2 Samuel 11:11

11 Uriah replied, “The Ark and the armies of Israel and Judah are living in tents, and Joab and my master’s men are camping in the open fields. How could I go home to wine and dine and sleep with my wife? I swear that I would never do such a thing.”

2 Samuel 11:11 Meaning and Commentary

2 Samuel 11:11

And Uriah said unto David
As an apology for this conduct:

the ark, and Israel and Judah, abide in tents;
meaning not the people of Israel and Judah in the land of Canaan; for they did not now dwell in tents, though indeed the ark of the Lord did, ( 2 Samuel 7:2 ) , which some think is here referred to; but the armies of Israel and Judah besieging Rabbah, with whom it seems the ark was, which sometimes was carried with them when they went out to war, ( 1 Samuel 4:4 ) ( 14:18 ) , though Abarbinel thinks this was not the ark in which were the two tables of stone, and therefore is not called the ark of the covenant, but an ark which was made to put the ephod, and Urim and Thummim in that they might upon occasion inquire of the Lord by them:

and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open
fields:
around Rabbah they were besieging; he calls Joab his lord, because he was the chief general under whom he served and the rest of the commanding officers he calls the servants of his lord as distinguished from the common soldiers. The Jews, who are for excusing David from blame in the case of Uriah, observe F12, that he was guilty of rebellion against David, and so worthy of death not only because he disobeyed his command, in not going to his house when he ordered him but by calling "Joab my lord" in his presence: but this was only a respectable character of his general and no overt act of treason to his king; nor did David so understand it, nor in the least resent it: now seeing such great men, who were far superior to him in rank and office were obliged to lie on the bare ground, he argues:

shall I then go into mine house to eat and to drink, and to lie with my
wife?
if he had any suspicion of David's crime, he might purposely add the last clause; and if not, it was enough to awaken the conscience of David, and cut him to the quick had he not been greatly hardened through the deceitfulness of sin to observe, that a faithful subject and a soldier of his would not allow himself the enjoyment of lawful pleasures, when his fellow soldiers were exposing their lives to danger for their country; and yet he under such circumstances indulged to sinful lusts and criminal pleasures:

[as] thou livest and [as] thy soul liveth I will not do this thing;
he swears to it for the confirmation of it; this he did to prevent any further solicitations from the king, or his wife unto it, who were both anxiously desirous of it; for though no mention is made of his wife, yet no doubt she did all she could to prevail upon him to come to his house but all to no purpose; his mind was so bent to the contrary through the overruling providence of God to which it must be ascribed.


FOOTNOTES:

F12 T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 56. 1.

2 Samuel 11:11 In-Context

9 But Uriah didn’t go home. He slept that night at the palace entrance with the king’s palace guard.
10 When David heard that Uriah had not gone home, he summoned him and asked, “What’s the matter? Why didn’t you go home last night after being away for so long?”
11 Uriah replied, “The Ark and the armies of Israel and Judah are living in tents, and Joab and my master’s men are camping in the open fields. How could I go home to wine and dine and sleep with my wife? I swear that I would never do such a thing.”
12 “Well, stay here today,” David told him, “and tomorrow you may return to the army.” So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day and the next.
13 Then David invited him to dinner and got him drunk. But even then he couldn’t get Uriah to go home to his wife. Again he slept at the palace entrance with the king’s palace guard.

Footnotes 1