David’s Great Sin – 1035 B.C. & Bathing

It seems that I was wrong about David sinning against You.

The baths at Bath
Roman houses had water supplied via lead pipes.

However, these pipes were taxed according to their size, so many houses had just a basic supply and could not hope to rival a bath complex.

Therefore for personal hygiene, people went to the local baths.

However, the local bath complex was also a gathering point and served a very useful community and social function.

Here people could relax, keep clean and keep up with the latest news.

Taking a bath was not a simple chore.

There was not one bath to use in a large complex such as the one at Bath.

A visitor could use a cold bath (the frigidarium), a warm bath (the tepidarium) and a hot bath (the caldarium).

A visitor would spend some of his time in each one before leaving.

A large complex would also contain an exercise area (the palaestra), a swimming pool and a gymnasium.

One of the public baths at Pompeii contains two tepidariums and caldariums along with a plunge pool and a large exercise area.

Engineering

The building of a bath complex required excellent engineering skills.

Baths required a way of heating up water.

This was done by using a furnace and the hypocaust system carried the heat around the complex.

The Roman Baths of Bath are famous because they were unusually large by Roman bathing standards.

The baths were built not only for local use, but also to accommodate Roman pilgrims traversing the empire.

The original Roman Baths themselves are below the modern street level.

There are four main features of the site:

* The Sacred Spring,

* The Roman Temple,

* The Roman Bath House and,

* The Museum holding finds from Roman Bath.

The buildings above street level date from the 19th century.

The Roman Sacred Spring, a natural hot spring, provided the warm water for the site.

There is some slight evidence that suggests the hot spring was already a focal point for worship before the Roman Temple and baths were built.

“And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab (he was like a 5 star general), and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem. 

And it came to pass in an evening tide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. 

And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bath-sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?  (Uriah is also one of his top soldiers).

And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house.

Archeologists have discovered a sacred spring in an ancient city in western Turkey.
At the very heart of the site is the Sacred Spring.

Hot water at a temperature of 114 F (46°C) rises here at the rate of 1,170,000 liters (240,000 gallons) every day and has been doing this for thousands of years.

In the past this natural phenomenon was beyond human understanding and it was believed to be the work of the ancient gods.

In Roman times a great Temple was built next to the Spring dedicated to the goddess Sulis Minerva, a deity with healing powers.

The mineral rich water from the Sacred Spring supplied a magnificent bath-house which attracted visitors from across the Roman Empire.

And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child. 

And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David.  

And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered. 

And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king’s house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king. 

But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house.

And when they had told David, saying, Uriah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Camest thou not from thy journey?  Why then didst thou not go down unto thine house? 

And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife?  As thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.

And David said to Uriah, Tarry here today also, and tomorrow I will let thee depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow. 

Dating as far back as 2000 B.C., ancient Egyptians were amongst the first to widely adopt the power of the hot tub for its therapeutic values.

In fact, Phraortes, the King of Media, built one of the first known hot tubs in 600 B.C., which simply consisted of a water-filled caldera that was then heated by placing red-hot stones in the water.

Due to the climate, (remember, we are in Egypt where it’s hot hot hot) Egyptians were fixated on cleanliness – so much so that foreigners (thought to be dirty) and those who didn’t have access to personal hygiene options were despised.

Men and woman shaved and plucked off all of their body hair using tweezers, knives and razors, made of flint or metal.

Not only was this for beauty, but it also rid the Egyptians of body lice.

To clean themselves while bathing, the Egyptians used natron (which was also used when mummifying the dead – you know they pulled their brains outta their noses (the dead, not the bathers), followed by linen towels for drying.

The rich had facilities in their places of residence while the majority of Egyptians bathed in the Nile.

The homes of the wealthy were airy and roomy, literally.

There were bedrooms, servant’s quarters, halls, dining rooms – and bathrooms.

Actually, a “bathroom” was usually a small recessed room with a square slab of limestone in the corner.

There the master of the house stood while his slaves liberally doused him with water.

Egyptian royalty bathed with essential oils and flowers.

And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but went not down to his house.

And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah” (2 Sam 11:1-14). 

You wouldn’t expect David to do what he’s about to do, this is something that the our government would  do, and probably does.  But David’s actions go beyond that.

“And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die. 

And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city, that he assigned Uriah unto a place where he knew that valiant men were.  

