Posts Tagged ‘Hushai’

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 71

His arrival was royally received. David had chosen the Levitical town of Mahanaim deliberately. It had been the capital of Saul’s son, king Ish-bosheth, and so it was already known as a royal city. Strongly fortified, it was the boundary between the lands of Gad and Manasseh, a strategic place to be for a king who did not want to divide his people. For David, it was also a sacred place, a town assigned to Levites back in the days of Joshua – a place where I can pray.

Grateful for the blessings of his journey so far, he thanked God for the people of the region. They had brought them every form of refreshment they needed; beds, basins, pottery, wheat, barley, flour, grain, beans, lentils, seeds, honey, curds, sheep, and cheese. The food was a welcome greeting after their journey through the wilderness.

Such generosity had followed them through their travels so far. In thanksgiving prayer David recalled the generosity of Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth, while he had been on the Mount of Olives. And now Barzillai, an old and trusted ironsmith had also brought him supplies and weapons of extraordinary quality.

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

It was Hushai who reported to Absalom. His news was disturbing. “Ahithophel has hanged himself.” Absalom seemed unperturbed and said absently, “Well, Ahithophel, … that was unexpected. It seems he does not take well to his new king refusing to take his advice. Bury him in his father’s grave, privately. Tell people he was ashamed of failing his king.”

As Hushai arranged for Ahithophel’s broken body to be buried without ceremony, he thought, You were once one of David’s closest counsellors, but now you will be remembered as a traitor. You have failed the king, but it is not Absalom. At times remorse pursues men relentlessly to their deaths.

In years to come the spirit of Ahithophel would enter a man called Judas as he greeted Jesus, the One called the Son of David, and betray him with a kiss. Judas would also hang himself.

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

Some days later Absalom crossed the Jordan with his huge army. It appeared as if all the men of Israel were with him. Absalom had chosen a man called Amasa to lead his army to face Joab. Amasa looked very much like Joab, tall and well-built. Amasa’s father had married the sister of Joab’s mother. Absalom had chosen him deliberately. Nephew against Uncle. Son against father. Brothers against brothers. They would camp at Gilead, in the mountains.

The day of reckoning has come, thought Absalom as he rode before his army, with a smile on his face. His army greatly outnumbered David’s. And his spies had discovered the position of David’s forces. My greatest goal will soon be achieved.

 

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.

Pastor Ross

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WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 69

After losing Absalom’s spies, Hushai spoke with Zadok and Abiathar the priests. He related everything that Ahithophel had counselled as well as his own advice to Absalom.

“Because I was sent out of the room before the decision was made, you will need to send a message to David immediately telling him not to spend the night at the fords. Tell him to cross over at once. He and all the people with him are in danger of their lives. As you know, Absalom’s spies are everywhere. How do you intend to get through to David without arousing suspicion?”

Zadok said, “Our sons, Jonathan and Ahimaaz are staying outside the city at En-rogel so as not to be seen entering and leaving Jerusalem. We will send a servant girl to them with your message and they will go to king David.” The plan seemed acceptable to Hushai.

 Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

“My lord, a man from En-rogel is here. He says he needs to speak with you immediately.”

Absalom instructed his servant to let the man in. When Paltiel had been instructed to watch Ahimaaz and Jonathan like a hawk, Absalom had said, “They may be used to get a message to David. Report anything you see that may seem unusual.”

“What news do you have?” Absalom asked.

Paltiel replied, “They met with a servant girl from the city and then headed towards Bahurim, my lord. I know that they have friends in Bahurim but they seemed to be in a hurry. This is also the first time they have moved from the house. It is as if they were waiting for the servant girl to arrive. It may be nothing, but it seemed suspicious to me.”

Absalom said, “Well done. Now take some of my servants with you and intercept them immediately. Bring them here for questioning.”

The man smiled. “Yes my lord”, he said.

Paltiel was the man to whom King Saul had once given his daughter, Michal, in marriage. She had been David’s wife, but when David was forced to flee, he had left her behind. David had demanded her to be returned as part of his negotiations with Abner. This had devastated Paltiel for he had been deeply in love with Michal.

Serving Absalom was Paltiel’s way of dealing with the injustice of this event. His name, Paltiel, meant God has delivered. “I intend to see my wife delivered from David’s clutches as decisively as she had been wrenched from mine,” he had told Absalom.

