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This excerpt is from The Prince of Sumba, Husband to Many Wives.
Copyright 1998 Don Milton All Rights Reserved.
All Copyright Laws Apply - Thou Shalt Not Steal

Chapters: [Prologue] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18]  [19]  [20]  [21]  [22]  [23]  [24]  [25]  [26]

Dreams & Visions - The Prince of Sumba Chapter 15
(A story about Prince John as told by Prince John)

   Santran had slept through the day's events. He didn't know that the ship had left nor that it had returned. Neither did he know that upon its return it had been swallowed by the sea. Santran had laid down for his afternoon nap and, old man that he was, woke up only when it was time for dinner. I told him everything that had happened and how the tribe was more civilized than we'd expected. Santran wasn't paying much attention though. He had a far away look in his eyes as if he were thinking of his family, or could it have been that he was still drowsy from his long nap? Just then, with a voice full of authority, he said,
   "Your wives will not be like other wives. They will not be of this world though they will be in this world." [1]
   I remembered my dream where I prayed that my wives would be different. I'd forgotten all about it till Santran's words. I wondered, did Santran now think he could give me God's answer to my prayer as if he were a prophet? Then I realized that Santran didn't know about my dream. How odd that an old man, who I'd never heard speak a religious word, could deliver God's answer to a prayer he'd never heard me utter. How much more odd that I, who had been known more for playing pranks than playing hymns, would make a prayer and hear its answer in a prophecy on the same day. Santran wasn't finished though.
   "Your friends' fathers, our shipmates, they are alive."
   Now this was too much. I'd seen the ship go down. Santran spoke as though he'd had a vision. I felt uncomfortable even considering that Santran or myself could be blessed with visions despite the facts.
   There was a rattan swing in the middle of the king's compound and Sarapita and Zuah insisted that I sit down while dinner was being prepared. I could hear the sounds in the kitchen. The smell of barbecued chicken made my stomach growl. Sarapita and Zuah now took a break from their chores to introduce each of their little brothers and sisters to me. There were about 20 of them. The children were much easier to speak with than Sarapita and Zuah. They  spoke more slowly and understood me perfectly well. At least they didn't giggle at every other word, not that I hadn't enjoyed the company Sarapita and Zuah. I loved their company and was really looking forward to spending more time with them.
   The kids all wanted to know about the place I'd come from. As I described my kingdom, Sarapita and Zuah listened every bit as intently as the children.
   "So he is a prince!" Zuah shouted. She jumped as she said it. "I knew it!"
   Sarapita dutifully began grilling me.
   "You say you're a prince but you couldn't read the book you gave my father? How can we believe that an illiterate is a prince? All princes can read!"
   I loved Sarapita's frankness but remembered her exaggerated  introduction of Zuah. Everything Sarapita did was intended for effect. I knew to one degree or another that this was true of all women but Sarapita was an especially talented and delightful actress.
   "I can write in my own language." I replied to this little detective, "I've even composed some poems that I'll give to my wives one day."
   This time it was Zuah making the school girl uhhhhhh~ sound as she teased Sarapita about the love poems I'd written for my wives.
   "So you are married?" Sarapita asked.
   Again Zuah made the uhhhhhh~ sound.
   "No, I can only marry princesses and you're the first eligible princess I've met since becoming a man."
   Zuah was doing all she could to keep back her laughter. She could see that Sarapita had finally met someone who had every bit the talent for getting attention that she had.
   "Surely you've met other princesses." Sarapita quizzed me.
   "As surely as we speak, not an eligible one. I'm forbidden from marrying princesses from my own island. I must marry foreign princesses to strengthen our alliances, nor could I have married prior to setting foot on this island for until then I hadn't passed our test of manhood."
   "Silly, your test of manhood shall be passed when one of your wives bears your first son. Such strange customs you have; test of manhood!"
   I ignored Sarapita's rudeness.  It was her right. She was a princess.  In fact, my father had told me that the delight of man is not only many wives, but wives who could light up a room with their fire. Sarapita surely had that fire and I wanted to know her more.
   "I'm so glad that you, a princess, so close to becoming a woman, are so concerned with my status. You must invite me to your coming of age party."
   At this, Sarapita became quite serious.
   "I will most certainly invite you, and you shall be the first prince I greet upon becoming a woman."
   I could no longer tell whether Sarapita was saying this for effect or from her heart. I don't think she knew either.
   A princess is trained from an early age to wrap a man around her little finger. An important part of this training involves learning to behave in such a way as to divert a man's attention from the true intent of her behavior. For example, it's not uncommon to see a little princess, no older than the age of four, walk into a room where her father is entertaining a guest and say,
   "Oh kind sir please tell me when the great Datu* from across the sea arrives for I have heard many wonderful things about him.[2] I wouldn't want to lose the opportunity to be in his presence, even if just for a moment. Maybe someday my father will be so grand as to marry me off to such a man as he."
   Of course the man her father was entertaining would indeed be that great Datu and he would respond;
   "Such a delightful little princess you are, let me see that pretty little face of yours for you're not far from taking on the veil. Have a cookie."
   At this, the little princess would say; "Why thank you kind sir," and run away, having obtained her cookie for that was all she'd really wanted.
   As the years passed, the princess would learn to be more subtle in her methods. She would learn how to find out the wealth of her suitors without their knowing. I don't say this to be critical of the training that princesses receive. Their training is very important for they must know how to deal with powerful men. I admire their skills for without them, they might become no more than destitute trophies.
   I wondered how many cookies Sarapita might require of the man who would take her in marriage. I also wondered whether by that time she would have learned her part so well that she could no longer tell the difference between her performance and her true feelings. Would she lose sight of what she really wanted? Could a princess really know? Maybe she'd simply let her  father choose the man she'd marry rather than take a chance on her own fickle feelings.

