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Chapter 110 - The Lord liberates children from the hands of Roman soldiers.
110,1. From there we still continued to walk silently about 3.000 paces and saw the troop of soldiers with their weapons coming on the main road that was located on a little height. They made a lot of noise, as it was their custom, and they kicked with their feet the dust of the road so much in the air that a real cloud of dust was moving with them.
110,2. Agricola thought that it would be better to step a few paces off the road because such rude mercenaries who were not seldom drunk during such marching are usually not too friendly with travelers who come in their way.
110,3. I said: “You are certainly right about that, but it is really the fault of you Romans that your mercenaries are such rude and wild men. Teach them besides how they have to use their weapons also how to be a man. Then they will not behave as such.”
110,4. Agricola and also the other Romans remembered this remark of Me, and when the wild troop came close, we stepped a few paces off the road. But this did not help us very much, for the commanders gave the mercenaries the order to stop, came then very brutally to us and asked us who we were and where we were going and for what kind of business and affairs.
110,5. Then Agricola came forward and said to the commander in chief: “Can you read?”
110,6. He (the commander in chief) said: “Yes, or else I would not be a chief”.
110,7. Agricola took a scroll of parchment out of a bag, which he carried with him and showed it to the brutal commander. He saw what was written on that scroll, got frightened and he apologized.
110,8. But Agricola warned and rebuked him with sharp and deep penetrating words because of his noisy behavior.
110,9. Then the commanders withdrew very quietly and orderly.
110,10. But Agricola and the other Romans walked to the troop of soldiers and examined more closely their order. In the middle of the group of soldiers they discovered a few young girls and 2 young men of whom the hands were tied on their back.
110,11. When the Romans discovered this with great indignation, they asked the commanders immediately what the meaning of this was, if these people were guilty of one or the other crime and what kind of nationality they had.
110,12. The commanders came into great embarrassment and did not know what kind of answer they had to give to the severe and highly ranked Romans.
110,13. Then the girls and the 2 young men were crying and asked Agricola in Hebrew if he would not like to free them from the might of these rude and cruel soldiers, for they were children of very honest parents in the neighborhood of Bethlehem, did not do anything wrong to these soldiers, and their parents, who possessed an inn over there, had served all these soldiers with what they wanted, namely 10 bags of wine and 30 breads, and for what they wanted they had finally asked not more than 70 coins.
110,14. (The prisoners): “But then the soldiers became so angry and did not pay anything, but wanted to have from the parents more than 1.000 coins as punishment for the fact that the parents had dared to ask 70 from the soldiers. However, that kind of money the parents did not have and they begged these soldiers for forgiveness and kindness. But praying and begging was of no use. The parents were firmly bound with ropes to the doorposts of their own house. Then the soldiers grabbed us 7 children together, bound our hands on our back and drove us on in the manner as you highly ranked lord can see us now. We absolutely do not know what they want to do with us, but the fact that they have nothing good in mind is obvious. O good and great lords, please free us from these brutes for the sake of Jehovah.”
110,15. Now Agricola became completely red with anger, ordered to release the 7 children instantly, which also happened immediately, and said then to the commanders: “Is this the way you protect the rights of our citizens? Do you not know the main rule by which every soldier has to swear? It sounds like this: ‘Live honestly, do not insult anyone without reason, but he who insults you while you act according to the law, must be brought to justice.’ And finally: ‘Give and leave everyone which is his own.’ Did you now act according to our old main rule? Who gave you the right to move on the road from one place to another to extort the inns of which the owners are our citizens and are under the protection of our laws?”
110,16. The commanders turned pale, for they knew the relentless strictness of their statesman whom they knew already for a long time and asked him for mercy.
110,17. But Agricola said: “These children and their parents did also ask you for mercy and compassion. If you did not give any mercy and compassion to these innocent ones, how dare you, insolent brutes, to beg me now for mercy? I will treat you as normal robbers and murderers and make these mercenaries as galley slaves. Now turn around and go before us to Bethlehem. I will instruct the principal what has to happen with you wretched ones.”
