From By the Waters of Kadesh…
Q. So, Gaddiel, what is it you do around here?
A, I am an elder of Zebulon. I should be the head elder, but I suppose I shall have to wait until Elias … goes to be with our ancestors.
Q. And what exactly does being an elder mean?
A. Well, that is one thing that is better here than in Egypt. The elders actually do have some say in ruling Israel. We meet and discuss plans and problems, and we deal with different things happening within the tribe. In Egypt we were little more than surrogate parents to settle petty squabbles between neighbors.
Q. You said “one thing” that is better than in Egypt. How else are things different here?
A. Things are not as great here as Moses and Joshua would have you believe. Nor were they as bad in Egypt as they claim. Although the elders were not rulers, it was because we were not needed. Life was settled, predictable. We were not in chains. I for one am not at all sure we should have left.
Q. OK … Tell us about your family.
A. I have one brother, Nathaniel. I have no immediate family—no wife or children. Tirzah was my brother Jediel’s wife, but he died at Mt Sinai. Now I am supposed to take care of her and her two little brats.
Q. And why does that bother you so much?
A. I have more important things to do. If I wanted a woman to look after I would have my own.
Q. And what are those more important things?
A. I intend to make everyone see how valuable I am to this nation. No matter what it takes.
Q. No matter what it takes? What does that mean?
A. I don’t know yet. But I’ll do whatever is necessary to get what I deserve.