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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christmas Gifts (11/13/08)

TITLE: Gifts for the King
By Shayla Cody


Here I am somewhere in my eighth decade of life, and I have accomplished more than most mortal men. They say I am brutal, but I say I am strong and powerful. My iron fist, condemned by the crybabies of the Sanhedrin, is much more effective, especially since I have enjoyed the backing of the Roman Army in these latter years. Some more conservative Jews do not consider me to be one of them, but they are wrong. Not only have I, Herod the Great, publicly identified myself as a Jew, I have been tetrarch of Galilee for many years. I even rebuilt Solomon’s Temple for their worship of their God, and some even call it “Herod’s Temple”. Of course those who question my Jewish-ness would point to the Herodians and see how they are not really living “holy” lives, but I am king and they are my people. I am a Jew because I say so, and I am king. Forty years ago when Antigonus took the throne from me, I went to the Rome. They not only restored me to power, but the Roman Senate elected me “King of the Jews”. As the sole ruler of Judea, I am basileus, the sovereign lord of all Judea. I am King of the Jews.

It is good to be the king. As basileus, I have grown used to being able to order whatever I want from a cold drink for my belly to a hot bath to soothe my old and aching bones. I’ve also grown used to the extravagant gifts that come to me from near and far. Great men from distant lands often come to my palace offering their treasures in return for my friendship. I have even sent loads of treasure to Caesar, and he has called me “friend”. Gifts of great treasure are a form of extending one's hand in friendship between rulers. It is good and right.

There were these three mysterious kings, Magi they were called, from the east that came bearing gifts of great expense. I had to wonder what could be in the boxes and flasks, but I chose to be a gracious host, and I waited for them to request an audience with me. Their request never came. Instead, they were asking questions about someone else: a baby, born King of Jews. How can a baby be King of the Jews? This title was given to me straight from Rome. I have heard they even called this baby “The Christ”. Aha! This must be from the prophecy of the Messiah who would be born in Bethlehem. I graciously invited these three to my palace. They did not offer me their gifts that were rightfully mine as King of the Jews. They asked again about the baby. I told them to look in Bethlehem, and when they find him, to tell me where he is so that I can worship him, too. Of course this should be believable, as I have publicly identified myself as a Jew many times. However, these three never returned, and I have waited long enough. They are not coming back with the specific whereabouts of this child.

I must kill this King of the Jews before he has a chance to take my throne, so I have ordered my men to kill all baby boys two years old and younger in the vicinity of Bethlehem. Now I will sleep soundly. Now I am secure, and I know that gifts meant for King of the Jews will be coming my way.

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Member Comments
Member Date
cindy yarger11/22/08
Great job - this was a very good read. I loved your voice all the way through.
Yvonne Blake 11/25/08
Very creative and interesting POV! A little more description and dialogue would help make it more real. Well done. Keep writing!