Updated: Jun 20, 2021
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In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him; they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.
It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, “This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” So David sent messengers to get her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself after her period.) Then she returned to her house. The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”
So David sent word to Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the people fared, and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house, and wash your feet.” Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king. But Uriah slept at the entrance of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. When they told David, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “You have just come from a journey. Why did you not go down to your house?” Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah remain in booths; and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do such a thing.” Then David said to Uriah, “Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day. On the next day, David invited him to eat and drink in his presence and made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.
In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, so that he may be struck down and die.”
This is the Track 1 Old Testament option for reading on the ninth Sunday after Pentecost [Proper 12], Year B, according to the lectionary of the Episcopal Church. If chosen, this will be accompanied by a singing of Psalm 14, which says, “The fool has said in his heart, "[There are] no elohim." All are corrupt and commit abominable acts; there is none who does any good.” That pair will be read before the Epistle reading from Ephesians, where Paul wrote, “I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.” All will precede the Gospel reading from John, where his accounts of the feeding of five thousand and Jesus walking on water took place.
I wrote about this and published my views in 2018. That commentary can be found here. I welcome all to read what I wrote then, as it still applies today. However, now I want to explore a different angle on this reading selection.
While reading this selection again, I was taken to a higher view of the sum of David’s reign, such that he had successfully ruled over the Israelite people as their king for thirty years. In those thirty years, he would have been King of Judah that entire time; but he would have been the King of Israel [and Judah] for twenty-two [and a half] years. These numbers make David become a reflection of Saul, who became king at age thirty, ruling for forty years. It says Saul probably was a king led by Yahweh (through Samuel) for ten years, before he acted against the will of God, then ruling corruptly for thirty years – an inverse of David’s reign.
From this perspective, David – as the foremost King of Israel in its history of kings – has to be seen as equally flawed as a replacement to Yahweh as the King of the Israelite people, thus bound to eventually fail. While all the kings of Israel and Judah would have some degree of devotion to Yahweh, as a version of David, all would equally have some degree of rebellion against Yahweh, as a version of Saul. Just as David wrote the Song of the Bow, where a “bow” reflects the trajectory of what goes up must then come down, the same fate of David is told in this story of his failure: How the mighty have fallen.
This means the literal story transforms into a metaphoric story, where the names of the characters brings forth hidden meaning that needs to be realized to see the depth of truth come forth. Here is a list of the personified words taken simply as names and identifications, without thought placed on the meaning behind the names [from Abarim Publications]:
David – Beloved
Joab – Yah Is Father, Whose Father Is Yah
Israel – He Retains God
Ammonites – A People, Kinsmen
Rabbah – Great
Jerusalem – In Awe Of Peace, Teaching Peace
Bathsheba – Daughter Of Seven, Daughter Of An Oath
Eliam – God Of The People, God Of Kinsmen
Uriah – Yah Of Light, Light Of Yah
Hittite – Terrors, Terrible
By knowing the meaning behind the names, verse one can be stated as: “In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, Beloved sent Whose Father Is Yah with his officers and all He Retains God with him; they ravaged the Kinsmen, and besieged Great. But Beloved remained at Teaching Peace. From this, I see it is easier to see that David, as a soul married to Yahweh [Beloved, Whose Father Is Yahweh] gave up on being a king. When “kings go out to battle,” David let Yahweh be the king overseeing “his officers.” As those who retained Yahweh [Israelites], they did battle with all their relatives who resisted marrying their souls to the One God, which meant besieging the physical property they worshiped as “Great.” As that was an ongoing and yearly rite for human beings and their worldly leaders, Beloved remained In Awe Of Peace, which is an inner placement of the Ark, where the Covenant is written on the walls of one’s soul. Thus, David came to the end of the line as a King over Israel and Judah, simply because his soul saw setting a human example of a holy ruler did the Israelites no good, in the long term.
