Obrazy na stronie

that the valley they were in would be full of them. There would be no rain, he said, yet these ditches would be filled with water; and not only were their wants to be supplied, but they would without doubt be victorious. The Lord was to deliver the Moabites into their hands, that they might lay waste the country of Moab. As the prophet had said, so it came to pass ; abundance of water was provided. The Moabites, in the meantime, having heard that these three kings were coming against them, assembled a numerous army, and stood in the border of their country. Early in the morning, when the sun rose, it shone red upon the water, and made it look like blood. “This is blood,” the Moabites cried ; “ the kings are surely slain ; they have smitten one another, now therefore Moab to the spoil.” Eagerly they rushed against the Israelites, and found that people prepared for them. They rose up and smote the children of Moab, who fled before them. It was a complete victory. They destroyed the cities as they had been directed to do by Elisha. The capital of Moab was called Kirharaseth. The king of Moab took refuge there ; and the armies of Israel and Edom laid siege to it. The king of Moab, seeing himself in great danger, attempted to break through at the side where the Edomites were, but failed. Then he fell upon a fearful plan. His eldest son, the heir of his throne, he offered up for a burnt-offering, to obtain the favour of his demon-god. On the wall of the city this was done,full in the view of the Moabites within, and of their enemies without

Johnnie. But what good could that do him, grandfather?

Grandfather. It made the Israelites raise the siege, for they were shocked at having driven them to such an extremity.

Marianne. But it was not their fault, grandfather ; they could not be blamed for it.

Grandfather. True, they, could not be blamed for it, and yet they had caused it. Their conduct in this teaches us that we ought to alter our line of action, if by it we have been even the innocent cause of others having erred.

George. Was there any more war in Elisha's time?

Grandfather. There was. The king of Syria prepared an expedition against Israel. He meant to fall upon them unawares; but, to his surprise, the king of Israel was made acquainted with all his plans. Not once only, nor twice, did this happen, but again and again. The king of Syria was greatly distressed. He called his people together, and spoke to them thus :—“ Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel ?” “ None, my Lord, O king,” one of his servants replied ; “ but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.” So were these heathens obliged to confess that to the God of Israel all things were known. “Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him," said the king, when he was told who was the informer. When he found out that Elisha was in Dothan, he sent there horses and chariots and a great army—by night they went—and surrounded the city. When the servant of Elisha rose in the morning, and saw the host that compassed the city, he was very much afraid. “ Alas, my master,” he said, “ how shall we do ?” “ Fear not,” the man of God replied, “for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”

Johnnie. What did he mean by that, grandfather? Was there a large army in Dothan ?

Grandfather. He meant that God was on his side. He prayed that the eyes of his servant might be opened, that he might see how the God of Israel protected his faithful people. The eyes of the young man were opened, and he saw the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire round about the prophet. Then Elisha prayed that the people of Syria might be smitten with blindness. The prayer was granted. Then not knowing where they were going, they suffered themselves to be led to Samaria.

Johnnie. Where was Samaria ? Grandfather. It was the capital of the kingdom of Israel. When the Syrians entered it, in answer to the prayer of Elisha, their eyes were again opened, and they saw themselves entirely in the power of the king of Israel. Jehoram was doubtless both pleased and surprised when he saw his enemies in his power. “My father, shall I smite them ?” he said to Elisha. But this the prophet forbade. “ Set bread and water before them," he said, “ that they may eat and drink and go to their

master.” Jehoram obeyed the command of the prophet. He treated the Syrians kindly, and sent them away safely. Elisha here sets us an example of doing good to them that hate us.

Marianne. The Syrians would not try to take Elisha again?

Grandfather. We are told that in consequence of this failure, “ the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.” But we are immediately afterwards told that Benhadad, king of Syria, assembled all his armies, and laid siege to Samaria. The people within the city were reduced to great extremities. Food was so scarce that an ass' head was sold for five pounds, and a small quantity of coarse grain for five pieces of silver, each piece of silver being about the value of halfa-crown.

Johnnie. An ass' head, grandfather! we do not eat asses. They would not be good for food ?

Grandfather. In time of famine, my boy, people are glad to eat anything that can satisfy hunger. When we hear of what others have suffered from want of food, it ought to teach us thankfulness that we have abundance. While the city of Samaria was in this state of distress, as the king was walking along, a woman cried to him, “ Help, my lord, 0 king.” “ If the Lord do not help thee," said the king, “ whence shall I help thee?” He thought she asked for food, and he had none to give her. “ What aileth thee ?” he said to her. The woman told her tale, and it was a

very sad one. She and one of her neighbours had made an agreement that they would kill and eat their children. This woman who was speaking to the king had killed her son ; but when they had eaten him, her neighbour refused to fulfil her part of the agreement. When the king heard these words, he rent his clothes and said in anger, “ God do so and more also to me if the head of Elisha, the son of Shaphat, shall stand on him this day.”

Marianne. What did he mean by that, grandfather? He could not think Elisha was to blame for the famine that had come ?

Grandfather. Jehoram was an ungrateful prince. Frequently the prophet had delivered him from the power of his enemies, and yet he seeks his life. Elisha was sitting in his house when the messenger of the king arrived. His errand, however, was in vain. He was followed by the king himself, and to him Elisha foretold that a time of plenty was near. “ To-morrow about this time,” the prophet said, “ shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.”

Johnnie. Whether was that dear or cheap, grandfather?

Grandfather. It was about the ordinary price. The words of Elisha seemed to have been heard by the king in silence, but they excited the ridicule of a nobleman who was with him. He said mockingly to Elisha, “ If the Lord would make windows in heaven, might this

« PoprzedniaDalej »