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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "It's No Use Crying over Spilt Milk" (without using the actual phrase or literal exampl (02/07/08)

TITLE: Preparation
By Joanne Sher


Rivka carried the basin of water through the door of her mistress' chamber. She found her staring out a window, apparently lost in her own musings. Rivka waited a good two minutes before clearing her throat. Michal turned toward her servant and raised her eyebrows.

"I've been told the king will return soon." Rivka knelt beside her mistress. "May I help you wash and dress for him?"

Michal nodded silently and sat in a nearby chair. Rivka removed Michal's sandals and gently placed her left foot in the water. Using a cloth, she gently rubbed the dirt and dust from the top of her feet and between her toes.

"When do they say he will return?" Michal stared off into the distance.

Rivka rubbed Michal's heel with the cloth. "Messengers say he and the ark are on their way back to the city now. Within the hour, they said."

"I suppose I should look like a proper queen, then, if he is bringing back the ark." The corners of Michal's mouth turned up slightly.

The mistress' countenance was impossible to read. Michal was often a mystery to her, despite many years in her service. It was certainly not Rivka's place to ask this king's wife, this daughter of a king, to share her heart, however. They had chatted some when they were younger, but since her marriage to David, Michal had become too absorbed in her own life to chat with a servant.

Rivka dried Michal's left foot and reached for the right, easing it into the water.

Michal grinned, staring toward her chamber's entrance. "Perhaps he will be in good spirits when he arrives. Perhaps there will be a banquet." She glanced toward Rivka. "My purple gown: is it presentable?"

"Miss?" Rivka eased Michal's heel onto the bottom of the basin and looked up.

"My purple gown. I will wear it for his arrival. Is it ready? I must look dignified - royal - for him."

Rivka nodded. "Of course, miss. I will help you with it as soon as I am done washing, if it so pleases you."

Michal tossed her head. "It pleases me."

"Right away." Rivka rubbed her mistress' heel, then placed her foot on a towel and caressed it dry. She then took the basin toward the window, looked down to check for passers-by, and emptied it.

She set the basin down, then walked to Michal's wardrobe and opened it, revealing a closet full of clothing.

Rivka flipped through them slowly, glancing at each one in turn.

She was wearing this blue one when the king came to marry her. I still remember how much she glowed. I don't think I have seen her eyes as filled with love as they were that day.

Rivka fingered a light green gown, with a swooping neckline. Paltiel loved this one. I remember her often wearing it when she had angered him. He never could stay upset at her for long. Rivka giggled at the thought.

Michal cleared her throat. "My gown, Rivka."

"So sorry, miss." Rivka removed the purple gown, flowing and regal, from the wardrobe and dressed her mistress quickly.

"I hear the trumpets, miss. The king must be close." Rivka stepped out of Michal's way, as she went to the window. Rivka stood behind her.

Michal gasped. "He's disrobed! The king is practically naked, dancing like a fool with those slave girls. What a disgrace!"

"He's dancing for the Lord, miss. God wishes us to praise Him with dancing and song."

Michal looked at Rivka with daggered eyes. "Get out. You will NEVER speak to me like that again."

Rivka, head bowed low, exited the chamber, waiting to the side of the entryway, seething. She was so overcome she did not notice the king entering her mistress' chamber. Rivka put her ear to the wall.

"How the King of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would."*

Rivka sighed. If my mistress knew what a blessing the ark returning was, she would be dancing as well.

"It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord's people Israel - I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by those slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in high honor."*

As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart. 2 Samuel 6:16

*Bible references in order (NIV)
2 Samuel 6:20
2 Samuel 6:21-22

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This article has been read 1683 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Ann Renae Hair02/14/08
I loved this POV from the servant's perspective. Very authentic, right down to her dumping the water out the window! You captured the scene and revealed it in details for us to see and feel. Excellent.
Sally Hanan02/14/08
You captured so much with this short story, especially managing to capture silence--so hard to do when writing. Lovely work!
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/15/08
This story is so realistic as seen through the eyes of the servant. I loved it.
Patty Wysong02/16/08
The servant girl's POV adds so much to this and lets us see more of the event. All the tiny details add to the feel, not just build a setting. Great job.
Laury Hubrich 02/16/08
What a great job bringing another piece of Biblical history to life! Bravo!
Sharlyn Guthrie02/18/08
Very very good! I just studied this passage for my Sunday school class (that was cancelled due to weather!). I love the character development and the POV. The ending seemed a little abrupt; but alas, the word count! Your writing is seamless, and brings this story to life.
LauraLee Shaw02/18/08
This was very engaging. I think the ending you chose is my favorite. It is one of my fav verses in the Bible, and it concluded the piece perfectly.
Betty Castleberry02/18/08
You've done it again, Missy Joanne. You have the ability to put the reader right in the heart of the scene. This was very well done.
Yvonne Blake 02/18/08
I like the way you make familiar stories seem new again, by looking at them from a different angle.
Well done!
Debbie Wistrom02/18/08
I was looking forward to another Bible story from you and was not disappointed. So loved the thoughts of Rikva. I like getting to know the lesser characters, through you.
william price02/18/08
Very good job, Jo-anne. The pace was slow and deliberate, building up to the ending. Excellent writing and description and characters. God bless.
Leigh MacKelvey02/18/08
I always loved this story and it was retold from a different perspective and creatively by this wonderful author!
( Joanne!)
Keep on the these and where's that book?
Paula Titus 02/18/08
Loved this! You may know I try my hand at Bible stories often, but none can compare to the way you give us new and fresh perspectives.
Debbie Roome 02/18/08
Captivating writing. Very good.
LaNaye Perkins02/18/08
Another excellent story based on the Bible. I love the way you tell these stories my friend. Great Job!
Rita Garcia02/18/08
Another story brought to life with a whole new spin! LOVE IT!
Jan Ackerson 02/19/08
I love the way you capture a moment in time, in an economy of words, but with such richness!
Chrissi Dunn02/19/08
I really like how you brought this story to life, and the servant girl's reaction to it all. Well done.
Lynda Schultz 02/19/08
Here's a woman who missed the point entirely. Nice job, Joanne, as usual.
Joy Faire Stewart02/19/08
Love the way you draw your reader into Bible stories. You feel the characters to be "real" people while reminding us of the bibical message. Fantastic!
Shelley Ledfors 02/20/08
Oh, my! In my initial "brainstorming" for this topic I had thought of Michal / David. I am so glad I didn't choose it. I could not have come close to this wonderful piece. Once again, you have brought a Bible story alive!
Beth LaBuff 02/20/08
I loved reading this story through Rivka's eyes. What a beautiful character you've created with her. You've brought this Bible story to life for us. This is so expertly and beautfully crafted!
Pam Carlson-Hetland02/20/08
Absolutely wonderful job bringing this biblical account to life. Loved the POV. Masterfully written. Great job.
Sara Harricharan 02/20/08
Wow, to see this glimpse of life from one verse! I applaud your eyes to see into the story there. You made this come alive and more real, seeing it from this POV, it was a different twist. I liked it. Great writing ^_^
Peter Stone02/20/08
Lovely rendition of one of the most tragic stories in the Bible.
Henry Clemmons02/21/08
I can see why you have received so many comments. Besides being a sweet soul you can deliver a message like a true master. Very inspirational.
Glynis Becker02/24/08
Yes, Joanne, I can see you making a longer (and wonderful) novel out of this!
Kingdom Citizen10/01/09
Great story...Amen.