Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps" (without using the actual phrase). (01/31/08)
TITLE: One night with the King
By Jeff Lowe
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He arrived for an appointment made sometime ago. He left his horse with the man at the stable and sighed. He came a long way to see the king. At this time he didn’t prefer to clean up, but would have to ‘play palace’ to entertain the presence of royalty.
“I’ve finally made it” He thought to himself. “Now that the king has long retired from fighting, I should have time to learn many new skills.”
But upon entering the palace, he found out the king was very sick. This was one story that didn’t reach his ears. After all this travel, it would be almost impossible to see him. Perhaps if he could hang around his ‘inner circle’ of men for a season, he could learn who this man was.
As the days passed, he toured the armies of the king under a watchful eye. He talked a man named Abishai, who wiped out 300 men with a spear. He met Adino; the chief among the captains who slew 800 men at one time with a spear. One called Eleazar who would fight an army by himself. The other soldiers would come back later just to get the spoils. A champion of fighting himself, he sparred with one of the old captains. He was surprised to have his sword taken out of his hand by a plain old staff.
“These men are just soldiers” he mused; “I’ll find out who he really is.”
In the afternoon he observed the prophet and priest of the king. To him, these men seemed to be truly in his inner circle. If anyone knew the king, it would be them. They knew things that was uncommon for mere men to know.
The kings friends told him; "He's the chosen one!"
Later that night an opportunity came.
The king would give him a few moments of his time. As he entered the extravagant palace, he looked at the queen. She had seemed to have the king of Israel wrapped around her fingers.
In the past few days, he heard stories of how she wanted her son to be the next ruler. He had even heard stories of her first love being killed by the king himself. Maybe she would get her revenge and take over.
“Different kingdom, same drama” He thought. He looked at the old man on the throne who looked nothing like a warrior. There wasn’t much they could do to hide his degenerative state. A few raspy coughs showed more weakness than strength. As emotions ran to and fro in his mind, he knew he only had a moment.
“That Bathsheeba has really softened him” he suggested to himself. He put pressure on himself not to show the slightest sign of his disgust on his face. “I will at least shake his hand in respect”
“How does the king fare today?” he asked politely; “There is no mercy in getting old, is there?”
“I will be fine.” king David said; “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
The statement caught him off guard. There was so much assurance in his voice. So much confidence in his demeanor. Could he win, even in a fight against death?
As he approached the throne, there was finally eye contact. What he saw would unexpectedly change his life. There was a a great hope in his eyes. This was the 'chosen one'.
The warrior was still there. But this kind of warrior, the commander somehow knew on the inside, would one day cheat death itself. This kind of warrior, would truly live forever. In his eyes, he saw the truth. And the truth would make him free.
The traveler stood speechless, but said in his heart; “Now this is the kind of warrior that I want to be”. He thought he had journeyed to learn new skills. But destiny had led him to new life.
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