When Jethro heard that Joab had been talking to Uriah right before he was killed, he was curious. There were innocent connections between the two men. But Joab could arrange someone’s death. Joab had a history of moral innovation.
Joab was one of three brothers with outstanding military careers in David’s army. The other two were Abishai and Asahel. All three had been with him since David’s early days on the run from Saul. And they were David’s nephews.
Joab was the commander of David’s army. When David captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites, Joab led the charge. As a result, David awarded him the position. Abishai was the leader of “The Three.” That was the nickname for the best three soldiers in David’s army. He wasn’t one of them, serving perhaps as their mentor or coordinator. (Abishai earned the position. He and David sneaked into Saul’s camp one night and stole Saul’s spear and water jug.) They were followed in prestige by “The Thirty,” though there were actually thirty-seven. Asahel, the third brother, was one of The Thirty.
Asahel was killed by Abner, King Saul’s commander, in the last days of Saul’s empire. Saul was dead. His son was king. Asahel was chasing Abner, who warned him away and killed him. Joab and Abishai called off their pursuit, but not their planning. Months later, Abner negotiated the surrender of the kingdom to David. While the surrender was being celebrated, Joab got Abner alone and stabbed him.
Jethro knew all this. He also knew that Uriah was one of the Thirty, a skilled soldier. This would have given Joab and Uriah reason to talk. But he was missing something.
He went back to the soldiers he had talked to by the campfire. “How did Uriah look when he left Joab?” he asked.
“A little worn out. But he had just gotten back from a trip to Jerusalem,” they said. “We were a little surprised Joab sent him straight to battle.”
Jethro almost smiled. He had to find out more about that trip to Jerusalem.
This series on “Who Killed Uriah?” will continue next week.