June 16, 2018
Piram was not sure what was irking him more. The questions of the woman in his arms, or the grave danger lurking behind the wall. For one who made money selling her body, she had found a way of doing so in style. Only persons of repute were allowed into Rahab’s rooms. And the waiting list was a long one. So having found himself a slot over the whole weekend, he was not about to waste the time talking. But she would not shut up.
‘Why are they so quiet?’
‘They have been there many days and nights. Are they coming here?’
‘How did they walk through the sea?’
That was the same question Piram kept asking himself, and he felt sore from thinking. Jericho had been built as a strong fortress. Men had designed their own protection and executed it. And the wall was not its only protection. The sea sat between it and Egypt, the biggest enemy any group of people could have. It was to protect themselves from Egypt that the wall had been built, despite the sea and desert that separated them from Egypt. After crossing the stretch of desert after that sea, there was also the Jordan river, which gave the city its water supply. So Jericho was protected territory.
The horrendous thing about these people who came out of Egypt was that they had crossed that impregnable sea! The military intelligence Piram had received was that there was no soldier among them. Just a straggly group of six hundred men and a few thousand women and children. Dragging their things tied around them. Their leader had a stick! That was their only weapon, the spies said. His thoughts swirled round and round. He found himself physically touching his temples to feel the heat of the fever he had. But he was not going to share fears of his heart with this expensive prostitute. That was not her worth. But she would not shut up.
‘What are they waiting for?’ ‘Why would you walk through a sea and then sit quietly in a desert?’ She sat up and turned to Piram in excitement.
‘Do you remember the sound of the roar when they came through the sea?’
Of course he remembers. It was the most thunderous sound even a hard soldier like him had heard. It was like the marching of rows and rows of military men. What was deathly about it was the lack of human voices. Then came the wild hooves of the Egyptian armies that carried over the Jericho wall. And their wails as they died in the sea. After that, silence. Just silence. The whole desert and hill country around it has been waiting on tenterhooks since then.
Anytime he stood on the walls of Jericho, he saw them like ants across the horizon of the desert. Quiet. No movement for days and days and days. Well. All that can be done is wait. And fear their God. What is it going to do next? Rahab started to ask another question. He walked out of the room.