Page images
PDF
EPUB

1

CHAP. XI.

leave none of the family of Jeroboam remaining.

The multitude also shall themselves partake of the
OF THE DEATH OF JEROBOAM'S SON; JEROBOAMS DEFEAT BY ABIJAH;
HIS SUBSEQUENT DEATH, AND DESTRUCTION OF HIS HOUSE BY BA same punishment, and shall be cast out of this good
ASHA.

land, and shall be scattered into the places beyond God was in no long time ready to return Jero- Euphrates; because they have followed the wicked boam’s wicked actions, and the punishment they practices of their king, and have worshipped the deserved, upon his head, and upon the heads of gods that he made, and forsaken my sacrifices. all his house. And whereas a son of the king's Do thou, O woman! make haste back to thy huslay sick at that time, who was called Abijah ;* band, and tell him this message. But thou shalt he enjoined his wife to lay aside her robes, and to then find thy son dead; for as thou enterest the take the garments belonging to a private person, city he shall depart this life. Yet shall he be and to go to Ahijah the prophet; for that he was buried with the lamentations of all the multitude, a wonderful man in foretelling future events ; it and be honoured with a general mourning: he is having been he who told him, that he should be the only innocent person of Jeroboam's family."4 king. He also enjoined her, when she came to When the prophet had foretold these events, him, to inquire concerning the child, as if she the woman went hastily away with a disordered were a stranger, whether he should escape this mind, and greatly grieved at the death of the distemper. So she did as her husband bade her; child. So she was in lamentation as she went and changed her habit, and came to the city along the road, and mourned for the death of her Shiloh ; for there did Ahijah live. But as she was son, that was just at hand. She was indeed in a going into his house, his eyes being then dim with miserable condition at the unavoidable approach age, God appeared to him, and informed him that of death, and went apace; but in circumstances the wife of Jeroboam was come to him; and what very unfortunate because of her son: for the answer he should make to her inquiry. Accord

Accord- greater haste she made, she would the sooner see ingly as the woman was coming into the house, her son dead. Yet was she forced to make such like a private person, and a stranger, he cried out, haste on account of her husband. Accordingly “Come in, O thou wife of Jeroboam. Why con- when she was come back, she found that the child cealest thou thyself? Thou art not concealed from had given up the ghost, as the prophet had said, God; who hath appeared to me, and informed me and she related all the circumstances to the king. that thou wast coming, and hath given me in com Jeroboam, however, did not lay any of these mand what I shall say to thee.” So he said, that things to heart; but he brought together a very

to her husband, and speak to numerous army, and made a warlike expedition him thus : “ Since I made thee a great man, when against Abijah, the son of Rehoboam, who had thou wast little, or rather nothing, and rent the succeeded his father in the kingdom of the two kingdom from the house of David, and gave it to tribes. For he despised him, because of his age. thee ; and thou hast been unmindful of these bene- But when he heard of the expedition of Jerofits, hast left off my worship, hast made thee boam, he was not affrighted at it; but proved of a molten gods and honoured them: I will in like courageous temper of mind, superior both to his manner cast thee down again, and will destroy youth, and to the hopes of his enemy. So he all thy house, and make them food for the dogs, chose an army out of the two tribes, and met Jeand the fowls. For a certain king is rising up, roboam at a place called mount Zemaraim, and by my appointment, over all this people, who shall pitched his camp near the others, and prepared