A contingent of men was chosen and Paltiel was on his way. When they arrived at the house in Bahurim, Paltiel stationed his men. A woman greeted him at the door and though he recognised her, he said abruptly,

“Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?”

“They are not here.” Paltiel struck the woman across the face with the back of his hand. He didn’t have time to waste.

“I know they have been here”, he said, “Now tell me where they are!” The woman held her face and was visibly shocked by Paltiel’s aggression.

“They are not here.” Her voice was quivering but indignant, “They have gone over the brook.” Paltiel gave his orders, “Search the brook and the house. They cannot have gone far.”

As some of the men searched the house, he strode out into the courtyard. His quick eyes surveyed the area. The woman followed him out. She felt a tense knot forming in her stomach but tried to hide any evidence of her fear and her deception from her face.

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.

Pastor Ross

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 68

“But it is not enough simply to humiliate David and destroy his reputation.” said Ahithophel, “We must also destroy him!”

Absalom said, “Go on.”

There is only one way to destroy David now,” said Ahithophel. I know David’s tactics. If we give him any time to think, he will devise a plan to win back his kingdom. Let me choose 12,000 men and I will pursue David tonight. He will still be exhausted from his rapid retreat out of Jerusalem. If we attack him while he is least expecting it we will decimate his army. Most of the people with him will flee for their lives in the confusion. Those who remain will be scattered. Before he can regather his army I will strike him down. Then we can return with the people he has taken with him. They will refuse to return unless he is dead. They will accept you as king if he is dead because you are his son. Then and only then will there be peace. 

The elders thought that this plan was good. Absalom agreed except he would have liked to have been there to see David die. Just as he took delight in watching his brother die, so too he saw in his mind the death of his father. Still, something didn’t appear right about this. It seemed too simple. He said, Your plan is good but I want to hear what Hushai the Archite has to say. Bring him back to me and explain your plan to him. 

Ahithophel felt confident about this request and left immediately to bring Hushai to Absalom. Along the way, he spoke to Hushai and told him to affirm his plan. Hushai listened carefully and came before Absalom.

Ahithophel has a plan to decimate the army of my father. Absalom said. Once more the plan was outlined to Hushai and Absalom said, What are your thoughts? Do you agree?

The room was silent as Hushai looked at Ahithophel and then back to Absalom. In that brief moment, he prayed fervently that the Lord would help him to thwart the counsel of Ahithophel, and give him the right words to say that would bring disaster on Absalom. He was not used to public speaking but his deep resonant voice rang in each person’s ears as if it had been amplified by the Spirit of God himself. He said, “With due respect to Ahithophel, this time, I can’t agree with his advice.” 

Ahithophel’s eyes narrowed and he frowned as Hushai continued speaking directly to Absalom. You know your father and his men. They are as fierce and mighty as a bear robbed of her cubs. Your father is an expert in strategic warfare. He knows that country like the back of his hand. He won’t spend the night with the people. He has most likely hidden in a cave or in some other place suitable for an ambush. 

This is not a good way to begin your campaign; with little organisation and only 12,000 men. The whole of Israel will say that you sent these men to their slaughter. After that, it won’t matter how valiant your soldiers are. They will lose heart completely. 

Your father has a reputation for being a mighty man and those who are with him are very experienced and valiant warriors. This action will only increase his reputation and make you weak in the sight of all Israel.

My counsel is to take time to gather all the men of Israel from Dan as far as Beersheba so that you have an army which will be like the sand of the sea. They will be so abundant that you will not fail to reach your objective. Then I would suggest that you personally lead them into battle. When you find your father, you will decimate his army so completely that not one of them will remain alive. If a city opens its gates to him, then we will drag that city into the valley until not one stone is left standing. By this time, Hushai’s voice had reached a crescendo and his argument had been very convincing. He could see that Absalom was in agreement, but both he and Ahithophel were ushered out of the room before the decision was made.

Ahithophel said to Hushai on the way out, If your advice is taken then this day you have betrayed Israel! Hushai remained silent. It was amusing to him that a traitor to king David would accuse him of betrayal. He prayed fervently as he then made his way undetected by Absalom’s spies to his first rendezvous with the priests Zadok and Abiathar.

