Seed: Narrative Lectionary Resource for David and Bathsheba


Resources by Rev. Dr. Barbara Hedges-Goettl

The story of David and Bathsheba is part of the RCL lectionary for 2 consecutive weeks Proper 12/Ordinary 17B and Proper 13/Ordinary 18B; the second half of the story makes 2 appearances, also appearing as Proper 6C/Ordinary 11C.

See resources for 2 Samuel 11:1-15 at

and for 2 Samuel 11:26-12:15 at

This passage is, as they say, “a sticky wicket”–from the odd slicing of this pericope to the passage’s relationship to our society’s growing awareness of  the abuses of men; see Gennifer Brooks’ commentary at

With regard to the NL pericope, if the congregation knows the story (mine does), one could preach from just the Nathan part of the story and use that to review the larger saga. I plan to use 2 Samuel 12:1-13/14/15; I am not yet sure what to do with the punishment being the death of David & Bathsheba’s child—as if she hasn’t suffered enough already! If the story needs to be told more fully, vv. 26-27 don’t work well in isolation from the rest of the story; one at least needs to include (in the reading or as an explanation) that David arranged Uriah’s death.

With regard to the relationship of the text to today, I am thinking of God requiring repentance before offering forgiveness–a piece that is often forgotten when victims are told to forgive their abusers. I am thinking of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, which saw telling the truth as a road to reconciliation. I am thinking of the controversial political cartoon featuring Judge Kavanaugh’s daughter praying for forgiveness for her father, a backhand recognition that we all need God to be our ultimate arbiter, forgiver, and healer. 

PH 1993

Hymns relating to truth, abuse of power 

278 Our God, to Whom We Turn

285 God, You Spin the Whirling Planets

289 O God of Every Nation

291 O God of Earth and Altar

386 O for a World Where Everyone

Hymns related to Penitence/God’s Mercy

261 God of Compassion, In Mercy Befriend Us

301 Lord Jesus, Think on Me

303 Jesus, Lover of My Soul

345 Dear Lord and Father of Mankind/Dear Lord. Creator Good and Kind

355 Hear the Good News of Salvation

370 Just As I Am, Without One Plea

381 O Come Unto the Lord

383 My Faith Looks Up to Thee

395 Have Mercy, Lord, on Me

Settings of Lord, Have Mercy (566, 572, 573, 574)

The David/Bathsheba story in pictures

A friend of mine who is a NT scholar, Rene Schreiner, recently did an extended Sunday School class on Bathsheba, including looking at the history of its interpretation. 

Here’s one she recommends thinking critically about: Bible Stories for Adults:  

She feels the Feminist approach is probably the most even-handed. See

She also highly recommend Wils Gafney’s section on Bathsheba in

If you want to get into the idea that 2 Sam was written by the Deuteronomist, a great podcast on Deuteronomy can be found on The Bible for Normal People with Peter Enns (Episode 39).

Veggie Tales also has Nathan’s song posted on YouTube.”  image.png


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Shannon A Thompson

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