« AnteriorContinuar »
none is able to withstand against thee? Art thou not our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham, thy friend for ever?" And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying, “If when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.” And now, behold, the children of Seir, whom thou wouldst not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not: behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit. O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.”
“And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children."
The promise made to Solomon when the Temple was dedicated was now fulfilled, and the pious confidence of Jehoshaphat was warded. The spirit of the LORD came upon a Levite of the sons of Asaph, and he cried out in the midst of the congregation, “Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours but God's.” To-morrow go ye down
against them: behold they come up by the cliff of Ziz, and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel. Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, and stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem : fear not, nor be dismayed: to-morrow go ye out against them: for the LORD will be with you."
Thus assured of the divine aid, Jehoshaphat led his people undismayed against the mighty host of the invaders; but when in face of the enemy, instead of the usual preparations for a battle, the king after addressing his army, and repeating the promise of Jehovah to be their help, commanded the Levites to sound the hymn of thanksgiving, “Praise the Lord, for his mercy endureth for ever;" and while they all joined in it with devout fervour, the hosts of the Moabites, Ammonites, and Edomites were suddenly seized with the spirit of dissension, and turned their arms against each other, and that without a single blow being struck by the Israelites, they were saved, and their enemies utterly destroyed by themselves. The plain was deserted, and the Israelites were three days in collecting the immense spoil of the hostile camps: they reassembled on the fourth day in the valley of Berachah, (or blessing,) where they celebrated their victory, and then returned triumphant to Jerusalem.
This signal defeat of his enemies, and the extraordinary circumstances which attended it, restored the character of Jehoshaphat in the opinion of foreign nations, and the rest of his reign was undisturbed by their attacks. He. however continued his unwise and forbidden intercourse with the kingdom of Israel, and made a treaty with Ahaziah, the son and successor of Ahab, the object of which was to trade down the Red Sea, as Solomon had done. But a prophet warned him that no enterprise undertaken with the idolatrous house of Ahab should succeed. “Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the Lord hath broken thy works." “The ships proving too unwieldy for the navigation of that dangerous sea, foundered, and were not able to go to Tarshish;” and thus were his hopes of regaining the rich commerce of the East, frustrated. The following year, when Jehoram succeeded Ahaziah on the throne of Israel, Jehoshaphat made a league with him and the king of Edom, against the Moabites: the army of the three kings was nearly destroyed by drouth, but was relieved by the prophet Elisha, and gained a decisive victory: the particulars of this deliverance will be related at large in the account of the miracles of that prophet.
Jehoshaphat died after a glorious and good reign of twenty-five years, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David.
Jehoram his son, whom he had four years before associated with him in the government, reigned in his stead.
JEHORAM SLAYS HIS BRETHREN.
REVOLT OF THE
EDOMITES. INROADS OF THE ARABIANS AND PHILISTINES. DIES MISERABLY. AHAZIAH'S SHORT AND WICKED REIGN. SLAIN BY JEHU.
II. Kings vü. ix. II. Chronicles xxi. xxii.
JEHOSHAPHAT was succeeded on the 889. throne by his eldest son Jehoram. This prince had married, as we have already noticed, Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, and the influence of this connexion was visible in the first act of the new king. He caused all his brethren, together with many of the princes of Israel to be slain: an inhuman and unprovoked crime, as they made no attempt to seize the crown, or disturb the peace of the kingdom, but had severally received their inheritance, and been placed in possession of defenced cities in the days of their father. Jehoshaphat thus secured, as he thought, the throne to his eldest son, and at the same time provided a suitable maintenance for his younger children: a wise and just measure, but which was rendered unavailing by his uniting Jehoram in marriage with the cruel daughter of Jezebel. Athaliah next instigated her husband to depart from the worship of Jehovah, and establish idolatry by royal authority. The effect of this daring viola
tion of the Law, upon the observance of which the prosperity of the kingdom depended, was instantly visible. The Edomites, who had been in subjection to Judah since the time of David, threw off the yoke, and chose themselves a king: hereupon Jehoram with the well-disciplined troops of his father, going down to Zair to oppose them, was completely surrounded, and in the greatest peril; he extricated himself with difficulty, and obtained a victory, but could not subdue them, and the Edomites thus regained their independence, agreeably to the prophecy of Isaac, recorded in Genesis xxviii. 40: “And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.” At the same time, Libnah, a city of the Levites, refused to obey a king who had forsaken the worship of the true God, and thus was the kingdom once more a prey to civil strife.
In the midst of Jehoram's weak and wicked career, there came a writing to him from the prophet Elijah,* warning him of the evils which
* As the Prophet Elijah was translated to heaven about four years before, it is supposed by some commentators that by an early error Elijah was written in the text for Elisha, as there is nothing peculiarly characteristic of Elijah in the letter itself; in some of the copies of Josephus the words 'for he was yet upon the earth,' are added, after saying the epistle was brought to the king from Elijah, so that the error may be in assigning too early a date to Elijah's translation to heaven : some imagine the letter was written by Elijah, and left by him to be delivered when the events happened which called for the reproof. See Note in Josephus ; also Calmet.