Absalom was convinced and came to the point. He said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than Ahithophel’s counsel. The elders were in agreement. Absalom would continue his celebrations while Hushai’s plans were being put into operation. It would take some days to gather his full army.

Absalom looked out at Jerusalem. It was on this same roof that David had once looked upon Bathsheba. That afternoon and in the days to come, as the wine flowed and the celebrations became raucous, David’s concubines were brought into Absalom presence. Each of them had been used like slaves serving Absalom’s men at the tables. In his drunkenness and thirst for more power over David, he brought each of them forcefully onto his rooftop balcony and sexually abused them. He wielded his dagger and threatened them with death until they were too afraid to resist. News of Absalom’s perversion spread quickly as his army was gathered from every corner of Israel. Hushai could do nothing. He thought, In broad daylight he brings shame to the family of Davidbut most of all he is bringing shame upon himself.

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 67

David’s concubines were paraded before Absalom’s men as slaves and humiliated into serving them.

Absalom had called Ahithophel into his conference room with his elders. They were both intoxicated from the celebrations. But Absalom was far from satisfied. He threw his cup against the wall in frustration and said to Ahithophel, “How can I establish my authority as the new king when my coward father is not even willing to fight?” The years of bitterness demanded overt expression. I despise you, father? He looked at Ahithophel with both helplessness and hatred in his eyes, “I need your advice. Tell me what I can do next to decimate the kingdom of David?”

Ahithophel mumbled something as he observed what was happening through drunken eyes. Speaking slowly so as to make his point and with too much animation he said, “What you have done there,” He pointed to the concubines, “will have the advantage of sorting out the loyalty of your followers. If you humiliate David you will ‘make yourself strong’ in their eyes and they will have even greater resolve to establish you as David’s successor. Your reputation as one who despises anything to do with David will be quickly broadcast throughout Israel.”

In the past, the advice that Ahithophel had given had been regarded by David and Absalom to be prophetic. He was a very learned man. He knew the Word of God as given by the prophets, and studied the written documents religiously. Hushai, who stood near the door thought, How can this proud, arrogant fool apply God’s Word to his decision-making when his thinking is distorted with wine?

In his intoxicated state Ahithophel was rambling about the past. He was remembering his granddaughter, Bathsheba when he said, “When David committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered my son-in-law to cover it up, Nathan the prophet came to David with a prophecy. Do you remember?”

The words of Nathan’s prophecy now rang in Ahithophel’s memory. Both Ahithophel and Absalom had been in the room as Nathan had said to king David, “This is what the Lord says: ‘From one who is very close to you I will bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes, I will take your wives and give them to one who is very close to you, and he will have sexual relations with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but this thing will take place before all Israel.'”

Ahithophel now saw Absalom as the fulfilment of that prophecy. It all made sense. He said to Absalom, “If you really desire to make yourself offensive to your father then you will fulfil the prophecy of Nathan and establish yourself in the way of kings gone by. Make these concubines yours.”

“They are mine!” said Absalom.

“Then sleep with them and let it be known in broad daylight that you are humiliating the name of David!” He waited for his words to have effect upon Absalom. Absalom knew of this practice. His thoughts immediately went back to his childhood.

But each one of these women was old enough to be his mother. He had grown up with their children, Shammua, Shobab, Nathan and the others. I despise you all! he thought, All of you are threats to my kingdom. What better way to express my power over you, father?

A kind of perverted vengeance rose up within him. Sleeping with these women would extinguish the very seed of king David. It would make his own seed dominant and declare all that is of David to be his. He said in a whisper that could have come from Satan himself, “I have captured your kingdom and I will destroy your seed. Any children now born in this kingdom will now come through me!”

Absalom said under his breath, “Like Abner.” Ahithophel thought for a moment and then said, “Yes, like Abner.”

The incident had happened as Absalom was growing up as a young prince in David’s court. Abner had once been king Saul’s leading general in the North. He had been accused of sleeping with Rizpah, a concubine of Saul. This had sent shock waves all over Israel. Rumours were rife. It was well known that if someone wanted to indicate defiance to the king then this was the ultimate statement of rebellion. The words used to describe this were, to make yourself strong. In Absalom’s mind, it was the perfect way to express his utter contempt for his father and make himself strong in the eyes of all Israel.

Proceedings seemed to be winding up so Hushai took the opportunity to take his leave.

But Ahithophel was not finished.

