Draft55

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CHAPTER 55


When the days of mourning for the High Priest Lael of the Levites had passed, the Director on the cover of the Ark of the Covenant turned in such manner to point west from the face of the Wall of God. And Lael's third son Rosh said, "Behold, I am constrained to go thither."

And Elam, the chieftain of the Remnant, was compelled to follow his younger brother that he might be true to his word. Yet both he and Jemuel grew wroth with their younger brother by the day for the admo- nitions of their father that came out of his mouth at regular inter- vals. Their father was dead, may he rest in peace, but here was little Rosh spouting Laelisms as though the old man somehow lived on through his third son. It rankled, yet neither Elam nor Jemuel dared gainsay God, who had made the Director to point to Rosh as the new High Priest.

Then Elam said to his brother Rosh, "Behold, the very Ark of God dwells in no tent. Would you have the snow fall upon our holy relic? Make you, therefore, curtains of fine twined linen. Adorn them with images of sphinxes, and link them with blue rings and gold clasps."

Then Rosh and his Benjaminite wife Sela toiled through the night to carry out the commandment of their chieftain Elam, but they could not even fairly begin to fashion the curtains before it was dawn and the Remnant broke fast to prepare for that day's march north and west.

But the twenty-three people of the Remnant could only travel away from the Wall of God for a single league by reason of the rough terrain and the thick undergrowth of dangerous flora, and the age of Lael's widow Sariah, and the livestock they took with them.

During the march Rosh recited from the White Scroll. "Grazing your animals in another man's field, or burning his crops, is theft. The going rate for restitution for stolen oxen is five to one, and for sheep is four to one. If a thief cannot make full restitution, he be- comes a slave."

While Rosh preached Elam and Jemuel grew angry again, but Elam could not order Rosh to be silent since his words were from the mouth of the God of the Remnant and they would have held him to be exceedingly im- pious.

But when they made camp Elam had words of his own for Rosh. Elam said, "Make another tent from goats hair, to cover the tent of linen for the Ark of God, but this time the clasps are to be made from brass."

And Rosh persuaded his widowed mother Sariah to aid him and his wife in the mounting tasks, bending brass over a fire. Late into the night did Rosh and Sela and Sariah toil.

The next day when the Remnant resumed their overland march, Rosh again recited the laws written in Leliel's White Scroll. He said, "If you see your neighbor's animals running astray, you shall gather them in. Magistrates among you shall not accept bribery from the rich, nor shall they favor the poor in their judgments. But if the people are stirred to become a mob when they perceive a judge has made his ruling unfairly, you shall not join them in doing evil."

Elam knew it had become a test of wills. When the Remnant ate supper he said to Rosh, "Yet a third covering for the tent shall be made of ram skins dyed red, and over this you shall lay badgers' skins."

Then Josiah and his son Tobiah left the camp to hunt through the night.

Zethan the Benjaminite and Asher, son of Jabez, killed four rams from the flocks of the Remnant for their skins, while Zehan's wife Atara prepared herbs to make the red dye, but Elam forbade his wife Serach from helping Atara, and Jemuel too held back his own wife Iscah.

When the Remnant made ready to make the next march Josiah and Tobiah returned with the badgers they had killed but there were not enough to cover the Tent of Meeting. They pledged to continue seeking more until Elam's commandment had been fulfilled. And the people moved out.

There were many imperatives in the White Scroll, and Rosh was not nearly done reciting them. "Do not eat carrion like the vultures do. Do not cook a goat in its own mother's milk. Keep you the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering."

And again Elam was annoyed, but a smirk ever graced his face as he contemplated the next series of hoops he would make Rosh jump through, he and any who would follow him.

That evening Elam said, "Now to the woodwork. The boards get silver bars overlaid with gold. You shall make a veil to divide the tent into two parts. One part shall be just run-of-the-mill holy, and the other part shall be very holy. The Ark shall be left in the very holy part, but you shall make a table for showbread and candles and place them in the ordinary holy part."

And Abner came to the aid of Rosh to cut tenons in the boards for the Tent of Meeting, and to help build the table of wood overlaid with gold, with rings and staves to bear it like the Ark of the Covenant. His wife Tabitha prepared the dinnerware for the showbread. Again the people toiled late into the night to aid Rosh as he fulfilled the de- mands of their chieftain to prepare a tent for the Ark of the Covenant worthy of the God they served. On this evening the curtains with gold clasps and images of sphinxes were completed.

During the next march Rosh said, "Kidnapping men and women to become slaves shall be punished by death. Maiming a slave shall be cause to set the slave free. If an animal kills a man and it was known to be aggressive in the past both the animal and the owner shall die."

At one point Jemuel discerned that Rosh had burned through the hun- dreds of precepts in the White Scroll, and had turned like a great wheel. Rosh was reciting them all over again. So he set his own mind working on more tasks to set for Rosh as a deterrent to his insuffera- ble preaching.

When they reached the fringe of Shaula Wood Jemuel in his annoyance gave Rosh instruction to prepare the Tent of Meeting. But Rosh was unmoved. He did not recognize the authority of Jemuel to command the smallest thing. But Elam told him, "What Jemuel said seems good to me."

Therefore Asa's wife Jemima and Josiah's wife Keturah offered up some of the gold that had been given to them from the Nathites. Tobiah's wife Susanna and Jabez' wife Keturah rendered up the onyx stones they received from the Hamari for Rimon to set in the edge of the table.

Then too Dinah, wife of Rimon, prepared oil for the lamp, and Leah, wife of Asher, made ready pungent spices for the lamp oil and for sweet incense. The whole Remnant, save Elam, Jemuel, and their wives, labored long into the night to complete the tent for the Ark of God.

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