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public welfare prospered. He replenished his stores, victualled his camps, fortified his city, and succeeded in all his enterprises. At length, however, he “slept with his fathers,” and, the people, sensible of the blessings they derived from his government, paid him unusual honours at his funeral; .for 6 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."* .
The burial place called the sepulchres of the kings of the house of David was a very sumptuous, and stately building. It lies now without the walls of Jerusalem, but as it is supposed, was formerlyt within them before that city was destroyed by the Romans. It consists of a large court of about 120 feet square, with a gallery or cloister on the left hand, which court and gallery with the pillars that supported it were cut out of the solid marble rock. At the end of the gallery there is a narrow passage or hole, through which there is an entrance into a large room or hall of about twenty-four feet square, within which are several lesser rooms one within anuther with stone.doors opening into them, all which rooms, with the great room were all likewise cut out of the solid marble rock. In the sides of those lesser rooms are several niches, in which the corpses of the deceased
• In Hezekian s reign we read of two great ir inisters, Eliakim and Shebna, who were sent to receive the king of Assyria's message by Rabshekeh, and afterwards ro consult the prophet Isaiah abru: it, 2 Kings xviii. 17, 18, and ch. xix. 2. Elia. kim was a good man ; bur Shebnah a wicked man. The prophet Isaiah, chap xxi. was sent by the Lord to Shebna to reprove him, and tell him, that he would not only throw him out of his offices, and place Eliakim in them but send him away captive, and would “ violently turn and toss him, like a ball, into a large country, where he should die :" and he would give his office to Eliakim, (whom he had supplan:ed, and gotten him from the office of treasurer) and would make Eliakim father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.
+ Formerly. Maimonides in his tract Beth Habbechirah, c. vii, saith, in Jerusalem they do not allow a sepulchre, except the sepulchres of the house of David, and the sepulchre of Huldah the prophetess, which were there from the days of the former prophets. This proves these sepulchres to have been within the walls of Jerusalem, and that the words of Scripture, which place them in the city of David, are strictly to be understood.
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kings were deposited in stone coffins. In the innermost or chiefest of these rooms was the body of Hezekiah laid in a nich, probably, cut on purpose at that time for it, in the upper end of that room, to do him the greater ho, nour. And all this remains entire even to this day. It seems to have been the work of king Solomon, for it could not have been made without vast expence, and it is the only true remainder of old Jerusalem, which is now to be seen in that place.
Hezekiah was immediately succeeded by his son Manasseh, who, at the time of his accession to the throne, was only twelve years of age. Though he was but a boy, he could not be unacquainted with the pious character and happy reign of his parent, whose example, however, he was so far from imitating, that he acted directly contrary to him in all things, especially in what related to the worship of God; for he adored idols, restored the high-places, erected altars to Baal, placed an idol in the temple, made his son pass through the fire, and made use of diviners, enchanters, and those who said they had familiar spirits. He was naturally very cruel ; for, to add to the rest of his crimes, he is said to have shed so much innocent* blood, that Jerusalem was filled with it. By these horrid impieties le provoked the Lord to send his prophet to him with this dreadful message ; that he would bring such calamities upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever should hear of them, they should make their ear's to tingie : declaring that he would forsake the remnant of his inheritance, and deliver them into the hands of their enemies. These judgments soon came to pass; for God permitted the Assyrians to enter Jud.sh, who committed all manner of outrage, and seizing the guilty king, who hid himself among the briars, pui him in irons, and, with his people, carried him prisoner to Babylen.
* Innocent. Amongst the rest that composed this purple stream, it is more than probable, that the innocent blood of the prophet Isaiah was spilt. For though the Text gives no account of his death, yet Ecclesiastical Writers tell us, that under this king Manasseh (who is reported to have been his son-in-law) he was, in his extreme age, after he had lived more than a hundred years, and prophesied more
Manasseh, in this distress, came to himself; and considering that the hand of God was upon him for his abominable practices, he, in most pungent sorrow, and in a deep sense of his crimes, addressed himself to God, who graciously heard his prayers, and restored him to his kingdom. Upon his return, to manifest the sincerity of his repentance, he removed the idols and altars of strange gods out of the temple, and suffered none of them to remain in Jerusalem. Then repairing the altar of the Lord, he sacrificed thereon burnt-offerings, and thank-offerings, and obliged the people of Judah to serve the Lord. How . ever, the people still sacrificed in the high-places, not to . idols but to the Lord their God only. And as he reformed the abuses in religion, so he did those of the state ; for he garrisoned his towns, and built a very high wall, to inclose mount Sion in the city. Having reigned fifty-five years, he died, and was buried (not as the good kings of Judah, in the royal sepulchre) but in the garden* of his own house, called the garden of Uzziah.
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than sixty of them, most barbarously put to death, by being sawed in two with : wooden saw. To which, very probably, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews referred, when he said, “ They were sawed asunder.” Heb. xi. 37. He collected into one volume all the prophecies he made under the kings, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. · Garden. See 2 Kings xxi. 18, though his reign was the longest of any of the kings of Judah or Israel, and though his captivity was in a few years after his accession to the crown, yet we have very little said of him in the Holy Scriptures after his restoration : but we are referred to the book of the Seers for the former part of his reign. Who these Scers were, is not certainly known. In our margin they are called Hozai, which the Jews conclude to be the prophet Hosea, which cannot be. The Septuagint translate the word Hozai by that of Seers, making it not a proper, but common name ; from which Vatablus rightly calls theni prophets ; for so was Samuel called, when Saul went to enquire of hiin.
END OF VOL 1.