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In the story of David sleeping secretly with Bat Shevah and trying to conceal his actions by fooling Uriah (II_Samuel.11.25). THe Gemmorah (Shabbat.56a) suggests that David didn't sin:

"As Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said that Rabbi Yonatan said: Anyone who goes to a war waged by the royal house of David writes a [conditional] bill of divorce to his wife."

For all those who suggest that Bat Shevah was free to have relations with David, why didn't he marry her openly and publicly right away?


For those who suggested that "it would not look nice in the eyes of people", I remind the speech that Samuel gave before people (I_Samuel.8) where he explicitly warned them of the king's unlimited rights.

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  • @robev Thank you, bad phrasing, I edited the question.
    – Al Berko
    Oct 3 at 17:41
  • The get is conditional (retroactively) on the husband dying. So marrying her before the husband is dead is not a great look. (And I’m not sure even works halachically.)
    – Joel K
    Oct 3 at 18:17
  • 1
    As my rabbi always says (including on this topic): "יש את ההלכה ויש את רוח ההלכה". Sure, you could make sure that technically everything worked. But what does it look like to outsiders? It doesn't look good.
    – Harel13
    Oct 3 at 18:28
  • David sined. Simple as that.
    – Turk Hill
    Oct 4 at 0:18
  • @JoelK Halachically, the get does not take effect until the husband dies even though it takes effect retroactively. Oct 4 at 1:28
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Rabbeinu Tam seems to be the one who holds that a full, non-conditional, divorce was given before going out to war. Tosfos in Kesubos 9B explains that even so it was done in secret so that people would not marry them in the meantime and then they would be unable to marry again when they return.

וניחא לפירוש זה הא דאמרינן בפרק הזהב (ב"מ נט. ושם) נוח לו לאדם שיבעול ספק אשת איש ואל ילבין פני חבירו ברבים ומפיק ליה מהאי מעשה דבת שבע דספק אשת איש הואי דדלמא יחזור מן המלחמה ור"ת מפרש כותב גט כריתות לגמרי בלא שום תנאי ולפי' קשה אמאי קרי לה ספק אשת איש הא הואי גרושה גמורה ואר"ת דקרי לה ספק אשת איש לפי שהיו מגרשין בצינעא שלא יהא נודע ויקפצו עליהם בני אדם לקדשם ולפי' הקונטרס קשה קצת איך בא עליה למה לא היה ירא שמא יחזור:

Rabbeinu Tam has a different approach to the divorce that was written by King David’s soldiers. Rabbeinu Tam explains that when the Gemara says: he writes a divorce for his wife, it means unconditionally, without any stipulation. Eventually, those soldiers that did return would remarry their wives. According to [Rabbeinu Tam’s] explanation we have the following difficulty: Why is [the wife] called a married woman whose status is dubious, she is absolutely divorced? There is no question about her status according to Rabbeinu Tam. Says Rabbeinu Tam: That she is called a dubious married woman because they used to divorce secretly, so that it should not be known that they were divorced, for people would be anxious to marry them if they would have divorced publicly. Since it was not well-known that they were divorced, the Gemara refers to them as married women whose status is dubious.

So, if Dovid would have married her publicly, all of his soldiers would be reluctant to give a divorce in a future war, since it would become public knowledge and people would start marrying their wives and they would be unable to remarry after the war.

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  • Interesting thought +1. Of course, this is somewhat lame as an excuse, because once everyone is doing that, there's nothing secret. I wonder how come the sages simply did not institute a prohibition of marrying a woman of such status.
    – Al Berko
    Oct 4 at 6:00
  • That would make for an interesting question. If the rabbis prohibit anyone to marry her due to the circumstances of the Get , would that constitute that she’s still somewhat tied to the original marriage and invalidates the divorce, or, since it’s not the husband per se who is holding her back, it would be considered a full krisus
    – Chatzkel
    Oct 4 at 13:27
  • @AlBerko "Of course, this is somewhat lame as an excuse". That's what the story is saying. Technically permissible, but lame.
    – MichoelR
    Oct 4 at 14:09
  • Clearly sleeping with a soldiers wife, and then putting him on the front line to hide a pregnancy wouldn't cause the soldiers to be reluctant to give a conditional divorce either.
    – Aaron
    Oct 4 at 17:48
  • @aaron He was obviously under the impressoin nobody would find out
    – Chatzkel
    Oct 4 at 18:19

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