   John now broke from his story telling to comment.

   "This practice of choosing a husband for one's daughter has been much maligned by western minds, unfamiliar with our customs and their origins. Why should it be unusual for a young and innocent girl, having never ventured into the world of deceit and corruption, to trust her father's judgment on these matters? I assure you Ish, that Ruth, my eldest, fully understands that I have chosen a man for her."
   At this, John placed his hand on Ruth's, the hand which was already holding mine. He squeezed, giving his blessing to her interest in me. Patting her hand once before withdrawing his, he leaned back, now thoughtful.
   "There's another thing that upsets, or rather entertains me. It's the hard headed, or more accurately described, dense man. Although he knows that princess and maiden alike are schooled in how to get what they want by pretending, he believes everything that his beloved wife tells him. Few of these men can control their women, yet most of their women have no problem controlling them. Even fewer of these men can see beyond their woman's behavior to her intent. I'm glad that my father taught me the power of love and that the only true power a man wields over a woman is the love of a father for his child. This is why great men do their best to possess great wealth; to be great providers. Solomon wrote,

   'A gracious woman retains honor: and strong men retain riches.'[3]

   This is so elementary yet most westerners think it somehow evil.

   'Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!'[4]

   A husband, as father figure, should be able to provide his wife the seemingly endless resources that a little girl once dreamed her own father might have. I know that for most, this is impossible, but for some; it is the power that will fuel great lineages.
 

The rest of Prince of Sumba may only be read by purchasing the novel.
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Click here to go to Chapter 16 - Coming of Age.

[1] John 17:14-16
I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

[2] Datu* a chief or a king. To this day in the mountains of remote areas of Mindanao, rich visitors are assumed to be great Datus from other lands.,

[3] Proverbs 11:16
A gracious woman retains honor: and strong men retain riches.

[4] Isaiah 5:20
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

[5] A man may not marry a wife that he has divorced if she has been with any other man after the divorce. Deuteronomy 24:3,4 And [if] the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth [it] in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her [to be] his wife; Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that [is] abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance.

[6] Ephesians 5:23
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the Head of the Church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Now in Romans 12:4&5 Paul also said,
"For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."
Let's consider; Believers have one head and that is Christ and He has one body which has many members, each of them a believer. If this metaphor is taken plainly as it was written in the Bible then a woman who is married has one head but that head (the husband) has one body which has many members, each of them one of his wives. There is no hocus pocus here, no twisting, the metaphor is plain and simple.

[7] Proverbs 25:6
Do not put yourself forward in the presence of the king, and do not stand in the place of great men: For better it is that it be said to you, Come up closer; than you should be put lower in the presence of the prince whose eyes you have seen.

Luke 14:7-11 And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

[8] Proverbs 1:7a
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.
Matthew 10:28
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

[9] Romans 10:12
For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
1 Kings 8:39
Then hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart Thou knowest; (for Thou, even Thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)
John 1:3
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
Matthew 7:13&14
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. ."
Hebrews 10:21&22
And having a high priest {Jesus} over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
Matthew 25:34
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Romans 5:8
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Psalm 112:6&7
Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.
The Lord stirs even the spirits of unbelievers as King Jochan had prayed:
Ezra 1:1b&2 The LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
[10] Jesus referred to himself as God by using the name God used for Himself when speaking with Moses.
Exodus 3:14b
Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
John 8:58&59
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
It's clear that the Jews understood Jesus to be calling Himself God since they picked up stones to cast at him after he referred to Himself as "I am," the name that God called Himself to Moses.

[11] Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.
2Corinthians 12:9
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Matthew 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
Ephesians 2:8&9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
2 Thessalonians 1:8&9 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.

[12]Acts 17:31
Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained; [whereof] he hath given assurance unto all [men], in that he hath raised him from the dead.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 13:5&6 [Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord [is] my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

[13]Luke 15:6
And when he cometh home, he calleth together [his] friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

[14]Proverbs 16:24
Pleasant words [are as] an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

[15]1 Corinthians 14:32&33
And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not [the author] of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

[16]Psalms 139:10
Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

[17]Isaiah 44:18
They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; [and] their hearts, that they cannot understand.

[18]James 4:4
Ye adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

[19]Romans 4:4-8
Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, [Saying], Blessed [are] they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed [is] the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

[20]Proverbs 26:12
Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? [there is] more hope of a fool than of him.

[21]1 Corinthians 12:2
Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.
Revelation 9:20
And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk.


Note: This excerpt is from The Prince of Sumba, Husband to Many Wives.
Copyright 1998 - 2009 Don Milton All Rights Reserved.
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Admonitions

A wise old teacher with many wives was once asked to answer a question for the wife of one of his monogamous students. Believing he could stump the teacher, the monogamous student read his wife's question for the entire class to hear. "Is it not true, teacher, that your wives are always bickering with one another? And that they argue about which one shall prepare your dinner?" "That is absolutely true," said the wise teacher. Then he asked the student, "And who does your wife bicker with? And who does she argue with over who should prepare your dinner?" Penned by Pastor Don Milton Dec. 1998 or earlier.

-- Pastor Don Milton--

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