WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 55

“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.”

Pastor Ross

P.S.

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

Above the Storm is an exploration of the ancient book of Job for the creative mind.

This is my first e-book, available on Amazon.com. What can I say? I have loved every part of the years I have spent in the exploration of Job. I have been inspired, enriched and changed by the journey and I know you will too. I invite you to buy it and be surprised afresh by the rich Words of Life from the ancient Book of Job, as you read Above the Storm

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 54

Reports began to come to Jerusalem of Absalom’s vow, of how long his hair had grown and of a beautiful daughter named Tamar. Some began to say that the king was wrong in keeping his own son and grandchildren estranged. Rumours and murmurs continued as months became years. David’s sense of justice would not be forced by such reports, however. He would know the right time. Perhaps God would speak to him.

When the time came, it had been Joab, not God, who convinced the king to change his mind. A family from Joab’s district came to Joab demanding that he exercise justice. It was a murder case. The situation had been difficult to determine and so he had sent the woman from Tekoa in the middle of the situation to the king. At the same time, he had seen an opportunity to convince the king to bring Absalom home again.

“If you want justice for your son then do as I say.” said Joab to the woman, “I am going to send you to the king but first you must put on mourning clothes to show that you are still in mourning for your other son. When you arrive you are to say exactly what I tell you to say.”

“I will do whatever you require to save the life of my son.” said the woman. The woman obeyed Joab implicitly and Joab arranged for her to see the king immediately.

David was tired and the woman was emotional and not able to speak for some time. Just as David was ready to dismiss her from the court she said,

“Help me, please my lord and king. My husband is dead and I am in great need.”

David had already seen that the woman was in great need and wanted her to get on with her request, “What is your trouble?”

“I am a widow,” she said, “and I had two sons, but they got into a fight with each other one day while they were out in the field. There was no one to separate them, and one of my sons was killed. But now the whole family is against me. They want to put my remaining son to death for killing his brother. He is the only heir left of my husband. If he dies I will be left completely desolate.”

The king gave his judgement. He said, “Go to your house, and I will give orders concerning your situation. Whoever speaks to you about your son, send him to me. As the Lord lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground.”

The woman was satisfied that her case had been heard and that the king would keep his oath, and so she replied with the words that Joab had instructed her to say,

“With respect to my lord the king, you are so wise in making this decision. Why then have you acted in such a way to your people? By not bringing back your banished son you are guilty of the same thing as my family. Your son has done something wrong, but to keep him away from you is to cut yourself off from someone God intends you and your people to enjoy, as surely as I would be cut off from my inheritance should my son be executed. Surely God does not take life away. He finds ways so that one who has been banished may be returned to Him.

Please listen to your maidservant. I know that my lord the king is like an angel, able to discern good and evil. May the Lord your God be with you.”

The king looked across at Joab who stood with a satisfied look on his face. He then asked the woman, “I suppose Joab is behind your words?”

The woman looked embarrassed and Joab became uneasy as she answered, “No-one can hide anything from you. Yes, your servant Joab commanded me, and told me what I should say in order to change your mind about Absalom.”

David glared at Joab for a moment and then began to laugh and as he did it seemed that joy filled the room. The tense moment was broken and they all began to laugh.

David simply said, “Make sure this woman’s son remains unharmed … and bring back my son Absalom.” Joab was so relieved that he fell to the ground, prostrating himself before the king and blessed him. Joab wasn’t normally a man who would get enthusiastic about anything except those things that related to war, never-the-less this was very important to him and he immediately went to Geshur to bring Absalom back to Jerusalem.

He had an affinity with this young man called Absalom, guilty only of avenging his sister’s rape. As he went, his mind had replayed the events concerning a man that he also had killed in revenge. His name had been Abner and he, like Amnon, had felt the same cold, hard iron of a dagger. The same Canaanite dagger, with a beautifully carved hilt.

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS – Chapter 53

Posted: February 7, 2016 in Uncategorized
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WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 53

Jonadab had slipped out with one of Amnon’s servants just after his master was murdered and they were already well on their way back to the king by the time that David’s sons had mounted their mules.

