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Chapter 178 - The Lord settles the argument between the Damascenes and the innkeepers of Emmaus.
178,1. The meal lasted for about half an hour and when we all had eaten enough and felt strengthened, there was again an uproar and a great noise outside on the street, upon which soon several men came to us in the large dining-hall and wanted to speak with Nicodemus.
178,2. He stood up and asked with a serious look what was going on and what they wanted so late at night.
178,3. A Damascene came forward and said: “Lord, we have come to know now that you are the leader of this place and therefore we came to you to introduce a complaint because we as traveling merchants were received very badly here. We would not mind to pay reasonably everything that we consume, but we will not allow to be taken advantage of by those terribly greedy people from Emmaus. We desire a judicial sentence, and otherwise we will appeal to the emperor whose loyal citizens we are.”
178,4. Nicodemus continued: “And what does the injustice consist of exactly that was committed to you in this place?”
178,5. The spokesman said: “Strict and just lord, we have stabled our pack animals outside on a big open space and then, divided into groups, we went to different inns of this place because we could not receive accommodation in this inn. Then we have strengthened ourselves with a very meager food and we wanted to pay everything in a reasonable way. But now those innkeepers have charged us so much that we, even in Damascus could not ask such an amount to a guest who ate and drank for a whole year in our place, although also in our place no one receives anything for nothing. We have never experienced this anywhere!”
178,6. Nicodemus said: “What did you then eat and drink and how much did they charge you?”
178,7. The spokesman said: “Strict and just lord. Each one of us has consumed a not too big fish, a piece of leavened bread and a cup of very average wine. Nothing more and also nothing less. And for this these usurers demanded a 100 pieces of silver from each one of us. With this kind of money you can go to the far Indies and come back there from. No, I have never heard anything like it before. What do you say, severe and just lord?”
178,8. Nicodemus said: “Did you also pay the money that the innkeepers wanted to get from you?”
178,9. The spokesman said: “Strict and just lord. Then we would have been great fools. This uproar in the middle of the street did precisely happen because we wisely did not give them the demanded money. Like street robbers they now want to take away our merchandise, and for this reason we seek now the protection of the law with you against this wild violence. If we do not receive it, then these people from Emmaus will get to know the Damascenes!”
178,10. Nicodemus said: “Well, you have now brought up the matter, and law and justice will be done to you when everything is precisely as you have told me. However, before I can do you justice, I also must hear your opponents in order to know what they will eventually bring forward against your complaint. That of course, you must allow.”
178,11. The spokesman said: “This of course is all right with us. Just let them come.”
178,12. Nicodemus said: “If there is anyone here from the most unreasonable innkeepers, then let him come forward and speak.”
178,13. There were 3 innkeepers among the strange accusers. They came forward and said: “We do not deny that we really have asked the mentioned amount for the evening meal, what is indeed far too much, but we also have been a few times in Damascus where we have presented our merchandise on the market. We always stayed only for 3 days and we also had to pay there such a terribly high price in the inns. If we now ask from them 10 times as much as from other travelers, we only take from them what they already have taken too much from us a long time ago. And when we are doing that, we think that we are not being unjust according to the law of Moses that says ‘eye for eye, tooth for tooth’.”
178,14. Nicodemus now said: “Yes, then it becomes difficult to satisfy one party as well as the other. Because you, Damascenes, have acted without love regarding to these people from Emmaus, and they are now doing an injustice to you. So you can understand that it is difficult to make a right judgment. Therefore, make an arrangement and settle with each other whatever each one has demanded too much. Then your struggle will be ended in the eyes of God and the righteous thinking and willing men.”
178,15. The spokesman from Damascus said: “Strict and just lord, we know only one justice and that we call reasonability. It is true that in our big city on the public market days something more is asked of those who buy their goods, but what is also true, is that these people from Emmaus are now charging us the same amount as they had paid too much in 10 years time. But this we cannot help at all, because we are no possessors of inns but only very simple merchants who are trading everywhere with what their skilled hands have made. If these usurers from Emmaus want to receive compensation with us Damascenes, then they must do that in Damascus with the innkeepers, but not with us, because we have never cheated them with the goods that they have bought from us.”
