"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

9/26/08

Friday Fiction: "The Unbroken Line"

I am absolutely HONORED and HUMBLED to have the blessing of hosting Friday Fiction at Patterings this week. Be sure to post your own fiction on your blog and put yourself in the Mr. Linky gadget at the bottom of my post. OR - just read the wonderful offerings available here!


This writing challenge entry was my very first try at Biblical fiction - a genre that I have truly grown to love. I wrote this almost two years ago for the "Unsung Hero" topic. I hope you enjoy it, and that it encourages you to look up this somewhat obscure (or at least not-much-studied) passage of scripture.

The Unbroken Line

Jehosheba stared out over the pasture before her. It truly was a land flowing with milk and honey. The pasturelands were peaceful and tranquil, with sheep and their shepherd resting by the still waters nearby. She couldn’t ask for a better view from her home. She closed her eyes in prayer.

Thank you, Lord, for my many blessings. You have given me a wonderful husband in Jehoida the priest – such a man of God! And, most importantly, you are allowing him, and me, to serve You in the temple. I am afraid of what is happening with my family, but I know, Lord, that you are in control of all of it.

Opening and lifting her eyes toward the horizon, she saw a figure in the distance, riding toward her.

Must be a messenger from the front lines.

Jehosheba sighed. Messengers almost always brought bad news. It was only a year ago that one had come to tell her that her father, King Jehoram, had died. It was then that her half brother Ahaziah had taken the throne.

Oh, how she wished that her family would love the Lord like she did. She prayed for them all daily: even her stepmother. Athaliah, daughter of Israel's King Ahab, was as bad as her infamous father. Unfortunately, Ahaziah was growing up more and more like his mother. The last Jehosheba had heard, Ahaziah had joined with Joram, king of Israel and Athaliah’s brother, in a war against the Arameans. She was sure no good could come from that.

The messenger was getting closer – he would likely be to her door within a minute or two. She threw a quick prayer up to her Lord and began walking toward the messenger, who she now recognized as her cousin Keldar, a general in her brother’s army.

Catching his breath, Keldar dismounted, sat on the ground and looked into Jehosheba’s eyes with desperation.

“Your brother, King Ahaziah of Judah, has been killed in battle, along with Joram king of Israel.”

‘Oh, Keldar! May God use this for His good. Can I get you a drink? A bite to eat?”

“Thank you, dear Jehosheba, but I am too grieved to eat, and I have my flask of water here.”

She nodded and invited him in for a rest.

“Unfortunately, that is not all the distressing news I have for you. Rumor has it that the queen mother Athaliah is looking to take over. They are saying she is planning to get rid of the entire royal family so she can take the throne for herself.”

Jehosheba’s eyes, big as saucers, narrowed and gleamed with resolve. “I must get to the palace. I can’t let that woman destroy the Davidic line.”

**

The commotion was deafening – fighting, screaming, crashing of furniture. It was a wonder Jehosheba’s baby nephew Joash wasn’t screaming along with them. Thank the Lord, he was playing quietly on the floor with his nurse Sarai, the nursery door shut tight. Zibiah, the baby’s mother, was cowering in the corner, terrified of the massacre of the princes just outside the door.

“We have to keep Joash away from her, Zibiah! It’s too late for the others, but him we must save.”

Zibiah nodded, choking back tears.

“I can sneak out the window with the baby and Sarai and hide him from Athaliah. You just pray that the Lord will erase Joash from her mind.”

“Of course,” Zibiah muttered. “But where will you take him? Where can he possibly be kept that she won’t find him?”

Smirking, she replied, “I think I have an idea.”

**

Entering the temple through the rear door with her two guests, Jehosheba found just what she was looking for – a small bedroom without an occupant. Leaving Sarai and baby Joash there, she went to find her husband.

Athaliah wouldn’t come near the temple if her life depended on it. It stands for everything she is against. And what better place to raise a future Godly king than in His temple?

**
Six years later

Standing a few hundred feet from the temple entrance, Jehosheba could see a large group of men gathering. Though she wasn’t close enough to discern exactly what was going on, she knew. Her step-mother Athaliah would be forced from the throne, and her nephew Joash, who she and her husband Jehoida had raised like he was their own, would rule Judah. King David’s line would continue.

**
Based on 2 Kings 11, 2 Chronicles 22-23



10 comments:

  1. You have a great gift for making these stories come alive! Thanks for sharing this.

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  2. Joanne, I always love the Bible stories about women. Thanks for sharing this one.
    Bonnie

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  3. I remember this Bible story from when my son and I studied it...you brought it to life, Joanne! I can't imagine living through times like those, can you? How terrible. Yet, the Lord's hand of protection was always on those He favored. Great story!

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  4. The turmoil of those years is beyond my imagination. I read about them and shudder and wonder about the people of those days.

    You're right, I hadn't read this one before--what a treat! Thanks for hosting, JoDear! You're a jewel!! ;)
    Huggles!!

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  5. This story has always fascinated me. Well done.

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  6. This is my first time participating in Fiction Friday. I'm looking forward to reading what you all write and rekindling the fires of writing fiction that have become a smoldering flame in my day to day life!

    Thanks for inspiring me!
    sheila

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  7. This is WONderful. REading the original stories is great, but seeing them come alive through fiction makes them feel at home in my heart. Love it.

    And thank you for hosting FF!!! Looks like a bunch of people are feasting on fiction today!

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  8. LOVE biblical fiction. And you told this story beautifully.

    Thanks for hosting this week! You did a great job!

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  9. You make this look so easy but I know it isn't. Amazing work, Joanne.

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  10. Wow, Joanne! I absolutely love what you've done with this story. You have so many rich descriptions, filling in authentic behind-the-scenes detail. Your characters and their names are perfect. LOVE IT!

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Thanks for stopping by. I would love to hear your thoughts - please share them!


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