Jeroboam might be for having his wife go to consult the house of David, and belonged to the kingdom of Judah. It was prophet at Shiloh, because this was a secret not to be intrusted certainly nearer Jerusalem than Shechem, which Rehoboam had with any body else; a secret which if it had been divulged, lately fortified, and made his place of residence: and therefore might have endangered his whole government: because, if once Jeroboam thought it not safe to venture bis queen, in a place his subjects came to understand, that he himself had no confi. that was under his rival's government, without ber putting on dence in the calves which he had set up, but in any matter of some disguise. He knew too, that the prophet Ahijah was importance had recourse to the true worshippers of God, it is greatly offended at him, for the gross idolatry he had intronot to be imagined, what an inducement this would have been duced: and therefore he thought (as justly he might) that, if for them to forsake these senseless idols, and to return to the the prophet perceived it to be his wife, he would either tell her worship of the God of Israel, whom they imprudently had for. nothing, or make things much worse than they were. The saken. The queen was then the only person he could have only way, therefore, to come at the truth, was, (as he thought,) confidence in. As a mother, he knew, that she would be dili. to do what he did: but herein appears his infatuation, that he gent in her inquiry; and as a wife, faithful in her report; but should not think the person, whom he held capable of resolving there were sundry reasons why he might desire her to disguise him in the fate of his son, able to see through this guile and berself. For though Shiloh lay within the confines of Ephraim, disguise. Calmet's Commentary, and Pool's Annotations. B. yet there is sufficient ground to think, that it was subject to the † 1 Kings xiv. 13.

every thing necessary for the fight. His army of your army which gives you such good hopes ? consisted of four hundred thousand: but the army yet certainly there is no strength in an army of of Jeroboain was double that number. Now as many thousands when the war is unjust. For we the armies stood in array ready for action, and ought to place our surest hope of success against were just going to fight, Abijah stood upon an our enemies in righteousness alone, and in piety elevated place, and beckoning with his hand, he i towards God. Which hope we justly have, since desired the multitude, and Jeroboam himself, to we have kept the laws from the beginning, and hear first what he had to say. And when silence have worshipped our own God, who was not was made, he began to speak to this effect: “ God made by hands out of corruptible matter; nor consented that David and his posterity should be was he formed by a wicked king, in order to deyour rulers for all time to come; and this you ceive the multitude; but who is* his own workyourselves are not unacquainted with. But I can- manship, and the beginning and end of all things. not but wonder how you should forsake my father, I therefore give you counsel even now to repent, and join yourselves to his servant, Jeroboam ; and and to take better advice, and to leave off the are now here with him to fight against those who, i prosecution of the war; to call to mind the laws by God's own determination, are to reign, and to i of your country, and to reflect what it hath been deprive them of that dominion which they have that hath advanced you to so happy a state as still retained; for as to the greater part of it, you are now in.” Jeroboam is unjustly in possession of it. How This was the speech which Abijah made to the ever, I do not suppose he will enjoy it any longer; multitude. But while he was still speaking, Jerobut when he hath suffered that punishment which boam sent some of his soldiers privately to surGod thinks due to him for what is past, he will round him on certain parts of the camp that were leave off the transgressions he hath been guilty of not taken notice of. And when he was thus within and the injuries he hath offered to him, and which the compass of the enemy, his army was affrighthe hath still continued to offer; and hath persuaded ed, and their courage failed them. But Abijah you to do the same. Yet, when you were not any encouraged them, and exhorted them to place further unjustly treated by my father, than that he their hopes on God: for that he was not encomdid not speak to you so as to please you; and this passed by the enemy. So they all at once imonly in compliance with the advice of wicked men, plored the divine assistance; while the priests you

in anger forsook him, as you pretended; but sounded with the trumpets, and they made a shout, in reality you withdrew yourselves from God, and and fell upon their enemies; and God brake the from his laws. Although it had been right for you courage and cast down the force of their enemies, to have forgiven so young a man not only some dis- and made Abijah's army superior to them. For agreeable words; but if his youth and his unskilsul- God vouchsafed them a wonderful and very famous ness in affairs had led him into some unfortunate victory; and such af slaughter was now made of actions; and that for the sake of his father Solo- Jeroboam's army, as is never recorded to have mon, and the benefits you received from him. happened in any other war; whether it were of For men ought to excuse the sins of posterity, on the Greeks or of the Barbarians; for they overaccount of the benefactions of parents. But you threw and slew five hundred thousand of their considered nothing of all this then, neither do you | enemies, and they took their strongest cities by consider it now; but come with so great an army force, and spoiled them, and besides those they against us. And what is it that you depend upon did the same to Bethel and her towns; and Jeshfor victory? Is it upon the golden heifers, and the anah and her towns. And after this defeat Jeroaltars you have erected on high places, which are boam never recovered himself during the life of demonstrations of your impiety, and not of reli- Abijah; who yet did not long survive: for he gious worship? Or is it the exceeding multitude reigned but three years,g and was buried in Jeru

