The Blind Robber
Soon after we left Nahum and the shore of the peaceful sea, we were again transported back to a deserted place on the road near Shiloh. Yet the road was not quite deserted, for we saw ahead of us a man with a staff resting by the side of the road. When the man heard our approach, he called out to us, saying, “Please help me! I am blind and cannot find my way to Shiloh to keep the feast!”
“You are a brave man to be out here by yourself in your condition,” I said to him. “How did you get here? Did you walk by yourself?”
“I was able to follow others for a while,” he said, “but I was unable to keep up with them, and no one wanted to slow down so that I could be guided to Shiloh.”
By this time we had drawn near to the blind man. “You look familiar,” I said. “Who are you?”
“I am called Haganav,” 153 the man said.
“How did you get such a name?” I asked. Surely your mother and father did not intend for you to grow up to be a thief!”
“No,” he said, “but my father was consumed by strong drink and often beat me mercilessly when I was a child. When I grew into my teens, I ran away from home and became a robber. I found other discontented men, and we banded together in order to survive.”
“I remember you now,” I said. “Many years ago, you wanted to steal our horses, but you were prevented by a pair of lions. Do you recall that incident?”
The blind man collapsed into a despairing heap and burst into uncontrollable sobs. How could anyone forget such an experience? We dismounted, and Sipporah laid her hand upon his shoulder. “Have no fear,” she said. “We hold nothing against you. Our only concern is that you would repent and return to the God of Israel, who loves you with all His heart.”
“I have tried to find God, but I have no one to show me the way to Shiloh!” he wailed. “I have been blind since birth, blinded first by the sin of my father, and then later blinded by Samson, the Danite.”
“What do you mean? How has Samson blinded you?” I asked dumbfounded.
“He caught me as I tried to steal a sheep from his family three years ago,” Haganav said, still weeping. “I offered to become his slave to pay restitution, but he said he had no use for slaves. So he put out my eyes and then set me free, as the law commands, leaving me as blind physically as I was spiritually.” 154
It was evident that he was not bitter, but only heartbroken, for I saw no unforgiving spirit in him.
“I am sorry to hear that,” I said with compassion. “Samson is too legalistic, and his understanding of the law is not according to the mind of God. He too is blind in many ways. But each time you forgive another man’s blindness, a scale falls from your own eyes. Yet you say now that your desire is to go to Shiloh to meet God. Is that so?”
“Yes, I have nowhere else to go,” Haganav said dejectedly. “I know that I have no right to seek God’s favor or blessing, but where else can I go?”
“Today is your day of deliverance,” Sipporah said. “We have been sent by the God of Israel to give light to the blind and to set the captives free. We do the works of the One who sent us. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, but we have come that you may yet have an abundant life.” 155
One of the seeds of Elyon flew out of my pouch, and I saw that it took root in Haganav’s ear. I took out my flask of living water, poured some of it on the dust of the road. 156 Taking some of the mud, I carefully put it upon his closed eyelids and said, “This mud is what you received from Earthyman. It is your inheritance from your fathers who failed to impart to you the light of life. I now wash this away with the true water of life. Your unjust punishment is now reversed, and you are set free for the sake of your two eyes!”
I washed his eyes with living water, and new eyes formed in the lifeless sockets. He blinked at me, squinted in the bright sunlight, and then burst into tears again. These, however, were tears of joy that flowed from a grateful heart of praise toward God.
“You are no longer Haganav,” I declared. “Your blindness has set you free, as the law commands. Restitution has been paid fully by God’s abundant provision. You are a new creation and shall be called Shalam, 157 for henceforth you will be a living testimony of the restitution that God has paid on your behalf and of the restored peace between you and God.”
“Rise up, Shalam,” Sipporah added, “and live as a new man! Haganav is dead! Long live Shalam! The two of us bear witness, and the law says that the testimony of two witnesses is true.
We helped Shalam to his feet, and he threw up his arms toward heaven. “I am Shalam!” he shouted toward the sky, and his voice echoed back from the trees and nearby hills. “I am proof of God’s restoration through His abundant mercy!”
We allowed a few more minutes for him to rejoice, knowing that he was tuning his heart strings to hear the heartbeat of his heavenly Father. Whereas he had known only an impersonal and legalistic God of judgment, he now had a heavenly Father, whose seed abode in him, a seed that could not be taken from him by any mortal man.
“Let us go to Shiloh,” Shalam said when he had calmed down.
“Yes, let us go,” I said, and as the horses came near, I saw a slight twinkle in Pegasus’ eye. “Shalam, my friend, you have had a hard day. I think you should ride Pegasus into Shiloh.”
Shalam’s mouth dropped open. “Are you sure?” he asked. “He may not like me very well after the way I treated him.”
“That was in the past,” I replied. “Pegasus did not like the behavior of Haganav, but he loves the testimony of Shalam and has chosen you to ride him.”
“Well, okay,” Shalam said hesitatingly. I helped him mount Pegasus, and soon we were on our way back to Shiloh. Pegasus pranced and danced with Shalam on his back, enjoying every moment of the ride back to Shiloh.
I enjoyed the walk.
- Haganav means “thief.”
- Exodus 21:26
- John 10:10
- John 9:6, the sixth miracle-sign that Jesus performed, correlating to the sixth day of Sukkoth and the sixth speech of Moses.
- Shalam is the Hebrew word for “restitution,” used in Exodus 22:3. The man born blind that Jesus healed was named Restitutus (Latin for Restitution). Church history records that when the Bethany family sold their property, laying it at the apostles' feet (Acts4:37), they were forced to leave the country, and Restitutus accompanied them to Provence, in Gaul. There Restitutus became the bishop of Augusta Tricastinorum and the nearby village that still bears his name, St. Restitut, where he is buried.