On July 29, 1981, those of us with some British background in our blood watched the glamorous marriage of Prince Charles to Lady Diana. I don't know if you remember those days, but they were constantly in the news. I have read that an estimated audience of 750 million people watched this modern fairy tale of a royal prince, wedding a lovely lady, in a grand cathedral, surrounded by adoring subjects. And they did adore Lady Diana. That couple was the envy of millions. They were rich, young, handsome, well mannered, pleasing to be around, and newspapers said that it was a marriage made in heaven. Do you remember that?
Sadly, we know that this fairy tale became a horrible nightmare as the couple became more and more distant, as affairs ensued and got discovered, and the marriage made in heaven collapsed into a bitter divorce. One narrator of this drama said that it takes more than a prince, a lady, and a palace to make a happy marriage. And that's true. The old saying goes that "marriages may be made in heaven but the maintenance must be done on earth." And I would add that the maintenance must be done on earth by the power of heaven's grace. If you don't get anything more out of this sermon than following through on that saying, you will have done well – "Marriages may be made in heaven, but the maintenance must be done on earth." And it was it was in the area of maintenance that Bathsheba miserably failed.
But I want to start by explaining how surprising her adultery was. Her marriage to Uriah was really a fairy tale marriage. It's true that Uriah was a foreigner, but he had converted. In fact, he was such a zealous believer in Yahweh that his devoted heart caught the eye of David. He rose through the ranks fairly rapidly until he became one of the top 37 mighty men of valor who were the elite of the elite of Israel. And of course, she was like Lady Diana, a beautiful woman from the aristocracy. In many ways it was a similar story to that of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. They both were in the upper classes of Israel. And initially at least they seemed to have a great marriage. Everything was going well for them. And I will explain why I believe that.
I only know of one person who suggests the opposite. G. G. Nicol claims that she had the scheming manipulative heart of a harlot, and claims there is evidence that she was a scheming manipulator all the way through to 1 Kings chapter 1, when she managed to get her son on the throne. He claims that Bathsheba fully intended to lure David into adultery right from the beginning. This was all premeditated by a scheming woman. And while there is some credibility to what he says (especially when you look at her exposure of herself in verse 2 – something that is pretty hard to understand), almost every commentator that I own strongly disagrees with that idea. And when you look at the evidence that they compile, you have to come up with an alternative theory, and I will be presenting that theory to you. I think it is the only one that fits all of the evidence. And so, first of all, under point I, I want to explain why this would have been a surprising adultery – much more surprising than David's fall.
Bathsheba's infidelity is more surprising than David's
The marriage of Bathsheba to Uriah was a fairy tale wedding of a General in the army (23:39; 1 Chron. 11:26-47) to a daughter of aristocracy (11:3; 16:23; 23:34)
Almost everyone believes that Uriah was quite the catch in a husband. As I already mentioned, he became one of the top 37 mighty men of valor who were the elite of Israel. He had the equivalent rank of Major General or perhaps Lieutenant General. (They broke down their military a little bit differently, so it is hard to get an exact equivalent.) But when you read the two Scriptures that I have listed, you realize that Uriah was not only respected by David, but he was also respected by his men. He was a man of valor. He was a soldier's soldier. And it appears that he was well loved.
Bathsheba was a Lady Diana. She was the daughter of Eliam, another of the 37 most famous generals. And she was the granddaughter of Ahithophel, David's most trusted advisor. And lest you think that this was simply an arranged marriage that was totally absent of love, I want you to consider a few things:
She obviously loved Uriah (11:26-27)
Verses 26-27 seem to indicate that she loved Uriah. She certainly mourned his death. And it doesn't say that she put on a good show of faking a mourning. God Himself says that "when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband." She suddenly realized what a loss she really had. There are two different Hebrew words used for mourning in verses 26 and 27, and between the two words, they cover the bases for outward mourning and inward grieving. She really did grieve over this loss. And you might wonder, "If that is true, how could she commit adultery? How can a person who loves their husband commit adultery?" And the answer is that it happens all the time in America. Men and women don't commit adultery simply because they don't love their spouse. Usually there is something else going on. It is a part of what we examined last week under the mystery of iniquity. In many ways it doesn't make sense. In fact, most adulteries that lead to divorce, the women aren't trading up; they are trading down. It's strange.
Anyway, if you women think that love alone can protect you from adultery, I would point out that many women have grieved that they have ruined their marriage and lost the man that they love through one indiscretion. The fact that you love your spouse is not a guarantee that adultery cannot happen. There are other things that need to be in place as well. That's why Paul tells us to be on guard, and, "let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall." We need heaven's grace every day to be the best husbands and the best wives that we can be. Do not enter into anything in life apart from dependence upon God's grace. And we should be growing in that grace every day and seeking to be better husbands and better wives. Last week we look at the dangers men face, today we are looking at the dangers that women face.
God describes Uriah as a very nurturing husband (12:1-4)
And I am bringing these first points up to make the observation that hedges without grace are simply legalism. And they are also to say that the absence of some of these need not be any danger to a wife if the wife is walking close to Jesus.
Look at point C. Some people say that when a husband stops being a nurturing husband that the lack of affection can easily lead to temptation. And while that is certainly true, I want to point out that God paints Uriah as a very nurturing husband. Look at the word picture that he uses in chapter 12, verses 1-4.
2Samuel 12:1 Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: "There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor.
2Samuel 12:2 The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds.
2Samuel 12:3 But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him.
2Samuel 12:4 And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him."
This word picture speaks of Uriah as nurturing, protecting, spending time with, and caring for Bathsheba. He was not a neglectful husband – he was the exact opposite. So don't automatically assume that husbands are at fault when wives fall into adultery. Some people always assume that both parties were at fault when a divorce happens. That is simply not true.
While neglect by the husband can indeed lead to temptation, the fact that you have a great husband who nurtures you and cares for you is not guarantee that you will be faithful. You too need God's daily grace. We saw last week that men like David can fall even when they are experiencing great spiritual success. It's not just men who must say, "There but for the grace of God go I." Even women who have wonderful homes can destroy those homes through indiscretion. That's one of the things Proverbs is talking about when it says that a foolish woman tears down her household.
