WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS
© by Ross Cochrane
“Why is it that Joab is so anxious to have Absalom back in Jerusalem?” asked Hushai as they were walking on the second day. Ahithophel and Hushai were among those who accompanied Joab to retrieve Absalom and his family from Geshur.
“Perhaps to ease his own conscience.” said Ahithophel.
“What do you mean?”
“Joab is also guilty of murder. You would have only been a child when it happened but I remember it well.”
Yes, Ahithophel remembered it well. It had been a time of great excitement. David had just been anointed as king. Abner was the commander of Saul’s army. Saul was dead but Abner had taken Saul’s son, Ish-bosheth, and made him king of Israel. The tribe of Judah had followed David and this division had inevitably led to war.
“Joab had gone out to meet Abner in battle. The battle was fiercely fought but finally, Abner’s army had begun to be pushed back. Asahel, Joab’s younger brother, had been in a position to take Abner himself and, disobeying Joab’s orders, had headed out after him.
Joab tried to warn Asahel. He knew Abner to be a seasoned warrior, but he was too late.”
As fleet-footed as a wild gazelle, Asahel had gained on Abner with each strong step. Joab had not been able to keep up with him and Asahel had refused to give up the pursuit.
“Just as Joab caught sight of them from a distance, he watched as Abner thrust the butt of his spear through his brothers slender frame. Joab was full of rage. He tore his clothes and roared in anguish and grief, but his brother Asahel was dead.”
The picture of his brother’s death had been as vivid in Joab’s mind as if it had just happened. For him, the war was over and a personal pursuit of Abner had begun. Rage had encompassed him.
Many men lay dead around him on that day, but to Joab, their lives had been somehow commingled with the death of his brother. From that moment on, it was between Abner and Joab.
“Joab had one thought only. Abner deserves to pay the price for the death of Asahel!”
The sun was setting as they had come to more rugged terrain, and they saw the silhouetted images of Abner’s men taking their stand on top of the hill of Ammah.
Abner had called out, “Joab, this has become more than a battle. If we continue this, it will only end in bitterness? How long before you order your men to stop? We are brothers fighting against brothers.” The words had only served to further enrage him.
One of the commanders brought him to his senses, however. He said, “Sir, Abner’s men are well placed for a battle. Our own men will be at a significant disadvantage. To continue will be military suicide. Many of our men will die.” He had reluctantly ordered the trumpet sound and his men had returned.
“He took Asahel’s body and buried it in their father’s tomb at Bethlehem. Taking Asahel’s dagger in his hands, he swore revenge. It would take a long time, but he was determined.”
I hope you are enjoying When the Wolf Howls, my book about Absalom.
I am also pleased to announce my first e-Book for you! Available on Amazon.com for around $7.00 about a man called Job.
Above the Storm is an exploration of the ancient book of Job for the creative mind.
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