As I was reading 2 Samuel 11, I came across some stark similarities between Bathsheba and the immoral woman described in Proverbs 7. In this blog post, we are going to see how Bathsheba compares to the immoral or strange woman described in Proverbs 7.
Time of the day: Evening
According to 2 Samuel 11:2, Bathsheba was bathing in the evening when King David saw her. I’ve already discussed Bathsheba’s evening bath in my previous blog post, titled “Bathsheba and the Bath: A Deep Dive.” Proverbs 7 begins by warning about an immoral woman or “seductress” as mentioned in the NKJV of verse 5.
Proverbs 7:9 also talks about the times of the day when such a woman meets a simpleton, a young man devoid of understanding. And, one of the times mentioned is evening. In Proverbs 7:8, we see this young man “passing along the street near her corner; and he took the path to her house.”
David, also, could have avoided continuing to watch Bathsheba bathe after he first noticed her. Instead, he continued to draw near to her.
Time of Sex: Night
The other times of the day mentioned in Proverbs 7:9 are twilight and the black and dark night. Just a few verses after the immoral woman meets the young man “in the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night,” Proverbs 7 mentions she caught him and kissed him (verse 13). Further, in verse 18, she says to him, “Come, let us take our fill of love until morning; let us delight ourselves with love.”
By the time Bathsheba came to David and they slept together, it may have been late in the evening or even nighttime. Remember, it was evening when David saw Bathsheba bathing. Then, he inquired about her, sent messengers to her, took her, and finally, “she came to him.” A decent amount of time could had been passed until they involved themselves in a sexual activity.
Attire: Like that of a harlot
According to 2 Samuel 11:2, Bathsheba was bathing or washing herself (KJV) when David saw her. People usually bathe with no clothes on or partially naked. I suppose Bathsheba’s bathing situation could have been either of the two. Whichever the situation, there was nakedness involved.
Now, you may say Bathsheba was just bathing. Well, I have already discussed her bathing in detail in my previous blog post. In Proverbs 7:10, the immoral woman is described as the one dressed in the attire of a harlot. Generally speaking, the purpose of the attire of a harlot could be to seduce or attract men (or women). And, the attire could be sexually immoral, immodest, or skin revealing.
Bathsheba’s location: Away from home
As explained in my previous blog post, Bathsheba could arguably be bathing at a place away from her house. Remember what David said to her husband Uriah when he called for him:
2 Samuel 11:10 – So when they told David, saying, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Did you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?”
The usage of the phrase “go down” indicates that Uriah and Bathsheba’s house could have been located far away from David’s palace. If this is true, Bathsheba could have been bathing away from her house, probably somewhere close to David’s palace, because she was visible to him.
So much so that David was able to see her, behold her beauty, and get attracted to her. If she had not been clearly visible to him, none of these activities could have taken place. Also, it seems Bathsheba was bathing in an open place or one that was visible to the people around.
Now, Proverbs 7 talks about an immoral woman who surprisingly had a similar behavior. Verses 11 and 12 tell us that her feet would not stay at home. At times, she was outside and at times, in the open square.
Uriah’s location: Not home
As mentioned earlier, Bathsheba’s husband Uriah was not home when the entire incident between David and her took place. By the entire incident, I mean right from the time David watched Bathsheba bathing to when they had sex and to when Bathsheba later informed David about her pregnancy.
Uriah was not home when Bathsheba was bathing in the evening within David’s range of vision or in a place that was clearly visible to David. Uriah was not home when she came to David and he slept with her. Uriah was not home when she returned to her house after having sex with David. Uriah was not home when she informed David that she was pregnant.
The husband of the immoral woman mentioned in Proverbs 7 was also not home when she tried to seduce a young man to have sex with her.
Proverbs 7:19 – For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey;
The verse provided above further mentions that the immoral woman’s husband had gone on a long journey. Now that rings a bell. Yes, Uriah too had gone on a long journey to wage war against the Ammonites. There’s another similarity between Bathsheba and the immoral woman with regard to their husband’s situation.
Proverbs 7:20 – He has taken a bag of money with him, and will come home on the appointed day.
Uriah was not supposed to return home until the war with the Ammonites had ended. He must have informed Bathsheba about it or she must have been aware of it. Also, the general public in Israel may possibly have become aware when a battle was won or lost by their king.
Therefore, it’s safe to assume that Bathsheba knew when her husband would return home. According to the verse provided above, the immoral woman also knew exactly when her husband would return home.
Fulfillment of religious laws
In 2 Samuel 11, we see Bathsheba bathing in the evening. Most of the purification laws explained in Leviticus 15 required bathing or washing one’s body or things and staying unclean until evening. As established in my previous blog post, Bathsheba may not have been bathing in the evening for post-menstrual purification.
But Bathsheba may possibly had been bathing to fulfill the post-sex purification law mentioned in Leviticus 15:18, which says,
“When a man has sexual relations with a woman and there is an emission of semen, both of them must bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.”
For your information, this evening bath may had been taken by Bathsheba before participating in a sexual activity with David. I’ve explained this in my previous blog post. Moreover, her husband Uriah had long gone to fight against the Ammonites. He had not been staying with her before and at the time when she took the evening bath.
Regardless of the reason for taking the evening bath, whether for post-sex or any other type of purification, Bathsheba’s bathing event may had indicated something to David. One of the things that the bathing event may have indicated to David is the fulfillment of some kind of a purification law by Bathsheba.
If this is true, it may have given David the assurance of Bathsheba’s purity. It may have also given him the assurance that he himself wouldn’t become impure if he sleeps with her (because of whatever reason: menstruation, previous sexual activity, etc. mentioned in Leviticus 15).
You may say it was just a random bath taken in the evening. Well, the lack of discreteness of the bath, the bathing location, Bathsheba’s willingness to come to David after he took her, and other factors tell a different story. Read my previous blog post for more clarity on this.
Now, let’s talk about the immoral woman described in Proverbs 7. She clearly assures the young man about the payment of her vows, which could be seen as an equivalent of the fulfillment of a religious law or requirement. Merriam-Webster defines the word vow as “a solemn promise or assertion” and specifically “one by which a person is bound to an act, service, or condition.”
Proverbs 7:14 – I have peace offerings with me; this day have I paid my vows.
The immoral woman’s assurances are deceptive. She talks about peace offerings, but is about to destroy the young man’s life by seducing him to commit sin with her. Look at the verses below:
Proverbs 7:22-23 – Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks, till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare, he did not know it would cost his life.
Proverbs 7:26-27 – For she has cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men. Her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death.
The immoral woman also talks about how she had prepared her bed for sex:
Proverbs 7:16-17 – I have spread my bed with tapestry, colored coverings of Egyptian linen. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
The verses provided above give an impression that the immoral woman wanted to assure the young man that her bed is undefiled and prepared for lawful sex. How ironic! She is trying to indicate that her bed is undefiled, but wants to use it to commit sexual sin or make the young man sexually impure.