With this abdication of rule seen as done because David felt in his heart and soul his role as king was over, he arose one morning and went out onto his rooftop, symbolizing he had reached the pinnacle of his life. From this position David was high above the ordinary scope held by the common people, meaning he was looking down as one with absolute authority, as a royal, in the same condescending way Michal had watched him dance and celebrate publicly as the Ark entered the city. He was aloof and saw the nakedness of a young woman who was ritually cleansing herself in the public bathhouse. At the age of sixty, David was not seeing nakedness as an experienced husband, with several wives and children born. He was seeing nakedness as did Adam and Eve see themselves as sexually appetizing, after they had opened their eyes to that which was good and bad. For the first time, David saw a young naked woman with lust in his heart; and, that newfound lust was made possible because he had surrendered his responsibility to lead the troops out in the spring.
Verse three can then be shown to say, “Beloved sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, “This is Daughter Of An Oath daughter of God Of Kinsman, the wife of Yah Of Light the Terrible.” In this verse, the Hebrew word “baṯ-“ is repeated, which means “daughter.” Here, it becomes vital to grasp that all human beings [regardless of gender] are feminine essence, with a neuter soul animating it. This means all human beings the live are “daughters” of Yahweh; and, as “daughters” they are all proposed to by Yahweh, where a divine marriage proposal accepted makes all “daughters” become bridesmaids [human males and females alike]. That divine marriage would then demand acceptance to the Covenant with Yahweh as the wedding vows – an “oath.” This means David saw Bathsheba as the “idea” of a marriage vow [a daughter of an oath], which was also an “idea” David having become a “god of kinsmen,” who were all Israelites – and Bathsheba was an Israelite. Bathsheba then became a “woman” who was married in soul to Yahweh, through the “light” of David’s rule [being filled with Yahweh’s Spirit], but she represented a “terrible” place for David to go with his lusts, as to see her as a potential sexual partner meant breaking his vow against adultery.
When the Israelite elders went to Samuel and demanded they have a king, in order to be like other nations, Yahweh had Samuel make it perfectly clear to those elders what having a human king would mean. In a nutshell, it meant surrendering everything they held dear to the will of that ruler. Without specifically stating so, the king would be able to take any woman he wanted and keep her as his plaything. Similarly, Saul took David to keep from Jesse, although not for sexual purposes. This means David, like Saul, had the right as king to take whatever he wanted as his own. However, because David’s soul was married to Yahweh and his having sex with Bathsheba struck a loud chord within him, as breaking his vows of marriage, David reacted with guilt, in the same way Adam and Eve knew they had sinned, trying to hide their sin from Yahweh their Father.
When David began to consult Joab and have him bring Uriah to him, that was when David began to act like a repeat of Saul. Uriah, whose name means “Yah Of Light,” becomes a reflection of young David. Thus, it is possible to read verse six as saying, “So Beloved sent word to Yah Is Father, “Send me Yah Of Light the Terrible.” That acts as a prayer from David’s soul, asking Yahweh to show him how his younger self would counter such an act that broke the Covenant with Yahweh.
When David plotted to give Uriah liberty from the siege of Rabbah, suggesting that he take this valuable time back home to go lay with his wife, Uriah will not leave the palace of David. We then read Uriah telling David, “The ark and Israel and Judah remain in booths; and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do such a thing.”
That must be seen as the Light of Yah exposing to David the truth of commitment. The ark in its tent was the marriage David officiated by bringing it into his city where the purpose was Teaching Peace. The young men of Israel [those who retained God] and the young men of Judah [those who praised God] were likewise under tents of commitment to Yahweh, because David was their king. Joab [meaning a son of God] was also committed to serve Yahweh, as commanded by David. Thus, the light of truth requested by David, in prayer to Yahweh, was answered by Uriah saying, “as your soul lives, I will not do such a thing.” A “soul living” means one granted eternal life through marriage to Yahweh. Therefore, Uriah [as the reflection of young David and how he would react to the offer to take time off from your responsibilities and duties in service to Yahweh and go have sex with a woman] said, “A soul married to Yahweh will not break the marriage vows.”
In the same way that Saul heard from Samuel that he was no longer supported by Yahweh, with that being news Saul refused to hear, David reacted in the same way as had Saul. Rather than admit his sin to Uriah, David compounded his one sin by lying and then when Uriah would not go along with the lie David plotted for Uriah to be killed in battle. David was successful in killing himself, whereas all the efforts of Saul to kill him had failed. When Uriah would be murdered, as the final sin of David, David sealed his abdication as the king of Israel, because that sin marked all who would forevermore lead Israel and Judah as from the House of Cain, who would kill a brother rather than live forever in peace.
