• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Matter
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Notice
 Table of Contents
 Youth of Asa-Defeat of the Ethiopians-...
 Life of Asa
 Life of Jehoshaphat
 Ahab, his family and times
 House of Jehu
 Life of Jonah
 Kings of Judah






Title: Scripture biography for the young
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 Material Information
Title: Scripture biography for the young with critical illustrations and practical remarks: Jeroboam to Ahaz including Asa, Jehosphaphat, Ahab, Jehu, Elijah, Elisha, and Johah
Alternate Title: Jeroboam to Ahaz
Scripture biography
Physical Description: 272 p. <4> leaves of plates : ill. ; 16 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Hooker, Horace, 1793-1864
Gallaudet, T. H ( Thomas Hopkins ), 1787-1851
Oertel, Johannes Adam Simon, 1823-1909 ( Engraver )
American Tract Society ( Publisher )
Whitney & Annin ( Engraver )
Publisher: American Tract Society
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: 1853
Copyright Date: 1853
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Subject: Bible stories, English -- O.T -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Biographies -- 1853   ( rbgenr )
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non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
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Spatial Coverage: United States -- New York -- New York
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: Gallaudet's series, continued by Horace Hooker.
General Note: Illustrations engraved by Oertel (Johannes?), Whitney & Annin, and Kinnersly.
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Table of Contents
    Front Matter
        Page i
    Frontispiece
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Notice
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Table of Contents
        Page 5
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    Youth of Asa-Defeat of the Ethiopians- Asa's defection
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    Life of Asa
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    Ahab, his family and times
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    House of Jehu
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    Life of Jonah
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    Kings of Judah
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Full Text


SCRIPTURE BIOGRAPHY

FOR

THE YOUNG;

WITH

CRITICAL ILLUSTRATIONS

AND

PRACTICAL REMARKS.


JEROBOAM TO AHAZ,
INCLUDING
ABA, JEH0HAPHAT, ARAB, JEHU, ELIJAH, LI8HA, AND
JONAH.


GALLAUDET'S SERIES.
CONTINUED BY
REV. HORACE HOOKER,
HA&TFORD, CONN.



PUBLISHED BY THE
ABERICAN TRACT SOCIETY,
110 NABSAU-STKIET, NEW YOR .




























Entered cording to the Act of Congre, in the yer 1853, by Hoacu
Roona, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southne
District of the State of New York.


IBht (peblib tra mshrte to le Amerian Tct loeiey.











NOTICE.



HAVING been permitted by a kind Providence to
carry on the Scripture Biography thus far towards
its close, I had hoped to be able within a suitable
time to complete it. But I have reason to fear,
from increasing feebleness of health, in connection
with the discharge of my indispensable daily duties,
that I shall be disappointed in this respect.* It is
a matter therefore of peculiar satisfaction to me, as
I am sure it will be to all the readers of this work,
that an arrangement has been made, in which I
most cordially concur, with my friend the Rev.
Horace Hooker, to continue the series and bring it,
in a few more volumes, to its conclusion.
T. H. GALLAUDET.

*The fear expressed by the Rev. Mr. Gallaudet was real-
ized; he died September 10, 1851, and the Rev. Mr. Hooker
commenced with the Biography of Jeroboam.











CONTENTS.


LIFE OF JEROBOAM.

CHAPTER I.
Revolt of the ten tribes- Teroboam made king, . 9

CHAPTER II.
Worship of the golden calves, . . . . 19

CHAPTER III.
The disobedient prophet, .......... 27

CHAPTER IV.
Sickness of Abijah-War with Judah-Death of Jero-
boam ................ 37


LIFE OF ASA.
CHAPTER V.
Youth of Asa-Defeat of the Ethiopians-Ana's defec-
tion, . . . ... . . .. 49



LIFE OF JEHOSHAPHAT.

CHAPTER VI.
Emly mlsion-Alliance with Ahab, .... .







6 CONTENTS.

CHAPTER VII.
Helping the ungodly,. . . . . . .73

CHAPTER VIII.
Divine aid, and victory-Character of Jehoshaphat,. 81


AHAB, HIS FAMILY AND TIMES.

CHAPTER IX.
Worship of Baal-Famine in Israel-Elijah and the widow
of Zarephath,. . . . . . . 93

CHAPTER X.
The contest on Carmel, . . . . . .103

CHAPTER XI.
Flight of Elijah to Horeb, . . . . .117

CHAPTER XII.
Wars of Ahab with the Syrians, . . . .128

CHAPTER XIII.
Vineyard of Naboth-Death of Ahab, .... 136

CHAPTER XIV.
Sickness of Ahaziah-Elijah calls down fire from heaven, 142

CHAPTER XV.
Elijah's translation, .. . . . . .148

CHAPTER XVI.
Elish heals the fountain of Jericho-Mookers punched, 154






CONTNTTB. 7

CHAPTER XVII.
Invasion of Moeb-Miraculous deliverance of the three
kings, . . . . . . 159

CHAPTER XVIII.
The widow and her two sona-Elisha and the woman of
Shunem, ............... 165

CHAPTER XIX.
Naaman the Syrian-Apostasy of Gehazi, ..... 172

CHAPTER XX.
The lost axe-Famine in Samaria-The Shunammite and
her son-Elisha at Damascus,. . . . .181

CHAPTER XXI.
Jehoram and Ahaziah kings of Judah-Jehu anointed
king-Death and character of Jezebel, .... 194

CHAPTER XXII.
Family of Ahab exterminated-Usurpation and death of
Athalih ................ 206


HOUSE OF JEHU.
CHAPTER XXIII.
Death of Elisha-War between Amaziah and Joash-Reign
of Jeroboam II., . . . . . . .215


LIFE OF JONAH.

CHAPTER XXIV.
Nineveh-Mission and fight of Jnah, . .... .225







8 CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XXV.
Tempest-Jonah cast Into the sea, . . .. 23

CHAPTER XXVI.
Jonah swallowed by a fish-Cast forth upon the dry land, 239

CHAPTER XXVII.
Jonah at Nineveh-The city penitent and spared-Jonah
angry-The gourd smitten,. . . . . 245



KINGS OF JUDAH.
CHAPTER XXVIII.
Joash-Amaziah-Uzziah-Jotham-Ahaz, .... .57











LIFE OF JEROBOAM.


CHAPTER I.

REVOLT OF THE TEN TRIBES-JEROBOAM MADE
KING.
THE territory which God promised to the Isra-
elites is described by Moses as extending "from
the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines,
and from the desert unto the river." But previous
to the reign of David they never gained entire
possession of this territory, and they often found it
difficult to maintain their independence within
much narrower limits. On the accession of David
to the throne," the strong-holds of the country were
generally either occupied by the garrisons of the
Philistines and other neighboring enemies, or
held, like Zidn, by armed bodies of the native
tribes." The Hebrews brought with them con-
siderable substance out of Egypt, and they were
still more enriched by the spoils of the Canaan-
ites; but their land had been so often plun-
dered, and their spirit so much broken by inroads
which rendered their labors useless, that at the






10 LIFE OF JEROBOAM.
death of Saul, they were a poor as well as weak
people.
The energy and military skill of David not only
freed his kingdom from hostile attack, but estab-
lished its limits coextensive with the divine prom-
ise. From the Red sea to the Mediterranean, and
from the desert towards Egypt to the river Euphra-
tes, all the countries were brought under his sway.
Enjoying security, the people became prosperous
by their own industry, and were replenished with
wealth from the spoils of the conquered nations.
The immense sums contributed by David and his
chief men for building the temple, show a state of
plenty rare in any land. The/ gold used in the
holy of holies alone has been estimated at twenty
millions of dollars. From their depressed condition
the Hebrews suddenly rose to be the leading power
in Western Asia.
The wisdom of Solomon, and his judicious ad-
ministration in the early part of his reign, increased
the prosperity and glory of his kingdom. The
temple was erected, its gorgeous services were
regularly performed, and the splendid ecclesiastical
establishment contemplated in the Mosaic law was
in successful operation. As enterprising as wise,
Solomon, having completed the magnificent works
for adorning and strengthening his kingdom, turned
his attention to the commercial advantages at his






PROSPERITY OF THE NATION. 11
command. The nations in those early times car-
ried on traffic with each other chiefly by means of
caravans; and Solomon controlled "the countries
through which alone caravans could pas to the
eastern world." The trade of India and the East,
which has always been a source of great profit to
those engaged in it, could therefore be prosecuted
only by his consent, and under his protection. The
Tyrians, in that age, were the chief carriers in this
oriental commerce. By building "Tadmor in the
wilderness," afterwards called Palmyra, Solomon
secured the traffic of Babylon, Persia, and Central
Asia. All the commercial roads from the Euphra-
tes to Damascus and Tyre ran by this city. By
building Baalbec in the valley of Lebanon, Solomon
got command of the trade between Tyre and the
north of Europe and Asia, which passed through
Armenia. By the possession of Edom, he con-
trolled the overland commerce of India and Arabia
with Egypt, centering at Petra the capital of Edom.
But this overland route was tedious, and the cara-
vans were subject to enormous exactions, violence,
and plunder. Solomon therefore, having posses
sion of the eastern branch of the Red sea, built a
navy at Ezion-geber, and thus carried on a more
ready maritime intercourse with the gold coasts of
Arabia and India. By these various enterprises
he secured to his kingdom a share in the rich






12 LIFE OF JEROBOAM.
commerce which nourished the merchant-princes
of Tyre," and made gold so abundant, that in his
days silver was of no account in'Jerusalem.
The Hebrew commonwealth had now reached
its highest point of power, splendor, and influence.
It broke forth like a new-created sun, attracting
the gaze of the wondering nations. It shone long
enough to manifest the faithfulness of God to his
promise, and the glories he had designed for his
chosen heritage. And when the monarch so highly
favored of heaven had swerved from his father's
and his country's faith, sinking into sudden night,
it proclaimed to other nations, as well as to Israel,
the anger of Jehovah against those who break his
covenant.
Among the adversaries whom God raised up to
punish Solomon for defection from his service, as re-
lated in the life of that monarch, was Jeroboam the
son of Nebat, of the tribe of Ephraim. It appears
that he lost his father in childhood; for the nar-
rative states that his mother Zeruah was "a widow
woman." In his youth, Jeroboam thought of any
thing rather than that he should be king of Israel.
Solomon was now the greatest, as he was the wisest
of the kings of the earth, and his power seemed as
firmly established as the mountains round about
Jerusalem. The mother of Jeroboam, too, thought
as little as he, that the young lad who aided her






EMPLOYED BY SOLOMON. 13
perhaps to bear the ills of poverty, would ever be
a monarch on a throne. Despise not one of these
little ones." What lot God has marked out for
them, what station they will occupy in future life,
you know not. Give them good advice, a kind
word, or a kind look, if you can give them nothing
else. You may live to see them wielding the des-
tinies or moulding the opinions and institutions of
a powerful land.
By some means of which we are ignorant, Jero-
boam was brought into the service of the Hebrew
monarch, who at this time was engaged in fortify-
ing his capital. Perceiving that the young man
was active and enterprising, Solomon appointed
him "ruler over all the imposts of the house of
Joseph." The vast projects with which Solomon
was occupied demanded immense sums of money
to carry them forward; and in addition, the mag-
nificence of his court and the gratification of his
own taste and pleasures were enough to exhaust
the royal treasury. During the reign of David, the
moderate expenses of the government were defrayed
from the tributes of conquered kings. In the early
part of Solomon's reign, the expenditures of the
state were sustained from the treasures left by his
father. When, therefore, later in life, he exacted
of his subjects heavier contributions than they had
been accustomed to render, they grew restless






14 LIFE OF JEROBOAM.
under the burden. The tribe ofEphraim, to which
Jeroboam belonged, and among whom his official
duties were performed, had ever regarded the tribe
of Judah a a rival. Both were eager for su-
premacy. This state of feeling might be easily
excited into opposition to the government by an
artful, ambitious favorite of the people, as Jeroboam
seems to have been; and he probably fomented
the dissatisfaction they felt under the heavy takes
which it was his duty to collect. Though he may
have aspired to higher honors than he already
possessed, it is not probable that he had meditated
insurrection against the government, when, as he
was going forth from Jerusalem, the prophet Ahi-
jah met him in the way, and assured him, as al-
ready related, that he should become king of ten
tribes in Israel.
Jeroboam was tacitly forbidden to form any
designs against the present king; for the prophet
declared that God would suffer Solomon to retain
the throne for David's sake, and that the tribes
should be rent asunder in the reign of his succes-
sor. Unlike the young son of Jesse, who, when
anointed king by the prophet Samuel, was a loyal
subject until Saul fell on Gilboa, and then lament-
ed his fate in strains as sincere as they were beau-
tiful and touching, Jeroboam was too eager and too
unprincipled to wait for the death of Solomon






IN BOYPT. 16
before he grasped at the soeptre. He seems to
have formed a conspiracy against him; for it is
said that he "lifted up his hand against the king."
His design being discovered, and the prophecy of
Ahijah perhaps being known, Jeroboam sought the
protection of Shishak-king of Egypt. This was
probably a different person from the Pharaoh whose
daughter was the wife of Solomon. But the ties
of interest among kings are stronger than the ties
of family; and even if there had been an affinity
between these princes, the relative position of the
two kingdoms would lead Shishak to countenance
the rebellious Israelite. By monopolizing the traf-
fic with India through his naval establishment at
Ezion-geber, Solomon had struck a heavy blow at
the prosperity of Egypt. The Hebrew common-
wealth had become a dangerous rival to the Egyp-
tians, and they would gladly patronize any attempt
to divide and reduce its power. Jeroboam there-
fore found a secure retreat among the competitors
of his country, and liberal means doubtless to aid
him in keeping alive a spirit of discontent with
the government of Solomon. He would in exile
maintain intercourse withiis disaffected adherents,
and when the first news of the Hebrew monarch's
death reached the Egyptian court, he would want
neither inclination nor resources to hasten back to
his country.




