Among the Gods

Among the Gods by Lynn Austin

Book: Among the Gods by Lynn Austin Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lynn Austin
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reply, Joshua signaled for Hadad to continue.
    “I found a small cave in the area. It’s right about here on the map. Amariah can wait there with Dinah while—”
    Joshua leaped to his feet. “Dinah? Who said anything about Dinah?”
    “Absolutely not!” Amariah cried at the same time. “Dinah stays here until I’m well established in Jerusalem and all the turmoil has died down!”
    Hadad’s rage exploded. He shoved the table away from him, scattering everything on it and startling everyone into silence. “You said you needed Dinah to solidify Amariah’s claim to the throne! Was that a lie? Now all of a sudden you don’t need her anymore?”
    Joshua knew he had to defuse the situation quickly and saw only one way to do it. He couldn’t let his plans fall apart now. “Hadad is right. Dinah needs to come with us.”
    “No!” Amariah shouted. “How can you even think about endangering her life? I won’t allow it!” He turned to storm from the room, but Joshua grabbed him by the arm and hauled him back.
    “Do you think for one minute that I would do anything to endanger my sister’s life?”
    “I love her more than both of you do,” Hadad said. “You know I won’t let anything happen to her.”
    Amariah’s face was pale. “Dinah stays here, or I stay here, too.”
    Once again, Joshua felt his anger slipping from his grasp. If he had to, he would shackle Amariah and carry him to Judah in a sack. Then he thought of a more reasonable idea. “I think we ought to let Dinah decide if she wants to come or not.”
    “No! She’s my wife! I decide what happens to her, and I say she stays here. What does she know about fighting battles and fleeing from danger? You can’t expect her to travel with an army or camp out with a bunch of men.”
    “I’ll ask Miriam to accompany us and take care of Dinah,” Joshua said. “Miriam is resourceful. She’s helped me twice now, and she’s proven that she can stay calm and think on her feet.”
    “No,” Hadad said suddenly. “It’s not fair to use Miriam to fight any more of our battles.”
    Joshua stared at him in surprise, wondering why he was so concerned about her. “I’ll only use her if she volunteers, okay?” Joshua said. “Like the rest of our troops.”
    “Why should she volunteer? What’s in it for her?” Hadad asked. “She’ll agree because she’s good-hearted, but you’ve never done anything in return for all her help except provide food and a roof over her head.”
    “How can you say that? I’ve made her part of my family—”
    “She saved your life, Joshua—twice! For that you’ve allowed her the honor of being your family’s servant!”
    “That’s unfair.”
    “Is it? If she’s really part of your family, why haven’t you been as concerned about finding her a respectable husband as you were about finding one for Dinah?”
    “I guess it never occurred to me. She seems a little young.”
    “That’s because you still see her as the child she was two years ago. She’s a grown woman, Joshua. Take a good look at her for once.”
    Joshua recalled Nathan’s accusation that he treated Miriam like dirt, and the dull ache of guilt returned. Hadad was right. He still thought of Miriam as a servant, as Maki’s daughter, and he never gave her a moment’s thought until he needed her. Joshua knew he needed her now.
    “I’ll admit there’s a lot of truth to what you’re saying, Hadad.”
    “Well, don’t use her again. Stop taking her for granted. Before you ask her to volunteer, have the decency to tell her what’s in it for her besides a thank-you.”
    Joshua saw his simple plan growing more complicated by the minute. He needed to focus on his goal and concentrate all his energies on killing Manasseh. Perhaps in time the other details would straighten out by themselves.

    Miriam stared into the muddy waters of the Nile as she stood on the dock, waiting for the ferry that would take her to the mainland to see her brother Nathan.

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