The Bronze Bow: Chapter 5 summary

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With the harvest season of Nisan drawing to a close, Daniel becomes impatient to take the fight to the Romans. He doesn't understand why Rosh lingers in the mountains, giving everyone seemingly menial tasks.

As he broods, Daniel remembers Joel bar Hezron, the young man who climbed up to the mountain stronghold with his sister, Thacia. He thinks that Joel would be willing to join Rosh's band of soldiers if he has another chance. Buoyed with hope, he requests Rosh's permission to seek out Joel in Capernaum. The leader of the Zealots is skeptical, but consents to let Daniel go.

As Daniel enters the city, he is greeted by strange and wonderful sights. He marvels over the abundant produce in the marketplace, the ships in the harbor, and most of all, the day's catch the fishermen are bringing in. A young woman offers him some freshly cooked fish for his breakfast and tells him that everyone is waiting for the carpenter teacher. When Daniel sees Jesus, he is fascinated by the preacher's aura of vitality and strength. He stays to listen to Jesus' words, but finds himself irritated at the easy presence of Roman soldiers among the Jewish populace.

Frustrated with the reminder of Israel's captivity, Daniel decides to make his way to Joel's house. At Rabbi Hezron's house, he is initially greeted by a stunned Thacia. However, Joel enthusiastically invites Daniel in, despite the latter's acute embarrassment. Everything Daniel knows about the Pharisees makes him uncomfortable in this lavishly opulent atmosphere. Yet, it is clear that Joel is ecstatic Daniel has come and no set precedents or Pharisaical laws are going to prevent him from thoroughly enjoying his friend's company.

Daniel soon meets the intimidating Rabbi Hezron, who glances with distaste at the clothing on Daniel's back; after all, anyone who steps into a Pharisee home must take off his cloak to avoid spiritually contaminating the home. At the table, Daniel finds himself out of his element; he is confused and frustrated at the many ceremonial laws and unspoken traditions governing the ingestion of food in such a home. Daniel's only guide is his hunger, but he is unable to satisfy his appetite openly.

Rabbi Hezron quizzes Daniel about his parents. However, the Pharisee's patronizing air and condescending questions deeply offend Daniel. It is not long before an argument threatens the peace of the atmosphere. Frustrated at his thwarted hunger, Daniel lashes out. When he expresses his deep anger at the Roman presence in Israel, Rabbi Hezron sternly counters with the assertion that the Jews should be thankful for any conceivable Roman largesse towards them. He cites the example of a new synagogue built with Roman funds.

Daniel responds that he will never be thankful for a synagogue built with the blood-tainted funds of Roman generosity. The Rabbi rebukes the young man and counsels him to endure what God has seen fit to allow. He criticizes what he considers the seeming lack of judgment displayed by the Zealots, asserting that their ill-founded rebellions have only succeeded in causing more Jewish deaths and the imposition of higher taxes on the people. It is his belief that the Law given to Moses and the prophets will endure long after the Romans are gone. He wants his son, Joel, to devote himself to the laws of his faith rather than to dedicate himself to a senseless, physical conflict against a superior army.

Daniel leaves the house with a bad taste in his mouth. Not only has he lost a potential recruit, he has lost the first friend he has made in a long while.

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