Posted by: John-Paul | July 18, 2018

Why a Mature Rating?

Sex slavery, incest, attempted rape. One Christian friend has said she’d never read my novel, Joshua and Caleb: Journey to the Promise Land, because of these. However, these events essential to the plot.

When the time comes to upload the novel to Smashwords for conversion into an e-file, I will be asked whether it requires a Mature rating. Is it unsuitable for general or family audiences? I have to admit, it is.

Part of my theme is how Yahweh delivers Israel not only from bondage to the people of Egypt but also from the sins of that people, incest included. Part of my theme is to show how the people of Canaan are disobeying the Law and justice of Yahweh. One reason the Israelites will invade is to bring Yahweh’s judgment on the people there.

Therefore, I describe the near-nakedness of slaves at different parties in Egypt. I show the Canaanites dishonoring parents, committing theft and murder, and worshipping a fertility goddess. I have Caleb’s wife in an on-going incest relationship in Egypt and in the Wilderness.

None of this is explicitly described so as to make the story erotic but I show the existence of such rebellion against Yahweh and His Law. I believe Christian writers must acknowledge these issues in society and show that God has better ways.

Therefore, I show Joshua tempted by an adolescent girl but rebuffing her because he loves Yahweh’s Law as well as his wife. I show Caleb speaking sympathetically to a fellow cuckold in Canaan. And I explain Yahweh’s judgment on the Canaanites for such rebellion and immorality (Leviticus 18) .

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Posted by: John-Paul | June 18, 2018

Joshua and Caleb: Chapter 5 Musician in Bondage

A formless tunic covered the twisted, slender frame of Caleb ben Jephunneh as he sang. The hunch of his back caused him to bend over the lyre he strummed.

El Shaddai is my hiding place

El Alyon is the stronghold of my heart

He keeps me safe, come what may

Oh, how I love Elohim, my God!

A shadow fell across Caleb’s closed eyelids and he opened them. His master stood over him with fists on his hips. Benipé scowled.

“Is that a new song?”

“Master?” The middle-aged man didn’t scramble to his feet, as other slaves were required. Benipé understood how difficult it was with his twisted right arm and leg. Instead he watched Caleb sweep long, graying, red hair away from blue eyes and turn his head to look up.

“Did you just create that song?”

“No, master.” The musician had created it days before when crying out to the Lord about Sarah’s plight and their bondage to this man.

“You say you cannot create new songs for festivals and parties where we entertain but you sing something to your foreign god that I’ve never heard.”

Caleb shrugged. “How many songs to El Shaddai do you know?”

“Very few.” Benipé crossed his arms. “I still think you could create songs for us if you wanted.”

Caleb lowered his eyes and head. “As you say, master.”

The troupe leader nudged a pillow in front of Caleb and sat on it. “Tell you what: You create a new song for the festival of Tekh next week and I’ll grant you some small wish.”

The musician grinned. “Meaning you would not set me free.”

“Correct. An extra day of rest, some meat for your supper.”

Caleb looked directly at his master. “Don’t let some man take Sarah off for personal attention.”

Benipé lurched back. He started to reach for the switch he used on his slaves but Caleb’s steady look stayed his hand. He rose to his feet.

“That’s no small wish. All my customers get what they request.”

“While your slaves get only heartache.”

Benipé said, “Be glad I don’t beat you for your insolence.” Then he walked away.

Late that afternoon, Caleb hobbled his way to the hovel where he lived with Sarah. In a sack, strapped like a pouch over his shoulder, he carried the week’s ration of millet from the master’s storehouse.

Once inside the makeshift door, he laid aside his walking stick, hoisted the sack onto the bare wood table, and hung his lyre on its peg on the wall. A look toward the curtained-off bedchamber told him Sarah was at the baths. She would be getting cleaned for that night’s party. Caleb shook his head to dispel the image of her dancing naked for the client’s guests. He sniffed an armpit and decided he should wash as well.

The crippled man pulled off his tunic.

He struggled to lift a stone jar full of water to the table with his good left arm. Then he carefully poured some water into the washbasin.

He cleaned himself as well as he could despite his curled right hand. He was glad his movements were limited more in his fingers than in his shoulder and elbow.

Finished, he carried the basin outside and tossed the water. He returned to dress in a freshly washed linen tunic.

Caleb moved his legs quickly, struggling to keep up with Benipe’s troupe of musicians and dancers as they stepped through the streets of Heliopolis. With his crippled hand, he cradled his lyre and stool against his curved torso as his left hand supported him on the walking staff.

