“David Raped” is a Camel’s Nose

What was David’s great sin with Uriah and Bathsheba? The Bible and the Church say murder and adultery. Radical Lutherans say “not having a preacher.” But it’s once again becoming trendy for feminists to insist that David’s real sin was rape.

Scripturally, of course, there’s no case to be made that David raped Bathsheba. The Bible has no problem describing rape when rape is actually part of the story, as we can see literally one chapter after Nathan rebukes David. Instead, they have to base the allegation on feminist theories about uneven power dynamics. The basic idea is that a woman’s consent must be completely pure to count. It cannot be influenced by any outside pressures, but must essentially be the equivalent of her whim.

It gets pretty absurd applying that kind of reasoning to David. For one thing, it would mean that he was raping all of his wives. He was just as much their king as he was Bathsheba’s and held as much or more power over them. And that means that God explicitly condones rape, for when Nathan is rebuking David, God says “I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms.” How much power do you think David’s harem had in the matter? But then, you could go all the way back to Genesis when God literally makes Eve for Adam and find the same thing. And moving into the New Testament, we already know  how it ends up applying to the Mother of God.

So as usual, feminist theory is utterly incompatible with Christianity. But then, as usual, it’s also utterly incompatible with reality. To point out the obvious, there is always a power differential between men and women simply because men are so much stronger. What’s more, that power differential is basically a precondition for female attraction. Most women don’t even want a man who isn’t stronger, wealthier, more authoritative, or more accomplished than her. The whole theory is typical of feminism’s myopic inability to see any factor other than power in their analysis.

So why is there so much pressure to inflict this absurdity on the Church? And conversely, why is it even a big deal if someone teaches that David’s grave sin before God was a somewhat graver sin before God? Well, there is a definite method to this madness.

This action by feminists is a classic example of the Camel’s Nose. Counterfeiting a Biblical foundation for feminist theory creates a very useful “problem” for them to exploit. One might notice that for 2000 years, basically no one important has read the story this way.  The church fathers all have the understanding that this was typical adultery–naturally, since that’s what the Biblical text presents to them and to us.

But once you eisegete faulty feminist assumptions into the text, the only conclusion is that for 2000 years, the Church couldn’t be bothered to notice something as heinous as rape. All those “church fathers” were so divorced from the plight of women that even rape was beneath their concern. This (totally invented) problem requires an obvious solution: we need more women to pose as theologians and leaders to address the unique concerns of our sisters in Christ! And so, from a seemingly minor alteration of an Old Testament story, the cancer of feminism has an opportunity to spread to yet more members.

But we do not need more women leaders in the Church. Frankly, nothing in society needs more female leadership. If God’s clear prohibition on women teaching and having authority over men in the Church were somehow not enough, bare experience is now more than sufficient. Today’s church is plagued by false teachings introduced specifically by “women’s unique perspectives.” No good comes from willingly inflicting Eve’s curse on Christ’s Kingdom.

But we are a weak people. Even when we can see the clear logical progression from A to B, we’ve also been trained by the world not to act on such reasoning. Our indoctrination says that the slippery slope is a fallacy and that correlation provides no insight into causation. So it’s worth addressing one of conservatives’ big temptations to surrender ground on this narrative.

Part of the conservative mentality is a desire to find common ground. That’s not a bad thing in itself, of course. In the right context, it can be quite useful. But while we dress up that impulse as “being winsome” and “building bridges,” the bitter truth is simply that we have to be forced into making a fuss. We prefer the calm of peace and security so that we need not suffer the pains of change. So if there’s any possibility of avoiding a conflict, we’re inclined to take it. That’s not a virtue–it just masquerades as one.

Now, if common ground is something one seeks, then condemning rape should be low-hanging fruit. As far as popular consensus goes, it’s right up there with “Hitler is bad.” So to many conservatives, giving credence to the David-raped-Bathsheba nonsense seems tolerable for the sake of an easy “win.” They have a rare opportunity to virtue-signal how they really do care about women despite what those evil liberals say. Too many are therefore willing to be tolerant of something they know isn’t really true.

Here’s what conservatives need to drive into their skulls: There is no common ground between the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of Hell. If you think there is, you’re either imagining things or you’re on the wrong side. The Enemy is happy to use our words to mean something completely different and have us embrace them. That’s why a subject like rape that appears to be common ground is in reality a subject of so much controversy.

