In 2 Shmuel 11:2 it says that Dovid saw

"וַיְהִי לְעֵת הָעֶרֶב וַיָּקָם דָּוִד מֵעַל מִשְׁכָּבוֹ וַיִּתְהַלֵּךְ עַל־גַּג בֵּית־הַמֶּלֶךְ וַיַּרְא אִשָּׁה רֹחֶצֶת מֵעַל הַגָּג וְהָאִשָּׁה טוֹבַת מַרְאֶה מְאֹד׃"

Why was she bathing on the roof? Was that common practice? I always assumed that bathing in the ancient world (besides for kings) was either done in a bath house or through some outdoor shower stall

  • Was she on the roof, or was Dovid on the roof? ....I would translate as "he saw a woman bathing, from on top of the roof" but would see meforshim there before answering
    – MTL
    Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 3:37
  • nevermind. sanhedrin 107a Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 3:57
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    BTW, are you really not allowed to change your name?
    – MTL
    Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 4:01
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    @Shokhet yeah I accidentally logged out and forgot my credentials Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 19:52
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    @not-allowedtochangemyname if you're having a problem with your account, please use the "contact us" link at the bottom of the page to request help. That goes to SE staff, not mods (mods can't fix account problems). They should be able to help you get your original account back (and merge this one into that one), if you can prove to them that you're the owner of the other one. Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 14:55

1 Answer 1



The Radak rejects such an explanation, saying: "He saw from upon the roof that she was bathing in her house." This understanding is reasonable, both because the roof was already mentioned at the beginning of the verse, and because if the words "from the roof" relate to Bat-Sheva's bathing, it should have read "al ha-gag," and not "mei-al ha-gag." It stands to reason, then, that David saw Bat-Sheva bathing from atop his house, which in any case was higher than any other house in the city.

Uriya's house was below David's house, as the verse states: "And David said to Uriya, ‘Go down to your house,’" and so too several times later in the chapter. According to the accepted view today, David's house was at the top of the ridge of the city of David and looked out over the entire city, which descended southward from the royal house.

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