The Jewish Monarchy





We can not enter upon a detail of the conquests of David, the

greatest warrior that his nation has produced. In successive campaigns,

extending over thirty years, he reduced the various Canaanite nations that

remained unconquered--the Amalekites, the Moabites, the Philistines, the

Edomites, and the Syrians of Tobah. Hiram, king of Tyre, was his ally. His

kingdom extended from the borders of Egypt to the Euphrates, and from the

valley of Coelo-Syria to the eastern gulf of the Red Sea. But his reign, if

glorious and successful, was marked by troubles. He was continually at

war; his kingdom was afflicted with a plague as the punishment for his

vanity in numbering the people; his son Amnon disgraced him; Absalom, his

favorite son, revolted and was slain; he himself was expelled for a time

from his capital.



But David is memorable for his character, and his poetry, his

romantic vicissitudes of life, and as the founder of a dynasty rather than

for his conquests over the neighboring nations. His magnificent virtues

blended with faults; his piety in spite of his sins, his allegiance to

God, and his faith in his promises invest his character with singular

interest. In his Psalms he lives through all the generations of men. He

reigned thirty-three years at Jerusalem, and seven at Hebron, and

transmitted his throne to Solomon--his youngest child, a youth ten years of

age, precocious in wisdom and culture.



The reign of Solomon is most distinguished for the magnificent

Temple he erected in Jerusalem, after the designs furnished by his father,

aided by the friendship of the Phoenicians. This edifice, "beautiful for

situation--the joy of the whole earth," was the wonder of those times, and

though small compared with subsequent Grecian temples, was probably more

profusely ornamented with gold, silver, and precious woods, than any

building of ancient times. We have no means of knowing its architectural

appearance, in the absence of all plans and all ruins, and much ingenuity

has been expended in conjectures, which are far from satisfactory. It most

probably resembled an Egyptian temple, modified by Phoenician artists. It

had an outer court for worshipers and their sacrifices, and an inner court

for the ark and the throne of Jehovah, into which the high priest alone

entered, and only once a year. It was erected upon a solid platform of

stone, having a resemblance to the temples of Paestum. The portico, as

rebuilt, in the time of Herod, was 180 feet high, and the temple itself

was entered by nine gates thickly coated with silver and gold. The inner

sanctuary was covered on all sides by plates of gold, and was dazzling to

the eye. It was connected with various courts and porticoes which gave to

it an imposing appearance. Its consecration by Solomon, amid the cloud of

glories in which Jehovah took possession of it, and the immense body of

musicians and singers, was probably the grandest religious service ever

performed. That 30,000 men were employed by Solomon, in hewing timber on

Mount Lebanon, and 70,000 more in hewing stones, would indicate a very

extensive and costly edifice. The stones which composed the foundation

were of extraordinary size, and rivaled the greatest works of the

Egyptians. The whole temple was overlaid with gold--a proof of its

extraordinary splendor, and it took seven years to build it.



The palace of Solomon must also have been of great magnificence, on

which the resources of his kingdom were employed for thirteen years. He

moreover built a palace for his wife, the daughter of Pharaoh, composed of

costly stones, the foundation-stones of which were fifteen feet in length,

surrounded with beautiful columns. But these palaces did not include all

his works, for the courts of the temple were ornamented with brazen

pillars, with elaborate capitals, brazen seas standing upon bronze oxen,

brazen bases ornamented with figures of various animals, brazen layers,

one of which contained forty baths, altars of gold, tables, candelabras,

basins, censers and other sacred vessels of pure gold,--all of which

together were of enormous expense and great beauty.



During the execution of these splendid works, which occupied

thirteen years or more, Solomon gave extraordinary indications of wisdom,

as well as signs of great temporal prosperity. His kingdom was the most

powerful of Western Asia, and he enjoyed peace with other nations. His

fame spread through the East, and the Queen of Sheba, among others, came

to visit him, and witness his wealth and prosperity. She was amazed and

astonished at the splendor of his life, the magnificence of his court, and

the brilliancy of his conversation, and she burst out in the most

unbounded panegyrics. "The half was not told me." She departed leaving a

present of one hundred and twenty talents of gold, besides spices and

precious stones; and he gave, in return, all she asked. We may judge of

the wealth of Solomon from the fact that in one year six hundred and

sixty-six talents of gold flowed into his treasury, besides the spices,

and the precious stones, and ivory, and rare curiosities which were

brought to him from Arabia and India. The voyages of his ships occupied

three years, and it is supposed that they doubled the Cape of Good Hope.

