• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Matter
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 The history of Hezekiah
 Life of Manasseh
 Life of Josiah
 Life of Jeremiah






Title: Scripture biography for the young
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00003534/00001
 Material Information
Title: Scripture biography for the young with critical illustrations and practical remarks: Hezekiah to Jeremiah, including Manasseh and Josiah
Alternate Title: Hezekiah to Jeremiah
Scripture biography
Physical Description: 256 p. : ill. ; 16 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Hooker, Horace, 1793-1864
Gallaudet, T. H ( Thomas Hopkins ), 1787-1851
Bookhout, Edward ( Engraver )
American Tract Society ( Publisher )
Howlands (Firm) ( Engraver )
Publisher: American Tract Society
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: <1853?>
 Subjects
Subject: Bible stories, English -- O.T -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Biographies -- 1853   ( rbgenr )
Embossed cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1853   ( rbbin )
Bookplates (Provenance) -- 1853   ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1853
Genre: Biographies   ( rbgenr )
Embossed cloth bindings (Binding)   ( rbbin )
Bookplates (Provenance)   ( rbprov )
collective biography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- New York -- New York
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: Gallaudet's series, continued by Rev. Horace Hooker.
General Note: Illustrations engraved by Howland and Bookhout (Edward?).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00003534
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002226991
oclc - 10984262
notis - ALG7287
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PALMM Version

Table of Contents
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
    Frontispiece
        Frontispiece
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    The history of Hezekiah
        Page 9
        Childhood and youth of Hezekiah
            Page 9 copy
            Page 10
            Page 11
            Page 12
            Page 13
            Page 14
            Page 15
            Page 16
            Page 17
            Page 18
        Hezekiah begins to reign
            Page 19
            Page 20
            Page 21
            Page 22
            Page 23
            Page 24
            Page 25
            Page 26
            Page 27
            Page 28
            Page 29
            Page 30
            Page 31
        The Passover celebrated
            Page 32
            Page 33
            Page 34
            Page 35
            Page 36
            Page 37
            Page 38
            Page 39
            Page 40
            Page 41
        Hezekiah suppresses idolatry
            Page 42
            Page 43
            Page 44
            Page 45
            Page 46
            Page 47
            Page 48
            Page 49
        Hezekiah completes the reformation
            Page 50
            Page 51
            Page 52
            Page 53
            Page 54
            Page 54a
            Page 55
            Page 56
        Captivity of the ten tribes
            Page 57
            Page 58
            Page 59
            Page 60
            Page 61
            Page 62
        Wars and declensions
            Page 63
            Page 64
            Page 65
            Page 66
            Page 67
            Page 68
            Page 69
            Page 70
            Page 71
        Assyrian invasion
            Page 72
            Page 73
            Page 74
            Page 75
            Page 76
            Page 77
            Page 78
            Page 79
            Page 80
            Page 81
            Page 82
        Assyrian invasion - continued
            Page 83
            Page 84
            Page 85
            Page 86
            Page 87
            Page 88
            Page 89
            Page 90
            Page 91
            Page 92
        Hezekiah's sickness and recovery
            Page 93
            Page 94
            Page 95
            Page 96
            Page 97
            Page 98
            Page 99
            Page 100
        Babylonish embassy
            Page 101
            Page 102
            Page 103
            Page 104
            Page 105
            Page 106
            Page 107
        Conclusion
            Page 108
            Page 109
            Page 110
            Page 111
            Page 112
    Life of Manasseh
        Page 113
        Childhood of Manasseh
            Page 113 copy
            Page 114
            Page 115
            Page 116
            Page 117
            Page 118
            Page 119
        Apostasy of Manasseh
            Page 120
            Page 121
            Page 122
            Page 123
            Page 124
            Page 125
            Page 126
            Page 127
            Page 128
        Captivity and penitence of Manasseh
            Page 129
            Page 130
            Page 131
            Page 132
            Page 133
        Reformation of Manasseh - Reign of Amon
            Page 134
            Page 135
            Page 136
            Page 137
            Page 138
            Page 139
            Page 140
    Life of Josiah
        Page 141
        His childhood and youth
            Page 141 copy
            Page 142
            Page 143
            Page 144
            Page 145
            Page 146
            Page 147
            Page 148
            Page 149
            Page 150
        Josiah's zeal for Jehovah
            Page 151
            Page 152
            Page 153
            Page 154
            Page 155
            Page 156
            Page 156a
            Page 157
            Page 158
            Page 159
            Page 160
            Page 161
        Josiah's subsequent history
            Page 162
            Page 163
            Page 164
            Page 165
            Page 166
            Page 167
            Page 168
            Page 169
        Jehoahaz - Jehoiakim - Jeconiah - Zedekiah
            Page 170
            Page 171
            Page 172
            Page 173
            Page 174
            Page 175
            Page 176
    Life of Jeremiah
        Page 177
        His call to be a prophet
            Page 177 copy
            Page 178
            Page 179
            Page 180
            Page 181
            Page 182
            Page 183
        Jeremiah's labors as a prophet
            Page 184
            Page 184a
            Page 185
            Page 186
            Page 187
            Page 188
            Page 189
            Page 190
            Page 191
            Page 192
        Jeremiah's sore trials
            Page 193
            Page 194
            Page 195
            Page 196
            Page 197
            Page 198
            Page 199
        Jeremiah's fidelity
            Page 200
            Page 201
            Page 202
            Page 203
            Page 204
            Page 205
            Page 206
            Page 207
        Jeremiah's book of prophecies
            Page 208
            Page 209
            Page 210
            Page 210a
            Page 211
            Page 212
            Page 213
            Page 214
            Page 215
        The captivity
            Page 216
            Page 217
            Page 218
            Page 219
            Page 220
            Page 221
            Page 222
            Page 223
            Page 224
        Prophecy concerning Babylon
            Page 225
            Page 226
            Page 227
            Page 228
            Page 229
            Page 230
            Page 231
            Page 232
            Page 233
            Page 234
            Page 235
            Page 236
        Jeremiah's dealings with Zedekiah
            Page 237
            Page 238
            Page 239
            Page 240
            Page 241
            Page 242
            Page 243
            Page 244
        Jeremiah's subsequent life
            Page 245
            Page 246
            Page 247
            Page 248
            Page 249
            Page 250
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            Page 255
            Page 256
Full Text















'V







SCRIPTURE BIOGRAPHY
FOB

THE YOUNG;

WTH


CRITICAL


ILLUSTRATIONS


PRACTICAL


REMARKS.


HEZEKIAH TO JEREMIAH,

MANASSEf AND 30JIAR.


GALLAUDET'S SERIES,
CONTINUED BY REV. HORACE ROOKAR,




PVBlISHED BY THE
AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETt,












CONTENTS,



HISTORY OF HEZEKIAH.
CHAPTER I.
Childhood and youth of ezekia .. 9
CHAPTER II.
Hezeidah begins to roign-He purifiee the temple a nd renew
its worahip, . ........... 10
CHAPTER III.
Hezlh celebrates fthe passover, . a3
CHAPTER IV.
The high places and grove destroyed--The branen seqrent
broken in. . . 42
CHAPTER V.

former, . ............ CS
CHAPTER VI.
Cptvity of hetentribe, . . 57
CHAPTER VII.
Beekish conquers th Phuiliines, and rebels againt Asy-
i-Deoloneon in Judah . . 63










CHAPTER VIII.
AyrC invasion,
CHAPTER IX.
usyrian invasion, cotinned,



CHAPTER XI.

Hesekiabh receives an em basy from the king
CHAPTER XII.
Conclusion, . .


of Babylon


LIFE OF MA1ASSEH.
CHAPTER XIII.
Chilhood of a . . 113

CHAPTER XIV.
Apoany of Manaaeh, . 120

CHAPTER XV.
Captivity ad penitone of Manseh, ....h. 1
CHAPTER XVI.
BeIfomntion of M~anaeh-Reign of .Amon, . IM4









LIFE OF JOSIAH.
CHAPTER XVII.
Hindeanmte to early piety--Its beauty-Cildood of Joel-
h--His father' death no losh-p nature goo quali-
ties-Edn io on a throne diffioult-Joiah begins to seek
God-Beneait of youthful piety-A word to young men of
wealth, . . . 141
CHAPTER XVIII.
Joaiah begin to remove idolatry from the land--Idols nti-
plied in -Diehed in Sa- person usually sober-mind-
ed in youtht-Josiah repas the temple--Book of the law
ftnnd-ostiah read it to the people-J-ola mskes a cov-
en st with the Lord-lTh people do the eame-Many of
the people inoere--oeform extended to Isael, 101
CHAPTER XIX.
Feats, their design and uses-Joaish celebrates the ass.-
over-Liberality otf kint and ciief men---Necho marches
through the land of Israel-Hin message to Josiah-Rea-
sons why v Joiah disregarded it-Josah disguises himself
for batle-Attacks the Egyptians, mad is ele, 162
CHAPTER XX.
AJEtaOA-Janol --JllcomlAH-ZEEaw .* 170


LIFE OF JEREMIAH.
CHAPTER XXI.
JerYmiah called to be a prophet--Penteeoh discovered-
Sympathy of Jeretmiah-Perseouted at Anatho 17










CHAPTER XXII.
Type of & linen gurdle-Drought m Judah-Jeremiah forbid-
den to pray for the people-Jeremiah complains of hi
trials-Forbidden to many-Predicts the conanrsion of the
Gentles . . . .184
CHAPTER XXIII,
Jews attached to idolatry-Trust in man-Trust in God-
Blessings promised to keeping the Sabbath-The Sabbath
should be kept espealy for its divine potter-A potter's vesael broken-Jeremisah beaten and
ipriBon-ed-Compains to the Lord, . 193
CHAPTER XXIV.
Character of JYehoiaim-The prophet reproves him-Courag
of Jeremiah-Welith gotten by dislonesty-Jeremiri re-
proves the false propheta-Prediot the Chaldean in-aston
-a assailed and threatened with death, 00
CHAPTERLXXV.
The Rechabites-Jereniah writes his prdictios-od over.
rules evil for gooi-Jehoial d buirn the roll-His fate a
warnmn to ohers. ............ 208
CHAPTER XXVI.
Typo of good awd bad fligs-Its moral--J honored in Bab-
ylon for honoring Jehovah-Letter of Jeremnla to the cap-
tiveaio Babylon--ie preMdt the lengthof the mcptivity-
Poresees the fntnre glory of the Jewo-Their conversion to
Christianity-Wear a yoke on his noek-Soea yokes to
aeveral heathen kine-P;ediotioa and death of Han-
nish 16










CHAPTER XXVII.
Prophlne3y coernjg Babylon, an it fulflment, 22
CHAPTER XXVIII.
Character of ZedeUah-Rflolts from Nebtchdnezza--
Treatment of Sew in Babylon-teflsena for alliance with
Egypt-Siege of Jernulem-Zedeliabh coansla the proph-
et-Hia reply--Hebrew bondmen set t liberty an4d re
claimnd-Dleat-bedlrepetnce--Prophet.t ed of desert
ing to the Chaldeans-Is put in pxion-la coansuteiL by
thing . . . 237
CHAPTER XXIX.
Siege of JLer alem continuoed.- remiah pedicts bleamings
for the Jews-Is at into a dunneon Ebed-meieoh the
Ethioriain intercedes for him- Hi roewrd-Zedeiah for
the last thnee connults the prophot-ity taken and Jere-
mih set t at liberty-RITainu in Judah-Inited to go to
Bmbylou- oea down into Egyp,. 245














HISTORY OF HEZEKIAH.