16 LIFE OF JEROBOAM.
Whether it was at the instigation of Jeroboam
that the people met for crowning a successor of
Solomon at Shechem, in the rival tribe of Ephraim,
rather than at Jerusalem or in some other city of
Judah, we know not. At any rate, Shechem, from
its locality and peculiar associations, was well
adapted to Jeroboam's scheme for securing the
throne. Here the discontented Ephraimites would
press their demands for relief with more boldness
than at Jerusalem, and would feel safer in oppos-
ing the government. Here, in the bosom of his
own tribe, and in the midst of his friends and sup-
porters, the ambitious chieftain would have raised
the standard of revolt, had Rehoboam been chosen
king of the whole nation. If the young prince
and his counsellors had known the extent of the
disaffection among the northern tribes, they would
not, probably, have consented to meet for such a
purpose in Shechem. It may be some palliation
of Rehoboam's haughty reply to the demands of the
people, that in the days of his father their leader
sought to revolutionize the government. This prob-
ably influenced the aged men to advise, as it should
have induced Rehoboafh to adopt, the most con-
ciliatory measures. Doubtless many of the people,
though willing to make use of Jeroboam in getting
rid of heavy taxation, had no wish to cast off alle-i
giance to the house of David. "A soft answer,"






CHOSEN KING.


and a promise of such relief as the wants of the
government might on examination admit, would
have separated these from the comparatively few
who desired and designed to set Jeroboam on the
throne. It however showed a state of feeling
which could not be safely overlooked or trifled
with, and was ominous of a determination to ob-
tain redress of grievances at all hazards, that so
large a part of the nation put forward as their
advocate one who had already attempted to seize
the crown, and who, as was doubtless now well
known throughout the land, the venerable prophet
of Shiloh had predicted would be king of ten tribes
in Israel.
But the rashness of youth overcame the wisdom
of age. The voluntary agency of men acting out
their own selfish purposes fulfilled "the counsel of
the Lord;" and the Hebrew commonwealth, late
so powerful and prosperous, became an easy prey
to its heathen neighbors.
Soon after this assembly at Shechem, Jeroboam
was chosen king by the ten northern tribes of Is-
rael. Like David, he was elevated to the throne
by divine direction. Like David, he had been in
the service of his predecessor-for the punish-
ment of whose unfaithfulness the crown was given
to another family. Like David, too, he had the
promise of a long succession of kings among his
Jeobou. 2






18 LIFE OF JEROBOAM.
descendants, on condition of adhering to the wor-
ship and service of Jehovah. But while the sceptre
passed early from the house of Jeroboam, as we
shall soon see, the posterity of David were at the
head of the tribe of Judah until after the Baby-
lonish captivity. The history of the two kingdoms
into which the twelve tribes were now divided is
worthy of our thoughtful study. It shows what rich
and lasting benefits a good man may confer on his
family and nation, and what misery may be en
tailed on both by the efforts and inflizene of am
apostate.






HIS IDOLATRY.


CHAPTER II.

WORSHIP OF THE GOLDEN CALVES,
iq the division of the Hebrew commonwealth,
the largest territory and population, the richest
and most productive portions of the soil, were
within the limits of the kingdom of Israel. To
counterbalance these advantages, the kingdom of
Judah had the centre of the national religion, the
temple, the high-priesthood, and the capital.
It was not probable that Rehoboam would sub-
mit quietly to the loss of so valuable a portion of
his dominions. The first care of Jeroboam must
then have been to provide against attack. The
result of an immediate invasion of the ten tribes
by the large army of Judah, amounting to a hun-
dred and eighty thousand men, might have been
doubtful, as the revolters were not probably in a
state of preparation to resist so formidable a force.
But Rehoboam yielded to the prophetic admoni-
tion, and trusted rather to the influence of time
than violence for recovering his lost possessions.
This left the king of Israel at liberty to provide
for the establishment of his new power.
Shechem was a Levitical town, and a city of
refuge. The bones of Joseph were buried here.






20 LIFE OF JEROOAM.
This city and its vicinity had been the scene of
some of the most interesting events in the history
of the nation. Jeroboam enlarged and adorned
Shechem, and made it the capital of his kingdom.
Jeroboam was doubtless brave on the field of
battle, for it is recorded that he was "a mighty
man of valor." He was now placed in a position
to test both his religious principles and his political
wisdom. He had the promise of Jehovah, It shall
be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command
thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do right in my
sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments
as David my servant did, that I will be with thee,
and build thee a sure house as I built for David,
and will give Israel unto thee." As a confirma-
tion of this promise, Jeroboam was now on the
throne, and it required no peculiar faith to antici-
pate the fulfilment of the whole prediction. If
he conducted the affairs of his kingdom in obedi-
ence to the statutes and commandments which
God had given to the Israelites, the people would
prosper under his sway, and continue their allegi-
ance to him and his posterity.
But Jeroboam was afraid to rely on the divine
promise alone. He could not see how it was pos-
sible to keep up a political separation of the two
kingdoms, if they had a common religion, a com-
mon priesthood, and a common altar for worship






HIS IDOLATRY. 21
at Jerusalem. The old grievances, he thought,
would in time be forgotten. Rehoboam, made
wise by experience, might promise to remit the
taxes, and the hearts of the people might return
again to the house of David. But what if Jero-
boam could not see how the divine promise would
be fulfilled? Abraham could not see how God
would fulfil the promise to give the land of Canaan
to him and his posterity, when as yet he had no
child. Nor could Moses perceive how the Israel-
ites were to pass through the Red sea, when ordered
to move forward with the hosts of Egypt thunder-
ing in their rear. God had set before Jeroboam the
example of David for imitation; and who can doubt
that in such a case David would fearlessly cast
himself on the divine promise and say, My soul,
wait thou only upon God, for my expectation is
from him ?" The history of the Hebrews abounded
in examples of divine interposition to rescue the
chosen people out of difficulties from which no hu-
man eye could see a way of escape.
How God, in case of the obedience of Jeroboam,
would have provided for the separate existence of
the two kingdoms under one ecclesiastical head,
we will not conjecture; but that he would have
established the government of the ten tribes on a
firm basis, while he left two tribes to be ruled by
the family of David, we are not at liberty to doubt.






LIFE OF JEROBOAM.


Mountains higher than that which obstructed the
path of Jeroboam have vanished before the power
of faith; and had he relied on the divine promise,
he might have been honored, with the son of Jesse,
as the founder of a long and prosperous dynasty,
and the ornament of his country.
Yielding to the influence of unbelief, Jeroboam
chose to rely on worldly policy rather than on
Jehovah for the security of his throne. Copying
after the worship of the Egyptians, or as others
think, in imitation of the cherubim in the temple
at Jerusalem, he set up two golden calves, one at
Bethel on the southern border of the kingdom, the
other at Dan in the northern part. He pretended
that this was done for the public convenience,
because it was too great a hardship to go up to
Jerusalem three times in a year to celebrate the
festivals. If Jeroboam meant that the people
should worship Jehovah through the medium of
the golden calves, this was a violation of the com-
mand, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven
image; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them,
norserve them." Soon "this thing became a sin"
to Israel, as visible representations ever will to
those who employ them in divine worship.
Jeroboam, however, probably cared very little
whether the people paid their homage to Jehovah
or to the golden calves themselves, if they only for-






HII IDOLATRY.


sook the temple at Jerusalem. In Egypt, he had
been familiar with the adoration of objects the
most degraded and loathsome; but it was not per-
haps from personal preference that he defiled the
holy land with idols. He would not, as some mon-
archs have done, hazard the loss of his crown for
the sake of establishing a form of worship to which
the people were unaccustomed or hostile. He em-
ployed religion as an instrument to promote his own
purposes. He was an apostate, not from conviction
or superstition, but from the lust of power. He
led the people astray, not because of his own fond-
ness for image-worship, but to subserve his private
interests. For the subversion of the religious forms
of his country, and in the result, of its religious
faith, he could not plead in excuse either igno-
rance or mistake, or even sincerity. His motive
was a heartless love of self, under cover of zeal
for the public good. He probably justified the
measure as necessary to the well-being, if not
existence of his kingdom, and he would denounce
the pious men of Israel who protested against such
a gross infraction of the law, as narrow-minded
bigots, who were ready to sacrifice the interests of
their country to a foolish regard for the honor of
Jehovah.
If Jeroboam could gain the sanction of the pow-
erful body of priests and Levites to this new wor-






24 LIFE OF JEROBOAM.
ship, he would anticipate little opposition from the
people. He doubtless attempted to secure their
operation; and when they could neither be won
nor driven to countenance so daring a violation of
the divine law, he deprived them of their office.
With a noble attachment to their faith, relinquish-
ing their.possessions, they emigrated to Judah from
every quarter of his kingdom. They were followed
by many godly men, who abandoned their country
and removed to Jerusalem for the sake of enjoying
the religious worship and institutions of their fa-
thers. This was a draft on the piety and intelli-
gence of the kingdom of Israel, from which it never
recovered. Jeroboam made priests from any of the
tribes, even from "the lowest of the people," and
in imitation of the Egyptian kings, assumed him-
self the high-priesthood.
To widen the breach between the two kingdoms,
Jeroboam observed the feast of Tabernacles, and
the other feasts probably if any others were then
held, a month later than the corresponding festi-
vals were held in Judah. The Hebrew feasts were
originally timed with reference to the seasons of the
year in that climate. In the northern parts of
Israel, the seasons are later than in the southern
parts of Judah; and Jeroboam perhaps gave this
as a reason for the change.
The sin of Jeroboam in devising the worship of






HIS RBINOUB SIN.


the golden images, was deliberate. He was not
hurried into transgression, as David was, by the
sudden onset of temptation. He weighed the mat-
ter coolly. The king took counsel, and made two
calves of gold." He debated within himself, and
in concert with others, whether it was better to
trust and serve Jehovah, or to set his law and
authority at naught.
It was in the face of warning. As if it was
foreseen from what quarter temptation would assail
Jeroboam, the prophet informed him that ten tribes
were about to be rent from the family of David,
because Solomon built altars to heathen gods, and
bowed down to them in worship. Against such a
sin Jeroboam was put especially on his guard.
Into whatever other sin he was betrayed, one
might expect he would shun this form of trans-
gression.
The sin of Jeroboam was presumptuous. Obe-
dience to the law was the sole condition on which
the Lord promised a blessing on his own reign, and
the continuance of the throne in his family. By
violating "the first and great commandment," he
practically declared that he neither feared the
power, nor cared for the favor of Jehovah.
It was ungrateful. God had taken ten tribes
from the family of the man after his own heart,
and given them to Jeroboam, who had no claim






LIFE OF JEROBOAM.


whatever to the crown. But scarcely had he
mounted the throne, when he trampled on the law,
overturned the institutions, and insulted the majesty
of his Benefactor.
It was ruinous. Doubtless when Jeroboam de-
vised this expedient for diverting his subjects from
resorting to Jerusalem, it was regarded both by
himself and others as a master-stroke of state pol-
icy. And when in pursuance of his scheme, he
made priests of the lowest classes and from all the
tribes, he would be applauded by the multitude as
the friend of the people and of equal rights. But
no policy or measure which contravenes the law
of God will be of lasting benefit to a community.
Jeroboam's expedient cut off his subjects as well
as himself from the protecting care of Heaven, and
at length brought down on his family and kingdom
that utter destruction which awaits all who turn
away from the statutes of the Lord, and "boast
themselves of idols."






