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Uriah the Hittite was an elite soldier in the Israelite army during the time of David. He is most notable for being the husband of Bathsheba, who committed adultery with David while he was off fighting. Uriah was also among the specially regarded "Thirty" of David's army, implying he was one of the best soldiers in the military. With this came great loyalty, which also created a problem for David, trying to hide the child he had conceived with his wife; Uriah refused to go home (and thus sleep with) to his wife.

Biography

Early Life and Military Career

Uriah was born and was from the Hittite Empire. It is not known how or why Uriah came to live Israel. Based on biblical records, especially those documenting his time and mentioning him, there were very few other Hittites living in Israel- or in the military for that manner.

Among the Thirty

At one point Uriah the Hittite was in the Israelite army. In his military career Uriah rose in skill, to eventually be recognized by King David as one of the thirty most elite soldiers in the entire army[1]. Uriah may have been one of the last to be put into the Thirty, accomplished the least, or was one of the least skilled; because in both records mentioning him in the thirty he is listed last or second to last.

Marriage to Bathsheba

Sometime before or after Uriah was in the army he was married to the beautiful Bathsheba[2], perhaps arranged by her father, Eliam. Due to his high profile position in the army, Uriah may have been frequently deployed in the field. This may have caused Uriah and his wife to not have a close relationship, explaining why Uriah was so hesitant to return home and why Bathsheba was so quick to commit infidelity. In addition this can provide reasonable explanation to the lack of having children among the couple.

Scandal of his wife

The Rabbah Campaign

With his skills, Uriah was deployed under the leadership of Joab to the campaign against the Ammonites and the city of Rabbah[3]. While he was gone, his wife went and slept with King David, unbeknownst to him.

Brought Home

While Uriah was out encamped against the Ammonites for nearly a month (or enough time for Bathsheba's next period to occur), David sent for him to come home to meet with him[4]; a privilege reserved for those among the Thirty. Upon arriving back in Jerusalem Uriah was asked amiable questions such as how the war was going and how his fellow soldiers were[5]. After conversing with the King on a friendly level, he was asked to go home to wash his feet. The intent of this request to was to reunite Uriah with his wife, in hopes they would sleep with each other and conceal the extramarital pregnancy. Uriah did go home to wash himself and even had a gift sent to him by David[6], in order to encourage good relations with his wife.

Uriah's loyalty to the army

However, in an act of great respect for the warriors still fighting as well as for the king and the Ark, he instead slept at the door of the king's house near all of servants and was not home, to sleep with his wife.[7]. So David inquired of Uriah, asking him why he did not go home, for he should be worn from having been in battle. Uriah replied that out of respect for the nation and the king, he could not go home to eat and sleep with his wife[8].

Because David's attempt to hide the pregnancy failed in this, Uriah was then told he would be sent back to war in one day. During this time David invited Uriah to a private feast, where he was encouraged to drink (and probably did in respect to the King's hospitality) and eat to his delight. This lead Uriah to become drunk. Even in his drunkenness Uriah still held an utmost loyalty to the King and slept on his mat among David's other servants[9].

Murder and Death

In the morning Uriah returned back to the camp where his fellow soldiers were at. Unbeknownst to him David wrote a letter to Commander Joab, ordering that Uriah was killed in the battle. It was even specified Uriah be put on the frontlines of the most intense areas of battle and have the whole army withdrawal, so that he would be killed. This demonstrates the skill of Uriah, that it required the entire force to leave Uriah to fight alone in order to guarantee his death[10].

During battle Uriah was placed near the strongest defenses of the wall in a city under attack

When the news comes, David sends news back to Joab to imply that what he did was not an act of poor character.[11] However, Bathsheba is struck by the news, and mourns Uriah's death. [12]Soon afterwards, David sends for her and takes her as his wife, an action that severely displeases the Lord, and leads to the death of her firstborn child.[13]

Verses

  1. 2 Sam 23:39, 1 Chr 11:41 (Link)
  2. 2 Sam 11:3 (Link)
  3. 2 Sam 11:1-2, 1 Chr 20:1 (Link)
  4. 2 Sam 11:6 (Link)
  5. 2 Sam 11:7 (Link)
  6. 2 Sam 11:8 (Link)
  7. 2 Samuel 11:9 (Link)
  8. 2 Samuel 11:10-11 (Link)
  9. Sam 11:12-13 (Link)
  10. 2 Sam 11:15-16 (Link)
  11. 2 Samuel 11:25 (Link)
  12. 2 Samuel 11:26 (Link)
  13. 2 Samuel 11:26-27 (Link)

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