Bathsheba (People of the Promise James R. Shott, 8) by James R. Shott

By James R. Shott

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Each person looked disheveled, which was proper. The men were bareheaded, their hair and beards unoiled and gray with ashes, their clothing dirty and torn. The women, who hovered around the edges to give the men the more prominent places, were dirty and ragged. Grief echoed around the room in high-pitched keening and low-voiced groaning, in wails, moans, sobs, sniffles. Page 10 Sorrow doesn't bring out the best in a person's appearance, mused Bathshebe as she forced tears from her eyes and soft cries from her throat.

Togeth- Page 14 er they plodded slowly before the bier, leading the grieving assembly out of the front gates. The men followed, and the women brought up the rear. A long procession weaved through the streets of Jerusalem to the Hinnom Valley just outside the Valley Gate, where the tomb had been prepared. The noise reached a crescendo. All Jerusalem now joined their beloved king in mourning his favorite wife. And the din continued until David and Nathan and the servants disappeared into the tomb.

They shut her out. When she joined a group, they suddenly grew quiet, then one by one found other things to do. Even her best friend Shua refused to speak to her. But the nights were delightful. Every night a cooling breeze blew, caressing her as she lay in her lover's arms on the palace roof. She had never known such ecstasy. She had never known a lover so considerate. Like so many women before her, she yielded to David's charms. Bathsheba suspected that David had not given his love this fully to anyone since the death of Abigail.

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