IDOL-WORSBIP.


CHAPTER III..

THE DISOBEDIENT PROPHET.

JEROBOAM, it seems, had selected the feast of
Tabernacles, which the Hebrews considered one of
their most joyful festivals, as a suitable occasion
for introducing the new worship among the tribes.
Knowing the fondness of the multitude for pompous
ceremonies, he would make every preparation in
his power to set off the service to advantage. He
would take special pains to gather the people at
the first celebration of this worship which took
place at Bethel. By what imposing forms, if any,
the graven image in that city was set apart for the
homage of the people, we are not told. But no
prayer like that of Solomon, we may be sure, was
breathed from the lips of the hypocritical monarch;
no cloud wrapped in its folds the shrine of the
golden idol; no fire fell from heaven to consume
the unhallowed offerings. Some doubtless were
present on this occasion who, about thirty years
before, had witnessed the solemn and magnificent
scenes at the dedication of the temple in Jeru-
salem.
Surrounded by priests of his own choice and
consecration. and clad, we may suppose, in pontifi-






28 LFIF OF JEROBOAM.
cal vestments, Jeroboam stood by the altar of the
golden calf to burn incense. The people would be
struck with the sight of their new-made king en-
gaged in performing the duties of the priestly office.
Forgetting that will-worship is offensive to God,
however splendid its rites, they would give loose
to the feeling of triumph in having an altar of
their own, independent of-a rival power. Jero-
boam too, when he saw the eagerness with which
the people entered into these services, probably
felt that his throne now stood on a firm basis. He
would no longer apprehend opposition from any of
his subjects. Some prophets were still left in his
kingdom; but through fear or apostasy, they would
not warn him to desist from rebellion against Je-
hovah.
But suddenly a prophet from Judah appeared in
the crowd, and approaching Jeroboam, cried
against the altar in the word of the Lord, and said,
O altar, altar! thus saith the Lord, Behold, a child
shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by
name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of
the high places that burn incense upon thee, and
men's bones shall be burnt upon thee. And he
gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign
which the Lord hath spoken: Behold, the altar shall
be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be
poured out." Irritated by the interruption of the






SMITTEN OF GOD.


ceremonies, and probably fearing the effect of the
prediction on the minds of the people, Jeroboam
stretching out his hand, commanded his attendants
to seize the bold intruder. His extended arm was
instantly withered, and "he could not pull it in
again to him." Terrific as was this manifestation
of the divine power to the apostate prince, another
succeeded of still greater significance. The altar
of burnt-offering was rent in twain, and the ashes
were poured out from it on the ground. The
humbled monarch besought the prophet, Entreat
now the face of the Lord thy God, and pray for
me, that my hand may be restored me again."
Why did not Jeroboam himself call on the golden
calves to relieve their votary, or at least command
the priests he had created to perform this service?
Though he proclaimed to the people, "Behold thy
gods, 0 Israel, which brought thee up out of the
land of Egypt," he knew they were no gods. His
deluded followers must have been as stupid as the
graven images they worshipped, not to have seen
through his hypocrisy, and at once banished both
their king and his idols for ever from their borders.
At the intercession of the prophet, the withered
arm "became as it was before," and thus a third
miracle attested, in the sight of the whole multi-
tude, the supremacy of Jehovah, and his anger
against their forbidden worship.






LIFE OF JEROBOAM.


With a momentary impulse of gratitude, Jero-
boam invited the prophet to go home with him
and receive a reward for his kindness. But he
declined the hospitality and rewards of the king:
"If thou wilt give me half thy house, I will not
go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink
water in this place." According to eastern usage,
this would show deep abhorrence of the king's con-
duct. Among the orientals, "for persons to eat
bread or drink water together, was a symbol and
seal of mutual friendship and peace." Turning
his back on the altar and the awe-struck assembly,
he hastened homeward by a different path from
that by which he came to Bethel.
Thus far he had faithfully executed his trust.
He had perilled his life to declare the message of
the Lord. He had braved the wrath of the king
and of the excited multitude. Hungry and thirsty
from his journey, he had resisted the cravings of
appetite; and probably poor, he had spurned the
recompense pressed on him by Jeroboam for a sig-
nal favor. He had almost reached the borders of
his own country, and thinking himself beyond
danger, was reposing under the shadow of an oak.
But how much, even in the hour of seeming securi-
ty, do we need the Saviour's admonition, "Watch
and pray, lest ye enter into temptation." Possibly,
as he toiled along his way, he was too much elated






THE DISOBEDIENT PROPHET.


by the successful accomplishment of hismission, or
too well satisfied with his firmness in rejecting the
royal bounty. While he anticipated the applause
which would greet him on his return, he may not
have been duly grateful for the protecting care of
Jehovah.
There was living in Bethel at this time an old
prophet, who for some reason had not been present
at the worship of the golden calf. Whether he
disapproved of the worship, but was too cowardly
to oppose it publicly, or was absent from some other
cause, we know not. His sons, who it appears
were present on that occasion, told him of all that
had been said and done by the prophet of Judah.
He immediately ordered them to saddle his ass, and
set forward to meet the messenger of the Lord.
He invited him to return to Bethel, and eat bread
at his house. The invitation was declined on the
ground that it was against the divine prohibition.
To overcome his reluctance, the old prophet said,
"I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel
spake unto me by the word of the Lord, saying,
Bring him back with thee into thy house, that he
may eat bread and drink water." But he lied unto
him.
What was the motive of the old and lying proph-
et in thus urging the return of the messenger from
Judah, we know not. Some suppose he was friendly






LIFE OF JEROBOAM.


to the policy of Jeroboam, and aimed to weaken
the effect of the miracles by inducing the agent to
act inconsistently with his own declarations con-
cerning what the Lord had commanded. Or,
afraid lest his cowardly connivance at the sin of
Jeroboam would be contrasted with the courage
and fidelity of the prophet of Judah, he may
have attempted to ruin the latter for the sake of
covering his own disgrace. Possibly he wished
to gain credit for zeal in the cause of Jehovah,
by showing kindness to his servant. This he
could do with safety, after the prophet of Judah
had been publicly treated so respectfully by the
king.
Whatever was the motive, his victim yielded
with fatal readiness to his persuasions. Whether
this was done from the claims of hunger, or from
any selfish consideration, we have no means of
judging. Perhaps, thrown off his guard by a cor-
dial greeting, he did not suspect malice or craft
under such a venerable exterior. But it does not
seem probable that after so strict a charge he would
have turned back at the bare claim of a stranger
to be a prophet, and least of all a prophet of Bethel,
unless his heart had already been inclined to such
a course.
While he sat at the table, the word of the Lord
came unto the prophet that brought him back:






THE DISOBEDIENT PROPHET.


and he cried unto the man of God that came from
Judah, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Forasmuch as
thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the Lord, and hast
not kept the commandment which the Lord thy
God commanded thee, but camest back, and hast
eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of which
the Lord did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink
no water; thy carcass shall not come unto the sep-
ulchre of thy fathers." In a few hours this pre
diction was fearfully fulfilled. As the prophet of
Judah was returning homeward on an ass, a lion
met him by the way, and slew him." The lion and
the ass standing together by the dead body attracted
the notice of travellers, and they soon reported the
strange occurrence in the city. The old prophet
instantly understood its meaning. Hastening to
the spot, he found the body and brought it back to
Bethel. "And he laid his carcass in his own
grave; and they mourned over him, saying, Alas,
my brother! And it came to pass, after he had
buried him, that he spake to his sons, saying, When
I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre wherein
the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside
his bones: for the saying which he cried by the
word of the Lord against the altar in Bethel, and
against all the houses of the high places which
are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to
pass."
Joau. _






34 LIPE OF JEROBOAM.
Some suppose that the old prophet wished to be
buried in the same grave with the man he had so
grievously injured, that when the sepulchres of
the false prophets, according to the prediction,
should be thrown open, and their bones burnt on
the profane altar at Bethel, his own bones might-
escape desecration.
At first view, the punishment of the prophet of
Judah seems severe for his offence. But when
we reflect on the magnitude of the occasion, on
the strictness of the charge to abstain from eating
and drinking in Bethel, on the tendency of his
disobedience to destroy the effect of his message
and of the miracles wrought to enforce it, and on
the manner and circumstances of his death, which
were so well fitted to confirm his commission, we
are constrained to own the justice and the wis-
dom of the divine government in this painful
event.
About three hundred and fifty years afterwards,
Josiah took the bones of the false prophets out of
their sepulchres in Bethel, and burnt them on the
altar erected for the golden calf. The sepulchre
of the prophet of Judah was still in existence, and
easily recognized by its epitaph. At the com-
mand of Josiah, his bones were left undisturbed,
as well as "the bones of the prophet that came
out of Samaria." As no inscriptions have been






THE DIBORED!KNT PROPHET.


found on ancient tombs in Palestine, some have
conjectured that the inscription on this sepulchre
was placed on it by the old prophet's order, to dis-
tinguish it as the tomb of "the man of God."
The final state of each, when the graves shall be
opened, and the dead shall hear the voice of the
Son of God, will appear in the revelations of the
last day. It concerns us so to pass the time of our
sojourning on earth, that wherever may be our
final resting-place, we shall attain to "the resur-
rection of the just."
If Jeroboam had been a sincere idolater, these
wonderful scenes might have been the means of
converting him to the service of Jehovah. But
as he sacrificed to the graven image only from
policy, however pungent his convictions or alarm-
ing his fears, the expectation of personal advan-
tage would restrain him from yielding to their
power. From the spirit of rivalry between the
two kingdoms, the people would readily listen to
the suggestion, that what appeared miraculous on
this occasion was the result of natural causes;
and their proneness to idolatry would confirm their
belief.
Beware of the first wrong step, and be careful
when setting out in life to base your hope of suc-
cess on no employment or practice which has not
the sanction of the word of God. If you adopt a






36 LIFE OF JEROBOAM.
false principle, or sacrifice conscience for the love
of gain, popularity, or power, in your early course,
it will be a mill-stone around your neck all your
days. Interest, habit, the pride of consistency,
will forbid your return to the path of virtue; and
reformation, difficult in all circumstances, will seem
impossiblee in yours.






SICKNESS OF ABIJAH.


CHAPTER IV.

SICKNESS OF ABIJAH-WAR WITH JUDAH.--DEAT
OF JEROBOAM.

IF there was no sorrow, suffering, or death in
the dwellings of the wicked, they would soon cease
to feel their dependence on a higher power. "Be-
cause they have no changes, therefore they fear
not God." While all goes well with them they
profane his name, they neglect if not ridicule his
worship, they even say unto him in their hearts,
" Depart from us, for we desire not a knowledge of
thy ways." They seek for his favor only when
they tremble at his frowns.
For some time, we know not how long, Jero-
boam had been left by Providence to enjoy pros-
perity, notwithstanding his heinous transgression.
There was no settled peace between the two king-
doms during the lifetime of Rehoboam, but the
wars appear to have been carried on with little
vigor, neither side gaining any decisive advantage.
At length the divine hand began to chastise the
king of Israel for his apostasy. "At that time
Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick." When the
child's recovery became doubtful, having no confi-
dence in his idol-gods, Jeroboam wished to avail






LIFE OP JEROBOAM.


himself of the aid of Jehovah. But he could not
seek for this openly, in the appointed way, without
exposing his want of faith in the golden calves,
and thus hazarding the stability of his throne.
The feelings of the father struggled for a while
with the ambition of the monarch. At last, when
the extremity of the danger admitted no longer
delay, Jeroboam said to his wife, Arise, I pray
thee, and disguise thyself, that thou be not known
to be the wife of Jeroboam ; and get thee to Shi-
loh: behold, there is Ahijah the prophet, who told
me that I should be king over Israel."
Shiloh was about fifteen miles south of Shechem,
and a little east of the main road from that city
to Jerusalem. The royal residence was then at
Tirzah, the situation of which is not known at the
present day. It could not, however, have been very
far distant from Shiloh. Jeroboam had treated
Ahijah with so much ingratitude that he shrank
from consulting him in person. It would be much
easier, also, to conceal the queen's visit than his
own to Shiloh. She might in her disguise not only
escape public observation, but screen herself from
the aged prophet; and if she was detected by
Ahijah, the king might hope that a mother's anx-
iety for her sick child would awaken the sympa.
this of the prophet, and secure his intercession
with Jehovah in her behalf. According to eastern






