‘Why, David, why?”

The place was another nameless cave.

The men stirred about restlessly.

Gradually, and very uneasily, they began to settle in.

All were as confused as Joab, who had finally voiced their questions.

Joab wanted some answers.

Now!

David should have seemed embarrassed or at least defensive.

He was neither.

He was looking past Joab like a man viewing another realm which only he could see.

Joab walked directly in front of David, looking down on him, and began roaring his frustrations.

“Many times he almost speared you to death in his castle.

I’ve seen that with my own eyes.

Finally, you ran away.

Now for years you have been nothing but a rabbit for him to chase.

Furthermore, the whole world believes the lies he tells about you.

He has come, the King himself, hunting every cave, pit and hole on earth to find you and kill you like a dog.

But tonight you had him at the end of his own spear and you did nothing!

“Look at us.  We’re animals again.  Less than an hour ago you could have freed us all.  Yes, we could all be free, right now!  Free!  And Israel, too.  She would be free.  Why, David, why did you not end these years of misery?”

There was a long silence.

Men shifted again, uneasily.

They were not accustomed to seeing David rebuked.

“Because,” said David very slowly (and with a gentleness that seemed to say, ‘I heard what you asked, but not the way you asked it’), “because once, long ago, he was not mad.  He was young.  He was great.  Great in the eyes of God and men.  And it was God who made him king – God – not men.”

Joab blazed back, “But now he is mad!  And God is no longer with him.  And, David, he will yet kill you!”

This time it was David’s answer that blazed with fire.

Better he kill me than I learn his ways.

Better he kill me than I become what he is.

I will not practice his ways.

I will not throw spears, nor will I allow hatred to grow in my heart.

I will not avenge.

Not now.

Not ever!”

Joab stormed out into the dark.

That night men went to bed on cold, wet stone and muttered about their leader’s views.

That night angels sang and dreamed, in the afterglow of that rare, rare day, that God might yet be able to give His authority to a man who did not throw spears.

Thanks for reading today!

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