The threat of war, even for those who felt it, was not one of the many causes of turmoil in Galilee. We were. and are, peasants.
We never welcome war and we seldom bother to life in fear of it; if we did, we would be in fear all of the time. We know that human
beings are responsible for war, but not our kind of human beings. The soldiers come, some of us die, the soldiers leave, life goes on. Whose soldiers were they, "theirs" or "ours?" Often we don't take the trouble to ask for soldiers are always trouble. A war, though a human act seems like an act of nature' we may curse a plague or a drought or a war, but we do not think there is much that can be done about it except try to stay out of its way.
There are a small number of people who, for one reason or another, either welcome war and try to encourage it or hate it enough that they think it is worth while to try to stop it. Joseph, the brother of Esther and Elizabeth was one of these people. When the teacher's words were recited in the Community, he would often clench his fists and his face would redden. Five years before he had left the Community and three years later he had gone to Jerusalem, He said no goodbyes and provided no explanations; but it was thought that he had joined the Iscari, bound by oath to try to spread tennor among the rulers and those who supported them (or did not oppose them fervently enough.
Now Esther learned the Joseph had returned to Galilee and had been seen talking to Elizabeth. What had they talked about? Nobody knew -- brother sister kind of talk people assumed. But neither Joseph nor Elizabeth had spoken to Esther about the meeting or about anything else. Did this meeting have anything to do with Elizabeth's murder. Had Joseph tried to recruit her into the Iscari? This was not unthinkable! Recently there was a report of a woman stabbing a centurion in Jerico. They called her "a Jael" as if there were more like her who would follow. Joseph had apparently talked to others, women as well as men, about the Iscari. Could someone have killed Elizabeth because she had agreed to or refused to be recruited?
Joseph could not have had anything to do with his sister's murder. Things are in such turmoil. Families are falling part. Some in the Community are misquoting the teacher as having said that relatives will turn against each other because of him -- fathers against sons, daughters against mothers. Brothers against sisters?
Where was Joseph? Why had he not talked to his older sister. Did he know anything that might help explain what happened? Esther needed to find Joseph and talk to him.
Reuben said he would help.