 

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.

Pastor Ross

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 64

When Ahithophel arrived in Hebron, Absalom was already offering sacrifices. The animals had been taken from the royal flock. Absalom saw each animal as a symbol of all that he would make his father sacrifice to fulfil his own destiny. More blood is yet to be spilled.

As soon as he discovered that Absalom intended a military coup, Ahithophel pledged his allegiance. The conspiracy grew stronger. Men of Israel had only praise as they spoke of this handsome young king and they continued to spread the word about Absalom.

The trumpets blew and the crowds gathered. Some thought that David himself was announcing his son as king and that Absalom had his blessing, but for whatever reason, they began to flock to Hebron – the innocent sheep of Absalom’s sacrifice.

No-one noticed the man who returned secretly to Jerusalem to report to Hushai. Hushai warned David of the conspiracy immediately.

Not wanting any bloodshed, King David decided an immediate evacuation of the city. Hushai remained in Jerusalem waiting for further information on Ahithophel from a second messenger. He was still there when all who had chosen to follow king David left the city. Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

David wept. As he had approached the summit of the Mount of Olives, head covered and barefoot he had looked across to the city of Jerusalem and could no longer contain his tears. He spoke prophetic words that found their truest expression many years hence in the voice of the Son of David, Jesus, who stood in the same place and wept over the city.

This day it seemed that both voices, centuries apart, cried in unison, “Jerusalem, Oh, Jerusalem, who kills her prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I have wanted to gather your children together, the way a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate. For I say to you, from now on you shall not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'”

The presence of God descended upon this place of worship and all the people who were with the king covered their heads and wept also.

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

On the Mount of Olives, Ziba met David with a couple of saddled donkeys. David could not see Mephibosheth and so he had asked, “Where is your master?”

“He has decided to stay in Jerusalem, I could not convince him to come with me, my lord king. He kept saying, ‘Now that David is gone, Israel will restore my father’s kingdom to me.'” Ziba looked embarrassed. David was annoyed. I treated him well and he repays me with such disrespect.

King Saul’s son, Jonathan, had proved to be David’s most faithful, trusted and loved friend. It had been an honour to show kindness to his son, Mephibosheth. The land that belonged to king Saul was given to him and Ziba had been instructed to cultivate it. Mephibosheth ate at David’s own table.

“My lord, I have brought you some of the produce of my master’s land.” Ziba proceeded to unload the donkeys. He had brought two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred clusters of raisins, a hundred summer fruits, and a jug of wine. “The donkeys are for the kings family to ride, and the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat. The wine is for those who become faint in the wilderness.”

Although David was disappointed with Mephibosheth, he was grateful for the supplies. “Because you have shown me kindness despite your master’s unfaithfulness to me, all that belongs to Mephibosheth is now yours.” Ziba could not believe his ears. He prostrated himself on the ground to show his gratitude and loyalty.

“Let me always find favour in your eyes, my lord, the king!”

It seemed as if Hushai had entered into a sanctuary as he walked into camp that day and made his way through the guards to David. He presented himself by prostrating himself before the king. As a sign of his grief for his king, he had torn the top section of his garments and put the dust of the road upon his head. David took him by the hand and raised him up, giving him the hug of a respected friend. Hushai said, “My lord, it has been confirmed that Ahithophel is one of the conspirators with Absalom.” David turned again towards Jerusalem and said, “O Lord, I pray, make Ahithophel’s counsel be foolishness.”

David trusted Hushai and wasted no time in giving him a special mission for the sake of intelligence. He said, “You will be of no use to me here, Hushai. Go back to Jerusalem. You must thwart the counsel of Ahithophel in whatever way you can. Be my ears. Whatever you hear from the king’s house, report it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. Their two sons, Ahimaaz and Jonathan, will be your feet and will send me everything that you hear.”

Hushai left immediately and found another way back to Jerusalem so as not to arouse the suspicion of Absalom’s spies. He walked into Jerusalem just before Absalom arrived.


 

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 63

“I believe Absalom is going to declare himself king when he arrives in Hebron”, he said to Ahithophel bluntly. Not being one to waste time, Hushai had come to Ahithophel to give his report and discuss what advice should be given to king David.

A quiet and unassuming man, Hushai went about his business largely unnoticed. He could blend in to any situation, reporting regularly to Ahithophel and sometimes to king David himself. In fact, his wisdom made him a trusted friend of David.

