The Jonah Coin, Part One

Hosea was an Israelite boy who lived during the earthly life of the Lord Jesus. He was named after the prophet Hosea, and his wise grandpa had the same name. Hosea’s grandpa as well as his dad, Eli, were fishermen. Hosea wanted to be a fisherman, too.

Today was a big day for Hosea. It was his first time to work on the fishing boat with his dad and grandpa! He was very excited as he walked toward the sea with all the fishermen from Capernaum, Hosea’s home town. Hosea easily picked out his family’s fishing boat from the rest, and he was the first one on board. Like a good seaman, he obeyed his dad as they prepared to sail.

“Make sure that net is bundled like I showed you, son”, his dad cried. Hosea scurried to see that the net was not tangled. “Are the oars stowed”? asked Eli. Soon the little boat joined dozens of others out on the sea of Galilee. It was a warm, sunny day. Hosea loved it. They laughed and talked and sang as they worked. It was over too soon for Hosea, but he was filled with joy as the three brought their catch home.

The next day and all that week, Hosea fished with his dad, grandpa, and sometimes other men of their family. Hosea learned so much! He not only learned about fishing, but he listened carefully as the older men talked about Jesus of Nazareth, the Teacher. Hosea’s older cousin Jacob knew a lot about Jesus.

“I knew two brothers, James and John the sons of Zebedee”, said Jacob. “They were fishermen like us. One day the Teacher asked them to come with Him. They left right away! I saw them again not too long ago, and they invited me to come and hear Jesus. I went, and now I want to see Him again. I’ve never heard any of the synagogue leaders speak like this Man!” Hosea made up his mind that one day he would like to meet Jesus, too.

On the last day of the week, the family brought their catch of fish ashore a little earlier than other days, and began the special work that would last until the sun went down. It was the day of preparation for the Sabbath the next day. At the very end of the day, Eli called Hosea aside.

“Son, you’ve done a great job for your first week on board! Here is your pay.” Eli gave his son one shiny coin. It was a stater, and worth four days pay for a man! “It’s not a full week’s pay”, continued Hosea’s dad, “but you will soon be earning the same as any man, if you keep learning and doing as well as you have.”

Hosea was delighted. He knew that his dad was not a rich man, and he did not expected to paid at all, at least not yet! Hosea’s grandpa winked at Eli as Hosea threw his arms around his dad and thanked him. The happy trio walked home to Hosea’s mom, Mahlah, and the dinner she had waiting for them.

On the first working day of the next week, the young fisherman again headed for the boats. This time he proudly tossed the bright coin into the air over and over. He hoped that some of the younger boys of Capernaum would see it. His grandpa noticed what he was doing.

“Don’t you think you should run back home and leave your stater there for safekeeping, Hosea?”, he asked.

“Oh, don’t worry, Grandpa”, replied the youth. Hosea ran ahead as the older man sighed and shook his head.

Soon they were out on the waves, the sea breeze filling their lungs and the sun on their bare backs. At the proper time, they began to haul in their net. All of a sudden, Hosea’s end began to slip! “Careful, son, we’re losing it!”, shouted Eli. As both father and son lunged for the thick edge of the net, Hosea’s stater slipped out of the tunic rolled around his waist. It flew through the air. Hosea saw it land in the middle of the catch of fish which was quickly slipping out of the net. It disappeared. Eli grabbed the sagging end of the net and the three pulled in what was left of their catch. No one said a word for the rest of the day.

to be continued…

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