ICKNEBBS OF ABIJAH.


custom, taking as a present for the prophet ten
loaves of bread, some cakes, and a pot of honey,
she departed on her journey. At such a crisis ma
ternal love would prompt her to remain at the bed-
side of her sick child, but the hope of procuring
relief from the prophet would reconcile her to the
short absence. The cares of government would
not divert the king from thinking of the errand on
which he had dispatched his wife, or suppress the
anxiety with which he awaited the result. Though
conscious that he could not expect divine interfer-
ence on his own account, possibly he had some
expectation of a favorable answer from the char-
acter of his son.
Ahijah could not see, for his eyes were set by
reason of age;" but the Lord informed him that
the queen was on her way to his humble dwell-
ing, and of the object of her coming. The sound
of her approaching footsteps greeted the ear of
Ahijah, and as she was entering the door he sur-
prised and overwhelmed her with the exclamation,
"Come in, thou wife of Jeroboam; why feignest
thou thyself to be another ? for I am sent to thee
with heavy tidings." He then bade her return
and tell Jeroboam, that for his abuse of the divine
goodness in making him king, and for his aggra-
vated sin in setting up molten images for worship,
the Lord would give his throne to another, who






40 LIFE OF JEROBOAM.
would utterly destroy his family. "Arise thou
therefore, get thee to thine own house: and when
thy feet enter into the city, the child shall die.
And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury
him: for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the
grave, because in him there is found some good
thing toward the Lord God of Israel in the house
of Jeroboam."
With feelings which only a mother can fully un-
derstand, the queen returned to the palace; and
when she came to the threshold of the door, the child
died." Notwithstanding their attachment to idols,
the whole nation were mourners over his grave-
a proof that he gave early promise of high distinc-
tion and usefulness. The Jews have a tradition
that he "disapproved of the golden calves, and
that he persuaded his father to withdraw the guards
and sentinels posted along the frontier to prevent
those from going to Jerusalem, at the three great
annual festivals, who still felt an inclination to
do so."
The death of Abijah, though a severe stroke to
the kingdom of Israel, was a merciful dispensation
of Providence to himself. He was taken away
from the evil to come." To punish Jeroboam for
disobedience, God had determined to extirpate his
family, and give the throne to another. This took
place a few years afterwards; and had Abijah






BARLY DEATH F0 ABIUAH.


lived to that time, he would have fallen a victim
to violence.
The power and grace of God are seldom more
clearly exhibited than in the brief story of young
Abijah. We wonder that such a plant of right-
eousness should spring up in the dreary wastes of
sin-that "some good thing towards the Lord God
of Israel" should be found even "in the house of
Jeroboam." It certainly was not owing to early
parental culture. Jeroboam wished to detach the
ten tribes from the house of David, and we may be
sure he would not train his own family to thwart
his purpose. He would desire almost any thing
sooner than that the heir to his throne should wor-
ship Jehovah in the forms prescribed by Moses.
If he ever prayed in the presence of Abijah, it was
to the golden calf at Bethel. If he ever spoke to
his son about religion, it was the religion of his idols.
If he ever offered sacrifice before his son, it was to
gods and in forms of his own heart's devising.
It is not improbable that Abijah spent his early
childhood in Egypt, in the midst of its degrading
worship. At any rate, the palaces of Jeroboam
would ring with the praises of the golden calves,
while the king and his courtiers would reproach,
or at best, speak slightingly of the worship of the
rival tribes. Nor would the written word be found
in the family of the apostate king of Israel. They






LIFE OP JEROBOAM.


who love darkness ever try to shut out the light of
heaven. Only a small portion of the inspired vol-
ume had then been communicated to our race, and
even this Abijah had probably never seen. The
priests and Levites, and other good men, had nearly
all emigrated to Judah, and those that remained
in the kingdom would live in seclusion, or at least
seek no fellowship with the idolatrous court. Nei-
ther friend nor counsellor would be found to lead
the young prince in the ways of piety.
But even from such a family, and in such an
age, God could raise up a monument of his grace.
While some perish, over whom saints now in heaven
have prayed and wept, the son of Jeroboam, we
may believe, is enjoying the society "of the just
made perfect." Surely, "it is not of him that
willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that
showeth mercy."

The kingdom of Judah was increasing in strength
by accessions from the ten tribes, and by the care of
Rehoboam in building cities and fortifying strong-
holds for defence. But Rehoboam "forsook the
law of the Lord, and all Israel with him." For so
sudden apostasy we are not prepared; it is con-
trary to the common course of things. Men are
prone to value beyond all reason the slightest theo-
logical or philosophical points which separate them






JUDAH INVADED BY HIBSHAK. 43

from each other. Whatever else is forgotten in
religion or philosophy, these are kept in mind;
whatever else is forsaken, these are obstinately re-
tained. This is eminently the case where power
or profit are connected with the points at issue.
One might expect, therefore, that the kings of Ju-
dah would resolutely adhere to thpestablished wor-
ship of Jehovah, especially while the separation
between the tribes was recent. If there had not
been a strong bias towards idols in the mind of
Rehoboam, he would never, in these circumstances,
have introduced their worship into his kingdom.
The origin of this bias we may, without much dan-
ger of mistake, trace to parental influence. His
mother was an Ammonitess, who doubtless wor-
shipped the gods of her native country; while
Solomon himself, at her instigation, went after
Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites."
To punish Rehoboam for his idolatry, God raised
up against him Shishak king of Egypt, as already
narrated. Some suppose that Jeroboam, to check
the growing power of the rival kingdom, induced
Shishak to invade Judah. Others suppose Shishak
was allured to make this inroad by the expectation
of a rich booty from the spoils of the temple. The
immense treasures laid up in ancient temples some-
times became the objects of desire to kings. Anti-
ochus the Great lost his life in attempting to seize






44 LIFE OF JEROBOAM.
the treasures in the temple at Elymais, in Persia;
and it is said of his son Antiochus Epiphanes, that
having heard that this temple was rich in cover-
ings of gold, and breastplates and shields, he sought
to take the city and spoil it. Shishak carried away
from the temple at Jerusalem the shields of gold
which Solomon h1d made."
Modern discoveries on Egyptian monuments are
thought by learned chronologists to confirm the
sacred record in respect to this invasion of Judah.
In the great court of Karnak, the exploits of Shi-
shak are represented in full. Among figures of cap-
tive kings, is one "with a physiognomy perfectly
Jewish." On a shield which the figure bears, is a
hieroglyphical inscription denoting "Juda," and
the Hebrew word denoting "the king." It is sup-
posed "that this was the king of Judah, treated
just as the Scriptures tell us he was-reduced to
servitude by Shishak, or Shishonk, king of Egypt."
In the eighteenth year of Jerobeam, Abijam
the son of Rehoboam succeeded to the throne of
Judah. As already mentioned, Rehoboam, to se-
cure the succession of Abijam, had distributed his
othersons among the fortified cities of his kingdom,
and made abundant provision for their support.
Away from the seat of power, and separate from
each other, they would have less opportunity of
forming conspiracies against the destined heir to






WAR WITR JUDAH. 46
the crown. In some oriental countries, the sons
of the reigning monarch were shut up in the harem
till the death of their father. They were then im-
prisoned, killed, or in some way made incapable
of acting in public life, that they might not disturb
their brother who occupied the throne. In Persia,
with barbarous cruelty, their eyes were put out.
The war between the two kingdoms of Judah
and Israel was carried on with new vigor during
the reign of Abijam. Gathering an army of four
hundred thousand men, he marched against the
hosts of Jeroboam, which were twice as numerous
as his own. Standing in an elevated place on the
mountains of Ephraim, so as to be heard by Jero-
boam and some of his army, he reproached the
Israelites for revolting from the house of David,
for worshipping the golden calves, casting out the
sons of Aaron and the Levites, and making priests
" after the manner of the nations of other lands."
With all this, he contrasted the fidelity of his own
people in keeping the law, and the regularity and
splendor of the daily services at the temple; and,
claiming to march under the banner of the Al-
mighty, warned the army of Israel, Fight ye not
against the Lord God of your fathers; for ye shall
not prosper."
Confident of victory, from the superior numbers
and valor of his forces, as well as from his own






LIFE OF J31OB3AM.


military skill and prowess, Jeroboam would care
little for the spirited speech of his opponent. Set-
ting an ambush against the army of Judah, he
attacked them at the same time in front and rear.
Unexpectedly beset on all sides, they "cried unto
the Lord, and the priests sounded with the silver
trumpets." Aroused by the expectation of divine
aid, they rushed with a shout on the ranks of their
enemies. Unable to resist the onset, the army of
Jeroboam fled from the field with the loss of five
hundred thousand men. From this severe disaster
Jeroboam never recovered. As the fruits of this
victory, the king of Judah took several cities of
Israel, among them Bethel, the seat of the image-
worship.
If no mistake has crept into the text through
the error of transcribers, this is the most sanguinary
battle on record. Contentions among brethren are
proverbially bitter, and civil wars bloody. Be-
sides, the army of Abijam was "in the enemy's
country, and in numbers much the weaker party-
too weak for mercy."
Selfish and hardened as he was, Jeroboam must
have surveyed with anguish this costly sacrifice
to his idols; but the Scriptures give no intimation
that he paused for a moment in his guilty career.
He had gone too far in his rebellious course to
think of receding. He was bound to his idols by






DEATH OF JEROBOAM. 47
cords which he could not burst asunder. He sinned
on, with the miserable certainty that the very
measure he had devised to secure the crown in his
family would prove the cause of its extinction, and
load his own name with infamy.
After a reign of twenty-two years, Jeroboam
slept with his fathers. The history says that "the
Lord smote him, and he died." His son and suc-
cessor Nadab walked in his ways. Having reigned
two years, he was dethroned and slain by Baasha
of the tribe of Issachar, who seized the crown, and
to perpetuate it in his own family, put all the
descendants of Jeroboam to death.
The dust of the apostate monarch whose life
we have briefly sketched, long since mingled with
its kindred earth, and the place of his sepulchre is
unknown. But in the gallery of revelation, amid
the memorials of saints and heroes, a portrait,
gloomy and repulsive, hangs, and will for ever
hang in unenviable prominence, inscribed with the
indelible characters of heaven-" JEROBOAM THE
SON OF NEBAT, WHO MADE ISRAEL TO SIN."











LIFE OF ASA.


CHAPTER V.

fOUTH OF ASA-DEFEAT OF THE ETHIOPIANB-
ASA'S DEFECTION.
ABnUA king of Judah died after a short reign of
three years. He was a prince of much vigor and
capacity. Following the example of his father
Rehoboam, he favored idolatry, but he did not en-
tirely desert the worship of Jehovah. In his ad-
dress to the army of the ten tribes, he said some-
what boastingly, We keep the charge of the Lord
our God, but ye have forsaken him." He had dedi-
cated "silver, and gold, and vessels" to the Lord,
but did not live to complete the offering. They
were brought into the temple by his son and suc-
cessor Asa, who ascended the throne of Judah two
years before the death of Jeroboam, 970 years be-
fore the Christian era.
The mother, or as many suppose, the grand-
mother of Asa, was Maachah the daughter of
Absalom. 1Kings,15:10; 2Chron.11:21. Dur-
ing his childhood, she appears to have managed the
jdOt--. 4






LIFE OF ABA.


affairs of the kingdom. She was a very supersti-
tious woman, and encouraged idolatry by all the
means in her power. We might expect her influ-
ence over the young prince would be pernicious;
but he walked in the steps of David, and did that
which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord
his God."
The first ten years of his reign, the kingdom of
Judah for the most part enjoyed the blessings of
peace. The rival kingdom of Israel, weakened by
unsuccessful wars, was in no condition to engage
in hostile enterprises of any great magnitude. As
soon as Asa assumed the active administration of
the government, he set himself in earnest to restore
the worship of Jehovah. "He took away the al-
tars of the strange gods, and the high places, and
brake down the images, and cut down the groves;
and commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of
their fathers, and to do the law and the command-
ments." He did not even spare the idol worship-
ped by Maachah, but burnt it at the brook Kid-
ron. He removed her from the rank she held at
court, to weaken her influence, and show his in-
flexible determination to purify his kingdom from
idolatry.
Taking advantage of the season of tranquillity,
Asa built fortified cities to protect the country
against invasion; for though he could count on the






