Warrior Prophets: Prologue 1
Boaz and five of his friends hid behind the gooseberry bushes on the Moabite plain. Heart-sized red fruit adorned the bright green bushes. Boaz’s back was to the flowing Jordan River, with the walled city of Jericho sitting lonely in the distance. From the Moabite plain Boaz heard the moaning of a million voices. The nation of Israel cried out as one. Boaz’s friends cried as well.
“Moses is really going to die,” whimpered Amitai, a chubby nine-year old. “He is leaving us. We will be alone.”
“Quiet,” Boaz hissed to Amitai and the other children. At ten years old, Boaz was the oldest and the natural leader. His mop of bright red hair refused to grow in one direction and freckles spread out on his pale face. “Moses is almost here. Wait until I stop him and then follow the plan.”
“I’m scared,” Amitai sniffled. “What if he gets angry? We’ll die.”
“Don’t worry,” Boaz waved his hand. “Moses will not hurt us. And even if he does, it’s worth the risk.”
“I’m not sure,” Amitai implored.
Boaz peaked through the bushes and spotted Moses approaching, escorted by Joshua.
“Look, Joshua,” Boaz overheard Moses. “Wild gooseberries. I love these. God is gracing my last moments.” Moses plucked several of the ripe fruits, careful to avoid the thorns of the bush. He placed them in the folds of his robe. “I will save these for the climb up the mountain.”
“Stop!” Boaz jumped out from the bushes and blocked Moses, who towered above him. Moses’ thick beard was pure white and flowed gently over his cotton robe. Though he leaned lightly on his large staff, he looked as strong and vibrant as ever. Joshua at his side sported a pale blond beard and still wore light leather armor, with a sword hanging from his belt.
“Hello, Boaz son of Salmoon,” Moses said, a white bushy eyebrow raised high. “What can I do for you?”
“I’m not going to let you die.” Boaz’s voice trembled.
Moses smiled. “It is God’s command. I have always followed God’s command.”
Boaz waved at the bushes. Amitai led a row of four other children from behind the bushes. They walked between Moses and Joshua and grabbed onto Moses’ robe from behind. They closed their eyes.
“Oho!” Moses gasped. “What trickery have you hatched, Boaz?”
Boaz stepped forward and grasped the hem of Moses’ robe.
“We will not let you go. If you can’t go up to Mount Nevo, you can’t die. We will hold on to you for the rest of our lives. We are much younger than you and can hold on as long as we need.” Boaz looked up at Joshua. “No disrespect to you sir, but we want Moses to stay with us and take us into Canaan.” Joshua nodded silently.
Moses looked down and around at the children surrounding him.
“The blood of Nachshon the Daring runs true in your veins, Boaz. Your grandfather would have been pleased by your audacity. Children, we might as well make ourselves comfortable,” Moses said as he sat down on the ground.
The children sat down, still holding on to his robe.
“I have an important meeting to attend,” Moses said to the children. “My last one in this incarnation. God has requested my presence and you are delaying my mission.”
“There is one more mission we want you to do. Take us into Canaan.” Boaz demanded.
Moses sighed. “I wish to with all my heart, my dear Boaz. I would like nothing better than to feel the earth of the Promised Land beneath my feet. To breathe the air of its mountains. To taste its fruit. Its grapes. Its figs. To sit in the shade of its trees. To drink the sight of its sunrises and sunsets. But it is not to be.”
“Come with us. I don’t always listen to my parents,” Boaz whispered. “You have argued with God before. It’s right here across the river. Please.”
“I have often argued with God, and I argued much on this point, but I always listen in the end and so must you. My mission with the Children of Israel is complete. It has been long and difficult. God has assigned the conquest ofCanaanto Joshua. You must let me go.”
The other children looked nervously at Boaz.
“No,” Boaz pouted. “We need you. How will we manage without you?”
“That is why I must leave. You need to learn to manage without me. You have Joshua, you will have other leaders.” Moses tussled Boaz’s unruly hair and closed his eyes for a moment. “You, Boaz, will be a leader one day as well. And you have the Torah. Never forget the Torah. Never let its words leave your mouth. That will guard you better than anything. It is God’s word and we must follow it.”
The children continued to hold his robe.
“Have you heard how I killed Og the giant?” Moses asked.
The children nodded.
“I jumped to a very great height. Would you like to see that?”
The children looked at each other in confusion.
“But first I want to give you each a gift.”
Moses stood up and out of the folds of his robe he removed the ripe gooseberries. He raised his hands like a magician, showing one fruit in-between each of his spread out fingers. He flung one fruit at each of the children and one at Joshua, and then put the last one back in his robe. Boaz let the fruit bounce off his chest as he held tight to Moses’ robe. Joshua caught his fruit. The rest of the children caught the fruit, letting go of the robe.
Moses crouched for a second and then leapt a dozen feet into the air. Boaz, still clutching the robe, was pulled along, screaming. Moses caught Boaz in midair and they both fell back to the ground, with Boaz in Moses’ arms.
Moses put Boaz back on his feet. Boaz’s whole body shook. He had let go of Moses’ robe.
“I need to go now, Boaz,” Moses said.
“I don’t understand.”
“You will one day.”
“We will miss you.”
“I know. I will miss all of you too.”
Moses began to walk up the mountain, never to be seen by mortal man again. As he ascended, he drew the remaining gooseberry out of his robe and took a hearty bite. Joshua and the children watched Moses ascendMount Nevo until he was out of sight.
Joshua addressed Boaz and his friends. “Go back to your families, children. Be saddened by the loss of our teacher, our leader, but do not be upset. I felt as you do, wishing to stop him, but we need to learn when to let go.” Joshua’s bright green eyes looked at nothingness as he uttered the last line.
“You will lead us?” Boaz asked.
“Yes, young Boaz.”
“Moses told you what to do?”
“Indeed he did.”
“Then it will be okay then?”
“You see the city in the distance?” Joshua pointed at Jericho.
“It looks very strong.”
“It is Jericho. It controls the entire west bank of the Jordan River. Its walls are impregnable and its gate is made of iron. It is the key to conquering the land of Canaan. Do you think we can take it, my young warrior?”
“I d-don’t know.” Boaz stuttered.
“God has promised that we shall.”
“Th-then I guess we will.”
“How should we do it? Should we just wait for God to deliver it to us or should we attack and hope God helps us out in time?”
“Why are you asking me? I’m just a kid. Don’t you know what to do?”
“I know exactly what to do,” Joshua smiled briefly. “But now is not the time. My master has just left us and the void is still too terrible to think of. We shall mourn his passing. Then we shall cross the Jordan to enter Canaan. And then, young Boaz, you shall see the hand of God. The Canaanites shall rue the day we left Egypt. Jericho shall be the first to fall and the land will tremble in fear.”
“I would like to see that.”
“Would you now?” Joshua patted Boaz on the head. He stopped suddenly. “Curious,” Joshua whispered.
“What?” Boaz asked.
“I sense. I sense that you will have an important role to play. How unusual. In one so young,” Joshua said vaguely. “The grandson of Prince Nachshon the Daring.”
“What are you saying?”
Joshua looked into Boaz’s bright blue eyes. “The shadow of death is upon you.”
“What do you mean? What should I do?”
“Why, go into battle, of course.”
* * * * *
Deuteronomy Chapter 34
1 And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land, even Gilead as far as Dan; 2 and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah as far as the hinder sea; 3 and the South, and the Plain, even the valley of Jericho the city of palm-trees, as far as Zoar. 4 And the Lord said unto him: ‘This is the land which I swore unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying: I will give it unto thy seed; I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.’ 5 So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. 6 And he was buried in the valley in the land of Moab over against Beth-peor; and no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. 7 And Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. 8 And the children ofIsrael wept for Moses in the plains ofMoab thirty days.
Rashi: The Children of Israel tried to prevent Moses from ascending Mount Nebo.