[ocr errors]

This is a strange expression in Josephus, that God is his persist in them; and a kind of balance or equilibrium was made own workmanship, or that he made himself; contrary to com

between the ten and the two tribes, for the time to come. While mon sense, and to Christianity. Constitut. Apost. VI. 11. Per otherwise the perpetually idolatrous and rebellious ten tribes haps he only means that he was made by none, but was un. would naturally have been too powerful for the two trites, originated. See Cotelerius's note on the forecited place of the which were pretty frequently free both from such idolatry and Constitutions.

rebellion. Nor is there, by consequence, any reason to doubt † By this terrible and unparalleled slaughter of 500,000 men the truth of this prodigious number slain, upon so singular an of the newly idolatrous and rebellious ten tribes, God's high dis occasion. pleasure and indignation against idolatry and rebellion fully ap # 2 Chron. xiii. 17. peared; the remainder were thereby seriously cautioned not to From An. 959 to 957 : two years and seven months.

salem, in the sepulchres of his forefathers. He had reigned ten years, Zerah, king of Ethiopia, left behind him twenty-two sons, and sixteen made an expedition against him,g with a great daughters; and he had also those children by four- army, of nine hundred thousand footmen, one hunteen wives; and Asa his son succeeded in his dred thousand horsemen, and three hundred chakingdom; and the young man's mother was Mi- riots: and came as far as Mareshah|| a city that chaiah. Under his reign the country of the Israel- belonged to the tribe of Judah. Now when Zerah ites enjoyed peace for ten years.

had passed so far with his own army, Asa met But Jeroboam, the king of the ten tribes, died him, and put his army in array over against him, when he had reigned twenty-two years.* His son in a valley called Zepathan, not far from the city. Nadab succeeded him in the second year of the And when he saw the multitude of the Ethiopians, reign of Asa; and governed two years, and re- he cried out, and besought God to give them the sembled his father in impiety and wickedness. In victory, and that he might kill many thousands of these two years he made an expedition against the enemy. “For,” said he, “ I depend on nothing Gibbethon, a city of the Philistines, and continued else but that assistance which I expect from thee: the siege in order to take it; but he was conspired which is able to make the fewer superior to the against while he was there by a friend of his, more numerous, and the weaker to the stronger, whose name was Baasha, the son of Ahijah, and and thence it is alone that I venture to meet Zerah was slain. Baasha took the kingdom after the and fight him.” other's death, and destroyed the whole house of While Asa was speaking thus, God gave him a Jeroboam. It also came to pass, according as signal victory; and joining battle cheerfully on God had foretold, that some of Jeroboam's kin- account of what God had foretold about it, he dred that died in the city were torn to pieces and slew a great many of the Ethiopians: and when devoured by dogs, and that others of them that he had put them to flight, he pursued them to the died in the field were torn and devoured by the country of Gerar. And when they left off killing fowls. So the house of Jeroboam suffered the just their enemies, they betook themselves to spoiling punishment of his impiety, and of his wicked ac- them, (for the city of Gerar was already taken ;) tions.

and to spoiling their camp. So that they carried

off much gold and silver, and a great deal of other CHAP. XII.

