TITLE: Farewell Uriah, My Love
By Jacob Gibson
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Swish! Clang! Twang! Bam! Gah! Oof! Shwink! Bam! Clang! Clang! Yaaaaaaaah! Crunch! Wham! Grrrrrrrr! Ahhhhhh! Clang! Hoop! Whack! Clank!
All across Rabbah, the sounds of steel weapons clashing and voices shouting rang out like a chaotic song of fear, adrenaline, and death. Israel's armies, led by Joab, were deep in battle against the Ammonites. What started this fight was just a small but terrible mistake that could have easily been avoided. When Nahash, the king of Ammon died and his son Hunan took his place, King David sent messengers to show kindness to Hanun in return for his father's kindness. Hanun distrusted David and humiliated his servants, which turned them into enemies. The king quickly joined forces with the Syrians but the Israelites easily defeated them and Ammon was left to fight for themselves. Now was the time that kings went forth to battle their enemies, and Israel was quicky winning the heated fight. In what seemed a very short time, Israel managed to besiege Rabbah and wiped out Ammon's best soldiers. When the battle ended, Israel's soldiers cheered at the top of their lungs for another grand victory.
A few days later, Joab allowed a number of soldiers to return home temporarily and they gladly made the journey back to Jerusalem. One man marched silently among them, thanking God for His help and looking forward to see his wife soon. He was so deep in thought that he jumped a little when someone put their hand on his shoulder and landed beside him, putting his face right in front of his.
"Uriah!" shouted a large man. "What a battle, huh! Those Ammonites don't stand a chance now! We were unstoppable today! Woohoo!" The man was Uriah's good friend, Levi. A tall, and heavy man with muscular arms, and a thick beard at the bottom of his friendly face. His voice was deep and cheerful.
Uriah grinned. "Yes, Levi, that was indeed a great battle. We never would have had a chance without the Lord's help though."
Levi looked down and nodded slightly. "Yes... that's right. How could I forget that? Sorry. You always remember to thank the Lord and I always forget. Ha ha! I have to admit though... it was a little scary not having King David with us this time. And weird too... Wonder what he's been doing back home?"
"It does seem odd to me too. But I know that whatever he's doing he's not wasting his time. Perhaps he needs some more rest. I know he could use the time to write some more psalms and talk with the Lord." He wiped some sweat from his face and adjusted the pack of supplies on his back. "He is the most righteous man I have ever met and I'm proud to have him as our king."
Levi chuckled. "Yes, as do I. You always assume the best, Uriah. Don't you ever worry about anything?"
"Of course I do. But I try to always remember what the Lord has done for our people and meditate on His goodness and promises. God always gives us victory when we trust Him completely and follow His commands. I've seen it so many times that I have no doubt."
"What about dying?," Levi said, his voice becoming more serious. "Do you ever worry about that? I do all the time in every single battle. I've lost a few fingers from one of the battles." And he looked at his left hand again and frowned.
Uriah looked straight ahead, his eyes narrowed. "Yes, I do. I have received many wounds and come close to death several times, thinking I wouldn't survive. But it's not the pain that scares me the most. It' the thought of leaving my wonderful wife behind. I love her more than I could ever tell you."
"Yeah, Bathsheba is a knockout!" Levi said with a hearty laugh. "You really found a good one!"
Uriah's cheeks turned bright red as he tried to hide a smile. "Yeah, I admit it. She's very beautiful. Not that I married her just because of that."
"Of course not." Levi slapped him on the shoulder. "Don't think that I'm jealous. My wife is beautiful too. I would also hate to lose her and my family."
2. Talk with wife
The two companions continued to talk as they marched along with the other men who were returning home. Soon, Jerusalem came into view and their faces brightened as their spirits raised inside. The soldiers said farewell to each other and returned to their homes, excited to reunite with their families again. Uriah ran to his house, giddy as a child, and banged on the door. It soon opened and Bathsehba stood before him, excited to see him. He jumped towards her and wrapped his arms around her waist, laughing and then giving her a long kiss. He withdrew and Bathsheba slowly ran her fingers through his thick hair with a slight smile.