All his banqueting cups and dishes were of pure gold, and "he exceeded all

the kings of the earth for riches and wisdom," who made their

contributions with royal munificence. In his army were 1,400 chariots and

12,000 horses, which it would seem were purchased in Egypt.



Intoxicated by this splendor, and enervated by luxury, Solomon

forgot his higher duties, and yielded to the fascination of oriental

courts. In his harem were 700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines, who

turned his heart to idolatry. In punishment for his apostasy, God declared

that his kingdom should be divided, and that his son should reign only

over the single tribe of Judah, which was spared him for the sake of his

father David. In his latter days he was disturbed in his delusions by

various adversaries who rose up against him--by Hadad, a prince of Edom,

and Rezon, king of Damascus, and Jeroboam, one of his principal officers,

who afterward became king of the ten revolted tribes. Solomon continued,

however, to reign over the united tribes for forty years, when he was

gathered to his fathers.



The apostasy of Solomon is the most mournful fall recorded in

history, thereby showing that no intellectual power can rescue a man from

the indulgence of his passions and the sins of pride and vainglory. How

immeasurably superior to him in self-control was Marcus Aurelius, who had

the whole world at his feet! It was women who had estranged him from

allegiance to God--the princesses of idolatrous nations. Although no

mention is made of his repentance, the heart of the world will not accept

his final impenitence; and we infer from the book of Ecclesiastes, written

when all his delusions were dispelled--that sad and bitter and cynical

composition,--that he was at least finally persuaded that the fear of the

Lord constitutes the beginning and the end of all wisdom in this

probationary state. And we can not but feel that he who urged this wisdom

upon the young with so much reason and eloquence at last was made to feel

its power upon his own soul.



The government of Solomon, nevertheless had proved arbitrary, and

his public works oppressive. The monarch whom he most resembled, in his

taste for magnificence, in the splendor of his reign, and in the vexations

and humiliations of his latter days, was Louis XIV. of France, who sowed

the seeds of future revolutions. So Solomon prepared the way for

rebellion, by his grievous exactions. Under his son Rehoboam, a vain and

frivolous, and obstinate young man, who ascended the throne B.C. 975, the

revolt took place. He would not listen to his father's councillors, and

increased rather than mitigated the burdens of the people. And this revolt

was successful: ten tribes joined the standard of Jeroboam, with 800,000

fighting men. Judah remained faithful to Rehoboam, and the tribe of

Benjamin subsequently joined it, and from its geographical situation, it

remained nearly as powerful as the other tribes, having 500,000 fighting

men. But the area of territory was only quarter as large.



The Jewish nation is now divided. The descendants of David reign at

Jerusalem; the usurper and rebel Jeroboam reigns over the ten tribes, at

Shechem.



For the sake of clearness of representation we will first present the

fortunes of the legitimate kings who reigned over the tribe of Judah.



Rehoboam reigned forty-one years at Jerusalem, but did evil in the

sight of the Lord. In the fifth year of his reign his capital was rifled

by the king of Egypt, who took away the treasures which Solomon had

accumulated. He was also at war with Jeroboam all his days. He was

succeeded by his son Abijam, whose reign was evil and unfortunate, during

which the country was afflicted with wars which lasted for ninety years

between Judah and Israel. But his reign was short, lasting only three

years, and he was succeeded by Asa, his son, an upright and warlike

prince, who removed the idols which his father had set up. He also formed

a league with Ben-Hadad, king of Syria, and, with a large bribe, induced

him to break with Baasha, king of Israel. His reign lasted forty years,

and he was succeeded by his son Jehoshaphat, B.C. 954. Under this prince

the long wars between Judah and Israel terminated, probably on account of

the marriage of Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat, with the daughter of Ahab,

king of Israel--an unfortunate alliance on moral, if not political grounds.

Jehoshaphat reigned thirty-five years, prosperously and virtuously, and

his ships visited Ophir for gold as in the time of Solomon, being in

alliance with the Phoenicians. His son Jehoram succeeded him, and reigned

eight years, but was disgraced by the idolatries which Ahab encouraged. It

was about this time that Elijah and Elisha were prophets of the Lord,

whose field of duties lay chiefly among the idolatrous people of the ten

tribes. During the reign of Jehoram, Edom revolted from Judah, and

succeeded in maintaining its independence, according to the predictions

made to Esau, that his posterity, after serving Israel, should finally

break their yoke.



