Whatever Happened to Those Grapes?

by Andy Wood on April 25, 2012

in Conversations, LV Cycle, Waiting

Bahar:  You guys from around here?

Igal:  Not exactly.

Palti:  It’s complicated.  Who wants to know?

Bahar:  Name’s Bahar.  My family and I are on our way to Jericho and I think we made a wrong turn back there at the watering hole.  I thought maybe you could give us some directions.

Igal:  Well if you don’t mind me sayin’, it looks as though you brought the whole caravan with you.

Palti:  This isn’t a trip to see the in-laws, is it?

Bahar:  No, we’re looking for a new home.  There are rumors of a foreign invasion and I hear that Jericho is the safest place in Canaan.

Igal:  Oh it’s safe, all right.

Palti:  Biggest walls I’ve ever seen.

Bahar:  So you’ve been there?

Igal:  Not exactly.

Palti:  It’s complicated.  We sorta saw it from a distance.

Bahar:  So how do you get there from here?

Igal:  I’d try a camel.

Palti:  My friend thinks he’s a comedian. Jericho is west of here, on the other side of the Jordan.  You’re going south and there’s nothing safe about the Dead Sea.

Bahar:  Uh, boy.  My wife told me to ask for directions.  I’ll never hear the end of it.

Igal:  Blame it on the camel.

Palti:  He loves camels.  He says he’d walk a mile for one.

Bahar:  What’s a mile?

Igal:  Never mind

Palti:  It’s complicated.

Bahar:  You fellas have been kind, in a strange sort of way.  Do you know where we can get some food?  We’re pretty famished.

Igal:  Nothing here!

Palti:  We’re not hiding anything.

Bahar:  What’s that behind you on that pole?  Great gods!  Is that a cluster of grapes?

Igal:  I don’t see any grapes.

Palti:  Forget it, Igal.  We’re busted.

Bahar:  That has to be the biggest bunch of grapes I’ve ever seen.  Did you grow those yourself?

Igal:  Not exactly.

Palti:  It’s complicated.

Bahar:  Well did you buy them somewhere?  I’d love to surprise my little girl.  She loves grapes – especially red ones like these.

Igal:  Well, not exactly.

Palti:  It’s complicated.  But you can find these in a little valley near Hebron that we named the Valley of Eschol.

Bahar:  Well I can see why.  “Eschol” means “cluster,” that that’s some cluster.  Mind if I try one?

Igal:  Be our guest.

Palti:  Try some of the pomegranates and figs, too.

Bahar:  So how did you find this place?  Do you have family in the area?

Igal:  Not exactly.

Palti:  It’s complicated.  Let’s just say we were checking the place out.

Bahar:  The vineyard?

Igal:  Oh no…

Palti:  The country.

Bahar:  So you guys are thinking about moving to Canaan too?

Igal:  Well… not exactly.

Palti:  It’s really complicated.

Bahar:  So where exactly are you from?

Igal:  Well our last permanent address was in Egypt.

Palti:  But let’s just say they aren’t forwarding our mail.  It’s…

Bahar:  I know, I know… it’s complicated.  Okay, so let me get this straight.  You used to live in Egypt?

Igal:  That’s right.

Palti:  Until a few months ago.

Bahar:  And then you left the country?

Igal:  Right again.

Palti:  Boy you catch on fast.

Bahar:  Just you two and your families?

Igal:  And a few of our closest friends other family members.

Palti:  Somewhere around three million in all.

Bahar:  Egads!  I can’t imagine Mr. Pharoah being too happy about that.

Igal:  Well, you might say that he came out to the coastline to get to the bottom of it.

Bahar:  The bottom of why you were leaving?

Palti:  No, the bottom of the sea.

Bahar:  Oh Great gods!  It’s you!  You are the reason I am relocating my family.  The rumors of your people have spread throughout the region, how your God is greater than all gods and goes before you.  I am so sorry to have troubled you.  I must be on my way with my family.

