A Prophetic Call To Repentance

A Prophetic Call To Repentance

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PNEUMA 41 (2019) 9–25 pentecostal Theology A Prophetic Call to Repentance David, Bathsheba and a Royal Abuse of Power Jacqueline Grey Alphacrucis College, Sydney, Australia jacqui.grey@ac.edu.au Abstract There has been much debate in biblical scholarship over the alleged “rape” of Bath- sheba by David as described in 2Samuel 11–12. Scholars such as Bailey and Nichol claim that Bathsheba was a consenting partner, while others, including Davidson and Brueggemann, suggest she was a victim of David’s abuse of power. This analysis will explore 2Samuel 11–12 with a special focus on the themes of power, honor, and shame that emerge in the pericope. These themes are also central to the overall narrative of Samuel. Using literary analysis, I highlight Bathsheba’s isolation and powerlessness as she is “taken” to King David by royal attendants after he has spied her bathing. Bathsheba’s lack of resistance is often compared to the rape of Tamar, which subse- quently occurs in the vicinity of the palace in 2Samuel 13. While Tamar objects to Amnon’s sexual advances in the narrative, Bathsheba does not voice an objection. It is primarily on the basis of her silence that scholars suggest she was a consensual part- ner. However, there are many differences between Tamar and Bathsheba. Tamar was a daughter of the king and could appeal to relatives in the palace to rescue her from rape. Bathsheba was alone with no one to rescue her. Her silence should not suggest complicity. This is reinforced by the prophetic condemnation by Nathan delivered to King David regarding his abuse of power. While not initially directly accusing the king, the prophet presents a judicial parable to trap the king into condemning himself. Yet, if King David is not corrupted by his power, why does the prophet Nathan need to use a rhetorical strategy to confront him? Convicted and guilty, David repents. The repentance for abuses of power and sexual sin by national leaders is emphasized and modeled by King David. This also provides a model of repentance for the pentecostal community for comparable abuses against victims of power and sexual sin. © koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/15700747-04101032 ========1========10 grey Keywords David – Bathsheba – power – repentance – Pentecostalism 1 Introduction The abuse or misuse of power by those in authority is an important issue raised in social media and underscored by groups such as the #MeToo move- ment. Unfortunately, these abuses are also prevalent in the church, including in pentecostal communities. Abuses can take many forms, including emotional, sexual, physical, and social harassment and harm. They occur when those in authority use their position to exert unjust power over subordinates. It estab- lishes unequal power relations in which the subordinate perceives themselves powerless to reject the behavior of those in authority. Yet, if this is an issue in democratic societies today, in which the rights of individuals are generally protected, then it would be even more an issue in ancient societies, in which those in authority held absolute power. This article will explore the narrative of 2Samuel 11–12 in which an Israelite king abused his authority by sexual assault and murder. The story of David and Bathsheba is placed in the broader nar- rative of the early institutionalization of the monarchy in ancient Israel. It follows David’s rise to power and is partly an explanation for his shaky con- trol of the throne.The broader narrative presents a warning against self-serving leadership, of which this incident provides an example. Yet, despite this narra- tive framework, many scholars historically have vindicated David from rape by claiming Bathsheba’s complicity. Therefore, this article will present a literary analysis of the narrative to consider the actions of the characters in the light of power relationships. As the narrative of 2Samuel 11–12 continues, David manipulates people and events to ensure the death of Bathsheba’s husband, suggesting an intoxication with power. Similarly, Nathan’s rhetorical strategy also indicates the imbalance of power relations in the dynamic between the roles of king and prophet. That Nathan must couch his condemnation of the king in a parable suggests that, like Bathsheba, Nathan is vulnerable to harassment and harm by the king. Yet, when David is confronted with his wrongdoings he responds as an ideal fol- lower of Yahweh: with repentance. Although the damaging consequences of his abusive behavior were still to be outworked in the subsequent narrative, David did not blame his victims or attempt to justify his behavior. In this sense he provides—for both past and present readers of the text—a model response to the prophetic call for repentance resulting from abuses of power. For the con- PNEUMA 41 (2019) 9–25 ========2========a prophetic call to repentance 11 temporary pentecostal community, a comparable prophetic call is resounding to repent for abuses of power by those in authority. Are we willing to hear and respond as David did? 2 The Narrative Framework of 1–2Samuel The book of Samuel contains mixed attitudes toward the development and institutionalization of the monarchy. On the one hand, it is positive about the potential for a king to bring justice to the community. This is reflected in the Song of Hannah (1Samuel 2:1–10) in which she prophetically announces that Yahweh will reverse the presumption of the proud by exalting the humble. In this context of justice, Yahweh will give strength to the king. On the other hand, Samuel warns the people of Israel in his speech in 1Samuel 8:1–18 that by demanding a king like the other nations their kings will “take” the best of their produce and people. That is, he anticipates that Israel’s kings will poten- tially behave like any other ANE despot in abusing their position for self-gain. The narrative then follows the stories of Saul and David as they navigate the responsibilities and temptations of kingship. The specific focus of this study, the narrative of 2Samuel 11–12, takes place after the death of Saul and the secur- ing of the throne by David. While it is, on the one hand, a simple story, it is notoriously ambiguous.1The motivations of the characters are not provided by the narrator and so can only be speculated on through a close reading of the narrative. There is much that the narrator does not tell us, which must also be considered—including why David is in Jerusalem in the first place. The narrative begins in a time of relative prosperity and territorial expan- sion, during the Ammonite Wars.2 The pericope is located temporally in the springtime, the “time when kings go out to battle” (2Sam 11:1 ESV). David has sent Joab, his servants, and “all Israel” to conquer the Ammonites while he remained in Jerusalem. Immediately, this raises a question: Why was the king not with his army? He has “sent” another to fulfill his role while he, for whatever unknown reason, lounged in the pleasant environment of his palace roof (11:2). As the narrative unfolds, the king will be doing a lot of “sending” of his servants 1 David G. Firth, “David and Uriah (With an Occasional Appearance by Uriah’s Wife): Read- ing and Re-Reading 2Samuel 11,” Old Testament Essays 20, no. 2 (2008): 310–328. See also Gale A. Yee, “‘Fraught with Background’: Literary Ambiguity in IISamuel 11,” Interpretation 42 (1988): 240–253. 2 The Ammonite Wars, as recounted in the Samuel narrative, begin in 2Sam 10:1 and conclude after the description of Solomon’s birth in 12:31. PNEUMA 41 (2019) 9–25 ========3========12 grey and subjects.The story continues: “And it happened, one sunset” that David was walking on the rooftop of the palace. The narrative emphasizes that from this position of height, in the midst of his walking, he saw from the roof a woman bathing. It suggests that it was by chance that he caught sight of this woman either through a window or by seeing into the inner courtyard of her home.3It also suggests that he may have been able to see into many homes in the vicinity from his viewpoint of the palace roof, but this view was particularly tantalizing to a possibly bored monarch. The palace rooftop is portrayed in the broader narrative as publicly visible. It is the highly observable location to which later Absalom would publicly take his father’s concubines “in the sight of all Israel” (2Sam 16:22). So, it may be assumed that if the palace rooftop was publicly vis- ible for all the people, then all the people were visible from the rooftop. The order of the narrative suggests that David not only glimpsed a woman bathing but then paused from his restlessness for a closer look. The narra- tor then observes that the unknown woman was exceedingly beautiful. Now, this could have been the conclusion of the episode. David could have contin- ued walking the palace roof. But it is not. David then actively enquires as to the woman’s identity. He “sends” an inquiry about “the woman.” His order is promptly fulfilled as a servant provides the identity of the object of his inter- est. This is important in the narrative, as it is clear that Bathsheba is unknown to David. The servant answers with a question: “Is this not Bathsheba?” (11:3).4 That the subordinate poses the response as a question does not mean that he is unsure of her identity and therefore speculating.5 He is using the language of a subordinate to an authority figure. It is the language of subservience: the type of behavior seemingly expected by David of his subjects at this time. David now learns the identity of the unknown beauty he has paused to observe. As Brueggemann notes, her name is “dangerously hyphenated”: She is the granddaughter of his advisor and wife of one of his heroic warriors (2Sam 3 Moshe Garsiel, “The Story of David and Bathsheba: A Different Approach,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly55 (1993): 255. 4 It is noted that Bailey offers a different reading of this in which he suggests that it is David asking the question of himself and thereby identifying his knowledge of Bathsheba. He sug- gests this because there is no other subject introduced in the verse of 11:3. (See R.C. Bailey, David in Love and War: The Pursuit of Power in 2Samuel 10–12[Sheffield:JSOTPress, 1990], 85.) Indeed, Firth describes this clause as “a semantic ambiguity” (Firth, “David and Uriah,” 322). However, the subject of the verb (wyʾmr) is not clearly identified as David. It simply states “he said,” which could refer to David or another male. The context, however, is that David has sent and enquired after her. This anonymous “he” provides the response. It is unlikely that David would actively “send” an enquiry to himself that he then answers. 5 Bailey, David in Love and War, 85. PNEUMA 41 (2019) 9–25 ========4========a prophetic call to repentance 13 23:39). She is defined by the men to whom she belongs.6 In fact, she is only called by her own name in 11:3; otherwise she is just “the woman” (11:2, 5) or “Uriah’s wife” (11:11, 26).7 She is also unprotected. As “all of Israel,” except for David, has gone to battle the Ammonites, she is apparently alone without a male guardian, something generally required in ancient (and some contem- porary) societies. Again, this could have been the conclusion of the episode: Bathsheba is married. David is clearly told that she is married to his loyal sub- ject fighting his war. But it is not the end of the episode. As Garsiel writes, “Had David contented himself with looking, the author would not have reprehended him, but when he is informed that she is married, he is faced with the severe moral test of coveting another’s wife (see Exod 20:14; Deut 5:18).”8However, the king desires and so acts out of self-interest, disregarding the law to “take” what- ever he wants, just as Samuel warned. He issues the order for her to be brought to him without hesitation and with decisiveness. 