Thursday, March 18, 2010


Salman stood up and paced the floor to stay awake. “Hope is all we had for four hundred years. Hope is what kept us alive.”

“Its amazing you even remembered where you came from,” Rahab interrupted. The Egyptians take people from all over the world and they never return. Children born into slavery don’t know any better.”

“We’re different,” said Salman rubbing the tiredness from his eyes. “We had a prophecy that we would return, and we had Josephs bones.”


“What?” replied Salman. “I’m sorry, I’m falling asleep. Help me to stay awake.”

“Joseph. Who was Joseph?”

“He was the first Hebrew sold into slavery - his brothers betrayed him. That’s how we all came to be in Egypt. Before he died he asked to be buried back home in Canaan. We’ve passed his coffin down through the generations.”

“So you still have his bones now?”

“Yes. We carried his bones from Egypt to bury in the land of our fathers.”

“The bones made you remember?” asked Rahab, listening intently on the edge of her seat.

“More than that. I believe his bones carried us.” Salman slouched back in his chair and slowly deliberated over his words to fight back the tiredness.

“Hope carried us. The hope of freedom in a land of our own. The promised land, flowing with milk and honey. Canaan.”

“You make this place sound better than it is!” Rahab laughed.

“That’s God’s plan - that it be much better, better than you or I could ever imagine.”

“Things normally turn out worse than I imagine,” Rahab replied. “I’m sorry, that’s how its always been for me.”

Salman sat up in his chair and thought deeply for a moment as he stared into the soothing glow of the fire. The similarities between Rahab’s life and the story of his people were strikingly obvious now. “But hope without courage turns to despair,” he continued. “And despair breeds rebellion in the hearts of men.”

His eyelids got heavier while still rambling on. “That was the beginning ...of many sorrows. Forty years of wilderness, neither slave ...nor free.”

A crackling spark from the fire reminded Salman of what the crack of an Egyptian’s whip might sound like. Although he had never felt its pain in real life, he had imagined it many times in his sleep. He flinched and stood bolt upright, almost as if to shake off his daydream. He desperately wanted to stay awake and keep talking with Rahab.

“Slavery and prostitution are very similar you know. Someone else owns your body.”

“I’m not a Hebrew,” Rahab answered abruptly. “What can your God do for me?”

Salman was lost for words, but wasn’t about to give up easily. “I don’t know. But I do know he made all people, and if I were Him, I would care for my creation. And I’m just a man, far from perfect - so he must love you more.”

“Well, that’s a nice idea,” Rahab replied, “but how did God love the Midianites? Surely they didn’t take too kindly to the news of their princess’ death.”

“No they didn’t,” replied Salman. “You’re right. It was a bloody and terrifying battle, and one best forgotten. Sadly, I still remember it all too well.”

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