- Dec 22, 2013View Source
Joel decided to seek out the couple he was to protect, so he turned north and headed towards Nazareth. He thought about the route the travelers would take and decided the wisest choice would be to follow the Jordan River and then head west from Beth Shean over the mountains.
It was as he was crossing the mountains that he first saw the carpenter and his wife. Joel’s first thought upon seeing the couple was that her condition didn’t seem to be hindering their progress much.
“Perhaps I should return to the ground and follow them on foot,” Joel said, speaking his thoughts aloud. “All it would take would be for one of them to look skyward for the old man’s plans to fall through.”
From his vantage point, the shepherd found a spot where he could land and remain unseen by the couple without losing sight of them for very long. As he drew nearer to the mountainside, he spotted what appeared to be a giant scorpion. He rubbed his eyes and looked again. The evil-looking creature actually appeared to be waiting in ambush for the couple.
This can’t be good, he thought.
It only took him a moment to decide on a course of action. Dropping from the sky like a stone, Joel drove the tip of his staff into the space between the chitinous armor that covered the monster’s head and back. With his free hand, the secret protector grabbed the venomous tail and snapped it off just below the barb. Using the staff as a lever, he pried at the joint until he heard it crack, and then stabbed at the exposed scorpion flesh beneath with the barb. Although it was immune to its own poison, the monster couldn’t withstand the driving force of the hero’s strength. In less than a minute, the creature was dead. Joel, covered in the gore of his vanquished foe, built a small altar and gave thanks to Jehovah for the victory.
The couple, unaware of their unseen guardian, made it safely to Beth Shean where they turned south and crossed the Jordan River. From there, they continued south toward Jericho.
The road was well-traveled and, although the carpenter and his wife were making the journey alone, they were never more than a mile from their fellow travelers. At times, they would find comfort in the evenings by being invited to share a camp with others going south. When day came, however, the carpenter would thank their hosts and him and his wife would be on their way, not wanting to slow them down because of her condition. While the presence of others along the way brought a sense of security to Joel, it made his task of remaining unseen more difficult.