He stood before me. An honourable man, a father, honourable father. And in his heart pulsed one great burning desire, the desire to be the father of many, and not just one son and he by a woman not his equal. He longed for sons by his sister-bride, by his closer-than-a-heart. He saw her time for bearing young ending as her tides of blood-flow dried up.
I saw myself in his eyes. I saw a small god, a mighty leader of a tiny tribe, dwarfed by the big gods, but I saw his unswerving allegiance given to me. I was HIS god. And she, barren as she was, was HIS sister-bride.‘I will give you your son, father of many,’ I promised, ‘and by his sons, I will give you generations of children.’ Faith and realism choked him. Laughter that I did not know of the tides of women, how remorseless they were, and the thought that, small as I was I might yet do something for the son of the woman not his equal.
‘I will give you a son by your princess wife,’ I promised, speaking deep of longing. Despite himself, he hoped. ‘We shall seal the promise with a covenant sacrifice’ he said. The way of a covenant sacrifice is for human and human, or human and God, to pass between a broken parted dove or a kid, and for the promise to be bound between bloody flesh and bloody flesh.
‘I will bind myself in covenant,’ I said.
I saw a purpose in his mind, and I understood. Other flesh was to little for this. The promise was of regeneration, a intimate promise, tender and painful to believe, and therefore he would take a knife and cut into his most tender parts, acting in deadly earnest.
We sealed my promise in his blood, passing between him and his foreskin.
I stood before him as he bled. ‘Father’ I said.