She had grown up in a godly home (11:3; 23:34) and was the granddaughter of one of the wisest counselors alive (23:34 with 16:23)
Another thing that made this fall surprising is that, unlike Uriah, Bathsheba had grown up in a Christian home and was the granddaughter of David's wisest counselor, Ahithophel. There was an incredible spiritual heritage that had been passed on to her. Chapter 16:23 says this about Ahithophel, her still living grandfather (so she must have been quite young when she married Uriah): "Now the advice of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, was as if one inquired at the oracle of God. So was all the advice of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom." Here was a man who was wiser than anyone else, and who gave Biblically sound advice. The text says that his advice was almost the same as going to a prophet and getting God's inspired revelation directly. This means that her dad had grown up in a home with solid worldview being talked about all the time. And it is therefore likely that she wasn't deprived in her education. I know several cases of good young girls who are second and third generation Christians who have given in to adultery because they failed to erect the hedges that we will be talking about today. But this certainly made the adultery a great surprise.
Uriah would have been a "catch" in most people's eyes
Nor could you excuse her adultery with the thought that she had a poor catch in Uriah. "After all," they might think, "he is a Hittite, not an Israelite. Maybe she was dissatisfied." But as we will see in a future sermon, Uriah had far more character than David did. But in any case, he would have been considered a wonderful catch. She had no excuse for envy.
In the top 37 of Israel's mighty men (23:39; 1 Chron. 11:26-47)
First of all, he was well respected. In fact, 1 Chronicles 11 lists him as the 21rst highest ranking member of the 37 mighty men. And there is no way that a Hittite would have made that position if he did not have some very good qualifications.
But verse 11 of our chapter gives a hint that he was spiritual as well. Look at what he says in verse 11:
2Samuel 11:11 And Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields. Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing."
There are two things going on here. Commentators point out that his mention of the ark shows that his solidarity with Yahweh prevented his having intimacy with his wife. Why? Secondly, his solidarity with the soldiers prevented his having sexual relations with his wife. Why? In ordinary warfare that wouldn't be the case. What's the relationship between the ark in a tent and the soldiers in tents? The answer is that this war against Ammon must have been declared to be a holy war that required complete sanctification. When that happened, men were not allowed to have sexual relations with their wives during any days that they would be battling. So what David is asking Uriah to do in verse 8 is to break a vow. He is so intent on covering up his own sin, that he doesn't even notice or at least doesn't care that he is asking Uriah to sin. So Uriah's refusal to go home was a temporary fasting for purposes of dedicating this battle entirely to the Lord, much like 1 Corinthians 7 says that husbands and wives today can fast temporarily while they engage in some days of prayer. But he says that it needs to be short, lest you fall into temptation. Now, I am not claiming that Uriah was perfect. The fact that David was able to make him drunk in verse 13 show that he could be tempted too, but even then, he was still devoted to his vow to be separate to Yahweh, even though David had given him a reason to break that vow.
And this shows self-discipline.
Totally above reproach that would not buckle (11:8-13)
It also shows that he was not a man to buckle under pressure. And his speech to David must have been forceful enough that David doesn't even bother to try to talk him out of it a second time. He just hopes to get him drunk, and when that didn't work, he feels like he has no choice but to do away with him.
Not self-indulgent (11:10-11)
In verses 10-11 it appears that Uriah was not self-indulgent. That's a great characteristic in a husband. He's not selfish.
With characteristics of loyalty (v. 11)
In verse 11 he shows loyalty to David, Israel, and to God despite pressures to do otherwise.
Totally trustworthy (v. 14)
Take a look at verse 14. "In the morning it happened that David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah." And what's in this letter? Verse 15:
2Samuel 11:15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, "Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die."
He's carrying the instructions for his own death, and he doesn't know it. I think this speaks to the incredible integrity and trustworthiness of Uriah. David could trust Uriah not to peek at the letter that he was sending to Joab. David would only have done that if Uriah was a man of absolute trustworthiness and integrity.
Valiant (vv. 15-17)
And of course, he was a man of courage and valor. Verses 15-17 show that he was willing to follow Joab's orders even if they are risky. As I read this, you will notice that Joab got the job done, but he didn't do it the way that David asked. He probably didn't want anything to look too obvious, and what David suggested would have been seen by the soldiers as an obvious attempt to kill Uriah. But by doing it more subtly, Joab ended up losing more soldiers than just Uriah. But he was covering his own skin. I think that is why Joab in his speech to the messenger was worried that David was going to get angry. Ordinarily David was extremely careful about the lives of his men. Verses 15-17:
2Samuel 11:15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, "Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die."
2Samuel 11:16 So it was, while Joab besieged the city, that he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew there were valiant men.
2Samuel 11:17 Then the men of the city came out and fought with Joab. And some of the people of the servants of David fell; and Uriah the Hittite died also.
Now I bring all of those descriptions of Uriah up because it is so easy to think that adultery only happens to women who are in miserable circumstances. That is absolutely false. Statistics indicate that women in very good marriages, who love their husbands, also find themselves tempted to engage in adultery if they have not taken care to guard their hearts. So hopefully by now you are convinced that the rest of this sermon is important. And it is especially in the area of the heart and emotions that women are prone to adultery.
Personal hedges that women tend to ignore
Failure to be on heightened alert when risk factors arise
Risk factor one – lack of affection (vv. 1,7-13)
Roman numeral II, point A deals with three risk factors that should have put Bathsheba on heightened alert mode, even if she didn't even remotely feel like she could be tempted. The number 1 factor often cited in studies as a reason for infidelity is neglect by the husband and lack of affection. I think that is fairly commonly known.
Now we've already seen from God's description of Uriah in chapter 12, that Uriah gave affection when he was home. But here's the point. He was not home now. He was not around to give such affection. She was used to having his affection, and would certainly miss it while he was gone. Of course, we can only speculate as to whether this factored in or not. I'm not saying it did. I'm just saying that affection was absent while Uriah was absent, and so the top reason for adultery was there.
