The Song of Legends is a poem that is based on the description of David’s elite troop in 2 Samuel 23. It paints a picture of the superhero exploits of this special group of superhuman fighting men. This poetic piece focuses on some of the most distinguished characters from that miracle-muscle squad and weaves their manly exploits together with the feminine celebration of the dancing maidens of Israel. The poem also paints a vivid description of the leonine traits of Almighty God in a montage that is gradually built up and interwoven with the exploits of David’s mighty men.
This poem was written many moons ago (about a decade back) for a church radio podcast that I was working on. I was using poetry (mainly my own work) to help the congregation trace and track our journey in God. Worship and spiritual warfare were a significant part of our identity as a church. However, I didn’t have any poems in my collection (at the time) that fit what I needed. In the end, I decided to focus on David and his legendary conquests and write a completely new piece.
The first part of the original (and much longer) poem focuses on the literal army of David. However, the second part is partially metaphorical and implies, in part, that all believers are part of the army of God. In the video, we see three (3) modern characters of different ethnicities worshiping, praying and expressing the love of God. The idea is that God’s family and God’s army are not exclusive to any particular race or culture, and that these forms of expressions are all, ultimately, manifestations of spiritual might and examples of the spiritual weapons entrusted to God’s children who are also spiritual soldiers in His modern-day army. In God, we do great exploits!
The video adds a dimension to the poem that is not immediately evident in the written piece. We see the clear juxtaposition of two (2) lions – The Lion of the Tribe of Judah and the Imposter Wannabe Lion King – the devil. It is clear from the poem that they are enemies and that we are all (no matter which side we are on) soldiers born into and enlisted into the Proxy War of the Ages.
It should be noted that the version of the poem (The Song of Legends) that has been submitted for the Engage Art Competition is an abridged version. The original piece is much longer and had to be significantly compressed to fit into a five-minute video. It features in my book It is Written!: A Bible Poetry Collection, which spans Genesis to Revelation in about 45 poems.
The actual making of the video was what I would call a “pull-teeth” (as we say in Trinidad and Tobago) experience (i.e. very tough and challenging). It didn’t start off that way, though. I was breezing through creating the artwork for the video when, two Saturdays before the deadline, I accidentally spilt some water on my computer’s touch pad. The cursor went all ‘wonky’ and I really had to battle through the rest of the weekend to make turtle-pace headway. The odd thing is that, unlike similar incidents in the past, the cursor was refusing to fix itself. In the end, first thing on Monday, I bought two new computer mice (just to be safe). It helped speed things up immensely, but the mouse cursor and my touch-pad cursor kept competing with each other.
To my dismay when I finally got to the point where I could put my video together, the timing input for the video programme also went all ‘wonky’, which it hasn’t done in yeeeears! As the saying goes: when it rains, it pours! … Thankfully, I managed to work around the challenge, but it meant taking thrice the time it would have ordinarily taken me (wipe brow!).
I thought all the way through these unusual mishaps: how ironic! No doubt, this is not coincidental! Surely some green little monster in my computer doesn’t want to me get this submission done! You’d better believe that I prayed and problem-solved my way through all of that!
I realised that it wasn't that my video-software timing wasn't working (though it had seemed that way to me at the time) but that I had forgotten how to use it. And I could speak of many other misadventures, but let me not bore anyone with the frustrating details. This has been a real saga!
The Song of Legends offers an Old Testament and New Testament definition of warfare. In both parts of the Bible, warfare is spiritual but in the Old Testament it is also literal, while in the New Testament it is not.
The poem and video illustrations clearly show the non-visible dimension of spiritual warfare by juxtaposing the two battling lions and their soldiers. In the video, David’s troops all have literal weapons. However, in the three (3) modern-day characters presented briefly near the end of the poem, we immediately understand that, while they may not carry any arms, they are no less lethal than David’s mighty men. The point being made is that worship, prayer and living a godly life are non-carnal weapons that enjoin us to God’s mighty military campaign against the evil one.
Viewers would be able to clearly see that the two lions in the video are very different from each other and that there are only two sides in the spiritual struggle between God and Satan. It is being played out right here on Planet Earth through the unfolding history of the human race, both on an individual and generic level. Godly troops find their Herculean strength in God Himself, while the enemy energizes his soldiers with his character and nature.
Just as the enemy tried to intimidate David’s soldiers through sheer numerical advantage or through unfairly weighted odds of one kind or another (e.g. Goliath’s giant proportions), it is no different within the modern context of this battle. However, just like David’s mighty men, those who know their God will be strong and do great exploits and, in God, completely overturn overwhelming and defiant odds and flip them on their back. That’s what we do when we worship in spirit (this outsmarts every enemy ambush), fervently wrestle in prayer (this bears emphatic results) and daily live a godly life (this makes our life a virtual fortress made all the more impregnable by being built on a foundation of rock).
