Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

An elegant and serene Bathsheba emerges from her bath with the aid of her servant in this painting by Hans Memling (1430[?]–1494). King David, standing on his palace rooftop (upper left), catches sight of the beauty. The events that quickly follow—David’s adultery with Bathsheba and the arranged death of her husband Uriah the Hittite in battle—events described in the Book of Samuel, constitute the penultimate violation of the Decalogue. By Freedman’s reckoning, one final sin—the false testimony brought against Naboth by Jezebel, in the Book of Kings—remains to be broken. Once that occurs, calamity, in the form of a destroyed Jerusalem and exile in Babylonia, awaits the Israelites for breaking the covenant.