Posted: January 21, 2016 in When the Wolf Howls
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Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 36

Uriah the Hittite thought for a moment that he could see something like helplessness in the clear, handsome eyes of his king, but it was gone in an instant.

When David spoke he said, “Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back.”

So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. Absalom spent some time with Uriah in the hope that he might talk, but Uriah was obviously uncomfortable in the company of royalty.

Late in the afternoon, Uriah was summoned by the king. In fact he was invited to eat with the king, a rare privilege. Eating and drinking with someone in the ancient world spoke of being in covenant with them. But here, where a covenant had been violated, Uriah would eat and drink. Only God could protect him from participating in the cover-up of David’s sin.

Uriah could tell that David was trying to make him drunk. Surely it is a sin to get drunk in the presence of my king, but I cannot refuse his hospitality. Bathsheba had not refused to obey the king. Sin upon sin. Tonight he would become intoxicated. It would help to ease the confusion he felt inside. Mephibosheth was also at the king’s table that night, as always. Absalom was watching and participating in the conversation, seeking to make his father uncomfortable but not being too obvious.

“I propose a toast to these two men who have been esteemed in such a special way by my father, our king, tonight”.

One man’s honour is another man’s dishonour thought Uriah absently. He did not know why. He succumbed to drunkenness but determined not to come under the influence of David.

When evening came Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master’s servants. He did not go home.

David was in a war with his circumstances and he was not accustomed to losing, but his perfect solution to the Bathsheba problem was not working. Uriah is still a threat to my reputation. Never-the-less, his goals were plain and he was flexible enough to have an alternate plan.

“What would you do with a man who threatens your kingdom?” he asked Absalom.

“You execute him…” He paused “… if you have proof and witnesses.”

“And if you don’t?”

“You find a way that will bring least harm or upheaval to the people.”

If Absalom could have spelled it out he would have said, “Step down, and let me rule your kingdom! I won’t make such foolish mistakes as you have made!”

But David did not even consider stepping down. Instead, he personally penned a letter to Joab, his general, as you do when you are involved in a war. Writing the letter several times, and burning each discarded copy with a candle, finally, in frustration he penned a final message which he sealed.

David could not entrust the letter into the hand of a servant in case it’s contents were to be revealed. He would place it in Uriah’s own hand. Uriah had been the messenger from Joab after all. If Uriah breaks the seal and reads this letter it will be a treasonable crime. Even to question it’s contents would bring down upon him the wrath of the kingdom. This is my only course of action left. Things have gone too far. I have no choice.

Uriah obeyed David but on reading the letter, Joab looked at Uriah and seemed annoyed. Did the king tell him that I was drunk in his presence? Uriah suspected that the letter was somehow related to himself and his visit to David’s court, but he was willing to distance himself from such thoughts.

His confusion would go as he fought for his family, his king and his God. Perhaps God would be gracious and he would be a mighty man in battle, honoured as a hero of war. Joab gave him his orders.


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