Was it Rape? The David and Bathsheba Pericope Re-examined

In: Vetus Testamentum
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  • 1 Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

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Abstract

In view of the academic debate on whether David raped Bathsheba, this article takes a new approach to 2 Sam 11-12. Using narrative analysis, it reinterprets 2 Sam 11-12 with the Hebrew biblical definition of rape in mind. This new approach reveals that some of the opposing views of exegetes on this pericope are caused by the imposition of today’s definition of rape upon the narrative of 2 Sam 11-12. Our conclusion questions, on the one hand, the basis upon which some scholars suggest that David raped Bathsheba. Are they talking about ‘biblical-rape’ or are they using a contemporary concept of rape to judge the Hebrew bible? On the other hand, it disagrees with those scholars who accuse Bathsheba of seducing David for whatever motive.

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