Although there was one particularly rough patch during Ari’s late teens, Mariamne IV was not the first queen (nor the last) to have major problems with the royal men in her life. The sometimes heartless, sometimes shoddy treatment of his mother, the Woman by the Well, was likely a factor in Ari Jesh’s own fervent commitment to the sanctity of marriage, and also to his overwhelming devotion to Salome and their children. He knew of the sacrifices women had to make in their lives, and his mom and his wife were each examples, for Salome had been forced to marry while still young, for the “good of the people,” and his mom had been divorced against her wishes, more than once. He believed deeply in the equality of all human beings, and the strong men and women who formed him in his childhood and adolescence became the builders of a great and growing nation.
Salome was also exceedingly popular, for everyone who knew her loved her, and when some called her Salome Mariamne, it wasn’t always just a reference to her own heritage, for the holy mantle came from her mother-in-law also. They were both ladies of the highest stature, Carriers of the Covenant, and the Virgin Mother Maryam role was later for Salome of the Tower to shoulder almost entirely on her own, and the Beloved One would prove to do a miraculous job.
These were the most difficult years in Jeshua’s life. In his early to mid-teens, the separation from his mother and younger siblings was excruciatingly painful, while in his later teens the expectations of some in Galilee and Jerusalem were hugely unreachable. People were anticipating Jesh would unite all Jews and overthrow the Romans, but he was more concerned with uniting Jews and Romans, and indeed all humanity. Purists questioned his pedigree, radicals challenged his passion, his family was concerned about some of the company he was keeping, and authorities were always quick to enquire what the large gatherings were about. Couple this social pressure with his deep disappointment in Salome’s betrothal to Philip Jahn, and you can see how the emotions would build.