I always wondered whether Bathsheba could have refused King David. Or if she could have argued to the king reasonably that she is a wife of someone already, and thus what he wants is totally against the law.

Was it also possible that she objected actually, but it was not recorded on purpose (it happened anyway), as the focus of the story was David's transgressions and punishments?

Assuming she refused David, will she be punished for disobeying authority?


One opinion in Kesubos 9a says

וכי תימא מעשה שהיה מפני מה לא אסרוה התם אונס הוה

And if you would say with regard to the incident that transpired involving David and Bathsheba: For what reason did the Sages not deem her forbidden, when clearly David committed adultery with a married woman? The Gemara answers: There it was rape, and she did not engage in intercourse willingly.

My understanding of this passage of gemarra is it is saying that since Dovid was the king, she couldn't refuse even if she wanted to, so halachically she didn't cheat on her husband Uriah, and would be permitted to him. Unfortunately I can't find a source for this explanation.

Edit: Afterwards in the Mesivtah gemarra I saw in their Yalkut Biurim that the Atzei Arazim (Even HaEzer Simman 4) asks who says she was an oneis, it's not clear from the verses. They write an answer in brackets (seems like it was the editors of Oz Vehadar) that since he was the king she couldn't have refused him. This doesn't address @sabbahillel's question how come she couldn't refuse an order to do an aveirah such that she's still called an oneis.

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Art Scroll Kesuvos 9a4 note 27 says the Chida says that he violated her, others say that while she consented, she was a minor at the time and it was a violation in the legal sense (Sanhedrin 69b). See also Yevamos 61b; note 7 on Kesuvos 9a2; Rav Yaakov Emden in Mitpachos Sefarim 68; Atzei Aruzim, Even haezer 11:12

Art Scroll Kesuvos 9b1 brings the second answer that Uriah had (like the other soldiers in the army) had given her a divorce before going to war. Note 1 goes into details about this and discusses the machlokes between Rashi and Tosfos about whether it was a conditional divorce or not. Tosfos cites Rabbeinu Tam that it was unconditional and that since it was expected that she would remain faithful and remarry him when he returned, King David was castigated for abuse of authority for cohabiting with her.

In either case, since it was a violation of halacha, she would not have been punished for disobeying authority as a king cannot (as an example) command someone to eat non-kosher food. This is like a parent asking a child to violate Shabbos because of the fifth commandment כבוד אב ואם

דברי הרב ודברי התלמיד דברי מי שומעים

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  • "Gemoro Kesuvos 9a (Art Scroll 9a4 and note 27) says that the Chida says" probably worth putting artscroll first here – user15253 Jul 25 '17 at 11:20

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