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Authors: Gilbert Morris

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Daughter of Deliverance

BOOK: Daughter of Deliverance
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Lions of Judah, Book Six

Daughter of Deliverance

Gilbert Morris

© 2006 by Gilbert Morris

Published by Bethany House Publishers

11400 Hampshire Avenue South

Bloomington, Minnesota 55438

www.bethanyhouse.com

Ebook edition created 2012

Bethany House Publishers is a division of

Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—for example, electronic, photocopy, recording—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

Unless otherwise identified, Scripture quotations are from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Cover design by Lookout Design Group, Inc.

eISBN 978-1-4412-6241-7

To Charles Collier—

who has oft refreshed me.

Contents

Cover

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

Part One: Rahab

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Part Two: Ardon

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Part Three: The Walls of Jericho

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Part Four: Othniel

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Part Five: Land Of Milk And Honey

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Epilogue

About the Author

Books by Gilbert Morris

Back Cover

Chapter 1

Rahab's hands flew across her loom effortlessly, weaving scarlet and blue wool. She had become so skilled at her work that she no longer needed to watch her hands. The shuttles from her loom and those of the five other women in the room filled the air with a clicking cadence, an incantation that made Rahab's eyes droop as she fought off sleep. Outside the small window she could see the last shadows of the day fading in the streets of Jericho. Her mind wandered to another place and time—far from the bleak workroom of Gadiah to a field that she and her family had visited during the spring. She could see it all now with perfect clarity, green grass so fresh it almost hurt her eyes, the sparkling waters of a stream curling across the plain. She could hear birds singing and the sibilant whispers of the breeze. She could even smell the pungent aroma of acacia trees lacing the warm air with sweet, musty odors.

A pleasant memory of her younger sister Zayna warmed her when suddenly a groping hand brushed across Rahab's body. Dropping the shuttle, she threw up her hands in self-defense. “Don't do that, sir!”

Her master, Gadiah, was a thin, wiry individual with lustful eyes and hands to match. His eyes glittered as he laughed deep in his throat and leaned closer. “A woman needs a little loving, Rahab.”

Rahab quickly got up and pushed him back. “It's time to leave.” Glancing around, she saw that the other weavers were averting their eyes. What could they do? Gadiah took liberties with all of them.

The little man leaned in again, his intentions written plainly across his face. Rahab picked up a small knife used for cutting threads. She held the blade in front of her, not speaking but with flashing eyes.

Gadiah glared at Rahab, then changed the subject. “What's in that box?” he growled, gesturing at a small box on the floor.

“Scraps of wool.”

“There are no scraps. Use them for something. I can't afford to waste money.” He waited for her to answer, but she just stood quietly holding the knife. Finally he snapped, “Be here early in the morning,” and whirled on his heels.

After he left, a tall, thin woman with hollow cheeks laughed. “That's the way. Cut his heart out, the dirty old man!”

A faint smile played across Rahab's face. It had become a normal part of her life to fight off her employer. She picked up her scarf, put it over her head, and walked out into the other room, where Gadiah was seated at the table. “I'd like to have my wages, sir.”

Gadiah glared at her but slowly shrugged and reached into his tunic. Pulling out a leather bag, he opened it and pulled out several coins. “You'd better learn to be a bit more friendly, Rahab. There are plenty of others who would like to have your job.”

Not bothering to answer, Rahab took the coins and hastily left the weaver's shop. Shadows were growing longer now, but as she made her way through the streets of Jericho, she found there was still plenty of activity. She had never lived anyplace except in the city, and she was completely at home with the crowded streets and the babble of voices.

From time to time she would greet someone who called out her name, and more than one young man tried to speak with her. Her fresh, glowing beauty had begun to draw men when she was barely more than a girl. Now at seventeen, she had a wealth of brown hair, her complexion was as clear as any in Jericho, and her eyes were a startling hue, almost violet. Her mother, who had been bought as a slave from somewhere up north, had given Rahab her unusual eye color, as well as the slight dimple in the center of her chin and her pleasing figure. Overtures from men were so common she paid little attention to them.

