TITLE: The Exiled Chapter 2 start. 3rd July 2017
By Elaine Hemingway
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
SEND ARTICLE TO A FRIEND
Eliana ben Hadad looked at her husband with fear etched in the frown across her face. “Are you sure that it is so urgent, my dear one?”
“Indeed, I am sure. Daniel sent this message moons ago for it to reach us now.” Her husband, Zadok, drew his fingers gently down her cheek and guided her to a stool. “I know it is hard, and I realise it is difficult to leave all this behind, but this time there is no hope for Jerusalem.”
“I’m sure you’re right, dearest, but the memories come back and haunt me. I can’t help wondering who we will lose this time in the madness. Our babies, my mother and father, Josef, all gone in the fighting and the conscription of nine years ago. Who next, Zadok?” Eliana preferred to keep out of her mind the memories of the first attempt to demolish Jerusalem. “I was almost destroyed then, Zadok, not only the city.”
Zadok took her hands and caressed the fingers, so nimble and work worn from her needlework as a seamstress. His dark eyes looked into her hazel ones seeing the fear and apprehension dissolve as he drew her to himself in a gentle caress. He knelt beside her seat, his gown settling in the dust, and his dark curls shadowing his strong features.
“You worry about Shaina and Jadek? They are old enough to understand and actually be helpful on the journey we are about to take. Already they have realised our departure is unavoidable and have helped in your preparations. They will understand that we must delay no longer.”
“So what has Daniel to say that has precipitated your decision?” She burrowed her face into his palms, and he felt her determination to be optimistic. “I saw the tradesman passing through and giving you the scroll. I wondered all day what was in it so was not unduly surprised when you came back from the Sheep Gate with your news.”
Zadok released her hands and stood to take a scroll from his long skirts. “I’ll read you some or it,” he said as he unrolled it, resting it on the table. “As one privy to the Court, I know that King Nebuchadnezzar has determined to finally raze the walls of Jerusalem and to bring the last of the treasures from the Temple to his own temple of Marduk. He has already started to send contingents of soldiers who will have no mercy. I urge you to take your earliest opportunity to leave. He is determined to attend to the final destruction himself so will follow his army very soon.”
Eliana nodded. “And the soldiers are already here so he is not far behind. I agree, so what are your plans, husband?” She watched the consternation and consideration flit across his features as he debated how much he could say. “I know we have to move, dearest, and I will not collapse as I did nine years ago. With all the insurgencies we have seen, the threat of a repeat cannot be ignored. The threat is real, so when do we leave?”
“You are brave, my love, and yes, the bombardment of the walls continues and we know the crashes of rocks against the fortifications echo by day and by night as the relentless onslaught continues. We have no option and must leave tomorrow.”
Eliana knew what his next comment would be, for it was his constant refrain. “It is in the hands of Yahweh!” And both wondered where it would all end.
More daunting than their future life in a foreign country was the journey that lay ahead of them. With knowledge of what was to come, preparations had been under way for several weeks, but how was one to prepare for more than five hundred miles of dangerous terrain? Eliana had gathered herbs, dried and packed them, salted what meat she could find and preserved fruit and vegetables grown in their roof garden tended by Jadek and Shaina. Many times she had asked her husband’s advice and now with preparations for an evening’s activities before them he watched her in admiration. Her dark hair was tied up in a wide blue ribbon, and her linen working dress gathered in loops around her belted waist. Leather thronged sandals adorned her feet, and her slender hands were grimy with the soil she had been working in. For all their sixteen years of marriage, he was still captivated by her enthusiasm for life and the way her diminutive frame could exude such energy. Her beauty was an added bonus he felt and was grateful for the blessing of his wife. Her ability to run their home, and keep them well fed and clothed never ceased to amaze him. Particularly in these times of trouble when she had managed to provide for them in spite of the stringent limitations imposed by the siege.
Interrupting his thoughts she bustled around the table making space for the vegetables she held in her arms. Her earlier fears appeared to have left her to be replaced by enthusiasm. “Simon and Debra are joining us,” she told him, “and I have asked Debra to come prepared. No matter what Simon has been saying, I am sure they will want to join us if we leave tomorrow.” Then, with a smile that spread to her hazel eyes, and crinkled her cheeks into what would become permanent laughter lines as her features aged she tapped him playfully on his shoulder. I am sorry that Jadek’s betrothal to Althaea has had to be postponed because of all the trouble, but their wedding must be a priority when we arrive in Babylon. Althaea will be thirteen soon and by the time of our arrival will surely be old enough for us to provide a separate home for them. Jadek will be competent enough to start building a house for I am sure he will learn much more on our journey
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.