2 Samuel 11:14
And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah.
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(14) Sent it by the hand of Uriah.—The brave soldier is made the bearer of his own death-warrant, and his well-known valour for his king is to be the means of accomplishing his destruction, to relieve that king of the consequences of his crime, which also involved a great wrong to himself. No reason is given to Joab for this order, but as a loyal and somewhat unscrupulous general he obeys without question.

11:14-27 Adulteries often occasion murders, and one wickedness is sought to be covered by another. The beginnings of sin are much to be dreaded; for who knows where they will end? Can a real believer ever tread this path? Can such a person be indeed a child of God? Though grace be not lost in such an awful case, the assurance and consolation of it must be suspended. All David's life, spirituality, and comfort in religion, we may be sure were lost. No man in such a case can have evidence to be satisfied that he is a believer. The higher a man's confidence is, who has sunk in wickedness, the greater his presumption and hypocrisy. Let not any one who resembles David in nothing but his transgressions, bolster up his confidence with this example. Let him follow David in his humiliation, repentance, and his other eminent graces, before he thinks himself only a backslider, and not a hypocrite. Let no opposer of the truth say, These are the fruits of faith! No; they are the effects of corrupt nature. Let us all watch against the beginnings of self-indulgence, and keep at the utmost distance from all evil. But with the Lord there is mercy and plenteous redemption. He will cast out no humble, penitent believer; nor will he suffer Satan to pluck his sheep out of his hand. Yet the Lord will recover his people, in such a way as will mark his abhorrence of their crimes, to hinder all who regard his word from abusing the encouragements of his mercy.The ark - Perhaps there was a double purpose in taking the ark; one, to excite to the utmost the enthusiasm of the people for its defense and against the Ammonites; the other, to have the means at hand of inquiring of the Lord, which David had found so serviceable. 2Sa 11:14-27. Uriah Slain.

14, 15. David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah … Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle—The various arts and stratagems by which the king tried to cajole Uriah, till at last he resorted to the horrid crime of murder—the cold-blooded cruelty of despatching the letter by the hands of the gallant but much-wronged soldier himself, the enlistment of Joab to be a partaker of his sin, the heartless affectation of mourning, and the indecent haste of his marriage with Bath-sheba—have left an indelible stain upon the character of David, and exhibit a painfully humiliating proof of the awful lengths to which the best of men may go when they forfeit the restraining grace of God.

No text from Poole on this verse.

And it came to pass in the morning,.... When David was informed that Uriah did not go to his own house, but slept with his servants, Satan put it into his head and heart to take the following wicked and cruel method:

that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah; to have him cut off by the sword of the enemy. If Uriah suspected David's criminal conversation with his wife, he was so true and trusted a servant to him, that he would not open his letter to Joab, which had he, it would have betrayed the base design. No one that knows the story of Bellerophon can read this without thinking of that, they are so much alike; and indeed that seems to be founded upon this, and taken from it with a little alteration. Bellerophon rejecting the solicitations of Sthenobaea, who was in love with him, she prevailed upon her husband Praetus to send letters by him to Jobates (a name similar to Joab), the general of his army, which contained instructions to take care that he was killed; who sent him upon an expedition for that purpose (m).

(m) Apollodorus de Deorum Orig. l. 2. p. 70.

And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah.
14–17. David’s letter to Joab. Uriah’s death

14. sent it by the hand of Uriah] So in the Greek story Proetus sent Bellerophon to Jobates with his own death-warrant. Cp. Hom. Il. VI. 168, 169.

“Slay him he would not, that his soul abhorred;

But to the father of his wife, the king

Of Lycia, sent him forth, with tokens charged

Of dire import, on folded tablets traced,

Poisoning the monarch’s mind to work his death.”

Verse 14. - David wrote a letter. David now uses the knowledge he had acquired in the schools of the prophets for vicious purposes. For it to be a blessing, knowledge must be sanctified to holy use. The letter would conceal from Joab the truth, and only let him know that Uriah, during his visit to Jerusalem, had incurred the king's serious displeasure; and we may be quite sure that Joab would be very indignant when he learned, as he certainly soon would, that David had made him his tool, and caused him to murder one of "the mighties" in order to cover the shame of his adultery. The only fair side of the picture is that it shews the high state of morality among the people. The crimes of kings and great men are usually lightly pardoned, and especially that of adultery. Even in our own and other Christian countries this is the case; but David has to resort to extreme measures rather than face the indignation of his subjects. Unfortunately, the shedding of blood was not looked upon with equal horror. Possibly the leaving it to the relatives to requite it made the suppression of murder the business, not of the state, but of "the avenger of blood." At all events, Joab without much compunction carries out David's orders, caring to know no more than that Uriah was out of favour. And what is more extraordinary, David remains utterly callous for a whole twelvemonth (see 2 Samuel 12:15), and his conscience does not even smite him for the additional meanness of sending the order for Uriah's murder by the hand of the injured man himself. 2 Samuel 11:14When the king saw that his plan was frustrated through Uriah's obstinacy, he resolved upon a fresh and still greater crime. He wrote a letter to Joab, with which he sent Uriah back to the army, and the contents of which were these: "Set ye Uriah opposite to the strongest contest, and then turn away behind him, that he may be slain, and die."

(Note: "We may see from this how deep a soul may fall when it turns away from God, and from the guidance of His grace. This David, who in the days of his persecution would not even resort to means that were really plausible in order to defend himself, was now not ashamed to resort to the greatest crimes in order to cover his sin. O God! how great is our strength when we lay firm hold of Thee! And how weak we become as soon as we turn away from Thee! The greatest saints would be ready for the worst of deeds, if Thou shouldst but leave them for a single moment without Thy protection. Whoever reflects upon this, will give up all thought of self-security and spiritual pride." - Berleburg Bible.)

David was so sure that his orders would be executed, that he did not think it necessary to specify any particular crime of which Uriah had been guilty.

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