Friday, January 18, 2019

Your father is above the law

 Absalom just stands there, silent, for a long time.
At last, “Don’t you quote the law to me,” he grumbles, “when you’ve broken it yourself!”
“What have I done?” I ask, feeling a sudden pang in my heart, knowing where he is headed.
My son steps off the stage and comes face to face with me, eyes blazing with madness. I brace myself, sensing that he is about to raise his hand against me. 
Instead he just smiles. Then, with a measured rhythm he quotes an altogether different section of the law, which he must have learned by heart. “If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman. So you shall purge the evil from Israel.”
His memory puts me in awe. So does the implicit blame
I feel torn between two sentiments: I am proud of him and at the same time, fearful. 
Meanwhile Nathan steps in between us. “Your father,” he tells the prince, “has already paid a heavy price for his sin with Bathsheba, as God has stricken their first child dead, years ago.”
“How is that a heavy price,” asks Absalom, “when sins are paid for at the expense of someone else’s life? Why should his child die?”
I am silent. Nathan presses on. 
“Please, Absalom, let go of what happened back then. Besides,” he says, “as a king, your father is above the law, so the section you quoted is ill-fitted for him—”
“I care nothing about this or that section!” cries Absalom. “Forget it, forget the law! What I want, what I must have, is one thing: justice!”
“Do you?” says Nathan. “You sure it’s not vengeance you seek?”
My son grinds his teeth. If not for the distance between us and the height of the stage, I would hug him. I would shoulder the burden of his agony. 
“You tell me,” I say. “How should I punish Amnon? He is my firstborn. He stands to become the future king of Israel—”
“Does he deserve to be?” 
“Do you?”
At that, a mad glint appears in his eye. In a blink he releases his hold from the back of the throne. 
“What kind of an example would a king such as Amnon set for others?” he demands. “When he ascends to the throne, should every father in the land hide his daughters away—or, failing that, accept their fate to be raped?”
I sigh. “For now, Amnon is not in a position of power, and neither are you. There’s time, plenty of time for me to consider everything you’ve said. Which I’ll do in due course, I promise, as surely as I am the king.”
At last, with a gesture that invites me to reclaim my seat upon the throne, he hops off the stage.
And as he walks backwards, facing me, feigning respect, I ask myself, “Do I deserve to be respected? What kind of an example do I set for others?”

Historical Fiction with a Modern Twist...
The complete series:

Volume III: 

"I love this series for its convincing depiction of real people in ancient times, for its unflinching honesty, and for its vividly real characters. This David is no cardboard cutout to be filled in with bright crayoned colors. This Bathsheba is no plaything. And women will stand on the stage of history, will have their voice, and will cry out for love and hate and hope." 
Sheila Deeth, Author, Amazon Top Reviewer, Vine Voice

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