ZOE. (The missing Seal)
Written by Amah
Lord Amos took his pleasure beneath the shade of the crowded olive grove, on the cool carpeted grass and he fell asleep immediately.
Zoe rose quietly and carefully and left him lying there, she hurried to where her widow garb was hidden, collected the basket, strife off her sister’s garment and changed into her widow wear. She tied up her hair and wrapped it up her with her widow scarf.
She looped Lord Amos Cord around her neck, tuck it inside her body where it won’t be noticed. She also hide the seal inside her body and covered it with her long Widow cloth. Zoe carefully folded her sister’s cloth, veil, and sash into the basket and was careful so that the tinkling bell will not make a sound.
Hope was alive within her, she pressed her hands over her womb. looked up to the evening sky, tears clouded her eyes and she allowed it to flow. She looked towards Lord Amos who slept soundly on the grass and she whispered out.
“I only ask for justice, but you refused me one. I begged you to do the right thing but you ignored and now I have collected that which your sons refused me. Your own seed and I pray to the true God of your household will favor me this time, take away my shame and this widow garb and give me reason to smile…Amen! “I’m sorry my Lord but you left me with no choice than to do this and i never expected that you will fall so easily into my hands…
She stared at him as he slept soundly, she bow her head in respect to him as she will do whenever she is summoned before him. Amos was a man with authority and now she has his identification seal in her hands.
Lord Amos sons abused her, Lady Samar blamed her for their sins and death. Lord Amos cast her out, broke his promises to her and abandoned her to grow old in her widow garb and die without a child but now, there is a reassuring hope in her. She might be grafted into Lord Amos strong lineage even without Lord Amos knowing. She maybe grafted among God’s own people if she is found worthy.
Zoe smiled as she touched Lord Amos Seal, which was hidden beneath her cloth. The seal has his authority and his name on it. She breathed down with hope forming in her heart. Zoe collected the staff which was resting against an Olive tree and off she went.
She ran and kept running among the bushes, she did not look back as she ran with everything that she collected from Lord Amos and also with the basket that has her sister’s things. She made sure she left nothing behind.
A cool evening breeze blew across Lord Amos as he lay in the grass and a butterfly touched his eyelid.
He woke up and stretch, he wondered how long he had been sleeping. he try to ascertain why he was among the olive bushes in his inner wears and it quickly occurred to him. He gasped out shockingly, feeling guilty and ashamed to have agreed to lay with a harlot in an olive bush, crowded with orchard trees. When he can as well take his pleasure in one of the well decorated rooms close to the temple or an inn. His needs was very high and he was not even thinking.
He looked around for the harlot but she was nowhere to be seen. He checked for his Seal and his neck that holds his cord felt empty he gasped out heavily the moment he remembering that he traded his authority with a common harlot. He quickly rose and dressed properly.
he remembered he had fifty pieces of Silver in his long jacket and did not even remember he had money with him when he was negotiating with the harlot, he could have offered it to her instead of his seal.
Maybe the harlot has stolen all the money he left the house with. Lord Amos quickly touched his pouch which holds the money and it was all there, none of the money was missing. He became even more shock.
He cleaned the grass that was tucked to his head and hands. he ran out to the crossroad side where he first met her, hoping he will see the harlot standing and waiting for her next client but she was not by the road side either.
His heart was trouble, he felt grimed and uneasy. Even his staff was also gone.
He will hurry to Timnah arranged two milky goat with twenty pieces of silver and send to her so that he can get back his Seal, Staff and cord.
He was filled with hot regret as he went to Timnah. Why did he even agree to hand over his Seal, staff and cord to a common temple prostitute and what do she want to do with a seal that has another man’s name on it?
He was neither drunk, he laid with the prostitute in his right mind and senses. So why did he make such expensive mistake.
He has taken his full pleasure from her without thinking about it all. Now he was so impatient to get back his items from the harlot.
He was angry with himself when he joined Lamech in Timnah
His friend irritated him further, with his laughter and questions.
“you look like a boy who lost his way, where is your staff…and your seal Amos? waiiit….don’t tell me you…
Lamech pause and looked at him with a serious shock all over his face.
“What have you done Amos…you gave the temple prostitute by the road side your authority seal and your walking staff…Amos?
“Lamech, please don’t add to my trouble this evening. I had enough of consciences torture already. I will get all my things back. I will send two goats to her and get back my things. I slept off after and She was not there when I awaken and i did not know where to even search for her. My money porch was still intact the harlot did not even touch it. I… wonder what she want to do with those stuff. It will be useless for her because she can’t sell them but she will be able to sell the goats and make enough money. So, Lamech get two goat ready, by tomorrow we will send it to her so that I can get my things back. I feel so empty and ordinary without my Seal, my staff and my cord.
Lamech shock turned into another outburst of laughter. He laughed so hard and slapped Amos on the back.
Lord Amos was irritated with Lamech’s laughter and moved away from him.
Lamech came to seat beside him and said with smirk on his face.
“Was she really worth it…I mean did she worth you trading your seal for an evening enjoyment…
Amos ignored him and Lamech continued.
“…I hope she is worth it all…
Ashamed of himself Lord Amos gave no response to Lamech, his mind was on getting back his stuffs.
He left Lamech side with the excuse of he needed to take a walk.
“Please, whenever Shelar arrives, tell him to do the flock shearing with the servants. He shouldn’t leave them alone and go drinking again or I will send him away from Timnah…
Lamech nodded and watch Lord Amos walked away to the rocky side. He wanted to be left alone and he did not taunt him again about the harlot.
The next day two big she goat was arranged, Amos asked Lamech to take it down to the prostitute and collect his things from her.
