She would never sing again. Once she had sung all the time as she moved through her days, as she went about the tasks that were her choice and her pleasure. She was the daughter of a king, how could she not be glad? She was the daughter of the Sweet Singer of Israel, David himself, how could the music of her people not be the music of her heart? She was young, and a princess; she knew that she was beautiful and had believed that she was loved.
But no more. Never again would there be joy, or beauty or laughter in her heart. Never again would she believe any words of love. She had wept enough to water all the deserts of the wilderness, and it had availed her nothing. Nothing could wash such a wound, nothing could ever be right or beautiful again. She had learned that love vanishes when you are besmirched, that words of love are an empty lie that covers, for a season, one man’s lust and another’s indifference. She had been a princess, a sister and a daughter, now she was only the empty shell that held a gaping, repulsive wound.
She had never dreamt that her half-brother hid such treachery in his heart. How could she, when the very idea was an abomination in Israel? But he had played it cunningly, claiming to be sick and asking that his sister cook for him and serve him personally. Alone with him, doing what seemed a simple kindness, she had found herself seized and overpowered and brutally raped. It was an absolute violation of body and soul, and when she had begged him afterwards to marry her, so that at least she could retain some shreds of honour and dignity, he had utterly repudiated her. Like a man who comes hungry to the table, fiercely desiring his food, then, when his appetite is satisfied, regards the leavings on his plate with disgust, something fit only for the servants to remove, so had he treated her. He had lusted after her with a frenzy that was like a sickness in his bones, but when he had used her and abused her to the full reach of his depravity, he no longer wanted her. She was no longer the beautiful, inviolate princess; she was broken, bruised and soiled, worse than a common whore, and he loathed the very thing he had made her to become and drove her from his presence.
And that was not the ultimate betrayal. Surely, she had thought, her father would avenge her injury and restore her honour? She had not understood his weakness, his indulgence towards a son who had done evil, his unwillingness to take a stand in his own family when it needed to be taken. He ignored her plight and offered no consolation, no concern at all for the injustice she had endured. She was nobody, she was nothing, and the God whose praise she had once sung so joyfully, now seemed very far away. Her whole life was reduced to darkness and despair.
She did not know, she could not know, that God Himself is on the side of the broken and abused. She did not know that the day would come when God H9imself would be the victim of man’s most vicious cruelty. She did not know that, unlike her father, God would not stay remote from His suffering children, but would take their place to walk into the very depths of Hell to deliver them all. She did not know how deeply and eternally she was loved.