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Uriah; Uruah

URIAH; URUAH

u-ri'-a, u-ri'-ja ('uriyah, in Jeremiah 26:20 'uriyahu, "flame of Yahweh" or "my light is Yahweh"; the Septuagint and the New Testament Our(e)ias, with variants; the King James Version has Urijah in 2 Kings 16:10-16; Nehemiah 3:4,21; 8:4; Jeremiah 26:20):

(1) A Hittite, who had settled in Jerusalem at the time of David and who had entered David's service. He had become a worshipper of Yahweh (judging from the usual interpretations of his name) and had married a Hebrew wife, BATH-SHEBA (which see). David's sin with this woman occurred while Uriah was engaged in warfare, and David had him recalled to Jerusalem in order to hide what had transpired. Uriah, however, felt himself bound by the consecration of a soldier (compare 1 Samuel 21:5; Deuteronomy 23:10 f) and refused to do violence to his religion, so that David's ruse was in vain. (The point is missed here by speaking of Uriah's "chivalrous determination," as in HDB, IV, 837.) David, in desperation, wrote Joab instructions that were virtually a command to have Uriah murdered, and these instructions were duly carried out (2 Samuel 11:2-27). The inclusion of Uriah's name in the list of the "mighty men" in 2 Samuel 23:39 parallel Ch 11:41 is proof of his reputation as a soldier, and the name is found also in 2 Samuel 12:9,10,15; 1 Kings 15:5; Matthew 1:6. On the occurrence in Matthew see especially Heffern, JBL, XXXI, 69 (1912).

(2) A priest under Ahaz, who carried into effect the latter's commands to introduce an Assyrian altar into the Temple and to use it for the sacrifices (2 Kings 16:10-16; see ALTAR). The same Uriah appears in Isaiah 8:2 as one of the two "faithful witnesses" taken by Isaiah in the matter of Maher-shalal-hash-baz. This description has seemed to many to conflict with Uriah's compliancy in obeying Ahaz, but it must be remembered that

(a) "faithful witness" means simply "one whom the people will believe," and

(b) the articles in the sanctuary were not held as immutably sacred in the time of Ahaz as they were in later days.

The omission of Uriah's name from the list in 1 Chronicles 6:10-14 is probably without significance, as Chronicles records only nine names from Solomon to the exile, showing that there must be many omissions. The corresponding list in Josephus, Ant, X, viii, 6, contains 18 names, including Uriah's.

(3) A son of Shemaiah, of Kiriath-jearim, and a contemporary of Jeremiah. He was a prophet, and his prophecy agreed with Jeremiah's in regards. Jehoiakim, roused to anger, arrested him, even at the trouble of a pursuit into Egypt, put him to death and desecrated his body (Jer 20-23). The story is told partly in order to show the greatness of Jeremiah's dangers, partly to bear record of the goodness of AHIKAM (which see), Jeremiah's protector.

(4) A priest, the father of MEREMOTH (which see) (Ezra 8:33; Nehemiah 3:4,21; 1 Esdras 8:62 ("Urias," the King James Version "Iri")).

(5) One of those on Ezra's right hand reading of the Law (Nehemiah 8:4; 1 Esdras 9:43 ("Urias")). Quite possibly identical with (4) above.

Burton Scott Easton


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'URIAH; URUAH'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.