Sunday, March 21, 2010

Too old to fight?

Upon arriving, Joshua thought it best to dismount from their horses, for they don’t really mix well with camels. The two pressed forward through the crush to try and overhear Phinehas’ preparations.

“The slingers are ready,” informed a messenger on horseback.

“Good,” replied Phinehas. “Riders, take your positions. Go on my mark or get out of my way.”

“Wait a minute!” someone cried in the jostling crowd of soldiers.

Phinehas saw a commotion heading his way. It was Zebulan, dragging a young Hebrew soldier by the scruff of his neck.

“What were you thinking? You’re too young!”

“No I’m not.”

“Tell that to Phinehas,” Zebulan replied as he threw the boy to the ground.

“Hey, that hurt!” yelled the teenager, picking himself up. He was instantly recognizable to Phinehas.

“Othniel, I admire your enthusiasm, but I never asked you to fight. Get up and go home.”

“Sorry, I just thought...”

“You thought you’d like to die?”

“No. I just want to fight.”

“Oh really? Not last time I checked. I need men, not boys who are afraid of women. You heard Zebulan - you’re too young. Now go, before you cause more trouble than you’re worth.”

“It’s not fair,” Othniel replied, then dusted himself off and marched past Phinehas in a huff.

“Excuse me” said Caleb, bumping into young Othniel on the way out. Although old enough to be his grandfather, his muscular frame wasn’t used to stepping aside for anyone. Caleb’s arms and legs were grotesquely scarred from Egyptian lashes felt many years before - a legacy of the suffering that couldn’t break his spirit.

“Caleb, what are you doing here?” asked Phinehas.

“What does it look like? Taking my position on the field of battle.”


“Yes he is,” replied Joshua, stepping into view behind his old friend. “We waited our whole life for this day, and God help the man who tries to stop us.”

“Whoooa! Whose in charge here?” Phinehas replied. “You’re too old - both of you.”

This wasn’t the reaction Joshua planned for. He smiled, raised his hand and was about to reason with Phinehas, but was quickly brushed aside by Caleb.

“Too young? Too old? Think you’re special? Who was chopping firewood before you were born?”

“Exactly. That’s my point!” Phinehas laughed.

“I can still swing an axe with one hand and split a log as thick as your skull,” Caleb shouted.

“You’re the only one with a thick skull,” scorned Phinehas.

“You’re right. I wouldn’t know how to build a golden calf like your grandad.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” asked Phinehas.

“Caleb! You’ve said enough.” Joshua put his hand over Caleb’s mouth. “Only dogs dig up old bones.”

“I’ve got nothing against either of you,” Phinehas replied calmly, “But you’re just too old.”

“Come down off your fancy schmancy camel and say that to my face,” demanded Caleb.

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