WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS Chapter 25
© by Ross Cochrane
Obed-edom was a Philistine who now served David, and he had been horrified when he saw the Ark. He had not attended the festivities and could not believe that David would order the Ark to be moved to his house. Not here, my lord king, he thought. “Yes, of course, my lord king” he said. His people had once captured the Ark in battle and they had been struck with boils and skin cancers. It had caused them so much trouble they had returned it to Israel.
When he learned of Uzzah’s death, Obed-edom was even more concerned. Never-the-less the old Philistine had recently come to know the God of Israel and was determined not to be superstitious. Never-the-less, he would not look under its covers or touch it. Lord God, protect me! To his relief and amazement, God answered his prayers immediately. The Lord blessed him and his whole family. In fact, everything he did seemed to be successful. It seemed that everyone wanted a weapon or household utensil made by the master iron smith.
When David had calmed down enough to investigate Obed-edom’s welfare three months later, he was excited to find that in that brief amount of time the man had prospered greatly. This is surely a sign of the Lord’s favour. In the last months he had studied the holy writings which Zadok had brought to him concerning the movement of the Ark and reassessed how best he might honour God in bringing the Ark to Jerusalem.
A period of mourning had been observed, and now that three months had passed between Uzzah’s death even Abinadab had agreed that it was time the king attempted to retrieve the Ark again.
There was a great deal of celebration when the day finally arrived despite the tragedy of the previous attempt. All of Israel was relieved to see the Ark being carried by the Levites and every six steps they took, a bull and a fattened calf was sacrificed to the Lord.
David was so excited. He sensed the very presence of God and was lost in worship as the music played from instruments of wood, lyres and harps, tambourines, castanets and cymbals. Wearing a linen ephod, he danced before the Lord with all his might. Everyone was involved in the worship and the throng of people seemed to flow like a mighty river, with shouts of praise and trumpets declaring the greatness of God. Carried along in the tide of this throng, the Ark made its way to Jerusalem. Even Obed-edom, the old iron smith had been allowed to attend, and tears of joy flowed down his face.
Michal, the daughter of Saul, was asked to look after Absalom who wanted no part of the Ark that had killed his cousin. The hurt buried in their hearts found eachother in their time of need. They watched from one of the windows of the palace and talked.
The heartache in Absalom’s eyes triggered memories of sorrow in Michal. She had seen this kind of hurt before and she remembered her husband, Paltiel, who wept bitterly as they had been prized apart. Michal had been forcibly returned to David as part of the bargaining when the kingdoms of Judah and Israel became one nation.
As the Ark entered the City of David, they saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord. Neither of them felt like celebrating.
Absalom turned away, tears in his eyes, and again Michal felt his pain, deeply. Something of the spirit of Absalom entered her soul as she looked at her husband, dancing before the Lord in only a linen ephod. I despise you.
The Ark of the Lord was placed inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the Lord. Then he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of Hosts. A loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins was distributed to each person in the crowd, men and women, and the crowd eventually disbursed to their homes.
When David returned home to bless his household, Michal left the room and came to meet him. Absalom still sat by the window, staring at the tent in which the Ark had been placed, but he heard her speak.
“How the mighty king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing himself in the sight of slave girls like someone who is vulgar and foolish!” She was sarcastic and spiteful. David was terribly hurt but remained calm.
“I danced before the Lord, who chose me and appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel rather than your father or anyone else from his house. I intend to continue to celebrate before the Lord, and perhaps become even more undignified than this; completely humiliated if necessary. But you need to know that although I may not have been held in honour in your sight, in the sight of these slave girls you spoke of, I was not only held in honour, but I also had their respect.”
Michal, the daughter of king Saul, outspoken and now estranged wife of king David, would have no children to the day of her death.