Thursday, February 11, 2010

There is no God, just stories.

The King thought deeply for a moment, then arose from his throne to proudly inspect the idols displayed around his walls.

“You know I’m one to ramble on with stories of my youth. I've studied all religions, the tribes of the upper Nile, the Chaldeans, even beyond the mountains of Persia.”

He held up a golden figurine and waved it like a toy.

“There is no God, just stories.”

Elam threw the idol to the floor, smashing it to a thousand pieces.

“See, I knew it was clay underneath. Don’t worry, I have many more.”

Hashum took his Father’s arm and drew him close.

“What if you're wrong?”

Elam despised the look of fear in Hashum’s eyes. “Faith is the deceitful cloak of conquest, and Joshua's is no exception.”

“So what do we do with the spies?” Giddel asked impatiently.

Elam pulled away and slowly paced the floor, circling his sons and stroking his beard. He relished in the theatrics of weighing up the moral implications of this decision. The spies were like a dangerous species approaching extinction.

“The Hebrews are the only people on earth without a king. They have only one god, with no name and no idol to worship.”

“And no land,” said Giddel. “So shall we arrest them or kill them?”

“Wouldn't it be better to keep them alive?” asked Hashum, “to trade them later.”

“Why?” asked Elam, “What do the Hebrews have that I need? Nothing more for my collections. They’ll vanish into the scrolls of history soon enough.”

“As you wish,” said Giddel, grateful to finally get the answer he wanted.

“Good, and be sure to tie their heads to a post at the crossing,” the King coldly remarked.

“Their heads?” asked Hashum.

“Let me put it like this. I could imagine more crude and offensive things we could tie to a post, but vultures steal them easily and they don’t identify the bodies.”

Elam’s matter-of-fact reply got the desired response. His two sons turned to leave the throne room.

“Oh, and I almost forgot, the whore should be rewarded; perhaps after your mother retires for the evening.”

Giddel scowled and barged out the door, with Hashum in his wake.

Elam chuckled to himself. He knew Giddel always had eyes for Rahab. Like most accomplished dictators, his manners were like fine silver cutlery - reserved only for special occasions.

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