“And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, ‘I am with child.’”
2 Samuel 11: 5
King James Version
“Bathsheba: Expectant Mother”
“Now I am nothing but a veil; all my body is a veil beneath which a child sleeps.”
If I had been able to become pregnant, how would this news have made me feel?
What responsibility did I believe I had to the life I was carrying inside of me?
“Every pregnant woman should be surrounded with every possible comfort.”
Dr. Flora Aldrich
“O God, thank you for the miracle of new beginning life. Bless the mothers, and let them know that you are ever with them throughout their pregnancies, labors, and deliveries. Bless those eagerly awaiting their opportunities to love and nurture. Especially bless baby N. Keep these, your tiniest souls, safe in their mothers’ wombs and under your heart until they are old enough, big enough, strong enough, mature enough, and healthy enough to be born into this world to be shining examples of your love and grace. It is in the name of your own dear child, Jesus Christ our Lord, that we pray. Amen.”
Mrs. Camille S. Senter
One thing I love about children is their uniquely inquisitive nature. And I was no different when I was a young child. After having one of my friends tell me she was “adopted,” whatever that meant to me at the age of seven, I decided I would ask my mom if I were adopted, too.
She sat me down and told me that while “adoption” was a blessing to families, just like my Aunt Limmie, my mother’s sister, who couldn’t have but one child and wanted more so she adopted four wonderful boys, she went on to say that I was truly my dad’s and her child. In fact, she shared with me that because my dad had been an orphan, having a family he could call “his own” meant a great deal to him. When he and my mother found out they were going to have a baby, she said they were extremely excited. Overjoyed might be a better description. When I was born, quite a long time ago, there weren’t tests that let you know the sex of your baby so they had to wait until the day I was “delivered.” As my mom told me, you’ve always been a step ahead honey, for you breathed early and fluid filled your lungs and it was touch-and-go for a month after you were born. We didn’t know if you would make it. (This was another reason they called me Dorothy - - Gift from God, for they felt that the fact I lived after such a tough start was heaven’s gift.)
With this legacy surrounding my mother’s pregnancy and my delivery and birth, it really set me to reflecting on how Bathsheba must have felt when after a couple of months, she began to think something was happening inside her body. We women are intuitive. We know things - - sometimes well before anyone else does. In the case of Bathsheba, a day came when she knew that a life was growing inside her.
Since the Bible leaves us no record of any communication between David and Bathsheba from the time of their one-night-fling, it appears David may have felt the event was in the past - - a long-forgotten memory.
But then the Bible becomes extremely clear – for it tells us that: “The woman conceived.” Now, I want to take a moment and look at this phrase, “The woman conceived.” First, there are three specific times in the Bible when the phrase “woman conceived” is used.
As I studied about the word “conceived” in the Bible, in Hebrew it means, “become pregnant.” But here’s where a very instructive thought came to me from studying the word: “conceived.” The majority of times when the word “conceived” is used, in both the Old and New Testaments, a woman’s name is associated with the word. For example, Elizabeth conceived or Hannah conceived or Leah conceived or Sarah conceived.
But in the case of Bathsheba, at first there appeared to be an almost cold, disconnect - - “a woman conceived.” But before I jumped to an erroneous conclusion, I decided to take a closer look at all the texts which contained this phrase and here they are: Exodus 2: 2, II Samuel 11: 5, 2 Kings 4: 17.
The first text which contains the words, a “woman conceived,” was about the pregnancy of the Biblical heroine Jochebed, the mother of Moses. The second text is our study text for today about the conception of the baby which resulted from a one-night-stand between Bathsheba and David. The third text, found in 2 Kings 4: 17 is about the miracle pregnancy of the “great woman” of Shunem, as she was called, who bestowed such great kindness on Elisha and the Bible tells us that this “blessed” conception came after, “that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life” (2 Kings 4: 17).
Here we have three distinctly different pregnancies. Moses’ parents conceiving a child of promise - - Israel’s deliverer. God’s chosen. Second, a child conceived by the forbidden affair of Bathsheba and David. And third, a child of a miracle bestowed upon a generous family.
Here’s my point, no matter how each of these precious little lives were conceived; in Scripture, the pregnancy, the time of a growing life, was treated with respect - - and the mother carrying that precious life should be treated with the same concern and gentle kindness, no matter what their “station” in life. God’s kindness, as we noted, was bestowed on Hagar, the maid, just as it was on Sarah, Abraham’s wife.
No matter the history surrounding your conception and mine, whether we were the result of a pregnancy that was long-awaited or unplanned, in God’s eyes, it isn’t how we were conceived that gives value to our lives, it is who we belong to which places us all on an equal level, for we are all children of God.
As I thought about the daughter, Bathsheba, and the wife Bathsheba, the reality of this painful situation really hit home to me. Here was a beautiful girl who while alone at home and called to the palace, whether of her agreement or not, found herself with a precious life inside the “veil” of her body. A child that didn’t belong to her husband and in fact, was the offspring of a very married David, King of Israel. All I could think was that a time which should have been joyous, must have been filled with desperate trauma and confusion. No wonder Bathsheba sent a note to the king. I can almost hear her plea, “What will happen now?” This was not how things were to be. And as we found in David’s reaction, desperate people sometimes resort to desperate measures, especially when they hold the power solely in their own hands.
Before we leave this portion of the story regarding Bathsheba’s pregnancy, I want to look at one other situation regarding pregnancy which not only confronted women in the Bible, but confronts many women today. It is the inability to be able to become pregnant and have a child.
This is a subject which hits very close to home for me since I was unable to have a child because of major surgery at the age of 25, which left me unable ever to bear children. I have found great comfort in the words penned by Janice Cave, a prayer which gives encouragement to each of us as we walk the path our heavenly Father has laid out for us along with the children He entrusts to our care, whether we carry them within the walls of our womb or we carry them within the walls of our hearts.
We are heartbroken.
We have cried so many tears for our unborn children.
The pain we feel
is so deep and raw that
there are no words
to express our sorrow.
Lift our hearts from this sadness.
Comfort us with Your love.
We ask for Your peace for we have tried so hard.
Help us to accept that there is so much we may never understand.
Grant us Your guidance
in making a decision
for the future.
Restore our courage
So we can see tomorrow
in a brighter light.”
For a Woman Who Is Pregnant
“God of love,
Bless our friend who will soon be giving birth;
Hold her in the pain,
Strengthen her in the weariness,
Breathe in her,
Labour in her,
and bring forth through her this child
whom we await with loving anticipation.”
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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