Solomon watched, captivated, as a flaming horizon commenced the announcement that the entire kingdom had been eagerly awaiting. The announcement that Solomon had been awaiting for many long months. As God’s great candle in the sky sparked its final glorious flicker for the day, the sole contemplation in the young king’s heart was not that the day was ending – but that a new day was dawning, grander than anything he had ever known.
Far beneath the marble balcony which shone magnificently with the fire of twilight, a steady scattering of servant girls bustled in anxious preparation of the coming night. Skillfully, they weaved among the rigid lines of faithful foot soldiers, carrying lush silken pillows and deep violet curtains with which to adorn the ornate couch that would transport their king across the city. Several attendants stood by, large muscular men who were prepared, at such a time as they were needed, to take hold of the silver-coated poles and hoist the portable throne onto their shoulders.
Solomon breathed it all in, savoring every detail. The soft, spicy aroma of frankincense and myrrh wafting from below. The hand-held oil lamps being lit. The dancers assembling at the front of the procession. The sixty sword-bearing soldiers encircling the luxuriant carriage – an impressive escort.
And in the midst of it all his perceptive gaze fell upon the simplest item, one that would normally go unnoticed. But to the son of David, it held perhaps the greatest symbolism of what was soon to take place this night.
There, hanging from the posts of the canopy above the throne seat, were the pure white ropes used to tie back the curtains. Nothing was extra special about them; they certainly didn’t stand out among the grandiose fabric and silk that surrounded them. They served as an inconsequential backdrop if anything, but it was their quality that held the king’s eye and triggered a memory more pungent than the aromatic perfumes that colored the air.
He could still hear his father’s strong and soothing voice … “See those ropes they are using, Solomon?”
They were at the seaport, observing the latest shipment of cedar wood that David had sent for from Lebanon. Huge, thick ropes were used to fasten several of the mighty beams to an oxen-pulled rig.
Solomon, no more than thirteen at the time, had stared intently at the sturdy cords. “I see them. What is it that keeps the ropes from breaking under all the weight, Father? Are they made from a special material?”
David shook his head, a knowing smile at his lips. “No, they’re made from ordinary camel or goat’s hair, just like any other form of rope.”
At the inquisitive expression on his son’s face, the aging king had chuckled and promptly sliced off three long bits of string from the tasseled blanket covering his horse. He held one of the thick little pieces up for the boy to see. “Look at this string, my son. On its own it is very small and weak. I could tie it to something and give it a sharp pull and it would snap.”
The king held up a second piece and began twisting it together with the first. “Now, two are much better. They give strength to each other, each one supporting the other when things pull against them. But even they are not invincible. If one frays out and breaks, leaving its partner to carry all the weight, it won’t be long before that one, too, snaps completely, and your rope is no more. But …”
David grinned. “If you add a third piece to the rope …” He braided the pieces together until they formed one strand, then gave the small new rope a pert jerk. “… It will not break so easily.”
Tying the ends together to form a bracelet, he’d given it to the young prince. “God is that third strand, Solomon. On your own you will be weak, and though a good wife will strengthen and complete you someday, the two of you alone will not withstand the weight of life’s stresses. You must have the third strand, Solomon. He is the most important. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”
Suddenly, Solomon noticed that the sky was black but for the candles below.
“Sir,” A gleeful servant stood near the balcony, dripping with fervor. “It’s time!”
Fingering the rope bracelet beneath his robes, the regal bridegroom turned and set forth to claim his bride.
Song of Solomon 3:6-11
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