Levi looked at his little brothers and step-brothers while packing his bag. He would no longer have to play riddles with the children. He would no longer be called “Little Levi”. Today marked the day of his birth and he was now 10.
Jacob told Levi that morning, “Getting older means more responsibility. Now that you have lived 10 years, you are mature enough to help Reuben and Simeon with the goat herd. They came back for more supplies and are going to take the goats to the north field. You will go with them and help. Remember to obey your brothers.”
Levi remembered that the younger siblings received fig cakes and kisses from all the servants on their birthdays but Levi did not need that anymore. He was a man now.
“Simeon!! Reuben! Wait for me! I’m coming!” Levi called out to his brothers and hurried to catch up with them.
Reuben turned and frowned, “Levi? 10 already? Well, then go and walk behind the herd and hurry the slower goats. And catch any strays!” Levi was already grabbing a wayward kid that was frolicking about toward some dry weeds.
He ran and placed him with one of the mothers and made his way toward the back.
Hours passed and Levi grew more tried with each step. Reuben and Simeon were at the front together, laughing and joking. Levi felt green with envy. They made it seem so fun. They never told them that when he came of age, he would be stuck alone in the back.
Something woke him up from his daydreaming.
“Ble-e-e-e-e-eh-h-h, bleh-h-h, ble-e-e-e-eh!” the goat screeched for Levi to free him from a bramble. Levi ran to get the goat and carried it on his shoulders. He was exhausted. He had cuts and scrapes on his arms and legs and he was sweating an uncomfortable amount. He wished he was back home with fig cakes and water a-plenty from the well.
“BLE-E-E-EHHHH!“, the goat screeched again.
“Okay, you’re done”, said Levi as he put the goat down and gave it a small kick to join the others. “I won’t keep you from your friends.”
Evening came and Reuben drove the final stake into the ground of the tent they would stay in for the night before bringing the goats back. Simeon kindled the fire and collected fire wood. Levi was left with the job of killing a goat for dinner. He had never killed a goat before. One time, he was given the chance to kill the lamp for a sacrifice, but never a goat. He chose a goat that was grazing nearby and tried to pick it up but it was as if the goat knew his motives. Levi chased after it but the goat dodged every time. Reuben corned it around the tent and caught it.
“Nervous?” Reuben asked him. Levi nodded.
“I remember my first time out in the field. Dad made me kill the lamb and I was so upset that I cried all night. The next morning, Dad had to carry me on his back because I kept falling asleep”
“Yeah, but that’s a sheep. They just cry. Goats kick and screech”, Levi nervously fumbled the words out.
Reuben wrapped his arm around Levi’s shoulders and held the goat in the other, “Let’s go. I’ll help you.”