Thoughts for the Week

Archive for August, 2012

Blood is Shed (Part 3 of 6)

(1 Samuel 22:6-19)

While David ran from the king, many men without direction began following him.

Unfortunately, Saul heard of this new development as well. The king sat under a tree with spear in hand. He gripped the worn handle. The king longed to drive the blade into David’s heart. He shouted to his officers.

“Have you heard? That treacherous dog, David, is gathering men against me! Also, no one told me he met with my son before he fled. Jonathan, my own son! I’m sure he was encouraging this traitor to end my life!”

His officers shuffled nervously. The king was getting into one of his moods.

Behind a few of his soldiers, a shaggy man listened, then stepped forward. It was Doeg. “My lord,” he began. “I saw the son of Jesse up at Nob. He was speaking to the priest, Ahimelech. He gave the fugitive food and a weapon.”

Saul’s face grew flushed and his jaw clenched in anger. “Has everyone in Israel betrayed me?” He called all the priests of Nob to come and they arrived quickly. Eighty-five priests stood in the sweltering sun before Saul. He still sat under the tree. His voice boomed in the silence.

“Listen to me, Ahimelech!”

The priest’s forehead grew moist with sweat. “What is it, my king?”

“Why have you conspired against me? Why have you helped my enemy, David? He was with you! Remember? You gave him food and a weapon! You also encouraged him to kill me!”

The line of priests looked to each other fearfully. Ahimelech tried to hide his shock and fury. His skin grew hot and felt prickly under the desert heat. “My king! I did give the son of Jesse food and a weapon, but I never told him to betray you!”

Saul merely curled a lip in disgust. “I don’t believe you.”

The priest’s anger burned like the hot sun. “Listen, there isn’t anyone in your household as faithful as your son-in-law, David. He is the captain of your bodyguard! Why pursue him unjustly?”

The king heard enough. He leapt to his feet, grabbed his spear, and charged at Ahimelech. The priests pulled back and a few looked away. Ahimelech looked straight into the crazed eyes of king and knew he was not going to win this argument. He slowly dropped to his knees and murmured.

“My lord, please do not accuse us. I had no idea what David was doing.”

His knees stung in the gritty dirt, and Ahimelech slowly looked up, praying to see mercy in the king’s eyes.

There was none.

Saul hissed. “You will die, Ahimelech. You and your family!” He caught the defenseless man by the throat and called to his men. “Kill them all! They have betrayed me!”

The priests cried out and grouped together. Ahimelech choked a cry for mercy. The officers refused to hurt them. Saul pushed Ahimelech to his back and cursed. “Have all of my men betrayed me?” He looked to Doeg and growled. “You do it. Finish them.”

The Edomite turned on the prone man. The priest recognized him. “You…you were at the temple.” Doeg ignored him and drove his blade into Ahimelech’s chest.

Doeg killed the eighty-five priests. The sand was stained red with their blood.

If that wasn’t enough, he then went to the town of Nob and slaughtered all the families of the priests. Every wife. Every son. Every daughter. Every infant. They were all killed.

Except one. A son of Ahimelech escaped and started looking for David.

To Be Continued…

Copyright 2012 by Molly Anderson. Use by permission only.
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Captured (Part 2 of 6)

(1 Samuel 21:10-15)

With his newly acquired sword, David made his way south over the sandy terrain and away from Saul. But one day, he woke to find he was surrounded by guards from Gath. They recognized him as an Israelite, took his sword, shackled him, and brought him to their king, Achish. But when they arrived, the king was busy, so the guards had David wait.

He had kept his mouth shut. Now he sat outside the king’s courtyard and hoped he could explain that he was on the run. He picked up the guards’ hushed conversation. The man with the beaky nose who held David’s sword hissed to his comrade, “Grenith, I knew he was trouble when we found him. I’m certain it’s him.”

The other guard ran his rough knuckles through his coarse, black beard. “Alkor, listen, he’s been traveling for days. We’ll have our lord decide whether or not he is David, son of Jesse.”

“It must be him. He carries the sword of our champion.”

David took in a sharp breath. He clenched his fists. Goliath’s sword! How could I be so foolish? He was from Gath. He glanced to the massive sword. Something tells me they won’t forgive me when I come wearing the weapon of their fallen hero. I’ve got to get out of here.

He noticed the guards had turned their backs on him. He slowly planted his hands in the gritty soil to jump to his feet and run. I’ll find a way to get these restraints off once I’ve escaped. But in that moment, more guards arrived and filed him into the next room. It was time to meet the king of Gath.

