Original Research

Interpreting the David–Bathsheba narrative (2 Sm 11:2–4) as a response by the church in Nigeria to masculine abuse of power for sexual assault

Solomon O. Ademiluka
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 4 | a5802 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i4.5802 | © 2021 Solomon O. Ademiluka | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 August 2019 | Published: 27 January 2021

About the author(s)

Solomon O. Ademiluka, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Sexual violence against women is a social problem all over the world, including Nigeria. This article examines the David–Bathsheba narrative against this background, relating it to the problem of masculine abuse of power for sexual assault in Nigeria. It also attempts to find out how the church in Nigeria could use the narrative as a textual basis for responding to this problem. The article is targeted at Nigerians who abuse masculine power in this way, the women who need to be aware of sex predators and the church in employing the text as a response to sexual violence. The article employs the exegetical approach in the study of 2 Samuel 11:2–4, and the descriptive method in the analysis of masculine abuse of power for sexual assault in Nigeria, and how the church could combat it. The essay finds that David used his position as a king to assault Bathsheba, which makes the narrative relevant for the present-day Nigerian context of masculine abuse of power for sexual assault. The church in Nigeria could respond to the awareness of this relevance by making the narrative a textual basis for a response to the problem of sexual violence. The church could develop a policy on violence against women which must be reflected in all its teaching instruments. The church must create healing avenues for the victims of sexual abuse. It should liaise with government agencies to ensure that relevant laws against sexual abuse are applied adequately.

Contribution: The article is a contribution in Christian ethics. It likens David’s encounter with Bathsheba to masculine abuse of power for sexual assault in Nigeria. It explains how the church in Nigeria can employ the narrative as a response to this menace.


David and Bathsheba; power abuse; sexual assault; Nigeria; the church


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Crossref Citations

1. 2 Samuel 13:1–22 and the psychological effects of rape in Enugu State, Nigeria
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doi: 10.4102/ve.v45i1.3066