Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Feel (emotions) (08/26/10)
- TITLE: My heart is empty
By Gregory Kane
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My heart is empty, O Lord. Every shred of love has blown away. Every remnant of sorrow has crumbled to dust. My life is as barren as Sarah's age-encrusted womb. My heart is empty, O God of Israel, for you have made it so.
Do you take pleasure in my sons, O Lord Almighty? Does this mockery of justice satisfy some warped divine purpose? Did my Armoni or my precious Mephi ever plot rebellion? Did they strive to snatch back the throne from <i>your</i> anointed one? You know very well that they were innocent of sedition. Disavowing their own royal heritage, they made oaths of obeisance and honoured them.
Is it for my cause that you make me suffer so? Have I not yet lost enough in this wretched life. My own husband, struck down by the heathen Philistines, compelled by shame to take his own life. My lover, the noble Abner, slaughtered by that butcher Joab, a kinsman unjustly protected by David, your chosen king. My children, their lives cruelly snatched from them, their corpses hung there upon a gibbet on Gibeah's hill. What sin could I possibly have committed to warrant such treatment from your hands?
For four months I, Rizpah, have kept vigil. Even Michal has abandoned this place, her deathbed vow to Merab cast aside by an unbearable weight of sorrow. She loved her sister's sons as though they were her own flesh and blood, raising all five under her own roof. Like a true princess Michal did not flinch at the murder but watched in silence as the Gibeonites exacted their savage vengeance. Then, turning her face once more to Jerusalem, she withdrew to the luxurious quarters that are for my husband's precious daughter little more than a loveless prison cell.
The foxes hide in the cleft of the rock, ready to pounce and devour, hoping that the setting sun will cause my eyelids to tremble. Day and night I have defended these seven damned souls, driving away every scavenger, whether winged fowl or four-footed vermin. These are the royal sons of Saul's line. They deserve much better than this.
Have you noticed the absence of clouds, O Lord of hosts? Have you seen how dry the dust has become? After three hard years of famine, some desperate priest decreed that the long-dead son of Kish must be to blame. Well the blood-debt has now been paid but where, O God, is the promised rain? Is there someone else still to be satisfied? Saul expelled the spirit mediums from Israel - shall they too demand some bloody recompense?
There is no sense to this madness, Most High. It is capricious, excessive, unworthy of your holy covenant. My sorrow has dried up, my love has withered away. My heart is empty, O Lord, for you have made it so.
I feel nothing ... only hate.
Author's note: Rizpah's story and the revenge of the Gibeonites on Saul's household is told in 2Sam 21 with additional background found in 2Sam 3. Of all the stories of the life of King David, this is arguably the most difficult to justify from a New Testament perspective. One can feel only compassion for this Israelite woman. In the end David recognised that she had been wronged by the Gibeonites and commanded that the bones of Rizpah and Merab's sons be gathered up and buried.
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