The servant was wide-eyed and fearful as they made their way back. As soon as they returned they were immediately brought to David. Breathless with fear and shock, Amnon’s servant fell to his knees and blurted out that Absalom had struck down all the king’s sons. He said, “Not one of them is left.”

An empty searing despair immediately penetrated David’s heart like a desert wind. What have I done? I agreed to let all my sons go! He tore his clothes and lay prostrate on the floor before God, numbed with grief. His servants stood by, clothes also torn, too stunned to seek to console him.

It was at this point that Jonadab spoke to David. He already felt responsible and David had been through enough pain. With respect for his king, he said, “Don’t believe this report, my lord. It isn’t true. Absalom would not have killed all your sons. Only Amnon is dead. This is what Absalom intended to do since the day that Amnon violated his sister Tamar. Please don’t believe this report. Not all your sons are dead.”

Before David could respond, the watchman had reported that many people were coming from the road by the side of the mountain. Jonadab said, “What I told you was true. Your sons are coming.”

The king’s sons were still shaken by the killing of their brother and as they came to their father they wept with him. The shock and horror of the night enveloped everyone with grief. Amnon’s mother, Ahinoam, was devastated.

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

Absalom had planned his escape well. He fled with his servants to Talmai, his grandfather, the king of Geshur. He did not expect, however, that he would remain there for so long.

Having grieved the death of Amnon, David began to blame himself. Doubts began to surface concerning his son. Absalom, you tried to execute justice when I, as your father and king, abdicated from my responsibility to do so, … but murder? He could not help but think of Uriah the Hittite and his own forgiveness. He longed to go to Absalom and regretted his estrangement more each day.

“Why don’t you want him to return?” Maacah had said, also missing her son greatly.

“I want him to return. Of course, I do. I feel entirely responsible for what has happened, but I can’t condone the murder of Amnon simply because I long to see Absalom. His banishment must remain enforced.”

In Geshur, Absalom brooded and wanted to bring home to his father the injustice of what he was doing in keeping them apart. You think you are so high and mighty, so holy and just, teaching your son a lesson in humiliation. In his bitterness, he decided he would make a vow that would turn his father’s attempt at humiliation into something that would gain the people’s attention and approval.

Absalom decided he would make the Nazarite vow of separation. This involved doing a number of things, but essentially the outward sign was that he would not cut his hair until the end of each year that he remained separated from David.

I will make sure messages filter back to Jerusalem. The people will hear about this. The people would hear about his long hair and understand this to be a sign of holiness. I exercised justice and I have no regrets. They will associate me with someone who is sincerely consecrated to the Lord for a change. My hair will be my strength, like Samson. “When you allow me to return, father, I will cut my hair before everyone to symbolise my innocence,” he said to himself. Surely this would force David’s hand.

But Absalom was not finished. During the years of separation from David, Absalom’s wives bore him three sons and one daughter. To make his father even more ashamed of his banishment, he named his daughter Tamar, after his sister who had been raped by Amnon. She also would grow up to be a beautiful woman, and she would prove to be a constant reminder to the people and to David that Absalom was undeserving of such harsh treatment.

Pastor Ross

P.S.

My first e-Book for you! Available on Amazon.com for around $7.00

Above the Storm

Above the Storm is an exploration of the ancient book of Job for the creative mind.

This is my first e-book, available on Amazon.com. What can I say? I have loved every part of the years I have spent in the exploration of Job. I have been inspired, enriched and changed by the journey and I know you will too. I invite you to buy it and be surprised afresh by the rich Words of Life from the ancient Book of Job, as you read Above the Storm

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 52

Solomon was there as they celebrated the sheep-shearing with Absalom. He watched as his brothers drank and ate and witnessed the horror of that night.

He saw Absalom speaking with his servants. He watched as they stepped back with their mouths aghast at something Absalom was saying. What did he say to them to make them so nervous? He observed them go about their duties with ashen faces for some time. They seemed somehow clumsy. One dropped some wine that his brother Amnon had ordered and had to get some more. Another seemed agitated.

Solomon was wise enough not to drink wine that night. He sensed something in the air. He didn’t recognise it immediately. It was alien to the celebration. He tried to find it in the concern of Absalom’s servants but it was not there. What am I missing? he thought. Then he caught a glimpse of it in Absalom’s eyes, and suddenly, as if by revelation, he knew what it was. It was the bitter/sweet smell of revenge. He stood up, but it was already too late!

