Everyone was stunned.
"Are you sure you saw the right scripture reference?" asked Aunt Anne-Maria, now becoming slightly worried.
"Oh yes," said Märta, " both Bibles were opened exactly there."
Jenny did not know what to make of it for it had not quite hit her that this was a passage about polygamy. Märta had dreamed about two women and she about twelve. Why? And who were the men?
"Oh, I shouldn't worry about it," said Aunt Anne-Marie. "It was only a dream."
"But they were nearly identical", said Jenny, disappointed that her aunt was not as enthusiastic as she was.
"Just a coincidence," insisted Anne-Marie, and it was clear that talking to her was no longer possible. Their aunt was worried but did not want to let on.
"What about you, Uncle?" asked Märta. "What do you think?"
Pär chewed a little while and then answered:
"That the dreams were so alike is indeed remarkable, but you know we were talking a lot about old Prussia yesterday afternoon, which awakened our imaginations somewhat. And you know how the mind spins dreams, mixing things we have experienced during the day."
"But I grant you, they were certainly entertaining!"
Both women frowned and realised that they weren't going to get anywhere with their Uncle either. But Pär was more believing than he let on - he just didn't want to upset his wife whom he knew had been disturbed by what she had heard.
With breakfast over, the two women left the room and started talking excitedly together upstairs in Jenny's room. They did not know quite what to make of it all and had not, as yet, separated out any apprehensions they may have had about the scriptural allusions to polygamy and the undoubted feelings of affection they both felt for Stan and Władysław, respectively.
"Don't you think it odd that we never found out whether Stan and Władysław were married?" asked Märta.
"Oh, but of course Stan is married," said Jenny teasingly, "else how could he have a son??!"
"Maybe they're divorced?" said Märta.
"Maybe, maybe, but the truth is we don't really know anything about them. All we talked about yesterday afternoon were our ancestors. We never discussed their living families, did we?" Jenny reminded Märta.
"Look, why don't we give Stan and Władysław a ring on his mobile 'phone. They're not picking up their guests from the airport until lunchtime so maybe they'll still be in their hôtel?" suggested Märta.
"What if they went to the Adventist Conference with their hosts?" asked Jenny. "Then he'll have turned his mobile 'phone off."
"What if? What if? We'll never know unless we 'phone them, will we!" said Märta, getting very impatient, knowing that they would soon be leaving Stockholm.
"But we don't know Stan's mobile number, do we? And I daren't ask Uncle Pär!" said Jenny.
"But I've got Władysław's number - he gave it to me on their way out yesterday!"
Jenny reached out to take it but Märta wasn't about to give it to her cousin. It was worth gold to her!
"Come on, I'm the one with a mobile 'phone!" insisted Jenny, but Märta wouldn't give way.
"Only if I can ring Władysław," she said, determined to win.
"Oh come on, Märta, we're wasting time. Look, it's nearly 9 o'clock!" protested Jenny, but Märta wouldn't give way.
"I'll ring Władysław and then you can speak to Stan, OK?" said Märta, and the two struck a bargain..
Stan, Karl and Władysław did not wish to attend another day's Conference and so parted with the elder Högström, thanking him for his hospitality, and said they would look forward to seeing him at the weeding at Kadesh-Naphtali in the summer. They decided they would wander around the Old Town once more before making their way up to the airport to collect Hilda and Silvia.
Władysław's mobile rang as they stepped out of the hôtel lobby.
"Hello, Władysław," came the overly excited voice of Märta as she did her best to keep composed, "are you still in Stockholm?"
"Yes we are," replied Władysław, thrilled to hear her voice.
"Jenny and I wondered if we might meet up with you three before you go back to Kopparberg. Do you have time?" asked Märta, impatiently, for by now she was beginning to bubble over. Indeed, she was virtually hopping on the bedroom floor as she spoke, making Jenny not a little nervous.
"Well, yes, I suppose we might," said Władysław, looking up at his father who was wondering what was going on. "I'll ... " but was cut off before he could complete his next sentence.
"ARE YOU MARRIED?" shouted Märta down the 'phone, now unable to control herself. Jenny was both furious and highly embarrassed and grabbed the 'phone out of her hand. Władysław was at first shocked and then started grinning.
"Hello, Władysław, this is Jenny speaking. I wonder if I could speak to your father for a moment?"
"Of course, cousin Jenny!" replied Władysław, still grinning with amusement at Märta's outburst.
