WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS
© By Ross Cochrane
Obed-edom never again saw the young man who had captured him. He was not to know that the curse of death that he had uttered had proved to be prophetic. With Asahel’s death, the Canaanite dagger had been handed, along with other family property, to the older brother, the commander of the army of Israel, known as Joab. Joab was a man with a deep gravelly voice and fire in his eyes. Those who did not work hard enough or tried to escape were treated harshly by Joab’s guards, but most of his slaves co-operated and were treated well.
They were assigned to work in the city of Mahanaim in the Jabbok Valley, the administrative centre of Israel’s iron industry, only about 3 kilometres from the largest and best iron mine of the Gilead mountains, under the direction of a huge man called Barzillai. Barzillai was a Gileadite and had been given oversight of the smiths. The smithing they did was of inferior quality to his own Philistine craft, but Barzillai was a fair man and if they worked hard they ate well.
Obed-edom had never shied away from anything to do with smithing and he seemed to have an even greater capacity for work since these strange overlords required that one day of each week be set aside to rest and participate in worshiping their God. It was on such rest days that he began to plan their escape. It would take some years, but he was a patient man.