Young adult

An Eye Witness Account: Eskie & the Crossing

A peak over the Jordan River at Jericho. A possible spot for a spy’s perch. (2010, trip to Israel)

A peak over the Jordan River at Jericho. A possible spot for a spy’s perch. (2010, trip to Israel)


AUTHOR: Good Morning to "Digging Deeper into HIStory." We are here again with Eskie, third son of Ishtaba the master potter of Gibeon. Eskie, you had us on the edge of our seats yesterday describing how the Jordan River was out of its banks, at the height of its flood stage, and the Hebrews began to dismantle their camp and move toward the rushing waters of the river as if they intended to cross. What happened next?

ESKIE: As I said, I would not have believed it if I had not seen it with my own eyes. Every one of the Hebrew tents were loaded up and in orderly arrangement and ready to cross. And the large tent at the center of their camp was dismantled piece by piece until at last a piece of furnishing covered with a blue cloth was revealed. Two poles that flashed in the sunlight extended beyond the blue covering.

AUTHOR: You say the poles flashed in the sunlight?

ESKIE: Yes. We were convinced they were covered with gold.

AUTHOR: And what happened next?

ESKIE: Four men approached slowly, waited, and lifted the poles to their shoulders. The four men walked slowly, straight to the edge of the river. Without hesitation the first two stepped into the water, and the ground beneath me began to move.

AUTHOR: Wait. They took one step into the water, and you felt the ground move where you were? What happened next?

ESKIE: What happened next is I scrambled to get out of the way of a large boulder as big as the Ra-eef' guest house or be flattened as flat as my mother's flatbread.

AUTHOR: Well, what about the Hebrews? What happened there?

ESKIE: I do not know what happened. I can only tell you what I saw. As soon as I could stopped shaking from the horror of nearly being crushed to death, I elbow-crawled back to my well-worn slot. Beside me at that point was a gaping vacancy where the stone had been. And I gaped with mouth wide open. I could not believe my eyes.

AUTHOR: What?  

ESKIE: The four men and the conveyance they bore stood still on dry ground—in the middle of the riverbed.

AUTHOR: Dry ground?

ESKIE: Yes. And the Hebrews were crossing. By the time I got back in place, the first wave of heavily armed fighting men were halfway across the river. They ranged far out on either side of the four men and their conveyance and never coming closer than a wheat field to the furnishing carried with golden poles.

AUTHOR: Amazing. But, Eskie, where was the water that had been there? The flooding water?

ESKIE: Below the crossing, the waters rushed toward the Salt Sea as before leaving behind dry ground. Above the crossing toward Mt. Hermon, the waters piled up and glistened in the sunshine?

AUTHOR: Uh. What did you say?

ESKIE: I told you you would not believe it either. But the water stood up, piled up, built up at the village of Adam up the river. The flood just sat there, not moving, while the Hebrews crossed with their families, their flocks, herds, and wagons. I am lying there shaking my head. Not believing it. But I cannot deny what I saw.

AUTHOR: So, how did the day end?

ESKIE: All the Hebrews crossed and set up camp at Gilgal. When every last one had gone over, the four men in the middle of the river bearing the golden poles on their shoulders proceeded to finish crossing. As soon as they stepped out of the dry riverbed, the waters upriver rushed down with a roar and a fury behind them. The four men bore their burden straight forward into the entrance to the large tent that always stands in the middle of their camp. It was fully reassembled and ready.

AUTHOR: Amazing. Thank you, Eskie, for that eye-witness report of the day the Hebrews crossed the flooded Jordan River. Folks, thank you for coming back for the rest of the story. Coming soon we will have more interviews of our fictional characters who witnessed events of the Bible—from Numbers 20-Joshua 10. All these events are related to you in Shepherd, Potter, Spy—and the Star Namer and in The Star Namer and the Unchosen by Peggy Miracle Consolver. (Provide link to reviews.)

AUTHOR: Until next time, keep on 'digging deeper into HIStory!'

George and Peggy at the cut through 25 layers of civilization at the tell of ancient Jericho. (2010 trip to Israel)

George and Peggy at the cut through 25 layers of civilization at the tell of ancient Jericho. (2010 trip to Israel)


A mountain near the Jordan River.

A mountain near the Jordan River.

AUTHOR: Eskie, tell us how you came to be a spy for Gibeon.

ESKIE: We, meaning the people of Aijalon Valley, needed up-to-date information about the horde of people camped just over the Jordan River from us.

AUTHOR: So, you expected an attack?

ESKIE: Yes. With them so close by, it could happen at any time.

AUTHOR: Who were these people and where had they come from?

ESKIE: They were called Hebrews. There were many old stories about them that caused rumors they had come to take over Canaan.

AUTHOR: How far away were they from Gibeon when you began spying on them?

ESKIE: Only a one-day hard march. Several more if they were driving flocks and herds.

AUTHOR: How were you chosen to be the first spy for Gibeon?

ESKIE: My two older brothers were more essential to the day to day pottery business than me. And I was Sir Ghaleb's top student among the young men trained to defend Gibeon. 

AUTHOR: When did you first become aware of these people?

ESKIE: Our friend Haydak bin-Khanjar the caravanner first told us about them nearly a year before. They had just come out of the Sinai Desert.

AUTHOR: How close were they then—a year ago?

ESKIE: That would depend on how much resistance they got from our neighbors in southern Canaan. When I became a spy we in Gibeon had only the Jordan River and Jericho between us.

AUTHOR: I see. What was a typical day of spying like?

ESKIE: Boring.

AUTHOR: Boring?

ESKIE: Yes, very boring. If it were not for the eagle's nest about two stones' throws away, I am sure I would have died of boredom. I kept asking myself "What are they waiting for?" I decided they must be very patient people. Later, I changed my mind about that.

AUTHOR: How so?

ESKIE: Well, first I thought surely they would cross the Jordan any day. It was winter and the flow of the Jordan was just a trickle. Easy for them to cross. But they did not cross.

AUTHOR: But they did cross, right? When did that happen?

ESKIE: It was strange! They waited until spring was arriving and the snow melt from Mt. Hermon made the Jordan River overflow! They waited until we least expected them to cross.

AUTHOR: How were they able to cross the flooded river?

ESKIE: That I would not have believed if I had not been there and seen it with my own eyes!

AUTHOR: What? What happened?

ESKIE: I was lying there in my well-worn place in our spy nest on the highest pinnacle over Jericho. I had been spying for almost three full moons. That morning I had just finished my first time of running in place to keep from dying from boredom—and to keep my muscles able to make the long trek home from there.

AUTHOR: You were counting on nothing happening with the river flooded. Right?

ESKIE: Yes. And I could not have been more wrong.

AUTHOR: What happened next?

ESKIE: The Hebrews began to break camp and line up. Very precisely. Very deliberately.
Very organized like. It was obvious they were headed for the edge of the flooded Jordan River. And I am lying there shaking my head. Asking myself, "What is this all about? Can they not see there is no possible way for them to cross?"

AUTHOR: Eskie, I am so sorry. We are out of time today. Can you come back tomorrow and finish this exciting tale.

ESKIE: I would be glad to. But remember. This is not a tale. I saw this with my own eyes—and for fact Canaan would never be the same again.

AUTHOR: Thank you, Eskie. Folks, come back for the 'rest of the story' from seventeen-year-old Eskie, the fictional main character of The Star Namer and the Unchosen—available October 1, 2019 wherever fine books are sold. The new book is sequel to the highly acclaimed Shepherd, Potter, Spy—and the Star Namer.

AUTHOR: Until next time, keep on 'digging deeper into HIStory!'