Summary: This is week three our CSI series where we look at various crimes in the Bible. This week we are looking at the murder of Uriah.
He was a good man, an honourable man and yet he was betrayed by the one he loved the most and betrayed by the one he respected most and he never even saw it coming.
He died believing he was fighting for a just cause, believing that his wife loved him and that his King believed in him. And he was wrong, dead wrong.
Louise read us an account of Uriah’s death just a few minutes ago but you need to know the whole story to understand what was happening. And it begins at the beginning of chapter 11.
Here’s what happened, it was the spring of the year. Now you and I know what spring means. It’s time to do yard work, clean up the property, maybe do a little painting, a little raking, half of our parking lot gravel is now on the grass so we probably have a lot of raking to do. Those are spring things. But in a different time and a different place, well it was different. We read in 2 Samuel 11:1 The following spring, the time of year when kings go to war, Ah, spring when the robins come back, the bulbs come up and kings go to war. Why spring? I don’t know, maybe in the winter it was too cold to go to war and in the summer everyone was at the beach.
Anyway here’s the story. It’s the spring of the year and the nation of Israel is at war with a couple of different factions, but the King, that would be David is not there. He’s at home, in Jerusalem. His troops are fighting the Ammonites in Rabbah and David’s in Jerusalem. Now today that might not seem all that strange, after all the heads of states only start the wars and keep them going, they don’t actually fight in them, and in most cases they don’t even send their children to fight in them, but that’s a different story. In David’s day and age Kings went to war, they lead the troops, but not David, not this time. This time he’s home and one afternoon just after he had gotten up, honest that’s what the Bible says: 2 Samuel 11:2 Late one afternoon David got out of bed after taking a nap and went for a stroll on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath. So he gets ups from his afternoon nap, must be nice to be a king, and he’s taking a stroll around the flat roof of his palace and he looks over and this lady is out in her back yard taking a bath. And she’s not just any lady the Bible says that she was a woman of unusual beauty.
Now I’m not saying that she ought not to be bathing in the back yard starkers, but I would think that when you neighbour’s house is much taller then yours that the thought might possibly cross your mind, “Hey this might not be such a good idea.” Regardless as the story goes David sends a messenger to fetch Bathsheba, and she arrives at the palace.
Now I don’t know why David invited her up in the first place, it might very well have been an innocent gesture. Maybe he wanted to warn her about the dangers of bathing in her back yard, or maybe he wanted to compliment her on her beauty, maybe he wanted to ask her about her husband because by this time David already knew that she was the wife of one of his troops, or maybe he wanted to show her his etchings. I don’t know. What I do know is that what ended up happening. The NLT says that “He slept with her”, but there must have been more going on then sleeping because in the very next verse she discovers that she’s pregnant and sends news to David of the consequences of their actions.
It was Helen Rowland who said “One man’s folly is often another man’s wife.”
Now I want to diverge here for just a minute. You have to put this into perspective to understand why Bathsheba got pregnant; I mean other then the obvious. The Bible tells us that that reason Bathsheba was bathing was that her religion required it. Huh? I know the ladies in the church all attend a shower together occasionally but that is different. Listen to what the Bible actually says in 2 Samuel 11:4 Then David sent for her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her. (She had just completed the purification rites after having her menstrual period.) Then she returned home.
In the book of Leviticus laws are laid down for practically every facet of life in the Jewish community, in chapter 15 there is an entire section concerning women’s menstrual cycle. After a woman’s period ended she was considered unclean for another seven days, during which time she could not enter into sexual relations with her husband, after that seven days she went through a ritual cleaning process which involved ceremonial baths, and then the couple was free to do whatever it is that couples do. Now to us this seems a little strange, and not a just a little restrictive. But there was method to their madness. Unlike this generation that is obsessive about stopping pregnancies Israel was trying to become a great nation and to become a great nation you need people.