Inspired by the first day of spring, which is just around the corner, I want to give you a taste of a first day for one of the characters in our boxed set:
Fear is contagious. I suppose he got it from his master, who has come to dread my military expeditions. He must have caught wind of the rumors, the persistent rumors that in the wake of such attacks I would leave no survivors.
“C’mon! Don’t stop there!” I prod the slave, while ordering my men to give him a little something to eat, to revive his spirit.
His teeth start to clank. “My master… He, he abandoned me when I became ill three days ago.”
I demand, “Why, did you slow him down? What was the rush? Was he racing somewhere, on some important mission?”
Three questions prove to be too much for him. He scratches his head. “We raided the Negev of the Kerethites, a territory belonging to Judah and the Negev of Caleb. And,” he says, “we burned Ziklag.”
‘We’? Whom does he call ‘we’? A bright guy he is not, because man, why include yourself in the group that set my city aflame, and grabbed what belongs to me? A lesser man than me would cast this simpleton away to be tortured, or else to be ridiculed by my troops. But first things first.
I ask him, “Can you lead me down to the raiding party?”
Bright or not, this slave has the balls to tell me, “Swear to me before God that you’ll not kill me or hand me over to my master, and I’ll take you down to them.”
I could have told him that he is in no position to bargain with me, but there is no time for idle talk. So I promise to let him live. In turn, he points the way to the Amalekite raiders. We charge ahead, and find them holding a feast and celebrating, which is the perfect time for us to fall upon them.
No wonder we win, and recover all that they have taken. Being such a courageous hero, savior, and husband, I expect a show of gratitude from my dear wives, or at least a shower of kisses—only to realize my mistake.
My wife, Ahinoam of Jezreel, greets me with, “What took you so long?”
And Abigail utters her little sigh, as if to concur. “Late for dinner, as usual. I thought you’d never come!”
And I say, “Don’t bother. I just lost my appetite.”
This, believe me, is quite an unusual thing for me. Normally, such a decisive victory makes me absolutely ravenous, ready to feast on food and women. Perhaps the odor, that unmistaken Amalekite body odor messes me up. To my dismay I can sniff it on Abigail’s skin.
I make a note to myself—for the sake of history—to announce in public that none of my wives has been touched, that they are as pure as the day I left them, which for Abigail is not saying much. Purity was far from her mind on that first day she met me, and I suspect it is far from her mind even now.
Excerpt from Rise to Power by Uvi Poznansky, included in At Odds with Destiny
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