David and Bathsheba’s first child is dead. It was a painful death for all involved as it was a consequence of their sin. But God redeemed their relationship with another child.
Sin demands payment and David’s son paid the price for his parent’s sin. The slow agonizing way the baby died also exacted a price from both David and Bathsheba. I have no doubt this punishment was worse than their own death could ever have been. But God didn’t leave them in their pain. He allowed them to conceive again. He redeemed them from the grave.
Let’s rejoin our story.
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David is finishing his meal. The first one he has had in a week. He fasted and prayed the entire time his son struggled for his life. He had hoped that God would spare his life. But the words Nathan delivered that morning from God were final. His son paid the price for David’s sin.
With his stomach satisfied, David turns to Bathsheba’s needs. She is heartbroken. She faithfully tended to their baby’s needs as the life drained from him day by day. She too had prayed for God’s hand on her child. But even her prayer of quick release went unanswered.
Bathsheba still sits in the nursery. The body of her child was taken to the priest for preparation for burial shortly after his passing. She sits in her favorite spot; where she used to nurse her son and gaze out the window. Her eyes are turned towards the window but her face is vacant.
David walks up beside her and puts a hand on her shoulder. He stands there with that silent connection for some time.
“Why did he have to suffer so” asks Bathsheba in barely more than a whisper.
“It was the price of sin.”
Bathsheba jerks away and stands face to face with David. “What sin! He was but an innocent child!”
“Our sin. MY sin!”
“But why punish the babe? I would gladly have taken the punishment!”
“We were punished through his suffering. I would have taken his place too and prayed for such an option.”
Bathsheba falls against David’s chest and sobs. David wraps her in his arms. They cry together giving vent to their sorrow. Sorrow for the price their actions cost another. They remain this way until both are spent of tears.
“The debt has been paid and he is at rest” David says as he wipes the last of the tears from Bathsheba’s eyes.
“Do you think the Lord has cursed our union?”
“I don’t know but I don’t believe so. I believe Nathan would have told me if it were so.”
Bathsheba backs away from David. “What did Nathan tell you; and when?”
“God revealed our sin to him and he brought me word of His judgment. Nathan told me that the child would die for my sin. He came to me the same morning the child fell ill.”
“And you kept this knowledge from me!”
“I prayed the Lord would relent and you would not need to know.”
“You should have told me.”
“What would you have done different?”
All the indignation drains from Bathsheba at David’s words. “Nothing; except maybe prepare for his death.” She pauses before continuing is a much smaller voice. “I prayed for him to die.”
David took her by the shoulders and looked into her eyes. “When was this?”
“As he was struggling the last few days. I prayed that God would take him and stop his suffering.”
David hugs her to his chest again. “A prayer of love. One I wish I had the courage to have voiced.”
Bathsheba and David leave the nursery together and close the door. There is nothing left in there for them. They spend the rest of the day in preparation for the baby’s burial. He will be laid to rest as the sun sets.
There is no need to hire mourners as the whole city of Jerusalem mourns for the child as they lay his body in his family’s tomb. David and Bathsheba stand together and to keep watch over their child one last time. When the burial is complete David gives the ritual prayer. Then all return to their homes.
There were few stories to share of times spent together. No tales of adventures taken. No accomplishments to recount. His short life was filled with love though. And those who shared in its brevity will not forget him, or his passing.
David and Bathsheba need comfort from one another. They crave closeness. As the babe’s birth was so recent, they cannot come together as man and wife but they hold each other through the night. David cares not for keeping his distance because of ceremonial uncleanness. His wife is in need. He will perform all the cleansing rituals required AFTER he comforts her.
A month goes by and the mourning time for the baby lifts. There are still eleven more months to observe specific rituals in commemoration but the largest restrictions are lifted. David desires to truly comfort Bathsheba now as a husband. He calls Abket.
“Send word to Bathsheba that I would come to her tonight.”
“And if she refuses?”
“I would not but I do not believe she will deny me this as I am offering comfort to her as well.”
