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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!

  1. The King's Folly

    1. 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.)

    2. Read 2 Samuel 11:2. What seems to be the result of idle times for the king? (He is restless.)

    3. 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 verses?

      1. What is the temptation for Bathsheba? (At a minimum, a powerful and important man has an interest in her. The King thinks she is beautiful.)

        1. 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.")

        2. 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.)

      2. 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.)

      3. 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?

    4. Read 2 Samuel 11:5. What is the problem with this news? (Their secret sin will no longer be a secret.)

      1. God knew about the sin. How has this changed things? (For some reason, we fear others more than God!)

        1. What is the reason for such an illogical view of things? (Pride?)

  2. Uriah

    1. 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!)

      1. 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.)

    2. Read 2 Samuel 11:8-11. What is David's goal?

      1. 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.)

      2. 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.)

      3. Does Uriah have a duty to his wife?

        1. How would you compare his duty to his fellow soldiers to his duty to his wife?

        2. Is Uriah a fellow who puts his job ahead of his family?

        3. 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.)

        4. 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.)

    3. 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?

      1. 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.)

        1. 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.)

      2. Can you begin to see why Bathsheba might have been motivated to bath where the King could see her beauty?

        1. 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 adultery.)

        2. Read Proverbs 30:21-23. Is the earth trembling in our story?

  3. The Murder Plot

    1. 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!)

      1. What motivates King David to give this order? (He wants to keep his sin secret. He prefers his life over the life of Uriah.)

        1. Is this the same motive for abortion today?

      2. 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 the King?)

    2. 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.)

      1. Why? (Joab no doubt thought that was murder.)

      2. 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.)

    3. 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.)

      1. 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 lessons.)

    4. 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.)

    5. Read 2 Samuel 11:26-27. Did Bathsheba love Uriah?

      1. Was his death helpful to her? (Yes. I doubt the penalty for adultery would be applied in this situation, but the penalty was death. Leviticus 20:10.)

    6. 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?

  4. 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.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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