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The Empires of the Bible from the Confusion of Tongues to the Babylonian Captivity

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    NADAB, the son of Jeroboam, succeeded to the throne of Israel, and reigned less than two years, 954-953. In the second year of his reign, he besieged Gibbethon, which lay near the sea, in the border of the tribe of Dan, but was still held by the Philistines.EB 203.1

    2. Baasha, of the tribe of Issachar, conspired against Nadab during the siege of Gibbethon, and slew him and reigned in his stead. He slew also “all the house of Jeroboam; he left not to Jeroboam any that breathed.” Thus was fulfilled the word of the Lord by Ahijah, the prophet. When he exclaimed, “but what? even now,” then man was then alive who would do the deed.EB 203.2

    3. Baasha removed the capital from Shechem to Tirzah. He reigned twenty-four years, 953-930, and led Israel onward in the course of evil which Jeroboam had begun, and even increased it. And the Lord said to him: “Behold, I will take away the posterity of Baasha, and the posterity of his house; and will make thy house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.” 1[Page 203] 1 Kings 16:3EB 203.3

    4. Baasha, seeing the people leaving his dominions and going over to Asa, king of Judah, decided to stop it. He therefore went up to the border of Judah and built Ramah, “to the intent that he might not let any come out or go in to Asa king of Judah.” 2[Page 203] 2 Chronicles 16:1;1 Kings 15:17. Asa seeing this, and forgetting his dependence upon the Lord and what the Lord had done for him in greater crises than this, gathered together a great treasure of silver and gold and sent it to Benhadad, king of Syria, who reigned in Damascus, and proposed a league with him, and said: “Behold, I have sent thee silver and gold; go, break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me. And Ben-hadad hearkened unto King Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel; and they smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abel-maim, and all the store cities of Naphtali. And it came to pass, when Baasha heard it, that he left off building of Ramah, and let his work cease.” 3[Page 204] 2 Chronicles 16:3-5; 1 Kings 15:17-20. Then Asa took a great force of men and carried away all the material which Baasha had gotten together for the building of Ramah, and took it up to the border of his own dominions and built two strongholds, Geba and Mizpah, to guard the passes between the two kingdoms. Baasha died at Tirzah.EB 203.4

    5. Elah was the son of Baasha. In his second year, 929, “his servant—EB 204.1

    “Zimri, captain of half his chariots, conspired against him, as he was in Tirzah, drinking himself drunk in the house of Arza steward of his house in Tirzah. And Zimri went in and smote him, and killed him, in the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned in his stead.” 4[Page 204] 1 Kings 16:9, 10. Zimri visited upon the house of Baasha the like destruction which Baasha had visited upon the house of Jeroboam. For as soon as he sat on the throne, he slew all the house of Baasha, leaving not a single male among them, neither among his kinsfolks nor his friends.EB 204.2

    6. Zimri himself, however, was not left long to hold what he had so gained. The army was again at the siege of Gibbethon, and as soon as they heard that Zimri had killed the king and usurped the throne in Tirzah, they made Omri, the captain of the host, king that day in the camp. Omri then raised the siege of Gibbethon, and went up against Tirzah and besieged Zimri there. When Zimri saw that the city was about to fall and that he certainly would be captured, “he went into the palace of the king’s house and burned the king’s house over him with fire,” and died, at the end of a “sevendays” reign.EB 204.3

    7. As it was only the army that had made Omri king, all the people were not ready to recognize him. Therefore, one half of the people followed Tibni to make him king, and the other half followed Omri, and there was war. After a contest of four years Tibni was defeated and slain.EB 204.4

    8. Omri reigned king of Israel twelve years, 929-918. When he had dwelt six years in Tirzah, he bought of a man by the name of Shemer, for two talents of silver, a certain hill, and built on that hill a city which, from the former owner of the hill, he named Samaria; and established his capital there. The political and military shrewdness of Omri is shown in his choice of Samaria for a capital. Tirzah means “Delight,” but Omri had an eye for something more. Six miles from Shechem, in the same well-watered valley here opening into a wide basin, rises an oblong hill with steep sides and a long, level top. It combined as in no other place in the Ten Tribes, strength, beauty, and fertility. It commanded a full view of the Mediterranean Sea on one side and the vale of Shechem on the other. It rose above a circle of hills, which gave it additional elements of strength for defense. 5[Page 205] Stanley’s “History of the Jewish Church,” sec. xxx, par. 6. It remained the capital as long as the kingdom existed. 6[Page 205] 1 Kings 16:8-29.EB 205.1

    9. “And Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did worse than all that were before him.” The particulars as to this are not given, further than that he carried forward the fatal policy of Jeroboam. In the book of Micah, however, we read of later times, the words: “The statutes of Omri are kept.” 7[Page 205] Micah 6:16. From the connection it is plain that these “statutes of Omri” were measures established to perpetuate, and even to increase, the idolatrous practises of the people.EB 205.2

    10. Ahab reigned twenty-two years, 918-897. “And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshiped him. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.” 8[Page 206] 1 Kings 16:30-33. “There was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.” 9[Page 206] 1 Kings 21:25.EB 205.3

    11. Ethbaal, or “with Baal” or “Baal with him,” king of Sidon, was Jezebel’s father. He was a priest of Baal and Astarte, or Ashtoreth, who assassinated the reigning king of Sidon, and usurped the throne for fifty-two years. His kingdom embraced Tyre also. Tyre was the seat of the worship of Baal, the sun. The wickedness of these two cities seems to have been concentrated in Ethbaal and his family, and the wickedness of Ethbaal and his family, seems to have concentrated in Jezebel.EB 206.1

    12. Baal and Astarte, or Ashtoreth, were the chief Phoenician deities, male and female respectively, and corresponded to the Assyrian Bel and Ishtar. Baal was the sun, and Ashtoreth the moon. Under Jezebel’s influence, Ahab built a temple to Baal and reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, and set up also a pillar in the temple of Baal. This temple was large enough to contain an immense throng of worshipers. It was within a great walled enclosure, and was built in such strength as to seem like a castle. A huge image of the sun, flanked by idol symbols, was seen within, amid a blaze of splendor reflected from gilded and painted roofs and walls and columns. Four hundred and fifty priests ministered at the altars, in their vestments, and Ahab himself attended the worship in state, presenting rich offerings, while around the precincts of the temple, was carried on, in wild excitement, the license which marked the service of Baal.EB 206.2

    13. “And Ahab made a grove,” literally, Asherah. This was a wooden pillar representing the goddess Asherah, or Ashtoreth. It was not of itself the planting of a grove of trees; yet the wooden image was often set up in a grove of trees, in order to give some seclusion to the cruel and indecent rites which marked the worship. A temple to Asherah was built in the precincts of Jezreel, where four hundred priests ministered in its courts and offered upon its obscene altars. Of this temple Jezebel was the especial patroness, maintaining the whole establishment at her own expense; for all the four hundred ate the Jezebel’s table.EB 206.3

    14. Jezebel deliberately set herself to establish the worship of Baal among all Israel. As we know, a great part of Israel was idolatrous already, in honor of Egyptian idols. But it was not enough for Jezebel that idolatry should abound; Baal must be the idol. It was not enough that one god should be worshiped; Baal must be that one. It was not enough for her that some, or even most, of the people should worship the sun; they must all do it. Consequently she made a systematic attempt, absolutely to suppress the worship of the Lord, and to establish the worship of sun in His place. And this was not to be by persuasion; no such disposition as that abode in Jezebel. All must be compelled, under penalty of death, to adopt the worship of the sun. She therefore began to cut off all who still clung to the worship of Jehovah. By such measures, she brought the kingdom to the point where there were only seven thousand out of all Israel that had not bowed the knee to Baal; and these escaped only by taking refuge in dens and caves of the earth. They were so widely scattered and so little known to one another, that Elijah thought he was the only one left alive.EB 207.1

