When they had repaired the temple, they made use of the remaining gold and silver, which was not a little, for bowls, and basons, and cups, and other vessels, and they went on to make the altar every day fat with sacrifices of great value. And these things were taken suitable care of as long as Jehoiada lived.
But as soon as he was dead (which was when he had lived one hundred and thirty years, having been a righteous, and in every respect a very good man, and was buried in the king's sepulchers at Jerusalem, because he had recovered the kingdom to the family of David) King Jehoash betrayed his [want of] care about God. The principal men of the people were corrupted also together with him, and offended against their duty, and what their constitution determined to be most for their good. Hereupon God was displeased with the change that was made on the king, and on the rest of the people, and sent prophets to testify to them what their actions were, and to bring them to leave off their wickedness; but they had gotten such a strong affection and so violent an inclination to it, that neither could the examples of those that had offered affronts to the laws, and had been so severely punished, they and their entire families, nor could the fear of what the prophets now foretold, bring them to repentance, and turn them back from their course of transgression to their former duty.
But the King commanded that Zechariah, the son of the high priest Jehoiada, should be stoned to death in the temple, and forgot the kindnesses he had received from his father; for when God had appointed him to prophesy, he stood in the midst of the multitude, and gave this counsel to them and to the king: That they should act righteously; and foretold to them, that if they would not hearken to his admonitions, they should suffer a heavy punishment. But as Zechariah was ready to die, he appealed to God as a witness of what he suffered for the good counsel he had given them, and how he perished after a most severe and violent manner for the good deeds his father had done to Jehoash.
However, it was not long before the King suffered punishment for his transgression; for when Hazael, King of Syria, made an irruption into his country, and when he had overthrown Gath, and spoiled it, he made an expedition against Jerusalem; upon which Jehoash was afraid, and emptied all the treasures of God and of the kings [before him], and took down the gifts that had been dedicated [in the temple], and sent them to the King of Syria, and procured so much by them, that he was not besieged, nor his kingdom quite endangered; but Hazael was induced by the greatness of the sum of money not to bring his army against Jerusalem; yet Jehoash fell into a severe distemper, and was set upon by his friends, in order to revenge the death of Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada. These laid snares for the king, and slew him. He was indeed buried in Jerusalem, but not in the royal sepulchers of his forefathers, because of his impiety. He lived forty-seven years, and Amaziah his son succeeded him in the kingdom.
In the one and twentieth year of the reign of Jehoash, Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, took the government of the Israelites in Samaria, and held it seventeen years. He did not [properly] imitate his father, but was guilty of as wicked practices as hose that first had God in contempt: but the King of Syria brought him low, and by an expedition against him did so greatly reduce his forces, that there remained no more of so great an army than ten thousand armed men, and fifty horsemen. He also took away from him his great cities, and many of them also, and destroyed his army. And these were the things that the people of Israel suffered, according to the prophecy of Elisha, when he foretold that Hazael should kill his master, and reign over the Syrians and Damcenes. But when Jehoahaz was under such unavoidable miseries, he had recourse to prayer and supplication to God, and besought him to deliver him out of the hands of Hazael, and not overlook him, and give him up into his hands. Accordingly God accepted of his repentance instead of virtue; and being desirous rather to admonish those that might repent, and not to determine that they should be utterly destroyed, he granted him deliverance from war and dangers. So the country having obtained peace, returned again to its former condition, and flourished as before.