“The rumours are growing stronger. People are saying that Absalom is the natural choice and that he will certainly bring justice to the nation.”

Ahithophel was a little annoyed. “I am aware of the rumours but we can’t simply act on hearsay. We don’t have enough facts. The king would regard us as foolish. …Besides Absalom may well be the next king, one day.” Where do you stand Hushai? thought Ahithophel. Where are you going with this? I can’t afford to get on the wrong side of Absalom now.

Hushai was a little surprised by Ahithophel’s response. He said, “You approve of Absalom’s actions?”

“This young man has shown himself to be a man of justice. He is well liked and has developed a huge following. I think we may well be seeing our next king.” Ahithophel repeated.

Deciding to explore what Ahithophel was thinking rather than argue, Hushai said,“Perhaps you are right. But what should we tell the king about Absalom? It won’t be long before he arrives in Hebron.”

“We will tell him nothing … and continue to watch Absalom’s movements.”

Hushai said nothing more. He already had a man watching Absalom. Although he felt very uneasy about Ahithophel’s advice, he felt it wise not to pursue the topic further with a man so greatly respected by king David. They were interrupted by a messenger just as he was about to leave.

The message was from Absalom, asking if Ahithophel would join him in Hebron. Surprised, but pleased that Absalom had sent for him, Ahithophel had responded quickly, without the king’s permission to take leave. He gave Hushai orders.

“Stay in Jerusalem and be on hand should the king want assistance, but do not tell him of my whereabouts. I will personally gain knowledge of Absalom’s intentions and we will decide our next move when I return,” he said. “If Absalom is declaring himself as king, so be it. But don’t speak of this before the king yet. It’s not time.”

On numerous occasions now Ahithophel had spoken to Hushai about Absalom. He had wanted to suggest to the king that Absalom becomes a chief judge in the court but was waiting for the right moment. Since Hushai had kept silent on the issue, Ahithophel had interpreted his silence as agreement. Hushai could see that he was blinded by the strange power of persuasion that Absalom had over people.

The two hundred men who went with Absalom from Jerusalem had little idea of what Absalom’s intentions were. One man, however, stayed as close as possible to Absalom, watching every move that he made, listening to every word he could possibly hear without looking too suspicious and waiting for the right moment.

Pastor Ross

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.

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 56

“Revenge cursed Joab as surely as it cursed Absalom,” said Ahithophel to Hushai as they made their way to Geshur to retrieve Absalom and his family.

“Joab had remained bitter and the war had continued for many years without an occasion for him to avenge his brother’s death. It had bothered him like an open sore that refuses to heal.” It was a leprosy that ate away from the inside. It slowed him down like a man with a crippled foot. He hungered for Abner’s death like a man starving for nourishment.

“Then the perfect opportunity came. Joab walked into the king’s presence after a successful raid. I remember that David was pleased and responded, ‘I also have good news. Abner has made a peace agreement with me during your absence. He has gone out of his way to convince the rest of Israel that I should be their king. I prepared a feast for him, and he has returned in peace to arrange the details of our covenant.’

Joab was anything but pleased. His desire for personal revenge completely blinded him to the significance of what was happening. Instead of seeing the possibility of David’s dream of Israel being united once again, his dreams only pictured his brother dying at Abner’s feet in war.

He confronted David and said, ‘What have you done? Abner came to you. Why did you let him go?’ He was furious. ‘Don’t you realise that he is deceiving you? He came to observe your military operations and to find out what you are doing!’”

David had seen the hatred in Joab’s eyes which had blocked any sense of reason.

“Joab strode out of the room and spurred on by malice, he immediately sent messengers after Abner. They found him and brought him back.”

Joab had been consumed by a spirit of revenge and motivated by a false sense of personal justice. With deceit in his heart Joab had taken Abner aside into the shadows of the gateway, as though to speak with him privately. Unknown to Abner, Joab held Asahel’s Canaanite dagger tightly in his hand as they met.

Joab boasted to me once. He told me that without warning, he had thrust Asahel’s dagger into Abner’s stomach, ripping it upwards towards his lungs so that he would die slowly. He was spitting the venom of years of bitter hatred and he said, ‘This is for Asahel!’ as he watched Abner die.

