PART II CHAPTER 1: SANCTUARY
He makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends his rain on the just and the unjust.
---Jesus (Matthew 5:45)
As Barabbas and his men ran further into the forest, they saw something large and gray protruding from behind a clump of trees.
“Say, what’s that over there?”
“Let’s go take a look.”
Coming upon it, they found it to be a cave carved out of a rock. “We can hide out here till everything blows over.”
Having brought very little in the way of rations to the insurrection, they were left to subside on roots, nuts, and berries. Having settled into what was to be their new temporary home, they began to review their failed mission.
“What could have gone wrong? We had it planned so perfectly.”
“We failed to gain the support of enough of the people.”
“I took care of two of the praetorium guards.”
“And I took care of another two.”
“And I killed one,” added Barabbas with a sigh.
“The trouble was the people.”
“Exactly! We should have had a more extensive whispering campaign before we began.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean several of us should have spread the word further, throughout the crowd.”
“But they might not have all been sympathetic. Some could have warned Pilate and then it would have been even worse.”
Another man cleared his throat. “Alright, men. It’s no use thinking about what we could have done. The question is what are we going to do now?”
“Yeah, Barabbas. You’re the leader. What do we do now?”
“The only thing we can do. Wait. We can’t risk going out. Someone is sure to recognize us and then we’d be caught.”
The ground of the cave was hard and the thoughts of the men were anxious, so it was hard to sleep, but eventually, they all dozed off. They would soon get used to their new living quarters.
Meanwhile, Deborah and the children were sick with worry over what may have happened to Barabbas.
“Mommy, Mommy! When’s Daddy comin’ home?”
“Soon, I hope.”
“But what’s wrong? Why doesn’t Daddy come home?”
“I don’t know, dear! But let’s pray and ask the good LORD to bring him home, shall we?"
“That’s a good idea, Mommy.”
“Bow your heads children. Dear lord, we pray for my husband and the children’s father, Barabbas, that you be with him wherever he is and keep him safe and bring him back home to us soon. Amen.”
Meanwhile in town, again the black and white chariot stopped in front of the brick house and he dismounted, tied the horses and knocked at the door. She ran, smiling, to greet him. After the usual pleasantries and some kisses, she asked. “Well, what did he want, Manaheem?”
“What did who want?”
“Why, the king, your foster brother.”
“O’ just as I told you, he wanted to tell me to go ahead with the mission he hired me for.”
“And did you?”
“Yes, my dear.”
“Well, can you tell me about it now? I’m dying to know what was this mysterious mission the king sent you on.”
“Not yet, dear, but soon I think. I must go now and collect the rest of my fee. We may soon have the money we need to settle down and be comfortable.”
“O’ Manaheem, you’re so mysterious. But I guess that’s part of why I love you so much. Come here.” And once again their lips met.
PART II CHAPTER 2: THE SHOPKEEPER
He who labors diligently need never despair; for all things are accomplished by diligence and labor.
The next morning in town as the rich shopkeeper, Benjamin, was leaving for his shop, his children, Josh, and Jake were fighting over a toy. His wife, Sarah, was scolding them. “Now you children be good. I don’t want to give your father a bad report when he comes home tonight. You know what that would mean.”
”Goodbye, my dear. I’ll see you tonight”
“O Benjamin, I wish you wouldn’t go. You could leave the shop closed for a day. We don’t really need the money.”
“Now dear, we discussed this before. We want to have enough to send Joseph to go to the academy, don’t we? That way he could become a rabbi and not have to be a shopkeeper like me. And, you never know when we’ll have some unexpected expense. Besides, as I said before, I want nothing but the best for my family. And with that new shipment of goods which just came in, I have to unload and shelve it today, and--”
“I know dear, but if you’d try and be with them a little more--“
“I guess you’re right, Sarah dear, and I will try, once I get this new line of goods organized.”
“Alright, dear, but be careful.”
“I always am, aren’t I?”
She kissed him goodbye and he left for the shop.
The morning was spent in organizing the new goods which had just come in and taking care of a few customers. About noon his friend and favorite customer Felix entered.
“Good day, Felix. What can I do for you? Would you like to peruse my new line of goods?”
“Well, I guess it can’t hurt to look.” He walked over to the shelves and began looking at the goods. As he was looking, he began talking. “Say that was something about that riot at the praetorium, wasn’t it?”
“What riot?” replied the shopkeeper. I didn’t hear anything about a riot."
“Where have you been? You might even call it an uprising.”
“Well, tell me about it. How did it happen? What brought it on?”
“I don’t know what brought it on. All I know is one minute things were as calm as can be and the next minute everyone was yelling and screaming all sorts of anti-government slogans”
“Slogans? Like what?”
“Like ‘Down with injustice!’, ‘Down with tyranny’, ‘We want real justice’ and th’ like.”
“Did you see who started it?”
“I’m not sure, but in midst of it a big brawny brute jumped up on the praetorium and demanded that Pilate surrender.”
“Then what happened”
“Well, Pilate called for his guards and they routed the rebels.”
“Thanks for telling me, Felix. There’s nothing like a little exciting news to start one's day off right.”
“It could be a warning too, you know. With the people that discontented, who knows what could happen. You could be robbed or something.”
Benjamin shrugged nonchalantly. “Thanks for the warning, Felix. Now did you see anything you like?"
“Well, they’re all lovely, but I’ll need more time to decide.”
“Take all the time you want. I’m not going anywhere.”
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