Bathsheba Tempted David?

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If Bathsheba tempted David, why was she an innocent lamb?

Objection 5:

Men have uncontrollable lust
at the sight of a nude woman.

Late one afternoon King David saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful…. So, David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her.

2 Samuel 11:2,4

Many Christians believe that men have uncontrollable lust at the sight of a nude woman. Therefore, they reason, women should always cover themselves, so as not to cause a person to sin.

They believe that Bathsheba tempted David to sin when she bathed in public. Following this logic — and had Bathsheba kept her clothes on — David supposedly would not have broken the commandments against coveting, adultery and murder.

The same Christians would be shocked to know that until the 4th century, believer’s baptisms were conducted in public very much in the nude.

A mosaic depicting the baptism of Jesus the Christ on the ceiling of an ancient church
An ancient church ceiling mosaic depicting the nude baptism of Jesus Christ

Hippolytus of Rome, one of the most important second-third century Christian theologians, chronicled the common instructions for water baptism in 215 AD:

When they come to the water, [it] shall be pure and flowing... 
Then they shall take off all their clothes. 
The children shall be baptized first. ... 
After this, the men will be baptized. 
Finally, the women, after they have unbound their hair and removed their jewelry. 
No one shall take any foreign object with themselves down into the water…. 
Then, after these things, the bishop passes each of them on nude to the elder who stands at the water. 
They shall stand in the water naked. 
A deacon, likewise, will go down with them into the water.

After being immersed three separate times, 

When they have come up out of the water, they shall be anointed by the elder with the Oil of Thanksgiving, saying, ‘I anoint you with holy oil in the name of Jesus Christ.’ 

If it were true that the mere sight of a nude woman would cause a man to sin, surely early Christians would have conducted themselves differently! Perhaps it is we, the modern believers, who have seen sin where there is no sin!

Bathsheba’s bath was perfectly innocent. In fact, when Nathan reprimands David for HIS sin, he represents Bathsheba as an innocent lamb. 

Our Lord Jesus says:

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

Matthew 15:19

Sin’s root is in the heart — not another person’s flesh.


A nude person is not the cause of another’s sin. It is the person’s own heart that needs to be cleansed.

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