Continuing the investigation of “Who killed Uriah?”:
It took Jethro two days to get from Rabbah to Jerusalem. He could have completed the forty miles in a day, but he needed time to think. And to arrive in Jerusalem with some energy.
After his conversation with the messenger, it was clear to Jethro that David was a person of interest in Uriah’s death. Jethro found the calm response to the deaths of several of his soldiers to be odd. It’s not that people didn’t die. Jethro was very aware of the high death toll in some of David’s battles. But David had been a hero to his soldiers because he had always cared about their lives. He had a reputation for always doing what was right and just. And when three of his mighty men had risked their lives to get him a drink of water back in the Saul days, David was moved.
Jethro had been reminded of David’s passion for his people in the conversation with the messenger. Joab’s message had indicated that David might have gotten very angry about Joab’s battle strategy. So David’s nonchalant, “Sometimes people die” response felt wrong.
But Jethro couldn’t simply walk into David’s presence and ask about Uriah. You don’t accuse the king of being involved in a death until you know the charge. He needed to understand the connections. He needed to follow up on the messenger’s comment about Uriah not going home.
When Jethro got to Jerusalem, he headed to the palace garrison. Actually, to the campfires just outside the garrison. He knew that fresh news from the front lines would start conversations. And would earn him the right to ask questions of his own.
He soon found people who remembered Uriah’s visit home. “For a non-Israelite, Uriah was amazingly dedicated to God and the army,” said one of the palace guard.