Now after the death of Jehoahaz, his son Joash took the kingdom, in the thirty-seventh year of Jehoash, the King of the tribe of Judah. This Joash then took the kingdom of Israel in Samaria, for he had the same name with the King of Jerusalem, and he retained the kingdom sixteen years. He was a good man, and in his disposition was not at all like his father. Now at this time it was that when Elisha the prophet, who was already very old, and was now fallen into a disease, the King of Israel came to visit him; and when he found him very near death, he began to weep in his sight, and lament, to call him his father, and his weapons, because it was by his means that he never made use of his weapons against his enemies, but that he overcame his own adversaries by his prophecies, without fighting; and that he was now departing this life, and leaving him to the Syrians, that were already armed, and to other enemies of his that were under their power; so he said it was not safe for him to live any longer, but that it would be well for him to hasten to his end, and depart out of this life with him. As the King was thus bemoaning himself, Elisha comforted him, and bid the King bend a bow that was brought him; and when the King had fitted the bow for shooting, Elisha took hold of his hands and bid him shoot; and when he had shot three arrows, and then left off, Elisha said,
"If thou hadst shot more arrows, thou hadst cut the kingdom of Syria up by the roots; but since thou hast been satisfied with shooting three times only, thou shalt fight and beat the Syrians no more times than three, that thou mayest recover that country which they cut off from thy kingdom in the reign of thy father."
So when the King had heard that, he departed; and a little while after the prophet died. He was a man celebrated for righteousness, and in eminent favor with God. He also performed wonderful and surprising works by prophecy, and such as were gloriously preserved in memory by the Hebrews. He also obtained a magnificent funeral, such a one indeed as it was fit a person so beloved of God should have. It also happened, that at that time certain robbers cast a man whom they had slain into Elisha's grave, and upon his dead body coming close to Elisha's body, it revived again. And thus far have we enlarged about the actions of Elisha the prophet, both such as he did while he was alive, and how he had a Divine power after his death also.
Now, upon the death of Hazael, the King of Syria, that kingdom came to Adad his son, with whom Joash , King of Israel, made war; and when he had beaten him in three battles, he took from him all that country, and all those cities and villages, which his father Hazael had taken from the kingdom of Israel, which came to pass, however, according to the prophecy of Elisha. But when Joash happened to die, he was buried in Samaria, and the government devolved on his son Jeroboam.
King of Judah conquers Edomites, Amalekites but beaten by King of Israel
Now, in the second year of the reign of Joash over Israel, Amaziah reigned over the tribe of Judah in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jehoaddan, who was born at Jerusalem. He was exceeding careful of doing what was right, and this when he was very young; but when he came to the management of affairs, and to the government, he resolved that he ought first of all to avenge his father Je-hoash, and to punish those his friends that had laid violent hands upon him: so he seized upon them all, and put them to death; yet did he execute no severity on their children, but acted therein according to the laws of Moses, who did not think it just to punish children for the sins of their fathers. After this he chose him an army out of the tribe of Judah and Benjamin, of such as were in the flower of their age, and about twenty years old; and when he had collected about three hundred thousand of them together, he set captains of hundreds over them.
He also sent to the King of Israel, and hired a hundred thousand of his soldiers for a hundred talents of silver, for he had resolved to make an expedition against the nations of the Amatekites, and Edomites, and Gebalites: but as he was preparing for his expedition, and ready to go out to the war, a prophet gave him counsel to dismiss the army of the Israelites, because they were bad men, and because God foretold that he should be beaten, if he made use of them as auxiliaries; but that he should overcome his enemies, though he had but a few soldiers, when it so pleased God. And when the King grudged at his having already paid the hire of the Israelites, the prophet exhorted him to do what God would have him, because he should thereby obtain much wealth from God.
So he dismissed them, and said that he still freely gave them their pay, and went himself with his own army, and made war with the nations before mentioned; and when he had beaten them in battle, he slew of them ten thousand, and took as many prisoners alive, whom he brought to the great rock which is in Arabia, and threw them down from it headlong. He also brought away a great deal of prey and vast riches from those nations. But while Amaziah was engaged in this expedition, those Israelites whom he had hired, and then dismissed, were very uneasy at it, and taking their dismission for an affront, (as supposing that this would not have been done to them but out of contempt,) they fell upon his kingdom, and proceeded to spoil the country as far as Beth-horon, and took much cattle, and slew three thousand men.