Beside him, Sarah walked as upright as a statue, her pace slowed to match her husband’s. A traveling cloak hid her small, statuesque body but passers-by stopped to admire the beauty of her face and dark hair.

At the client’s home, Caleb set the stool in a corner out of the way of slaves hurrying with preparations for the party. He groaned as he collapsed on the stool and sat panting with the lyre in his lap. Only then did he turn his head to look up at the arrangements.

Several couches and low tables formed three sides of a rectangle. The open end faced the doorway through which early guests began to arrive. Sarah and the other dancers sat in another room, readying their costumes and waiting their turns to perform.

Lamp stands stood in front of richly colored cloths that draped the walls. His breathing eased, Caleb looked to the corner in which the musicians sat tuning their instruments. The harpist heaved to his feet and carried his stool and instrument over to join them.

Benipé finished conferring with his client, the host of the party, and came over to speak to the musicians. “Nothing special is desired for this evening. We’ll start with the usual songs of thanksgiving to the gods for their blessings and go on from there.”

The troupe leader looked at the nodding heads topped with aromatic cones already lit. He raised his staff and beat the tempo for the first of the songs.

Later, Caleb strummed the last chord on his harp and watched the bevy of young, female dancers scurry away to the applause of the party guests. Benipé glanced at the harpist over the heads of the other musicians and murmured the name of the next song.

Caleb shifted around on his stool so he could still watch the master but avoid seeing his wife in the open area between the tables. Having witnessed one of Sarah’s performances and its effects on male guests, he did not want to see it again.

In the waiting room, the dancer raised her arms over her head, her hands crossed at the wrists so her palms met. Lifting one knee and pointing her toes, she slowly extended and straightened the leg to place her foot flat on floor. Repeating with the other foot and rolling her hips, Sarah strode out to stand between the tables. A long, orange veil covered her long, dark hair and wrapped her small body to the ankles.

Benipé thumped four measured beats on the floor with his staff and the musicians began to play. Sarah spread her arms and waved them to the beat of the music while slowly unwrapping the veil from her undulating body. Beneath, she wore nothing but a sheer linen skirt that hardly hid her nakedness.

Dropping the veil, Sarah danced between the tables, thrusting and rotating her hips and upper torso, crooning the words to a bawdy song. At times, she danced to a guest, caressing his face in smiling invitation. As the music swirled toward completion, she danced behind the honored man and caressed his hair, his face, his chest, all the while singing about the pleasures of love. Without missing a beat, Sarah took his hands, pulled him to his feet, and danced out of the room with him.

Caleb stumbled tiredly through the entrance to his home. His sour mood was not helped by the sight of his wife’s brother seated on a stool at the table.

“Where is she?” Perez ben Yakov demanded. He didn’t rise to lean over the stooped musician. He didn’t have to.

Caleb turned his head to look on the same level with his seated brother-in-law. “She is continuing to entertain one of the master’s clients tonight.”

Perez snorted. “Only one of them?”

Caleb turned away and hung his lyre on its peg then limped over to the cupboard for a drink of beer. He didn’t offer any to the other man.

When he turned back, Perez still glowered at him. Caleb asked, “What do you want me to do? Refuse her to the master and his guests? How long do you think I’d live after that?”

“Coward!” Perez rose and stepped toward the doorway.

The stooped man mumbled, “Just because you can’t have her tonight…”

Perez stuck his head back in through the doorway. “What did you say?”

Caleb turned and looked up at the larger man. “I just said you’re welcome to go rescue her… as you always do.”

Perez scowled and disappeared. The musician smirked at the jab he’d given his brother-in-law. Perez had been unable to protect his sister from the Egyptian rapists who had also injured her husband. Blows to the head had crippled Caleb’s right side. His fingers had curled into a claw and his leg and back had turned so he hobbled stiffly.

Taking back a husband’s care for his sister, Perez had returned to taking a husband’s favors. Caleb had objected to his master but Benipé had merely shrugged.

“This is Egypt. Brothers often marry their sisters, especially among the exalted ones.”

Sarah had tried to soothe him. “Please, Caleb, don’t make trouble with my brother. You know how aggressive he can be when thwarted. I don’t want him to cause you more harm.”

Caleb had given her a pained look and turned away.