And we men need to make sure that we give lots of affection to our wives and daughters so as not to leave an emptiness there. Lacking a father's affection is one of the top reasons why daughters fall into sexual sin or start dating someone that they shouldn't be dating. For the first time they are getting a heart connection with somebody that makes them feel geat. So there is a good reason why Scripture says that women need nurture and affection, and why 1 Corinthians 7:2 says, "Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her." The word for affection in the Byzantine Text is a fuzzy-feely word. It refers to feelings of kindness, favor, and goodwill. Or it is rendered as "supportive feelings… positive attitudes." You could say that this word refers to investing good EQ (or emotional quotient) into the family. Well, we men sometime struggle with that, don't we? It doesn't always come naturally, and that's why God commands us to do it. He commands us in the area of our weakness. We have to work at it. The husband is responsible for making sure that he is investing feelings of affection in his wife and daughters.
Obviously, even when it is not present, there is no excuse for adultery. But I am pointing out to women that they need to be on heightened alert that they are a little bit more vulnerable to temptation when this is lacking. That's all we are saying here.
Risk factor two – lengthy separation (vv. 1,7-13)
The second risk factor is lengthy separation. Verse 1 says,
2Samuel 11:1 It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.
So, before verse 2 even happened there was a successful war against Ammon followed by a siege of their capital city of Rabbah. That means that quite a bit of time has transpired. Lengthy separations are times when both husbands and wives need to make sure that they guard their hearts. Again, it is a lousy reason for adultery, but it is a risk factor that means that you especially need to put your guard up, and you need to cling to the cross of Christ.
Risk factor three – charming, attractive, charismatic, fascinating, strong, understanding, articulate, full of life, exciting, (etc.) acquaintance (cf. 1 Sam. 16:12,18; 17:42; 18:7,20; etc.)
Risk factor three is when the first two risk factors are present and she is around a charming, attractive, charismatic, fascinating, strong, understanding, articulate guy who is full of life, there is yet another risk. David was all of those things. In one of the early sermons in this series I gave evidence that David, without even trying, had charmed the hearts of many women in Israel, and that there were plenty of women who had a crush on him. So Bathsheba should have especially had her guard up around a man like this. If there is anything even remotely approximating a crush creeping into her heart, the woman needs to recognize it and close the door firmly. And that is a heart issue, not a distance issue. She doesn't need to be rude to the charming man – just careful.
And I should point out that the husband doesn't actually have to be handsome for a woman to succumb in this area. Women have committed adultery with guys that really weren't that great looking or even that articulate, and were in many ways a step down from their current husbands. And people are scratching their heads and wondering, "What is with that? What in the world did she see in that guy?" But those men had understanding hearts to the problems the women were going through, and because of the heart connections, it drew the women into further connections.
This is one of the reasons why I tell men not to evangelize or disciple women alone. It's so easy for an emotional connection to happen when you have just saved a person from eternal hell fire. That woman is going to be ever so grateful. And when you continue to caringly disciple and minister to that person, and show interest in that person, it is easy for the heart to grow that much closer, and for it to happen unconsciously. This is why so many Christian women commit adultery with Christian counselors – because they are so understanding of their feelings. It's in the area of feelings that women are most vulnerable. Those heart connections can happen all too easily. It is far better to let the women disciple women. That's what Paul told Timothy to do. And if counseling must take place, I always recommend that the counselor's wife be present. Now, don't go overboard and treat every caring man as if he is making passes at you. It's a heart issue, and especially an issue of the emotions.
Anyway, David had characteristics that could have led Bathsheba to think he was awesome, and "…if my husband were ever to die, he would be the kind of person I would want to marry." Women who are smart will immediately be careful if they find themselves thinking in such a way. They will repent before the Lord and ask God to help them to appreciate the gift of a husband that God has given, and ask God to take away all discontentment. We aren't told what Bathsheba thought. We just know that there were conditions present that have led other women to fall in the same way, and so these are factors to be aware of.
Other risk factors? (Cultural differences [v. 3c]? Curiosity?
People have hypothesized other issues. There could have been cultural differences between Bathsheba and Uriah that posed an irritation, or at least kept her from connecting as well as she could have. I doubt that theory, but it is true that any time people from two different families get married, there will be major adjustments that need to be made, and potential irritations. And it is true that those adjustments are far bigger when you marry across national boundaries. A movie that illustrates that so well is the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. They can still work well, but some people have hypothesized that there may have been more than the usual frustrations and irritations that may have contributed to her thinking. We aren't told.
Others have posited curiosity as being a key factor. We definitely saw a Hebrew word that shows that curiosity was a factor that led David to his downfall. But curiosity can be a danger for a woman as well. This curiosity could go from wondering what David looked like, to how he acted in bed, to what it would be like to be with him. And it is just as imperative that a woman have disciplined thoughts as that a man have disciplined thoughts. And we will talk about that under the next point. But what is clear under point A is that at least some of these risk factors were present, and it should have made Bathsheba be even more on guard.
Slipping modesty (vv. 2-4; 1 Tim. 2:9)
Background: modesty is both a heart issue and an outward dress issue (1 Tim. 2:9)
But instead, Bathsheba gave way in the direction of slipping modesty. That is crystal clear in the text. But before we even dive into what was going on here, I want to say that modesty is not just an outward issue – it is an issue of the heart. And I recommend that people listen to Doug Wilson's tapes on modesty. He deals with the heart issues so well. 1 Timothy 2:9 commands women to, "adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation…" The propriety and moderation deal with the inward heart issues of modesty and the "modest apparel" deals with the outward definition of modesty. Both are needed. You can be very modestly dressed and yet have a heart attitude that is not modest and that leads to strutting, flirting, and acting immodestly in other ways. So both are needed.
And I want to read from Keil and Delitzsch's commentary on the meaning of verse 4, because it does factor in to how we interpret all of these things. He is one of the most noted Hebrew scholars, and he says this:
In the expression, "he took her, and she came to him," there is no intimation whatever that David brought Bathsheba into his palace through craft or violence, but rather that she came at his request without any hesitation, and offered no resistance to his desires. Consequently Bathsheba is not to be regarded as free from blame. The very act of bathing in the uncovered court of a house in the heart of the city, into which it was possible for any one to look down from the roofs of the houses on higher ground, does not say much for her feminine modesty, even if it was not done with an ulterior purpose, as some commentators suppose.
