“So what does it feel like to be Israel’s champion?” Shimea asked David as they both sat in front of a small fire.
“I am no champion, it is entirely Yahweh’s doing,” David answered quietly.
Shimea murmured in agreement and sat staring at the fire. A few moments passed with no sound but the crackling of burning wood.
“You know…I often wonder what your weakness is, David,” Shimea said in a matter of fact manner. David looked up at him, puzzled. He continued, “Well…you have always been humble and long suffering. Plus you have a closeness to Yahweh that none of us have in our family. Moreso you seem to have His Hand over you in all your dealings.”
“Everyone has weaknesses, Shimea.”
“True…and sometimes a single weakness can be a man’s undoing…for instance our father.” David raised his eyebrows in question. “Your mother…she was his weakness. Perhaps that is what irks Eliab and Abinadab so. Once your mother came into the scene, well…our father succumbed.”
“My mother was no temptress. If I have it correct, it took the two of them to succumb. I am the result of that, fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it.”
“I hope, David, that you have not inherited his weakness for beauty, David,” Shimea said quietly.
Immediately Michal’s face flashed across David’s eyes and he was pleased for the darkness around or Shimea would have been able to see his face colour slightly.
“If you are worried that I will fall because of a woman then you need not fear, Shimea. I have more important things on my mind.”
Shimea laughed. “Spoken like the inexperienced youth you are, David. Be warned brother, the wiles of a beautiful woman can make what you faced with Goliath seem like child’s play. Sometimes the strongest of men can fall not by the sword, but in the soft and scented embrace of a woman. The great Jesse most certainly did.” With that Shimea got up and nodded at David.
“I must bid you good night, brother. Take some thought to what I said. See if Yahweh has anything more to say to you on the matter, perhaps.”
David watched his brother’s retreating back and shook his head. Women as weakness indeed. He went to sleep that night convinced he had nothing to worry about on the matter his brother spoke of. There was no need to trouble Yahweh over so trivial a matter.
The news of David’s victory over Goliath had spread throughout Israel and to Gibeah by the time the army reached the city for a triumphant welcome. People were out and shouting; children squealing and throwing flower petals in the air from windows, and women dancing and singing in the streets. David could make out the words to one of the songs the women were singing:
“Saul has slain his thousands,
And David his tens of thousands.”
David blushed deeply for not only was that a gross exaggeration, but it wouldn’t serve to make Saul feel any better toward him. Indeed he would feel threatened by David’s presence.
Saul sat in the royal canopy, watching the festivities from his vantage point, seeing how the soldiers were being welcomed and hearing the songs of triumph. When he heard women crediting David with such spectacular feats, his heart was seared with jealousy and hatred as hot as molten rock. He ground his teeth, his jaw tensing. His head began to spin and he felt the familiar race in his pulse that came whenever the evil spirit was about to torment him. He began to hear voices, each whisper tearing at his mind.
“They have credited David with tens of thousands but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” he murmured to no one in particular as he was alone in the canopy. Malevolent thoughts crossed his mind as he placed David as an enemy, a usurper and one who wanted his Throne. The evil spirit in him was infused with strength as it fed on Saul’s rage and jealousy, making him quake with discomfort until he passed out into merciful sleep.