Chapter 23: The Next Generation
“My child, listen to me and treasure
my instructions. Tune your ears to wisdom,
and concentrate on understanding.
PROVERBS 2:1 NLT
“It’s no use. He’s long gone.”
Fingers touched the top of Kester’s head, lightly ruffling his hair. “Where did you go, child?”
Kester’s eyebrows drew together. Not yet. This part is lovely.
“Maybe the kid’s so talented, he can play in his sleep.”
“If so, his dreams are beautiful.”
Not a dream. A song. David’s song. David’s heart. Kester rode out the swell of a crescendo, then plucked a final cascade. Sighing happily, he opened his eyes to find both Solomon and Benaiah standing over him. With a start, Kester remembered where he was. And that in this throne room, his duty was to Solomon. “Yes, my king?”
“Your fingers must be weary. Rest.”
He wasn’t tired, but Kester let his hands fall from the harpstrings and glanced around. Dozing lions. Milling officials. Retreating servants. And a glaring prince.
“The last delegation just left,” said the captain. “Asaph will be looking for you.”
Kester obediently set aside the lion’s head harp and stood to leave, but Solomon stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. “No, wait. Captain, invite Asaph to join us. For Lemuel’s sake.”
Benaiah cleared his throat. “Are you sure …?”
“It worked with Kester.” Solomon tugged at his beard. “Maybe Lemuel would warm to me in a more relaxed setting.”
The old guardsman spoke gently. “Far be it from me to question your wisdom, O king, but this boy and that boy are not the same. Kester never once feared you.”
Kester blinked. “Lemuel is afraid?”
Solomon’s shoulders stiffened, then sagged. “All my children fear me.”
“Various reasons.” The king gazed at the bored-looking boy still perched on his pillow. “Because their mothers wish it. Because their teachers demand it. Because they’ll never succeed me. Because they’ll never surpass me. Because my affections are spread too thin.”
Benaiah rolled his eyes. “None of those apply to Lemuel.”
Emotions flickered across Solomon’s face so fast, Kester couldn’t place them all. But sadness lingered longer than the rest.
“Because I loved his mother most of all.”
Kester recalled the king’s earlier words. Beloved.
“Yeah, that’s the one.” The captain dropped a hand on Solomon’s shoulder. “Talk to the kid. I’ll fetch Asaph.”
As Benaiah hurried off, the king dredged up a wry smile for Kester. “My father used to bring me into his throne room from time to time just to prove that other people thought him great and wise. To me, he was only Father. Sadly, my children are convinced that I am great and wise. To them, I am king.”
“They are correct,” Kester cautiously pointed out. “It pleased God to make you both wise and great.”
“When I was a boy, I sat at my father’s knee.” Solomon’s hands formed fists. “I loved his songs … his stories … him.”
“I sit at my king’s knee.” Reaching up to set his fingertips over the man’s heart, Kester said, “Because you honor you father with songs and stories, I also love him. You have shared your greatest treasures with me, but I am no one. Tell them to Lemuel. Teach him to love what is good, and he will love you.”
Solomon’s jaw slowly dropped, and when he finally spoke, his voice was rough with emotion. “O, child. May it be so.”
♦ Have your parents passed along their enthusiasm for something to you?
♦ What hobbies or traditions do you (plan to) honor?
♦ Just for funsies! Can you think of a psalm-based worship song you’d like to share with Kester?
Author’s Note: This story is a prequel to Christa Kinde’s Threshold Series [Zonderkidz] and updates on Thursdays. More information can be found on the Sage and Song index page. Sage and Song, © Copyright 2015 Christa Kinde, all rights reserved. If you want to receive an email whenever my stories update, subscribe to this blog. You can also watch for notifications on Twitter.