Warrior Prophets 3 Epilogue
The Temple of Solomon
The chair bearers loved carrying Ruth. In her old age, she was so light that one of them could have carried her alone. And she was always so friendly and chatty. The servants vied for the duty of carrying her around, but today was a special day.
The oldest, most senior servants were given the honor of carrying Ruth this day. It was a sunny spring morning in Jerusalem, the City of David. A viewing stage had been constructed for the royal guests facing the entrance to the Temple. The Temple stood in front of them with a central building four stories high. It was one of the largest, most beautiful buildings the world had ever seen. Two tall gold-covered pillars framed the entrance to the Sanctuary. A massive altar of stone dominated the Temple courtyard. A gigantic copper basin resting on twelve copper oxen stood in front of the stone altar. Priests in white robes darted to and fro in the courtyard with flocks of sheep, goats and cattle ready to be sacrificed, the fat to be burnt and offered to God, the meat to be distributed to the masses of people.
King Solomon son of David was seated on his throne in the center of the stage. On either side of the stage sat the assembled princes of Israel with their own families and escorts. Together, they all watched the throngs of Israelites that had traveled from all over the land of Canaan to witness the consecration of the Temple. Foreign delegations had also arrived to give honor to the son of David on finishing the mesmerizing structure the Israelites had built to their God. Phoenicians, Ammonites, Moabites and Edomites all sat amongst the visitors from abroad. Egyptians with their shaved heads and white robes, Philistines in leather tunics and elaborate sandals, even black-skinned Shebans in multi-colored robes graced the royal stage. Trumpets blew, announcing the arrival of each distinguished visitor. Colorful garments flapped in the blustery gusts of the western wind which carried a hint of salt from the Great Sea.
Bathsheba, the Queen Mother, sat on one side of Solomon. Ruth’s sedan chair was carried onto the stage and placed on the other side of Solomon’s throne.
“Grandmamma,” Solomon greeted Ruth. “I have two gifts for you on this day.”
“Oh, you didn’t have to,” Ruth replied. “Living to see this day is more than sufficient for me.”
“Nonetheless, you are deserving of it, Grandmamma.”
“You are sweet to call me that, though I am not nearly young enough to be your grandmother.”
“Do you recall your age?”
“No. Just the generations. I was there for your father, David’s birth. I was there for his father, Jesse’s birth, my grandson. And of course I gave birth to Oved, your great-grandfather. Though Boaz missed it. Poor Boaz. Our time together was so short. How he would have loved to have been present for his son’s birth. I don’t know why God has blessed me with such an extraordinarily long life. But I’m enjoying it. What are these gifts that you speak of?”
“The first is the compass of Amitai that you lent to us.” Solomon presented a small box to Ruth. “It was instrumental in our construction. It has some unique properties that my own engineers have not been able to replicate until this day. It’s as if it has a mind of its own. It directed us where to place each of the altars and the other sacred utensils.”
“Oh!” Ruth let a tear of joy stream down her wrinkled face as she took the box lovingly with both hands. “Amitai would have been so pleased. I only knew him briefly when he was already an old man, but he was so knowledgeable of how the world and everything in it worked. And brave. He gave his life that I might live.”
“His descendants were instrumental in the construction and design of the Temple. His spirit surely lives on in them.” Solomon said.
“Good. Then give the compass to one of them. What will I do with this contraption at my age? My adventures were completed long ago.” Ruth handed the box gingerly back to Solomon. Solomon bowed as he accepted it.
“Now before my next gift, grandmamma, I’d like you to tell me a bit about your husband, my great-great grandfather.”
“Boaz? What can I say about Boaz?” Ruth tilted her head back, summoning memories from generations before. “He was tall. He was handsome, even in his old age. He was brave. I think he was the bravest man I’ve ever encountered, and I’ve known many in my day. It wasn’t just physical bravery, mind you. It was the courage to do what he felt was right no matter what the rest of the world thought. He reminded me of stories about Abraham. One man against an entire culture of belief. Boaz was that strong. And he was a leader. A natural leader. When he spoke, people couldn’t help but listen and follow. And he was kind. So kind. Imagine me – a destitute Moabite woman coming to Bethlehem – and he was the only friendly hand. He withstood the famine and kept Bethlehem together and safe. He had been a mighty warrior, but that was before I knew him, though even as a child I had heard stories of his accomplishments, of his unnatural speed, of his incredible instinct as a fighter, of how he founded the militia that fought Israel’s enemies, and so much more. Oh, Solomon. He was so much. He was a man of the utmost integrity, of such character, of faith, of self-control. He was a pillar of Judah and served as an example to all of Israel. It was my deepest privilege to be his wife and to bear his child.”
“Thank you, grandmamma,” Solomon said as his eyes moistened. “I’ve never heard you speak so passionately about him.”
“You never asked before. But why now?”
“That is the second gift. You see those two pillars?” Solomon pointed at the massive golden pillars at the entrance to the Temple. “We needed to name them. The one on the left is named Yachin, meaning ready. It symbolizes that we must always be ready to fulfill God’s commands, to serve Him as a servant before ones master.”
“And what is the name of the right pillar?” Ruth asked.
“We wanted to choose a name that symbolized all the traits you just mentioned. Of humility and nobility. Of justice and mercy. Of courage and discipline. Of faith and tradition. Of honor and beauty. We have named the right pillar after your husband, after our esteemed ancestor. We have named the pillar Boaz.”
Ruth wept joyfully. She looked at the pillar and imagined a giant version of Boaz guarding the entrance to the Temple. And she imagined him smiling back at her.
End of Warrior Prophets 3: Ancestress and The Boaz Trilogy
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Ruth the Moabite lived to see the kingdom of Solomon, her great-great grandson. Tractate Bava Batra 91b.