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: Approximately 1,000 years later on the Plains of Shinar, Adamah, First Dimension.
Peleg swept the remnants of his disastrous juggling accident away. After he had collected all the broken pottery pieces, tossed the smashed fruit, and righted the toppled furniture, there was just enough time to make a salve for his burn before his father returned. Eber did not like foolishness. Neither does Anissi. Peleg grimaced. I have probably ruined my chances with her. I thought she would love my playful side. Who knew she was so serious about that goddess nonsense?
Peleg thought about what his father would say about his juggling. Peleg laughed and imitated Eber’s baritone voice, “Boy, better to spend your days as the ant—working, not playing.” He was known for sayings like that. Eber and the other Elders would often share them after a day’s labor. There was talk of even having the scribes record the proverbs for the generations to come. Like, who would want to read those? We already hear them long into the day and well through the night. Inspired, he grabbed his father’s cloak from the hook, clothed himself in it, and hopped onto the footstool. This time he pointed his fingers and scowled, “A little sloth today, makes for an empty stomach tomorrow.”
“Son, I am glad you’ve taken the time to memorize my advice. Now if you would only take it to heart, you would be wise indeed,” Eber said, bending his neck as he stooped to enter through the door.
“Father!” Peleg said, removing the cloak swiftly, “I was just airing this out for you.” He placed it back on its hook.
“I am sure that is what you would have Father believe,” Joktan replied. He also had to stoop to enter the door.
“Brother do not despise my thoughtfulness. To honor one’s father is far richer than the choicest gold.” Peleg pulled his father’s chair out from the table with a flourish and placed a steaming bowl stew on the table. “For you Father.”
Joktan rolled his eyes.
Eber ignored them both and sat down to eat. “You two are like oil and water. Both needed, but never together.”
“We missed you at the city gate today?” Joktan said, taking the other bowl of stew for himself. “The plans for the Tower are underway and all are expected to attend.”
“Say there! That was mine,” Peleg said, trying to grab the bowl from his brother.
“There’s plenty more. Go get your own!” Joktan said, snatching the bowl back. Hot stew splashed everywhere, including Eber’s lap.
“Your mother would be ashamed to see you two now, may the Lord God bless her soul,” Eber said, as he dabbed at the wet mess on the table with a worn rag.
The young men looked down.
“Well, at least you have the decency to look repentant,” Eber said after a long pause. “You boys might as well eat. There’s no point in wasting a good meal.”
“But your brother is right, Peleg,” Eber said, slurping the hearty soup, “You should be at the gate, taking your rightful place. It is you who will be responsible after I am long gone. Each family must do his share of the work.”
“No, Father,” Peleg said, “we must do the work the Lord God has spoken. Where was it said for us to build with brick and mud? We should be exploring new lands and filling the earth. The waters have long receded, yet we tarry here, why?” Peleg continued, once he got started it was hard to stop. “Because of Nimrod, that’s why! His prowess as a hunter gives him no right to lead us into vanity.”
“Son, you speak as a foolish man,” Eber said, “Enough of this. He bears the garment of our Father Adam—may the Lord God bless his soul. We must honor him.”
“You mean he wears the garment stolen from Father Noah, which should rightfully be yours!”
“Son, we must be obedient to the providence of the Lord God who allowed it to happen. What seems as loss, often becomes gain as we trust the Lord.”
“Father, I honor your wisdom, but I don’t see how losing part of our birthright gains us anything. Are we to toil the long, hot days just to give glory to the son of a thief?”
“The one you disgrace with such talk is still our kin and, above all, the Lord God wants us to live in unity, not in violence as it was before the days of the Great Flood. Look at what just happened to the sons of Japheth. Their rebellion against Nimrod has led to naught. His men have subdued them. Now all the brethren submit to Nimrod. This must be the will of the Lord God or it could not be so.”