    15. As we have seen, sun-worship was in fact only the worship of the principle of generation in nature. It was held that the sun in co-operation with the earth, was the begetter of all fruitfulness upon the earth. This was the theory of sun-worship as represented in Baal-worship, as well as in all other forms: it being the theory that the sun and the earth together were sufficient for all life, and that it was by the power of the sun that the earth, even, was caused to be fruitful. This theory, therefore, held the sun to be the source of all life upon the earth. Conclusive evidence of this is given in the title of the king of Egypt as “Son of the Sun, Thothmes III, giver of life like the Sun forever.” 10[Page 207] See this book, chap 7, par. 44, and “Records of the Past,” Old Series, Vol. ii, p. 72; Vol. iv, pp. 3, 11. A title of Rameses II is: “Giver of life forever and ever, like his father Ra [the Sun].” Another of Thothmes III is: “Give of life, like the Sun eternal.”EB 207.2

    16. Now, under this theory, the worship of the sun was set up in direct opposition to the worship of God. The Lord therefore brought the theory and the whole scheme carried on under the theory, to such a test as to demonstrate its absolute fallacy. He sent Elijah, the prophet, to Ahab with this word: “As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.” 11[Page 208] 1 Kings 17:1. It is God who gives the dew and the rain, and it is only by these that the earth is caused to bring forth and bud. Without these the sun and the earth can do nothing. Without these, the more sunshine there is, the more destruction there is. When God therefore decided to withhold the dew and the rain from the earth, this was to bring the whole kingdom face to face with the theory of sun-worship, to which they were committed, and hold them there until they themselves should be ready to cry out against it and renounce it.EB 208.1

    17. Of course, the consequence was that everything began to dry up. Then Ahab wanted to find Elijah. He searched throughout all his own kingdom for him and found him not; then he sent to every nation and to every kingdom around about, to inquire if Elijah was there; and when they said he was not there, Ahab required them to swear to it. This continued for three years and six months, 12[Page 208] This drought extended to Phenicia for at least a year; for Josephus says that “Menander mentions this drought in his account of the acts of Ethbaal, king of the Tyrians, where he says thus: ‘Under him there was a want of rain from the month Hyperberetaeus till the month Hyperberetaeus of the year following.’”—“Antiquities,” book viii, chap 13, par. 2. and a famine was upon the land. Then Ahab called Obadiah, the governor of his house, and divided the land between them: directing Obadiah to take one part while he himself would take the other, and they would go “unto all fountains of water, and unto all brooks: peradventure we may find grass to save the horses and mules alive, that we lose not all the beasts.”EB 208.2

    18. And so “Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself. And as Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him,” and told him to “go and tell Ahab, Behold, Elijah is here.” Obadiah pleaded, When I go and tell Ahab this, and he comes to meet thee, the Spirit of the Lord shall catch thee away; and if Ahab find thee not, he will slay me. But Elijah told him: “As the Lord of Hosts liveth, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself unto him to-day. So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him: and Ahab went to meet Elijah. And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim. Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto Mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table. So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto Mount Carmel. And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.”EB 208.3

    19. Then Elijah called for the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, and for the four hundred of Asherah, and told them to build an altar and call upon their god, and that he would build an altar and call upon his God, and that whoever answered by fire, he should be God. The prophets of Baal built their altar and prepared their sacrifice, and called from morning until noon: “O Baal, hear us.” At noon they cried louder and jumped up and down about the altar, and cut themselves with knives until the blood gushed out. But, though it was during the very hours when the sun was shining in his strength upon the drought-stricken land, yet the day passed, and the evening came, and “there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.” As this crying to Baal had continued from morning till evening through every phase of the sun’s power, the utter impotence of Baal had to be confessed.EB 209.1

    20. When the sun in his strength had passed, and the evening was come, Elijah repaired the altar of the Lord that had been broken down, and put the wood and the sacrifice upon the altar, and digged a trench about it; and upon the sacrifice and the altar he had twelve barrels of water poured until all was saturated and until the trench was filled with water. Then Elijah prayed: “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, He is the God; the Lord, He is the God.” After this, the prophets of Baal were taken down to the brook Kishon and slain. “Not one of them” escaped.EB 209.2

    21. It was not alone in this one way that the Lord would manifest himself above Baal. They had waited in vain for three years and six months for rain, and all that Baal could do was to scorch the earth with heat and afflict it with famine. The fallacy of the theory of sun-worship had been thoroughly exposed, and now the Lord would send rain. “And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.” Then Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel to look for the rain, and “he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not. And it came to pass in the meanwhile, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab drove, and went to Jezreel. And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.” 13[Page 210] 1 Kings 13.EB 210.1

