07 November 2015

Jeroboam's Wife: Walk Just A Little Slower

1 Kings 14:1-18

Just a little longer,
just a little longer.
Walk just a little slower;
give him some more time.
Keep breathing - try
just a little longer,give him some more time.

This pain so deep inside,
as if it's I who's dying,
like giving birth to him all over again -
if only I could.
If only I could
give him life again,
start all over,
wake up with him alive in my arms.
But here I am,
a messenger of death,
and with each step
my child slips away.

Is not this the harshest blow:
striking a child
for his father's wrongs?
But is it God
who causes this pain -
or is it the consequence
we bring on ourselves?

This pain so deep inside,
for the suffering of generations
that come from my womb,
my children -
if only I could
walk just a little slower,
start all over,
die instead.

Just a little longer -
o Lord, have mercy!
Walk just a little slower -
I know your will is just.
Keep breathing - try -
Is there no other way?
Give him some more time.

One step over this threshold
and my son is dead.
Walk just a little slower.
Give him some more time.


[June 2013]

Jeroboam was King of Israel at the time when Israel and Judah split, around 926-907 B.C.
He did not please God (originally God chose him to start something new, but Jeroboam ended up introducing idols and such), which is why Jeroboam's family was punished - starting with the death of his son Abijah.
Mrs Jeroboam appears in that context: Jeroboam sent her to the prophet Ahijah to ask whether Abijah would get well, and Ahijah told her not only would Abijah die as soon as she returned home (hence the "walk just a little slower" - I imagined her really hesitating to go home because it would mean her son's death) but also the generations following would die violently.

Originally I wrote only the first two and last two stanzas, then decided I needed / wanted to add some "theological interpretation" with the middle stanza, thinking a bit about sin and punishment and consequences of sin. When I think of God punishing sin, I don't see it as Him being a strict / angry / "mean" kind of God striking without feeling. Because God is love. He loved us - ALL of us - so much that He gave Jesus, that He Himself suffered for us to restore our relationship with Him. When God punishes, I see it more as the consequence of sin - punishment being something we bring upon ourselves, and not something God wants to or likes to inflict.

The question of future generations suffering the consequences of their forefathers' mistakes comes up in some of my newer poetry too, so if you want to track my theological development you could compare this one with Jehoshebah's poem. ^^

Picture by Charles Horne.

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