Modesty has to do with objective standards of wearing and baring (v. 2b)
And it's that issue of modesty that I want to look at. Let's start with verse 2 – "Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king's house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold." We are going to be seeing that Israelites spent a lot of time on their roofs, especially in the heat of the day. You still see that in the Middle East. So it is not at all surprising that David was on the roof, or that he would have been able to see through an uncovered window into her house. I do not believe she was baring herself to the whole public. She may have been, but there is no evidence of that. I agree with Keil and Delitzsch.
Here's what was probably happening. She had seen David strolling on the roof from time to time, and no doubt played around with the temptation to accidentally be seen by him. But nobody believes that it was really an accident that she was seeable (if there is such a word). We don't know to what degree she had bared herself while bathing, but there was enough for it to be a stumbling block to David. Now, let me emphasize that men are responsible, no matter what the temptations are presented before them. But I would plead with women to take seriously this issue of wearing and baring. In light of last week's sermon, be merciful to the men in the congregation. Do not dress purely in terms of fashion. Make modesty one of your uppermost criterion for how you dress.
And you might think, "I'm not even remotely doing what Bathsheba did." But I would like you to at least be willing to question that assumption. Is what Bathsheba did really any different in principle from the deliberate baring of skin that happens with low cleavage, miniskirts, and with bikini bathing suits? I don't think so. In fact, to partially cover is more alluring to men than total nakedness is. It's the rare man that thinks otherwise. And the reason that partial covering is more alluring in public is precisely because of the problem of curiosity that we looked at last week. And so the first issue of modesty is the issue of how much you are willing to wear or bare.
And I probably won't get a good opportunity to talk about modesty for a long time, so I'm really going to dig into it today. When 1 Timothy 2:9 calls women to dress modestly, it wants us to allow Scripture to define modesty. It is not telling women to get their definition of modesty from their culture. And yet, that is exactly what many women do. They think: "Hey, I'm modest compared to the culture." Or some will think, "Well, this is considered modest nowadays." But Paul did not want people's consciences bound by culture. Some people think that we need to go back to the styles of early America, but that would be binding people's consciences by culture. Why is early America the standard for modesty? Others think that the Victorian era should be the standard. But I believe women dressed immodestly in those days even though their huge hoop skirts went down the ground. Mennonite frumpiness is not the standard. The moment you allow any culture to define modesty you get into all kinds of problems. The first problem is that it contradicts both Christ and Paul who refused to allow culture to bind their consciences on anything. That's legalism. The Bible says, "To the law and to the prophets. If they do not speak according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them." It's the Bible alone that can bind the conscience. The second problem is that Paul was bucking the culture of his day as being immodest. We sometimes think that the ancient Romans and Greeks were prudish. Paul didn't think so. He didn't think they were modest enough. The third problem is that culture is constantly changing. So does that mean that standards of modesty are constantly changing? That's problematic. So let me make a stab at showing you an objective, Biblical standard for outward modesty that is not based on culture at all.
But I want to head off a bunch of objections by starting with a story that illustrates the problem of letting culture define modesty. I remember having a missionary speak to us in chapel at Covenant College about her work in Papua New Guinea. The natives she worked with were stark naked (other than a thin rattan cord around the waist). She said that at first she was uncomfortable with all these men squatting in front of her to receive her teaching. (I think she should have been just as uncomfortable with her teaching these men, but that's a subject for another day.) But she had a sense of shame and propriety, and it just didn't seem right for people's privates to be exposed. So early on in her work she brought barrel after barrel of shorts to clothe these naked people. The people were excited with the gifts. They took the belts out of the shorts, threw the shorts away and replaced their rattan cords with leather belts. She said that eventually she gave up trying to clothe the natives and came to the conviction that their cords around the waist was their cultural way of expressing modesty. I'm not making this up, OK? She said that they wouldn't be caught dead without those cords! She claimed that they were being modest. And her conclusion to us was that culture defines modesty and we shouldn't impose Western values of modesty or even first century standards of modesty upon "her" tribe.
Needless to say, I wasn't impressed with her lecture at the College. While I didn't want to impose Western values either (since I think they are corrupt too), I wasn't comfortable with saying that modesty is relative and totally up for grabs. On the one hand I didn't want to legalistically impose an arbitrary standard upon others. When I tried to suggest a potential standard based on Genesis 3, my fellow students got angry and immediately started going on the offensive with questions such as, "What is too short for a dress or shorts? I want to see a Scriptural verse." "Is one inch above the knee too short, and why? What is there about the knee that makes it immodest anyway?!" "What about three inches, and what's the difference between one inch and eight inches?" Didn't God command Isaiah to uncover his bottom? For that matter, weren't Adam and Eve naked? If they were naked, it can't be a sin. If we are going to impose clothes below the knees, then maybe we should go all the way and wear robes with bells on the bottom!" – and a hundred similar objections. And frankly, I wasn't sure what to answer. It seemed strange to me that God would give a command to be modest and then leave it up to us to define it. There is no standard if each person does what is right in his own eyes, which completely removes any authority from Paul's command.
I'm not going to give the whole ball of wax on what constitutes modesty this morning, though I hope to write a book on it eventually. But because women's immodesty is the chief stumbling block for men, I think it is something that must be addressed. And if you disagree with me, fine, let's discuss it, and you show me from the Bible why you think I am wrong. But let me give you a few points.
First, it is my contention that Scripture never imposed a cultural custom upon the consciences of believers. Being all things to all people that he might win some dealt only with non-ethical issues, and since modesty is a command, it is an ethical issue. Consider these facts: Scripture forbids Christians from submitting to "the traditions of men" (Matt. 15:1-9; Mark 7:1-13; Col. 2:8). What the "culture-bound" advocates are ironically saying is that the very person who insisted "that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written" (1 Corinthians 4:6), was in 1 Timothy 2:9 doing the exact opposite – he was imposing a cultural tradition that could not be found in the Bible. That doesn't make any sense. And furthermore, Christ condemned those who "teach as doctrines the commandments of men" (Matt. 15:9). Paul also strongly reacted against false teachers who imposed unbiblical restrictions through their "touch not, taste not, handle not" code in Colossians 2:20-23. The Pharisee's were big on that. But Paul's maxim there was, "let no man judge you" and do not submit to "the commandments and doctrines of men" (Col. 2:22). American culture is not a good guide for what is modest. Nor is my opinion. So a simple statement, "But I think it is modest" is not enough. It's irrelevant what you think. What does God think is modest? It is God after all who is telling us to be modest. God didn't like the opinion of modesty that he found in some of the people in Timothy's congregation. That's why he gave the command. So let's give up this idea that modesty is cultural and that there is no absolute, objective standard. There is.
