Genre City Review: Bathsheba
Title: Bathsheba (Wives of King David)
Author: Jill Eileen Smith
Date: March 2011
Genre: Historical Romance
Reviewed by: Lisa Likel
Smith’s story is resplendent with the richness and depth of the grace of God to everyone who struggles with temptation.
Jill Eileen Smith faithfully follows Scripture in her rendering of King David and Bathsheba in this third story of the Wives of King David series.
In a different world, a different era, survival often depended on a whim. David had such power and sometimes used it to his and others’ ruin. Smith’s take on David is that he truly loves and feels complemented by his wives: Michal (Book 1), who has little control of her life and ultimate betrayal; Abigail, the subject of the second novel in the series; and Bathsheba (Book 3), the wife of Uriah the Hittite, whom David loves in his middle years.
I appreciate that Smith gave a cause to explain why David did not go to battle—the first time he’d just lost Abigail in childbirth, a reasonable theory, and later for having just added to his harem, a Biblical reason. Thus he was home at a time when Bathsheba’s husband was away at war.
He saw her in a ritual bath, desired her, and sent for her. Smith fills the story with a daunting catalog of the rituals and legalism that rules this Jewish society; a nice, though sometimes slow, contrast to the struggle over breaking these rules, and the agony and punishment that occurs when temptation gives birth to desire, desire leads to sin, and full grown sin to death. Uriah is drawn so lovingly that I hoped perhaps David would change his mind and not send the man to his death.
While occasional repetition turns a couple of chapters of Scripture into a whole adult novel, Smith’s story is resplendent with the richness and depth of the grace of God to everyone who knows better, but continues to struggle with temptation.
If anyone still believes Scripture is dead and dusty after reading this book, that person would do better in front of a television set.