Last Updated on June 1, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 609
Marcus: a Roman soldier for whom Daniel must perform work in Simon’s shop.
Daniel leads his grandmother’s funeral procession. It is a meager affair. After the burial, Daniel runs into Simon, who has a proposition. Simon is intent on following Jesus around the countryside, but his shop will be idle; he asks Daniel to take it over.
Daniel is moved by Simon’s generosity, but he feels that accepting Simon’s offer will be one more responsibility tying him down. Daniel also continues to miss the freedom and excitement of life with Rosh.
Daniel also protests that no one will be available to care for Leah. When Simon offers his house, which is connected to the shop, Daniel decides that he must stay to take care of his sister. Leah, “the weakest of them all,” had defeated him.
Simon amends his offer with one condition: Daniel must agree to repair items brought into the shop by Roman soldiers. Daniel refuses at first, but Simon insists. He argues that refusing to do the work “could cost half the lives of the town.” Simon sees how defeated Daniel looks but assures him that there “are Zealots in the blacksmith shops too.”
Leah is afraid to move into her new home because she must venture outside. Malthace convinces her that riding in a cart with curtains drawn “like the Queen of Sheba” will give the girl privacy and dignity. Leah agrees to go and takes with her a loom, the only item of value that the family possesses.
Daniel tries to do all the chores typically divided on gender lines. He does not think Leah can or will do them, but she surprises him. She has knowledge of weaving, baking, and gardening.
Soon, Daniel faces his first test of Simon’s order when a Roman comes into the shop. Daniel is surprised by the soldier’s youth. The soldier waits patiently while Daniel stalls as long as possible.
Evident in Leah’s “defeat” of Daniel are the parallels to Jesus, for he too possesses none of the brute strength of Rosh or the consuming hatred of Daniel. By all human standards, Jesus is weak. But by becoming the leader the Jews have long awaited, Jesus will defeat those who seem much mightier than he does.
Daniel’s (albeit grudging) compliance to serve the Roman...
(The entire section contains 609 words.)
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