‘On that day when you go in to hide in an inner chamber’

So, OK, this post will be about a story from the Bible, but it’s not really about religion or theology or biblical studies. It’s about stories.

There’s a really good story in 1 Kings 22. Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Ahab, the wicked king of Israel, wants to go to war against the Arameans, so he tries to enlist the help of Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah. Jehoshaphat, not being a wicked king, wants to check with the prophets first to see if God approves.

Ahab has that covered — with several hundred prophets on his royal payroll eager to pronounce divine approval for whatever the king wants to do. These court prophets are led by a theatrical fellow named Zedekiah, who dresses up wearing iron horns and tells the kings that they will “gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.” All the other court prophets say the same thing, predicting an easy total victory.

Jehoshaphat isn’t convinced. “Who else you got?” he asks, and Ahab begrudgingly admits that there is one other prophet, this guy Micaiah. “But I hate him, for he never prophesies anything favorable about me, but only disaster.”

So Jehoshaphat king of Judah summons Micaiah and asks him the same thing they asked all the court prophets and he gives the same answer. “Go up and triumph,” he says. You’ve got your heart set on war? Knock yourself out. Who am I to tell you different?

But something about the way Micaiah says it convinces “the king” (I’m not sure which one) that he’s not being completely honest. “Tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord,” the king says, and this time Micaiah says what he really thinks. If you go to war, he tells Ahab, you’ll die and your people will be scattered “like sheep that have no shepherd.”

At this, Ahab turns to Jehoshaphat and says, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy anything favorable about me, but only disaster?”

But Micaiah isn’t done, he continues on to accuse the court prophets of being infected with a “lying spirit” sent by God to lure Ahab to his death. And then:

Zedekiah son of Chenaanah came up to Micaiah, slapped him on the cheek, and said, “Which way did the spirit of the Lord pass from me to speak to you?”

Micaiah replied, “You will find out on that day when you go in to hide in an inner chamber.”

Ahab orders Micaiah to be thrown into prison and fed “reduced rations of bread and water,” until his triumphant return from battle. Micaiah responds that Ahab’s triumphant return ain’t gonna happen and they cart him off to prison.

Somehow, Jehoshaphat still thinks this war with the Arameans is a good idea and he marches off to fight alongside Ahab. And Ahab gets killed, just like Micaiah said. And then …

That’s the frustrating part. There is no “and then.”

We never learn whether or not Micaiah is released from prison. And we never get any follow-up on what happened to Zedekiah.

That’s just unacceptable. Where is the comeuppance that Zedekiah so richly deserves? “You will find out on that day when you go in to hide in an inner chamber” is such a tantalizingly specific set-up that it’s just unforgivable to be left hanging.

I’ve read a couple of commentaries that suggest the failure to tell us more about what happened to Micaiah and Zedekiah reflects the main concerns of the text, which lie elsewhere. Fair enough, I suppose, but it’s impossible for my main concerns to lie elsewhere after reading “You will find out on that day when you go in to hide in an inner chamber.”

After reading that my main concern is to get to the scene where Zedekiah is going in to hide in an inner chamber. Where is that scene?

And then to make matters worse, after you’re left hanging with this rendition in 1 Kings, you hit the exact same story in 2 Chronicles and you think maybe this time the proper ending will be included. But no. Again it’s just a tease. Both renditions contain the same two acts of the three-act story of Micaiah and Zedekiah. The third act is nowhere to be found.

Seriously, this is no way to end a story. The list of things that bug me about the Bible is a long one, and this narrative flop is a relatively unimportant item on that list. But it’s still on that list. This bugs me.

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  • Michael Cule

    It sounds like a bit of bad editing somewhere along the line. There are a few of them in the Bible, which sometimes reads like a Bowdlerised or ‘politically corrected’ version of an earlier text. The fact that story is there twice and stops at the same place… Like Fred I really want to hear the punchline that we’ve been set up for. It’s like the story of the chap who promises to sacrifice the first thing he meets when he gets home for a victory. If you don’t hear ‘and his daughter rushed out to greet him’ it isn’t a proper story.