Time seemed to slow down in the next few seconds. Solomon shouted, “Nooo!” but as he opened his mouth Absalom was also shouting to his servants, “Strike him NOW!”

Amnon looked up in the confusion to see hatred burning in Absalom’s eyes. Pure terror enveloped him as he tried to get up.

The killing was quick and came from behind, the blade curling in an arc with it’s shocking task. Amnon saw Absalom’s smiling disgust only momentarily as he received the full shock of Absalom’s terrible gift. Stabbed several times, Amnon now lay on the ground, blood pooling around his lifeless, crumpled body. His brothers reeled back in horror.

Suddenly the silence was broken as Solomon shouted, “Get away as quickly as you can! Move now!” He had realised that Amnon’s death would not be enough for one who was intoxicated with revenge.

Solomon had been right. For a moment, Absalom had thought to eliminate all competition to the throne, but Solomon had responded too quickly. His brothers had each mounted their mules and were escaping.

In the chaos that ensued Absalom looked down at Amnon lying at his feet, and after what seemed like an eternity he said, “Let them go.” Strangely the satisfaction he thought he would feel was still mixed with unrequited frustration.

Absalom’s chief servant still held the dagger in his hand, it’s blade soiled with Amnon’s blood. “The blade of your retribution, my lord,” he said as he returned it to Absalom. It was a Canaanite dagger with an iron blade and a beautifully carved hilt.

Pastor Ross

P.S.

My first e-Book for you! Available on Amazon.com for around $7.00

Above the Storm

Above the Storm is an exploration of the ancient book of Job for the creative mind. Within this book, you will find an Elephant and a Termite, a man called Misery, a Hitman, a Dump Truck driver and many others who answer age-old questions of life. You have never looked at Job quite like this before and perhaps never as deeply.

This is my first e-book, available on Amazon.com. What can I say? I have loved every part of the years I have spent in the exploration of Job. I have been inspired, enriched and changed by the journey and I know you will too. I invite you to buy it and be surprised afresh by the rich Words of Life from the ancient Book of Job, as you read Above the Storm

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 51

Jonadab was most helpful as usual. If Absalom had known that it was Jonadab’s idea that enabled Amnon to meet Tamar, any business dealing with him would have ceased immediately and Jonadab would have found his life in danger, but for the moment, he was discovering how shrewd and clever this man was.

It was on that afternoon, as they were in conversation, that a single idea began to crystallise in Absalom’s mind to give him the closure he needed concerning his sister’s rape. Jonadab had started the conversation, “I hear that one of your sheep was taken by a lion last night”

Absalom said, “Yes, the lion got away. It was too quick.”

“I was talking with Amnon this morning. He said that he had a problem with a lion as well. Perhaps it is the same one.”

Absalom seemed to look into space for a moment and then said, “Yes, he would know all about lions who prey on innocent sheep!”  Why are you mentioning his name? he thought. His eyes began to flash with anger. Jonadab knew he had touched a sensitive nerve. He continued to talk about sheep and lions.

It felt strange and rather ironic that Jonadab, the son of one of the kings brothers, had given him the idea. As they had been discussing the sheep-shearing, Jonadab had asked Absalom if he intended to have the traditional celebration. “Yes, I am having a feast at Baal Hazor.”

Jonadab continued, “I suppose you must find it hard to celebrate the shearing of sheep with that lion still around?” Absalom turned to Jonadab and replied coldly, “Yes, the only celebration a shepherd can have with a lion around is…” Jonadab finished the sentence, “…if the lion is dead.” Both of them looked at each other and Jonadab smiled.

“Are we talking about the same lion?” Absalom said slowly, narrowing his eyes.

“Of course. Who else,” said Jonadab. The seed was planted. Jonadab left. Absalom, the wolf with iron teeth, would invite Amnon the predator, to a celebration of much more than sheepshearing.

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

David was pleased to see Absalom in such good spirits for a change. Of late he had been so sullen. Absalom knew his father could not accompany him to his feast so after asking him out of courtesy, he said, “If you can’t come, then how about all my brothers?”

