Unspoken: Bathsheba (The Lineage of Grace Series #4) The...¢  2019-08-30¢  UNSPOKEN Francine Rivers

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  • UNSPOKEN Francine Rivers

    For women who feel they’ve lost their reputation forever. God can make beauty from ashes.

    Rick, thank you for our prayer time and visit each morning.

    It sets the tone for the rest of the day.

    Thank you also for sharing your office,building the fire on cold mornings, brewing the coffee,and pausing in the hectic rush of runningyour own business to let me brainstorm out loud aboutwhatever story happens to be running through my head.

    Thank you, Jane Jordan Browne, for your constant encouragementand friendship through the years. I’ve alwaysbeen able to depend on you.

    Scott Mendel, thank you for your willingnessto respond (quickly!) to so many questions.

    Thank you, Kathy Olson, for your fine editing and passion for Scripture.I would like to also extend my thanks to the entire Tyndale staffwho have continued to follow Dr. Kenneth Taylor’s missionof glorifying the Lord—and who have encouraged meas I strive to do likewise. I have felt blessedover the years to be part of your team.

    Thank you, Peggy Lynch, my dear friend and sister in Christ.You have been a blessing to me from the day I met you.You have always held up the lamp of God’s Word.Your life is a living testimony of faith.

  • The Lord has blessed me through all of you.May those blessings return upon each of you a thousand fold.

    DEAR READER,

    This is the fourth of five novellas on the women in the lineage of Jesus Christ. These were Eastern women who lived in ancient times, and yet their stories apply to our lives and the difficult issues we face in our world today. They were on the edge. They had courage. They took risks. They did the unexpected. They lived daring lives, and sometimes they made mistakes—big mistakes. These women were not perfect, and yet God in His infinite mercy used them in His perfect plan to bring forth the Christ, the Savior of the world.

    We live in desperate, troubled times when millions seek answers. These women point the way. The lessons we can learn from them are as applicable today as when they lived thousands of years ago.

    Tamar is a woman of hope.

    Rahab is a woman of faith.

    Ruth is a woman of love.

    Bathsheba is a woman who received unlimited grace.

    Mary is a woman of obedience.

    These are historical women who actually lived. Their stories, as I have told them, are based on biblical accounts. Although some of their actions may seem disagreeable to us in our century, we need to consider these women in the context of their own times.

  • This is a work of historical fiction. The outline of the story is provided by the Bible, and I have started with the facts provided for us there. Building on that foundation, I have created action, dialogue, internal motivations, and in some cases, additional characters that I feel are consistent with the biblical record. I have attempted to remain true to the scriptural message in all points, adding only what is necessary to aid in our understanding of that message.

    At the end of each novella, we have included a brief study section. The ultimate authority on people of the Bible is the Bible itself. I encourage you to read it for greater understanding. And I pray that as you read the Bible, you will become aware of the continuity, the consistency, and the confirmation of God’s plan for the ages—a plan that includes you.

    Francine Rivers THE powerful and mighty King Saul of Israel was jealous of a

    shepherd boy. The reason was simple: The Lord God had anointed this young man, David, as His chosen king. And more than that, David held the hearts of the people in his hands. When David spoke, people inclined their ear. When he danced, maidens swooned. When he sang, the hearts of men, women, and children rose in praise to God.

    When David fled into the wilderness to escape Saul’s murderous envy, hundreds of men followed him, camping with him in the caves of Adullam and En-gedi. Some were discontented men. Others were men hounded by Philistine raids. Some were men overtaxed by a king in whom they had lost confidence. And scattered among the honorable men, who longed for the days when God was Israel’s supreme Commander, were men of violence and vengeance, men who simply loved shedding blood and grasping plunder.

  • War ripped the nation into factions as the king’s jealousy mounted against his imagined enemy. But David was ever submissive to the king’s authority. Refusing to wrest the crown from Saul by violent means, David was content to wait for God to act on his behalf.

    Meanwhile, the company who gathered around David swelled steadily—from two hundred to four hundred to six hundred. Among them were thirty mighty men, an elite group of warriors of proven valor and loyalty. David’s courage and integrity rallied them, and they held together like a family, fiercely intent upon protecting its own against all enemies, be they the king of Israel who had turned his back on God or the armies of the idol-infested nations surrounding them.