And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also.  Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war” (2 Sam 11:15-18).

And the messenger said unto David, Surely the men prevailed against us, and came out unto us into the field, and we were upon them even unto the entering of the gate. 

And the shooters shot from off the wall upon thy servants; and some of the king’s servants be dead, and thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.  

Then David said unto the messenger, Thus shalt thou say unto Joab, Let not this thing displease thee, for the sword devoureth one as well as another: make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it: and encourage thou him.

And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.

And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD (2 Sam 11:23-27).

Roman Public Toilets
When Mt. Vesuvius erupted on August 24 in A.D. 79, Pompeii, Herculaneum, and other Roman settlements were sealed as time capsules. They were first excavated in the 18th century, and since then these sites have given us a wonderful view into ancient Roman society.

Many of the bathrooms uncovered at Pompeii and elsewhere were communal. In many cases, they were beautiful, with frescoes on the walls, sculptures in the corners, and rows of holes carved into cold, Italian marble slabs. To ancient Romans, the practice of sitting on a shared toilet in an open room full of people was entirely ordinary.

Roman toilets didn’t flush. Some of them were tied into internal plumbing and sewer systems, which often consisted of just a small stream of water running continuously beneath the toilet seats.

Romans didn’t have toilet paper, a tersorium (or, in my technical terms, a “toilet brush for your butt”) was used. An ingenious little device made by attaching a natural sponge (from the Mediterranean Sea) to the end of a stick. Our ancient Roman would simply wipe him- or herself, rinse the tersorium in whatever was available (running water and/or a bucket of vinegar or salt water), and leave it for the next person to use. There were other means of wiping as well, such as the use of abrasive ceramic discs called pessoi.

David loved God, but even so he didn’t think about how God must have felt by his actions, he only thought about how bad he would look to the people if they knew that he had committed adultery.

Bathing

The description of Bathsheba’s bathing in 2 Sam 11:2 employs the verb rahas — “to wash” — which, when used alone, implies “to bathe the entire body.”

When limited to a portion of the body, the intended body part is stipulated. Thus, we know from the grammar (as well as from the context) that Bathsheba was bathing.

The text informs us that she was purifying her­self from her uncleanness, indicating that she had just completed her menstrual cycle.

While no such ordinance exists in the rele­vant texts of Lev 15:19-24, it appears that Bathsheba was bathing for ritual or hygienic purposes.

Remains of a Hypocaust
Water had to be constantly supplied. In Rome this was done using 640 kilometers of aqueducts – a superb engineering feat. The baths themselves could be huge. A complex built by the emperor Diocletian was the size of a football pitch. Those who built them wanted to make a statement – so that many baths contained mosaics and massive marble columns. The larger baths contained statues to the gods and professionals were on hand to help take the strain out of having a bath. Masseurs would massage visitors and then rub scented olive oil into their skin.

It was very cheap to use a Roman bath. A visitor, after paying his entrance fee, would strip naked and hand his clothes to an attendant.

Ritual purity was achieved partly by bathing, as is seen in the directive given to Aaron and his sons (Lev 8:6).

Such practices among the priesthood are also attested in Egypt, where the priests were instructed to bathe three times daily to remove physical pollution and to attain a spiritual life.

Puri­fication from defilement among laity and priests alike often involved the washing of the body (e.g., Lev 15:18, 21).

Washing the feet, attested many times in both the Old Tes­tament and the New Testament (most notably Jn 13:1-17), must have been a common occurrence in Israel.

While Rabbinical texts that speak of the necessity of washing the hands before eating (e.g., Matt 15:2) probably have roots in an earlier era, it is uncertain how far back these traditions extend.

How widespread and frequent non-ceremonial bathing was in Israel is impossible to determine.

The Old Testament accounts of such bathing undertaken by David (2 Sam 12:20), Ruth (Ruth 3:3), Samarian harlots (1 Kgs 22:38), Naaman (2 Kgs 5:10) and the allegorical Oholah and Oholibah (Eze 23:40) indicate that the practice was fairly common and not exclusive to members of the upper class.

Fur­ther indication comes from the Phoenician town Achzib. An 8th-7th century B.C. terracotta figurine depicting a woman bath­ing while sitting in an oval bathtub was un­earthed there.

This, too, suggests that bathing was widely practiced.