David was aware that Amnon desired to attend, but was cautious. Absalom had maintained his silence when it came to talking about Amnon. It must be over two years ago, now. “All your brothers? What about Amnon?” he said, to test the waters.

“All my brothers. Amnon, of course. It would not look right to leave him out.” It seemed reasonable that Amnon could attend if he was accompanied by all the king’s sons. David felt that this was a sufficient safeguard.

Absalom had no disagreement. I want you especially, Amnon. He would even invite Jonadab.

Pastor Ross

P.S.

My first e-Book for you! Available on Amazon.com for only $7.00 AU

Above the StormAbove the Storm is an exploration of the ancient book of Job for the creative mind. Within this book, you will find an Elephant and a Termite, a man called Misery, a Hitman, a Dump Truck driver and many others who answer age-old questions of life. You have never looked at Job quite like this before and perhaps never as deeply.

This is my first e-book, available on Amazon.com. What can I say? I have loved every part of the years I have spent in the exploration of Job. I have been inspired, enriched and changed by the journey and I know you will too. I invite you to buy it and be surprised afresh by the rich Words of Life from the ancient Book of Job, as you read Above the Storm

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 50

“You sent for me?” Jonadab said.

“Jonadab, cousin. It’s been such a long time. Have you been away or just in hiding? Please sit down. We have a lot to talk about.”

“I’m sorry Amnon, but I have business to attend to, so I won’t have much time.”

“Sit down, Jonadab!” Amnon’s eyes were cold, like a lion in pursuit of its prey. “It’s business that I want to discuss.” Jonadab could feel the blood draining from his face.

After hearing that Amnon had raped Tamar, Jonadab was sickened. He stayed away from Amnon as much as possible, not wanting to put his business dealings in jeopardy through his complicity in the crime, so when Amnon sent for him, he became ill at ease. Never-the-less he had come to see him immediately to end their friendship completely.

Amnon continued. “Many of the men of this city are refusing to trade with my merchants” Jonadab was aware that Absalom had gained many friends in the city and Amnon was suffering because of these connections with Absalom. Amnon continued. “I want you to convince him to allow his friends to re-open trading communications with me.”

“That’s inconceivable? I refuse. We have nothing more to talk about.” Jonadab was appalled that Amnon would even suggest such a thing. But Amnon wasn’t finished.

“Let me make something clear to you, Jonadab. I am not giving you a choice. If you fail to get back my trading contacts, then you may find yourself implicated in another matter that we both know about. You may also find it a little difficult to buy and sell yourself, and your father would not be pleased.” With his cold dark eyes, Amnon mocked Jonadab.

“Amnon, you are a rich man. Why do you even want to re-establish contact with men who despise you? And how could I possibly convince them to re-establish trade with you? And why do you need my help?”

“So many questions, cousin. It’s simple really. One day my father will die and I may well take his place as king. I don’t want to jeopardise my chances. I need someone to convince Absalom not to hold a grudge against me. I regret my actions, but it’s time to forget the past. He is having a feast soon to celebrate sheep shearing. Many of his trading friends will be invited. I want you to convince him to invite me as well. This will, at least, be a first step to convincing them that the bad feeling between us is over.”

Jonadab felt trapped. “I suppose I could try,” he said, in order to end the conversation as quickly as possible. It’s impossible. Absalom can’t stand the sight of you. “After all, it has been almost two years.”

But I still can’t understand why you did such a thing in the first place, Amnon. You brought such disgrace upon you and upon Tamar. I never thought you would…”

“Enough! Get me that invitation or you will find yourself disgraced and you will know what it feels like.”

Jonadab resented the intrusion of Amnon into his life again. He had deliberately sought to disassociate himself from him.

Jonadab went away with a jumble of thoughts tumbling around in his head. Amnon, you are bad for trade. Don’t you realise that word has spread of your abhorrent act. People don’t like you! How could you have thought it would be acceptable to involve me in helping you meet with Tamar and then commit such a disgusting crime against her? You repulsive, objectionable predator! However did you manage to escape punishment?

I will not allow you to treat me like your prey. I will not tolerate you straining the business relationships I have developed with Absalom just so you can get your way. Why would he allow you to come to the sheep-shearing feast?