His son Ahaziah succeeded him at Jerusalem B.C. 885, but formed an

alliance with Jehoram, king of Israel, and after a brief and wicked reign

of one year, he was slain by Jehu, the great instrument of divine

vengeance on the idolaters. Of his numerous sons, the infant Joash alone

was spared by Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, who usurped

authority in the name of the infant king, until she was overthrown by the

high priest Jehoiada. The usurpations of this queen have furnished a

subject for one of the finest tragedies of Racine. Jehoiada restored the

temple worship, and instituted many other reforms, having supreme power,

like Dunstan over the Saxon kings, when they were ruled by priests. His

death left Judah under the dominion of the patriarchal rulers (the princes

of Judah), who opposed all reforms, and even slew the son of Jehoida,

Zechariah the prophet, between the altar and the temple. It would seem

that Joash ruled wisely and benignantly during the life of Jehoiada, by

whom he was influenced--a venerable old man of 130 years of age when he

died. After his death Joash gave occasion for reproach, by permitting or

commanding the assassination of Zechariah, who had reproved the people for

their sins, and his country was invaded by the Syrians under Hazaal, and

they sent the spoil of Jerusalem to Damascus. Joash reigned in all forty

years, and was assassinated by his servants.



His son Amaziah succeeded him B.C. 839, and reigned twenty-nine

years. He was on the whole a good and able prince, and gained great

victories over the Edomites whom he attempted to reconquer. He punished

also the murderers of his father, and spared their sons, according to the

merciful provision of the laws of Moses. But he worshiped the gods of the

Edomites, and was filled with vainglory from his successes over them. It

was then he rashly challenged the king of Israel, who replied haughtily:

"The thistle that was in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon,

saying, give thy daughter to my son to wife, and there passed by a wild

beast that was in Lebanon, and trode down the thistle." "So thou hast

smitten the Edomites, and thine heart lifteth thee up to boast. Abide now

at home; why shouldst thou meddle to thine hurt, that thou shouldst fall,

even thou and Judah with thee." But Amaziah would not heed, and the two

kings encountered each other in battle, and Judah suffered a disastrous

defeat, and Joash, the king of Israel, came to Jerusalem and took all the

gold and silver and all the sacred vessels of the temple and the treasures

of the royal palace, and returned to Samaria. After this humiliation

Amaziah reigned, probably wisely, more than fifteen years, until falling

into evil courses, he was slain in a conspiracy, B.C. 810, and his son

Uzziah or Azariah, a boy of sixteen, was made king by the people of Judah.



This monarch enjoyed a long and prosperous reign of fifty-two

years. He reorganized the army and refortified his capital. He conquered

the Philistines, and also the Arabs, on his borders: received tribute from

the Ammonites, and spread his name unto Egypt. During his reign the

kingdom of Judah and Benjamin had great prosperity and power. The army

numbered 307,500 men well equipped and armed, with military engines to

shoot arrows and stones from the towers and walls. He also built castles

in the desert, and digged wells for his troops stationed there. He

developed the resources of his country, and devoted himself especially to

the arts of agriculture and the cultivation of the vine, and the raising

of cattle. But he could not stand prosperity, and in his presumption,

attempted even to force himself in the sacred part of the temple to offer

sacrifices, which was permitted to the priests alone; for which violation

of the sacred laws of the realm, he was smitten with leprosy--the most

loathsome of all the diseases which afflict the East. As a leper, he

remained isolated the rest of his life, not even being permitted by the

laws to enter the precincts of the temple to worship, or administer his

kingdom. It was during his reign that the Assyrians laid Samaria under

contribution.



