Verse 1: What do you make of the fact that the story is set at the time of the year when “kings go forth to battle,” but David sent his army to battle and stayed behind himself? What is the writer telling us about David when he says “But David tarried still at Jerusalem”? (Note: presumably the time when battles could once again commence was at the end of the rainy season, approximately the beginning of May.)
Verses 2-5: How do you suppose that David could see Bathsheba bathing? Where do you think people would usually have bathed? How do you think David’s house was situated relative to the other houses? What does verse 4 suggest about why she was bathing? Why is it significant that Uriah was a Hittite (or, more likely, descended from an earlier Hittite immigrant)? Who were the Hittites? The Hittite empire was no more at this time, so what does it mean to call Uriah a Hittite? Since the name Uriah means “the Lord is light,” he appears to be an Israelite, though calling him a Hittite makes him a foreigner. Do you think that might have had anything to do with the way that David dealt with him? How is verse 4 ironic? What would the punishment be if Bathsheba were found to be pregnant and, therefore, to have committed adultery? Does Bathsheba betray her husband willingly? In other words, given David’s position of authority, was this a case of adultery or of rape? What evidence in the story can you adduce for your answer? Does David intend to continue the relation after his initial encounter with Bathsheba?