WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS – Chapter 2

Posted: November 7, 2015 in When the Wolf Howls
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WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 2

“The old one and his iron smiths are to be spared. We can use their skills for our own weaponry,” said Joab. “Asahel, your men will take them from behind after Abishai distracts them by attacking the soldiers from the southern side of the hill. Make sure that none of the smiths are killed. Be careful and remember, God is with you.”

Asahel could barely control his excitement. He had been on raiding parties before but this was the first time his brother Joab had entrusted him with a battalion of men. Abishai and Asahel moved their men quickly and silently into position.

The raid was sudden and unexpected as they had planned. Many of the Philistine warriors died, their senses and ability to fight dulled by intoxication and blood loss from the previous day’s celebration.

The old smith and his sons were completely taken by surprise. As Obed-edom stood bewildered by the attack from the southern side of the hill, the precious dagger was snatched from his hands by a young Israelite warrior. He was knocked to the ground before he could mobilise his considerable strength. As he struggled to his feet he felt the dagger pressed to his throat and he looked frantically for his sons. He was relieved to see that they too were being taken alive, and only then did he allow the young soldier to bind his hands without resistance.

Joab’s forces collected the newly formed weapons and smashed the central furnace. The dynasty of Philistia’s iron smiths was coming to an end. Molech had forsaken them. They were bound and forced to enter the strange world of the Israelites, a world where only one God was worshipped and a nation which at this very moment was on the brink of a full-scale civil war.

The old iron smith and his sons were paraded through the Israelite camp with the plunder of weapons and brought before the commanding officer where they were stripped of their clothes and held securely by a number of men. The humiliation of being stripped and tied was almost more than the old man could bear and he swore incessantly in his native tongue at his captors. His eldest son, who was still trying to appraise what was going to happen to them urged him to be quiet.

“Father, they may kill us if you insult them any further!”

“They don’t understand our language,” said Obed-edom, and then turning to one of the priests he said, “Do you, you worthless dog? If ever I escape I’ll make you pay for this!” It was at this moment that he saw the young man who had captured him unsheathe a dagger. Obed-edom recognised the shape of the blade immediately. This was the dagger he had so carefully designed.

“So, I am to be killed with my own dagger?” said Obed-edom. “May the curse of the dagger of Molech be upon you, you Israelite coward! May it bring vengeance upon you! May you die in the hands of your enemies!” He could not realise how demonically prophetic his words would be.

“Use this and do it quickly,” said Asahel to the priest, handing him the weapon. The strange Hebrew words meant nothing to his captives.

The blade of the dagger shone in the light as the priest approached him.

“Father, he’s going to torture us!” said his eldest son, struggling vainly against the ropes.

“No son,” said Obed-edom, for the first time realising who his captors were. “This man is one of the priests of Israel. I have seen them before at the valley of Elah. They have only one God. He is called Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of hosts. I have witnessed His power against our people once before. It seems that we are going to be sacrificed.” He spat at the priest and cursed again. Asahel, who had been standing nearby, responded with a blow to Obed-edom’s stomach and jaw which almost left him unconscious. His sons were horrified but could do nothing.

As the priest approached him, Obed-edom closed his eyes and said breathlessly, “Goodbye my sons. I have nothing I can leave you but my love and to show you that I can die bravely.”

The circumcision came as quite a shock to Obed-edom. For a moment he thought he was going to be castrated or mutilated but the priest accomplished his purpose on each of the captives efficiently, and returned the dagger to Asahel. Then he had them untied and gave them bandages to stop the bleeding. Obed-edom had heard of this savage practise of circumcision and soon they would realise that all Israelites and their slaves were marked in this way.

When the bleeding had stopped they were given new clothes, considerably better than their old ones, and taken away to be fed, walking carefully due to the pain. Though they were very hungry, none of them ate much that day.

Israel and Judah were involved in a bloody civil conflict and Asahel and his men were gone by the next morning.

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