He was succeeded by Jotham, his son, B.C. 758, who carried on his

father's reforms and wars, and was therefore prospered. It is worthy of

notice that the kings of Judah, who were good, and abstained from

idolatry, enjoyed great temporal prosperity. Jotham reigned sixteen years,

receiving tribute from the Ammonites, and was succeeded by Ahaz, who

walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and restored idolatrous and

superstitious rites. Besieged in Jerusalem by the forces of Rezin, king of

Syria, and Pekah, king of Israel, and afflicted by the Edomites and

Philistines, he invoked the aid of Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria,

offering him the treasure of the temple and his royal palace. The Assyrian

monarch responded, and took Damascus, and slew its king. Ahaz, in his

distress, yet sinned still more against the Lord by sacrificing to the

gods of Damascus whither he went to meet the Assyrian king. He died in the

year B.C. 726, after a reign of sixteen years, and Hezekiah, his son,

reigned in his stead.



This prince was one of the best and greatest of the kings of Judah.

He carried his zeal against idolatry so far as to break in pieces the

brazen serpent of Moses, which had become an object of superstitious

homage. He proclaimed a solemn passover, which was held in Jerusalem with

extraordinary ceremony, and at which 2,000 bullocks and 17,000 sheep were

slaughtered. No such day of national jubilee had been seen since the reign

of Solomon. He cut down the groves in which idolatrous priests performed

their mysterious rites, and overthrew their altars throughout the land.

The temple was purified, and the courses of the priests were restored.

Under his encouragement the people brought in joyfully their tithes to the

priests and levites, and offerings for the temple.



In all his reforms he was ably supported by Isaiah, the most

remarkable of all the prophets who flourished during the latter days of

the Hebrew monarchy. Under his direction he made war successfully against

the Philistines, and sought to recover the independence of Judah. In the

fourteenth year of his reign, Sennacherib invaded Palestine. Hezekiah

purchased his favor by a present of three hundred talents of silver and

thirty talents of gold, which stripped his palace and the temple of all

their treasure. But whether he neglected to pay further tribute or not, he

offended the king of Assyria, who marched upon Jerusalem, but was arrested

in his purpose by the miraculous destruction of his army, which caused him

to retreat with shame into his own country. After this his reign was

peaceful and splendid, and he accumulated treasures greater than had been

seen in Jerusalem since the time of Solomon. He also built cities, and

diverted the course of the river Gihar to the western side of his capital,

and made pools and conduits. It was in these years of prosperity that he

received the embassadors of the king of Babylon, and showed unto them his

riches, which led to his rebuke by Isaiah, and the prophecy of the future

captivity of his people.



He was succeeded by his son, Manasseh, B.C. 698, who reigned

fifty-five years; but he did not follow out the policy of his father, or

imitate his virtues. He restored idolatry, and "worshiped all the hosts of

heaven," and built altars to them, as Ahab had done in Samaria. He was

also cruel and tyrannical, and shed much innocent blood; wherefore, for

these and other infamous sins, the Lord, through the mouth of the

prophets, declared that "he would wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish,"

and would deliver the people into the hands of their enemies.



His son, Amon, followed in the steps of his father, but after a

brief reign of two years, was killed by his servants, B.C. 639, and was

buried in the sepulchre of his family, in the garden of Uzza.



Then followed the noble reign of Josiah--the last independent king

of Judah--whose piety and zeal in destroying idolatry, and great reforms,

have made him the most memorable of all the successors of David. He

repaired the temple, and utterly destroyed every vestige of idolatry,

assisted by the high priest Hilkiah, who seems to have been his prime

minister. He kept the great feast of the passover with more grandeur than

had ever been known, either in the days of the judges, or of the kings,

his ancestors; nor did any king ever equal him in his fidelity to the laws

of Moses. But notwithstanding all his piety and zeal, God was not to be

turned from chastising Judah for the sins of Manasseh, and the repeated

idolatries of his people; and all that Josiah could secure was a promise

from the Lord that the calamities of his country should not happen in his

day.



In the thirty-first year of his reign, Necho, the king of Egypt,

made war against the king of Babylon, who had now established his empire

on the banks of the Euphrates, over the ruins of the old Assyrian

monarchy. Josiah rashly embarked in the contest, either with a view of

giving his aid to the king of Babylon, or to prevent the march of Necho,

which lay through the great plain of Esdraelon. Josiah, heedless of all

warnings, ventured in person against the Egyptian army, though in

disguise, and was slain by an arrow. His dead body was brought to

Jerusalem, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers; and all

Judah and Israel mourned for the loss of one of the greatest, and

certainly the best of their kings.



The prophet Jeremiah pronounced his eulogy, and led the lamentations of

the people for this great calamity, B.C. 608.