178,16. Then the innkeepers from Emmaus said: “That we surely will not do because we have sworn never to visit that high-priced Damascus again. They must now pay to us what we are demanding and they have to indemnify themselves with their expensive innkeepers.”
178,17. Now Nicodemus came to Me and asked Me what he had to do.
178,18. I said: “The Damascenes are right and the innkeepers from Emmaus are very unreasonable usurers. They should ask what is righteous and that means, that each one of the merchants should pay them only 2 pieces of silver per person and not 1 cent more. If the merchants from Emmaus were cheated in Damascus then this is their own fault. They wanted to behave as rich people and were often excessively reveling and gluttonous, and the Damascenes were right when they let themselves be properly paid for it. If according to them, the bill was too high in Damascus then they had to introduce a complaint with the judges there. If they agreed at that time with the bill because of their boasting, then they also have to agree now. And if they arbitrarily want to do violence to these Damascenes, then also to them will be done violence. They can now choose one thing or another and do what they want, but then we also will do what we want.”
178,19. Those words of Mine were well heard by the Damascenes, but also by the three men from Emmaus.
178,20. The Damascenes came to Me, and the spokesman said: “Listen, Friend who are totally unknown to us. You have spoken the most pure truth. This is how it also happened. Those people have shown – because they are living in the neighborhood of the big city of Jerusalem – a great disregard to us Damascenes, and were showing us by their extravagant revelries how rich they were and what kind of spending-power they had, compared to us. Then they also received from our innkeepers what they were asking and then nothing was too expensive for them. But only now they must have had remorse about their gluttonous behavior and wanted to indemnify themselves with us, who are totally innocent, what the facts are proving now only too clearly. But You, noble and true Friend, have now spoken out a complete correct judgment and we are now also adding the request that this should also really be executed.”
178,21. Now the 3 innkeepers came very boldly forward and said: “Against the execution of this judgment we will know how to defend ourselves. Who are You anyway that You dare to act against us, taking these untrustworthy Damascenes into protection?”
178,22. I said: “Here at My right hand are sitting the Roman rulers who came here, even from Rome, because of Me. They will tell you who I actually am if you do not want to conform to My verdict. But if ever it comes that far, woe unto you, souls of extortion! What I have said, so it will remain. Now do whatever you want.”
178,23. After these words the 3 innkeepers left quickly and were planning with their servants, friends and accomplices to attack the caravan that was standing outside in order to get their indemnity. This I also made known to Nicodemus and Agricola.
178,24. Agricola, who could now no more stand the three from Emmaus at all, asked Nicodemus immediately if there were any Roman soldiers located in this place.
178,25. And Nicodemus answered: “Mighty friend, about a 100 Roman soldiers are permanently encamped here.”
178,26. Agricola said: “Tell the commander to come here.”
178,27. I said: “Friend, if there is any danger that is absolutely threatening, your well meant command comes much too late. Therefore, I have already taken care of it by My Raphael, and the Roman soldiers are already executing what has been commanded to them. They soon will bring the obstinate innkeepers here, because when those, together with their accomplices, were approaching the wagons and pack animals, they were surrounded and arrested by the soldiers who were positioned there. They will now soon be brought here before the inn and the commander will come in to ask Nicodemus for his sentence.”
178,28. Agricola did of course agree on that and Nicodemus asked Me what kind of sentence he should pronounce.
178,29. I said: “You surely have heard just now what I have said to the Damascenes who are present here. But if the innkeepers do not agree at all on this, then you can receive the amount that I had determined, from the Damascenes and divide it at a good opportunity among the poor. The wicked innkeepers should stay instead of that 3 full days in prison and then be seriously admonished and threatened. That will be sufficient to make them in future times more sober and reasonable.”
178,30. When I had given this advice to Nicodemus, the Roman commander came to us in the dining-hall and informed Nicodemus what was going on and asked for his sentence.
178,31. And Nicodemus told the commander what I had told him before.
178,32. He reported this immediately to the innkeepers, who did not want to accept the sentence through all kind of excuses. But the commander made a short work and threw them into a prison. When they heard that, the Damascenes gave immediately the amount that I had determined for the evening meal of the whole caravan to Nicodemus and thanked Me a lot for the sentence that I had pronounced.
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