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  • Walt Shakes

    Walt Shakes

    Walter Ude (@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter. He blogs at mymindsnaps.wordpress.com.

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David felt the difference in atmosphere as soon as he stepped into the house. Everyone looked at him a little differently, treated him with more deference. He entered the inner chamber to join his brothers and was surprised to see a large portion of food set aside for him. All his brothers were silent as he sat to eat with them. There were no taunts or sarcastic comments; there was almost a reverential silence, one filled with unasked questions. After eating his fill he got up, bade them good night and started for his sleeping place in the courtyard under the fig tree. He was surprised to see Jesse, his father, waiting for him.

“How goes it, my son?” he asked haltingly.

David managed to hide his surprise; Jesse rarely spoke to him except on issues pertaining to his responsibilities. He rarely asked him how he was.

He answered in respectful tones, “I am well father. I trust you are in good health and that our honoured guest enjoyed the hospitality of this household and departed with blessings?”

“Our honoured guest…yes…yes indeed he did. He was quite impressed with you, I must say. He said you were a fine young man and would serve Israel and Yahwehwell in the years to come…” Jesse looked up at David, with eyes of the exact shade and smiled. Then he continued to speak.“I am aware of the…challenges you have faced being a member of this household. I am also aware of the fact that I did not shield you enough from the difficulties you faced.”

David knew this was as close to an apology he would ever get for his father’s near absence in his life, and he was content with that.“I am well, father. Yahweh has seen me through…”

Jesse looked off in the distance for a moment, his mind clearly taken by something, perhaps by the past. He then nodded and turned to walk away. David spread his pallet and lay down to sleep, his mind pondering deeply. His eyes filled with tears as words and emotions swirled around. Amidst the chaos in his mind, he was able to speak.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake…”The Lord is my shepherd

* * *

Life continued in normal fashion for the next few weeks. David still remained in charge of the sheep and the household of Jesse was run as usual. Jesse had given strict orders forbidding anyone from mentioning David’s anointing for fear that the news might get to Saul and that he might react by having David and perhaps the entire family killed.

There was a slight change in the attitude of some of David’s siblings though. His older brothers were less vitriolic and treated him with a measureof deference. His sister Abigail, on the other hand, was overjoyed.

“Just think of it,” she said, her eyes taking on a dreamy haze. ‘I shall be sister to the king and I shall be decked in jewels and fine silks…”

“If you’re not married off first, you little hoyden,” David growled playfully, reaching out to tug her at her braid.

Shimea was more practical about the matter at hand.“Saul will not give up his throne easily, so you must strategize…”

“Strategize on what, brother? I will do no such thing. I am not on a mission to dethrone my lord the King of Israel. Yahweh alone knows what His plans are in this matter. I will simply wait.”

And wait he did, until the day he was summoned by his father.Ozem came to get him from the fields, only this time his eyes were filled with fear, in opposition to the irritation of previous time he had been sent to summon David in the hills.

“Father wants you at home now…it’s the King…he has sent for you.”

David was puzzled but strangely not afraid. It was as though he knew, and had some reassurance that this was all part of the Plan – his being summoned by King Saul. He sighed and got up.“Well then, I suppose I had better get going…”

As they walked he could feel the waves of nervousness emanating from Ozem. He chuckled, asking Ozem, “What troubles you, brother?”

Ozem stopped short in his tracks, rewarding David with yet another one of his withering looks.“You are being summoned by King Saul after the Prophet Samuel anointed you as new king of Israel and you ask what troubles me? What troubles me, brother, is that we could all have our heads swinging on the gates of Gibeah by sundown, is all! What do you suppose he has summoned you for, if not treason? Do you imagine he would sit lightly as you try to seize the throne from him?”

“Who says he summons me for that reason?”

“Why else would he? You are of no import or bearing in Israel, are you? As far as anyone knows you are just a shepherd – the lastborn son of Jesse.”

“Yes indeed…and it is the shepherd being summoned…not a would-be king. Do calm yourself Ozem. Nothing will happen. Of this much I am certain.”