CITAPTER I.
CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH OF EIZSElIAJ.
MtEn seek out the source of a celebrated river at
the expense of much danger and personal suffering.
They ascend to the fountainhead, taste eagerly the
gushing waters, and sketch the surrounding scene-
ry. But it matters little, in most cases, whether a
stream several thousand miles long breaks forth
from a mountain or springs up in a valley. If its
infant current is muddy or pure, seanty or copious,
it may soon mingle with brooks of an opposite chr-
nater and its original qualities disappear.
The desire is more rational to learn the origin of
persons distinguished for genius, talents, virtues, or
exploits-to trace the sources from which they
early derived those sentiments and prejudice that
seldom fail to be conspicuous in afterlife. It is
not an idle inquiry, who were the fathers ad








mothers of such men; for the Bible and observa-
tion both show that the character of children gen-
erally resembles that of their parents. Nor is it an
idle inquiry, who were the companions of the early
years of such men, and what examples of virtue or
vice, so apt to be followed, were first set before
their minds. If we would form a right estimate of
character, we must also consider the state of the
times in which men begin life. It was much harder
for young Abijah to keep from idolatry, when his
own father and nearly all Israel sacrificed to the
golden calves, than for a child who often went up
with his parents to worship at Jerusalem.
Hezekiah, whose character we shall attempt to
sketch in this book, was the son of Ahaz king of
Judah, and Abi the daughter of Zechariah. He
was born about 750 years before Christ. The first
notice we find of him in the Bible is in connection
with the death and burial of his predecessor on the
throne: "And Aha slept with his fathers, and
they buried him in the city, even in Jerusalem;
but they brought him not into the sepulchres of the
kings of Israel: and Hesekiah his son reigned in
his stead-" 2 Chron. 28 : 27. Hezekiah was now
twenty-five years old; and from his acts in the first
year of his reign, it is manifest that he had already
chosen the service of the God of Israel. By what
process or by what instruments his character wa4
formed we know not, but its existence is a striking







HIB CHILDHOOD ANDVOUTa. 11
proof of the renewing and restraining influences of
the divine Spirit. We can scarcely conceive of a
situation more unfitted than that of Hezekiah for
the cultivation of piety.
He was the son of a king and heir to a throne.
In the most favored state of society and religious
feeling, young men find it difficult to resist the
temptations of wealth and power ; ut the inhab-
itants of Judah were now sunk deep in idolatry.
Isaiah, who lived at this period, describes them as
"a sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a
seed of evil-doers." Of the prince with whom
Hekekiah, from his station, must have been in con-
stant intercourse, the same prophet says, they are
rebellious and companions of thieves; every one
loveth gifts and followeth after rewards; they
judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of
the widow come unto them," Suoh was the pre-
vailing- licentiousnesa, that Isaiah ories out in tones
of severe reltke, Hear the word of the Lord, ye
rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God,
ye people of Gomorrah." And Micah, in bitter
irony, says that if a man would prophesy of wine
and of strong drink," he would be a fit prophet for
the nation. In the midst of, such a court and
people, young Hezekiah could find little else than
incentives to laxity advice.
But worse still, his father Ahaz was a gross
idolater, outdoing in acts of impiety all that went








before him in Judah. He walked in the ways of
the kings of Israel, and made also molten images
for Baalim. Moreover he burnt incense in the
valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his chil-
dren in the fire, after the abominations of the
heathen."
In the valley of. Hinnom, which lies south of
Jerusalem, under mount Zion, the Jews, in the
latir periods of their kingdom, sacrificed their chil-
dren tol oloch. A practice so abhorrent to parental
feeling, one would think need never to be prohibit-
ed; but the inspired lawgiver Moses well knew
how easily his countrymen would slide into the
cruelties of idol-worship, and he forbade then-to
imitate the Canaanites, who "burnt even their
sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods."
Moloch, to whom the Phenicians and Carthagin-
ians also offered children in sacrifice, was repre-
sented by a statue of brass, with arms extended,
and bending downwards towards the earth. The
children were placed on the arms of the god, from
which they easily rolled off into a fumaoe glowing
with fre, while drunm were beaten to prevent their
groans and cries from being heard.
Even-at this day, heathen parents in some parts
of the world put their infant offspring to death, to
get rid of-taking care of them. Children in Chris
tian lands should be thankful that they were not
born where such crueltie are practised, and do all








they can to send to idolatrous nations the geope),
which softens and purifies the human heart.
When Ahaz was severely punished for his sins,
he became no better, but did trespass yet more
against the Lord." He even went so far in his
insane zeal for idolatry, as to cut up the vessels
used in the service of the temple, and shut up its
doors. In a word, A ha respected neither Jeho
vah, the law, nor the prophets; he broke all the
restraints imposed on the Hebrew kings, and re-
garded nothing but his own depraved inclinations."
So vile was his conduct that the people, though
wedded to idolatry, would not suffer his body to be
deposited in the royal cemetery, but as a siark of
disgrace buried it in some other part of the oity-
Thus, while Hezelkih was deprived of the public
services of religion, the sacrifices and songs of praise
in the sanctuary, at home he was constantly ex.
posed to his father's corrupt example, and was often
forced to hear scofis at the worship of Jehovah from
one whom nature taught him to reverence. What
but the grace of God could save Hezeldah from this
deadly influence, and raise up a distinguished oh a-
pion for the truth from the bosom of such family?
A missionary at the West lately found, in one of his
visits, an infidel boy fourteen years old. He tried
to convince him that the Scriptures are the word of
God, but -without effect. That boy's father was
intemperate, and probably taught him to raise his









puny arm against the Bible. A depraved heart
prompts us all to evil, and divine power alone can
break the chain by which an abandoned father
draws his child downwards to perdition.
As Hezekiah was born several years before Ahaz
began to reign, if not present when his brothers
were sacrificed in the valley of Hinrom, he was of
an age to understand and be deeply affected by that
appalling scene. It might well disgust him with
the rites of idolatry, and make his heart cleave
more closely to the religion of his ancestors.
Especially would this be the ease, if, as some sup-
pose, Hezekiah was himself the son" whom Ahaz
made "to pass through the fre." These writers
think that in the worship of Moloch, children were
only made to pass through the flames, or between
two fies, where they were not entirely consumed;
but there is no proof that Hezekiah is intended in
the passage quoted, nor is it probable that Ahaz
would subject his destined successor to this cruel
and disgusting ceremony.
The only certain information which the Bible
contains respecting the mother of Hezekiah, is her
own name and that of her father. Whether she
early taught her son to fear the God of Israel and
reverence his institutions, or whether she encour-
aged Aim to burn incense to idols "in the high
places and on the hills and under every green tree,"
we can only conjecture. Maternal counsel and








prayers often counteract the unhappy influence of
a wicked father, and it may be that the good prin.
ciples which Hezekiah exhibited at the very begin-
ning of his reign, were in part implanted by his
mother's hand.
It has been suggested as not improbable, that the
Zechariah who, with Uriah the priest, was taken
as a witness of a prophecy by/Isaiah, Isa. 8:2, was
the father-in-law of Ahaz; and that perhaps he is
the same Zechariah mentioned, 3 Chron. 29; 13, as
a Levite of the family of Asaph, and one of those
who early cooperated with Hezekiah in gathering .
the Levites for the purification of the temple. If
such was the parentage of Hezelkah's mother, we
might infer with a g6od deal of probability, that he
was indebted to her for the early bias of his mind
in favor of the trae religion-
But whether Hezekiah was favored or not with
the instructions of a pious mother, he had access to
the Bible, so far as then written; and we cannot
doubt, from his subsequent history, that he read it
with care and great delight. When he first comes
before our notice, he appears to be familiar with its
institutions, and deeply .imbued with its spirit.
Though daily surrounded by persons of corrupt sen-
timents and immoral lives, Ihe would often retire
to search the Scriptures, and enjoy the society of
holy men of other times. There he could com-
mune with Abraham, who,-at the call of God, went








out from idolatrous friends to sojourn in a range
country;" with Moses, who refused to share in the
pleasures of an idolatrous court; and with David,
whom he seems to have taken as a model in his
zeal for the house of the Lord. It is much more
probable, too, that the regard for the Scriptures
which prompted Hezekiah to make a new collection
of the Proverbs of Solomon, originated at this period
of his life, than amid the ware and busy osenes
after he began to reign.
Hezekiah was several years old at the death of
his grandfather Jothan. Of this prince it is re-
corded, that he became mighty because he pre-
pared his ways before th Lord his God;" and it is
no unreasonable supposition that he early taught
Hezeki&h to venerate the temple and its services
Corrupt as the people of Judah had become at
this period, there were some that still adhered to
the God of their fathers; and he had not forsaken
the nation nor forgotten his covenant. He sent his
servatsall them to ll them to their duty ad admonish
them of approaching judgments if they continued
to be disobedient. Two distinguished prophets were
then living in Jndah. One of these was Isaiah,
who prophesied during the reign of Hezeiah, as he
had also done during the reigns of Aiha and Jotham.
He was sent, in the boyhood of Hezeldah, while
Jerusalem was besieged by the combined forces of
Syria ad Israel, to assure Ahaz that the city should









be guarded in safety against the attack. The other
was Mieah, wh b o eg to prophesy a few yea be-
fore the birth of Hezekiah, and continued to proph-
esy during his reign. He was a native of Haresha,
a town about twenty miles south-west of Jerusalem
It seems probable that the young prince was ac-
quainted with both these good men, whose society
he would be disposed to seek, and that he was in-
debted to them for many excellent instructions and
counsels. Despairing of a reformation so long a
the idolatrous and superstitious Ahaz was king, they
would view with deep interest any signs of attach-
ment to the true God in the heir to the thron&
Those of the people, too, who were not infected
with idolatry, would often in their prayer remem-
ber Hezekiah, under whose government they might
once more observe the rites of their law, and pay
their homage to Jehovah in his own courts. That
such was the expectation of pious men in Judah
respecting Hezekiah, we may reasonably imagine ;
for though the Bible does not inform us at what
time he began to fear the Lord, in all probability it
was in early life. Such a character as he exhibit-
ed on ascending the throne, is not formed in a mo-
ment, nor such strength of principle attained except
through the slow growth of years. Moreover, God
manifestly raised up Hezekiah to be a reformer-
to restore the worship of the temple and bring back
the people from their idolatrous practices; and itis
an.-b.








not his manner to employ men as leaders in such
enterprises, before their own principles have been
thoroughly tried and firmly established.
My young reader, perhaps you think your situa-
tion peculiarly unfavorable for beginning a religious
life; but are the obstacles in your path greater
than those which beset Hezekiah ? Have you a
father more ungodly than Ahaz? Do you live
among a people more ireligious than the inhabit-
ants of Judah, at this period in their history?
And even if you reside where the Sabbath is made
a day for business or am esement or revelry, and no
samntuary invites you by its open gates to enter in
and hear the messages of mercy, were not the doors
of the temple closed also before Hezekiah ? But he
sought the favor of the God of Israel in his youth,
and he obtained it. It prepared hii for a life of
usefulness and honor, and for a death of hope and
peaee. "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and
you shall find"










CHAPTER II.

HEZEKIAH BEGINS TO RIION.
TnH ungodly Ahaz has been committed to the
tomb. Hezekialh has taken his seat on the throne
of David, and the people have gone to their own
homes. As the new monarch looks down upon the
city from his palace on mount Zion, it seems to be
given up to idolatry. The temple, indeed, rises in
solemn grandeur, and externally presents the same
magnificent appearance as when dedicated by Sol-
omon to the service of Jehovah; but its gates are
closed, the fire has ceased to burn on the brazen
altar, the lamps in the holy place have been extin-
guished, and its courts no longer echo, day and night,
with the songs of priests and Lavites in praise of the
God of Israel. The smoke of sacrifices still ascends
within the sacred inclosure, but the victims are
offered to a Syrian idol, and "in every corner of
Jerusalem" are seen the altars which Ahaz erected
to foreign gods, Hezekiah, as he passed through
the streets of the city, had often been pained at the
sight of this senseless and profane worship, without
the power to prevent it. He had often stood in
sadness before the temple, while he thought of the
multitudes who, in better times, came up from all
parts of the land with the voice of joy and praise,








to keep holy day. With David, the monarch best
beloved of God and the nation-to whom the Bible
compares him and his great-grandson Josiah only,
of all the kings of Judah or Israel-he had doubt-
less often resolved, that on coming to the throne he
would not give sleep to his eyes nor slumber to his
eyelids, until he had found a place for the Lord, a
dwelling for the mighty God of Jacob."
The sceptre is in the hands of Hezekiah, and the
time for executing such a purpose has now come.
Nor doethe, occupied as he must have been at the
beginning of his administration, waver or delay.
" In the first year of his reign, in the first month,
he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and
repaired them." He does not wait for the priests
and Levites, to whom the service and care of the
sanctuary specially pertained, to urge him to under-
take the work of reform, but he goes forward from the
spontaneous impulse of his'own mind, He gathers
them together fro theheir various cities in Judh,
and addresses them with dignity and parental kind-
ness. "Hear me, ye Levites, and sanctify now
yourselves, and sanctify the house of the Lord God
of your fathers. Now it is in my heart to make a
covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that his
fierce wrath may turn away from us. My sons, be
not now negligent, for the Lord God hath chosen
you to stand before him to serve him, and that ye
should minister unto him and bumr incense unto








him." He reminds them of the evils which the
nation had suffered in the time of Ahaz. Pekah,
king of Israel, had slain a hundred and twenty
thousand valiant men ofJudah in one day. Some
of the chief among the people, and one of Heze-
kiah's own brothers, were also slain in the same
war. The king of Syria had invaded the land, and
carried a great multitude to Damascus, and the
sons and daughters and wives of many of the in-
habitants were still captives in that city. The Phil-
istines had broken into the south of Judah, and
were in possession of many of its cities and vil-
lages. Hezekiah does not hesitate to ascribe these
disasters directly to the hand of God, chastising the
people for their revolt from his service. Where-
fore the wrath of the Lord was upon Judah- and
Jerusalem, and he hath delivered them to trouble,
to astonishment, and to hissing, as ye see with your
eyes." /For is he afraid that any will accuse him
of want of respect for his father's memory, in so
hastily abolishing these rites of heathenism. Our
father," says he, distinctly referring to Ahaz,
though doubtless including others who had sanc-
tioned his impious acts, "have trespassed and done
that which was evil in the sight of the Lord our
God, and have forsaken him, and have turned
away their faces from the habitation of the Lord.
an4 turned their backs." Hezekiah felt that he
must reader allegiance to God at the sacrifice of








any earthly tie. And no less is required under the
milder system of the gospel. Our Saviour, who
would not lay upon man more than is right, says,
" He that loveth father or mother more than me, is
not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daugh-
ter more than me, is not worthy of me."
We must suppose Hezekiah was encouraged in this
movement by Isaiah and Micah. He could scarce-
ly fail to summon these distinguished men to advise
and countenance him in a work so dear to their
hearts, and so accordant with their character and
prophetic office. Still, this attempt at reform was
a bold step in a prince who had but just assumed
the reins of government. The body of the nation
were prone to idolatry, and might he expected to
dislike so abrupt a change. Many of the courtiers,
addicted to the worship of the gods introduced by
Ahaz, would be little disposed to-aid in demolishing
their altars. The old counsellors of his father
might urge the impolicy of so sudden and entire a
revolution in the religion of the state. They might
suggest that the people ought to be weaned by de-
rees from their attachment to idols, and not be
alienated from his government by violent measures.
But Hezeklah wisely judged that it was best at
once to reestablish the rites and worship ordained
by the law of Moses. In such a course he might
expect the divine favor, which he would forfeit by
partial obedience. The firmness manifeBted by the








