1 Chronicles 3
There are a couple of points where the information in chapter three causes me to pause and dig a little deeper. When Solomon is mentioned, he is listed fourth among David’s sons by Bathsheba (referred to here by a variant, Bathshua—more on that in a moment). In the story regarding the death of David’s first son by Bathsheba, we get the distinct sense that Solomon was born next after the child who died. “Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon.” 2 Samuel 12:24
So why the seeming discrepancy? Although sons were often listed in birth order, that wasn’t required. There are several explanations offered by commentators, including that this was a way of indicating that his other sons by Bathshua were just as important as the one to whom he gave the kingdom. We know that at least one of those sons survived to adulthood, because Nathan is identified in the genealogy of Jesus’ through Mary found in the gospel of Luke.
Though skeptics sometimes point to this listing, equating it with birth order and comparing it to the passage in 2 Samuel, it requires inference based on the story of Solomon’s birth and dogmatic adherence to presenting sons in birth order for this passage, neither of which are supported by the entirety of scripture. In other words, it is possible that the 2 Samuel passage only mentions Solomon because of his later role as king, but that Bathsheba was comforted first by the birth of several other sons (who simply weren’t relevant to the point of that story, which was that God forgave and provided the heir to the throne through their union). It is also possible that the listing in 1 Chronicles isn’t in birth order, even though that is typical. There are examples in the Bible that don’t follow birth order, including some listings of the patriarchs.
Now let’s look at Bathsheba’s name. It may seem like a minor difference to refer to her as Bathshua, and some commentators indicated it was just a phonetic spelling of Bathsheba. But others provided the meaning behind the name.
Bathsheba means daughter of an oath.
Bathshua means daughter of opulence.
Does that strike you as hard as it does me? Bathsheba had made an oath to her husband Uriah. Bathshua lived the life of a queen. Not a minor difference at all.
What if the sins in our life resulted in a name change? What if our name were changed to reflect what most characterizes our life? Several people in the bible underwent name changes for a variety of reasons, but this is one often overlooked.