Igal:  Oh relax, Bahar.  We’re no threat to your family.

Palti:  Yeah, have another grape.

Bahar:  Well, I am hungry.  Tell me again how you found these grapes?

Igal:  Well, a few of us were sent on a reconnaissance mission to check out the “land of milk and honey” that was promised to our ancestors by our God.

Palti:  We called it the Promised Land.  Until we saw it.  Now we call it the Land of the Giants.

Bahar:  Oh you must have discovered the Anakites. I hear they’re really big.

Igal:  Yeah, well, everything’s big in Canaan.

Palti:  The people, the city walls, the grapes.  Care for another grape?

Bahar:  Thank you.  But, my strange new friends, don’t you think the Canaanites would be just as frightened of you?

Igal:  They didn’t seem too frightened when the twelve of us came through last week.

Palti:  Yeah, they just kept going about their business.

Bahar:  Maybe they just didn’t know who you are.

Igal:  Maybe not, but we weren’t taking any chances.

Palti:  Yeah, we decided to look for a new leader to take us back to Egypt.

Bahar:  Back to the place you tried so hard to escape?

Igal:  Exactly.

Palti:  It’s complicated.

Bahar:  But didn’t your God say that He had given you the land?

Igal:  He did.

Palti:  That He did.

Bahar:  And didn’t He already deliver you through the Red Sea from Pharoah’s army?

Igal:  Right again.

Palti:  You’re on a roll.

Bahar:  So what you’re saying is that you’d rather eat stolen grapes and live as a slave than to own the vineyards that your God has already provided for you?

Igal:  Well, when you put it that way…

Palti:  Complicated.

Bahar:  Then, if you don’t mind me asking, why are you sitting here instead of going back to Egypt?

Igal:  Well we might have had an appearance by our God.  And the news might not have been so good.

Palti:  He told us we’d wander here in the wilderness until our generation died – 40 years – and He’d give the land to our children.  To people who didn’t think and act like slaves.

Bahar:  I’ll bet that was painful to hear.

Igal:  Not as painful as what happened next.

Palti:  Yeah, some of us got the idea it wasn’t too late and we tried to invade the place on our own.  It was a terrible mistake.  Many men died.

Bahar:  I am sorry to hear that my friends.  What is to become of you?

Igal:  Our God is a merciful God…

Palti:  …but our task now is to teach our children and children’s children to know Him.

Bahar:  And where will you go?

Igal:  Our task is to follow a cloud pillar by day and a pillar of fire by night.

Palti:  As long as we do that, we’ll be fine.

Bahar:  And what will you do for food?  There aren’t many grapes out here in this wilderness.

Igal:  Our God provides us food every day, just for the gathering.

Palti:  We call it manna.

Bahar:  Amazing. The same God who delivered you from the Egyptians?  And offered you a land of promise that you didn’t trust Him to enough take? And decreed that your generation would die in the wilderness?

Igal:  Well, when you put it that way…

Palti:  It’s a little complicated.

Bahar:  What kind of God is this, who will continue to provide for people who don’t trust Him?

Igal:  He’s a God who keeps covenants.

Palti:  Even when we don’t.

Bahar:  I must learn more of this God, my friends. And time is short.  I fear I may not have long to live.  This is the true reason I am moving my family to Jericho.  And alas, I must be on my way.

Igal:  Bahar, we’ve sort of lost our appetite for grapes.  Please take what’s left of these as our gift to you and your family.

Palti:  Yes, friend.  I will tie them to your shoulder with this scarlet cord.  Your daughter will love them.

Bahar:  Thank you my friends for your kindness.  I shall think of you often and hope to learn more of your God.  Peace to you and your families.

Igal:  And to you and yours.

Palti:  By the way, Bahar.  What is your daughter’s name?

Bahar:  Funny story!  We hoped for a boy we would name after me.  So when our daughter was born, I reversed the letters.  Her name is Rahab.

Igal:  Rahab… what a lovely name.

Palti:  We’ll have to remember that.

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