king would strengthen the hands of the pious part
of the nation; while those that favored idol-worship
would have less hope of successful opposition to a
prince so resolute and determined. Hezekiah, too,
would find it easier to effect other schemes for re-
claiming the people from idolatry, by an upright
course at the-commencement of his career, than if
he wavered between duty and popularity-between
the service of Jehovah and idols. By so early
taking a stand on the Lord's side, he laid himself
under arsort of necessity to complete the reforma-
tion. Even the idolatrous and ungodly in Judah
would regard him with contempt, if he faltered in
a work so vigorously begun, and turned back to the
worship of graven images.
So, if the young convert is open and decided at
the outset of his Ohriatian life-if he takes counsel,
not from the suggestions of expediency, but from the
word of God, he will readily persevere in the ways
of piety, Consistency will require that he should
not afterwards live as do others, and even the un-
godly will expect nd demand it. When his position
is once known, the world will not often attempt to
insnare him in its amusements, or solicit him to
adopt its pernicious customs. And not only so, but
hearings himself within the range of the principle
that "unto him who hath shall be given, and he
shall have more abundantly." Grace will be im-
parted as he needs it, because he uses it well; and








he will go on from strength to strength in the way
to heaven, because he entered it with a heart fixed,
trusting in God.
Animated by the fervid spirit and exhortations of
Hezekiah, the Levites and some of the priests, after
purifying themselves according to the rites of the
Mosaic law, set out in good earnest to purify the
temple and its courts. They first cleansed the
latter. In the court of the priests stood an altar
of costly workmanship. which Ahaz built after the
pattern of one he had seen at Damascus. On this
altar he had commanded Uriah to burn the daily
morning and evening sacrifoes, as well as all the
burnt sacrifices offered by the king or others. This
monument of national apostasy and shame, the Le-
vites, in their newly kindled zeal, would tear down
with willing hands. The brazen altar which Sol-
omon erected in the court of the priests for sacri-
fiees to Jehovah, Ahaz had removed to the north
side of the court, under pretence of reserving it for
his own special use. It was now restored to its
proper place in the forefront" of the sanctuary.
To supply watr for ,the priests in the service of the
temple, Solomon had also made in this court a large
brazen laver, or "molten sea," about twenty feet in
diameter and ten feet deep, capable of containing
more than twenty thousand gallons. It was en-
riched with various ornaments, and stood on twelve
brazen oen ; three facing to the north, three to the








south, three to the east, and three to the west.
Ahaz had taken this down from the oxen which
supported it, and placed it on the pavement. In
the same court were ten smaller brazen vessels,
five on the north side and five on the south, each
containing three hundred and sixty gallons. The
flesh of the victims sacrificed was washed in these.
In eight days the Levites purified all the vessels in
the court of the priests which Ahaznin his infatua-
tion, had not cut in pieces. Why he spared any we
are not informed. Perhaps he reserved a part of
them for the service of his idol gods. It now re-
mained to cleanse the temple; but as the Levites
were not allowed to enter the interior of the sanc-
tuary, the priests performed this part of the work.
They carried the rubbish to the porch in front of
the temple, whence it was taken by the Levites and
cast into the brook Kedron, on the east side of the
city The brook Kedron is now nothing more
than the dry bed of a winter's torrent, bearing
marks of being occasionally swept over by a large
volume of water. No stream flows here now except
during the heavy rains of winter, wNhen the water
descend into it from the neighboring hills. Yet
even in winter there is no constant flow-."
No mention is made of the high-priest, who
ought to have taken the 16ad in this transaction.
Perhaps Uriah, who was high-priest in the reign of
Alhaz, ad conaived at the introduction of idolatry,








was till alive, and indisposed to favor the reforma-
tion. Indeed, the priests as a body seem to have
been less zealous than the Levites in cooperating
with Hezekiah. They may have been mor under
the influence of the late king and his court than
their humbler brethren. Apostasy in religion and
corruption in morals do not so often originate among
the common people, as among those higher in sta-
tion, and accounted wiser by the world.
The cleansing of the temple and its courts was
begun on the first day of the first month, and finish-
ed on the sixteenth day of the same. This was
not the first day of the civil year, which among the
Jews began with the first new moon in October,
but of the ecclesiastical year which began with
the first new moon in April. The work was finish-
ed on the second day of the feast of the passover.
It was now too late for celebrating the feast at the
usual time, and the people, long unaccustomed to
observe the rites of their religion, had not assem-
bled at Jerusalem.
As sdon as the priests and Levites had reported
to Hezekiah that the purification was completed, he
rose early, gathered the rulers of the city, and went
up to the temple. Many of the pious people of Je-
rusalem too might be seen through the dim light,
wending their way towards the sacred gates. Long
debarred from the privilege, they were glad to hear
the invitation sounding through their streets, "Let








us go into the house of the Lord." To their excited
minds, the flitting shadows might seem a fit emblem
of heathen deities retiring from the temporary occu-
pation of the holy mount; while the beams of the
morning sun bursting over Olivet and illuminating
the temple, might aptly represent the return of Je-
hovah to "beautify his sanctuary, and make the
place of his feet glorious."
On this first morning for renewing the public
worship of the God of Israel, Hezekiah and the chief
men.of the city did not come to the altar without a
gift. And they brought seven nullocks and seven
lambs and seven he-goats, for a sin-offering for the
kingdom, and for the sanctuary and for Judah."
One bullock was the usual sin-ofering for the whole
congregation; but on extraordinary occasions the
number was greater. And well right Hezeidah
think more than a comr on sin-offering became the
reopening of the temple This wouldimpres the
people with a deeper sense of their guilt. Standing
on the north aide of the altar of burnt-offering, the
king and the rulers laid their hands on the heads of
the victims, in token that these were substituted in
their own place, confessed the sin of the nation in
breaking their covenant with Jehovah, and implor-
ed a restoration to his favor. The Levites then
killed the victims, while the priests received the
blood in vessels prpared for that purpose, and
sprinkled it at th& foot and on the sides and horns








of the altar- They probably sprinkled it also tow-
ards the veil of the holy of holies, as the law ordained
when the offering was for the whole congregation.
Thus was made an atonement for all Israel."
We must not, however, suppose that the sin of the
people in forsaking Jehovah was forgiven, notwith-
standing the sacrifice, unless they were truly peni-
tent; nor even if they were penitent. without the
higher atoning sacrifice of the Lamb of God."
" For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and
of goats should take away sins."
The Levites were scattered during the suspension
of worship in the temple, but Hezekiah had taken
pains to gather them together, and prepare them to
unite in these solemnities. "He set the Levites in
the house of the Lord, with cymbals, with psalter-
ies, and with harps, according to the commandment
of David, and of Gad the king's seer, and Nathan
the prophet." As soon as the burnt-offering was
laid on the altar, they began to sing "praise unto
the Lord in the words of David and of A.saph the
seer." What particular portion of the words of
David was used on this occasion, the history does
not inform us. Perhaps it was the psalm, which
he put into the hands of Asaph and his brethen "
for the first time, when the ark was brought into
the "tent which he had prepared for it." The
occasions were similar, and the sentiments of the
psalm equally appropriate to both:









Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised:
He alao l to be feared above all gods,
or all the goda of the people are idole;
But the Lord made the heavens.
Glory and honor are in hi presence
Strength and gladmss are in bei place.
Give unto the Lord, ye kindreds of the people,
Give unto the Lord gloyr and strength;
Give onto the Lord the glory due unto hs name ;
Bring an offering, and.c oe bceor him:
Worship the Lord ir the beauty of holiness."
The service of the temple having been thus aus-
piciously begun, Hezekiah determined, while the
hearts of the people were warm, to enlist them
still more in its regular performance. This would
test their regard for Jehovah and his worship. The
sudden impulse which had called them together,
and their exuberant joy, might in part be the effect
of novelty, and be succeeded by indiference or even
desertion to the altar of an idol g 'd. Then Heze-
kiah answered and said, Now ye have consecrated
yourselves unto the Lord, comne near, and bring
sacrifices and thank-offerings into the house of the
Lord." The people responded liberally to this
appeal of their king, and the service of the house
of the Lord was set in order." The long-cherished
wish of HezeMdah was now satiased, and with over-
flowing heart he owns the goodness of God in so
suddenly preparing the people for this work.
From th s example of Hezekiah we may learn,
that however great may be the errors or corrup-








tions in any place, the people of God should not
despair of a reformation If they prepare the way
by their prayers, their exhortations, and their godly
example, the Holy Spirit xmay suddenly work a
change in the community which shall cause their
tongues to break forth in singing, The Lord hath
done great things for us, whereof we are glad-'
Such scenes have often occurred sine the days of
Hezekiah. When impiety is bold, and iniquity
abounds, and truth is trodden in the dust, the day
of reformation is frequently near- From the past
course of Providence, the church in such a period
may look to God and exclaim with the psalmist,
" It is time for thee, Lord, to work; for they have
made void thy law." When all other help is felt
to be vain, we may expect that God will regard the
humble, earnest aries of his people, and come forth
in majesty to-vindicate his own honor and 'put his
enemies to shame.
The example of Hezekiah in making "a dove-
nant with the Lord God of Israel," when about to
enter on the work of purifying the temple, may
suggest to Christians the propriety of renewing
their covenant with God, when earnestly seeking
the return of the Spirit to revive the church and
convert the impenitent.
We may learn, to, the duty of praying to have
rulers who, by judicious zeal for the honor of God,
and by a consistent holy life, shall encourage the







DB BE0INB TO REION. 31
people to walk in the ways of piety. Though in
our own country rulers have not authority, as
Hezekiah had, to make changes in the worship of
God--still, if they show respect for his name, his
word, his day, and his ordinances, if they devoutly
worship in his courts, they will exert a influence
on the cause of religion which few can adequately
appreciate. If, on the other hand, like Ala, they
neither fear God nor regard his worship-if they
profane his name in their conversation and his day
in business or amusements, thousands will follow
their pernicious example, and corruption and in-
fidelity soon spread a blight over the land.










CHAPTER III.

THE PASBOVER CELEBRATED.
ArTEa Hezekiah had taken counsel with "his
princes and all the congregation in Jerusalem"
they determined to keep the passover in the second
month, as they had been prevented from keeping it
at the appointed time. The law granted such a
permission in similar cases. Num. 9: 10, 11. The
other tribes were as much bound as Judah and
Benjamin to celebrate this institution, for God had
not released them from the covenant made with
the whole nation. There were some pious persons
still in those tribes who might desire to keep this
feast at Jerusalem, and Hezekiah wished to give
them an opportunity. Something, however, ought
to be done on his part to assure them of a cordial
welcome from their brethren, after the late bitter
wars between the two kingdoms. Hezekiah there-
fore sent messengers throughout the ten tribes of
Israel, as well as through all Judah, with an invi-
tation to the feastafrom the king and his princes.
While avoiding topics which might needlessly ex-
cite prejudice, and not even intimating that obe-
dience was due from the whole nationto the family
of David, the message attending the invitation was
earnest, faithful, and direct in its appeals. Ye








children of Israel, return again unto the Lord God
of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. and he will return
to the remnant of you that are escaped out of the
hand of the king of Assyria. Now be ye not stiff-
necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves
unto the Lord, and enter into his sanctuary, which
he hath sanctified for ever; and serve the Lord your
God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away
'from you. For the Lord your God is gracious and
merciful, and will not turn his face away from
you, if ye return -unto him'" Hosea, who at this
time was exercising the prophetic office in the king-
dom of Israel, would urge the people in tones of
impressive entreaty, to accept the invitation : 0
Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast
fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words,
and turn to the Lord: diy unto him, Take-away
all iniquity and receive us graciously ; so will we
render thee the calves- of our lips. Neither will
we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye
are our gods; f6r in thee the fatherless findeth
meroy."
As the posts passed from city to city of the ten
tribes with the kind and affectionate address of
Hezekiah and his princes, it was met by the mass
of the people with scorn. This is just what might
have been expected, There is no mockery of re-
ligion e that ofan apostate-no sneer like his at
the admonitions of good men. Some would accuse
faletL. a