HIS EARLY WISDOM. 61
aivine aid so long as he was faithful in the divine
service, he knew that he could not safely neglect
the appropriate means of defence. God does not
work miracles to relieve men from the trouble of
taking care of themselves. To rely on his aid,
either in our bodily or spiritual wants, while we
neglect to use the powers he has given us, is pre-
sumption, not faith. If he has said, Ask, and ye
shall receive," can we expect to receive without
asking? If he has said, "Give me thy heart,"
can we expect a new heart while passively and
sluggishly slumbering in sin?
Asa might have spent this season of security in
sensual gratification and useless display; many
young persons if at the head of a kingdom would
have done so. But he thought this interval of
freedom from hostile inroads should be devoted to
a better purpose "Therefore he said unto Judah,
Let us build these cities, and make about them
walls and towers, gates and bars, while the land
enjoys peace." He foresaw that this state of quiet
would not always last, and that now was the time
to provide against dangers. "So they built and
prospered." How lovely is such early discretion
and forecast. And yet, how many spend the golden
morning of life on trifles, regardless of the prepa-
ration they ought to make for performing their
duties in this state of being, and securing the joys






LIFE OF ABA.


and glories of another. "Remember now thy
Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil
days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when
thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them."
The kingdom of Judah grew rapidly in wealth
and numbers during this period of peace. In both
the tribes were five hundred and eighty thousand
mighty men of valor, armed with the weapons of
war usual in those days, and ready to obey the
summons of their king. The country had enjoyed
an interval of repose unusually long for those un-
settled times. But now the day of trouble and
peril for which Asa had been providing was nigh
at hand. An enemy whose skill and prowess he
had never tried, was approaching his kingdom. A
thousand thousand men and three hundred char-
iots dashed like an ocean wave on the southern
borders of Judah.* They had already advanced to
Mareshah, about twenty miles south-west of Jeru-
salem. If Asa had neglected the means of defence,
he might have surrendered his capital without
*Several difficulties occur in this part of the sacred record,
chiefly in regard to names and numbers. Chronologers ac-
count for them in various ways. Without a constant miracle,
some mistakes of this sort must be expected to occur in the
process of transcription through so long a period. They do
not affect the divine origin of the Scriptures, and it would be
out of place, in a work like the present, to notice them in
detail.






ETHIOPIAN INVASION


striking a blow, as Rehoboam did about thirty
years before, when the kingdom was invaded by
the hosts of Shishak. But Asa was not incapaci-
tated for action by fear. Hastily assembling his
forces, he boldly marched to the encounter. His
chief reliance for victory was not on an arm of
flesh, but on the power and promise of Jehovah.
While the two armies were confronting each other,
the king of Judah raising his hands to heaven,
cried unto Jehovah his God and said, Jehovah,
it is nothing with thee to help, whether with
many, or with them that have no power: help us,
0 Jehovah our God; for we rest on thee, and in
thy name we go against this multitude. 0 Je-
hovah, thou art our God; let not man prevail
against thee." Inspired with irresistible courage
by the expectation of divine aid, the Hebrews
rushed on the countless hosts of the enemy, who,
" smitten by the Lord," fled panic-struck from the
field. After taking many cities and gathering im-
mense spoil, Asa returned with his army to Jeru-
salem.
Whence these Ethiopians came is a matter of
doubt. Some suppose they came from Ethiopia
proper, which lay south of Egypt on the Nile.
But would a million men have been permitted to
march through Egypt on their way to attack the
kingdom of Judah ? Others suppose the Ethiopi-






54 LIFE OF ABA.
ans had usurped the throne of Egypt, and invaded
Judah from that country. But of such a usurpa-
tion there is no account. Others, with more prob-
ability, suppose that these Ethiopians or Cush
ites inhabited the southern shores of Arabia along
the coast of the Red sea, which country was called
Cush by the Hebrews; and that Zerah their leader
was king or chief of a powerful Arabian tribe. The
invaders manifestly led a pastoral life; for in ac-
cordance with the customs of many of the eastern
tribes, they brought with them on their expedi-
tion "sheep and camels in abundance." A part of
the forces of Zerah were "Lubians" or Lybians.
2 Chron. 16 :8. But the Lybians inhabited the
deserts west of Egypt, and it is hardly credible
that they could penetrate through the breadth of
that kingdom to join his army. To meet this dif-
ficulty, it has been suggested that the Lybians who
were allies of Shishak in his attack on the king-
dom of Rehoboam, about thirty years before,
2 Chron. 12:3, instead of returning to their own
country, chose to remain in the desert between Pal-
estine and Egypt. To this region they were pur-
sued by the victorious Hebrews.
As Asa and his army, on their return, approached
the holy city with shouts and songs of triumph, the
people would go forth in crowds to congratulate them
on their success. "The Spirit of the Lord came






MESSAGE OF A PROPHET.


upon Azariah the son of Oded," and he addressed his
sovereign with the authority and dignity befitting
a messenger of heaven. Hear ye me, Asa, and
all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you,
while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be
found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake
you." Such language well became the occasion.
Returning to the capital flushed with victory and
laden with its spoils, both the king and the army
might need to be reminded that all their success
was due to Jehqvah. In the excitement of the
hour, they might ascribe the honor of the wonderful
deliverance to their own courage and skill. Men
are seldom more exposed to vain-glory than when
saved from some appalling danger, or loaded with
some unlooked-for benefit. What should excite the
soul to gratitude turns it away from God, and what
should lead it to obedience only lays it open to the
power of temptation. Even the special mapifesta-
tions of God's presence to the Christian, the joys
of his salvation, by throwing the soul off its guard,
are sometimes precursors of lamentable defection
and days of darkness.
The prophet enforced his exhortation by exhib-
iting the dealings of God with the Hebrews. When
faithful in his service, they were peaceful and pros-
perous; but when they forsook his laws and wor-
shipped idols, God did vex them with all adver-






LIFE OF ASA.


sity." Civil discord prevailed, city was in conflict
with city, and tribe with tribe ; there was no quiet,
no security in the land; "no peace to him that
went out, nor to him that came in; but great vex-
ations were upon all the inhabitants of the coun-
tries." Thus it had been centuries before in the
days of the Judges, and thus it was still in the
idolatrous kingdom of Israel.
Admonished and encouraged by this message of
thd prophet, Asa cleansed Judah and Benjamin
from "the abominable idols" which were still har-
bored by his subjects, notwithstanding his diligence
in exterminating idolatry at the beginning of his
reign. He carried the reformation into the cities
which had been taken from the kingdom of Israel.
As the golden calf was still worshipped at Bethel,
it is supposed that this city had bben restored or
retaken.
There was now a new emigration of pious men
from the ten tribes, when they saw the earnestness
of the king of Judah in restoring the worship of
Jehovah, and the success which rewarded his ef-
forts. Gathering his subjects and these strangers
together at Jerusalem in the fifteenth year of his
reign, Asa held a solemn festival. As a thank-
offering to the Lord for the victory over the Ethi-
opians, they sacrificed seven hundred oxen and
seven thousand sheep from the spoils taken in that






INVASION OF BAABHA. 07
war. At the same time, they entered into a cove-
nant "to seek Jehovah the God of their fathers
with all their heart and with all their soul." Who-
ever would not do this, whether small or great,
man or woman, was to be put to death. Their
offerings and their solemn promises were accepted,*
and Jehovah gave them rest round about." Thus
Asa and all the people were witnesses to the truth
of the prophet's declaration, The Lord is with you,
while ye be with him."
For some time, the kingdom of Judah was undis-
turbed by hostile inroads. At length, "in the six
and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa, Baasha
king of Israel came up against Judah, and built
Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go
out or come in to Asa king of Judah." His purpose
seems to have been to hinder his subjects from mi-
grating, or from going up, as they perhaps began
to be more inclined to do, to keep the festivals at
Jerusalem. It is supposed that this was in the
twenty-sixth year of Asa, and not in the "thirty-
sixth," as it stands in the present copies, for Baasha
began to reign in the third year of Asa, and he
reigned but twenty-four years. Some, however,
suppose that this invasion is reckoned from the sep-
aration of the tribes, thirty-five years before, and
that it took place in the fifteenth year of Asa.
Ramah was a frontier town, on a high hill six






LIFE OF\ASA.


miles north of Jerusalem. It was a little east of
the main road from that city to Samaria and Gali-
lee. A garrison there would easily command the
communication between the two kingdoms. Baa-
sha would not have been able to conquer and hold
possession of Ramah, if his kingdom had not in
some measure recovered its strength; nor would
Asa willingly suffer his rival to carry on such an
enterprise almost under the walls of his capital.
The faith of Asa in the protecting care of Jeho-
vah seems to haye been weakened by prosperity.
Forgetting the victory gained by his father over
the superior forces of Jeroboam, and his own vic-
tory over the Ethiopians, he despatched messengers
with treasures taken from the house of the Lord, to
hire Ben-hadad king of Syria to break the league
between him and Baasha, and come to his relief.
Thus, in an unhappy hour, he yielded to the policy
of forming alliances with heathen kings, which
was so often condemned by the prophets, and which
at length proved fatal to the nation. The king of
Syria overran the northern portion of the ten tribes,
and took several cities. This inroad recalled Baa-
sha to the defence of his own kingdom. Congrat-
ulating himself doubtless on his successful manage-
ment, Asa made a general levy of his subjects to
destroy the works which Baasha had left incom-
plete. With the stones and the timber they built






ESTRANGEMENT FROM oOD. 69
Geba and Mizpah, the former two miles east, the
latter about the same distance south-west of Ra-
mah.
The heart of the king of Judah had become
estranged from Jehovah. If he offered sacrifice
on his altar, it was an unmeaning service. He had
ceased to confide in his power for protection. He
now began to experience the truth of the divine
declaration, "Cursed is the man that trusteth in
man, that maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart
departeth from the Lord." In this state of mind,
he was met by Hanani the seer with a message
from heaven: Because thou hast relied on the king
of Syria, and not relied on Jehovah thy God, there-
fore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of
thy hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubim
a huge host, with very many chariots and horse-
men? yet, because thou didst rely on Jehovah,
he delivered them into thy hand. For the eyes of
Jehovah run to and fro throughout the whole earth,
to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose
heart is perfect towards him. Herein thou hast
done foolishly; therefore from henceforth thou shalt
have wars."
When we call to mind the conduct of Asa in for-
mer years, we might expect he would at once ac-
knowledge his folly, and penitently return to his
allegiance. But as if he had now taken Jeroboam






LIFE OF ASA.


for a pattern instead of David, he rejected the mes-
sage and treated the messenger with contempt and
violence. Raging with passion, he put Hanani "in
a prisop-house," and dealt cruelly with some of his
subjects who ventured perhaps to disapprove of his
course. Injustice towards man and impiety tow-
ards God generally go hand in hand. How sad a
contrast with that Asa who cried in his distress,
" Help us, 0 Jehovah our God, for we rest on thee."
How little thought the king of Judah, when he
bound his people small and great with a solemn
oath to serve Jehovah, that he should ever be found
in open rebellion against the divine authority. He
that trusteth in his own heart is a fool."
The history does not inform us how long Asa
continued practically to disown the God of his
fathers. He reigned at least fifteen years after
this, and as the pen of inspiration gives him the
general character of sincerity in the service of Je-
hovah, we may hope his defection was only tem-
porary. Neither are we informed in the sacred
record who were the enemies that disturbed the
latter part of his reign. Baasha died the next year
after the defeat of his enterprise at Ramah, and the
ten tribes were agitated by internal commotions
and conspiracies nearly all the rest of Asa's life.
During this period, therefore, his kingdom cannot
have suffered much molestation from that quarter.






OLOBB OF HIS REIGN.


