David and Batsheba (1951)

 

 

Director: Henry King

Starring:  Gregory Peck (King David), Susan Hayward (Bathsheba), Raymond Massey (Nathan),  Kieron Moore (Uriah),  James Robertson Justice (Abishai),  Jayne Meadows (Michal),  John Sutton (Ira),  Dennis Hoey (Joab), George Zucco (Egyptian ambassador).

An o.k. telling of the story of King David's (Gregory Peck) infatuation with Batsheba (Susan Hayward), formerly the wife of David's Hittite general, Uriah. The aftermath nearly causes the destruction of his kingdom.

 

 

Spoiler Warning:

 

 

 


David's great success as warrior and empire builder was marred by family dissensions.

David created a harem by taking wives from the various groups that constituted his kingdom. He thought this would help unite the kingdom.  But, seeing as how the tribes themselves were so different, so many wives and children created chaos, as there were no common social patterns that could help resolve conflicts within the families.

David's third son, Absalom, to avenge the rape of his sister Tamar, murders the eldest son, Amnon. Absalom is exiled and then reconciled but he starts a rebellion.  David flees across the Jordan. Absalom's forces are defeated, and Absalom killed by Joab, David's general.

It was Solomon, born of David's union with Bathsheba, who became King David's eventual heir.

Bathsheba was adept at court intrigue. David seems to have been senile toward the close of his reign.  One of his wives, Haggith, tried to make her son, Adonijah, David's successor. Adonijah got the assistance of David's senior general, Joab, Abiathar the priest, and several other court figures. But Bathsheba, in concert with the prophet Nathan, made sure her son Solomon was anointed king while David was still alive.

 

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