Hezekiah of attempting covertly to undermine the
independence of the nation. Others would ridicule
the superstition of Hezekiah in suggesting that their
troubles were caused by revolting from the national
God of Judah. Others still, would smile at his aim-
plicity in supposing they were to be alarmed by the
wrath of Jehovah, or allured by his mercy- And
a few, in their fancied superior discernment, might
speak slightly of Hezekiah's disregard of progress,-
in reforming after past models, when the advanced
state of the world called for new things.
But the message was not thus treated by all.
"Divers of Asher and Manasseh and Zebulon hum.
bled themselves and came to Jerusalem." The
tribe of Ephraim had long been a rival of the tribe
of Judah, and the neighborhood of Bethel would
feel local interest in te worship of the golden
calves which did not extend to more distant places.
Hence few from that region appear to have come
to the feast.
The invitation to attend the passover so evidently
sprung from religious zeal and not from state policy,
that Hoshea the king of Israel seems to have been
willing that his people should accept it. Possibly
he was glad, in the critical condition of his affairs,
to cultivate a closer intimacy with the kingdom of
Judah. Hezekiab may also have thought the time
near for uniting the whole nation again under one
religion. During the siege of Jerusalem already








referred to, Isaiah had prophesied, "Within three-
soore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that
it be not a people." This prophecy was already in
part fulfilled. A great number had been. carried
captive from the northern tribes by the king/ of
Assyria, and the entire overthrow of the kingdom
at no distant day might be expected. The original
political motive for a distinct religion among the
ten tribes would then cease to exist. Moreover, the
same prophet had foretold that some of those left in
the land would turn from their idols to the worship
of Jehovah.
SIn that day hab a man regard his Maker,
And toward the Holy One of lsrael hal his eyes look
And he shall not xead th altas dedicated to the work
of his own anda
And what his fingers have made ho shll not reset;
Nor the groves, not the solar sbatnes."
The religious sensibility awakened at Jerusalem
extended throughout the kingdom of Judah. The
attachment to idolatry had not been so obstinate or
so long continued under the governaentof the house
of David, as under the shifting dynasties among the
ten tribes. Prom all parts of Judah, the people
oare up in great numbers to the passover; for the
hand of God was to give them one heart to do the
command of the i the ing d the prices." As the
temple had been purified for the service of Sehovah,
they determined to cleanse the holy city itself from









idolatry before they observed the passover. "And
they arose and took away the altars that were in
Jerusalem, and all the altars for incense took they
away, and cast them into the brook Kedron." This
was an appropriate work to precede the solemn rites
of the feast. So the heart should be cleansed of all
its idols, every wrong habit and sinful course should
be forsaken, in anticipation of special religious ser-
vices to promote the honor of God and procure his
blessing. "Hath the Lord as great delight in brnt-
offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of
the Lord ? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to hearken than the fat of rams."
And now the day of preparation for the passover
had come. At the hour of evening sacrifice, crowds
might he seen casting from every street of the city
towards the temple, many of them with paschal
lambs to be killed by the Levites. Fierce warriors
who had stood front to front in deadly conflict-
foemen who had encountered each other on the
bloody field, animated by one common impulse,
pressed together into the sacred gates, and bowed
in reverence before one common altar. What scenes
compare in beauty with fraternal harmony succeed-
ing discord and strife? Well might Hezekiah, as
with mingled feelings of devotion and patrio fem
he saw the men of Asher, from the foot of Lebanon,
after so long alienation, bowing in worship among
the thousands of Judah, have exclaimed,









"Behold, how rood and phlraant it in
For brethr to dwe to d together in unity
-So the dow of aenon deacenda
Upon the hills of Zion:
For there hath Jehovh cQmandel his blessing,
Prosperity for evernnor."
When the evening sacrifice was finished, the pas-
chal lambs were killed, and their blood poured by
the priest on the altr, where also thpir fat was
burnt. The lesh was carried home by the owners,
to be eaten at evening in the celebration of the
passover. As nothing of it might remain until the
morning, families that were too few to eat a whole
lamb united in the celebration with other families.
The multitude of strangers in the city were pro-
vided with guest-chambers in which they could eat
-the passover; for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, as
was customary on such occasions, gave them the
free use of their houses and furniture. In later
times, a million of people gathered at this feast, and
tents were often spread for their accommodation
not only in the city, but in the valleys and on the
surrounding hills.
Many who had come up from the kingdom of
Israel on too short notice to purify themselves ac-
cording to the laws regulating the institution or
who were ignorant of the ceremonies to be previ-
ously performed, "ate the passover otherwise than
it was written. But Hezeiah prayed for then
saying, The good Lord pardon every one that pre-








pareth his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his
fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the
purification of the sanctuary.' And the Lord heark-
ened to the prayer of Hezekiah, and healed the
people." He accepted their sincere intention to
honor him in the service, and overlooked the irreg-
ularity which arose not from indifference or care-
lessness, but from necessity
If "the sacrifice of a broken heart" was ac-
cepted under a religion encompassed with forms,
even though there were some deviations from the
established ritual in the outward act; how much
more will it be accepted now, under a system which
makes far less account of the place or the mode,
than of the spirit in which men worship ? We have
a High-priest who can be touched with the feel-
ing of our infirmities" and will not break "the
bruised reed." Had Hezekiah thought the form of
worship every thing, he would not have suffered
these persons to partake of the passover; had he
thought it nothing, he would not have prayed for
their pardon. With that happy moderation which
ever attends true zeal, he combined earnest regard
for the glory of God with compassion for the weak-
neasesof men. Some might censure him s lax and
yielding; but if he was lax, it was in little things,
that he might be rigid in greater; and if yielding,
it was in comparative trifles, in order to gain what
is beyond all price.









How dignified was the conduct of Hezekiah on
this occasion! Before princes and people' he was
not ashamed to stand up and offer supplicationu to
Jehovah in behalf of the returning wnderer. How
wonld others be encouraged to lead the erring back
to his service by this example of their king [ Rulers
of a Christian nation never appear in an attitude
more becoming their high station and more respect-
ed by the world, than when they invite'the people
to join them in a thank-offering to God for his mer,
cies, or in deprecating his judgments and acknow-
lodging hi righteous government. This is real
dignity- The good alone are great-"
By its original appointment the passover contin-
ued seven days; but only the first and last were
properly considered festival days, in which no em-
ploynent, further than was necessary to prepare
food, was permitted. On this occasion, however,
the whole seven days seem to have been devoted to
sacred purposes. The Levitos, encouraged by the
kind words of Hezekiah, "taught the good know-
ledge of the Lord" to the people by reading and ex-
plaining the law; and from day to day the courts
of the temple resounded with songs of praise and
confession to theLord God of their fathers. Peace-
offerings were also presented in abundanee.
At the stated time ofthe passover, the barley was
usually ripe, and after a sheaf of it had been offered
at the temple on the second day of the feast, many








were accustomed to return to gather in their grain.
At the time of the passover kept by Hezekiah, the
wheat was probably ripe; yet such was the zeal
and gladness of the people, that none of them
seem to have thought of going home to harvest it.
Even when the seven days were ended, they were
not willing to return to their secular business.
Many of them were ignorant, and needed to be
taught; many were weak, man needed to be con-
firmed in the purpose to abandon idolatry; but on
the distant hills and along the secluded valleys there
would be few to instruct them or to encourage them
by their sympathy. So with one consent they de-
termined to continue together seven days longer.
The king and princes contributed freely for the
additional sacrifices upon which the people feasted,
and the period was spent in the same concord and
joy. Jerusalem had not presented such a scene of
solemnity and sacred mirth since the days of Solo-
mon; and sadness filled the heart of many an in-
habitant of the holy city, as company after company
took their departure with the music of cymbals and
the voice of praise.
The paschal lamb'was a type of Christ, whom
the apostle terms our passover sacrificed for us."
Through his blood we are saved from the wrath of
God against sin, as the Israelites, by sprinkling the
blood of the paschal lamb on their door-posts, were
saved from the judgments inflicted on the Egyptians.









In him the Christian finds peace, gladness, and al-
vation. On his flesh he feeds by faith, and is nour-
ished in the divine life. Like Hezekiah, too, he is
not satisfied to sit dogw alone at the feast. By
conversation with one, by correspondence with an-
other, he invites them to participate in his own
blessedness. The latter mode of address he often
finds the most efficient, and it is sometimes the only
one he can employ with propriety, In some cases
he can thus express himself more freely and fully
than conversation will permit; nor is there room
for the devices so often employed to efface impres-
sions made by reproof from the lips. A note silent-
ly placed In the hand of a friend, or sent to him at
a distance, will often be received with gratitude not
only for the admonition or advice itself, but for the
delicate manner in which it is given. Persons of
limited talents and education, who would shrink
from writing an. essay or a sermon, may win souls
to Christ by letters, plani indeed in language, but
powerful from the warm impulses of a pious heart.










CHAPTER IV.

lEZBEIAH SUPPRtESSEB IDOLATRY.

MEL at fist worshipped in groves and elevated
places. Thus Noah built an altar on Ararat, where
the ark rested; and Abraham, on entering the
promised land, built an altar on a mountain be-
tween Bethel and Ai. He planted a grove also in
Beer-sheba, and called on the name of the Lord.
Groves, s, hill, and mountains especially in warm
climates, seem well adapted for worship, as they
are cool, reti"r, and favorable to devotional feel-
ing; but as olatry with its abominations prevail-
ed among /he heathen, it became needful to pro-
hibit the I ao offering sacrifices anywhere
but on the a r at the tabernole or temple. Such,
however, was the attachment of the nation to the
forbidden worship, that even pious kings did not
venture to abolish the high places. The people at
a distance from Jerusalem disliked to be confined to
the worship at the temple; and if they were pre-
vented from having places fot offerings to the Lord
in their own neighborhoods, they would be tempted
to resort to the altars of the heathen who still d elt
in the land. The united reis of the four kings
who preceded Ahaz, the fator of Hezekiah, in-
eluded a period of 137 years. The history con-








mends each of these kings for doing what "was
right in the sight of the Lord ;" yet shades its ap-
probation by the additional remark, that "the high
places were not taken away." If the? were nu-
merous when Ahaz began to reign, they would be
greatly multiplied by his influence, and the suppres-
sion of worship in the temple.
To overturn these altars, which were planted in
almost every neighborhood, defended as they were
by superstition, by the on the connivance of former kings,
and by local interest, was work requiring courage
and uncompromising determination. Fit instru-
ments for its accomplishment were prepared during
the joyful weeks of the festival. The teachings of
the Levites had not fallen on ears dull of hearing,
or on minds surfeited with knowledge. As many
of the dense crowd listened with awe to -the com-
mand, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven
image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven
above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in
the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow
down thyselfto them, nor serve them"-their hearts
were filled with penitence and shaes. From day
to day the impression was deepened. At length
the feeling became so intense, that when the people
were dismissed from the temple, they rushed forth
in detached parties to exterminate idolatry from
the land, as in later times the myriad -of Europe
precipitated themselves into Palestine to recover








the holy city and sepulchre from the possession of
infidels. Before their unsparing hands, the altars
and groves disappeared from the cities and villages
and hill-tos of Judah. More difficulty might have
been anticipated among the ten tribes; but either
Hoshea was inclined to favor the work, or the idola-
trous Israelites quailed before the determined spirit
of the reformers. Throughout the whole country
the ensigns of idolatry were soon swept away, and
Israel was once more externally a people holy to the
Lord. Nothing is said of the destruction of the
golden calves. The Jews have a tradition that the
golden calf in Dan had been carried away, a few
years before, by the victorious Assyrians; and that
a few years later, Salmaneser carried ofgthe golden
calf from Bethel. Havingthoroughly accomplished
their work, the children of Israel returned in tri-
umph, every man to his own possession, into their
own cities." The events connected with that meet-
ing, recounted with glowing lips, would kindle its
spirit in the remotest dwellings of the land, and the
name of the God of Jacob be magnified.
When the Comforter revives the hearts of his
people, the enemies of religion are often amazed at
the manifestations of his power; but they soon re-
cover their hardihood, and frequently become more
violent from the temporary restraint of their hostil-
ity. The best time to remove evils which mar the
peace or the purity of a community, is woen Chris-








tians are strong in the graces of t4e Spirit, and the
world around are awed by evident tokens of the
divine presence Hesitation, delay, will only rea-
der reform more difficult; opposer will regain their
courage, and deferred efforts will usually be vain.
The service of God has its seasons both for active
duties and for- religious worship and joy- They
operate powerfully on each other, and should never
be separated. The faithful discharge of active du-
ties is the best preparation for the pleasures of
religious worship; while the legitimate pleasures
of religious worship will be followed by a prompt
and efficient discharge of active duties, however
trying or difficult. If the Israelites, satisfied with
their sacrifices and gladness, had not attempted to
check idolatry or vindicate the honor of Jehovah,
well might the prophet have been commissioned to
proclaim, Bring no more vain oblations; incense is
an abomination to me. Wash you, make you clean;
put away the evil of your doings from before mine
eyes."
A. step in the reformation was now to be taken,
which displays Hezekiah's fixedness of purpose,
strength of character, and fervor of piety, more than
any thing yet done. When he overturned the altars
and out down the groves devoted to idols, no doubt
respecting duty could assail his mind. The law
was express in its language, and his own feelings
were in harmony with its injunctions. In aocom-








plishing that work, he had to confront only super-
stition and idolatry. But now he felt constrained
to perform an act which to himself must have been
painful, and which, to some of his pious subjects
whose religious sensibilities and discernment were
less keen than his own, might seem of doubtful
utility. The braazon serpent which God had directed
Moses to form for healing the people bitten by fiery
serpents, had been carefully preseAred as a memorial
of that wonderful occurrence. In process of time
it became an object of worship, as if itself the
cause and not the instrument of the ru re It must
now be destroyed, or the reformation could advance
no further. Indeed, if the brazen serpent was
spared, the ground already gained must be given
up, and idolatry would soon fill the land with
grosser evidences of its power.
But how shall Hezeldah destroy this signal proof
of the regard of Jehovah for the nation in ancient
days ? How shall he break in pieces a work made
at the command of the great lawgiver and leader
of Israel, and transmitted with so much care from
century to century through a long succession of
holy men ?
Many would be ready to say, "How often has
the sight of it strengthened the faith and excited
the gratitude of the'pious in other times- Let
Hezekiah correct the abuse of it by the'people, and
not lay ruthless hands on a relic venerable from its









