It’s Thursday, the day when I’m supposed to talk about a research find. First, I’ll tell you researching for Biblical fiction isn’t easy. There are tons of varying theories on all sorts of things and whether we want to believe it or not there are some contradictory scriptures.
Let’s just look at these two scriptures.
Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Athaliah the granddaughter of Omri, king of Israel. II Kings 8:26 (NKJV)
Ahaziah was forty-twoyears old when he became king, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Athaliah the granddaughter of Omri. II Chronicles 22:2 (NKJV)
Does that mean the Bible isn’t God inspired? No, not at all. The inconsistency could be any number of things, most probable it is an error on man’s part through translation.
Ahaziah is the father of King Joash. My Biblical romance series is set during the beginning reign of Joash. Most of you know that Ahaziah’s mother, Athaliah, went on a murderous rampage when her son died. She killed all the princes, save one. Joash was rescued by his Aunt Jehosheba, the wife of high priest Jehoiada. According to scripture, Joash was hidden with them in a bedchamber in the temple.
Well, I found a bit of problem with that. First, when Athaliah took over the kingdom of Judah the temple was badly damaged. For those of you who don’t know, her parents where Ahab and Jezebel. Yeah, remember them? Elijah and God went head to head with Jezebel and Ba’al. Of course God won, as He always has and always will.
Athaliah couldn’t have taken too kindly to anything that had to do with YWHW. Her mother was humiliated and when she was killed by Jehu dogs devoured her flesh just as had been prophesied by Elijah. So, when you consider what happened to her mother, and given human nature to place blame, it’s not too far fetched to believe Athaliah despised anything and everything that had to do with God. Remember that damage to the temple I spoke about? It was in such disrepair it took over twenty years for the finances to be raised and repairs to begin.
Was it habitable? I suppose, but perhaps not anymore so than a cave in the hills. And any activity within the temple probably would have been noticed. I believe she was that paranoid and delusional.
The other thing I had a bit of a problem with is that from every bit of research I’ve encountered the priests did not live in the temple. IN the First Temple Period the priests lived near Ophel. During the Second Temple Period some lived in the Herodian Quarter.
So, I took some creative license. Scripture says, “He (Joash) remained hidden with his nurse at the house of the Lord six years.”
That word house, bayith means the same thing as temple. According to Strong’s Concordance, temple can mean a range of things when it comes to the temple in the Old Testament.
a) house, dwelling habitation
b) shelter or abode of animals
c) human bodies (fig.)
d) of Sheol
e) of abode of light and darkness
f) of land of Ephraim
Considering Athaliah’s behavior, I mean seriously, she killed all of her husband’s children and nephews, even her own grandchildren, I didn’t think she’d allow any of the temple priests to move around freely without being watched. Then again she could have been so arrogant and confident that she thought she had nothing to worry about. Her mother was much the same way.
So back to the point, I took a great deal of creative license, and removed Joash from Jerusalem. I chose to see bayith c) human bodies and I’ll tell you why. Do you know what Joash’s name means? Given by the Lord. The first story in this series was totally, without a doubt given to me by the Lord.
I will also tell you that when I wrote this story, in a little over a month, not once did I stop and do research. The research came after the story was written and I was working on revisions. To me that is absolutely amazing.
I’ve already met with some controversy over this story. I had a critique partner who believed I needed to change certain aspects of the story. I understand the whole ‘not adding or taking away’ from scripture thing. I don’t think I did that. I think I interpreted it differently. One thing that scripture does say is that Joash’s nurse stayed with him and I did keep her with him. I tried to stay as true to form as possible. I also spent a lot of time in prayer over this story. A lot. Not only that, I know several faithful, not writing prayer warriors prayed over this story too. And since I totally believe God inspired this story, I’m going to trust Him to do what He does and use it to glorify His name.
So, I ask you, am I creating some great faux pas?