Abuse of Power

The #MeToo Movement spread rapidly in October 2017 on social media in an attempt to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment of women, especially in the workplace. It followed soon after the sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer. The movement has given women throughout the world a voice to accuse men who have sexually abused or harassed them. High profile actors and men in Australia have also been implicated. But when we turn to the well-known story of David’s adultery with Bathsheba (2 Sam 11:1-27, what is noticeable is that Bathsheba has no voice. She is silenced, passive and without any power to refuse David’s approach. He initiates, then entraps her, then hatches a plan to hide her pregnancy (and his sin), and when that fails, he conspires to have her husband murdered. He completes his control over her by having her brought to him once her period of mourning for her husband is finished. She is a victim of David’s unrestrained power. But David is also a victim. He is a victim of his own success which deceived him into thinking he had a right and entitlement to do what he wanted as king. He is a victim of the political culture of the day which gave an absolute monarch power to live by a different set of rules from his subjects. David is a victim of his own failure to grasp his role. The king of Israel was not above the law of Moses; rather, he was to promote and guard that law (Deut ch 17). He was appointed to embody the standards of the Law as the earthly representative of God’s spiritual kingdom that was manifested in Israel. David’s behaviour is not only a moral failure, it is tragic display of a lack of self-awareness and forgetfulness of the role he had been entrusted with by the LORD.

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