Ur, 2051 BC

Sarai glanced across the courtyard, catching Abram’s gaze. His half smile and the twinkle in his eye warmed her more than the wine she had tasted at the start of the ceremony. Music drifted around them as the bridal couple—their nephew Lot and his new wife, Melah—took their seats on the bench beneath the canopy and accepted rich foods from the hands of the servants.

“This whole wedding is a disgrace, you know.” Sarai’s sister-in-law Milcah stood at her elbow and leaned close to her ear. “Why her father agreed to the marriage after Lot had already humbled the girl . . . Though I suppose he didn’t have much choice. Who else would want her after she’d already given in to Lot’s charms?” Milcah batted at a fly, sending it away. “I can’t imagine why Lot couldn’t wait with such a one. It’s not as though she’s a beauty or a temptress. It seems like he could have done better.” The last words came out in a whisper as Milcah moved in close again.

Sarai turned from watching the bridal couple to meet Milcah’s pinched gaze. “If it is true that a babe is already on the way, it is better they marry.” She had wearied of the heated debate and shame Lot had brought down on her household, particularly on Abram.

“Abi Terah seems pleased with the arrangement.” Milcah touched Sarai’s shoulder and pointed toward their father. “Though his conditions did seem a little harsh toward Lot, while Melah came away already with child and married to a man who can never put her aside or take another. I might have given in to Nahor before our betrothal for such a promise.” She laughed at that, then shifted her ample bulk, bursting with child herself, to face Sarai once more.

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