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Purchased by a Galilean, Twice
by D.I. Telbat
Yakov Rimmon stripped duct tape off a window on his home in Galilee, Israel. Another successful biological warfare test. Living so close to both Syria and Lebanon, and the constant troubles with Gaza, such tests were never a waste of time. They were a way to stay alive.
He went out to the garden to water the vegetables and pick a few weeds. After college and his commitment in the IDF, he had spent a year in a kibbutz, a communal farm at Arbel. That’s where he’d met the woman who had taken his heart—Leah, a dark-eyed beauty from Carmel.
Building their new home in Galilee had been the final piece of the puzzle before the wedding. And the most amazing part—Leah was a Christian. Two Israeli-Arab believers had found one another. Yakov knew it was a gift from God.
Living as a Christian in Israel wasn’t very popular. But he’d found a place to homestead in Northern Israel where he could live quietly as a godly neighbor, husband, and hopefully soon as a father.
Yakov looked up as he heard a vehicle roaring up the dirt road to his home. It was a truck, and whoever was driving was risking his life by driving so fast. By the time Yakov jogged to his front door, the truck had skidded to a stop and a man jumped from the driver’s seat. It had been more than ten years since he’d seen him, so Yakov barely recognized his twin brother, Ibrahim, behind a thick beard.
“My brother, Yakov!” Ibrahim yelled, with his arms outstretched.
But Yakov was already charging him. He’d had nightmares of this moment—when his pro-Islamic brother came to kill him, his own brother, sent by his Hamas terrorist friends. Yakov tackled Ibrahim.
The brothers rolled across the ground, and Yakov quickly realized he was wrestling someone much thinner and weaker than himself. He easily pinned Ibrahim, straddling him, his wrists under Yakov’s grip.
“I expected more from such a killer as you!”
“Yakov, it’s me, Ibrahim!”
“Yes, I know!”
“I escaped Gaza and came straight here! Please, they’re after me!” Ibrahim was weeping, his tears running into his uncut hair. “I’m not that man any longer, I promise! They were keeping me in Gaza since they knew I was no longer loyal to them.”
“What are you talking about?” Yakov smacked his brother on the cheek. “You’ve killed innocent women and children, Ib!”
“I know, I know! I was lost, Yakov. But I remembered, see? I remembered what Dad taught us before he died. I’m back, Yakov, and now I’ve found you. It’s me, your brother . . .”
Ibrahim continued to mumble, but Yakov couldn’t understand his words. He stared down at the man who had once been his strong, healthy brother, broken now as a child. His brother’s body was emaciated, his cheeks hollow and pale, his nails dirty and broken. Only a long-term prisoner could be in this terrible condition.
Climbing off his brother, Yacov found that Ibrahim had passed out. After checking his pulse, he guessed Ibrahim was in need of food and rest, maybe even medical care.
Picking up Ibrahim, he carried him into the house. A decision was before him, and Yakov knew he didn’t have long to make his choice. Ibrahim was a wanted man—to the degree that the IDF would shoot him on sight for his many traitorous evils. Even if Ibrahim had turned from the wicked path, his days were numbered unless something drastic was done for him.
On the other extreme, Hamas would want one of their soldiers back in their vault, or dead, if he had indeed turned away from them.
Yakov wasn’t keen on his twin brother being shot by the IDF, or by Hamas, even if his actions proved he deserved as much. Although Yakov hadn’t joined a terrorist movement or caused untold harm, he was a man who had learned that all people needed God’s freeing grace for even the smallest of sins.
It was grace that Ibrahim needed right now. If Ibrahim remembered their father’s instruction about the blood of Christ, that didn’t necessarily mean he knew the lessons of grace. And nothing taught a man about God’s grace better than experiencing it.
Leaving his brother on his own bed, Yakov fetched an electric razor then returned to Ibrahim. It took ten minutes to remove his brother’s beard and buzz his hair down to a comparable length to Yakov’s. Next, as Ibrahim slept, Yakov exchanged his clothing for his brother’s, dressing Ib’s limp limbs while he lay on the bed.
At the desk, Yakov wrote his beloved wife a short note, and then he wrote his brother. Ibrahim didn’t deserve what Yakov was about to give him, but Ibrahim was to receive it, nevertheless. And every time Ibrahim woke and lived his new life as Yakov, in Yakov’s house, Yakov wrote that he wanted Ibrahim to think of why he could do this for his brother. Why? Because Jesus Christ had first done this for Yakov.
Yakov climbed into his brother’s truck, presumably stolen from Hamas militants. For a moment, he gripped the steering wheel and stared through the windshield at all he had built for himself. Not many would understand what he was about to do. Leah would certainly grieve, but she was a strong believer, and after she figured out that Ibrahim had been given his life, she would know why he’d done it.
Ibrahim had incurred a debt, and that debt had to be paid for Ibrahim to continue living.
An hour later, Yakov drove his truck through a military barricade. They opened fire when he refused to stop for inspection. Yakov Rimmon was buried in an unmarked Hamas gravesite beside murderers.
But another man—Ibrahim—lived out his days in Galilee, his life bought with a great price by a Galilean—twice.
Read other short stories by D.I. Telbat at this link.
COMING UP: Join us on next time for another peek into the COIL Prequel, Dark Edge, with “Story of Redemption.” And for the following post, come back for “Unafraid,” another Christian short story by D.I. Telbat.
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