Throughout the course of the novel, twins Joel and Malthace bar Hezron disagree on a number of things, but two exceptionally big points of contention between them are the family's move to Capernum and the trustworthiness of their new acquaintance, Daniel.
The bar Hezron family is moving to Capernaum from the village of Ketzah because their maternal grandfather has left his house to Mother. Malthace is excited about moving, looking forward to living in the big house in the city with all its "shops and people, and a school with the best teachers in Galilee." Joel, however, is not at all happy about moving. He enjoys the freedom of the small village where they are living now, and he also harbors a strong hatred for the occupying Roman forces, and feels that he will have more contact with them in the city. Capernaum is home to a great Roman fortress, and Joel dreads the thought of having to see the soliders "all the time, strutting around the streets."
Joel and Malthace also disagree about their new friend, Daniel. Joel is immediately drawn to the rebellious young boy, and longs to be included in his planned activities against the Romans. In contrast, Malthace receives Daniel less warmly into their lives. She is irritated by his brashness and dark nature, and fearful that he might distract her brother from the life course already laid out for him. Malthace is intelligent and introspective, however, and eventually accepts Daniel and the cause to which he is so passionately devoted. Once convinced that his purposes are just, she becomes a valuable asset in the quest Daniel and Joel undertake in defiance of the Romans.