Jehosheba (2 Kings 11:1-3)
Jehosheba burst through the doors of the nursery, slamming them closed behind her. “Tzofi, hurry! They’re coming!”
Tzofi looked up from where she sat on the ground, playing with the infant Joash. “Who’s coming, child?”
“The queen’s guards,” Jehosheba responded breathlessly, “they’re coming to kill him. Come on, we have to get him out of here.”
“Kill who, child.” Tzofi asked, returning her attention to the infant boy who had rolled over and was crawling toward his favorite doll, a gift from his aunt Jehosheba.
“Him!” she yelled, gesturing toward the child. Looking back at the closed door in alarm, Jehosheba spoke again more quietly, “Him. Joash, my nephew and heir to the throne of Judah. Athaliah is determined to hold the throne for herself; she’s ordered everyone in the family line slaughtered—including the children. We have to get him out of here, Tzofi.”
Tzofi sat for a moment longer staring into Jehosheba’s face. She had known the young woman since childhood and had never known her to exaggerate; but how could this be? How could this pretender to the throne order the death of all the legitimate heirs and expect it to be carried out?
As Tzofi sat wondering, Jehosheba had begun hastily gathering items from around the room. Throwing Joash’s favorite toys and a few items of clothing into a small bag, she begin to fling everything else around the room, creating a chaotic scene.
“What are you doing?” Tzofi cried out, “You’re making a mess!”
“Yes,” Jehosheba responded, tipping over a large chest and scattering the contents around, “we have to make it look like the room has already been searched. It might buy us some time.”
Tzofi continued to look doubtfully at Jehosheba. She was just about to tell her she’d clearly lost her mind when the sounds of footsteps filled the normally empty courtyard below. Ensuring Joash was entertained with his favorite doll, Tzofi walked over to the window and looked down.
Below her, in the courtyard generally reserved for the children of the King and their nurses, Athaliah’s guards had gathered. The commander began to shout orders, “You four, take the older ones, and you four, the younger. Remember her majesties instructions, no one left alive—that includes the girls.” The waiting guards saluted, drew their weapons, and marched solemnly into the palace.
Tzofi’s head began to spin. It was true. She turned back and saw Jehosheba tying a sling around her waist and lifting Joash into it. She handed him his doll, hugged him close, and then wrapped both of them in voluminous shawl.
“It’s time to go, Tzofi,” she said, her voice low and firm.
“Yes, my child.” Tzofi responded, her own voice cracking with fear, “but where can we go where they won’t find us?”
“The temple,” Jehosheba said, “we’re going to the temple. He’ll be safe there, as will we. God will protect us.”
Tzofi flung her own shawl over her head, took a deep breath, and followed Jehosheba out the door.
Questions to ponder
What was your favorite part of the story?
Where did you see God in the story?
What is God inviting you to try on today in light of the story?
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