The sermon snippet this week is a difficult one. We think of King David as hero figure but the truth is that when it came to women he was not only not heroic, he was despicable. This section of the sermon is about midway and serves as the pivot between my description of David’s problems and what it means for us in our sexual relationships. This week we will be taking the children out of the worship service as it is rather steamy.
David’s first wife was Michal. Michal was King Saul’s daughter and their marriage was of convenience. There is evidence that Michal loved David as a teenage girl might love Justin Bieber but there is little evidence that David ever saw her as anything other than a feather in his professional hat. David, literally and not metaphorically, bought and paid for her. But she used him too, for a feeling of prestige and he used her for power and even more access to the throne room. Michal was the sister of David’s best friend and the daughter of his mortal enemy. Marrying the boss’ daughter is such a cliche.
After things got hot though, there is no evidence that David ever gave Michal the kind of love a wife deserves. When the assassination squad came to get him he bailed and never, as anyone can tell, lived with Michal as a husband again. He abandoned her the way a husband leaves after he has graduated from med school and abandons the wife who sacrificed so he could study.
The Bible tells us that Michal never had children. Now, that might be biology but the way the Scriptures tilt the image it is because David stops having sex with her—he rejects her.
The second woman who often is associated with David is Abigail. Abigail was an ambitious and business minded woman in her own right and when her husband died after showing himself to be a fool, David took her as a second wife. True, his first marriage was never dissolved, but as we learned, he’d moved on from Michal even if he’d never given her the courtesy of a divorce.
Abigail and David’s marriage was one of convenience. Their relationship reminds me of co-workers who, in middle age decide to leave their spouses and move-in together. There is not really a lot of romance, but it is practical and makes sense to them. Neither one of them is happy in their current relationship, so why not, they figure. At least they will have someone to talk to, they think. The sex wasn’t that good, but the intellectual stimulation kind of made up for it.
The third complicated relationship is the infamous Bathsheba. One evening the king is restless and can’t sleep and he goes out on the deck to catch a night breeze and what does he behold but the beautiful naked nubile body of a young woman glistening wet and seductively beckoning him in the moonlight.
The middle aged monarch was aroused and in a dog-in-heat series of events he ignores the fact that this woman is married to one of his best generals and he brings her into his bed chambers and commits adultery with her. The way the Bible depicts the tale you can almost hear their moans of passion inside the King’s bedroom even as the guards weep in disgust and shame in the hallway over their leader’s moral failure.
Of course, as many of you are aware, if you have sex people tend to get pregnant and that is exactly what happened and Bathsheba was late and David tried to quickly cover up his sin by having Bathsheba’s husband, a noble man named Uriah, come home from the war hoping he would quickly have sex with Bathsheba to explain the baby on the way.
No luck. He wouldn’t bite. So David had him killed and took Bathsheba to be his wife and then had the audacity to act like no one knew until the bravest man in the Bible, the prophet Nathan, called the king out on his sin.