Secondly, Scripture seems to assume that any Christian should be able to tell the difference between "the clothing of a prostitute" (Prov. 7:10) and "modest apparel" (1 Timothy 2:9). You should be able to tell the difference. You should be able to instruct your children on what is the difference. The clothing of a prostitute is not modest. But that Scripture makes clear that prostitutes wear clothes. With most prostitutes, it's not an issue of nakedness. I know some of them bare a lot more than others. But it is clear that most prostitutes did not walk around half naked. They didn't in Africa where I grew up, and they don't in downtown Omaha. They didn't in the Bible, and they didn't in any ancient culture that I have studied. Why? Because they intuitively understand the psyche of men. They understand the issue of curiosity that we looked at last week, and so they hide some things, but do it suggestively. And you women need to understand this if you are ever to teach your children what modesty is.
Proverb's 7's clothing of a prostitute was much more attractive than simple nakedness, just as modern immodesty is much more attractive than simple nakedness. Your criteria, "But it's so cute!" is not enough. When Christian women dress in ways quite similar to the majority of higher class prostitutes, then there is something seriously wrong. I should have clipped the cartoon from the World Herald from a few years ago, but Kachara showed a man leering out of his window at a lady wearing low riders and stomach bearing clothing and asking "How much?" And in the cartoon, the woman was offended that she was being propositioned as a prostitute. But the cartoonist's implication was that she shouldn't be surprised at being propositioned like a prostitute if she was dressing like a prostitute. We need to make sure that our daughters are not doing so if we don't want them propositioned.
Third, modesty and the covering of shame is equally applied by the Bible to both men and women (1 Tim. 2:9; 2 Tim. 2:15; Gen. 3). Now, it is especially an issue for women because of the psyche of men that we saw last week. But I want to point out that Adam and Eve both sensed shame (which is good), and tried to partially cover themselves with "an apron." Most translations have a loincloth; NKJV has apron. But the Hebrew seems to indicate something in between a loincloth and an apron. It refers to a girdle that went all the way around, covering the front and the back of the peri area. But God was not content with this covering for either of them. For both Adam and Eve, "…the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them." (Gen. 3:21). And clothed them - He didn't consider either one to be adequately clothed. We can later debate whether tunics went from neck to floor, or neck to below the knee, or neck to knee, whether they were long sleeved or short sleeved. But for now, notice that the covering of shame by God was made more extensive than what men's shorts frequently cover. Whatever the tunic was, it covered their nakedness, and the apron did not. And whatever it was, it applied to men and women equally.
Fourth, there appear to be degrees of modesty in the Bible. Paul said that "our unpresentable parts have greater modesty." (1 Cor. 12:23). There are "parts" (plural) that should not see the light of day in public. And I don't believe the parts are only referring to the peri area. The breasts should not see the day of light when in public. So Paul says, "Our unpresentable parts have greater modesty." If there is greater modesty for some parts of the body, then there is logically lesser modesty needed for other parts. In other words, there is some flexibility. This explains why Peter felt perfectly comfortable with the amount of clothing he had on while fishing with his male relatives in the fishing boat. The parts that needed greater modesty were covered in the boat. But Peter immediately put on an outer garment when he came to Christ (John 21:7).
Related to the previous point (degrees of modesty) is that there are degrees of "nakedness." We can't take an "all-or-none" approach. Any Greek or Hebrew dictionary will explain that the terms for "naked" can refer to people who are totally naked (Gen. 3:7; Job. 1:21), to people who are in rags with inadequate covering from the cold (Job 24:7) and even to people who are under-dressed for an occasion (Is. 20:3; John 21:7). Thus Job 22:6 accused someone of having "stripped the naked of their clothing." They were considered "naked" in some sense while they had their clothing, or the clothing would not have been stripped off "the naked." The apostle John would be a case in point. Though John had an undergarment (and the text speaks also of "his outer garment"), when the soldiers grabbed his outer garment, he was said to have fled naked. But he wasn't totally naked because he still had his other covering on. And what I am doing is I am trying to build a case here to avoid both legalism and the ignoring of Biblical standards for modesty. One example would be war. The Bible allowed men to gird up their loins while fighting in battle. Girding up the loins was gathering the robe and tunic up higher to form short shorts so that their legs had total freedom to run. So, context will temper issues of modesty.
So we have seen that the first definition of modesty that God gave is in Genesis 3 where God considered a loin cloth immodest and clothed both Adam and Eve with tunics, and by definition tunics when from neckline to at least the knees, but probably just below the knees.
But there is another time that God defined modesty. God commanded of the priests, "clothe them with tunics" (Ex. 40:14; cf. Ex. 28:39,40; 29:5,8; 39:27; 40:14; Lev. 8:7,13; 10:5; 16:4). These tunics again went from the neck to below the knees, though there were some that were longer. So that is a reinforcing of what we said earlier. But there is more. God also gave the priests "trousers to cover their nakedness" (Ex. 28:42; cf. 39:28; Lev. 6:10; 16:4; Ezek. 44:18). Though tunics could be as short as knee and as long as the ground, it is helpful to have this additional definition of covering nakedness because the Bible defines these trousers as covering from just above the belly button to the knee. Bush in his commentary says, "the drawers worn by the priests reached from above the navel to the knee…" Whereas the tunic clothed the priests from the eyes of the people, the trousers were designed to keep their nakedness from being exposed on the steps going up to the "altar that your nakedness may not be exposed on it" (Ex. 20:26). So that is a crystal clear, God-given definition of modesty versus inappropriate nakedness – it's collar to at least the knee, but probably just below the knee.
