An ugly civil war has just ended in Israel. One lone woman's death in the territory belonging to the tribe of Benjamin has shocked the nation. Fathers, brothers, and sons joined the army to demand justice. The guilty must pay for such a crime, and so they have. As everyone is left picking up the pieces, Benjamin has lost the most. Cities are burned to the ground, and Benjamin itself is in danger of disappearing. The once mighty tribe has been reduced to a mere 600 men.
As the nation grieves over the possible loss of a tribe, a strange solution is set forth. Word comes down—God has approved it. At the yearly celebration in Shiloh, any man of Benjamin who can capture a woman can keep her. These brides will be the foundation of a new, chastened Benjamin. Aksah worries, even as she joins in the dances, that her pretty and foolish younger sisters may be just careless enough to be caught. She tries to celebrate as she mourns the loss of her older brother, one of the casualties of this bitter conflict. She is not ready to forgive any of Benjamin for the ugliness that caused the war.
Eliab hides with his fellows in the vines and waits for the signal to rush the dances. He is not particular. He will take whichever woman lags behind, and he will do his part to rebuild his tribe. And the lovely woman who spots their signal seems to be running right into his trap.
He does not expect her to be willing, but neither does he expect to capture a woman with the will and courage to fight him every step of the way, who knows the reason for the war, and will carry the memory of the poor murdered woman at the core of the bloodshed all by herself if need be until the last man in Benjamin can prove his worth.
It is just Eliab's troublesome lot that he must bear that burden, because his new wiife will not give in until he can demonstrate he is deserving.
©2016 Mary Ellen Boyd (P)2017 Mary Ellen Boyd