WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS
© by Ross Cochrane
As Hushai was received into Absalom’s presence he said without hesitation, “Long live the king! Welcome to Jerusalem, my lord.” He had taken the initiative to ask for an audience with Absalom.
Absalom saw no reason to be anything but blunt. He said, “It is well known that you are my father’s friend. Why have you remained in Jerusalem? It seems to me that you lack the loyalty of a friend. Why didn’t you go with him?”
Absalom was curious and suspicious of those who were not of the sons of Israel. Ahithophel seemed to think that Hushai would not cause trouble. Never-the-less, Hushai had been an important advisor to king David and it must not be assumed that his intentions were honourable.
Hushai almost interrupted Absalom by saying, “No, my lord! I am the servant of the one whom the Lord and all the people of Israel have chosen. I have served in your father’s presence. It is only right that I should serve in your presence as well.” The answer was acceptable to Absalom, though not entirely trustworthy. Since Hushai collected intelligence in Jerusalem for Ahithophel, he thought, You may be of some use to me for now. After all, you might provide balance to the counsel of Ahithophel. Absalom’s men knew that it went without question that he would have to be watched.
“Get out of here, man of bloodshed. Get out! God has brought this upon you because you don’t deserve to be king. Your own son will kill you as you have killed many of the sons of Saul. You have been overtaken by your own evil.”
When David passed through the village of Bethurim, Shimei, in a fit of rage had pelted David with stones and followed him, shouting his abuse. A relative of king Saul, his own son had died in battle, and he had blamed David.
The servants shielded king David immediately to protect him from the onslaught of stones. Abishai, Joab’s brother, had drawn his sword and offered to cut off Shimei’s head but David was unwilling to take such extreme measures with a man who was obviously giving vent to his hurt.
“This man is obviously crazy.” said Abishai. Why aren’t you doing anything about him, he thought. “Why should this dead dog be allowed to curse you, my lord?”
David looked at Abishai.
“What am I going to do with you sons of Zeruiah?” You are so much like Joab. Remembering Joab’s hurt and anger at losing his younger brother in war, David reflected on the irrationality of Joab’s grief. It had resulted in impulsive revenge and in Abner’s murder. He said, “Perhaps the man is not crazy. This may well be a test from God to prove that I am not the man of blood that he says that I am. Would you have me kill him and prove him to be right? Both of you are intent on proving that I am as unjust as Absalom thinks I am.
I don’t understand the events that have taken place recently any more than you. I have been asking the Lord what He is trying to say to me. What if the Lord has sent him to curse me? Who is going to question the Lord with a sword? Who is willing to kill a man who is sent from God and risk bringing the judgement of God upon our heads?” Abishai was silent. This is bizarre! You are not making any sense, he thought.
David gave a command to the servants who were about to take Shimei into custody. “Leave him alone and let him curse. My own son, Absalom, is seeking to take my life, so I think we can put up with the words and stones of this Benjaminite. The Lord has told him to do it. Perhaps the Lord will look on my situation and turn his cursing into blessing.”
They arrived weary from the ordeal. Shimei had continued to cast stones, curses and dust from the hillside parallel to them throughout their journey.
P.S. Don’t forget to purchase a copy of Above the Storm, my new e-book on the ancient book of Job, full of short stories to help you understand some deep truths. This is a creative exploration of Job. You will not read another commentary like it. All royalties for the e-book, if any, will go to Hope Street in Sydney, Australia.