By the time Sarah had prepared breakfast Dorcas had returned, new treasured necklace in hand. Sarah admired the piece, turning it over and looking at it from every angle. “This necklace is beautiful, Dorcas. So, was it the property of an Egyptian princess or a Babylonian prince? Martha was a little vague on that point.”
“Martha told you I went after the necklace?” Dorcas asked, frowning slightly.
“Oh, you know how talkative Martha is. I’m sure she didn’t mean to be telling tales out of school. I asked her where you were, she said you were gone to see a vendor about a piece of jewelry, and so the story continued. By the way, do you remember a young man who was a slave of your mother and father by the name of Benoni?”
“No, I don’t really remember any of them in particular.”
“One of them was here the day Paul disappeared, and he went with me when I wandered the streets of Tyre at night looking for Paul. Your father sold Benoni to another master, and the new master freed him as a reward for saving his son’s life. Benoni found he didn’t do well as a free man. He’d rather be a servant or slave following orders than trying to make it on his own. He came here wanting to know if you needed another servant or slave, or if not, perhaps you know of another household who needs one.”
“Do you recommend this young man, Sarah?”
“Yes, I do, even though he acted without thinking after being. He’s young, and the young don’t always act with wisdom. When his master gave him 30 pieces of silver, he spent it foolishly. It was a lesson well learned. He found he is better suited to serving.”
“Not everyone is talented in leadership, which is perhaps a very good thing,” Dorcas said, her eyes twinkling, “considering nothing would ever get done unless there were also those who served. So—what can this young man do?”
“He was one of your parents’ litter bearers and trusted by them, but other than that I don’t know. Would you like to talk to him, Dorcas? Martha took him to get him something to eat. It looked like he hadn’t eaten in a while.”
Dorcas agreed, and a few minutes later the young man came into her presence, bowing deeply. “Sarah tells me you wish to talk to me, Madam,” he said, eyes lowered.
“And Sarah tells me you’re looking for employment. What have you done in the past?”
“I served as a litter bearer and stable boy for your parents, Madam Dorcas. For my new master, I was to replace his son as his shepherd. His son showed me how to take care of the sheep and where they were to feed, but that ended when the boy’s father freed me. Before my parents sold me into slavery rather than starve, though, my father taught me sums. He hoped that would serve me well in the future. So far, I haven’t used that skill.”
“You are well-spoken, Benoni. Have you been taught languages?”
“No, Madam, other than what I’ve learned from my masters and other acquaintances. I know Aramaic and Greek well, and a smattering of Egyptian and Latin. I’m a quick learner, though. I pick up new words in different languages easily.”
“I don’t need anyone more on my staff, Benoni, but you may stay here for a time. I’m sure there’s room in the servant compound, and I’ll talk to Martha about that. I may know someone who could use you, but I’ll have to talk to him first. If he desires to talk to you about employment, I’ll have him come here. Meanwhile, I believe you will find that your evening meal will soon be served in the servants’ dining area.” She smiled at the young man as she dismissed him. He bowed again, and left the room.
It’s too bad I can’t find a position for him here, she mused. He seems talented and apparently has enough initiative to help without being told. He tried to help Sarah, and apparently he also helped the son of his second master. Ah, well, she thought, maybe one of the other families can use him. She picked up a candlestick to take to her room. She turned to leave the dining room, bumping into and knocking down a man who came through the door.
She gasped, “Hamath!” and dropped the candlestick.