    It’s like another passage (and I can’t recall the reference right now) that I came across when I was trying to read the Bible all  the way through. It went roughly ‘and this happened just after the sodomistical priests were cast out of the Temple’. When I came across it you may believe I started shouting ‘Sodomistical priests? WHAT sodomistical priests? Who mentioned any sodding sodomistical priests?”

    Bad editing I tells you.

  • Anonymous

    It sounds like a bit of bad editing somewhere along the line. There are a few of them in the Bible, which sometimes reads like a Bowdlerised or ‘politically corrected’ version of an earlier text.

    Star Wars Special Edition 2025: cuts to credits immediately after Han saves Luke from Darth Vader’s TIE fighter in the trenches of the Death Star.

  • Randall M

     Well, remember, when certain writers sell enough books and/or make enough money for the publishers, they can turn down editing services because their books are perfect as they are.

    God hit that point a long, long time ago.

  • Michael Cule

    The thought that God could be John Norman is too terrible to contemplate.

    The thought that John Norman could be God is even worse…

  • Anonymous

    Well, keep in mind that the true sin of Sodom was that it lived in luxury while ignoring and exploiting the weak.  If you were expecting “Sodomistical” to have something to do with sex, you’d be confused, but I’d guess the reference is criticizing the priests for being hypocrites who only care for how they look and never help others.

  • Tricksterson

    Or maybe the conclusion to the story wasn’t what the editors wanted it to be so they dissapeared it.

  • Caravelle

    Any chance there was a third act that got lost to time ?
    That or there was a cultural context to the story that means the people listening to it at the time could have filled the blanks in a way we can’t… Like “going to hide into an inner chamber” was an expression of some kind, or a story motif that occurred in many stories of the time and that was recognizable enough the writers didn’t need to spell it out for their audience…?

    On the other hand, one thing I find interesting is how often such prophecies come true in fiction, even in stories where it isn’t assumed that it’s possible to know the future or that the prophet in question can do it. There will always be some twist where the prophecy comes true in unexpected ways… but it will come true so. often.

    I understand the dramatic reasons for this, and then there’s the kind of fiction where they like to keep it ambiguous whether supernatural things happen or not, but sometimes it feels like a betrayal of reality and the way prophecies tend to work in real life. i.e. a whole lot of them don’t come true at all, and those that do are often much more trivial than prophecies you see in fiction.

  • ako

    I understand the dramatic reasons for this, and then there’s the kind
    of fiction where they like to keep it ambiguous whether supernatural
    things happen or not, but sometimes it feels like a betrayal of reality
    and the way prophecies tend to work in real life. i.e. a whole lot of
    them don’t come true at all, and those that do are often much more
    trivial than prophecies you see in fiction.

    I know what you mean.  A lot of the time, it feels like they’re taking that route because, from a storytelling perspective, it’s easier?  There are good ways to make it dramatic and interesting that the prophecy doesn’t come true, but they’re harder to write and don’t spring to mind as quickly, which means there’s a tendency to assume it’ll turn out anticlimactic and boring (I think you could do really interesting things with stories about people dealing with the shock to their belief system involved, the loss of faith, and in at least some cases, the newfound sense of freedom that comes from not feeling trapped by destiny).   Which is a shame, as there are some good stories that can be told. 

  • http://twitter.com/ksej Nicholas Kiddle

     I planned out (and still mean to write) a story about a couple who ask the local Oracle whether the gods will smile on their love and get the answer “No way! You’re going straight to hell, you perverts!” They then decide screw that, and set out into the world to make their fortunes, eventually living a long and reasonably happy life together until the fortunes of war finally part them. My then-boyfriend suggested that, by mentioning the Oracle, I was setting up an expectation that the prophecy would be fulfilled in some way. My intention was to show an Oracle who basically just took people’s money and upheld the status quo, but I don’t know whether the expectation would work against that.

