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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. Bath-She'ba, בִּתאּשֶׁבִע, daughter of the oath, or of seven [sc. years]; Sept. Βηρσαβεέ, Josephus Βεεθσαβή : also בִּתאּשׁוּעִ , Bath-Shu'a, another form of the same name; Sept. as before; 1 Chronicles 3:5; in ch. 1 Chronicles 2:3, this form is translated "daughter of Shua" in the English version), daughter of Eliam (2 Samuel 11:3) or Ammiel (1 Chronicles 3:5), the grand. daughter of Ahithophel (2 Samuel 23:34), and wife of Uriah. She was seduced by King David during the absence of her husband, who was then engaged at the siege of Rabbah (2 Samuel 11:4-5; Psalms 51:2). B.C. -1035. The child thus born in adultery became ill and died (2 Samuel 12:15-18). After the lapse of the period of mourning for her husband, who was slain by the contrivance of David (2 Samuel 11:15), she was legally married to the king (2 Samuel 11:27), and bore him Solomon (2 Samuel 12:24; 1 Kings 1:11; 1 Kings 2:13; comp. Matthew 1:6). It is probable that the enmity of Ahithophel toward David was increased, if not caused, by the dishonor brought by him upon his family in the person of Bath-sheba. The other children of Bath-sheba were Shimea (or Shammu'ah), Shobab, and Nathan, named in 2 Samuel 5:14; 1 Chronicles 3:5. When, in David's old age, Adonijah, an elder son by Haggith, attempted to set aside in his own favor the succession promised to Solomon, Bath-sheba was employed by Nathan to inform the king of the conspiracy (1 Kings 1:11; 1 Kings 1:15; 1 Kings 1:23). After the accession of Solomon, she, as queen-mother, requested permission of her son for Adonijah (q.v.) to take in marriage Abishag (q.v.) the Shunamite. B.C. 1015. This permission was refused, and became the occasion of the execution of Adonijah (1 Kings 2:24-25). (See DAVID).

Bath-sheba is said by Jewish tradition to have composed and recited Proverbs 31 by way of admonition or reproof to her son Solomon on his marriage with Pharaoh's daughter (Calmet, Dict. s.v.; Corn. a Lapid. on Proverbs 31). The rabbins describe her as a woman of vast information and a highly-cultivated mind, to whose education Solomon owed much of his wisdom and reputation, and even a great part of the practical philosophy embodied in his Proverbs (q.v.).

A place is still shown at Jerusalem, called "the Pool of Bath-sheba," as being the spot where she was seen bathing by David, but it is an insignificant pit, evidently destitute of any claim to antiquity (Biblioth. Sacra, 1843, p. 33).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Bath-Sheba'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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