O & A

All this stuff over the last two days has got me thinking about the two men and their relationship again.

Got some notes to pass along.

Want to start with this.  Ahab is not, either as he’s presented in Chronicles and Kings or from how you drew him up in Elijah, an apostate.  He’s not debauched.  He’s not irreverent to any degree we can tell.  He believes The One is The One.  Or at least that He’s The Main One. (“I don’t know.  Who am I to say?  ‘Biah could be right about there only being one god.  But what does it matter if I kiss all their rings?  At least that way I’m sure to kiss the right one.  Besides, I’ve got a friggin’ country to run.  I’ll just try to keep all the priests happy and let them duke it out for who’s god is best.”)

When it comes to seeking council, those old boys who speak for The One seem to be right more often than not.  So he respects them.  Maybe even fears them a little.  They may have the same power to him that made Christian monarchs tremble for fear of being excommunicated?  Whether they have quite that hold on him, he has a healthy regard for Elijah and the other spokesmen for The One.  That even comes to the surface in Chronicles and Kings every so often.

Now, on to A & O and their relationship.

When I was a kid in middle school I remember reading a short story about two buddies written from the POV of the “wing man”, the guy who considered himself the lesser of the two.  His friend was a diver, so he took up the sport too.  And they competed all the way thru high school, each pushing the other to achieve more and better.  Our narrator always assumed he was there to make his buddy, who he thinks of as the gifted natural of the two of them, the champion he knows he can be.

Comes the finals.  Trials go on for hours and finally it comes down to just a small group that will be selected.  Both of them have made the cut.  Then it goes to the “dive off”. Our humble narrator comes out on top to his total shock.  He has never seen himself as the winner, just the guy who would push the winner.  Never saw just how good he was getting being the pusher.

As I conceive ‘Biah, that’s a little how he sees himself too I think.  Since they were kids, ‘Biah has always understood the weight that would one day fall on Ahab.  Maybe he saw it first.  Maybe he was the one who started pushing the two of them to excel at every joust and duel and spear-training session Omri ordered all his sons to participate in?  Maybe ‘Biah was the one who got Ahab to see that he needed to be the best of the bunch if he expected to assume the crown.

Maybe that’s why Omri tolerated his occasional insolence or his helping Ahab sneak out for a pony race without the guards.  Maybe Omri saw something in Obidiah he knew Ahab would need if he was the one who ascended to the thrown.  And maybe that something is why ‘Biah is now the only one who can say “no, my king, it is not like that.  It’s like this.”  Of course he doesn’t say that during councils of the elders.  Even he knows not to do that.  But in the quiet of the evening when Ahab can’t sleep, or when the budget isn’t working out or when the Phoenicians are charging too much, it’s Obidiah who will have the last word out of earshot of all the other councilors.

And one more thing about how I think this relationship works.  It supersedes all other friendships.  All other relationships.  Each of them have wives and families and value their time with them and away from the royal duties very highly.  But if something comes up, those wives know not to stand between these two men.  What they have is born of necessity, social position, a weight of responsibility no one else can help them bear quite so well, and probably a deep, unspoken, abiding love and respect for each other for having been bound together since as far back as either of them can remember.

Steve Abbott

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