  • ako

    I think you can do the story you’re describing well if you set up the details right so it’s clear that the Oracle is saying what he’s supposed to say, not any kind of actual prophecy.  It may require more than one instance of unfulfilled prophecy, or some other narrative indicators, but the idea sounds good.  I like the idea of authority figures using “It’s a prediction so now you can’t go against it!” to push their dogma on people.  (Er, in a story.  Obviously that would be horrible in real life.)

  • Anonymous

    On the other hand, one thing I find interesting is how often such prophecies come true in fiction, even in stories where it isn’t assumed that it’s possible to know the future or that the prophet in question can do it.

    Mieville’s _Un Lun Dun_ defies this (this is not a particular spoiler; it is one of the great charms of the — amazingly cheerful, for Mieville — book), of course, but one of Mieville’s central principles is that nothing is destiny. (Take a fantasy race, any race, with a trait which should, by all means, make it think or act in a particular way — and the characters portrayed by Mieville will essentially invert that. One of the characters we meet in _ULD_, IIRC, is a school of fish in a diving suit — running around on land.)

    I’ve wanted to do a pastiche of _The Wheel of Time_ as written by Pratchett for awhile, just because Pratchett is very much a “screw destiny” person while WoT is the complete opposite, but, come to think of it, Mieville’s WoT might be even more interesting. (OTOH, the philosophy clash might be too great — and Pratchett has a much more imitatible style.) Plus, Pratchett’s opening to the WoT saga is a lot easier to define.

  • Ursula L

    “You will find out on that day when you go in to hide in an inner chamber.”

    That sounds an awful lot like a frightened child hiding in a closet.  No, cowering in a closet.  

    You don’t need the rest of the story to be specifically told.  The story of what dictators do to those who speak against them is well known.  Likewise, the fate of high government officials who press for war, after the war is lost, when the enemy comes to occupy.

    Micaiah was murdered in prison.  By Ahab’s men.  His fate was that of the Syrian protesters today.

    Zedekiah was found hiding in a closet, by Aramean soldiers, as they took the war back to the Israelites, seeking punishment and revenge, and to ensure that the Israelites could never come after them again.  His fate was that of Saddam Hussein’s sons, and Hitler’s inner circle of advisors who were either caught and tried and hung, or committed suicide to avoid the fate of capture and being hanged. 

  • Splitting Image

    It’s a common enough annoyance if you’re fond of reading ancient literature. Most of Menander’s plays are fragmentary, for example. We have just enough of the plays to get you curious about how they end, but we don’t have most of the endings.

    When it comes to Bible-stuff, I admit to always having been curious about the ribbon tied on the foot of Tamar’s first child at the end of Genesis 38. There seems to have been a point to one child usurping the other’s birthright, similar to what happened between Esau and Jacob, but the text we have leaves that plot dangling.

    It’s a fascinating area of discussion with people who believe the Bible is an old, interesting, and fragmentary book, and a source of endless frustration when dealing with people who believe the Bible is complete, divine, and always literally true.

  • Splitting Image

     Oops. That would be “hand” not “foot”, now that I’ve dug out my Bible to have a look at the passage.

  • http://jdm314.livejournal.com/ Mad Latinist

    Like that episode of the unjustly obscure Ancient Egyptian “Inaros Petubastis Cycle,” which may be called something like “The Fight for the Prebend of Amun.” Both the beginning and the end are missing, and what drives me to distraction is that in the quarrel of the lone (and nameless) bad guy against the good guys… well it looks for all the world like the so-called bad guy happens to be the one in the right. I’m dying to know how the story resolved that little problem… Egyptian stories do usually have happy endings after all.

  • Anonymous

    ‘When are they getting to the FIREWORKS FACTORY!”

