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The Bible Story Part 203

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And the inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah his youngest son king in his stead: for the band of men that came with the Arabians to the camp had slain all the eldest. So Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah reigned. Twenty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Athaliah the daughter of Ahab.

He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab: for his mother was his counselor to do wickedly. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as did the house of Ahab: for they were his counselors after the death of his father, to his destruction. He walked also after their counsel, and went with Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel to war against Hazael king of Syria at Ramoth-gilead: and the Syrians wounded Joram. And he returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which they had given him at Ramah, when he fought against Hazael king of Syria. And Azariah the son of Joram king of Judah went down to see Joram the son of Ahab in Jezreel, {270} because he was sick. Now the destruction of Ahaziah was of G.o.d, in that he went unto Joram: for when he was come, he went out with Joram against Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom the Lord had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab. And the fate of Joram overtook him also, for he was slain by the hand of Jehu.

And the house of Ahaziah had no power to hold the kingdom.

{271}

ATHALIAH.

_How a Queen Reigned in Judah and How Jehoiada the Priest Conspired Against Her_.

(In addition to her share of downright wickedness, Athaliah possessed the fierce tiger-like courage and ferocity of the race of Ahab. When she heard that her son was dead she determined immediately to murder all her unfortunate little grandchildren! She was a lovely grandmother, indeed! She carried out her determination, and killed all but one, whom she failed to find. Perhaps since she was so busy she did not miss the little fellow! At any rate his good aunt Jehosheba took little baby Joash and hid him and his nurse in a bedchamber. He was kept concealed for six years, while the ugly old grandmother ruled the nation with a rod of iron, and did all the bad and abominable things she could think of. But by and by a priest named Jehoiada thought a change would be most desirable. So he conspired against her.

He took the guard secretly into the palace and showed them little Joash, who was now seven years old, and told them that he was their true king, and they all swore allegiance to him. Then, next Sabbath while the people were at worship, the guard surrounded the city with the old weapons in their hands which had been King David's, and which they had found hidden in the house of the Lord. And the priest brought out little Joash and put a crown on his head, and all the people and the soldiers clapped their hands and shouted, "G.o.d save the king!" And the wicked old queen was there, angry enough, you may be sure, and she tore her garments, and shouted shrilly, "Treason! Treason!" But the soldiers only drove her to her palace, and there they killed her, and that was the end of the evil woman, and n.o.body cared when she died.)

{272}

Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the sons of the king.

But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king's sons that were slain, even him and his nurse, and put them in the bedchamber; and they hid him from Athaliah, so that he was not slain.

And he was with her hid in the house of the Lord six years: and Athaliah reigned over the land.

And in the seventh year Jehoiada sent and fetched the captains over hundreds, and of the guard, and brought them to him into the house of the Lord; and he made a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of the Lord, and showed them the king's son.

And he commanded them, saying, "This is the thing that ye shall do: a third part of you, that come in on the Sabbath, shall be keepers of the watch of the king's house; and a third part shall be at the gate Sur; and a third part at the gate behind the guard: so shall ye keep the watch of the house, and be a barrier. And the two companies of you, even all that go forth on the Sabbath, shall keep the watch of the house of the Lord about the king. And ye shall compa.s.s the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand; and he that cometh within the ranks, let him be slain: and be ye with the king when he goeth out, and when he cometh in."

{273}{274}

[Ill.u.s.tration]

THE VALLEY OF THE KIDRON, LOOKING FROM JERUSALEM INTO THE WILDERNESS OF JUDEA. ON THE LEFT IS THE VILLAGE OF SILOAM.

Used by special permission of the Detroit Photograph Company.

This is a very different view of the valley of the Kidron or the valley of Jehoshaphat from those previously shown. The village of Siloam, at the base of the Mount of Olives, is on the left and Jerusalem is out of view on the right. There is now no water in the ravine except in a very rainy season, but no doubt there was a stream in ancient times. There is a spring which rises in the valley, and which perhaps once flowed through it, but was diverted to flow through the remarkable tunnel, built probably by Hezekiah, through the ridge of the southern part of the temple hill. A very ancient inscription found at the mouth of the tunnel in 1880 confirms this view.

[End ill.u.s.tration]

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And the captains over hundreds did according to all that Jehoiada the priest commanded: and they took every man his men, those that were to come in on the Sabbath, with those that were to go out on the Sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest. And the priest delivered to the captains over hundreds the spears and shields that had been King David's, which were in the house of the Lord.

And the guard stood, every man with his weapons in his hand, from the right side of the house to the left side of the house, along by the altar and the house, by the king round about.

Then he brought out the king's son, and put the crown upon him, and gave him the testimony; and they made him king, and anointed him; and they clapped their hands, and said, "G.o.d save the king!"

