King David's love affair with Bathsheba is one of the Bible's best-known stories of intrigue. Bathsheba was the daughter  of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite, one of David's "mighty men"—his band of thirty-seven fierce and loyal warriors.

The Hittites were a pagan tribe related to the Canaanites. The Bible authors contrast the sinful actions of the Jewish king David with the godly and honorable actions of this Gentile and formerly pagan man named Uriah, who evidently had converted to the Jewish faith.

David sinned by committing adultery with Bathsheba, who became pregnant. Then David had Uriah killed in battle so he could marry her (2 Samuel 11). As a result of this sin, the child born to David and Bathsheba died. However, they later bore a son named Solomon who gained great favor, renown, and wisdom from the Lord. Jesus, the Messiah, was part of the lineage of David, Bathsheba, and Solomon.

Solomon and the Shulammite Woman

Solomon, the son of David and Bathsheba, shared a great love with a young, beautiful Shulammite girl. We read this heartwarming love story in the book of Song of Solomon. Scripture says that the girl was dark-skinned, in part because of the work she had to do in the fields. But she may also have been of African or Egyptian descent.

The Song of Solomon is one of the most poignant love stories in all of literature. As intercultural couples, we can learn a great deal about love, conflict, conflict resolution, intimacy, and more by reading it. Engaged couples may enjoy reading this book on their wedding night.

We don't know what ever happened to the Shulammite girl, but the Bible indicates that, in later life, Solomon became involved with a wide variety of women from pagan backgrounds who led him away from the Lord. He may have been influenced by his father's philandering with Bathsheba and other women.

However, every couple can learn important lessons by reading the book of Song of Solomon together. Also look for the following excellent resources on the Song of Solomon by pastor Tommy Nelson:

The Book of Romance: What Solomon Says about Love, Sex, and Intimacy

Song of Solomon Classic DVD Series: A Study of Love, Marriage, Sex, and Romance

Ahasuerus and Esther (also called Xerxes)

The pagan King Xerxes selected an exquisite young woman named Esther from among the most beautiful young women in the land to become his queen in place of the former Queen Vashti.

At the recommendation of her cousin Mordecai, Esther kept her Jewish heritage a secret during the selection process and after she had become queen. However, the king's right-hand man, Haman, hatched a plot to destroy all of the Jews because Mordecai refused to bow down to him. Mordecai informed Esther of Haman's sinister plot and told her, "Do not imagine that you in the king's palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:13-14).

Esther courageously approached the king to plead for the lives of her people. He allowed them to defend themselves against their enemies, and he ordered Haman to be hung on the gallows that Haman had built for Mordecai. Esther provides a powerful example for women who have married a man from another culture or belief system. She responded to her husband with respect and honor, and he honored her and her people in return.

Boaz and Ruth

Ruth hailed from the land of Moab, east of the Dead Sea. After the death of her husband, Mahlon, Ruth demonstrated remarkable loyalty and courage by staying with her Israelite mother-in-law, Naomi, who had also been recently widowed (Ruth 1:16). Ruth traveled with Naomi back to Naomi's hometown of Bethlehem in the land of Judah.