3 The Rape of Bathsheba The sexual encounter between David and Bathsheba is described very tersely. It is all over in one verse. The account is dominated by a quick succession of verbs in which David is mostly the active subject: “and he saw … sent … inquired … sent … took her … lay with her.”9 The only two verbs in which Bathsheba acts is in her coming to David (in response to his sending) and her returning to her house (11:4). This is not a romantic wooing, but a slak- ing of lust. The quick flow of action matches David’s sexual appetite; it is over as quickly as it came.10 The woman is then dismissed, her purpose fulfilled. However, what the speed of this narrative subtly reinforces is the power struc- tures inherent among the actors. There are three characters or groupings in this section of the narrative. First, there is the king who is the primary insti- gator of the action. He desires her, so he sends the messengers to bring her. Second, there are the messengers. They do not question the king’s actions, nei- ther does the third character, Bathsheba. According to the narrative, she does not query why she is being physically taken by multiple men to the king’s pres- 6 7 8 9 10 Walter Brueggemann, First and Second Samuel (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1990) 273. Firth, “David and Uriah,” 313. Garsiel, “The Story of David and Bathsheba,” 253. Garsiel, “The Story of David and Bathsheba,” 255–256. Brueggemann, First and Second Samuel, 273. PNEUMA 41 (2019) 9–25 ========5========14 grey ence. Does she not speak in the narrative because she has no questions or thoughts, or does she not speak because her opinion does not matter? She is alone in Jerusalem, being taken to see the king without explanation. While being escorted from her home to the palace, Bathsheba’s silence in the nar- rative makes clear that it does not matter what she might think, feel, or say. She is powerless. She is being taken to the palace by unknown men for an unknown purpose. Some commentators have made much of her being the subject of this verb (“she came”), as though she is empowered and acting on her own authority.11 However, she is not an independent actor; she is a typi- cal female in an honor-shame culture who is actively responding to the sum- mons of an authoritative figure. These commentators also neglect the previous clause in the sentence that he sent messengers and he “took her.” Did she really have a choice? Most likely she comes to David only because she is physically apprehended by his men, who are acting on his commands. Garland and Gar- land highlight the power play by David in sending for Bathsheba. They write: “Refusal to answer David’s summons was unthinkable. She had never met the king; he was known as the chosen of God; she would not have imagined that he was calling on her for sexual favors. Nothing could have prepared her for what was to come.”12 Once she has come to the domain of the king, David lies with her. He is, again, the subject and actor of this verb “he lay.” From David’s perspective she is simply an object to be used for sexual gratification. In fact, the narrative is presented from his perspective; she comes to him, rather than she went. He has sexual intercourse with her. He is the active instigator and dominant char- acter in the narrative. David does not call her name or even speak to her. As Brueggemann observes, “He takes simply because he can. He is at the culmi- nation of his enormous power.”13After he has finished with her she is just “the woman” (11:5).14 In this way, the narrative shows that David acts like any other oriental despot. He acts as though he is unaccountable to anyone or anything, 11 12 13 14 Bailey (drawing on Bowman) suggests that in “ascribing the verb šlḥ to Bathsheba, the writer is signaling that she also has authority. Contrary to the contention that the use of this verb is ‘expected’ in this verse, the story could have simply stated that she went to him” (see Bailey, David in Love and War, 86). I contend, however, that the use of “come” rather than “went” is a demonstration of the perspective and power of the narrative, which are in David’s favor. As noted above, she only comes because she is taken by the messengers. It is not voluntary and she certainly does not have any agency. D.R. Garland & D.E. Garland, “Bathsheba’s Story: Surviving Abuse and Loss,”Family and Community Ministries21, no. 3 (2008): 24. Brueggemann, First and Second Samuel, 274. Brueggemann, First and Second Samuel, 273. PNEUMA 41 (2019) 9–25 ========6========a prophetic call to repentance 15 including the law.15 From Bathsheba’s perspective, she is alone and powerless in the palace. Does she object to the sexual advances of the king? The narrative is silent on this. It may be that she did not object. However, it is more likely that it does not matter whether she objected or not. She is unprotected and alone in the unknown domain of the palace. The king, the most authoritative person in the nation, has sent for her to sleep with him. The king has at hand multiple male messengers and servants ready to do his bidding without hesitation or question. She is the female subordinate in an honor-shame culture who most likely perceives herself powerless to reject the behavior of those in authority. Does she have a choice? I suggest not. At this point, the narrator then provides some important