PSALM23M 7'3m?f Psalm 23 - Peace and provision in adversity

(all characters dressed in army fatigues)

LEU -- (enters wearing headphones, carrying radio) Roger that.
Let me know when the comm link is established. All units stand
by for instructions from the General.

GEN -- (enters carrying binoculars, scans audience back wall)
All units in place, Lieutenant?

LEU -- That's affirmative, General. Our forward reconnaissance
unit has planted listening devices throughout enemy
headquarters, we should have the comm link up and running

GEN -- Have you had a chance to count noses, Lieutenant?

LEU -- Recon says we outnumber them by six to one.

GEN -- Six to one?! Well, that's a pleasant surprise!

LEU -- Recon says the comm link is in place, General. (adjust

GEN -- What do you hear, Lieutenant?

LEU -- It sounds like the enemy's general is talking about...
sheep herding.

GEN -- Sheep herding?!

LEU -- That's what it sounds like, General. Here, listen for
yourself. (removes headphones, offers them to General)

GEN -- (puts on headphones)

DAV -- (enters opposite) The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be
in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me
beside quiet waters,...

GEN -- (removes headphones) Green pastures?! Quiet waters?! What
do you make of this, Lieutenant?

LEU -- I don't know, General. This is highly unusual language 
for a general who knows he's outnumbered and knows he's about to 
be attacked.

GEN -- Maybe he knows we planted listening devices in his head
quarters. Maybe he's using code talk.

LEU -- Not likely, General. The forward recon team said they got
in and out without being detected.

GEN -- Then what do you make of all this sheep herder talk?

LEU -- Well, the intelligence report said that the enemy general
was a shepherd before he became a soldier.

GEN -- That could explain it. But who is he talking to?

LEU -- Recon says the enemy general is alone in the room.

GEN -- Maybe he's got his own comm link to another General.

LEU -- Recon did an electronic scan of enemy headquarters. They
tapped into all enemy comm lines, but they didn't detect any
secret comm links, General.

GEN -- I heard him use the name of the Lord. You don't suppose
he's wasting precious battle preparation time praying, do you?

LEU -- Well, intell hasn't been able to come up with any
explanation for his success on the battlefield, General. But
they say he hasn't lost a single battle yet.

GEN -- That worries me. He sounds way to calm for a general on
the verge of certain defeat. (puts on headphones)

DAV -- he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of
righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through
the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you
are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (exits)

GEN -- (removes headphones, offers them) He sounds much too calm 
and collected. He have must an ace up his sleeve. If we attack 
now, we could be walking into a trap.

LEU -- Shall we call off the attack, General?

GEN -- No. We'll just postpone it for awhile. We'll starve him
out. We'll completely encircle his troops. Nothing goes in and
nothing comes out. If his reinforcements don't show up within
thirty days, he and half of his army will be dead from
starvation and the other half won't be in any shape to fight a
battle. (exits) Keep me posted.

LEU -- Yes, General. (to radio) Stand down from the attack. We
will surround the enemy and lay siege for thirty days. (exiting)
We're going to starve them out!

(optional light cue: lights out, lights up)

LEU -- (enters, talks into radio) All stations, prepare for
battle. Stand by for the order from the general.

GEN -- Give me an update, Lieutenant. How many of the enemy have
died of starvation? (scans back wall with binoculars)

LEU -- None, General.

GEN -- None?!

LEU -- Not a single fatality, General.

GEN -- That's got to mean there's a secret supply line. Somebody
has been smuggling in food.

LEU -- Negative, General. Not even a cockroach could have gotten
in or out of their encampment.

GEN -- Strange. Did forward recon ever find the enemy's secret
comm link?

LEU -- No, General. I don't think a secret comm link exists.
Intell has been searching diligently for a second army, but
there is no second army anywhere.

GEN -- Then, who is this general talking to?

LEU -- I wish I knew. He's been talking this sheep herder talk
for the last thirty days, General. (offers headphones) Listen.

DAV -- (enters opposite with tray piled high with brightly
colored fruits and vegetables) You prepare a table before me in
the presence of my enemies.

GEN -- It sounds like the enemy general is having a banquet!

LEU -- Apparently, he is.

GEN -- He what?!

LEU -- Recon says our siege hasn't done anything to reduce the
flow of food and water to enemy troops. Somehow they're getting
fresh fruits and vegetables every day.

GEN -- He must have infiltrated our lines and bribed some of our

LEU -- That was my thinking too, General, but I sent an intell
unit to our siege force. They confirm that nothing is getting in
or out of the enemy camp.

GEN -- Then why have we not starved them out?!

LEU -- I wish I could tell you, General.

DAV -- You anoint my head with oil.

GEN -- What's this about oil?

LEU -- Recon says that the enemy not only has enough olive oil
for food and fuel, they also have enough to use for hair

GEN -- That's ridiculous!

DAV -- My cup overflows. (drinks from ornate goblet)

GEN -- They're even drinking wine with their meals. I can't even
get wine in the officers mess hall! Something is going on in
there! And I'm going to get to the bottom of it!

DAV -- Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of
my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

GEN -- (takes off headphones) There it is again! (hands
headphones to Leu)

LEU -- What's that?

GEN -- He's talking about the Lord again.

LEU -- Maybe the god who created the universe is on the side of
the enemy.

GEN -- Are you sure there is no secret comm link anywhere?

LEU -- I had forward recon reenter enemy headquarters twice
since we laid seige. If there was a secret comm link or another
army waiting somewhere, we would have found it by now. Shall I
give the orders to attack, General?

GEN -- No. Retreat.

LEU -- Retreat?!

GEN -- Yes, retreat.

LEU -- But why?

GEN -- (exiting) Because we only outnumber them by six to one.

LEU -- (follows) Six to one used to mean a sure victory
before... before he brought the Lord into it.
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