[Continue showing Cave Life during his exit.]
27. Micaiah Leaves the Cave
8?? BC [Check scripture for years since Bring Ahab chapter, which was in 861.]
Misliya Cave, Megiddo, Israel
1 Kings 18:3-4
Micaiah stood in the icy water and groaned, “Not now, Ruthie.”
The starlight showed a little girl with snapping bright eyes and tight black curls around her face. A heavy pack [show it] weighed down her back. Such a fragile thing doing such dangerous work. Amazing, but he had a message to deliver. He should have crept out of the cave before bread delivery.
With his foot, Micaiah searched the dark stream bottom, chose a firm spot, and started around her. “I haven’t got time, Ruthie.”
She stepped aside with him and pounded her little fist into her hand. “Time is what you’ve got lots of, Mikey. I put you in that cave, and that’s where you’re staying.” She pressed her bottom lip into her teeth and condemned him with her frown.
“You don’t understand, Ruthie. The Lord gave me a message for the king.” She was such a darling child, yet such a demagogue. Maybe the Megiddo culture taught all little girls to be in control.
Ruthie snorted, tipped her head on one side, and did a high, nasal imitation. “You don’t understand.” She clamped a hand to a hip and returned to her normal voice. “I understand Jezebel wants to kill you. I understand my mules keep you alive.”
Imri and Zophal left the cave mouth and splashed out to them.
Imri smiled down at her. “For real, Ruthie. A message for the king.”
Zophal nodded. “Trust us, okay? Mikey needs to get out of here. We promise.” He stepped between Ruthie and Micaiah. “Come on inside. It’s not safe out here. And my feet are frozen.”
She pushed Zophai’s arm up and frowned at Micaiah. “This better be good.”
While Imri and Zophai shepherded their little queen into the cave, Micaiah waded to the bed of gravel and crossed on the largest rocks. The Lord bless her. He and his friends would starve without her deliveries. To maintain a course in the dark, he kept the splash of the stream at a slight distance and thrust through the bushes.
The wind ruffled leaves overhead, several stars winked, and an owl hooted.
He had been too long without these sounds. Micaiah sucked in deep, deep breaths flavored with the fragrance of pine, shook river gravel out of his sandals, and put dance into his steps. Softly, remembering the queen’s goons could be listening, he laughed.
The guys in the cave should feel this freedom. As he sang under his breath, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky shows the work of his hands,” tears flooded his face.
As he neared the valley road, he followed the aroma of overripe pomegranates fallen on the ground then hummed the psalm as he fingered one darkened branch after the other. He picked three large fruits and crammed them into his pack. He would be several hours on the road to Samaria City. He fit two more pomegranates in.
On the road, he turned east toward the distant cutoff to Jenin.
Micaiah stopped let the psalm die on his lips.
A fire flickered by the path, and a man stood by the fire. No, two men.
The hair on Micaiah’s neck raised. He pressed his elbows into his sides, edged back into the bushes, and stood still.
The fire lay between him and Jenin. Back toward Akko, another fire glowed in the distance, and beyond that a third. Why hadn’t he smelled their smoke while he was pawing through the pomegranates? He slapped his cheek.
Wake up, Mikey.
A fire by an intersection meant sentinels who reported to officers. “A message for the king? Wait right here, mister.”
If he tried to sneak behind them in the dark, scouts would hear him break twigs and trip over rocks. Cross the road and circle out of sight? Hmm… Three sentry fires in this little stretch of the valley meant he would stumble upon several platoons camped out of sight.
Secret paths? Imri had pulled out of Ruthie that she and her mules lugged food to the cave by tracks well off the road. But she never mentioned soldiers. And Imri never asked how to find her hidden trails.
Old Gideon had learned by listening, so Micaiah ducked behind the bushes and crept toward the fire, feeling with his feet to avoid clattering stones or snapping sticks.
A sentry pointed over Micaiah’s shoulder.
Micaiah froze in a crouch.
The two soldiers stared over his head. Did they see him move? What drew their attention? If he looked, they would notice him turn.
His shoulders tightened, and his calf muscles cramped. He shifted a foot.