Warrior Prophets 3 Chapter 28
Battle of the Spirits
Boaz stood under the wedding canopy next to Ruth. He was pleased that she had donned her white wedding dress. He was disturbed by Alron’s sudden appearance with Philistine troops. He caught Ehud’s eye. Ehud moved quickly to intercept the Danite. Boaz closed his eyes for a moment. He drew on his inner vision, on Isaac’s Sight, to understand what was going on around him.
He sensed Ruth’s blinding white spirit, most likely ecstatic about the upcoming ceremony with a tinge of yellow apprehension over Alron’s intrusion. He sensed the darker, browner fear and confusion amongst the Bethlehemites. He could see Ploni’s red anger and shame cooling down as he returned to the alcove to investigate this latest development. Boaz looked at the auras of Alron and the Philistines and saw a putrid green of greed. Mercenaries, Boaz understood. There is some financial gain for them in disrupting our marriage. Boaz let his senses float farther afield, beyond the walls of Bethlehem and then he saw the black hole that he knew to be the life-force of Sumahtrid the sorcerer. Next to him was the malevolent dull grey presence of the man-child, Beor. Behind them were several dozen greedy souls, more Philistine mercenaries.
“Ehud!” Boaz opened his eyes wide. “We are under attack! The sorcerer is here with more troops!”
Ehud jumped in front of Alron, whose extended sword still pointed at the Elder.
“I warned you, Danite, that the next time you appeared in Bethlehem, I would kill you.” Ehud drew his own sword.
“I remember, blacksmith. But I will not sully myself by dealing with you.” Alron backed away as his Philistine escort moved in on Ehud.
“Perhaps we should wait until after this attack,” Boaz suggested to Ruth under the canopy.
“Boaz son of Salmoon son of Nachshon the Brave,” Ruth said. “I shall not wait one more moment. The world may be coming to an end, but I will see this through now. We cannot delay any further. Ehud and the other residents of Bethlehem will have to fight without us.”
“I too feel a sense of urgency. You must circle me seven times. That is the first part of the ritual. It binds our spirits together. Forever. Do not stop or slow your pace. It must be seven complete circles.”
Ruth nodded and walked around Boaz, as four Elders nervously held the canopy. The assembly looked on in fear between the wedding ceremony and Philistines fighting Ehud.
Ehud moved with blinding speed. Three Philstines lay dead, as four others surrounded him and the remaining five spread out to reach Boaz and Ruth. Alron had disappeared into the now-panicked crowd.
Elders raised their walking staffs and expertly hit the Philistines approaching the wedding canopy. Ehud attacked and furiously parried the swords and spears of the Philistines around him.
One Philistine got through the Elders and launched his spear at Ruth. A stick crashed down on the spear in midair, sending it harmlessly into the ground. Ploni wielded the stick and attacked the lone Philistine.
“Get out of my way, old man,” the Philistine barked, raising his sword at Ploni.
“I am Ploni son of Nachshon, and though I may be old, I am not dead yet. I will not allow anyone to harm my family. Not my nephew and not his bride. I have accepted the judgment of the Elders, and Ruth is now one of us. Begone, Philistine!”
Ploni struck the Philistine with a rapid series of blows until the soldier fell to the ground, unconscious.
“Now to the gate,” Ploni said to himself, painfully remembering the last time he tried stopping Philistines at the gate of Bethlehem.
Ruth completed one circle around Boaz. Suddenly her vision blurred and she found herself in the Valley of Ella, with the specter of Boaz by her side. They looked across the valley at the massed army of Philistines. Rows upon rows of brass-clad soldiers pointed a forest of spears to the sky. The mountain range was filled with a confident army waiting to attack. The giant, Goliath, stood at the head of the army and bellowed, “I have disgraced the army of Israel this day! Give me a man that will fight me, or is there no man of courage amongst all the Children of Israel?” Goliath laughed long and hard. He radiated strength. He uprooted a young tree from out of the ground and then crushed it in his enormous hands. He was invincible.
The Israelites trembled in fear. The dread was palpable.
“The vision!” Ruth said to Boaz. “I feel myself still walking around you in Bethlehem, but we are also here in the Valley of Ella.”
“Don’t stop!” Boaz said. “This is the prophecy! This is the Defining Place that God spoke to us about. It is now!”
“What do we do?” Ruth asked.
“I think it will become apparent.”
A young redhead entered the tent of King Saul of Israel. The young David son of Jesse bowed before the king and then stood upright. Nobody noticed the spirits of Ruth and Boaz enter the tent.
Ruth and Boaz felt another presence beside them. A large redhead with a flaming beard and a cocky smile. Nachshon the Brave. His spirit touched young David on the shoulder. Nachshon’s spirit then smiled at Boaz and Ruth, said “congratulations” and disappeared.
“Do not let fear weigh your hearts,” David said to King Saul, “I, your servant, will fight this Philistine!”
“You cannot fight him,” King Saul responded. “You are but just a lad and the Philistine has been a warrior all his days.”
Another spirit appeared next to Boaz and Ruth. A handsome man with long hair.
“Who are you?” Boaz asked the spirit.
“A failure,” the spirit answered. “I am from after your time, noble Boaz, but before his. I am Samson son of Manoah. God allows me to give from my strength, from my flashes of purity to the anointed one.”
Samson’s spirit touched David on the shoulder and disappeared.
