Chapter Twenty-two

He is despised and rejected by men,…Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Isaiah 53:3,4

“Thank you very much, Rabbi.”

“Yes, yes. You’re welcome. Now, off with you.”

Jesus stood, gathering the scroll with reverence, replacing it in its slot with a final, loving stroke.

Rabbi Davi nodded, satisfied, then sniffed. Of course the boy should put the scroll away properly. With respect.

Jesus turned and left.

As Rabbi Davi waited for his next student, he pondered the misfortune that had stuck him with Jesus as a student. The boy was bright, respectful, but his mother…

Rabbi Davi shook his head, annoyed.

Joseph had done the right thing by law, marrying the chit, though most in the community were of the persuasion she should have been stoned. Rumor was she had given birth far too soon after their marriage for Jesus to be legitimate. But, she was married, so the murmurings grew no more heated than the many whispers behind Joseph and Mary’s backs.

Rabbi Davi growled and let his head fall back. One little mistake—nodding off while Rabbi Ezra read the Scriptures—and the head rabbi had been all too eager to assign Jesus to him. He had already noticed the stigma attached to being Mary’s son’s teacher. The covert glances, the slights—just last week he noticed his position at Rabbi Ezra’s table had shifted down a few seats, farther away from the renowned rabbi.

With pursed lips, Rabbi Davi desperately sought a solution to his problem. Jerome was eager to please. And soon to become a rabbi himself. Perhaps now was a good time to consider seeing Jesus placed with another teacher?

Rabbi Davi jumped when the next student entered the room for personal instruction.

Straightening his prayer shawl, Rabbi Davi smiled.

Now here was a student who would go places in life—one who would make something of himself! A student he could be proud of.

Asher, with exaggerated humbleness, removed the scroll from its resting place and settled next to Rabbi on the bench, opening to where they had left off. As Asher began to read, Rabbi Davi nodded, a pleased smile creeping across his haggard face.

Asher wouldn’t become a lowly carpenter like that other boy. Asher was going to continue in the study of the Scriptures, preparing to one day be a priest. With his genius, Rabbi Davi wouldn’t be surprised if this student made the history books one day. That other one, well, that other one was best forgotten.

 

Wisdom paced, flinging her hand toward Rabbi Davi and his student, Asher.

“What is he thinking? How can he possibly prefer that young man to Jesus? Is he really that blind?”

Discretion grasped Wisdom’s arm, halting her frantic footsteps.

“Wisdom. Be at peace. Think. Do you remember what the Master spoke to the prophet Isaiah? ‘He will be despised and rejected by men’?”

Wisdom tried to pull away.

“I know, but—”

“Wisdom. Enough. You are here to see He grows in wisdom, in favor with God and man. Let the Maker judge this one’s heart. Speak to those who will actually listen to you.”

Wisdom stilled. A breathless laugh huffed through her lips while a smile tugged at the corners.

“You are right, sister, as always. Thank you.”

Discretion wrapped her in a warm hug.

“Remember the words you spoke to your Solomon.”

“He wasn’t my Solomon…”

“Wisdom is slow to wrath, slow to speak, ready to hear at all times.”

Wisdom shook her head and grinned.

“You would think I would be telling you this instead of the other way around.”

Discretion pulled back and lightly tugged on a long strand of Wisdom’s dark hair.

“You would think.”

“Oh, you! Off with you, before Love decides to change your name to Wisdom and assigns me a new position.”

Discretion’s eyes widened.

“Hey! I like the sound of that.”

Laughing, Wisdom gently shoved her sister away from the pair studying the Scriptures.

“Okay, okay, you’ve made your point. I’ll see you later.”

Discretion gave her a cheeky grin.

“I love you.”

“I love you, too, dearest.”

Turning, Discretion walked out of the room, leaving Wisdom staring after her. Wisdom chuckled and shook her head. How like her sister to bring her focus so quickly back to the Maker. And make her laugh.

Wisdom took a deep breath and turned back to Rabbi Davi and Asher.

She would continue to whisper into his heart while he taught Jesus, but it was up to him to listen.

Wisdom unfurled her wings and soared through the roof, looking for Jesus. She chuckled as she spotted her sister far down the road, still walking.

Discretion had gladly accepted the Maker’s request for her to stay on Terra and help Wisdom. Anything to keep from flying.

Wisdom grinned. Discretion’s mistrust of heights aside, Wisdom was never so thankful for her levelheadedness and Spirit-filled words at just the right times.

She landed softly next to Jesus, who was testing a piece of wood under Joseph’s direction. Wisdom studied the pair, noting how quickly Jesus caught on and how kind and respectful He was of Joseph.

Sadness filled her heart.

She was not looking forward to the day when He was despised and rejected by men.

 

Lucifer sat upright in his throne, his jagged nails snapping on the rock.

“What? Baptized? Are you certain?”

The little angel trembled and shied away, trying to use those around him as cover. The circle surrounding him widened, leaving him exposed.

