THE MOABITESS

FROM CHAPTER 53 - INTOLERANCE AND LOVE

SCENE:

Having traveled from home to the Tabernacle at Shilo to offer sacrifice in hopes of helping Ethan, Boaz's youngest son, come to terms with taking a thief's life, Ruth and Marmne, Boaz's daughter-in-law, would give thanks for their coming babies. Here Ethan escorts Ruth to the pens where they can stable their donkeys the two get a first glimpse of the Tabernacle.

“Oh look,” I said looking through the gate as we walked past, “is that it.” The ground sloped upward inside. From the side where we camped the wall hid what was inside.

“Oh,” Ethan said staring, “it must be.”

On this side the ground did not slope up so steeply that we could see over the stone wall. The hill inside let your eyes catch the top of the tent within what looked like a wall of white linen. There were thick wooden beams sunk into the ground with bronze bases between which the cloth was stretched. There was a length of cloth between four posts richly embroidered in patterns of red and blue hung from rings of silver. My adopted people had carried this wandering tabernacle through the desert for forty years. Now it was now here on this hilltop to move no more.

“Naomi was right,” I said staring up the hill, “all of those years wandering, it is still a tent.”

My adopted people had kept that intangible essence of their desert God, it was still a tent. Was this not like both smoke in the wind but as permanent as the ages. We walked closer to the gate where a guard stood on each side of the entrance watching the people who came and went.

“We should not go in before we are to make our sacrifice,” he said setting his hand upon my arm, “that is ground not to be walked on lightly.” I backed slightly away, sensing that before me was holy ground.

Having business to attend we continued on towards the pens where the beasts were kept. Thinking on that long ago voice which had called my name, “how is it that our God is here yet he called me in Moab?” I had told Ethan of my most precious thing as I had come to trust him. He was the only one who might not think I made it up or had lost my sense.

“He is where you seek him,” my teacher said, “did he not walk with Jacob, was he not with us in the mud pits of Egypt? Did he not deliver us then go with us into the desert?” We were coming to the animal pens so he stopped to finish his words, “you listened for him there, so that is where you heard him.”

THE MOABITESS
A novel by Neal W. Arnold