24 November 2015

King Saul’s Bride-Price

Queenmaker by India Edghill, 2012, Fictional History, Excerpts

Future King David wants to wed King Saul's daughter, Michal. King Saul sets the bride-price:
My bride-price was to be one hundred foreskins taken from the Philistines. So my father said to David before the priests and judges in the open court. David and Jonathan came to me with the news, to tell me before others could. It was the first time I heard Jonathan call our father mad. “But Jonathan—” I was so shocked that I could think of nothing to say. How could anyone pay such a price? One hundred Philistines! David was a great warrior, but even David could not hope to kill one hundred men before I was too old to care whether I married or not. I would not even think that the Philistines might kill David instead. 

“He means that his youngest daughter is of great worth in his eyes,” David said, and hugged me again. “And I am but a poor man’s son—what else could he ask of me? Gold and spices? I am a simple warrior, so he set a warrior’s price. I mean to do this, and I will come back to pay Saul what he asks and claim his daughter as I have said.” 

Six months later.... 

David stepped back and spread his arms wide. “Look, King Saul—you set a price for your daughter’s marriage of one hundred Philistine foreskins. I have brought two hundred. They were circumcised by the prophet Samuel himself." Now his voice was raised to shout a triumph. “A great victory for Yahweh.” My father grudged nothing for my wedding-day—not the bride-clothes, nor the fatted lambs and calves for the feast, nor the honors for my bridegroom. The wedding festival was to last for seven days and seven nights. A king’s daughter did not wed a hero every day, Saul said.

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