Peleg stared at his father in disbelief. “Are you under Nimrod’s spell too? Can’t you see what he is doing? Even now, he sets up an Image in the plain for all to worship. We are to follow the Lord’s voice, not bow down to some lifeless thing men have made.”
“Father, some say the Image in the plain speaks,” Joktan said. “It was all the men spoke of at the gate today.”
“Well, I don’t believe them,” Peleg said. “That is not the true Image. Father Shem said the true Image cannot be made with human hands. Those idol-lovers call themselves enlightened, but they only hear voices because of the smoke from their pipes.” Peleg pushed his bowl away and rested his elbows on the table. “Father, have you ever heard the Voice of the true God?”
“Perhaps once—long ago,” Eber said. He looked away.
“Do you think the Voice still speaks with Great Father Shem?” Peleg asked.
“You should ask him yourself. It’s been too long since we communed with our patriarch.” Eber gave him a long hard look. “I think it’s time for your next lesson.”
Peleg sat up straighter. My next lesson! I am finally old enough to know what the elders refuse to record.
Peleg pressed his father to commit. “We could make the trip before the next full moon. That would give us plenty of time to lead the sheep to pasture, and I really should hear the tales again. It is almost time for us to compare our stones.”
“Aye, I would love to see him again, but the Tower plans are well under way and we must do our share. Who will make our portion of bricks?” Eber drummed the table with his fingertips as he thought out loud. “What are you—eighteen now? You’re old enough to make the trip alone. You go. Joktan and I will fulfill our family’s duty.”
“Father, do you know Elder Sheba?” Joktan interrupted.
‘I believe so—why?” Eber asked.
“I want to meet him.”
“Peleg, isn’t that Anissi’s father?” Eber asked.
“Yes, but what business do you have with him, Joktan?” Peleg asked.
“Nothing really. I just want to talk with him. He’s the one they say heard the Image speak. I just want to know if the rumors are true, that’s all.”
Anissi raced up the stairs and through the door to her home. She glanced around the empty center room, and relaxed. Her parents had not yet returned from the fields. She carefully placed the goddess back onto its prominent position on the shelf and checked her reflection in the bronze dish mounted next to it on the wall. Long dark hair, lovely eyes looked back at her. She smiled. I do look a lot like the goddess, everyone says so. “Forgive me goddess.” She gently polished the figure, removing every trace of dust. “Now, they won’t ever know I moved you.”
“Who won’t know what?” a lilting voice asked from the doorway.
“Oh, it is nothing mother,” she said, flipping her hair off her shoulders. She greeted her mother with a kiss on each cheek. “I was just saying that you won’t ever need to know that stupid boy, Peleg. Peleg the Fool is what I call him now.”
“Oh, really now,” her mother kicked off her sandals and plopped onto the bench by the door. She dipped her feet into a basin of cool water. “I thought you and Peleg were getting along like the moon and the stars. When you see one—”
“Yes, yes, I know—the other is sure to follow,” Anissi interrupted, repeating the old saying before her mother could finish.
“I must say, your father and I were expecting talk of an arrangement or perhaps an offer has already been made?” Her mother teased, massaging her aching feet in the scented water. “That’s Eber’s boy is it not? He would be a fine catch.”
“Please mother, let me do that,” Anissi grabbed a cloth off the hook and knelt beside the bench. “You work too hard,” scolded Anissi.
“No choice, my dear,” her mother added, “It is what the gods demand.”
“No, it is what Nimrod demands,” Anissi said. She added more warm water to the basin and massaged her mother’s feet. “He should be ashamed of treating his kinsmen like the oxen of the fields.”
“Says who?” her mother demanded.
“And who might be Joktan, girl?”
“He’s Peleg’s brother.” She continued kneading the soles of her mother’s feet. “He’s charming. He carried my basket all the way to the plain the other day, which is more than Peleg ever did.”
