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Sabbath School Lessons on Background Characters in the Old Testament
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 6: Uriah: Faith of a Foreigner *
Introduction: Can you point to something in your past and
say, "I made a really big mistake?" I'll bet that others
helped you make it. This week we look at a grand collision
of mistakes that, at a minimum, cost one man his life, and
created a never-ending problem for another man. Needless to
say, these are the kinds of decisions that we want to
avoid. Let's jump right into our study of the Bible and see
what we can learn about avoiding life-altering mistakes!
- The King's Folly
- Read 2 Samuel 11:1. It is the season for "kings
[to] go off to war." Does something seem wrong
here? (Yes. The king in question has not gone off
to war. The "king's men" have gone without the
leadership of the King.)
- Read 2 Samuel 11:2. What seems to be the result of
idle times for the king? (He is restless.)
- Read 2 Samuel 11:3-4. Perhaps it is simply because
we have not met the right temptation, but it seems
that most of us do not have a weakness towards all
sin. Instead, most of us have a weakness towards a
few sins. What temptations do we find in these
- What is the temptation for Bathsheba? (At a
minimum, a powerful and important man has an
interest in her. The King thinks she is
- What about Uriah's name might be a clue
about Bathsheba's interest in the King?
(He is a Hittite. He has a foreign
background, thus his wife might be
believe that she can "do better.")
- Read Deuteronomy 7:1-4. Was the marriage
to Uriah a mistake? (As we will see,
despite his Hittite background, Uriah is
a follower of God. He has converted.
But, there might be some society
prejudice against Uriah which would be a
mark against Bathsheba.)
- What is the temptation for David? (A
beautiful woman who is not only willing to
let him watch her bathing, but she is willing
to have sex with him.)
- Notice that Bathsheba follows the laws
dealing with uncleanness ( Leviticus 15:18).
Is it easier to enter into sin with someone
who shares your religious beliefs? Are the
warning sounds in your head muted?
- Read 2 Samuel 11:5. What is the problem with this
news? (Their secret sin will no longer be a
- God knew about the sin. How has this changed
things? (For some reason, we fear others more
- What is the reason for such an illogical
view of things? (Pride?)
- Read 2 Samuel 11:6-7. What do you think is going
through Uriah's mind? (The King values his opinion
so much that he asks him about General Joab, the
morale of the soldiers, and the progress of the
war. It is a great compliment to a Hittite!)
- What should Uriah think about his future in
the military? (Uriah was already considered
one of the "mighty men" of David (2 Samuel
23). He is certainly a man marked for further
promotion! If I were Uriah I would be very
excited about this turn of events.)
- Read 2 Samuel 11:8-11. What is David's goal?
- Why does Uriah have such devotion to duty?
(He may have always been a dutiful fellow.
However, after he learned that the King
considered him his special advisor on the
war, I'm sure his devotion to duty soared.)
- Does Uriah's logic make any sense? (Where
Uriah sleeps does not change the situation
for the other soldiers. It just makes him
look more devoted in front of the King.)
- Does Uriah have a duty to his wife?
- How would you compare his duty to his
fellow soldiers to his duty to his wife?
- Is Uriah a fellow who puts his job ahead
of his family?
- How do you explain that Uriah defied the
King's order ( 2 Samuel 11:8) to go to
his home and see his wife? (Uriah does
not even go to see Bathsheba.)
- How should Uriah's actions make David
feel? (Uriah puts loyalty to God's army
above loyalty to his wife. David puts
his interest in someone else's wife
ahead of his loyalty to God's army.)
- Read 2 Samuel 11:12-13. Is it more moral to eat
and drink with the King than it is to eat and
drink ( 2 Samuel 11:11) with your wife?
- Does Uriah have misplaced loyalty? (We don't
know enough to make an accurate judgment, but
Uriah's "integrity" is to be faithful to his
job over any consideration for himself or his
wife. He seems to have a complete disregard
for his wife.)
- Is Uriah obeying God? (Read Proverbs
24:21-22. I think Uriah is disobeying
God. If the King tells you to go home
and visit your wife, then you should
obey. Uriah's argument to the contrary
is just foolishness - unless the goal is
to impress the King.)
- Can you begin to see why Bathsheba might have
been motivated to bath where the King could
see her beauty?
- If you said a hearty "yes," to this last
question, does that justify adultery?
(No one has a perfect spouse. No one is
a perfect spouse. Uriah may have had his
loyalties misplaced, and may have been
inflexible and unromantic (or maybe even
uncaring), but that does not justify
- Read Proverbs 30:21-23. Is the earth
trembling in our story?
- The Murder Plot
- Read 2 Samuel 11:14-15. What do you think Uriah
thought was in that letter? (A report on the
faithfulness of Uriah! Uriah stood firm through
both of the tests given to him by the King. This
man needed to be promoted!)
- What motivates King David to give this order?
(He wants to keep his sin secret. He prefers
his life over the life of Uriah.)
- Is this the same motive for abortion
- What would you say about the propriety of
David's order if he had not added the
"withdraw from him" language to the end?
(Uriah might have agreed with the order if it
left off the last part. This is yet another
opportunity to prove his worth in battle.
Someone has to be in the fiercest fighting.
Someone is going to be a hero and someone is
going to die. Why not give the challenge to
the guy whose death will make life easier for
- Read 2 Samuel 11:16-17. Did General Joab follow
the King's orders? (There is no evidence that he
withdrew and left Uriah on his own.)
- Why? (Joab no doubt thought that was murder.)
- Was it wrong for Joab to put Uriah in the
thick of the battle? (No. He had nothing to
gain. He was just following orders. Some men
would be in the thick of the battle. It would
be logical to put a "mighty man" in there to
inspire the troops.)
- Read 2 Samuel 11:18-22. Instead of withdrawing
from Uriah, what did Joab do instead? (He got his
men too close to the wall.)
- Why should King David be mad at General Joab?
(Getting too close to the wall was an obvious
tactical error. In just such a maneuver
Abimelech, the son of Gideon (the famous
warrior-leader of Israel), had gotten killed
by a woman who dropped a stone on his head!
( Judges 6:32 & Judges 9:52-54.) A skilled
general should not forget those kinds of
- Read 2 Samuel 11:25. Are David's words about the
sword true? (No. This death is not chance. This is
the directive of the king.)
- Read 2 Samuel 11:26-27. Did Bathsheba love Uriah?
- Was his death helpful to her? (Yes. I doubt
the penalty for adultery would be applied in
this situation, but the penalty was death.
- Friend, sometimes we get into serious problems
because of our own mistakes and those of others.
A lack of unselfish love is generally at the
bottom of these problems. David loved himself
more than Uriah. Uriah loved himself and his
career more than Bathsheba. Bathsheba loved
herself more than Uriah. Will you commit today to
love others at least as much as you love yourself?
- Next week: Abiathar: The Priest.
* Copr. 2010, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.