By Theodore Shoebat
The Story of Uriah the Hittite Is The Story Of The Church and the story of Christendom. It is the story of the Church fighting for Israel, and getting nothing in return. From the hundreds of thousands of Christians who died fighting the Nazis, to Pope Pius XII rescuing hundreds of thousands of Jews from the Holocaust, all of these stories reflect the life of Uriah. This is what they never tell you about the story of Uriah the Hittite, and this is the subject of my latest video:
There is a great image of Christ, and the greatest image of the Christian warrior, and that is Urijah the Hittite. How pristine is that semblance of Christ when reading the life of Urijah. He was a man without self, his body never acquiescing to the demons of concupiscence, never giving in to the weariness of the body, nor the pleasures of comfort, never trying to save his life, but always striving to lose it.
The gilded arrow (1) of insatiable lust struck the lascivious realm of mortal nature, and burnt and rent that part of the belly where the fires of desire ignite before the idol of passion, and cut asunder the bond between two hearts united by the capriciousness of human love. Such is what ensued when the archer of hell aimed his arrows, dipped in the poisons of temptation and crafted by the hands of perdition, at David the king of Israel, who then, after soiling the marriage bed, slew the selfless Urijah. Such is what occurred so that we could truly behold the endurance of the saintly warrior, sprinting through the grueling battlefield unto death, without ever knowing, nor trying to know, that he was pierced by the arrow of betrayal.
David ambled in the freedom of the royal robe and was confined within the idleness of the king’s house “at the time when kings go out to battle” (1 Samuel 11:1), fettered by the roaming eyes of voracious want, which is a ceaseless abyss, a void that is never filled. He was boundless in his liberty, and yet chained by the wandering vagrancies of lofty extravagance, which rove endlessly, as the devils move from place to place searching for an empty soul to make their abode, and they are as numerous as the luminaries that were suspended from the evening sky in that moment when David gazed upon Bathsheba, and the fires of gluttonous lust set aflame within his being. No longer did his soul ascend to the heavens, but now it was entrapped within the fetters of the flesh. No longer did he walk on the path of the spirit, he now treaded upon what seemed to him a pleasant indulgence, a harsh everglade hazed by the fog that covers all light, and an ever burning fiery whirlwind that scorches with blackness the meadows of enlightenment, and refuse to be extinguished. Absorbed in the delight of enchanting beauty, David yielded to his desires, and the flames of careless passion were gratified with the grim pitch of callous betrayal.
As cruel love seared itself in the hot coals of faithless dung, there was Urijah amongst his troops, not within the prison of royal license, but amidst the liberation of the selfless knight. He was not held back by the fires of affection, but immersed in the heat of battle through the love of God and hatred of evil. He was not yoked by the violent demands of the flesh, but always moving on the path of the spirit, never gyrating within the labyrinth of lust, but always remaining in the state of true enlightenment, breaking the chains of carnal guile, shattering the idols of the god of our bellies, never allowing that natural attachment a husband has for his wife to hinder the cause of true religion, and nor did he ever permit the heat of marital devotion to enervate the flames of zeal that burst within his heart.
There stood Urijah, fighting for the Divine Law, extirpating idolatry, and cleansing Israel from the tyranny of the heathen; and there stood David, contriving a way to deceive Urijah, because now a child was about to be birthed from his corrupt union with a disloyal wife, and he schemed to make it as though the child was of his seed.
