Was Bathsheba Bathing in the Nude?

Nov. 10 2015

In the book of Samuel, King David looks down from his roof one evening and sees “a woman washing herself.” He then initiates his affair with the woman, the beautiful Bathsheba. While many great European artists—most famously Rembrandt—have depicted Bathsheba as bathing nude, others have imagined her merely washing her feet. David M. Gunn explains:

Many an interpreter has held Bathsheba to be at fault for showing herself naked to the king—for seducing him.

[The 15th-century French artist Jean] Bourdichon followed the custom of late-medieval illuminated books of hours and psalters in showing Bathsheba standing naked in a pool with a fountain. However, the earliest printed Bibles with embedded woodcut illustrations, produced in the late 15th century first in Cologne and then in Nuremberg, show a very different Bathsheba. She is clothed. Holding up the hem of her dress, she sits with her feet in a bowl. In Martin Luther’s 16th-century German Bibles, she usually sits beside the castle moat with a servant washing her feet. . . .

The bathing Bathsheba of the books of hours is accompanied by the words of the penitential psalm, “Domine ne in furore tuo arguas me” (“O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger” [Ps 6:1]). These words are traditionally understood to be David’s. So perhaps the naked woman signifies not her own lapse, but his lust and moral failure. On the other hand, many books of hours were made for and used by women. What did it mean for a woman to pray in penitence, “O Lord, do not rebuke me,” while looking at this bathing woman? Was the bathing woman a warning against being seduced?

 

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Read more at Bible Odyssey

More about: Art, Arts & Culture, Hebrew Bible, King David, Martin Luther

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror