+JMJ+ Welcome! I’m writing a work of historical fiction involving Biblical characters, and posting the rough rough rough ROUGH draft as I write it. Really. I mean, really. I’ve been writing each part beginning on the same afternoon or evening that I post it. I kicked out my Inner Editor and embraced the Principle of Exuberant Imperfection to get this thing written, something I learned from the NaNoWriMo handbook. Thanks for joining me for the ride. Not responsible for discontinuity or sudden changes of tense, person, or name. Well, I am responsible for all of that, of course, but let’s not get bogged down with details right now. Let’s get going, shall we?
A Journey – Part 10
I’m sure he didn’t make the trip into Jerusalem just to see me. What do I have that he could want? Money? He doesn’t care about it. Land? For what? Prestige? Power? He is unimpressed with either and needs nothing that he doesn’t already have. These qualities, I have to admit, I grudgingly admire in him.
But I will not follow him. I don’t even know what it means to follow him. Not true, I know part of what it means because he told me in no uncertain terms, and I reject that way utterly. I won’t do that to my family, or my customers and business associates, or even to myself. Further, I know that it means making enemies of almost everyone in Jerusalem who has money and influence and what kind of marriage will I be able to make if I let that happen? What kind of marriage could Rachel make then? No, I can’t do it. I won’t.
He’s been teaching at the Temple and people have been flocking to hear him. Especially after what happened there earlier. Charged through there with whips like he owned the place, flipping tables and sending money flying and moneychangers fleeing. And the healings. Oh, yes, the healings. I heard about these things. I didn’t see any of it but I heard. Everywhere I go people are talking about it. Some have gone to see him, hoping to see some great miracle or to receive one or to hear a prophecy and see a sign.
Word has gotten to me that my absence at the council meetings has been noticed. And the plot against the rabbi has now been discussed openly among the chief priests and elders in the house of Caiaphas. I know this because one of the elders and I have done some business together and it turned out well. We made a good profit. So we keep each other informed of certain things. He told me about this hush hush meeting about the rabbi. As much as the rabbi annoys me, I know I have to get word to him. He doesn’t seem to understand how many enemies he’s made, or how much influence they have, even if, officially, the Romans hold the political and temporal power in Judea. It’s the Sanhedrin who hold the spiritual power.
Or at least, they have until now. I think that’s the thing they find the most unforgivable. Not the blasphemy, though that is a very real problem. But the challenge to their authority, oh, that one’s hard for them to take.
Well, now, look at that. I’m speaking of my fellow members of the council as if I were not one of them. How interesting. But, of course, I am one of them.
I think I must have a word with Nico again. Yes, yes, I was angry with him for the ambush. One too many trading trips to Greece, one too many secret side trips to the theater, and now drama seems to erupt out of these memories of other people’s lives and into the events of my waking life. I should maybe stop finding excuses to travel to the land of Javan.
Javan, a land, that has come to fascinate me in spite of myself. Javan, fourth son of Japheth, son of Noah, and ancestor of the people of Javan. Javan, land of merchants and traders. Javan, mire or swampy ground. Jonah, my name and similar to the name Javan. Jonah the dove. I have never liked being reminded of it. I can’t tell you how many times I was picked on as a young boy with a name like that. And it hasn’t stopped now that I’m a man.
But perhaps it is fitting in that I, one who wanted to live my life as a trader of fine things, exploring foreign lands until I find a good wife and settle down, now find myself mired in a conspiracy against a teacher who confuses me and the possible loss of the way of life that is all I’ve ever known and all I ever wanted.
The teacher just had to erupt into my world and turn everything upside down, and this after one brief conversation. It’s been downhill ever since.
Enough of that. I have to find out how things are progressing. How quickly are they going to act? What exactly are they planning? I need to get word to the rabbi and make him listen this time, make him understand. Maybe if Nico and I go together we can talk him into leaving town soon before they can put their plan into action. He would still have to watch out for his enemies, and he certainly has made plenty for himself in these last few days, but at least he would be free to come up with his own plan. Perhaps he could negotiate an arrangement with them. Perhaps Nico and I, or better yet, Joseph of Arimathea, could talk some sense into them. All of this bitterness, it’s not doing any of us any good, least of all our people. We say we are brothers and sisters but we’re not acting like it.
Maybe we can talk him into keeping a low profile, maybe for a little while, until things cool down. Two more days to prepare for Passover. Emotions are running high, the city is so crowded a person can hardly breathe, we’re so pressed in together. The Romans make us miserable at the best of times. The Zealots have everyone on edge, with their impenetrable designs and violence that catches us all off-guard and has our nerves frazzled. All it takes to set some of them off is to speak to a Gentile. To have dealings with one? Perish the thought. And that is no mere figure of speech.
I’ll send someone to see about a faster way of travel for the rabbi and his followers. He’ll want his mother to leave with him, of course, and his closest disciples, then the others can leave soon after. I’ll see what we can arrange. To leave by ship would be best, by horse, acceptable. Oh! I don’t know if any of them can ride. Surely I’m not thinking of asking his dear mother to ride through the desert or the wilderness as fast as the horse can carry her. I must calm down. We have time to come up with a plan to get them all to safety. After all, my sister would never forgive me if I didn’t do something to help, if I knew of a plan against him yet did nothing to aid him.
My sister–I need to be sure she stays close to home until the arrangements are made, and if I need to send her with messages, she will need to be here within reach. And I want to keep an eye on her. She’s the reason we’re in this mess. Well, part of the reason.
I don’t understand the feelings that are tearing me apart. One moment I want to wash my hands of all of them, the next I am racking my brain to find a way to help them to escape a punishment they all may richly deserve. Most of them. Some of them. Oh, I’m putting this away now. I have business to tend to and for once it has nothing to do with profit. Hopefully breaking even, at least preventing loss.
End of Part 10
Now that this is going on past the May Book of the Month, ongoing story links will be on the Fiction page.
Thanks for visiting and reading and hanging in there with me this far. Until next time, whoever and wherever you are, please stay safe and well, virtuous and holy, and most of all, let the Spirit work in you so that you become who you were meant to be: a SAINT! (Will our main character is ever become a saint? Maybe yes, maybe no. I dunno.) May the Lord bless and keep you and yours, and may His peace be always with you. +JMJ+
Note and Links
- The NaNoWriMo handbook is No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty: Paperback, Kindle. (Those are Amazon affiliate links which allow me to possibly make a small commission at no cost to you to help pay for this site. So thanks.)
- NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month: Write a novel in thirty days, and, yes, it’s just as crazy as it sounds.
Image in the cover: From the east, Nazareth, Holy Land, from Wikimedia Commons, public domain.