background infor- mation (analepsis).16 The reader now discovers the purpose of Bathsheba’s bathing that David had spied from the rooftop; it was part of the ritual cleans- ing following her menstruation. This makes it clear to the reader that she was not pregnant prior to the sexual encounter with David. Yet there is also a tinge of irony in the narrative that her attempt to fulfill the law led to the violation of both her and the law by the one who was supposedly the highest upholder of the law in the land. The king was to be the champion of the law (Deut 17:18–20), yet David flagrantly disregarded the law by taking another man’s wife. However, she remains Uriah’s wife, as she immediately returns to her home and posi- tion once David’s lust for her is satisfied. The return to her home is her only action and the first time in her interaction with David that she seems to have any agency. According to the narrative she was not sent home, but she (as the subject of the verb) returned to her domain. Again, she does not speak or com- plain. Neither does she flirt or suggest a continued liaison with David. She just returns to her home. Being alone with the king had left her compromised. If she broke her silence, who would believe her? Her word against God’s chosen one?17 Perhaps she did not want to stay in this place of her shame but instead desired to return alone to a place of safety and forgetfulness, her home. She makes no further contact with the king until the fateful message is sent: “I am pregnant” (11:5). This is the first time she speaks. Yet it is the very silence of Bathsheba throughout the narrative to this point that has caused commenta- tors to question her motivations. 15 16 17 Mary J. Evans,1 & 2Samuel (Grand Rapids,MI: Baker Books, 2000) 183. Firth, “David and Uriah,” 321. Garland & Garland, “Bathsheba’s Story,” 25. PNEUMA 41 (2019) 9–25 ========7========16 grey 4 Did Bathsheba “Ask for It”? This subtitle is deliberately provocative18 because historically, and even today, commentators regularly suggest that Bathsheba manipulated the liaison with the king.19 Some suggest that she was attempting to seduce the king by know- ingly bathing in a provocative manner where he would see her.20 Contempo- rary scholars such as Randall Bailey suggest that her bathing activities were calculated to attract the attention and lust of the king for the purpose of improving her status.21 Can we deduce from the narrative any motivations of Bathsheba or suggestion of complicit behavior? Bailey’s hypothesis that Bathsheba was motivated by social prestige is built on the supposed emphasis on her social status in the narrative. That she is identified first as the daugh- ter of Eliam and, by implication, the granddaughter of Ahithophel, indicates that she is politically connected. Bailey describes Bathsheba then as a “will- ing and equal partner” in the use of sex for political gain, so that their child will be the incumbent king. He considers her lack of distress in reporting her pregnancy a further indictment of her as a sexual and political provocateur.22 While Bailey’s analysis ignores the power dynamics and authoritative positions of David, there are two major issues with his hypothesis for a narrative read- ing of the text. The first is that Bailey’s theory relies on the speculative idea that the David-Bathsheba affair actually took place after the Absalom revolt— that by manipulating a sexual alliance with the king, Bathsheba was attempting to restore the political shame of her grandfather’s betrayal of David.23 This does not, however, account for the cause-and-effect of the canonical narrative. The broader narrative is clear that the family tragedies of 2Samuel 13–20— including Absalom’s revolt—are a consequence of David’s sin in 2Samuel 11. Nathan prophesies that one from David’s own house will lie with his wives in the sight of all Israel (2Sam 12:11–12), which is fulfilled by Absalom (2Sam 16:22). 18 19 20 21 22 23 This question is also asked by Caryn Tamber-Rosenau, “Biblical Bathing Beauties and the Manipulation of the Male Gaze: What Judith Can Tell Us about Bathsheba and Susanna,” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion33, no. 2 (2017): 56. For a brief overview of some of the main arguments, see Caryn Tamber-Rosenau, “Biblical Bathing Beauties,” 59–61. George G. Nichol, “The Alleged Rape of Bathsheba: Some Observations on Ambiguity in Biblical Narrative,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 73 (1997): 43–54. The argu- ment against this view is outlined above. Bailey, David in Love and War, 89. Bailey, David in Love and War, 89. Bailey, David in Love and War, 90. PNEUMA 41 (2019) 9–25 ========8========a prophetic call to repentance 17 The second issue with Bailey’s theory is that the subsequent sections in the canonical narrative in which Bathsheba appears do not characterize her as a political manipulator. While she is certainly interested and active in ensuring the succession of her son Solomon to the throne (1Kings 1:11–27), the instigator and mastermind for Solomon’s positioning is Nathan. Bathsheba simply fol- lows Nathan’s instructions. Similarly, when Adonijah asks Bathsheba to request of Solomon the Shunammite woman for his wife (which was basically a play for the throne), Bathsheba agrees to ask on his behalf. She is grossly unaware of the political implications, and her naivety characterizes her as the ancient equivalent of the stereotypical “bimbo” (1Kings 2:13–25).Therefore, the broader narrative in a literary reading suggests that she is hardly an agent provocateur; instead she is the one easily manipulated. Yet it is not just Bailey who considers the silence of Bathsheba indicative of her complicity in the sexual liaison. For Alexander Abasili, Bathsheba’s silence invalidates the possibility