Travels in Egypt
After stopping in Pelusium and Qantara for some days, the caravan of Yeshua arrives in Heliopolis, one of the greater Egyptian cities of the time. Yeshua spends considerable time, exploring the city and the markets, asking many questions. It is in the market one day that Yeshua comes across a merchant who is crying in the back of his stall. Having compassion for the man, he proceeds to share an inspiring parable that relates to the man’s situation. After two months of successful trading, Lazarus decides to return to Palestine, and Kudar-Iluna decides to depart with him that he may return to his land and people to share all that he has learned from Yeshua.
1 It came to pass that the caravan arrived at Pelusium and tarried for eighteen days that the merchants could trade.
2 Lazarus bought some fine cedar wood that had just arrived by boat, and Yeshua fashioned this into several small, intricate chests for the keeping of precious things; and they sold them, all save one, which Yeshua gave to Miriam.
3 Happy with the quick sales of Yeshua’s chests, Lazarus purchased another supply of fine cedar and other rare woods that Yeshua could carve more chests and other things for the Egyptians and the Romans as they traveled.
4 As he walked through the city, Kudar-Iluna made quite an impression upon the people, for none had ever seen a man who looked as he looked. And he won several pieces of silver from the Romans for none could best him in skills of war.
5 To pass time, Yochanan assisted Yeshua in the working of the woods such as he could, but he waited to trade his treasures in Memphis.
6 Miriam braided fine strings of hair and gold thread, which Lazarus also sold profitably in the market.
7 And it came to pass that they left Pelusium and journeyed to Qantara, where they tarried for seven days, and from thence, they journeyed further into Egypt.
8 Thus, it was that they arrived at Heliopolis, one of the greater cities of the Egyptians, and here Lazarus had much success in his trading and knew that his father would be well pleased.
9 While in Heliopolis, Yeshua spent much time, wandering the markets and the city and observing the Egyptians and their ways and the ways of the many visitors from other lands to be found within Heliopolis. And he asked many questions that he might have greater knowledge.
10 And it came to pass that one day as Yeshua was walking through the market that he saw a merchant crying in the back of his stall, and having compassion he went unto him and said, “Good sir, why do you weep?”
11 The merchant was ashamed to be seen with his emotions so openly, especially by a foreigner, and he replied, “I have not been weeping. I merely had some sand in my eye, which was hurting me, and I was trying to get it out.”
12 And Yeshua said unto him, “As there seems to be nobody here for you to speak with at this time, and I am in need of a rest, do you mind if I sit for a moment in the shade and tell a story to you for the privilege?”
13 The merchant, seeing only an empty stall, assented to Yeshua’s request. And Yeshua, knowing in his heart that he was despondent for the failure of his trading and in pain for his hungry children at home, whom he loved, said unto him, “There once was a small caravan of three brothers that left Egypt to trade with the tribes in the desert.
14 Now the names of the three brothers were Strength, Righteous, and Perseverance.”
15 Word spread quickly from one stall to another that a storyteller was in the marketplace, and as this was a cherished entertainment, people began to gather to hear the words of Yeshua.
16 And Yeshua said unto them, “Two elder brothers, Wisdom and Faithful, were left behind to care for the families, while their younger brothers sought to find success in trading, for all were in distress because of lack of money.
17 They traveled for three days, seeking to find tribes that encountered few traders that they might earn a good reward for their efforts.
18 On the third day, a great sandstorm came upon them, and they suffered under the wind and the stinging sands for a day and a night.
19 Not being familiar with the desert, they had been following the trail of camels that had passed before them. But now the storm had wiped away all traces of previous travelers, and in every direction, there was only barrenness.
20 The three brothers were despondent and could not decide which way to go. Even to return the way they had come was imperceptible to them.
21 And Righteous said unto his brethren, ‘I should have remained at home to care for the families and let Wisdom come in my place, for he would know which way to go.’
22 And Strength said unto his brethren, ‘A little sandstorm is nothing! We still have seven days of water, and we are younger and better fit than Wisdom for a journey such as this. If we reason together, surely we can come upon the best way to go.’
23 And Perseverance said unto his brethren, ‘We are squandering time as we speak. Come, let us choose which way to go and get on with it.’
24 And Righteous replied, ‘You speak well, brothers, but let us place a marker here with our names and circumstances upon it, that any who may come upon it after us will know we have been here and were three days out of the city.’
25 Thus, it was that they decided to head into the Sun as it was the one constant they thought they could rely upon. But this was not always easy as the terrain was hilly and they sometimes needed to change direction to get around obstacles, which put the Sun at their side or at their backs.
26 Being from the city, where they lived among buildings, they had never paid much attention to the Sun before. To their dismay, they noticed that it did not remain near the same spots of land as they thought it would, but moved vastly across the sky during the day, which caused great confusion as to the direction they should travel.
27 After seven days of suffering, they were sinking into the sand with exhaustion; their water was almost gone, and they had encountered no villages or any other travelers. They stopped upon a barren patch of sand, in the empty desert of sand, and Strength and Righteous were ready to abandon hope and leave their bones upon that spot.
28 Only Perseverance still had hope and looked for a way of salvation. Then it was that he spied a few small plants that came only to his ankle, growing in a low spot between sand dunes. And he called to his brothers and said, ‘Look here, brethren! Here is a plant; surely it must have water to survive. Therefore, let us dig here, and we will find our salvation.’
29 But his brothers were too fatigued to move, so Perseverance began to swiftly dig through the soft sand, first with his bare hands and then with a small pick, which they had brought with them, as the sand began to be packed and hard.
