While growing up the caravans were an exciting diversion from the every day responsibilities of tending sheep, crops and learning his scriptures.
He was able to see animals, plants and silk from all over the known world being traded to the four corners of the earth.
North, South, East and West.
Benaiah had a personal affinity for God’s beautiful creations. The desert flowers that only bloomed occasionally, the gazelle, the stars at night, and people. Not just handsome people or rich ladies, but all people. His scriptures were starting to make him consider these thing’s a bit deeper.
The one thing about the times he lived in that he thought much about, was the issue of slaves. He had grown up knowing many. The one’s being carted about by the caravans were the saddest for him.
Kept more like animals than a beneficial servant. He would get that gnawing feeling in his belly when the slave traders presented their goods.
He would think often of a very large caravan that had passed through when he was around fourteen or fifteen. Coming from the East it had everything. Camels, horses, some very fine horses, silk, monkeys, some animals he never saw before, some of which were black and white and very round, and…
slaves, lot’s of slaves.
One in particular had caught his eye.
Some of the slaves were not tethered, chained or tied at all and some, especially the one who caught his eye, were always chained, and the peculiar one, the slave traders kept their distance from him.
This intrigued Benaiah.
The caravan had stopped at a small oasis just over the hill from where Benaiah was pasturing a flock of sheep. He could watch the daily activities and could see his peculiar slave quite well from his vantage point. This oasis was more than five days from any other lay over spot, so when the caravans used this one they would stay about a week, taking a few days to rest and relax, before taking on water and continuing on.
Benaiah saw the peculiar slave the very first day. His slave trader and two others, with bow and arrows at the ready, led him away from the caravan and staked him out and away from anyone else.
With his hands and neck chained the peculiar slave sat down. The way he sat down caught Benaiah’s eye, crossed legged and facing East, with his hands calmly placed in his lap and a serene countenance alighting his face.
The next morning Benaiah was up well before light, as was his custom. He was preparing to study his scriptures and he heard a soft, muffled, slightly shuffling sound over the hill. Very faint.
The caravan knew he was there with his sheep and a few other shepherds so he was confident in walking to the top of the hill to see what the noise was.