“What!” Her mother almost tipped the basin over. Water sloshed onto the floor. “Anissi of Sheba, you should be ashamed of yourself, courting brothers, indeed! Your father will hear of this—”
“Now mother, don’t worry. It’s nothing. It’s just that Peleg never goes to the plain to work. He says it interferes with his studies. But Joktan often travels to and from the market and the plains, and whenever he sees me with Father, he carries my load. There is no courting. I just said Joktan was charming. That’s all.”
“Be wise, girl. Peleg is the first born of a good family. The Shemites have sheep and oxen with plenty to spare. He will bring a good bride’s price. This Joktan may be pleasing to the eye and sweet to the ear, but he will not be able to lavish you as the eldest will. Be wise, girl.”
“Mother, I told you,” Anissi said, “Peleg is a fool. He does not respect the Goddess. He says the Goddess is not Divine at all and we should not worship Her.”
“Shhh!” her mother whispered, placing her hand over her heart. She closed her eyes and spoke loudly, “Forgive us Goddess, we adore you above all, O Queen of Heaven.”
“Above all because you are the Mother of Earth and Life, it is so,” Anissi added the closing and placed a hand over her heart as well. “I am sure the Goddess understands. After all, I was just repeating what Peleg says, not what I think.”
Anissi dried her mother’s feet with a towel and lifted the basin. “I throw out Peleg’s thoughts just as I throw out this filthy water. I can’t believe I was considering that fool. I thought he was a true worshipper. But no, all he speaks of are the tales of old, which no one can prove. We have the Image we can see. The Goddess blesses all who bless her—”
“And curses all who fail to adore,” her mother added with a nod. “You are right to distance yourself, my child. The Shemites are a wealthy clan, but if they don’t honor the Goddess, you cannot wed their son. It is forbidden.”
“Agreed Mother,” Anissi said. “But what if one of their sons did honor the Goddess, would he be permissible?”
Peleg had been walking for two days. Plenty of time to think. Think about Anissi. Think about Joktan. Think about what Joktan was up to with Anissi’s father. Think about why his father was so committed to the Tower project, despite the words written on the stones. Think about Images speaking. Pure foolishness! But he also had time to think about Great Father Shem. He is so old. I wonder if he is still alert. Peleg stopped abruptly as the thought occurred to him. I wonder if he is even at his dwelling. Many tribespeople paid tribute to Father Shem now. Only he out of the three sons of Noah still remained. Some even called him a king. He was known as the great king of peace, Melchizedek, because he travelled amongst all the tribes resolving disputes and stopping the clans from warring as much as possible. Now that the clash between the sons of Japheth and Nimrod’s men was over and peace filled the plains, Father Shem might have returned home.
Peleg kept walking and hoping—please be home, please be home. He recalled his first visit when he was just a young boy to see Melchizedek in the city of Salem. Peleg still remembered Joktan’s scowl when he found out only the eldest would make the journey—
Peleg’s Time (8 years old): Location—Shinar, Adamah, First Dimension.
“But Father, it’s not fair. I want to see Grandfather too!”
“Not this time, son,” Eber chided. “You will be bored. Peleg must work very hard to learn the lessons grandfather teaches at his school. He must sit still and listen all day to learn the old ways, while you get to roam the fields and play with your friends.”
“Very well, Father,” Joktan said, already looking for his playmates, “I will stay. May the Lord God bless your journey.”
While Joktan ran off to join the young boys his age, Peleg loaded his satchel onto the donkey’s back and trailed his father. “This is a far journey. Why can’t you teach me the old ways?”
“It is tradition, Peleg. You must learn directly from the high priest how to write on the stones. In this way, knowledge is retained. When you are of age, we will compare my stones with yours and ensure nothing is amiss.”
“What stones, Father? I don’t have any stones,” Peleg said.
“Not yet, you don’t. But you will soon,” Eber said, pausing so Peleg could catch up. “Grandfather Shem will tell you more. We are almost there.” He slowed down as they approached Shem’s dwelling. The land began to slope toward the sky. Sheep dotted the hillside, too numerous to count. A clear stream ran down the rocky path leading to the patriarch’s home.
