SET YOUR MIND on things above with TAKEN--A Metaphysical Fantasy Audio Drama. AND NOW the ADVENTURE CONTINUES with DIVIDED--The Days of Peleg.
Bow to the Image! Has the whole world gone mad? Or is there something wrong with a statue that speaks and the giant man who makes the people worship it? Peleg is virtually alone in his misgivings. Meanwhile, all the rest of Shinar follows the mighty hunter Nimrod in building a Tower to reach the gates of heaven and even the Ancient One Himself. Could the mysterious encounters and cruel whispers heard since the Tower Temple's construction lead to something good? To Peleg the matter is simple, find someone who remembers the truth, someone who still hears The Voice—before it's too late. So, Peleg embarks on a journey to learn the secrets his great ancestors Methuselah and Enoch knew. Little does Peleg realize, Enoch—the very one, taken so long ago to a dimension outside space and time—and his son Methuselah are both working just as fervently toward the same goal. With the aid of a wise, old King, the tales from the stones, and the "knowing" that burns, Peleg may be mankind's only hope to stop the darkness descending from the Tower. Never again will a Flood destroy the earth, the Ancient One promised—next time it will be Fire!
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Peleg’s Time: Location—Salem, Canaan, Adamah, First Dimension.
Old King Melchizedek stood and stretched, walked over to a shelf, and picked up a figurine. He placed it on the table in front of Peleg.
“What is it, Father?” Peleg asked.
“First, add some heat to this fire, boy,” Father Shem said.
Peleg quickly ran to a pile in the corner, grabbed an armful of wood, and dumped it into dying embers. At least I didn’t have to fetch it from outside in the dark. Peleg grabbed a rod of iron and plopped back down on his cushion.
“Now, imagine three brothers all vying for their father’s blessing,” Shem said, pointing toward the figurine. It had been carved into three masculine shapes standing in a circle holding hands, rising from an ivory-colored base. “My mother made this,” Melchizedek said, as he settled back down on the cushion.
“It is fine work, indeed Father,” Peleg said. “How did she color the wood in four different tones?”
“That is the most unique thing about this piece. The three shapes are carved from one piece of eucalyptus wood,” Father Shem explained. “The wood itself has many shades within it. She whittled the wood until it reflected her three sons and our father, who is the base. Japheth, Ham, and I were all born at the same time, give or take a few minutes. Japheth, my elder brother, preceded me by a few minutes. Then out came Ham after I was delivered, so he was the youngest.”
“It’s hard to believe you and your brothers are triplets,” Peleg said, tracing his fingers across the smooth shapes. “I saw Father Japheth and Father Ham once at the last gathering in the plains. You don’t look anything alike, and none of you look like Father Noah.”
“Well, we do bear some resemblance, but our skin reflects the dust Adam came from—one red as the river clay, one fair as the desert sand, and one dark as the fertile soils of Avenland. And all from Father Noah who was of such bright countenance people confused him with the B’Nai Elohim,” Father Shem explained. “No one was more surprised or delighted than Father Noah—to have three sons all at once—our birth was indeed the favor of the Lord God. Especially when he was 5oo years old before mother finally conceived!”
Peleg clasped his hands, gritted his teeth, and forced himself to be still as he watched the old king sip his cacao contentedly. I already know about Father Noah’s difficulty in finding a wife that was willing to bare him children because of his strange appearance. I want to know about the curse!
Peleg cleared his throat and spoke tentatively, “Pardon my asking, Father Shem, but didn’t you say there was some competition between you and your brothers?”
“Oh yes,” Melchizedek laughed. “We loved each other, but we all wanted father’s blessing. One always trying to outdo the other one—who could bring the best sacrifice, who could hunt the best, who could hear the Voice. Yet as we grew it became apparent, I was Father’s choice. Even though, I am not the oldest, I was the son the Lord God chose to carry the Seed. This made Ham angry. Japheth didn’t mind. He saw the price Father had to pay and didn’t want the responsibility of learning the traditions, building the altars, and making the sacrifices for all the people. Plus, the Bearer of the Seed had to learn to record our history and the prophecies in stone.”
“Like what I learned to do when I was a boy?” Peleg asked.