of rape. He notes that while there is no direct equiva- lency in the English language for the Hebrew terminology for rape, it is the con- text that determines if a sexual relationship was coerced or not.24The context is provided in Deuteronomy 22:23–27: if the women is in a town and does not cry out for help then she is complicit with the sexual encounter. If she is in the countryside, however, then it is irrelevant if she cries out or not as there would be no one to help her. Abasili then compares Bathsheba withTamar in 2Samuel 13. For both Tamar and Bathsheba, the sexual encounter occurs in the same vicinity of the royal palace. While Tamar cries out against Amnon, Bathsheba does not cry out against David. While acknowledging the power differences between the king and Bathsheba, according to Abasili, the silence of Bathsheba indicates that it was not rape but that she was somewhat complicit in the sexual encounter.25 Despite the location, however, the two situations are not compa- rable. Tamar is the daughter of the king, knows others in the palace (her home) to whom she can appeal, including her brother Absalom. Tamar is also some- what on a level of social equality with her perpetrator (her half-brother).Tamar can call out, like the victim of Deuteronomy in a town context, and find help. In comparison, Bathsheba is in an unknown environment, having been handed to the king by his messengers. There is no one to help her and no one to whom she can appeal. She is alone and isolated. Her situation is more comparable to the countryside scenario of Deuteronomy than the town. It would be superfluous for her to cry out as most likely she would not receive help. 24 25 Alexander Izuchukwu Abasili, “Was it Rape? The David and Bathsheba Pericope Re- examined,”Vetus Testamentum61 (2011): 1–4. Abasili, “Was it Rape?,” 14. PNEUMA 41 (2019) 9–25 ========9========18 grey Richard Davidson also notes that the normal terminology for rape is not used in this case. However, he suggests that the context implies rape because of the psychological coercion described in the passage. He prefers the termi- nology of “power rape,” which he defines as a situation “in which a person in a position of authority abuses that ‘power’ to victimize a subservient and vul- nerable person sexually, whether or not the victim appears to give ‘consent.’”26 Up until this point in the narrative Bathsheba has been silent. But now, there is a complication in the drama. Bathsheba sends a message to David that their sexual union has resulted in pregnancy. From David’s perspectivethisis a prob- lem. Once he has received word of Bathsheba’s pregnancy, David then “sends” word to Joab to “send” him Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband. It is a royal summons; the narrator directly quotes the command of the monarch. So Joab “sends” Uriah (twice emphasized as the object) to David. This sending activity is gen- erally understood as motivated for the purpose of ensuring that Uriah would sleep with his wife and thereby cover up the real paternity of the child, though this is not specifically stated by the narrator. Instead, what the narrative does describe is David issuing orders without hesitation and with decisiveness.27 Like Bathsheba, Uriah responds to David’s summons and subordinately “came to him” (11:6, 7).28 5 Framing Uriah What follows appears to be two attempts by David to have Uriah return to his home to have sexual relations with his wife. Like Bathsheba, Uriah comes to the king for an unknown purpose. He also does not query why he has been summoned. The narrator describes David speaking—asking after the shalom of Joab, the people and the war—but we are not told the response of Uriah. He, like Bathsheba, is silent. Uriah’s silence emphasizes the dominance and abso- lute power of the king. Is the king really interested in his response? Or is it just fulfilling the formalities of a hospitality culture before he gets to the heart of the summons: “Go down to your house and wash your feet” (11:8)? The command for Uriah to sleep with Bathsheba is subtly framed using a euphemism. Uriah does not object to this command or contradict the king. Again, he is silent. Is it so dangerous to contradict the king in his presence that even one of David’s 26 27 28 Richard M. Davidson, “Did King David Rape Bathsheba? A Case Study in Narrative Theol- ogy,” Journal of the Adventist Theological Society17, no. 2 (Autumn 2006): 1–4. Brueggemann, First and Second Samuel, 274. Gale A. Yee, “‘Fraught with Background,’” 245. PNEUMA 41 (2019) 9–25 ========10========a prophetic call to repentance 19 own “mighty men” will remain silent? The sending of the gift by David perhaps suggests that the king considered his directive to Uriah successful. However, as David’s servants report back to him, Uriah has not obeyed the king. There is a repeated use in the narrative here of “go down to his house.” David commands him to “go down to his house” (11:8) but he did not “go down to his house” (11:9). David’s servants report that Uriah did not “go down to his house,” so David asks him why he did not “go down to his house” (11:10). Brueggemann observes, “The words pound at us with rhetorical stress. It is the only thing David now wants. It is the one thing Uriah will not do. It is the one thing powerful David cannot have, much as he wants it!”29 When questioned directly by David, Uriah speaks for the first time (11:11). The broader narrative provides the context to understand his response. As David Firth observes, “1Sam 21:6 establishes the pattern that soldiers on active service were meant to refrain from sexual activity, especially if the Ark was involved.” Uriah’s speech demonstrates his integrity and commitment to this requirement, which is probably based on Deuteronomy 23:10.30 For Uriah, the