Friday, 12 February 2010

Concubines for a nine-year old?

Sometimes, studying the bible with our children is not straightforward.

"It's Daniel 5. 1-9." My son has a daily study book that we are following. It is great, as it explains things simply with additional cartoons and puzzles.

While I find the reading he wriggles into position. He is perched on the edge of my daughter's high-bed, legs sticking out over the stepladder and quite likely to fall off. She is at the pillow end, looking over my shoulder as I read. It has taken a while to get into this precarious position, as I adjudicated over a fight about who has the study book and who has the bible.

Still, it is a great story: the writing on the wall, as the king at his great banquet sees a hand moving but no-one is able to interpret what it has written. Tomorrow night Daniel comes to the rescue, like Superman, though it wasn't a great message to have to tell the king. I start reading.

"King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them. Will you please stop fidgeting?"

"I'm not!" my daughter complains.

"Yes you are."

"No I'm not!"

Anything to end this pantomime! "Will you please just sit still and concentrate?"

"Okay," she says reluctantly.

I return to the reading, recapping from the beginning.

"King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them. While Belshazzar was drinking his wine - You said you would sit still!"

"I am."

"What was the name of the king?" I ask slyly.

"Erm..." she squirms. "King ... er... King B..."

I spot her looking through my fingers. All credit to her: Belshazzar is hardly an easy name for a seven-year-old to say.

"Right. Come on. Listen properly this time."

A rather grumpy assent from the little girl.

"Okay, where were we? While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them."

"Mu-um?" This time my son interrupts. We've only reached the end of verse 2 and not yet got to the interesting and slightly spooky bit of the writing on the wall.


"What are concubines?"

Quotes from The Bible, NIV.


TheMadHouse said...

Oh my, we are only on the very basic children bible for my two (3 and 4 years old), so I have yet to have any of these questions

The Dotterel said...

And? What's the answer?

Hearth-mother said...

Ah, the old concubine question. Haven't got to that one yet!

cheshire wife said...

Are you sure that this is suitable for a nine year old? And what about the seven year old?

Catharine Withenay said...

TheMadHouse & Hearth-mother - it is only a matter of time, my friends ...

Dotterel - I think it went something like:
Um ... er ... um ... well, you know how the king is married to the queen [here I ignore the fact it was wives not wife!] ... well, he was in love with some other women as well and it is a name for them.
He was appropriately horrified by this!

Cheshire wife - I suspect some translations have less difficult words, and I think the purpose of the story is to show how Belshazzar thought himself more important than God (clearly wrong!) As such, the story is totally suitable for any age.

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