Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Bronze Bow....

We wound down our Ancient History study with The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare. The Bronze Bow is set at the time of Jesus in and around Ancient Rome. It is the story of Daniel Bar Jamin who is 18 years old at the start of the book. He and his sister, Leah, were orphaned years earlier, when the Romans crucified his father. His mother died of grief soon after. At that point, Daniel made an oath to avenge his father's death and left home to join a rebel band living in the mountains of Judea headed up by a man named Rosh. Leah was left behind with their grandmother.

In the first few chapters, we learn that Daniel has been living with Rosh for about five years and that he looks up to him, believing Rosh is going to eventually overtake the Romans. Daniel is then called back down the mountain to take care of Leah when their grandmother dies. He is extremely bitter about this calling and can't wait to get back to Rosh in the mountains. However, after a series of tragic and revelational events, throughout which, Daniel hears the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, he comes to the realization that only love can overcome. Below is a passage from a pivotal point in the story that I entered in my commonplace book... [SPOILER ALERT!}
Jesus was silent for a moment, "This Samson," he asked, "he was your friend?"
The question surprised Daniel. He had thought of Samson as a burden, as a symbol of this own weakness. He had never thought of Samson as a friend, but now he saw that it was true.
"He died for me. He didn't understand about Israel or the kingdom. He just died, without any idea what we were fighting about."  Then, heedless of the master's weariness, forgetting everything but the guilt that had tormented him every moment since that day of the rescue, he poured out the story of Rosh, of the betrayal on the mountain, of Nathan's death, and the debt that Samson's sacrifice had laid upon him.
"Yes," said Jesus slowly. "An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth. It is so written. We must repay in kind. But Samson has given you all that he had. In what kind can you repay him?"
"By vengeance!"
"He did not give you vengeance. He gave you love. There is no greater love than that, that a man should lay down his life for his friend. Think, Daniel, can you repay such love with hate?"
"It's too late to love Samson. He is probably dead." Then, as Jesus waited, "Should I love the Romans who killed him?" he asked with bitterness.
Jesus smiled. "You think that is impossible, don't you? Can't you see, Daniel, it is hate that is the enemy? Not men. Hate does not die with killing. It only springs up a hundredfold. The only thing stronger than hate is love."  The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare p. 224-225
We all loved The Bronze Bow! Riley read it on her own as part of the Beautiful Feet Ancient History study and I read it aloud to Ruben. It is also a Sonlight and TruthQuest recommended book. I'm even of the mind that The Bronze Bow should be required reading for anyone studying Ancient Rome!

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