The last two years of his reign, Asa was afflicted
with a severe disease in his feet. His besetting
sin of trusting in man led him to employ unlawful
remedies for his recovery, while he seems not to
have exhibited a suitable sense of his dependence
on Jehovah. The" physicians" to whom he resort-
ed for relief probably used secret charms, or pro-
fessed to work cures through other deceptive arts.
His mind would thus be drawn away from proper
confidence in God. This would be dishonorable to
Jehovah, and unbecoming a pious monarch. It
would be especially obnoxious to the feelings of the
strict Hebrews, who, at an earlier age than this,
were disposed to look on the whole medical art "as
an abominable thing." Notwithstanding the rem-
edies Asa employed, his disease increased in sever-
ity, and put an end to his life after he had reigned
forty-one years.
To testify their respect for his character, and their
approbation of the manner in which he had con-
ducted the government, the people gave him a
pompous burial. His body was burnt with many
aromatic substances, and the collected ashes were
deposited in a sepulchre which he had prepared for
himself on mount Zion. The Hebrews were at
first averse to this mode of burial, which was com-
mon among the heathen nations; but they had
adopted it in the time of Asa, and not to be burned






LIFE OF ABA.


was then thought a most signal disgrace. After th,
captivity there was another change of sentiment
and the Jews conceived a great hatred to this rite

Baasha the king of Israel, who had been em
played by Providence to exterminate the posterity
of Jeroboam, imitated the example of that wicked
prince, and his own family were doomed to a sim-
ilar fate. Elah, who succeeded his father Baasha,
was killed in a drunken fit, after a reign of two
years, by Zimri "the captain of half his chariots."
Zimri enjoyed only seven days the throne to which
he had waded through blood; but in that short time
he showed his savage disposition by destroying all
the family of Baasha. Besieged in Tirzah the cap-
ital by Omri, whom the army had made king, Zimri
went into the palace, and setting it on fire, perished
in the ruins. A part of the people meanwhile had
made Tibni king; but after some time, probably
about five years, he died, and Omri became sole
monarch. Omri reigned twelve years. The royal
residence at Tirzah having been destroyed in the
civil wars, and the city itself probably injured,
Omri determined to select a new seat of govern-
ment, and build a new palace. Accordingly, in the
sixth year of his reign, he built Samaria, which re-
ceived its name from that of Shemer, the former
owner of the beautiful hill on which the city stood.






CONTEMPORARY KINGS. 63
It is about forty-five miles north of Jerusalem. It
was the seat of idolatry for about two hundred
years, when it was taken by the Assyrians. About
six hundred years after, it was razed to the ground
by John Hyrcanus. "Not a vestige of ancient Sa.
maria remains." The city was rebuilt and adorned
with regal munificence by Herod, and many impos-
ing ruins of walls and vast colonnades still exist. It
is now a small village called Sebaste.
Omri was a vile prince, but he was outdone in
wickedness by his son and successor Ahab, who
began to reign two years before the death of Asa.
Thus, during the single reign of Asa, there were in
the convulsed rival kingdom seven kings, each worse
than his predecessor, while idolatry and misery were
rife throughout the land.










LIFE OF JEHOSHAPHAT.



CHAPTER VI.

EARLY MISSION-ALLIANCE WITH AHAB.
SJEHOSAPHAT the son of Asa ascended the throne
of Judah in the fourth, or as some reckon, in the
second year of Ahab, at the mature age of thirty-
five. We have no record of his early days, but
from his almost uniform course of uprightness and
piety, we may be confident that he sought the God
of his fathers in the morning of life. The Ethiopian
invasion happening when he was about nine years
old, he was of an age to appreciate and remember
that striking interposition of Jehovah in behalf of
his country. His youth was spent in the best part
of his father's reign, while Asa was yet earnest in
rooting idolatry out of the land, and had not
swerved from the service of the true God. The
domestic training of the young prince, the peaceful
state of the kingdom, and the whole current of the
times, were favorable to the right formation of his
character, and through grace he seems to have
JobaU 5






LIFE OF JEHOSHAPHAT.


escaped or overcome the temptations that ever
beset the heir apparent to the throne.
Though of a peaceable disposition, one of the
first measures of Jehoshaphat after he became king
was to strengthen with garrisons the fortified cities
of Judah, and the cities which his predecessors had
taken in mount Ephraim. He might apprehend
an invasion from the rival tribes, like that in the
preceding reign, and he chose not to invite attacks
on his kingdom by making it an easy prey.
Ahab had introduced the worship of Baal into
Samaria, but Jehoshaphat sought to the Lord
God of his father, and walked in his command-
ments, and not after the doings of Israel." Jeho-
vah rewarded the piety and steadfastness of Je-
hoshaphat by establishing "the kingdom in his
hand," and securing to him the affection and con-
fidence of the people. They brought presents to
him from every part of the land, and "he had
riches and honor in abundance." But this pros-
perity did not turn his heart away from the Lord.
It only encouraged him to purify his kingdom from
idolatry.
Not content with removing the high places and
groves, and all the means of idolatrous worship,
Jehoshaphat meditated a blow at the root of the
evil. He saw that it was useless to try to keep
the people from idolatry, so long as they were igno-






EARLY MISSION.


rant of the law of Jehovah. They might be re-
claimed for a season from the worship of graven
images, but there could be no hope of a permanent
reformation, unless they were better instructed in
the statutes of the Lord. But what could be done?
Synagogues, or places for public worship and read-
ing the law, had not yet been established. Schools
for the instruction of the common people were un-
known. Manuscript copies of the sacred records
it was not possible to multiply in sufficient num-
bers for the millions of his subjects. The rehearsal
of the law once in seven years before the assem-
bled nation, at the feast of tabernacles, would not
remedy the evil. How then could the king of
Judah speedily diffuse a knowledge of the statutes
of Jehovah through the land ? His heart was set
on effecting this object, and difficulties only stim-
ulated him to devise some method for its accom-
plishment.
In the third year of his reign, moved as some
suppose by the recent apostasy of the ten tribes to
Baal, Jehoshaphat issued a commission to five of
his princes to go through the cities of Judah and
teach the people. With these he joined nine Le-
vites and two priests, chosen doubtless for their
aptness in communicating instruction, and their
zeal in honoring Jehovah and his. laws. While
they remained in a city, the people would gather







LIFE OF JEHOBHAPHAT.


around them from day to day, and wait on their
teaching. From the princes, they would learn
their duties to the king and government; from the
priests, they would learn the statutes and com-
mandments of Jehovah, the blessings of obedience,
and the penalties annexed to the worship of idols;
while the Levites would teach them concerning
the rites and ceremonies of their religion. To con-
firm the instructions which they gave, the com-
missioners carried with them the book of the law
of the Lord." By this wise expedient, which may
perhaps oe regarded as the earliest form of home
or domestic missions, instruction was carried to the
people throughout all the cities of Judah."
The Scriptures were the appropriate armor of
these early missionaries in their assault upon igno-
rance and superstition. Idol gods flee before the
Bible-idol altars cannot stand in its presence. It
is the terror of image-worshippers in every age.
Unlike Jehoshaphat, such worshippers have no
desire to extend the circulation of the Bible, con-
scious that it never prophesies good of them, but
always evil."
We are.not surprised to read, in connection with
this thoughtful provision for the religious welfare
of his subjects, that the blessing of Jehovah rested
on the godly king of Judah. "And the fear of the
Lord fell upon the kingdoms of the land that were






ALLIANCE WITH AHAB. 69
roul about Judah, so that they made no war
against Jehoshaphat. Also some of the Philistines
brought to Jehoshaphat presents and tribute-silver;
and the Arabians brought him flocks, seven thou-
sand and seven hundred rams, and seven thousand
and seven hundred he-goats." This is inaccordance
with the covenant of God with Israel. The neigh-
boring nations had no desire to attack the king of
Judah. When a man's ways please the Lord, he
maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him."
The people of the surrounding countries may have
already found, from their own experience, that it
was perilous to wage war with the Hebrews when
they were faithful in the service of Jehovah.
The population of his kingdom increased rapidly,
and the preparations of Jehoshaphat for the de-
fence of the country kept pace with its prosperity.
He built numerous castles and cities of store, and
increased his army so that it amounted to more
than a million of valiant men, ready for war when-
ever summoned to active service.
Until this time, no treaty had been formed be-
tween the kingdoms of Judah and Israel since the
revolt of the ten tribes. Jehoshaphat now "joined
affinity with Ahab." What induced him to enter
into an alliance with so wicked and idolatrous a
prince, the narrative does not state. The propo-
sition for such a measure probably came from the






LIFE OF JEHOSHAPHAT.


latter. The weak king of Israel might wish,)y a
coalition with his powerful rival, to strengthen
himself against the Syrians. Some suppose Je-
hoshaphat hoped, by a matrimonial alliance be-
tween the royal families, to reunite the two king-
doms, in case Ahab should leave no son to be heir
to his throne. Others suppose that he was influ-
enced by his easy temper and dislike of war to
adopt the measure without reflecting on its injuri-
ous tendency. Perhaps he thought that after the
tribes had been so long separated, they would
never come together under one government, and
that a good understanding between the two king-
doms was better than a state of jealousy, aliena-
tion, and watchfulness of each against the inroads
of the other. Or possibly he might hope that
under the soothing influence of peace, the tribes
would at last coalesce and form but one govern-
ment.
Whatever was the motive, it partook more of
worldly policy than of regard to the' honor of Jeho-
vah. Jehoshaphat might anticipate no danger to
his subjects from intermingling with the followers
of Baal; he might even persuade himself that it
would draw some of the ten tribes to the worship
of the true God. But so long as men love error
and sin, it is safe to withdraw ourselves and have
no fellowship with them. The physician may visit






ALLLIANO .WITH AHAB.


the sick-room to heal his patient, the moral teacher
may mingle with the dissolute and profane to turn
them to holiness, but "a companion of fools shall
be destroyed." Intercourse with the ungodly in
business or in social life, unless especial care is
exercised, tarnishes religious sensibility. Can a
man take fire into his bosom and not be burned ?"
One of the early fruits of this unwise alliance
between the two kingdoms was the marriage of
Jehoram, the heir to the throne of Judah, with
Athaliah the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel: This
took place about the thirteenth year of Jehosha-
phat's reign. So sad a contrast with the former
course of their king must have filled the pious men
of Judah with grief and astonishment. Unless some
powerful motive of state policy operated on the
mind of Jehoshaphat, it would be difficult to account
for his sanction of such a measure. So sagacious
a prince could scarcely fail to perceive the baleful
influence this union with the family and fortunes
of Ahab would have on the religious institutions
he was anxious to establish. The unscrupulous,
blood-thirsty Jezebel had tyrannized over a weak
monarch, and used him as an instrument to destroy
the servants and worship of Jehovah among the
ten tribes, and nothing less ought Jehoshaphat to
expect from elevating her daughter to the highest
place in his realm.






72 LIFE OF JEROHBAPBAT.
Jehoshaphat may however have been drawn into
this measure by the flattering advances of Ahab for
an alliance between the royal families of Israel and
Judah. Bold as Jehoshaphat was in meeting
dangers, and skilful as he was in forming expedi
ents for the welfare of his subjects, he seems to
have possessed a yielding temper, which exposed
him sometimes to become the tool of crafty, design-
ing men. With such a disposition, his only secu-
rity lay in promptly rejecting the temptation, and
removing the tempter from his presence.
From unwillingness to refuse compliance with
the unreasonable wishes of others, how many are
drawn into schemes which blast their temporal
prospects, and into circles of influence which prove
fatal to their eternal interests. How many a youth
has become a victim to unlawful pleasures through
the solicitations of some corrupt Ahab, when the
taste, the conscience, and the heart all struggled
against the sacrifice. No man is safe in his char-
acter and welfare for this world or the next, who
would rather wound his conscience than resist the
importunities of the unreasonable or the profligate.






VISIT TO IAMARIA.


CHAPTER VII.