“Exactly. Japheth accepted his role and was glad to let me study under Father Noah while he spent his time doing what he loved—exploring. But Ham was jealous. He couldn’t understand why Father would choose me. He knew the Lord God would choose the younger son over the elder, if the eldest son disqualified himself, as it was with Cain and Abel. Cain was rejected because of his offering and Abel’s offering was accepted. This indicated to everyone that Abel would be chosen as the priest for our people after Adam. Of course, you know the story, this made Cain furious, and he killed his brother—the tunic and the blessing from the Lord God passed to Adam’s next son, Seth. Seth wore the tunic in Adam’s stead and made the offerings and sacrifices for all the tribes. And so, it was passed from father to chosen son until it rested on Noah. The Lord God would allow Noah to choose which son would wear the tunic and receive the blessing.”
Peleg wanted to interrupt. Melchizedek operated like a true talebearer of old, stretching out a story as long as he could before getting to the point. But Peleg knew if he interrupted, the old king would clam up and delay the passing of the oral tradition for perhaps another year or more. So, Peleg willed himself to be still and quiet.
Melchizedek took another long drag from his cup and continued, “Well, Ham decided to take matters into his own hands. He knew Father Noah had made a practice of drinking from the vine.”
“You mean drinking too much wine?” Peleg asked.
“Yes, after The Deluge, Father became very depressed,” the Elder said, “not even my mother could console him. He felt responsible for the deaths of all the people, especially his brothers and sisters. He had many brothers and sisters, but not one of them repented before it was too late. They all perished in the Flood. So, he drank. He drank until sleep came upon him. This happened most often.”
“I would have hidden those vines from him,” Peleg blurted out before he could stop himself.
Father Shem laughed. “If only we were that powerful, we would have done it gladly.” He continued, “Yet, there was nothing we could do. Mother became lonely. She spent most of her time with us boys and our families, but she especially spent time with Ham.”
Melchizedek lowered his voice almost to a whisper. “Ham came to Japheth and me one day complaining about Father—
“Father is no priest to us,” Ham said. “Look, he can barely speak reason or stand up straight. All he does is drink himself into a stupor. He does not obey the Lord God’s command to be fruitful and multiply. I know he is still grieving, but his vow of celibacy is an abomination to the Lord, and it offends mother. It is time for him to pass the tunic and the priesthood.”
“Give him time,” Japheth said. “The Lord God will heal his heart and then he will be whole and able to fully obey the Lord.”
“Look at us,” Ham said, “we all are bearing children as the Lord God instructed. Yet, Father has ceased. Mother is afraid the Lord God will curse us yet again. Something must be done.”
“What can we do?” I asked him, “We cannot govern the affairs of a man and his wife. The Lord God will do as he sees fit. We are only able to obey the Lord for ourselves.”
“And just what kind of priest will you be?” Ham asked, “If you are not willing to enforce the Lord’s will now, what will you do when we become plenteous again?”
“As priest of our people, I would make a sacrifice on the altar and beseech the Lord God on behalf of Father. There is nothing else that can be done.”
“We will see about that,” Ham said.
Japheth and I talked about it for a while, and figured that Ham just needed time to settle his emotions. He was the more impulsive one of the three of us. He didn’t speak of it again, so we assumed Ham was at peace. Father Noah and he even seemed to be getting along better. Ham would often help him in his vineyard and walk him back to his tent when he became intoxicated with wine.
Then on the first day of the first month, when it became our custom to remember our deliverance from the Flood, Noah made offerings to the Lord and celebrated with us by sharing a most precious wine from his vineyard. He told us, “This is the best the earth has to offer.”
Father had been saving it for five years. We all drank from the vine and gave thanks to the Lord God. Then after Father burned the wine to make a sweet-smelling incense to the Lord, he continued to drink. Japheth and I left the celebration as the hour became late. While Ham stayed with mother and Father Noah into the early hours.
They were all drunk.
The next morning, we heard the commotion.
Ham had done a most wicked thing. He came to Japheth and me bragging and of all things—wearing Father Noah’s tunic—
“The Lord God has blessed me indeed, this day brothers,” Ham held out his arms wide showing off Noah’s tunic. “The blessing and the priesthood have come to me because I did what you two were unwilling to do.”
“What did you do, brother?” Japheth asked. “I do not believe Father would pass on his garment without the proper ceremony and sacrifice.”
