Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 658
Daniel bar Jamin: an eighteen-year-old escaped slave living in the hills above Galilee.
Joel bar Hezron: also eighteen, son of a rabbi.
Malthace (also called “Thacia” or “Thace”): Joel’s twin sister.
Leah: Daniel’s fifteen-year-old sister, who seems to have lost her mind.
Grandmother: Daniel and Leah’s grandmother, to whom the children were entrusted after being orphaned.
Amalek: the blacksmith to whom Daniel had been sold.
Simon the Zealot: a kind man who had also been enslaved to Amalek.
Rosh: the rebel leader who finds Daniel and trains him to fight the Romans.
Ebol: a young sentry who works for Rosh.
Daniel bar Jamin is scanning the mountainside above the town of Galilee in Israel. He is waiting to catch another glimpse of two figures he had previously spied. Daniel sees that the pair must be brother and sister. He hears the girl’s voice clearly, and the sound jars his memory. He recognizes the teenaged boy as Joel bar Hezron, the rabbi’s son, and that the girl must be his twin sister, Malthace.
It has been five years since Daniel has seen anyone from his hometown. Daniel is hiding because he escaped a life of slavery. Discovery might return him to servitude, but he greets the pair anyway, longing for contact with his past life.
Joel returns Daniel’s greeting. He recognizes Daniel as the runaway slave but tells him that no one would blame him for escaping his owner, Amalek. Daniel asks for news of his family. Thacia knows only that Daniel’s sister, Leah, never comes out of the house.
Daniel describes his escape and life in the hills and how the zealot Rosh found him. Daniel thinks he has found a place and a purpose: fighting the Roman occupation of Israel and freeing the Jews.
Joel describes his own life in Galilee and says his family is about to move to Capernaum. Joel is bitterly opposed to doing so. He wants to stay in Galilee; he is certain that deliverance for the Jews is soon coming and will begin in Galilee. Joel has heard of Rosh, and like many others, he believes Rosh to be the Messiah for whom the Jews have been waiting.
Daniel and Joel bond over their mutual hatred of the Romans and admiration of Rosh. Joel seems prepared to give up everything to join the cause. But Joel has a lot to lose: his money, his career, and a loving family. Daniel, by comparison, has nothing. The conversation comes to an abrupt end when Malthace spots...
(The entire section contains 658 words.)
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