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As the author of After the Apple – Women In The Bible: Timeless Stories of Love, Lust, and Longing, I devote chapter 9 of my book to the relationship between David and Bat Sheba.

The story of David’s adulterous relationship brings to mind Governor Sanford’s recent episode.  The Governor has said that he is using David as a role model, and that like the Biblical King, he plans to put the “pieces together.”

But Governor, not so fast, it is not that simple….

David’s story is a prime example of the Bible’s “tough love” approach to life. The Bible is compassionate when it acknowledges that humans are fallible, but it also holds us responsible for our actions. It teaches us that sexual behavior must be subordinate to a tradition of moral and ethical beliefs and restraints. It’s not so much whom we lie with, but whom we lie to.

When David flouts the biblical law, the consequences of his behavior impinge on the future lives of his family. The death of the baby born to the illicit relationship is both historical, and serves as metaphor to the dire consequences that followed his actions. David remains King and humbly confesses his sin, but his private life is strewn with tragedy and he ceases to be a moral authority to his children.

The Bible’s next point is to teach us in no uncertain terms that neither king nor pauper is ever above the law. Both must abide equally by the law’s boundaries and parameters. Repentance helps in the healing process, but at the same time our actions and choices will bear consequences to which we all must hold ourselves responsible.

While the Governor draws on some parts of the David story, it’s important that he study the story in its entirety in order to gain the full measure of its wisdom.

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