Bible Snaps: Episode 16 … Bride of Manna Times

Thrillers, Chillers & Sci-Fi Killers. Whether or not you believe the bible is true, it contains stories that trigger imagination.

Bride of Manna Times

A rough spot on the rim nicks my skin. Eran will fix it when he returns from the scouting trip in Canaan. They’ve been gone 40 days, but I’m not worried. I’ve so much to do. Everything must be perfect for our wedding day, or at least as perfect as it can be, considering the circumstances.

I wrap the goblet and put it back in my basket. Bezalel gave Eran permission to copy the design. The stem of it is an almond branch, and the cup is shaped like a blossom. It’s an exact replica of the ones on the lampstand in the tabernacle, only those are made of gold.

I practically skip to the metalsmith tent. I haven’t skipped since the day we left Egypt. Instead, for the last two and a half years of living in the wilderness, I’ve done my best to act as a grown-up woman would. The effort of acting restrained makes me crazy. Now that my plan is coming true, I can pretend a little longer. Obedient daughters are chosen first. No one wants their son to marry a troublemaker. Unruly girls are a sign of conflict to come.

I giggle about my secret identity. Not even Eran knows the real me, but when I listen to his plans, I know we’re made for each other.

Eran says he prefers the women he marries to be bold and wild and take chances with him. He says he wants to live at the edge of camp and leave to make his own life as soon as a good opportunity comes. I listen and smile into his big brown eyes and wonder what it will be like to kiss him. I pretend to be shy, and I hardly speak, but deep inside I’m roaring like a lion. I’ve told no one my wish, but the fact is, I can’t wait to leave camp. I wish I was gone. Any life is better than this one. I’m sick of manna and bird meat, and I know keeping house in a tent home will be more bearable if I have a husband.

I stop by our family’s storage jars to check on my wine experiment. No one knows about it. I’ve managed to keep it hidden from momma’s eyes. I draw the water so she never looks in the extra jars, and she only takes the water jars I bring her.

Manna comes as dew on the ground every morning. We’re only supposed to keep enough for the day, as the leftovers spoil and grow worms by the next morning. I don’t care. I’ve kept manna in a jar for 2 weeks now. I strain out the worms and add water to taste. It’s turning into wine or something like it. The second day it tasted awful, but now the flavor is more mellow. Without grapes, everyone longs for wine. Maybe I will make a business of brewing manna wine.

I close my eyes in the afternoon breeze and picture Eran’s face and handsome grin. I imagine our wedding night as he takes the cup he made, fills it with my manna wine, and toasts our life together. On that day, he will catch an inkling of the real me.

We were all tame in the first days of the journey. Men were so beaten down by their Egyptian master’s cruelty that they were eager for a savior.

Moses became our liberator and acted as God to us. He spoke what God said, and we did what he told us, but then it got hard. Moses’ mindless optimism is nerve racking to more timid men. Eran likes the optimism but hates the rigidness of Moses commands.  Even Aaron, Moses’ brother, said there are better ways to do things, but Moses says we are to do what God asks and honor our covenant with Him. Lately, there’s talk of installing a fresh leader, one whose focus is group safety and planned provision.

My Eran would make a perfect leader. I knew it the first time I saw him. Men and boys crowded around his father who proudly displayed the maps Eran had made of all the places we traveled through. Eran has a knack with direction and people. He says our 2 ½ year journey should only have taken 2 months, but it didn’t because we dutifully followed the cloud.

The cloud came on my birthday.

It was three months since we had left Egypt, and we arrived at the base of a mountain. We stopped to camp. My mother said she would not move again for all the armies of Pharaoh. After we settled in Moses disappeared. Men said he went up the mountain alone. No one went after him, because they were too tired.  When he returned, Moses said, as he always did, that he had spoken to God. We were told to wash our clothes and get ready because in three days God would come down in the sight of all of us and we would hear Him speak to Moses.

It was the scariest birthday I ever had. Dark smoke wrapped the mountain completely and fire came down at the top. Thunder and lightning was all around and shook the ground under us, but what sent me running for my tent was the sound of the trumpet. It blew out from the sky above. The sound grew louder and louder, and suddenly a voice spoke and called Moses back up the mountain.

Later, after everything settled down, Moses told us God’s commandments and explained how the cloud would lead us in the direction God wanted us to go. It seems like that is when all our problems came again. We weren’t working as slaves for Egyptian masters, but men argued and fought and women were stuck cooking endless meals of quail and manna cakes.

I will not eat manna on my wedding day. Everything about it is so ordinary. Eran promises he will bring me back fruit instead. We will dry it and serve it on big metal platters he will borrow from Bezalel.

