41. Pre-Battle Scenes[very rough draft] [The next chapter drafts are really rough notes tossed into files. When you get to the chapter titled Outta Here, it starts to look more like a draft.]
Outside Ramoth in Gilead
Obadiah stood with Ahab and Jehoshaphat outside. Instead of his Ahab’s royal robes of silk and linen. He wore the tunic and armor of a chariot captain.i
[Tell reader Many battles have past.]
[But show Biah’s Age and Ahab’s]
[noble warrior.ii] [Hiel’s too old to show up]
GG’s I wanted a little more reaction and thought from Obadiah in some places.
Maybe show when battle starts and stops?
GG couldn’t picture it.
Sounds and smells of war and the ringing of steel as background
I had a hard time picturing the burial preparation, too. Was it a public ritual that would be observed by everyone?
buries Ahab with full honors.
Stable boy at funeral
“Where are your royal robes, my king?” Show his armor as being like Obadiah’s.
Ahab tipped his head toward Jehoshaphat. “The king of Judah deserves the glory for this victory. He’ll wear his royal robes from Jerusalem while I fight in the thick of it in disguise.” What’s his facial expression as he says this? What is Obadiah’s reaction? Is he appalled? Uneasy? Thoughts? I’m wanting Obadiah to be very against this battle due to what Micaiah said.]
Obadiah looked down. “Victory?” The word felt like a tired old rag. Mika’s “He’s not coming back” rang in his head and drowned it out. [I like this, but what is it drowning out? This sentence feels out of place on the back of the “tired, old rag” simile.] He steeled himself against turning his back on Ahab.
Ahab stepped up into his battle chariot and raised his broadax. “Stick with me, Obadiah. The old team. Together again.” He dipped his head at Obadiah and threw him a broad smile.
The three warriors rode into battle. Jehoshaphat, Ahab, and Obadiah. The Syrian chariot captains closed in on Jehoshaphat’s royal colors. But he gave the battle cry of Judah, “The Lord is the helper of David!” and they drifted away. They stood in their chariots and scanned the battlefield.
Obadiah yelled over to Ahab’s chariot. “See that! They’re looking for you, my king.”
“Uhn!” Ahab groaned and slumped over the wall of his chariot.
The feathers of an arrow protruded from a crack in the armor over Ahab’s chest.
“Obadiah’s stomach dropped. He screamed, “My king!” Where did that arrow come from? Arrows arched and fell randomly over the chariot captains. Obadiah’s heart stopped. [Is he thinking of Micaiah’s words? Does he tell himself the king will be okay in a desperate denial of what’s happening?]
“Wheel around. Take him out. He’s hurt.” Obadiah shouted at Ahab’s driver while he crouched and peeked over his chariot rail.
Obadiah’s chariot followed Ahab’s to the side of the battle field. He jumped into the chariot and gasped. Right by the heart. [Is Ahab on the floor of the chariot? Is his eyes open? Closed? Is dead? Breathing hard?] Not good. Not good at all. He propped Ahab up. “There. Now sit here and watch us whip Ben-hadad and his whole army.” He blinked back his tears and gave his old friend a big smile. “You’ll be fine, my king. Just fine.”S
Ahab whispered, “Thanks, old friend. Get us a victory.”
Obadiah’s smile dropped. He stepped back into his chariot, hefted his broadax, and braced his feet. Dabbing at his eyes, he nodded to his driver. “Take me in.”
Throughout the afternoon, Obadiah found moments to duck out and race his chariot to the edge of the of the battle. Obadiah knelt beside Ahab, too near the blood that pooled in his chariot. “They’re giving us a rough time, my king. But we’re makin’ ‘em hurt.”
Often Ahab’s mouth would twitch or his head would move in a tiny nod.
Yet at sundown, Ahab did not respond.
Obadiah needs to desperately feel for a pulse. A breath. Then a loud cry of grief.
Obadiah shouted, “The king is dead!” [We don’t get to see the moment of Ahab’s death? It would be a hard moment for Biah, and I want his thoughts and feelings.]
The cry echoed through the troops and chariots. “Home. Every man to his town. Every man to his farm!” [ Where are the Syrians? Still fighting? Do they retreat to their camp? Is the threat gone?]
[How can the Hebrews just quit fighting? Why don’t the Syrians press them?]
Several of Ahab’s chariot fighters drove up.
“Rope.” Obadiah motioned to Ahab’s corpse. “I need something to tie the king in place.”
“Use mine.” A fighter tossed a length of rope into the chariot. “I won’t be needing it just yet.”
Obadiah grabbed it up. “May the Lord see to it that you don’t need it for many years and battles.” He lashed Ahab’s corpse on the deck of his battle wagon up against the rail. “There. The king won’t roll out when we hit a bump or climb out of the river.” [ What are his thoughts and emotions as he does this?]
Obadiah found Jehu’s chariot and leaned his arms on the rail. “I need you and Bidkar to push ahead of us and prepare the burial. No linens. We’ll lay him out in full battle dress. Bring spices. All the right spices. And make sure the royal tomb is open and clean. And the wives and children. You’ll need to let them know.”
Jehu nodded. “Yes, sir.”
“Thanks.” Obadiah slapped the rail as if to go but paused. “Can you ask around about the artist who carved his father’s ossuary? [Show that ossuary is bone box?] Ahab should have that same design. I’ll need to talk with the artist tomorrow or the next day.”
“We’ll do that, sir.” Jehu nodded at Bidkar. “We will.”
Obadiah swung up into his chariot and called to Ahab’s driver. “Lead the way.”
