King David is surely one of the greatest of men in Jewish history. I love him and his Psalms. But there is one paradox with his engagement with Batseba, mother of Shlomo. How can we explain this? God forgave him.

Answer:

The passage of King David and Batsheva is among the most difficult passages that the Bible presents us with.

The Sages of the Talmud present a technical explanation for why the sin was not considered true adultery (Batsheva’s husband had written her a divorce document), and make the puzzling statement that “whoever states that David sinned, is mistaken.” It is interesting to note that Abarbanel, in his great commentary to the Bible, states that he cannot accept these words — for surely the Bible presents the tale as a heinous sin, for which King David was punished, and ultimately forgiven?

It would appear that the Sages’ intention was to express the presence of some deeper, supernatural force that was at work. The Davidic lineage, from which the Messiah King is destined to emerge, is replete with the most difficult relationships: Lot and his daugher (from whom Moav was born); Yehuda and his daughter-in-law Tamar (whom Yehuda thought to be a harlot); Ruth and Boaz; David and Batsheva. It would appear that the Messiah, who is destined to bring light to the world, must come via a path of darkness, a hidden path that we cannot fathom.

Aware of this hidden theme, the Sages stated that one who states that David sinned is mistaken. Of course, on a literal, revealed level, he sinned and was punished. However, to state this simplistically would be a mistake, for deeper forces were at work, somehow preparing the path for the future Messiah whom we continue to await.

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