2 Samuel 11:7

Brueggemann notes the threefold use of ‘shalom‘ in this verse which seems to me to reveal the discord and alienation that is going on in David’s inner being. David is feigning interest in everyone else’s ‘shalom’ (well-being, peace) while he has this inner turmoil and war within. The Ammonite war is raging and Uriah has come from the battle, but David’s real concern is with covering up his wrongdoing. For the king, who has all the power, it is Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba, who presents a threat to him and who is his ‘enemy’.

I noted this in a post a few days ago and commented upon the link with 2 Samuel 3 and Hebron. I wrote then these two paragraphs:

Of course, while the king is asking about the ‘shalom’ of others, the reader is well aware that there is anything but ‘shalom’ in his own heart. There is no peace in the heart of David who has remained in Jerusalem, indeed, we will watch the warfare increase in his heart in his dealings with Uriah the Hittite. 

This theme of ‘peace’ (shalom) will be picked up in 2 Samuel 15:9 (and it also casts back to the murder of Abner by Joab in 2 Samuel 3:22-30.) The city of Hebron features on both occasions (3:20, 15:7), and it is intriguing to note that the Hittites in Canaan (generally) resided in the Hebron region (Genesis 23).

I note this because in browsing Brueggemann’s commentary I was alerted again to this link. He writes:

“Notice that the narrator employed a threefold use of shalom in anticipation of the death of Abner in 3:21-23. We should be on notice about this ominous word.” (Brueggemann, Samuel, p 274).

It was the fact that it is a ‘threefold’ use of the word in both instances that I find intriguing – it is clearly connecting the two passages and it seems to highlight how David, in 2 Samuel 11:7, is becoming like Joab whom he had so condemned back in 2 Samuel 3.

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