prey, and camels, and cattle, and flocks of sheep. OF THE Affairs of ASA, KING OF JERUSALEM; THE DESTRUCTION Accordingly when Asa and his army had obtained OF THE HOUSE OF BAASHA, AND THE CONDUCT OF THE SUCCESSORS such a victory, and such wealth from God, they

returned to Jerusalem. Now as they were coming, Now Asa, the king of Jerusalem, was an ex- a prophet whose name was Azariah, met them on cellent character, and had a regard to God; and the road, and bade them stop their journey a litneither did nor designed any thing but what was tle; and began to say to them, that the reason consistent with the laws. He made a reformation why they had obtained this victory from God was of his kingdom, and cut off whatsoever was wick- that they had shown themselves righteous and reed therein, and purified it from every impurity. ligious men, and had done every thing according Now he had an army of chosen men that were to the will of God; that therefore, if they persearmed with targets and spears; out of the tribe vered therein, God would grant that they should of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of the always overcome their enemies, and live happily ; tribe of Benjamin that bare shields and drew bows, but if they left off his worship, all things would two hundred and fifty thousand. But when he fall out on the contrary; and the stime should

ON THE THRONE OF ISRAEL.

From An. 975 to 955, at eleven months to a year. See country must be the land of Cush, which lay in Arabia Petræa, Chron. of the Old Testament, page 16–20.

upon the east shore of the Red Sea, and, at the extremity to the † The Scripture takes no notice of what was the cause of point of that sea, inclining towards Egypt and Judea. And this war between Zerah and Asa, nor are interpreters well whereas some have made a doubt, how so small a country could agreed what the country was from whence this enemy came. have produced so large an army, it is no hard matter to supThe country, in the original, is called Cush, though we trans pose, that a great part of the army might perhaps have been late it Ethiopia. - Now there are three countries different from mercenaries. Calmet's Commentary on 2 Chron. xiv. 9. and one another, all called by the name of Cush: 1. the land of Cush, Dictionary, under the word Cush. And Well's Gcography of upon the river Gihon; 2. Cush upon the eastern shore of the the Old Testament, vol. I. c. 4. B. Red Sea ; and, 3. Cush, situated above Thebais, and in Upper $ The reader is to remember that Cush is not Ethiopia, but Egypt. It is very probable, then, that the country here spoken Arabia. See Bochart Phaleg. IV. 2. of must not be Ethiopia, properly so called, because we can An. 947.

|| 2 Chron. xiv. 9. hardly imagine, how an army of a million of men should be Here is a very great error in our Hebrew copy in this place, permitted to march through Egypt, (as they must have done to 2 Chron. xvi. 3–6, as applying what follows to time pasi, and invade Judea,) without sume opposition: and therefore the not in times future.

[ocr errors]

come, wherein no true prophet should be left in | him what would come to pass : as if the threatened
their whole multitude ; nor a priest who should perdition of his family, and the destruction of
deliver a true answer from the oracle: but their his house were good things; and as if he were a
cities should be overthrown, and their nation scat- combatant for wickedness, he every day took more
tered over the whole earth, and live the life of and more pains for it. And at last he took his army,
strangers and wanderers. So he advised them, and assaulted a certain considerable city called
while they had time, to be good, and not to de- Ramah, which was forty furlongs distant from Jeru-
prive themselves of the favour of God. When the salem; and when he had taken it, he fortified it;
king and the people heard this, they rejoiced ; and having previously determined to leave a garrison
all in common, and every one in particular, took in it, that they might thence make excursions, and
great care to behave themselves righteously.* do mischief to the kingdom of Asa.
The king also sent some to take care, that those Hereupon Asa was afraid of the attempts the
in the country should observe the laws.

