Summary and Analysis Chapter 22
It is the Day of Atonement. Work has stopped for either worship or merriment. Daniel knows that Thacia will be among the women dancing in the village celebrations. He asks Leah to join him; she refuses but asks that her brother return with news of the festivities.
Daniel sees Thacia dancing. He is shaken by her grace and beauty. Daniel worries that his presence will embarrass her, so he runs away. Thacia follows him. She asks if he still considers her “just a pretty child.” Daniel confesses that he has seen her as a woman since the day he awoke in the passage, when she tended his wounds. Thacia does not try to hide her love, but Daniel is embarrassed again. He never meant for her to know of his love; he wanted to protect her. Thacia reminds him that she too took the vow. Daniel, though, is not ready to accept his feelings. Thacia sees his discomfort and lets him go.
When Daniel returns home, Leah wants to know everything, especially how Thacia looked. She asks Daniel to describe how she had danced and then takes a few steps herself. Daniel is impressed and pleased. He compliments Leah, saying, “You’re as pretty as any of them.” Leah clings to the praise and presses Daniel for more. She and Daniel sit down to an elaborate dinner. Daniel wonders what neighbor could have donated such an abundance of delicacies.
The answer shocks Daniel. Leah confesses that Marcus, the Roman soldier, has been paying regular visits to the house. It is he who brought the gifts.
The revelation inflames the embers of Daniel’s hatred. Daniel threatens to kill the soldier, but Leah pleads with her brother to not harm Marcus. Daniel agrees to let Marcus live if she will agree to never speak to him again. Daniel has no pity for Leah as she weeps. He storms out of their home. When he returns, Leah has retreated back into her depression.
The Day of Atonement is symbolically significant, but it is also ironic. While Daniel has atoned for his sins with Jesus, he...
(The entire section is 536 words.)