The throne room reeked of musky incense. The king sat and eyed the tattered, dirty warrior. He sighed. “Alkor, what is this man doing here? I have no need for vagabonds.”

The guard removed David’s shackles and shoved him to his knees. While bowing, the guard brought the sword up. “He is no vagabond, my lord. Here is the sword of Goliath, our champion. He was killed none other by David, son of Jesse!”

The king’s brow lowered. “You don’t mean to say….”

Alkor straightened. “Yes, is it not him, the one Samuel anointed king of Israel? Isn’t he the one they sing about? ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.’ Those ‘tens of thousands’ were our people!”

Achish rose. His ornamental necklace and bracelets rattled. The sound filled the tense air. He made his way toward David. The king’s face grew red as the gemstones around his neck. “Is it true? Are you David, son of Jesse? Hated enemy of Gath?”

David opened his mouth. I sure hope this works.

“Rah tee mah soo keet ta.”

“What?”

“Rah tee maaaah, see baba.” David proceeded to run around the courtyard, babbling incoherently, scratching marks on the doors, and drooling like a dog. The king was appalled. “Alkor! He’s insane! Why did you bring him here? We already have enough madmen in this place! Get rid of him!”

Alkor was as horrified as the king. He and the guards ushered David out of the king’s dwelling place and rudely shoved him outside the city limits.

Once they were gone, David smiled and ran east. I may have lost my sword, but at least I escaped with my life!

Later he rested and penned the words, “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all.”

(Psalm 34:19, NIV)

To Be Continued…

Copyright 2012 by Molly Anderson. Use by permission only.

David, the Fugitive (Part 1 of 6)

(1 Samuel 21:1-9)

David raised his eyes to the meet the town of Nob which was bathed in starlight. He was a fugitive, on the run from Saul, the king with a wild temper. His best friend, Jonathan, had tried reasoning with Saul, his father,  but was almost killed for it.

David felt hot tears rise as he recalled what was probably his last encounter with Jonathan. They had met outside in a field, and both knew David would never be safe in the courts again. Jonathan and David wept and said their goodbyes. The dark, lonely flight to Nob filled David’s heart with dread. I don’t know if I’ll even last the night. Saul’s probably hunting me already.

He stopped to see a priest named Ahimelech. He entered the small temple. Torches cast flickering shadows on the rough interior walls. Ahimelech looked up from his desk and saw the young warrior standing in the doorway, disheveled and weaponless. David knew his appearance was going to raise suspicion.

“Good evening.” Ahimelech made his way toward the fugitive. “Why are you alone?” The ex-shepherd knew he couldn’t tell the truth. He wasn’t sure who to trust right now.

“The king sent me on a secret mission. Please don’t tell anyone I’m here.” The priest nodded and ushered David further into the temple.

“I’m famished. Do you have anything to eat?” David asked.

Ahimelech gave him the consecrated bread. David took it and sat off in a shadowy corner to eat. The bread filled David’s stomach, but not his heart. Great, now I’ve lied to a priest and am eating the holy bread. I sure don’t feel holy right now. Lord…what am I supposed to do?

David felt the back of his neck prickle and noticed a man across the courtyard watching him. David knew the man. He was Doeg, servant to Saul. David pulled his cloak a little closer and turned his back on Doeg. I hope he doesn’t recognize me. David thought.

He figured he could spend the night in Nob and be on his way in the morning. But he needed a weapon.

After supper, he asked Ahimelech, “Listen, do you have any weapons here I could use? I left in such a haste, I forgot mine.” The priest directed him to a small closet to the side.

“Anything we have in there you can use, feel free to take a look.”

David pulled on the heavy door and a dry, musty smell greeted him. He found broken arrows, some bent pieces of armor, and a few rough daggers. He sighed. There was nothing here. But then his eye fell on something. There was a large sword wrapped in cloth behind an ephod. He tugged on the pommel and hoisted the sword into the light. He carried it to the priest.

“Ahimelech, what is this?”

“Ah, funny you picked that sword. Why, don’t you remember it? The man it belonged to declared he would destroy you with it, and you destroyed him with it. But from what I heard, you took him down with a sling first.”

David’s jaw dropped and the sword felt a little heavier in his arms. “Goliath,” he breathed.

“Yes, the champion from Gath,” Ahimelech mused.

“This sword…there is none like it. And now I have it.” In that moment, David recalled how the Lord had helped him defeat the towering giant. He was suddenly filled with hope. Now, there was another giant coming who wanted to destroy him. But David knew if God had helped him before, he could certainly protect his servant again.

To Be Continued…

Copyright 2012 by Molly Anderson. Use by permission only.

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