“Y-yes, your grace. Your majesty. Mighty one. The king’s spirit revealed himself to the people, and the boy’s father spoke. Aloud. To the people. ‘This is My Son, in whom I am well-pleased.’”

With a shout, Lucifer bounded from his throne, his hands clutching the air like they searched for something to throw.

“Folly!”

 

Folly’s head snapped up. Dread pooled in her stomach.

Lucifer had heard.

She tried to flee, but two dark angels flanked her, clamping their talons around her wrists. They dragged her to the throne room.

She trembled as she stared up at Lucifer, but masked it with a careless shrug.

“You rang?”

Lucifer’s teeth clicked as he snarled.

“Don’t get snappish with me! Have you heard? Have you heard what your carelessness at Bethlehem cost us? The king’s son lives! In human form! How dare you? I thought you had taken care of it!”

Folly shivered, but kept the bored look on her face even as fear filled her heart and overflowed. She had known this day was coming. Now that it was here…

“Answer me!”

Folly jumped and stuttered out a reply.

“What do you want me to say? That anyone not as stupid as you saw this day coming?”

Lucifer raised the back of his hand, and Folly cowed before him.

“Lucifer!”

The blow never came.

A fallen angel rushed to Lucifer’s side and whispered in his ear. Folly heard the words intended for Lucifer only.

“The maker sends for you.”

Lucifer dropped his hand. Folly stared at the pair, brows raised, lips parted.

Without another word, Lucifer turned and followed the messenger.

After he left the room, the angels holding her looked at each other, unsure of what to do next.

Folly jerked away.

“Unhand me, you fools! Lucifer will deal with me when he returns.”

One of them hesitantly let go. Folly shrugged off the other’s grasp. She flung her hair over her shoulder and marched away, nose stuck in the air.

Once she was out of sight, she bolted down the corridor.

She didn’t know what the maker wanted, but she didn’t want to be around when Lucifer returned. In an even more foul mood than he had left.

 

Folly eased into the room, straining to catch a glimpse of Lucifer’s face before he saw her. What had the king wanted? What did Lucifer want?

Lucifer turned at a whisper from one of his angels and spied her. A broad grin creased his face.

“Folly, come. I had to tell you!”

He held his hand out to her, not a trace of the rage he had been overcome by the last time she had seen him.

She gingerly took his fingertips and joined him and the others at his table.

Lucifer clapped his hands in glee.

“I received permission from the boy’s father to tempt him! I leave straightaway!”

Folly slanted him a side-long glance. Did he realize how ridiculous he sounded? Asking permission from the one he “no longer answered to” to be able to go against one of the sacred ones? Especially the sacred one?

She glanced away before he noticed her censure. She was lucky he had been called away before he had time to punish her for failing to kill the child, Jesus, when he was but a boy in Bethlehem.

“And I want you, my most trusted and esteemed advisors, to help me lay a trap he can never escape.”

Folly sucked in a breath. Advisors? Her? Her head swirled as the others bent to the task of the temptation of the holy one.

A grin slipped onto her face. Now was her chance to prove her worth. She knew just what questions needed to be asked.

 

Lucifer gripped his throne, staring straight ahead. The cavernous room was nearly empty, word having reached the hoards before his return.

Folly and his band of advisors stood before him, wishing they, too, could have escaped as readily.

“He had an answer to every one of my temptations.”

Folly didn’t bother to reply. She knew. She and a few others had secretly watched.

“My offer of my kingdom didn’t even faze him. He didn’t care to stop all the pain and suffering now instead of much later.”

Folly’s glance was sharp. He admitted his defeat? Out loud?

Lucifer’s despondent stare grew hopeful.

“Maybe he has another plan?”

Despair crashed over him once again, visible to all who were watching him.

“Of course he has another plan. He always does.”

The imprisoned angels shifted nervously as Lucifer let the silence lengthen and grow heavy.

“There’s only one thing to do.”

Folly jumped. She had almost become certain he wasn’t going to say another word.

Lucifer snapped his fingers.

“Folly! The rest of you. Come. We must not leave him alone until we find out what his plan is.”

One of the other angels stuttered.

“B-but, Lucifer. What can we do against one so mighty? The king’s son? What is your plan?”

Folly held her breath, grudgingly respectful of the little angel’s pluck in calling Lucifer out like that.

Lucifer’s eyes skimmed over the warped angel, his glance cool.

“I want him dead. Whatever the cost.”

Lucifer’s gaze slammed into Folly’s.

“I want what you promised me.”

Folly blinked, her mind scrambling for what she could have possibly said to him.

Lucifer spit out the words, daring Folly to contradict them.

“I want him here, with me, in this pit, where I get to torture him.”

 

Wisdom and Folly: Sisters by Michele Israel Harper, Chapter Twenty-two. Copyright © 2015. All rights reserved.

Art titled “.” by EmberRoseArt on deviantart.com. Copyright © 2011-2015.

Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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