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Talmudic View of David's Sin
by Albert Persohn
During a recent study time I happened across the following most interesting Rabbinical interpretation of the King David / Bathsheba / Uriah story. The writer accuses Christians of deceiving their congregations regarding this famous incident. It led me to consider again the greatness of the gap that exists between Jewish and Christian scholars not only in our interpretation of scripture but also in our understanding of its authority.During a recent study time I happened across the following most interesting Rabbinical interpretation of the King David / Bathsheba / Uriah story. The writer accuses Christians of deceiving their congregations regarding this famous incident. It led me to consider again the greatness of the gap that exists between Jewish and Christian scholars not only in our interpretation of scripture but also in our understanding of its authority.The writer clearly states that the Oral (read Talmudic) law is as old as Sinai and is the filter through which even reasonably direct Bible stories must be read. Curiously in reference to the Prophet Nathan (Jewish Sources spell his name "Natan") it is elsewhere stated that "Even a superficial reading of the episode of Bath-sheva shows David’s humility and powerful conscience. When the prophet Natan/ Nathan criticized him harshly, David did not defend himself even though as the Talmud explains, he was technically in the right. His remorse was so great that it became the textbook for repentance. (http://www.cckollel.org/html/heritage/questions/question107.html)".
Chabad Lubavitch is one of the most influential Orthodox Jewish groups in the West. One of its leading figures was Manachem Mendel Schneerson sometimes called “The Rebbe”. Schneerson actively encouraged the movement to end the celebration of Christmas. He stated that all Christians are idol worshippers. The Lubavitch movement sees the installation of the Noahide laws as one of their primary missions. Every President since Carter has honored Schneerson by observing “Education and Sharing Day” (http://www.noahide.com/rebbe.htm)
The text below is response to an letter sent in to a Chabad Rabbi.(The Link Is At The Bottom)
Our response: To address just one issue this letter raises, we should point out that the Christian Church has deceived its followers over the ages through various propaganda tricks. One of those has been an ongoing smear campaign against righteous Jewish leaders, in an attempt to discredit both the Jewish people and G-d's Law for the purpose of legitimizing Christian "authority" in religious matters. Basically, the Roman-backed Church substitutes the individual person of Jesus for the Jewish people as a whole, attempting to transfer the Jewish role of bearing G-d's message to the world away from Jews to Jesus — and by extension, the Christian Church and its members. It's a sleight-of-hand method that tries to legitimize the man-made "New Testament" in place of G-d's holy Word as found in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Talmud, the Kabbalah, and other holy Jewish writings.
The Church attempts to discredit Jews and the true Word of G-d by searching for any perceived flaw or failing on the part of the greatest, most righteous leaders, including Jacob, Moses, King David, King Solomon, and others.
In the case of King David, the Christian myth claims, as stated above in the letter, that he committed murder and adultery, thus rendering him not only not particularly righteous, but downright wicked to the greatest extent imagineable (G-d forbid!). Yet even the written Bible says an entirely different story:
* After King David's passing (that is, after his entire life was completed and ready for comment), the Bible repeatedly calls him "Your [G-d's] servant"
* avdecha David", in Hebrew; I Kings 8:24-26, Psalms 86:2,4,16; II Chron. 6:15-17,42). The connotation of the Hebrew word for "servant" means one who is totally and completely dedicated to his service. A murderer and adulterer can never be considered such a "servant," even after repenting, for only death can atone for such sins. This means the Bible is clearly implying King David never committed such crimes as the Church accuses him of. Again King David is called "His servant" in the Psalms
* David avdo", in Hebrew; Ps. 78:70). Then G-d, in His own Voice, calls David "My servant"
* David avdi", in Hebrew; Ps. 89:4,21). Wicked people are rejected and cut off from G-d, while He makes His covenants and His promises only to those who are especially righteous. All throughout the Bible are references to the eternal covenant G-d established with King David and his seed, through whom the Messianic King will arise to annihilate Amalek and permanently rebuild the Jerusalem Temple with animal sacrifices. This covenant reflects King David's status as an extraordinarily righteous man, not a person who committed vile crimes (who would never be eligible for such a covenant).
The basis for the Church's accusations lie in chapters 11 and 12 of II Samuel. The narrative mentions King David seeing Bath-Sheva bathing, being tempted, and having relations with her. It then mentions her "husband" Uriyah returning from battle, and King David assigning Uriyah to the front of the battle to have him killed. Thus the Christian interpretation of the passage sees an act of adultery (with Bath-Sheva) followed by an act of murder (of Uriyah).
The problem with this is that Christians read the text without any understanding of the rules of G-d's Law as found in the Talmud and other sources — rules that have been followed since Mount Sinai and the days of Moses.
Jewish Law only allows a husband to divorce his wife, not the other way around (it's different for gentiles under the Noahide Laws). Consequently, if a man goes off to battle and ends up missing, he can neither divorce his wife nor be presumed dead. This leaves her stuck, unable to re-marry for the rest of her life. Consequently, the rabbis instituted the practice that a husband gives his wife a divorce document, which is retroactively effective if he does not return home from the battle. So Jewish wives were not, in fact, truly married during wartime.
This means Bath-Sheva wasn't a married woman when King David had relations with her, while her "husband" Uriyah (technically divorced) was off fighting. And a king is allowed to have relations with concubines, meaning women he hasn't married. So King David's relations with Bath-Sheva were not adultery, and would only have violated Jewish Law if Uriyah had returned from battle alive to annul the divorce.
Another rule of Jewish Law says that the king (including a gentile king, apparently) has the right — or even the obligation — to uphold the dignity of the throne by executing anyone who disrespects or disobeys the king; the death penalty is immediate, without trial. That same passage in II Samuel describes Uriyah defiantly disobeying King David's orders, thus subjecting Uriyah to death penalty. King David was perfectly within his rights in having Uriyah executed.
So why did Nathan the prophet imply that King David committed some (not specifically named) sin? The problem was in the manner in which King David acquired Bath-Sheva and killed Uriyah. Instead of going about both actions in a straightforward way, King David used some stealth. The result was the appearance of sin, which in the case of a super-righteous man like King David, counts as if it were a sin (whereas for most of us, such things wouldn't be considered nearly as serious). King David faced a punishment for allowing his actions to be open to misinterpretation by outsiders — something the Christian Church has, in fact, done.
As far as King David's children go, some turned out wicked, others (such as King Solomon) quite righteous. The wickedness of his son who betrayed him wasn't the result of David's own failings; it was the product of the temptations of power and the extraordinary spiritual capacity of David's family. Those who have greater spiritual capacity for good also have stronger potential to go bad, especially when great power is involved. Neither King David nor his righteous son King Solomon succumbed to such temptations, and thus G-d established His eternal Messianic covenant with the descendants of David and Solomon. Those in the family who went bad were excluded from the covenant. (http://www.noahide.com/newsletter/news60.htm)