27. Counter –

Obadiah grew quiet. Who would be mopping up whom?

29. Counter Attack

868 B.C.

The Plaza, Samaria City, Israel

Obadiah stood on the threshing floor between Mikayhu and Hiel.

Mikayhu pulled on his elbow. “You know the Lord’s got this. Right, Uncle Biah?”

Obadiah grunted his head. No way did the Lord have this. Ahab riding into the Syrian camp as bait. Suicide.

Yet Ahab pointed to the sun resting at the top of the sky, and stepped into his chariot. He wore his purple headscarf and flowing white robe. Royal bait.

“See you in Tirzah.” With a wave to Obadiah, Ahab rode through the gate and down the switchbacks.

The youth patrol on horseback followed. The flying wedge King Omri had shown Ahab at Dibon. Followed by slingers, archers, and spearmen with javelins. By Zak’s count, an attack squad of two hundred thirty-two.

As Obadiah swung into his chariot, his five bodyguards mounted, armed with spear, javelin and sword. Hiel waved goodbye. “See you after the dust settles.”

Behind Obadiah, farmers mounted carrying swords and spears. A thousand mop-up crews of fifty. Four hundred such groups stayed to protect the city.

When Obadiah arrived in the ambush trench, Ahab waited at the opposite end with his flying wedge. Stone slingers, archers, and spearmen with javelins were climbing into ambush spots on both sides, hiding with their horses in the shrubbery.

The ambush was set.

Ahab waved and disappeared around the corner of the cliff.


In a few moments, he and his wedge would come flying back through the gap with the Syrian army chasing them. Ahab was to flap his white robe and wave his purple headscarf while he drove like Jehu toward the distant entrance. When the Syrians followed, the youth patrols would flatten them with stones and arrows.

Obadiah wiped clammy hands on his robe. He never should have allowed Ahab to march out of sight with such a small set of troops—children at that. This felt too much like their long ago horse race cut short by Syrian arrows.

The leader of Ahab’s flying wedge raced his horse back through the gap. “Help! Help!”

Archers and stone slingers mounted and scrambled out from behind boulders and shrubs. They trotted past the youth patrol boy and around the bend.

The boy dashed up to Obadiah. “The king needs your help, sir!”

Obadiah shoved him toward the chiefs of fifties. “Bring those men!” Obadiah’s driver took them through the gap and around the bend.

On the far side of the Tirzah valley, back up against the hills, thousands and thousands of coppery red tents covered the ground. Horses on picket lines nibbled grass in the noonday sun. A lark sang, and a gentle breeze rustled the grass but ignored a dark red flag hanging limp in the heat. Had the Syrians gone back to Damascus and left their tents for wolves and hyenas?

And then a red-turbaned heads popped up from a tents. But where were the hundred thousand? The fleets of red-paneled chariots?

Ahab faced the distant tents with his wedge ready to fly. minus the one who had brought Obadiah.

Hielii and his crew peered over their shoulders.

Obadiah jogged up to Ahab. “Your target, my king.”

Ahab raised his spear. “Charge!”

Ahab and his wedge stormed across the valley.

Hiel and his stone slingers followed.

Yelling erupted from the distant tents. Men in red spilled out and screamed then stumbled toward Ahab.


Two hundred thirty-two youth patrol – 1 King 20:13-15

Flying like Jehu – 2 Kings 9:20

Drunken Syrians – 1 Kings 20:16

i Consider giving us a scenery detail or two

iiWhere is Hiel?

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