The story continues…
I began loading the donkeys again. I was getting good at that. But unlike our trip to Jerusalem, I was very excited about this trip. We were going to nearby Gophna. There was a smaller number of soldiers there. We had one goal. Remove the enemy, and help the people begin following torah again. Many people had joined with us. My Father, Mattithias, was so happy to see YHVH’s people still wanting to please Him. I remember a few years ago when all this had begun. He thought the wickedness of the people would ruin us entirely.
But NO! We are Israel! And Israel overcomes!
Suddenly, Judas snuck up and whispered in my ear, “Don’t be afraid, little brother. I’ll protect you.” I jabbed my elbow into his stomach, and with a sweep of my foot, he landed on the ground.
“Okay, okay! I guess you can defend yourself. Maybe I was a little too diligent in your training.” I grinned as I offered him a hand. I was not afraid. Yes, I could defend myself, but Father’s words rang louder in my head. He had said them every day for the past several weeks.
“We fight for YHVH, and YHVH fights for us. He will defend us and restore Israel to what it once was. We must stay faithful to Him.”
Everyone in camp was beginning to move out. I offered my donkey to an elderly woman on foot. We would keep the women and children in a protected area outside Gophna while we took the city. In less than an hour, we were in position.
Several short loud blasts from the shofar rang through the crowd. Then our voices all rose together and the words of David from long ago could be heard for miles, “You come to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the Name of YHVH of Hosts, the Elohim of the armies of Yisra’el, whom you have reproached.”
Then, in a few moments, it was all over, and families came out of their homes, cheering! Joannan and I ran to the center of the town and heaved with all our might. The pagan altar tipped and then crumbled to the ground. The strange smelling incense was gathered and thrown in a huge fire, along with anything else pagan we could get our hands on.
Simeon met a young man in the street, and I went over to see what was going on.
“My wife just had her first baby a few days ago. It’s a little boy and we feared the worst until you came. We want him circumcised, but we need help. Can you help us?” the man asked.
Simeon gave him some instructions, and promised to be back on the following day, the little boy’s eighth day.
A small crowd gathered in their home the next day. Momma handed her little baby to her husband and then he handed the baby to Simeon. He stripped the baby down on a pillow.
“A little wine, please.” Simeon took a little wine on his finger and put it in the baby’s mouth.
“Okay, aaannnnd. There! All done.” Simeon put a loose bandage and wrapped the baby up in a blankie. “Here you go, mommy. Nurse him and cuddle him and keep it clean and dry. So, daddy, what is the boy’s name?”
“What a fitting name! Yes, Israel will be fruitful again. Teach him to love the Torah.”
I smiled to see this family with the freedom to obey YHVH. They didn’t have to hide or fear the soldiers. We helped several other families in the city, and spent a real Shabbat with them before we moved on to another town. How exciting to gather with other Hebrews openly in town and listen to the torah portion! But soon I was loading those donkeys again as we headed out to Ber-zetha.
TO BE CONTINUED…
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We plan to do some baking this year.