“I have killed the lion and the bear,” David said, “and this uncircumcised Philistine will die like one of them, for he has shamed the army of the living God!”
Saul took a step back from David’s ferocity and looked at the handsome redhead closely. David continued speaking.
“God, who saved me from the lion and the bear, will save me from this Philistine!” David raised his fist into the air.
“Go then,” Saul agreed, “and may God be with you.”
As soon as Garto heard Bethlehem was under attack, he ran towards the gate. He rallied Boaz’s workers to follow him. Other farmers and farmhands joined Garto’s group and he suddenly found himself the leader of a small army. They were perhaps fifty farmers. A dozen Israelite soldiers manned the ramparts and notched their arrows as the Philistines approached.
“Close the gate!” Garto commanded as he saw five dozen Philistines on horseback approaching the gate.
Farmers pushed on the gate. The sorcerer, Sumahtrid, in his black robe, raised his hand and chanted an incantation. The hinges of the gate buckled and could not be moved.
“Push it closed!” Garto yelled. The farmers pushed mightily, only to drive the bottom of the door into the ground. It would not budge further.
Philistines rode through the gate, hacking at the Israelite farmers. Guards on the ramparts managed to shoot some of the invaders. But before long they themselves were shot dead by Philistine archers and by the expert archery of Beor. Farmers defended themselves with axes and pitchforks. Only a handful had swords. Shepherds managed to knock Philistines off their horses and soon there was a pitched battle within the walls of Bethlehem, just a few feet away from Ruth walking in a trance around Boaz under the wedding canopy.
Ruth finished her second circle, sweating heavily. Her spirit and Boaz’s stayed with David as King Saul placed his armor on the redheaded youth and gave him the royal sword. They saw the spirit of Joshua touch David on the shoulder. “You won’t need it,” Joshua whispered. Joshua then turned, smiled at Boaz, bowed to Ruth and disappeared. David returned Saul his sword, took the armor off and walked down to the valley, wearing his simple tunic with a shepherd’s staff in one hand and a slingshot in the other. The army of Israel turned from the fearful giant and watched the brazen youth walk through the camp unafraid. “That is a son of Jesse,” men whispered.
“He’s just a lad.”
“He’s going to his death.”
“Our fate is in his hands?”
David trotted lightly through the awestruck soldiers of Israel until he reached the brook at the bottom of the valley. It bubbled happily, unaware of the two armies ready to overflow the stream with blood.
“He’s going to fight that giant with just a sling and a stick?” Ruth asked Boaz.
“He will need some stones,” Boaz noted. “They better be good ones.”
Then they saw the spirit of Ehud fly to David and touch him on the shoulder.
“There,” Ehud said to David. “Take those five. I reserved them for you with prophecy. My spirit will be with you.”
David found a pile of five smooth stones with sharp edges. They lay next to the stream covered with mud. David took the stones, rinsed them in the stream and placed them in the satchel slung across his shoulder.
The youth ran parallel to the stream towards the looming giant who was staring at him in confusion. Goliath stomped to meet David, each footstep shaking the shrubs and trees around him. As Goliath approached, David got his first good look of the Philistine. His body was covered in thick brass armor. The breastplate had an intricate engraving of a fortress by the sea. His greaves had a design of soldiers wielding spears, arrows and swords. His polished helmet reflected the afternoon sun, with a bright red plume rising from the crest of the helmet. Goliath’s shieldbearer, a large man, yet small compared to Goliath, ran by the Philistine’s side, struggling to keep up with the giant’s footsteps.
David felt the thunderous force of Goliath’s approach and stopped. What was I thinking? This is no mere mortal, David realized. He is imbued with great evil and bred for a monstrous purpose. I cannot do this alone.
The Philistine army cheered wildly as their champion bore down on young David.
* * * * * *
I Samuel Chapter 17
31 And when the words were heard which David spoke, they rehearsed them before Saul; and he was taken to him. 32 And David said to Saul: ‘Let no man’s heart fail within him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.’ 33 And Saul said to David: ‘Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.’ 34 And David said unto Saul: ‘Thy servant kept his father’s sheep; and when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth; and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. 36 Thy servant smote both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath taunted the armies of the living God.’ 37 And David said: ‘The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.’ And Saul said unto David: ‘Go, and the Lord shall be with thee.’ 38 And Saul clad David with his apparel, and he put a helmet of brass upon his head, and he clad him with a coat of mail. 39 And David girded his sword upon his apparel, and he essayed to go[, but could not]; for he had not tried it. And David said unto Saul: ‘I cannot go with these; for I have not tried them.’ And David put them off him. 40 And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his scrip; and his sling was in his hand; and he drew near to the Philistine. 41 And the Philistine came nearer and nearer unto David; and the man that bore the shield went before him. 42 And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and withal of a fair countenance. 43 And the Philistine said unto David: ‘Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves?’ And the Philistine cursed David by his god. 44 And the Philistine said to David: ‘Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.’ 45 Then said David to the Philistine: ‘Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a javelin; but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast taunted. 46 This day will the Lord deliver thee into my hand; and I will smite thee, and take thy head from off thee; and I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel; 47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hand.’ 48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hastened, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slung it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead; and the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell upon his face to the earth. 50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. 51 And David ran, and stood over the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw that their mighty man was dead, they fled. 52 And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou comest to Gai, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron. 53 And the children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines, and they spoiled their camp. 54 And David took the head of the philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent.