[b-hebrew] psalm 51 and King David's sin

Bill Rea bsr15 at cantsl.it.canterbury.ac.nz
Mon May 21 22:03:24 EDT 2007


Kenneth wrote:-

>I know that Nathan the prophet said that David sinned by taking Uriah's
>wife and having him killed, but I don't think it was considered adultery
>and murder technically because Uriah was a Hittite, and they were not
>supposed to marry Hittites, but kill them. Maybe David sinned morally, by
>having a man killed for his wife, but not legally, because he was allowed
>to kill the Hittite. Maybe that is why Psalm 51 says that David sinned in
>G-d's eyes because G-d knew he did it for the wrong reason.

It looks to me like you're splitting hairs very finely to preserve
your particular understanding. When Nathan says:-

>You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife
>to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.

David didn't come back with some fine lawyer's argument that the
murder was okay and that he had not committed adultery on some
technicality. There's simply no need to place some technical theological
interpretation on this. Nathan was laying out the sin before David
both in parable form earlier and plainly here after he had obtained
David's unwitting self-condemnation. If the big deal was that
the sin was murder for wrong motives then both the parable and Nathan's
plain explanation completely miss the point. If your
interpretation were to be accepted then Nathan botched it.
No one in this passage seems to know anything about the law which
says they are supposed to kill Hittites. Not David, not Nathan and
none of the men out on the battlefield. Its simply out of sight.

Another thing is that David didn't plan on killing Uriah for
Bathsheba. He took her, lay with her and sent her home. That could
well have been the end of it if she hadn't fallen pregnant. It was
after the message came that she was pregnant that David decided
to try to do the good political thing and engage in a cover up.
Taking a much simpler and very plain reading of the text his first
``solution'' was to create circumstances in which it would appear to
Uriah that the child was Uriah's. If murdering Hittites was known
to David as a legally sanctioned action its hard to understand why
didn't just get on with it.


Bill Rea, ICT Services, University of Canterbury \_
E-Mail bill.rea at canterbury.ac.nz                </   New
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