by Ifeoma Dennis
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We stand at the border of Israel and Edom.
I think of my one-year old son, Job [named after my father] left at home with the budding teenage daughters of my sisters, Jemimah and Keziah.
I am here for them . I am here for my son. I am here for my husband.
We always knew that the Edomites were not for us but we did not anticipate this. How could they allow the selfish Babylonians passage? If this is a treaty, they would suffer from it because after the Babylonians are done with us, they would finish them off.
Our husbands had gone ahead to fight the Babylonians at Jerusalem, and succeeded in driving them as far as Edom, and we basked at the glory back at home awaiting the return of the men we love.
Two days ago, we heard another story. Edom had joined forces with the Babylonians and had overpowered our husbands, locking them up in prison. They were coming to conquer everything left of Israel and either take us as captives or destroy us all…or both.
The wife of the leader of the tribes, Milcah, then sent word around and what had never happened before in Israel was about to happen. All the women in Israel from the age of eighteen were to fight!
We had less than twenty hours to prepare because there was a likelier chance of driving the enemy forces back if we met them before they entered Israel.
Our quick preparations did not fail because we were lucky to meet them at the border!
So here we stand.
My name is Keren Happuch, from the land of Uz. I am married to Joshua the Tenth, a direct descendant of the Israelite leader that led us into the land that we now occupy, a land formally called Canaan. I am twenty-one.
Milcah’s voice rises above the silence.
The enemy forces are silent because they did not expect this. I do not think they even believe we are here to fight. We are not up to ten thousand but the men I see facing us are almost a hundred thousand.
“Women of Israel, let us take a moment of silence and commit our fates and our mission into the hands of our God. The God that delivered us from the Midianites shall do it again. Though they are in their numbers, we shall conquer them!”
I bow my head and pray silently.
My God, I am too young to die. You gave me a husband and you gave me a son. You did not bless us with each other so that we perish at the hands of our enemies. Your enemies. At the end of this day, may victory be ours and let us be safely reunited with our husbands and our children, screaming your name to the highest heavens.”
“When we stand together, no invader shall pass!” Milcah’s voice rises, “Oh women of Israel do not be afraid.”
Oh yes, I am scared. How are we going to conquer this army with their sophisticated arrows? I heard the arrows were even glazed with magic.
The leader of the enemy forces steps forward on his brown mighty horse. Being a domestic wife, I do not know his name…like most women here too. My husband is the one that concerns himself with such news. The leader is a dark man with beards that it is visible even with his face armor.
“Women of Israel,” he mimics Milcah’s tone. His army roars with laughter. “Your husbands are safe and will remain so… till you move an inch forward.”
It irks me. His arrogance. I lift an arrow from my backpack and fit it into my bow.
“What are you doing?” the women on my both sides ask me.
“Watch,” is my reply.
I once was a great archer before I got married. My father used to put me in contests with his friends and I always won. It was a friendly competition then, not anything like this…and I never had to aim for someone’s eye. I know it is a great risk but if we all perished, I want to know that at least we fought.
“Be good wives and surrender…or else...”
“Hmph!” and the great bearded leader’s shoulders fall as an arrow hits him square in the blue pupil of his eyes. He slumps off his horse.
There is chaos… for the enemy.
Our God did not disappoint us.
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