Posted: February 8, 2016 in Chapter 54, When the Wolf Howls
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Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 54

Reports began to come to Jerusalem of Absalom’s vow, of how long his hair had grown and of a beautiful daughter named Tamar. Some began to say that the king was wrong in keeping his own son and grandchildren estranged. Rumours and murmurs continued as months became years. David’s sense of justice would not be forced by such reports, however. He would know the right time. Perhaps God would speak to him.

When the time came, it had been Joab, not God, who convinced the king to change his mind. A family from Joab’s district came to Joab demanding that he exercise justice. It was a murder case. The situation had been difficult to determine and so he had sent the woman from Tekoa in the middle of the situation to the king. At the same time, he had seen an opportunity to convince the king to bring Absalom home again.

“If you want justice for your son then do as I say.” said Joab to the woman, “I am going to send you to the king but first you must put on mourning clothes to show that you are still in mourning for your other son. When you arrive you are to say exactly what I tell you to say.”

“I will do whatever you require to save the life of my son.” said the woman. The woman obeyed Joab implicitly and Joab arranged for her to see the king immediately.

David was tired and the woman was emotional and not able to speak for some time. Just as David was ready to dismiss her from the court she said,

“Help me, please my lord and king. My husband is dead and I am in great need.”

David had already seen that the woman was in great need and wanted her to get on with her request, “What is your trouble?”

“I am a widow,” she said, “and I had two sons, but they got into a fight with each other one day while they were out in the field. There was no one to separate them, and one of my sons was killed. But now the whole family is against me. They want to put my remaining son to death for killing his brother. He is the only heir left of my husband. If he dies I will be left completely desolate.”

The king gave his judgement. He said, “Go to your house, and I will give orders concerning your situation. Whoever speaks to you about your son, send him to me. As the Lord lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground.”

The woman was satisfied that her case had been heard and that the king would keep his oath, and so she replied with the words that Joab had instructed her to say,

“With respect to my lord the king, you are so wise in making this decision. Why then have you acted in such a way to your people? By not bringing back your banished son you are guilty of the same thing as my family. Your son has done something wrong, but to keep him away from you is to cut yourself off from someone God intends you and your people to enjoy, as surely as I would be cut off from my inheritance should my son be executed. Surely God does not take life away. He finds ways so that one who has been banished may be returned to Him.

Please listen to your maidservant. I know that my lord the king is like an angel, able to discern good and evil. May the Lord your God be with you.”

The king looked across at Joab who stood with a satisfied look on his face. He then asked the woman, “I suppose Joab is behind your words?”

The woman looked embarrassed and Joab became uneasy as she answered, “No-one can hide anything from you. Yes, your servant Joab commanded me, and told me what I should say in order to change your mind about Absalom.”

David glared at Joab for a moment and then began to laugh and as he did it seemed that joy filled the room. The tense moment was broken and they all began to laugh.

David simply said, “Make sure this woman’s son remains unharmed … and bring back my son Absalom.” Joab was so relieved that he fell to the ground, prostrating himself before the king and blessed him. Joab wasn’t normally a man who would get enthusiastic about anything except those things that related to war, never-the-less this was very important to him and he immediately went to Geshur to bring Absalom back to Jerusalem.

He had an affinity with this young man called Absalom, guilty only of avenging his sister’s rape. As he went, his mind had replayed the events concerning a man that he also had killed in revenge. His name had been Abner and he, like Amnon, had felt the same cold, hard iron of a dagger. The same Canaanite dagger, with a beautifully carved hilt.



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