Warrior Prophets 2 Chapter 28
Epilogue: Scribe of Eternity
Fifty Years Later…
Ehud cried as he laid down his quill. It was not his aching and inflamed joints. It was not the sound of his grandchildren playing in the yard. It was not the sound of Blimah feeding the noisy chickens. It was not even the sound of Lerim, his son-in-law, banging metal with his workers in the smithy. It was the story, the story of Ruth – it always brought him to tears.
It had been years since Ehud had had the strength to heft a hammer. But he chose to wield a quill instead. He had copied down the five books of Moses multiple times. His scrolls were considered works of art and had been sought after by all the tribes of Israel. He had written the Book of Joshua many times and had distributed that prophetic scroll widely as well. However, it was the Book of Ruth that always brought him to tears, for he had known all the protagonists and he had played his own small part in God’s grand scheme.
My next prophet shall arrive tomorrow, God had said to him during the night. Pass on to the prophet the scroll and your blessing.
How will I know who it is? Ehud asked.
You will know.
Ehud waited for the ink on the scroll to dry. He then rolled it up, tied it and covered it with a soft skin to protect it. He carried it reverently out of his house and walked slowly, with the assistance of his cane, onto the porch. Children were already assembled for what had become a daily ritual. They sat impatiently on the ground. Adults stood behind them, also interested in the prophet’s story. It was no longer just members of the tribe of Benjamin. Families from all the tribes, from Simeon in the south to Asher in the north and Gad to the east arrived on a daily basis to hear the oral history Ehud would convey.
“Tell us how you stabbed the fat king!” a Judean boy yelled.
Ehud scanned the crowd for sight of the prophet, but no obvious candidates became apparent. He sat on a wide swing of his own design. Sturdy planks of wood supported by chains eased Ehud’s creaky bones. Blimah, her hair snowy-white under her beige shawl, walked over and sat next to Ehud on the swing. She wove her arm into his and smiled contentedly.
Ehud told over his usual story: the subjugation by Eglon, the resistance, the subterfuge, the assassination and finally the victorious battle that had freed them from Moabite subservience. Ehud looked at the well-fed fearless children and marveled at God’s benevolence. Gone were the days of a foreign aggressor or the days of heavy famine that had led to ruin for Elimelech and his family. There were still minor skirmishes and the worship of God was not always strong, but the outright devotion by Israelites to foreign gods was minimal. The people of Israel were enjoying an era of peace and prosperity they had not experienced since the days of Joshua.
“Tell us about Ruth,” a young girl spoke out.
Ehud felt a shock of force when the girl spoke. He looked at her closely. She was perhaps seven or eight years old. She had long dark tresses and deep blue eyes that sparkled with intelligence.
“What would you know of Ruth?” Ehud asked. “She still lives. Not far from here – in Bethlehem.”
“I would hear of how she journeyed to Israel from the fields of Moab,” the girl answered.
“That is a story for another place and another time.” Ehud gripped the scroll tighter and closed his eyes.
He had a vision. It was a vision of an older woman with long black tresses and sparkling blue eyes. She led an army of Israelites from a mountaintop against the iron chariots of a foreign aggressor. The chariots were overturned and the foreign soldiers vanquished. Ehud trembled from the revelation and opened his eyes to stare into the deep blue eyes from his vision.
“What is your name child?” Ehud asked.
“Deborah daughter of Neriah of the tribe of Naftali.”
“Approach,” Ehud ordered.
Deborah arose and walked through the seated children to Ehud and Blimah on the swing.
“You have been blessed, Deborah,” Ehud said softly. “A great task awaits you.”
“What task?” Deborah asked nervously.
“I cannot reveal much,” Ehud said, “but you will lead and save Israel in its time of need.”
“When? What need? I’m just a girl.”
“It will be many years in the future, after I am long gone. The tribes of Israel shall look to you for guidance, for you shall grow wise and strong in the ways of God. Have faith and remain strong, young Deborah, for God shall ever be with you. Take this scroll.” Ehud handed the skin with the Book of Ruth to the young girl.
“What is this?” Deborah asked.
“It is the answer to your question.”
“It is the story of Ruth.”
“Why are you giving it to me?”
“Because you will carry it on. You see, her story has not ended, for there are generations to come before her mission bears its fruit. You will pass this scroll to the next prophet and eventually her story will be written in full. You will also write my story that you have heard here today and pass it on as well. And the next prophet will write your story and the cycle will continue until the Monarchy of Israel is established.
“I don’t understand,” Deborah said.
“You don’t have to. You just need to believe me. Deborah, look into my eyes. Do you believe me?”
Deborah looked deeply into Ehud’s dark brown eyes. She smiled suddenly.
“I don’t understand, but I believe you.”
“Never lose faith.” Ehud held Deborah’s head in his hands and kissed her lightly on the forehead. “Be strong and of good courage,” Ehud blessed her, remembering Joshua’s blessing to him in his own youth. Ehud felt some of that spirit, the spirit that has passed from Moses to Joshua to himself, pass on to Deborah.
Deborah’s face lit up and a barely perceptible aura of light seemed to radiate from the little girl. She bowed to Ehud, walked past the crowd of children, found her father amongst the adults and strode away.
“Who is she?” Blimah asked a pensive-looking Ehud.
“She is our future.” Ehud smiled, held Blimah closely, and for the first time in decades felt as if a burden had been lifted from him. “My job is done.”
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