    22. Ahab told Jezebel all that had occurred, and how that the prophets of Baal and of Asherah had been slain. “Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.EB 210.2

    23. “And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of Hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of Hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword: and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.EB 211.1

    24. “And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: and Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass that him that escapeth from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” 14[Page 212] 1 Kings 19.EB 211.2

    25. Shortly after this, Ben-hadad, king of Syria, formed an alliance of thirty-two kings, and gathered all his armies and came up and laid siege to Samaria. But there came a prophet to Ahab, telling him from the Lord that all the host of Ben-hadad should be delivered into the hand of the king of Israel that day. Ahab asked, “By whom?” and the prophet said: “By the young men of the princes of the provinces.... Then he numbered the young men of the princes of the provinces, and they were two hundred and thirty-two.” Ben-hadad, with the allied kings around him, was drinking himself drunk in his pavilion. The gates of Samaria were opened, and the young men went out first. It was told Ben-hadad that there were men coming out of Samaria. He said whether they were come out for peace or for war, to take them alive. The young men then started to the attack, and each slew his man, whereupon a panic seized the Syrians, and they fled for their lives, and Ben-hadad escaped on a horse with the horsemen.EB 212.1

    26. Then the advisers of the king of Syria told him that the gods of the Israelites were gods of the hills, and were stronger than the gods of the Syrians; but that if they could only fight in the plain, surely the Syrians would overcome Israel. They advised him to take the kings away from the command; to put captains in their places; and to bring together his army precisely as before; and they would engage Israel in the plain and surely would win. Accordingly, at the return of the year, Ben-hadad gathered his army together and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel. The forces of the Syrians “filled the country;” but Israel were “pitched before them like two little flocks of kids.” They rested in view of each other for six days, and on the seventh, the battle was joined. The Syrians were again defeated worse than before, with a greater slaughter. Those that escaped took refuge in the city of Aphek, and the walls of the city fell upon them, and thus caused another great slaughter. Ben-hadad took refuge not only in the city, but in the innermost chamber of one of the houses.EB 212.2

    27. The servants of Ben-hadad said unto him: “Behold, now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings: let us, I pray thee, put sackcloth on our loins, and ropes upon our heads, and go out to the king of Israel: peradventure he will save thy life.” 15[Page 213] 1 Kings 20:31.EB 213.1

    28. This is a fearful comment upon the manners of the times. Think of Baasha, Zimri, Omri, and Ahab! What cruel and bloody men they were! And yet, among the other nations and kingdoms, these kings of the house of Israel were counted merciful kings! When such men as these had the fame in other kingdoms of being merciful kings, what then must have been the character of the kings and of the people in those other kingdoms! In the light of the Scriptures as to what those men ought to have been, and in the light of our times, these kings of Israel were altogether unmerciful. But, upon the testimony of the people who lived at that same time, and were by experience acquainted with things as they then were, both in Israel and in the other nations, they stand as “merciful kings.”EB 213.2

    29. “So they girded sackcloth on their loins, and put ropes on their heads, and came to the king of Israel, and said, Thy servant Ben-hadad saith, I pray thee, let me live. And he said, Is he yet alive? he is my brother. Now the men did diligently observe whether anything would come from him, and did hastily catch it: and they said, Thy brother Ben-hadad. Then he said, Go ye, bring him. Then Ben-hadad came forth to him; and he caused him to come up into the chariot. And Ben-hadad said unto him, The cities, which my father took from thy father, I will restore; and thou shalt make streets [bazaars] for thee in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria. Then said Ahab, I will send thee away with this covenant. So he made a covenant with him, and sent him away.” 16[Page 214] 1 Kings 20:32-34.EB 213.3

    30. At Jezreel, about twenty-five miles from Samaria, Ahab had a palace. Close to this palace was a vineyard belonging to Naboth. Ahab wanted this vineyard to make him a garden of herbs, because it was near to his house. He offered to give for it either a better vineyard or the worth of it in money; but Naboth chose not to part with it. Indeed, he was forbidden by the law of the Lord to part with it, for it was written in the law: “So shall not the inheritance of the children of Israel remove from tribe to tribe, for every one of the children of Israel shall keep himself to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers.” Naboth therefore answered: “The Lord forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee.” Then Ahab, like a spoiled child, went to his house, “heavy and displeased,” and threw himself down upon the bed, and turned his face to the wall, “and would not eat bread.”EB 214.1