sacred associations, and worthy of preservation as a
remnant of the arts of a former age. As to its
worship by the peoples it any thing more than
a medium through which they render homage to
Jehovah himself? May not their dull minds need
the aid of material objects to give vividness to their
conceptions respecting the spiritual world?
Hezekiah was not to be misled by suggestions
like these. If, possibly, a few might employ it
merely as a medium for the worship of Jehovah,
Hezekiah was aware that even that was a form of
idolatry ; while the vast multitude would pay their
devotions to the brazen serpent itself. God, who
knows best what will aid mankind in the spiritual
worship of himself, had enjoined, Thou shalt not
make unto thee any graven image; thou shalt not
bow down thyself to them, nor serve them;" and
Hezekiah would not set theories, however plausible,
against this express divine command. le doubtless
knew that the worship of serpents was common
among the heathen, whose idolatrous practices the
law often warned the Israelites to avoid. At the
risk therefore of being thought narrow-minded by
some and oversrupulous by others who had gone
thus far with him in extirpating idolatry, ho order-
ed the brazen serpent to be broken in pieces, and
termed if, in contempt, "Nehushtan"-" a brazen
bauble." Efficanious as it was in accomplishing
the end for which it was made, as an object or in-








strumeut of worship it was no better than any other
" piece of brass."
Whatever turns the soul from God and perverts
or dime the truth, however sacred the use to which
it has been applied, must be relinquished, and if
needful be destroyed. God is a jealous God."
" His glory het e will give to another, nor his praise
to graven images." The holy city in which the
people gather for his worship-the temple of his
residence itself, however sacred and however mag-
nificent as a work of art, he will forsake and ut-
terly overthrow in avenging the honor of his name.
No richer field for relies was ever presented than
is found in the early history of the Israelites; and
if their tendency is good, we should expect no sys-
tem of religion would use them more freely than
the Mosaic, which addressed itself so much to the
senses and the imagination. Yet under this system
no relics were preserved by divine appointment ex-
cept the pot of manna and Aaron's rod; and even
these were concealed in the, holy of holies from
public inspection. The brazen serpent was pre-
served by human contrivance. At first no harm
followed the interest with which it was regarded
by/Ahnt ople; but in later ages, when religious
feeling had declined, it became the occasion of
idolatry. The history of relics is everywhere the
same. No matter how pious are the intentions of
those who introduce them, they soon lead to super-







IDOLATRY SUPPREBBEa. 49
station and imposture. The greater the interest
which attaches to a relic, the greater the danger of
its abuse. How often has absud veneration for a
fancied piece of the wood on which the Saviour
was crucified, been substituted for love to Christ
himself! How many have rested their hope of
heaven on perishing matter, instead of trusting in
"the Son of man," who; 'as Moes lifted up the
serpent in the wilderness," was lifted up" on the
eras for the salvation of the world










CHAPTER V.

eZZanXtA COMrLETES THE REPrOMATJON.
IN anticipation of the service in the temple
which Solomon-was about to erect, David formed
the Levites into several divisions, and assigned to
each division its distinct duties. He appointed
twentyfoour thousand to assist in the sacrifices, keep
the temple and its courts free from whatever might
pollute or be offensive, and perform other duties of a
similar kind. He appointed four thousand of the
same tribe to sing and praise God with musical in-
struments, day and night, in the temple. Each of
these divisions was subdivided into twenty-four
courses, which served in rotation, and were changed
weekly. The priests, the descendants of Aaron,
were also divided into twenty-four courses, which
served a week each in rotation. This arrangement
which seems to have been disturbed by the neglect
of worship in the temple, Hezekiah now set himself
to restore. He appointed the priests and Levites
for burnt-offerings and for peace-offerings, to minis
ter and give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the
tents of the Lord." The buildings surrounding the
temple, in which the priests and Levites were sta-
tioned, are here called tents of the Lord," fro
their resemblance to an encampment.








The public daily sacrifices, as well as those for
the sabbaths, the new moons, and other set feasts,
were provided by the voluntary contributions of the
people, or were furnished by the priests from the
endowments to which they -were entitled by the
law. But Hezekiah did not choose to impose such
a burden on them at present. They had been un-
accustomed to contribute for this object during the
prevalence of idolatry, and could not be relied on
at once to bring enough into the treasury to meet
the demand. He therefore chose to provide for the
public sacrifices out of his own stated revenues.
He knew that the best way to make the people
liberal in their offerings, was to set them an exam-
ple himself. This, too, would prove his sincerity,
and render his motives less liable to impeachment.
More than all, he loved the service of Jehovah, and
delighted to lay on the altar daily expression of
his gratitude and faith. He did not wish to wor-
ship at other people's expense.
This liberality of Hezekiah should rebuke those
in Christian lands who refuse to furnish, or finish
grudgingly, their share of what is needed for the
enjoyment of religious institutions. "Will a man
rob God ?" Yet some men attempt to rob him,
and, as they think, with success. But they would
do well to remember what he has revealed for our
admonition in reference to this point: "Let him
that is taught in the word communicate to him








that teacheth, in, all good things. Be not deceived;
God is not mocked: whatsoever a man soweth, that
shall he also reap." In attempting to rob God,
men often rob their own souls and their families
of the healthful influences of religion in this life,
and of its unspeakable rewards in the life to come
Alas, that any who enroll themselves among the
followers of Christ should refuse to contribute of
their abundance for the support of his institutions,
or should contribute so sparingly as bt exoite the
contempt even of the world.
As the Levites were set apart by the law for
public employment, civil, literary, and religious,
and had but a small share in the territory divided
among the tribes, the law provided for them a sup-
port from the first-fruits and tithes. The amount
of the former was left to the liberality of each,
individual; though it is said that one-sixtieth part
of the product was the least which any one thought
of offering. A tenth part of the remainder of the
fruits and grains and cattle, each year, was reserved
for the Levites, and was varied to the temple at
Jerusalem. The tithe of the fruits of the earth
could be redeemed with money, adding a fifth part
of the estimated value to the whole amount, in
consideration of saving the expense of transporta-
tion;, but the tithe of sheep, goats, and cattle, must
be paid in kind. The tenth of the grain and fruits
6ould be estimated easily by measuring. The ani-









dale were made to pass one by one before a servant,
who designated every tenth one by a rod which he
hold in his hand. The Levite, separated a tenth
of the tithes for the priests.
This regulation of the law had fallen into disuse,
and many of the people, no doubt, in an ordinary
state of feeling, would have strenuously opposed its
renewal. But if there were any such now, the
number was sarll; for as soon as Hezekiah comn-
manded the people that dwelt in Jerusalem to give
the portion of the priests and Levites, for the sake
of encouraging them in the law of the Lordinstead
of complaining of it as a heavy burden, or attempt-
ing to palliate their own covetousness by accusing
those who served at the altar of seeking filthy
lucre," they "brought in abundance of the first-
fruits of corn, wine, oil, and honey, and of all the
increase of the field; and the tithe of all things
brought they in abundantly." Nor was this evi-
dence of genuine attachment to their religion con-
fined to Jerusalem; for they who "dwelt in the cities
of Judah also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep,
and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated
unto the Lord their God, and laid them by heaps."
This was done for several months in succession; and
such a stock was accumulated, that when Hezekiah
and his princes saw it, they offered thanks to the
Lord, and commended the people for their earnest-
nes, liberality, and perseverance in his service.









The reason for the ability to contribute in such
abundance is explained by the history: The Lord
hath blessed his people." None are poorer for do-
ing what God requires. Does some one say that
the laws of nature are fixed, and will not be altered
to reward liberality or punish covetousness in the
support of his worship ? So were the laws of nature
just as much fixed when God said to the Israelites,
"Bring ye all the tithes into my storehouse, that
there may be meat in my house; and prove me
now herewith, if I will not open the windows of
heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall
not be room enough to receive it. And I will re-
buke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not
destroy the fruits of your ground." If God was
able to fulfl this promise without infringing on the
laws of nature at that time, he is just as able to
fulfil it now. And if he could send the locust and
canker-worm to destroy the fruits of the ground then,
without disturbing the laws of nature, he can do it
with equal ease now. And though his judgments
should not come in the shape of visible agents, they
often come in the shape of wasting vices, to scourge
those who profane his sabbaths and neglect his
sanctuary. Even in external appearance, the dees-
lation, though more gradual in its approach, is
sometimes as marked as if caused by the whirl-
winds and lightning of heaven.
Hezekiah now completed the reform by a system








of wise and equitable regulations for dividing the
tithes and offerings of the people in due proportion
among the Levites and their families, so that,owheth-
er engaged in religious service at the temple or as
magistrates and teachers in other parts of the land,
they might each in their set office sanctify them-
selves in holiness "-might devote their whole pow-
ers and time to the duties of their calling, without
anxiety for a support.
Throughout the whole of these proceedings, Heze-
kiah exhibited the qualities which become a reform-
er. He was resolute and decided; for he knew he
was doing what was good and right, and truth
before the Lord his God." Obstacles did not dis,
courage him; opposition did not daunt him. He
was earnest in his work, for he did it with all his
heart." He made no compromises; he stopped at no
half-way measures, to please the timid or the luke-
warm. He was not diverted from its completion
by any intervening object, or deterred by the mag-
nitude of the cost. It was dearer to him than the
treasures of royalty or the friendship of man. His
irrepressible ardor penetrated other minds and cre-
ated coworkers, and before a blow was struck, was
a sure omen of success. Yet with all this there
was no rash zeal to provoke and almost justify op-
position. He was compassionate to the weak and
gentle to the erring, and chose rather to win them
to duty by his example, than to force them by his







56 HISHonY OF HZNaKIAH1.
kingly power. He was not discouraged or out of
temper, if others were dull to apprehend existing
evils, or slow to adopt suitable measures for their
removal. With a dua self-reliance, he arrogated
nothing to his own wisdom or-energy, but acribed
the glory of the work to God. Few of the human
race can have the honor of accomplishing so high
an enterprise; but all may be faithful in their sev-
eral stations, and enter with Hezekiah into the joy
of their Lord.







CAPTIVITY OF THE TEN TRIBES.


CHAPTER VI.

CAPTIVITY OP TTE TEN TRIBES.
THOUGo the altars and groves were demolished
among the ten tribes by the Israelites,.returning
from the feast of the passover, the tendency to wor-
ship idols remained among a large part of the
people. The reformation, even when deep and per-
manent, was not extensive enough to produce more
than a temporary eddy in the strong current which
was bearing the nation to ruin. Mere sympathy
mingled with genuine religious feeling, and did not
long survive the oocasion which called it forth.
The spirit of the movement began to decline, and
the multitude who had been awed into silence by
its resistless impulse, soon regained confidence, and
rebuilt their altars. Hosea expresses the tempora-
ry character of the refor in the melting expostu-
lation, 0 Ephxaim, what shall I do unto thee ?
0 Judah, what shall I do unto thee ? for your good-
ness is as the morning loud, and as the early dew -
it goeth away. For I desired mercy and not sacri-
fice, and the knowledge of God more than bunt-
ofierings." They had been liberal in offerings at
the temple on the late occasion, but in to-many
cases they forgot their professions of love and obe-
dience to God, and violated the principles of justice







RIBTObRY OP HEzFIAS.


and humanity. They did not, in their daily lives,
follow up their sacrifices by works "meet for re-
pentance."
the cup of their iniquity was now full- The
power of reproof and threatening, of love and win-
ning invitation, had been of no avail to turn them
from apostasy. A gleam of hope, like the going
forth of the morning, had been kindled by the dis
position of a few to return to their allegiance, but
it soon waned into darkness, and a long night of
calamity settled down on the land. The honor of
God forbade that his name should be profaned any
longer in the sight of the heathen. The overthrow
of the kingdom, begun about twenty years before by
Tiglath-pilezer, was now completed in the ninth
year of Hoshea, and the sixth of Hezekiah. Shal-
maneser, after a siege of three years, took Samaria,
carried Israel into Assyria, and put them in Ha-
lah and Habor, by the river of Gozan, and in the
cities of the Medes."
Thus, as had been predicted, the land was emp-
tied of its inhabitants. The king of Assyria at-
tempted to supply their place by importations of
heathen from various parts of his realm; but the
region was still so desolate, that wild beasts threat-
ened to overrun it. The idolaters thought them
sent to punish their neglect of the God of the
country They therefore procured one of the cap-
tive priests from Assyria to teach them how to wor







CAPTIVITY OP THE TEN TRIBEs.


