The princes, kings,
And nations rage
While God endures
From age to age.
1 Time passed, and Nahash king of Ammonites
Died, and his son succeeded him as king.
2 David thought, “I’ll show kindness to the son
Of Nahash, Hanun, for his father showed
Kindness to me,” so David sent some envoys
To signify his sympathy to Hanun
About his father, but when David’s envoys
Reached Hanun in the land of Ammonites
To signify his sympathy to him,
3 The Ammonite commanders said to Hanun,
“Do you think David is honoring your father
By sending envoys to you to express
His sympathy? Have not his envoys come
To you to spy out and explore the land
And overthrow it?” 4 Hanun therefore seized
His envoys, shaved them, cut their garments at
The buttocks, and sent them away. 5 When someone
Came and told David what had happened, he
Sent messengers to meet them, for they were
Greatly humiliated. The king said,
“Remain at Jericho until your beards
Have grown, and then come back.” 6 When Ammonites
Realized that they had become a stench to David,
The Ammonites and Hanun sent a thousand
Talents of silver to hire chariots
And charioteers from Aram Naharaim,
Zobah, and Aram Maakah; 7 they hired
Thirty-two thousand chariots and drivers−
Also Maakah’s king and all his troops,
Who came and camped near Medeba, and as
They did, the Ammonites were mustered from
Their towns and moved out for a battle. 8 When
He heard this, David sent out Joab with
The entire army of his fighting men.
9 The Ammonites came out and drew up in
Battle formation at the entrance to
Their city, while the kings who’d come were by
Themselves in open country. 10 Joab saw
The battle lines before him and behind
Him; 11 so he picked out some of the best troops
In Israel and set them up against
The Arameans, and he put the men
Remaining under Abishai his brother’s
Command, and they were set in spots against
The Ammonites. 12 “If Arameans are
Too strong for me,” said Joab, “then you are
To rescue me; but if the Ammonites
Become too strong for you, then I’ll save you.
13 Be strong, and let us fight courageously
For our own people and the cities of
Our God, who will do what he sees is good.”
14 Then Joab and the troops with him advanced
To fight the Arameans, and they fled
Before him. 15 When the Ammonites perceived
The Arameans were escaping, they
Also took off before his brother Ab-
Ishai and went inside the city, so
Joab went back into Jerusalem.
16 The Arameans saw that Israel
Had routed them, so they sent messengers
And had more Arameans brought from past
Euphrates River, led by Shophak, who
Was general of Hadadezer’s army.
17 When David heard of this, he gathered all
Of Israel and crossed the Jordan; he
Advanced against them and formed battle lines
Across from them; then David formed his lines
To meet the Arameans in a battle,
And they fought David, 18 but they ran away
From Israel, and David slaughtered seven
Thousand of their own charioteers and
Killed forty thousand of their infantry.
He killed Shophak, their army general, too.
19 When Hadadezer’s vassals saw they had
Been smashed by Israel, they made their peace
With David and became his subjects, so
The Arameans could not be implored
To help the Ammonite men anymore.
NEVADA TO JERUSALEM
(“His word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot.”–Jer. 20:9)
This is a country for a holy man:
Deserts like Moses knew, Sierra snows
As white as souls wiped clean, and tourist bands
Who come to plug the emptiness in souls
By playing slot machines: in short, a land
Where Paul and Peter might have rivaled shows,
Teaching Christ crucified upon a tree,
To fill those voids with Gospel truth for free.
A man of middle age cannot aspire
To a youngster’s speed, and plods along to court
To plead the cause of clients, rich and poor,
Sinners all. He’ll bring God a sad report
Unless his bones are burnt by holy fire,
And like a faithful witness he exhorts
Those who prefer to mock and toss the dice
Rather than seek a place in Paradise.
Angels and demons fight an unseen war,
Hendrix replaces Bach, police patrols
Bust drunks and punks, and mourn the liquor store
And crankster’s needle, symptoms of a soul
So self-indulgent Conscience works no more,
A lethal weapon on remote control.
God calls for many, is answered by few,
And battles rage on every avenue.
When Bride and Bridegroom meet in air, foreknown,
God’s trumpet call will stun the West and East,
As he, the chosen precious cornerstone
Who built a nation of his royal priests,
Returns and claims the spotless Bride, His own,
To take her to the Lamb’s Great Wedding Feast
Prepared in heavenly Jerusalem
By Him who was, and is, and is to come.