ALIVE: Chapter 48, Israel's Wet Toe

While Aaron was out Miriam was filled with joy that her long lost brother and his family were actually in her humble home. Miriam saw her father in Gersam's eyes, and her mother in Eliazer's high cheek bones; she felt as if her beloved parents were in the room with them. Sepphora was a lovely woman, and even though she spoke a different language, they chattered away together in broken words with hands fluttering. Miriam was shocked when Sepphora told her about the emergency circumcision. She decided to ponder later what that event said about her God. Moses sat quietly gazing at the cozy domestic scene and then asked for a place to take a nap. Miriam ushered him into their parent's old room where he soon fell into a deep and restful slumber.

Aaron burst through the door quite agitated.

Miriam looked up, "What did they say Aaron? Who did you go see? When will the meeting be, and where?"

Still jittery, Aaron replied, "I began with Judah. The elder of Judah is the oldest and carries more weight than the others. Of course he was astonished, but also skeptical. He agreed that we should all meet. He was most anxious to see Moses, and said that he didn't believe that this man was our Moses."

Sepphora did not understand a word of the exchange, but sat curiously looking on.

"He will see and know." said Miriam. "And what of the others? You have been gone a long time."

"Judah and I decided there wasn't a moment to waste. They will gather here tomorrow at sunset. Where is Moses? I must go and prepare him."

"Wait, Moses sleeps. Who else did you see?"

"Judah and I divided the tribes. He went to tell the elders of Reuben, Dan and Simeon, and Issachar. And I visited the elders of Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad and Asher. I will let him sleep."

But Perambula did not. The busy guardian angel went into the sleeping room, and into the dream of Moses where he was fending off viscous wolves."Moses, wake up; it is day, you are in Egypt, in the city, in the home of your birth. Aaron is back. There is much to do."

Aaron quietly entered the room to find his brother's eyes open. "Are you awake brother?"

"Yyyyes I am. Whwhwhwhwh...en do we meet with the elders?"

"Tomorrow night. They will come here. I don't think you should go out yet, lest the guards see you. It was fortunate enough to have gotten you and your family in here without being noticed.

The boys were anxious to go into the city for they had never seen such a place before. But for the same reason, strangers would be apprehended immediately, they needed to stay inside. Gersam and Eliezer were not accustomed to the restricted life of a slave. The boys felt imprisoned in this strange home surrounded by foreign people. Gersam longed for the open desert. Eliezer wanted to return to the sea.

The following evening, by ones and twos the elders arrived at Miriam's home to see and hear Moses. Miriam managed to find and borrow enough chairs which the boys helped her fit into the main room. Moses and Aaron would have to stand as would Miriam and Sepphora. The boys sat on the floor in front. Perambula hovered.

Aaron spoke all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses, and performed the signs in the sight of the people. Once again the staff of Moses became a serpent and then he seized it by the tail and it became a hard staff in his hand again. Moses' tucked his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, his hand was leprous, as white as snow. He held it high for everyone to see. Then Perambula told him in his mind when to put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out again, it was restored like the rest of his body. The elders and Miriam gasped in unison.

Aaron proclaimed to the elders, "God has observed the misery of us, His people; and heard our cries on account of our taskmasters. He knows our sufferings. He has come down to deliver us from the Egyptians, and to bring us up out of this land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

We will tell Pharaoh that if he will not let us go, our God will stretch out His hand and strike Egypt with all His wonders that he will perform in it; after that he will let us go. The Lord God will bring us into such favor with the Egyptians that when we go, we will not go empty-handed; each woman shall ask her neighbor and any woman living in the neighbor's house for jewelry of silver and gold, and clothing, and we shall put them on our sons and daughters; and so shall we plunder the Egyptians."

There was murmuring and sighs, and gasps from the elders. "Who is this God?!" shouted the elder of Reuben. "What is his name?"

Aaron looked at Moses inquisitively.

Moses stammered, "I am. I am who I am has sent me to you. I am is the Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is His name forever and this is His title for all generations."

Perambula reminded Moses to warn the elders that they must be strong and faithful and patient while their God strikes Eqypt. They will all suffer the signs and wonders, until the last day, when Pharaoh will release them. They must be stoic in the face of the devastation of the land, knowing that the horrors they will see are meant for their good, for their release from the chains that have linked them to the diabolical power of Pharaoh's greed.

The elders believed; and when they heard that the Lord had given heed to the Israelites and that he had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.

Sepphora, Miriam, Gersam and Eliezer looked on this scene with wonderment and curiosity. What was happening in that room was new, they had no frame of reference for it. It was the work of God, to introduce Himself to this generation of the children of Abraham who had finally matured in size into a nation, powerless without Him.

The seed that was God's word to Moses from the burning bush had taken hold, and was presented as a young tree with small tight buds, unfamiliar buds, strange swollen nodules that would someday feed the world. Each of the women, and each of the boys perceived the scene differently. For Moses' family who had known neither the travail of the Hebrew people, nor of the royal life of Moses, this was a vacation, an adventure. For Miriam, it was the echo of her nightly howling at the moon.

Men fell to their knees. Sensitive men, who sensed the power of the moment became teary-eyed, their faces touched the floor where feet delivered the dirt of fields and street, bearded faces hid themselves from the unknown, overwhelming, much longed for, but never imagined possibility of a free world.

The more coarse elders wondered which idol heard their cry. Then there were among them men of doubt who allowed themselves to be carried by the emotions of the faithful.

On this auspicious night Israel took its first step out of Egypt.