33. Outta – Steve’s comments

Notes embedded below for clarity.  I’ve omitted passages I have no comment on, LMK if that’s too confusing.

33. Outta

33. Outta Here!

842 BC

The Headquarters Rooftop, Fort Jezreel, Jezreel Valley, Israel

Obadiah snuggled deeper into his couch and closed his eyes against the afternoon sun. He pulled down his headscarf, still the bright blue like Ahab once wore <snip>…

“Chariots, sir. Coming on fast.” His voice was tense.

With a grunt and a heave, Obadiah rolled to his knees.

Zak latched onto his wrists and pulled him to his feet beside Yedidah.

They stood with their arms on the parapet, scanning the plaza below.

Several elders on their left stared with them, and most of Obadiah’s bodyguards looked over their shoulders.

In the open gate of the fort, King Joram stood spraddle-legged and called toward the stables. “Send a rider. Ask if they come in peace.”

Obadiah snorted. Ask a contingent of chariot warriors approaching at speed if they came in peace? Obadiah was careful to speak of Ahab’s second son as the king. Yet, he could not escape thinking of him as the boy.

I think this is a good start that could be developed a little further.  Joram may have been an ineffective monarch from the get go, after all he is the second in line of succession and probably was never schooled in the kingly arts as intensely as his big brother was.  He’s probably very unsure of himself and of what to do.  And he undoubtedly fears something may be afoot. Maybe he’s such a rank amateur he’s actively stirred the contempt, not just of O, but most of the court.  If you want to go that route, I think you’ve got room to run with it here.

The king’s older brother had been king before him but fell from Ahab’s ivory palace. While he lay dying, he sent one hundred two soldier boys to fiery deaths, so he could ask if he would recover.

Ahab’s sons spoke softly of their “Uncle Biah.”

In private he thanked the Lord their father could not see them.

Did O favor one of them more than the other?  Had he been tutoring the old son?  Had more invested in him than in this snot nosed understudy who was always too big for his britches?  If it serves a plot purpose, I think it can play that way.

Clip-clops across the threshing floor and the rattles of the loose planks over the moat announced the departure of the king’s rider.

As the horse trotted down the grade and disappeared from view, the line of watchers at the parapet rose on tiptoe. When the rider and horse reappeared, galloping toward Beitshan, several let out the breaths they had been holding. This side of Village 5, the rider turned and fell in behind the lead chariot.

Love the sequential numbering of the villages.  Nice touch.  Relegates them to their actual level of triviality in the thinking of the Samarian elites.

From the tower, the lookout yelled, “The rider reached him but isn’t coming back.”

“Send another rider,” from the gate, King Joram called to the stables.

A second soldier, this one on a gray horse, rode off to meet the speeding chariots. At Village 6, this rider also turned and fell in beside the chariots.

The lookout called, “The leader drives like General Jehu—a maniac”  <snip>

This also deserves some more development I think.  From later passages we know Jehu is accompanied by his loyal commanders each also driving their own chariots.  It’s sort of a trivial point to your readers, but if you stress it with them that it’s unusual for a guy as high up as any of these men to be handling their own chariots that is a way of also showing how urgent they feel this crisis is and how hurriedly they’ve put their plan in play.

Side by side, the two kings rattled the planks of the bridge and rode down the grade.

The head of stables and his Philistine helper followed them to the gate and watched them go.

We can’t know about Ahaziah, of course, but he is probably the more mature of the two kings and may be taking charge of their response; both probably think they’re going out to parlay as equals with Jehu.  Joram, I suspect, may think he has more “royal capital” to spend on Jehu than he actually does. In spite of his trepidation, I doubt he has fully grasped the situation yet or he would have gone out with body guards.  I think both these kings think they’re riding out to a parlay.  But Jehu is a desperate man.  He’s already calculated the odds and knows that he has to do a swift and thorough job to pull this thing off. That he feels both the need and the right to take out Ahaziah too shows you just how much of a junior partner Judah is in the thinking of the NK.

At the vineyard Ahab had stolen from Naboth, the two kings met the general. Joram wore the bright blue of Ahab, and Ahaziah the deep purple of Jehoshaphat. Jehu met them in the drab browns and grays of his mail.

Above, a hawk and a kestrel screamed at each other.

Zak’s lips found Obadiah’s ear. “I don’t like this.”

The three chariots had barely halted when King Joram wheeled his chariot around and raced away.

General Jehu plucked an arrow from the basket in his chariot. In the basket, a thick bow stood as tall as Jehu and recurved on the ends like those of the junior officers who had surprised Ben Hadad at Samaria City. A man would need the strength of an ox to bend such a bow, yet General Jehu notched the arrow to the string, aimed at the fleeing king, and drew the feathers to his shoulder.

He released.

The arrow sank between the kings’s shoulders, and he slumped over the chariot rail.

For Jehu there’s no turning back now.  In for a penny, in for a pound.  He will either be king when this day is over, or he will be swinging from the nearest tall tree.

“Dear Lord,” fell from Obadiah’s lips.

Does O realize in this moment that his life is now at risk? As shrewd as he is, he might, but from what follows this, it’s certainly clear to his body guard and his companions.  With the flight of an arrow, his whole role, his whole mission, his whole life’s work has abruptly come into question.

The row of elders gasped.

Zak gripped Obadiah and Yedidah by the elbows. “I’m getting you outta here.” The words came through clenched teeth.


Steve Abbott

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