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King Mered’s two sons Dishon and Ginath refused to accept the crown from their dying father, who insisted that his sons renounce their Bat-El heresy before ascending to the throne. And so, effectively without living heirs, King Mered was forced to establish a system of popularly elected magistrates to rule Menkal instead of a king. Higher magistrates could overrule lower magistrates, but a council of lower magistrates could impeach the Chief magistrate.

In this way Menkal became the first Republic to exist on Barbelo.

Neriah the Younger, a convert to Bat-El, became the first elected chief magistrate of the Judahites. King Mered gave to him the White Scroll and the Ark of the Covenant, and he died at roughly the same time that Neriah the Elder died.

Dishon (with his wife Hatita) and Ginath (with his wife Junia) then undertook a mission to the east to preach Bat-El to the Benjaminites. Dishon and his wife were taken captive in Shedal, where they became servants of Prince Lamoni. There Dishon miraculously preserved the king’s flocks from predators and Prince Lamoni became a convert to Bat-El soon thereafter. Eventually even Lamoni’s father King Sarfael was converted to the People of Bat-El, he and his entire household. Then King Sarfael decreed religious freedom for all Benjaminites. Many people in the lands of Shedal, Glenah, and the cities within Glenah Wood all converted, and they began to call themselves Dishonites. After that, King Sarfael died.

The unconverted Benjaminites prepared to make war against the apostates, but the Dishonites were so filled with remorse over the Judahite blood the Benjaminites had historically shed they were pacifists to the point of declining to even defend themselves. When the hard-core Benjaminites saw the prone state of their prey they aborted their attack, and many even converted to the People of Bat-El on the strength of the passive witness of their intended victims.

To the west, in Menkal, a merchant named Eliada tried to restore the kingship, with himself as king, naturally. The people voted nay but his followers continued to regard him as king. After that, the Eliadaites waged war to seat their king by force, but the Judahite army soundly defeated them. Neriah the Younger personally slew Eliada.

Neriah then nominated a magistrate named Micah to replace him as chief magistrate, and this was confirmed by the people. Neriah had stepped down from the top job because he had observed that the people, much like Eliada, were becoming increasingly wicked, proud, disdainful of outsiders and neglectful toward the poor. Neriah feared the whole House of Judah was on a path to self-destruction. So after he resigned his post as chief magistrate Neriah began traveling from city to city to preach directly to the Judahites.

Neriah began to teach in the heart of the city of Akamar, where his call for social justice was well received the poor, but his message was rejected out of hand by the wealthy and powerful of the capital city. Neriah then moved on to the cities of Difda and Sukai, with very much the same reception. From Difda he traveled by ship across the strait to the seaside city of Suhair, whose leading citizens proved even more hardened than those of the previous three cities.

After a renewed persecution by the unconverted Benjaminites, Dishon led the Dishonites west to Menkal, where they were given land in the southern part of Elendal Island from a large stock of empty land that Chief Magistrate Micah always kept on hand for just such an emergency. But General Rufus of the Benjaminites had tracked the missing Dishonites west. In the lower vale of the Menkal River the general gave battle against the Judahites but Captain Eshton of Akamar led the Judahites to victory against the Benjaminite attackers.

When he had grown very old Neriah gave the White Scroll and Ark of the Covenant to his son, Rabsaris, for Chief Magistrate Micah was not a convert to Bat-El, and Neriah had not chosen to give the sacred relics to the man who had replaced him as leader of the people. Then Neriah was taken in slow stages by Issacharite priests to the Pool of Bat-El, where he was permitted to see the other world before he died. And his body was never found anywhere in Haaretz.

Micah promoted Captain Eshton and made him the commanding general over all the Judahite armed forces in the face of an impeding general war with the Benjaminites. A large force of Benjaminites had gathered together at Grand Mound, led by General Azza and this force including many Judahite dissenters who worshiped El Shaddai alone. The Benjaminite army attacked the Judahites in the land of Suhair and the battle raged north toward Akamar, ending on the banks of the Menkal River just south of the city. In the battle General Eshton’s forces protected themselves with finely molded body armor for the very first time in Barbelo history.

After winning the initial clash General Eshton sent spies east to the Great Plateau to investigate the Benjaminites’ weak points, and he moved his force by hidden animal tracks, known only to sympathetic locals, to surround the enemy.

General Eshton marched forth under his Manifest of Freedom, a standard that he raised to rally the Judahites to defend their liberties from the group of dissenters who wanted to establish their leader as a king and who were even willing to ally themselves with the hated Benjamites to do it. General Eshton was so angry with the dissenters, who were led by a man named Paulus, that he tore his cloak and wrote upon it, In memory of Bat-El, our freedom, our peace, our wives, and our children.

With these words he rallied the Judahites to defend their families and their liberty, chasing away the Benjaminites and the Judahite militias loyal to Paulus in the process. Any Judahite dissenters who managed to survive were put to death by Eshton. The Benjaminites were scattered to the east. Then Eshton raised the Manifest of Freedom upon every Judahite tower.

Soon there were many more such towers, for Eshton erected a fortified line of cities on the edge of the slope that formed the border between the Judahites and the Benjaminites. After that the Judahites greatly prospered, while the Benjaminites steadily diminished until they became little more than scattered bands of highway robbers. As the years wore on the borders of Menkal were gradually extended east to encompass Glenah Wood and they were extended south to a line between Mount Narutha and the mouth of the river Sabik. And it was said there never was a happier time, before or since, among any of the people of the tribe of Judah.

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