  • vsm

    Like poor Milhouse, I had lots of experiences like that growing up in a small town in a small country. The local library had a few volumes of Sandman, apparently picked at random (The one about A Midsummer Night’s Dream’s premiere and the first half of the serial killer convention arc, I believe). Babylon 5 was shown on TV once with no reruns, while a competing channel aired Buffy so you’d always miss the first ten minutes. Watching them on DVD years later, I noticed I had somehow missed every single episode about the Valen subplot in the former and had never heard the theme song to the latter.

    Thus, fragmentary works makes me kind of nostalgic. It’s why I like reading the English Romantics who were all interrupted by foreign wars of liberation, tuberculosis, drowning or at least people from Porlock. I have no desire to see Woyzeck if the director’s decided to give it a proper ending. In a more modern context, I feel guilty for hoping Ai Yazawa never returns to Nana.

  • Anonymous

     Due to the fact that Friday was grocery shopping night when I was little, I never saw the conclusion of a two-parter of TNG until I was in my early twenties.

  • http://www.metagalacticllamas.com/ Triplanetary

    Spoilers: Picard dies, Riker takes command, immediately becomes a megalomaniac and orders everyone on the bridge to grow a beard like his. Including Troi.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I wonder if there’s any Micaiah/Zedekiah fanfic. There certainly should be.

  • Anonymous

    Oh man, didn’t anyone tell God to never mention an inner chamber in the first act unless you show Zedekiah hiding in it in the third? What a noob mistake!

  • Steve Ruble

    I sometimes have a hard time understanding what’s funny about the things one of Shakespeare’s fools says until I see it said on stage, where the tone and gestures and general persona of a well-played fool makes it hilarious. I wonder if something like that is happening here

  • Steve Ruble

    Oops, laptop battery went dead. I meant to write: I can imagine Micaiah’s initial prediction delivered in such a way as to make it clear that he was mockingly echoing the “party line”, satirically pointing out to the king  how easy it was to play along and tell him what he wanted to hear.
     
    So now I’m trying to imagine what a Shakespearean fool would mean by “hide in an inner chamber”. He’d mean “scared”, right? But maybe he would use more evocative language, language that a later editor might not approve of… Maybe he would use the ANE equivalent of “scared sh*tless”. A redactor with no poetry in his soul might convert that into “hide in an inner chamber  and think they’d preserved the meaning, but they’d be missing what Micaiah was really saying: “You never had the spirit of the LORD – you’ve been talking out of your ass the whole time.”
     
    (I know there’s no chance that account which I just made up is actually correct, but I liked thinking about it.) 

  • Guy

    While we’re on the subject, was it a lady or a tiger already?

  • Tricksterson
  • FangsFirst

    While we’re on the subject, was it a lady or a tiger already?

    It was a lady tiger, and they fell in love but were ostracized by the anti-anthropomorphic community.

  • LunaticFringe

    The missing piece that drives me really crazy is about why civilization is wicked and deserves destruction before the Flood. What did they do that was so terrible?

  • Anonymous

    They created a slave race of machines to make life easier.  They rebelled.  They evolved.  And they have a plan.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic


    They created a slave race of machines to make life easier.  They rebelled.  They evolved.  And they have a plan. 

    But they don’t.  They don’t have a plan.  Every fracking episode for two seasons (three seasons?  I’m not sure, it’s been a while) we’re told they have a plan, and yet… no plan.  Not even an indication of a plan.  Total lack of plan.

    Then finally out comes a movie called “The Plan” and you know what’s not in it? A plan.

    The plan is a lie.  Even in a world where the cake is true, the plan is a lie.  I call bullshit.

    Perhaps more on topic, I know that there are entire books of The Bible that are missing* so it doesn’t seem all that surprising to me that sometimes parts of stories would be lost.

    *not as in apocrypha, as in in the Bible it will say something like, “As it is written in [thingy],” and the reader will go, “Wait.  What?  I don’t have a copy of [thingy]” flips to index “There’s no [thingy] listed here.” searches internet “There’s no [thingy] anywhere on earth.  Where the hell is [thingy]?”