HELPING THE UDGODLY.
Is the fifteenth year of Jehoshaphat's reign, Ben-
hadad the king of Syria assembled all his forces,
and laid siege to Samaria. The king of Judah took
no part in this war, notwithstanding his connection
with Ahab. Defeated in the attack on Samaria,
Ben-hadad again invaded Israel the following sea-
son, with no better success. After an interval of
three years' quiet, Ahab renewed hostilities by an
attempt to retake Ramoth-Gilead. This was a
strong city on the east side of the river Jordan,
held at that time by the Syrians, but belonging to
the kingdom of Israel. It was one of the places
probably which Ben-hadad had covenanted to re-
store to that kingdom. 1 Kings, 20 :34. When he
had the king of Syria in his power, Ahab would
never suffer him to retain a post of such strength
in the heart of his kingdom. After regaining his
liberty, Ben-hadad seems to have refused to com-
ply with the terms of the treaty.
While Ahab was preparing for this expedition,
Jehoshaphat unwisely went down to Samaria to
visit his ally. He was received with great pomp
by the crafty king of Israel, who hoped to turn his






LIFE OF JEHOBHAPHAT.


hospitality to good account by enlisting Jehosha-
phat in the war. The king of Judah had no valid
reason for taking part in it. Hitherto the Syrians
had made no inroads on his territories, and it was
bad policy to incur their enmity, and become im-
plicated in the contentions of foreign countries.
But through the smooth words of Ahab, he was
persuaded to plunge his kingdom into a war, in
which the gain, if any, would strengthen the power
of his rival, while the loss only would be his own.
To the invitation of Ahab, Wilt thou go up with
me to Ramoth-Gilead ?" he replied hastily, "I am
as thou art, and my people as thy people; and we
will be with thee in the war." But he had scarcely
given this pledge, before he seems to have been
sensible of the imprudence, if not criminality, of
such a step. He wished to be assured by Jehovah
that success would attend the undertaking, or at
least, that it was not displeasing in his sight.
" Inquire, I pray thee, of the word of Jehovah to-
-day," he said hesitatingly to the idolatrous Ahab.
This was a strange request to make in such a place,
and of such a personage. It only shows the un-
natural association in which Jehoshaphat had been
involved by his complying temper.
To mock at the religious convictions of the king
of Judah would not answer for Ahab in the pres-
ent circumstances. Doubtless he had often done






MIOAIAH CONSULTED.


this before, and if his life had not been cut short,
would have done so again, notwithstanding the aid
as foolishly as generously furnished by his pious
ally. In this predicament, Ahab assembled four
hundred false prophets, who with one accord as-
sured him of a successful termination of the enter-
prise. The scruples of Jehoshaphat were not yet
satisfied. He seems to have been sensible that
they were practising deception; and conscience
getting the victory over complaisance, he said, "Is
there not here a prophet of Jehovah besides, that
we might inquire of him ?" Ahab was for a mo-
ment thrown off his guard by this urgency of Je-
hoshaphat, and disclosing his true feelings at the
risk of alienating his ally, he replied, "There is
yet one man by whom we may inquire of Jehovah:
but I hate him; for he never prophesieth good unto
me, but always evil: the same is Micaiah the son
of Imla." With more courtesy than had been
shown by his royal entertainer, Jehoshaphat re-
marked, Let not the king say so." If on this occa-
sion the king of Judah was not as bold and manly
in avowing the supremacy of Jehovah and the
vanity of idols as became the head of God's chosen
people, here at least was some advance towards a
confession and defence of his own religious faith.
As there was no plausible ground for declining
the request of Jehoshaphat an officer was dis-






LIFE OF JEHOSHAPHAT.


patched to bring Micaiah in haste to the royal
presence. Ahab would anticipate little satisfao-
tion from the interview, if, as the Jews suppose, it
was this prophet who reproved him for letting the
king of Syria escape out of his hands. The mes-
senger informed Micaiah, whether at the suggestion
of Ahab does not appear, that all the prophets with
one consent promised a prosperous event to the
enterprise, and urged him to confirm their piedic-
tion. Familiar with the false prophets nourished
by Jezebel, he appears not to have doubted that
Micaiah, for the sake of reward, without regard to
truth or integrity, would utter whatever was put
into his mouth. Thus corrupt men, judging others
from the feelings and character of themselves and
their associates, often accuse Christians of hypoc-
risy, and denounce all religion as imposture.
The kings of Judah and Israel were seated, in
royal apparel, each on his throne, in an open place
near the gate of Samaria. As Micaiah came into
their presence, Ahab put to him the inquiry sug-
gested by Jehoshaphat, Shall we go to Ramoth-
Gilead to battle, or shall I forbear ?" The proph-
et promptly replied, "Go ye up and prosper, and
they shall be delivered into your hand." The tone
and expression of countenance with which this was
spoken, made Ahab suspect that it was meant in
irony. Borne on as it seems by a divine power to






MlIAIAA IMPABIONID. 77
urge a revelation of his own destiny, he adjured
Micaiah to speak only the truth to him in the name
of Jehovah. With intense earnestness, which, if
disregarded by the hardened king of Israel, must
have thrilled through the heart of Jehoshaphat,
the prophet foretold in figurative but expressive
language, that Ahab would be smitten on the field
of battle. I saw all Israel scattered on the hills,
as sheep that have no shepherd; and the Lord said,
These have no master: let them return every man
to his own house in peace."
To prevent the depressing influence of this pre-
diction on the mind of his ally, Ahab endeavored
to persuade him that it was dictated by prejudice
or enmity. "Did I not tell thee that he would not
prophesy good unto me, but evil ?" Still further
to show his own real or pretended disbelief of the
prediction, be ordered the prophet to be shut up in
prison and treated harshly until the victorious re-
turn of the king from Ramoth-Gilead. On the other
hand, Micaiah, staking his prophetic character on
the event of the enterprise, called on all the peo-
ple to take notice of the result.
The prophet, reposing calmly on Jehovah for
deliverance, was conveyed to his lonely prison.
There, subsisting on "the bread of affliction and the
water of affliction," he enjoyed a peace unfelt by
the allied kings, who, unheeding the divine warn-






78 LIFE OF JEHOBOAPHAT.
ing, marched to execute their design. Whether
Ben-hadad, having intelligence of the meditated
attempt on Ramoth-Gilead, anticipated it by an
attack on the combined forces of Israel and Judah,
or whether he went to relieve that city from siege,
does not appear. When the two armies were
drawn up in array, the king of Israel said to Je-
hoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and will go to
the battle; but put thou on thy robes." Some
suppose Ahab hoped that Jehoshaphat, thus made
a conspicuous mark for the enemy, would fall on
the field, and that he himself, through the medium
of Jehoram, who married his daughter, should con-
trol the kingdom of Judah. Some think, that
aware of the design of Ben-hadad to effect his de-
struction, he took this method for security. Perhaps
he was more alarmed by the prediction of Micaiah
than he cared to have known by others. Treating
it openly with scorn, he may have inwardly re-
garded it as of probable fulfilment. The wicked
are prone to be superstitious. Their consciences
testify that they deserve ill. When danger ap-
proaches, they are often filled with terrors, which
the pride of consistency drives them to conceal.
By what plausible pretext Ahab covered his own
gloomy apprehensions, or urged Jehoshaphat to
expose himself to the Syrian shafts, the history
does not state. It may have been under the pre-






BATTLE WITH REN-RADAD.


tence of honoring him with the chief command.
Suspecting no ill-intent on the part of Ahab, the
king of Judah did not decline the post of danger
or honor. He went into the battle in his purple
robes; while the subtle Ahab, secure, as he imag-
ined, from the threatened fate under the guise of a
common soldier or an inferior officer, would not
trouble himself about the safety of his ally.
Ben-hadad had ordered the thirty-two captains
of his chariots to fight "neither with small or
great, save only with the king of Israel." Such
is the gratitude of the wicked. Ahab, at the sac-
rifice of his own interests, had not long before
spared the life of Ben-hadad and dismissed him
with an advantageous treaty. When the Syrian
captains saw Jehoshaphat in his royal robes direct-
ing the allied hosts, they compassed him around
to fight, not doubting that he was the king of Is-
rael. In great alarm, Jehoshaphat cried out for
protection. The guilt of pressing into such danger
against an admonition from heaven, and the un-
happy fate of falling on the battle-field among the
followers of Baal, must have filled his mind with
horror. But Jehovah in mercy shielded his erring
servant in the houi of danger. Discovering their
mistake, the Syrian captains departed from Je-
hoshaphat.
While the battle was yet raging, one of the






80 LIFE OF JBIOUArI AT.
Syrians shot an arrow without any certain aim,
which penetrated the armor of Ahab and inflicted
a mortal wound. "And there went a proclama-
tion throughout the host, about the going down of
the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every
man to his own country." Thus was the scene
which passed in vision before the mind of the
prophet, soon made a reality






JXK13 Z1M10V13 RIX.


CHAPTER VIII.

DIVINE AID AND VICTORY- CHARACTER OF JE-
HOBHAPHAT.

MEN are apt to be soured by disappointments,
and to blame others rather than acknowledge them-
selves the authors of their own misfortunes. They
often bear reproof better even in the height of
prosperity, than when smarting under the moitifi-
cation of defeat. They do not like to be told that
they have procured the evil by their own miscon-
duct. They are prone to brace their hearts.against
censure, regarding it as unkindness, if not triumph-
ing in their calamity.
His idolatrous associate having fallen on the field
of battle, and the allied army being scattered, Je-
hoshaphat was returning to his capital from the
unsuccessful expedition against Ramoth-Gilead. As
he approached Jerusalem, he was met by "Jehu
the son of Hanani the seer," who, undeterred by the
violence which Asa inflicted on his father for per-
forming a similar duty, bore a message to Jehosh-
aphat that might, if the king was unhumbled, ex-
pose the reprover to severe punishment. "Should-
est thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate
J.boM.6 6






82 LIFE OF JEROBHAPHAT.
the Lord ? therefore is wrath upon thee from before
the Lord. Nevertheless, there are good things
found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the
groves out of the land, and hast prepared thy heart
to seek God."
If the king of Judah had not already reflected
on the impropriety of his alliance with Ahab, this
message was fitted to show him its real character.
" What fellowship hath righteousness with unright-
eousness ?" Jehovah was the head of the Hebrew
commonwealth, and a partnership with the fol-
lowers of Baal was rebellion against his govern-
ment. Did it become Jehoshaphat, even in ap-
pearance, to exalt an idol to an equality with the
God of the Hebrews? How unlike this was the
generous, sensitive loyalty of the pious psalmist:
" Do not I hate them, 0 Jehovah, that hate thee?
and am I not grieved with those that rise up against
thee? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count
them mine enemies." He would have nothing to
do with those who spoke "wickedly" against Je-
hovah, and took his "name in vain." It was
treason which he would not indulge even in the
inmost recesses of his heart.
The manner in which Jehoshaphat treated this
cutting rebuke of the prophet, shows the reality
and depth of his piety. He knew the censure was
just, and yielded his heart to its influence. He felt






CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS REFORMS. 83
that the threatened punishment was deserved, and
did not attempt self-justification. He did not try
to keep on good terms with his conscience by ac-
cusing the prophet of using too much freedom with
his sovereign, or exaggerating the guilt of a union
with Ahab. Thankful for escape from the dangers
of the ill-judged war, he proved the sincerity of
his penitence by setting himself to repair the in-
jury which his wavering in the service of Jehovah
might cause his kingdom.
In a character comporting better with his feel.
ings and his station, than helping "the ungodly,"
we next find Jehoshaphat again traversing the
country to promote the religious and civil welfare
of his subjects. By personal inspection and efforts
he endeavored to turn them "back to Jehovah, the
God of their fathers." About fifteen years had
now passed since teachers were sent to instruct
the people in the various cities of Judah, and con-
firm them in the true religion. Their proneness
to idolatry was doubtless strengthened by inter-
course with the kingdom of Israel, and altars and
high places for the worship of strange gods had
reappeared in the land. Jehoshaphat set judges
in all the chief cities of Judah, and gave them a
strict charge to be impartial in all their decisions,
as they were not judging "for man, but for the
Lord." He also established a supreme tribunal at






84 LIFE OF JEHOSHAPHAT.
Jerusalem, in which Levites and priests were joined
with the principal men of the other tribes.
Jehoshaphat soon began to experience the ill
effects of his impolitic alliance with Ahab. He
had before been feared and respected by the sur-
rounding nations, but the unfortunate termination
of the attempt against Ramoth-Gilead emboldened
them to make inroads upon his kingdom. The
Moabites and Ammonites invaded Judah by the
way of Edom, passing around the southern end of
the Dead sea. They were joined by the Edomites,
who were tributary to Judah and governed by a
viceroy. A long peace seems to have relaxed the
vigilance of Jehoshaphat against hostile attack,
and a large army entering his kingdom had ad-
vanced to En-gedi before their approach was dis-
covered. En-gedi was on the western shore of
the Dead sea, twenty-five or thirty miles south-east
of Jerusalem. The road by which these invaders
penetrated so far into the kingdom of Judah with-
out attracting the notice of the inhabitants, is to
this day the great track "by which the Arabs of
the southern deserts, and those who come from the
east around the southern shore of the sea, are able
to penetrate far to the north without letting their
movements be known to the tribes and villages
further west." On that side it is shut in between
the sea and mountains, along which there is no






INVASION FROM THE BOTH. 85
path. At En-gedi, the track ascends the moun-
tains by a terrific pass, called in the sacred narra-
tive, "the cliff of Ziz," and then turns northwards
towards Tekoa.
The king of Judah, unprepared for this formida-
ble invasion, was filled with alarm. Punishment
had been threatened on account of his delinquency,
and he knew not when or where the blow would
fall. In this emergency-he doubtless made the best
military arrangements the time would allow, but
he did not place his main reliance on the strength
of his armies. He set himself to seek Jehovah,
and proclaimed a fast throughout all Jndah." We
"read of private fasting with prayer; of afflicting
the soul at the day of atonement; of the people's
fasting at the instance of Samuel the prophet;
and of the people's fasting by common consent.
But the fast here mentioned was observed by the
proclamation of the chief magistrate, who acted by
the authority of his station; and the event of this
measure both warrants civil governors in times of
distress to act in this manner, and encourages them
to expect the most important benefits from it."
As in other seasons of calamity, the people "re-
turned and inquired early after God. And they
remembered that God was their rock, and the high
God their Redeemer." From every quarter of the
country they flocked to Jerusalem "to ask help of






LIFE OF JEHOSHAPHAT.