The people proclaimed one of his sons, Shallum, to be king, under

the name of Jehoahaz, but the Egyptian conqueror deposed him and set up

his brother Jehoiakim as a tributary vassal. He reigned ingloriously for

eleven years--an idolator and a tyrant.



In his days Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came up against him,

having driven the Egyptians out of Palestine. Jehoiakim made his

submission to the conqueror of Egypt, who now reigned over the whole

Assyrian empire, but did not escape captivity in Babylon, with many other

of the first men of the nation, including Daniel, and the spoil of

Jerusalem. He was restored to the throne, on promise of paying a large

tribute. He served the king of Babylon three years and then rebelled,

hoping to secure the assistance of Egypt. But he leaned on a broken reed.

A Chaldean army laid siege to Jerusalem, and Jehoiakim was killed in a

sally, B.C. 597. His son Jehoiachin had reigned only three months when

Nebuchadnezzar, a great general, came to carry on the siege in person. The

city fell, the king was carried into captivity, with 10,000 of his

subjects, among whom were Ezekiel and Mordecai, and only the poorer class

remained behind. Over these people Nebuchadnezzar set up Zedekiah, the

youngest son of Josiah, as tributary king. Yet even in this state of

degradation and humiliation the Jews, wrought upon by false prophets,

expected deliverance, against the solemn warnings of Jeremiah, who

remained at Jerusalem. Zedekiah, encouraged by the partial successes of

the Egyptians, rebelled, upon which the king of Babylon resolved upon the

complete conquest and utter ruin of the country. Jerusalem fell into his

hands, by assault, and was leveled with the ground, and the temple was

destroyed. Zedekiah, in attempting to escape, was taken, had his eyes put

out, and was carried captive to Babylon, together with the whole nation,

and the country was reduced to utter desolation. It was not, however,

repeopled by heathen settlers, as was Samaria. The small remnant that

remained, under the guidance of Jeremiah, recovered some civil rights, and

supported themselves by the cultivation of the land, and in their bitter

misery learned those lessons which prepared them for a renewed prosperity

after the seventy years captivity. Never afterward was idolatry practiced

by the Jews. But no nation was ever more signally humiliated and

prostrated. Can we hence wonder at the mournful strains of Jeremiah, or

the bitter tears which the captive Jews, now slaves, shed by the rivers of

Babylon when they remembered the old prosperity of Zion.



The Jewish monarchy ended by the capture of Zedekiah. The kingdom

of the ten tribes had already fallen to the same foes, and even more

disastrously, because the kings of Israel were uniformly wicked, without a

single exception, and were hopelessly sunk into idolatry; whereas the

kings of Judah were good as well as evil, and some of them were

illustrious for virtues and talents. The descendants of David reigned in

Jerusalem in an unbroken dynasty for more than 500 years, while the

monarchs of Samaria were a succession of usurpers. The degenerate kings

were frequently succeeded by the captains of their guards, who in turn

gave way for other usurpers, all of whom were bad. The dynasty of David

was uninterrupted to the captivity of the nation. And the kingdom of Judah

was also more powerful and prosperous than that of the ten tribes, in

spite of their superior numbers.



But it is time to consider these ten tribes which revolted under

Jeroboam. Their history is uninteresting, and, were it not for the

beautiful episodes which relate to the prophets who were sent to reclaim

the people from idolatry, would be without significance other than that

which is drawn from the lives of wicked and idolatrous kings.



Jeroboam commenced his reign B.C. 975, by setting up for worship

two golden calves in Bethel and Dan, and thus inaugurated idolatry: for

which his dynasty was short. His son Nadah was murdered in a military

revolution, B.C. 953, and the usurper of his throne, Baasha, destroyed his

whole house. He, too, was a wicked prince, and his son Elah was slain by

Zimri, captain of his guard, who now reigned over Israel, after

exterminating the whole family of Elah, but was in his turn assassinated

after a reign of seven years, B.C. 929. Omri, the captain of the guard,

was now raised by the voice of the people to the throne; but he had a

rival in Tibni, whom he succeeded in conquering. Omri reigned twelve

years, and bought the hill of Samaria, on which he built the capital of

his kingdom. But he exceeded all his predecessors in iniquity, and was

succeeded by his son Ahab, who reigned twenty-two years. He was the most

infamous of all the kings of Israel, both for cruelty and idolatry, and

his queen, Jezebel, was also unique in crime--the Messalina and Fredigonde

of her age. It was through her influence that the worship of Baal became

the established religion, thus showing that the general influence of woman

on man is evil whenever she is not Christian. And this is perhaps the

reason that the ancients represented women as worse than men.



