Harold R. Holmyard III
hholmyard at ont.com
Mon Aug 29 18:32:46 EDT 2005
>Recall David's words:-
>Then David said to Uriah, "Go down to your house, and wash your feet."
>Feet being RGLM.
>Now let's look on just a few verses.
>10. Now when they told David, saying, "Uriah did not go down to his
>house," David said to Uriah, "Have you not come from a journey? Why did
>you not go down to your house?"
>11. Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in
>temporary shelters, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are
>camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house to eat and to drink
>and to lie with my wife? By your life and the life of your soul, I will
>not do this thing."
>I see Harold Holmyard agrees with you. But if you're both right
>why does Uriah explicitly mention lying with his wife if he did not
>understand David's intention for him to do precisely that.
HH: I agree with you, Bill, that it was David's
intention for him to do precisely that, lie with
his wife. But David could suggest the idea by
simply telling him to wash his feet. "Wash your
feet" can include such ideas as "make yourself at
home, take a break, and enjoy life at home for a
spell." This would obviously include being with
HH: David assumed that if Uriah washed his feet, he would do it at home:
2Sam. 11:10 ¶ When David was told, "Uriah did
not go home," he asked him, "Haven't you just
come from a distance? Why didn't you go home?
HH: Washing his feet would be something to do
upon entering one's home to stay there. If Uriah
were to go back to the battlefront immediately,
he would not need to wash his feet but could just
proceed on his way. What Uriah did was:
2Sam. 11:8 Then David said to Uriah, "Go down to
your house and wash your feet." So Uriah left the
palace, and a gift from the king was sent after
2Sam. 11:9 But Uriah slept at the entrance to the
palace with all his master's servants and did not
go down to his house.
HH: Perhaps he washed his feet anyway, but he did
not do what David expected him to do when he said
HH: Washing one's feet was a well known social
institution, still strong and current in NT
times. A widow to receive church support had to
be one who washed the saints' feet. She gave them
hospitality, welcoming them into her home and
serving their needs. But people generally washed
their own feet, and Uriah would normally go home
to do such a thing, welcoming himself into his
HH: Washing feet does not have to equate to
washing genitals. Feet do not serve as euphemism
for sex organs here. The dialogue between David
and Uriah can proceed by indirection. David gets
his idea across without having to say it. Feet
are still feet, but washing his feet at his home
would lead to the other activities that David
wanted, Uriah's having sex with his wife.
>On a literary front we could say that the writer is using this to
>heighten our awareness of David's problem. He turns the heat up on
>David. But underlying any literary purpose there must be a context
>within the society it was written for. If there was no pre-existing
>connection in the minds of the readers between David's ``wash your
>feet'' in v8 and Uriah's ``lie with my wife'' in v11 then I
>think the dialogue takes on a contrived feel.
HH: I think the connection is the natural
expectation that "wash your feet" would be taken
to mean that one was to go home, freshen up, rest
there, and enjoy home and all its comforts for a
time (including one's wife there at home). But
that is just what Uriah considered improper.
Warriors abstained from sex to prepare for
battle. I believe that is the custom David refers
to in the words elsewhere:
1Sam. 21:5 And David answered the priest, and
said unto him, Of a truth women have been kept
from us about these three days, since I came out,
and the vessels of the young men are holy, and
the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it
were sanctified this day in the vessel.
HH: Sexual abstention was connected with holiness
for several reasons, and Uriah evidently felt
that being on a soldier's mission he should not
go home to have sex with his wife.
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