Posted: November 12, 2015 in When the Wolf Howls
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Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 5

Emotionally he would never be close to his father. David loved him but tended to neglect him, especially in his early years. He was often away at war or cementing alliances, but while he attended to the menace of the enemy without, another menace sought and gained entry into David’s kingdom. David himself had opened the gate to this sinister threat through his marriage to Maacah. A menace that watched and waited as a little boy, with an internal conflict, grew up in the royal family, not knowing where he stood with his father and wanting desperately to prove himself worthy of any attention he could get.

King Talmai was pleased to have a grandson to further bind his kingdom to the kingdom of David in covenant.

Born in the middle of political unrest, Absalom had been named “Father of Peace”, a further sign to Talmai that David intended peace to remain intact between them. Since his father and grandfather were both kings, Absalom also experienced the tension and rivalry that existed between them. He learned about playing one off against the other.

David neglected the discipline and training that his son needed, and even in these early years, Absalom was beginning to lose respect. With little to no fathering, he became susceptible to a spirit of rebellion towards those in authority over him. It was a quiet rebellion that grew within his heart, gently encouraged through the years by his mother’s subtle influence and his visits to king Talmai.

Because he lacked the nurture, instruction and correction of a father, Absalom was also growing up with a false view of the God his father served. In fact, he began to dismiss any claims that God may have upon his life. His rebellion would draw him closer to spiritual forces of darkness who worked against all that David believed and treasured.

In his growing up years, Absalom witnessed and heard about many important events as David ruled as king. Occasionally Joab would tell him the stories of war. He was a good listener and Joab’s stories were often bloodthirsty.

“Tell me about Abner.”

“Abner is a worm and one day I will trample him into the earth!” Joab said with his gravelly voice.

“Why do you hate Abner so much?”

Joab frowned but already the memories were flooding back. It was little use denying them. He paused for a moment before he answered. “Before you were born I had a younger brother. His name was Asahel. I watched Abner kill him. He is a cruel, ruthless man.”

“What did you do?” asked young Absalom.

“There was little that I could do. I remember standing there over my brother’s body with a terrible rage in my heart and I determined on that day that I would pursue Abner to his death.”

Absalom’s eyes were wide with anticipation, “And did you?” he said.

“By the time I caught up I could see that his men were too well placed for a battle. My own men were at a disadvantage. To continue would have been military suicide. Many of my men would die, so I had no alternative but to return. I took Asahel’s body and buried it in my father’s tomb at Bethlehem.”

“But what about Abner?” said Absalom, “You let him get away!”

“Battles are not fought in a day, Absalom. One day Abner’s time will come and when that day comes, I will be there.” Joab unsheathed a dagger with a blade about 20cm long and handed it to Absalom. “This was Asahel’s dagger,” he said. “I found it on his body and I have made an oath that one day Abner will feel it’s blade.” It was heavy in Absalom’s hands. The hilt was bound tightly with leather thongs presumably for better grip and the blade was razor sharp. “This is a Canaanite knife. You can tell because of the shape of the blade. Asahel probably picked it up after one of our raids.” said Joab.

Joab had remained bitter and the war between him and Abner had continued for many years.

Once a leading general in king Saul’s army, Abner had taken Saul’s son, Ish-bosheth, and installed him as king of Israel when Saul died. The tribe of Judah, however, had followed David.

The intrigue of this weapon and Abner would remain with this young prince as he grew up in David’s court.


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