  • http://thetalkingllama.wordpress.com/ SketchesbyBoze

    You know, I had entirely forgotten about all the trouble with thingies until I read this post. God bless the Pythonites: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmgcylAxjfY

  • Michael Cule

    Well, some of the lack of the Book of Thingy is because it exists and isn’t regarded as canon. (The aforesaid Book of Enoch is quoted in one of the Letters or it may be the Acts but it isn’t regarded as canon despite that.) And some of it is probably because books were lost before the question of canon ever came up.

    And some of it, a cynic might think, is because the priests took one look at the book and said: “We’re not leaving that in! Better burn it. Yes and all the copies…”

    And on another topic, I have twice had the pleasure of being in a LARP run by Jo Walton. They were both very cool! (“All Hail the Empress! May the Exalted Wearer of the Racoon Hat live a Thousand Years!” Also: “We Do!”) (In jokes ‘R Us!)

  • Anonymous

    But they don’t.  They don’t have a plan.  Every fracking episode for two seasons (three seasons?  I’m not sure, it’s been a while) we’re told they have a plan, and yet… no plan.  Not even an indication of a plan.  Total lack of plan.

    Then finally out comes a movie called “The Plan” and you know what’s not in it? A plan.

    Ron Moore was seriously confused about the kind of story he was telling.  He thought he could keep throwing out “AND THEY HAVE A PLAN” “mysterious head-demon wants Baltar to convert to Cylonism” “Cylons know the truth behind human religion” etc. etc. etc. and people would still think they were watching character dramas where the history and ultimate nature of the universe they inhabited were irrelevant backdrops.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    When the opposing side seems to have an unbeatable fifth column and srsly advanced tech, it’s not hard to think they do indeed have a plan, until all is revealed much later on.

  • Anonymous

     

    Then finally out comes a movie called “The Plan” and you know what’s not in it? A plan.

    I really think the lack of Plan is one of the reasons I didn’t appreciate the BSG reboot more.  I wanted to, but it just never grabbed me.  Then again, I’ve viewed all shows that claim to have a myth arc with a jaundiced eye ever since I was a fan of The X-Files and Babylon 5 respectively.  If you can’t look me in the metaphorical eye and tell me the question of the Opera House will be cleared up sometime in season 4, I don’t believe in your myth arc.

  • GDwarf

    Well, as I understand it, the book of Enoch explains that the sins behind the great flood were caused by fallen angels breeding with humans and creating the hybrid nephelhem.

    Amusingly tying your post in with that excellent kung-fu one; there exists a modern video game in which you play as Enoch, tasked by God to hunt them down with, essentially, gunk-fu.

  • Anonymous

    Enoch hunts them down with ‘gunk-fu’?  Aw, come on, the game wasn’t that bad!

    On a more serious note, the book of Enoch is a pretty interesting and frankly frightening story.  The Grigori (the order of fallen angels) thought that human women looked attractive, so they chose to ‘fall’ to Earth, mate with the humans, and teach them ‘forbidden’ knowledge like cosmetics and astrology.  After their mutant offspring start ruining the Earth, God retaliates by sending Enoch to tell the Grigori that the archangels are going to slaughter their children in front of them, bind their limbs and blindfold them, seal them away in the earth, and them torture them in hellfire forever on the day of judgement.  This terrifies the Grigori, and they beg Enoch to ask God to forgive them.  God says “Nope!”, and sends Enoch back to reiterate to the fallen ones just how much He is going to torture them forever.  To hammer to point home, part of the story has an archangel taking Enoch to see the horrors of the hellfire that the fallen angels will be subjected to forever.

    I kind of found the video game story’s depiction of God and the angels to be much nicer.  God just wants to undue the corruption that the fallen angels started, and (Spoiler Alert) there is even a hint of redemption for one of the Grigori by the game’s end.  It’s so odd that the version of the story that has Enoch kung-fuing the Grigori’s faces off ends on a kinder and more uplifting note than the original story.

  • GDwarf

    I meant to write “Kung-fu. Stupid auto-correct. Anyways, I loved the game (El Shaddai, for the curious), even though it was more style than substance. It just looks so…mesmerizing.

  • Anonymous

    @0bc1766120d6424d93e27d3ebb8484f3:disqus As I was given to understand it, the child that thrust his foot out first was, technically speaking, first born. The ribbon was to prove who it was.

    @43d32a1e0a5c198f61ac051ebe8f6309:disqus 
    The worst sin of all: Bivistry. A sin so terrible, NO ONE EVER WROTE DOWN WHAT IT WAS.

  • Anonymous

    We never learn whether or not Micaiah is released from prison. And we never get any follow-up on what happened to Zedekiah.

    The answer is obvious. Micaiah learns Seven Serpent-style Kung Fu from an old man who has languished, long forgotten, in the bowels of the prison.
    He studies for ten years, perfecting his form, then breaks out. On his way out, a young thief asks him, “What about the prophecy?” and Micaiah answers, “Fuck the prophecy,” in his best Stallone voice.
    He returns to Israel and battles his way through the halls of the false prophets’ temple. In the heart of the temple, Zedekiah reveals his mastery of Stone Crown-style Kung Fu, and they battle it out in an apocalyptic showdown that shakes the temple to its very foundations.

    I can’t believe you didn’t piece this together from the text.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Your bible is awesome and I wish to convert. 

  • Anonymous

    I just have one question:
    Are you rad enough?

  • Ima Pseudonym

    Have an internet and a lifetime supply of free cookies.

  • Damanoid

    Does the story at least explain what Jehosaphat was jumping for?

  • Tricksterson

    He had squirrels in his pants

  • Ursula L

    Actually, I think I have a more precise explanation for 
    Zedekiah’s story.

    He’s a yes-man.

    More specifically, he’s the type of yes-man that you find in autocratic dictatorships, telling the dictator what he wants to hear, in particular when the dictator is looking for justification for something that is obviously wrong.   He does this because the potential rewards are immense.  Being a “trusted adviser” to the dictator, the dictator will reward him directly, such as with a handsome salary.  Having the influence of being an insider he is also able to use that position to extort bribes and tribute from people who need the favor of the dictator and the government.  

    But when the dictator falls, the yes-man is out to protect himself.  He’ll lie, he’ll hide, he’ll cheat.  He’ll have a story about how he’s the greatest victim of the dictator’s abuses. He’ll have been a secret reformer, working behind the scenes to stop abuses with such subtlety that no one was able to detect his powerful influence in moderating the dictator’s abuses. 

    But people will see through those lies, in the end.  So he’s left with the necessity of flight and hiding.  And in the end, he’ll be dragged from inside a closet, or a hole in the ground, or an obscure alternate identity.  

    Micaiah says “You will find out on that day when you go in to hide in an inner chamber.” 

    On the day that Zedikiah is cornered and captured, he’ll know how the “spirit of the Lord” passed from him to Micaiah.  The ability to prophesy accurately left Zedikiah when he stopped telling the truth and started telling the king what he wanted to hear.  

    But he’ll only recognize what he gave up when he no longer has the material rewards that come from telling the king what he wants to hear.  When he finds himself cowering in a hole in the ground or a closet, hoping that the people who were harmed by his lies won’t find him.

    But by that time, Micaiah will be dead.  Murdered by Ahab’s men.  More likely, murdered by Zedikiah’s orders – the king would not bother with such trivial details, and would prefer to have plausible deniability should the issue ever become public.  But for Zedikiah, the threat of a true prophecy is too dangerous to be ignored. If events don’t match Zedikiah’s “prophesy” then it is essential, for Zedikiah’s safety, that the events be unknowable, rather than being accurately predicted by a different, more accurate, prophet. 

