Friday, January 18, 2013

A drabble

The subtitle of this blog is "religion, geekdom, and the occasional intersection of the two."

This is one of those intersection points.

A subset of geekdom is fandom - the realm of people who like/appreciate a specific example or creator. Lost. NASCAR. Firefly. Cardinals. Jane Austen. These all are creators of narratives, stories that catch us, and often make us delve into endless speculations of "what if?" and "what were they really thinking?" (If you think this is limited to those book people, don't get a sports fan started about what might have happened if the ball had been caught/dropped.)

Occasionally, those of us who delve into the world of what if write it down, and that's called fanfiction. This is one of those times. And yes, there is a whole lot of Bible fanfic out there - God left us with a lot of gaps and room in the margins, then made us a people who tell stories. Thus, the Midrash, and of a much lesser quality, this.

I am the second king of a kingless people. I took my throne from my brother's father at the will of the Lord. My sons fight over who will succeed me. Their struggle is futile – the Lord will decide. 

It is the way of our people that the firstborn should inherit. It should have been Jonathon sitting on my throne. But my brother is dead. His father is dead. I am King. And I weep.

When my youngest son was still a child in the care of the women, word came to me that the struggle had began in earnest. My firstborn, my Amnon, had done something unthinkable. By pretending to be sick, he solicited the care of the most beautiful of my daughters, his half sister Tamar. He forced himself upon her, and then threw her from his house without care. Absalom, Absalom, son of my heart, took her in and hid her shame from me. His elder brother is dead by my favored son's hands. 

I am the king, and I could protect none of them. 

Absalom now rides for my throne, for the city that I built, praying that the Lord would choose him as guardian of our people. At his side rides his sister, the one I failed. No marriage for her, no title, no home of her own. With them is Bathar, twice a king's grandson, and the two are the only family Tamar claims. It is she who sees the vineyards planted, oversees buying and selling of goods of the house. She is all her mother and I hoped she would be – except a wife. I am glad that she has a purpose.

They ride for my throne and I have been king long enough to know that the Lord will decide who sits in Jerusalem. I weep, because there is no turning back now. I will be king, or not. Absalom may be better than I, he may be what these people need. And Tamar will run my kingdom as she has run her household – with compassion and efficiency. But they are lost to me forever, my children. Now I must view them as adversaries.

May the Lord grant that I meet them again in His presence.

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