We hear a great deal about the sin of David, but seldom does anyone mention the sin of Bath-sheba. And it is true enough that David’s sin was very great, and Bath-sheba's very small. David’s sin was deliberate and presumptuous, Bath-sheba's only a sin of ignorance. David committed deliberate adultery and murder; Bath-sheba only carelessly and undesignedly exposed herself before David’s eyes. We have no doubt that David’s sin was great, and Bath-sheba's small.First of all, it is important to note that the Bible does not condemn Bathsheba for doing what was a common practice in that day. There is no hint that she had any knowledge that she was exposing herself to David when she bathed during the night. What the Bible does tell us is that David had not gone with his men off to battle, but had remained at home. Then one evening he got out of bed, walked around on the roof of a palace, and saw a woman bathing --- so he sent someone to find out about her and then sent messengers to get her.
Recently I was rereading the account in 2 Samuel 11 after having heard a sermon on this text. Something struck me that I had never quite noticed before.
If anonymous authors can write about the "sin of Bathsheba", shifting at least some of the blame from David to her, why cannot I speculate about the "sin of Uriah"? What sin of Uriah? you may well ask. Was he not the innocent husband who was basically set up in battle so as to be killed? What could he have possibly done to contribute in any way to the sin of David?
What do we know about Uriah? We know that he was a soldier. We also know he disobeyed his king's command to spend time with Bathsheba, his wife. Instead, he chose to spend time with his master's servants. On the surface, he sounds like a man of integrity who could not bring himself to spend time with his wife when his fellow soldiers were camped in open fields. However, I could not help but wonder about his love for Bathsheba when David's best efforts fail in getting this man to go visit his own wife. If Bathsheba was exposing herself to men by bathing where she shouldn't be, isn't it possible that it was because she was married to a man who cared so little for her that he was unwilling to visit her while in town? Perhaps this was not the first time when Uriah "withheld due benevolence" from his wife.
I will freely admit that I have never heard a sermon or read any commentary that espoused the "sin of Uriah" theory. However, if we are going to start using bizarre logic to turn the David and Bathsheba story into an indictment of immodest women, why can't we use similar logic to turn it into an indictment of men who ignore their wives?