"Hello, Stan?" said Jenny.
"Stan here. How are you this bright and sunny morning?"
"Just fine. But I was wondering if you might have time to meet up with us before you go back to Kopparberg as there's something very important we'd like to discuss with you?"
Stan's eyebrows' rose and now it was Władysław's turn to wonder what was going on.
"Just a moment," said Stan, and put his hand over the mouth piece.
"Jenny and Märta want to meet with us. What do you say?"
Władysław was all for it, of course, and Karl was secretly glad not to have to go round all the old buildings again. They nodded their assent.
"Look, we have to go to the airport to pick up our guests, and the airport is close by where you live, so why don't we meet up at the airport?" suggested Stan.
"Fine," said Jenny. "What time?"
"Well, why not now," said Stan. "We're not doing anything special. If we all make our way up there now we could meet in the 'Arrivals' area. How would that suit you?"
"Wonderful!" said Jenny. "We'll see you in about half-an-hour to an hour, OK?"
Jenny turned off the mobile and glared at Märta.
"Are you insane? Have you no breeding? Asking such a question!" she said, ticking off Märta for her outburst.
Märta looked foolish and apologised.
"Now promise me you'll behave. We're going to be with three men. Remember who you are!" she said with a scolding voice. Märta came to heel.
The two women changed into their best clothes, told Pär and Anne-Marie that they wouldn't be back until supper-time, and left the house hastily. Within forty minutes they were at Bromma Airport, beating Stan and his party there by ten minutes. Everyone was happy to see each other again.
"I thought you'd be bringing your Uncle and Aunt," said Stan. "Did they not want to come too?"
Jenny was slightly embarrassed. "Oh, they don't know we're here," she said. "Actually, we want to talk to you and Władysław privately. I hope you don't mind, Karl," she said apologetically, looking in his direction.
But Karl didn't mind. He guessed what it was about and was happy to wander off and dream about Signild and Maria.
"Will an hour be enough, Brother Królewiec?" he asked.
"I'm sure. Thanks, Karl!" said Stan appreciatively to his future son-in-law.
"Isn't there anywhere quiet?" asked Jenny as the airport began to fill with people.
"Well, it's a lovely sunny say, we're all well dressed, our luggage is in the car, so we are free to enjoy what little bit of nature we can find in this urban jungle. So why don't we go outside? There's bound to be somewhere we can talk without freezing!"
The girls giggled. Stan offered his left arm to Jenny who slipped her right hand in. Władysław took the signal and did the same to Märta though he was less accustomed to such aristocratic posturing as his father and felt a little awkward at first.
The two gentlemen and their ladies were soon outside in the brisk spring air and found a quiet spot in which to talk. Without a trace of formality, Jenny began relating her dream, followed soon afterwards by a highly worked-up Märta.
"What do these dreams mean, Stan?" asked Jenny.
Stan and Władysław looked at one another - they knew exactly what they meant.
"Tell me," said Stan looking at the two women, "do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world, and do you both believe the Bible to be the Word of God?"
They both nodded affirmatively.
"Oh yes, we've believed all our lives - we were raised as Christians," said Jenny.
"Have you been born again?" asked Stan, looking very seriously.
"I suppose so," answered Jenny, glancing at Märta.
"Have you made your public confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Saviour of mankind? Have you made your profession of faith in public?"
Jenny looked confused. "No, I don't think so - why?" and looked at Märta who seemed unsure herself.
"We were baptised as infants into the State Church and we've always been faithful, though we stopped attending some years ago after the Church started going liberal. My parents taught me at home and we always had family services on Sunday. Märta goes to a Presbyterian Church, don't you?"
"Yes, I do. Every Sunday. And to Bible classes on Wednesday evenings ..."
"But your Uncle and Aunt are former Seventh-Day Adventists, aren't they?" asked Władysław. "Where do you worship when you visit them?"
"Oh, we have a family meeting at their home, just like in mine," said Jenny, "only we meet on Saturday morning instead."
"What do you feel about your Uncle and Aunt's beliefs?" asked Stan.
"Oh, I like them. Uncle Pär really knows his Bible and I always enjoy hearing him teach. He makes a lot of sense," answered Jenny.
For forty minutes Stan talked to the two young women, sometimes sitting on a bench until it got too cold whence they moved off and started talking again. He explained about the profession of faith and the sinner's prayer and how important these were. Stan and Władysław led them through both on that bright April morning.
