38. Escape

38. Escape

849 BC

En Gannim, Jezreel Valley, Israel

Obadiah pushed Yedidah into the dark of Shiphrah’s one doorway. “Stay back.” He touched the dagger at his side.

The only light came from a tiny slice of moon. They should have pulled the ladder up onto the veranda. Obadiah snorted. As if Jehu’s men needed a ladder. Why hadn’t he moved Yedidah and their daughter to Keslote years ago?

Shiphrah put her finger to her lips. The children backed into her, hands covering their mouths.

Her husband tiptoed toward the ladder, circling his field hoe overhead, ready to strike.

Obadiah crept beside him. Better to face his enemy on the ladder than on the veranda. How many feet were shuffling below in the dark? He cocked his head and called into the night. “Who are you?”

The bushy brows and large nose of Gever, Obadiah’s son-in-law, rose over the parapet.

Shiphrah’s husband swung for his head.

“Wait.” Obadiah grabbed for the hoe but missed.

Gever dropped to the ground, and the hoe clanged against the parapet.

Obadiah shoved Shiphrah’s husband aside and pounced at the empty ladder. “Where’s my daughter?”

Yedidah scurried to the ladder and gripped Obadiah’s arm. “Gever?” She stared into the night. “Son?”

Gever’s voice rose from the dark. “Please, ma’am. Your daughter’s with Zak. I have a chariot waiting for you in the ravine.”

Obadiah shook Yedidah off. “Where are my guards?”

Her fingers dug into Obadiah’s wrist. “We’re glad to see you, son.”

Gever rose above the parapet. Sweat and dirt covered his brow. Cautious as a cat, he glanced at the hoe in the dim light.

Yedidah crowded Obadiah toward the ladder. “Let’s go. Thank you, Shiphrah, for hiding us. For the food. The rug. The robe.”

“Our privilege, dear.” Shiphrah held the ladder for them. “Go. Go.”

When Obadiah reached the ground, he cupped Gever’s shoulders and whispered, “Where’s Zak taking my daughter?”

“Zak’s not mentioning destinations.” Gever led them along the path. “The chariot’s in those bushes.”

Obadiah scowled. “How’d you escape from the fort?”

“Zak hid watchers by the tunnels, sir. When General Jehu’s guards walked away from one tunnel, we left.” He pulled apart a tall pair of Abraham’s balm bushes and revealed a chariot and a team of horses.

Obadiah and Yedidah stepped into the chariot, and Gever drove along narrow trails hidden from the fort. Crickets sang. No breeze cooled them, and only the crunch of chariot wheels on gravel cut the warm night.

Obadiah wiped sweat from his palm and rested a hand on Gever’s shoulder. “These wheels ride smoother than mine. How’d you get your hands on a chariot?”

“I followed Zak’s instructions, sir. Told the guard, ‘urgent business authorized by the king’s right-hand man.’”

“Authorized?”

“Zak’s word, sir.”

Obadiah smoothed the front of his robe. Zak was doing well tonight.

The fingernail moon had accomplished a third of its journey when Gever pulled into a patch of oak trees south of Mt. Tabor.

Obadiah’s daughter and six-year-old granddaughter dashed from the shadows, laughing, black curls bobbing.

“Daddy! Mommy!”

“Grandma! Grandpa!”

Obadiah stepped off the rolling chariot. “My girls!” He knelt and let them crash into him. Gathering their softness, he inhaled their familiar jasmine scent.

When the chariot stopped, Yedidah clambered off and leaned into father and daughters, stretching her arms to encircle her family.

Obadiah looked up at Gever’s prominent features with new respect and affection. “Well done, Captain.” i

Zak led a group of horses into the clearing.

“You worker of miracles.” Obadiah clasped him by the shoulders.

“Thank you, sir. One of Yedidah’s Megiddo bubblers brought me with a message from Mika.”

“Mika! That little guy’s safe!”

“Still sad about King Ahab but glad to be on his way home.”

Zak hitched the reins of three horses to his mount’s blanket harness. “I sent two guards with horses, chariots, and silver to Keslote and Megiddo. They’re collecting Yedidah’s family and yours.”

Obadiah glanced at Yedidah and bit his lip. He should be grateful Zak was rescuing their families, but what about the families of his bodyguards? Jehu’s men would hunt them down and wipe them out.

Zak swung onto his horse and answered Obadiah’s thoughts. “Two men have gone to bring the families of our bodyguards. Not a hoof left behind.”

“Seba and Jebus? Did you check the kitchen or the stable?”

“I sent a man to Harod for them, but they were packed up and gone. No one will say where. Very tight-lipped village. Those two have been friends of King Ahab all their lives, so they’re in as much danger as the rest of us.”He turned his horse toward the river. “I hope you enjoy the climate in Jericho, sir.”


Background

Gever – 2 Samuel 1:19 “the mighty”

Not a hoof left behind – Exodus 10:26

iSD It might make an interesting subplot earlier in the story to have his daughter falling for Gever and Obadiah not approving for some reason. Throughout the story, he never fully embraces Gever until this moment here.

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