    31. Ahab was not only capricious, but he had no force of character even in his caprices. He was always ready to be ruled by whatever influence affected him at the moment. Jezebel, however, had enough self-assertion for any number of men; she could tell instantly what to do. She would murder Naboth and his whole family so that there would be no heirs, and do it on a charge of high treason against Naboth, then the vineyard would fall easily enough to the king. All this she could do and be merry about it. Therefore, she said to Ahab: “Arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” And she did.EB 214.2

    32. Then Ahab got into his chariot, and accompanied by two of his captains, Jehu and Bidkar, went “down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it. And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Arise, go down to meet Ahab.... Behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to possess it.” And there, as Ahab stands, contemplating with satisfaction his new possession, suddenly there strikes upon his ear a voice, startling as thunder out of a clear sky: “Hast thou killed, and also taken possession?” Ahab instantly recognized the voice of Elijah, and cried out: “Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?” The stern reply came: “I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the Lord.” “In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.” “The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of of the air eat.” 17[Page 215] 1 Kings 21.EB 214.3

    33. In the former contentions between Syria and Israel, the king of Syria had taken possession of Ramoth-Gilead, and Syria still held it. There had been three years of peace now between Ahab and the king of Syria, and Ahab decided to recover Ramoth-Gilead to his kingdom. Accordingly, he went up with his army, and the king of Syria met him, in defense of the city. The king of Syria commanded all his captains that they should “fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel.” In the battle Ahab was wounded; but though seriously wounded, he had himself “stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians,” until evening, and then died. As soon as he had died “there went a proclamation throughout the host, about the host, about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country.” So the army was dispersed. From Ahab’s wound the blood ran down upon the floor of the chariot. When he was dead, they brought him to Samaria; and when he had been removed from the chariot, the chariot was driven to a pool of water at Samaria, where his bloody armor and chariot were washed. The blood washed from the chariot and the armor, fell upon the ground, and the dogs licked it up, according to the saying of Elijah.EB 215.1

    34. Ahaziah, the son of Ahab, succeeded to the throne of Israel, and “walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam,” and “served Baal.” In the second year of his reign, 896 B. C., he fell through a lattice in an upper chamber in his house in Samaria, and was badly hurt. He sent to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to inquire whether he should recover. And God sent by Elijah, the Tishbite, to say to him, “Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron? Now therefore thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.” 18[Page 216] 1 Kings 22:51-53; 2 Kings 1:1-4. And he died.EB 215.2

    35. Jehoram was the brother of Ahaziah, and reigned twelve years, 896-884. Moab had been subject to the kingdom of Israel, and had paid tribute from the conquest of that land by David. Mesha was now king of Moab. “And Mesha king of Moab was a sheepmaster, and rendered unto the king of Israel an hundred thousand lambs, and an hundred thousand rams, with the wool.” In the reign of Ahaziah Mesha had rebelled. 19[Page 216] 2 Kings 1:1. Ahaziah, however, had not time to attempt to subdue him again. As soon as Jehoram came to the throne, he mustered his army; and, with the alliance of the king of Judah and the king of Edom, marched a seven days’ journey around the southern end of the Dead Sea and through the land of Edom, to invade Moab from the south. The prophet Elisha was with the army, and when they reached the desert of Edom, they feared that they would perish for want of water. Elisha told them to make full of ditches the place where they were, and said: “Thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts.” 20[Page 216] 2 Kings 3:17. And so it came to pass.EB 216.1

    36. The next morning at sunrise, when the king of Moab heard that the allied kings were coming, he gathered his forces together, and marched up to the border of Moab to defend his land. When the Moabites saw upon the water the glint of the rising sun, they mistook the water for blood, and supposing that to make such a show of blood, the allied forces must have been slaughtering one another, they cried out: “This is blood: the kings are surely slain, and they have smitten one another: now therefore, Moab, to the spoil.” The Moabites, rushing forward without order, every man for himself, hastening to the spoil, were met by the fresh and vigorous forces of Israel, and were easily defeated and scattered. They hurried back to their own country and their city, and were followed by the allied armies over all the land until they came to Kir-haraseth, where the king of Moab made a stand. “And when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too sore for him, he took with him seven hundred men that drew swords, to break through even unto the king of Edom: but they could not. Then he took his eldest son that should have reigned in his stead, and offered him for a burnt offering upon the wall. And there was great indignation against Israel: and they departed from him, and returned to their own land.” 21[Page 217] 2 Kings 3:26, 27.EB 216.2

    37. Thus it appears that though Jehoram’s expedition was successful as an expedition, yet Moab was not brought again into subjection. This is the view given also by Mesha himself in his account of his relations to the kingdom of Israel, in which he says: “I, Mesha, am son of Chemoshgad, king of Moab, the Dibonite. My father reigned over Moab thirty years, and I reigned after my father. And I erected this stone to Chemosh at Korcha, a stone of salvation, for he saved me from all the despoilers, and let me see my desire upon all my enemies.EB 217.1

    38. “Now Omri, king of Israel, he oppressed Moab many days, for Chemosh was angry with his land. His son succeeded him, and he also said, I will oppress Moab. In my days he said, Let us go and I will see my desire on him and his house, and Israel said, I shall destroy it forever. Now Omri took the land of Medeba, and the enemy occupied it in his days and in the days of his sons, forty years. And Chemosh had mercy on it in my days; and I built Baal-Meon, and made therein the ditch, and I built Kirjathaim. For the men of Gad dwelled in the land Ataroth from of old, and the king of Israel fortified Ataroth, and I assaulted the wall and captured it, and killed all the warriors of the wall, for the wellpleasing of Chemosh and Moab; and I removed from it all the spoil, and offered it before Chemosh in Kirjath; and I placed therein the men of Siran and the men of Mochrath.EB 217.2

    39. “And Chemosh said to me, Go, take Nebo against Israel. And I went in the night and I fought against it from the break of dawn till noon, and I took it, and slew in all seven thousand men, but I did not kill the women and maidens, for I devoted them to Ashtar-Chemosh; and I took from it the vessels of Jehovah and offered them before Chemosh. And the king of Israel fortified Jahaz, and occupied it when he made war against me, and Chemosh drove him out before me, and I took from Moab two hundred men, all its poor, and placed them in Jahaz, and took to annex it to Dibon. I built Korcha, the wall of the forest, and the wall of the city, and I built the gates thereof, and I built the towers thereof, and I built the palace, and I made the prisons for the criminals within the wall. And there was no cistern in the wall in Korcha, and I said to all the people, Make for yourselves every man a cistern in his house. And I dug the ditch for Korcha with the chosen men [prisoners] of Israel.EB 217.3

    40. “I built Aroer, and I made the road across the Arnon, I built Beth-Bamoth, for it was destroyed; I built Bezer, for it was cut down by the armed men of Dibon, for all Dibon was now loyal; and I reigned from Bikran, which I added to my land, and I built Beth-Gamel, and Beth-Diblathaim, and Beth-Baal-Meon, and I placed there the poor people of the land. And as to Horonaim the men of Edom dwelt therein on the descent from of old. And Chemosh said to me, Go down, make war against Horonaim, and take it. And I assaulted it, and I took it, for Chemosh restored it in my days.” 22[Page 218] “Records of the Past,” Old Series, Vol. xi, pp. 163-168. It is also in New Series, Vol. ii, pp. 200-203. with slight variations.EB 218.1

    41. About three years after this, the king of Syria came again to make war against Israel. Every place where he pitched his camp, Elisha would tell it to the king of Israel, and say to him, “Beware that thou pass not such place; for thither the Syrians are come down.” After a number of attempts to entrap the king of Israel, with as many failures, the king of Syria concluded that there was a spy in his council. “And he called his servants, and said unto them: Will ye not show me which of us is for the king of Israel? And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.”EB 218.2

    42. The king inquired where Elisha could be found, that he might “send and fetch him.” He was told that Elisha was in Dothan. Then he sent to Dothan “horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about. And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots.” And the servant cried, “Alas, my master! how shall we do?” Elisha answered, “Fear not; for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”EB 219.1

