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  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: June 2014

13 - King Ahab to his Steward Obadiah


To my steward Obadiah:

May Yahweh give you good news. When this letter reaches you my fate will have been decided. I sit in my tent in Ramoth-gilead awaiting the battle with dread and foreboding. Do you remember the stories told of Saul, camped at the spring not far from my palace in Jezreel, waiting for the battle at which he had been told he would die? And die he did. It is said that he went in disguise to the medium in Endor, hoping to receive a different message from Samuel's ghost. I too will disguise myself, not to visit a necromancer, but to survive the battle. I will tell Jehoshaphat to wear his royal robes. He will agree. As the saying goes, a thistle cannot refuse a cedar.

Will I be taking these precautions in vain, my servant? Saul had but one Samuel; I have two. You know what the troubler Elijah said: my house will be like the houses of Jeroboam and Baasha. True, the Tishbite did not say that I would die in battle tomorrow, only that dogs would eat the queen's body at Jezreel. I can never trust what Elijah says. I suspect that Yahweh told him something about my fate which he refuses to share with me. I felt dejected and lost after he cursed me. When I fasted and lay in sackcloth I hoped that Yahweh might see me humbling myself, and decide to let me live out my days without the evil striking.