Carrying Death in His Hands.
The crisp, spring air filled the room where Bathsheba slept, drawing her from that purgatory between fully dreaming and fully awake, where the lines between what is real and what is illusion are harder to find.
“Bathsheba!” Uriah’s voice echoed throughout the house. “Bathsheba?” Bathsheba leaped from bed, and turned the corner to find her husband gathering his things and carelessly shoving them into his sack. “Uriah, what is it?” Bathsheba asked rhetorically. Uriah turned and rushed toward her, clutching papers in his right hand. “I just left the palace, I was with my commander….I’m heading out….today….right now….
“What is that in your hand, Uriah?”
“My orders, for my commanders upon my return.”
“What do your orders say?” Bathsheba probed with subtle curiosity and growing fear.
“I….I don’t know….I haven’t read them….they….they are for my commander, Bathsheba.” Uriah said, his excitement dampened by his Wife’s confusing line of questioning.
“Bathsheba….I will carry these orders back with me to my men; I will fight for our King; and then I will return home to you and we will begin our family.” Bathsheba could only stare at him with pity. He placed his hands on each side of her face so as to catch the tears now on the downward slope of her check bones.
“But Uriah I….” “Not now” Uriah stopped her. “What till I return….I will be back soon.” He then turned to finish collecting his things.
A few hours later, two riders from the King’s palace arrived at the door to escort, Uriah, back to the battlefield. Bathsheba stood in the door frame of their house as, Uriah, mounted his horse and secured his sack. He removed his helmet and turned to see, Bathsheba, one more time. She smiled and raised her hand. Uriah, sat motionless, staring at her as though he were mentally sketching every detail of her frame. He raised his hand to match hers, smiled, then quickly snapped the reigns and sped away with his escort.
In his hands he still held the orders from his King. If only Uriah would’ve opened the letter and read his orders. just inside the fold were the words,
Uriah, battle, retreat, struck down, die.
Oh to carry death in your hands and be unaware of it. As Bathsheba watched her husband disappear out of sight, she became a witness to the ravages of sin; the power that it wields to permeate all of life, to wound, to break, to steal, to kill, and to destroy. By Winter, Bathsheba, would give birth to her first child, a boy. She and her husband, King David, would also carry death in their hands, pleading for the life of their firstborn, as death once again takes what it does not deserve.
Weeks have passed since she said goodbye to Uriah, and Bathsheba makes her way to the rooftop, in the cool of the evening. As she sits in the bath, she recognizes the faint glow of torches, being carried by riders on horseback. As they move closer, she can make out two men from the King’s army, weaving through town and moving closer to her house. Bathsheba, steps out of the tub, dresses, and makes it down to the door in time to greet the two men. No words are exchanged. One of the soldiers pulls a letter from his saddle, walks over to Bathsheba, and places it softly in her hands. The two men mount their horses, turn quickly and gallop away, unaware of the tiny frame of what was once a wife, now collapsed by the doorway in a pile of sorrow.