“As you can imagine, this murder had tremendous implications for the political climate of the time. Strangely, Joab was not punished but I was present when David cursed him.”

He could almost hear the words of David echoing in his mind when he had heard of Abner’s death.

David had shouted at Joab “Did it ever occur to you that your own selfish hurt has the capacity to hurt all Israel? Israel is now on the brink of a major civil war! Your actions, as my general reflect upon my rulership. Didn’t you realise that people would accuse me, not you, of Abner’s murder? You took matters into your own hands instead of trusting my decision to protect Abner.”

“You should have heard him.” Ahithophel said, “‘May his blood be upon your head and upon all your family!’ he said, ‘May your family never be without someone who has a running sore or leprosy or who is crippled or who dies by the sword or who lacks food.’ I’ve never heard David speak like this before or since.”

Ahithophel laughed but he also remembered that tears had begun to well in David’s eyes as he turned away. He had spoken absently.

“I am not sure but perhaps he was praying because David said, ‘A great man has fallen in Israel this day? I am weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me.’

But David did do something which punished Joab more than we will know. He humiliated Joab by ordering him and all the people with him to tear their clothes, put on sackcloth and walk in mourning in front of Abner’s funeral bier. His own mother had insisted.

King David himself had walked behind the bier. The king wept aloud at Abner’s tomb and sung a lament in public for Abner. His lament made it clear that Joab was to blame. He said of Abner, ‘You died as one who is killed before wicked men. May the Lord repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds!’”

The people had wept and David had fasted for the whole day. It was this that stopped the civil war from erupting. All the people had taken note of David’s response to Abner’s death and they were in agreement with him. In fact, everything the king did had pleased them.

“David did not punish Joab in any way other than making him lament for Abner. He could have given Joab the death sentence for this murder. I still wonder why he didn’t. Perhaps Absalom knew of Joab’s history and took this into account before he killed Amnon. If his father did nothing to his general, then he was not likely to do anything to his son.”

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 55

“Why is it that Joab is so anxious to have Absalom back in Jerusalem?” asked Hushai as they were walking on the second day. Ahithophel and Hushai were among those who accompanied Joab to retrieve Absalom and his family from Geshur.

“Perhaps to ease his own conscience.” said Ahithophel.

“What do you mean?”

“Joab is also guilty of murder. You would have only been a child when it happened but I remember it well.”

Yes, Ahithophel remembered it well. It had been a time of great excitement. David had just been anointed as king. Abner was the commander of Saul’s army. Saul was dead but Abner had taken Saul’s son, Ish-bosheth, and made him king of Israel. The tribe of Judah had followed David and this division had inevitably led to war.

“Joab had gone out to meet Abner in battle. The battle was fiercely fought but finally, Abner’s army had begun to be pushed back. Asahel, Joab’s younger brother, had been in a position to take Abner himself and, disobeying Joab’s orders, had headed out after him.

Joab tried to warn Asahel. He knew Abner to be a seasoned warrior, but he was too late.”

As fleet-footed as a wild gazelle, Asahel had gained on Abner with each strong step. Joab had not been able to keep up with him and Asahel had refused to give up the pursuit.

“Just as Joab caught sight of them from a distance, he watched as Abner thrust the butt of his spear through his brothers slender frame. Joab was full of rage. He tore his clothes and roared in anguish and grief, but his brother Asahel was dead.”

The picture of his brother’s death had been as vivid in Joab’s mind as if it had just happened. For him, the war was over and a personal pursuit of Abner had begun. Rage had encompassed him.

Many men lay dead around him on that day, but to Joab, their lives had been somehow commingled with the death of his brother. From that moment on, it was between Abner and Joab.

“Joab had one thought only. Abner deserves to pay the price for the death of Asahel!”

The sun was setting as they had come to more rugged terrain, and they saw the silhouetted images of Abner’s men taking their stand on top of the hill of Ammah.

Abner had called out, “Joab, this has become more than a battle. If we continue this, it will only end in bitterness? How long before you order your men to stop? We are brothers fighting against brothers.” The words had only served to further enrage him.

One of the commanders brought him to his senses, however. He said, “Sir, Abner’s men are well placed for a battle. Our own men will be at a significant disadvantage. To continue will be military suicide. Many of our men will die.” He had reluctantly ordered the trumpet sound and his men had returned.