  • Jo Walton

    Zedekiah in the Inner Room

    There is no honour for a prophet God has lied to.
    Oh we all know those days when words won’t come,
    When we temporise with the king, shaking our heads,
    Our iron horns weighing heavy and no joy in us.
    But those words rang with the true tone
    Of God’s own voice, clear and certain, we all
    Heard the same words, crying “Gore,
    Gore the Arameans, until they be destroyed!”
    God’s own true spirit, speaking to us, clear and undoubted
    “Gore the Arameans!” So yes, Micaiah,
    Now the city is burning and the king is dead
    Now that I am cowering in my inner room,
    With screams and battle cries rising from outside,
    Now I understand you, and God’s inner meaning
    Tricking proud Ahab into thankless battle
    Into destruction, gored by Aramaeans.
    I will plead, I will weep, I will beg the attackers,
    But I will bow down no more and refuse all worship.
    God bore false witness, and made my mouth speak it.

    Jo Walton

  • Ursula L

    Jo, there are many times when one reads fanfic and thinks that it ought to be cannon. 
    But this is the first time I’ve read fanfic and thought it ought to be cannon in the Bible.  

    (Although I’m not sure enough about your religious beliefs to know if this is properly fanfic, or foe-fic, or whatever.  It’s a lovely missing scene.) 

  • Anonymous

    there are many times when one reads fanfic and thinks that it ought to be cannon.

    Heh. Speaking of sources of incomplete stories…. Even under the *best* imaginable scenario, there are Chekov’s Guns which have been mentioned in _Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality_ [1] which we will almost certainly not get around to seeing pay off.

    [1] Which is — IMHO — better than the original books by far. I can’t say I agree with the author on all points, but some of his background by all means should have been cannon.

  • http://thetalkingllama.wordpress.com/ SketchesbyBoze

    To say nothing of “LOST”!

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, LOST is an entirely different category, though — there’s some where the story is clearly incomplete and there’s others where authors just forget about Chekov’s guns they’ve placed on the mantle a few years back. (Alas, _WoT_ is almost certainly going to fall in that category. A lot of backstory will hopefully be wrapped up — and, in the last few books, several really tiny hints have exploded into major events, but there’s almost certainly going to be a lot of events which are just forgotten about.)

    And there’s a third category, where there’s Chekov’s guns that don’t go off because — even though they’ve been foreshadowed as all hell and sitting on the mantle for the past few sequels — the author just isn’t able to bring themselves to go there. There’s a beautiful tension between Vimes and Carrot that’s been hinted at in a number of books which is almost certainly never going to come to a head because Pratchett will never get that dark.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

     Jo! *squee*

  • Tricksterson

    Pardon me for asking but are you Jo Walton of the Coins alternate history trilogy, not to mention a lot of other cool books?  Even if not that is one cool poem and this comes from someone who normally has little use for poetry.

  • Jo Walton

    Yes I am. I’m glad you liked it.

  • Tricksterson

    SQUEEEEEEEEE!

  • Tricksterson

    Okay, I’m better now and will behave.

  • Anonymous

    Whoa — holy crap, I had assumed someone was *quoting* you!

  • Anonymous

     Perhaps the author was an early ancestor of George RR Martin.

  • Dawn

    Maybe his remark was not a prophecy so much as a riddle — not a comment we couldn’t possibly understand until some future date when it occurred, but rather, we’re supposed to already be able to figure out what it means for someone to “go to hide in an inner chamber.” Like a riddle-ish way of saying “you’ll find out in hell.” Only I’m not sure why being dead would count as hiding in an inner chamber.

    Okay, or maybe it’s just bad editing, but that’s a much more frustrating conclusion!

  • hawkwing_lb

     I am geek.

    Which is why I went to the Septuagint, and the Greek word – phrase, – is ὅταν εἰσέλθῃς ταμίειον τοῦ ταμιείου τοῦ κρυβῆναι, “When you enter the storehouse of the treasury to lie hidden.” Now I’m wondering how that lines up with the Hebrew, and whether there’s the same sense of somewhere you store wealth in the inner chamber.

