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kingdom, who followed the barbarity of his father, and so ruled but two years only, after which he was slain with his friends at a feast, by the treachery of one Pekah, the general of his horse, and the son of Remaliah, who laid snares for him. Now this Pekah held the government twenty years, and proved a wicked man, and a transgressor. But the king of Assyria, whose name was Tiglath-Peleser, when he had made an expedition against the Israelites, and had over-run all the land of Gilead, and the region beyond Jordan, and the adjoining country, which is called Galilee, and Kadesh, and Hazor, he made the inhabitants prisoners, and transplanted them into his own kingdom. And so much shall suffice to have related here concerning the king of Assyria.
2. Now Jotham the son of Uzziah, reigned over the tribe of Judah in Jerusalem, being a citizen thereof by bis mother, whose name was Jerusha. This king was not defective in any virtue, but was religious towards God, and righteous towards men, and careful of the good of the city, (for what parts soever wanted to be repaired or adorned, he magnificently repaired and adorned them.) He also took care of the foundations of the cloisters in the temple, and repaired the walls that were fallen down, and built very great towers, and such as were almost impregnable; and if any thing else in his kingdom had been neglected he took great care of it. He also made an expedition against the Ammonites, and overcame them in battle, and ordered them to pay tribute an bundred talents, and ten thousand cori of wheat, and as many of barley, every year, and so augmented his kingdom, thať his enemies could not despise it, and his own people lived happily.
3. Now there was at this time a prophet, whose name was Nahum, who spake after this manner concerning the overthrow of the Assyrians, and of Nineveh : "* Nineveh shall be
a pool of water in motion; so shall all her people be trou“ bled, and tossed, and go away by flight, while they say
one to another, stand, stand still, seize their gold and sil
ver, for there shall be no one to wish them well, for they 56 will rather save their lives than their money; for a terrible “ contention shall possess them one with another, and la“mentation, and loosing of the members, and their counte“ nances shall be perfectly black with fear. And there will “ be the den of the lions, and the mother of the young lions ! “ God says to thee Nineveh, that they shall deface tiee, and " the lion shall no longer go out from thee to give laws to 56 the world.” And indeed this prophet prophesied many other things besides these concerning Nineveh, which I do not think necessary to repeat, and I here omit them, that I may not appear troublesome to my readers; all which things happened about Nineveh an hundred and fifteen years afterward; so this may suffice to have spoken of these matters.
* This passage is taken out of the prophet Nahum, ch. ii. 8–13. and is the principal, or rather the only one that is given us almost verbatim, but a little abridged, in all Josephus's known writings: By which quotation we learn what he himself always asserts, viz. that he made use of the Hebrew original, (and not of the Greek version ;s as also we learn, that his Hebrew copy considerably differed from ours. See all three texts particularly set down, and compared together in the Essay on the Old Test. page 187.
C Η Α Ρ. ΧΙΙ.
How upon the death of Jotham, Ahuz reigned in his stead :
against whom Rezin, king of Syria, and Pekah, king of Israel, made war ; and how Tiglath-Pileser, king of Assyria, came to the assistance of Ahaz, and laid Syria waste, and rr moving the Damascens into Media, pluced other na
tions in their room. § 1. Now Jotham died when he had lived forty-one years, and of them reigned sixteen, and was buried in the pulchres of the kings; and the kingdom came to his, son Ahaz, who proved most impious towards God, and a transgressor of the laws of his country. He imitated the kings of Israel, and reared altars in Jerusalem, and offered sacrifices upon them to idols; to which also he offered his own son as a burnt-offering, according to the practices of the Canaanites. His other actions were also of the same sort. Now as he was going on in this mad .course, Rezin,' the king of Syria and Damascus, and Pekah, the king of Israel, who were now at amity one with another, made war with him; and when they had driven him into Jerusalem, they besieged that city a long while, making but a small progress, on account of the strength of its walls; and when the king of Syria had taken the city Elath, upon the Red Sea, and had slain the inhabitants, he peopled it with Syrians; and when he had slain those in the (other) garrisons, and the Jews in their neighbourhood, and had driven away much prey, he returned with his army back to Damascus. Now when the king of Jerusalem knew that the Syrians were returned home, he, suposing himself a match for the king of Israel, drew out his army against him, and joining battle with him was beaten; and this happened because God was angry witly him, on account of 'vis many and great enormities. Accordingly there were slain by the Israelites. one hundred and twenty thousand of his men that
day, whose general, Amaziah by name, slew Zachariah the king's son in his conflict with Ahaz, as well as the governor of the kingdom, whose name was Azricam. He also carried Elkanah, the general of the troops of the tribe of Judah, into captivity. They also carried the women and children of the tribe of Benjamin captives; and when they had gotten a great deal of prey, they returned to Samaria.
