Sunday, May 18, 2014

Here is a woman who knows how to handle a man

With a lovely gesture Abigail points at the heaps of food. “Let this gift, which your servant has brought to my lord, be given to the men who follow you.”
My hoodlums, who are literally drooling by now, start cheering. I silence them, just to hear some more of her voice.
Abigail winks at them and smiles at me. “Please forgive your servant’s presumption. The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the Lord’s battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live.”
“From your mouth to God’s ear,” I say.
“Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the Lord your God, but the lives of your enemies He will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling.”
“Ah, you’ve heard what I did to Goliath—“
“Oh, I did! When the Lord has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, my lord won’t have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself.”
“Amen to that!” I cry. “I’d rather God do the bloodshed instead of me.”
Then she bats her eyelashes. “And when the Lord your God has brought my lord success, remember your servant. Remember me, David…”
She says all that, and more. There are so many words, so many fancy, flowery expressions! All of them are addressed to me in a highly complementary manner, with my lord and your servant punctuating each and every sentence. Before long, my mind becomes cluttered with all that verbiage. 
I thought I had a talent with words, but boy oh boy, does she exceed me! I am in awe! Like all Jewish women, her power comes from self sacrifice—but Abigail has perfected it through the use of flattery, which blows up the folly of her opponent to the point that he is completely in her hands. 
She reminds me of the stories I heard about my great-grandmother, Ruth, and the way she found her way—having immigrated to a harsh country such as Canaan—to marry a rich landowner, my great grandfather, Boaz. I bet that’s how Abigail married Nabal.
The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and she knows it. She is a master at everything she does. I tell myself, here is a woman who knows how to handle a man. I let her handle me, if you know what I mean, for the duration of an entire evening. 

Dávid és Abigél by Guido Reni

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