The facts were simple. Uriah was part of an attack Rabbah. He was killed in a fierce battle.
It happened all the time in the early days of a siege. The generals would survey the city, looking for places that the walls seemed weak. Battalions of soldiers would attack the weak spot. The defenders of these spots would be the best soldiers, driven by the need to protect their homes and families and king.
These clashes were fierce. Death happened. The best soldiers kept engaged, younger recruits were trained.
This city was the last big fortress for the Ammonites, distant relatives and long-time enemies of the Israelites. Since the time of Abraham, 1000 years before, there had been tension. The tension had recently exploded. The Israelite army, including Uriah the Hittite, was camped around Rabbah. They were only day’s march from the Jordan River, two days from Jerusalem.
“But why was there this particular attack?” Jethro wondered. When he got to the Israelite camp around Rabbah, he moved from campfire to campfire, asking if anyone remembered when Uriah died. Finally, he found a couple old soldiers willing to talk. In the darkness, on the edge of camp.
Eventually, the survivors talked about a sudden retreat that Uriah seemed to ignore. They all knew it was going to happen. Joab wouldn’t leave them in battle for long. They were listening for the trumpet. Those closest to Uriah in the battle noticed that he didn’t turn at the trumpet. It was as if he had missed the pre-battle briefing.
Jethro asked if anyone had seen him before the battle. Finally, someone remembered that Uriah had been in a conversation with Joab. Joab embraced him and walked him to his position. After everyone else had received instructions.
Jethro sighed. Of course Joab was involved.
There is more on the history of the Ammonites and Israelites, running from Lot to Nehemiah, in my book “A Great Work.”