2 Samuel 11:15
And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set you Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire you from him, that he may be smitten, and die.
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(15) Retire ye from him.—This part of David’s orders was not carried out. Perhaps Joab thought it would make the stratagem too evident, or perhaps it was impracticable. At all events, the consequence was that others were slain with Uriah, and thus a larger blood-guiltiness fell upon David.

2 Samuel 11:15. Retire ye from him, that he may be smitten and die — Thus swift is the progress of vice! thus does it lead from bad to worse! thus does it corrupt man’s whole nature, and bring him to such degeneracy as he could not before have thought himself capable of! So far is David from repenting, that he seeks to cover one scandalous and wicked action by another still more scandalous and wicked; to conceal the great crime of adultery by the still greater crime of murder! How are the beginnings of sin to be dreaded! for who knows where they will end? David hath sinned, therefore Uriah must die. That innocent, valiant, gallant man, who was ready to die for his prince’s honour, must die by his prince’s hand! See how fleshly lusts war against the soul, and what devastation they make in that war! How they blind the eyes, sear the conscience, harden the heart, and destroy all sense of honour and justice! See the shameful and deplorable change which they have made in David. Is this the man whose heart smote him because he had cut off Saul’s skirt? who more than once generously saved the life of his most bitter enemy when he had it in his power; but who is now using the basest contrivances to take away the life of a most worthy and faithful servant? Is this he that executed judgment and justice to all his people; and that exercised himself in God’s laws day and night, conscious what extraordinary favours he had received from him, and the infinite obligations he was under to him; the just, the generous, the pious David? Yes, this is the very man. Alas! how can he do such unjust and base actions? How can he be so ungrateful to his heavenly benefactor, as thus to transgress and trample under foot his law in the most capital of all its articles? How can he give such scandal and cause of stumbling to his subjects, whose piety and virtue he was appointed to promote? And how can he thus expose to contempt and reproach the true religion among the idolatrous nations all around? Alas! sin, through its deceitfulness, has gained entrance, and re-established its empire in his soul! Sin has produced this horrid transformation in the mind and heart of one of the bravest and worthiest of men. Reader, take warning, and withstand the first assaults of evil, lest, if they once prevail, they deprive thee of all religious and moral sense and feeling, and plunge thee into the greatest depth of guilt and baseness, to the present dishonour of God and religion, and thy own everlasting ruin and misery!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.

So far is David from repenting upon these just and great occasions, that he seeks to cover one sin with another; and to hide his adultery with murder, even the murder of a most excellent person, and that in a most malicious and perfidious manner. And he wrote in the letter, saying,.... Giving the following orders to Joab:

set ye Uriah is the forefront of the hottest battle: over against that part of the city where the enemy was strongest, and the battle the fiercest, and the stones and arrows were cast the thickest:

and retire ye from him; leave him to himself to combat the enemy alone; who seeing him deserted, would sally out upon him, and the few that might be with him, and slay him:

that he may be smitten, and die; thus he sought to add murder to adultery, and that in the basest manner, and which he accomplished; and this is often the case, that murder follows adultery, either by way of revenge for it, or in order to cover it, as here.

And he wrote in the letter, saying, {h} Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.

(h) Except God continually uphold us with his mighty Spirit, the most perfect fall headlong into all vice and abomination.

15. that he may be smitten, and die] So blinded was David by his passion, and so eager to screen himself and Bath-sheba from the disgrace of exposure, that he did not shrink from plotting the murder of one of his bravest soldiers. The King’s command was sufficient warrant to Joab, without inquiry into the reason for it.But Uriah had his suspicions aroused. The connection between his wife and David may not have remained altogether a secret, so that it may have reached his ears as soon as he arrived in Jerusalem. "He lay down to sleep before the king's house with all the servants of his lord (i.e., the retainers of the court), and went not down to his house." "Before, or at, the door of the king's house," i.e., in the court of the palace, or in a building adjoining the king's palace, where the court servants lived.
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