Absalom was popular and wealthy. As he walked away thinking about how he might approach Absalom, a plan to solve both problems occurred to him. It would demand shrewd manipulation, but Jonadab was left with no choice.

Pastor Ross

P.S.

My first Book for you! Available on Amazon.com for only $7.00 AU

Above the StormAbove the Storm is an exploration of the ancient book of Job for the creative mind. Within this book, you will find an Elephant and a Termite, a man called Misery, a Hitman, a Dump Truck driver and many others who answer age-old questions of life. You have never looked at Job quite like this before and perhaps never as deeply.

This is my first e-book, available on Amazon.com. What can I say? I have loved every part of the years I have spent in the exploration of Job. I have been inspired, enriched and changed by the journey and I know you will too. I invite you to buy it and be surprised afresh by the rich Words of Life from the ancient Book of Job, as you read Above the Storm.

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 49

Absalom immediately went to his father, the king, expecting justice. He was almost shouting with rage as he said, “He raped her! Tamar told me she struggled to get away, but there was nothing that she could do! This is outrageous!” 

“Calm down Absalom,” said David.

Calm down? He ordered her out of his house! He shouted at her and told her to ‘Get up, go away!’ as if she was one of his slaves to do his bidding. She felt so bereft and violated she refused. She no longer had any place to go. She could not bring herself to return to the palace as if nothing had happened.

He had an opportunity to show integrity and compassion! All he showed her was contempt. He just called his servant and ordered him to throw her out and to lock the door behind her! To abuse her and throw her out like that is pure wickedness! He wouldn’t listen to her.

She made it known publically that she had been violated by putting ashes on her head, and she tore the long-sleeved garment that she wore. You should have seen her. She was so distressed and she was crying out loudly for help. Everyone around her saw how distressed and shocked she was. That’s the state in which I found her.”

David said, “Where is she now?”

I took her to my house so she’ll be safe.”

He did not mention to David that when Tamar had explained all that happened, he had said, “I want you to keep silent about this, Tamar.”

But that doesn’t mean that I will not seek retribution.

“If I know Amnon, he’ll try to blame her and she will be the one who’ll end up being punished. But the facts are clear.” I intend to get justice.

David was very angry, and Absalom expected that Amnon would be taken before the elders of the city for judgement.

The elders will probably force him to take her into his household as his wife to avoid royal disgrace. That’s not enough. Charges must be laid. Rape carries a death sentence. Absalom was not sure that they would allow a prince to be charged with rape? Surely he will not escape the consequences of breaking the law simply because he is a prince. 

But David did nothing. He was unwilling to act in terms of justice and discipline. Perhaps as David thought about his own sin with Bathsheba and how he had escaped with his life, he thought that Amnon deserved to live also. But nothing at all was done.

Absalom resented David for not acting and hated Amnon all the more for raping his sister and getting away with it. He wouldn’t speak to Amnon or anyone else about the matter in any way.

You will pay! Absalom would find a way to give vent to the hate that festered within him both for his father and for Amnon. After two years it became white hot, hammered and tempered with iron teeth into the shape of revenge.

Pastor Ross

P.S.

My first Book for you! Available on Amazon.com for only $7.00 AU

Above the StormAbove the Storm is an exploration of the book of Job for the creative mind. Within this book, you will find an Elephant and a Termite, a man called Misery, a Hitman, a Dump Truck driver and many others who answer age-old questions of life. You have never looked at Job quite like this before. You will also find beautiful illustrations and photographs to enhance your journey.

I have spent some years in the early morning hours before work, thoroughly and prayerfully researching and writing this book, (along with other projects), so beware, this creative presentation may challenge your thinking about God, suffering, personal circumstances, relationships, and lots more. It has certainly challenged me.

Together, my wife and I pressed the publish button and I bought the first copy. I believe this book will be of benefit to many thousands of people, and so I invite you to help me to get the word out.

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 48

The lion roared from somewhere in the hills as the sun began to set. There was no need for concern. It was some distance away and they had not had difficulties with lions for some time. Still the shepherds of Absalom’s flocks would need to be alert tonight. The discussion soon turned to other matters.

