Chapter III


The sun had gotten high in the sky and Haman judged it to be somewhere a little after the noon hour. He knew Ruth and Jonathon must be tired and hungry so he began to look for a cool place to stop the oxen. He soon saw a level grassy spot surrounded by palm trees and in the midst of the trees was a well. Haman called a halt to the oxen pulling the cart and said, “I think we will rest here for a bit. We have made fairly good time and we still can make it to Jerusalem by sundown.”

“Thank you my husband. Jonathon and I are getting hungry and it will be good to stretch our legs. You must be tired and hungry also,” Ruth replied seeing the sweat on her husband’s face.

“I’m fine,” Haman smiled, “but I could eat a morsel of something.”

“Father, how much further is it to Jerusalem?” Jonathon asked as Ruth busied herself preparing them a small noon meal.

“It’s not far son. I judge Jerusalem to be about three hours away,” Haman answered.

As Ruth was preparing the meager meal, Haman unhitched the oxen and watered and fed all the animals in their caravan going to Jerusalem. Haman knew the animals needed this short rest as much or more than they did.

After Haman and his family had eaten and refreshed themselves, Haman filled up the water pots they had been carrying on the cart with fresh water from the well. He then hitched the oxen back up and helped Ruth and Jonathon upon the cart and made sure they were comfortable. Haman once more began walking alongside the oxen, leading them with his prod, as they continued traveling the final miles of their journey.

As they were traveling, Ruth’s mind went back to yesterday when they began their journey. They had spent the day before packing everything they would need. They made provisions for their home, and the small farm they made a living on, to be taken care of while they were gone. The remaining animals would need looking after because they would be gone almost a week.  

Yesterday, the first day of their journey, Haman had pitched a tent for his family to sleep in for the night. Unlike most eight year old boys, Jonathon was not afraid of spending the night in a tent when it was dark, because his world was all darkness anyway. Haman had built a small fire near the entrance of the tent that first night and Ruth warmed up some soup they had brought along for supper. Haman unhitched the two oxen and, along with the other animals, he fed and bedded them down for the night. When this chore was finished, Haman and Ruth put bedding in the little tent and made it as comfortable as possible, but still, it would not be as comfortable as their own beds at home. However, it would only be for one night and a very short one at that. They had plans of continuing their journey in the morning at the break of dawn.

The fire at the entrance of the little tent would keep them warm enough for the cool night and also, the light from the fire would keep the animals from wandering out into the darkness away from their camping spot. The joy Haman and Ruth felt as they anticipated the Passover far outweighed the hardship of camping out for one night and being away from the conveniences of home. The three of them were so exhausted from this first day’s journey that they fell asleep almost as soon as they had lain down for the night.     

 Ruth’s mind comes back to the present because they were now in sight of Jerusalem. Their two-day journey would soon be over and they were anxious to find lodging for the night. All the inns around Jerusalem were crowded, as Haman figured they would be, because there were many visitors who had come from all over Israel to observe the Passover. Many of the visitors had relatives who had homes in and around Jerusalem they were going to stay with during the week of Passover. Others were like Haman and his family and they were looking for lodging as well. Haman was hoping they would not have to stay too far out of Jerusalem. After inquiring at several of the inns, they finally found lodging on the outer perimeter of Jerusalem and a nearby stable for the animals. The inn was a welcome sight, for here, Haman and his family could get some much needed rest.

Haman noticed that the shops in Jerusalem were closing and he knew it was nearing the 12th hour of the day which was the end of the Jewish workday. Haman and Ruth began unloading their clothes and bedding out of the cart and took them to their room in the inn. Their room in the inn was actually divided into two rooms. One of the rooms was their sleeping quarters and the other room was a combination kitchen and living room. Their accommodations in the inn were plain and simple but they would be comfortable enough.

As Haman and Ruth began looking around in the two rooms, Haman spoke up and said, “Ruth, I know these rooms won’t be as comfortable as our home, but it will only be for a few days.”

“They will be fine my husband. Even so, they are better than what our fathers had when they came from Egypt,” Ruth replied.

“You are right Ruth. When they were in the wilderness, they only had tents to sleep in every night. And to think, they had no homes and slept in tents for forty years!” Haman stated.

“We should be thankful that God has provided us with these rooms in this inn, however humble they may be. These were the last rooms they had and, if not for these, we might have had to sleep with the animals in the stable,” Ruth concluded.

Haman agreed and prepared to go to the stables to feed the animals and bed them down for the night while Ruth began organizing the items they had brought into the inn. Ruth took Jonathon by the hand and began letting him feel his way around the rooms. She wanted him to get accustomed to where things were. As he felt his way Ruth would explain what he was feeling and where he was at.