Abket bows and takes word to Bathsheba. “My master sends word that he would come to you tonight.”
“I will prepare for his arrival.”
Bathsheba longs to fill her empty arms. She prays that the Lord will bless her once again with David’s child. She prepares herself for his arrival by bathing and anointing all her special regions.
David prepares for their time together also with a bath. He wants this time together to be right in God’s eyes. He prays that he will be allowed to give her a child. He knows it will not replace the one they lost but it will ease the pain.
The night with Bathsheba is better than the first time they came together. They brought pleasure to one another as equal to their first encounter but this time there was no shame in their union. Both opened completely to one another, heart and body.
Their time together spanned several nights and Bathsheba felt certain their union produced fruit. Three weeks later she was certain. She would share this news with David in person instead of through a letter.
Bathsheba approached David’s throne room. He saw her from the door and beckoned her inside. Her smile told him she was with child before she even spoke.
“You are pregnant” David states.
“How did you know?” asks Bathsheba.
“Your smile betrays you” he chided.
“I suppose it does.”
The months pass without incidence. Bathsheba takes great care in ensuring that the babe growing within her is happy and healthy. She speaks to him daily and tells him of God’s love for her by blessing her with him.
David also prays for his child growing within Bathsheba’s womb. That it will be healthy and be a son. He blesses the Lord for the gift of this child and the grace that the Lord has shown him in allowing the two to conceive again. He also prays that no sin will be laid at this child’s feet and he will outlive both his parents.
Bathsheba delivers their child with midwives in attendance. She prays to the Lord for grace as the babe is expelled from her womb. “Please let it be a boy and let him live long.”
The midwife announces the arrival of another son for David and a cheer erupts around the room from the women in attendance. Bathsheba breathes a sigh of contentment. Now all that remains is the ‘long life’ prayer. She refuses to dwell on this thought.
After cleaning and dressing both mother and child, David is allowed into the room to meet his son. His face is radiant as he absorbs the knowledge that he has another son. His prayer, part one, is also answered.
As the days march on towards the child’s naming and circumcision ceremony David and Bathsheba hold their breath. This was the event their previous son never participated in. He had become ill in his first week of life. So strange that one so young could have affected them all so deeply. A lesson they will never forget.
The day of circumcision arrives and David stands ready to share the child’s name with the priest. He and Bathsheba had agreed upon it shortly after his birth but were prevented by custom from sharing it before called to do so by the priest.
“What is the child’s name” asks the priest.
“He is to be called Solomon” answered David.
“Solomon, I commend you into the hands of the Lord. The God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. And receive this mark as a sign of that covenant.” The priest with a quick flick of the wrist cleanly cuts away the foreskin of Solomon’s future manhood, uniting him in covenant with the Lord and His people.
After the ceremony is completed and the feasting concluded David and Bathsheba receive one more visitor. Nathan stands at their door.
Fear grips Bathsheba’s heart as she remembers that Nathan brought the pronouncement of their last child’s death. She prays as she clutches Solomon to her chest.
David welcomes Nathan but his heart too holds fear. Surely the Lord would not have allowed them this child only to take it back again.
Nathan smiles at Solomon then looks to Bathsheba. “May I hold him?”
Reluctantly she opens her arms and hands Solomon to Nathan.
“You my boy are beloved of the Lord; Jedidiah. You are a gift given by the Lord; a gift of grace.”
David and Bathsheba release a collective sigh. Their child IS a gift from God. They have been shown grace and mercy. He will live a long life. They vow to teach him all his days of the God who gave him to them.
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Father God, THANK YOU for Your grace. I have been as much a recipient as David and Bathsheba were. Not in the same way but just as welcome. Jesus bought that grace for all. THANK YOU Jesus. Without You and Your love I would be broken beyond any hope.
Thank You for my children too. Thank You for their lives that I got to share in. Thank You for protecting them from my sins and never laying my guilt upon them. I leave them in Your hands along with my grandchildren. Help the come to know You as their personal Lord and Savior.