A.D. 33

By: Ted Dekker



The council turned to me.

“Speak to us, Queen Maviah,” Arim said. This time Fahak made no attempt to silence him. My time had come.

I gathered my dress and slowly pushed myself to my feet. I let my gaze rest on their faces, then bowed my head in reverence to Fahak.

“You are most wise, my sheikh. I am honored to be the queen of such powerful men who have seen the Light of Blood in my eyes and followed a path of bravery rarely known, even among the Bedu, subjects of no kingdom but the kingdom that reigns in the heart. It was you who saved me from the desert.”

Fahak dipped his head. “Yes, it was I who saved you.”

“Indeed. It was you who believed in me.”

Another nod, but with some caution this time, because he’d often found himself cornered by my gentle words.

“The first to believe,” he said.

“You, Fahak, were most wise for having believed in my name.” My voice soothed like oil. “For I was the daughter of Rami, who was the greatest of all sheikhs among the Banu Kalb. And as the daughter of Kalb, I found the power of a new Father in the name of Yeshua, in whose name I believed. Is this not true?”

His response was slow. “It is.”

I paced to my left, arms loose by my side, looking through the open flap at a gathering of children fifty paces distant, knocking about a ball of dried dung with sticks.

Unless you become like children…

“Tell me, Fahak,” I said, turning back to him, “what does it mean to believe in the name of someone?”

He glanced at the others, because the answer was plain among all the people of the earth.

“To trust and so align with them,” he said. “Am I so old that I cannot understand what is known by all?”

“Your age only makes you wise, mighty sheikh. To believe in one’s name is not merely to acknowledge that they are who they say they are, or to know of their status. It is, as you say, to put your trust in the authority that comes with the name. And so to align yourself with them.”

“So are alliances made and bonds forged,” Fahak said.

“Indeed. And do you still put your faith in my name, Maviah, daughter of Yeshua?”

Again he hesitated, perhaps only now seeing where I was taking him.

“I do.” He lifted a finger. “But only so long as what you say follows my own proven understanding.”

“And yet I am here only because I surrendered my own understanding to Yeshua’s Father, who is also my own.”

“He is not my god.”

“And because I trusted Yeshua’s Father, though it was beyond any common sense, he gave me the sight and power to prevail in Petra. You see? Common sense is for the masses. Only the wisest depart from it.”

His eyes narrowed slightly. But rather than ask him for his submission—for this would be too much to ask of an old Bedu warrior such as Fahak—I turned to the others and made my case.

“You are right when you say that Kahil has lost his mind and would not hesitate to slaughter every man who marched on Dumah, whether or not we go with swords. And you are also right when you say that we did not come to die. So then, we cannot march with eight thousand men in three days’ time.”

They watched me, surely having expected other words.

“She speaks the truth,” Fahak said.

“Kahil would kill all of our men,” I said. “But Saman will not allow his son, however mad, to kill twenty thousand Bedu.”

“Thus he has not come against us,” Jashim said.

“Then we might, instead, go to him. All of us.”

Silence stretched long in the black tent.

Habib appeared confused. “You are suggesting that we take women and children as well?”

“We came together as one, did we not? In three days’ time we might go twenty thousand strong to Dumah, unified and without a single sword, so that all may see our intentions for peace, not war. We must restore Rami to his people. We must free Judah. And we must negotiate for honorable compensation for our losses. Saman and Kahil may have hearts of stone, but the Thamud people, even their warriors, are not beasts. They too have wives and children.”

“Among all Bedu it is forbidden to take the life of the desert’s offspring,” Jashim said, standing. “She speaks the truth.”

“We cannot take women and children to war!” Fahak cried.

“It is not war!” Jashim returned.

Fahak looked dumbfounded—what I suggested was unheard of. But then his face began to settle.

“You suggest we leave the Garden and march to Dumah as one?” Fahak said. “All of us.”

I dipped my head in respect. “Is this not wisdom, mighty sheikh? It was you who first put your trust in me.”

For a long time the old man stared at me. Would he dare openly put his confidence elsewhere, after publicly declaring he trusted in me?

He turned to the others, then lifted one hand as if to silence them, though there was no need.

“In my eyes, made wise with age, I have seen a way. Like an eagle high in the sky, peering beyond the tallest dune, I behold that we might march on Dumah in three days’ time. All as one. Without a sword.”

Silence.

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