And if so be that the king's wrath arise, and he say to you, Why approached you so near to the city when you did fight? knew you not that they would shoot from the wall?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)2 Samuel 11:20, 2 Samuel 11:24.
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.
and he say, wherefore approached ye so nigh unto the city when ye did fight? as to expose the king's troops to the enemy on the wall, who by stones or darts greatly annoyed them, or sallied out on them, and killed many of them:And if so be that the king's wrath arise, and he say unto thee, Wherefore approached ye so nigh unto the city when ye did fight? knew ye not that they would shoot from the wall?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)20. if so be that the king’s wrath arise] Joab assumes that David would find fault with him for bad generalship, until he knew that his commission was executed by Uriah’s death.
(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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