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Chapter 29. – The frightened Joseph's petition to the Lord. The Persian caravan in front of the cave. The astonished captain. The testimonial of the Child by the three wise men: a King of Kings, a Lord of Lords, the Everlasting Lord! Their warning against Herod.
29,1. Noon had approached, but the captain was late this time, and Joseph counted the seconds in fearful anticipation; but the captain did not appear.
29,2. Hence Joseph turned to the Lord and spoke: "My God and my Lord, I beg you not to let me feel so greatly frightened; for look, I am old and quite weak in all my limbs!
29,3. Therefore give me strength by telling me what to do, so that I do not disgrace myself before all the sons of Israel!"
29,4. As Joseph prayed thus, behold, the captain arrived almost breathless and spoke to Joseph:
29,5. "My most highly respected man! – Just at this moment, I have returned from a march with an entire legion to a place that is one-third the distance towards Jerusalem, so that I could espy something of the Persians,
29,6. and have posted spies everywhere, but have not discovered anything until now! However, rest assured, for when they come, they will have to encounter the sentries I have posted!
29,7. It shall not be too easy for them to break through anywhere and reach this place, before I have interrogated them and judged their plans! – So I will immediately go back and reinforce the sentries; in the evening I will be with you!"
29,8. Now the captain hurried off and Joseph praised God and spoke to his sons: "Now set the food on the table, and you, Salome, ask Mary, whether she would like to eat with us at the table, or wants us to bring it to her tent?"
29,9. Mary, however, came out of the tent with the Infant in very happy spirits and spoke: "As I am strong enough, I will eat with you at the table; only fetch the little crib for the Baby!"
29,10. Joseph was overjoyed to hear this and placed the best food in front of her; and she praised the Lord God and ate and drank.
29,11. She had hardly finished eating, however, when a loud noise came from the entrance of the cave. Joseph sent Joel to check what was happening.
29,12. As Joel looked out of the door (for the cave was timbered at the exit), he saw a whole caravan of Persians with laden camels and spoke anxiously:
29,13. "Father Joseph! For the Lord's sake, we are lost! – For look, the notorious Persians are here with many camels and numerous attendants!
29,14. They are pitching tents and setting up camp in a wide circle, completely encircling our cave, and three leaders adorned with gold, silver and precious stones, are unpacking golden sacks and seem to prepare themselves to approach the cave!"
29,15. This news made our good Joseph almost speechless; with great effort he brought out the words: "Lord, be merciful to a poor sinner like me! – Yes, now we are lost!" – Mary took the Child and hurried into her tent and said: "Only when I am dead, will you be able to take Him from me!"
29,16. Joseph then went to the door, accompanied by his sons, and furtively looked out to see what the Persians were doing.
29,17. When he saw the big caravan and the pitched tents, he was doubly alarmed, and in his great distress, began to beseech the Lord most fervently for assistance just this once.
29,18. As he implored thus, behold, the captain arrived in full armour, led by a thousand soldiers, and lined up the soldiers on both sides of the cave.
29,19. He went forth and interrogated the three Magi, as to the motive for their arrival and the manner in which they - completely undetected by him - had reached this place.
29,20. And the three spoke with one voice: "Do not consider us enemies, for you can see that we do not carry arms, either openly or concealed!
29,21. We are astronomers from Persia, and we have an old prophecy in which it is written, that during this time a King of Kings will be born to the Jews, and His birth will be indicated by a star.
29,22. And whoever saw the star should make a journey and follow the mighty star; for they will find the Saviour of the world at the place where the star comes to a stop!][029,23] And look, the star has halted above this stable, surely visible to everyone even in broad daylight! – This led us to this place; it is here, however, above this stable, that it remains standing, and without hesitation we have reached the spot in which the living Wonder of Wonders can be found, a newly-born Child, a King of Kings, a Lord of Lords from eternity!
29,24. We must see, worship and pay the greatest homage to Him! – Therefore, do not want to get in our way; for surely no evil star has led us here!"
29,25. At this, the captain looked for the star and was highly astonished by it; for firstly, it stood quite low in the sky, and secondly, it was almost as bright as the natural light of the sun.
29,26. As the captain had ascertained all this, he spoke to the three men: "Good, I am convinced from your words and from the star, that you have come here for an honest purpose; however, I do not understand why you went first to Herod in Jerusalem! – Did the star also show you that path?
29,27. Why did your miracle guide not lead you here straightaway, as obviously this place was the intended one? – I demand an answer on this from you, otherwise you will not enter the cave!"
29,28. The three men said: "The great God will know the reason! It must have surely been His plan; for none of us ever thought of going even close to Jerusalem!
29,29. And you may entirely believe us when we say that we did not at all like the people of Jerusalem, and least of all, the sovereign Herod! However, as we were already there and the attention of the whole city was on us, we had no option but to indicate our intention!
29,30. The priests informed us through the sovereign, who requested us to bring him news about the discovered King, so that he too could come and pay homage to the new King."
29,31. The captain said: "You will never do this; for I know the intention of this sovereign! You might rather remain here as captives! – I will now go inside and confer with the father of the Child about you."
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