In speaking of David becoming the father of Solomon, Matthew refers to Bathsheba as "the wife of Uriah" or "the one of Uriah" (τῆς τοῦ Οὐρίου), but 1 Samuel calls her simply David's wife.

Then David comforted his wife, Bathshe′ba, and went in to her, and lay with her; and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the Lord loved him, and sent a message by Nathan the prophet; so he called his name Jedidi′ah [beloved of Yahweh], because of the Lord. (2 Sam 12:24-25)

Yet Mt. 1:6 says:

Jesse the father of King David. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah (lit. by the one of Uriah)

The question is why the NT writer apparently denigrates Bathsheba by calling her "the one of Uriah" since the Book of Samuel calls he "David's wife" when Solomon was conceived and furthermore states that Nathan blessed the child of their union with a name meaning "Beloved of God." Of course the OT also says that Bathsheba was once Uriah's wife, but not at the moment when Solomon was conceived. At that moment she was David's wife, so shouldn't Matthew acknowledge that fact rather saying she was "of Uriah?"

3 Answers 3


Much has been written about the subtleties of Matthew's genealogy. On the particular point about "Uriah's wife (as distinct from "Bathsheba" or "David's wife"), I suggest that she gets this title for the following reasons:

  1. "Uriah's wife" would distinguish her from all others of David's wives
  2. The more interesting point is why she is not referred to by name, "Bathsheba", as are four other women (viz, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Mary). The likely reason (debated) is that all five women were under some moral suspicion - see appendix below - and "Uriah's wife" served to remind the reader of the suspicions surrounding Bathsheba.
  3. "Uriah's wife" may also have served to remind people of the story, in which Bathsheba was innocent and David was guilty, ie, remind people of the supreme grace of God in such matters. David was forgiven and was still a human progenitor of Christ.

APPENDIX - Women in Matthew's Genealogy

It is significant that the five women listed in Matthew's (otherwise male) genealogy of Christ, all has questionable moral baggage, specifically:

  • Tamar was acted as a prostitute to seduce her father-in-law, Judah, to become pregnant
  • Rahab had been a prostitute
  • Ruth was a foreigner and a Moabitess, whom the Israelites were forbidden to marry "until the 10th generation" (Deut 23:2, 3)
  • Bathsheba had been raped by king David while still married to Uriah
  • Mary became pregnant before she was married to Joseph

Among many other things, this list shows that God often chooses unlikely candidates to act as part of divine providence, and, one does not need to be perfect to be part of God's divine plan and destiny.

  • + 1 ... a useful answer as usual. I am still bothered by the designation "of Uriah"... but your suggestion is interesting that it "may also have served to remind people of the story, in which Bathsheba was innocent and David was guilty." It seems to me the designation denigrates her. But come to think of it, I should accept this answer as it is preferable to ascribing some kind of unjust or chauvinistic attitude to Matthew. Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 14:12
  • I see a downvote to this answer. It would be helpful to know what the objection was. Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 14:14
  • @DanFefferman - thanks - I agree that downvoters should leave an explanation of what made them disagree.
    – Dottard
    Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 20:51

English Standard Version, Matthew 1:6

and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah,

David officially married Bathsheba. They had sex and produced Solomon. Why did Matthew say "by the wife of Uriah"? Technically, she was the wife of David by then.

Let's check the grammar:

ἐκ (ek)
Strong's 1537: From out, out from among, from, suggesting from the interior outwards. A primary preposition denoting origin, from, out.

Οὐρίου (Ouriou)
Noun - Genitive Masculine Singular
Strong's 3774: Uriah, husband of Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. Of Hebrew origin; Urias, a Hittite.

τῆς (tēs)
Article - Genitive Feminine Singular
Strong's 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

The word "wife" is not in the Greek. Instead, we have the definite article that matches the genitive Uriah. Literally, it says "from of Uriah's".

My translation:

David was the father of Solomon by the one from Uriah's,

New International Version:

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,


Perhaps it had more to do with Uriah than David or Bathsheba. The Davidic line is clearly established through both Mary and Joseph. If Matthew was inspired by the Holy Spirit to indicate that Bathsheba was considered Uriah's wife, then there is purpose for it. Could God somehow honor Uriah's service to the king vicariously through David and Bathsheba's union? One scriptural text that comes to mind is Dt 25:5. I recognize that is probably a stretch, but maybe not too far removed.

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    Commented Feb 28 at 3:12
  • @MarcieThomas. "If Matthew was inspired by the Holy Spirit to indicate that Bathsheba was considered Uriah's wife, then there is purpose for it." It could be that it's shown the way it is to show that David did evil to have Bathsheba, which I think all Israel know. David later repented. Commented Feb 28 at 5:27

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