And we could go through the Gospels and the book of Revelation to show that God's covering of shame in the New Testament is exactly the same. I won't take the time to do so this morning. Now this is such a shocking difference from our cultural standards that Christians immediately react against this definition of modesty and want to fight with me. I'm not willing to fight. They can fight with the Bible if they want. I'll discuss the Scriptures with you, but it is my contention that if you don't have a Biblical standard of modesty then there is no objective standard of modesty and it is impossible to obey Paul's command to wear modest apparel. I just challenge you to be Bereans, and see whether what I have said is true.
Now, back to our text, it is my contention that we should not be surprised at what Bathsheba was willing to wear and bare, when it is obvious from history and from the commands of Scripture that this has been a constant temptation for women all down through history. Why are women willing to be seen in bathing suits that cover less than some underwear covers? You would think that women would be ashamed of that, but many are not. You would think that women would be ashamed to show cleavage, and even more so to be seen in a bikini. But many are not.
But clothing is not just about a standard of what is covered. Clothing must also examine the issue of seductivity. Men will tell you that there is a reason why prostitute's prefer to dress seductively than to be naked. Nakedness in public is just too much of a shock for most men. A naked body is rarely alluring to a man when it is seen in public. What is alluring is suggestive clothing. Such clothing is just suggesting what might be there. Let me illustrate in the area of bathing suits. Paul would not have accepted modern one-piece bathing suits as being appropriate for mixed company. I am convinced of that. But let's just ignore that for a moment and use the one-piece bathing suit as an illustration of this area of seductivity. And a lot of women are confused on this point because they think that more covering would be more modesty. But a one-piece bathing suit with a miniskirt attached is more alluring to a man than the same suit without the skimpy skirt. This may be counter-intuitive to you women, but you need to understand the way men think. Having that extra little bit of fabric added to the bathing suit to form a skimpy dress, immediately focuses the attention on what is barely being covered. It immediately attracts the man's curiosity. The same is true of what is alluring in the area of neckline for women. The book, His Needs Her Needs says that there is no part of a woman's body that is statistically more arousing to a man than a woman's breasts. This fits into Paul's phrase, "unpresentable parts." So why do women present what Paul says should be unpresentable? I try to instruct our kids that clothing should draw attention to the face. Just like in a painting, where the artist crafts things so that your attention is first drawn to one point on the picture, clothing is best crafted when it draws the eyes to the face. But there are other practical questions beyond focal point that should be asked. Is your clothing slinky? I don't want to get legalistic and go beyond Scripture, but ask your husbands for their input, and men, don't be shy about instructing your family. Women aren't men, and they can't guess at what will communicate wrong things to a man as well as you can. I think in many cases fathers are derelict in their duty of judging their daughter's and their wives' wardrobes. I personally think there needs to be discussion about incredibly tight clothing - especially some of the new leotards (or whatever you call them) that even with peripheral vision show every fold of skin. Now I hope that you don't go home and get into big fights with your husbands. But this can be a big area of stumbling. Consider the outward standards of modest apparel seriously.
Modesty has to do with a strong sense of privacy (vv. 2b-3)
The second area of modesty has to do with having a strong sense of privacy. Usually you think of bathing in the context of a closed room, but this woman was bathing either in a room with an open window or in her courtyard. To be sure, she probably felt that it wasn't as much of a problem in a private courtyard with high fences. But the point is, verse 3 says, "he saw a woman bathing." If there was a line of vision, she knew that she could be seen from the roof. That's all that we need from the text to prove that she was not being as private as she should have been.
This sense of privacy has been systematically broken down in our culture. Public schools have open showers. Voyeurism on TV and newspaper ads is rampant. Some Christian homes do not help by the way the parents and children wander around in revealing nightclothes. And I'm not talking about temptation for siblings necessarily. I am talking about training our children in a sense of privacy. In College I knew a girl whose whole family wandered around the house in underwear. And she didn't think the second thing about it. If we can't learn ideas of modesty and privacy in the home, we won't learn it outside the home. I was staying overnight in a home a few years ago and I had to completely turn my body away from the teen-age daughter because even my peripheral vision was taking in too much of what her pjs were revealing. And actually, they didn't look like pjs, they looked more like seductive lingerie. The church has lost its sense of modesty and its sense of where privacy is appropriate. We no longer blush over indecent exposure. Now, I am glad that some of you are blushing over this sermon. Though I am not going beyond the kind of preaching that the Pentateuch calls for, I can understand why some of you have been dreading this sermon. I don't relish teaching on the subject either. So it is good that you feel uncomfortable. The Bible says that a society is ripe for judgment when it has lost its ability to blush. (Jer. 6:15; 8:12) Now you may disagree with me on what should be private and what should be made public, but some strong sense of privacy must be instilled into our children.
We trained our children to shut the bathroom door while sitting on the toilet. That's a very simple thing you can do. Train them that it isn't good for the brothers to see the sisters in underwear. Train the boys that the girl's room is off limits and vice versa. And some parents are absolutely naïve on the temptations that can happen between siblings in that department. Those temptations would not happen if there was well-trained privacy.
Modesty has to do with our thoughts (vv. 2-3)
But the fourth point under modesty is that modesty has to do with our thoughts. And extensive studies have shown that the sinful thinking process in women tends to be different than it is with men. Men tend to lust and women tend to lust to be lusted after. There is a subtle difference between the two. Men tend to lust and women tend to lust to be lusted after. And when you understand that difference, their tendency to push the lines on modest apparel makes perfect sense. Sometimes without even realizing it, women enjoy the attention of the men, even if they have no desire to go further than to get that attention. And a lot of the hedges in the outline deal with closing the door firmly on this lust to be lusted after. Sometimes it is only fantasizing in the thoughts.
We can only guess at what was going through Bathsheba's mind, but here is as good a guess as any. And let me back up a bit and explain by way of context. Being next to the palace, and being an aristocrat, it is almost certain that she lived in a walled compound. And so it is again almost guaranteed that no one could see her unless they were looking from an elevated area. Verse 2 says, "from the roof he saw a woman bathing." It makes sense that David's palace would be the highest building in the area and afford a good view into a window or into the courtyard, depending upon where she was. So Bathsheba's baring of herself was probably a calculated risk – people weren't on the palace roof at all hours of the day. If they were, she might not have been daring enough to do this.