"I have returned, my love. I missed you like the flowers miss spring."
"Welcome home, my love. I missed you too."
Uriah took a moment to silently gaze into her eyes and just enjoy being with her. Bathsheba looked into his just as deeply but after a moment briefly looked away, her face drooped slightly. When her eyes returned to his, they didn't seem the same. As if she was nervous or uncomfortable.
"Is... anything wrong, my love? You look unhappy about something. Were you okay while I was gone? Did anything happen to you?"
Bathsheba forced herself to smile. "Yes, of course I was fine. I... maybe I'm just a little tired... or something. I promise that it has nothing to do with you. I still love you just as much as I always have. Don't think for one moment that I don't."
Uriah's face resumed it's expression of love and he continued to kiss her again. But before he could... there was a loud knock on the door. He slowly let go of his wife and walked to the door, and opened it to find a tall soldier staring at him. He wasted no time at explaining his presence.
"Yes?" he asked confused.
"Joab has sent me here to tell you that King David would like to speak with you."
Uriah looked surprised and turned to his wife, wondering what the king wanted with him. Once again she looked nervous for some reason, with her head hung and her hands together. He couldn't understand what was wrong but had no time to ask. He stepped back to her again, kissed her longer, then went through the door and followed the soldier to the castle. Once they were gone Bathsehba sighed and slumped down in a seat.
3. Talk with David
Uriah followed the soldier through town and into the palace. As they passed through the rooms he couldn't help but stare at everything in amazement. (Need to do research here on the palace) Uriah entered the palace and found King David waiting for him at a table. David smiled at him and told everyone to leave them alone.
"Welcome, Uriah! Please have a seat." He pointed towards a soft chair and Uriah sat down.
David asked him many questions such as how Joab was doing, and how the people were, and how the war was going. Uriah answered the questions as best as he could, with a very positive point of view. However, it seemed unusual that David only wanted to talk about things like this. Why didn't he ask someone else? Maybe he was getting multiple opinions for better decision making. He also noticed that King David looked a little uneasy, similar to how his wife looked. He occasionally would fidget with his fingers and sometimes his voice sounded shaky. Something strange was happening.
Uriah lifted an eyebrow. "Are you alright, my king?"
"Huh? Oh. Yes... I'm sorry. I think I'm just a little worried about the battles you know."
"You shouldn't be worried. The Lord always gives us victory, as you know from how often he has helped us in dire situations and saved you from danger. If you come with us you will see for yourself how He is helping us win."
David quickly perked up and smiled. "Of course! Of course! You are right. Why do I worry? There's no need of it. He has done more for us than we could ever imagine."
"Is that all you wanted to speak with me, my king?"
"Yes, thank you for your time, Uriah. Go ahead and return home. I'm sure you would like to wash your feet and rest. Please take this meat with you as a gift."
"Thank you, my king." Uriah bowed and turned to leave, a little confused but pleased with the apetizing food. But his face suddenly grew serious as he remembered something and realized that he couldn't go home yet. He wouldn't have gone home earlier if he hadn't forgotten this but know that he remembered he knew his conscious would give him no rest if he ignored it.
Instead of returning home, he found where the king's servants were asleep at the door of David's house and found an empty bed to lay down. He closed his eyes and tried to relax, and forget about the fighting and bloodshed. However, his sleep was held back by worries of his wife's odd emotions but found peace when he thought about Scripture verses he had memorized. In the morning, he felt someone tap him on the shoulder and opened his tired eyes to see another guard staring at him seriously.
"Uriah? The king would like to speak with you."
Uriah rubbed his eyes and stretched. "Huh? What? Again? Uh... alright." Have I done something wrong, he wondered. What does he want with me this time?
He came back into the palace and found David waiting for him again. He looked very concerned for some reason. Uriah sat down across from him again and waited to hear what was on his mind.
"Friend, why are you still here? Didn't you come from a long journey? Why didn't you go back to your house? You should be with your wife. You deserve it."