    These valiant fighting men did not come alone to fight for David. They brought their wives and sons and daughters with them.

    Traveling among the growing throng of David’s followers was a little girl named Bathsheba. . . .

    PERCHED on her grandfather’s knee, Bathsheba tore off a piece of bread and offered it to him. Laughing, Ahithophel ate it from her hand. “She’s becoming more like your mother every day, Eliam.”

    Her father watched her with a faint frown. “It’s hard to believe she’s growing up so fast. Eight years old already. It won’t be long before I’ll have to find a husband for her.”

    “A mighty man to protect a pretty young maiden.”

  • She looked across the fire at the man who appeared, to her, like an angel from heaven. Tugging on her grandfather’s tunic, stretching up, she whispered her heart’s desire. “I want to marry David.”

    He laughed out loud and looked across at the handsome young man sitting across the fire. “David, here is another who has set you upon a pedestal.” Heat flooded into her cheeks as the man she idolized looked back at her grandfather with embarrassed tolerance. Her grandfather kissed her cheek. “Forget David, Bathsheba. He has three wives already, my sweet.” As he looked into her eyes, his amusement faded. His expression softened. “Better to be the only wife of a poor man than one woman among many in a king’s harem.”

    “Come inside, Bathsheba!” her mother beckoned. Her grandfather lifted Bathsheba from his knee and set her firmly on her feet, sending her off with a light swat on her backside. When Bathsheba paused to look back at David, her mother caught her by the arm and yanked her inside the tent, flipping the flap down behind them. “It’s time for bed.” She followed Bathsheba and drew up the blanket as the girl lay

  • down on her pallet. Kneeling, she leaned down and kissed Bathsheba. Troubled, she stroked the wisps of black hair back from Bathsheba’s forehead. “Some dreams can only bring heartbreak.”

    “But I—”

    Her mother put her fingertip over Bathsheba’s lips. “Hush, child.” She leaned back upon her heels and rose gracefully. “Go to sleep.”

    Bathsheba lay awake, listening to the men’s voices rumbling quietly outside. Others had joined them. She recognized Joab’s voice and that of his brother Abishai. Both were commanders of David’s army, and they often came to talk war with her grandfather, who had earned David’s respect for his shrewd tactical advice. He knew a great deal about the Philistines and Ammonites and their methods of battle. He also knew the land of Canaan as well as the lines in the palm of his own hand.

    “Saul was in our hands, David,” Joab said. “You should have killed him when you had the chance.”

    Joab’s brother Abishai was quick to speak in agreement. “Yes, you need to kill Saul! God gave him

  • agreement. “Yes, you need to kill Saul! God gave him to us in the Cave of the Wild Goats. I would have slit his throat for you.”

    “And I told you why I didn’t want him killed,” David said. “He is the man the Lord God anointed as king.”

    “He’ll keep chasing you,” Joab said. “He’ll never stop until one of you is dead.”

    “It would be better for the nation if you took the crown from Saul now,” another said. Bathsheba heard the rumble of agreement among several other men sitting at her father’s campfire.

    “Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter,” Joab insisted.

    “What am I to do with you sons of Zeruiah?” David said harshly, and she knew his impatience must be directed at Joab and Abishai. “How many times must I tell you I will not raise my hand against the Lord’s anointed!”

    She heard footsteps moving away.

    “I don’t understand him,” Joab said in frustration. “Speak sense to him, Ahithophel!”

  • “What would David have gained by murdering the king while he had turned his back to relieve himself?” Her grandfather spoke calmly in the face of the younger men’s hot tempers. “When Saul heard David call to him from the cave, he knew David could have killed him—yet David allowed him to walk away with only his pride injured. Would a man who coveted his kingdom have done that? Of course not! Every man riding with Saul now knows David is in the right! And they know David was giving King Saul the chance to repent!”

    “Repent! The fire in Saul’s belly will be back soon enough, and we’ll be on the run again. Should we spare a man who ordered the murder of