    43. Elisha prayed and the host of Syria were smitten with blindness, so that he led them to Samaria. And when their eyes were opened there, they saw that they themselves were in a trap. Jehoram inquired whether he should slay them, and the prophet told him, No, but that he should “set bread and water before them” that they might “eat and drink, and go to their master.” He did so, and they went, and came no more into Israel during the life of that king. 23[Page 219] 2 Kings 6:1-23.EB 219.2

    44. About a year afterward, however, another Ben-hadad gathered together all of his hosts and besieged Samaria. The famine soon became terrible. So scarce had grown the food that an ass’s head sold for eighty pieces of silver (about $44), and at last women were found who had eaten a child. When the king heard of this, he determined to kill Elisha, but when he came to where Elisha was, Elisha said: “Thus saith the Lord, Tomorrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria. Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.EB 219.3

    45. “And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate; and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die? If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die. And they rose up in the twilight, to go unto the camp of the Syrians; and when they were come to the uttermost part of the camp of Syria, behold, there was no man there. For the Lord had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host: and they said one to another, Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us. Wherefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, and their asses, even the camp as it was, and fled for their life.”EB 219.4

    46. When the four lepers had eaten their fill, and had concealed much booty, they bethought them of the starving people in the city, and said: “We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace.” Then they went and called to the watchman of Samaria, and told the city, by him, that the Syrians had fled and left everything. A company was sent out to learn whether it were really true, and they returned and confirmed the word; then the whole city poured out and spoiled the tents of the Syrians. “So a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the Lord.” 24[Page 220] 2 Kings 7. “Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established, believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.” 25[Page 220] 2 Chronicles 20:20.EB 220.1

    47. And the man who had doubted this when the Lord had promised it, was appointed by the king of Israel to have charge of the gate: and in the great rush of the people, he was trampled to death. And so it also came to pass that he saw it with his eyes, but did not eat of the plenty that came.EB 220.2

    48. Shortly after this, Ben-hadad fell sick and sent Hazael to Elisha to inquire whether he should recover of his disease; and Elisha said to Hazael: “Go, say unto him, Thou mayest certainly recover: howbeit the Lord hath showed me that he shall surely die.” Then Elisha looked steadfastly into the face of Hazael a long while, and finally burst out weeping. “And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel: their strongholds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child. And Hazael said, But what, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing? And Elisha answered, The Lord hath showed me that thou shalt be king over Syria.” 26[Page 221] 2 Kings 8:12, 13.EB 220.3

    49. Hazael returned to his master with the message which the prophet had sent: that he should surely recover. Hazael, seeing that this was so, on the morrow took a thick cloth and dipped it in water and spread it on the king’s face and smothered him, and thus Hazael became king of Syria. And when he was king he did that which, while he had no thought of being king, he considered worthy only of a dog.EB 221.1

    50. In Jehoram’s last year he went to Ramoth-Gilead again, to war against Hazael, king of Syria. In the battle he was wounded. He left the army at Ramoth-Gilead to hold it against Israel, while he himself returned to Jezreel to be healed of his wounds. Then Elisha the prophet sent one of the “children of the prophets” with a box of oil to Ramoth-Gilead, to anoint Jehu king of Israel to execute vengeance on the house of Ahab, and to wipe out Baal from Israel. As soon as the young man had fulfilled his errand, the trumpets were blown and the proclamation was made:—EB 221.2

    ” Jehu is king.” And Jehu said to all that were with him: “Let none go forth nor escape out of the city to go and tell it in Jezreel.” Jehu himself would be the bearer of the tidings to Jehoram.EB 221.3

    51. Jehu took his chariot, and, with Bidkar the captain of the host and a small body-guard, drove to Jezreel. As they neared Jezreel, the watchman announced the approach of the company, and a horseman was sent out by Jehoram to see whether it meant peace. Jehu commanded the horseman to fall in behind him, and he did so. The watchman on the wall announced it: a second horseman was sent out, and the same thing was done again; and the watchman announced this. By that time the company had drawn so near to the city that the watchman also announced: “The driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously.” 27[Page 222] 2 Kings 9:20.EB 221.4