Lamech obeyed and left, two servant carried the goats on a leash while he walked in front of them.
On getting to the spot the prostitute was not there.
He waited and kept waiting till it was pass noon. Hoping that the harlot will show up but she never did even as the evening wore on.
He was tired of waiting and return to Timnah.
A heavy frown crossed Lord Amos face the moment he saw Lamech coming back with the goats and none of his items was with him
“We waited all day but did not see her. She did never came out. Don’t be sad we will keep search the whole temple and the road side until we see her. Amos, we will get it all back because the items in her possession are all useless to her. Your seal has your name, your cord has your emblem, and your staff…what did she want to use a man’s walking stick for. Everything she took is all useless to her and we will find her and recover your items.
Lord Amos nodded with hope that he will get back his things soon.
Lamech try to cheer him up that evening as they sat drinking, Amos did not have much appetite for drinks or food.
“Come my friend, relax and enjoy yourself, you have nothing to worry about. Life will sort itself out. Remember how we lived in our youth days, when we were like Shelar, young and vibrant. Remember how we use to live and merry before wives, children and worries came into being. Forget about your trouble and drink this fine wine…everything will be fine. You are still a man with great honor, is in you my friend….
Lamech gulp another cup of wine and watch his servant pour more into his empty cup, he was enjoying the evening while getting drunk but Amos was not interested in the wine, dates, grapes, and different kind food placed in front of them. He just stare at the flicker of a burning wood.
Lamech kept drinking and eating to his satisfaction.
Lamech and Lord Amos servants kept searching for the prostitute almost every day they will carry goat to the road side and search all around Timnah temple. They asked the men and women around about a certain prostitute, they describe her but no one seem to know her.
The men living around there told Lamech that they have never had a road side prostitute before. The harlot stay by the temple side and not by the road side.
Lamech was surprise, but he did not want to give up in his search. His friend put a great hope in him to bring back his lost items and he tried not to disappoint him.
Even if is just his identification seal he recovered, Amos will be happy. All the items he gave freely was his household authority, the seal was his inheritance from his father, how can he lost such a very sensitive items?
Lord Amos was troubled on each passing day.
He walk down to the road one day and sat by the fallen orchard tree, same place the prostitute was sitting. He silently prayed that the harlot will show up if she sees him.
He waited and was even ready to give the harlot more than just two goat, he was ready to top up her price if only she will give him back the items.
He waited till evening hoping and kept praying but the evening dusk passed and night came to settle yet she did no come.
He went back to Timnah and remained there. After the flock shearing and celebration days was over it was time to go back home.
Amos was filled with shame and guilt and couldn’t pass the same road he saw the prostitute again.
He besiege his friend with an excuse.
“Lamech, I want to make sure Shelar gathered up with the shearing report and account which I put in his care. So I won’t be passing the same Timnah crossroad, I will go through Enaim once I’m done. I also want to make sure the sheep and goat has a better pasture here in Timnah, so go ahead of me. Take the goats and the money, we maybe lucky today to see the harlot…let’s be hopeful. Please Lamech, you have been doing me a great favor, still try and check around if you will find the harlot at the crossroad and retrieve my staff, seal and cord and bring them to my house and I will show my appreciation greatly to you.
Lamech smiled and said.
“As always Amos, I will do as you ask, you don’t have to worry about that…
“Thank you Lamech. And one more thing, is so shameful that I laid in the bush with a prostitute who took away my authority pledge. I will be a laughing stock if any ear hears of it so please do not say anything to anybo…
“We have been friends for years, I have never betrayed your trust…I will never do that. Nobody will know what you did. I’m very careful with all my search. It even appeared as if I’m the one that slept with the harlot. Because I did not want anybody to point a dirty finger at you or destroy your great image. You are an honorable man and people respects you greatly…if they hear that Lord Amos slept with a harlot by the crossroad in the olive grove bushes your respect will reduce. But I will never do such to you…I will do as you ask of me, you do not have to worry. Perhaps, I will also pass a few hour in the olive grove when I see her so that I can ascertain why she was so special…she is the most sorted expensive harlot now. See the way we kept searching for her and even with different gift and cash yet she is nowhere to be found. Let me have a taste of her too among the carpet grass…that will be great don’t you think?
Lamech was laughing but Lord Amos was not amused, he did not find it funny. All he want is to get back his items. Lamech can do whatever he wants with the girl, is none of his business again.
But few days later Lamech went back to Lord Amos house with the same news. He did not find the girl and even the men around there were beginning to think he was crazy with the way he was always coming to search for a particular harlot.
“Then let her keep the things, we tried our best and send her even more than she asked. We will become a laughing stock of Timnah people if we keep going back there. I so much wish to get hold of my seal and staff but there is nothing we can do again…
Lamech stayed in Amos house for days before going back to his place.
Lord Amos asked the black smith to create another seal, and make a walking stick with a strong wood and also a cord. They did everything but it was not like the original. He angrily tossed it all aside.
People will know it was crafted by a gold smith. None of the item was like his original Seal, Staff or cord.
He wondered where the harlot he met in a crossroad to Timnah, whom he thought was a temple prostitute, he wondered where she was and what she need his identification seal for.
“what did she need it for? she can’t sell any of the items because it has my name…so why is she keeping it?
is obvious she do not need money or goats so who is she….what did she want to gain from the items she took from me and why was i so stupid to have given her my authority without a second thought to it…aaaaah!.
Lord Amos held his head in anguish, blaming himself for not thinking before handling his powerful item to a woman he thought was a road side harlot who disappeared like a thin air with all his pledge.
To be continued