Once upon a time in a far away land lived a prideful, evil king. He hadn’t been born that way: he had been blessed with good looks, strength of body, a sound mind and the favor of the people. However, the Presence and approval of God had left him; he was given instead a troubling, tormenting evil spirit.
To quiet him, it was determined to get a skilled lyrist. A young shepherd was found and brought to the castle to serve the king. He was made his armor-bearer.
One day the king’s people were gathered to fight against a terrible army. The opposing armies faced each other across a valley. A great giant, with massive armor came forth. He taunted and challenged the people to provide an opponent to fight against him; they were terrified and none came forth.
It happened that the young shepherd was in camp. He heard the giant deriding and making fun of the people. He was so upset that the giant dared to mock God’s people, that he got permission to fight. He went forth with his sling and a few stones to confront the giant. The lad knew that God was with him, and would give him the victory.
He slew the giant with one stone to the forehead, and then cut off his head. The battle being won, they paraded into the city with the ‘head’. The news of the victory preceded them and people lined the way, yelling that the shepherd had done greater feats than the king. This greatly displeased and angered him.
He didn’t like the friendship between his son and the shepherd. With each attack of the spirit, the king became more violent. He tried to kill him. He just didn’t trust the young man…in fact he was afraid of him. He made the shepherd commander over a thousand men and sent him away. Who knows, maybe he would be killed in battle.
The new commander was wise and successful in all his ways; the people loved him. The king’s jealousy continued as well as his conniving…even to the point of giving his daughter to be the shepherd’s wife. That backfired as well. His fear was so tormenting, he became the young man’s constant enemy determined to kill him.
It was the king’s son who revealed the plot and encouraged the shepherd turned commander to run for his life.
Other men joined him; they traveled across the lands of the people and enemies alike. The king and his army were in pursuit. Once they hid out with priests; then enemy encampments. The shepherd commander hid out in a walled city with only one entrance. A spy informed the king of this and he sent his army to besiege the city. When the army got there, they were gone. God was with the shepherd commander. He gave him guidance and protection. As a matter of fact, God had already anointed him to be the next king!
Over some years, the game of hide and seek went on across the land. They hid in desert strongholds and caves. Once, when hiding in a very deep cave, the king came in to relieve himself. A corner of the king’s robe was cut without him knowing. Another time the shepherd commander and another soldier stole into the king’s camp in the dark of night and came right beside the sleeping king. He took the king’s spear and water bottle from beside him and made his escape.
Both times, from a safe distance, he called back to the king informing him of what he had done.
“Surely, I could have killed you on both occasions, but I mean you no harm. Why then, do you pursue me?”
Both times the king acknowledged he had sinned, but the shepherd commander knew that the king could not be trusted.
Both times he was asked why he didn’t kill the king. He responded:
“Who can raise his hand against the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless? The Lord forbid that I should be that one. The Lord will smite him; or the day will come for him to die or
he will go down in battle and perish.”
In very fact, the sons fell in battle and the king was severely wounded. He asked his armor-bearer to kill him. When the answer was no, the king ended his own life by falling on his sword.
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