Bible Snaps: Episode 19 … Wonder Wall

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

Wonder Wall

Jael brings the men to me. Something about them is not right. I point to the goad in the smaller man’s hand. “We’ll take that if you want to stay the night.”

He offers the staff to Jael. His partner moves to intercept, but Jael is quicker and stashes the object of contention safely behind her.

I move to her side, knowing Ajah arrives only after the gate is closed. The arrival of my brother is not always timely.

The men look uneasy and seem almost panic-stricken, so I soothe, using my usual charm and tact to explain the rule. “Anything suitable to use as a weapon most be relinquished while doing business in this home. I’ve seen too much flaring of tempers, and so it becomes necessary.

“For peace.” Jael says sweetly and flutters her eyes.

“For peace,” I echo with a smile.

After a brief study of his companion’s face, the smaller one speaks. “We’re only here for a night’s lodging.”

“But of course.  You’ve chosen a good place. Our walls are a wonder. They keep trouble out and solace in.” I point to the bench. “Please sit. Jael will bring refreshment.” I nod at Jael, and she slips out of the room.

The visitors eat a meal of figs, cake, and beer and retire early. They show no interest in our entertainment.

Within hours I learn of their mission. Pounding sickness floods my chest. I rush to waken them. This time Ajah is with me. “Up to the roof with you. There’s no time to discuss.”

Hiding men from betrayed wives is an old game. Eluding king’s men is another matter. We arrange sheaves of drying flax over their bodies and hope for the best.

For months, I’ve heard sensational stories the mighty borderless nation that moved out from Egypt to conquer the land. The spies are undeniable proof of the great dread that sweeps across the land and now sniffs at the mortared walls of our fortress.

On my return from the roof, Jael meets me on the landing. She shakes uncontrollably. “What will you do? The king’s men are at the door!”

I adjust her slipping veil. I must try and infuse calm and set the example. She is like a daughter to me. “Go gather more refreshments for the king’s men and alert the household that we need diversions. I’ll think of a way to keep us safe. Trust me on that.”

My beloved home is rock solid, but my household is flesh and blood. I know what kings do to traitors. Still, the power of this wandering nation’s god is unexplainable. He dries up water and destroys every nation that stands in his way, including the Amorites. Good sense tells me that if salvation is to be had at all, it will come at the hand of the most powerful.

I run my hand along the brick as I descend. Indestructible, double deep, and towered high, many lifetimes of lives have been kept safe by these walls. With them as a haven, and the favor of a god who rules heaven, our lives may also be spared.

I hear angry commands below and hurry to intercept the soldiers harassing my household.

“Greetings, good men. Have you come for a diversion?” I speak peaceably and move with all the innocent grace I can muster.

The captain grabs my arm. “Listen to me, prostitute. You know why we are here. Bring out the men who have come to your house. They’re here to search out the land.”

I pry his hand off my arm, and with a clear steady voice, I offer the bait. “You’re right. Two men did come to me, but I didn’t know where they came from. After the gate closed, they went out, but I do not know where. If you hurry, I’m certain you’ll overtake them.”

My sincere display wins them over, and they leave in hot pursuit.

I take the steps to the roof two at a time. I pull off the flax and confront the startled spies. “Swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you will also show kindness to my father’s house and give me a sure sign. You must save alive my brothers and sisters and all they have and deliver us from death.”

The taller one speaks. “Agreed. Our lives for yours. If you do not tell this spy business of ours, then when the Lord gives us the land, we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.”

Ajah and Jael help me anchor a rope, and the two men climb down through our back window. They land on the ground outside the wall. I urge them to get to the mountain, because the search parties never hunt past three days. “After the time passes, then go your way.”

Then the spies tell me to take a length of scarlet cord and bind it from the window. “Bring your father, mother and brothers into your house. When we come into the land again we will see the cord. If anyone goes out the door of your house, his blood will be on his head and not ours, but if any of our company lays a hand on anyone with you in this house, that man’s blood will be on us.”

The next day I do as they say and fasten a cord to the window. Later, however, on several occasions I change my mind and remove the cord because it reminds me of my disloyalty to the king. Eventually I manage to leave it alone, but inside I agonize over a coming day of doom and my rash choice to shift allegiance.

Did I choose the right thing? Was it really necessary?

Everything seems the same. Days, weeks, and months pass and nothing happens.

Then one day the news comes. Israelites have crossed the Jordan. Our city walls are closed tight. When I go to check the cord, and I’m horrified to discover it’s gone.

“Maybe the wind blew it away.” Jael says as she helps me look.

“Get my robe. The belt is scarlet. Also, gather everything made of cloth that is red. Make sure everyone is safe inside the house. If anyone leaves, their blood is not on my hands.  Hurry!”