“When you enter, don’t forget to show our Elder proper respect. Wait for him to speak first, don’t interrupt, and please do not tire him with too many questions. Understood?”
“Of course, Father,” Peleg said.
“One more thing, please don’t touch—” Eber said.
Just then, a tall man emerged from the wooden structure. Peleg strained to get a better look. He appeared strong and not at all like the elderly king he had imagined.
“We bring you greetings and honor, Father,” Eber said with a bow.
“Why you don’t look old at all!” Peleg rushed forward and embraced Great Father Shem. He pulled at the man’s long beard. “Your beard is still dark as the midnight sky!”
“Peleg!” Eber shouted. “Mind your manners, boy.” He bowed again. “Please excuse him, my lord. He is yet a child who still needs the rod.”
Peleg imitated his father but kept his eyes on Elder Shem.
Shem laughed. “Rise, my sons. Come in, come in. Our meal awaits. I have been expecting you.”
“How did you know we were coming?” Peleg asked, following the Elder into the room. “Glory! Look at all your things. How did you collect so many?” Peleg gaped. Scrolls lined the walls from floor to ceiling, and in between the scrolls, a hodge-podge of jewels, fine colored fabric, headdresses, and even crowns were proudly displayed.
“Peleg!” Eber scolded. “Don’t touch that!”
He was a moment too late. Peleg had promptly picked a crown from the shelf and placed it on his head. “How do I look, Father Shem?” He posed with hands on hips and chin upturned.
“You look like the way the good Lord God intended,” the Elder said. His laughter filled the room.
Eber rushed to take the crown from his head.
“Leave it,” Father Shem said as he directed them toward a low table laden with fresh bread, fruit, and cheese. “All is well. It looks better on his head than on the shelf, indeed.”
“You are gracious, Father,” Eber said.
“At my age, my children are my greatest joy.” Father Shem lowered himself onto the cushion at the head of the table.
Eber took his place by Shem’s right side and waved Peleg toward the seat on the left.
Father Shem spoke a blessing over the food, saying many things about the Lord God, about the crops, about all the sons and daughters, until finally after a good long while, the Amen was spoken.
Peleg’s stomach growled. “Finally, I can eat,” Peleg said, reaching for the crusty bread on the platter.
A hard stare from Eber stopped his hand midair.
“I trust your journey was well.” Shem passed the platter to Eber.
“It was a fine journey, indeed, Father,” Eber served himself, before handing it to Peleg with a nod.
Peleg took as much as he could at one time, glad he had the excuse of eating to tune his elders out.
The two men talked of nothing but the tribes, new marriages, the birth of children, and the strange habits of some of their kin. The conversation was boring, but Peleg didn’t say so again after his father had given him a firm kick on his leg under the table. Instead, Peleg focused on the shelves and imagined where all the objects came from. Eventually, a young woman came in and removed the dishes from the table.
“Making idols, indeed!” Father Shem exclaimed at one point. “But, enough of the folly of the sons of Noah. It is truth that will keep our kin from falling once more.” Father Shem stood and selected a box off one of the shelves.
Peleg’s eyes lit up. Finally, something interesting.
Elder Shem lowered the wooden vessel carefully onto the table, opened the lid and pulled out an elaborate cloth cinched shut at the top with rope.
Peleg leaned forward.
Father Eber gave him the eye.
“This is my greatest treasure. It has been passed down from every father since Adam in our tribe.”
Shem untied the rope, unfolded the ornate fabric, and spread it across the table. His strong fingers were nimble and sure. He pulled out stone tables and raised them to the candlelight. They were etched with curious lines and figures. “My grandfather Methuselah taught me the meaning of these,” Shem said as he patted Peleg’s shoulder, “and his father Enoch taught him.”