authority of the law is greater than the authority of the king. However, it does throw an ambiguous light on David’s motivations: Was he trying to get Uriah to sleep with Bathsheba to cloud the paternity issue? Or was he trying to have Uriah break the law—a law punishable by death—and thereby arrange for him to be lawfully executed?31It is unclear, however, if this law would be considered applicable if Uriah was not technically on active deployment by being sum- moned away from the battlefield. The second attempt to frame Uriah is less subtle. David invites him to eat and drink in his presence, suggesting a great honor. The narrator tells us that David makes Uriah drunk. The power and dominance of the king is empha- sized. Yet, Uriah still does not “go down to his house” (11:13). Despite David’s position and power he cannot make Uriah, even in his drunken state, relin- quish his principles. Whether those principles are a determined loyalty to his comrades-in-arms, or a stubborn adherence to the law, or both, we are not sure. However, as Mary Evans notes, “The writers’ interest in the use and abuse of power again comes to the fore. David has been flaunting his power, assuming that he can obtain anything he wants. But he lacks the power to deprive Uriah of his integrity.”32The next day results in a new strategy. David has failed in his 29 30 31 32 Brueggemann, First and Second Samuel, 275. Firth, “David and Uriah,” 320. Firth, “David and Uriah,” 315. Evans,1 & 2Samuel, 183. PNEUMA 41 (2019) 9–25 ========11========20 grey probable purpose to coerce Uriah to have sexual relations with Bathsheba, so a new plan is hatched. Once more David acts decisively and “sends” a letter with instructions to Joab. This letter is loyally delivered by the hand of Uriah. The narrator reveals that the letter contains instruction for Uriah’s death sentence, but Uriah does not know this (11:15). Joab fulfils the instructions of David without question and sends Uriah (and the other soldiers with him) on what Evans calls a “suicide mission” (11:16–18).33 The cover-up costs not only Uriah his life, but the lives of his comrades as well. Joab then “sends” the news to David that the instruc- tions have been fulfilled and the real mission to ensure the death of Uriah was successful (11:18–21). The speech between David and Joab conveyed by the messenger is lengthy, careful, and coded (11:22–25). Both David and Joab seem satisfied with the outcome of the exchange. The final outcome of the narrative of 1Samuel 11 is once more described very tersely and impersonally. Bathsheba’s name is not mentioned once.The narrator reports that when the “wife of Uriah” heard of her husband’s death, she, perhaps ambiguously, “lamented over” her husband (11:26). Following her period of mourning, David “sent” for “her” once more. She is again brought to “his house.” “She” becomes his wife and bears him a son (11:27). Both David and Bathsheba are silent. However, the silence will not remain, for the narrator reports that this dabar (“the thing,” singular) done by David displeased Yahweh (11:27). Which “thing” of David was displeas- ing? There seems to be so many options: Was it the coercion of Bathsheba? The “power rape”? Was it the attempt by David to arrange the lawful execution of Uriah? Or was it the nefarious arrangement of his military suicide mission as equal to murder? The king, and upholder of the law, has been compromised on many levels. Perhaps, and most likely, it is the combined whole of this collective “thing”34that displeased Yahweh. 6 Yahweh Responds Throughout 1Samuel 11, David has been the dominant character in the narra- tive; he has “sent” people and objects. Now, as the story continues in chapter 12, it is Yahweh who “sends” (12:1). David must receive.35 Yahweh sends Nathan without introduction or preamble. The prophet was already known to David 33 34 35 Evans,1 & 2Samuel, 184. Firth, “David and Uriah,” 317. Brueggemann, First and Second Samuel, 279. PNEUMA 41 (2019) 9–25 ========12========a prophetic call to repentance 21 in the broader narrative of Samuel, having previously provided advice regard- ing the building of the “house” for Yahweh, which resulted in what is popu- larly known as the “Davidic covenant” (2Sam 7). Yet, despite this established relationship and his clear designation as a prophet sent by Yahweh, Nathan approaches the king cautiously. What is of particular interest here is Nathan’s rhetorical strategy. As Brueggemann observes, “The narrative struggles with how truth shall speak to power.”36To address the powerful king, Nathan uses a judicial parable. Why must Nathan veil his criticism of the king as a parable? To confront David directly suggests that, like Bathsheba, even the prophet is vul- nerable to harassment and harm by the king. So if Nathan the prophet, known to David, is possibly open to physical harm by offending the king, then how could Bathsheba be expected to have rejected his sexual advances? Even if she was not unwelcoming of his advances, she would have no choice regardless. It appears that this king is dangerously intoxicated on power and despotism. Nathan begins by presenting the parable of a poor man’s lamb that was taken by the rich neighbor (12:1–4). The daughter-lamb was the only treasure of the poor man. She wasraised with love,even to “lie with her” in his arms, close tohis heart. In comparison the rich man had many flocks. Not only is the economic disparity between the two men emphasized37 but also the power difference. The great man was able to take what belonged to the little man without ques- tion; he exerted unjust power over his economic subordinate. The key word is “took,” harkening back to the warning of 1Samuel 8:1–18. David seems to recog- nize that the parable is a thinly veiled reference to a real person as he is suitably outraged by this story. As noted, the king was supposed to be the upholder of the law. He appears to be indignant that someone would behave so unjustly and unfeeling under his watch. David expresses his knowledge of the law and intention to apply it vigorously to this perpetrator (12:5–6). Again, he acts with- out hesitation and with decisiveness to announce the guilt and sentencing of this unknown man. Nathan has not finished, however. The prophet boldly delivers the punch line: “You are the man!” (12:7).The perpetrator was not unknown after all. David has announced his own guilt and sentencing. The accusation then pours from the mouth of Nathan (12:7–9): Yahweh had given David everything, so why did he despise the dabar (“the word”) of Yahweh to do such evil? What is the evil to which Nathan refers? As in 11:27, this evil is the combined whole: the mur- 36 37 Brueggemann, First and Second Samuel, 280. Brueggemann,FirstandSecondSamuel, 280. He also writes, “With the words ‘lie’ and ‘took,’ however, there is also an accusation of rape.The rich man raped the daughter-like treasure of the poor man. This is a tale of cynicism, selfishness, destruction, and greed” (280). PNEUMA 41 (2019) 9–25 ========13========22 grey der of Uriah and the “taking” of his woman. The verbs (“smite,” “take,” “kill”) capture the offense.38Nathan emphasizes the dynamics of sin:39When leaders and institutions prioritize their reputation over truth it results in the perpetu- ation of one transgression after another. Interestingly, she is still “the woman” rather than Bathsheba. She remains an object, like the lamb of the parable that has passed from the ownership of one master to another. Judgment will result from this unlawful “taking” (12:10). The king is not above the law. What David did in secret will now be returned to him in public; one from David’s own house will lie with his wives in the sight of all Israel (12:11–12).This prophetic challenge marks a turning point in the narrative. Unlike Saul, when confronted with the truth David does not deny the accusation, or blame others, or attempt to justify his actions (1Sam 15:15–31). Neither did he attempt to eliminate the prophet.40 Instead, David acknowledges the truth of the prophetic word. 7 David Repents David responds to the accusation and judgment of Yahweh delivered by Nathan with a simple admission: “I have sinned” (12:13).This statement makes clear that it is he, and he alone, that has sinned. The “woman” is not accused, neither is she required to repent. This statement also makes clear in the narrative that reputation and honor are not to be prioritized over truth-telling. Convicted by the prophetic word, exposed and vulnerable before a more powerful author- ity, David acquiesces. He does not plead but repents. The narrative reminds the reader that it is never too late to repent. It is a simple statement that would be humiliating for a person of high honor. Yet, it is important that the words of admission and submission are found on the lips of a powerful man. It is not just women and subordinates that speak the words of humility in this narra- tive, but also the king. It is one thing for the shamed, barren woman Hannah to sing of Yahweh reversing the arrogance of the proud by exalting the hum- ble at the beginning of the Samuel narrative; it is another for a proud ruling monarch to submit to the reversing process. Yet, the narrative makes clear that the king has confessed. A repentant heart is the ideal paradigm for followers of Yahweh. Humility is not just the experience of subordinates but must also be the experience of those in power and authority. 38 39 40 Brueggemann, First and Second Samuel, 281. Garsiel, “The Story of David and Bathsheba,” 261. Brueggemann, First and Second Samuel, 290. PNEUMA 41 (2019) 9–25 ========14========a prophetic call to repentance 23 In confessing his sin, it is not clear exactly to whom David is directing the confession—Yahweh, Nathan, himself, others present, or all. David has not only sinned against his neighbors but also against Yahweh. So, the king humbles himself beforethe superior authority of Yahweh.David’sresponseappears tobe the desired outcome of the prophetic speech.Yahweh is not absent or unmoved by his acknowledgment. Yahweh responds to this confession decisively and without hesitation: Yahweh has “put away” David’s sin (12:13). Forgiveness is offered.RelationshipwithYahwehisrepaired.ThissuggeststhatDavid’sconfes- sion is not just passive acquiescence but an active repentance and transforma- tion of the heart. However, while Yahweh offers forgiveness for those who truly repent for unethical behavior, there are still consequences for their actions. A consequence of David’s behavior is the death of yet another innocent. The prophet announces that the child will die (12:14), then he returns to “his house” (12:15). The narrative continues with the recorded death of the child (12:15–23) and the later birth of Solomon (12:24–25). This section of Samuel detailing the Ammonite Wars then closes as David returns to the battlefield to symbolically complete the conquest (12:26–31). However, this abuse of power and harm of others will have flow-on effects throughout the rest of the narrative as David’s abuses are perpetuated by his children (2Sam 13–20), highlighting the ease with which abuse of power is normalized and embedded in social groups. Yet, the issues raised in this narrative of 2Samuel 11–12 are not unique to the biblical text. Abuses of power have been an endemic concern in social groups histori- cally and today. 8 Conclusion: Modelling Repentance for the Pentecostal Community The pentecostal community is not immune to the corruption of people in authority and the dangerous intoxication of power. Voices have emerged and are emerging from the silence to question circumstances of unethical behavior within our communities. Two such examples of prophetic truth-telling by pen- tecostal scholars are Joy Qualls and Shane Clifton. North American scholar Joy Qualls, in her monograph God Forgive Us for Being Women: Rhetoric, Theology, and the Pentecostal Tradition, exposes the rhetoric of gendered language that has subjugated women and produced injustices of abuse against God’s daugh- ters.41 She calls for a revisioning of gender roles as a requirement for gender 41 Joy E.A. Qualls, God Forgive Us for Being Women: Rhetoric, Theology, and the Pentecostal Tradition(Eugene:OR: Pickwick Publications, 2018). PNEUMA 41 (2019) 9–25 ========15========24 grey reconciliation. Similarly, theologian Shane Clifton, in responding to a report on domestic violence in Australian churches, observes that “theological ideas and church structures that disempower women relative to men will inevitably enable and conceal domestic violence.” He critiques the framing of feminin- ity in some pentecostal churches that reinforces their submissiveness to men, while masculinity is often defined in terms of power and authority, especially over women.42 Rather, the empowering of the whole community by the Spirit is an invitation to redress social and structural inequalities.43Theirs, however, are not the only voices emerging in the current environment.There seems to be a movement of the Spirit in which some sisters and brothers are being empow- ered to break the silence and prophetically speak the truth to expose abuses of power and concealment of exploitation in pentecostal communities. These voices may be heard in congregations, on social media, and in the pulpit, as well as in scholarly critiques. When abuse of power is identified in the structure and language of the pentecostal community, what should be the response? I suggest that David’s repentance in the narrative of 2Samuel 11–12 may provide a model for the pen- tecostal community. As the narrative emphasizes, humility, repentance, and transformation is the desired outcome of prophetic speech and truth-telling. When sin is exposed, repentance is the appropriate response. As the narrative emphasizes, the reputation of individuals or institutions is not to be prioritized over truth-telling. Instead, the humility of repentance is the ideal paradigm for followers of Yahweh, particularly of those in positions of power and author- ity. Repentance is of high importance in the pentecostal tradition. Historians note the emphasis on altar ministry in the early revivals that were character- ized by “emotional repentance with loud weeping and simultaneous prayer.”44 However, as Lee Roy Martin has observed, the emphasis on repentance in the pentecostal tradition tends to focus on the conviction leading to initial conver- sion and justification by faith.45 There has been much reference to the role of repentance in conversion in the developing pentecostal theologies of recent years.46 Scholars have noted that the conviction and reorientation of repen- 42 43 44 45 46 Shane Clifton, “Spirit, Submission, Power, and Abuse: A Response to Teaching on Female Submission and the Scourge of Domestic Violence,”St Mark’s Review243 (March 2018): 43. Clifton, “Spirit, Submission, Power, and Abuse,” 46. Allan H. Anderson,TotheEndsof theEarth:PentecostalismandtheTransformationof World Christianity(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 34. Lee Roy Martin,The Unheard Voice of God: A Pentecostal Reading of the Book of Judges,JPT Supplement Series 32 (Blandford Forum,UK: Deo Publishing, 2008), 7. For example, see Wolfgang Vondey, Pentecostal Theology: Living the Full Gospel (London: T&T Clark, 2017); James K.A. Smith,ThinkinginTongues:PentecostalContributionstoChris- PNEUMA 41 (2019) 9–25 ========16========a prophetic call to repentance 25 tance is not just intellectual but also affective.47 In comparison, Martin notes the deficiency of scholarship on the repentance of a believer in the pursuit of holiness. He calls for the development of a theology of repentance as essential for renewal.48 Yet, what can the model of David’s repentance offer a developing theology of repentance for the pentecostal community, particularly in response to abuses against victims of power and sexual sin? I suggest two important observations. First, the narrative emphasizes that reputation and honor are not to be pri- oritized over truth-telling. Attempts to hide the truth of abuse for the sake of public standing perpetuate the sin and exploitation of victims.What is interest- ing is that in the Samuel narrative,Yahweh was not afraid to reprimand publicly his primary representative and chosen one. The pentecostal community is not defending God’s repute by covering unethical behavior; in fact, we are under- mining the justice of God. Second, the narrative reminds us that it is never too late to repent. After the birth of the unnamed child in 11:27, it seems that the matter of David’s sin is resolved and dismissed. It is in the past. But thenYahweh intervenes. Despite the accumulation of sin, or perhaps because of its accu- mulation, Yahweh still calls David to repent. For the pentecostal community, we should not shy from repenting of past sins perpetuated in our community. Instead, under the conviction of the prophetic word, address the sins of the past to bring healing and wholeness for the present community. 47 48 tian Philosophy (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2010); Kenneth J. Archer,The Gospel Revis- ited: Towards a Pentecostal Theology of Worship and Witness(Eugene,OR: Wipf and Stock, 2011). Smith,Thinking in Tongues, 72–73. Martin,The Unheard Voice of God, 9. PNEUMA 41 (2019) 9–25 ========17========

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