“And I do not believe he has chosen you,” Shem said. “Father has been training me for years to offer the sacrifices in his place.”
“You two do not know the ways of the Lord God as well as you think,” Ham said. “If father disqualifies himself, he can no longer be priest.”
“You speak of his drinking of the vine,” Shem said. “That is not a sin, as the priest offers the libation to the Lord God, then drinks of it to seal the covenant. That does not disqualify him.”
“No, brother, indeed it does not,” Ham said, with a smirk, “But an impure marriage would.”
Japheth took a step forward and grabbed Ham by the collar of the tunic. “What are you talking about?” he demanded.
“You know very well that we are the only men left alive. There is no one who could defile her,” Shem said, boxing Ham in from behind. “Tell us brother, has the wine made you dim?”
With a side move, Ham easily shrugged off his older brother’s strong grip and pushed Japheth’s hands away forcefully.
“You wouldn’t—” Shem started. A wicked custom started by the Nephilim came to mind. “Surely you did not—”
Japheth’s jaw dropped, as he took a step back.
“Surely, I did,” interrupted Ham, gloating. “I have not forgotten the ways of the Watchers who taught us how to read the omens and how to bring them to pass. When the dream comes of knowing one’s mother, that fellow’s brothers will be subject to him for all time. Did you forget that taking the wife of your rival, gives you their place as head? I had the dream, and I fulfilled the omen.”
Shem gasped, and covered his mouth. He thought he would be sick.
“What have you done?” Japheth cried out. “You will bring the wrath of the Lord upon us all.”
Shem shook his head violently from side to side. “You are a liar! Mother would never consent to that.”
“Mother was drunk, and as surely as the Lord God is my witness, even now our father’s nakedness lies uncovered in his tent. She still sleeps from the wine.” Ham taunted, “If you do not believe me, go and see for yourselves.”
“Japheth and I raced to our father’s tent, hoping that Ham was just playing another one of his foolish jokes on us. My heart was pounding. I kept thinking. If this is true, what will we do? What will Father do? So, Japheth and I decided to walk backwards inside the tent with a covering for our mother, just in case. If father woke and saw her uncovered, he would suspect something. Unlike the wicked ones who perished in the Flood, we all follow the Lord God’s command to fully cover ourselves except when “knowing” our spouse or bathing. So that is what we did. We walked in backwards and threw a large robe over where she lay. We prayed father would never find out.”
“No!” Peleg said, interrupting the tale. He pushed away from the table and jumped up from the cushion, unable to contain himself. “How could he? Why didn’t Father Noah stop Ham? How could he let that happen in his very own tent?”
Father Shem shook his head sadly. “Father was too drunk. He was unconscious and had no idea what happened. And Ham was clever. He did that which was wicked inside his father’s own tent. Mother was so drunk she probably thought she was lying with her own husband. When Father Noah awoke and realized his tunic was missing, and mother’s as well, he was furious—
“By Adamah, where is my tunic? Which one of you boys took it?” Noah demanded. “Seth, I know you will serve us well as priest one day, but it is not yet time to pass on the garment.”
“Father be at ease,” I said trying to calm him. “I did not take your tunic. It was just Ham playing another one of his tricks. He will return it to you immediately.”
Father Noah saw Ham coming toward him wearing his garment. “What is the meaning of this boy? The tunic be no plaything. It was made by the hand of the Lord God himself. Give it to me now, less you curse us all!”
“You’ve already done that Father. I cannot return it to you even if I wanted to. A man whose marriage is defiled is not fit to wear the garment, you know that.”
“You’re talking like a fool, boy,” Noah fumed. “Give it back!” He reached for Ham to snatch the garment.
Ham side-stepped the advance with ease and watched his father stumble to the ground.
Japheth stepped in between Noah and Ham. “That’s enough Ham. Give it back.”
Japheth tried to take it. But Ham dodged him easily and pushed him to the ground with incredible force.
Shem looked at Father Noah. His face was ashen. Was the garment giving Ham power? Had the Lord God accepted the youngest son?
Just then, Noah’s wife came out of their tent wearing a robe, but not her usual garment that had been Mother Eve’s.
“Tell him mother,” Ham goaded. “Tell him what happened.”
Noah’s wife turned red. “Nothing has happened, you fool. Give your father his garment this instant!”
“Why are you angry at me, Mother?” Ham asked. “I only did what Father refused to do. Now all that he owns is mine and I shall lead all the tribes.”
“What is this nonsense the boy speaks of woman?” Noah demanded.
She blushed even more and dropped her head.
“Ham is still too full of the wine from last eve,” Shem said, interrupting, “and now his mouth reveals his desire to rule over his brothers. Strong drink has birthed these lies. Come Father,” Shem said as he took his father’s arm and led him away from the others, “let us go and check the vines this morning. When Ham sobers up, Japheth and I will talk sense into him, and he will return your garment to you.”
“But Ham refused to return the garments. He hid them—and Japheth and I hid the knowledge of what Ham did to Mother. Yet, when Mother grew ill and round with child, Father Noah grew suspicious. He kept asking Mother, ‘Where is your garment?’ But she would never tell him. Father Noah thought that perhaps he had broken his vow of celibacy while he was drunk. But the fact that she couldn’t produce her garment, convinced him that Ham had uncovered his wife.”
“Poor Father Noah,” Peleg said. “So that is why he never had any more children?”
“How could he? His own wife was defiled. To know her again after that is forbidden,” Father Shem said.
“And that is why we never record your mother’s name on the tablets?” Peleg asked.
“My mother could never be named after that,” Father Shem said as tears formed in his eyes. “She was a dear woman. But what she did, even unwittingly, was too shameful to be recorded. If we had, her name would have become a disgrace and a byword to all the generations to come.”
Peleg was silent, giving Father Shem time to grieve. I didn’t know a great king like Melchizedek still cried as we do. Peleg looked around, needing some way to busy himself. Finally, he reached for the pitcher of steaming cacao and filled Father Shem’s empty cup to the brim.
Father Shem composed himself and continued.
Not only had Ham corrupted Father Noah’s wife, but he also took the garments made by the Lord God. Noah’s own father, Lamech, gave those garments to him. Father Noah looked everywhere for them. He had all the tents and dwellings searched but couldn’t find them. Noah was devastated. Mother was a broken woman. For a long while, Father spoke to no one. He kept to himself most days. He rose early in the morning and spent his time seeking the Lord God.”
“I would have killed Ham!” Peleg blurted out, unable to contain his anger any longer. “And what about Ham’s wife? Why didn’t she do something?”
“She didn’t know,” answered Father Shem. “Japheth and I told no one what really happened—not even our own kin. Ham had only told us what he did, so everyone just assumed that mother was pregnant with Father Noah’s child. That was Ham’s plan all along. He wanted Noah’s mantle and a double-portion.”
“What do you mean?” Peleg asked. “Why did Ham think the Lord God would honor him after doing such a wicked thing?”
“Ham was deceived by his own reasoning. He remembered the blessing and command the Lord God spoke to us when we left the ark and returned to dry land. Don’t you remember, boy?” asked Melchizedek sharply.
“Uh—” Peleg stammered, caught off guard by the question. “Of course, Father Shem—the Lord God said—ah—in the record it says—”
“And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them: Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.”
“Good,” Melchizedek nodded, satisfied. “Ham thought whoever had the most sons and daughters would be the most obedient. He remembered the wicked ways of the Nephilim of olden days who married many wives and mated with near kin to greatly increase their numbers and gain dominion. Ham thought he could do the same. Plus, he knew Father Noah wouldn’t kill him because he feared the Lord God—”
“Oh yes,” Peleg said, almost jumping in his seat, “before the Lord God gave the command to replenish the earth, He warned you saying—
“And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”
“Exactly,” Father Shem said. “But Father Noah was still righteous in the Lord God’s eyes, even though his own son dishonored him. Noah still bore the approval of the Lord God and always remember, my son, the mantle must be given—not taken.”
“Yes, my lord.” Peleg nodded solemnly.
“Finally, when Mother bore Canaan, Father Noah called us and our families to the altar. He prepared the sacrifices for the altar and performed the Rite of Passing, except he had no garments to give—just the words of blessing that would grant his authority to the chosen son. Ham was gloating because he thought he had forced Father Noah’s hand—Noah would have to claim Canaan as his son to spare himself further humiliation. Then, Canaan would receive the same portion as Japheth, Ham, and I, which meant that Ham would really receive a double portion. Plus, Ham had the garments from the Lord God, ensuring that he would rule over us. Ham couldn’t wait for Father to speak the blessing. Then what Father Noah did, surprised everyone—
“Then he said: Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants he shall be to his brethren. And he said: “Blessed be the Lord, The God of Shem, and may Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and may he dwell in the tents of Shem; and may Canaan be his servant.”
“Father Noah spoke a curse over Canaan and did not mention Ham at all! He passed no blessing on to his own son,” Melchizedek said. “Father named me as the priest in his stead when he said, ‘blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem’. Ham was furious—instead of him ruling over us, Father Noah spoke a curse over all Canaan’s descendants—even his name “Canaan” means to be humbled.”
Peleg said nothing for a while, not wanting to ask the great King Melchizedek a foolish question. Yet, when Father Shem seemed content to drink his cacao without any further stories to tell, he couldn’t contain himself. “But, Father Shem,” Peleg blurted out. “Ham’s descendants are not cursed. They are not our slaves. At this very moment Nimrod rules over all our kin and he has our garments!”
“Ah, yes,” Father Shem said, “Did you forget the generations, my boy. You are supposed to have memorized them by now, mmh?”
Peleg blushed realizing his careless blunder. “Oh right—only Canaan’s descendants are cursed, not Ham’s. Father Noah should have cursed Ham’s descendants too!”
“Boy, you still have much to learn before you can serve as a righteous priest,” Father Shem said, “No one can curse what the Lord God has already blessed. The Lord God blessed Father Noah as well as Ham, Japheth, and me. And as angry as he was with Ham, Noah never would have cursed innocent children. Ham’s other sons, Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, had done no wrong. Noah loved his grandsons.”
“Oh—I see,” Peleg said. He lowered his head, embarrassed he had been so quick to judge. “I will try to be more compassionate.”
“You will, I am sure of it,” Father Shem said. “Ruling with compassion takes time to master. That is often why the Lord God humbles us before we are exalted. Years of mocking and rejection, tempered Father Noah’s heart. The loss of so many brethren - destroyed in the Flood - made him respect life more than any other man. Even though Ham’s betrayal cut deep, Noah would never have taken his son’s life. Noah felt like a failure because Ham didn’t learn from all the years of his teaching. He couldn’t understand how Ham could yield to the sins of the Nephilim even after seeing the consequences. And it hurt him to punish Ham because he still loved his son. Noah did the most gracious thing he could under the circumstances—he limited the seed of Canaan and spoke no blessing over Ham.”
“It is a disgrace indeed,” Peleg said. “I understand now why we only speak of it from father to son and never record it. But Father Shem, there is still the question of the garments. Nimrod, the son of Cush, has them. They belong to us. When will we get them back?”
King Melchizedek sighed. “My son. Now that you fully know our past, and understand the heart of our Father Noah, let this bitterness pass from you. Ham hid the garments for years, out of spite and eventually fear. He learned the shame of his actions was a greater punishment than death. Even his innocent children—Cush, Mizraim, and Phut suffered from the rumors of their father’s actions. Not only that, but Ham also ruined his bond with his father, mother, brothers, and the Lord God. Ham never wore the garments again. Eventually he passed the garments to his eldest son Cush. Cush had always been one of Noah’s favorite grandsons. When Noah discovered Cush had the garments, he didn’t have the heart to take them away. He felt that in some way, this would bring a little honor back to Cush, who as the eldest, would look after his brothers Mizraim and Phut. So, the sons of Shem will not attempt to take the garments of the Lord God back because we honor Father Noah’s wishes. And—we honor the one who wears the garment, understood?”
“Yes, Father Shem,” Peleg said. He furrowed his brow and bit his lip to restrain himself from screaming—But it’s not fair!
“Don’t look so forlorn young Peleg,” Father Shem laughed. “Those garments the Lord God made for Father Adam and Mother Eve are only a shadow of things to come. The real garment shall be worn by the Seed that is yet to be, and you—son of Shem, son of Arphaxad, son of Salah, son of Eber—are the Bearer of the Seed. You can afford to be gracious, for the Lord God has blessed you, especially in these dark days ahead.”
“Dark days?” Peleg asked. “You speak as if something bad is going to happen.”
“Do not be afraid Peleg,” Melchizedek said, “The Lord God has shown me what must come to pass and what you must do.