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Jeroboam's Altar Cracks

BY OTTMAR ELLIGER THE YOUNGER, A DUTCH ARTIST,

DIED 1732.

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"And he cried against the altar in the word of the Lord, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the Lord.-1. Kings, 13, 2.

(EANWHILE the kingdom of Israel, the northern

land, had been plunged into an apostasy even

worse than that of Judah. The northern king, Jeroboam, was a strong and worldly-wise, but not a Godfearing man. He saw that so long as his people went up to Jerusalem to worship at the Temple, they would remain somewhat under Judah's influence and control. Therefore he resolved to break with the old faith altogether. He deprived the Levites of their lands and homes, so that most of them fled to Judah. Then he set up shrines for idols, golden calves, such as Israel had worshipped in Moses' time; and he welcomed strange priests, especially the worshippers of Baal, among the Israelites.

At Beth-el which had once been a centre of the worship of the true God, he built an altar, and sacrificed to his golden calf. In the midst of the ceremony, a prophet from Judah, cried out against Jeroboam and his altar, foretelling the vengeance of God. The undaunted king reached out his hand to seize the intruder; but at once his hand was paralyzed, and his altar split from top to bottom, so that the sacrificial ashes fell down upon the ground.

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SECOND CHRONICLES XXXII—HEZEKIAH'S END

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from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all other, and guided them on every side.

23 And many brought gifts unto the Lord to Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah: so that he was magnified in the sight of all nations from thenceforth.

24 | In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the Lord: and he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign.

25 But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up; therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem.

26 Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jersualem, so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.

27 | And Hezekiah had exceeding much riches and honour: and he made himself treasuries for silver, and for gold, and for precious stones, and for spices, and for shields, and for all manner of pleasant jewels;

28 Storehouses also for the increase of corn, and wine, and oil; and stalls for all manner of beasts, and cotes for flocks.

29 Moreover he provided him cities, and possessions of flocks and herds in abundance; for God had given him substance very much.

30 This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works.

31 | Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to inquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.

32 | Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and his goodness, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, and in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.

33 And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the chiefest of the sepulchres of the sons of David; and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honour at his death. And Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.

Chapter 33

1 Manasseh's wicked reign. 3 He setteth up idolatry, and would not be admonished. 11 He is carried into Babylon. 12 U pon his prayer to God he is released, and putteth down idolatry. 18 His acts. 20 He dying, Amon succeedeth him. 21 Amon reigning wickedly is slain by his servants. 25 The murderers being slain, Josiah succeedeth him.

ANASSEH was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem:

2 But did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.

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SECOND CHRONICLES XXXIII—MANASSEH's WICKEDNESS

3 | For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.

4 Also he built altars in the house of the LORD, whereof the LORD had said, In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever.

5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD.

6 And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoko him to anger.

7 And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen before all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever:

8 Neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses.

9 So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel.

10 And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken.

11 | Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon.

12 And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.

13 And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Vanasseh knew that the LORD he was God.

14 Now after this he built a wall without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entering in at the fishgate, and compassed about Ophel, and raised it up a very great height, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah.

15 And he took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the LORD, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city.

16 Ånd he repaired the altar of the LORD, and sacrificed thereon peace offerings and thank offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the LORD God of Israel.

The Revised Version says "in chains."

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