When that time of year came around again, the anniversary of the Ammonite aggression, David dispatched Joab and his fighting men of Israel in full force to destroy the Ammonites for good. They laid siege to Rabbah, but David stayed in Jerusalem.
One late afternoon, David got up from taking his nap and was strolling on the roof of the palace. From his vantage point on the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was stunningly beautiful.
David sent to ask about her, and was told, "Isn't this Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah the Hittite?"
David sent his agents to get her. After she arrived, he went to bed with her. (This occurred during the time of "purification" following her period.) Then she returned home.
Before long she realized she was pregnant. Later she sent word to David: "I'm pregnant."
David then got in touch with Joab: "Send Uriah the Hittite to me." Joab sent him.
When he arrived, David asked him for news from the front - how things were going with Joab and the troops and with the fighting.
Then he said to Uriah, "Go home. Have a refreshing bath and a good night's rest."
But Uriah didn't go home. He slept that night at the palace entrance, along with the king's servants.
David was told that Uriah had not gone home. He asked Uriah, "Didn't you just come off a hard trip? So why didn't you go home?"
Uriah replied to David, "The Chest is out there with the fighting men of Israel and Judah - in tents. My master Joab and his servants are roughing it out in the fields. So, how can I go home and eat and drink and enjoy my wife? On your life, I'll not do it!"
"All right," said David, "have it your way. Stay for the day and I'll send you back tomorrow." So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem the rest of the day.
David invited him to eat and drink with him, and David got him drunk. But in the evening Uriah again went out and slept with his master's servants. He didn't go home.
In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah.
In the letter he wrote, "Put Uriah in the front lines where the fighting is the fiercest. Then pull back and leave him exposed so that he's sure to be killed."
So Joab, holding the city under siege, put Uriah in a place where he knew there were fierce enemy fighters.
When the city's defenders came out to fight Joab, some of David's soldiers were killed, including Uriah the Hittite.
Joab sent David a full report on the battle.
He instructed the messenger, "After you have given to the king a detailed report on the battle,
if he flares in anger,
say, 'And by the way, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.'"
Joab's messenger arrived in Jerusalem and gave the king a full report.
He said, "The enemy was too much for us. They advanced on us in the open field, and we pushed them back to the city gate.
But then arrows came hot and heavy on us from the city wall, and eighteen of the king's soldiers died."
When the messenger completed his report of the battle, David got angry at Joab. He vented it on the messenger: "Why did you get so close to the city? Didn't you know you'd be attacked from the wall? Didn't you remember how Abimelech son of Jerub-Besheth got killed? Wasn't it a woman who dropped a millstone on him from the wall and crushed him at Thebez? Why did you go close to the wall!" "By the way," said Joab's messenger, "your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead." Then David told the messenger, "Oh. I see. Tell Joab, 'Don't trouble yourself over this. War kills - sometimes one, sometimes another - you never know who's next. Redouble your assault on the city and destroy it.' Encourage Joab."
When Uriah's wife heard that her husband was dead, she grieved for her husband.
When the time of mourning was over, David sent someone to bring her to his house. She became his wife and bore him a son. But God was not at all pleased with what David had done,
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)