Monday, March 1, 2010

Forbidden Fruit

Othniel shot off like a flash, ducking and weaving in between tents - he could easily check two or three in the same time it took Joshua to check one.

Although Joshua was mindful Othniel wanted to redeem himself, his tired old legs couldn’t keep up with the seventeen year old. Every now and then he caught glimpses of Othniel looking back through the rows of tents, but he couldn’t catch him, let alone predict where he was going.

Before long, the boy ran completely out of sight and Joshua was left with a sinking feeling in his stomach. Othniel was an accident waiting to happen; where, when and what were questions he would have to deal with later.

Or sooner.

The sound of shouting and smashing pottery nearby confirmed Joshua’s suspicions. Othniel stumbled quickly out of a tent, chased by an angry man and his wife wearing nothing but bedsheets.

“Get out! This is our tent, get out of here!” the husband yelled furiously. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“I’m so sorry,” replied Othniel, “I didn’t... I didn’t mean to. I mean feel free to continue...”

The husband charged and crash-tackled Othniel, down the path and onto the ground at Joshua’s feet.

“I think you have the wrong man,” remarked Joshua, extending his hand to lift Othniel up off the ground. “Please forgive the boy. We’re searching for a Midianite prostitute.”

“Alright,” the husband replied while hastily wrapping the bedsheet around his loins, “I suppose it was an honest mistake.”

“Honest and foolish”, said Joshua taking off cloak. “Please, take my robe as a gesture of good faith, and excuse us - we really must go.”

They continued their desperate search amongst rows of tents, occasionally intersecting paths with Phinehas and Salman (who were clearly covering more ground). With younger legs and a guilty conscience, Othniel often scurried ahead to check more tents, then dutifully doubled back to keep contact with Joshua.

“I don't understand”, Othniel exclaimed, “why would anyone want a foreigner”?

“Forbidden fruit”, Joshua replied.


“We want what we can't have. It's been like that since Adam."


“Adam and Eve; they chose the one tree that was forbidden.”

“What are you saying?”

“The Almighty doesn’t want us to starve.”

“But what if we could?” asked Othniel, as he stepped aside to avoid crashing into to Salman.

“What?” asked Salman - he couldn’t help but overhear their conversation.

“Marry a foreign woman” explained Othniel.

“Ha! Now that’s funny,” Salman laughed, “No good Hebrew would bother. Foreign women are immoral.”

“So they’re forbidden because they’re immoral?” asked Othniel, “not because they’re foreign?”

“Well, it’s not as simple as that,” replied Joshua.


“It’s not impossible,” Salman replied, “but it’d be a miracle.”

And with that Salman hurried off to catch up with Phinehas, stepping cordially aside to make way for Caleb’s daughter coming the other way.

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