A few hours later it stalked through the grass, as silent as the night itself, towards the flock, taking a few rapid steps, and then somehow merging into the grass and semidarkness again, so that even the sharpest of eyes would have trouble spotting its majestic form.

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

The request was innocent enough so David had granted it.

Absalom heard what had happened next from Tamar who was so traumatised by the events that she was in shock. Through her tears she said,

“Our father the king sent for me. He told me to go to my brother Amnon’s house and prepare food for him. I thought the request was strange but I obeyed. I found Amnon lying down. He was sick. I made cakes in his sight but when I dished them out to him he refused to eat.

All of a sudden he ordered everyone out of the house and he told me to bring the food into the bedroom so that he could eat from my hand. So I took the cakes which I had made and brought them into his bedroom.

That’s when he took hold of me and asked me to sleep with him. I was very afraid but I said, ‘No!’ and tried to get away, but he was determined. I said, ‘Amnon, please don’t violate me. You will be disgraced in all Israel. And what about me? I would never be free of my reproach.’

I told him that he would be like one of the fools in Israel. He still refused to let me go so I pleaded with him to speak to the king. I said that if he did then the king would probably agree for me to marry him. He still wouldn’t listen to me and he was too strong for me.”

At this point, Tamar broke down again and was shaking so much she was not able to continue for some time.

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

The young male lion was rabid and almost starving. It’s matted mane was a light tawny colour and it’s ribs showed through it’s lean frame, yet still each muscle moved with the precision borne from instinct.

Normally the females would hunt, but the male had recently been chased from the pride by a larger and more dominant male. He had gone into the hills to recover from his wounds and his body now showed the scars of the confrontation. Hunger now urged him down into the plains and to risk possible contact with people.

The lion uttered a deep, warm rumbling sound as it selected its prey. Its attention was distracted momentarily as it spotted the shepherd and it’s ears flattened against its mane. It snarled and moved forward silently with rapid padded steps and then froze as it felt the wind change direction slightly. The flock was still being herded towards an enclosure. The scent had not yet reached them but instinctively the lion knew that it would have to move fast. The shepherd was out in front of the flock, calling them occasionally with a high pitched whistle.

Like a catapult being released, the elastic shape of the lion’s body exploded from the grasslands towards the flock.

The shepherd was caught totally by surprise and even as he turned, the lion had already covered a distance of 20 metres, it’s eyes intensely focused on a fat ewe on the edge of the flock. In a matter of seconds, the lion had come from its charge, reared up, and was sinking its hooked claws into the back of the ewe. The sheep crumpled to the ground under the weight and with a deft movement, the lion’s fangs were deep into its throat.

For a split second, it hesitated, it’s pale yellow eyes now fastened upon the shepherd and it’s ears twitching at the unfamiliar sound of his voice as he shouted abuse. It stood astride the fallen ewe and roared a warning as the shepherd approached, it’s fangs and eyes shining in the afterglow of sunset. It was determined to keep it’s kill.

The rank smell of the lion filled the shepherd’s nostrils as the stone from his slingshot was released with incredible velocity. At the same time, the lion bent down to pick up the carcass of the sheep and the stone whistled harmlessly through its mane.

In seconds, it had bounded back into the darkness and safety of the grasslands like a phantom of the night.

Pastor Ross

My first Book for you! Available on Amazon.com for only $7.00 AU

Above the StormAbove the Storm is an exploration of the book of Job for the creative mind. Within this book, you will find an Elephant and a Termite, a man called Misery, a Hitman, a Dump Truck driver and many others who answer age-old questions of life. You have never looked at Job quite like this before. You will also find beautiful illustrations and photographs to enhance your journey.

I have spent some years in the early morning hours before work, thoroughly and prayerfully researching and writing this book, (along with other projects), so beware, this creative presentation may challenge your thinking about God, suffering, personal circumstances, relationships, and lots more. It has certainly challenged me.

Together, my wife and I pressed the publish button and I bought the first copy. I believe this book will be of benefit to many thousands of people, and so I invite you to help me to get the word out.