ship this local deity so as to gain his fvor. While
burning their children in the fre to the gods of
heathenism, they vainly imagined they could ac-
ceptably fear and worship the God of Israel. How
often do men still attempt to unite the service of
the Iord with other service less gross and revolting
than this, but not much less absurd and displeas-
ing in his sight! Ambition, avarice, luxury, and
fashion, are idols which they must hold in light
esteem, who would at all times render due homage
to God their Saviour.
The captives of the ten tribes were transplanted
to one of the remotest provinces of the Assyrian
empire. The river Gozan, on which Halah and
Habor were situated, rises in the north-eastern
mountains of the Kurds, and after a circuitous and
rapid course through a vast stretch of hilly coun-
try, amidst majestic scenery, empties into the south-
western part of the Caspian sea. Some pious
Israelites may have removed to the kingdom of
Judah, and thus escaped the calamities that fell on
their idolatrous countrymen; but others were car-
ried into exile. Many of these, yielding to the
pressure of circumstances, consented to "At the
bread of the Gentiles;" but a. few observed the
rites of their law and kept their festival days,
though when they thought of other years, as had
been foretold, their feasts were turned into moun-
ing," and their mirth into lamentation." The








hardened idolaters who refused to listen to reproofs,
would now be compelled to confess that the proph-
ets were sent from God. When at ease in their
own land, they might mock at the denunciation
that they should "be wanderers among the na-
tions;" but in the weariness of their long journey,
and yearning for their native home, they would
feel the folly of their unbelief. Surrounded by
warlike tribes, exposed to taunts and oppression,
they would learn to value that heritage of plenty
and peace which they had forfeited by disobe-
dience.
Their descendants retained the knowledge of the
God of Israel until, after two long centuries, Cyrus
gave the Jews permission to rebuild the temple at
Jerusalem. A part of the ten tribes then returned
to Palestine, and united themselves with the tribe
of Judah. As many of the latter tribe chose to re-
main in exile, it is reasonable to suppose that still
more of the Israelites, who had lived much longer
in those countries, would prefer remaining there, to
the trials and dangers of forming a new colony in
the land of their fathers; and it is probable that all
"questions and investigations for the purpose of
ascertaining what has become of the ten tribes,
and whether it is likely they will ever be discov-
ered, are superfluous and futile."
lHosea, the last messenger to the ten tribes by
whom the Lord testified against Israel," seems to









have been more entirely engrossed by the fortunes
of his country than any other prophet. Its privileges
and their abuse, its backalidings and their punish-
ment, are the burden of his message. Its crimes
excited his indignation-its sufferings and impend-
ing doom, his pity. Its promised glory in future
years comforted the heart of the aged seer in view
of its approaching downfall, which he did not prob-
ably survive to witness.
The overthrow of the kingdom of Israel, in ad-
cordance with the prophetic denunciations, would
strengthen the faith of Hezekiah in the promises of
God, and inspire him with new zeal in his service.
In some of these denunciations his own kingdom
was included, and the fulfilment of a part was a
pledge that the remainder would be accomplished
in due time, if the nation faltered in their course of
penitence.
In the time of our Saviour, the northern part of
the territory occupied by the ten tribes was called
Galilee. There were then two large caravan routes
through it from Damascus, one to the port of Acre
on the Mediterranean, the other down the coast to
Egypt. The caravans crossed the Jordan between
lake Huleh on the north and the sea of Tibeias on
the south. tin coiisequence of their mixed origin
and their intercourse with foreigners, the inhabit-
ants of Galilee were less bigoted than those of Ju-
dea, and less hostile to the doctrines taught by







62 HISTORY OF HEZER!Af.
Christ, which seemed to conflict with Judaism. For
this reason, in part, he passed the greater portion
of his ministry in Galilee, ald Ohose his disciples
from that country, where his miracles and teach-
ings excited less opposition thsa at Jerusalem
" The last shall be first, and the first last."










CHAPTER VII.

WAR J AND DELENBSIONS. -
Tn Philistines occupied a narrow strip of land
along the coast of the Mediterranean south-west of
Judah, and within the territory originally allotted
to that tribe. As already stated, they had taken
advantage of the weak reign of Ahaz to make in-
roads on his kingdom. They still kept possession
of several cities and villages in the western and
south-western parts of Judah, some of which were
only a few miles from Jerusalem. It was no mean
proof of the zeal of Hezekiah, that a prince of his
spirit and vigor should suffer these hereditary ene-
mies to occupy positions so near the heart of his
kingdom, while he devoted his thoughts and re-
sources to the restoration of its religious institutions.
With less faith and sincerity, he might have made
this state of the country an excuse for delaying
such a work. Some might even-think his conduct
in this matter showed a want of patriotism. But
Hezekiah felt that success as well as duty demand-
ed of him first of all to seek the divine favor. Je-
hovah was not only the God of Israel but their
King, in a sense in which he was King of no other
nation. Hezekiah believed that if the people were
obedient, they might rely on the aid of heaven, as








in ancient times. The entire history of the nation
proved that they were invincible when they eleov-
edt to the God of their father., and powerless when
they foolishly revolted to the service of idols. His
whole hope, therefore, was in the Lord for deliver-
anem from his enemies- He was firmly persuaded
that the Lord would send him "help from the
sanctuary, and strengthen" him out of Zion."
In the true spirit of the dispensation under which
he lived, he could say, Some trust in chariots and
some in horse, but we will remember the name of
the Lord our God." In that name, therefore, he.
resolved now to set-up his banners, and free his
kingdom from foreign aggression.
If done only from policy, Hezekiah was wise in
deferring war until he had prepared his subjects to
engage in it with the expectation of victory. In
the reign of Ahaz, their spirit' seems to have been
broken by successive defeats. Casting off allegi-
ance to Jehovah, they lost confidence in themselves,
and became an easy prey to any invader. "How
should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thou.
sand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and
the Lord had shut them up ?" But Hezekiahi had
inspired them with his own faith and hope in the
God of Israel; and again they were ready to rush
into battle with the exulting shout, "The Lord of
hosts is with t s, the God of Jacob is our refuge."
The first warlike enterprise of Hezekiah was









againe~thePhilistines. He was probably encouraged
to undertake their expulsion from his borders by a
prediction of Isaiah, "in the year that king Ahaz
died:" Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina because
the rod that smote thee is broken; for out of the
serpent's root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his
fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent." Isa. 14 : 29
Most commentators think that the allusion in this
passage is to Hezekiah, and Uzziah his great-gand-
father. The latter had invaded the country of the
Philiatines, and taken their principal cities. During
the reign of Ahaz they recovered from their deprea-
sion, and perhaps were meditating a fresh inroad
upon Judah. They may have anticipated weak,
or at least unwarlike prince in Hezekih,. as the
meekness and peaceableness of good men are,often
mistaken for want of spirit. But the prophet warns
them not to rejoice, for a more terrible enemy was
about to arise than any they had yet encountered.
Whether this prediction relates specially to Heze-
kiah or is more general in its meaning, he not only
drove theJhilistines out of Judah, but pursued them
into their wn country, and smote them even unto
Gaza and the borders thereof, from the tower of
the watchmen to the fenced city." Gaza was in
the south-western extremity of their land ; so that
throughout nearly its whole extent, not merely the
fortified town tns, ut the most insignifiant -abit
tionB-even the watch-towers in the lonely vine-
acelm. 5








yards and sheep-cotes-fell into his hands. The
confidence of Hezekiah in God was not disappoint
ed; "the Lord was with him, and he prospered
whithersoever he went forth."
We cannot suppose that Hezekiah was prompted
by the love of glory or by a desire of conquest to
exchange the calm scenes of devotion and religious
observances in which he had been thus far so hap-
pily engaged, for the confusion and dangers of a
camp. It was to him, probably, a sacrifice of per-
sonal feelings which he was constrained to make,
no less for the honor of Jehovah than for the inde-
pendence of his kingdom. God had set apart the
Israelites for his peculiar people, and commanded
them not to suffer an idolater to dwell within their
borders. Allegiance to their divine Head, therefore,
demanded that they should expel the heathen by
force from this eanred heritage.
Whatever construction may be given to the pre-
cepts of the gospel on the subject of peace, none
can doubt that the Ruler of the world has a right
to dispose of the lives of men as seemeth him good.
He may commission the lightning, the earthquake,
the pestilence, to execute sentence of deserved death
on the guilty, or he may use voluntary instrumen-
tality to accomplish the same purpose. In the
" new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness," the
terrific agents by which God now chastises nations
for their sins, and works changes required for the








progress of the kingdom of Christ, will not be need-
ed, and no place for them will be found. Already
the signs of the times point to such a conBumma-
tion. The prevalence of Christianity has stripped
war of-~any of its horrors; and even in its modified
form, Christias nations are growing reluctant to
employ it for terminating their disputes with each
other. The years ar= manifestly drawing nigh,
whose light burst on prophetic vision in the days of
Hezekiah, when "nation shall not lift up sword
against nation, neither shall they learn war any
more."
The Hebrews were selected to preserve on the
earth the knowledge of the one living and true
God until the way was prepared for the manifesta-
tion of his Son in the flesh, and for a new dispensa-
tion which should embrace both Jews and Gentiles.
Their territory, as originally described, was admi-
rably fitted by its local position to separate them
from the rest of the world. On the north were
the lofty mountains of Lebanon, which, with their
branches, served both to defend and seclude the
Israelites from other. On the east, were the whole
length of the Jordan and the Dead sea. On the
south, was a waste and tedious desert, terminating
in hills on the borders of theft oly Land, from whieb
the Israelites, when they came out of Egypt, were
driven back by their enemies. On the west, was
the Great or Mediterranea ea. The surrounding








countries could carry on could on commercial intercourse by
passing through only a small portion of its limits,
while the incommodious harbors would not tempt
its occupants to carry on foreign traffic. In addi-
tion to this, Moses established a multitude of regu-
lations to make it difficult for the Hebrews to asso-
ciate freely with other nations in their business,
pleasures, or worship. These hedged them in, and
daily proclaimed to the people their obligation to be
"holiness unto the Lord."
Notwithstanding these restrictions, the Hebrews,
in the later periods of their history, were prone to
form foreign political alliances, against which the
prophets remonstrated, aa tending to impair confi-
dence in the protection of Jehovah. In an evil
hour, Ahaz, pressed by the united forces of Israel
and Syria, called in the aid of Tiglath:pilezr. As
the result of this measure, he became himself trib-
utary to the Assyrians, on whom he bad relied or
deliverance, and at his death left the country in
subjection to a foreign power. After the success-
ful campaign of Hezeaiah against the Philistines,
which is supposed to have been during the siege of
Samaria, he east off the Assyrian yoke. A war
with that kingdom would have followed imme-
diately, if Shalmaneser had not been engaged in
other enterprises which diverted his attention from
Judah.
A period of several years preceding the invasion








of the country by Sennacherib now intervenes, re-
specting which the history is silent. It was proba-
bly a state of external peace; but there are indica-
tions in the sacred record that the high tone of
religious feeling which so distinguished the early
part of Hezekiah's reign, no longer existed. If
'the prince and people still maintained their zeal
for the worship of Jehovah, it is difficult to believe
that the Assyrians would have been permitted to
inflict such calamities on the country. It is not
analagous to the dealings of God with his kncient
people, that they should be given up to the power of
the enemy while they were faithful in his service.
The rewards of obedience, in their case, were man-
ifest in the present life; while disobedience and
apostasy were followed by temporal punishment.
God had specially promised that if they would
"observe and do all his commandments," their
enemies should be smitten before their face; but if
they revolted from him, he threatened that they
should be smitten before their enemies. The Bible
contains many examples of the fulfilment both of
the promise and the threatening.
If the faith of Hezekiah and the people was as
vigorous at the time of the Assyrian invasion as in
his early wars, we can scarcely believe he would
have hired Sennacherib to withdraw from the land,
with gold cut off from the doors of the temple and
from the pillars which he had himself overlaid.








Such a contrast in the conduct of Hezekiah, and
in the state of te the country, seems to ply a change
in its religions condition. If there were no evi-
dences of declining piety during this period to be
found in the scriptures or in profane history, it
would be necessary to suppose such a declension to
account for facts.
By a comparison of Jeremiah 26 : 18 with Micah
3 :12, it appears that the latter chapter was spoken
in the time of Hezekiah. But it could not-relate
to the period before the- reformation in the fiat
months of his reign, for the cjroumstances men-
tioned in the prophecy are inconsistent with the
condition of Judah at the death of Ahz. At that
time the temple was shut, the priests were scat-
tered, idolatry was triumphant. Now, says the
prophet The priests teach for hire, and the proph-
ets divine for money; yet will they lean upon the
Lord and say, Is not the Lord among us ? none evil
shall come un pon us." Thiis manifestly state of
external religion, of professed service of Jehovah.
It is.formality, hypocrisy, worship separated from
practice; not idolatry. Nor could the prediction
relate to a period subsequent to the reign of Heze-
kiah, for the woe is-denounced as a consequence of
the state of things existing at that time. There-
fore shall Zion jbr yonw sake be ploughed as a
field." Hezeklah manifestly regarded the threat-
ening as aimed against himself and his people, for









he "besought the Lord" to remove it; and the
Lord repented him of the evil which he had pro-
nounced against the." The threatening was for
the time averted.
It seems evident, then, that the description refers
to Hezekiahs reign, and to a period later than the
religious movement which we have described. It
indicates a falling away both among the princes
and the people, which, however much we may de-
plore it, the history of religion in other ages would
prepare us to expect. How far Hezekiah shared in
this declension, or what were its immediate causes,
we have no means of ascetaining. The war against
the Philistines, and the agitations connected with
the revolt from Assyria, may have contributed to
the result.










CHAPTER VIII.

