I could write a book titled David And. . . Chapters: David and Goliath. David and Bathsheba. David and Joab. David and Absalom. David and Barzillai. But the most depressing chapter would be David and Uriah.
In the New Testament, the worst betrayal is the story of Judas and Jesus. In the Old Testament, it is the story of David and Uriah.
The story is a warning, both to would-be Davids and potential Uriahs. Those with power can misuse it. Those who get in their way are disposable. The story of David and Uriah is the story of a righteous man turned evil, and another righteous man who became his victim.
Uriah was a righteous man. He was a warrior. He served in the army.
He was the victim of David, who seduced his wife while Uriah was on the battlefield. David was safe at home. He had too much time on his hands. With a home on the high ground, he could see the rooftop of another man’s house. He spied Bathsheba bathing. He lured her into a trap.
When she became pregnant, he ordered Uriah to return home, thinking he would spend time with his wife. In Uriah’s mind, he was still on duty. The war was still in progress. He slept outside his wife’s door.
David, desperate, then told his overly loyal commander Joab to send Uriah into the thick of battle, and then order Uriah’s support team to retreat, leaving him exposed. This is the worst situation for a soldier. A brave man stands his ground. If his colleagues run, he is most likely to be killed. His courage is his death warrant.
David signed Uriah’s death warrant.
In First Samuel, chapter 12, we read of the outcome. Nathan the prophet came to him. He told David a story. A man of great wealth stole a female lamb from a poor neighbor. What should be done to the thief? Execute him, David said, plus fourfold restitution to the victim. Nathan’s response, in the language of the King James version of 1611, has come down through the centuries: “Thou art the man.” He added:
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