Some Biblical Fiction novels focus on people from the Bible you’d recognize; like Ruth, Esther, Sarah, etc. Then there are some that set fictional characters in a Biblical setting, and that’s the structure of A Light On The Hill by Connilyn Cossette. With no particular story from the Bible to set the course, the author was able to pick a time period, a setting, and teach the Word through a work of fiction that related redemption to real life in a beautiful way.
A Light On The Hill begins a brand new series by Connilyn Cossette called the “Cities of Refuge” Series. The cities of refuge were established in the time of Joshua when Israel crossed the Jordan and entered the promised land. Their purpose? To protect an Israelite who accidentally killed someone. In ancient Israel, the Law was eye for eye, tooth for tooth and life for life. Even if death was an accident with no preconceived intent, the family of the deceased could avenge their relative’s death by killing the person who did it…even if they were innocent. But, if the accidental manslayer could get to a city of refuge first, they could have a trial before the priest and determine if the death was on purpose or not. If found that they did kill someone on accident, they had to live in the city of refuge until the High Priest died, then they could return home without fear. So, the question that’s begging to be asked… “How do you accidentally kill someone?”
In the Bible, there are examples of how someone could possibly injure another that they died. But, most of the examples given are of men working together. You know, if you’re cutting down a tree and it falls on someone…. that kind of stuff. Yet, there’s not much said about women. And that makes A Light On The Hill so interesting. The author crafted a believable story of how Moriyah, the heroine, accidentally poisoned two boys by making dinner one night. Did I mention that she was promised to their father as his second wife? And, did I mention she was in love with someone else? This propels Moriyah on a long journey (guided by her father’s steward and a family servant) to a city of refuge.
I couldn’t get enough of this story! It was the perfect blend of love, suspense and a little bit of Bible Study thrown in for good measure. Because the characters were a work of the author’s imagination, their stories were free to growth and twist with a plot that wasn’t constrained by a familiar Bible story. Which is probably why I liked it so much – I had no idea how the story was going to end! LOL! I also loved how the heroine, Moriyah, grew from being a person who was afraid of what others thought of her to someone who became convicted that she must follow the instructions given in the Law of Yahweh. After all, once she met up with her true love on the way to the city of refuge, why couldn’t they just run off together? Leave Israel and make a home in another country? That question was brought up in the story and the answer reminds us of why we, in today’s world, still follow the Lord in hard times – because it’s what His Word tells us to do. We’re blessed when we obey. Now, before I sound too religiously stuffy, I must say I fell in love with how the author ended the book by blessing Moriyah in a way she never thought possible. God is good!
Conclusion: If you’ve ever read about the cities of refuge in the Old Testament, it’s probably been a few verses listing the names of each city and the instructions given for those who had the need to flee there. Because of their brief mention in Scripture, they’re not preached on much in church. I for one, have never even heard a sermon preached on the cities of refuge! That’s what attracted me to this series and I wasn’t disappointed. I learned so much from this book! I won’t go into every detail, but I will touch on this one thing. Every time I came across the cities of refuge in my Bible reading, I always wondered, “Why did the manslayer get to go free after the High Priest died?” I mean, if you’re going to let them go free, why not after so many years or something like that? Well, it totally “clicked” for me during the chapter of Moriyah’s trial when the High Priest, Eleazar, said, “As Yehoshua stated, when my life ends, you will be set free from the city of refuge. You may return to your home and your family. The blood avenger will no longer legally have the right to your life. Your blood-debt will be atoned for by my death. Washed away, as if it never happened.” (page 292) Right then, it all made sense. The High Priest is a picture of Jesus, who pays for our freedom by His death. The avenger, the Devil, then has no right to your life (salvation)! All that from a novel!
In closing, I loved this book and can’t wait for the second in the series to release. If you enjoy Biblical Fiction, you can’t go wrong with A Light On The Hill. As if you couldn’t already tell, I highly recommend it! (…and anything Connilyn Cossette writes.) *wink*
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