ASSYRIAN INVASION,
In the time of Hezekiah, two great empires
divided between them the sovereignty of most of
the countries of Western Asia. These were the
kingdom of Assyria on the north-east of Judah, and
the kingdom of Egypt on the south-west. The
true policy of the Hebrews was to keep aloof from
both these rival powers, as the prophets recom-
mended; for an alliance with one of them would
be sure to provoke the hostility of the other, and
nothing could be gained from the friendship of
either. Whether they came to aid the Hebrews,
or with openly hostile designs, the result was uni-
formly pernicious. Their hostility was even less to
be dreaded than their alliance; for the formermight
be averted at the expense of tribute or territory,
while the latter involved the additional sacrifice of
national morality and of the divine favor.
When Hezekiah threw off the Assyrian yoke, he
doubtless expected that he should be obliged to
maintain the independence of his kingdom by force.
He must have known that he had not resources
enough to contend with the mighty empire whose
power he had defied; but his confidence was in the
arm of the Lord who had wrought a victory for him








over the philistines. He was taught by the history
of the nation, that it is equally easy for the Lord
to save by many or by few; and that if it was right
to refuse the tribute demanded by the Assyrian king,
he need not fear the consequences. Had Shalma-
neser invaded Judah at once, Hezekiah might have
met the attack successfully, not by the valor of his
forces or by his own military skill, but in the name
of the God of Jacob. No attempt, however, seems
to have 'leen made by the Assyrians for several
years to enforce the payment of tribute; and during
that time, as we attempted to show in the previous
chapter, the people of Judah had become weak by
departing from the fountain of their strength.
When therefore it was known that Sennacherib
was preparing an expedition against Egypt, antici-
pating that he would invade their own country on
his march, they urged an alliance with the Egyp-
tians. There is no certain proof, however, that
Hezekiah formed such an alliance. Isaiah, it is
true, utters a woe against them that "go down to
Egypt for help, and strengthen themselves in the
strength of Pharaoh;" but he may rather refer to
the generd disposition of the people to rely on
foreign aid,\than to this particular occasion. Still,
the coanfdece of Hezeklah in the guardian care of
Jehovah seems to have wavered, when at length,
in the fourteenth year of his reign, the Assyrians
invaded his kingdom.








This invasion had been foretold by Isaiah. The
prophet paints the courseof the invading army with
great vividness and beauty. As if looking down
from some lofty eminence, he first descries the
enemy coming from the north-east, at Aiath, on the
frontier of Judah. Now they are moving through
Mich niah, which is still nearer Jerusalem. Here
he lays up his carriages, stores, and baggage, as
some suppose, on account of the difficult pass be-
tween it and Geba. He has crossed the pass and
taken up his lodging for the night at the latter
place. Ramn a, a little out of the line of march, at
the west, is afraid; and Gibeah of Saul, still more
remote, has fled. Now he has come to Anathoth,
which is full of consternation; anon, he has taken
up his position at Nob, a little north-east of Jeru-
salem, on a ridge of Olivet, where he shakes his
hand in defiance against the mount of the daugh-
ter of Zion." But his impious threats are vain.
" Thus saith the Lord of hosts, 0 my people that
dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he
shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his
staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt. For
yet a very little while, and the indignation shall
cease, and mine anger in their destruction." The
enemy may be suffered to proceed to the very por-
tals of Jerusalem; but there God will inflict signal
vengeance on the proud invader. As if to reprove
the Hebrews for their present distrust of the divine








protection, the prophet adds,." It shall come to pass
at that day, that the remnant of Israel shall stay
upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth." e
c- Notwithstanding this prophetic dissuasive from
fear, the people were filled with dismay as Srunach-
erib continued his victorious progress; and Heoe-
kiah himself, yielding to the general terror, thought
only of propitiating his formidable enemy. He
confessed to Sennacherib that he had offended,"
and tamely offered to subhmt to whatever terms of
reconciliation the haughty monarch might exact.
" And the king of Assyria appointed .unto Hezekiah
king of Judah, three hundred talent of silver and
thirty talent of gold." This has been reckoned at
about $1,750,000, The exhaustion of his treasury
would be of small account to Hezekiah; but to be
driven by his own waning faith or that of his people
to make inroads on the treasures of the temple, and
disfigure te ecred edifice which it had been his
first care on ascending the throne to beautifyrmust
have agonized his pious heart. Perhaps he had
been too much elated by prosperity, and needed
such a chastisement to humble him, apd prepare
him to ascribe the great deliverance in reserve for
the nation, to the mercy and faithfulness of their
covenant God.
This dearly purchased true was, however, of
short duration; for Sennacherib, thinking it unsaf
to leave the kingdom of Judah unsubdued in hie







nIBTORY OF HEZEKIAR.


rear-or, as others supposOe on his return from an
unsuccessful invasion of Egypt-resumed his at-
tempt to conquer the dominions of Hezekiah. From
the humble submission of that prince, and from
what he had seen of the weakness of the country,
Sennacherib probably regarded this as an easy task.
He soon reduced all the cities to his power, except
Libnah, La, Lac anis & Jerusalem He sent Rab-
shakeh to the latter city with an imperious sum-
mons to surrender, while he himself continued the
siege of Lachish with the body of his forces.
When Hezekiah became convinced that his at-
tempt to propitiate Sennacherib was in vain, and
that the perfidious enemy was aiming to crush him,
notwithstanding his humiliating concessions, he be-
gan in earnest to make preparations for the defence
of his capital. Ho repaired its fortifications, built
a new wall without the city, and made darts and
shields in abundance." He took counsel with his
princes and mighty men to stop the waters of the
fountains which were without the city," that they
might not afford refreshment to the besieging army.
The people 'assembled in great numbers, and the
work was pushed on vigorously. They stopped
all the fountains, and the brook which ran through
the midst of the land, saying, Why should the king
of Assyria come and find much water?"
In another part of the history, it is related that
Hezekiah topped the upper t -course of Gihon,








and brought it straight down to the west side of the
city of David." From this account, Professor Rob-
inson, in his Researches in Palestine, concludes
that there existed anciently a fountain Gihon on
the west of the city, which was stopped," or cov-
ered over by Hezekiah, and its waters brought down
by subterranean channels into the city. In this
way the waters of Gihon would be withdrawn
from the enemy, and preserved to the city, through
which they would seem to have been distributed in
various reservoirs and fountains." As Jerusalem
lies in the midst of a rocky limestone region, where
fountains and wells are comparatively rare, its
inhabitants have from ancient times relied much
on cisterns and reservoirs dug in the rocks. The
water is conducted into them from the roof of the
houses, during the rainy season, and with proper
care remains sweet the whole summer and autumn.
Hence, while a besieging army might suffer severe-
ly, the inhabitants of the city would have a plen-
tiful supply. The example' of Hezelkah has been
several times imitated in later sieges of Jerusalem.
But Hezekiah did not stop with these external
preparations for defence. Out off from all human
succor, he turned in his distress to the Lord for help.
His faith is once more invigorated, and now he can
say without doubting, The Lord is on my side; I
will not fear what man can do untp me." With
buoyant feelings in his own bosom, he rekindles








hope in the hearts of the people. He sets captains
of war over them, and gathering them together into
the street of the gate of the city, speaks "comfort-
ably to them, saying, Be strong and courageous ;
be not afraid nor dismayed for the kingof Assyria,
nor for all the multitude that are with him; for
there be more -with us than with him. With him
is an ann of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God
to help us, and to fight our battles." Some who
had lately seen Hesekiah crouching before Sen-
naoherib, through "the fear of man," might be dis-
posed to mock at his present confidence in Jehovah
as unreal, or assumed for the occasion ; but the
mass of the people rested themselves" upon his
words. They felt that his speech was not feigned
for effect, but that in truth he trusted in the guar-
dian care o of the God of their fathers. This gave
him power over their hearts which he could gain
by no eloquent appeals to their passions or to their
patriotism. Such scenes develop the respect which
even the ungodly are constrained to entertain for
genuine piety. How often do those who in the
time of fancied security ridicule religion, in the
hour of alarm gather for comfort around good men
whom they before vilified as bigots, or affected to
despise for their strictness. Their rock is not as
our Rock, our enemies themselves being judges."
Rabshakeh presented himself before the city
with a large force, and coming near to the wall on








the north-west corner, by the conduit of the upper
pool," he called for Hezekiah, The latter declined
meeting him in person, but sent three-of the prin-
cipal officer of his court to receive the message of
the king of Assyria. Rabshakeh does not deign to
give Hezekiah his official title, while in oriental
style he terms Sennacherib the great king, the
king of Assyria." He scornfully inquires in whom
Hezekiah'trusts for defence against the overwhelm-
ing force with which he is assailed; intimating
that the confidence exhibited in his address to the
people was mere talk, false pretension. He charges
him with relying upon a "broken reed," the king
of Egypt, whose promised aid was sure to ruin
those to whom it was proffered. Whatever ground
there was for this aecnsation, Rabehakeh probably
believed that the king of Judah would never have
ventured to cast off the Assyrian yoke without the
hope of assistance from the Egyptians- It seemed
to a worshipper of idols only madness to expect
relief from heaven against so mighty an array of
strength. To weaken the confidence of the people
still more, RBbshakeh, mistaking the reformation
in religious worship for a change in the national
religion, declares that Hezekiah had alienated Je-
hovah from them, by taking away his high places
and altars from the land, and confining his worship
to the temple at Jerusalem. He taunts Hezekiah
with the insignificance of ]hs army, which was not








powerful enough to contend with one of the many
princes tributary to Sennacherib. To terrify the
Jews by pleading the authority of their tutelary
deity for this invasion, Rabahakeh now pretends
that the Lord had commanded the Assyrians to
execute vengeance on them for their transgressions.
" Jehovah said to me. Go up against this land and
destroy it." Possibly the Assyrians had heard of
the prophecies which represent them as instru-
ments which God would use in the punishment of
his own people. Rabshakeh spoke in the Hebrew
language, which some suppose he acquired by in-
tercourse with captives of the ten tribes. The
Jews have a tradition that he was a renegade or
apostate Jew." In either case, he might have
acquired some familiarity with the Hebrew scrip-
tures.
The officers sent by Hezekiah to confer with
Rabshakeh, afraid that his address would disheart
en t1aea within hearing on the wall, requested him
to speak in the Syrian or Aramean language, which
they understood. He haughtily replied, that his
master had not sent him for a private parley with
wezekiah or with them, but to speak to the people,
who would suffer the horrors of famine in their
most revolting form, if they continued through the
vain encouragement of Hezekiah to defend Jeruea-
lem. In contempt of their reasonable request,
therefore, Rabahakeh raised his voice still higher,








appealing to the hopes and fears of the multitude,
for the purpose of inducing them to revolt, and
force Hezekiah to surrender the city. Hath any
of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of
the hand of the king of Assyria ? Where are the
gods of Ha ath and of Arpad? where are the
gods of Sepharvaim? have they delivered Samaria
out of my hand ? Who are they among all the
gods of these lands that have delivered their land
out of my hand, that Jehovah should deliver Jeru-
salem out of my hand?" The servants of Sennac-
erib, in their derision, spake against the God of
Jerusalem as against the gods of the nations of the
earth, the work of men's hands."
Rabshakoeh in the name of his master, urged the
people still further to submission, by a promise of
present security in their own country; and that
when at length, according to the ancient customs
of war, the king of Assyria should remove them to
another part of his dominions, he would select for
them a land like their own, a land of corn and
wine, a land of bread and vineyards."
Some suppose Tartan was the military chief of
the expedition against Jerusalem, while RIabehakeh
was only an ambassador or herald. He may have
been selected for this office on account of his ac-
quaintance with the Hebrew language and charac-
ter, which would fit him to stir up the people more
adroitly against Hezekiah. Trusting to some change
enkua-. '1







82 HIar TOY OF HEzEKIA.
in affairs to save them from the threatened exile,
many of the inhabitants of Jerusalem might prefer
present ease to the terrors of a long siege, and thus
be open to the insidious suggestions of the enemy.
Whether Hezekiah was aware of what he might
expect from the character of the messenger, or
wished for more time to frame a suitable reply, he
had commanded his servants to hold tdeir peace
and not answer a word. The officers, with their
garments Tent in token of alarm at the impending
danger, and of horror at the blasphemies of Rab
shake, returned from the conference, and reported
his words to Hezekdah.










CHAPTER IX.

ASSYTIAN INVASIOfN-OOTINUE D.
EvenY man has some object of supreme regard,
to which, in the ordinary condition of his affairs, he
looks for happiness. This is his god. In the ease
of one, it is wealth; of another, honor; of another,
sensual gratification. Some make a god of chance,
and hush the accusations of conscience by trying to
believe that the world is a thing efaeident--that
there is no moral Governor of the universe to Whom
they owe allegiance, or who will bring them to
account for their misdeeds. -But the day of trial
usually dissipates these delusions. When sickness
or danger comes, such men look to their gods for
help; but "there is none to answer, nor any that
regardeth." They fail to sustain their votarie just
when support is most needed. In affection, he who
makes "gold his hope," the ambitions man, the
lover of pleasure, the infidel, find no satisfaction in
the objects of their trust.
But it is far different with those Who make Jeho-
vah their confidence. The Lord is good, a strong
hold in the day of trouble." At such times his
presence is nearest, his aid the surest, his friendship
the most endearing. So Hezekiah found, from ex-
perience, in a day dQrouble, and of rebuke, and








of blasphemy." The message of Semnacherib did
not drive him to despair, nor did he show hollow-
ness of faith by deserting Jehovah, in whom he had
professed to confide in the day of prosperity. He
did not, like the soffer in the hour of bitterness, cry
for help to one whose overruling providence he had
denied and derided; but rending his garments and
covering himself with sackcloth, he 'k went into the
house of the Lord." Happy was it for Hesekiah, in
such a crisis, that the way to the temple was
familiar to his feet; happy for him that the voice
of prayer was not strange to his lips, till he was
compelled by calamity to seek relief in the sanctu-
ary. If, when pressed by his enemies, he had for
the first time uttered supplications before the mer-
cy-seat, well might it have been asked, Will God
hear his cry when trouble cometh upon him ?"
While Hezekiah went up to the temple, as the
place where God had promised to hear the prayers
of his people in their distress, he sent the elders of
the priests, .together with Eliakim and Shaphan,
who had just returned from their interview with
Rabshakeh, to the prophet Isaiah. The purport of
their request was, that the prophet would intercede
with Jehovah to avenge his own honor against the
blasphemies of the Assyrian, and spare the rem-
nant of the nation. And Isaiah said unto them,
Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus saith the
Lord, Be not afraid of the words that thou hast








beard, wherewith the servants of the kong of As-
syria have blasphemed me. Behold, I will send a
blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumor, and shall
return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall
by the sword in his own land."
Interpreters differ in their explanation of what
is here meant by sending & blast. Some suppose it
refers to a pestilential blast or a destructive tem-
pest, while others refer it to some effect produced
by divine infuence on the mind of Sennacherib.
The "rumor" which God would cause him to hear,
some think, was the news that Tirhakah king of
Ethiopia, who was one of the most famous con-
querors of ancient times, was coming forth to make
war with him. Others suppose that the rumor"
refers to the destruction of the Assyrian host before
Jerusalem, while Sennacherib, with the rest of his
forces, was besieging Libnah.
The report being spread abroad that the Ethio-
pian king was on his march to attack him, Sent
nacherib wished to bring the war to a close before
the arrival of this new enemy, perhaps even before
the approach of relief was known to the Jews.
He would probably have concentrated his forces,
and endeavored to finish the campaign by a vigor-
ous attack on Jerusalem; but the hilly country
around that city was unfavorable to the operations
of cavalry, in which the main strength of his army
consisted, and the want of water would have im-