"Wow, I feel really good inside," said Märta smiling. "It's as though Jesus is really living inside me!"
Jenny agreed. She then remembered the dreams.
"We want to know what these dreams mean," said Jenny intently and with determination, "and we figured you could help us. You know, we were there with Uncle Pär at that Seventh Day Adventist meeting, and we heard you speak ..."
"Jenny ... Märta ... there is no doubt that the Lord has spoken to you in those dreams. However, I don't think it would be right for either Władysław or myself to interpret them."
Jenny's heart sank. Märta looked frustrated.
"One of the most dangerous things in a Christian's life occurs when he refuses to struggle to work out a message God has send him and hopes or expects someone else to do the interpreting for him. I'm not being rude or unkind - please don't misunderstand me - it's just that your personal relationships with the Lord are too sacred and precious for anyone to interfere with them. Your dreams are of a particularly sensitive nature and it would be wrong of us to explain them to you. All the keys to their interpretation are already there, especially in light of what we discussed yesterday about our family past."
The look of disappointment on Jenny's and Märta's faces was hard to conceal and Stan felt a twinge of guilt. Both women wanted to ask Stan and Władysław if they were married but did not now dare too - Jenny least of all.
The conversation wandered.
"Are your guests staying long?" asked Jenny, barely able to conceal the hurt she now felt in her heart. Why wouldn't Stan tell them what the dreams meant? It was obvious that he knew.
"Forever," replied Władysław. "They're here coming to get married," and then wondered if he had said too much. But the look in his father's eyes conveyed to him the sense that there was no harm in telling.
"Oh, who to?" asked Märta nosily.
"To some friends who live on our estate," and Władysław was soon explaining that they were a spiritual community and told them a bit about their mission. The women listened attentively. Władysław was enthusaistic as he shared the vision of Kadesh-Naphtali and described their home ... without mentioning his father's wives.
"Don't you have a picture of the herregård, father?" asked Władysław, knowing that Stan always carried around a small album of photos in his over-sized wallet. His wives were always complaining about his jacket which they said was like a portable library. But Stan always liked to be prepared even if this did mean carrying things surplass to need at times.
Stan passed the photograph of the main house at Kadesh-Naphtali to the women. Both gasped, as he knew they would. Stan had wondered how to show them a picture of the herregård without being obvious.
"That's the place in my third dream!" cried Jenny.
"Yes, in mine too!" said Märta who had started springing like a jack-in-the-box again.
Both women looked up at the two men but didn't know what to say, half hoping that Stan would accidentally say something about their dreams to add more clarification. But he remained silent, betraying none of his thoughts or feelings.
"You must come and visit us sometime," said Jenny, knowing that Stan was a busy man and probably wouldn't be able to for a long while. She calculated that if he was a gentleman that that would be his cue to invite them up to Kadesh-Naphtali so that they could see the place for themselves. But all Stan did was to smile.
"Oh, how frustrating these men can be at times!" she thought to herself. But she would find a way to get the information she wanted. Stan figured she might.
"Did any of your ancestors ever have anything to do with a place called Liegnitz?" asked Jenny.
"Liegnitz? Oh yes. Have you never heard of the Battle of Liegnitz??"
She hadn't. Why should she? But Stan was baited on the hook, as he always was when it came to German history.
"15th August 1760," said Stan. "That was the date of the Battle of Liegnitz when the Prussians defeated the Austrians."
"Were any of your relatives involved in that battle?" asked Jenny, trying to prize as much information out of him as possible.
"Oh yes," he replied, but wouldn't say any more.
"What about Glogau?" she asked.
"Glogau?" said Stan.
"Yes, was there a battle at Glogau?"
"Not as far as I know," answered Stan, playing along with her, but only so far.
"But Glogau was the station of 37th Prussian Fusiliers," went on Stan, as his son marvelled that his father could recall so much information.
"Yes, it was originally based at Potsdam but got transferred. It was an unlucky regiment in many respects. The 38th Fusiliers were based at Liegnitz, you know ... Superb uniforms - blue coats, red cuffs and collars, white wasitcoat and breeches ..."
"That was the uniform that Stan and Władysław wore!" exclaimed Märta, and Jenny remembered.
"Lots of regiments dressed in those colours," added Stan. "At least the 36th, 37th and 38th regiments did."
