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When, with her family at the age of eight, Bathsheba tops a hill and witnesses the bloody and violent stoning of an adulterous woman, she does not know that the memory will stay with her and will vividly return to be a threat to her in her early twenties. As the granddaughter of an influential man named Ahithophel, Bathsheba grows up in a loving home, only to lose her mother and her grandmother at a young age. Her father, Eliam, disguises her as a boy and takes her with him as he travels on a camel caravan for several years. At the age of fourteen, she becomes mistress of Grandfather Ahithophel’s household when he is called to be a counselor to King David in Jerusalem. When she turns fifteen, without her father’s knowledge, Grandfather Ahithophel marries her off to a widowed man named Uriah. Hers is an abusive marriage. After years of abuse, when Bathsheba goes to Jerusalem for the procession of the Ark, which King David has brought to the city, she meets a handsome dancer from the procession. Later when Uriah buys a place near Ahithophel’s in Jerusalem, she moves there with Gebur, Uriah’s son from his first marriage. One day on a visit to the ruins behind Jerusalem, where she goes for peace, she encounters again the dancer from the procession of the Ark. They spend the day talking yet fighting a growing attraction. In the heat of the evening, she goes to the aliyah, the semiprivate rooftop porch, to bathe. In the dancing moonbeams of a sultry, hot night, a man stands on his aliyah, which overlooks much of the city. His eyes fasten upon the movements of a beautifully shaped woman who is innocently bathing in the ivy-curtained aliyah below him. The next day, though she knows she should not, Bathsheba plans to return to the ruins, where she had met the dancer. But it is not to be. Her stepson, Gebur, awakens ill, and she does not want to leave him. That night, as twilight deepens to dark, a messenger and soldiers arrive on her doorstep. The king has summoned her. It is not a request. Questions hurtle through her as she is escorted into the palace, up the stairs, and allowed entrance through walnut double doors. Upon entering she is alone, except for the shadowed figure who emerges from the folds of golden drapes at the far edge of the aliyah. “What are you doing here? I am waiting for the king,” bursts forth from her. The dancer from the ruins, now arrayed in a robe of opulent red and gold, silences her as he quietly speaks her name. “Bathsheba.” She stops, for she knew she had not told it to him. Leading her to a divan, he explains that he was the dancer in the procession of the Ark but he is also King David. Her lord and sovereign, she realizes with astonishment, aware again of the powerful attraction between them. I will be all right as long as he doesn’t touch me, she thinks. Then King David reaches to slowly turn her to him, bending to claim her lips in a tender but oh so breathtaking kiss. In his eyes is a question she cannot refuse. As David lowers himself toward her, he realizes that he has gained more than possession of her body. He has gained entrance to her soul. Four days later, Bathsheba comes out of her world of wonder to realize she has broken Yahweh’s law of adultery. It is Yahweh’s law she has broken; to Yahweh she must go. She sees no one as she enters the women’s courtyard. The high priest, Zadok, is the only priest there at that time of day. He and the prophet Nathan both enter the women’s court silently to witness a depth of sorrow they have seldom seen. After Zadok makes his presence known, he intercedes and offers absolution for Bathsheba, not knowing what the cause of her deep grief is. In three months’ time, Bathsheba, during the time between sleep and gentle wakefulness as she feels again the morning sickness in her stomach, accepts the fact that she is carrying King David’s baby. Uriah, her husband, has been soldiering at Ammon for many months. She is terrifi

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