Thursday, March 18, 2010

Stay Awake

“...and that’s how Joshua became our leader - quite unexpectedly,” Salman concluded his story to Rahab. “Moses simply handed it to him not long before he died.”

Two or three hours passed since Giddel and his men were sent on a wild goose chase. The two Hebrew spies had made the most of Rahab’s hospitality and were now fully prepared for their escape.
So prepared, in fact, Phinehas fell asleep by the window, catching up on some well earned rest. The others talked about waking him up, but decided he was so exhausted the sleep would help for the long journey home.

Salman, on the other hand, had good reason to remain awake. Several hours of conversation with Rahab seemed just like a few minutes, and with every passing moment the two were drawn to each other’s fascinating stories.

“It’s strange God would do that to Moses,” said Rahab.

“I’m sure He has his reasons,” replied Salman, “but sometimes I feel like He can be quite dramatic, almost theatrical - just to prove a point.”

“What point?”

“I don’t know. That’t the funny thing, I don’t have a clue about Moses. So many things about Jehovah are symbolic.”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“Take the crossing of the Red Sea for example. He didn’t have to lead us into the wilderness - we could have travelled the direct route to Canaan, by the way of the Philistines.”

“You think he was showing off?” Rahab asked.

“Well, he doesn’t need to show off,” Salman replied, “but maybe we need him to.”

“The bread should be done now,” said Rahab as she leaned over towards the fire. “So this Midianite woman that Phinehas killed, how did Joshua know her? Did he sleep with her?”

Salman waited for Rahab to remove the bread from the oven before stoking the fire with a few extra pieces of wood. “No, although some people assumed that. King Hur had offered his daughter’s hand in marriage some months before, as a way of keeping peace between our people.”

“To whom?” asked Rahab.


“Who did he want her to marry?”

“Didn’t matter - Moses, Joshua, whatever it took to mix the blood lines of our people.”

“So he was a man of peace?”

“No. He was a merchant. Everything has its price - or so he thought,” Salman answered apprehensively, realizing the nature of Rahab’s occupation.

“You should get some sleep,” said Rahab. “You look tired.”

“What if we all fall asleep? replied Salman. “I can’t risk it.”

“True,” said Rahab “I’ll stay up with you till the middle of the next watch - when the guards are drowsy. It’ll be safe to leave then.”

Salman gazed into her stunning brown eyes. He was too tired to think before speaking. “Thanks, I’ve never talked to someone like you before.”

“What do you mean? A prostitute?” Rahab replied, “It’s alright. You can say it. I don’t mind”

“Sorry. I think you do,” said Salman. “I think you do mind, or at least you used to mind. I don’t know how anyone couldn’t.”

“Maybe, a long time ago. When I was younger, it was like looking over the edge of a cliff. You know it’s dangerous but something draws you to it. And then once you’ve jumped, it’s easy. The deed is done. It can’t be undone.”

“I disagree,” replied Salman.

“What?” laughed Rahab, “you think I can be pure again? You’re more immature than I thought.”

“That’s not what I’m saying. I mean there’s still hope.”

“Hope. I have long since forgotten the meaning of that word,” replied Rahab.

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