Uriah thought silently for a moment. Why did he care whether or not he went home. Perhaps he just worries that Bathsehba and I aren'tt getting along. He replied, looking David straight in the eyes. "Thank you for your concern, your Majesty, but I simply can't do it. The ark of the covenant is in a tent, the people of Israel and Judah live in tents, and Joab and his men are camping in the open fields. Would it really be right for me to go back home, eat dinner with my wife and sleep with her at a time like this? As you and your soul lives, there is no way I could do something like that."
David fell silent for a moment and Uriah waited for him to reply, studying his face. Again David looked nervous like he was trying to think of something, and again Uriah felt uncomfortable and confused. Finally, David smiled and said, "Yes, I understand now. Forgive me for intruding. Please feel free to stay here until tomorrow and then you may go. It is your right."
"Thank you, my king. I appreciate it."
He left the room and stayed in Jerusalem the rest of the day, talking with people he met, praying, and thinking about his comrades and the future of his family. The next day he received an invitation from David to eat dinner with him and decided to go. They ate a declious meal together, and he thought the food and drink was the best he had ever tasted. David encouraged him to drink much as wine as he desired and Uriah lost caution and became drunk. When the meal ended, Uriah stumbled out of the room and plopped down into his bed he had slept in the past few days at the door.
The next morning a guard entered David's room and told him that Uriah was still there and didn't go home. David stared at him for a moment in surprise, then stared at the floor. His mouth hung open, his eyes darted back and forth. Then he stood up, walked over to a wall and rested his head against it, putting his hands on his head and sighing. It appeared as though a fierce struggle was going in his mind, one of great consequence. Finally, one side won and he turned around. He slowly sat down at a table and began to write a letter to Joab, his face serious and worried at first but indifferent later.
Now that he was rested and ready, and he was scheduled back to battle, Uriah returned home to say goodbye to his wife, gathered his supplies together and returned to the camp. He found Joab and handed him a letter from the king that he had given him before he departed. Joab thanked him and opened the letter to read it. Upon finishing it, he looked up bewildered, looked back towards Uriah walking away, and read it again in disbelief. He shrugged and put it away. "The king has his reasons. He can do whatever he wants."
As Uriah greeted his comrades on the way to his tent, he wasn't surprised when Levi tried to ambush him from behind again in a friendly greeting. Uriah whirled around to see a fist flying at his shoulder, dodged it, then lightly hit Levi in the shoulder and gut. Levi backed away from him, rubbed where he received the blows, and laughed.
"Uriah, my friend, you are getting better at this! Ha ha! My training has served you well."
Uriah grinned and nodded. "Yes, it seems that way. You should watch yourself better from now on, for soon I'll get you more than you get me."
Levi laughed again and said, "Yes. So how was your stay at home? Did you and Bathsheba have a good time?" He poked him in the side, then threw his head back and laughed even louder. Uriah blushed again with an embarrassed smile, but left the question unanswered. He didn't feel like telling his friend why he didn't stay home and had lived in the palace instead. He changed the subject and made small talk with his friend for a while. Suddenly the mood changed.
"Levi," Uriah said seriously. "I have a strange feeling that something isn't right today. Do you feel it?"
Levi became just as serious. "No. What is it?"
"I don't know. While I was home some people were acting strangely around me lately and..."
"Just... certain people. I can't help but feel that something terrible will take place soon. Maybe to me. I don't know why I feel that. Do you ever feel that way?"
"Yeah, sometimes. But whatever happened to the Lord taking care of you and protecting you?" Levi looked totally serious, and not like he was joking again.
"I know, and I still believe that. But... I also know that there is a time for everyone to die, and I believe the Lord takes the righteous from the earth when He is done with them. Perhaps my time will soon come."
Levi sighed, crossing his arms in front of his chest and looking to the sky. "Yes, I also believe the Lord is wise and knows our time to depart from the world. Uriah... I have an idea. Please allow me to stay close to your side during the battle and protect as best you as I can. I won't leave you even if I lose both of my legs and I have to drag myself to you with my hands!"
He laughed a little. "No, that isn't necessary. If the Lord has decided it's my time to die then there's no way to stop that."
