"Well," she sighed, “I guess there's nothing wrong with just trying to find out how someone feels about someone. But why do it undercover? You could just ask him outright how he feels about his uncle. Besides, it could be a chance to tell him about Jesus."
"It could at that. I don't know why I didn't think of that."
"I’m really glad you told me about it, though, Manaheem"
"What else could I do, Claressa dear? We are man and wife once more in the eyes of both the law and of the LORD, the latter being the most important. I was wrong to keep things from you before, even though we weren't officially together like now. O' Claressa, dear, I’ll never keep anything from you again. I promise."
"O' Manaheem!" She sighed and grabbed him and gave him a big kiss. "You're wonderful!"
"You're pretty great yourself, you know. I’ll miss you something awful, I know. Hopefully, I should be back in a few days."
Once again the strange looking black and white chariot was on its way to another city. This time the route was a straight southwestward road which went directly to the Idumean city of Beersheba. Not only was the route more direct than that to Tiberius, it was half as far, so he arrived in half the time it would have taken to go to Tiberius. Arriving at the outer gate of the town, which gate was open, he rode on through it. He soon came to a well beside a tamarind tree. As he was thirsty from the ride, he pulled on the reins and stopped the chariot. The well had a wooden structure built over it for tying the bucket or tying your horses if there were enough room. Several people were already at the well getting water, but he did manage to tie the horses to the structure. The man who was next in line had several huge water pots in his carriage, so he could see he would have quite a wait. But then, the man spoke to him. "Sir, I see you have only a small canteen. If you only want to get water to refresh you from your journey, go right ahead. I can wait."
"That's very kind of you, sir" he replied as he began to draw the water and fill his canteen. By the way," he inquired, as he was drawing, "would you happen to know the whereabouts of Herod Agrippa? I hear he lives in these parts."
"You are in luck," the man replied, "as I am Blastus, his man-servant. If you will wait for me to fill these, I shall lead you to his house."
It was a simple looking house, not at all what he would have expected as a dwelling for one of royal blood. They both tied their horses to the post at the door.
"Would you like me to help you with some of those water pots?"
"You are too kind sir. But it would make it a lot quicker."
They each carried a pot full of water into the porch and set them down. “I can manage the rest," the servant said, "but first let me announce you. Oh, yes, what is your name?"
"My name is Manaheem and I come from Herod Antipas."
"Very good, sir. Wait here. please." and the servant disappeared behind the door. He soon re-appeared and said, "My master will see you now, sir." He then went out to the chariot to bring in more water pots.
Manaheem entered and found Agrippa seated on a regular size chair with a half full glass of wine sitting on a table beside him. He was dressed simply in a brown toga with simple leather sandals on his feet. He looked up as the visitor entered. "Well, what can I do for you? You say you come from my uncle the king?"
"Why, yes. I am his foster brother. He brings you greetings and congratulates you on completing your education."
Agrippa smiled cynically. "He does, does he? Well, why didn't my uncle come himself? Why did he send you?"
"Your uncle fears you do not like him. He thought it would be better if he sent me."
Agrippa took a sip of the wine. "You know, he's right. I don't like him. He's a no-good bum and he shouldn't be king at all. I should be ruling those territories he's ruling!" He stopped, gasped and placed his hand over his mouth. "Well, now it's out. Now you know exactly what I think of my no-good uncle. I suppose that's why he sent you--to find out how I feel about him.”
Manaheem sighed. "That's exactly why he sent me."
"Well, go ahead and tell him. I don't care if he knows how I feel. By the way, where are my manners? Would you like some wine?"
Manaheem's first thought was to say 'No' to the offer and leave. But, then he thought this might be an opportunity to talk about Jesus, so he thoughtfully said "Well, perhaps a small glass." He wasn't sure how he would broach the subject, and he felt a little intimidated to do so, but he remembered Claressa suggesting it, so he thought he would give it a try.
Agrippa pulled on the chord and the servant appeared. "Bring a glass of wine for our friend here and fill mine as well" he ordered.
