Then he ran as fast as he could toward him and executed the best flying tackle in the history of the world. He hit Peleg so hard the two of them went tumbling head over heels together for about ten yards and ended up in a jumbled pile of heads, arms and legs.
“What on earth did you do that for, Joktan?”
“You just about got your head knocked off by a load of bricks older brother. Now, pay attention to what’s going on around you.”
“Uh, thanks, I guess I got distracted by the tower. I never noticed all the men working on it before. There must be hundreds of them. I never got close enough to see them before. They looked like ants to begin with.”
“And you two troublemakers are gonna get squished like ants if you don’t get out of here.”
The two boys turned around at the sound of the voice to see a very large man standing over them. Joktan recognized him as the construction boss Leban. He had the foreman standing with him, both men looked very upset.
“But, we were going to work for you today!” Joktan sputtered.
“You may have thought you were, but we can’t afford anymore accidents around here. There are some people in this valley that don’t want the king to have this tower built and we don’t want to give them any cause to try to stall this project. So you two little boys head on home and don’t come back. Do you hear me?”
Peleg wasn’t sure what to say, but Joktan jumped up and said, “Wait a minute, you can’t kick me out. My father is an elder of this town and…”
“Look kid,” the construction boss said leaning directly into Joktan’s face, “we have a lot of work to get done before the king comes to inspect our progress and we don’t need two troublemakers in the way. Now, get out of here and don’t come back!”
Joktan became angry and even as Peleg was pulling him away from the two men he shouted over his shoulder, “Our father was one of the original settlers in this valley and he won’t take it lightly for you to treat us this way. You’ll hear from us again.”
The construction boss laughed and said, “Sure, little boys you go home and tell your Daddy.” The two men laughed heartily as they turned toward the construction site and walked away.
# # #
When the boys got home, they found their parents in a very animated discussion.
“What are we going to do Eber? We can’t just disobey the King! They said that we had to sell them most of our crop of hay to make more bricks for the tower.”
“I know, I know…but I can’t just go along with it either. We need that hay to feed our livestock. Also, I’ve been praying about this tower and I believe that it is being built as an intentional insult to God by the King.”
“Why would King Nimrod do that?”
“Because he thinks that being the mightiest warrior of all and being our king makes him greater than God!”
“So because of that the Lord told you not to cooperate?”
“Not directly. But Nimrod’s tower and city are the products of disobedience of the Lord’s command to great grandfather Noah. The Lord told great grandfather to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth. Like I said before we’ve been doing the first two all right, but now people are intentionally disobeying the third. I just can’t go along with it.”
“What will they do when you refuse?”
Eber shook his head and said, “I don’t know, wife, I just don’t know.”
Adah took her husband’s arm and headed back to the house.
The two boys had stopped behind a haystack to listen to what their parents were saying. After their parents started back to the house, Peleg leaned his back against the stack, slumped down to the ground and said, “Wow. Pop’s in a real pickle here. Who do you disobey, the Lord or the King?”
Joktan looked irritated and said, “It seems simple enough to me. You obey the king. He’s the one with the power to hurt you.”
Peleg looked up at his younger brother in amazement, “But obedience to the Lord is always the most important thing Joktan. How can he disobey the Lord? He’s more powerful than the king.”
Joktan shook his head and looked at the shrinking figures of his parents as they walked across the field toward the house.
“I’m not so sure about that, if the Lord didn’t want the city of Babylon or the great tower built, wouldn’t He stop it…if He could?”
Peleg stood up quickly and looked his brother in the eye, “What do you mean, ‘if He could?’ Don’t you think that they Lord could stop it from being built if He wanted to?”
“I don’t know. I know that we’ve heard all the stories from our parents and our grandparents about the great flood and all about Father Adam and Mother Eve but I haven’t seen Him do anything. I’m not so sure that those stories are any more than that – just stories. Now, the city and that tower are real. There is no denying that. I think Pop’s wrong this time. He should sell the hay.”
Peleg just stared at his brother. He couldn’t believe his ears. He was so stunned by what he heard, he couldn’t say anything back.
Joktan turned and headed for home.
Peleg slumped back down to the ground and closed his eyes in prayer.
“Lord, my brother is bent on disobedience. Help me to stand with you.”
* * *
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