Elijah’s arms stopped in mid swing, and the wineskin hit the camel’s pack. It fell against his ankles as the girl looked up into his stare. Milcah?
It couldn’t be Milcah. Only last week he talked with her. Yet this girl had Milcah’s round, black eyes. Her olive skin. Maybe.
He couldn’t see under all that dirt. What was on her cheek? A bruise?
A rope bound her ankles to a line of thirty girls. She looked down at the ground and shivered in the January air. As she brushed by, her robe touched his arm, and the odor of old feces struck his nostrils. Each child stared down at the heels of the girl ahead, numb to Elijah’s gaze.
Ahab gawked at the line of girls. “Who are they, Biah?”
Obadiah held his jaw stiff while three girls went by. “They are children, Sir.”
Ahab first tried to walk by holding onto the knees of Obadiah, his father’s Chief of Staff. And later, when Obadiah inspected the king’s olive groves, Ahab rode along because holding the rail in the bouncing chariot and listening in on business talk made him feel like a grown up.
Ahab pushed at Obadiah’s hip. “Who tied them up? How’d they get so dirty?”
“Many days on the trail, Sir. And you know who tied them.”
“But they look so young.”
Obadiah took a deep breath. “They are children, Sir.”
“But who are those men?”
“You know exactly who those men are, Sir.”
The Messenger and the King
How can his loved ones be safe if he leaves to deliver the Lord’s messages? He listened to his father, Zadok, and to Elisheva, his sister, who quoted ancient authors. But Elijah had to make up his own mind.
How can he follow both Moloch and the Lord? He listened to his wife, Jezebel, and to Obadiah, who rescued people from her clutches. But Ahab had to make up his own mind.