Batsheva, wife to Uriah the Hittite. Batsheva, daughter of Eliam. Batsheva, mother of Shimea, Shohab, Nathan and Solomon. Batsheva, queen and counsellor. Batsheva, writer and philosopher.

In your innocence, you were married to one of your father’s friends. They were in the thirty together, bound to serve the king, as your grandfather was. You had no choice. What did it matter if he was old, ugly and rough? He needed you for the respite you gave him between battles. You sang him songs, played your lyre, told him stories and rubbed his feet. He wanted little else. He desired only to keep the hot searing images of battle hidden in the depths of his mind.  At night they were too present. He did not want to fight with you as well. He did not want the sound of body on body. You gave him honey and comfort.

You loved to bathe as the late afternoon sun began its purpling of the sky.  The houses, soaked in the bright heat of the day, warmed your feet as you climbed the outside stair to the roof. The water cooled your skin to the point where bliss was a trickle of water between your breasts. You were safe from prying eyes behind your willow screen. Your sponge could be your lover, innocent as you were.

Was it an arrow shooting at a bird in flight? Was it Divine Wind? Or was it your leg as you arched, unknowingly? You stood revealed, glistening like a ripe peach. He plucked you. He plundered what was not his. You could not refuse a king, then or later. He stole you, forcing you to be the adult.

When you came to him with the news that he did not want to hear, did he shout? Did he hold you and whisper he will solve this problem? Did he still take what he wanted from you enjoying the way your body had changed because of him? When he shared his plan with you, you told him it would not work. He had to have known you were innocent when he took you. He was the experienced one. He was the practised lover. It was your shyness yet wantoness that filled him with desire. He must have known it could not work. yet he insisted that you try.

Your husband was ashamed. He had been brought back from the front. There was no real reason why he should be in Jerusalem. He asked you. You hung your head and did not answer. There were too many lies. You tried. You really tried. He was angry and upset. He demanded to be sent back, as your  lover knew he would. He demanded to be sent to the front, to be put in the thickest part of the battle. He knew. He could not bear the shame.

Your baby lived only a few hours. His breath taken from him as punishment. That was what the king said. That was what the prophet said. You wept for the baby as you mourned for your husband. Yet the future seemed so bright. You would marry again, your dark haired young lover promised you with lips as sweet as rose petals.

He loved you. He desired you. He needed you. You gave him everything, holding nothing back. In time you had more children. Their voices filled your part of the palace. He sang to you and played his lyre. You sensed a tinge of bitterness that made your time together sweet and sad.

He turned to Micah, his first wife, for understanding. You accepted and drilled your children in the ways of men and kings. You wrote to Lemuel. You turned a malicious snake into sparrow, a spider into a gazelle. You managed to live your life within the walls and still be proud. Your children were your honey and the youngest, the nectar.

You kept the king as a friend. You counselled him. He took other wives but you remained with him always. Perhaps he was scared to put you completely aside. Perhaps you fed his fears. You did what you had to do to make sure your son, your honey was the chosen heir. You were strong through the years. Your battle was unceasing. As he changed towards you, you changed with him. Until, finally he named your son above all his others. The youngest to rule the oldest.

You fought and won. Your son rewarded you with the title eshet chayil– a woman of worth. Your price was indeed above rubies.

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