Sons of Zeruiah: The Betrayals of King David
Updated: Jun 24, 2019
Enjoy this preview to the sequel of Brian Lee Meyer's breakout novel, Sons of Zeruiah: The Might Men of King David.
“He’s coming. And when he does, he will destroy Jerusalem!”
Abishai’s pronouncement hung in the air like a choking cloud. The old man had been telling me his story and that of his brothers. He had held me rapt until he was interrupted by the man at the door to tell him this man named Hadad was coming.
This man, Abishai said, who would destroy our city.
“Abishai,” I said. “Who is this Hadad? You never mentioned him in your story.”
He seemed to come to himself and spoke as he wearily moved to the cushions.
“I’m sorry, my young friend, I had forgotten that I had not come to him yet. Hadad is the last of the survivors of Edom, a man who had more reason to hate King David than even I did.”
I was so nonplussed by this shocking statement, it took me a moment to reply.
“But, Abishai, I thought you loved David.”
“So I did,” said he. “I still do, really. But you can love someone and hate them at the same time. You know this, for is that not how you feel about Mishael?”
I had told the old warrior of how my best friend, Mishael, had betrothed himself to the woman I loved, even though he knew of my feelings for her, and of how I had planned to kill him.
I hastened to correct him. “There is no more love in my heart for Mishael.”
“Oh, I see,” he said, leaning back on his cushion. The ghost of a smile played at his lips. “My mistake.”
“Is Hadad really going to destroy Jerusalem?” I asked.
Abishai’s eyes hardened. “He will certainly try. King Solomon is exceedingly wise, but he was never a man of war like his father. I won’t offer you false comfort; it looks rather grim for the city.”
“What are we going to do?”
He pursed his lips and looked away before he spoke.
“I am going to pray,” he said. “At my age, it is all I can do. I am too old too fight him. Hadad has waited many years for his revenge, but fear of my brother has prevented him from acting. While Joab was in command, he had no hope of taking Jerusalem. But now…”
He turned to face me again. His mouth was turned down, eyes clouded with worry.
“I’m afraid, my young friend, that you will witness the end of our tale yourself, and I cannot promise you will be glad to see it.”
“What happened to Joab?” I asked. “And why does Hadad hate David so much?”
“Would you like me to explain briefly?” he asked. “Or shall I finish telling my tale?”
I wanted to hear his story more than ever.
“Do we have time to finish it?”
He smiled, looking more cheerful than he had since the knock at the door.
“Hadad is not coming tonight,” he said. “I suppose I could finish it. Only I have forgotten where I left off. My mind is quite muddled after hearing such ill news.”
I leaned forward with a grin. I had been engrossed with the story, and was beginning to think of these men I had never met as my own friends. I wept when Abishai told me of Asahel’s death and exulted when Joab redeemed his honor on Mount Zion.
“Joab had just defeated the Jebusites,” I reminded him.
“Oh, yes,” he said. “After that, we made our home here in Jerusalem.”
He inhaled deeply, as if the smell of the city itself was redolent to him of a thousand happy memories.
“Ah, Jerusalem,” he said. “I wonder if you, being born here, can appreciate it. The brothel where I was born, Ziklag, Hebron–not even Bethlehem, none of these was ever home to me as is Jerusalem. Joab and I found a lovely house, so beautiful the former occupants did not have the heart to vandalize it, as had the other Jebusites when we displaced them.”
I cast my gaze around the shack in confusion. He laughed.
“No, not this cottage. It was a large house fenced with white walls. There is a large olive tree that was hardly more than a sapling when we first moved in. Now its crown can be seen peeking above the garden wall from two streets over. My son lives there now and has tried to convince me to stay with him, but it is too far from the Temple.”
This made sense, for I had seen Abishai come to the Temple daily to pray while performing my duties as a Levite.
Abishai continued, “When we found the place, our hearts cried, ‘We are home!’ We moved in that very day and sent for our belongings and our mother, Zeruiah, who had waited in Bethlehem. It became our sanctuary, a place of peace for us to rest our bones between all the battles and war.”
“There were other battles after you conquered the Jebusites then?” I asked.
“Oh yes,” he said gravely. “And the wars we fought after were far bloodier than any we had seen before.”
This book will be available August 10th. Click here to preorder.
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