Now upon the victory which Amaziah had gotten, and the great acts he had done, he was puffed up, and began to overlook God, who had given him the victory, and proceeded to worship the gods he had brought out of the country of the Amalekites. So a prophet came to him, and said, that he wondered how he could esteem these to be gods, who had been of no advantage to their own people who paid them honors, nor had delivered them from his hands, but had overlooked the destruction of many of them, and had suffered themselves to be carried captive, for that they had been carried to Jerusalem in the same manner as any one might have taken some of the enemy alive, and led them thither. This reproof provoked the King to anger, and he commanded the prophet to hold his peace, and threatened to punish him if he meddled with his conduct.
So he replied, that he should indeed hold his peace; but foretold withal, that God would not overlook his attempts for innovation. But Amaziah was not able to contain himself under that prosperity which God had given him, although he had affronted God thereupon; but in a vein of insolence he wrote to Joash, the King of Israel, and commanded that he and all his people should be obedient to him, as they had formerly been obedient to his progenitors, David and Solomon; and he let him know, that if he would not be so wise as to do what he commanded him, he must fight for his dominion. To which message Joash returned this answer in writing:
"King Joash to King Amaziah. There was a vastly tall cypress tree in Mount Lebanon, as also a thistle; this thistle sent to the cypress tree to give the cypress tree's daughter in marriage to the thistle's son; but as the thistle was saying this, there came a wild beast, and trod down the thistle: and this may be a lesson to thee, not to be so ambitious, and to have a care, lest upon thy good success in the fight against the Amalekites thou growest so proud, as to bring dangers upon thyself and upon thy kingdom."
When Amaziah had read this letter, he was more eager upon this expedition, which, I suppose, was by the impulse of God, that he might be punished for his offense against him. But as soon as he led out his army against Joash , and they were going to join battle with him, there came such a fear and consternation upon the army of Amaziah, as God, when he is displeased, sends upon men, and discomfited them, even before they came to a close fight. Now it happened, that as they were scattered about by the terror that was upon them, Amaziah was left alone, and was taken prisoner by the enemy; whereupon Joash threatened to kill him, unless he would persuade the people of Jerusalem to open their gates to him, and receive him and his army into the city.
Accordingly Amaziah was so distressed, and in such fear of his life, that he made his enemy to be received into the city. So Joash over threw a part of the wall, of the length of four hundred cubits, and drove his chariot through the breach into Jerusalem, and led Amaziah captive along with him; by which means he became master of Jerusalem, and took away the treasures of God, and carried off all the gold and silver that was in the king's palace, and then freed the King from captivity, and returned to Samaria. Now these things happened to the people of Jerusalem in the fourteenth year of the reign of Amaziah, who after this had a conspiracy made against him by his friends, and fled to the city Lachish, and was there slain by the conspirators, who sent men thither to kill him. So they took up his dead body, and carried it to Jerusalem, and made a royal funeral for him. This was the end of the life of Amaziah, because of his innovations in religion, and his contempt of God, when he had lived fifty-four years, and had reigned twenty-nine. He was succeeded by his son, whose name was Uzziah.
Jonah the prophet fortells victory over Syrians
IN the fifteenth year of the reign of Amaziah, Jeroboam the son of Joash reigned over Israel in Samaria forty years. This King was guilty of being contemptuous against God, and became very wicked in worshipping of idols, and in many undertakings that were absurd and foreign. He was also the cause of ten thousand misfortunes to the people of Israel. Now one Jonah, a prophet, foretold to him that he should make war with the Syrians, and conquer their army, and enlarge the bounds of his kingdom on the northern parts to the city Hamath, and on the southern to the lake Asphaltitis; for the bounds of the Canaanites originally were these, as Joshua their general had determined them. So Jeroboam made an expedition against the Syrians, and overran all their country, as Jonah had foretold.
Now I cannot but think it necessary for me, who have promised to give an accurate account of our affairs, to describe the actions of this prophet, so far as I have found them written down in the Hebrew books. Jonah had been commanded by God to go to the kingdom of Nineveh; and when he was there, to publish it in that city, how it should lose the dominion it had over the nations. But he went not, out of fear; nay, he ran away from God to the city of Joppa, and finding a ship there, he went into it, and sailed to Tarsus, in Cilicia and upon the rise of a most terrible storm, which was so great that the ship was in danger of sinking, the mariners, the master, and the pilot himself, made prayers and vows, in case they escaped the sea: but Jonah lay still and covered [in the ship,] without imitating any thing that the others did; but as the waves grew greater, and the sea became more violent by the winds, they suspected, as is usual in such cases, that some one of the persons that sailed with them was the occasion of this storm, and agreed to discover by lot which of them it was. When they had cast lots, the lot fell upon the prophet; and when they asked him whence he came, and what he had done? he replied, that he was a Hebrew by nation, and a prophet of Almighty God; and he persuaded them to cast him into the sea, if they would escape the danger they were in, for that he was the occasion of the storm which was upon them.
Now at the first they durst not do so, as esteeming it a wicked thing to cast a man who was a stranger, and who had committed his life to them, into such manifest perdition; but at last, when their misfortune overbore them, and the ship was just going to be drowned, and when they were animated to do it by the prophet himself, and by the fear concerning their own safety, they cast him into the sea; upon which the sea became calm. It is also reported that Jonah was swallowed down by a whale, and that when he had been there three days, and as many nights, he was vomited out upon the Euxine Sea, and this alive, and without any hurt upon his body; and there, on his prayer to God, he obtained pardon for his sins, and went to the city Nineveh, where he stood so as to be heard, and preached, that in a very little time they should lose the dominion of Asia. And when he had published this, he returned. Now I have given this account about him as I found it written [in our books.]
When Jeroboam the King had passed his life in great happiness, and had ruled forty years, he died, and was buried in Samaria, and his son Zachariah took the kingdom. After the same manner did Uzziah, the son of Amaziah, begin to reign over the two tribes in Jerusalem, in the fourteenth year of the reign of Jeroboam. He was born of Jecoliah, his mother, who was a citizen of Jerusalem. He was a good man, and by nature righteous and magnanimous, and very laborious in taking care of the affairs of his kingdom. He made an expedition also against the Philistines, and overcame them in battle, and took the cities of Gath and Jabneh, and brake down their walls; after which expedition he assaulted those Arabs that adjoined to Egypt. He also built a city upon the Red Sea, and put a garrison into it. He, after this, overthrew the Ammonites, and appointed that they should pay tribute. He also overcame all the countries as far as the bounds of Egypt, and then began to take care of Jerusalem itself for the rest of his life; for he rebuilt and repaired all those parts of the wall which had either fallen down by length of time, or by the carelessness of the kings, his predecessors, as well as all that part which had been thrown down by the King of Israel, when he took his father Amaziah prisoner, and entered with him into the city.
Moreover, he built a great many towers, of one hundred and fifty cubits high, and built walled towns in desert places, and put garrisons into them, and dug many channels for conveyance of water. He had also many beasts for labor, and an immense number of cattle; for his country was fit for pasturage. He was also given to husbandry, and took care to cultivate the ground, and planted it with all sorts of plants, and sowed it with all sorts of seeds. He had also about him an army composed of chosen men, in number three hundred and seventy thousand, who were governed by general officers and captains of thousands, who were men of valor, and of unconquerable strength, in number two thousand. He also divided his whole army into bands, and armed them, giving every one a sword, with brazen bucklers and breastplates, with bows and slings; and besides these, he made for them many engines of war for besieging of cities, such as cast stones and darts, with grapplers, and other instruments of that sort.
While Uzziah was in this state, and making preparation [for futurity], he was corrupted in his mind by pride, and became insolent, and this on account of that abundance which he had of things that will soon perish, and despised that power which is of eternal duration (which consisted in piety towards God, and in the observation of the laws); so he fell by occasion of the good success of his affairs, and was carried headlong into those sins of his father, which the splendor of that prosperity he enjoyed, and the glorious actions he had done, led him into, while he was not able to govern himself well about them. Accordingly, when a remarkable day was come, and a general festival was to be celebrated, he put on the holy garment, and went into the temple to offer incense to God upon the golden altar, which he was prohibited to do by Azariah the high priest, who had fourscore priests with him, and who told him that it was not lawful for him to offer sacrifice, and that
"none besides the posterity of Aaron were permitted so to do."
And when they cried out that he must go out of the temple, and not transgress against God, he was wroth at them, and threatened to kill them, unless they would hold their peace. In the mean time a great earthquake shook the ground and a rent was made in the temple, and the bright rays of the sun shone through it, and fell upon the king's face, insomuch that the leprosy seized upon him immediately. And before the city, at a place called Eroge, half the mountain broke off from the rest on the west, and rolled itself four furlongs, and stood still at the east mountain, till the roads, as well as the king's gardens, were spoiled by the obstruction.
Now, as soon as the priests saw that the king's face was infected with the leprosy, they told him of the calamity he was under, and commanded that he should go out of the city as a polluted person. Hereupon he was so confounded at the sad distemper, and sensible that he was not at liberty to contradict, that he did as he was commanded, and underwent this miserable and terrible punishment for an intention beyond what befitted a man to have, and for that impiety against God which was implied therein. So he abode out of the city for some time, and lived a private life, while his son Jotham took the government; after which he died with grief and anxiety at what had happened to him, when he had lived sixty-eight years, and reigned of them fifty-two; and was buried by himself in his own gardens.
Assyria makes war against Israel
Now when Zechariah, the son of Jeroboam, had reigned six months over Israel, he was slain by the treachery of a certain friend of his, whose name was Shallum, the son of Jabesh, who took the kingdom afterward, but kept it no longer than thirty days; for Menahem, the general of his army, who was at that time in the city Tirzah, and heard of what had befallen Zechariah, removed thereupon with all his forces to Samaria, and joining battle with Shallum, slew him; and when he had made himself king, he went thence, and came to the city Tiphsah; but the citizens that were in it shut their gates, and barred them against the king, and would not admit him: but in order to be avenged on them, he burnt the country round about it, and took the city by force, upon a siege; and being very much displeased at what the inhabitants of Tiphsah had done, he slew them all, and spared not so much as the infants, without omitting the utmost instances of cruelty and barbarity; for he used such severity upon his own countrymen, as would not be pardonable with regard to strangers who had been conquered by him.
And after this manner it was that this Menahem continued to reign with cruelty and barbarity for ten years. But when Pul, King of Assyria, had made an expedition against him, he did not think meet to fight or engage in battle with the Assyrians, but he persuaded him to accept of a thousand talents of silver, and to go away, and so put an end to the war. This sum the multitude collected for Menahem, by exacting fifty drachme as poll-money for every head; after which he died, and was buried in Samaria, and left his son Pekahiah his successor in the 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-Pileser, when he had made an expedition against the Israelites, and had overrun 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.
Now Jotham the son of Uzziah reigned over the tribe of Judah in Jerusalem, being a citizen thereof by his 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 part 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, a hundred talents, and ten thousand cori of wheat, and as many of barley, every year, and so augmented his kingdom, that his enemies could not despise it, and his own people lived happily.
Now there was at that 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 troubled, and tossed, and go away by flight, while they say one to another, Stand, stand still, seize their gold and silver, for there shall be no one to wish them well, for they will rather save their lives than their money; for a terrible contention shall possess them one with another, and lamentation, and loosing of the members, and their countenances 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 thee, and the lion shall no longer go out from thee to give laws to 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 thing happened about Nineveh a hundred and fifteen years afterward: so this may suffice to have spoken of these matters.
King of Judah dies, Ahaz new King. King of Assyria aids Ahaz in war
NOW Jotham died when he had lived forty-one years, and of them reigned sixteen, and was buried in the sepulchers 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 neighborhood, 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, supposing 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 with him, on account of his 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 Zechariah 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.
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 victory 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 the 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.
Hereupon King Ahaz, 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 Damascenes, 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 afflicted 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 he had done for him, and returned to Jerusalem. Now this King was so sottish and thoughtless of what was for his 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 honor the gods of the Assyrians; and he seemed more desirous to honor 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.
King of Israel betrayed by friend and dies, Hezekiah becomes King of Judah
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 favorable 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 advantageous 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 honor 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 the temple to these priests and Levites who are here convened, and to cleanse it with the accustomed sacrifices, and to recover all to the ancient honor which our fathers paid to it; for by this means we may render God favorable, and he will remit the anger he hath had to us."
When the King had said this, the priests opened the temple; and when they had set in order the vessels of God, and east out what was impure, 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 aforementioned kings. He also sent to the Israelites, and exhorted them to leave off their present way of living, and 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 Zebulon, 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].
When these men were come, King Hezekiah went up into the temple, with the rulers and all the people, and offered for himself seven bulls, and as many rams, with seven lambs, and as many kids of the goats. The King also himself, and the rulers, laid their hands on the heads of the sacrifices, and permitted the priests to complete the sacred offices about them. So they both slew the sacrifices, and burnt the burnt-offerings, while the Levites stood round about them, with their musical instruments, and sang hymns to God, and played on their psalteries, as they were instructed by David to do, and this while the rest of the priests returned the music, and sounded the trumpets which they had in their hands; and when this was done, the King and the multitude threw themselves down upon their face, and worshipped God. He also sacrificed seventy bulls, one hundred rams, and two hundred lambs. He also granted the multitude sacrifices to feast upon, six hundred oxen, and three thousand other cattle; and the priests performed all things according to the law.
Now the King was so pleased herewith, that he feasted with the people, and returned thanks to God; but as the feast of unleavened bread was now come, when they had offered that sacrifice which is called the passover, they after that offered other sacrifices for seven days. When the King had bestowed on the multitude, besides what they sanctified of themselves, two thousand bulls, and seven thousand other cattle, the same thing was done by the rulers; for they gave them a thousand bulls, and a thousand and forty other cattle. Nor had this festival been so well observed from the days of King Solomon, as it was now first observed with great splendor and magnificence; and when the festival was ended, they went out into the country and purged it, and cleansed the city of all the pollution of the idols. The King also gave order that the daily sacrifices should be offered, at his own charges, and according to the law; and appointed that the tithes and the first-fruits should be given by the multitude to the priests and Levites, that they might constantly attend upon Divine service, and never be taken off from the worship of God.
Accordingly, the multitude brought together all sorts of their fruits to the priests and the Levites. The King also made garners and receptacles for these fruits, and distributed them to every one of the priests and Levites, and to their children and wives; and thus did they return to their old form of Divine worship. Now when the King had settled these matters after the manner already described, he made war upon the Philistines, and beat them, and possessed himself of all the enemy's cities, from Gaza to Gath; but the King of Assyria sent to him, and threatened to overturn all his dominions, unless he would pay him the tribute which his father paid him formerly; but King Hezekiah was not concerned at his threatenings, but depended on his piety towards God, and upon Isaiah the prophet, by whom he inquired and accurately knew all future events. And thus much shall suffice for the present concerning this King Hezekiah.
King of Assyria conquers Samaria, Northern Ten Tribes of Israel taken captive
WHEN Shalmaneser, the King of Assyria, had it told him, that [Hoshea] the King of Israel had sent privately to So, the King of Egypt, desiring his assistance against him, he was very angry, and made an expedition against Samaria, in the seventh year of the reign of Hoshea; but when he was not admitted [into the city] by the king, he besieged Samaria three years, and took it by force in the ninth year of the reign of Hoshea, and in the seventh year of Hezekiah, King of Jerusalem, and quite demolished the government of the Israelites, and transplanted all the people into Media and Persia among whom he took King Hoshea alive; and when he had removed these people out of this their land he transplanted other nations out of Cuthah, a place so called, (for there is [still] a river of that name in Persia,) into Samaria, and into the country of the Israelites.
So the ten tribes of the Israelites were removed out of Judea nine hundred and forty-seven years after their forefathers were come out of the land of Egypt, and possessed themselves of the country, but eight hundred years after Joshua had been their leader, and, as I have already observed, two hundred and forty years, seven months, and seven days after they had revolted from Rehoboam, the grandson of David, and had given the kingdom to Jeroboam. And such a conclusion overtook the Israelites, when they had transgressed the laws, and would not hearken to the prophets, who foretold that this calamity would come upon them, if they would not leave off their evil doings. What gave birth to these evil doings, was that sedition which they raised against Rehoboam, the grandson of David, when they set up Jeroboam his servant to be their king, when, by sinning against God, and bringing them to imitate his bad example, made God to be their enemy, while Jeroboam underwent that punishment which he justly deserved.
And now the King of Assyria invaded all Syria and Phoenicia in a hostile manner. The name of this King is also set down in the archives of Tyre, for he made an expedition against Tyre in the reign of Eluleus; and Menander attests to it, who, when he wrote his Chronology, and translated the archives of Tyre into the Greek language, gives us the following history:
"One whose name was Eluleus reigned thirty-six years; this king, upon the revolt of the Citteans, sailed to them, and reduced them again to a submission. Against these did the King of Assyria send an army, and in a hostile manner overrun all Phoenicia, but soon made peace with them all, and returned back; but Sidon, and Ace, and Palsetyrus revolted; and many other cities there were which delivered themselves up to the King of Assyria. Accordingly, when the Tyrians would not submit to him, the King returned, and fell upon them again, while the Phoenicians had furnished him with threescore ships, and eight hundred men to row them; and when the Tyrians had come upon them in twelve ships, and the enemy's ships were dispersed, they took five hundred men prisoners, and the reputation of all the citizens of Tyre was thereby increased; but the King of Assyria returned, and placed guards at their rivers and aqueducts, who should hinder the Tyrians from drawing water. This continued for five years; and still the Tyrians bore the siege, and drank of the water they had out of the wells they dug."
And this is what is written in the Tyrian archives concerning Shalmaneser, the King of Assyria.
But now the Cutheans, who removed into Samaria, (for that is the name they have been called by to this time, because they were brought out of the country called Cuthah, which is a country of Persia, and there is a river of the same name in it,) each of them, according to their nations, which were in number five, brought their own gods into Samaria, and by worshipping them, as was the custom of their own countries, they provoked Almighty God to be angry and displeased at them, for a plague seized upon them, by which they were destroyed; and when they found no cure for their miseries, they learned by the oracle that they ought to worship Almighty God, as the method for their deliverance. So they sent ambassadors to the King of Assyria, and desired him to send them some of those priests of the Israelites whom he had taken captive.
And when he thereupon sent them, and the people were by them taught the laws, and the holy worship of God, they worshipped him in a respectful manner, and the plague ceased immediately; and indeed they continue to make use of the very same customs to this very time, and are called in the Hebrew tongue Cutlans, but in the Greek tongue Samaritans. And when they see the Jews in prosperity, they pretend that they are changed, and allied to them, and call them kinsmen, as though they were derived from Joseph, and had by that means an original alliance with them; but when they see them falling into a low condition, they say they are no way related to them, and that the Jews have no right to expect any kindness or marks of kindred from them, but they declare that they are sojourners, that come from other countries. But of these we shall have a more seasonable opportunity to discourse hereafter.
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