Much later, Sarah skulked back into the hovel. She immediately pulled the loose robe off her small body, poured water into the washbasin, and rapidly washed all over. Finished, she picked up the basin and turned to see Caleb watching her. Blank-faced, she carried the basin outside and returned. Her back to the bed, Sarah pulled a clean tunic over her dark head. Then she lay on the bed apart from Caleb.

He reached to put his good arm around her for comfort. She stiffened and he withdrew.

“I love you, Sarah.”

She snorted quietly. “I wish you could show it by keeping the master’s clients away from me.”

“As my Creator lives, so do I,” he sighed. “It hurts me to hear you say that. It hurts worse that you need to.”

Sarah sat up and held her knees to her chest. She rocked back and forth.

After a while, she wiped her hands across her eyes. “I know I should be grateful that you gave of your health to defend me. It just angers me that it wasn’t enough… that it’s not enough now.”

Caleb turned onto his hunched back and cradled the claw of his right hand with his supple left one. He massaged the tight muscles in his forearm in an attempt to relax their pull on his fingers. Inwardly, he thanked God Most High he could use them still to pluck the strings of a harp or lyre.

He looked at his wife. “I wish you would let my good arm comfort you. I have the need to hold you as much as you need to be held.”

Sarah paused in her rocking. “If only it would help. Only if it stops will things be better.” She resumed rocking.

“And I would give my good arm and leg for that to happen!”

Sarah sighed and lay down again. This time she scooted back against him and reached to pull his good arm around her. “Why, Caleb? Why must I go through this? Why must you go through seeing me go off with other men?”

His arm tightened. “I don’t know, Princess. I wish I did. All I know is someday soon, El Shaddai will remember His promise to Abraham and rescue us from slavery in Egypt.”

Some time later, Caleb sighed as he lay on the floor of his hovel. He gently beat his head against his sound left hand and the claw of his right.

 “How long, O Lord, will You keep Your people in bondage to their oppressors? How long will You continue to allow these Egyptians to mistreat Your chosen ones? How long must Sarah and I endure abuse at the hands of wicked men?

 “El Shaddai,” he groaned, “Your promise to Abraham goes unfulfilled. Because it does, Your people suffer from the cruelty these Egyptians inflict upon them. Because of that, my wife is forced into wickedness and pain. How long, Elohim, must we go on?”

Caleb remembered a storyteller speaking of El Shaddai’s promise to the patriarch. God himself had passed between the halves of a heifer, a female goat, a ram, and two birds. The Creator declared,

Know this: your descendants will live as outsiders in a land not theirs; they’ll be enslaved and beaten down for four hundred years. Then I will punish their slave masters; your offspring will march out of there loaded with plunder.

Caleb remembered the storyteller’s astonishing words.

And he believed! Believed God! God declared him “Set-Right-with-God.

The musician clenched his left hand into a fist.

“Help me, O Lord, to have the faith of Abraham. Help me to believe You will deliver us as You promised.”

He waited for a time, listening to the silence in the hovel, hearing only the beating of his heart. Finally, he rose, lay on his bed, and cuddled his trembling wife.

Posted by: John-Paul | May 27, 2018

JOSHUA AND CALEB Table of Contents

I want to thank my son-in-law, Jadaé Fox, for the idea for this post. He recommended I give readers the opportunity to look over my novel’s Table of Contents.

Part 1: Bondage in Egypt

Prologue

Chapter 1      Suzerainty Treaty with Egypt

Chapter 2      The General’s Feast

Chapter 3      Hoshea and His Wife

Chapter 4      Unfriendliness and Failure

Chapter 5      Musician in Bondage

Chapter 6      Moses and the Promise of Freedom

Chapter 7      Plagues and Preparations

Chapter 8      Passover

Part 2: Journey to Sinai

Chapter 9      Military Matters

Chapter 10    Crossing the Sea of Reeds

Chapter 11    Hunger, Thirst, and Amalekites

Part 3: Establishing a Nation

Chapter 12    The Character of Hoshea and Caleb

Chapter 13    Epiphany on Sinai

Chapter 14    The Golden Calf

Chapter 15    Suzerainty Treaty with Yahweh

Part 4: Mission to Canaan

Chapter 16    Preparations for Departure

Chapter 17    Encounters in Beersheba

Chapter 18    Training, Tricks, and Troublesome Dreams

Chapter 19    Clashes of Will and Sword

Chapter 20    Canaanite Farms of Iniquity

Chapter 21    Surprises in Hebron

Chapter 22    Fight and Flight

Chapter 23    In the Cave

Chapter 24    On the Run

Part 5: The Return

Chapter 25    Arrival and Celebration

Chapter 26    The Spies Report

Chapter 27    Sacrifice for Freedom

Chapter 28    Disobedience and Judgment

Chapter 29    Despair and Hope

Epilogue

 

Posted by: John-Paul | May 14, 2018

A Cry of Anguish: The Start of Writing Joshua & Caleb

Aa-ee! A cry tore from Joshua. His arms came up to cover his anguished face as he hunched his back and beat his head against angry fists.

I stood at my factory workstation, bending slender aluminum tubes and musing over something I had read in scripture. The Israelites had refused to go up into Canaan because they feared the giants there.

Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt? (Numbers 14:3)

As a result, Yahweh declared that the whole nation would continue to roam the wilderness until everyone in that generation was dead. Only Joshua and Caleb would live to lead the next generation into the Promised Land.

I imagined Joshua’s angry roar at the unbelievers. “You people have condemned me to forty years of useless wandering! I’ll be an old man before I get the plot of land Yahweh has set aside for me!”

This was, for me, the start of my imagining the story of Joshua and Caleb. I saw Joshua as an anti-social, gruff-mannered administrative type much like my own dark side. I imagined Caleb as a musician who loves to worship El Shaddai but avoids conflict much like my light side. Because he was a descendant of Kennizites, an offshoot of Midianites and not of Israel, I could start Caleb’s backstory in Canaan and have him returning to family.

Soon after I began to write and organize ideas, I read Christopher Vogler’s book, The Writer’s Journey. This introduced to me the mythic structure of the hero’s journey or quest.  I decided that not only did Joshua and Caleb each have his own hero’s journey but that Israel also did. And it became clear that Joshua and Israel would fail their quests. This made necessary a second book about training the next generation into an army God could use.

Though the story of Joshua and Caleb would end in the tragedy of failure and judgment, I knew I had to leave readers with hope. Caleb would speak of God’s love and the ultimate fulfillment of His promises.

What mental image or thought has been a spark to your own creativity? What have you done to bring out that idea?

Nineteen-year-old Hoshea ben Nun of the tribe of Ephraim looked from behind the shoulder of Bomani, his master, at the mix of officials and military officers gathered from various countries for this audience with Pharaoh. He saw their tension as they murmured to one another, shuffled their feet, and watched the Nubian embassage.

Would the new king from the country south of Egypt renew the treaty Pharaoh had held with his recently-deceased father or would he rebel and insult the lord of the Nile to his face? The Nubians were a proud people and only the might of Pharaoh’s father had conquered the dead king. No one could predict which way the southerner would turn.

The delegates from Libya on the left scowled at the black men. So long was their submission to the throne of Egypt that they considered any rebellion a criminal act. Next to them, the Hittites hoped to ally themselves with a country that could distract Pharaoh from their own plotting in the North.

The Nubians stood stiffly in the middle. Their king was a young man with brown skin, a smooth face, and full lips. A tall headdress of peacock feathers fanned up from the top of his head. A robe of lion skin covered his black body, the lion’s mane circling the back of his neck and flowing over his shoulders. The hair under his headdress was tightly curled into a springy mass. He stood serene at the front of his entourage, a mix of young, middle-aged, and elderly men. All wore soft skins of various animals – some of them predators. Hoshea had heard that these were deemed more ceremonial than their usual woven-fiber robes so he sought to quell a sneer of disdain. His admiration of their orderly ranks helped this effort.

The men and women of the Egyptian court lounged to the Nubians’ right. Softened by decades of prosperity and arrogant from their hold over their Hebrew slaves, the Egyptians wanted nothing to do with war. They shuffled their feet or spoke with exaggerated levity to the Canaanites on the far right.

Bomani’s troops stiffened as the ruler of Egypt strode in, leading his court officials and carrying his scepter with a lion’s tail tied to it. Hoshea immediately dropped to his knees and tapped his head against the floor as the rest bowed in respect.

Pharaoh stepped up on the raised platform that held his throne. He sat and everyone in the throne room stood upright.

An official at Pharaoh’s left spoke. “Your majesty, the new king of the Nubians begs you to hear his words.”

Pharaoh stared at the black men then nodded.

The southern king approached the dais. He removed his headdress and placed it before the dais then knelt and lowered his head three times to the floor. Straightening to face Pharaoh, he spread his hands apart, palms up.