A Christian mustn’t desire common ground with Satan and his thralls. He must desire his utter defeat and their complete repentance. As you reach out to the lost–including those led astray by feminist false teachers–you do need to listen to them. You do need to try and understand where they’re coming from. But you don’t come from the same place. and shouldn’t pretend otherwise. Conservatives are great at being as innocent as doves; but that only means we have to try extra hard to also be wise as serpents. Satan has an agenda, and his servants pursue it whether they know it or not

So when you encounter the lie that David raped Bathsheba, remember that it is an attack on God’s Word and respond accordingly. You may be tempted to think it’s no big deal, but the very fact that the Enemy pushes it so hard should show you its importance. Don’t give in to the temptation to be lazy and conflict avoidant, and definitely don’t dress it up as something more noble. In this and all such attacks, embrace the pain of standing firm. If you can’t even do that on something “small,” what makes you think you’ll do it on anything bigger?

About Matt

Software engineer by trade; lay theologian by nature; Lutheran by grace.
This entry was posted in Feminism, The Modern Church, Theology. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to “David Raped” is a Camel’s Nose

  1. Malcolm Smith says:

    Not many people realise how extraordinary the story of David and Bathsheba is. For the king to seduce the wife of a commoner is nothing strange. Any pagan king would have done so. But when the seduction results in a pregnancy, what does David do? He panics! Now, the penalty for adultery may be death, but no-one is going to touch the king’s mistress, let alone the king himself. Yet because of David’s panic, he adds murder to his adultery. And when the prophet calls him out, he doesn’t shout, “Off with his head!”
    Is there any record of such a thing happening in Christendom? If David were a French king, Uriah would probably be pleased that his wife was now the king’s mistress. It would be a step up the rung for him.

    • Matt says:

      Great point, Malcolm. I never really paused to appreciate how rare a conscience like David’s must be among kings.

  2. philip says:

    Unfortunately a WELS seminary professor is pushing the same lie, going so far as to say “Placing some of the blame on Bathsheba diminishes the severity of David’s sin.”


    • Matt says:

      Thanks for sending me the full paper, Phillip.

      It’s ironic that he condemns argument from silence then bases his entire case on argument from silence. “The text doesn’t say whether she consented.” “The text doesn’t describe Nathan rebuking her” “the text doesn’t say whether she appreciated David’s advances or not.” Not only are all of those arguments from silence, they’re all better explained simply by the fact that the pericope is *about David*. (And the one about Nathan’s rebuke is technically incorrect because God’s punishment of taking the life of their child fell on Bathsheba as well.)

      The only argument he has left is that not calling it rape diminishes David’s sin. But that actually works against his case because it raises the question of why a text about David’s heinous sin is, itself, deliberately diminishing that sin by not describing it the way he wants to. If would be more accurate to say that he’s attempting to accentuate David’s sin. A pastor’s job is to preach the text, not to add a bunch of speculation for the sole purpose of making it more dramatic.

  3. johnson j says:

    If David raped Bathsheba then Abraham raped Hagar. Will they go that far?

    • Matt says:

      I’ve already seen people blow way past Abraham to “God raped Mary” so… Yes.

      Undermining God’s Word in our hearts and destroying faith is the real goal; they will go however far they need to for that end.

    • Malcolm Smith says:

      I’ve heard that too, but it just goes to show how different is the modern outlook from that of the past. Neither party would have seen it in that light. For the slave girl, this would be her one chance of self-fulfillment. In any case, whether or not she was attracted to Abraham, sex is fun. Even if she were frigid, or Abraham was really disgusting, it was something which had to be done if she wanted a baby. The modern age just does not recognize that people might want children for their own sake.

  4. Ron Barker says:

    :Rape” has other meanings in literature. In Livy’s “History of Rome,” the “rape” of the Sabine women refers to their forcible abduction. This meaning has been repeated in the underlaying story of the musical “The Fantastics”.

  5. OKRickety says:

    Perhaps you and your readers would be interested in this article by Larry Taunton about that account and its relationship to recent actions in the Southern Baptist Convention: https://stream.org/did-david-rape-bathsheba-and-why-it-matters/

    Not surprisingly, Sheila Wray Gregoire also wrote about this “rape” years ago:

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