“Enoch—glory be! The “taken one” touched these? How did Enoch learn? Did Father Adam teach him?”
“No, no, my boy,” Shem said, chuckling. “Only in part. Enoch was also taught by the Lord God Himself.”
“So, the tales are true! Did he really see God?”
“Not only did he see God, he left this earth to dwell with God,” Shem said, pointing to the sky. He lowered himself down to the bench. “My great-grandfather Methuselah saw him taken up with his own eyes.” Shem pulled out several elongated sticks with metal tips and a worn scroll and began to carve into the stone. “And now I shall teach you. Sit here.”
Shem began reading the tales from the tablets. He paused to explain the symbols and what each meant to Peleg as he read on and on: how the Lord God formed man from the dust of the earth, how Mother Eve was tempted and Father Adam sinned, their exile from the Garden, and how Great Father Abel was killed by his own brother Cain. Then after much yearning, his own patriarch, Father Seth, was born. Eventually all the sons and daughters multiplied greatly, until one day—the Watchers from heaven came and did that which they should not—
“Father Shem, what did they do?” Peleg interrupted.
“To even record it here would be a shame. But we speak of it here between father and son, so the wisdom learned from our sinful past is not repeated.”
He went on to speak of Father Enoch’s disappearance, the race of giant men roaming the earth, the killing of many people, the wickedness of all the people until one day the Voice spoke to his father Noah and said, “Build an ark, for only you have been found perfect in your generations.” With tears in his eyes, he read tales of the rebellious people, of Noah’s stubborn brothers and sisters who refused to repent.
Melchizedek composed himself and raised his voice, “It was in the 600th year, the second month, and the 17th day of my father Noah’s life when the heavens opened. Water fell from the sky. Water sprang from the earth—but not as the mist we were accustomed to. No, it burst forth, lifting the Ark from the ground. The people were pounding on the ark, screaming, begging, and cursing. But we could do nothing. The Lord God Himself shut the door and there was no way to open it. Even those giant ones could not force their way in. The cry of the people was so great we thought we would go mad from it until finally, there was complete silence. The silence was worse than the cries, for we knew what that silence meant. The prophecy had come to pass. The Lord God had destroyed all wickedness from the earth.”
“No, not all wickedness, Father Shem,” Peleg said, breaking the silence.
“What do you mean, son?” The Elder shifted in his seat.
“Isn’t Uncle Ham wicked?” Peleg asked, folding his arms tightly across his chest.
“Eber, what have you been telling the boy?” Father Shem asked.
“He is curious, Father and I cannot fend off his questions forever. He hears tales from all the kindred, some far from the truth. I thought it was time he heard directly from you.”
“I suppose that is wisdom. The boy surely carries the Seed and must know the truth.”
“But I know the truth,” Peleg said, raising his voice. “Uncle Ham uncovered his own father! He stole Great Father Noah’s tunic so he could give it to his own son.” He kept talking louder and faster. “Father Shem that should have been your garment, then you would have passed it on to my father, Eber, and then he would have given it to me. We are the priests of the Lord God!”
“Indeed!” Father Shem gave Eber a knowing look. “And that is all you will know for now.”
Peleg looked down.
“Perhaps,” Melchizedek added quietly, “there is more to being a priest than just an outer garment. Humility, compassion, and obedience are what the Lord God requires.”
“I do apologize Father Shem,” Peleg said quietly.
“You are forgiven,” the Elder said. “As I mentioned before, the truth is what is needed to bring our kindred together again. But it is not pleasant, and it is to be shared when you come of age.”
Father Shem walked toward the door and pulled the chord. A bell chimed. “Let us commune further and continue your lessons in the morning. But first, I have a special treat for such a bold young man who has travelled so far to gain wisdom.”
Peleg’s eyes brightened. “What is it?”
“A special drink, sweet as everything the good Lord God has made,” Father Shem said with a gleam in his eye. “It is from the cacao tree.”