Ahab’s driver took the road west from Ramoth, and a column of Ahab’s battle chariots followed. All night, the weary warriors walked their battle chargers through Jabesh, across the Jordan River, into Shiloh and onto the ridge road. [show the morning sky and sounds instead? Finally], they entered the Samaria city gate.
Ahab’s seventy children and their twenty-one mothers engulfed his chariot as it stood on the threshing floor. None wore jewelry or cosmetics or sweet-smelling lotions. [ Nice detail, but is Biah close enough to smell lotions?] Some wept.
Jehu approached Obadiah’s chariot. “The tomb is clean, sir. Bidkar brought the spices. We did not locate the ossuary artist, but we put the word out. He should show up today.”
“Good job, Jehu. We’ll use the great hall in the palace to wash the body.”
Obadiah, Jehu, and Bidkar walked beside Ahab’s chariot to the main door of the palace. The chariot fighters and their drivers followed. And Ahab’s wives and children surrounded them all like a cloud. The three men untied Ahab from his chariot deck and carried him [where?] inside.
Jehu and Bidkar held Ahab’s chest while Obadiah pulled out the arrow. [Maybe add something to show they took the armor and clothes off? Would they do this to Ahab’s body with wives, children, chariot fighters and drivers looking on?] They poured warm water over his body and dried him with linens. Then they rubbed him with spices and dressed him in his clothes and armor from the battle. [Then they redressed him in the disguise he wore? Why not royal armor?] Show his armor as being like Obadiah’s.
Did they put his royal robes on him?
“Let’s carry him in my chariot.” Obadiah pointed to five servants. “Please wash the king’s chariot while we lay him in his tomb.”
Jehu lifted Ahab’s torso, Obadiah his head, and Bidkar his feet. They laid him on the deck of Obadiah’s chariot and sat with him as the driver took them across the threshing floor, through the gate, and out to the royal tomb. With Ahab’s charioteers, wives, and children watching, Obadiah, Jehu, and Bidkar laid Ahab’s body on the shelf beside the ossuary [Nice detail! The ossuary is a tomb room, right? Why is the shelf beside the ossuary room?] containing the bones of King Omri. Obadiah laid Ahab’s broadax beside his body on his stiff right hand.
“Sorry, sir. But the chariot’s all clean now.” The servant pointed to the sparkly clean deck of the chariot and the pool of blood on the plaza pavers.
As Obadiah turned toward his chariot. [Is something left out?] “Gera’s place. We’ll get some sleep before we head for Jezreel.”
Snarls and growls came from behind him, and Elijah’s soft words to Ahab burned in his ears. “The dogs which licked up Naboth’s blood wait for yours.” [I would imagine this prophecy was fulfilled on the battlefield, but maybe here as well. – what to show? Dogs or no dogs on battlefield?]
Obadiah paused. His eyes overflowed, and he shook his head. But he refused to turn and watch. He walked slowly to his chariot and stepped in. I don’t think its too melodramatic. Biah’s just lost his friend and king and he’s devastated. I think it says a lot about Biah’s state of mind, that he refuses to to watch but gets into his chariot and leaves.
[Suggestions especially welcome in these last paragraphs. Melodramatic? Too subtle? Too cute?]
10 years between the deaths of Ahab and Jezebel:
2 Kings 1:1 After Ahab died, Moab rebelled against Israel. 2 Ahaziah fell through the balcony railing on the rooftop of his house in Samaria and was injured. He asked Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, “Am I going to recover?”
2 Kings 2:1 Elijah in a whirlwind to heaven.
3 1-3 (because Ahaziah had no son) Joram son of Ahab began his rule over Israel in Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah. He was king for twelve years. In God’s sight he was a bad king. But he wasn’t as bad as his father and mother—to his credit he destroyed the obscene Baal stone that his father had made. But he hung on to the sinful practices of Jeroboam son of Nebat, the ones that had corrupted Israel for so long. He wasn’t about to give them up. 4-7 King Mesha of Moab raised sheep. He was forced to give the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and
2 Kings 4-7 Elisha’s exploits in
2 Kings 8:1-16 Hazael murders Ben Hadad and becomes king of Syria.
2 Kings 9 Jehu anointed king
2 Kings 9:14 is where Obadiah steps in behind the watchman on the wall of Fort Jezreel.
-10 Fact check who Jehu killed in Jezreel vs. in Samaria.
[Has Obadiah retired?] – 5 So the palace administrator [Obadiah?] , the Samaria city governor, the elders and the guardians sent this message to Jehu: “We are your servants and we will do anything you say. We will not appoint anyone as king; you do whatever you think best.”
heads in baskets and sent them to Jehu in Jezreel. 8 When the messenger arrived, he told Jehu, “They have brought the heads of the princes.” Then Jehu ordered, “Put them in two piles at the entrance of the city gate until morning.”
GG’s CRIT: You’ve done a wonderful job showing Obadiah’s emotions, but I wanted a little more reaction and thought from him in some places. Maybe show us when the battle starts and stops? I couldn’t picture it, but I understand that wasn’t the focus in this chapter. The focus is Ahab’s death, but maybe you could bring in the sounds and smells of war and the ringing of steel as background color. Maybe mark the moment the Syrians retreat to their camp by making it the point when Obadiah returns to Ahab’s chariot? I had a hard time picturing the burial preparation, too. Was it a public ritual that would be observed by everyone? I hope my thoughts and questions help. Great work,
Ahab’s final battle – 1 Kings 22
iWhat if you started this chapter with Obadiah observing Ahab in a common soldier’s garb? That way you could open with a kind of hook.
iiFrom Chapter 01. The commander cupped his son’s chin. “Ahab. They will pronounce the name with deep pride. A noble warrior.”