"Excuse me," I said to the lead person. "May I join your group?"
Rarely would a caravan turn down such a request. They appreciated the help with the work.
"Sure. You are most welcomed. What is your name and where are you going?"
"I am Jonah and I'm traveling to Nineveh."
"But you are carrying nothing with you. What do you plan to do there?"
"I have been sent to deliver a message."
The leader nodded. "Very well. Join in where you can."
The caravan had goods they planned to sell loaded on camels and mules. From a glance, I'd say they had about two hundred animals carrying the merchandise. There were at least forty armed men riding or walking alongside to protect the animals from bandits.
I stepped in with the group and helped where I could, including taking my turn to keep watch at night. They offered me food in exchange for my work.
The first part of our journey took a lot of work. The trail wove up the mountains in Damascus. The caravan stopped in the villages to sell their wares. The next part of the journey took us on steep mountain trails where we had to watch the animals closely to keep them from falling.
The trail led us up one mountain, down the other side, then back up the next mountain. At least the trees protected us from the hot sun. Climbing down the last mountain seemed to be a relief, until we left the shade of the trees and set out into the wilderness where wild animals threatened us.
At night the cries of the wild animals made sleeping difficult for me. I never did get use to the noise.
The leader of the caravan had us rest at the last village located on the edge of the wilderness. In front of us was the the Syrian desert. We filled all our containers with fresh water and let the animals drink their fill before setting out.
We walked one hundred and twenty miles of flat, hot sand where no one dared to live. The merchants knew how to handle the desert, though. They wore cloth over their nose and mouths to keep sand from blowing in with each breath. They rested during the hottest part of the day and rationed the water.
I was very happy to see the banks of the Euphrates river after so many days in the desert and even happier when the leader said we would rest for a few days before finishing the journey.
I would need the rest because on the other side of the river lay the country of Assyria. The capital city was the great Nineveh.
I really am not looking forward to this.
1. Where did the caravan come from?
2. What did they have with them?
3. Why did the leader invite Jonah to join them?
4. What did they find along the way?
5. Why was Jonah concerned about crossing the river?