#3: The Bronze Bow

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The Bronze Bow is an excellent book about a young Jewish boy named Daniel who, at the age of 13, flees his hometown and his family because he is being whipped at his master’s smithy. Leaving behind his very shy sister, Leah, Daniel grows up to be a warrior. He lives up on the mountain with a group of bandits who will eventually fight against the whole Roman army, which occupies Palestine. The Jewish warriors are led by the daring man named Rosh the Outlaw who believes that in time he and his army can defeat the Romans after his training.  Daniel starts his own family, too, and eventually leaves the mountain to care for his family and follow Rosh’s commands. Along the way, Daniel learns the meaning of family and friendship, discovers the burdens of leadership, and learns to repay love with love and not with hate.

Daniel starts out meeting a young adventurous boy, Joel, and his sister, Thacia. They are from his home town and want to talk to him about his life on the mountain. Joel is willing to help the cause that Daniel believes in and helps Daniel on a raid where they rescue a big brute named Samson, who is deaf. Simon, the blacksmith, of the town that Daniel lived in asks Daniel to come home to see his family and to meet a Jewish man named Jesus and go to synagogue and act like a Jew for one day. Later, Daniel’s Grandmother passes away and Daniel must work for Rosh and must make some friends in his town. Also, Joel takes Daniel to see Jesus, and when Daniel sees Jesus he thinks that if this man were to work together with Rosh they might be able to overthrow the Romans. However, Simon tells him there’s no chance that Jesus will fight, because he is a man of peace. Joel becomes best friends with Daniel and they visit each other, which allows Leah to meet Thacia. Daniel finds himself in a place where his life is going great.

As life goes on, Daniel barely ever sees Rosh and he starts becoming a leader. He creates a sort of private club for followers of Rosh. This group grows to nineteen people. At first all the meetings were held at Daniel’s house, until a Roman soldier shows up a little too consistently and the club members believe they are being followed. Then it happens: Joel is captured by the Romans. Daniel goes to Rosh to plead for help, but Rosh will no longer help them. This is when Daniel finally sees Rosh’s true colors. Rosh really only wants the loot and glory for himself. Daniel and his group must try to save Joel without Rosh’s help, but in the attempt one of their members (Nathan) dies. Joel also loses a friend, Sampson. Conflicts between Romans and Jews happen all the time. Later in the book, Leah has fruit for dinner, and when Daniel finds out that Leah gets it from a Roman soldier he freaks out and makes Leah go back into her shell becomes really shy again. She gets extremely sick because she will not eat and won’t sleep, so Daniel send a message to Thacia who comes to the house but she doesn’t come alone; she brings Jesus with her. Jesus heals Leah, and Daniel finally learns how to repay Samson’s death with love. He does this by letting the Roman soldier who has befriended his sister come in to see her.  He has come to see that peace, not violence, is a better solution, thanks to Thacia.

This book was good for many reasons.  The book’s portrayal of the early life of Daniel  allows the reader to try and understand his backstory. Also there was enough drama to make it almost as if you were feeling the emotions with the character and not just reading the book. It was neat to see Daniel make a mini bronze bow and give it to Thacia, because the whole title of the story was leading up to that moment. It was sad when Samson got killed by the spear, because he was a very interesting and important character in the book.  Even the title was very intriguing: it shaped the whole story not just some brief moment that wasn’t super important. Also   there were other sections of the book that were very emotional, like when his sister closed up again, and when Daniel kind of went berserk, and when Jesus fixed it. It also made me think about the use of violence to solve problems. Because of these things this book would be a good book to share.

First century Palestine was interesting.. People lived up in the mountains mining, and down the valley fishing, or even on boats trading. Some lived at home in a nice quiet village doing their job fast and well, but the largest groups of them lived in bustling towns with huge synagogues and large markets. In these bigger places, people took up the word of the Gospel. The people of Palestine were generally happy people though they also knew that you needed to work hard to survive. The most important fact about their society was probably the absolute power of the Romans, who were very oppressive.

Throughout the book, Jesus was an important and controversial character not just because of the way he acted but because of the way people treated him. Some persecuted him because he encouraged people to disobey the law, while others admired him for it. Many Jews would easily go to war for him, while some were willing to betray him for the pay of the Romans. Also the Jews were a very politically weak group of people, so they may have believed that Jesus was some kind of God, and was there to heal them, or they may have feared his power. That was how Jesus was treated during first century Palestine and also the way he acted: as a healer and a controversial figure, as someone to adore and fear.

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