As Ruth was leading Jonathon by the hand, her mind went back to over five years ago when Jonathon began walking and talking. Ruth had to explain to her son what being blind meant. She remembered how hard it was explaining that normal people could see but that he was born without sight. Ruth explained to her son how everything had its own particular color. She told about the sky being blue and about the green grass in the pastures where his father’s sheep grazed. Ruth then remembered the question Jonathon asked that day and that question had been etched on her heart for eternity when he asked, “Mother, why did God let me be born blind? Does He not love me?”

Even now her soul was trembling as she remembers how her heart broke that day. Jonathon never saw the tears that flowed from his mother’s eyes that day as his question pierced her soul. She finally managed to answer, “Yes, my son, God loves you very much. Your father and I don’t know why God allowed you to be born blind but we know He has a reason.”    

       When Haman entered the stables, Asiah, another traveler to Jerusalem for the Passover was already there checking on his livestock. Asiah greeted Haman and introduced himself. After Haman returned the introduction Asiah asked, “Friend, are you here for the Passover?”

      “Yes,” replied Haman. “My wife and I, along with our son, have traveled a two-day’s journey to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover as our fathers before us have done. What about you, are you here for the Passover also?”

      “Oh yes,” Asiah replied, “but I have a more important reason for being here.”

      “What could be more important than the Passover at this time of the year?” Haman inquired.

      “Oh, I must find Jesus of Nazareth and warn Him,” Asiah answered. “I have heard through reliable sources that He is coming to Jerusalem but the chief priests and other members of the Sanhedrin council are lying in wait for Him. I have heard that one of His own disciples, Judas, I believe they said, has been conspiring behind His back and is going to betray Him into their hands.”

      “This, this Jesus of Nazareth, what is He to you?” Haman asks. “If the chief priests are looking for Him, they must have a good reason.”

      “No they do not have a good reason,” Asiah replied. “He teaches love and His words convict their hearts. Our priests and most of the members of the council have been keeping an outward form of the law but they have not kept it in their hearts. Our law was meant to be spiritual and holy but they have corrupted it.”

      “I cannot believe what you are telling me!” Haman answers in disbelief. “Our laws and ordinances came from God and through the hands of Moses. This man, this Jesus from what I’ve heard breaks our law. It is forbidden to do what He does on the Sabbath. I can not understand why so many think He is the Messiah.”

            Asiah puts his hands on Haman’s shoulders and looks him in the eyes. “I too was like you my friend. I did not believe that He could be Israel’s hope. I had my doubts until one day when our son Arman came back home. Our son, Arman, was possessed with many devils. He was wild and lived among the tombs. He could not be tamed and could not live among people. He dwelt in the tombs and night and day he would cry out and cut himself with stones. Many times he had been bound with fetters and chains but he would pluck them asunder. We had no hope for him.

            “Then one day Jesus of Nazareth visited our country of the Gadarenes. Our son Arman saw Him afar off and ran and worshipped Him. Somehow, Arman just knew that the stranger was greater than the demons that were in him and that He would be able to help him.  Jesus commanded the unclean spirits to leave him and the devils went into some swine. When Jesus’ disciples came and saw what had happened, our son Arman was clothed and in his right mind. Our son wanted to stay with Jesus, he just loved Him so for what He had done for him. But Jesus told him to return home to his friends in Decapolis and tell them about the great things the Lord had done for him. Truly, my friend, Jesus is the Messiah!”

            “How long was your son in this condition?” Haman asked.

            “For many years, my friend,” Asiah replied.

            “In all those years did you not take him to the temple to see the priests? Maybe they could have helped your son,” Haman inquired

            “Arman was in no condition to go to the temple, my friend Haman. Neither would the priests come to the tombs to see him. To tell you the truth, I think they were afraid of him. I asked them many times but they would not come to see my son. No, my friend, we had no hope for Arman until Jesus passed by that day. Jesus was the only person in this world who was not afraid of him. Even his mother and I only viewed our son from a distance. It’s a terrible thing, my friend Haman, to be afraid of one’s own son. I shall forever be grateful to Jesus. Because of Him, we have our son back,” Asiah replied with tears in his eyes.

            Haman finally bids his leave of Asiah and returns to their little room in the inn where Ruth and Jonathon are settling in for the night. Haman’s spirit is restless within him and so many thoughts are puzzling his mind. Ruth can tell by looking at her husband that something is bothering him. She has wanted to ask him about visiting her sister Mary but she knows this is not the time.

            Haman nearly swears as he proclaims, “How can people be so blind? Does not our law say that I am one God and there is none other than Me? How can anyone claim to be the Son of God? And besides that, He breaks our law. If what they say is true, He heals on the Sabbath Day. And they caught Him and His disciples plucking corn and eating it on the Sabbath which is also forbidden.”    

            Ruth waits until her husband has calmed down somewhat and then she speaks. “But my husband, how can you judge someone unless you have met Him and hear Him speak?”

            “We are here for the Passover,” Haman replies, “and I don’t want to hear any more of this Jesus of Nazareth!”


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