110,18. Then I went to Agricola and said to him: “Friend, you have done well to firstly free the children and secondly to have sobered up these drunken soldiers with your verdict. But they are not the ones who are really guilty for their rudeness, but rather the one who sent them to Galilee. He kept the money of the emperor that was meant for this group, for himself and permitted them on the way to supply themselves in the inns and also by the country people, willingly or unwillingly, with what they needed. And you know that when your soldiers receive permission from their superiors to plunder, they will not spare anything and will be like lions, tigers and hyenas. That is why the transgression of these soldiers is much less than how it looks like at first sight.
110,19. But the main fault and actual cause of such offences is your too unconditional trust in your generals and superiors. You provide them with all possible general authority, which leads to the fact that everyone will play emperor in his district and will do what he wants without caring too much for the common laws of Rome since he himself can and may issue laws in his district, depending on his mood and arbitrariness.
110,20. If now and then a superior is from nature a good and just man, then it will be good to live and act in the districts that are under his command, but if the superior is perhaps too concerned for his personal advantage, then woe to the one who are under the power of his sword. And look, that is now here the case in the great district of Bethlehem.
110,21. The present-day captain who has received the highest power from you, acting totally as it is allowed to him by Rome, is concerned for his own advantage and therefore he sets up such regulations so that he certainly will not have a shortage. But the people, in their heart, lament and curse the Roman domination and tyranny. This is exactly the case as I have explained it to you now. And now the question is who actually has to be sentenced with a punishment.
110,22. Look, I very well knew that this would happen here in the neighborhood of Bethlehem, and for this reason I have traveled to this place so that this evil could be rectified here, but it has to be rectified where the actual fault is, for by punishing these soldiers here, nobody will be helped. Give them an admonishment, a right instruction how they have to behave themselves in the future and give them traveling-money for the trip to Galilee. Then they will arrive completely in the proper way to the place of their destination.
110,23. But you should take away the general authority from the chief who we will meet this afternoon in the same inn from where the children are coming, and instead you should give him laws. Then everything will be fine.”
110,24. Now Agricola said: “Yes, yes, Lord and Master, also now You are right in every respect, and I will also give directions that are completely according to Your words. But above all we should hurry to go to the inn and free the parents of these lovely children from their agony and need.”
110,25. I said: “This has already been taken care of because their neighbors did them a favor in going to the city, to the captain, in order to report concerning their children, hoping that they would be returned to them. When we will arrive in the inn, the parents of these children will also come back.
110,26. The captain will do justice to them and will send a horseman after this group to whom they have to deliver the children unharmed, and we do not have to wait long anymore before the horseman will arrive. Then give him instruction for the captain that he has to appear before you around the midday hour in the inn. Then we will meet him in the inn when we will arrive there. But we will take the children with us.”
110,27. The commanders heard however what I had discussed with Agricola and saw that he conformed to My words, and they wanted to throw themselves on the ground to thank Me.
110,28. But I said to them: “Only this time I have saved you. However, if you will behave again at another place in such a way as you behaved yourselves in the inn, then you will not be saved anymore. But now wait here until you will receive instruction to leave, and then you can quietly travel further as it is appropriate.”
110,29. They thanked Me for these words and they called Me a great wise Man whose word is mightier than the otherwise so relentless strictness of the high and mighty Agricola. But they also called Me the most righteous of all righteous ones, and they and also their whole troop glorified Me loudly.
110,30. Then Agricola gave them instruction to stay in Bethany until he would come back, and that they could receive as much bread and wine as they would reasonably need, which he then would pay, and that he also would take care of the extra traveling-money. At the same time he commanded them most severely to behave well and decently, which they also promised him solemnly. Then he ordered them to continue their way. They positioned themselves orderly, thanked Me once again and moved on.
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