Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Irritated (11/08/12)
TITLE: The Dark Dawn
By Ada Nett
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Jezebel found him lying on the bed, his head turned to wall. She knew this mood and wanted to arrest it before it drug into weeks of morose self- pity. Ahab was either high or he was low. Jezebel preferred him high. She moved to the bed and lay beside Ahab and with a voice as slick as oil she began to manipulate Ahab's weakness into her power.
The late night found Ahab sleeping and Jezebel sitting by the burning brazier at her desk. Ahab's signet ring lay beside the lamp, the engraved ruby glowing blood red in the dim light, while Jezebel furiously wrote upon lambskin pages. Finishing her task, Jezebel rolled the the scrolls then waxed and sealed them with Ahab's ring.
The letters arrived at sundown. The Jezreel Elders immediately called the counsel and compared the King's instructions.
“Proclaim a day of fasting and seat Naboth in a prominent place among the people, seat two scoundrels opposite him and have them bring charges that he has cursed both God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death.”
In the dark of the night the elders plotted Naboth's death.
The air was heavy with suspicion and neighbors averted their eyes as they went about the early morning business of vineyard work in the prosperous city of Jezreel. Only an hour earlier messengers from the elders had hurried through the predawn streets carrying torches, the fore runner dressed in yellow and waving the scarlet red banner of attention while crying out breathlessly “ Heed the coming proclamation.” He was followed by a dispersion of second runners moving slower and carrying scrolls as they positioned themselves on every corner of the town and with the breaking dawn they had begun to read as one voice.
“The noble Elders of Jezreel, men of Integrity and justice , being in severe distress and dread the impending wrath of God's Divine judgment upon the entire district of Jezreel proclaim a day of mourning and fasting followed by a high counsel. Among us is one who has dared to blaspheme God and the King . We charge you the people, to search out and reveal any such man who has defied God and the King that one man only shall fall under wrath and our prosperous city be spared.”
Brushing the dirt from his knees Naboth rose from the ground. With a hand to his back he straightened to his full height and looked toward the city. The unusual early morning commotion had disturbed his morning petitions to Yahweh, the true and living God, he faithfully worshiped in the midst of Jezebel's pagan Baal drenched culture. He felt alone even though Elijah had taught him that God had revealed there were seven thousand of the faithful, men who had not bowed their knee nor kissed Baal . Yet as was his way Elijah had disappeared. The faithful were invisible, well-hidden sheep in the wolf-ravaged ranges of Jezebels domain.
The rising sun reflected off the white stone walls of Ahab's summer palace and made Naboth's prayer dimmed eyes ache. He walked to water- filled stone cistern by the well. Naboth's hands were hardened from many years of vineyard labor. He cupped his work -worn hands and filled them with the cool water, bending over, Naboth splashed the water across his face, then shaking his head he flung the droplets into the misty morning air. The birds were busy now, flitting through the sun rays between the arbor-ed grape vines, landing on the ground and pulling the pungent fat worms form the dark rich soil Naboth had inherited from his long line of ancestors.
Eyes now clear, Naboth could see there were men leaving the palace by the back entrance and walking along the path that connected Naboth's vineyard to the palace courtyard. Naboth pushed the wet hair from his face, dried his hands on his tunic and went to greet them.
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