[Music cue: “Scene Change to Shepherd’s Hill” underscore , ]
(A hillside near Bethlehem.)
ELI (calling from offstage): Nathan!
(NATHAN, a shepherd boy, runs onto the hillside.)
NATHAN: Up here, father! I found him. He’s with the others.
(Eli, Nathan’s father, climbs the hill.)
(Eli’s father ASA, REUBEN, JESHUA, JACOB and AMON climb up after Eli.)
NATHAN: Down there, see?
ELI: Ah! Good for you, son.
REUBEN: Good for the lamb.
ELI (helping Asa up): Up here, father—
REUBEN: Jeshua—the bread?
(Jeshua breaks pieces from a loaf of bread and distributes them.)
ASA: This seems a good spot.
ELI: Yes. Nathan, do you see all those lights!
REUBEN: Lots of people over there.
ASA: That’s ol’ Herod again.
ELI: As if he were a Hebrew—calling them back to the land of their fathers.
ELI: Bethlehem is important, son.
REUBEN: I’d say!
NATHAN: What do you mean?
ASA: The Messiah will be born there—don’t you remember? In the city of David.
REUBEN: Some day . . .
NATHAN: How do you know?
ELI: The prophets.
JESHUA and ELI (answering together): Yes!
ELI: The Lord told Samuel that a king would come from Jesse—
JESHUA: A Beth-lehemite.33
NATHAN: Will that be Him? Will that be the Messiah?
ASA: From the stem of Jesse, the scriptures say; and—
ASA and REUBEN (together): A Branch shall grow out of his roots.34
ASA: Even so.
REUBEN: The root and offspring of—
NATHAN and REUBEN (together): David.35
[Music cue: “The Lord is My Shepherd” , ]
(Nathan begins playing the harp.)
AMON: Uncle Eli, what will He be like?
ELI: Like His fathers, I suppose; like David.
JACOB: David the king?
JESHUA: Or David the shepherd?
AMON: A shepherd? How a shepherd?
ASA: He shall feed his flock, and gather the lambs, and carry them close to His heart.
ELI: And He’ll gently lead the mother sheep, those that are with young.36
JACOB: Sheep? What sheep?
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil:
For thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
Thou anointest my head with oil;
My cup runneth over.
NATHAN: When will He come, father?
ELI: Nathan, when I was your age, I prayed that I would be there. But it’s just as important to wait for Him, son, and to watch.
ASA: And be ready.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
The Lord is my shepherd
The Lord is my shepherd
The Lord is my shepherd . . .
(The shepherds gather in prayer. Blackout. In the darkness the shepherds lie down to sleep.)
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