Ajah arrives and interferes with our task. “Too many red things hanging from the window will be obvious. We don’t want to look like we’re signaling.”

“Then what do you suggest?” This time I’m the one who trembles.

“Easy, sis.” Ajah places the missing cord in my hand. “I found it on the ground a week ago.”

We work together to chip away mortar from inside next to the window. Then we tie the red token of our salvation onto a bone and jam the bone into the chiseled opening.

After a few adjustments, the cord remains in place even when he pulls on it with all his might. “There. The only way that cord comes down is if the stones do.” He tosses the other end of the cord out the window.

That night I fall asleep and dream of bones and blood and a great wind that sweeps through our city. The howling of the wind sounds like horns, and when I open my eyes, that part of my dream stays. Outside the wall, the sound of ram’s horns announces the arrival of morning.

Doubt and fear sends me running to gather the household. We huddle together in the room with the window and keep up our spirits by taking turns narrating the scene that unfolds below us.

The process of the attack is peculiar. The men march by the wall in total silence except for the blowing horns. Finally, after an hour and a half of procession, the whole thing is over and our city still stands.

The next morning the activity repeats. Each day after that is the same. First comes the sound of ram’s horns, and then a nearly endless number of silent marchers.

On the seventh day, after the usual procession, we head back to our routines. Jael and the woman gather the jars to make a trip to the well, but suddenly the sound of horns pierces the air again.

We rush to the room and see the silent warriors move past our wall a second time on the same day. They do this multiple times, and Ahjah begins to keep count. “Five times now.”

“Now six.”

What does the change of events mean? Is today the day? Anticipating our attack is excruciating. I wonder if the spies have secured our salvation or if instead they are liars or perhaps even dead.

Will we really to be saved?

My thoughts become a jumble as we wait. Sometimes I’m hopeful, but then alternately I sink low with despair. I shut my eyes to quiet my fears, but then I hear the sound.

Men’s voices shouting in unison and horns blaring in accompaniment.

“It’s been seven!” Ajay yells over the din.

The noise grows deafening. We feel tremors and hear rumbling all around and beneath us.

Jael screams. “The wall! It’s going to fall! We must get out!”

“No,” I say, grabbing her and pulling her back. “Leaving this home is exactly what the spies said we should not do. Anyone who leaves will die.”

“But it sounds as if the walls are falling,” the children cry to their parents.

“Hush, hush. We’ll be okay. The wall will hold.” I speak aloud what my heart does not believe.

The air fills with the screams of man and beast. We’re afraid to look out the window, and smoke soon darkens the light.

Someone pounds on our door.

I move to sit in the opening of the stairwell. “No one goes to the door. I’m responsible for the arrangement with the spies. I will be first to receive whatever comes.”

From across the room I can see Ajay’s face. He shakes his head and looks unhappy. He hates taking orders from his bossy sister.

The pounding continues, and seconds later, a crash sound comes like that of the door being ripped from its frame.

Ajay leaps across the room and shoves me aside.

Heavy footsteps tramp on the stairs.

Men’s voices shout. “Rahab! Rahab! Come out!”

Ajay holds a finger to his lips to signal quiet.

“Rahab! We’re here to rescue you. You and your household. Joshua sent us.”

When the intruders appear, we see that they are none other than the two spies.

Relief washes over us. When we follow them out, we discover the impossible. Except for our area, everywhere direction we look, there is fire. Endless heaps of bricks lie in mounds where the wonder wall once stood tall. All of it is tumbled down to the base except for the section that supports our home.

“How can this be?” I ask the question everyone is asking.

The spy gives an answer. “You and your household are spared by the will of our god and no other. No structure or kingdom of man can stand against his will. All knees will bow.”

They take us to Joshua, and we hear him give this oath to his men. “Cursed is the man before the Lord who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho. For with the loss of his firstborn, he will lay its foundation and with the loss of his second son, shall he set up its gates.”

After hearing his words, I know I’ll never trust in a wall again. Common sense tells me that the wonder of a wall is no wonder at all, if God wills it to fall.

 

 

This story is inspired by Joshua chapters 2-6. History shows Rahab was in the lineage of Jesus. Her story lends illustration to the reality of a life salvaged to live for an entirely different outcome. The person living that salvaged life gets there by choosing to take action based off an initial amount of faith or understanding of God. Through character stories like these in the bible we see an example of a God who accepts anyone from any history and any culture to be part of his kingdom. A god who breaks down walls and brings good out of bad is a god worthy of consideration. A god who takes what is small and humble and brings magnitude and power is not easily explained.

 

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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