« PoprzedniaDalej »
thing be.” “Behold,” replied the prophet, “ thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof." That night the Lord sent terror into the host of the Syrians ; he caused them to hear a noise of horses and chariots, like the approach of a great army. They concluded that the king of Israel had hired against them the kings of the Hittites and of Egypt.
George. That was not a very likely thing, when Jehoram was so closely besieged in his own capital.
Grandfather. It was not at all a likely thing; but the wisest of men tells us, that “the wicked fleeth when no man pursueth," and so it was here. The Syrians rose and fled, leaving tents, horses, and everything.
Johnnie. Did the Israelites see them running away ?
Grandfather. They did not, for their flight was in the dark. At the gate of Samaria sat four leprous men. “Why sit we here, until we die,” they said ; “if 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.” They agreed to try the Syrians : it was possible they might save them alive, and it was their only chance of life. When these lepers entered the Syrian camp, they went into a tent: No one was there, but food and drink, silver and gold, and fine raiment in plenty. They satisfied their hunger, and carried away and hid what seemed to them valuable. They entered another tent and did the same. Then their consciences smote them for keeping all the good things to themselves. “ If we tarry till the morning light,” they said,
“ some mischief will come upon us ; now, therefore, come, and we will tell the king's household.” As they had spoken, so they acted. They told the porter of the city, and soon the happy news spread. The king was at first afraid ; he thought it was a stratagem on the part of the Syrians. “ They know that we be hungry," be said, “ therefore are they gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the field, saying, when they come out of the city, we shall catch them alive, and get into the city.” One of the king's servants proposed that five horsemen should be sent to spy out where the Syrians were. Only two horses, it seems, could be found; but they were sent. They followed the Syrians as far as the Jordan. All the road was strewed with garments and vessels, which, in their haste, the affrighted Syrians had cast away. When the king heard this, he suffered the people to go out, and take all that was in the Syrian camp ; so flour and barley were sold at the prices that Elisha had foretold.
Marianne. And what became of the nobleman who did not believe the words of the prophet?
Grandfather. The king gave him the charge of the gate of the city, and the starving people, as they pressed out, eager for food, trode to death the scoffing nobleman. So he saw the plenty, but it was that very plenty which caused his death.
Marianne. You have not told us anything about Jehoshaphat in these wars. Is there to be nothing more about him ?
Grandfather. Nothing. That pious king died in the eighth year of Jehoram, king of Israel, and was succeeded by his son, also called Jehoram. The first act of Jehoram was an act of cruelty ;—he put to death all his brethren, and many of the princes of Israel.
Marianne. That was strange, grandfather, that he should be so bad a king, when his father had been so good a man.
Grandfather. We are told that he walked in the way of the kings of Israel,” because the daughter of Ahab was his wife. Because he wandered from the ways of the Lord, trouble came upon him. The Edomites revolted ; they cast off the yoke of the descendants of Jacob, as had been foretold by Isaac their father, in the blessing he gave to Esau. Jehoram made an attempt to subdue them, but failed. Libnah also, a city of Judah which belonged to the Levites, cast off the authority of the king.
George. I hope that foolish king did not live long; surely the next one would do better.
Grandfather. Jehoram did not reign long-eight years in all, and four years after his father's death. But his successor was not much better than he. He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, with which he was connected. We do not hear of any war in which he engaged. But he went to visit the king of Israel, after he had been fighting with the Syrians. The armies of Israel had gone to besiege Ramoth-Gilead, which was in the hands of Hazael, king of Syria. The king was
wounded, and retired to Jezreel to be healed of his wounds. Ahaziah, son and successor of Jehoram, king of Judah, went to pay a friendly visit to the son of Ahab, in Jezreel, during his illness. Meantime the hosts of Israel still lay encamped before Ramoth-Gilead. One day while the generals were sitting together, a young prophet entered, and declared that he had an errand to one of them. The one to whom he had an errand was called Jehu, and the errand was to anoint him king of Israel.
Johnnie. But why was he to be anointed king ? Jehoram was not dead, was he ?
Grandfather. He was not; but Jehu was the instrument used by God to put to death all the descendants of the wicked Ahab. When the captains knew that Jehu was anointed by the prophet, they blew trumpets and made proclamation, saying, “ Jehu is king.” Jehu then entered his chariot and drove to Jezreel. A watch. man on the tower of that city said to the king, “ I see a company.” Jehoram replied, “ Take a horseman and send to meet them, and let him say, Is it peace ?” It was done. The question was put to Jehu; but little satisfaction was obtained from him. “ What hast thou to do with peace ?” he said ; “ turn thee behind me." A second messenger on horseback was sent, and he met with the same treatment from Jehu. Then the king of Israel ordered his own chariot to be prepared, and he and Ahaziah, king of Judah, went out to meet the company. “Is it peace, Jebu ?” said Jehoram. “ What peace,” replied the newly anointed king, “ so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezreel are so many ?" “ There is treachery, 0 Ahaziah," said the king of Israel, turning to flee. In vain he tried to escape. With all his strength Jebu drew a bow,--the arrow entered the heart of Jehoram, he fell to rise no more. Jehu commanded bis captain to cast the body of the king into the field of Naboth.
Marianne. Who was Naboth, grandfather? I do not think you told us anything about him ?
Grandfather. He was an inhabitant of Jezreel, whom Ahab put to death because he coveted his fields. Because of this wickedness of Abab, Elijah the prophet foretold the ruin of his house, and now it had come, and Jehu was their executioner. Because Ahaziah, king of Judah, was related to them and resembled them, he shared in their doom. · He was smitten by command of Jehu, and soon after died of his wounds, having reigned only one year. From his fate we learn,“ He that walketh with wise men shall be wise ; but the companion of fools shall have poverty enough."
George. What did Jehu do next ?
Grandfather. He caused the wicked queen Jezebel to be put to death ; and the prophecy of Elijah the Tishbite with regard to her was literally fulfilled. Her body was eaten by dogs in the streets of Jezreel.
Johnnie. I did not know, grandfather, that dogs ate dead bodies.
Grandfather. They do not in this country, but those