WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS
© by Ross Cochrane
Six sons were born to king David while he was at Hebron. His third son, Absalom, was born to him by his wife Maacah. She was the beautiful daughter of king Talmai. The marriage was arranged as a political alliance. Talmai had played his advantage well and offered his firstborn daughter. If David had refused, the insult would have resulted in war. The arrangements were made.
David could still hear Abiathar’s voice ringing in his ears.
“But this woman is a Geshurite! You can’t marry her. I could understand you if you wanted to annihilate her father’s kingdom and dispossess them from the land altogether, but enter into covenant with them?” Abiathar was high priest and had served David faithfully since David had been a fugitive during king Saul’s reign.
“I have no choice,” said David, “The last thing I need is a war on the Northern borders. If I make a covenant with king Talmai, he will support me. At the moment, he wants peace. What am I to do? Turn our friends away?”
“He is not a friend! He is a parasite! They are the most morally depraved people in the land! You can’t do this. The holy records forbid it! At least let me send for the parchments in Hebron so that you can study them for yourself before you make your decision. I can send Ahimaaz, my son.”
“No, Abiathar! I am not waiting any longer. This is a time for a covenant while we have the opportunity, not a time to be studying the holy records to find a reason why we should not make peace with our friends. I have already given my word. I do not intend to waver now. And I want you here as the covenant is made.”
It was no use trying to dissuade him further. Abiathar sighed. “Yes, my lord,” he said.
Politically the move had been wise but David had not known peace since this marriage. He still wondered if he had been beguiled too quickly by the beauty of Maacah and the expedience of a covenant to prevent further bloodshed.
Then, as he slept, Joshua was before him. He watched his campaigns and how God had directed him as a mighty warrior and leader of Israel. He saw Jericho being conquered and Canaan defeated. And he heard the words from heaven boom with a thunder that chilled his heart,
“Why have you not dispossessed the Geshurites from the land as I commanded you?” but God was not speaking with Joshua. David stood with his Geshurite bride beside him and tried feebly to hide her from God’s sight. He issued orders immediately to Abiathar, “Find all the holy records you have on the Geshurites and bring them to me!”
The records came, but David tried not to read the words. It was no use! They bounced from the very walls as he looked at Maacah, “Her name is Oppression! Oppression! Oppression!” He held his ears as the scrolls were brought closer to him.
Suddenly, an arrow came through the Northern window. It came directly towards him and there was not time to avoid it. His eyes were wide with dread but just as the arrow approached his heart, Maacah held out a shield and he heard the dull thud of the point, like the sound of a heartbeat, magnified. David felt relieved, but his security was short-lived as Abiathar now read from the scroll and it seemed as if it were the voice of God as each word echoed into his soul,
“You are to destroy the Canaanites completely. All the nations of the land are to be completely annihilated, men, women and children! Men, women and children! MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN!”
David saw Talmai and Maacah and now instead of a shield, she held children in her hands, a little boy and a girl. But the voice came stronger, “You are to destroy them from the face of the earth!”
David cried, “Why, Lord? Why?”
“Because of their wickedness I will dispossess them before you lest they become a cancer to you and corrupt your ways that you sin against the Lord your God.”
“Lord, she is my wife! And these must be the children that one day she will bear. They are heirs!” But the voice of God was even more insistent,
“Those whom you allow to remain will become pricks in your eyes and thorns in your side, and they will give you trouble in your kingdom. And it will take place that what I plan for them, so will I do to you. They will be a snare and a trap to you until your death. Annihilate them completely! All the regions of the Geshurites! Men, women and children!”
Once again David looked at Maacah, beautiful Maacah with his children at her side, princess of Geshur standing with her proud father, king Talmai.
He thought of Abraham and how God had asked him to sacrifice his own son. With despairing obedience, He unsheathed his sword and with tears in his eyes, raised it above his head. Maacah began to scream. “David! David!” Then the voice became quieter.
“David. Wake up! You are having a dream,” she said. He awoke in a lather of sweat. Maacah was smiling. Her beauty was so warm and the tender song of her voice was totally disarming.
“I have good news to tell you,” she said, “I am going to have a baby.”