Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: ARTIFICIAL (08/11/16)
TITLE: False gods of Babylon
By Elaine Hemingway
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The man was shouting in the Semitic tongue of Aramaic, with an accent that was as yet unfamiliar but Shimon was aware that with concentration he could decipher the meaning. It was all about one of the gods worshipped here and a great meeting that was due to be held that day. There was to be a parade going from the Temple of Marduk through the Ishtar Gate and on to the Gardens for some sort of ceremony that involved a sacrifice.
Shimon recalled the Ishtar Gate with all of its effigies and engravings, the many animals depicted there, and the beautiful stone work, set with jewels. He wondered how much of the work had been completed by the expert jewellers and stonemasons captured by Nebuchadnezzar when he had robbed the Temple of Jerusalem, bringing much of the gold for his own use.
Shimon’s wife, Rebecca, tugged at his robes, and he looked down at her, the weight she had lost so evident in her lined face and the shabby clothes hanging on her wasted frame. How beautiful she had been, and in his eyes still was, though but a travesty of her former self.
“I followed you, dear husband, to find out what fascinates you so in this country. Every day, when you leave my side I am concerned that you will be tempted by someone or something that will take you from me.”
“You need have no fear of that, dear heart.” He took her hand in his, stroking her fingers then lifting her hand to his cheek, the bristles of his beard shining silver grey in the early morning light.
“This land is dangerous in its deception. Such wealth, such abundance of false entities; more little gods than can be understood, that are blindly worshipped by the masses. My dearest Rebecca, my heart breaks at the knowledge of how we as a nation have brought our present predicament on ourselves. We allowed ourselves to be manipulated by the foolish kings and foreign influences that took us away from the true worship of Yahweh, may His name be praised. Too late I understand what the prophets warned us about. I can only hope that what Prophet Jeremiah promised will be true.”
“What did he say, my man? I have heard gossip by the women whose husbands swayed like reeds with the winds, first one way then another. Before we were captured and herded like sheep after the siege and fall of Jerusalem, there were so many conflicting stories. While we travelled on the horrendous journey here I was so busy trying to keep us together and fed and provided for there was little time to spare for conversation with others. Now we are here I am confused and worried.”
“You do well to be concerned wife, for our children are now exposed to a myriad of false teachings that I fear will influence them unless our lessons have been strong enough to protect them. Here is immorality, perversion, idolatry and all that is false and foreign to our beliefs.”
He sighed heavily, the weight of his concern evident in his expelled breath as though he were attempting to counter a storm.
“Jeremiah said we would be here for seventy years before Yahweh would destroy Babylon and allow His people back to Jerusalem. We may not live to see that day, but I cannot help wondering how many will stay true to G-d Almighty and how many will have strayed to false and fake gods.”
Taking her hand in his, he continued,"The Torah tells us that Joshua spoke strongly about serving foreign gods. He said our God, Yahweh, is a jealous God and will not forgive rebellion. If we forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, He will turn and bring disaster on us. We have seen His punishment now in His allowing our capture, but those of us who remember the covenant may yet be forgiven."
Ref: Joshua 24:23
I see the same dangers that beset the people in exile to Babylon rising in modern society today.
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