20. Pre-Cave How-To Decisions
Bread and water? That’s all?
Did the bakers buy the flour?
How did the bread get to the caves?
Questions:1 Kings 18:4 While Jezebel was killing off the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.
1. Where did he find 100 prophets? (All in one place, or from cities and villages across Israel?)
2. How did he select them? (triage)
3. How did he direct them to the caves? (Caves near Megiddo and Nazareth were large enough and isolated enough to hide 50 each.)
4. How did he keep them alive while hiding them? (From Ramoth to Megiddo is a long hike.)
Those who are faithful tend to keep a network of communication among themselves. Especially in hard times. My question would be why didn’t Elijah know of these hidden away?
They found him for protection and asked him to hide them.
they heard he was a faithful servant to God and trusted him to keep them safe from wicked jezebel!!
These questions aren’t answered in the Bible that I can find. So these could be the fiction parts of the story. Here are some ideas to use if you like. 1. & 2. Obadiah and his friends followed Jezebel’s henchmen and were able to rescue some of them. ( This could be very exciting! mission impossible) He knew the prophets as friends or friends of friends in the city and villages. (networking) 3. Shepherds took their flocks of goats or sheep back and forth. The prophets disguised themselves as shepherds. 4. The shepherds took supplies with them and knew of springs on the way to get water.
Obadiah is with whom?
We need one older bubbler that the other assume will lead.
Micaiah n Imri’s mothers send Extra robes for the cold Caves to grove via Hodiah
How does Obadiah learn of the bubblers who are collecting?
Where are they?
Who’s collecting them?
Who’s feeding them?
Cave of Abdullam won’t work. It’s in Judah.
13.1. Are pomegranates ripe yet?
Mrs. O1 opened Obadiah’s office door and poked her head in.
Obadiah looked up. “Are pomegranates ripe yet?”
“Is anything ripe! This drought is killing us. But I want to see what food might have escaped our buyer’s eyes. If I spot a pomegranate, dear, it shall be yours.”
In the market, Mrs. O stopped next to a woman standing by a large goatskin a thin layer of dried-up radishes and turnips spread out at the center. She patted the lady on the forearm. “I remember when you spilled such a heap of eggplant and cabbage on this skin that they kept rolling off on the ground. I feel so sorry for you and your garden, dear.”
And with not a pomegranate in sight.
At the next stall, heaps of shriveled sweet potatoes [Christopher Columbus irst brought the sugary tuber to Spain in the late 15th century. ] greeted her.
How about turnips? – OK https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turnip#History
How aboud rutabaga? – No https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rutabaga
She picked up two and felt their deep wrinkles. As she put them back, her finger dipped into the slime of rotten potato. But no pomegranates.
She poked along from one farmer to the next, her friend joined her. “Our friends in Megiddo are getting thin. But we’re taking them all the food we can find. Our shoppers even go directly to the farmers, but they can’t find enough food to feed everyone in that cave.”
Mrs. O pointed to an empty stall. “That farmer used to have so many tomatoes and garlic and cabbage she couldn’t keep them in decent piles.”
Her friend pointed to a stack of prickly pears. “I remember you saying if this drought keeps up, we’ll be keeping people alive with that cactus fruit.”
“Oh, look! That woman must have a secret water supply!” Mrs. O went off toward a merchant pulling a donkey into the market loaded with pomegranates.
1 Kings 18:2 “The famine was severe in Samaria.”
Hiding prophets in caves is becoming a problem in two ways.
1. They started with 17 in a cave near Megiddo. But now, several months later, they have 63 bubblers (the root of prophecy) starving in hedgerows whom they need to help. So Mrs. O’s friend asks her friend about the cave she found in Nazareth. So now they have to be concerned about a cave 5 hours west in Megiddo and another cave 5 hours north in the Galilee.
2. They discussed ways to prevent raising suspicions with only one person buying food in the local markets for all these men.
What about the wives of these ‘bubblers’ we’re hiding?
Do any have wives or cousins living near Megiddo?
Or they have family in Megiddo who would put them as they did the buying?”
How can we find reliable people to do this grocery shopping?
I don’t know….
1. how they solved the purchasing problem
2. what exactly is the new problem.
Not even rough drafted yet. Merely a lot of questions and ideas — really good ideas from Darcy Southern.
Mrs. O and her friend found 5 women to buy food in Megiddo, but there’s a problem.
I don’t know what it is, but it’s endangering the lives of the bubblers hiding in the Megiddo cave.
It might be that the ladies bicker among themselves.
Or they are careless and talk too freely.
Or that bad guys follow them around hoping to make a little time with them.
Or that one of them fancies herself a good looker and likes to flirt.
Sometimes she wishes her husband would get himself murdered by the queen’s goons. Other times she feels guilty as can be and tries to look ugly.
Plus they have more bubblers than the cave can hold, so they need to find another cave. So Mrs. O’s friend asks her friend about the cave she found. It turns out to be in Nazareth. So now they have to be concerned about a cave 5 hours west in Megiddo and another cave 5 hours north in the Galilee.
Darcy Southern –
Here’s a few random thoughts before I shut down the computer for the night. 🙂
So, the purchasing problem could possibly be solved by the wives or family members. They just continue to buy normal groceries, probably with funds from Mrs. O, but secretly bring them to a certain drop-off point in their village, and a trusted someone with a cart transports them from there to the caves. Or you could have someone coming to pick up the supplies from the wives, but that will look suspicious, of course. Either way is risky, but that’s one option.
Not sure how much power Obadiah had, but could he assign an official guard of trusted men who will guard the transports of food? They could pretend that it’s something else important that they’re shipping, as if for the palace, when in reality it’s supplies for the bubblers. You could even use carts with hidden compartments so there’s some official shipment in the main bed of the cart and the supplies hidden below. If you want to get super-sophisticated. The whole thing, any way you look at it, is gonna be complex. I guess they might use a combination of tactics for purchasing and transporting the food.
Personally, I figure the wives will be in danger because of who their husbands are, so I’d imagine they’d be pretty cautious. By this point, even if they’ve been separated from their husbands for some time (for the women’s safety), the wives and even the children will probably be fairly used to looking over their shoulders and not trusting easily. So, it just occurred to me that the wives and families of the prophets might at first be suspicious of Mrs. O and her friends.
But then once you get the food supply routes squared away, maybe the conflict would be the bubblers’ wives’ danger. Suddenly all these women have no one to protect them, which, in a lawless society, is terribly frightening. You could have them questioned about where they’re getting money if they have no man to work. They could have trouble delivering the supplies to the drop-off point because they’re pretty sure someone is following them. And, yes, if you wanted things to get ugly, one or more of the women who are very pretty (maybe young and has no children yet) could be forced (or almost forced) into giving “favors” to Ahab’s men. Maybe they could be threatened with being sold to the Asherah temples? That’s kinda worst-case scenario, (and part of me would cringe if it came to that) but I reckon it would be good conflict for the plot.
Also, for me I’d rather not see the women deliberately betray their husbands. Of course, that’s a great angle to play as far as plot, but I hate to see marriages that rocky, ya know? I hate to think that one of the men of God would have married a woman who hated him or his work enough to betray him. Also, I think that with their very lives in danger, they probably wouldn’t have time to bicker amongst themselves (at least I hope they wouldn’t). Dad told me about a testimony from a Christian in Syria when they had a wave of persecution recently: he said denominations of Christians that would have doubted each other’s salvation before were now gathering to pray together in the crisis. Nothing like persecution to unite people.
Now, are all of the prophets married? I guess when I read about them in the Bible, I assumed a lot of them weren’t married, probably because it would be too dangerous for a marked man in Ahab’s time to have a family. The unmarried ones might be good to send into villages to buy food. Dress him like a worn and dusty traveler and send him to buy food for himself and a few friends. He couldn’t get much, but he could get bread and cheese–things that would travel well and therefore fit his disguise. Also, if they’re in wilderness areas, will they be able to do some hunting?
It might be the ladies bicker among themselves.
Or they are careless and talk too freely.
Or bad guys follow them around hoping to make a little time with them.
Or one fancies herself a good looker and likes to flirt. Sometimes she even wishes her husband would get himself murdered by the queen’s goons. Other times she feels guilty as can be and tries to look ugly.
But Mrs. O and friends see the system is not working and they are afraid the bubblers are in danger. And they want to solve it, so they don’t put bubblers in danger whom they may hide in Nazareth.
I don’t think anyone has those answers, David. The Bible doesn’t say, and I’m not aware of any extrabiblical source that explains it.
That said, I’m aware of a handful of famous preachers (in our lifetimes) who claim this info was supernaturally “revealed” to them. Let’s just say that I am not impressed.
He found them in cities across the country, but living in communities. You hear a lot of “near the city of the prophets” or other comments about there being groups of prophets together. So he could gather different communities.
Selection: those he knew were still faithful to the God of Israel. They could even be some that he’d been ordered to kill, but hadn’t (or, ‘hadn’t gotten around to yet’)
Direction: he could easily tell them, “this is where the cave is. Go there…run for your life! kind of thing.
He could direct them to pack food and water for many days…they could share. Then he could have regular “drops” of food. Water is still hard… but maybe God could work a miracle and have the caves have a natural spring in them with fresh water to drink.
On #4 (hist-fic pet peeve *gets on soapbox*): It’s a long hike for us. When you’re used to getting anywhere by walking, it’s not as long of a trek. Remember, that even at a leisurely pace (i.e., not fleeing for one’s life), humans can travel faster than three miles an hour. Ramoth-Gilead to Megiddo is less than 70 km (about 40-ish miles, according to the map I found). So, even with a leisurely, laid-back pace, it’s only going to take about 13 hours of actual walking time to get from one place to another. Just because few of us travel 40 miles on foot at a moment’s notice doesn’t mean that it would have been any kind of a hardship for them. (*gets off soapbox*)
Sure, closer to home/their prophetic circuit, they’d probably want to travel at night and stay hidden through the day, but when they get to a place where they are not well known, they could probably travel more openly and faster. It would probably only be 1-2 days of travel. (Less if they were traveling faster, or more if they were trying to stay unnoticed.)
As for everything else: If there were 7000 men who have not bowed to Ba’al (1 Kings 19:18, Romans 11:4)–not to mention the wives/widows/etc., that were not counted–then there’s a good chance that an Underground Railroad of sorts could have been set up with pass phrases and food and drink to help spread the load and keep everyone alive. Seven thousand, after all, was a significant-enough number to give Elijah hope enough to go on, so it was probably a pretty good section of the population.
First thoughts, embedded…
On Aug 19, 2021, at 12:30 PM, David Parks <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
1 Kings 18:4 “While Jezebel was killing off the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.”
I need to show this process in the Obadiah book I’m writing. The process is not even hinted at in the Bible, so I get to dream it up.
1. Where did he find 100 prophets? (All in one place, or from cities and villages across Israel?)
You may recall you and I had a fleeting discussion about this quite a while back. Apparently “prophet” was a descriptor for a social status during this period of the OT. More like “seer” or “councilor” or “advisor” than “guy who kicks your butt morally”. Everybody had ‘prophets’; the Arameans had prophets mentioned in Deuteronomy; the Phoenicians had prophets; the Assyrians had prophets; the Moabites had prophets. “Prophet” at this time and in this region seems to have meant something like ‘a guy who is a recognized thought leader in his community’.
2. How did he select them? (triage?)
If I’m right about the first question, then this one gets pretty easy. He’s looking for “true” prophets. The guys who rely on The One for their info and insights. He would have had friends and contacts thru out the kingdom; he found them by reputation among the communities he was familiar with, from among those friends and elders he would have built up in his official capacity.
3. How did he direct them to the caves? (Caves near Megiddo and Nazareth were large enough and isolated enough to hide 50 each, and they had fresh water, so I’m putting them into the story.)
Again, pretty simple. “Joe, go back to your village when this king’s council is over and tell Fred to find his way to the Megiddo cave over the next X days. Do this quietly so as not to draw attention. Fred and the guys like him are in danger. We need to take steps ahead of what the Queen seems to be cooking up. And while he was triaging who to pick and who to leave, it may have occurred to him to leave a few dubious souls hanging out there for the Queen to find so as to throw her off the scent that there was a movement against her that could only have emanated from headquarters.
4. How did he keep them alive before he put them in a cave?
Don’t think he would have had to. I think he could have just had them quietly slip away before the Queen sent her Nazgul abroad. He would have heard from eavesdropping and general connections around the court that something was afoot. His concern would have been getting out front of it. In my concept, he could have done most of it by remote control without any high visibility effort needed.
O is Ahab’s Marc Antony or Disreali or Gandolf. He has connections all across the kingdom and with all the kingdoms the Northern Kingdom does business with. He’s The Guy if you want the king’s ear.
Yet another stray thought:
How “big” do you want O to be in Ahab’s councils? Is he the de facto prime minister? Could he order someone put to death on his own recognizance? Could he remove an important military officer?
Or is he more restricted?
As I said before, I think Ahab trusts him b/c he’s a tested, known quantity. He’s always been there. He’s shared Ahab’s secrets since they were kids. He knows the boundaries and when to push them.
But that doesn’t mean Omri would have shared Ahab’s trust. So how much power has O been able to accrue to himself while learning from Omri and building that long term trust?
Dave: I see him as bigger than he wants to be. Prefers to stick to business and let others do the politicking. Which earns him high marks with the straight dealers, so they confide in him when things turn sour.
Another stray thought on this.
Maybe O doesn’t react quite soon enough? Maybe a personal acquaintance of his gets taken out by the Nazgul before he figures out what she’s up to? Maybe there’s some drama in how quickly he has to act once he fits the pieces together?
My first thought is that the Lord’s prophets were definitely in touch with one another, similarly to how denomination heads are today. And they were scared of what Jezebel might (and was) do to them. So, finding a friendly ear with Obadiah, they were hoping he, being close to royalty, could keep them aware of Jezabel’s plans.
Obadiah didn’t have any good ideas, except to encourage them to run!. But the Lord’s prophets had to trust Obadiah, for their lives. Obadiah vowed he was trustworthy, for as the rest of the chapter reveals, he knew his own life would be in danger if Ahab thought he was in collusion with the Lord’s prophets.
Now as to exactly 50 and 100 and 400, it seems doubtful that these numbers were exact, to me. To me they sound like “a big number, a bigger number, and a whole bunch!”
I like Steve imagination.
As to how Obadiah fed and watered them: I doubt he did anything personally. I just imagine that their wives and children and followers set up and underground railroad for sustenance. Also, those guys, the Lord’s prophets, they weren’t wimps. I just imagine they did some derring-do not unlike the Jews on Masada, or more recently, the Indians on Starved Rock, Illinois.