Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What sort of man was this?

What sort of man was this? Zipporah wondered as she studied him across the fire, the flames leaping up to hide one feature, then another . He had seemed a welcome hero at the well when he chased the other shepherds away from tormenting her sisters and herself. But who was he really? Was he just a drifter with torn clothes and furtive eyes, or maybe a conman, one noble act to get him a good meal and a place to lay his head? He had been with them now for several weeks. When he had first arrived his hands were like those of a small child, soft with no calluses, clearly not a man used to hard work. But he had taken to the work willingly, and once trained worked harder and longer than any of the other men. He was often silent and when he did talk he stammered. Where did he come from? He seemed to know little about the day to day habits of common people? He seemed to have the bearing of someone of higher birth and yet he was penniless. He showed great respect for her father and took a great interest in everything Reull had to say. He knew little about the one true God but his curiosity was insatiable. Together they would sit by the fire until late into the night talking quietly.
He was kind to her sisters and held her mother in high esteem. No chore was too small or too great. He did everything that was asked and more. There was more here, she was certain. Whenever strangers came to their tent, she could see him become tense and wary. One night three Egyptians joined the family for dinner but try as they might no one could find him. When questioned later, he said that he had gotten lost and was just late getting back, but Zipporah knew better. She had seen him enter the camp and then leave again after observing the Egyptians. He knew she had seen him but offered her no explanation, although he had been kinder to her than usual when she kept his secret. Who was he?
She had heard her parents talking last night and she knew they were thinking of a marriage between her and the stranger. He had been with them for a while now and people were beginning to talk. As a priest, Reull could not have anything that might give room for an appearance of evil. There had been few suitors for her, her skin black as ebony made her different. In any culture different is rarely good and less often desired.. Her mother was from Ethiopia and although her sisters looked much like the other people in Midian, she looked like her mother, tall and dark with eyes the color of warm honey.
She wondered what it would be like to be married to such a man as this. Would he share his heart with her? Would she learn things about him that she would not wish to know? Would they be happy together like her parents? Or would there be silence? So much of the future was uncertain, so many questions unanswered. She could only trust that God held her future in his hands and she hoped it was a good future. She could not know what this man would become long before the burning bush.

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