JESS, arriving in Galilee, takes up a job as a private teacher for AVINER’s daughter, ELKIE. AVINER also has an older son, DANIIL. Before his wife died, AVINER promised her that he would give ELKIE everything that she needed. DANIIL believes AVINER favours ELKIE over him.
AVINER is contesting the job of Chief Magistrate against his dead wife’s brother, RUEL. RUEL is a successful merchant and a charitable man. RUEL genuinely hopes that the competition for the job does not affect their friendship.
DANIIL spies AVINER bribing the Roman PREFECT with gold. As a result of the bribe, the PREFECT elects AVINER as Chief Magistrate. At a celebration party RUEL congratulates AVINER on his success and wishes him well. DANIIL feels like he is being ignored by his father.
Partly in order to attract the attention of his father, DANIIL sets up a business in town. At first it is unsuccessful. RUEL is DANIIL’s biggest competitor and his business is very well established.
The Roman PREFECT is to taste and compare the wine from both RUEL and DANIIL’s businesses. The wine which is considered best will win the contract of providing wine for the Roman legions. DANIIL cheats by getting KALEV, a long lost friend of JESS, to sell him blue dye from outside the area. DANIIL inserts the dye in the barrel that RUEL is presenting to the PREFECT for tasting.
The PREFECT is disgusted with the blue wine that he is presented with by RUEL. After winning the contract DANIIL’s business booms at the expense of RUEL who is reduced to a life of near poverty.
KALEV tells RUEL, JESS and then AVINER about the blue dye that he sold to DANIIL. AVINER is shocked by his son’s treachery. RUEL, rather than going straight to the Romans, asks that AVINER, as chief magistrate, ensures that DANIIL is brought to justice.
AVINER confronts DANIIL about the dying incident. DANIIL says that he saw AVINER bribing the PREFECT to win his position of Chief Magistrate and calls AVINER a hypocrite.
AVINER goes to JESS and tells him that he has an idea to solve the problems. However, JESS will have to leave because AVINER can no longer afford to pay him. JESS agrees to this, concerned that ELKIE may be brought up in an environment where father and brother are not talking.
AVINER asks DANIIL to give RUEL his business. DANIIL initially refuses. AVINER then explains that they should both take responsibility for their crimes and tells DANIIL that he has given the magistrate’s job to RUEL. AVINER says he has been impressed by the way DANIIL ran his own business. AVINER and DANIIL agree to build a family business together.
JESS leaves AVINER’s services, secure in the knowledge that ELKIE had learnt to read but AVINER had learnt even more.