In this are we reminded of Christ, for as He warred against the works of the devil, so that people “shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12), Judas “conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them.” (Luke 22:4)
Urijah was in the field of battle, depriving himself from the comforts of this world, mortifying the flesh with the harshness of combat and the test of arms, walking the road of sainthood through the suffering the warrior endures, and the weariness of the body under the stress of a holy fray. And then there came a messenger with a royal command, demanding that he report to the king. Like a good soldier, he obeyed, not knowing that he at that very moment was undergoing betrayal. And when he arrived, David did not deride him or scold him, nor did he reveal how little he cared for him, or how much contempt his wife harbored for the marriage bed, but instead he said with cunning guile:
“Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet.” (2 Samuel 11:8)
And as Urijah was approaching his home, there followed him an array of delicate meats from the king himself. What is happening here, but the worst of betrayals? How reminded are we by this story, of how Christ was betrayed, not with harsh words or insults, but with a kiss. When perusing on how David attempted to cover his wickedness, and his betrayal of Urijah, with kind words and delicious foods, we can almost say with Christ ”Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48)
Urijah spurned the succulent meats of the king’s table, and there he stood, not under the roof of his home in the embraces of his wretched wife, who he did not even know had betrayed him, not on a bed on which the weary find comfort, but at the door of David’s palace, not amongst governors or princes, generals or kings, but amongst servants. How this saint could have had a place in his own home, consuming the fine edibles of a king, and enjoying an already tainted marriage bed, and yet he chose to be amongst the lowliest. From such a story of endurance, our minds are reminded of the Christ. The King of all the Earth, the Son of God, Whose throne is in Heaven and Whose footstool is the earth, and for Whom the entire universe was brought into existence, chose to be in the presence of the most despised of people. It was said of Him, “many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples” (Matthew 9:10), and the high minded who saw him scolded him with slanderous words, saying, ”Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Matthew 9:11), and those who hated him, mocked him with vitriol and malice, with words such as, “Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” (Matthew 11:19)
The Pharisees and scribes sneered at him, saying ”How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” (Mark 2:16) In His final hours, in the midst of all the enmity that surrounded Him, before the moment in which He looked into the eyes of His betrayer, when the torrent of terror overtook His humanity, and blood dripped from His divine flesh, He still continued on, regardless of all the fear, of all the horror that awaited Him, of all the heaviness that weighed upon His entire being. As He saw the sins of the earth and committed Himself to the wine of His suffering, He pressed on, even though He was being betrayed, He pursued the mission all the way, forever devoted until the end, looking up into Heaven and declaring:
“O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as Your will.” (Matthew 26:29)
In His majestic Passion that caused the earth to shake, that pierced the souls of the compassionate and revealed the evilness of the callous, when He hung from the Cross, when He bore the burdens of all the earth, when He was scoffed by those unworthy of Him, hated by those He loved, and persecuted by those for whom He sacrificed His blood, betrayed and denied by the ones for whom He gave His life, He, the Perfect Warrior, endured through the battle, conquering the darkness with the light of His divinity, illustrating to man the perfect example of the holy fighter through the forbearance of His humanity, and continued the goal to vanquish the lawlessness of tyranny, and establish the Law of Love, crying out to His Father,
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:24)
In the state of such suffering, Christ stood between two thieves, for even in His last moments, He remained amongst the lowly. And now we look at His great servant, Urijah, and we see how closely he emulated the spirit of sacrifice that Christ taught us through His Passion, and surely we can say that he is the perfect example of the Christian warrior.
There he stood at the door amongst servants, never knowing that he was betrayed by king and wife, nor ever considering the cares of his own life, but he looked to the Ark of God, saw how it was placed under a tent, and deemed himself unworthy to repose under a strong roof. And so too does the Christian warrior live the same. Beholding how His Lord rode on a donkey, and was crowned with thorns, he sees himself unworthy to live with pomp and extravagance, and lives the life of both fighter and ascetic.
When David saw the lowly state of Urijah, he said to him,
“Did you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?” (2 Samuel 11:10)
And Urijah, with the humility of a monastic and a warrior committed not to flesh and blood, but to the war against the principalities of darkness, said:
“The ark and Israel and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields. Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.” (2 Samuel 11:11)
Is not the tenaciousness of Urijah amidst the happenings of holy war, like the divine endurance of Christ when He fasted in the scorching desert without touching food nor drinking water? And the deception of David, is it not like the temptation that Satan brought to Christ when He stood hungry in the desert? “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” (Luke 4:3)
The holy and pious words of Urijah to David, is it not like the rebuking words of Christ to the Devil? “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” (Luke 4:4)
When Peter foreknew in his mind that death was waiting for Christ in Holy Jerusalem, he came under the inspiration of dark powers, and said to Christ: “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” (Matthew 16:22) These were the words of the devil, and do they not remind us of the deception of David, which was cloaked with words of false concern?
Uriah threw away all want of gain, eschewed the shallow praise of royalty, fled from the luxuries of any palace, and like a good athlete, and like the finest warrior, he pursued solely those things that pertained to the Holy One, sprinting through the difficult track of the spirit, throwing off the chains of the flesh, and bearing always the full armor of God. Absent of all consideration for his own existence, Urijah is the truest image of the ascetic and the monastic knight. It can be said that this man truly exemplified the words of Christ in the most immaculate fashion:
“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”” (Matthew 10:37)
The deviousness of a king could not puncture the holy warrior, his mind untouched by flattery, his soul impervious to any moment of opulence. His earthly eyes were utterly shut for the beautiful things of loyalty and zeal that his heavenly eyes brought to his indomitable spirit. And even when he ate and drank before the king, and became inebriated through the fruit of the vine, as our first priest, Noah, had done under the tent before a wicked Ham, he still did not yield to the demands of the tyrant, but went down amongst the plebeian servants instead of choosing the affections of his disloyal wife.
With the pen of death did the king write a decree, and with the ink of innocent blood did he splatter the crimson letters to compose a callous order, that God’s mighty servant be placed at the tip of the ranks, where the combat was the most heaviest and soldiers knew doom was near; where men trampled on the slain and on those near their end, where hot vapors ascended from the clots of foul blood (2) into the air where harrowing screams of perishing troops resounded; where arrows covered the sun as the empyrean canopy once covered the youthful earth, and where warriors, armed with naked swords, with faith, and with the tenacious will of their spirits, exerted their defense with shield and weapon, with the greatest resilience against the enemy hordes, as they were being pushed off the brittle edge of mortal life.
So cruel and indifferent to humanity was David that he gave the same deathly decree to Urijah. There he stood, the vintage combatant of Heaven’s Kingdom, and off he went, grasping the letter that ordered his own death. He did not even recognize that he was being betrayed, as Abel did not know the thirst for blood his brother Cain harbored when he deceptively talked with him in the fields. Uriah never opened it, nor cared to even know what was written- he just went, journeying to Joab to convey to him the order that would bring his martyrdom. Can one ever imagine such loyalty? Such faith? Truly this man was the purest manifestation of the perfect warrior of Christendom, the purest image of those words of St. Peter:
“Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” (1 Peter 2:17)
As we imagine him rushing to the treacherous trap, we are reminded of Christ, Who “was led as a lamb to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7), or in the words of Jeremiah, “like a docile lamb brought to the slaughter” (Jeremiah 11:19).
There was Christ, ignoring the weariness of His humanity when His enemies “led Him out to crucify Him” (Mark 15:20), and there stood the selfless Hittite, handing over his own death sentence to Joab, and with heartless words the letter read:
“Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die.” (2 Samuel 11:15)
Uriah drunk the sweet nectar of the eastern grape before the face of a scheming despot, and now what lied before him was the cup of his suffering. He did not object to this order, nor did he ever express any suspicion of treachery, but he went forward into the depths of the highest perils of battle. With such obedience and loyalty, we are reminded of the words of Christ when traitors and connivers pursued Him, and His own disciple contrived His death: “not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39)
Uriah surpassed what travails the despair of battle brings and fixated himself not on his will, but on the will of Heaven. He could have been in his home with a deceptive wife and the empty gifts of a king, but he chose the midst of the battlefield over the embraces of a cunning woman. He was the ideal warrior of Christendom, exemplifying fully the words of Christ,
“Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Mark 8:34)
In like manner, Christ could have freed Himself, He could have had His disciples “fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews” (John 18:36), He could have listened to those spectating scoffers, who like David offered devilish temptation, saying
“If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” (Matthew 27:40)
But no, Christ fulfilled His own command, and denied Himself, picked up His cross, and went into the fields of a glorious death.
