"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

6/20/13

Biblical Flash Fiction - The Unbroken Line

I've been looking forward to getting to 2 Kings 11 in my chronological Bible reading  ( I read it Tuesday!) for a while. The story is likely one you don't remember very well, if at all. But it has one of my favorite bits of irony in all of the Old Testament - and it's one I didn't even notice for a while after I first read it.

I believe that I first recognized the irony just before I wrote some flash fiction related to the story. The piece below - that very story - was my very first attempt at biblical fiction. I wrote it over half a dozen years ago for the FaithWriters Writing Challenge. The topic was unsung heroes. I've fixed this piece up a bit (it's clear I've learned a bit about writing since I wrote it LOL). Hope you enjoy it!


Jehosheba stared out over the pasture before her. A land flowing with milk and honey. 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.
Photo Credit

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

Must be a messenger from the front lines.

Jehosheba sighed. Probably bad news. A year ago, a messenger reported that her father, King Jehoram, had died. Her half brother Ahaziah then took the throne.

Oh, how she wished 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 heard, Ahaziah had joined with Joram, king of Israel and Athaliah’s brother, in a war against the Arameans. 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 walked toward him. It was 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 a flask of water.”

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 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 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, yelling, crashing of furniture. It was a wonder Jehosheba’s baby nephew Joash wasn’t screaming along with them. Thank the Lord, he played 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.

“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 house?

**
Image courtesy of Christiansunite
Six years later


Jehosheba stood a few hundred feet from the temple entrance, A large group of men gathered. Though she couldn't hear what they said, she knew their plan. Her step-mother Athaliah would be forced from the throne, and her nephew Joash, who she and 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



Jehosheba was certainly clever. Hiding the future prince in the temple :) Love it!
 
Scripture Stories: Timeless Truths

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