    (Hebrew, I don’t comprehend.)

  • Jeff Weskamp

    Speaking of fragmentary ancient stories, we shouldn’t forget the Satyricon, written ca. 60 AD by Petronius Arbiter.  It’s actually a fragmentary *novel*, and we have most of Chapters 14-18.  Only Chapter 15, Dinner with Trimalchio, is fully intact.  It has tantalizing references to episodes from the previous lost chapters, and it ends quite precipitously.

    Speaking of Menander, he wrote over 100 plays of the Greek New Comedy, we have titles and assorted fragments of about 80 of those plays, one intact play (The Grouch), and about five other plays of which we only have the first half or two-thirds.

    It’s frightening how much literature has been lost.  The tragic playwright Sophocles wrote 123 plays, of which have have 7 intact and 1 partial.  We know the titles of about 800 lost plays from the Greek Middle Comedy (ca. 390-290 BC).  And here are some of the titles of the lost comic plays of Plautus:  The Twin Pimps, the Triplets, the Twice-Seduced Woman, the Glutton, the Lazy Parasite, and Men Dying Together.

  • Matri

    And here are some of the titles of the lost comic plays of Plautus:  The
    Twin Pimps, the Triplets, the Twice-Seduced Woman, the Glutton, the
    Lazy Parasite, and Men Dying Together.

    Man, they really had literature back then.

  • Anonymous

    The Twin Pimps, the Triplets, the Twice-Seduced Woman, the Glutton, the Lazy Parasite, and Men Dying Together

    My god, the man’s a movie factory. Someone start calling celebrities.

  • http://www.metagalacticllamas.com/ Triplanetary

    Many of which were probably lost when the Great Library of Alexandria was burned. ;_;

  • Tricksterson

    Whoa, Oscar was alive that long ago?  I wonder what he lived in because I’m pretty sure they didn’t have garbage cans back then.

  • MaryKaye

    I didn’t understand the story until I saw Jo’s conclusion to it:  I missed “a lying spirit from God.”  Yikes.  That’s a hell of a way to treat your prophets.  Isn’t it bad enough that prophets have to worry about self-deception and demonic imposters, without also having to deal with out and out lies from the Big Boss?

  • Guest

    “hiding in an inner chamber” makes me think of the bathroom scene from the story of Ehud in Judges. I’m not going to spoil it, but there’s a left-handed judge, an overweight king, a bathroom chamber, and some guards uncomfortable with bursting into the poop room to make sure everything’s okay.

  • Anonymous

    Exodus 4:24-26.

    As it stands, this appears to recount that God met Moses in a pub and picked a fight with him; but that Moses’ wife reacted by swearing at him and mutilating their baby, which made God think again (It would make me think again, too).

    You can read it literally as it is or you can infer that the text was corrupted at some point in its transmission. You pays yer money and you takes yer choice, as the man at the sideshow said.

  • http://thetalkingllama.wordpress.com/ SketchesbyBoze

    This is my favorite story in the entire Old Testament. I always thought the lack of an ending to the subplot involving Micaiah and Zedekiah just made it all the more tantalizing and surreal.

  • rizzo

    Sounds to me like they all died at the end.  Bears, maybe?

  • Rzinsius

    Star Wars Special Edition 2025: cuts to credits immediately after Han saves Luke from Darth Vader’s TIE fighter in the trenches of the Death Star.

    Actually, the TIE Fighter that Han shot at has to barrel roll and shoot at the Millenium Falcon first, because Han only shoots in self defense.

  • Jim D.

    I wonder if Fr. Guarnizo learned anything when he went to hide in an inner chamber.

  • ChrisH

    Life interfered and I wasn’t able to comment yesterday on the meta point that Fred was making with strategic post placement but no explicit linking.

    The reason there is no ending to the story is because the ending had not yet happened.  Like most of the bible (tongue firmly in cheek)  Micaiah and Zedekiah is not historical or a metaphor, but prophesy of things happening in our time, prolly in the last week.