As Christ walked the path to His holy death betrayed, Uriah lived always ready for death while being treacherously and unfaithfully dealt with by his licentious wife, and by the conniving hand of a temporal sword. Tell me, would Bathsheba have confessed to him her actions while embracing him? Would she have revealed her wicked deeds before a tainted marriage bed? Would Judas have told Jesus that his kiss was one of betrayal? Most certainly not. But the truth that lied behind their deceitful hypocrisy was revealed by the pool of blood unjustly shed, that spilt from their heroic bodies in the fields of battle, in the scorched meadows of transient love that gives an appearance of affection for but a swift glance, and in the next instance of crumbling time, a ferocious ambush of descending bombardments by heartless men sated only by cruel bloodshed.
In the midst of the battle, when sword and shield slashed, the arrows from the archers above struck the warrior saint, and as he carried his cross, the blood of this holy martyr poured forth from his sacred body, reminding us of the divine blood that dripped from Christ who, “bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha” (John 19:17).
And so here, we have a most clear parallel: Bathsheba, a symbol of the corrupt church, betrayed Urijah; as Judas, who also represents the corruption within the Church, betrayed Christ. David shares this with Judas when he, because of the passions of a liaison, murdered this innocent man of God. One killed a holy man because of the intimacies of a woman, and the other because of the appeal of thirty pieces of silver.
What did this king do but send him off to his death? He did not desire to get caught in his crimes, as the Jews no longer wanted to hear of their corruptions from the lips of the Son of God. How much blood was spilt because of the inducing figure and the stirring movements of a woman! How many Adams have fallen for the serpent because of deceptive Eves! Herod looked before him and marveled at Salome, as she danced the dance of the serpent, moving and swaying, frolicking and scampering with the ornaments of her shape, as the serpent slithers about, enchanting our minds with its fruit of death. A torque of the body, a glance from the charming eye, that glosses with the glow of sorrowful ambition (3) under the richly dark curls of embellished hair, in the midst of turbid noise and wild music, of hotly pounding drums and frenzied playing flutes, that simmers the blood and sparks the flaming passions of the belly, that sears the flesh and entraps the spirit within a cage of cruel wrath, Herod kneeled to the enfeebling movement of her form, he yielded to the effect of the cobra’s dance, and bent the knee to the harlot, who drinks the blood of saints as she sleeps on the bed of kings drunk in her fornication.
As Urijah fought to advance the laws of the highest Heaven and to war against the works of the heathen, his wife broke the law of the marriage bed with David, and the king designed his death. John the Baptist contended with the works of darkness, crying out with heavy heart “To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79), when he rebuked Herod for his wickedness, and it was by the dance of a harlot that he demanded “The head of John the Baptist” (Mark 6:24) and through which the saint acquired the crown of martyrdom.
John the Baptist was “The voice of one crying in the wilderness” (John 1:23), and what did John the holy revelator see when he was taken away in the Spirit “into the wilderness”? “A woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.” (Revelation 17:3) It was in this wilderness where John declared to Herod, ”It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” (Mark 16:8) The voice crying in the wilderness revealed the fornications of a harlot, only to be killed by a harlot thirsty for the blood of this saint; and John foresaw the coming Harlot that shall drink but oceans of the blood of martyrs. The harlot whom John the Revelator saw in the wilderness, drinking the blood of saints was Arabia. So John the Baptist, the most holy saint, was beheaded in Arabia to fulfill the demands of a slithering harlot. John the Baptist, in the words of Josephus, “was sent to prison, out of Herod’s temper, to Macherus and was there put to death.” (4) In another work Josephus locates Macherus as “upon the mountains of Arabia.” (5) As it was in Arabia where the harlot killed this saint, so it is in Arabia where the ultimate harlot, the Harlot of Babylon, reclines as she slaughters the saints.
So is this prophetic massacre foreshadowed by the slaughter of Urijah, for his death sprung from the betrayal of his wife, and from the violent hands of the royal thief who “had exceedingly many flocks and herds” (2 Samuel 12:2) but “took the poor man’s lamb” (2 Samuel 12:4).
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(1) “The gilded arrow” was inspired by Michelangelo, poem 59
(2) “hot vapors ascended from the clots of foul blood” was inspired by Prudentius, The Fight For Mansoul, 2.50
(3) Inspired by Prudentius, The Fight For Mansoul, 1.4
(4) Joseph. Antiq. 18.5.2, ellipse mine
(5) Joseph. Wars of the Jews, 1.8.2