As the servant left, Manaheem prayed silently for power to speak to this young man about the master. The servant returned with two full glasses of wine. As they sipped the wine, Manaheem said "I’m really glad I had the chance to meet you, sir."
"Oh, likewise, I’m sure. So you are his foster brother. I guess that makes you my foster uncle."
“I suppose so" he replied. "But, I really wanted to talk to you about something else. I don't know how to put it, but just to get right into it." Suddenly he felt a new boldness which he had not felt before. "Have you heard of Jesus of Nazareth?"
“I heard something when I was in Rome about a Jew of that name being crucified. That's all."
"He was crucified, but he's no longer dead." He found himself waxing bolder by the second. "He arose from the dead and then ascended into heaven. He is LORD and Christ and he offers eternal life to all who will accept him."
Agrippa was sipping his wine, but he let out a big laugh, thus spraying wine into the air. "So you are a follower of this Jesus?"
"Yes I am, and glad of it."
"What about my uncle? Don't tell me he also is a follower."
"No, unfortunately, your uncle wouldn't listen to me about that either."
"Well at least he and I are agreed on something. I think you'd better go now."
Manaheem set the half full glass back on the table and turned to leave. "Goodbye Agrippa."
The latter was silent and watched as Manaheem left. As he left, he breathed a prayer of thanks that he had this opportunity and a prayer of petition for the souls of Agrippa and Antipas.
Dusk was fast turning to dark as he left Agrippa's house, so he decided to stay at an inn that night in order to get an early start back the next morning.
He arose early in the morning and started back for Jerusalem. He decided to go directly to Herod's palace to bring him the news and collect his reward. Although it was late morning when he arrived, Herod and Herodius were still asleep as he barged into the royal bedchamber.
"What th'--who's there?" yelled Herod as the bedchamber doors opened noisily.
"It's me, your majesty--your foster brother, back from the errand you sent me on."
Herod sat up, squinted and peered bleary-eyed at Manaheem. "Oh, it's you, Manaheem! What are you doing here so early in the morning?"
"Early?" he replied. "It's almost noon. I rode all the way from Beersheba this morning, and you're still in bed. Had a big night last night, your majesty?"
"As a matter of fact, yes. But now that you're here, would you care for some breakfast or lunch or whatever?" Since he was hungry from the ride, he agreed. Herod pulled the chord and the servant appeared. By this time Herodius had awoken and was wondering what was going on. "Breakfast for three" ordered Herod and the servant disappeared. "Well, out with it. What did you find out?"
"Only that your nephew hates you and thinks he should be ruling instead of you."
The servant re-appeared with a tray of food and set it down on the table near the bed. "Here Manaheem, get yours" offered Herod.
Manaheem walked over and picked up a plate. There was fish and bread and grapes and berries. Herod and Herodius picked up their plates and began eating as well.
When the meal was completed Manaheem said: “I hate to be pushy, brother dear, but what about my money?"
"Well, hold on just a minute, Manaheem. I wasn't sure you were coming. You didn't tell me if you would do it or not. And from what source did you get your information, if I may ask?"
"From the horse's mouth itself, so to speak."
"You actually spoke with my nephew?"
“I did and I told you what he said."
"Well, hold on a minute." Herod got up out of bed and began searching through some of the drawers in one of the desks. "Now where did I put that money? Ah, yes, here it is." He pulled out a bag of money and threw it to Manaheem. "I’m afraid it's a little short. I’ll have to send you the rest from Tiberius when I get back."
Manaheem caught the bag and counted the money. "Seven hundred." He smiled. "It's just like you, Herod. But never mind about the rest. I had a pleasant trip and a good talk with your nephew. I even told him about Jesus. So it was worth it. Forget about the rest."
"Wow," exclaimed Herod, "You have changed! The old Manaheem would have hounded me for every penny. So you mentioned your Jesus to my nephew. What did he say?"
"Just like you, he laughed at me."
"And well he should. A man rising from the grave and then going straight up to heaven. Ha, ha!"
Now Herodius was laughing also.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish