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Literature Discussion -


The Tishbite
The Untold Story of Elijah

By Kurt W. Schuller (USA)



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“Wake up”, the voice whispered.

Elijah stirred but did not wake. Lying on his side, he turned over onto his back and then onto his other side.

“Elijah”, again the voice whispered. “They are coming for you.”

Still half asleep, Elijah turned onto his back, his eyes gyrating furiously under closed eyelids.

This time the voice did not whisper. “Elijah,” 

Elijah’s eyes snapped open.

 Now the voice screamed inside of his head.


He sat up with a start, his heart pounding in his chest so loudly, that it almost drowned out the sound of angry voices in the courtyard outside.
They had found him.

He groped for his discarded clothing in the darkness, cursing his laziness. For three and a half years he had remained hidden, so he was not used to the rigors of being on the run. After his apparent triumph at Mount Carmel, finding himself the hunted again was the last thing he expected. Yet hunted he was, and it had worn him to the point of exhaustion. He had simply discarded his clothes wherever they fell, leaving a scattered trail leading to the bed.  Crawling on the floor he searched first for his fur cloak in the dark. A quick prayer of thanks passed his lips as his hand felt the soft fur between his fingers. Reaching the window he stopped and opened the shutter just enough to look outside.
Jezebel’s men had Ishmael on his knees, hands tied behind his back. His wife stood facing him with their young son clinging to her knees and screaming in fear and panic.

The captain of the soldiers put the tip of his dagger against Ishmael’s throat. A small trickle of blood began to flow down the mirrored blade.
 He stared at the woman and demanded.

“Tell me where the prophet is or I will kill him.”

Ishmael shook his head. “ No Sarah. Tell him nothing.”

 The soldier looked up at Sarah with mocked sympathy.

“ Such gallantry!  A man so noble deserves more than a dagger to the throat, don’t you think. Just tell me where the prophet is and I will spare him.”

Elijah clenched his teeth and thought of calling down Gods wrath, but he knew that it would also take the family that had sheltered him and he could not risk causing their death.

Ishmael looked up at his captor. The fear had disappeared from his expression, replaced by one of serene calm.

“Sarah, I do not matter. The Prophet must live.”

“Jezebel thinks otherwise.” said the soldier as he removed the knife from Ishmaels throat. “Take the boy!”

The soldiers ripped the screaming boy from his mother’s knees and brought him to the captain. Looking up at Sarah, he placed the dagger against her son’s throat and smiled.

“Does he matter?”

“You bastards!” screamed Ishmael. “How did we ever let you come to power? Sarah please! Say nothing. Better that our son die than be under Baal’s yoke.”

The captain ignored Ishmael and looked at Sarah. “I won’t ask you again.”

Sarah looked defeated. She lowered her head and starred down at the ground, so that she could not see the look of disappointment on her husbands face. Slowly, she began to raise her arm and pointed toward the upper room.

“Release the boy.” the captain said.

The boy ran to his mother’s arms and she sobbed with relief as she hugged him.

“Kill the father.”

Before Sarah could get a scream out of her mouth, one of the soldiers brought the full force of his blade against the back of Ishmael’s neck, neatly severing his head from his body.

Elijah bit down reflexively on his fist to keep from screaming in anger. He had been hypnotized by the event as it unfolded before him, but the sight of Ishmael’s head rolling across the muddy courtyard brought him out of his paralysis, and the instinct for survival took him. He sprang up naked from the window and ran toward the door carrying only his cloak. He was disoriented in these unfamiliar surroundings, having only arrived after sunset a few hours earlier. Ishmael had led him up to the room with a lantern that, unfortunately, had little fuel left in it, and that had been consumed while Elijah slept. He heard heavy footsteps coming toward him so he turned and felt his way against the cold stonewall in the opposite direction. The brief flicker of light behind him told him they were close, so he picked up his pace and stopped feeling his way. His fear was such that every breath was difficult; as if no matter how hard he tried he could not satisfy his breathe-starved lungs. It was then that he ran headfirst into an open door, knocking him flat on his back on the floor. He fought to regain his senses, eyes stung from the salt of his own fresh blood as it flowed into them. As he blinked furiously he saw it; a brief break in the heavy cloud cover revealed the light of a full moon through an open window before him, showing him the way out.  He got up and climbed through it, standing on the outer ledge. Looking back in he saw the lanterns and the soldiers enter the room he just left.

“ No more time.” he whispered to himself as he jumped naked into the darkness.


Continued Next Week


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