The Tent

When they finally brought the garments to Aaron, and slipped them over his head, Moses stood back with tears in his eyes. ‘Oh, you just look, oh…’ he said. Aaron turned slowly round. He had finally become sure that when he sacrificed he found Yahweh himself. Yahweh and his people eating the common meal of the sacrifice together. Now it seemed strange that he had ever struggled. It seemed right that this glorious splash of colour should belong to so wonderful a thing. The blue and purple and crimson found their final climax in the weaving round the hem, where there were pomegranates worked, and between them, little bells, real bells that rang as he moved.
‘It will all be even better when Eleazar wears it,’ he commented comfortable, ‘he moves so much faster, and the bells will really ring out …’ For a moment, Moses’s face clouded.
‘You still miss her so much, don’t you? Miriam? I do too. And you will miss me, no, let me say it, let me say it. You just seem to go from strength to strength, and I am ageing fast. But there are my sons, and they love and will support you, and so will Joshua, you know how keen …’ Aaron knew it was a fatal thing to say before the words were even out. Joshua was ever-present, ever full of enthusiasm, and gifted with an incredible ability to say the wrong thing. ‘All right, but just promise me you will trust my Eleazar when the time comes …’ Moses dashed away the tears and nodded.
‘And if you think you are fine, Aaron, it is only because you have not seen all the other things for the Tent. The Ark! The wood is as smooth as satin and as hard as a rock, and the young man working the angels is a genius. They bend forward for Yahweh to stand on them, so He is supported on their wings. Just wonderful. And the curtains, cashmere, the woman organising work on those has devised an astonishing design, angels, and at once stately and terrifying,’ Moses was back in full happy flood, ‘and it will not matter that nobody much gets to see the Ark because everybody will see the angels on the curtains, and know that inside Yahweh is standing on angels very like them. Sometimes,’ he continued thoughtfully, ‘not seeing is important, too.’
‘I think all this will make it easier to keep centred on Yahweh,’ offered Aaron, ‘not that you ever found it hard.’
‘No,’ agreed Moses, ‘though I always wanted, you know …’ He did not continue. It seemed crazy to say that he hoped that the Tent would give the people something he could only find far away from it.
‘It is astonishing to see what our people can do now,’ said Moses, ‘astonishing to see what our resources are. We have done well out of trade, and the size of the flocks, well…’
‘Yes,’ said Aaron, ‘We are surely nearly ready for the Promised Land.’ But he saw Moses’s face shut down again.

5 thoughts on “The Tent

  1. The reader should understand that the translator of this remarkable find (a papyrus buried in a jar in Jordan) believes in a free and lively translation. A more literal translation of ‘to keep centred on Yahweh’ is ‘to fear Yahweh and to walk in all his ways.’ However, that is not English.

  2. And while we are on it, the hair you get from goats and can weave has a name. It is cashmere. So why do we translate goat hair?????

  3. goat hair = coarse, horrible
    cashmere = fine luxury expensive.

    Is it stupidity, ignorance or fear, I ask my self.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s