In this new insight I have been shown in this reading, I have also come to realize that a Hittite was who sold Abraham the property on which the cave [Machpelah] used as a tomb for Sarah. They were said to be allies of Abraham and scholars say they rose to be a very strong kingdom, which had collapsed by the time David became king. This connection to Abraham has the Hittites be linked to the Jebusites, who were allies of Israel: the Hittites supplied the material needs of the Israelite people [above ground]; the Jebusites supplied the spiritual needs of them [underground]. Thus, to name Uriah as a Hittite says he was an ally to David’s material needs.
Still, to state that Bathsheba was the “daughter or Eliam,” whose name means “el of the kinsman,” says she was a woman [“wife” equals “female, woman, wife”] that reflected the marriage of two peoples of elohim. This would mean Bathsheba and Uriah became two halves of one whole that brough the Hittites and the Jebusites together. Neither would be significant outside of Jerusalem, as both would only find prominence in that holy city taken by David as his capital. When the two are seen as one overall divine entity, with two faces, the pair become a trap set for David before he was anointed by Yahweh and made King of Israel and Judah.
The aspect of the Israelites going out to ravage the Ammonites, the history of the Ammonites is they were the descendants of Lot, through a son born to one of his daughters incestuously. As descendants of Lot, the nephew of Abraham, they were the “Kinsmen” of the “Israelites,” with their city of refuge being “Rabbah,” which means “Great.” Yahweh had given instructions for the Israelites not to disturb the Ammonites, but the tribes of Gad and Reuben took their land, with Rabbah remaining their stronghold there. This place is known today as Amman, Jordan. For the troops of David to go into battle against their own relatives, while David stayed at home and had a symbolic incestuous relationship with Bathsheba [so she "sent and told David, "I'm pregnant."'], says the refusal of Uriah to cover up David’s sin reflected how Uriah was not a descendant of Lot – a name meaning “Covering.”
In verse fourteen is written, “In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah,” which can be adjusted to state: “In the morning Beloved wrote a letter to Yah Is Father, and sent it by the hand of Light Of Yah.” This speaks of David’s soul taking the Covenant between his soul and Yahweh and placing it in the “hand” of Yahweh that David had been in his youth. We read about how David had Uriah murdered because the “letter” has been placed in the “hand of the light of truth” that is Second Samuel. Just as David arose from sleep, before he committed adultery, he arose from sleep and wrote a letter that would make him responsible for murder.
Because Jesus is seen as (and said to be) a branch of David, the same should be seen in Uriah. Uriah has been deemed a sacrificial lamb by a ruler of Jerusalem, whose innocent blood being spilled is all over his human hands. David now reflects the future of Jerusalem, where its leaders well into the future will routinely sacrifice the innocent for their own power and privilege. Uriah is therefore a model of Jesus, as both held in their hands a death sentence, which they both were divinely aware of and both bravely went forward to their deaths.
In this way, the passing of a letter to the prototype of his younger self and the Jesus still to come should be seen as the passing of the baton of the true kingship that comes from marriage of a soul to Yahweh from a human king of Israel and Judah to one who stood on a much higher realm as a soul totally committed to divine marriage, to the point of self-sacrifice for a higher cause.
The reading about the fall of King David must be seen as known by Yahweh to come, knowing it was inevitable and necessary, just as was the plague allowed to be set unjustly on Job and just as was the unjust killing of Jesus. When David was anointed, we read: “and came the Spirit of Yahweh upon David from that day and forward” [literal translation of 1 Samuel 16:13b], it was known that David would eventually sin. He had to sin to prove the failure of human kings will always occur. In this light, one must see how Adam and Eve were set up to fail, because without them knowing sin and the guilt that comes from having turned away from Yahweh, there could be no concept of true repentance and Yahweh’s forgiveness. Therefore, David was not eternally punished for his sins, as he was unaware that Yahweh knew what he would do, the same as Adam and Eve were that naive. David’s fall then becomes a lesson for all who would climb the mountain of power that comes from sacrifice to be an obedient servant, as when the eyes open and the power of Yahweh is seen at one’s command, then watch how fast it will all fall in upon oneself.