Who Was Uriah the Hittite And How Does His Identity Expand The Story?

One of the best known narratives of the Old Testament concerns King David’s fling with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:1-12:23). To summarize, King David was taking a stroll on the palace roof and glimpsed a woman, Bathsheba, teh wife of Uriah the Hittite, bathing (presumably through an open window). David shags her, she becomes pregnant, and David ultimately has her husband Uriah the Hittite killed. But the significance of Uriah’s personage is not well understood. 

As a starter, one should recognize that not just anyone could reside within eyesight of the palace. After all, anyone that close could potentially assassinate the king with an arrow or javelin. So living that close to the palace probably indicates that Uriah was someone special, and in fact, he was! It is not clear why further details are not provided, but 2 Samuel 23:39 and 1 Chronicles 11:41 reveal that Uriah the Hittite was one of King David’s elite thirty soldiers, which explains why he was authorized to live so close to the palace. The long and short of this is that David didn’t just take a man’s wife and kill her husband, but that King David took the wife of one of his closely trusted guards and elite fighters and then had him killed. Uriah was a man whom King David knew personally and trusted (and one who was fiercely loyal and fully trusting of King David). This therefore explains more fully why the act was so atrocious. Not only was it murder, but adultery, and covetousness—covetousness because surely David had met her before and desired her. It was no accident that his gaze was drawn to her abode. David was pining, lurking, perhaps hoping to catch a glimpse of her and the glimpse he caught overloaded him. David’s sins began with a failure to control his thoughts in the first place.

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