enemy might make upon him; and, considering
I now return to Baasha, king of the multitude with himself how many mischiefs this army that
of the Israelites, who slew Nadab, the son of Jero- was left in Ramah might do to the country over
boam, and retained the government. He dweltf which he reigned, he sent ambassadorst to the
in the city Tirzah; having made that his habita- king of the Damascens, with gold and silver, de-
tion ; and reigned twenty-four years. He became siring his assistance, and putting him in mind that
more wicked and impious than Jeroboam or his they had a friendship together, from the times of
son: for he did a great deal of mischief to the their forefathers. So he gladly received that sum
multitude; and was injurious to God. The prophet of money; and made a league with him, and brake
Jehu was therefore sent to tell him beforehand, the friendship he had with Baasha, and sent the
that his whole family should l destroyed, and that commanders of his own forces unto the cities that
God would bring the same miseries on his house, were under Baasha's dominion; and ordered them
which had brought that of Jeroboam to ruin : be- to do them mischief. So they went and burnt some
cause when he had been made king by him, he had of them, and spoiled others: Ijon, Dan, and Abel-
not requited his kindness, by governing the multi- maim, and many others.
tude righteously and religiously; which things in Now when the king of Israel heard this, he left
the first place tended to their own happiness, and off building and fortifying Ramah, and returned
in the next place were pleasing to God; that he had to assist his own people under the distresses they
imitated this very wicked king Jeroboam; and al- were in. But Asa made use of the materials that
though that man's soul had perished, yet did he were prepared for building that city, for erecting
express to the life his wickedness; and he said, in the same place two strong cities; the one of
that he should therefore justly experience the like which was called Geba, and the other Mizpah. So
calamity with him ; since he had been guilty of the that after this, Baasha had no leisure to make ex-
like wickedness. But Baasha, though he heard be- peditions against Asa, for he was prevented by
forehand what miseries would befall him and his death, and was buried in the city Tirzah. Elah,
whole family for their insolent behaviour, yet did his son, took the kingdom; but when he had
not he leave off his wicked practices for the time reigned two years, he was treacherously slain by
to come; nor did he care to appear to be other Zimri, the captain of half his army: for when he
than worse and worse till he died; nor did he even was at a feast of Arza, his steward's house, he
then repent of his past actions, nor endeavour to persuaded some of the horsemen, that were under
obtain pardon of God for them; but did as those him, to assault Elah; and by that means he slew
do, who have rewards proposed to them, when him when he was without his armed men, and his
they have once in earnest set about their work, captains. For they were all busied in the siege of
they do not leave off their labours. For thus did Gibbethon, a city of the Philistines.
Baasha grow worse when the prophet foretold to When Zimri, the captain of the army, had killed

* 2 Chron. xv. B.

compass of the land of Israel, I understand our Saviour's words, † An. 954.

| About An, 937. about the fatal war and overthrow of Judea by Titus, and his See 1 Kings xix. 15—XX. 34.

Roman

army, “ That upon you may come all the righteous blood || This Abelmaim, or in Josephus's copy, Abellane, that be shed upon the land, from the blood of righteous Abel, to the longed to the land of Israel, and bordered on the country of Da. blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the mascus, is supposed both by Hudson and Spanheim to be the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, all these things same with Abel or Abila, whence came Abilene, Luke iii. 1. shall come upon this generation,” Matt. xxiii. 35, 36. Luke xi. This

may be that city so denominated from Abel the righteous, 51. See Authent. Rec. P. II. page 884, 885. there buried, concerning the shedding of whose blood within the T 1 Kings xvi. 6.

OF THE IMPIETY OF AHAB KING OF ISRAEL; THE ACTIONS OF THE

PROPHET ELIJAH; AND THE MURDER OF NABOTH.

Elah, he took the kingdom himself; and, accord- | miserably destroyed, and taken away one by an-
ing to Jebu's prophecy, slew all the house of other, in a short time, for their transgressions.
Baasha. For it came to pass that Baasha's house But Asa, who was king of Jerusalem, and of the
utterly perished, on account of his impiety, in the two tribes, attained, by God's blessing, a long and
same manner as we have already described the a felicitous old age, for his piety and his righteous-
destruction of the house of Jeroboam. But the ness; and died happily, when he had reigned forty-
army that was besieging Gibbethon, when they one years. And when he was dead,|| his son
heard what had befallen the king, and that when Jehoshaphat T succeeded him in the government.
Zimri* had killed him he had gained the kingdom, He was born of Asa's wife Azubah. And all men
they bestowed the government on Omri their gen- allowed that he followed the works of David his
eral, who drew off his army from Gibbethon, and forefather, and this both in courage and piety.
came to Tirzah, where the royal palace was, and But we are not obliged now to speak any more
assaulted the city, and took it by force. But when of the affairs of this king.
Zimri saw that the city had none to defend it, he
fled into the inmost part of the palace, and set it

