Judas Iscariot's younger days are exciting, challenging, filled with friendships, and learning from intelligent teachers who fill his mind with possibilities. His parents, Simon and Damaris, love him dearly. However, his older brother, Haman, thinks he is a pain, his older sister—Maai—thinks he is adorable, and Eunice, with the younger siblings, Orpah and Chelluh, ignores Judas as much as he ignores them.
Still children (by our standards), Judas and his friends become assistants to Shepherd Darda, with whom they spend a year caring for the village's sheep and goats. Their learnings from Darda and the shepherding trade ready them for their adulthood responsibilities.
When they return, the new schoolhouse awaits. Judas loves his sefer, the art of writing, and figuring out the mystery of numbers.
Judas enjoys celebrations and feasts with his friends and neighbors throughout the years, like their sheep-shearing gathering and the long-anticipated wealthy wedding in Hebron. Food, drink, dancing, singing, contests—ten days of pure happiness.
But no joy lasts long. The people are in debt and losing their homes. Flocks diminish in size due to Roman and Temple taxes. Robbers roam freely, without consequences, while fake messiahs proclaim salvation from these troubling times. Worst of all is when Judas' mother and sister Maai attend a wedding in Maon, a small village not far from Kerioth. The wedding is very poor, a stark difference from Hebron. But the people are happy—that is, until the Roman soldiers appear. What happened is a true story.
At age ten, Judas and his friends begin their Freedom Fighters training. Fraught with difficulty, confusion, fear, immense learning about field survival, test after test by their Wilderness Scout Master, the boys grow into young adulthood.
From a Zealot Prophet, who lives in a cave, the boys learn details about the Zealot Sect and its Freedom Fighters founders who readily become their heroes. Notably, the prophet teaches the concept of righteous fighting in a 'holy war'.
As the language of the day, Biblical Hebrew is essential to the story and is used sparingly. Also, Point of Interest offers a wealth of exciting information to the reader.