Chapter 12: The Big Heart
And God gave Solomon wisdom
and exceedingly great understanding, and
largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore.
1 KINGS 4:29 NKJV
A servant interrupted, reminding the king of his duties. Solomon’s lunch break was over. “I must return to my throne, and you must return to your desk.” He turned to Asaph with mournful eyes and a piteous tone. “Even though I have yet to give Kester the gift I promised.”
Asaph’s eyebrows arched. “It’s unusual for you to show such lack of foresight.”
The captain said, “Which means it is foresight.”
Scooping the monkey from Kester’s shoulder, Solomon returned his pet to its cage. “Let us instead call it opportunity.”
“You’ll see the boy in two ….”
“Tonight!” interrupted Solomon.
Kester studied his mentor’s face, trying to figure out if Asaph was truly displeased with the king … or only teasing. He had so many questions. About how long Asaph had known Solomon. How they’d become friends. And about David, since Kester was suddenly sure that his mentor had known the old king. Or at the very least, heard him sing.
Thoughts of David drew Kester’s attention back to the lion’s head harp. Asaph had taken it from him earlier and placed it on a low table before their meal. Whenever Kester played the instrument, his heart soared in ways he could only describe as worshipful. With the help of an instrument, he could multiply his praise and bring a better offering to God Most High. Is it wrong to want more so that I might give more?
Distantly, Kester was aware of the conversation happening over his head, but he tuned it out. I should ask Asaph for a harp of my own. This one belonged to David. It now belongs to Solomon. Their treasure cannot pass to me.
“Tonight,” Solomon repeated. “For his sake.”
“Riiight,” drawled Benaiah. “It’s all for the boy.”
“Excellent. I knew you’d see things my way.”
“I was kidding.”
Solomon’s voice came softly. “I wasn’t. Look at him.”
A prolonged silence pulled Kester from his ponderings, and he found three sets of eyes on him. Had they asked a question? How long had they been watching him tapping out melodies against his chest, as if playing the harp that remained out of reach? Tucking his hands behind his back, Kester looked to Asaph for help.
His mentor smiled faintly. “Does the king’s exceedingly great understanding extend to my apprentice?”
Solomon drew himself up and spoke with the same confidence he used when passing down judgments in the throne room. “This child may write more neatly than any scribe in my employ, but he lives to make music. That is his joy. Let me give him the means to pursue happiness.”
The captain’s face was unreadable. “You want to collar him.”
“Must you use such analogies?” Solomon grumbled, giving Asaph a pointed look. “Most are honored to wear my tokens.”
Asaph sighed and drew back the sleeve that half-hid a golden armband. “Your favor has been my protection on many occasions.”
“Good.” Solomon embraced his friend and sternly repeated, “Tonight.”
This time, Asaph relented. “We’ll meet you in the archive after the evening sacrifices.”
The king winked at Kester over Asaph’s shoulder and promised, “I’ll bring the harp!”
♦ Do you have a “soft spot” for something or someone?
♦ In 1 Kings 4:29, it says God gave Solomon largeness of heart. How would you define or describe such a quality?
♦ What are the pros and cons of being “collared” by a king?
Author’s Note: This story is a prequel to Christa Kinde’s Threshold Series [Zonderkidz] and updates twice a week (Wednesdays and Saturdays). More information can be found on the Sage and Song index page.
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