Monday, June 13, 2011

Goddesses in the Dirt: Batsheva - The Power Behind the Throne?

Unearthing the Divine Feminine, one archetype at a time............
Goddesses in the Dirt - Issue #12: Batsheva


The story of Batsheva (also known as Bathsheba) is told in the book of Samuel in the Hebrew Bible. She was the wife of Uriah, a Hittite warrior who was away at war when the Israelites were ruled by King David. 


One evening, King David was enjoying the view from his palace when he saw a woman bathing on the rooftop of her home.  



He was mesmerized by her beauty and called for a servant to find out her identity. 

She is Batsheva, the wife of Uriah, the servant replied. Send for her, said the king. Batsheva came to the palace, the king was smitten and they became lovers. Soon afterwards, she discovered she was pregnant with the King's child. 

Batsheva sent message to David - what should I do, she asked? My husband is at battle and will know the child is not his. Attempting to rectify the situation, David sent for Uriah and asked him to return and give him a report from the battlefield, with the ulterior motive for Uriah to sleep with his wife and cover up the inconvenient pregnancy. When Uriah chose to stay with his fellow soldiers at the palace that night instead, David knew he had to devise another plan. He sent Uriah to the front line and saw to it that he was killed in battle. Batsheva was free to marry the King. She ultimately gave birth to several sons, including Solomon, her favorite. 


When the time came that David lost his virility, a beautiful young woman named Abishag was sent to sleep with the King.  It was not a successful union, and a king without his virility was no longer considered capable of rule. A successor needed to be chosen. Most considered David's son with another wife - Adonijah - to be the next King, but Batsheva had other plans. Scheming with two courtiers, she went to David and told him, of all his sons, Solomon was the most loyal. Saying she feared for her life, she urged her husband to follow her advice and make Solomon his successor. After an uprising, David honored this request. But Adonijah survived the uprising with his eye still on the throne. Sensing a threat, Batsheva schemed once again and sent the courtiers to Solomon with the false request that Adonijah desired to marry Abishag. Since the woman was a wife of David, Batsheva was accusing Adonijah of treason, as a man who married a ruler's wife could usurp his throne. 


Not questioning his own mother, and left with no other choice how to handle the matter, Solomon had Adonijah killed with a dagger to the heart. As the mother of the ruler, Batsheva was now the most powerful woman in the kingdom with her son safe on the throne. 


I have had the privilege of staying with one of my oldest friends in Israel this past week. These are a few images of our trip to Jerusalem, the city of David. Even in 2011, the past is present as far as you can see, and around every corner I turned I imagined I might see Batsheva strolling along one of the ancient cobblestoned streets. 

Top four images courtesy of Google photos

19 comments:

  1. The well-told story of a cunning woman. One would never want to cross her path.
    Glad you had a good time in Jerusalem. We were in Israel and Egypt 20 years ago, and love the Biblical history of those lands. I'm not sure how safe it would be to travel there now.

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  2. oooh! I felt the history and really enjoyed the story....I was in Jerusalem many years ago and still remember the ancient streets and timeless atmosphere. So powerful to link this story with the modern pics....more please!......

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  3. i know this story. have known it. leonard cohen's Hallelujah comes to mind:

    Your faith was strong but you needed proof
    You saw her bathing on the roof
    Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
    She tied you to a kitchen chair
    She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
    And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

    ah, love.

    your photos do show the history still evident.

    enjoy your travels.

    xo
    erin

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  4. what a tale!

    my first thought was about Batsheva's rooftop full view bathing. that's a statement right there!

    this made me think of shakespeare: all these plots and plans for power are as old as personkind. i wonder why our species hasn't evolved beyond the tools of trickery and murder.

    the two photos you've shared indeed show so much of another time. you are a world traveler, amanda.


    kj

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  5. This story has always made me so very sad for Urriah. Your post reminds me of a song by Jeff Buckley, 'Hallelujah,' off the album, Grace.

    I love the image of Jerusalem you have posted. Difficult to articulate exactly how it affects me, but it is profound.

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  6. I loved this post! The pictures made me feel as if someone was reading me a bedtime story. :-)

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  7. i love 'the past is present'. what a place to discover. enjoy and safe travels my friend.

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  8. Another excellent post! Waiting to see the Eiffel Tower model from Pylos, Greece! Kind regards, Amanda.

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  9. A beautiful post about a very intriguing woman. I long to visit Jerusalem. I think it is another place I can easily fall in love with.

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  10. A lovely story....then.....and now.
    Your re-telling was fantastic....

    I know you are thriled to walk along those ancient sites and dream about the history that took place there....

    Looking forward to your visit to Masada....I have always wanted to go there!

    "The Ring" opens tonight....(your programme is on it's way to your home..)

    Be safe dear *Twin*.... but drink up every drop of the scenery and embrace all of the history that waits for you! (And us too!)

    Love,

    ♥ Robin ♥

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  11. I've been wanting to there forever. This post is sheer magic to me.

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  12. Great story telling as always dear Amanda.;) I am so intrigued by stories connected to fables and even the old testament. I believe that even my name (from the original Hebrew version) is connected to a story in the old testament of "Susannah in the bath".;))
    Love the last image of the painting, I feel it has Pre-Raphaelite feeling to it but I might be wrong.;)
    xoxo

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  13. Mankind has not changed any, has it? But I wonder what chances Batsheva had in the beginning. Refusing her king? Maybe "becoming lovers" wasn`t exactly how it happened? And once she was his wife and had children from him, wouldn`t any mother see to it that they thrived? I would. Who knows what else is hidden there in me? haha, love from your fan Geli

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  14. As Angela said, "mankind has not changed" and I am always impressed by someone like you who knows and loves historical facts and stories. Thanks for sharing and teaching me facts I did not know.

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  15. I've always lovednthis story for some reason but had also read that David had guilt fits over Uriah.

    That abthsheba - she knew how to scheme

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  16. Note: I have been dancing all night and clearly my spelling fingers are tired

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  17. Amanda, I was mesmerized by your post, and the photos are gorgeous. I would love to visit Israel some day.

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  18. Great story...
    Regards from Farnce,

    Pierre

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