*from Leonard Cohen’s 1984 single “Hallelujah”
Image: (King David) Wikipedia: “The Baptistery of Parma (Italian: Battistero di Parma) is a religious edifice in Parma, northern Italy. Architecturally, the baptistery of Parma Cathedral marks a transition between the Romanesque and Gothic styles, and it is considered to be among the most important Medieval monuments in Europe.”
“Far from the Madding Crowd: Metaphor Analysis
…Bathsheba, too, has a name fraught with history. The Biblical figure of Bathsheba was a lovely woman whom King David saw bathing (the story is found in 2 Samuel 11 and 12). Her beauty inflamed the king, who had her brought to his room and slept with her despite the fact that she was married; her husband, Uriah, was at war. When she found herself pregnant, David calls Uriah home from the front to give him a report, and then tells him to visit his wife before returning to the front, assuming that Uriah will sleep with his wife. Thus the timing of the child’s birth would not be suspicious.
But Uriah refused to shirk his duties. So David had Uriah moved to the front lines and exposed, where he, predictably, died in battle; then the king took Bathsheba as one of his wives. The child died, and David, confronted by the prophet Nathan about his crimes, suffered great grief.
Thus when Hardy’s readers, who generally had extensive Biblical knowledge, read that the vain and beautiful young woman whom Oak sees as she admires her image in her mirror is named Bathsheba, they would have recognized the allusion and wondered what ill effects Bathsheba’s beauty might bring about.
Indeed, Boldwood is destroyed by his obsessive desire to obtain Bathsheba, and Troy claims that he would have married Fanny had not “Satan . . . tempted me with that face of yours.” Readers may also recall that Bathsheba’s father had her mother, also a beautiful woman, pretend not to be married to him so that he could enjoy an illicit desire for her.
Readers may wonder what possessed such a man to name his daughter Bathsheba. Yet another, happier parallel between the Biblical character and Bathsheba exists: Both survive grief and death to enjoy life again…”
From The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894), by Arthur Conan Doyle: VIII.
“The Crooked Man” (closing lines):
“ “There’s one thing,” said I, as we walked down to the station. “If the husband’s name was James, and the other was Henry, what was this talk about David?”
“That one word, my dear Watson, should have told me the whole story had I been the ideal reasoner which you are so fond of depicting. It was evidently a term of reproach.”
“Yes; David strayed a little occasionally, you know, and on one occasion in the same direction as Sergeant James Barclay. You remember the small affair of Uriah and Bathsheba? My biblical knowledge is a trifle rusty, I fear, but you will find the story in the first or second of Samuel.”.”