Thinking back about the battle, thinking forward about peace, I know one thing: the destruction of the capital city of the Ammonites could well be the last of my conquests. Gone are the days when I could dare any danger, and emerge unscathed.
War is a young man’s game. In encounters to come, taking part in fighting would become increasingly difficult for me.
I remember the stories about our legendary leader, Moses, as he presided over a battle from afar, sitting stiffly on a stone. His brother Aaron on his right, and his companion Hur on his left supported his hands, because they grew heavy with age. Thus his arms were held up steadily until the sun set, which inspired the soldiers to fight, and they overwhelmed their enemy, Amalek, by the edge of the sword.
What can I say but this: I am no Moses. He orchestrated the fight. I have always been right there, in the midst of it.
Let me soften now, let me relax my ambitions. There is no longer a need for me to be torn between being a warrior and being a poet. It is time to relinquish my grip on the sword.
Time to arm myself with the tip of a feather.
Tomorrow I plan to celebrate our arrival, perhaps with a grand parade. It would be accompanied by musicians and dancers. I would honor the living, remember the dead, and bless all of us in glory.
I avoid looking back at my first in command, Joav, who is riding close behind me, and at the rest of the troops, following him. By now I have reached the highest peak. Looking down around me I imagine the sound of shepherds’ flutes wafting in the wind, and the blare of trumpets bursting against the slopes, the two strains mixing in and out, out and in, as they rise from the valleys.
For me, this music would mark a departure. Immersing myself in it, no longer would I hear the rasp of a sword, unsheathed. Perhaps the sound I hear is an opening. It is the beginning of harmony in my soul, and of hope for all of us.
David in A Peek at Bathsheba
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