David is advanced in age. As a result he cannot keep warm. The solution offered to him is to have someone else provide him with body heat.
I know what it is like to always feel cold. It’s miserable. No matter how many layers you have on you just can’t get warm. This used to be my problem but not any more. But it is David’s problem. He can’t maintain his own body heat because of his advanced age.
His servants come up with a creative solution. “Let a young woman be sought for my lord the king, and let her wait on the king and be in his service. Let her lie in your arms, that my lord the king may be warm” (verse 2b).
This woman would lend her body heat to the king but she didn’t lend him her body sexually. She was a ‘bed warmer’ not a ‘bed partner’. David wasn’t looking for another wife or concubine. He simply needed someone to cuddle up next to to keep warm.
I find it interesting that this is one of the last stories we will hear about king David. We still have the story of him passing on his throne to Solomon in our future. But this story gives us a different picture of David. We don’t see him as the mighty man, the conquering king, or the faithful servant of God. We see his vulnerable side. A man who has been ravaged by age.
We also see a man who is highly loved by his servants. They were doing everything they could to make his years pleasant. They dressed him in as many clothes as possible to keep him warm. When that failed to make him comfortable they came up with more solutions. But they also kept his dignity and status in mind when offering solutions.
They sought out a beautiful young woman. They looked far and wide for her. Her looks were as important to them as was her warmth. Their king was known to favor beautiful women. Did they expect that he would seek her sexually? No ‘plain Jane’ for their king.
Was David past the age of sexual pleasures? Was this woman ‘not known’ because of David’s lack of desire? What did she think of this arrangement? Was she expecting to ‘become one’ with the king? Did she agree to so much and no more? And what became of her afterwards? Because she didn’t have relations with David was she still considered a virgin? Was she still eligible for marriage? Did David provide for her future when he passed on his throne?
Can you imagine the ‘job description’ for such a position or the recruitment going on? “King seeks female maiden with warm body to snuggle up to. Must be beautiful and willing to wait on the king hand and foot. Chances for advancement uncertain.” Were women the kingdom over jumping at the chance to ‘apply’ for this position or were they running the other way? Was this a voluntary position or one of conscription (drafted)?
I trust the woman they chose was as beautiful inside as she was outside. She served David faithfully and saw to all his needs. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that her responsibilities involved personal care for David, including washing and dressing him. She saw him at his most vulnerable and did not exploit him. A faithful servant.
All of us, if we are lucky, will grow old like David. We will require someone to help us as we lose the ability to do all the things we once did. Maybe not the same kind of help David needed, but something along the way. Blessed are those who find someone willing to take on this labor of love. And blessed are those who take on such tasks. “If you want to be great in God’s Kingdom you must be servant of all.” Be willing to serve wherever God places you, even if it is only a snuggling partner for one who can’t get warm.
Father God, thank You for bringing my husband into my life. There are days when the tasks of caring for his physical needs is overwhelming but I would NEVER have it any other way. I want to be by his side for the rest of our lives. Help me in the times when I feel overwhelmed to remember the blessings You have brought in my life through him. “Grow old with me, the best is yet to be.”