[b-hebrew] XSD

Harold R. Holmyard III hholmyard at ont.com
Mon Aug 29 18:32:46 EDT 2005

Dear Bill,

>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 
his wife.

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 
those words.

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 
own home.

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.

					Harold Holmyard

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