CHAP. XIII.
on fire, and burnt hiinself with it ;t when he had
reigned only seven days. Hereupon the people of
Israel were presently divided; and part of them
would have Tibni to be king, and part Omri; but AHAB, the king of Israel, dwelt in Samaria, and
when those who were for Omri's ruling had beaten held the government for twenty-two years; and
Tibni, Omri reigned over all the multitude. made no alteration in the conduct of the kings

Now it was in the Ithirtieth year of the reign that were his predecessors, but only in such things of Asa, that Omri reigned for twelve years: six as were of his own invention for the worse, and of these years he reigned in the city Tirzah, and in his most gross wickedness. IIe imitated them the rest in the city called Samareon, but named in their wicked courses, and in their injurious beby the Greeks Samaria. But he himself called it haviour towards God; and most especially he Semareon, from Semer, who sold him the moun- imitated the transgression of Jeroboam. For he tain whereon he built it. Now Omri was noway worshipped the heifers that he had made; and he different from those kings that reigned before him; contrived other absurd objects of worship. He but only that he grew worse than they. For they also married Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal, all sought how they might turn people away from king of the Tyrians and Sidonians; of whom he God, by their daily wicked practices. And on that learnt to worship her own gods, This woman account it was that God made one of them to be was active and bold; and fell into so great a deslain by another; and that no one person of their gree of impurity and madness, that she built a families should remain. This Omri also died at temple to the god of the Tyrians, which they call Samaria, and Ahab his son succeeded him. Belus, and planted a grove of all sorts of trees;

Now by these events we may learn what con- she also appointed priests and false prophets to cern God hath for the affairs of mankind; and this god. The king also himself had many such how he loves good men, and hates the wicked, about him; and so exceeded in madness and and destroys them root and branch. For many of wickedness all the kings that went before bim. these kings of Israel, they and their families, were Now there was a prophet** of God, of Thesbon,tt

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

About An. 930.

† 1 Kings xvi. 18. possibly learn from the Egyptians the usage of burning many I The thirty-first, Heb. and Septuagint.

spices at their funerals, as we find they did at the funeral of An. 919.

Zedekiah king of Judah, Jer. xxxiv. 5; but notwithstanding this, li The words in the text are these :—They laid him on the some very able commentators are of opinion, that all these spices bed, which was filled with sweet odours, and divers kinds of and perfumes were burnt along with Asa's body; and they re. spices, prepared by the apothecaries’ art: and they made a great mark, that among his other offences, the sacred history takes no burning for him, 2 Chron. xvi. 26. But then the question is, notice of this vanity of his, in ordering his body to be disposed whether the body itself was burnt, or only some spices and of according to the manner of the Gentiles, and not of his own odoriferous drugs to prevent any bad smell that might attend people. Though therefore they suppose that Asa was the first the corpse. The Greeks and Romans indeed, when they burnt who introduced this custom; yet, in after ages, it became very any dead bodies, threw frankincense, myrrh, cassia, and other frequent, and was thought the more bonourable ceremony of the fragrant things into the fire, and this in such abundance, that two, 2 Chron. xxi. 19. Ibid. xvi. 14. Amos vi. 10. Patrick's Pliny, (Nat. Hist. cap. 18,) represents it as a piece of profane. and Calmet's Commentaries on 2 Chron. xvi. 14. B. ness, to bestow such heaps of frankincense upon a dead body, An. 916. when they offered it so sparingly to their gods. The Jews, how. ** About An. 910. ever, (say the maintainers of this side of the question,) were ac # Thesbe was a town on the other side of Jordan, in the tribe customed to inter, and not to burn their dead, though they might of Gad, and in the land of Gilead, where this prophet was born,

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »