Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: CALL (01/14/16)
TITLE: 589 BC
By Elaine Hemingway
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The Beis Hamikdosh, Solomon’s Temple, had been pillaged, ransacked, almost completely destroyed, and yet the Jewish nation was looking to false gods, and listening to false prophets. Zadok ben Hadad despaired that even his brother-in-law, Simon, was setting more reliance on the prophecies of Hananiah than on Zadok’s friend and mentor, Jeremiah. Persuading his wife, Eliane, to prepare a meal he invited Simon to join them, and laid out his plans for the immediate future.
“You must see that Jeremiah has been proved a true prophet time and time again,” he said when the three were seated.
“You have agreed that we must plan the Kettubah* for our two families to be united by the marriage of our son, Jaydek, and your daughter, Althaea. Now that Jaydek has celebrated his Bar Mitzvah, he is eager to commence the next step in the betrothal, and Debra, your wife, has expressed a deep concern that you are going to make a huge mistake by taking your family to Egypt. I urge you to think very seriously about this for as I have warned you before, disaster will follow if you make a wrong decision now.”
His broad face, bearded and well barbered, had a sheen of sweat accentuating his high cheekbones, and slightly hooked nose. He looked towards Eliana, who had a frown hovering over her brown eyes.
“Now we are grateful that Debra has listened to us,” she said, “ and has agreed that we should have this meeting without her, for she knows that she will agree with what we have to tell you.”
“We have decided that we are leaving tomorrow,” Zadok interrupted, then continued hastily, ignoring Simon’s puzzled look.
“Since we received the call from Prophet Jeremiah, we have known that time in Jerusalem is limited. Already King Nebuchadnezzar has left his palace and is about to march with all his troops on Jerusalem. He is determined that this time it will be totally destroyed, and any skilled person able to improve on his palace or hanging gardens will be conscripted to his work force. As I am a skilled jeweller and stone-worker my nephew Ezekiel assures me that I will be welcomed. With your skills in leatherwork you will also be able to make a good living. We are waiting no longer, and Eliane has packed ready for departure at first light. The gates are already damaged, and soldiers are on the rampage knowing what is to come so it is imperative to leave now voluntarily before force is again applied, with all the consequences we can anticipate.”
“Debra has been packing for you and Althaea,” said Eliane as she brought in the succulent broth and placed it in the centre of the table. “This is our last goat, so let’s make the most of it. And you must make your decision also. Choose this day who you will serve. If Yahweh, then come with us and answer the call to Babylon as urged. If you consider following the false gods of Egypt, then we will include Debra in our party. There will be no turning back!”
Simon waited for Zadok to ask the blessing before bowing over his bowl and swallowing a mouthful. He turned to his hosts looking first one in the eye, then the other.
“We will be travelling with you,” he smiled, as he wiped his lips, “and if this is the last meal we will share for a while, like Esau, I could sell my birthright, for it is delicious as ever.”
What lies ahead for us, Eliane wondered, but joined in the laughter.
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