In Psalm 51:6 David says that

"Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in Thy sight" (JPS)

I wondered why does he think that he sinned only against the Lord? I think he also sinned against Bathsheba and also sinned against the people of Israel.


Radak gives two explanations: His own explanation is that since no one knew about the sin with Betshabe but G-d, he had only sinned to G-d, i.e. only G-d knew about it. Alternatively, he quotes Rabbi Saadiah Gaon that the verse means that to G-d alone he confessed his sin, even though he did sin to others.

  • 1
    (An important thing to note is that the word "against" used in the translation literally means "to.")
    – b a
    Sep 2 '12 at 20:57
  • 2
    But he confessed to Nathan.
    – Seth J
    Sep 2 '12 at 22:59
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    @SethJ Good point. However, I think that he confessed to G-d through Nathan, and Nathan had no idea it was happening. (See Radak to Shmuel 1 12:11.)
    – b a
    Sep 2 '12 at 23:04
  • Shmuel 1? Or 2?
    – Seth J
    Sep 2 '12 at 23:13
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    But surely Shmuel knew of the confession after he read it in his book!
    – Seth J
    Sep 3 '12 at 1:45

I've heard that there is an ancient (Jewish only?) custom that a soldier would divorce his wife and then remarry her after the war. Not divorcing one's wife could lead to a circumstances where the soldier dies, but the girl cannot marry another, which would then be a waste of natural resources from community's points of view and be quite sad.

So technically Batsheba is not married and hence marrying her is not a sin at all.

In fact, I am not sure what the big deal is all about.

Secularly, in ancient time, marriage is important mainly to decide fathership and inheritance. I do not think there is any confusion on paternity on who Batsheba's children is.

Uriah didn't end up inheriting his wealth to the wrong kids. David is a responsible father that inherit quite a lot for Batsheba's children. Hence, no victim.

  • 2
    Actually, in ancient time as well as today, marriage in Judaism is considered a holy bond joining two people, which is why the word for betrothal in Hebrew is קידושין which literally translates to 'sanctification'. Additionally, many things in Judaism (called "Commandments between oneself and God") are forbidden even though no other human is a victim.
    – Double AA
    Jan 6 '13 at 0:11
  • My answer is indeed based on Judaism. I saw the issue once in this site. Batsheba is divorced at the time of the "action". Simple sex outside marriage is not a sin in Judaism. Am I wrong here?
    – user4951
    Jan 6 '13 at 3:11
  • Marriage in Judaism is also between 2 people? I am very surprised. I thought the single males made that up in and only in modern day democratic Europe thousands of years after Torah is written. So what about Abraham, Solomon, David, Moses, and pretty much everyone else that can afford and attract more than one babes? Where in the Torah/Bible there is any saying that marriage must be between 2 people? I think I asked this somewhere else before.
    – user4951
    Jan 6 '13 at 3:13
  • Each marriage is only between two people. One man can be involved in multiple marriages, each consisting of a holy bond between him and the wife in question.
    – Double AA
    Jan 6 '13 at 3:15
  • Ah I see.... But even then, where in the Torah does it say that marriage is only between 2 people? Say you want to cut marginal ceremonial cost and put things up in sort of one package? Currently, marriage is defined by congress to be civil union between 2 people so women can only pick single rather than best sellers. That's why I said the single men made that up.
    – user4951
    Jan 6 '13 at 3:18

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