Anne quietly watched her daughter go pale and turn her head away from her once favorite meal and shook her head. The symptoms were starting to add up. Her youngest daughter, Miriam, was ill by the sight of raw meat and cooked fish. Anne knew, for a fact, that her daughter had not gone to be purified for her monthly bleedings.
Children, and by the very extension, grandchildren were a blessing of The Most High. But, her youngest daughter, Miriam, was pledged to be married to a good man...a kind man...but now this? Would Yoseph still honor the betrothal?
Adonia, what has my daughter done? She prayed as she settled down next to her Joachim. Anne smiled reassuring at her eldest daughter, Leah, and her husband. They were expecting their second child. That was a welcome blessing.
Anne bit her tongue as she gazed for a long moment at Miriam. Silently interrogating Miriam, demanding to know, how she could have done this to them...to Yoseph. Did she not know what the penalty of being with child outside of marriage was?
“I’m with child.” Miriam’s quiet voice shattered the chatter that had begun around the table. Anne closed her eyes and lowered her head. It had begun.
Joachim slowly lifted his eyes and gazed at his youngest child. Anne could feel her heart sink into her stomach. “Did you say something, Mary?” He asked and Miriam nodded once.
“Yes father, you’re going to be a grandfather in about seven months.” Her soft voice was trembling now and Joachim blinked and turned his gaze to Anne, then back to Miriam.
“How can this be? Have you been with a man?” Joachim’s voice was quiet, hiding the fury, for the moment.
Miriam shook her head once. “I do not understand it myself. But, an angel of the Most High appeared to me and said, ‘You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Yeshua. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.’”
“And what of Yoseph? Have you told him yet?” Joachim demanded after a long moment of silence.
Miriam shook her head. “Not yet, but I will...” Her voice dropped off and her hand stole to rest on her stomach.
Anne gazed for a long moment at Miriam before asking, “And if Yoseph submits you to the letter of the Law? What then? Did your angel speak of you about this?”
Miriam shook her head again. “No, the angel did not.” she paused before continuing, “Yoseph is a good man, and I pray that the Most High will explain everything to him.”
Joachim stood and stormed away from the meal. This did not bode well, and Anne knew it. The set of his shoulders spoke volumes.
“I am going to get Yoseph, and you will tell him now.” Joachim declared, stalking out of the small house.
Miriam turned to Anne, her brown eyes bright with tears. “Mother, I am not lying...the angel also spoke of my cousin Elizabeth being with child.”
Anne held up her hand. This was not the time for any sort of diversions, though, Miriam rarely used such tactics. Yoseph needed to be told…though, maybe... Anne allowed the thought to drop off as Joachim stormed back into the house, Yoseph following close behind, his face stormy, his dark brown eyes staring into Miriam’s.
Joachim watched the young couple for a long moment. “What is your decision, Yoseph? She is your wife according to the Law.”
The tension could be divided by a flint blade. “Send her away.” Yoseph muttered, and Anne winced. Miriam’s child would be born into disgrace unless Yoseph had a change of heart.
“Send her to a family member away from here. I need time to think...to pray.” He continued before spinning and leaving the house.
Anne nodded and sank back to the floor. She now had two grandchildren on the way—she could only pray that the youngest was truly because of The Most High’s plan.
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