"From a Woman's Point of View" Part 2-
"She Was Purified"
"The price of purity is high; but impurity is dirt cheap."
How would I have felt had I been ordered to come to King David's palace only to find out that his intentions were not within the will of God?
"Genuine purity is internal."
William S. Plumer
"The pure soul is a beautiful rose."
It was a beautiful afternoon. Bathsheba felt protected as she relaxed in the safety of her home. According to the laws of purification given by God to Moses and then to the children of Israel, Bathsheba was at the time of the month when the Bible states she was "purified of her uncleanness." In current times this may sound strange until one remembers that without modern conveniences such as running water and plumbing facilities, the chance of spreading disease was much greater in Biblical times. In Leviticus 25, God instructed women, during their monthly cycle, to separate themselves for seven days. Furthermore, anyone who touched a woman during this time was considered unclean until evening. There's even more. Once the seven days were up, if a woman cleansed herself, and then waited seven more days, she was considered to be "clean" or as the Bible tells us, she was "purified" (Leviticus 15: 19, 28).
Now this information brings several thoughts to my mind - from a woman's point of view.
First of all, if I had been in Bathsheba's sandals, my first thought when I went to the door of my house to find King David's messengers had come to take me to the palace, most likely would have been that tragedy had struck my husband who was away at war. Remember, Bathsheba's grandfather was one of David's counselors. Their families were not strangers and it could very well have been an act of kindness for David to want to talk to Bathsheba in person if something had happened to her husband, Uriah. This, however, wasn't the case.
Instead, David had something else on his mind. Don't forget, he saw Bathsheba bathing, so he had to know that the time of her "purification" had arrived. He would not be deemed, by the Levitical laws, doing something that would make him "unclean," if he "lay" with Bathsheba. How hypocritical we humans are. According to the Israelite laws, David wasn't performing an act of uncleanliness by being with Bathsheba for she had purified herself. How sad that David forgot that purity is not just an act of the body, but it is also an act of the desires of the heart. We would do well to think seriously of the way we behave when we "do" everything externally according to the letter of the law, but internally, where no one can see, we run afoul of God's holiness and His design for our lives.
But there's also another point I want to make. I don't know what kind of medical knowledge was available at this time, however, from what we know now, days 14-21 of a woman's monthly cycle can frequently be the time of the month when, if she has intercourse, she is most likely to become pregnant. Obviously, from what the Bible tells us, this is exactly the time David "lay" with Bathsheba. Talk about playing with fire. This act of defilement against another man's wife was a disaster from the very first moment, and a catastrophe in the end.
I'm not certain what was going through Bathsheba's mind when, in the palace of David, she realized he had not invited her to his living quarters for tea and cookies. The fact is, David had designs on Bathsheba before she ever arrived. As king, David felt he could do what he wanted regardless of the consequences. And if Bathsheba didn't like it - tough - because he could have his way with her, for his position and power gave him the right - or so he thought!
In this sad and sordid story there are many lessons for our lives beginning with the fact that doing what the law says is pure doesn't makes us pure within our hearts. This is why in Psalm 51 David asks, even begs God to give him a pure heart.
As John Keble so eloquently penned: "Lord, we Thy presence seek; May ours this blessing be; give us a pure and lowly heart, a temple meet for Thee."
No luxuriant bath can purify us when the act we commit defiles our hearts. And this was something, that in a moment of unbridled passion, David completely lost sight of. The author George MacDonald wrote, "Oh! To be clean as a mountain river! Clean as the air above the clouds, or on the middle seas! As the throbbing ether that fills the gulf between star and star! Nay, as the thought of the Son of Man Himself."
It is no wonder that when David began to recognize the folly of his behavior toward God he wrote, "For You (God) delight not in sacrifice or else would I give it. You find no pleasure in burnt offering. My sacrifice to God is a broken spirit and a contrite heart…O God, You will not despise" (Psalm 51: 16, 17 Amplified Bible).
What makes my heart ache for Bathsheba is that one has to consider the ride home, for the Bible says that after David had his way with her he sent Bathsheba home. As a woman, I can only imagine how alone Bathsheba must have felt. And if you were to ask her at that moment if she felt "purified", I believe the answer would have been, "No!" This is something we as women need to remember. It's tough for a woman when she's been used and then, "sent home" and it happens more often than not to God's precious girls. Tomorrow we'll ask another question which I've asked when reading this story. "What if Bathsheba had said, "No!" It's the question we will tackle tomorrow. See you then!
"Still to the lowly soul
He doth Himself impart,
And for His cradle and His throne
Chooseth the pure in heart."
"Make and keep me pure within."
"O eternal God, who has taught us by Thy holy word that our bodies are temples of Thy Spirit; keep us, we most humbly beseech Thee, temperate and holy in thought, word and deed, that at the last we, with all the pure in heart, may see Thee and be made like unto Thee in Thy heavenly kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Brook Foss Westcott
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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