IBTORY OF HEZEKIAH.


peded his progress. He sent messengers, therefore,
to Hezekiah, with a fresh defiance against Jerusa-
lem, and a repetition of blasphemies against the
God of the nation.
The design'of this message, unlike that conveyed
by Rabshakeh, seems to have been not to destroy the
confidence of the people in their king, but to weaken
the confidence of Hezekiah in Jehovah. It was
more open and direct in its blasphemy than the pre-
vious communication, and breathes a spirit of haugh-
tiness, as if the Assyrian king disdained even to put
himself in comparison with the God of Israel.
Hezekiah received the letter from the hands of
the messengers and read it; and "as any man
would carry ma open letter which troubled and
perplexed him to a fiend for sympathy and coun-
sel," he went up again to the temple and spread it
before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed unto the
Lord, saying, 0 Lord of hosts, God of Israel, that
dwelleat between the chenibims, thon art the God,
even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth;
thou hast made heaven and earth. Incine thine
ear, 0 Lord, and hear; open thine eyes, 0 Lord, and
see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, who
hath sent to reproach the living God. Of a truth,
0 Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all
the nations and their countries, and have east their
gods into the fire; for they were no gods, but the
work of nmen's hands, wood and stone; therefore








they have destroyed them. ow, therefore, 0 Lor
our God, save us from his hands, that all the king-
doms of the earth may know that thou art the
Lord, even thou only."
The destruction of Jerusalem, with allits inhab-
itants, would in? itself hbve been comparatively a
small evil; but the destruction of the sincere wor-
shippers of Jehovah, whom he had been impimouly
challenged to protect, Hezekiah regarded as an evil
of indescribable magnitude. The scoffer, destitute
himself of any concern for the divine honor, sets
down the profession of such a sentiment by the
pious as hypocrisy-as only an attempt to flatter
the vanity of tof the object of their worship. But no
trait more distinguishes holy men, in every age, tha
a lively susceptibility to the honor of their Maker and
Sovereign. Their most importunate supplications
for themselves, or for others, are grounded on the
glory which will redound to God in performing
their requests. Our Saviour, when on earth. gav
us an example of pleading such a motive before the
throne of his Father: Glorify thy Son, that thy
Son also may glorify thee." "Increase the influ-
ence, magnify the name, the love, the gospel of thy
Son, that he may lay'all at the feet, and glorify
the -ammxof his Father." Basing its plea, there-
fore, for the interference of Jehovah, on the manai
festation of his own glory, the prayer of Hezekiah.
brief, comprehensive, pertinent to the ooaeion, and









offered in a humble, confiding spirit, could scarcely
fail to bring down the blessing sought. The event
proved that the effectual fervent prayer of a
righteous man availeth much."
A fitter occasion for displaying the supremacy of
Jehovah could not easily be conceived. The mon-
arch of a mighty empire, elated by the conquest of
many nations and the destruction of their idol gods,
vaunted that Jehovah was not able to save the
kingdom of Judah from his deadly grasp. Not as
in the controversy on mount Carmel between Elijah
and the followers of Baal, were the inhabitants of
one small territory spectators, but the issue would
be impressed on all the nations embraced in the
wide dominions of Assyria and Egypt. By the
fearful overthrow of the hosts of Sennacherib, not
only would Jehovah be known as a refuge in the
palaces of Jerusalem, but the kindreds of the earth
would acknowledge that he is terrible out of his
holy places."
The anxiety of Hezekiah was soon relieved. In
answer to his prayer. God assured him that the
boastful Assyrian should not be suffered to come to
the city, nor even to shoot an arrow there, nor
come before it with shields, nor cast a bank against
it. By the way that he came, by the same shall
he return, saith the Lord. For I will defend this
city to save it, for mine own sake, and for my ser-
vant David's sake."








The shadows of evening have settled down over
the land, and the sounds of revelry have at length
ceased in the Ayn the yr tents. Chieftais and sol-
diers have alike sunk in'nsuspecting repose. The
tread of the sentinel and the signal of safety alone
are heard. But the year of God'a redeemed has
now come. The angel of1ehovah sweeps bywith
noiseless wing, and a hundred and eighty thousand
mighty men have slept the sleep of death. Morn-
ing shd itheds its erful rays over the montain-tops
of Judah, but the silence of the land of shadows
reigns throughout the wide encampment. The
last defiance of the Gpd of Israel has risen from
those gorgeous pavilions, and the voice of Jehovah
seems to echo from the appalling scene, "I will be
exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in
the earth."
The mingled exultation and awe which swelled
the bosoms of the Jews as advancing daydisclosed
the stupeodous deliverance wrought for them by
the divine hand, are, vividly expressed by the tri-
umphant strains of the seoenty-sipth Psalm:
In Judah is God lnown s.
Hi~ name is geat in Isrel.
In Salem also is his tabornaolo,
And his dweling-plae in Zion.
There brake he the arrows of th6 bow,
The shield, and the sword, and the battle. Selah I
t Thou art moro glorious and eccellent
Than the mountains of prey.
The stoat-hearted have lept their sleep ;









And none of the e men of might have found their l s.
At thy rebuke, 0 God of Jacob,
Both the chariot and horse are ozat into a deep sloop.
Thou, even thou, t to be feared;
And who may stand in thy sight when once thou ar
angry
Thou didst cause judgment to be heard fom heaven;
The earth feared and was stil
When Go arose to judgment
To savoI the meek of the earth. Selahl
Surely the wr U of man shaJl praise thee:
The remainder of rrath Shalt thou retrain.
SVow, and pay unto the Lord your God:
Let all tat are round about him bring presents unto hia
That ought to be feared.
He shall out off the spirit of prince :
He is tenible to the larng of the earth."
The overthrow of the Assyrian trmy had been
predicted by Isaiah, and before it took place allu-
sions to its suddenness are frequent in his writings.
" Woe to the multitude of many people, which make
a noise like the noise of the Beas; and to the rush-
ing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing
of mighty waters The nations shall rush like the
rushing of many waters ; but God shall rebuke
them, and they shall flee far of and. shall be chased
as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and
like a rolling tling before the whirlwind. And
behold at evening-tide trouble; and before the morn-
ing he is not. This is the portion of them that
spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us." Isaiah
17 : 12-14.







ASYBTIAN INHABION.


Whether this desolating blow fell on the forces
which had marched with Rabshakeh against Jeru-
salem, or on those with Sennacherib before Libnah,
or on both suited, neither the Bible ny any mon-
mental record informs us. The conjectures of
learned men on this point are various. Equally
various are their conjectures as to the instrumen-
tality employed in effecting this work. Some sup-
pose it was a storm or poisonous blast of wind;
others, that it was the plague, or some pestilential
fever; others still, that it was an angel or messenger
of Jehovah, sent from heaven to inflict vengeance
on the Assyrians. If we regard the expression,
"angel of Jehovah," as literal, it has been well
observed that "there is no more improbability in
the supposition that God employs invisible and
heavenly messengers to accomplish his purposes,
than there is that he employs men." The Bible
assures us that the angel of the Lord enoampeth
around about them that tfr him, and delivereth
them." It would, indeed, be a wondrous miracle, if
storms, a poondpoionou wins, and pestilential fevers,
undirected and of their own motion, should spare the
good, while they assail their enemies. But if they
are sent by God to defend his own people and pun-
ish their foes, here is a deviation from his general
course in the government of the natural world, as
truly as if he employed intelligent invisible agents
of another rae than. our own.







92 HISTORY OF HEZEKIAH-
Sennacherib, with the wreek of his army, de-
camped ii haste and returned to Nineveh. A few
days after, according to some, but eighteen years
according to others, he was murdered by his own
sons, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch
his god-a meet fate for one who had impiously
dared the wrath of the God of heaven- Con-
founded be all they that serve graven images, that
boast themselves of idols."










CHAPTER X.

REZEKIAR's SICKEBeS AND RECOVEBrY.
IN the fourteenth year of his reign, the year of
the Assyrian invasion, Hezekiah "was sick nigh
unto death." Some suppose this sickness preceded
the overthrow of Semnacherib's army ; because no
mention is made of the latter event in Hezekiah's
song of gratitude for recovery, and because God
promises to deliver the city out of the hand of the
king of Assyria. Others suppose that the sickness
was sent to keep Hezekiah from being too much
elated by his recent triumph-
The nature of the disease the history does not
specify, thoughTrom the remedy prescribed by the
prophet, many think it was the plague. And
Isaiah said, Tak, a lump of figs. And they took
and laid it on the bol, and he recovered." This
mode of treating the plague is said to be still prac-
tised in the East. No one ever recovered from this
disease, unless the boil of the pestilence came out
upon him; and evon then he could not always be
cured'
The plague is rapid in its progress, and at the
furthest does its work in three or four days. Hence,
if Hezekiah had any preparations to make in refer-
ence either to his private affair or to his kingdom,








they ought to be made promptly. Perhaps his
friends and courtiers would fear to alarm him by a
true statement of his case; and if they should hint
that his situation was critical, he might not realize
the full extent of the danger. But when Isaiah
came with the message, Thus saith the Lord, Set
thy house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live,"
Hezekiah must have felt that his end was nigh.
It was a sad message for the king to hear and for
the aged prophet to communicate. What must be
the state of the kingdom when its -pious and be-
loved, monarch slept with hi fathers ? Might not
the days of Ahal return again, and idol-altars and
groves reappear, when the restraining hand of Hez-
ekiah was powerless in death ? How could the
nation spare a sovereign in the prime of his days,
whose reign had been so honored of Jehovah, and
the source of so much prosperity to the country?
The welfare of his kingdom, the security of the
national religion, and the natural love of life, must
have conspired to make Hezekiah shrink from the
abrupt and premature termination of his career.
He had yet no son to succeed him on the throne;
and he might be apprehensive not only of civil
commotions after his decease, but that the reforms
tion which he had effected and sustained with so
much difficulty, woulsle ruined by hbi untimely
departure. But whatever arrangements it -as
necessary for him to make for the present world,








happily he hbd not, in these hours of perplexity
and distress, to begin the great work of life, prepa-
ration for a future existence. And equally happy
was it for the prophet, that he had not at this crisis
the painful task of urging Buch a duty on the con-
science of his dying sovereign.
After the last farewell to hid royal master, the
venerable messenger retires from the sick chamber,
sad and desponding for his country, but calm and
submissive as he thinks of the vision about to break
on the departing spirit. The righteous perisheth,
and no man layeth it to heart; and upright men
are taken away, none considering that the righteous
is taken away from the evil to cone. He shall en-
ter into peace; they shall rest in their beds, each
one walking in his uprightness."
When Hezekiah heard the message of the proph-
et, he resorted to the Lord for help, as he had done
in other trying scenes. He knew that evils are
often threatened under the government of God,
with the implied condition that there is no change
in man which renders it proper for God to stay the
threatening. Turning his face to the wall. as a
natural expression of strong feeling," H izekiah
prayed unto the Lord, saying, Remember now,
0 Lord, I beseech thee, how I have wallket before
thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and hanv
done that which is good in thy sight. And Heze
kiah wept sore."








The answer to this short and affiqting supplion-
tion was almost instantaneous. Before Isaiah had
"gone out into the middle court" of the palace-
or, as some suplpos6, the middle part of the city-
the Lord directed him to return, and tell Hezekiah,
" Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father,
I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears : e-
hold, I will heal thee: on thq third day thou shalt
go up unto the house of the Lord. And I will add
unto thy days fifteen years." With alacrity, height-
ened by his former sadness, the prophet hastened
back with the joyful tidings of this unexpected re-
prieve. Hezekiah requiring some sign to satisfy
him of the truth of the message, in answer to the
prayer of the prophet, the Lord brought back the
shadow on the dial of Ahaz ten degrees.
There can be no doubt that on the third day,
Hezekiah, accompanied by a multitude of his pious
subjects, went up to the temple, as predicted, with
a thank-offering for so surprising a deliverance.
Isaiah has incorporated in his prophecies the psalm
which the king wrote in grateful commemoration
of his recovery. A part of it follows, as found in
the common English version:
"I said, in the cutting of of my days, I shall go
to the gates of the grave : I am deprived of the
residue of my years. I said, I shall not ee the
Lord, even the Lord, in the land of the living: I
shall behold man "o more with the inhabitants of




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