So the theory is that Bathsheba was one of the women in the earlier chapters who thought David was the coolest guy ever. Perhaps she was even one of the ones who had sung over David and who had a crush on David. She was still quite young then (perhaps a teenager), but had gotten married since those days. But when David moved in next door, and she could see him entering and leaving the palace, and walking on the roof from time to time for quiet and to experience the coolness of the day, she felt old romantic feelings coming back. She remembered this crush that she had on him. Rather than slamming the door shut on those feelings, she allowed her imagination to run through lots of "what ifs." She loved her husband, but just couldn't help but think about what David was like. Now that her husband had been gone for quite a long time, she was having some struggles with loneliness. So she left her window open to let in the fresh air, and perhaps to occasionally catch a glimpse of David walking on the roof. It gave her butterflies to undress at night and go to bed, even though she never saw David on the roof when she did so. But on this theory it was the risk that gave her that rush. She rationalized that there was no risk of anyone being on the roof at that time of day anyway, and so it had become a bit of a habit to leave the window open while Uriah was gone. And on this particular afternoon, she took the risk one step further. Rather than quickly changing clothes, she took her bath in plain sight of the roof. And the text implies that her bath started before David got up there. She could rationalize that nobody should be looking anyway. And David's a godly man; he won't invade this house with his eyes. And if he did, it is his problem. If he's got a dirty mind, it's not my problem. He's the one that shouldn't be looking into my house. And of course, David did see.
When David sent messengers in verse 3, a bit of fear may have crept into her heart, wondering if she had gone too far. But they were simply asking questions about who she was. And this gave her a rush of mixed thoughts and pleasures at having been noticed by and inquired of by King David. But the inquiry probably really got her fantasies going. She did not slam the door shut at that point.
Modesty has to do with whom we will visit alone – a modesty of company (v. 4b)
Verse 4 goes on to say, "Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him…" Let's stop there. Why did she go to him? I've already mentioned that Keil and Delitzsch show that this was totally voluntary on her part. She may have rationalized that she wouldn't do anything, but that this was an incredible honor to be able to talk to the king. It made her feel good about herself that she got his head to turn. Most women who flirt have no intention of going too far. But when heads turn, it makes them feel good. Why? Because they lust to be lusted after. And when they can get a king's attention with their clothing and their good looks, it especially feels good. And now she just wanted to talk to him and get to know him a bit better.
Whether that was the scenario or not, it is certainly immodest for her to even be willing to spend time alone with a man where temptation could happen. One of the hedges that women can make is to make sure that alone time with men never happens or is kept to an absolute minimum if there are emergencies.
Modesty has to do with what we say (vv. 3,4c)
And then finally, modesty has to do with what we say. After she came, we aren't told how much conversation that they had. It may have been extensive, it may not have been. But there was at least a conversation about why she was bathing. Verse 4 goes on to say, "…and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity…" The implication is that he wouldn't have lain with her if he wasn't sure. We don't know what they talked about, but there are some subjects that men and women probably should not talk about alone. Modesty has to do with what we are willing to say. And even women who are in absolutely no danger of adultery should still seek to shore up their modesty simply because the Bible commands them to. But by this time her thoughts had gone too far. When he mentions that he accidentally saw her bathing, and apologized, but mentioned that she really was beautiful, it sent her over the edge. And her response showed to him that she was interested. And one thing led to another. So as you can see, modesty involves a lot of things.
Secret fantasies? (v. 2)
Slipping chastity kind of overlaps with slipping modesty. Consider why it was that David never saw her bathe before. Perhaps she never did that when her husband was home. When you react to a man differently when your husband is around than when he is not around, it is an indication of slipping chastity within. It is a warning signal. What was going through her mind to do this? This has all the earmarks of a woman who has been playing borderline games with her fantasizing. There are movie stars, politicians, rock stars who elicit adulterous thoughts from many women. Nowadays they are very open about the fact that they would love to sleep with so and so. But usually these secret fantasies are much more subtle and innocent appearing. Christian girls might put posters of their hero on their walls and spend lots of time looking at the poster and daydreaming about that person and fantasizing. Or it may be that the girl swoons over a football quarterback. She can't get him off her mind. She imagines him kissing her. Married women who have fallen into adultery have often start by fantasizing about another person that they admire when they are in bed with their husbands. All of these things are inner expressions of heart-unchastity that can open the door to outward-unchastity.
Flirting? Or worse? (vv. 3, 4b)
The second side of slipping chastity was flirtation. In view of the protection of the law that common citizens had, I find it hard to believe that she was not flirting when she came to the palace. She perhaps enjoyed the attention of the king. Who else got to talk to the king lately? It was an honor to have him take notice of her. In the book Hedges, by Jenkins, he says,
Apart from sex, what could be more fun than flirting? If you say softball, you're reading the wrong book. Flirting is so much fun because the rushes, emotions and pleasures are sexual. It's foreplay with no payoff. It makes the heart race, the face flush, and a feeling of well being wash over the body. It seems harmless, but its not.
And this is where fathers need to step in and give instruction to their daughters when they start flirting, because girls are usually in denial when they engage in flirtation. They don't think they are doing anything wrong. But the self-deception that we looked at last week is just as strong with women as it is with men.
By the way, do you know where a lot of this self-deception starts with women? It often starts with pulp paper romance novels. Most people think that those are innocent enough, but I think Gary North is absolutely right when he calls them women's pornography. Where pictorial porn feeds man's lust, the pulp romances feed women's lust to be lusted after. I know I am stepping on toes here, but many of those Romance Novels (even Christian Romance Novels) are just as much voyeurism as men's porn is. They are just as much invading the privacy of someone's world in your thought life as porn is. By vicariously experiencing what the woman in the romance novel is experiencing, you are strengthening the inward temptations unique to women that we have looked at in this sermon. It's almost a training ground for the lust to be lusted after.