 

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 47

You are so beautiful. thought Amnon as he gazed across the courtyard towards the woman’s quarters. She was walking with her mother Maacah. Your laugh is like the song of a mountain stream to a thirsty man who longs to be refreshed. “I would give anything to drink from your stream,” he said softly.

“What are you looking at?” Jonadab said, looking in the same vicinity as Amnon. Amnon turned suddenly, not aware that Jonadab had approached.

“You startled me!” he said with an annoyed look on his face. Jonadab smiled as he watched the women move out of sight. “Appreciating the beauty of the kingdom, I see,” he said.

“She is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.” said Amnon.

“The mother you mean, of course.” Jonadab taunted and smiled. “That whole family is good-looking. Absalom has the handsome features of your father and his sister has the beauty and poise of a gazelle.”

“Ah, so you’ve noticed it too!” said Amnon.

“No-one in the kingdom disagrees that Tamar is beautiful.” Being the daughter of a king, she lived in the palace amidst the outward beauty of David’s kingdom, but Tamar had an inward beauty and grace that made her company all the more attractive and inviting. She had readily responded to her father’s belief in God and her values and character reflected her faith. She cared for the sick in the king’s household and helped widows.

Tamar’s half-brother, Amnon, had fallen in love with her from a distance. He was all that Tamar was not. Selfish and headstrong, he enjoyed being a king’s son because he could acquire most things. Now he wanted Tamar. But young virgin daughters of the king were well protected from such advances as Amnon wished to make upon Tamar.

Absalom and the rules of court made it virtually impossible for Amnon to develop a relationship with her, and the law of God did not permit such relationships in marriage. Frustrated because he could not get what he wanted, Amnon had made himself ill, emotionally and physically.

Being a very shrewd businessman for his father, Jonadab enjoyed mixing with David’s sons and especially his cousin Amnon. They had become fast friends. It gave him an opportunity to make further business acquaintances and he enjoyed their friendly banter. It also gave him opportunity to be in contact with Amnon’s father, the king. Shimeah, Jonadab’s father had encouraged his son to mix with those who had been blessed. Shimeah was king David’s brother and was secretly quite jealous of his success.

In the days that followed, Amnon wasn’t himself, so Jonadab came straight to the point, “Amnon, you are the son of the king, so why are you so depressed morning after morning?”

Amnon replied, “I am in love with her.”

“Who?” said Jonadab, a little confused.

“Tamar!”

“Tamar… But she’s your half-sister! Tamar was Absalom’s sister, daughter of David and Macaah. Jonadab now understood the longing in Amnon’s eyes as he had looked at Tamar a few days earlier.

“You do realise that the law would forbid you from…”

“I am well aware of the law and I don’t need to be reminded of what I can and cannot do!” snapped Amnon.

They spoke for some time. Jonadab felt a little sorry for Amnon. He hadn’t eaten for days and so, being a little more devious than his friend, Jonadab devised a plan to allow Amnon to come into contact with Tamar. It wouldn’t hurt to break a few rules until Amnon saw the folly of his ways.

It was simple really but at least, Amnon would get to talk with her. He said, “Here’s the plan. You pretend to be sick. That shouldn’t be too hard. You look half starved already. When your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘Please let my sister Tamar come and give me some food to eat. Tamar has a reputation as one who cares for the sick. Your father won’t suspect anything.’” The plan was successful but Jonadab hadn’t planned on the outcome.

Pastor Ross

My first Book for you! Available on Amazon.com for only $7.00 AU

Above the Storm

Above the Storm is an exploration of the book of Job for the creative mind. Within this book, you will find an Elephant and a Termite, a man called Misery, a Hitman, a Dump Truck driver and many others who answer age-old questions of life. Each article is brief, enabling you to explore specific sections of the whole book of Job, a commentary like no other. You will also find beautiful illustrations and photographs to enhance your journey.

I have spent some years in the early morning hours before work, thoroughly and prayerfully researching and writing this book, (along with other projects), so beware, this creative presentation may challenge your thinking about God, suffering, personal circumstances, relationships, and lots more. It has certainly challenged me.

Together, my wife and I pressed the publish button and I bought the first copy. I believe this book will be of benefit to many thousands of people, and so I invite you to help me to get the word out.

 

 

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 46

David doesn’t have a chance! Shimeah relived it again with Eliab.

