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Chapter 2 - The approaching traders.
2,1. From there we went to the place from where we had a good view of Bethany’ surroundings, and also of the many pathways and streets leading to Jerusalem. Alongside the pathways and roads tollgates and tollhouses were build respectively, where the foreigners had to pay their taxes. Many of the publicans and some of their servants were with us since yesterday.
2,2. One of the scribes was asking them if they would not rather be down there to collect a lot of money.
2,3. Said one of the publicans: “My friend, certainly you could have saved yourself the trouble to ask such a question! If the highly profitable material income would be more important to us than the highly spiritual advantage, then surely everyone of us would be in his position; and as we have come here, so we also could have left again quite a while ago, and nobody would be able to stop us on our way. But since we prefer this large profit of life here over and above our material tollhouses down there, we are going to stay here and will not pay any attention to the passing trading caravans. But regarding the tollgates alongside the pathways, yes, we still have some people left behind to manage.
2,4. Shortly the wheeling and dealing in your temple will start. Would you be pleased if I say to you: ‘Friend, look down, there is already a lot of activity in front of the halls of the temple! Are you not worried about the large potential profits? Shining gold and silver and precious stones will be available in large quantities, and from all that you must receive one tenth. Will you receive anything from that income if you are not present?’
2,5. We publicans and sinners before you now know that you have turned your backs on the temple for good, and because of that it would be very inappropriate of us to ask you such a question. But we have any way made the firm decision, that we out of love for the Lord, will refund everyone tenfold, if we have knowingly taken advantage of him, and therefore we will allow all traders at least for today to pass our tollhouses and tollgates free of charge, and we all will surely not starve to death because of that. Therefore we allow them to pass by undisturbed!”
2,6. Upon the publican’s very energetic answer, the scribe had nothing more to say and admired the magnanimity of the publicans and his colleagues in silence.
2,7. But Lazarus said: “Many of the foreigners will come to us in the evening and I must make sure that our cellar is properly stocked up and likewise the kitchen and pantries. In addition I will have to set up more tables and benches outside, - otherwise I will not be able to cope!”
2,8. I said to Lazarus:” Let it be; as long as I’m here, you will have everything in abundance! And should there come even more, all of them will be fully served with everything. - Let us quietly watch the boisterous worldly activity down there! So many heavily laden camels, horses, donkeys and oxen are trotting the pathways and roads carrying large treasures and goods of their masters, and they will sell everything!
2,9. But there, on the main road leading from Galilee to Jerusalem, we can see oxen pulling carriages and carts; they are carrying slaves for sale from the area at the Pontus. They are young boys and girls between fourteen and eighteen years old who are physically very beautiful. There are hundred-and-twenty males and hundred-and-seventy females. Now, this sale we would like to prevent from happening and then we will see to the education and freedom of these poor children! Such slave markets are not allowed inside the walls of the city; this mountain is outside the city walls but still very close to the city, and therefore you will soon see that these carriage and cart owners will erect their sale huts at the foot of this mountain and will soon thereafter try to send out their callers into all direction! But then we will be ahead of them and will take away all their merchandise, but we will also have a serious word with those selfish traders, so that they will abstain from such trade for a very long time!”
2,10. Said Agrikola: “Lord, how about it, if I buy all male and female slaves from these slave traders for the expected amount, take them to Rome, raise them properly and give to them their full freedom and the citizenship of Rome?”
2,11. I said: “Your idea and your will is noble; but My idea and My will, will be even better! Why pay money for something that you rightly can own without any money?! Do you agree with that? Giving such people a profit, means to encourage them in doing evil; but if they encounter several such experiences, in future they will refrain from using such inhuman business practices to earn money.”
2,12. Said Agrikola: “Lord, there is only one additional point of importance! It seems to me that in this regard Rome has for each country a separate law to regulate the slave trade. Thereupon no slave is allowed to be imported from any foreign non Roman country into the countries of Rome, without the approval of a Roman chief-governor, but this approval is incredibly expensive. Now, therefore it is common practice that such slave traders use secret roads and in many cases also false approval documents to smuggle their slaves into our countries. If this would be the case with those approaching slave traders, it will be easy to confiscate their merchandise; however, if they are in possession of such an expensive approval document as described above, we will not have much of a choice, but to give the traders the expected amount of money and let them go without interference, because in that case they are protected by law.”
2,13. I said: “You have assessed this quite correctly; but you know, I’m the One who makes the laws for eternity and infinity, subsequently you will understand, that in a case where the opposite is required, I cannot be bound by the laws of Rome, which I otherwise as a human completely adhere to.
2,14. Those people who bring the above described slaves here to the market, are very greedy, but at the same in the highest degree superstitious. Their completely blind superstition is their biggest enemy; and in advance I know exactly what must be done, to punish these people in such a way, that they not only hand over their merchandise, but willingly relinquish many other things, just to save their skin. As soon as they arrive you will all see and witness what the wisdom and might of God is able to perform.
2,15. But let us first go back into the house to revive our limbs with a good morning meal; all the tables are already well laid. In the meantime our slave traders will also arrive at their destination where shortly afterwards we will pay them a visit!”
2,16. The scribe said to me:”Lord, surely you will not visit the temple today? Verily, today things are at their worst!”
2,17. I said: “Why should I be concerned about this den of murderers down there in hell! The only true and righteous temple of Jehovah is there where there is a heart in man which loves God above all and his neighbour as himself! - Let us go to the morning meal!”
2,18. Thereupon we all went into the house and sat at the tables which were already well prepared with everything that everybody in his own way liked most, and there was also no shortage of the best wine. In full day light the Romans marvelled about the beautiful drinking mugs made from pure gold as well as their silver eating bowls. Also the seven Pharisees came closer and could not stop admiring the purity and most beautiful shaped drinking mugs and dishes. But Lazarus reminded them to eat, otherwise the fish would get cold, and the seven took food and ate and drank, continuously praising the good tasting food and wine. Also the seventy poor people with wives in their midst, exhausted themselves with praise over the food and the wine and likewise did the publicans and their colleagues.
2,19. One of the Romans said: “I’m now already sixty years old, but never have I tasted such good food and never did such true wine of the Gods came into my mouth!”
2,20. And there was nearly no end to the praising and thanksgiving.
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