The image of the boy flared in the gloomy halls of his consciousness and burnt his tortured mind with the ferocity of a hot branding iron. He saw him playing with toys carved in the forms of crocodiles and pythons in his bath. Again the man visualized the child brandishing wooden swords acting out mock battles with his playmates. The boy was a picture of irrepressible vitality, a ship whose sail was filled with the force of life’s winds. Like his father, he was supposed to be immortal.
…..the stones broke and splintered into flying bits as chariot wheels ran over them with mechanical fury. In unison with the speeding wheels, hooves of hundreds of horses thundered the earth into paroxysms of vibrations….
…He carried the limp form of the boy weeping as hot tears poured forth, an uncontainable Nile that soaked his sleeping garment and baptised the dead boy. He raged and cursed but the boy was gone. He sat on the floor crumpled with the lifelessness of a discarded rag. The boy’s death was an intentional hit at the chain of his untouchable dynasty. Grief tore at the fabric of his soul and he screamed…..
….Now, he struck the horses viciously with his whip, driving them on until they seem to fly with speed matching that of Ra’s falcon. At the mention of Ra, he laughed maniacally. The god’s name left a bitter taste in his mouth these days. Muscles glistening and rippling, he lashed out at his steeds on and on without respite. The darkness in his heart was more than the one that had invaded his country for three days. There was hatred and anger in Pharaoh’s heart. Rivers of murderous thoughts coursed through him and flooded the banks of his being. Whips savagely criss-crossing their flanks, the horses raced blisteringly towards their target….
In the Hebrew camp, tambourines jiggled in excited hands as songs erupted melodically, laughter bubbled as jokes were cracked, lovebirds cooed sweet things to each other, children ran about playfully, some others rode on their fathers shoulders as their parents walked hands interlocked. There was a general air of gaiety amongst the freed slaves. Freedom tasted sweeter than honey. The atmosphere thrummed with vibrancy and expectation. That was until someone noticed a cloud of dust rushing towards them with deadly intent….
…Pharaoh could not believe he had let the Hebrews go. Where was he going to get a new work force for the Egyptian economy? Who was going to build the magnificent tomb he had always envisaged himself being buried in? Most importantly, he could not wait to see Moses’ face when his son was gutted like a fish from throat to groin until his intestines spilled onto the desert sands. Pharaoh drove on purposefully, wrathfully.
Pandemonium reigned in the Israelites camp. The cold steel of terror slashed at their hearts. Despondency bogged down their once buoyant steps. They could not believe the Egyptians were after them again. It seemed the bands of slavery were going to be wrapped around their necks so soon again. There was no ending to the Egyptian malady; they were a burr in the flesh of Israel’s destiny. Every time, they felt the issue of Pharaoh and his minions had been comprehensively dealt with, the Egyptians popped up again with unbelievable resilience. If the angel of death could not stop them then what hope did the Hebrew folks have? Cruel whips, back breaking burdens, making bricks without straws, endless hours in the sun and other kinds of punishment filled their visions. They broke down and wept. Hugging their children, they saw a future of chains even for the next generation. Redemption had been a mirage. Some of them were going to die in the desert. Was there no end to this recurring nightmare?
….Ensconced in Goshen, the Jews had been immune to the disasters that were unleashed on Egypt. Now they were out in the open and hemmed by the red sea in front and the wilderness on the sides. Now, he had them where he wanted them. They were trapped and there was no way out. He was going to get his revenge at last. He was with his best squad of 600 charioteers. Warriors against Shepherds, swords against staff, the odds were prodigiously uneven against the Israelites. They did not stand a chance or a prayer in this case. Pharaoh bared his teeth in a smile that came out as a grimace.
The people of Israel turned against Moses complaining.”Egypt would have been a better place to die than the wilderness” they said. “Slavery is better than this fate” the Hebrews insisted.
Moses stood unflappable before the stampeding hordes of the Egyptians and before the torrential complaints of the Israelites. “Do not lose your composure! Do not fret, keep your head, believe and you will see God come to your rescue,” he shouted at them.
“The Egyptians you see today, you will not see them anymore forever. A four hundred and thirty year problem would end completely. You will not remember the pain, the indignity and the shame of your sorrows again. The slate of your torment will be wiped clean. Your victory will be conclusive because God will fight for you and you will not need to lift a finger,” Moses went on.
The Jews were in different attitudes of prayer. However God told Moses it was not time to pray but time for action. “Quit praying! Go forward! Disregard the obstacles! Pay no attention to the barriers! Forget the army swarming behind you! Do not let what you see paralyze you. See the land beyond and stop seeing the red sea!” God has commanded!
They marched forward in obedience and Moses stretched forth the rod in his hand as God had instructed him. Then the impossible happened, the sea waters split into two through a strong wind that had been stirred up supernaturally.
God’s people walked through the dry land between the walls of water of the red sea. Awe descended on the ranks of migrants. Sharks, sea horses, lobsters and all kinds of marine life stood in attention wondering who the privileged people were that even seas gave way before them.
Pharaoh and his men went after the Israelites driven by blood lust. That was when Heaven reacted. God had had enough of the harassment of his chosen ones. He would not allow them to be tortured a moment longer. In righteous fury, He descended in unimaginable might and fought the Egyptians. He troubled the trouble of his children. God clogged the wheels of the chariots of the enemies of His people. The Egyptians machinery of battle was scuttled by a divine hand. Their horses were hamstrung, chariots overturned, wheels yanked off. They tried to run but it was too late as Moses lowered his rod and straining walls of water pounded them to death.
Salty water filled Pharaoh’s lungs and pulled him down into the depths like he were stone. A thought floated fleeting in his dimming mind. He had made a fatal mistake, learnt his lesson too late! If one is covenanted to the God of the Hebrews, no matter how it might look, such a person can never be trapped….
Golden wheels, dead bodies, broken chariots on the shores of the Red sea were what remained of the mightiest army in the land…Joy had come in the morning…
This story is found in Exodus 14.
Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased. Exodus 15:16
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright. Save, LORD: let the king hear us when we call. Psalms 20:7-9
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