"And the 37th and 38th were based in Golgau and Liegnitz ..." said Jenny under her breath, but loud enough for everyone to hear.
"What about Görlitz?" she asked.
Stan shook his head. "I know nothing about Görlitz from that period. Today half of Görlitz is in Germany and the other in Poland, divided by the River Neisse. The Poles call it Zgorzelec."
Władysław suddenly laughed: "That's a bit like you, isn't it, father? Half of you is in Germany and the other half in Poland!"
"Yes, yes, I see your point," said Stan amused, and so did Jenny. She could now see in her own mind that Stan was connected with all three towns in some way: Görlitz, Glogau and Liegnitz. But what about the woman? Who was she?
Then she remembered: the woman who had been in the first three dreams had also been on one of the sofas in the very last one - she had been the first one she had seen. Jenny tried to rack her brains to remember what language the Bible she was reading in was but she just couldn't.
The topic of conversation changed - Märta was in any case bored by Prussian military history and if the truth be known Jenny wasn't much interested herself. She just wanted to solve the riddle of the dreams. By now, though Märta and Władysław were engrossed in conversation, she had forgotten about her dreams for a moment as she gazed at this handsome young man who loved all the attention he was getting. In his own mind he was trying to weigh up how Karin might react to her and how to get onto the subject of polygamy without driving her away. He showed her a picture of his sister and his mother. Märta didn't dare ask anything about his mother in case she might still be married to Stan and thus dash Jenny's hopes for Stan.
"Look, Jenny, here's the rest of Władysław's family," said Märta passing on the photographs Władysław had shown her.
Jenny took one look at Władysław's mother and shrieked, making everyone jump.
"Look! Look! The woman in my dreams! It's the woman who sat in the chairs reading the books, and the same one who went into the bookshop to buy the Shakespeare. And it's the first woman I saw on the sofa."
Then it was Märta's turn. How could she have been so blind? All Märta had seen was the fountain of hair which in the dreams had been made up into a giant bun of sorts - but now she looked at the face, yes, it was the woman in her dreams also!
Now the women's heads were spinning, and especially Jenny's because of the woman on the sofa. Then she remembered another detail of her last dream that she hadn't remembered until then - the first five women were all without anything on their heads, whereas the remaining seven all had headscarfs on. Seven women on the sofa, and the seven women of Isaiah 4:1. The puzzle was beginning to click together.
Then it dawned on Jenny that Władysław's mother might be Stan's wife.
"What a beautiful mother you have, Władysław!" said Jenny. "I bet she wished she could have been with you here in Stockholm."
"Oh, no, she doesn't like Stockholm very much. Besides, she has far too much to do at home and couldn't get away. We've got too much to do preparing for the weddings."
So Stan was married - Jenny's heart sank again. But what was it that passed between them the day before? And why those dreams? What could they possibly mean for her? It was no use, she had to ask more.
"Why is the chapter heading for Isaiah 4 sandwiched between verses 1 and 2, Stan?" she suddenly asked. "It's a bit odd, don't you think?"
"Yes, it is a bit odd, isn't it," said Stan. "Anyone would think that who ever wrote the chapter headings wanted to reader to believe that verse 1 belonged to Chapter 3 and not to Chapter 4."
Jenny thought about that and felt compelled to study the matter out a bit further, but they were getting chilly and so Stan suggested they went back to the warmth of the airport. There was only an hour left before the guests would arrive anyway. Stan felt a bit guilty because he had left Karl for more than an hour. But Karl had found himself a newspaper and was catching up on local and international news.
They found a quiet spot in the 'Arrivals' area and Stan opened his pocket Bible with Jenny and Märta on either side of him, with Władysław sitting next to Märta ... of course. As far as she was concerned, the marriage stakes were still open.
"Look," said Stan, pointing to the end of Chapter 3 of Isaiah. "Verses 24-26 are arranged like poetry, do you see?"
The girls nodded.
"Look at the verses 18-23 - they're arranged as straight prose, yes?"
Again, they agreed.
"How does verse 18 start?" asked Stan.
Jenny leaned over: "In that day ..." and Stan interrupted her.
"Right. Now look at Chapter 4. How does verse 1 begin?"
"In the same way," replied Jenny.
"Now look at verse 2..." Stan paused.
"It's the same - all three verses say, 'In that day'", said Jenny, curious as to where Stan was leading to.
