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women ate their own children. Elisha foretold that, on the morrow, they should have an abundant supply, which by miracle came to pass. Jehoram was wounded at RamothGilead whilst fighting against Hazael, king of Syria : and Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi, one of the Israelitish captains, was anointed to succeed him on the throne, according to the command of God through the prophet E sha. Jehu slew Jehoram and destroyed all the house of Ahab : he also brake down the house and the images of Baal, and smote the worshippers of this idol with the edge of the sword. “ But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart, for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam.”—“In those days the Lord began to cut Israel short: and Hazael smote them” in all their coasts. After several succeeding monarchs had swayed the sceptre of Israel, each of them doing “ evil in the sight of the Lord,” the nation was brought to a condition of much misery : "and the Lord saw the affliction of Israel that it was very bitter-and the Lord said not that He would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, but He saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash," “ according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which He spake by the hand of His servant Jonah, the son of Amittai the prophet, which was of Gath-hepher.” Jeroboam the second reigned forty-one years. He restored the coast of Israel, and recovered the cities Damascus and Hamath. After him five kings successively sat on the throne of Israel; the reigns of several of them were short, but marked by anarchy and cruelty : at length, in that of Hoshea, the city of Samaria was besieged for three years by Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, who conquered it, and carried Israel away captive, and placed them in the cities of the Medes; because they “had sinned against the Lord their God,"_" and walked in the statutes of the heathen;" for “they made them molten images, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal, and caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger.” Thus ended the kingdom of Israel ; after it had subsisted as a separate monarchy about two hundred and fifty years.
CHAP. LXXI.—At chap. lxvii. we followed the king and people of Judah in their captivity to Babylon. This event occurred about one hundred and thirty years after the sister kingdom of Israel had been subverted by Shalmaneser, and nearly six hundred years before the christian era. Both Judah and Israel were in bondage in the country of Chaldea and Media ; where, on the overthrow of the kingdom of Assyria, and the destruction of Nineveh, the universal empire of Babylon was established. The Hebrew tribes continued in this state of exile and vassalage, until the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus, king of Persia, and Darius, king of the Medes, who jointly subjugated the Chaldeans. During this captivity many opportunities occurred, in which, through the instrumentality of Daniel the prophet, and of the three faithful children, who, (declining to worship the golden image which Nebuchadnezzar had set up in the plains of Dura,) were unhurt in the burning fiery furnace, the knowledge of Jehovah, and the evidences of His Almighty power, were manifested among the heathen; and the proud and cruel despot, who had been permitted to subdue the Jewish people, was brought, through a humiliation that appears unparalleled in history, to acknowledge the God of Daniel, and of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; and to “praise and extol and honour the king of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment.” In the revelations vouchsafed to Daniel, qualifying him to interpret the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar, and the dread supernatural inscription on the wall of Belshazzar's palace, the Most High God confounded “the wisdom of the wise,” and brought “to nothing the understanding of the prudent,” for, to explain these miraculous indications of the purposes of Jehovah defied the skill of "the wise men of Babylon,” who were renowned for knowledge above all cotemporary nations, but who directed their learning to purposes of the grossest superstition—to the investigation of what are termed the Occult Sciences, which, however baseless they have been proved to be, were then in high repute. These Chaldean sages professed to be skilled in the arts of magic, sorcery, and soothsaying ;they studied astrology, from which they were supposed to become acquainted with the secrets of the future, and to be able to predict the fate of kingdoms and the destiny of monarchs. The arrangement of the stars in the imaginary figures called constellations is imputed to them; and although the knowledge of astronomy, and of the position and phases of the heavenly bodies, is now appropriated to most valuable and important uses, it was then rendered subservient to purposes of evil, and to the idolatrous propensities of heathen nations, who “worshipped all the host of heaven.” Yet, even from that eastern clime, and from this observance of the firmament, there was ordained, in after ages, a testimony to the advent of the Messiah, when “wise men” were guided by a star that led them to the infant Jesus, whom they worshipped at Bethlehem.