Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Red Rope

“Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall; she dwelt on the wall.” Joshua 2:15

The King of Jericho’s guards rode their horses hard along the moonlit road to the crossing. With fire in his eyes and Hell on his back, their Captain Giddel was seething with fury. Hashum had followed the spies into the Jericho, the King had given simple instructions, and yet nothing was working as planned.

To make matters worse, the horses were tiring and his men were complaining. Giddel looked behind his galloping steed towards his brother Hashum, who was pointing to the sky; it was starting to rain.

“Don't even think about stopping,” Giddel yelled as he violently whipped his horse, “we're going to catch them.”

But catching spies who haven’t yet escaped is an impossible task. Salman and Phinehas were still hiding in Rahab’s house, safe in the knowledge she had sent Jericho’s guards on a wild goose chase. For it was not geese being chased, but rather geese doing the chasing.

At the very moment Giddel dug in his heels and cracked his whip, miles away in Jericho Phinehas awoke suddenly in a fright and grabbed his cloak beside the bed. He ran to the window to look at the eastern sky. It was still dark, with no signs of dawn on the horizon.

“Let's go, before it gets light,” he said pacing into the other room where Rahab and Salman were packing the last supplies.

“Please, just a moment,” Rahab begged, “we’re almost finished.” Turning back to Salman, she continued. “If God is good, why did he ask Abraham to do such an evil thing?”

“You don't understand,” replied Salman.

“I know. That’s why I’m asking.”

“There's no time,” Phinehas interjected.

“Is it too hard to answer?” asked Rahab.

Salman looked at Phinehas and shook his head in amazement. He had never encountered such a feisty women. After hours of conversation, her audacity still surprised him.

“I already told you,” replied Salman, “God stopped Abraham because he had a bigger plan. Isaac didn't die.”

“What about me? I’m as good as dead, right?”

Salman looked at Phinehas again; both were completely speechless. Neither were quite prepared to face that brutal reality.

The awkwardness of the moment unsettled Rahab, so she nervously moved to the outer bedroom and began tying a long rope around the bed posts.

“Wait, what are you doing?” asked Salman.

“What does it look like? Saving your life.”

Salman rushed to help her loop the rope through the bed’s heavy wooden framework. Somehow, as they were working together his hands ended up holding hers. It was more than accidental; he needed to feel the warmth of her skin. He needed to look into her eyes and know she could be trusted.

Using the bed as an anchor for the rope, they dragged it beside the window. Salman watched her throw the rope out the window like an expert. She’s probably done this a hundred times before, he thought. How many other men have secretly escaped her home in less honorable circumstances? How on earth am I going to explain this to Joshua?

Salman noticed Phinehas smirking. He was thinking the same thing, but added a quick shrug of his shoulders like he had no idea what to do with her.

After all they had shared in those long hours of the night, it was no longer Rahab’s past that disturbed Salman, no nearly as much as her future.

“Please, I've shown you kindness,” Rahab blurted, “spare my life when you attack.”

“God forbid you die,” replied Salman, looking to Phinehas for reassurance.

“Our lives for yours, that's fair,” said Phinehas, “but I don’t know how we’ll explain this to Joshua.

“We’ll worry about that later. Why don't you come with us now?” asked Salman.

“I can't. I won't leave my family behind.”

Salman racked his brain to think of a solution. A fast solution.

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