"I know, but friend, please do not deny me this. You have made the mistake of telling me your fear and now my mind will not be at ease unless I stay by your side."
"Please, Levi, I do not want you to worry about me. I should have known better not to tell you that but..."
Levi grabbed his shoulders and stared into his face. "Listen to me, friend, you can say whatever you want but I will not leave you. We have been friends for a long time and I won't let you die if what you are feeling is indeed accurate. You would have to fight me with the Ammonites to keep me away!"
Uriah sighed. "Okay... I give up. You can stay with me. But," his face lightened a little, "Tell anyone about what I told you and you will want to stay quite far away from me."
"Ha ha ha! I promise I won't say anything." They said farewell and Levi returned to his own tent.
The next morning, when Uriah and the other returning troops were rested from their journey, Joab woke them all with a shout and they quickly got ready. Bodies stretched and exercised. Food was quickly eaten. Armor was shoved on. Weapons were equiped. The brave troops ran to Joab and stood in lines, waiting for his instructions. He greeted them and spent an hour explaining the tactics for the day before dismissing them to find their places for battle. As the men departed, Levi stayed in his place and watched Uriah. He noticed Joab pull him aside and talk with him privately for a few minutes. Surprise appeared on Uriah's face but he quickly masked it. When they finished the talk, Uriah blinked, nodded, and then turned to leave. He marched away and Levi ran up to his side, very concerned.
"Uriah! What did he tell you? What did he tell you? What's going on?"
Uriah paused for a moment and then explained how he had been assigned to fight at the very front of the most dangerous battle that day. Levi looked shocked and couldn't believe what he heard. He stared at him like it was just a very bad joke.
"No! NO! Why would he do that?"
"I am unsure, but Levi... do not worry. I'm no longer afraid to die. It could be that Joab has great faith in me and believes I can do well in this."
"And do you think you can?"
"... I don't know. But just as the Lord helped David slay a giant, he can help me win this battle."
"You felt a sense of doom yesterday and you were right to think that. Why don't you just refuse to do that?"
"I will not and cannot refuse someone that the Lord has placed in authority. This could be His will and to disobey would be worse than death."
Levi scowled. "My friend, you do not have to be so... perfect all of the time! Would you allow a general's mistake to cost your life and prevent you from doing more good things for the Lord?"
Uriah's face remained the same. "You know as well as I that my life is at risk every single day on the battlefield and the Lord protects those He will."
The two friends continued to argue until Levi realized he couldn't change his mind and just surrendered. He sighed. "Okay... fine. But when I get a chance I will find you and stay by you as I promised. I can be just as stubborn as you if I want."
Uriah also knew there was no point to argue with him, so he thanked him with hesitation and they left for their positions. He approached the front of the formation where he was ordered to stand and marched with them to their destination. With every step he took he felt as though he was coming closer to certain death. His heart pounded with the pounding of their feet. His sword and shield-wielding hands trembled. His mind was full of thoughts of his wife who could become a widow and he couldn't push them out of his mind. I must concentrate on this if I want to live. He felt adrenaline rush through him and helped him feel ready for the fight.
4. Second battle
(This part of the story, the second battle, is currently unfinished because I need to do research on the city of Rabbah and decide how the fight would take place. Maybe you're glad to get a break anyways. ^_^ Here's what I had in mind. The Israelites charge to the city and the Ammonites attack from the walls, shooting arrows and throwing heavy things at them. Uriah watches in horrow as his companions are shot down beside him while he manages to survive longer than most. Levi does his best to find Uriah but has no luck. Uriah blocks many of the attacks with his shield but eventually is shot in the shoulder, the leg, and then a vital place. He falls to the ground on his back, unable to move, and this is where we return.)
Levi felt ready to give up. He had searched everywhere to find his friend while running past sparring soldiers and dodging past arrows, and had no luck at all. Then he spotted him in the distance, lying on the ground with arrows sticking out of him and blood flowing out. He screamed and ran to his side. Without asking for permission, Levi picked him up and moved his body off the field of battle to a safer place hidden by a tree, blocking more arrows with his shield. He propped him up against the tree, grabbed Uriah's unwounded shoulder, and stared into his terrified eyes fixed up to heaven. Levi felt tears well in his eyes.
