Last Updated on June 1, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 502
Daniel receives word from Ebol that his grandmother is close to death. Although time is of the essence, Daniel waits for half a day before he heads down the mountain and back to his old home. When he arrives, two women inform Daniel that his grandmother and sister have been locked in the house for ten days. They will not enter or offer any help other than tossing bread through the window because they say they fear the demons that possess Leah.
Daniel reluctantly forces his way into the hovel when Leah fails to respond. When he does enter, Leah shrinks away from him in fear. Daniel sees that his grandmother has not yet died. She is very weak but pleased that he has come. Daniel does what he can, but he has no knowledge of nursing, and it is difficult. One neighbor eventually offers him a saucer of oil and a wick. Daniel is touched by the gesture, having forgotten that though many of the neighbors had acted callously, they were capable of kindness too.
His grandmother is slipping away. With Leah kneeling at his side, Daniel offers his grandmother comfort in the form of Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd.” Sometime during the night, her breathing ceases and she passes away.
The symbolism of the number three appears once again. Ebol waits three days before giving Daniel his message, three neighbors await Daniel’s return, and Daniel recalls the Bible story his grandmother had told him about three martyrs who escape the fiery furnace. Whereas the number three previously has symbolized the Holy Trinity, here it takes on another meaning: waiting for divine intervention. For example, in Exodus 10:22, the people must wait three days for God to deliver them from darkness; in Exodus 19:10, God instructs the Israelites to wait for three days for his sign of safety. In Daniel’s case, each set of the number three in this chapter finds...
(The entire section contains 502 words.)
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