They had reached the periphery of the compound and saw three horses, each saddled with the colors of the Royal House of Israel with a man in royal guard regalia holding on to their bridles. Ozem and David bowed as they greeted him and entered the house. They met their father, Jesse, speaking with another official, one with an air of self-importance about him.

His father caught sight of him and smiled. “Ah yes…this is the boy, David. He is the one gifted with the harp and voice.”

David greeted his father and visitor and noticed that Ozem was nowhere to be found.

The official turned and looked at David, a smile creasing his features.“Ah yes…we have heard much about you, young David. Your reputation as a man of valor and uprightness has reached the ear of the King. Moreso you are said to be talented in the area of music. The king wishes to employ your services, if it pleases you.”

David knew that inasmuch as the ‘request’ was placed in the most diplomatic of framings, it was an order. He bowed and answered in as gracious a tone as he could. “It would be my honor to serve my lord and King in whatever capacity he deems fit. I would request a few moments to assemble a few of my belongings and I shall follow you.”

The official nodded and David went straight to his chambers to gather his meager items, the most important among them being his harp.As he walked outside, he noticed that all his siblings had gathered from their various points of responsibility and were clustered by the doorway of the house. Some of them had expressions of terror on their faces, while others had looks ranging from calm indifference to confusion.

David smiled and attempted to put them all at ease.“Why do you all stand as though I were a sheep being led to the slaughterhouse? I am merely going to serve my lord the King of Israel. I shall be back…”

“You hope,” muttered Eliab, suspicion written across his brow.

“I shall return, that much I can promise.”

With a cry Abigail broke away from the crowd and hurled herself into David’s arms, almost making him lose balance in the process. She cried as she clung to him. “Oh David, I shall die of grief if any harm were to befall you,” she wept.

“No harm shall befall me as surely as Yahweh lives, sister. And when I come back, I am sure you will be even lovelier.” She raised tear filled eyes to his and smiled as he continued talking. “And do try not to infuriate everyone in the family while I’m gone.”

“David, son of Jesse, we wait!!” the official outside shouted, his tone grating and impatient.

Jesse hurried outside with him and David saw that the finest donkey in his father’s relatively small stable had been prepared for him along with some bread, a skin of wine and a young goat firmly strapped to its side, bleating in confusion. Jesse raised his head up, looking the officials squarely in the eye.“It is not in our custom to allow our sons to leave our households empty handed,” he said, his voice holding pride.

The official glared at him for a moment and then nodded. David mounted the donkey and with a final nod to his father and family, he set off after the officials who had turned and gone on a slow steady trot on their way to Gibeah.

Written by Sifa Asani Gowon

Leave a comment


  1. Whoop. Creative. I like reading scriptures with the empathy set right. God bless Walt Shakes. God bless Sifa Asani Gowon.

  2. if only the whole bible was written this way Reading it would have been enjoyable!

    • Chisom12

       /  November 4, 2013

      Oh, but it is! Have you tried reading it with revelation from the Holy Spirit who inspired it? You should try that. A simpler version may be of help too.

  3. abikoye

     /  November 3, 2013

    I wait for the story of Esther…..lol. wonderful is all I can say about this piece.

  4. Evan

     /  November 3, 2013

    Welldone Sifa! You make the story so alive. The other day in church, the priest was saying something about David and I couldn’t help but remember your stories:D.

  5. consyspark

     /  November 3, 2013

    more please…. is this an evry sunday tonic?

  6. Fun fun fun… Loved it!

  7. Excellency

     /  November 3, 2013


  8. Nurain

     /  November 3, 2013

    As usual, it’s not about the story but the hand that wielded the quill in penning it down. Good work.

  9. Beautiful. Beautiful. Remknds me of how Francine Rivers retells Bible stories. God bless you.

  10. Chisom12

     /  November 4, 2013

    Beautiful work Sifa, thank you and God bless you. Your imagination is quite something.

  11. Sincerely Yours,I log on to your blog named “THE HEART OF A KING (Part 3) | MY MIND SNAPS” regularly. Your humoristic style is witty, keep up the good work! And you can check our website about 康軒題庫網.

  12. Adeline Kasper

     /  November 6, 2013

    Well written..

  13. Still enjoying the ride

  14. funky

     /  November 25, 2013

    This is lovely


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