Biographical Gospel of the Lord

- Chapter 34 -
The Journey To Tyre

FTER THIS discussion with the captain, Joseph said to his sons, 'Bestir yourselves and load the pack animals,
then saddle the six new donkeys for me and for you and the old, tried one for Mary. Take along as much of the foodstuffs as you can, but we will leave the ox and cart here with the midwife as a keepsake and reward for taking care of us.'
Thus the ox and cart was taken over by the midwife and was not used for work henceforth.
Salome now asked Joseph if she might not go with him.
Joseph answered, 'That depends on you, but you know that I am poor and can pay you no wage if you wish to serve me.
If you have the means and can provide yourself with food and clothing along with me, you are surely welcome to come along!'
At this Salome asserted, 'Listen, son of the great king David! My wealth shall suffice for a hundred years not only for me, but for your whole family!
For I am wealthier in worldly goods than you might suppose. So wait only an hour more and I shall stand here laden with treasures, ready to go.'
Here Joseph replied, 'Salome, listen, you are a young widow and a mother, so you will also have to take your two sons along.
Now this will cause you much work and I do not have another minute to lose, for in three hours Herod will already make his entry here and his advance messengers and runners will arrive already in one hour!
From that you can see that it is impossible for me to wait until you are ready.
So I would say that you will do better if I am not held up on your account, and when according to the Lord's will I return someday, I shall make my home in Nazareth again.
Now since you would really like to be of service to me, then go to Nazareth when you get a chance and lease my farmstead for another three to seven or ten years, so it will not fall into strange hands.'
At this Salome desisted from her wish and contented herself with this task.
Joseph then embraced the captain, blessed him and then called Mary, so she with the Baby might take her place on her pack animal.
When everything had thus been prepared for the departure, the captain asked Joseph, 'Man in my highest esteem, will I ever see you and this Child with His mother again?'
And Joseph replied, 'Hardly three years will go by until I, the Child and His mother will greet you again! Be assured of that, and now let us depart. Amen.'
Here Joseph mounted his beast of burden, his sons followed his example, whereupon Joseph grasped the reins of Mary's pack animal and amid praises to the Lord led it out of the cave.
When everyone was outside, Joseph saw a great many people began to press out from the town to watch the departure of the New-Born.
This urge to stare was most inopportune for Joseph, so he asked the Lord to shield him as soon as possible from this inordinate desire of idle people to gape.
And behold, a thick fog quickly descended on the whole town and it became impossible for anyone to see even five steps ahead.
At this the crowd became vexed and withdrew into the town, and Joseph, led by the captain and Salome, was able to reach the nearest hills unseen.
When he reached the border between Judea and Syria, the captain gave Joseph a letter of safe-conduct to the governor Cyrenius, who was set over Syria.
Joseph accepted this with thanks, and the captain said, 'Cyrenius is my bother - more I need not tell you, so travel safely and return in the same manner!' Here the captain turned back with Salome, and Joseph traveled on in the name of the Lord.
About noontime Joseph reached the high point in the hills at a distance of twelve hours from Bethlehem. The high point lay wholly in Syria, which in that day was called Coelesyria by the Romans.
For Joseph had to take this more round-about way, since no safe route led from Palestine to Egypt.
And his route of travel was as follows: The first day he came into the vicinity of the little town of Bostra. There he spent the night, praising the Lord. Here it also happened that robbers came to him so they might rob him.
But when they saw the Baby, they fell on their faces worshiped Him and then fled into the hills in great fear.
The following day Joseph again crossed a massive highland and that evening arrived in the region of Panea, a little border town between Palestine and Syria to the north.
From Panea he reached the province of Phoenicia on the third day and came into the neighborhood of Tyre, where on the following day he went with his letter of safe-conduct to Cyrenius, who at that time was present in Tyre on matters of state.
Cyrenius received Joseph in a very friendly manner and asked him what he might do for him.
Joseph answered, 'That I might get to Egypt safely!' - And Cyrenius observed, 'Good man, you have taken the long way around, for Palestine is obviously much closer to Egypt than Phoenicia! Now you will have to travel through Palestine again and must go from here to Samaria, from there to Joppa, thence to Askalon, then to Gaza, from there to Geras and from there finally to Elusa in Arabia!'
Here Joseph was sad because he had thus gone astray. But Cyrenius took pity on Joseph and said, 'Good man, it pains me to see your trouble. You are, to be sure, a Jew and an enemy of the Romans - but since my brother who means everything to me likes you so well I will also do you a favor.
See, tomorrow a small but seaworthy ship leaves here for Ostracine! With it you should arrive there in three days; and once you are in Ostracine, you are already in Egypt! - And I shall give you a letter of safe-conduct with which you will be able to remain in Ostracine without hindrance and will also be able to buy yourself some property. But for today you are my guest, so have your baggage brought in.'