2. Now there was one Obed, who was a prophet at that time in Samaria, he met the army before the city walls, and with a loud voice told them, that " they had gotten the vic
tory not by their own strength, but by reason of the anger “ God had against king Ahaz. And he complained, that
they were not satisfied with the good success they had had
against him, but were so bold as to make captives out of " their kinsmen the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. He also
gave them counsel to let them go home without doing them
any harm, for that if they did not obey God herein, they “ should be punished.” So the people of Israel came together to their assembly, and considered of these matters, when a man whose name was Berechiah, and who was one of chief reputation in the government, stood up and three others with him, and said, “We will not suffer the citizens to bring these “ prisoners into the city, lest we be all destroyed by God :
we have sins enough of our own that we have committed " against him as the prophets assure us; nor ought we “ therefore to introduce the practice of new crimes.” When the soldiers heard that, they permitted them to do what they thought best. So the forenamed men took the captives, and let them go, and took care of them, and gave them provisions, and sent them to their own country, without doing them any harm. However, these four went along with them, and conducted them as far as Jericho, which is not far from Jerusalem, and returned to Samaria.
3. Hereupon king Abaz having been so thoroughly beaten by the Israelites, sent to Tiglath-Pileser, king of the Assyrians, and sued for assistance from him in his war against the Israelites, and Syrians, and Damascens, with a promise to send him much money: he sent him also great presents at the same time. Now this king, upon the reception of those ambassadors, came to assist Ahaz, and made war upon the Syrians, and laid their country waste, and took Damascus by force, and slew Rezin their king, and transplanted the people of Damascus into the upper Media, and brought a colony of Assyrians, and planted them in Damascus. He also af. flicted the land of Israel, and took many captives out of it. While he was doing thus with the Syrians, king Ahaz took
all the gold that was in the king's treasures, and the silver, and what was in the temple of God, and what precious gifts were there, and he carried them with him, and came to Damascus, and gave it to the king of Assyria, according to his agreement. So he confessed that he owed him thanks for all that he had done for him, and returned to Jerusalem. Now tbis king was so sottish, and thoughtless of what was for bis own good, that he would not leave off worshipping the Syrian gods when he was beaten by them, but he went on in worshipping them, as though they would procure him the victory: and when he was beaten again he began to honour the gods of the Assyrians; and he seemed more desirous to honour any other gods than his own paternal and true God, whose anger was the cause of his defeat: nay, he proceeded to such a degree of despite and contempt [of God's worship,] that he shut up the temple entirely, and forbade them to bring in the appointed sacrifices, and took away the gifts that had been given to it. And when he had offered these indignities to God he died, having lived thirty-six years, and of them reigned sixteen; and he left his son Hezekiah for his successor.
CHA P. XIII.
Flow Pekah died by the treachery of Hoshea, who was a lit
tle after subdued by Shalmaneser : And how Hezekiah reigned instead of Ahaz; and what actions of piety and jus.
tice he did. 81. ABOUT the same time Pekah, the king of Israel, died, by the treachery of a friend of his, whose name was Hoshea, who retained the kingdom nine years time, but was a wicked man, and a despiser of the divine worship: And Shalmaneser, the king of Assyria, made an expedition against him, and overcame him, (which must have been because he had not God favourable nor assistant to him,) and brought him to submission, and ordered him to pay an appointed tribute. Now in the fourth year of the reign of Hoshea, Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, began to reign in Jerusalem : and his mother's name was Abijah, a citizen of Jerusalem. His nature was good, and righteous, and religious; for when he came to the kingdom he thought that nothing was prior, or more necessary, or more adyantageous to himself, and to his subjects, than to worship God. Accordingly he called the people together, and the priests, and the Levites, and made a speech to them, and said, “ You are not ignorant how by “the sins of my father, who transgressed that sacred honour " which was due to God, you have had experience of many " and great miseries, while you were corrupted in your " mind by him, and were induced to worship those which he
supposed to be gods: I exhort you therefore, who have - learned by sad experience how dangerous a thing impiety “ is, to put that immediately out of your memory, and to
purify yourselves from your former pollutions, and to open 6 the temple to these priests and Levites who are here con“ vened, and to cleanse it with the accustomed-sacrifices, 66 and to recover all to the ancient honour which our fathers
paid to it; for by this imeans we may reuder God favour« able, and he will remit the anger he hath had to us.”
2. When the king had said this, the priests opened the temple; and when they had set in order the vessels of God, and cast out what was inpure, they laid the accustomed sacrifices upon the altar. The king also sent to the country that was under him, and called the people to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of unleavened bread, for it had been intermitted a long time, on account of the wickedness of the forementioned kings. He also sent to the Israelites, and exhorted them to leave off their present way of living, and to return to their ancient practices, and to worship God, for that he gave them leave to come to Jerusalem, and to celebrate, all in one body, the feast of unleavened bread; and this he said was by way of invitation only, and to be done of their own good-will, and for their own advantage, and not out of obedience to him, because it would make them happy. But the Israelites upon the coming of the ambassadors, and upon their laying before them what they had in charge from their own king, were so far from complying therewith, that they laughed the ambassadors to scorn, and mocked them as fools: as also they affronted the prophets which gave them the same exhortations, and foretold what they would suffer if they did not return to the worship of God, insomuch that at length they caught them, and slew them : nor did this degree of transgressing suffice them, but they had more wicked contrivances than what have been described: Nor did they leave off, before God as a punishment for their impiety, brought them under their enemies : but of that more hereafter. However, many there were of the tribe of Manasseh, and of Zebulun, and of Issachar, who were obedient to what the prophets exhorted them to do, and returned to the worship of God. Now all these came running to Jerusalem, to Hezekiah, that they might worship God (there.]