Posted: January 23, 2016 in When the Wolf Howls
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Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 38

Nathan brushed past Absalom that day as he strode into David’s presence with a message from the Lord. David was involved in hearing the various legal matters of his people. An amanuensis stood by the throne recording the various pronouncements. The people sensed something of the importance of Nathan’s presence and they parted as he walked towards the king. His eyes were fixed upon David and he wasted no time in bringing his matter to the king’s attention.

The Lord is a storyteller and Nathan is now His narrator. He weaves the message into a story that touches David’s emotions as no other story could. The story is of a rich man and a poor man. The rich man has many flocks and herds. David’s mind immediately relates to being a Shepherd and his interest begins to rise from the mundane issues that he has been dealing with.

“The poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb which he had spent all his money to purchase and he nourished it and it grew up with him and his children. It ate and slept with the poor man and obviously gave him and his family much joy. It was much loved, like a daughter.”

“Now a traveller came to the rich man,” said Nathan, “And he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd to feed the traveller, so instead he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”

David is furious. He is now in a just frame of mind, completely enraged by a man who would do this. As a shepherd, he could not see how such injustice could be perpetrated against the poor man. He says to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. And he must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because of his lack of compassion.”

The air in the courtroom where David has been seeking to deal justly with the cases of his people suddenly becomes charged. Absalom waits by the door and listens carefully. He wonders why Nathan should advocate for such a case. Nathan looks directly into David’s eyes and with a voice of impending doom that only a prophet could use face to face with his king says,

“You are the man!” David’s eyes are wide and he stares with sudden realisation of his plight as Nathan the prophet of God continues. “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul. I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these! Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of your enemies.”

Absalom couldn’t help but admire the way Nathan was handling this situation. How clever a way to bring the truth of David’s actions to him. His disgust for his father, king David, returned and he listened for the sentence that Nathan would pronounce from God. God may even demand the death sentence!

Nathan continued, “Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.”

No-one but Absalom and David’s servants know the full implications of what Nathan is pronouncing. Afterall, what is wrong with David taking a widow for his wife? But now Nathan’s words seem to fill every crevice of the room “Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes, and give them to someone who is close to you, and he shall lie with your wives in broad daylight. Indeed, you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.'”

Absalom saw the irreparable damage that was done in this situation and despised his father for bringing such disrepute to his family. It stood in his mind as a written testimony in history. Who would want an episode such as this for all to read?

This was not the first time David had forsaken the law concerning a woman. Once, David had married a Gittite woman for the sake of an alliance to a rebellious people. The offspring of this unwise marriage was Absalom. But here was another son conceived through direct disobedience to God’s law and whose life was to be short-lived.

The sin’s of the fathers…

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