She stopped at several shops and bargained carefully for a few vegetables. Moving on, she stopped at a butcher's shop, where sheep carcasses hung upside down from large hooks. Only wealthy people could afford a whole sheep. Instead she looked over the carcasses of four rabbits, trying to decide which one was the plumpest. Then she began to bargain with the woman who ran the store. They knew each other well, but it was still the custom in Jericho to bargain. No one paid the asking price. Finally the woman threw up her hands. “All right, you can have it at your own price if you're determined to starve an old woman to death!”

Rahab laughed at Mari, one of the fattest women in Jericho. “Little danger of you starving to death. You've got enough meat on you to last through the winter, Mari.”

Carrying the freshly wrapped rabbit and the vegetables, Rahab hurried toward home, anxious to share the bounty of fresh meat with her family. She stopped abruptly, however, when she heard her name called.

“Rahab! Rahab!”

Turning, she saw a young woman leaning against the wall of one of the temples of the goddess Ishtar. The woman wore heavy makeup and revealing clothes, the attire of a temple prostitute. Her attitude had the boldness characteristic of the profession. Rahab knew this young woman—Deziah. She also remembered her as she had once been—a childhood playmate, a simple, cheerful girl who had taken a wrong turn, at least in Rahab's mind.

“Stop and have something to eat. Our supper's almost ready,” Deziah offered.

“Oh, I'd like to, but I've got to hurry home. I've got to cook supper for my family.”

“There's no hurry about that. They won't starve.”

“No, I really must go.”

Deziah pouted, her full lower lip sticking out and her eyes dissatisfied. “You never have any time for me.”

“Well, I work long hours, Deziah. You know that. And I have the family to think about.”

“You're working yourself to death.” Moving closer, Deziah grasped Rahab by the arm. “We've talked about this before. You're crazy to work yourself to death working for that old devil Gadiah. Everybody knows what he is.”

“I have to work.”

“You can join us here.”

“Become a temple prostitute?”

“What's wrong with that? I make a good living,” Deziah said defiantly. Her eyes were outlined with color, her cheeks redder than nature intended them to be. “What's wrong with the way I live?”

“I…I couldn't give myself to men like you do.”

“Oh, there's nothing to that. You'll do it when you get married.”

“That's different.”

“Not different at all. If you join us, you'll have an easy life. No hard work, plenty to eat, the best of food, and all you can drink. Fine clothes. Besides,” Deziah said, her eyes narrowing, “it's a good thing to serve the goddess.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Why, I mean if you're the servant of Ishtar, she'll hear your prayers first.”

Something about that struck Rahab as wrong, but she merely shook her head. “I've got to go.”

“You'd better listen. You've been praying for that little nephew of yours for a long time, and he just gets sicker. We could pray together, and we could get our customers to pray for him. He'd get well.”

“I don't think the men that visit this house have praying on their mind,” Rahab said dryly.

“Well, aren't you a pure woman now!” Deziah snapped.

“Don't be angry, Deziah. I love you. We were childhood friends and we still are, but you have gone your way and I'll have to go mine.”

Deziah sniffed. “Go on and work yourself to death, then, if that's what you want.”

Rahab watched as her old friend turned angrily and stalked through the doors of the temple. She stayed still for a moment, thinking about the life that Deziah now lived. Any man could walk in and sleep with her and would leave money for the goddess. Something about the whole thing just wasn't right. Rahab had discussed her misgivings with others, but temple prostitution was a respectable profession in Jericho, and most people scoffed at her squeamishness. Still, it gave Rahab a queasy feeling to think that any man could claim a woman for a few coins. Shaking off her thoughts, she turned and headed toward her house.

Rounding a corner, she climbed a long set of stone steps that led to the wall of Jericho. She hurried along and, as always, thought of the immense labor that had gone into the wall. It circled the whole city and was built with a solid stone base topped with sturdy mud bricks. At its widest point it was some thirty feet wide, and according to all wisdom, no enemy could ever break down such a wall!

The outer side protected the city from surrounding enemies, such as the Hittites. On its inner side, the wall of Jericho served as a dwelling place for many. Houses were built along the wall in many places, and there were scattered shops and stalls.

BOOK: Daughter of Deliverance
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