Defying a king was unheard of. King David had sent ‘messengers’ to bring Bathsheba to him, which symbolizes his intentions to forcefully bring her back, as he sent more than one person to illustrate his command. After sleeping with Bathsheba, he did not keep her, but sent her back home. Oftentimes, she is portrayed as being greedy or manipulative. However, it seems that she was treated unfairly and ‘used.’
The union between David and Bathsheba was not to end, as she conceived a child and eventually told David that she was pregnant. Her infidelity would certainly be known as her husband was away fighting in battle. David decided to send for Uriah (Bathsheba’s husband): “So David sent word to Joab, ‘Send me Uriah the Hittite.’ And Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the people fared, and how the war was going” (2 Samuel 11:6-7).
David tells Uriah to ‘Go down to your house, and wash your feet.’ Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king. Interpretations of the Bible have seen David’s comment to Uriah as a way to encourage him to ‘rest’ with his wife and perhaps, hide his own sin by making Uriah think that he had impregnated his wife. However, Uriah slept at the entrance of the king’s house and did not return to his home. David said to Uriah, “‘You have just come from a journey. Why did you not go down to your house?”
Uriah responds to David in 2 Samuel 11:11: “Uriah said to David, ‘The ark and Israel and Judah remain in booths; and my lord Joab and the servant of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to my house, to eat and drink and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do such a thing.” His response shows just how more honorable Uriah (who is actually a foreigner) is than the king. The ‘foreigner’ is preoccupied with the thoughts of the ark and God’s people, while David is only fixated on the things he wants for himself.
Since David’s initial plan to hide his misdeeds fails, he must find another approach, where he decided to have Uriah killed in the name of battle. According to 2 Samuel 11:14-17 RSV, Uriah even delivered the instructions that would lead to his death. “In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down, and die.” And as Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew there were valiant men. And the men of the city came out and fought with Joab; and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uriah the Hittite was slain also.”