Watch Mass Online

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages

Who was Bathsheba?

Not only is Bathsheba the mother of King Solomon, but she is also one of four women mentioned in the lineage of Christ. Because of King David’s sin, her story is colored with shades of tragedy – from the loss of her husband to the loss of her first child. And yet out of it all, God would eventually bring the promised Messiah to fulfill His plan of redemption.

Today, we invite you to learn more about her life and where you can find her portrayed in the Basilica.

The Coronation Chapel
Bathsheba portrayed in the Coronation Chapel

Bathsheba Meets David

One day, King David was taking an evening stroll on the rooftop when something caught his eye: down in the city below, a beautiful woman was bathing. He inquired after her and learned that she was Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, who was away at war. Yet even after discovering this, David was still determined to have her for himself, and had her brought to him so he could sleep with her.

Sometime after she had returned home, Bathsheba told David she was pregnant. Seeking to hide his sin, David sent for Uriah and tried to persuade him to go visit his wife for the night. But Uriah insisted on staying with his men, and so David committed another sin more grave than the last: he ordered Uriah to the front lines so that he would die in battle. When he had passed away, David brought Bathsheba to be his wife and bear their son.

The Consequences of David’s Sin

David may have thought he had concealed his sin, but God was not pleased. He sent the prophet Nathan to tell him a parable, where a rich man with many lambs took a poor man’s only lamb and killed it for his feast. Upon hearing the tale, David was outraged – only to learn that he was that man, and that God would punish him.

Though David was repentant, when he returned home, his and Bathsheba’s child fell ill. David pleaded with the Lord to save the child, fasting and praying, but tragically, the baby died within a week.

The Mother of Israel’s Wisest King

Star of David
The star of David portrayed in a Trinity Dome window

Bathsheba and David were heartbroken, but God had not forgotten them. Not long after the death of their first child, David and Bathsheba conceived again and gave birth to a son called Solomon. Years passed, and as David grew old, the question of who would inherit the throne became contentious. Though David had once promised to give Solomon the crown, Adonijah, David’s son by Haggith, proclaimed himself king. When Nathan learned of this, he went to Bathsheba and urged her to set things right by reminding David of his promise. So she went to David and said:

“Now, my lord king, all Israel is looking to you to declare to them who is to sit upon the throne of my lord the king after him. If this is not done, when my lord the king rests with his ancestors, I and my son Solomon will be considered criminals.” – 1 Kings 1:20-21

Then Nathan also came and confronted David. David swore before them that Solomon would be king, and brought Zadok the priest and Nathan to escort Solomon to Gihon. At David’s instruction, they led him in a procession to the throne, proclaiming him as king, and the people followed with shouting and rejoicing.

Finally, after all the struggles Bathsheba had endured, she had the joy of seeing her son crowned king over all Israel. He went on to become the wisest and wealthiest king Israel had ever known.

Bathsheba’s Place in the Story of Redemption

Though Bathsheba suffered great tragedy at the whims of a powerful man, God honored her by making her the mother of one of Israel’s greatest kings, and a woman in the direct lineage of Christ. She is one of four women mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy (Matthew 1:6), with a place in God’s plan of redemption through the Messiah.

While Bathsheba’s son Solomon was a flawed and mortal human being, Christ was perfect – the true and sinless king, bringing peace and forgiveness to all His people through His death and resurrection. He has given us the Holy Spirit to enable us to pursue holiness, and thanks to His sacrifice, one day we can stand before God with clean hearts in heaven.

2024 Memorial Mass: Serving Others Together
Siblings in Scripture: Part I