Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Pastor's Summary of II Samuel 11:1-5

David has enjoyed military success over most of the neighboring nations. This time, he sends Joab, his commander, with even his own bodyguard ("his officers") and the whole army ("all Israel") to besiege Rabbah (now Amman, Jordan)-"but David remained at Jerusalem". Bathsheba is daughter and wife of great warriors (v. 3). (The Hittites came from Turkey and conquered Syria and Palestine but by this time their empire had crumbled; Uriah has joined the Israelites.) The law said that a woman was ritually unclean for seven days after menstruation (v. 4) Bathsheba conceives by David (v. 5).

David treis to cover his tracks. Uriah is home on leave; if he will lie with his wife, he will think the child is his. David invites him to "wash your feet" (v. 8), normal after a journey, and here a euphemism for having sexual intercourse, but Uriah refuses to break the ritual purity of the warrior (v. 11); he sleeps outside (v. 9). For "in booths" (v. 11), the Revised English Bible has under canvas: the ark accompanied the troops into battle, and was housed in a tent. David offers to delay Uriah's return to the fighting (v. 12). Even when made drunk, Uriah "did not go down to his house" (v. 13). So David tries another approach: Joab is to place Uriah in a vulnerable position so he will be killed (v. 15); and he is (vv.16-17). David's sin costs Uriah his life; next week we hear of further consequences.

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