Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Season(s) of a year or life (01/13/11)
- TITLE: Cousins
By Laury Hubrich
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“Stone in my foot.” The boy put on his sandal and did a half-trot to catch up to his family. “Ouch,” he cried out. “Mama, I keep feeling stones fall from the sky.”
“Your mind is running away.”
“Ugh. Someone’s pelting me with a slingshot.”
“Probably your big brothers. Ignore them. Come now; hold your sister’s hand.”
“I’ll be right back.”
Jakob slipped away; determined to find his attacker. Soon, all he heard: the rhythmic steps of his people as they moved through the countryside.
The boy hid behind an olive tree and laid in wait. He drew figures in the dirt and hummed. When he grew bored and forgot why he was there, he squinted into the sun. He decided it was late enough that a switch to his behind would be his fate. He turned away to rejoin his family.
A well-placed foot in his path caused him to pitch forward, flat on his face. He bolted up, fists ready, spoiling for a fight, only to come face-to-face with a boy his age: same height and coloring, with a slingshot hanging from his hands – evidence!
“Why did you pelt me with stones?” Jakob asked.
“You’re trespassing on our land.”
“You’re an Edomite then?” Jakob reared back; put his hands up; and jumped at the boy, “Boo!”
“What was that about?”
“You’re not scared? Moses said the Edomites would be scared of us.”
The boy fell to the ground and held his stomach; deep in a full-blown belly-laugh. “Scared…” he panted, “of you?” he squealed with laughter again.
Jakob poked him with a stick. “God told Moses we could pass through but not to hurt you. My name’s Jakob, Cousin. What’s your name?”
“It’s Hadad. Father says you Israelites stole our birthright; that it should be us conquering the lands and crossing into the Promised Land.”
Jakob sat beside Hadad. “Grandmother says Esau went through a bad time in his life. He chose the wrong way and lost everything.”
“Esau was robbed – by Jakob,” he gasped, “your name!”
“I was named after my ancestor. Mama says I’m a thinker like he was.” Jakob began to hum and then broke out in song.
“Yahweh is greater,
Yahweh is stronger,
Yahweh is higher than any other.”
Hadad punched him. “Is not!”
Jakob leaned in, “Want to hear a secret?”
“Our clothes and sandals never wear out. When I outgrow them, they go down to my younger brothers and I get hand-me-downs from my older brothers. And Yahweh talks face-to-face with Moses. His hair turns white. I’ve seen it.”
“If your God is great, why don’t you have a home? Why have you been wandering around so long when it’s only an eleven day trip? You walk in circles and never get to where you’re going. Need me to lead the way?” Hadad burst into laughter again.
Jakob hung his head and kicked at the dirt. “Because of sin. Just like Esau.”
“Your people are just as bad as Esau yet your God is still with you?”
Jakob stuck out his chest and stood proudly, “Because we’re the chosen ones, that’s why.”
“You’re chosen alright. I can hear someone calling your name.”
“I’ll get a whipping for sure. I wish we could be real cousins and conquer the giants together.”
“We’ll see each other someday; and as long as I have my slingshot, I can get your attention!”
Jakob ran off. He turned around to wave just in time to duck as a rock flew past his head.
“Bye, Jakob, my cousin.” Hadad called after him.
Jakob walked hand-in-hand with his father. “Abba?”
“I met an Edomite boy. He’s not much different than me. Why are we the chosen ones?”
“Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of stew.”
“Surely it was more than that.” Jakob countered.
“He was rebellious from a young age. I think Isaac thought it was a phase but Esau never outgrew it. He turned his back on Yahweh and lost what could have been his to Jakob, his twin and your namesake.”
“That’s good for us, right, Abba?”
“Yes, Son, and soon we will see the land Yahweh promised us. You understand that Moses is to die?”
“What did Moses tell us to remember, Jakob?”
“Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today.”
“That’s right. Next time, repeat those commands instead of running off with distant cousins.”
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