The Proposal (Part 11): Where It All Began
What Kelly saw made her gasp as she sat on the sofa in front of the huge fireplace and looked at the image. It was a small, crude drawing on the scroll Mr. Destiny had rolled out on the coffee table. An image she had seen before, at least one like it.
The two men shared a knowing glance and Mr. Fate asked her: “Why did that drawing startle you?”
“Because it is of the idol Moloch, or Baal, or both.”
“Tell us what you know about it.” Mr. Fate said.
“How much do you want me to tell?” Kelly asked.
“Everything you know” he replied.
Kelly took a deep breath and looked at the dreadful image before her of an idol shaped like a bull with his arms outstretched and a fire in his belly.
“He was an idol that was worshiped by the Ammonites. A big bronze bull. Worshipers would put a big fire in it until he was red hot from the top of his horns to the tips of his fingers. Then…”
She had to stop and compose herself she was crying but trying not to.
Mr. Destiny offered her a bottle of water an she gratefully took a drink.
Kelly went on, “Then people would put their own babies onto the searing hot hands to be burned to death. They had flutes and drums playing to drown out the screams of their dying children.”
The Weight of Brokenness
Kelly didn’t or couldn’t continue.
It was Mr. Destiny who broke the silence. “At the time they were caught up in a mass delusion. They thought that since everyone else thought it was ok, then it must be.”
For the next two hours he showed Kelly the accounts of people and their dying regrets for being part of the worship of such a horrible idol that had been banished a generation before under King Hezekiah.
Tenderly he said: “Kelly,” he chose his words carefully. “The fate my family was saved from was horrible beyond description, to be sure. But the holocaust my family went through was someone else killing our children…and our parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters.”
He went on: “This was a culture sacrificing their own children with their own parents’ knowledge and consent. They believed it was for their own good. They thought they were purifying them through fire. But in the end the crowds are gone, the false priests are gone. On their deathbed it is a matter between them and God.”
Kelly sat silent and let her mentor speak.
“Our children are…. our chance for immortality. A piece of us lives on, here on earth, after we are gone. Imagine the despair of a dying father or mother and the deep regret they feel for sacrificing their own child to a false god.
The realization that their blood-line will die with them causes them to turn to the only chance they ever really had at immortality…. God, and an eternity in Heaven.”
Dying Regrets of a King
He then opened the first Latin translation and let Kelly read.
The historical significance of the words she took in were like getting lost in an ancient world. What she read was not really a big secret however. It was the dying regrets of none other than King Manasseh himself. But there were a lot of gaps in the historical record that were filled in by what she read. Through his words, it was clear the burden of responsibility of restoring idols and alters that his father Hezekiah had torn down was crushing. However, he talked about his defeat at the hand of the Assyrian kings, the humiliation of his imprisonment in Babylon…. And his repentance.
When Kelly finally looked up from the book she said: “There are details I didn’t know, but this really isn’t a secret.”
“You’re right Mr. Fate said. “But he was the King. Who is the King going to unburden his soul to? The high priest? …yes. And he would have offered sacrifices according The Law. He did all of that. But in his dying days he chose to share his secrets with a lowly barber…a Sapar Maazinn in Hebrew. A Barber-Listener.”
“You mean a Hairdresser-Listener?” Kelly corrected.
Remembering their conversation when Mr. Fate first arrived in London, Mr. Fate said: “You are correct, Hairdresser-Listener.”
He went on: “I think of it as the king leading by example.” He motioned to the books and said: “All of this started with him. In a way he gave an outlet to the people who had wrongly followed him to tell their deepest secrets, and you have just read many of them.
The Shackled King
Mr. Destiny pointed to a shadow box on the mantle above the huge fireplace. It contained an ancient pair of bronze shackles. He announced with no small amount of gravity in his demeanor. “Those are the very shackles King Manasseh wore after he was taken into captivity in Babylon. In the vault is the hook they put through his nose.”
Kelly got up and walked over to the fireplace. She looked at the shackle through the glass for a very long time. When she spoke, the only way she could express her feelings were words from one of her favorite songs. It’s a verse Chris Tomlin added to the song Amazing Grace:
“My chains are gone. I’ve been set free. My God my Savoir ransomed me, and like a flood, His mercy reigns, unending love amazing grace.”
Then she said: “It is right they are open.”
The two men looked at the woman they had chosen to carry on this ancient tradition and shared a knowing smile. They had chosen well.
Mr. Fate finally said: “Mr. Destiny you might have given away one of our biggest surprises.”
“Indeed, I did my friend, Indeed I did.” Mr. Destiny Responded.
“After what I’ve seen, what other surprises can I expect?” Kelly asked.
“Trust us.” Mr. Fate said. “There are surprises in store that are literally beyond your wildest imagination.”
- The Proposal (part 10): Secrets of Ancient Soldiers
- The Proposal (Part 9)
- The Proposal (Part 8)
- The Proposal (Part 7)
- The Proposal (Part 6): Listening to Destiny and Fate
- The Proposal (Part 5): Twist of Fate
- The Proposal (Part 4): Destiny’s Place
- The Proposal (Part 3): Close Shave with Mr. Destiny
- The Proposal (Part 2): Continued in London
- The Proposal (Part 1): A Short Story Mystery