I stop from my work, exhausted.
I look at my daughter sleeping in the shade and want to join her but I hear some shouting and run towards the city. People are cheering while some are screaming. I can’t quite see, the crowds push me away.
“Whats happening?” I cry.
“Those men who have dirty foreign women and children are getting what they deserve. What are they trying to do, bring El’s judgement on us?”
Vomit rises in my throat. I run back before anyone sees me.
My baby is still napping. How can they think this sweet darling is responsible for what the Babylonians did? Why don’t they blame their leaders demanding taxes so high some people sell their children to pay them. What kind of a god blames an innocent child for the actions of evil men? My gods are more civilized.
“Dada” warbles the sleepy child. I turn and see my husband. He is being carried up the hill. His beard has been torn off and his cheeks…
“Honey-comb, go down to Rivka and tell her daddy is hurt. You stay there, ok?”
She looks up at me. “I want to help dada!”
“Go!” I shout. Frightened, she runs.
The men drop Malkijah on the ground.
“This is your fault, heathen dung,” says one man glaring at me while the other spits at me before he turns and heads back to the city.
I try and clean my husband’s wounds. He must be in shock, he doesn’t move. I give him the rest of the wine.
“Rivka and Jonathan are leaving. We’ll go with them” I say.
“Every goy must leave,” Mal rasps back.
“Will you come with us?” I ask, afraid to look.
“First you steal my honor, now you ask me to give up my land? My people? My God?”
I am heartbroken. “Are you willing to give up your family? Our baby is coming in the next few moons. How can I take care of them? We could die! Who will protect your daughter? My family is exiled in Babylon. You are all I have!”
“Dada,” calls a little voice. “Rivka says we are going on an adventure! But we have to wait until you are better. Are you coming with us?”
How long has she been listening?
We both turn and look into her hopeful eyes.
“You don’t think I’m dirty, do you?”