Like nearly every biblical scholar who has to write on Genesis 1-3 at some time or other, it seems like artists can’t resist David and Bathsheba. So, to select the best out of a massive collection and to practice for judging the Blake Prize, some of the better efforts.

To begin with, the purely sensuous:

And then the intriguing:

But notice how artists can’t help themselves by focusing on Bathsheba. So one or two returning the gaze and looking at David:

Then again, we can always have some fun with Mr Rembrandt:

Ah well, Britney …

There’s always the literalists, concerned with Bathsheba ‘bathing’:

And of course our trusty Brick Testament:

But let us cut to the chase and ask what was really going on:

NB: since this is a family blog, I have opted to censor some of the, um, more raunchy pieces of art.

The priapic David certainly gets around, not only in the biblical texts (as we have already seen with David and Jonathan) but also in art. So let’s begin with David and Abigail, the wife of the freshly dead Laban (1 Samuel 25:2-44).

In much of the traditional art, David comes through as complete tool:

If not a wanker:

And Abigail appears at times a somewhat ‘cuddly’ blond:

But once we leave these turgid paintings behind, things start to get interesting:

The Brick Testament, of course, gives us a few more positions:

The outcome of which is …

The catch is that in the following verse (1 Samuel 25:43) we read: ‘And David had also taken Ahinoam of Jezreel as a wife’.

But I can’t let this one go by without referring to the Abigail Lingerie series:

Or, to be fair, the David Lingerie series:

Or indeed that great Australian actor from 1970s TV series such as ‘Number 96’. Abigail became a nation-wide sex-symbol, mainly for showing the briefest flashes of nudity – the first on television in the land of Oz:

Lenin seems to think so:

The European proletariat may say that its science was created by two scholars and fighters, whose relationship to each other surpasses the most moving stories of the ancients about human friendships … His [Engels’s] love for the living Marx, and his reverence for the memory of the dead Marx were boundless. This stern fighter and austere thinker possessed a deeply loving soul (Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 2, p. 26.

The Mossad is not really living up to its full title these days: The Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations (המוסד למודיעין ולתפקידים מיוחדים). They might have been on a special operation in Dubai to take out Mahmoud al-Mabhouh but there was little intelligence shown, since it was all captured beautifully on closed circuit television. Plenty of coverage at Vulgar Marxism and the mainstream press (not that VM is that mainstream).

However, I would like to suggest another approach to secret agents who stuff up. In 2 Samuel 10, King David (he of legendary fame) sends a few men under false passports to Hanun, king of the Ammonites, ostensibly to comfort him upon the death of his father. But Hanun and his buddies ain’t stupid: they realise the men are spies, out to survey the city so it can be attacked. What does Hanun do to the spies?

So Hanun seized David’s servants, shaved off half the beard of each, cut off their garments in the middle at level of their buttocks, and sent them away (2 Samuel 10:4).

You know, instead of slapping Israel with a wet diplomatic lettuce leaf over the affair, Australia, the UK and Canada – whose citizens have had their passports stolen by Mossad – should not only insist that Mossad spies be done over in this fashion, but they should also do this to the Israeli ambassadors in each country.