"Uriah! Uriah! Don't die! I'm so sorry I couldn't find you in time! Please don't die! Don't die, my friend!!" He couldn't hold it any longer and cried bitterly.
Uriah's eyes looked to him. "Levi... it's alright. This was supposed to happen. There was... nothing you could do."
"NOOO!" Levi shouted, angry. "That's no true! Stop talking like that! This didn't have to happen. Not everything in life is written ahead of time. Joab is a heartless murderer! He shouldn't be in charge!"
"My friend, there is no point in arguing... and no time. Please tell my wife and friends that I love them... and will look forward to seeing them again some day. And you have also been a blessing to me as well."
Levi wiped his eyes and nodded. Suddenly he became very still and silent, like something had hit him or someone was talking to him that couldn't be seen. His expression changed to confusion, disbelief, then shock. Uriah didn't wait to ask him what he was seeing.
"What? What is it? Please tell me."
Levi turned his watery eyes towards the ground and focused on it, not looking at his dying friend. His lips quivered and he found it hard to speak, but tried to talk quickly. "The Lord has just given me a message for you. But it will be very hard to hear." He hesitated for a moment but knew he didn't have time to waste. "Uriah... King David and your wife were the ones who were acting strange, weren't they?"
Uriah's eyes grew large and he nodded, afraid of what he was about to say.
"They were acting that way because... while you were gone at battle, David slept with your wife. And that's why you were pushed to the front of the battle lines."
Uriah gasped and then felt the same emotions that Levi had felt, only on a much more intense level. Intense confusion. Great disbelief. Overwhelming shock. He didn't want to believe it, there was no way it could be true. His wife would never do something like that. David, a truly righteous man who wrote psalms of thanks and trust, and talked with God every day and stayed close to him, could never do something like that. But why would his best friend tell such a horrible lie to him at a time like this? He finally accepted it and cried, moaning and sobbing. Levi appeared very sorry that he had told him.
"I am so sorry, my friend. It is torture for me to tell you this and crush your soul. But there is more you should know. God said that David will be punished for his horrible sin, and your wife loves you more than any other man. She never would have done this if she knew it would get you killed. She will weep bitterly when she learns about... this."
Uriah's vision was now blurry, but he still heard every word Levi spoke. His final revelation of Bathsheba's love returned some needed peace to him. Uriah finally managed to say, "Thank you... my friend. I needed to hear that. You have been so kind to me."
"There is one more thing," Levi said, still speaking rapidly. "The Lord said that from the lineage of your wife, His Son will enter the world and save many people. He will bring peace and new life to all who follow Him. This is completely true."
Uriah didn't know how to feel about that at first, but then made up his mind. "God's Son... the Savior of the world... from Bathsheba. How amazing." Then with his last breath he said, "Goodbye, my friend" and gave up his spirit. Levi continued to stare into his lifeless eyes and held on his cold shoulder. He buried his face in his bloody chest and cried out the rest of his tears. He wasn't able to stay long until one of his comrades pulled him away and said, "I'm sorry, Levi, but we can't stop to mourn. We have to keep fighting. We need you."
Levi wiped his eyes and turned away from the place. He ran back to the city and tried to focus on the battle but struggled to forget about Uriah. However, he was able to resume his mindset when somehow, to his horror and unbelief, he forgot what the Lord had told him to say to Uriah, and even when the battle ended, couldn't remember no matter how hard he tried. It doesn't matter, he thought. I was able to be with him when he passed away and for that I am more than thankful.
Back in Jerusalem, King David stood before a large window, staring into the distance with a heart full of deep guilt and regret. He closed his eyes and rested his head against the glass. "What have I done? What have I done?"
Uriah opened his eyes and found himself standing in a beautiful new land before Almighty God. He smiled at him and said. "Welcome home, Uriah, my good and faithful servant. You have done well."
II Samuel 11
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