Suddenly I hear it. It is the sound of the scout’s trumpet. They have returned. I hurry in the direction of the camp border. My love has returned.

I squeeze into the crowd to catch sight of him. I see him and wave my hand. He looks over to me and gestures to the fruit. It is not a large amount, but it is there. Grapes and pomegranates and figs dangle from a pole. When the crowd quiets, Moses asks for the report.

“The land is as we knew it would be. It’s full of milk and honey and fruit. However, the cities are fortified and the men are stronger than us. They are giants!”

Women near me moan and shake their heads and men clamor to speak. Suddenly I see Eran giving a man near him a boost up onto a rock where he stands and waves his arms motioning the people to quiet down.

“We are well able to conquer it. Let’s go at once and possess it. The people there will not expect us and God is with us.”

Arguing ensues and Moses cannot stop it. I watch Eran slip away and I hurry to follow him to our secret meeting place.

“Is it true what they say? Are there giants?”

“Yes, but it’s only a matter of time before we go into the land. Meanwhile we will have our wedding.” He smiles at me and leans in for a kiss, but I dutifully pull away.

Then the news comes. God tells Moses that all the men who disagreed about the land would die in the wilderness and their children—daughters like me—would be shepherds and wander for forty years, one for each day of the spies scouting trip.

Eran insists that our lot will be different. He will see to it. He sends me home and commands me to dream of fruit at my wedding. In the morning, I see my mother’s eyes are red from weeping, and my father is tense.

As soon as I can, I rush to find Eran, and he’s nowhere in the camp. It’s Bezael who gives me the message.

“He’s gone. He went with the men who rose early to enter Canaan again and claim it as the Lord said.”

“By which way did they go,” I ask.

“They went up to the hill country.” He looks sad. We both know the men took the opposite route that Moses said they should take.

It isn’t long after that day that the Amalekites come out of the hills, and we flee for our lives. I don’t want to escape. I want to die. Eran is gone and my wedding is not going to happen.

The idea haunts me over the next couple months, but my courage fails.

One day, I’m bold. I tell my mother I’m going out to gather manna, but instead I head for a high rock. I climb with the rope in my basket, and at the top I look for a place to fasten it.

All I have to do is jump.

Suddenly a stick whistles past me. Only it’s not a stick. It’s an arrow. I’m a target. I sit motionless and close my eyes and pray for my end to be swift. All is still until I feel a tug on my basket.

I open my eyes and see a man’s legs silhouetted in the morning sun. A familiar voice booms above me, “You look like the manna bride I left back at the camp.”

I scream and jump up and Eran catches me. Our embrace is so fierce that he stumbles, and we both fall to the ground.

“Whoa there my little flower, what makes you so bold today?”

“I guess you wouldn’t believe me if I said I’ve always been this way.”

Eran chuckles. “No! But I hear it’s it a true trait of those who’ve been kept on a strict diet of manna. Some say the food can turn you into a beast, which is why I offer you this.” He reaches into his coat and pulls out a fig and presses it to my lips.

 

Inspired by Exodus, chapter 16 and Numbers, chapter 14 and everything in between.

 

My new blog series, Bible Snaps are short fictionalized accounts of the more chilling stories in the Bible. There may even be a few “science fiction” type stories that reference biblical disasters that seem to conflict with the laws of nature. 

If you follow along, there’s a couple things you should know.

My “Bible Snaps” aren’t an attempt to settle the question, “is the bible true?” Each person must decide that on their own. My goal is to jump into the head of bible characters and try to imagine living the experience described in the story and then use fresh and personal words to tell it.

My other goal is to keep these posts “snappy” quick. In doing this, I might only “snap” a portion of the bible story to tell, but I’ll always give you the bible reference so you can read the actual bible text that inspired me.

There are also other reading options on my website.

If you don’t like my Bible Snaps Stories, then check out “Five,” my medical Sci-Fi supernatural thriller story. All 67 episodes (blog posts) are now available, and if you read them from beginning to end, you’ll have read the entire book and will be ready for my sequel, “Six.”

If you don’t like “Five”, then read my other short stories on this blog- (search word, “un-proverbial”) or Psalms blog posts. All of these were posted before January 2015.

Just read me. I’d be honored to have YOU in my audience!

One final thought.

Why do I re-tell the “bad” or chilling parts of the Bible?

We live in rough times. People suffer under injustice. It’s good to see how the Bible, an old book that many value as true, contains helpful stories of people who were oppressed yet managed to live, survive, and thrive.

Don’t take my word or anyone else’s word about the Bible. Give it a read for YOURSELF. You may be surprised by what you find.

Thanks,

Ann

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