For forty years our people wandered the desert and God provided our daily needs. In the dark of night I weep in gratitude, for our Lord has never left us.
I, Amnon son of Ira, of the Tribe of Judah, serve in God’s army, under the leadership of His servant Joshua son of Nun, who has been commanded by God to lead our people to take possession of the Promised Land. Joshua has led us across the Jordan. These are the days for which we have waited and prayed. These are the days our fathers have not lived to see.
The battles have been easy, for God has delivered the enemy into our hands. Everyone has heard of our victories and all those who oppose our God melt with fear. Yet they continue to fight against the rule of God. They continue to reject His offer of grace.
God has commanded that we leave no survivors and this has been difficult. City after city we have conquered, putting all the people to the sword, not sparing anyone that breathed. The first infant I put to the sword caused me to vomit, as did the mother nursing her child.
I follow the commands given by Joshua, who follows the commands given by God. I am obedient to the one true God, the God of Moses, the God of Abraham. I do whatever my Lord commands, for it is His right to command as He wishes. This battle is not for our own victory, but for the victory of God. I am at peace with my obedience, but for one memory that follows me in my dreams.
It happened during our attack on Ai. Early one morning when the dew had not yet dried, one half of our army lured all the fighting men of Ai away from their city. When there were no men left inside the city, the rest of our army burned Ai to the ground. In the valley between Bethel and Ai we ambushed the men of Ai. They had no chance to escape in either direction. We only needed to step forward and swing our swords and the enemy fell.
After I had worked my way to the outer edge of the battle, cutting down the men who stood in my path, I came upon a form and face that was the same as when I looked into a clear stream of water. Believing I had seen a ghost, I halted to wipe the sweat from my brow.
“Amnon!” shouted my brother Eban.
My sword grew as heavy as chains. Eban and I were born in the desert, to the same mother, on the same day. The last time I saw him, we were young boys, our legs barely long enough to chase each other around the tents.
“Yes brother! I am alive,” said Eban, grinning so that his cheeks filled with dimples. “Mother could no longer stand to suffer, so she took me and fled the camp. It has been difficult, but I have built a life in the land of milk and honey.”
“Eban, do you not understand this land belongs to the one true God. Brother, if you are not for Him, then you are against Him.”
“I’ll not give up my freedom,” said Eban. “I’ll not throw away my home, nor will I abandon my family.”
My free hand lifted toward the smoke, which filled the distant sky. “Your city has burned to the ground. The Tribe of Judah is your family now. Come to my side, the side of our Lord. Come see the promise fulfilled.”
Eban’s eyes were full and bright. “Can’t you see? I have already found the Promised Land.”
“Brother, you will reject the grace of God?”
Eban’s measure of sin appeared full, for he had been fattened by the pleasures of the city. His heart was hard. His dimples vanished and he lifted his sword. Then I lifted mine. There we fought, brother against brother, clashing sword against sword, and fist against fist, each of us committed to what we held most dear.
The sun crossed the sky while divine grace and judgment clashed throughout the valley, spilling blood into a wide expanse of ground. There were no survivors from the city of Ai.
I am at peace with my obedience, but in the dark of night, Eban still follows me in my dreams.
Note: Biblical Fiction, based on the book of Joshua.
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