SIEGE2   5'1m*f RT: The Aramian Army lays siege to Samaria

(RT == Readers' Theater: requires little or no memorization,
little or no rehearsal. An indefinite number of reporters are
salted throughout the audience.)

JEROBOAM -- (enters wearing ornate robes and crown, crosses to
podium) I am Jeroboam, King of Israel. The reason I called this
press conference is to update the citizens on the current state
of the conflict with the Aramian army. As you are all painfully
aware, Ben-hadad and his army have completely surrounded our
city and have not allowed anyone to escape. Worse than that,
they have not allowed any shipments of food or water to enter
this city. As a result, our citizens have been dying of
starvation by the hundreds. So I'm here to report that I have
asked my advisors to formulate a plan of surrender to the enemy.

REPORTER -- Your majesty, isn't this a little premature?

JEROBOAM -- Premature? Are you aware that our citizens are so
desperate for food that they have taken to eating their own

REPORTER -- But the prophet Elisha has prophesied that very soon
the siege will be over and our city's economy will go back to
normal, as if nothing had happened?

JEROBOAM -- I'm aware of that prediction. But I will remind you
that it was that scoundrel Elisha who got us into this mess in
the first place!

REPORTER -- It is true that Elisha predicted the siege against
us and he even predicted that our citizens would become so
desperate that they would begin eating their own children. But
can you blame Elisha for this merely for voicing God's
predicting that it would happen?

JEROBOAM -- That scoundrel has done nothing but oppose me since
I became king.

REPORTER -- Isn't it true that the reason why the Lord God has
ceased to protect your kingdom is because of your refusal to
tear down the shrines and worship places for foreign Gods?

JEROBOAM -- By maintaining the shrines and places of worship to
foreign gods, I am merely keeping my options open. You can't put
all your eggs in one basket, you know!

REPORTER -- But isn't that precisely what the Lord has warned
you against? Isn't "keeping your options open" the same as being
"double-minded" in the sight of the Lord?

JEROBOAM -- You're beginning to sound like that scoundrel
Elisha. If he was here now, I would strike him dead on the spot!

REPORTER -- Your majesty, I just came from the city gate where
it has been reported that the Aramian Army has withdrawn. Is
that true?

JEROBOAM -- That report came from a group of beggars who
deserted us. I'm not sure we can rely on the word of some

REPORTER -- But if it's true, Elisha's prediction of a return to
normalcy could become a reality!

JEROBOAM -- I'm not saying that I have completely discounted the
report. I'm saying that we must proceed with caution. This whole
thing might be a huge deception to get our hungry masses to
throw open the city gates an pour out of the city in search of

REPORTER -- But the reports from the beggars were quite
detailed. They said that the Aramian army not only withdrew, but
that they withdrew in a panic, leaving behind their tents, and
their weapons, their food, even their horses and wagons.

JEROBOAM -- I'm aware of the reports. And I have sent the
captain of my palace guard to the city gate to interrogate the
beggars. He, in turn, has sent a detachment of soldiers to the
enemy camp to investigate. But the captain of the guard is quite
sure this is a deception by the Aramian army.

REPORTER -- The prophet Elisha has been quoted as having
confirmed that the Aramian army has retreated. He said that the
Lord God himself deceived the Aramian Army. According to Elisha,
the Lord created the sound of millions of hoof-beats advancing
toward the enemy camp. The Aramian Army interpreted the sound as
the Egyptian Army coming to the aid of Israel.

JEROBOAM -- I'm aware of that.

REPORTER -- Yet, you're still considering the possibility of
surrendering to the Aramians?

JEROBOAM -- I don't trust Elisha, I don't trust the God of
Israel. If the detachment of soldiers cannot confirm that the
Aramians have retreated, I will have no choice but to surrender.

REPORTER -- (enters noisily from audience rear) Your majesty,
the detachment of soldiers have returned!

JEROBOAM -- Well? What did they say?

REPORTER -- The enemy camp is empty. It's just as Elisha said.
They left everything! They even left behind their horses and
wagons full of food.

JEROBOAM -- Why are YOU reporting this? Where is the captain of
my palace guard?

REPORTER -- He was trampled to death by the crowd as they poured
out of the city gates to get at the food in the enemy camp.

JEROBOAM -- Trampled to death?

REPORTER -- Yes, just as the prophet Elisha predicted.

JEROBOAM -- You mean Elisha predicted that the captain of my
palace guard would be trampled to death?!

REPORTER -- Yes, he did. He said that because the captain of the
guard was sceptical of Elisha's predictions, he would never eat
the food left behind by the enemy.

JEROBOAM -- Well, I'll be. Maybe the God of Israel can be
trusted after all! Ladies and gentlemen of the press, ignore my
comments about surrendering. Let's go get some food! (exits)

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