Jehovah." Standing in the presence of the whole'
congregation in the house of the Lord, Jehoshaphat
poured forth from the fulness of his heart an ear-
nest and appropriate prayer in behalf of himself and
his people. 0 Jehovah, God of our fathers, art
not thou God in heaven ? and rulest not thou over
all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thy hand
is there not power and might, so that none is able
to withstand thee? Art not thou our God, who
didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before
thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of
Abraham thy friend for ever? And they dwelt
therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein
for thy name, saying, If, when evil cometh upon
us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine,
we stand before'this house, and in thy presence,
(for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee
in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.
And -now, behold, the children of Ammon, and
Moab, and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not
let Israel invade when they came out of the land
of Egypt, but they turned from them and destroyed
them not; behold, I say, how they reward us, to
come to cast us out of thy possession which thou
hast given us to inherit. 0 our God, wilt thou not
judge them? for we have no might against this great
company that cometh against us; neither know we
what to do: but our eyes are upon thee."






DIVINE AID PROMISED. 87
A deep solemnity settled down on the vast as-
sembly. All eyes were turned to Jehovah for help.
The supplications of their pious king, and the re-
membrance of deliverances in other days, inspired
hope in their bosoms. At length the profound still-
ness was broken. The Spirit of the Lord came
upon Jahaziel, "a Levite of the sons of Asaph,"
and he cried out in the midst of the congregation,
" Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Je.
rusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith
the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by
reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not
yours, but God's. To-morrow go ye down against
them: behold; they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and
ye shall find'them at the end of the brook, before
the wilderness of Jeruel. Ye shall not need to fight
in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see
the salvation of the Lord with you, 0 Judah and Je-
rusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to-morrow go
out against them: for the Lord will be with you."
Accepting the prediction as a sure pledge of de-
liverance, "Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his
face to the ground," and the whole assembly pros-
trated themselves in worship before the Lord; As
if the hosts of Judah were returning victorious from
the war, the Levites raised the song of triumph,
and praised Jehovah the God of Israel.
Jehoshaphat and his troops were early on theit






LIFE OP IRHOIKAPHAT.


way the next morning to the wilderness of Tekoa,
twelve or fifteen miles south of Jerusalem. With
strong confidence in the divine promise, and high
expectation of some signal display of divine power
in overwhelming the enemy, the king of Judah
encouraged the people to believe the prediction of
the prophet, and look without doubting for the
interposition of Jehovah in their behalf. He did
not aim to excite their martial spirit, but to awaken
their pious affections towards the God of their
fathers. They were not going forth to wield the
weapons of a carnal'warfare, to perform deeds of
heroic valor, but to witness with silent awe the
vengeance of Jehovah on the invaders of his heri-
tage. They marched to the music of the temple,
not of the camp; for Jehoshaphat, after consulting
the people, had set singers in front of the army to
"praise the beauty of holiness, and to say, Praise
Jehovah; for his mercy endureth for ever."
As they approached the scene of war, they be-
held not hosts in battle array, and spears and
shields gleaming in the morning sun, but foemen
stiff and prostrate in death, or writhing with agony
in their own blood. For when the army of Judah
"began to sing and praise, Jehovah set ambush-
ments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and
mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and
they were smitten. For the children of Ammon
f






THE ENEMY DESTROYED. 89
and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount
Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when
they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir,
every one helped to destroy another." This com-
plete destruction of the enemies of Judah was from
Jehovah. Whether it was brought about, as some
commentators suppose, by the intervention of an-
gels, or some other miraculous means; whether an
ambushment designed against Judah, falling by
mistake at early dawn upon some of their own
alliesecreated a suspicion of treachery; or whether
it was only the natural result of jealousy springing
up among the combined nations and breaking forth
in mutual slaughter, does not concern us to know.
However effected, it would be equally the work of
Him who controls all instrumentalities, and wields
them to accomplish his purposes of blessing or of
chastisement in his own time and way.
The battle had been fught and won for the men
of Judah by unseen-hands, or by the enemy them-
selves, and nothing remained but to enjoy the vic-
tory. They found among the slain on the field such
an abundance of riches and precious jewels, that
three days were spent in collecting the booty.
They gathered even more than they were able to
carry away. On the fourth day, they assembled to
bless Jehovah in the beautiful valley of Berachah,
which leads up westward from Tekoa, and lies south






90 LIFE OF JEHOSBAPHAT.
frori Bethlehem and Etham. Then the army set
out on its return to Jerusalem, Jehoshaphat march-
ing "in the fore-front." Not a man had been lost
in the expedition. With psalteries and harps and
trumpets they weht up to the temple, and presented
their thank-offering to Jehovah, who had saved
them from their fears and loaded them with the
immense spoils of their invaders. Well might they
sing in exulting strains, "Let Israel rejoice in him
that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in
their King." Happy is he that hath the God of Ja-
cob for his help, whose hope is in Jehovah his God."
The report of this surprising deliverance filled
the neighboring countries with dread, and they ven-
tured no longer to attack the kingdom of Judah,
when they heard "that Jehovah fought against the
enemies of Israel. So the realm of Jehoshaphat was
quiet: for his God gave him rest round about."
After this, Jehoshaphat renewed the commercial
enterprise which had so enriched the kingdom dur-
ing the reign of Solomon. He built ships at Ezion-
geber, to go to Ophir for gold, and took Ahaziah
the wicked son and successor of Ahab as a partner
in the scheme. It appears that at first he refused
to grant the king of Israel a common interest in the
undertaking; but his yielding disposition, and prob-
ably the urgency of Ahaziah, led him finally to
accede to the proposal. Jehoshaphat was to learn






ALLIANCE WITH ISRAEL. 91
anew, by bitter experience, that it was not becoming
for him to" help the ungodly." Providence frowned
on the alliance, and the ships were broken at Ezion-
geber." It seems that the fleet was lost, probably
upon the reef, in their attempt to leave the harbor."
A union between Judah and Israel was a favor-
ite measure of Jehoshaphat during his whole reign.
If the ten tribes had retained the worship of Jeho-
vah, such a union would have increased the strength
and prosperity of both kingdoms. The error of
Jehoshaphat, as is often the case with politicians,
lay in not giving due weight to the influence of
piety upon the welfare of a state-in pursuing a
cherished scheme at the expense of religion-in
relying on worldly policy to advance the interests
of his kingdom at the risk of sacrificing godliness.
The severe lessons of Providence had not yet cured
Jehoshaphat of his besetting sin. At the earnest
solicitation of Jehoram, another son of Ahab who
had succeeded Ahaziah on the throne of Israel, he
joined him in a warlike expedition against the
Moabites. Jehoram had "put away the image of
Baal which his father had made," though he still
"cleaved to the sins of Jeroboam the son of Ne-
bat," worshipping the golden calves. From this
partial reformation, Jehoshaphat might hope that
Jehoram was not inaccessible to religious inflaen-
ces, and that he might be drawn to a more thorough






92 LIFE OF JEHOBHAPHAT.
purification of his kingdom from idolatry. As the
Moabites had not long before invaded Judah, Je-
hoshaphat may have thought that carrying the war
into the enemies' country might prevent another
inroad into his own realm. The allies were brought
into great straits in this enterprise, but were res-
cued from danger by a divine interposition, and
obtained a decisive victory.
After a reign of twenty-five years, Jehoshaphat
slept with his fathers, and was buried with them
in the city of David. He was one of the greatest
and best kings of Judah, and the country enjoyed
a degree of prosperity under his government beyond
that of any period after the division of the tribes.
His piety was sincere, though shaded by defects of
natural temper. The true spirit of the theocracy,
the blessings connected with loyalty to Jehovah, are
shown as clearly by the events in his life as by any
part of the Hebrew annals. The evils which he
brought on himself and his posterity by too great
intimacy with the idolatrous family of Ahab, should
warn us not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly,
nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat
of the scornful;" while the blessings that crowned
his acts of obedience and faith teach us that "the
Lord knoweth the way of the righteous," and that
"in keeping his commandments there is great re-
ward."











AHAB, HIS FAMILY AND TIMES



CHAPTER IX.

WORSHIP OF BAAL-FAMINE IN ISRAEL-ELIJAH
AND THE WIDOW OF ZAREPHATH.

THE sacred volume describes characters distin-
guished for vices as well as for virtues. It thus
fully discloses the evil and the good that dwell in
the heart of man, and the true sources of both. If
it exhibited only examples worthy of imitation, it
would lead to false views of human nature. De-
pravity might then seem to be accidental rather
than inherent in the mind, and of trifling concern
in the dealings of Providence with our race. When
the warnings and counsels of messengers divinely
inspired were not only rejected, but made the occa-
sion of still greater guilt, it will not answer now to
ascribe men's dislike of religion to the overheated
zeal, the untimely admonitions, or the rigid, gloomy
notions of those who claim to act under its influ-
ence. God himself has condescended to be the






94 AHAB, HIS FAMILY AND TIMES.
teacher of mankind, and he has informed us re-
specting the results of his instruction and disci-
pline. However disgusting any may deem the pic-
ture, it cannot be urged that human depravity is
drawn by the divine pencil in too deep colors, or
that its features are caricatured. If, under his dis-
cipline, some have been eminent for purity and
beneficence, others have cast off the restraints of
conscience and hardened themselves in sin. Of
this latter class a remarkable example now claims
our attention.
Ahab the son of Omri, as already related, began
to reign over the kingdom of Israel two years be-
fore the death of Asa, and 918 years before the
Christian era. We could expect little good from
the son of so wicked a man as Omri, though now
and then, to show the power of grace, some mem-
ber of a vile family is distinguished for piety and
usefulness. But when in addition to such a par-
entage we read that Ahab "took to wife Jezebel
the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians,"
we are prepared to meet in the narrative of his
life almost any deed of violence or impiety. He
yielded himself to the control of an artful, ener-
getic, passionate woman, who was hindered by no
feelings of pity or compunctions of conscience from
effecting her favorite design to exterminate the
worship of Jehovah.






WORSHIP OF BAAL. 96
Ahab was probably influenced by political mo
tives in forming this matrimonial alliance which
proved so detrimental to his kingdom. During the
reigns of David and Solomon there had been much
intercourse between the Hebrews and Phenicians
After the division of the kingdom, this intercourse
seems to have been confined chiefly to the north
ern tribes on the borders of Phenicia. Ethbaal the
father of Jezebel was a priest of Astarte, who put
his sovereign to death and usurped his sceptre.
The daughter of a heathen priest, Jezebel would
naturally be zealous in promoting idolatry; the
child of a usurper and murderer, she would shrink
from no measure, however violent and bloody, in
executing her purpose.
Until the time of Ahab, notwithstanding the
apostasy of the ten tribes, Jehovah was not entirely
left out of their worship. But Ahab, under the
influence of his heathen queen, first tolerated the
worship of Baal the god of the Phenicians, then
established it as the religion of the court and king-
dom, and finally persecuted and killed the follow-
ers of Jehovah. Moses had said to the Israelites,
"Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not
deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods,
and worship them; and then the Lord's wrath be
kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven,
that there be no rain, and that the land yield not






96 ARAB, HIS FAMILY AND TIMES.
her fruit." The unbelievers of that age may have
claimed that this prediction of Moses was a failure.
The nation had discarded Jehovah, yet neither sky
nor earth showed any tokens of his displeasure.
The ground, enriched by "the early and the latter
rains," poured forth its treasures in abundance for
man and beast. The little hills rejoiced on every
side, the pastures were clothed with flocks, and the
valleys were covered over with corn.

Such, we may suppose, was the state of thought
and feeling at the court of Ahab, when, like a thun-
derbolt from a cloudless sky, the voice of ELUJA
spread consternation through the palace. As the
Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand,
there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but ac-
cording to my word." The sudden and abrupt ap-
pearance of this prophet throws an air of mystery
around his character. The Jews remark that he
seems to have come down from heaven in the fiery
chariot which conveyed him back again when his
work on earth was finished. Of his ancestry, his
birthplace, or his previous manner of life, we have
no certain information. He is called the Tish-
bite;" probably indicating that he was a native of
Tishbe, a small place within the limits of Palestine.
Apostate as the people were, the terrific evils
which they must endure in these dismal years,




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