Summary and Analysis Chapter 2
Samson: a mute, freed slave rescued from a Roman prisoner caravan.
Daniel orders Malthace and Joel to wait. Daniel explains to Ebol that he knows them from Galilee and that they had wandered into Rosh’s territory inadvertently. The sentry orders Daniel to get rid of them because Daniel is needed to help free a slave from a Roman contingency. Rosh thinks the brute strength of the slave will be useful.
Joel begs to meet Rosh. Daniel refuses, but it is too late. The caravan is approaching. Joel recognizes the danger his sister would face if the Romans discover them. He listens to Daniel in regard to Thacia but refuses to hide himself. There is no time to argue. Joel is told to keep quiet and out of the way but defiantly insists on participating. The fight ensues and Daniel easily overcomes the fat, scared guard. The black slave is freed.
Daniel tries to convince Rosh that they have “a new recruit,” but Joel says that he did not come to stay. Rosh threatens that after what Joel has seen, he must. Joel’s fortitude in resisting Rosh pleases Daniel. He is not intimidated by Rosh and insists that he must take his sister home. Rosh agrees that Joel may be of use to him when Joel’s family moves to Capernaum. Daniel is disheartened that Rosh is more interested in Joel’s future ability to help than the task Daniel has just accomplished.
Joel and Malthace leave. The rebels gather for dinner; the freed slave, newly christened “Samson,” is among them. Rosh orders Daniel to remove Samson’s shackles; Daniel knows this will take all night. When he finally manages to saw through the iron, Samson is so grateful that he falls to his knees. Daniel is irritated and tells Samson that it is Rosh to whom he owes his gratitude.
Several key issues are broached in this chapter: the treatment of women, the fate of slaves, the reality of the Roman soldiers who carry out the Empire’s commands, and the dark side of the character Rosh.
Joel flies into a panic when he sees the caravan approaching. It is soon understood what Joel fears. As the soldiers and prisoners pass by, the boys see “a drab cluster of women, herded close together, urged on by the flicking whips of two or more guards in the rear.” If caught, Malthace assuredly would face a life of sexual enslavement.
(The entire section is 621 words.)