Not thinking about the pain that adultery brings (11:26)
Emotional pain of loss (11:26)
All the rest of the points in this sermon will be great hedges if they are uppermost in the consciousness. These are Biblical motivations away from sin. Point D deals with her failure to think about the enormous pain that adultery would bring. There was first of all the emotional pain of loss. She perhaps thought of this as a one-time event, but she ended up losing her husband in verse 26, and grieved deeply that loss. The loss that modern women have may be the loss of a husband through divorce, the loss of reputation, the loss of money, and the loss of security. But it is a helpful hedge to keep in mind the stupidity of adultery because of the losses incurred.
Rarely a trade up (11:27a)
Here's another thing she should have realized. Adultery (even if it leads to remarriage) is rarely a trade up. She got David in verse 27, but did she really get him? She had to share David with a bunch of other women, and the jealousy and conflicts that would ensue from such an embarrassing situation. When you compare David and Uriah from a wife's perspective, I doubt she eventually thought of it as a trade up at all. It was a huge loss.
The Lord's discipline (11:27b; Heb. 13:4)
Third, she received the Lord's discipline. Verse 27 says, "…But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD." The discipline that both suffered under is described in chapter 12, and it was very painful. There will always be discipline for true believers.
The risk of the death penalty (Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22)
Fourth, it would have been wise for her to consider that adultery deserved the death penalty and certainly risked the death penalty. Both Leviticus 20 and Deuteronomy 22 make that clear. The pleasure/risk ratio is not worth it. And I have listed five other potential losses that can take place with adultery.
Other potential losses
Physical (Prov. 5:1-11)
b. #### Lost wealth (Prov. 5:10)
c. #### Lost respect (Prov. 6:33)
d. #### Damage to psyche (Prov. 6:32)
e. #### Long-term impact on children and grandchildren (chapter 12ff)
Providential hedges that she ignored
The wonderful husband she could lose (see point I)
Roman numeral III deals with all kinds of providential hedges that she ignored. She ignored the potential pain that this would bring to her husband if he found out, and even the potential loss of her husband.
Clues that David did not really love her (cf. David's wives & concubines)
She was ignoring clues that David did not really love her. The fact that David had already broken his pledge of betrothal when he married more than one woman, shows that David was in this for something other than love. Yet how many times do women deceive themselves into thinking that the guy really loves her?
The loneliness of being part of David's harem.
She was ignoring the loneliness that every woman in a harem experiences. In one sense it may have seemed amazing, but from another perspective it would mean a pretty lonely life – especially if the other wives hated you.
The presence of the servants as witnesses (11:3-4)
She had the same providential hedge that David did in the presence of witnesses in verses 3-4. Yet she took a big risk by stepping over that hedge. When people lust to be lusted after, the lust blinds their reasonable judgment and they take far more risks than you would think they would take.
The impact that this could have on the reputation of her grandfather, Ahithophel (23:34) and her father Eliam (11:3; cf. 23:34).
She totally ignored the impact that this would have on the reputation of her grandfather and her father. Both would be devastated when they discovered the adultery. It would bring incredible pain. Just thinking about these things could have been enough to keep her from visiting David.
God gave her plenty of time to think of an appropriate response to his proposition (11:3-4).
And finally, God gave her plenty of time to think of a response to David between the first time that the messengers came and the second time. It's not like she had to make an instantaneous decision. Christian psychologists call the man's problem "impulsive lust" and call the woman's problem "selective lust." The point being that she had already stepped over the boundaries long before. When you already have slipping modesty and slipping chastity, the ability to see clearly when opportunity comes becomes more and more difficult. It becomes harder and harder to see the importance of protecting yourself.
The downward slide from heart-sin to outward sin to cover-up of sin
And I won't cover the downward slide from heart-sin to outward sin and then to cover up of sin. When she discovers she is pregnant, she let's David know, hoping that he will somehow cover up for her. But I think we dealt with that downward slide from Romans 1 quite well last week.
But I do want to conclude by encouraging you women to do three things: First, have mercy on the men and young boys by being modest and avoiding all flirting. It is hard enough for them to maintain purity of heart without having to fight where to look and how to interact with you.
Second, even if you disagree with a lot of what I have had to say, ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to any potential self-deception and rationalization. Pray David's prayer from Psalm 139, which says,
Psalms 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties;
Psalms 139:24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
And thirdly, I would encourage you to be grace focused, and not sin focused. If you are focused on Christ and all that He has done for you, grace will make you desire to please Him. And that is the best motive to put up hedges against sexual sin. If our goal in life is to please Christ in thought, word, and deed, then this sermon will be a no brainer. And as you seek to please Christ, may He give you great joy and success in your marriage as you seek to minister to your husbands, and as you single women seek to minister to your dads. "Marriages may be made in heaven, but the maintenance must be done on earth." This sermon is a call to never ignore the importance of maintenance or the call to strengthen your marriage. Amen.
Wayne Mack's List of Warning Signs
Wayne Mack points out that these are the downward steps that often lead to adultery, and hedges need to be put in place to prevent this downward slide. If the guilty party does not want to work on putting up hedges to prevent a relapse, he is not serious in his repentance.
Presence of certain internal and / or external circumstantial factors.
Growing awareness of a particular person
Time spent thinking about the person's attractiveness
Unplanned, innocent meetings, contacts.
Spend time comparing with present mate.
Spend time thinking about personal unhappiness.
Planned, intentional contacts.
After occasion – seek other person out for conversation.
Continue fellowship with this person after others depart.
Increasing awareness of good feelings when you are with the other person.
Compare the way you feel about this person with the way you feel about your mate.
Compare the way you are treated by this person with the way you are treated by your mate.
Look for ways you can be with the other person for apparently legitimate reasons.
Exchange of apparently innocent forms of physical contact.
Escalates to more passionate embracing and kissing.
Practice denial, and start rationalizing.
Experience struggles with your conscience.
Desire for contact with each other continues.
Actual sexual involvement.
Frequent covert meetings.
Others are suspicious and confront you.
Truth revealed or exposed.
Decision time (1 of 3 choices)
a. Decide to continue the adultery and remain married
b. Make plans to separate or get divorce
c. Repent and seek to rebuild your marriage
p. p. 383. ↩