The sword of Eleazer is the sword of the spirit in the mouth of a Christian, on their knees storming the heavens in prayer. David’s stone being catapulted from a slingshot and burying itself in the forehead of a blasphemous giant, is a simple act of godly love or the application of a seemingly simple principle from the Bible melting opposition into nothingness. Benaiah wrestling with a hulking giant is the believer wrestling in prayer over a major challenge and beating it into submission to God’s will. The javelin or spear or rod of a mighty man is a well-aimed and well-timed prophetic declaration with a trajectory that echoes across generations. An arrow flying from the bow of a bulls-eye archer is the wise verbal response of a believer in the face of slanderous attacks or when within earshot of the seductive whisper of temptation … it is written! …
The Song of Legends (both the poem and video) brings together those who have gone before and those who are here now and those who are yet to come. It is basically saying that we are all part of God’s wondrous army.
Finally, the joy-filled dancing maidens may seem insignificant and, yet, they are an implicit reflection of the praise-and-worship dimension of David’s battle-readiness. David was the warrior king who was also a masterful musician, a soulful songwriter, a gifted poet and a vigorous dancer, known to step in joyous (well nigh delirious) abandon. Indeed, worship and warfare are interwoven with each other. As Psalm 8:2 puts it:
Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have ordained strength,
Because of Your enemies,
That You might silence the enemy and the avenger.
Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold
against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
Also consider the following verse from Psalm 76:1-3, bearing in mind that David was from the tribe of Judah and that Judah means “praise”…
In Judah God is known;
His name is great in Israel.
In Salem also is His tabernacle,
And His dwelling place in Zion.
There He broke the arrows of the bow,
The shield and the sword of battle.
God is renowned in Judah;
in Israel his name is great.
His tent is in Salem,
his dwelling place in Zion.
There he broke the flashing arrows,
the shields and the swords, the weapons of war.
The joy of the Lord is indeed our strength, and heartfelt worship (worshiping in spirit) causes fountains of joy to spring within, allowing us to access strength, contentment and peace even in the midst of circumstances that would ordinarily floor or completely devastate the average person. All of this is implied by the beautiful dancing maidens, celebrating the victory of their men and their God.
And, on the topic of Judah, it is worth noting that David (one of the heroes mentioned in this presentation) is of the Tribe of Judah – the tribe whose ‘mascot’ is the lion (Genesis 49:8-10). The lion is iconic of Judah and this ties in perfectly with the celebration of the victories of The Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
There are many dimensions to The Song of Legends.
Note: the poem can be found in my book It is Written!: A Bible Poetry Collection
Written by Nneka Edwards
Narrated by Nneka Edwards
Recorded by Nneka Edwards
Illustrated by Nneka Edwards
Produced by Nneka Edwards
This video will be made available on YouTube
If anyone is interested in using it for commercial purposes, they can email me and we can have a lovely chat: firstname.lastname@example.org
I can offer online workshops (poetry writing, poetry appreciation, poetry performance, paper collage art, drawing and painting) and poetry shows for clients around the world.
THE SONG OF LEGENDS
The maidens are dancing in jubilee
They lifting shake their tambourines
They stepping sway and spin around
They clapping make a joyful sound
O! God looks down past the galaxies
He spies on earth, men of mighty feats
They fight with sword and bow and javelin rod
As He looks He sees the encampment of God
O! Consider David, that rugged man
The least, the least of all his clan
He wrestled bears; he ripped apart lions
He slung a stone and felled Goliath
O! Consider Shammah, Agee’s son
Who had the Philistines undone
He planted himself in the middle of a field
Not a single patch did he give up or yield
O! Regard this son of Israel
Regard, regard, regard him well!
His hand froze to his sword that very day
A whole army he defied to conquering slay
O trumpet forth! Wake the cymbals!
Ring and sound in joy the timbrels!
Shout for joy, stepping dance in rings
O! Fear the roar of our Lion King!
Trumpet O trumpet, sing and rejoice!
Shout for joy and lift your voice!
O! Dance maidens! Dance and sing!
For the Lion of Judah – The Claws of our king!
O! Consider the fierce might of Jehoiada -
His son – the fearless lion, Benaiah
Who killed Moab’s greatest men of manes
And savaged a lion on a snowy day
Trumpet and dance and clapping sing
Let rejoicing ring and ring and ring!
O! This son is the very Lion’s Mane
For he has won himself a lion’s name
Trumpet O trumpet! Clap and sing!
For the army of God is an awesome thing!
They march in rank O! They march in file
And they shall never be denied!
Herald O trumpet! Trumpeting sing
Catapult war from the Lion’s sling!
His enemies He roaring rips and mauls
And devours with merciless Ravenous Claws
So rejoice and spin O stepping feet!
Strum the harp for David’s deeds!
Dance, O maidens of Almighty God!
For Our Warrior King and His Crushing Jaw!
Sound the trumpet! Sing out loud!
The Mightiest One is striding proud
Make way! Make way! And bend thy knee!
The Lion of the Tribe of Judah is He!
O! God looks down past the galaxies
He spies on earth, men of mighty feats
They fight with sword and bow and javelin rod
O look! Behold! The encampment of God!
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