December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 At the turn of the year, when kings go out on campaign, David sent out Joab along with his officers and the army of Israel, and they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. David, however, remained in Jerusalem.
- One evening David rose from his siesta and strolled about on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing, who was very beautiful.
- David had inquiries made about the woman and was told, "She is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam, and wife of (Joab's armor-bearer) Uriah the Hittite."
- Then David sent messengers and took her. When she came to him, he had relations with her, at a time when she was just purified after her monthly period. She then returned to her house.
- But the woman had conceived, and sent the information to David, "I am with child."
- David therefore sent a message to Joab, "Send me Uriah the Hittite." So Joab sent Uriah to David.
- When he came, David questioned him about Joab, the soldiers, and how the war was going, and Uriah answered that all was well.
- David then said to Uriah, "Go down to your house and bathe your feet." Uriah left the palace, and a portion was sent out after him from the king's table.
- But Uriah slept at the entrance of the royal palace with the other officers of his lord, and did not go down to his own house.
- David was told that Uriah had not gone home. So he said to Uriah, "Have you not come from a journey? Why, then, did you not go down to your house?"
- Uriah answered David, "The ark and Israel and Judah are lodged in tents, and my lord Joab and your majesty's servants are encamped in the open field. Can I go home to eat and to drink and to sleep with my wife? As the LORD lives and as you live, I will do no such thing."
- Then David said to Uriah, "Stay here today also, I shall dismiss you tomorrow." So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day. On the day following,
- David summoned him, and he ate and drank with David, who made him drunk. But in the evening he went out to sleep on his bed among his lord's servants, and did not go down to his home.
- The next morning David wrote a letter to Joab which he sent by Uriah.
- In it he directed: "Place Uriah up front, where the fighting is fierce. Then pull back and leave him to be struck down dead."
- So while Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew the defenders were strong.
- When the men of the city made a sortie against Joab, some officers of David's army fell, and among them Uriah the Hittite died.
- Then Joab sent David a report of all the details of the battle,
- instructing the messenger, "When you have finished giving the king all the details of the battle,
- the king may become angry and say to you: 'Why did you go near the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall above?
- Who killed Abimelech, son of Jerubbaal? Was it not a woman who threw a millstone down on him from the wall above, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you go near the wall?' Then you in turn shall say, 'Your servant Uriah the Hittite is also dead.'"
- 2 The messenger set out, and on his arrival he relayed to David all the details as Joab had instructed him.
- He told David: "The men had us at a disadvantage and came out into the open against us, but we pushed them back to the entrance of the city gate.
- Then the archers shot at your servants from the wall above, and some of the king's servants died, among them your servant Uriah."
- David said to the messenger: "This is what you shall convey to Joab: 'Do not be chagrined at this, for the sword devours now here and now there. Strengthen your attack on the city and destroy it.' Encourage him."
- When the wife of Uriah heard that her husband had died, she mourned her lord.
- But once the mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her into his house. She became his wife and bore him a son. But the LORD was displeased with what David had done.
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1  At the turn of the year: in the spring.
2  After this verse, the Greek text, which is here the older form, has David, angry with Joab, repeat exactly the questions Joab had foreseen in 2 Sam 11:20-21. In 2 Sam 11:24 of our oldest Greek text, the messenger specifies that about eighteen men were killed.
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