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THE FOURTH PERIOD.

FROM THE

BUILDING OF SOLOMON'S TEMPLE,

TO THE

BABYLONISH CAPTIVITY.

First and Second Books of Kings, and

Second Book of Chronicles.

THE FOURTH PERIOD.

CHAPTER I.

SOLOMON'S REIGN, FROM THE BUILDING OF THE

TEMPLE TO HIS DEATHI.
I. Kings ix.-xi. II. Chronicles vii.-ix.

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At the close of the former part of the 1005. history, we left Solomon at the height of worldly prosperity and power, after completing his great work, the building of the Temple of Jerusalem. The countries conquered by his father David, had peaceably submitted to his sway; no competitor since the death of Adonijah had disturbed his possession of the throne; the idolatrous nations yet remaining in the land, were his submissive tributaries; and his own people, happy in the blessings of his wise government, and proud of the fame and greatness of their monarch, were faithfully and devotedly attached to him. Moses had foretold tbat peace and prosperity would attend the Israelites so long as they were obedient to their Almighty Ruler, and abstained from idolatry. This was not only to reward and encourage them in the maintenance of their pure and exalted faith, but it was the

surest means of teaching this faith to the heathen world : for it was the opinion of that age, that the greatness or weakness of a nation, proved the power or imbecility of their gods; and hence, the destruction of the Canaanites, and the settlement of the Israelites in their land, taught clearly, according to the ideas then prevalent, the vanity and false pretensions of those idol deities which had proved unable to protect their worshippers. Meanwhile, the prosperity of the Israelites depended as it had always done, upon their faithfulness to God's holy law, and even the glory of Solomon departed, when he departed from his obedience to Jehovah. That it would be so, was a second time solemnly declared to this king by a vision, in the night after the dedication of the Temple.

“And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; if my people which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways: then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments; then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, there shall not fail thee a man to be a ruler in Israel. But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods and worship them; then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a bye-word among all nations. And this house which is high shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and unto this house?”.

“ And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them.”

The early part of the reign of Solomon, was peaceful and happy: and if any further evidence had been wanting, to prove the immediate goveriment of God over his chosen people, it was given in the unexampled success and glory of this and the preceding reign; traceably to no

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