Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: REMEMBER (10/19/17)
- TITLE: Pomises to Keep
By Terry R A Eissfeldt
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A young woman sat by the bedside calm yet attentive. Ready as a soldier to do the old kingâ€™s bidding. Long wavy tresses of dark hair framed a winsome face. Dark brown eyes kept watch under thick lashes.
Bathsheba entered the room. It was stifling. Incense burned on a small table. She assumed it was to purify the stagnant air. She glanced at Abishag taking in the girlâ€™s rumoured beauty. It settled over her like the incense.
There was a time Bathshebaâ€™s beauty was the talk of Jerusalem. Beauty enough to lure a king, though unintentional. Deadly beauty. A dead husband. A dead babe.
Bathsheba closed her eyes. A moan escaped her lips. She couldnâ€™t face burying another husband and another child. She cared little for her life. Solomonâ€™s future was her only concern. She approached the bed and lay prostrate on the floor. Each inhale an eternity. Each exhale a prayer.
David stirred under the weight of the coverlets. He had been dreaming of the child. They were together with God playing in a field of clover. The groans of the heartbroken mother wakened him. â€œNot yet my child,â€ he whispered under the covers, â€œbut soon. Soon I shall come to you.â€
His wrinkled hand, once the deliverer of Israel, tried to push the blankets aside. Abishag gracefully moved to help her king. He smiled at the young girl, grateful for her strength, her youth, and her gentle touch. She rolled the blankets back, moved the pillows and helped the aged king to sit up. She prevented him from talking until he was settled and had swallowed a few mouthfuls of water. Once she was satisfied he was at ease she slipped back to her stool.
â€œWhat do you wish, Bathsheba?â€ his voice still held the timber of an accomplished singer.
Bathsheba reined in the fear, regret, guilt, and shame that washed over her as she looked back on her life with King David. Instead she focused on Solomon. She was here for him. He was the light in her life. He was the hope of Israel.
â€œMy master,â€ she said, â€œyou promised me in Godâ€™s name, â€˜Your son Solomon will be king after me and sit on my throne.â€™ And now look whatâ€™s happenedâ€”Adonijah has taken over as king, and my master the king doesnâ€™t even know it! He has thrown a huge coronation feastâ€”cattle and grain-fed heifers and sheepâ€”inviting all the kingâ€™s sons, the priest Abiathar, and Joab head of the army. But your servant Solomon was not invited. My master the king, every eye in Israel is watching you to see what youâ€™ll doâ€”to see who will sit on the throne of my master the king after him. If you fail to act, the moment youâ€™re buried my son Solomon and I are as good as dead.â€*
Before David could answer Nathan burst into the room. Bathsheba retreated sobbing.
â€œMy master the king,â€ Nathan began, â€œdid you say, â€˜Adonijah shall be king after me and sit on my throneâ€™? Because thatâ€™s whatâ€™s happening. Is this something that my master the king has done behind our backs, not telling your servants who you intended to be king after you?â€*
David felt the blood rush through his veins. It was the familiar call to battle. Battle was his life's work. He battled for sheep, for a bride, for the Ark, for a nation, for God Himself. But now he must battle for the promise of an everlasting kingdom.
â€œBring Bathsheba back,â€ his voice was strong, decisive. Abishag jumped to the ready and escorted the older woman in.
Bathsheba caught her breath at the site of her king. His eyes glistened, his face radiated passion, his outstretched arm exuded the long lost strength of a giant killer. She reached him, grabbed his hands, and buried her face in his embrace.
He stroked her hair like he did the night the child died. But this time he could make things right.
â€œAs God lives, the God who delivered me from every kind of trouble, Iâ€™ll do exactly what I promised. Your son Solomon will be king after me. And Iâ€™ll make sure it happens this very day.â€*
* Scriptures quoted from The Message
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