Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
Returning to the castle at the end of a long day, the three servants came from their royal errand of following the woman of the city. King Lemuel saw their entrance into his throne room; yet before he would hear of what they had witnessed, he bid his mother to tell him the next portion of the prophecy.
His mother spoke stoutly, “Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” She folded her arms across her chest and watched the expression on her regal son’s face.
Within the ornate chamber of the King’s palace, many officials and dignitaries met to speak with the King. Fully away of protocol, the reigning patriarch took certain measure to attend business matters before speaking with his stealthy servants; he listened to the merchants complaints about taxation; he instructed the tax collectors more leniency towards the merchants; he turned his nose up at a noble from a distant land who had brought his daughter for marriage unto the King; the young noblewoman was haughty, proud, and loud: the very sound of her voice was scathing to the Kind’s ears.
At long last, when all matters of the court were finished, the three servants came forward, looking as eager and as full of anticipation as King Lemuel felt. “Tell me: what did you observe of the woman?”
The chief servant announced, “My Lord, no such woman of faith and strength resides in all of your city! We saw her today attending to the sick, those also ridden with unclean spirits; visiting some of the worst slums of the city, she ministered to the pour souls who cannot take care of themselves, often praying over them and calling on the One True God. Not once,” he continued, “Not once today did we see her eat more than a morsel of bread, of which she shared with some beggar children.”
When the servants had told of the woman’s affairs, the court began to assemble for dinner; the woman of the city slipped quietly into her usual seat at the far end of the chamber, reserved for the lowliest of the court.
“Bid her to come here,” the King said to a nearby attendant, pointing towards the woman and watching as she was summoned; at first, she looked startled, but rose swiftly, approaching the King boldly, and making a low and humble bow before his throne. “Tell me of your day, my lady.” King Lemuel inquired, intrigued to hear of her day from her own perspective.
With full modesty and in such dignified brevity, she spoke, “Just my usual tasks, my Lord. Nothing extraordinary, nor worthy of the King’s ear.”
The King asked, with straightforward concern, “How many are there? How many possessed are within my city?”
The woman stood upright, and met the King’s eye with fierce composure. “More than I can number, my Lord.”
“Why do you think this is so?”
For the first time since they had met, the woman of the city looked mortified; she thought heavily on her own words before speaking. “Oh, good King, I know of your faith in the One True God, and yet, the priests within the city are…” she paused, weighing carefully what she intended to say, “lax, and frankly, they are lazy. They take of the offering for themselves, and do not minister to the sick or give to the poor. They seem to scorn those of unclean spirits and keep to the wealthy and healthy members of their congregation, those who are pleasing to the eye and of sound mind.
“Furthermore,” she continued, “the occult of the city run ramped; they summon dark spirits they cannot control, and then the dark forces are let loose upon those already of weak minds. I know not what to do, but pray and attend to them daily.”
With his hand upon his beard, King Lemuel was perturbed by this information; he felt that this lacking by the priests was upon his own shoulders, and knew something must be done to aid the sick in spirit. “Come, sit here by my mother and I, and tell us what you would have done.”
The woman of the city bowed again, and took her place of honor near the King’s throne.