The Orders Joab issued to the Army

In 2 Samuel Chapter 11, we read the whole sorry episode concerning King David’s adultery and the murder of Uriah the Hittite. Most people seem to be very focused on the adultery and murder and almost nothing else. We seem to take this whole episode as telling us that, had we been in King David’s shoes, we would certainly not have done as he did. At least, I suspect that’s what most of us think in our deepest thoughts.

However, it seems to me that Joab must have kown that the King’s order was definitely unlawful and, indeed, abominable. On another occasion, Joab had objected to the King’s instruction concerning the taking of a nation-wide census, but did it anyway, excluding the numbers of the Levites. Why did Joab then just carry out the King’s orders concerning Uriah the Hittite?

1. Joab was complicit with the King in sinning against the Lord. Gossip travels at  the speed of light, and seeing that the King’s instruction for the murder (this is NOT BLUE-ON-BLUE) was given via the hand of the victim must surely have at least pricked Joab’s conscience.

2. The Army was complicit with General Joab in carrying out the order. How could the sub-commanders not have protested against it, seeing it was for the next wave of assault and not orders in the current fight? There are ruses of war. There is treachery. But this was cynical, cold-blooded murder of one’s own. How could any fighting soldier countenance that? Or was it because they thought it didn’t matter as much, since Uriah was a Hittite, and those who eventually died together with Uriah were also possibly Hittites?

3. Propaganda is “Information Operations” targeted at one’s own people. We need to remember that propaganda is useless unless one’s own people have also bought into whatever narrative one intends to keep sowing and cultivating. The narrative that both David and Joab cooked up between them was a ludicrously small fig leaf which could not cover, but perhaps accentuated the bald-faced lie. The example of Abimelech’s skull being crushed by a millstone thrown from the wall by a certain woman would have seemed ridiculous at least to the troops who were around Uriah, because the men defending Rabbah had sallied forth to fight at the spot where Uriah and others were killed.

What would we have done had we been Joab? What orders would we have issued, and to whom? Bear in mind that orders need to be disseminated down to the last soldier if you want to have an army that fights cohesively and well. The Mongols under Genghis Khan certainly had that. Mongol soldiers could question and argue over policies, casus belli, tactics, field service regulations and so forth before battle, but were expected to obey unhesitatingly once the fight started.

Do you see how parallels apply to your own company operations? Just a few hours ago, I was vexed with having to hear an utterly inane conversation about “cutting costs” and “taking the initiative to do things better” and such nauseous tripe. Do such conversations happen in your company too? No? Then how about engaging with me in order to teach me how everyone else should emulate you in running your business? I am a SAD AND DIFFICULT student and I am available for you to practice on. For a fee, of course. Contact me!

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