Jonadab, Shimeah’s son, was spellbound by the story. “What did Goliath look like?”

“Goliath was a Philistine warrior, a giant of a man with skin the colour of sun-tanned leather and forearms the size of David’s waist. He wore armour over his huge frame and his voice boomed throughout the valley.”

With malevolent intent towards David, Goliaths words had trailed up the valley and echoed in Shimeah’s ears, “‘Come here,’ he said, ‘and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and animals!’” My stomach was in knots. Shimeah had seen some of the broken bodies that remained after hand to hand combat and against this experienced veteran of war.

“David’s voice was so clear and confident. But he seemed so naïve!”

“I remember. Almost arrogant,” said Eliab. “He said,‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.’ The Philistines laughed at his audacity.”

Shimeah said “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and seeing. I turned to king Saul and said, ‘We have to stop him, sir! Can’t you command him to return?’ but he said, ‘I have no intention of interfering, nor will you.’ I couldn’t save him. I just had to watch.’” One of Saul’s guards had moved menacingly close to Shimeah. Why did I freeze up? I didn’t do anything. Only his eyes had revealed the desperate fear he had felt for David.

Shimeah and Eliab could see it all before them. Shimeah said, “As the Philistine moved closer, David ran quickly forward to meet his attack. He reached into his bag, took out a stone, and placed it in the cradle of his sling. In the same action, it was thrust into a swinging arc, centrifugal force stretching the leather slightly with the weight of the stone.”

After three sweeping turns, it had begun to sing in anticipation of release and David had snapped the sling in a deft movement that shot the stone from the arc of its swing in a deadly tangent towards Goliath. “It caught Goliath in the temple. It was a dull crack, like the sound of a sun-dried clay water pot being broken”. Goliath had swayed indecisively before his legs buckled. “He went down like a fallen tree.”

David is an expert marksman. “The stone sunk deep into Goliath’s forehead.” Goliath’s eyes had glared with unseeing astonishment. “His body convulsed for the last time.” The sling David had used was capable of letting a stone fly with incredible velocity and accuracy, though it had never before been used as a weapon of warfare.

“Did you see how he reached into his pouch again?” said Eliab, “He was even prepared to face Goliath’s armour bearers! But they were so shocked that they simply turned and ran for their lives.”

The whole Philistine army, seeing that David’s God had really done what He said He would do, also began to run, with superstitious fear flowing through their veins.

“David then ran, stood over Goliath’s huge frame, drew the enormous sword from the scabbard of this man and cut off his head. Goliath’s sword was so big that he had some difficulty in wielding it properly.”

The silence in Israel had exploded as every man in Israel came to life and surged forward with a shout to pursue the Philistines. “David was still holding the Philistine’s head as king Saul approached him.

‘Whose son are you, young man?’ he asked him.

David said, ‘I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem.’”

Shimeah and Eliab remembered these events so clearly. Shimeah looked at Jonadab We brought home much plunder that day. That’s the same day that you were born.” Shimeah had called him Jonadab because his name meant The Lord is bountiful.

David had taken the weapons of Goliath and placed them in his tent. Shimeah said,“That sword was so masterfully made. Did you see it’s hilt? It had that unusual carving of a lion and a wolf in mortal combat with each other.

“Yes, the workmanship was beautiful. The blade was iron of course, but it must have been tempered by an expert smith. I doubt if even Barzillai could have created something to match it.”

Now, years later, as Shimeah thought about Goliath and those weapons, he still felt a little resentful and jealous towards David. It seemed that Shimeah had been passed over while God had destined David for greatness.

Shimeah’s son, Jonadab, was now a young man, “But all that is a long time ago. And now, you mix with David’s sons in court.” Shimeah had taught him to be shrewd but some of his attitudes towards David had also been passed down. Never-the-less Jonadab had become good friends with Amnon, his cousin, one of David’s sons.

Perhaps it had something to do with the unresolved jealousy of Shimeah that Jonadab, his son, influenced the course of events of the kingdom and triggered the fulfilment of another part of Nathan’s prophecy to David.

P.S. New e-book Above the Storm is now available on Amazon.com

Above the Storm

Above the Storm