Deborah by James R. Shott

By James R. Shott

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They respected my wish, knowing what was to come.  The avenger of blood shall personally put the murderer to death when he meets him.  And now I had sworn my solemn oath before Yahweh.  By speaking the oath of the avenger first, I had probably saved him from dashing off impulsively to do battle with the more experienced Heber.  What could I do?  I would find it.  And I meant to fulfill that oath.  There was nothing more to celebrate.  Then he embraced his daughter, spoke brief words of farewell to me, and waved good­bye from the gates of his manor.

The long table before them was bare now, but soon would be laden with food and drink.  Could she have prepared herself so carefully for my return?  I could tell Ophrah was charmed by her.  Now, it seemed, the chores had been wisely divided—Mother supervised the cooking of the evening meal, and Deborah tended the needs of our guests.  He placed it on the table and began to serve our guests. As the cup of wine was placed in Ophrah's hands, I spoke the formal words of welcome.  But I knew he would probably return through Bethel on his way to Debir in the territory of Judah, so my offer was neither discourteous nor meddlesome.

The law of Moses said that a man fleeing from an avenger of blood could seek asylum in one of six cities and be sheltered from the blood revenge.  But he seemed to burn with a desire to talk about his problem.  Ophrah had every right to do what he was doing. " I asked.  She picked up her basin and towel and came to me.  Women belonged in the kitchen, or bedroom, or at best kneeling before a man to wash his feet, as she did now.  She would not push herself forward more than a woman should in a man's discussion.

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