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.” 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 and whispered into the dark, “Who are you?”
Cautious as a cat, Obadiah’s son-in-law, the chariot captain, poked his head over the parapet.
Obadiah pounced. “Where’s my daughter?”
The son-in-law ducked and disappeared.
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.”
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.”
He rose into the light from the night’s tiny slice of moon. Sweat and dirt covered his brow. His eyes darted from Obadiah to Yedidah, to the circling hoe over Shiphrah’s husband.
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.”
Obadiah and Yedidah stepped into to 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.
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.
While still south of Mt. Tabor, the captain pulled into a patch of oak trees.
Obadiah’s daughter and six-year-old granddaughter dashed laughing from the shadows. “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.
When the chariot stopped, Yedidah clambered off and leaned into the threesome, reaching to hold as much as her arms could encircle.
Obadiah looked up at his son-in-law in the chariot. “Well done, Captain.”
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 people 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.
As the rising sun touched them in Jericho, 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 to 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?”
Obadiah cocked his head on one side and stared up river. “What more? I’d ask for two friends from Gibbethon to stroll in. Did I ever tell you what King Omri said about his stable boy?”
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…
When is your next book coming out?
If the Lord wills and I live, in the fall of…
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 caravaner?
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 kept 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.”
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
Modern Kasran is a town of 10,000 in northern Pakistan or Iran.
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?
Thank you for reading this far.
I’m eager to see your comments.