"Now notice verse 1 is written in poetry-format, like verses 24-26, as though it were a continuation of verse 26 of chapter 3," said Stan watching Jenny's every reaction. "But why? The two other "In that day" passages are both in ordinary prose format. Therefore verse 1 of Chapter 4 ought to have been in prose format too."
She didn't quite follow.
"What father means," said Władysław, "is that the translators have deliberately arranged verse 1 in Chapter 3 so as to make it appear as though it belongs to the previous chapter and not the next one. They have deliberately tried to distort its meaning."
"Right", said Stan. "Now if you look at verses 24-26, they are a dirge3 for the fallen women of Jerusalem who had prostituted themselves to false religion and wanton living. The 'In that day' prose of verses 16-22 is a prophecy of what God is going to do to these fallen women.
"Now go on to verse 25. Here we see that their husbands will be killed in battle, leaving them without protectors and providors, and their children without fathers. That's where the chapter correctly ends because the next chapter is all about salvation and redemption.
"Chapter 4 begins with another 'In that day' passage, which ought to be prose and not poetry, because it has nothing to do with the previous dirge, in which these husbandless women offer themselves to other married men, saying they will provide for themselves if only they will be given protection. We are told in the following verse - verse 2 - which also begins, 'In that day', that a time of peace and prosperity will come to Zion. It will be a wonderful time - it is describing the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ.
"So the question is: which chapter does verse 1 belong to: Chapter 3 and the terrible sins of the women of Zion, or to Chapter 4 and the Millennial Paradise? Most Christians want it to belong to Chapter 3 so they make out verse 1 of Chapter 4 to be poetry. However, this verse is about repentance, whereas the previous verses are about condemnation. Therefore the chapters were correctly divided by the Catholics where they were."
Jenny paused to think a moment.
"But the translators have been dishonest!"
"I agree. The trouble is, if you are honest about what the Bible actually says, it now and then upsets a lot of preconceived ideas and beliefs that people have. And most people simply don't want to know the truth. They would rather retain their own comfort zones by living in their own illusion."
"So, these seven women," continued Jenny, curious. "What were they doing? Asking for protection? I guess they were just taken care of by other families until they could get on their own feet again?"
Stan smiled. "Maybe. But the passage says two things that don't quite fit in with that picture. Firstly, these women say they will be economically independent and won't place burdens on the man. They say they will eat their own food and wear their own clothes. So it can't be poverty that leads them to seek refuge, can it?"
"No, I suppose not," answered Jenny, still missing the obvious. "But this was a time of war, wasn't it? I guess the main motive was protection?"
"That's possible," said Stan, "especially if you believe verse 1 belongs to the previous chapter. But if you believe it belongs to Chapter 4 and to verse 2, then it can't mean that either, since a time of great beauty and glory is being depicted - of peace and cleansing. Verse 5 says that God will be present in the same kind of dramatic way as He was with the Israelites when they fled Egypt. That doesn't sound like a wartime situation to me."
Jenny was silent.
"But we're missing the obvious, I think. What is the last-but-one statement in verse 1?" Stan asked.
" ... only let us be called by your name ... "
Jenny was silent again.
"Well, when does a person change their name during the normal course of a life?" asked Stan, probing now to the core.
"When you get married, I suppose!" answered Märta without thinking of the consequences of her conclusion.
"Can you think of any other reason?" asked Stan.
No one could. Jenny suggested changing name by deed poll but agreed such things didn't happen in those days.
The loudspeaker suddenly blared out, announcing the flight that they had been waiting for from Tallinn. The Estonians had arrived and were already disembarking and collecting their luggage.
"Hilda and Silvia are here, father," said Władysław, regretting that they couldn't take the conversation further. However, all the keys had now been revealed and the girls could now decipher their dreams. But better to do it in the quiet of their own homes. Karl was walking towards them, taking the announcment as his cue to rejoin the others. There was no way that the conversation on Isaiah could continue now.
A very short period of time.
"In that day seven women will take hold of one man and say, 'We will eat out own food and provide for our own clothes; only let us be called by your name. Take away our disgrace!'" (Isaiah 4:1, NIV)
Lamentation, a chant for the dead such as sung at funeral services.
This page was first created in 2002
Last updated on 5 March 2009
No part of this work may be reproduced or stored on any
medium without the express permission of the publisher.
Violators of this copyright will be prosecuted
Copyright © 1987-2009 Chavurat Bekorot
All Rights Reserved | Alle Recht vorbehalten