“Hail, great Pharaoh! King of all Egypt! Lord of the Nile! You are the embodiment of Ra who has overcome the gods of our country and defeated our armies. We come to you seeking peace.

“O great Pharaoh, renew with us the treaty that you held with our old king so we might come under your protection and be your people. We will worship Ra as well as our own gods and pay tribute to you as his representative in the land.”

The black man stood, picked up the headdress and tucked it under his arm. He looked up and waited.

The Egyptians relaxed while the Libyans looked pleased and the Hittites scowled in their places. Several of the Canaanites shook their heads.

Pharaoh said, “I have heard you, O Nubia, and will make covenant with you to be your lord and protector. Hear again the words of the treaty which I made with your father and would renew with you.” He motioned to a priest holding a papyrus scroll.

The priest opened the scroll and read, “These are the provisions of the covenant: I am Ramses, son of Seti who made covenant with you and your people before his death. As you served him so shall you serve me. You shall have no other ruler over you.”

There followed a long recitation of the history between the two countries, including Nubia’s failed attempt to win its freedom. Then the priest of Ra read a longer list of stipulations required of the vassal Nubians.

Hoshea shifted his weight from one foot to the other as he waited behind his master, General Bomani of Pharaoh’s local army division. This reading of the treaty was taking long. Rather than give in to wishing his enslaved people had a similar vassal status under the Egyptians, the Hebrew took note of a huge, young soldier among the Canaanites. Something about the man made Hoshea’s skin crawl.

After a short statement of disposition – the treaty scroll would be housed in the temple of Ra – the priest read a rather short, vague list of blessings on the Nubians for obeying the terms of the treaty and an explicit list of curses for disobedience. Hoshea watched the Canaanite soldier stoop to murmur to the man next to him. They shared a chuckle.

Hoshea hoped the ceremony would finish soon. He still had much to oversee in preparation for the dinner his master would be giving for visiting military leaders that evening. The general relied more and more on the Hebrew’s organizational skills in running his household as well as in obtaining supplies for Pharaoh’s army and the garrison in Memphis. Seeing the youth’s intelligence and how he prepared stones for the defense of a backyard tomb, he had brought Hoshea into his home as a personal aide.

Hoshea had not wept or even looked back as he marched away. The indifference of Nun and Simichek in raising him had made him callous to others, intent only on getting tasks organized and completed.

Posted by: John-Paul | April 26, 2018

Personality Types in Joshua and Caleb

I first learned about the four personality types in Psychology class in college. However, Gary Smalley and his animal labels really meant something to me. He described the different types as:

  • Lion – administrative, goal-oriented, forceful

  • Otter – fun-loving, incautious, having many shallow friendships

  • Beaver – precise, rules-loving, controlled,

  • Golden Retriever – people-loving, having a few deep relationships, wanting people to just get along

Gary also taught how these different types don’t understand each other and conflict with each other. He taught how to approach each type for better interactions.

When considering how to present the characters of Joshua and Caleb and the other players, I based Joshua and Caleb on my own negative and positive aspects. I placed in Joshua my bent toward organization and demanding that people follow along. I decided Joshua’s hero’s journey would be about his learning how to get along with people and how to persuade them – instead of forcing them – to follow his instructions. Knowing that Israel would fail to invade Canaan, I made the failure of Joshua’s hero’s journey a part of Israel’s failure.

On the other hand, I put into Caleb my love of music and praising God and the opposing personality of Golden Retriever. He would rather pray and sing to God than take a sword to someone. His successful hero’s journey required him to become able and willing to fight to stop evil and to protect those he loves.

I saw Gever, the youth who guided them around Hebron, as an Otter, fun-loving and given to pranks. He became a trial to Joshua but also attractive to the man because of his nature.

Do you know your own personality type? Do you see how others would not like certain aspects of your type? What can you do to interact with other types?

Can you see the other personality types in others you know? How could you better interact with them based on their types?

 

Posted by: John-Paul | April 13, 2018

MARCHING IN TRIUMPH

Song to read by:     Marching to Zion

When Yahweh delivered the Israelites from bondage in Egypt, He told them to plunder their defeated masters (Exodus 12:36) and to march out in formation as military conquerors. (Exodus 11:4)

God desires all His people to march in triumph through the world, overcoming the temptations of the flesh, the tribulations of the world, and the oppositions of the Enemy. So many scriptures bear out this statement.

Exodus 13:18 And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle.

