WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS – Chapter 35

Posted: January 20, 2016 in When the Wolf Howls
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WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 35

The servants are afraid that their words might somehow get back to David. Absalom has a good relationship with all in the court. He has a way with people. They tell him things. Their grievances. Their dreams. Absalom is on their side. Still, the servants quieten down as Absalom walks past the gate.

Absalom stays awhile as usual to talk with the men and notices Uriah. Why is he here? Why didn’t he go home? He begins asking questions of the servants furthest away from him, but he can see that there is a reluctance to answer. The atmosphere is awkward for a time but Absalom diverts the conversation to other things – weather, war, politics and matters of law and justice, until they open up. He is known as one who investigates cases worthy of justice for the people. One of the more forthright and foolish servants is curious since they are talking of the law.

“I know of a man whose wife has been unfaithful? What will he do?” Other servants begin to withdraw from the conversation.

“He should bring charges and demand justice. She must be stoned as the law demands. The man must be found and stoned as well,” he replies.

“And what if the man responsible were powerful and there was no proof, except a pregnancy, and he was trying to cover it up?”

A hushed silence ensued as Absalom sought to find a context for the question.

“How can you cover up a pregnancy?” he asks.

“The husband will sleep with his wife and it will look as if the child is his.” The servant has said too much.

Absalom considers what he is being told and replies slowly,

“No man should get away with adultery because of his position.” He pauses, thinking of the rumours of the beautiful woman in court some time ago and adds,

“I would not give the man opportunity to cover up his sin if I could help it at all. That’s all the advice that I am willing to give you. Perhaps it would be wiser of you hold your peace until this man you know is willing to lay charges.”

“Yes sir.” The servant backs away, knowing that he has overstepped the limit of discussion.

Absalom leaves, but in the ensuing conversation it is agreed that Uriah is right to stay at the king’s gate where there are plenty of witnesses, and he is wise not even to speak with his wife.

Absalom came to the king that day. He spoke of trivial things and David was not at all interested in the conversation until he happened to mention, in passing, that Uriah had slept in the guard’s and servant’s quarters at the king’s gate. David’s face paled as Absalom continued. David was not hearing him. Why didn’t Uriah go home? What was happening to his plan? He came out of his daze as Absalom said,

“Why didn’t you allow Uriah to go home? He lives next door after all?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Absalom, I didn’t force him to stay at court! I encouraged him to go home. Bring him to me at once.”

There seemed to be some tension in the king’s voice as he spoke with Uriah, “Uriah, you have come a long way to get here, yet I hear that you did not go home last night. Why?”

Uriah had had all night to reflect on his answer. He looked to the floor and then briefly glanced over at Absalom, but he too was obviously interested in his answer. Uriah the Hittite looked into the eyes of David as he replied,

“The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my lords men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!”

The answer cut deeply into David’s soul. As long as I live? He fleetingly thought of the penalties of adultery in the law as he gazed at Uriah, not knowing what to say.

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