Obadiah stared. Had Jehu’s men discovered them?
Shiphrah’s husband tiptoed toward the ladder, his field hoe circling high as if he were eager to chop the head off a snake.
En-Gannim, Jezreel Valley, Israel
Obadiah pushed Yedidah into Shiphrah’s tiny room. “Stay back.” [GGi] They should have pulled the ladder up onto the veranda. As if Jehu’s men needed a ladder. Why hadn’t he moved Yedidah and their daughter to Keslote years ago?
Better to face his enemy on the ladder than the veranda. He crept past Shiphrah’s husband[GGii] and whispered into the dark, “Who are you?”
Obadiah pounced. “Where’s my daughter?”
The son-in-law ducked and disappeared. [why?]v
Yedidah clutched Obadiah’s arm and stared with him into the night. “Son?”
“Where are my guards?” Obadiah asked. He shook Yedidah off and rattled the ladder. “Do you have my chariot?”
The captain spoke from the dark. “Please, sir. Your daughter’s with Zak. I have a chariot waiting for you in the ravine.” [vi]
Yedidah gripped Obadiah’s wrist with both hands, slid inside the curl of his arm, and beamed toward her son-in-law’s voice. “We’re glad to see you, son.”
Obadiah blinked. “Oh. Um, glad. Yes. Glad to see you. Son.”
Yedidah shoved Obadiah toward the ladder. “Let’s go, dear. Thank you, Shiphrah, for hiding us. For the food. The rug. The robe.”
When Obadiah reached the ground, he cupped the captain’s shoulders and whispered, “Where’s Zak taking my daughter?”
“Zak says best not to mention destinations.”
Obadiah scowled but took two strides beside the captain. He jerked to a halt. “How’d you get out of the fort?”
“Zak hid watchers by the tunnels, sir. When General Jehu’s guards walked away from a tunnel, we left.” He pointed ahead. “The chariot’s right up here.” x
Obadiah and Yedidah stepped into the chariot, and their son-in-law captain drove along tiny trails hidden from the fort.
Yedidah stood between Obadiah and her son-in-law with her arms around their waists. xi
Obadiah reached across and rested a hand on the captain’s shoulder. “How’d you get a hold of a chariot?”
“I told the guard I had urgent business for the king.” He turned and winked.
“Nice.” Obadiah gave him a pat on the shoulder. xii
While still south of Mt. Tabor, the captain pulled into a patch of oak trees.
Obadiah’s daughter and six-year-old granddaughter dashed from the shadows laughing. “Daddy! Mother! Grandma! Grandpa!”
“My girls!” Obadiah stepped off the rolling chariot. He knelt as the girls crashed into him. He gathered them in his arms. [SS touch, smellxiii]
When the chariot stopped, Yedidah clambered off and leaned into the threesome, reaching to hold as much as her arms could encircle.
Zak led three horses into the clearing, followed by Obadiah’s driver with a team and chariot. Four extra horses followed, tied to the back of the chariot.
Obadiah clasped Zak by the shoulders. “You worker of miracles. My hero. Thank you!”
“I hope you enjoy the climate in Jericho.” Zak hitched the reins of his two spare horses to the blanket harness of his mount. “I sent three guards to Keslote and two to Megiddo. With horses, chariots, and silver. Pray your peoplexvi will come away with them.” He swung onto the horse and turned toward the Jordan River.
Obadiah’s driver slapped a chariot rail. “Rides good, sir.”
Obadiah chuckled. “Important business for the king?”
“Urgent, sir. Urgent.”
As Yedidah stepped aboard, a flash of pain crossed her face. “I hope Hiel’s well. If we lost our oldest and youngest like he did, I don’t know how I could get up in the morning.”
They rode through the night. [SS daughter?xvii]
As the rising sun touched them in Jerichoxviii, Hiel strode out to the intersection and captured Obadiah in his enormous arms. “We heard. News filters through the hills and floats along the river. A few details drop off, but new ones climb on. Takes a day or two, but we hear what happens in Jezreel and Samaria.”
“What do you advise?” Obadiah tipped his head toward the others. “These are my family. My friends.”
“Well, don’t squeeze them into that tiny cave at Gilgal.” He swung an arm toward Jerusalem. “Come with me a decent hike across the border. Help me put together a fort.”
Hiel nodded. “The border’s only a line in the mind, but Jehu’s troops don’t patrol there. So you’d be that much out of sight.”
“You’re building a fort?”
“That I am. For old customers in a village called Horchanyah. Not a magnificent city, and my fort will never win an architectural award. Yet, I build for many in these hills, and when I do a decent job on this minor project, several more in Judah will call me to build for them.”
“That’s how it works.”
Hiel ran his eyes over the captain, the driver, and Zak. “Your men look strong. And if they’ve been loyal to you, I trust they’ll do honest work. First, I’ll need you to put up a house for this bunch of yours. But where are your bodyguards?”
Yedidah hugged Obadiah’s arm. “The guards have gone to fetch our families. You might end up with a gang of us.”
Hiel stood silent while a golden oriole floated a song in from a high branch of a sycamore. Weela-wee-ooo. “Bring your families, ma’am, and I’ll send them into the hills to work at your side.”
Yedidah said, “Thank you. You’re very kind.”
“When the rains start, join me in the Arava. I’ve got friends in a settlement Moses called Oboth. Solomon named it Tamar and built a fine fort with those peculiar gates of his. Good water. Lots of sunshine. And a big spreading jujube tree.”
Hiel clapped a hand over Obadiah’s shoulder. “Winters in the Arava and summers in Judah. What more could you ask?” [SS Good planxix]
Please critique this, my first newsletter email.
Welcome to – Stories from the Bible – by Dave Parks.
In museums, paintings by the masters show Elijah with bald head and white beard. …
Where did you get the idea for The Boy Who Closed the Sky?
In Kings and Chronicles… [SSxxv]
When is your next book coming out?
If the Lord wills and I live, in the fall of 2022. <a href=”#C4″>Progress</a> [SSxxvi]
To show how ordinary people in the Bible grapple with challenges.
(I’m learning how to do an unsubscribe link.)
Three blog posts.
I’d love to see your suggestions.
A. How old was Elijah? (171 words)
In museums, paintings by the masters show Elijah with bald head and white beard.
Yet, he delivered messages to three kings.
King Ahab, 22 years – “neither dew nor rain”
King Ahaziah, 2 years – “die in your bed”
King Joram, 12 years – “bowels will drop out”
Their successive reigns totaled 36 years. In 866 BC, most people died before their fiftieth birthday, so I started Elijah at twelve.
If Elijah could build a world, he’d make one where little boys threw wicked slave traders over cliffs then ran to the edge and watched them bounce on the rocks….
Light played off a blade lying next to the hammer and tongs. He ran a curious finger across its bright edge then slapped his long, skinny waist. How cool to strap on a sword for their next trip to the King’s Highway.
Dad frowned. “Not for my son.”
Elijah shrugged. Maybe twelve was too young. He would ask next year.
The Boy Who Closed the Sky, Page 11
What would you ask the twelve-year-old Elijah?
B. The camel who? (202 words)
In a camel caravan, who holds the rope? The camel merchant? Camel herder? Camel caravanner?xxvii
I guessed “The camel leader.”
As purple wine puddled in the leaves, the camel puller sniveled. “Supposed to last to the Sinai.”
Elijah turned his back on the puller and raised a hand to shield his eyes from the sun.
The Boy Who Closed the Sky, Page 3
A caravan of a thousand camels consists of many files of 12-18 camels each. A rope attaches to the first camel in the file by a peg in its nose. From the back of the gear on each camel’s hump, another rope leads the next animal in line. The puller holds the lead rope.
Camel pullers work in pairs to help each other load their camels’ cargo each morning and unload each evening. They find the best grazing and keep camels away from poisonous plants. They know when to give a camel water, how to park camels out of the wind, how to distribute the load to prevent it from hurting, and how to treat minor injuries, such as blisters or pack-sores.
Would you like to be a camel puller?
C. Where’s Red From? (210 words)
“You’re not in ______ anymore, Red. I own this piece of the road.” [SSxxviii]
The slaver leered at the crawling child. In the far north, this man had welded these children into his chain and would sell them where they knew not one cousin nor one word of the language. . . .
“Them Kasran slavers don’t talk much, boy.” . . .
“I’ll handle this.” Dad’s wrinkled sunburn came into view, and his deep baritone rumbled. “You’re not in Kasran anymore, Red. I own this piece of the road.”
Sniffles and a hiccup came from the little girl on the ground.
Elijah sucked in a breath. The set of Dad’s jaw was weapon enough to back most men down.
While he handed mutton and pickles to Nathan, Dad parked his bulging biceps and barrel chest next to the slaver.
The man hissed, slid the knife into his belt, and released his grip.
Elijah slumped to the ground.
The Boy Who Closed the Sky, Pages 4-6
Both Pakistan and Iran claim towns called Kasran. I doubt the residents have hair the color of the fictional slaver who held a knife to Elijah’s throat.
How close have you been to Kasran?
2. Here’s my blog site – https://davidwarnerparks.com/
Please tell me what works for you.
What might work better? [SSxxix With your program can you have a background image for the main page? I’d recommend more pictures/images. Also, more variety in font size and titles. ]
Thank you for reading this far.
I’m eager to see your comments.
i[What is Yedidah’s response?]
ii[What is Shiphrah’s hubby doing? Is he not concerned over who may be invading his house, or is he asleep?]
iii[For a moment I read this as curious, but that’s my bad.]
iv[But I’m wondering how Obadiah can describe he son-in-law as “cautious as a cat” before he sees his head poke over the parapet?
v[I’m wondering why he would climb up and say nothing before heading back down.]
vi[Is Obadiah being too loud? It seems he’s not being careful since he was rattling the ladder.]
viiERM I get it, think it’s written correctly but had to read it twice. Maybe just me….
viiiSS Good details
ix[I’m guessing this is a garden hoe, but now I’m a little confused because I was picturing Shiphrah’s husband on the veranda with Obadiah.]
x[How is the weather. Is it a cold night? Warmer? Are there farm sounds around them? Insects?]
xiSS – Consider adding a couple of setting details, like the wind or darkness, etc.
xii[Good explanation for how their son-in-law pulls this off.]
xiiiSS Consider adding another sensory impression like smell or touch.
xiv[I’m wondering…since he’s a captain, would he have to return to Jehu? Will they be able to keep these chariots?] I nned to have a character comment on this.
xv[somebody needs to comment that the horses and chariots are stolen.]
xvi[By “people” does he mean Obadiah’s family or another group of people?]
xviiSS The daughter’s family is coming along in a second chariot beside them, right?
xviiiER Nice line!!!!
xixSS Good plan
xxI know that these two have been with us throughout the story, but help us at the end here to understand more of their significance. The fact that the story ends with a mention of them places them in a prominent position. What do they represent? The past? Childhood? Something else? Remind the reader what King Omri said.
xxi***So, does he see those guys coming?:)***
xxiiGG Terrific job on this story, Dave! I like how you’ve ended it, down to the last line. I got a little confused about what the son-in-law was doing at the beginning but easy fixes. Maybe some setting details? Very nice!
xxiiiER Nice!!! Good work, Dave!!! You’ve got another interesting, enjoyable book under your belt!!! Blessings!!! Take or trash whatever – I didn’t find anything to quibble about!!!
xxivSS – Good job of laying out a good future for them To me, the ending comes a little unexpectedly. Until the last several paragraphs, I could have expected the story to keep going. I suggest that you prepare your reader a little more. Maybe include thoughts from Obadiah about how he’s no longer the king’s right hand man. Maybe he feels displaced or lost or maybe he feels relieved. He can leave all of the royal entanglements, etc. and look after his own family and do what he believes the Lord will have him do. Does he have any regrets regarding Ahab? Whatever thoughts you decide to include could be in this chapter, and the one or two prior.
In the revised version of the story, you do good job of focusing on Biah’s and Ahab’s friendship. You show that Biah sticks by his side even when he disagrees with Ahab. You show his willingness to confront Ahab and his powerlessness to change the direction of the kingdom.
xxvSS I’d revise the line where you say as far as you know you write for adults. I think you want to portray more confidence. You could say that even though your novels start with the main characters as children they are adult novels.
xxviI’m not for sure you need as much detail about exactly what is being revised each week.
xxviiiI really like the passage from the book that follows this quote, but I was a little confused about the connection until I got to near the end of the passage. I believe your reader needs a little more beginning context. Otherwise, they may have no clue who or what “Red” is.
xxixSS With your program can you have a background image for the main page? I’d recommend more pictures/images. Also, more variety in font size and titles.