It was during the reign of this wicked king that God raised up the

greatest of the ancient prophets--Elijah, and sent him to Ahab with the

stern intelligence that there should be no rain until the prophet himself

should invoke it. After three years of grievous famine, during which he

sought to destroy the man who prophesied so much evil, but who was

miraculously fed in his flight by the ravens, Ahab allowed Elijah to do

his will.



Thereupon he caused the king to assemble together the whole people

of Israel, through their representatives, upon Mount Carmel, together with

the four hundred and fifty priests of Baal, and the four hundred false

prophets of the grove, whom Jezebel supported. He then invoked the people,

who, it seems, vacillated in their opinions in respect to Jehovah and

Baal, to choose finally, of these two deities, the God whom they would

worship. Having discomfited the priests of Baal in the trial of

sacrifices, and mocked them with the fiercest irony, thereby showing to

the people how they had been imposed upon, Elijah incited them to the

slaughter of these false prophets and foreign priests, and then set up an

altar to the true God. But all the people had not fallen into idolatry;

there still had remained seven thousand who had not bowed unto Baal.



Rain descended almost immediately, and Ahab departed, and told

Jezebel what had transpired. Hereupon, she was transported with rage and

fury, and sought the life of the prophet. He again escaped, and by divine

command went to the wilderness of Damascus and anointed Hazael to be king

over Syria, and Jehu to be king over Israel, and Elisha to be his

successor as prophet.



Soon after this, Benhadad, the king of Syria, came from Damascus

with a vast army and thirty-two allied kings, to besiege Samaria. Defeated

in a battle with Ahab, the king of Syria fled, but returned the following

year with a still larger army for the conquest of Samaria. But he was

again defeated, with the loss of one hundred thousand men in a single day,

and sought to make peace with the king of Israel. Ahab made a treaty with

him, instead of taking his life, for which the prophet of the Lord

predicted evil upon him and his people. But the anger of God was still

further increased by the slaughter of Naboth, through the wiles of

Jezebel, and the unjust possession of the vineyard which Ahab had coveted.

Elijah, after this outrage on all the fundamental laws of the Jews, met

the king for the last time, and pronounced a dreadful penalty--that his own

royal blood should be licked up by dogs in the very place where Naboth was

slain, and that his posterity should be cut off from reigning over Israel;

also, that his wicked queen should be eaten by dogs.



In three years after, while attempting to recover Ramoth, in

Gilead, from Benhadad, he lost his life, and was brought in his chariot to

Samaria to be buried. And the dogs came and licked the blood from the

chariot where it was washed. He was succeeded by Ahaziah, his son, B.C.

913, who renewed the worship of Baal, and died after a short and

inglorious reign, B.C. 896, without leaving any son, and Jehoram, his

brother, succeeded him. In reference to this king the Scripture accounts

are obscure, and he is sometimes confounded with Jehoram, the son of

Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, who married a daughter of Ahab. This accounts

for the alliance between Jehoshaphat and Ahab, and also between the two

Jehorams, since they were brothers-in-law, which brought to an end the

long wars of seventy years, which had wasted both Israel and Judah.



Jehoram did evil in the sight of the Lord, but was not disgraced by

idolatry. In his reign the Moabites, who paid a tribute of one hundred

thousand sheep and one hundred thousand lambs, revolted. Jehoram, assisted

by the kings of Judah, and of Edom, marched against them, and routed them,

and destroyed their cities, and filled up their wells, and felled all

their good trees, and covered their good land with stones.



Meanwhile, it happened that there was a grievous famine in Samaria,

so that an ass's head sold for eighty pieces of silver. Benhadad, in this

time of national distress, came with mighty host and besieged the city;

but in the night, in his camp was heard a mighty sound of chariots and

horses, and a panic ensued, and the Syrians fled, leaving every thing

behind them. The spoil of their camp furnished the starving Samaritans

with food.



After this, Jehoram was engaged in war with the Syrians, now ruled

by Hazael, one of the generals of Benhadad, who had murdered his master.

