Samuel II Chapter 11 tells of David committing adultery with Bathsheba. Whether or not she was actually considered to be married is a matter of debate, as sourced here.

According to those who say that David did sin, how could he remain married to Bathsheba? Sotah 26b mentions a prohibition of the adulteress to both husband and paramour! Inductively, one would assume that as the royal line came from this union through Solomon, it was permissible, at least technically... right?

Please source you answers.


1 Answer 1


The Talmud Kesubos 9a says it was forced. In the case of force, the rule that the two are not allowed to subsequently marry doesn't apply.

Rav Amnon Bazek argues here that this force wasn't rape in the classic sense, but rather she had no choice about going to the king, as when the king sends guards to get you, you can't refuse. Unstated is the underlying fact that the rule is תחילתו באנוס וסופו ברצון שמי' אונס - if it starts out as forced, even if she desires it later, we say her Yeitzer Hara took hold of her, and she is blameless*. So it is still in the same category of not forbidding a subsequent marriage.

However, this is one of the questions that pushes the conclusion the other way (e.g. the Malbim uses that question to make the argument) - that Dovid, at the end of the day, didn't sin.

*This is a Machlokes there, and it is a further Machlokes Rishonim if this is a biblical issue, or strictly a question of rabbinic stringency. If it is the former, then you can't keep with the opinion that this was forced, and thus makes it permitted, you would need the other answer (that they were in fact divorced). However the Halacha is like the opinion that it is still regarded as forced.

  • +1, thanks! Re the footnote, couldn't Bathsheba have not desired it throughout the act? She had to go along with it, and she did, which is why she isn't stated to have sinned. And what about Rabbi Eliezer? There was no warning by Uriah against David. That answer is offered right before the one you've cited in the Talmud.
    – Baby Seal
    Commented Feb 25, 2014 at 22:12
  • @BabySeal, Rabbi Eliezer is understanding that if there was no warning - there is no issur (if I remember correctly) - and his proof is this story (in other words he doesn't agree with the Gemara in Sotah that you quoted). Re: being forced throughout - that opinion requires witnesses hearing her scream the whole time which there isn't here, so there is no need to say she was forced the whole time in order to understand how they could subsequently marry, as it wouldn't help explain it.
    – Yishai
    Commented Feb 25, 2014 at 22:19
  • @BabySeal, the general limud from Sota (except according to R. Eliezer) is without any requirement of warning. Avuha DeShmuel requires the screaming when there are witnesses, see Kesubos 51b, that I linked to. There isn't a middle ground opinion of forced throughout being required, but assumed to be there without contradicting evidence.
    – Yishai
    Commented Feb 25, 2014 at 22:45
  • Tosafos rejects there being witnesses to the actual act taking place on 9a, as opposed to Rashi.
    – Baby Seal
    Commented Feb 25, 2014 at 23:04
  • @BabySeal, I think Rashi is saying that knowledge that they were secluded is enough. Tosfos requires witnessing the event directly, and thus learns that Dovid knew about himself. I don't think the underlying facts are in dispute, rather which ones matter. According to Rashi - witnesses knowing he brought her to his house for that purpose - you can assume the rest. Tosfos requires actual witnessing. Eidei Yediah vs. Eidei Reiah.
    – Yishai
    Commented Feb 25, 2014 at 23:11

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