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Chapter 34. – The departure for the flight. Joseph's request to Salome. The farewell from the captain. The departure. The letter of safe-conduct given by Cornelius to Cyrenius. Joseph's itinerary. The adventure with the robbers. Joseph's arrival in Tyre at Cyrenius' residence. Cyrenius' words of consolation and his help.
34,1. After this discussion with the captain, Joseph spoke to his sons: "Rush out and get the animals ready!
34,2. Saddle the six newly-bought mules and the old, tried one for Mary! Take along as much food as you can; we will, however, leave the ox with the cart to the midwife as a keepsake and as payment for her attentiveness towards us!"
34,3. So the midwife took possession of the ox with the cart and was not required for further work.
34,4. Salome, however, asked Joseph whether she might go along with him.
34,5. And Joseph spoke: "That is up to you; you know that I am poor and cannot pay you if you work for me as a maidservant!
34,6. However, if you have the means and can take care of your food and clothing along with me, you may follow me!"
34,7. Salome spoke: "Listen, son of the great King David! My means will suffice not only for me, but also for your entire family for a hundred years!
34,8. For I am richer in worldly goods than you can imagine! Wait for only one hour and I will be ready to travel, laden with treasure!"
34,9. Joseph spoke: "Salome, see, you are a young widow; you must also bring along your two sons!
34,10. This entails a lot of work for you, and I do not have one minute to lose; for Herod will reach this region in three hours, and his forerunners and runners will already be here in one hour!
34,11. Hence you can see, that it is impossible for me to wait for your preparations!
34,12. I think it would be better if you stayed, so that I am not delayed because of you; if, however, the Lord's will makes me return to this place, I will again settle in Nazareth.
34,13. Since you wish to be of service to me, please go to Nazareth occasionally and lease out my property for another three to seven years, so that it does not fall into the hands of strangers!"
34,14. And Salome relinquished her demand and contented herself with this assignment.
34,15. Afterward Joseph embraced the captain and blessed him - and then called out to Mary to sit on her animal, together with the Infant.
34,16. As everything was now ready for their departure, the captain spoke to Joseph: "My most highly respected man! – Will I ever see you again! – And this Child with the mother?!"
34,17. And Joseph spoke: "It will be barely three years before I, and the Child with His mother, will greet you once again! Rest assured on this; – now let us depart, Amen." –
34,18. Here Joseph mounted his animal, and his sons followed his example; and Joseph seized the reins of Mary's animal and led it out of the cave, all the while praising the Lord.
34,19. As all were outside, Joseph saw a crowd of people from the city hastening to see the newborn Child, for they had heard about the departure of the Child from the midwife who had returned to her home, and through the money-changer.
34,20. But this crowd of onlookers was most inconvenient to Joseph; he thus requested the Lord to take him away from this contemptible gawking crowd as soon as possible.
34,21. And behold, a dense fog descended over the entire city at that moment, and it was not possible for anyone to see more than five paces.
34,22. This annoyed the crowd and it returned to the city, and Joseph, led by the captain and Salome, was able to reach the next mountain range unseen.
34,23. As he reached the border between Judea and Syria, the captain gave Joseph a letter of safe-conduct addressed to the regional governor Cyrenius, who was appointed over Syria.
34,24. Joseph accepted it gratefully, and the captain spoke: "Cyrenius is a brother to me; I need say no more, so travel safely and return in the same manner!" Thereupon the captain turned back, together with Salome, and Joseph continued on his way in the name of the Lord.
34,25. At around noon, Joseph had reached the summit of the mountain, at a distance of twelve hours from Bethlehem. The summit lay wholly within Syria, and was also called Coelesyria by the Romans in those days.
34,26. Joseph had to make this rather long detour, as no safe way led from Palestine to Egypt.
34,27. His itinerary was as follows: on the first day, he came near the small town of Bostra. He stayed there overnight, praising the Lord. That is where the robbers came to steal from him.
34,28. However, when they saw the Infant, they fell on their faces, prayed to Him, and then fled into the mountains in great fear.
34,29. The next day, Joseph again crossed a big mountain range and arrived in the region of Panea, a small border town between Palestine and northern Syria.
34,30. From Panea, he arrived in the province of Phoenicia on the third day and came to the region of Tyre, where he handed over the letter of safe-conduct to Cyrenius, who had some duties in Tyre during that time.
34,31. Cyrenius received Joseph in a most friendly manner and asked him what he could do for him.
34,32. Joseph spoke: "That I might reach Egypt safely!" – And Cyrenius said: "Good man, you have taken a long detour; for Palestine is much closer to Egypt than Phoenicia! Now you will still need to wander through Palestine – and must go from here to Samaria, then to Joppe, from there to Ascalon, from there to Gaza, from there to Gerasa, and only from there can you go to Elusa in Arabia!"
34,33. Joseph was sad when he realized how far he had gone astray. However, Cyrenius took pity on Joseph and spoke: "Good man, your distress pains me. You may be a Jew and an enemy of the Romans; but since my brother, my all, has so much love for you, I too will do something in friendship.
34,34. See, a small but safe ship will leave from here to Ostracine tomorrow! This ship will take you there in three days; and once you are in Ostracine, you will be already in Egypt! – I will give you a letter of safe-conduct, which will allow you stay and buy some supplies in Ostracine without hindrance. For today, however, you are my guest; please have your luggage brought in!"
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