fleshed out and their thoughts and motivations examined with sensitivity and insight, based on the Biblical storyline. David and Bathsheba's story reveals how pervasive sin can be and lead us to do unthinkable things. God's redemptive love is also displayed in all its power, even as the consequences of David and Bathsheba's choices play out for the rest of their lives. David's reign overflowed with drama and intrigue and no doubt it was impossible for Jill to include it all, resulting in the ending feeling a little rushed. That said, I highly recommend this challenging and thought-provoking story which left me pondering the lessons to be learned. Jill's books always have me turning back to the scriptures to reread the Biblical story and Bathsheba was no exception.
In my opinion Biblical Fiction has to be one of the hardest genres to write in because you are taking something that is fact but there is not a lot of info on and fictionalizing it to bring it to life. So not only are you researching the ways and habits of the time period but you are researching the people as well. Jill Eileen Smith is a master of this. Her Wives of King David series is fantastic and this last book, Bathsheba, is a catch-22 for me. I wanted to see what she did with this difficult story, but I also didn't want to see the series end. I have just turned the last pages and ended it and now sadly put it down. Jill did not disappoint me at all, she handled a hard story of sin, forgiveness, grace and consequences with incredible insight and diplomacy. She continues to bring David to life as a man with flaws and sin, but with a heart that truly desires to follow God. And though this book focuses on Bathsheba, the journey of his wives is a truly fascinating thing. I plan on making this series required reading for my children as they hit high school because there is value in bringing Biblical characters to life... flaws and forgiveness.