Chapter Twenty-Four, The Cruelest Cut of All.

The house of the king was broad and grand as the smell of cedar increased as Horite drew near. The Ahithophel’s mansion was not quite as bold and slightly to the rear of the king’s stately castle. Horite approached the lesser manor and was immediately challenged by the gate keeper, “Who goes there and what is wanted? Horite showed himself from out behind a late afternoon shadow and replied, My name is Horite, and I wish to speak to Bathshua. A yawning guard muttered to his drowsy cohort, “Is that not the name of the man that the master is so keenly seeking?” The alerted guard called out, “hold fast stranger; I will inquire of lord Ahithophel, my master. Scurrying down the passage way, he called back, “Keep your eyes fixed on this fellow and do not let him escape your grasp or your gaze.” Two additional guards were quickly dispatched and escorted the waiting stranger to Ahithophel’s study chamber.

Ahithophel stood up and attempted to put the seducer of his granddaughter at ease, “My name is Ahithophel, and I am Bathshua’s grandfather, and so too the chief counselor to the king. Ahithophel in a comforting tone bade, “Have no fear or misgiving, and please enter and be assured no harm will come to you for we have an urgent matter to discuss, Can I offer you a cup of wine or something to eat? Horite was watchful of the two burley sentries that stood firm blocking the only exit, “Thank you, lord, my mouth is dry, and I will need a drink to wet my lips and slake a parched throat. Ahithophel nodded to one of the sentries who nodded back and then quickly withdrew to provide a quenching vintage from his master’s cellar. Ahithophel inquired, “Your name is Horite and you are a Hittite from the north and east around about the Syrian border. “Yes, my lord, it is all true.” “So then young man what has brought you to Jerusalem?” Horite was pleased to tell his tale, “My clan was being compelled to join forces with the Syrians to fight against David and Israel. I wished to have no part in such a recruitment, for I reverend David as a champion and Israel as a choice people. I escaped at night and offered my sword to the chief captain, Joab. He promised me a regular place in the army, and passage back to Jerusalem as a hero.

It was my first night in your magical city when I met Bathshua, please forgive me lord for it was love at first sight and I did succumb to my base desire. I have searched for her as a man possessed since that night of reckless abandon. I would honor Bathshua and so impart my offer of marriage.” Ahithophel was surprisingly impressed with Horites forthright candor and said so “As you have been searching out Bathshua I have been searching for you.” “For me lord?” Horite puzzled. Ahithophel snapped, “Yes, and this because Bathshua is with child and to all signs the child is yours.

Gideon The Sound and The Glory

gideonsglory.com