He took Asahel’s body and buried it in their father’s tomb at Bethlehem. Taking Asahel’s dagger in his hands, he swore revenge. It would take a long time, but he was determined.”

Pastor Ross

P.S.

I hope you are enjoying When the Wolf Howls, my book about Absalom.

I am also pleased to announce my first e-Book for you! Available on Amazon.com for around $7.00 about a man called Job.

Above the Storm

Above the Storm is an exploration of the ancient book of Job for the creative mind.

This is my first e-book, available on Amazon.com. What can I say? I have loved every part of the years I have spent in the exploration of Job. I have been inspired, enriched and changed by the journey and I know you will too. I invite you to buy it and be surprised afresh by the rich Words of Life from the ancient Book of Job, as you read Above the Storm

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

CHAPTER 30

“Jonathan’s son?” David was shocked. “Jonathan’s son is still alive!”

“Yes, my lord.” Ziba could see the look on the king’s face and was getting more anxious by the minute. “I had very little to do with this, my lord. I meant no harm.”

“Jonathan’s son?” David repeated.

“Yes, my lord.”

The questions began to tumble from David’s mouth.

Ziba answered them. “He is living at Lo Debar. It was the family of Machir who have harboured him since the death of his father Jonathan and king Saul. I was instructed to keep quiet about what I knew. I had no choice.”

“How did he escape after Saul died?” said David.

“His nurse took him and they fled for their lives. In her hurry to get away the nurse slipped and Mephibosheth fell down an embankment. He survived the fall but he has been crippled in both feet ever since. He was only 5 years old when his father was killed. She took him to the house of Machir and he has kept his identity a secret, not wanting further harm to happen to him.”

“Why wasn’t I told of this?”

“Machir made it very clear to me that if I told anyone, Mephibosheth’s life would be in danger, as well as mine. Please, my lord, I am telling you the truth. Have mercy upon me.”

“Machir was right! Why should I have mercy upon you. It is normal practise to execute the family of a previous king along with anyone else who might cause a problem. Why should it be any different for you or Machir? You have harboured a prince who could have been a threat to my throne? Is there anything else you haven’t told me?”

“There is one more thing you should know, my lord,” Ziba said. He could see that his only hope was to tell David everything and hope for the best.

“And what is that?”

“Mephibosheth married one of Machir’s daughter’s and he has a son named Mica.”

“So, not only does the line of Saul continue but I have another prince to contend with.”

“Sir, Machir’s family have lived under your rule for many years now. I have never heard them speak against you and I have always remained loyal…”

“Enough! You will go with Hushai and bring Mephibosheth to me.” Ziba hesitated, bowed and then headed for the door where Hushai was waiting.

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 29

“I have discovered information about a family who have been harbouring one of the immediate relatives of Saul, my lord. What would you have me do?” said Hushai. He was a quiet man and went about his work efficiently. Few people realised that he worked closely with David’s chief advisor, Ahithophel, and fewer still realised that he was David’s foremost intelligence agent. The news from Hushai was quite startling.

“How reliable is this information?” said David.

“It apparently originates from a man we know to have been a previous servant of king Saul.” said Hushai.

“Bring him to me, immediately!”  

For some years, David had conducted a search for the relatives of king Saul, but to no avail. It was presumed that God had wiped Saul’s family name from the face of the earth because of his wickedness.

A small man who reminded David of a weasel was ushered into court and fell prostrate before him.

“Live forever, king David and show mercy to your servant, Ziba.” 

“My servant? That’s strange. I was told that you were a servant of king Saul. Was I misinformed?” 

“No, my lord. I was one of king Saul’s servants, but that was a long time ago and I have been faithful to you for many years. Have mercy, my king.” 

“I understand that you know of someone who is harbouring one of the family members of king Saul. Is this true?”  

So this was the reason I have been called before you. Ziba was not surprised though he thought his tracks had been covered well. How did you find out? I told only my most trusted friends. Which one is the traitor? Pride had demanded that he tell someone. Who leaked this information to the king, of all people? Years of covering up now sagged in his shoulders. What can I tell him? The truth seemed to be his best option if he could minimise his complicity in this matter.”

“Yes, my lord.” he stuttered.

“Who is this person?”

“His name is Mephibosheth, my lord. He is the grandson of king Saul, Jonathan’s son.”