In this war, Jehoram, or Joram, was wounded, and went to be healed of his

wounds at Jezreel, where he was visited by his kinsman, Ahaziah, who had

succeeded to the throne of Judah. While he lay sick in this place, Jehu,

one of his generals, conspired against him, and drew a bow against him,

and the arrow pierced him so that he died, and his body was cast into

Naboth's vineyard. Thus was the sin against Naboth again avenged. Jehu

prosecuted the work of vengeance assigned to him, and slew Ahaziah, the

king of Judah, also, and then caused Jezebel, the queen mother, to be

thrown from a window, and the dogs devoured her body. He then slew the

seventy sons of Ahab, and all his great men, and his kinsfolk, and his

priests, so that none remained of the house of Ahab, as Elijah had

predicted. His zeal did not stop here, but he collected together, by

artifice, all the priests of Baal, and smote them, and brake their images.



But Jehu, now king of Israel, though he had destroyed the priests

of Baal, fell into the idolatry of Jehoram, and was therefore inflicted

with another invasion of the Syrians, who devastated his country, and

decimated his people. He died, after a reign of twenty-eight years, B.C.

856, and was succeeded by his son, Jehoahaz.



This king also did evil in the sight of the Lord, so that he was

made subject to Hazael, king of Syria, all his days, who ground down and

oppressed Israel, as the prophet had predicted. He reigned seventeen

years, in sorrow and humiliation, and was succeeded by his son Johash, who

followed the wicked course of his predecessors. His reign lasted sixteen

years, during which Elisha died. There is nothing in the Scriptures more

impressive than the stern messages which this prophet, as well as Elijah,

sent to the kings of Israel, and the bold rebukes with which he reproached

them. Nor is anything more beautiful than those episodes which pertain to

the cure of Naaman, the Syrian, and the restoration to life of the son of

the Shunamite woman, in reward for her hospitality, and the interview with

Hazael before he became king. All his predictions came to pass. He seems

to have lived an isolated and ascetic life, though he had great influence

with the people and the king, like other prophets of the Lord.



Jeroboam II. succeeded Johash, B.C. 825, and reigned successfully,

and received all the territory which the Syrians had gained, but he did

not depart from the idolatry of the golden calves. His son and successor,

Zachariah, followed his evil courses, and was slain by Shallum, after a

brief reign of six mouths, and the dynasty of Jehu came to an end, B.C.

772.



Shallum was murdered one month afterward by Menahem, who reigned

ingloriously ten years. It was during his reign that Pul, king of Assyria,

invaded his territories, but was induced to retire for a sum of one

thousand talents of silver, which he exacted from his subjects. He was

succeeded by Pekaiah, a bad prince, who was assassinated at the end of two

years by Pekah, one of his captains, who seized his throne. During his

reign, which lasted twenty years, Tiglath-Pilaser, king of Assyria, made

war against him, by invitation of Ahaz, and took his principal cities, and

carried their inhabitants captive to Nineveh. He was assassinated by

Hosea, who reigned in his stead. He also was a bad prince, and became

subject to Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, who came up against him. In the

ninth year of his reign, having proved treacherous to Shalmanezer, the

king of Assyria besieged Samaria, and carried him captive to his own

capital. Thus ended the kingdom of the ten tribes, who were now carried

into captivity beyond the Euphrates, and who settled in the eastern

provinces of Assyria, and probably relapsed hopelessly into idolatry,

without ever revisiting their native laud. In all probability most of them

were absorbed among the nations which composed the Assyrian empire, B.C.

721.



Nineteen sovereigns thus reigned over the children of Israel in

Samaria--a period of two hundred and fifty-four years; not one of them was

obedient to the laws of God, and most of whom perished by assassination,

or in battle. There is no record in history of more inglorious kings.

There was not a great man nor a good man among them all. They were, with

one or two exceptions, disgraced by the idolatry of Jeroboam, in whose

steps they followed. Nor was their kingdom ever raised to any considerable

height of political power. The history of the revolted and idolatrous

tribes is gloomy and disgraceful, only relieved by the stern lives of

Elijah and Elisha, the only men of note who remained true to the God of

their fathers, and who sought to turn the people from their sins.

"Whereupon the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of

his sight."





The Hebrew Race From Abraham To The Sale Of Joseph The Jews Until The Conquest Of Canaan facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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