    52. Then Jehoram had his own chariot made ready, and went out himself to see whether it was peace. The chariots happened to meet in the portion of Naboth the Jezreelite, which Jezebel had taken for Ahab. And Jehoram said to Jehu: “Is it peace, Jehu? And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?” Then Jehoram turned to flee, crying: “There is treachery.” Jehu drew his bow with his full strength, and the arrow struck Jehoram between the shoulders and pierced through his whole body, at the heart, and he died instantly. “Then said Jehu to Bidkar his captain, Take up, and cast him in the portion of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite: for remember how that, when I and thou rode together after Ahab his father, the Lord laid this burden upon him; surely I have seen yesterday the blood of Naboth, and the blood of his sons, saith the Lord; and I will requite thee in this plat, saith the Lord. Now therefore take and cast him into the plat of ground, according to the word of the Lord.” 28[Page 222] 2 Kings 9:25, 26.EB 222.1

    53. When Jehu drove up to the city of Jezreel, as he approached the wall, it was announced to Jezebel, “and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window,” and cried out to Jehu: “Had Zimri peace, who slew his master?” Jehu looked up and saw who was speaking to him, and he cried out: “Who is on my side? who?” Some eunuchs looked out of the window, and he commanded them to throw her down.EB 222.2

    54. Jehu’s horses and chariot were standing alongside of the wall, close to it, and, as Jezebel fell from the window, she fell close to the wall, under the horses, and between their feet; and “her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses.” As she lay, Jehu could not move his horses without their trampling upon her, and he had no disposition to pick her up to prevent them from trampling upon her. So they “trod her under foot” as he drove away.EB 222.3

    55. He entered the city, ate and drank, and then commanded that Jezebel should be taken and buried; but when they came to take her to bury, the dogs had so entirely eaten her that they found no more of her than the skull, the feet, and the palms of her hands. “Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, This is the word of the Lord, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel: and the carcass of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel.” 29[Page 223] 2 Kings 9:30-37.EB 223.1

    56. Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria, under the charge of the principal men of the kingdom. Jehu wrote letters to these men, telling them to take their choice among the sons of Ahab and make him king and fortify the city of Samaria and defend themselves. But they surrendered at once and answered that whatever Jehu should command, they would do it. Then Jehu wrote the second time, commanding them to slay the sons of Ahab and to send their heads to him at Jezreel; and they did so. And the heads were laid in two heaps at the entering of the gate of Jezreel. 30[Page 223] This building of pyramids of human heads had been learned from the kings of Assyria. Then “Jehu slew all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men, and his kinsfolks, and his priests, until he left him none remaining.” Next he went to Samaria, and “there slew all that remained unto Ahab in Samaria, till he had destroyed him, according to the saying of the Lord, which he spake to Elijah.” 31[Page 223] 2 Kings 10:1-17.EB 223.2

    57. “And Jehu gathered all the people together, and said unto them, Ahab served Baal a little; but Jehu shall serve him much. Now therefore call unto me all the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests; let none be wanting: for I have a great sacrifice to do to Baal; whosoever shall be wanting, he shall not live. But Jehu did it in subtilty, to the intent that he might destroy the worshipers of Baal. And Jehu said, Proclaim a solemn assembly for Baal. And they proclaimed it. And Jehu sent through all Israel: and all the worshipers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left that came not. And they came into the house of Baal; and the house of Baal was full from one end to another. And he said unto him that was over the vestry, Bring forth vestments for all the worshipers of Baal. And he brought them forth vestments. And Jehu went, and Jehonadab the son of Rechab, into the house of Baal, and said unto the worshipers of Baal, Search, and look that there be here with you none of the servants of the Lord, but the worshipers of Baal only.EB 223.3

    58. “And when they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings, Jehu appointed fourscore men without, and said, If any of the men whom I have brought into your hands escape, he that letteth him go, his life shall be for the life of him. And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, Go in, and slay them; let none come forth. And they smote them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the captains cast them out, and went to the city of the house of Baal. And they brought forth the images out of the house of Baal, and burned them. And they brake down the image of Baal, and brake down the house of Baal, and made it a draught house unto this day. Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel.” 32[Page 224] 2 Kings 10:18-28.EB 224.1

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