2 Corinthians 2:14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.

Eph 6:13 ff Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Heb 3:7-4:12 Call to enter God’s Sabbath rest.

Isaiah 40: 27-31

He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

Jesus himself said his followers would overcome the world just as he did. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

And in John 14:12, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

God calls all His followers to overcome the world.

Jesus did it (John 16:33).

The shepherd boy David did (1 Samuel 17).

Job did (Job 1:20-22).

Joshua and Caleb did (Numbers 14:38). My coming novel, Joshua and Caleb: Journey to the Promised Land, tells their story.

We can (Romans 8:37).

Hebrews 4:9-11

So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.

 

What calamity, what risk, is so great that God Almighty cannot carry you through and make you one who conquers?

What territory has God given you to conquer in His name? To what part of this world does He want you to bring His Kingdom?

 

Posted by: John-Paul | April 7, 2018

Blogging about My Joshua and Caleb Novel

 

Progress has been made! Another big step has been taken in getting my novel, Joshua and Caleb: Journey to the Promised Land, into the market for readers to enjoy!

I spent ten or twelve years – off and on – researching, planning, and writing the story of

  • Israel leaving Egypt and becoming a nation under Yahweh

  • Joshua and Caleb journeying into Canaan with ten other spies

  • and Israel rebelling against Yahweh’s command to invade the land of promise.

I finished the first draft and finally found someone willing to edit it relatively inexpensively. I now have his corrective comments (and positive remarks!).

One next step is to rewrite according to his comments. A final review by me and I will create a final draft to be e-published.

Another next step is to start marketing the novel. I plan to use this blog to explain various aspects of the research and writing of the story.

Once I have an e-published file, I plan to offer various chapters here free to entice readers to want more. Rather than the first few chapters, I want to offer those with significant events

  • the first chapters, introducing major characters

  • the night of the final plague and Yahweh’s Passover

  • the crossing of Yam Suph

  • and the start of the journey into Canaan.

Finally, I will make the whole novel available for purchase and downloading. I would be interested in reading how much readers are willing to pay to enjoy the whole story.

Questions to Ponder

What project have you been working on long-term? Has it required years of steady work or – like with me – have you worked on it off and on? What has kept you from completing the project?

Posted by: John-Paul | November 16, 2017

Khopesh: Sickle-Sword of Egypt and Canaan

The armies of ancient Egypt and Canaan used a highly curved, bronze sword that evolved from the farmer’s sickle. With the outside of the curve sharpened, the khopesh was used for slashing more than stabbing. It did have a broad tip in line with the handle for stabbing. This point also had a hook for pulling away an enemy’s shield or weapon, exposing him to a slashing or crushing blow. (Jeroen Zuiderwijk started a discussion  thread on the myArmoury.com website. It is the origin of this picture.)

According to the Sword History website, Canaanites brought the khopesh to Egyptians who developed it into a deadly military weapon. Other short swords came along later, especially Hittite swords shaped like narrow leaves and forged from iron.

Because of this Canaanite origin, in my Joshua and Caleb novel I refer only to the khopesh when I mention a sword. In fact, I have Caleb hooking an enemy’s leg, pushing him headfirst into a wall, and slicing off his sword hand.

Posted by: John-Paul | August 31, 2017

Slings

Last week, my rambunctious six-year-old grandson had a birthday. While contemplating what he might like for a present, I thought about a toy sling. Stores sell toy guns and bows and arrows. Why not a Middle Eastern weapon such as the sling?

In ancient times in the Middle East and Greece, shepherds used slings and stones to protect their flocks from predators. They were effective enough to become weapons of war. The future king David is famous for taking on the lumbering giant Goliath with a sling…not a slingshot!

In my novel, Joshua and Caleb: Journey to the Promised Land, the Israelites ask their Egyptian masters for gold and silver, clothing and the tools of various trades. At the same time, I have Joshua ask his master, the general, for weapons of war: kopeks and shields, spears and lances, bows and arrows, and slings and lead slugs. (He even stuffs a sling and pouch of slugs into his girdle.) Joshua knows the Israelites will march out of Egypt in military formation and into Canaan to take over as Yahweh promised.

During the battle against the Amalekites, Joshua orders the slingers and archers into ranks behind the infantry in order to launch volleys of slugs and arrows against the charging camel riders. He also teaches their young guide around Hebron how to use the weapon to bring down small animals for food.

The sling was an important weapon of warfare and hunting for the Israelites. I have made it an important feature of my Pendant novels.

 

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