Uriah the Hittite (mentioned in 2 Shmuel 11 and various other places) seems to be Jewish based on his name (Light of God). So why was he called "the Hittite"? Is there any opinion that he was not Jewish?

  • Try looking him up in אישי התנ"ך – Shokhet Jul 21 '14 at 13:51

Kli Yakar - Shmuel 2 says he was called Hachiti, either because he was a convert from Chais or he lived amongst the Bnei Chais. Either way he was a Jew.

The Gemara in Kiddushin says that he was Jewish - Kiddush 76b:

אמר רב יהודה אמר רב כדי שתהא זכותן וזכות אבותם מסייעתן והאיכא (שמואל ב כג, לז) צלק העמוני מאי לאו דאתי מעמון לא דיתיב בעמון והאיכא (שמואל ב כג, לט) אוריה החתי מאי לאו דאתי מחת לא דיתיב בחת

(Summary) As a member of Dovid's army, Uriah had impeccable lineage. He was called "Hachiti" because he lived in Cheis.

I recall hearing a recording from R' Yisroel Reisman in which he quoted a Medrash that said that Uriel had a questionable conversion, and the Medrash actually explains with that idea how Batsheva came to marry Uriah and how Dovid was involved. Not the place for it here.

  • See Ben Yehoyada on that gemarah who indicates that he was a convert – user6641 Jul 31 '14 at 17:41

...there is an amazing Midrash [Cite by the Rif on Ein Yaakov Sanhedrin 107a, Me’am Lo’ez on Shmuel beis perek 11 and the Alshich on Shmuel beis perek 13] which reveals that Uriyah was the arms-bearer of Goliath. After Dovid struck Goliath down with his Divinely-guided slingshot, Dovid could not draw Goliath’s sword to chop off his head. Amazingly, Uriyah, Goliath’s arms-bearer, helped Dovid finish off the job.

It would appear from here that Uriah was at one point not Jewish. Based on the other answer it would seem he converted.

Source

In shut Avraham ben Harambam 25 the author states that Uriah was a Jewish convert from Hittite origin. He adds that the Rambam his father maintained that Uriah was not even a full fledged convert but a גר תושב, meaning that he accepted the seven Noahide laws only (perhaps the rambam was trying to explain how David was able to take Batsheba. Indeed if Uriah was still a gentile she wasn't halachically married to Uriah the Hittite and David's act would not constitute adultery).

  • "David's act would not constitute adultery" Doesn't sound like it solves much since is it not problematic to hold that Batsheva, the mother of the line of kings, was married to a non-Jew? – Double AA Jul 18 '17 at 16:37
  • 1
    @DoubleAA - What's troubling about that? Ruth was a Moabite convert who merited to be in the family tree of Mashiach. Batsheva being married to a non-Jew at some point doesn't disqualify her. – ezra Jul 18 '17 at 16:50
  • @ezra Did Batsheba suddenly do Teshuva at coincidentally the same time the king murdered her husband and took her as a wife? (Besides if we're willing to allow for Teshuva to not think less of someone, just agree that David did Teshuva afterwards, and we're all set.) – Double AA Jul 18 '17 at 16:50
  • @DoubleAA - What about the fact that (I don't remember where) soldiers divorced their wives before going to war so that if they went missing and never came back, their wives didn't have to live as agunot for the rest of their lives? – ezra Jul 18 '17 at 16:53
  • 2
    @ezra What about it? The approach the OP ascribes to the Rambam isn't using that to get David out of adultery. – Double AA Jul 18 '17 at 16:54

You must log in to answer this question.