Title: Dave Parks Writes a Young Elijah


I’m Dave Parks, an English teacher at colleges in Michigan, California, and China. I write to show how ordinary people in the Bible grapple with challenges.

My first book is The Boy Who Closed the Sky, a novel about Elijah the prophet.


I thought Elijah was old, as in this painting by Tilemann. Then I noticed he needed thirty-six years to deliver messages to three kings.


  • King Ahab reigned 22 years – “neither dew nor rain”
  • King Ahaziah reigned 2 years – “die in your bed”
  • King Joram reigned 12 years – “bowels will drop out”


In 866 BC, most people died before their fiftieth birthday, so I started him 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.

. . .

L ight 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. – p. 11, The Boy Who Closed the Sky

The Idea

I was reading and rereading Kings and Chronicles, fascinated with Elijah and Elisha, Ahab and Obadiah, when I remembered “Elijah was a man with passions like ours.” (James 5:17)

Did he have a temper?
Get discouraged?
Notice the ladies?

First Words

This could be fun. I opened my laptop and wrote my first words of fiction.

Twelve-year-old Elijah tries to rescue a slave girl. A few years later he challenges the king: “Neither dew nor rain until I say so.” (1 Kings 17:1)

He thinks anger motivates him, so the Lord’s “Hide at the Brook” must mean he’s hearing things. Not until Moloch thugs have him hiding under a thorn bush does he pay attention to the Lord’s voice.

His brother Nathan keeps Elijah focused. “What did God say exactly?” When Elijah returns from hiding in Zarephath, does Milkah still live next door, or has she married the tanner’s son?

The story follows the Biblical outline, ending with a chariot of fire and the mantle falling on Elisha.

Click here to read Chapter 1. Wind and Fire

Click here to buy The Boy Who Closed the Sky.

Next Book

If the Lord wills and I live, the sequel comes out in the fall of 2022.

The King’s Right-hand Man

Best buds, Obadiah and Ahab grow up across the village path from each other. When Ahab becomes king, his queen (Jezebel), kills the prophets, but Obadiah hides them in caves. Can Obadiah and Ahab still be friends?

The first page of the book:


Chapter 1. Wind and Fire

866 BC

The King’s Highway, Gilead

A shrill scream shot through the trees.

Elijah recoiled.

The wineskin slipped from his fingers, bounced off Nathan’s knees, and burst.

A robin fluttered up from the forest floor.

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. Thin clouds dusted the top of a light blue sky over an endless line of camels splooshing through puddles from yesterday’s shower.

Where the path climbed onto the plateau, a child stirred bees and locusts as she crept through the grass.

A long line of children lifted faces to follow the girl as she pulled herself along on hands and knees.

Behind the child, a thick man with red hair sauntered through the grass. His headscarf and cloak shared the cut and color of Elijah’s. A leather belt like Nathan’s closed the man’s cloak. Except for his straight red hair, he could pass for a Gilead farmer.


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