She had lost her freedom, and her honour, and now her child. Less than a year ago she had been a free woman, the honourable wife of an honourable man. But that part of her life was gone forever. One night had changed her destiny and ruined her hopes. And all because she was keeping the law …
It had been the time of her monthly purification, and she had been bathing herself, just as the law of Israel decreed. As she washed, she had been dreaming of her husband Uriah, and how she wished he was home with her instead of away with the army. But then, of course, he would not have been the man she loved if he had not put a high value on his duty.
She had barely finished drying herself and dressing, when there was a knock on the door. Surprised, she had run to open it (could it possibly be her husband?), only to find a messenger from the palace saying that King David wanted to see her. Bewildered (what could a man she had never met possibly want with her?), she complied. One does not disobey a king.
She should have known. In the months that followed she castigated herself frequently with those words. What did a man ever want with a woman? But would knowing have made any difference? One does not disobey a king. It was a night that shamed and confused her, but she resolved to think no more of it, especially since there was nothing she could do about it. But then she found that she was pregnant, and that changed everything. She would be disgraced if she bore a child when she had not seen her husband for months. So she sent word to the king. She did not know what he could do, but the whole situation was his responsibility, and he must somehow make it right.
She was not quite sure of the sequence of events that followed – men did not take women into their counsels. She heard rumours that her husband had been summoned to the palace, but he did not come near her, and she tossed through sleepless nights wondering what was happening. Then they sent her a message that Uriah had died in battle, and she was to come and join the king’s harem. Again, what could she do? Her honour might be saved (was there honour in a king’s harem?), but she wept for her husband, now lost to her forever, and that she would never again be mistress of her own home. And she wondered what exactly David had done, though perhaps it was better not to know.
And now this child, whose coming had disrupted her whole life, was dead. She had lost everything. Sure, there was every luxury here, but what was that compared to freedom? Her heart questioned and her soul wept. Her honour and her self-respect lay in tatters. She did not imagine that God himself would restore her and lift her up to be part of the lineage of the Messiah who was to come.