And when Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she came to the people into the house of the Lord: and she looked, and, behold, the king stood by the pillar, as the manner was, and the captains and the trumpets by the king; and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew with trumpets.

Then Athaliah rent her clothes, and cried, "Treason, treason!"

And Jehoiada the priest commanded the captains of hundreds that were set over the host, and said unto them, "Take her forth between the ranks; and him that followeth her slay with the sword" (for the priest said, "Let her not be slain in the house of the Lord").

So they made way for her; and she went by the way of the horses' entry to the king's house: and there was she slain.

{276}

And Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord and the king and the people, that they should be the Lord's people; between the king also and the people.

And all the people of the land went to the house of Baal, and broke it down; his altars and his images broke they in pieces thoroughly, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And the priest appointed officers over the house of the Lord. And he took the captains over hundreds, and the guard, and all the people of the land; and they brought down the king from the house of the Lord, and came by the way of the gate of the guard unto the king's house. And he sat on the throne of the kings. So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet: and they slew Athaliah with the sword at the king's house.

{277}

JOASH.

_A King Who Failed to Continue in Well-Doing_.

(For a while Joash was a very good king, but at last the wise priest Jehoiada, who had made him king, died. As soon as this restraint was removed Joash listened to the counsel of wild young princes, and so far forgot the debt of grat.i.tude he owed to Jehoiada that he killed the son of the priest when he also reproved him for his evil deeds. In the latter part of his reign, disasters came thick and fast. The Syrians came down and swept Judah with fire and sword. They did not kill Joash, but they left him at the end of his long reign of forty years, a helpless sufferer from disease. Then the very servants of his household conspired against him and murdered him in his bed.)

Joash was seven years old when he began to reign; and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Zibiah of Beer-sheba.

And Joash did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest.

And it came to pa.s.s after this, that Joash was minded to restore the house of the Lord. And he gathered together the priests and the Levites, and said to them, "Go out unto the cities of Judah, and gather of all Israel money to repair the house of your G.o.d from year to year, and see that ye hasten the matter." Howbeit the Levites hastened it not.

And the king called for Jehoiada the chief, and said {278} unto him, "Why hast thou not required of the Levites to bring in out of Judah and out of Jerusalem the tax of Moses the servant of the Lord, and of the congregation of Israel, for the tent of the testimony?" For the sons of Athaliah, that wicked woman, had broken up the house of G.o.d; and also all the dedicated things of the house of the Lord did they bestow upon the idols of Baal.

So the king commanded, and they made a chest, and set it without at the gate of the house of the Lord. And they made a proclamation through Judah and Jerusalem, to bring in for the Lord the tax that Moses the servant of G.o.d laid upon Israel in the wilderness. And all the princes and all the people rejoiced, and brought in, and cast into the chest, until they had made an end. And it was so, that at what time the chest was brought unto the king's office by the hand of the Levites, and when they saw that there was much money, the king's scribe and the chief priest's officer came and emptied the chest, and took it, and carried it to its place again. Thus they did day by day, and gathered money in abundance.

And the king and Jehoiada gave it to such as did the work of the service of the house of the Lord; and they hired masons and carpenters to restore the house of the Lord, and also such as wrought iron and bra.s.s to repair the house of the Lord. So the workmen wrought, and the work was perfected by them, and they set up the house of G.o.d in its state, and strengthened it. And when they had made an end, they brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoiada, whereof were made vessels for the {279} house of the Lord, even vessels to minister, and to offer withal, and spoons, and vessels of gold and silver. And they offered burnt offerings in the house of the Lord continually all the days of Jehoiada.

But Jehoiada grew old and was full of days, and he died; an hundred and thirty years old was he when he died.

And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, and toward G.o.d and his house.

Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them. And they forsook the house of the Lord, the G.o.d of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their guiltiness. Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the Lord; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear. And the spirit of G.o.d came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest; and he stood above the people, and said unto them, "Thus saith G.o.d, 'Why transgress ye the commandments of the Lord, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the Lord, he hath also forsaken you.'"

And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the Lord. Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but slew his son. And when he died, he said, "The Lord look upon it, and require it."

And it came to pa.s.s at the end of the year, that the {280} army of the Syrians came up against him: and they came to Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the princes of the people from among the people, and sent all the spoil of them to the king of Damascus. For the army of the Syrians came with a small company of men; and the Lord delivered a very great host into their hand, because they had forsaken the Lord, the G.o.d of their fathers. So they executed judgment upon Joash.

And when they were departed from him (for they left him in great diseases), his own servants conspired against him for the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest, and slew him on his bed, and he died: and they buried him in the city of David, but they buried him not in the sepulchers of the kings. And these are they that conspired against him; Zabad the son of Shimeath the Ammonitess, and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith the Moabitess. And Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.

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AMAZIAH.

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The Bible Story Part 203 summary

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