ChapteChapter 1: How greatgrandpa met greatgrandma
“Sons,” Jesse began, addressing his 8 boys ranging from the tall handsome eldest Eliab down to the toddler David playing in the sand, “You have often heard me tell of the great victory of Joshua at Jericho in which my greatgrandfather Salmon fought heroically. Now that some of you are old enough to consider your future brides it is time to tell the more personal details of Salmon and my greatgrandma, once known as the harlot Rahab.”
As he spoke the boys adapted the image in their minds, each visualizing it according to his own age and imagination level, as they attended their dad’s legendary tale.
Joshua stood before Salmon, and another young soldier named Othniel and began to speak of a very special mission.
“Othniel,” he began, “You speak all the local languages in the area. Salmon, you are one of Israel’s bravest soldiers. I need you to infiltrate the city of Jericho and tell me how things are there. Have no fear. The LORD will give us the city. Your report will just make the rest of the men more confident.
The pair set out that night across the Jordan River in a canoe so small they had only one oar each. They stashed it safely among the bushes and changed into dry clothing, leaving all unnecessary items in the bushes.
At dawn they crawled through the shrubbery, slowly gaining sight of the ominous wall that was to somehow fall suddenly, not by any weapon of their but the hand of the LORD himself. Could they believe this? Their faith was as great as their record in the battles they’d fought with Sihon and Og, King of Bashan several months earlier. Yet they also knew that killing a man in battle is not a simple task, and knocking down such a wall required more strength than they could muster.
Othniel whispered to Salmon in their native Hebrew tongu,
“Let me do all the talking. If you must say anything just mumble gibberish. I’l say you’re a retarded orphan, left by nomads.”
“Thanks!” Salmon replied.
“Whatever you do, these must be the last words either of us say in Hebrew until we’re back in the camp.”
Salomon nodded and they began a zigzag route to the city, joining a large crowd of merchants and travelers on the main road. Some had loaded camels, others donkeys pulling wagons.
A guard at the city gate addressed them in ancient Arabic.
“Who are you?”
“Travelers from across the great River Euphrates” Othniel replied, using Arabic with one of his many accents.
“Do you have goods to sell and trade?”
“We did until we were robbed outside the city, but we still have a few items of value,” he replied, showing him a pouch containing Egyptian gold.
“You may enter” the guard said. The guard watched them walk away and nudged his servant to follow them.
Othniel and Salmon walked slowly through the city streets, nodding away vendors and cautiously surveying the wall.
By sunset they had nearly completed the circuit. That’s when they were first approached by Rahab, wearing high heels, her face painted and her bosom padded.
“Are you looking for something?” she asked in the local tongue.
“Maybe” Othniel grunted.
“Like an opening in the wall” she said, raising her skirt past bony knees and slowly up her thigh,
“How old are you?” Othniel asked.
“How old do you want me to be?” she asked, lowering her voice to a sultry purr.
Othniel grabbed her right hand, causing the skirt to resume its position, then reached in and pulled out the padding from her chest with his free hand.
“You’re not even 10 years old” he declared.
“11, but no one else seems to mind” she said, still hoping to make a sale.
“What do your parents think of this?”
“They’re the ones that make me do this” she said.
Othniel tried to restrain his emotions. Salmon watched silently, not understanding but worried about the mission. He had noticed at times that someone was watching them much of the day, and sensed a presence again.
Othniel gained his composure, released her hand and said softly,
“Take us wherever you take your…other clients.”
The servant, tired after following them all day, returned to his master the guard and they reported to the king.