10 Pre-Facade

Yedidah held up a palm. “I heard. Business. Borders. Silver. I’m just … I don’t know how to live in a world like this.”

10 Pre-Facade

864 BC i

Fort Jezreel, Jezreel Valley, Israel

[Goatskinii][Bubblersiii][Whyiv][businessv] [fearvi] [introspectionvii] [backstoryviii][Psalmix]


Obadiah and his bodyguards readied their chariots for the monthly inspection trip to Samaria City. He had hand-picked these guards for loyalty to himself and to the Lord, and during these six-hour drives, theyx speculated on the prospects of war with Syria and chatted about wives and children, gardens and orchards. They described last month’s discoveries of woolly aphids, fruit flies, fungus, black scale, or bud mites. On recent drives, they had told how the drought was stunting new buds and leaves.xi

Yet this morning, every mouth was closed.

As the horses kicked up dust from the valley road and turned north to Dothan, heads in the chariots kept turning toward Obadiah and then away toward a passing tree or boulder. No one mentioned black scale, a recent birth, or a scouting party from Damascus.

“You heard about the children in Jabesh.”

Although Obadiah broke the ice in undertones to the driver, the others turned.

“And the boy in Beitshan,” Obadiah said.

Heads nodded in unison then wentxii back down.

The driver replied, “They also killed a man in Akko, sir. While his wife and children watched. Yesterday.” As the others nodded, quietly he added, “Somebody’s got to do something. We can’t just—”

The youngest guard reached from the other side of the chariot and gripped Obadiah’s arm. “My father’s a bubbler, sir. Despises the Molochs and the Asherahs. When he feels the Lord’s thumb in his back, we can’t shut him up. If the queen’s men hear…”

For a moment, the drive took his eyes off the road as everyone in the chariot raised eyebrows toward Obadiah.

The Dothan turnoff still lay ahead of them, which meant five and a half hours to Samaria City. Hours for guards to bore their eyes into him as if Yedidah leaned with them on the rail repeating, “Wake up. Do something.”

Obadiah’s gut tightened. He laid a hand on the driver’s arm. “Refresh our memories, about how to get rid of woolly aphids in this drought. And while you’re at it, since you were there, tell us again how that kid in the goatskinxiii outran the king’s guards.” (referencexiv?)

i In 865, last year, Elijah told Ahab, “Neither dew nor rain.” In Fort Jezreel.

iiWhen she asks about Goatskin kid he says the king will soon track him down.

iiiAre Bubblers merely people who complain? Or are they divinely inspired?

ivShow Why Bubblers speak against Jezebel. So why Jezebel kills them

vHow do his feelings of “not my business” connect with his father’s death?

vi2 Kings 17:33 They worshiped the LORD, but they also served their own gods according to the customs of the nations from which they had been carried away.

vii [Should there be more introspection to let the reader know why he ultimately decided to leave, when he was so set on staying in the last chapter?]

I think a little would help, yes. It could also reground us in where we are and why. I know that the place is written at the start of the chapter, but it wouldn’t hurt to remind the reader why Obadiah is at Fort Jezreel, and even though Yedidah mentions wanting to see their friends at the fort, that isn’t their main reason for being there. [Note: I changed previous chapter. He’s nostalgic but not set on staying in Keslote.]

viiiThree years ago Obadiah had left his father in the grave and his mother waving from the veranda. Each Feast of Booths, he took Yedidah and the kids back for a week with mother. Dad’s phrases popped up at odd moments.

“If you want a job done right, do it yourself.”

“After a proper pruning, you can throw a basket through the tree.”

“Never make a decision when you’re tired or in a hurry.”

Mother seemed safe. When King Omri died two years ago, the new King Ahab had installed fifty guards in Keslote. The men lived with the villagers and patrolled the path and perimeter. Instead of complaining, Ahab’s grandfather found space to sleep seven.

ixHow to pray against the queen on the main floor? “‘Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the grave.’”

Yedidah’s eyes went big like saucers.

He set his jaw. “‘O God, break the teeth in their mouths.’”

x usually? (since every mouth was closed this trip?)

xi In 865, last year, Elijah told Ahab, “Neither dew nor rain.” In Fort Jezreel.

xii Maybe a stronger verb here.

xiii In Fort Jezreel last year, 865 BC, Elijah told Ahab, “Neither dew nor rain.”.

xiv(Very cool!!! I know that kid in the goatskin! Does the reader at this point understand the reference?)

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