30 Soon he had a deep hole dug, but it was as dry inside of the hole as outside. Perseverance called unto his brothers saying, ‘Come, help expand this opening for it makes a spot of shade, and beneath the level of the ground, it is cooler.’
31 Then his brothers came and with great slowness helped him to widen the hole so they all could fit inside. Perseverance pointed to the thread of a root from the plants that still continued deeper into the ground. And he said unto his brothers, ‘Let us continue to dig deeper, for surely, this root must be going to water, or the plants would have withered in the Sun. We owe it to our families to keep on trying to find life.’
32 Righteous was moved by his brother’s words, and he began to help him dig. Resting often, they continued to dig until nightfall, until the hole was as deep as all three brothers standing on top of one another, but still the sand was dry.
33 The next day, neither Righteous nor Strength could be persuaded to help Perseverance dig deeper, so while they lay still, he continued on his own.
34 After he had dug the depth of another man, his pick hit upon solid rock and he could go no further. In frustration, he threw the pick upon the stone and went back to his brothers to tell them.
35 And he said unto them, ‘Even me, who never before has given up, must admit defeat. Let us bury ourselves in the hole we have dug, that our end will be quick and the desert can swallow us in our unworthiness, for we have left our families to destitution.’
36 And Strength was in sad agreement and, being the largest, stood to reach up and pull the sand upon them to bury them.
37 But Righteous reached for and held his arm to prevent the thing he would do, and he said unto them, ‘Before we dishonor our families and take an action that cannot be undone, let us do the one thing that is yet left to us. We have sought salvation from ourselves alone, and life has rewarded us with misery. Let us now pray to the gods that they might intervene in our lives and save us.’
38 Strength and Perseverance agreed that nothing further could be lost by praying unto the gods, but amongst them they were uncertain as to which gods to pray to, and Righteous said unto them, ‘Let us pray to the mightiest God, without a name. Let us just pray to the Almighty God.’
39 And it came to pass that the three brothers called out to the Almighty God and poured forth their hearts to him. In the greatest humility, they confessed their sins and promised to henceforth do only good with their lives. They beseeched him to save them, for the sake of their families.
40 They prayed all through the day to the Almighty God, and they began to feel a oneness with each other, and even with the desert and the grains of sand, such as they had never before felt or imagined. Then together they fell into a deep sleep.
41 Upon the sunrise, they awoke as one, and each had the same thought come alive in their head that the plant must still have water and that it must be beneath the rock.
42 Then Strength descended into the bottom of the hole and began to strike at the rock with mighty swings of the pick. But for all his efforts, there was nothing except a large hole in the rock.
43 But when at last his strength was failing and he thought he could swing no more, he determined to take one more mighty swing and as the pick hit upon the rock, it split asunder, and a geyser of water shot forth in such abundance that the brothers had to move quickly out of the hole to not be drowned.
44 And it came to pass that not only were the brothers saved, but they soon discovered the marker, which they had left only a short distance from the spring; and seeing a city in the distance, they discerned that in all their wanderings, they were not ten days away from their homes as they had assumed, but had circled almost back to the beginning of their journey and were now close to the city from which they had left and to their wives and children.
45 Shortly thereafter, they moved their families and the families of their brothers, Wisdom and Faithful, to the spring they had discovered, and soon it blossomed into a garden of green and plenty that became a favored resting spot for the trading caravans.
46 And the brothers and their families prospered.
47 And from this story are many gems to enrich your life. Return to it again and again, and you will continue to find new treasures.
48 But the greatest treasure of all is to understand that there is an Almighty God in Heaven, and after all that man can do, there is still more that God will do for those who ask good things of them with a repentant heart and a humble spirit.
49 And I say unto you this day, look into your heart; reflect upon the journey of your soul in this life. Do not wait until you are dying in the desert to call upon the Almighty God; today is the day you are called unto repentance; today is the day you are called to humility; today is the day you are called to give yourself to God.
50 And whosoever hears my words and acts upon them shall know the true and living God, and they shall drink from the spring of everlasting water and never thirst again.”
51 Then turning to the crowd that had gathered, Yeshua looked out among them all. And they had been captivated by his story and waited now for his next words. And he said unto them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Then he parted the crowd and walked away and returned to his family.
52 After two moons had passed, Ibrahiim began to make ready for the caravan to travel back into the Sinai. Despite his initial misgivings, he had come to respect Lazarus as a clever and honest trader and invited him to continue the journey with his caravan.
53 Lazarus had prospered and now had five camels of trade goods. He came to council with his companions and said, “I am of a mind to leave in three days, hence with Ibrahiim that I may travel back to Bethany to keep the promise to my father to return within six moons. Ibrahiim is of a mind to join with several other caravans and together travel to Suez and from thence to Aqaba, and from thence to Petra, and from thence back to Judea. It is a long journey that holds good promise for more trading.”
54 At the mention of Petra, Kudar-Iluna perked up, “I have learned much of the ways of righteousness and truth in my days with Yeshua, but now I would like to journey with Lazarus, for the caravan will pass near the wilderness of Zin, which borders Petra; from there I desire to return to my people that I might share with them the truths and wonder I have come to know.”
55 Thus, it was that Lazarus and Kudar-Iluna departed with the caravan of Ibrahiim, and Yeshua and Miriam and Yochanan and the children remained in Egypt.
56 After the caravans had vanished into the distance, Yeshua turned to Miriam and Yochanan and said unto them, “We must journey now to Memphis, for there are many paths I must walk that begin at Memphis, and there will Yochanan find those who desire his treasure.”
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