I thought this week I’d share with you the first scene of book two: By the Waters of Kadesh. Kadesh takes places a couple months after In the Shadow of Sinai ends, just as Israel reaches the edge of Canaan. The characters from Sinai are here: Bezalel, Meri, Ahmose—but Egyptian captain Kamose is our hero this time. And now I ‘ll introduce you to Tirzah.
Tirzah slipped out of the tent, her bare feet sinking into the warm, coarse sand. She dragged the flaps down and tied them together to shut out the fading evening light and tiptoed away. She cast a look at Gaddiel sitting on the other side of the campfire as she sank to the ground, and reached for a cold manna cake from the stack on the plate. The sweet, honeyed taste filled her mouth as she bit into it.
She glanced past the rows of tents at the barren sand surrounding them as she chewed. Not a single sign of life broke through the gravelly sand; nothing could endure the blistering sun or evaporating winds of summer. Very little had survived the long, dry season of her life, either.
The setting summer sun cast long, twisted shadows of the flames onto her tent. The fire danced and skipped. When was the last time she had that much energy? She was tired … so tired. She could barely hold her head up to take another bite. How did she get to this point? Why did Yahweh let things get this bad?
She shoved the rest of the cake in her mouth. At least she liked the taste of manna, unlike most of those around her. One more and then a little goat’s milk. Maybe she could get some sleep tonight. She closed her eyes and let her head fall onto her raised knees, her long hair tumbling about her shoulders.
A plaintive cry broke the stillness.
Naomi. Tears pooled in Tirzah’s eyes. She delayed one more moment before putting her hand to the hot ground to push herself up.
Gaddiel glared at her, his dark eyes flashing from beneath bushy brows.
“I’m sorry. I’ll quiet her.”
Her brother-in-law rose and disappeared into his own tent, pitched next to hers.
She hustled into the tent. The child sat on her mat, eyes darting about, breathing raggedly, tears streaming down her face. “Hush, habibti. Back to sleep.”
“I’m scared.” Naomi rubbed her fists into her eyes.
“I know. But it’s all right. I’m here now. Back to sleep.” Tirzah eased her back down and lay next to her. She pulled her close and rubbed circles on the little girl’s tummy to comfort her until the child, not fully awake, rolled over and drifted off.
Her twin sister lay fast asleep on the other side of her, undisturbed by the noise and movement.
But Tirzah stared at the green stripe around the tent’s roof for hours.