Arriving in first century Yehuda.
I am walking endless circles around the garden, Tanakh(OT) in hand, my mind struggling with an aspect of theological text books that frustrates me now. Once it simply confused me , until I realised what brought on the confusion. In the process of figuring out how to explain it to readers of PassoverPeople.com, there is behind me an odd noise but familiar. I turn to see the door open and know exactly what the blue box is.
…and he is cranky! My dress, the smell of the summer air, temperature, my three bedroom semi-detached house; clearly not Yehudah, not the First Century, and I am not of the Yehudi. I glean this from his bad-tempered conversation with his assistant.
Turning on my audio-recorder, somewhat ambitiously…
“Can I hitch a ride?” Really I want to see the second Temple for myself and hope to catch a glimpse of Jesus himself but it would also be fun to see if it really is that big inside. And it is. Oh my…..
“Been having trouble with the guidance system on this one. My own is in for some upgrades and a ten time-zone service.”
“Will it take long?” Daft question. Kick myself. I get a funny look.
“Hold tight; suspensions not good.”
We pick ourselves up and check the sensors.
“This’ll be warmer.” The video screen opens. Looks like we have landed at a roadside. “Lots of Yehudi walking past. Let’s say hullo.” And off he strides. As he opens the door, he calls back: “You’ll notice some differences.”
…an understatement! The heat knocks me backward, outside it is dusty, noisy and that is definitely not the Queen’s English they’re speaking. I feel as if I’ve turned up at a black tie occasion in my chinos and polo shirt. Very soon the children spot us and in moments we are surrounded.
The Doctor turning, looks up the hill to our left, we hear what has caught his attention. A regular sound is coming down the hill, something like “Lu’um! Lu’um! lu’um!” a barked rhythmical sound. It is not clear among all the other noises. As we look, they emerge out of the dust & heat haze four hundred metres away: one hundred Roman soldiers with their Officer.
It is an impressive sight and scary too. The people are gathering their children and scrambling off the road. Just in time! The legion is moving like a truck… they’re gaze fixed dead ahead, marching in time to the “Lu’um! Lu’um! Lu’um!” At the rear of the column, some are on horse back. One stands out and little do we know but we’ll be seeing him again.
Time to join the crowd who return to their journey now, behind the soldiers who are quickly disappearing from view. The ages are widely spread from elderly to babies on the backs of donkeys nestled among the bundles. Rocked to sleep by the donkey’s gait.
The sun is already a long way down now. It looks like the men are gathering wood. The Doctor thinks they have begun looking out for a place to bed down for the night.
The night is quiet now. The moon is bright and there are trillions of stars. It is daytime bright. I am wandering around the perimeter of the camp, taking in the scene, reflecting. Bedding down was an exaggeration. Mostly they lie on some straw, taking something from a bundle to cover a piece of rock or some bump in the ground. Covering themselves as best they could…. were quickly asleep. One or two have what twenty first century westerners call Persian rugs, they unroll them on the ground and when they can, also cover a bump in the ground for their heads. Rolled up inside the rug is something resembling a blanket they pull over themselves as they lie down… huddling close to the fires that die in the midst of them. All this talk of their sleeping arrangements has made me suddenly sleepy too.
Continues: Part 2