I stood there staring into that bucket, my thirst to a point of cracked river bottom. My tongue cleaved to the roof of my mouth and I could not have defended myself even if I had that desire.
Jezreel, my oldest born, came flying from the doorway. He fell to his knees and his pleas were just a jumble of words. Loruhammah, my lovely daughter added her cries to those of her brothers for Loammi had joined us by the well. After some moments, I dropped the bucket and tried to sort out their distress. All of life stood still as I gazed at their faces streaked with tears. Surely thunder cracked overhead when the lightening strike of understanding hit my thirst-craved mind. Their names made sense to me for the very first time. God Will Sow… No Mercy… for you are Not My People.
No Mercy. Not my people. Not my wife. Disowned. Rejected. No Mercy.
No wonder I had been tossed out with nothing save the clothes on my back. No wonder I landed in a box the size of a small bed with a mattress of dirty straw and a thin sheet for warmth. He disowned me, and I deserved it. I sold myself to another for food and a box. I had valued things over Him. I loved silks and perfumes rather than my children. I craved those fleeting moments of pleasure rather than the warmth and strength of my husband’s arms. I chose the raspy voices of many over the sweet words of love offered by my husband. I chose drunkenness over refreshing waters. I desired sweets rather than roasted meat and therefore I was starving. I was thirsty. I was blind to the true treasure which was what my husband provided. I was wretched.
Icy tears slid from my closed eyes. I had not even noticed when the latest invasion had left my cold bed. I curled into a ball and let the tears flow. I lost it all. No hope. No love for me. I had it at one time but tossed it away like a dirty rag.
I heard the chink of coin again and groaned. Not another! How much more could I endure?
“Aiyi! From the looks of it, this is your day of fortune!” the raspy voice of my owner raked over my nerves as he jiggled and poked me to sit up.
“Eh?” I rubbed my eyes and looked at the veiled face in front of me. It was of such fine, thin material his breath ruffled it from his face for he was male, all male, broad of shoulder and thick of arm. His chest expanse seemed to fill the box opening. Fear snaked through me. This brawny brute could do lots of painful things with those hammer arms if he so chose.
“Fifteen pieces of silver! Ha! Not even the going rate for a slave girl. You are not worth the spit from my mouth so I have sold you. I will eat well for all winter with my 17 bushels of barley and my 15 pieces of silver! You, my ugly one, have provided well for me this night. Be off with you. No! Leave the sheet. I paid good money for it and will need it later.”
I scrambled from the box and blinked in the rain. With no covering for my head, my hair was soon soaked and my clothes clung to my thin body for all to see each bony angle. The man slipped a fur lined cloak around my shoulders. It was warm from his body and held a scent of…
I quickly glanced up. The eyes were so different from the last time I’d looked into them. Gone was the anger and fire. In their place was something I had not seen since the day of my marriage. It was gentleness and mercy and compassion. Those eyes held the kindest expression. His arm was wrapped warmly around my cold shoulders and then He swept me up into his snug embrace. Where I had foolishly chased dreams with no substance, he offered kindness and I grabbed it with all my being.
“You will be with me for the rest of your life,” he whispered to me, his breath warm in my ear. “No longer will you lay on your back for coin. No more sleeping around with others. I betroth you to me forever. This time our wedding will be full of feasting and dancing and your eyes will be only for me and mine for you. To you I am no longer Baali. You will call me Ishi… My beloved husband. I will give you vast vineyards and precious treasures, but your greatest treasure is your Ishi. Come rejoice with me, Beloved.”