“So they took them back to their fellow Israelites at Jericho, the City of Palms, and returned to Samaria.” 2 Ch. 28:15
The homecoming for the two hundred thousand women and children was bittersweet, for their fathers and husbands were no longer there. They went back to a home filled with memories of a happier time, knowing things would never be the same. One hundred and twenty thousand men had perished and what remained were women and children, and so many broken homes to be restored.
Such was what the war between Judah and Israel did to them. What exactly was the cause of the blood-shed? No one was quite sure on either side. When the order was issued, all the able-bodied men had no choice but to put down their plows and pick up the swords and spears and to the frontline they went, marching to the wide-opened jaws of death.
Whether it was more desirable to live or to die after the horrific ordeal was finally over no one was quite sure. The dead were at rest at the least, yet the living still had to continue to struggle to remain alive, which was by no means an easy task, for not only were they afflicted by outward pain, their inner selves were torn apart by the losses of their beloved and their homes.
Most of the captives were in a daze and were preparing for the worst, and after hundreds of miles traveling on foot and deprived of any sleep, they were all dead tired. For sure they found no reason to continue to live in such miserable condition except for their children. Being mothers and protectors of their sons and daughters, they were able to remain strong and endure hardship far beyond what they had ever imagined. “Being a mother is to be strong,” a Chinese saying renders.
So the Israelites from the north clothed the naked and put the weak and frail on donkeys, and took them home. “So they took them back to their fellow Israelites at Jericho, the City of Palms, and returned to Samaria.” Indeed, there was a glimpse of mercy in the midst of severe trial and pain.
What could these women and children have done except what was necessary to survive and what their hands found to do at the time? I presume they all went back to their homes and, as devastating and heartbreaking as it might have been, they picked up what was left behind by their deceased husbands and continued to make a living.
Surely it wasn’t by their own doing that a tragedy such as this happened, yet wars have continued to occur throughout human history, and we the common folks continue to suffer the collateral damage of them all.