From 2 Samuel 11:18-25
“You had to tell David about Uriah? Was that the battle when several men were killed?”
The man nodded. Jethro filled the messenger’s cup again. “It was a strange thing. We were sending squads into battle regularly those days. But it was almost a battle game. We’d advance, they’d fire, we’d back up. There weren’t many injuries. That day, a squad went into battle, but apparently they had orders to actually engage the Ammonites. And it was right into the toughest enemy.”
Jethro nodded. He’d heard this part before. But he didn’t dare interrupt.
“Uriah joined the squad at the last minute. I heard he’d just come back from a leave in Jerusalem.” His attention wandered. “If I had a wife like that, I’d go to Jerusalem, too.” He shook his head. “But I hear he never went home. Just stayed at the palace the whole time he was there.”
Jethro was fascinated. But he wanted the man to get back to the story. “Are you saying he might have been distracted in the battle that day?”
The man shook his head. “Uriah distracted? He was the most focused soldier we ever met. And he was so loyal to, well, to us. He was engaged in the battle. In fact, it was his focus that probably got him killed. He was fighting so hard he completely missed the call to retreat. Everyone else fell back, just the way they’d been briefed. Uriah didn’t move. He kept fighting. But all alone, he didn’t stand a chance.”
“You told the king all this?”
“No, I didn’t know most of it until later. After the battle Joab sent for me. He had an urgent message for David. He gave me the usual battle report. I memorized it. And then he said, ‘Watch the king’s reaction. If he gets upset about our battle techniques, tell him that Uriah the Hittite died as well.’
“I was scared. Having to tell an already-angry king about the death of one of his mighty warriors was crazy. So I didn’t wait. I just gave him the report and included the news about Uriah in it.”
“What did David do?” Jethro asked.
“Nothing. No anger, no ranting. He told me to encourage Joab.”
“What?” Jethro was stunned.
The messenger nodded. “He told me to tell Joab, ‘Do not let this matter displease you, for the sword devours now one and now another. Strengthen your attack against the city and overthrow it.’ And he told me to encourage him.”
Jethro couldn’t figure it out. Something in the message from Joab was good news to David. He thanked the messenger. And got ready to leave at dawn. The answer to who killed Uriah wasn’t at the battlefield. It was back in Jerusalem.