“The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!” (2 Sam 11:11)
The above words are the words of Uriah. These words come not from the chosen people, the Israelites, but from a Hittite, one of the tribes which were supposed to be annihilated when the Israelites entered the promised land. However, Uriah, the Hittite, teaches us an important lesson on integrity.
The story in 2 Samuel 11 is one among the favorites in the Bible. It tells the grievous sin of King David. But how often we concentrate on David, while failing to learn from this man, Uriah.
It was after King David committed adultery. Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, was pregnant. And the king began to devise a way to cover up his sin. He summoned Uriah from the battle, and asked him how the battle was going. Then he told him to go down to his house, so that he would sleep with his wife. But Uriah didn’t go home. He slept at the entrance to the palace with all King David’s servants. So the king asked him why he would not go home, and then came his answer which I quoted above.
“How could I … do such a thing!”
But David would not give up. He asked Uriah to stay one more day in Jerusalem, and invited him to eat and drink, and he made him drunk. But still, Uriah would not go home. He went out to sleep on his mat among his master’s servants.
Twice had Uriah shown his integrity, his loyalty to God and the king. But David still would not learn from him. Seeing that his plot failed, he devised a murder. True, he didn’t commit it himself; but he devised it. David summoned Joab to send Uriah to the battlefront, where fighting was the fiercest. And then David asked Joab to withdraw from Uriah, so that he would be struck down and die.
And indeed, he died.
Thrice had Uriah shown his integrity. The last, he sealed it with his death. And David still would not learn and realise his sins.
Uriah was a man of integrity. He knew what he was obliged to do and what he wasn’t entitled to have. And he would stay firm to his conviction, even if it would cost his life.
I am writing this when I am supposed to study. I need to learn from Uriah.
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- August 2, 2005 / 11:31
- Christian living