Bathsheba (fl. 1010–975 BCE)

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Bathsheba (fl. 1010–975 bce)

Biblical woman. Name variations: Bethsabee. Pronunciation: BATH-shee-BAH. Married Uriah, the Hittite (killed); fourth (some sources say second) wife of King David (r. 1010–970 bce); children: four sons, including Solomon (born around 985 bce; died around 925 bce).

In the Bible, Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah the Hittite, a soldier in King David's army. The greatest Israelite king in the Old Testament, David unified Israel and Judah, vanquished the Philistines, outwitted all rivals, and established a strong kingdom centered at Jerusalem. While he was pacing back and forth on his roof one night, David witnessed Bathsheba bathing. Infatuated with her beauty, he sent for her, slept with her, and she became pregnant. He then appointed Bathsheba's husband Uriah to an exposed position in his armies, which were fighting against the Ammonites, and, as he had intended, Uriah was killed in the fray. After Bathsheba had mourned him, David married her, and she gave birth to a son. Though David was then seized with remorse for his misdeed, it was too late; his prayers and fasting could not keep their son from dying. Bathsheba gave birth to four more sons, the first of whom was Solomon, who ultimately succeeded David on the throne of Israel. Bathsheba is generally described as a woman who possessed a highly cultivated mind and vast knowledge; her son Solomon owed much of his wisdom and reputation to her, as well as a great part of the practical philosophy embodied in his Proverbs. Third and last king of the united 12 tribes of Israel, Solomon ruled during the kingdom's golden age, engaged in trade, international relations, and building projects (including the first Hebrew temple) and reputedly wrote large sections of three Biblical books.

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Bible (Books of 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 1 Chronicles).