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ed against her long before, had overtaken her when she least expected it. But she, full of indignation and proud thoughts, made herself ready in all haste, and painted her face, hoping with her stately and imperious looks to daunt the traitor, or at the least to utter some apophthegm, that should express her brave spirit, and brand him with such a reproach as might make him odious for ever. Little did she think upon the hungry dogs, that were ordained to devour her, whose paunches the stibium with which she besmeared her eyes would more offend, than the scolding language, wherewith she armed her tongue, could trouble the ears of him that had her in his power. As Jehu drew near, she opened her window, and looking out upon him, began to put him in mind of Zimri, that had not long enjoyed the fruits of his treason, and murder of the king his master. This was in mere human valuation stoutly spoken, but was indeed a part of miserable folly, as are all things, howsoever laudable, if they have an ill relation to God • the Lord of all.' Her own eunuchs, that stood by and heard her, were not affected so much as with any compassion of her fortune; much less was her enemy daunted with her proud spirit. When Jehu saw that she did use the little remainder of her life in seeking to vex him, he made her presently to understand her own estate, by deeds and not by words. He only called to her servants, to know which of them would be of his side, and soon found them ready to offer their service, before the very face of their proud lady. Hereupon he commanded them to cast her down headlong; which immediately they performed, without all regard of her greatness and estate, wherein she had a few hours before shined so gloriously in the eyes of men; of men that considered not the judgments of God that had been denounced against her.
So perished this accursed woman by the rude hands of her own servants, at the commandment of her greatest enemy, that was yesterday her subject* but now her lord ; and she perished miserably, struggling in vain with base grooms, who contumeliously did hale and thrust her, whilst her insulting enemy sat on horseback, adding indignity to her grief, by scornfully beholding the shameful manner of her fall, and trampling her body under foot. Her dead carcase that was left without the walls was devoured by dogs, and her very memory was odious. Thus, the vengeance of God rewarded her idolatry, murder, and oppression, with slow, but sure payment, and full interest.
Ahaziah king of Judah, flying apace from Jehu, was overtaken by the way where he lurked 5 and receiving his deadly wound in the kingdom of Sama^ ria, was suffered to get him gone, (which he did in all haste,) and seek liis burial in his own kingdom; and this favour he obtained for his grandfather's sake, not for his father's, nor his own. He died at Megiddo, and was thence carried to Jerusalem, where he was interred with his ancestors, having reigned about one year.
OF ATHALIAH, AND WHOSE SON HE WAS THAT SUCCEEDED HER.
Of AtJialiah's usurping the kingdom, and what pretences she mightJorge.
After the death of Ahaziah, it is said, that hit house was not able to retain the kingdom; which note, and the proceedings of Athaliah upon the death of her son', have given occasion to divers opinions concerning the pedigree of Joash who reigned shortly after. For Athaliah being thus despoiled of her son, under whose name she had ruled at her pleasure, did forthwith lay hold upon all the princes of the blood, and slew them, that so she might occupy the royal throne herself, and reign as queen, rather than live a subject. She had before-hand put into great place, and made counsellors unto her son, such as were fittest for her purpose, and ready at all times to execute her will: that she kept a strong guard about her, it is very likely; and as likely it is, that the great execution done by Jehoram, upon the princes and many of the nobility, had made the people tame, and fearful to stir, whatsoever they saw or heard.
Yet ambition, how violent soever it be, is seldom or never so shameless as to refuse the commodity of goodly pretences ottering themselves; but rather scrapes together all that will any way serve to colour her proceedings. Wherefore it were not absurd for
1 2 ChroD. Juii. S.
us to think, that Athaliah, when she saw the princes of the royal blood, all of them in a manner slain by her husband, and afterwards his own children destroyed by the Philistines, began even then to play her own game, reducing, by artificial practice, into fair likelihoods, those possibilities wherewith her husband's bad fortune had presented her. Not without great shew of reason, either by her own mouth, or by some trusty creature of tier's, might she give him to understand, how needful it were to take the best order whilst as yet he might, for fear of the worst that might happen. If the issue of David, which now remained only in his family, should by any accident fail, (as woeful experience had already shewn what might after come to pass,) the people of Judah were not unlikely to choose a king of some new stock,—a popular seditious man peradventure, one that, to countenance his own unworthiness, would not care what aspersions he laid upon that royal house, which was fallen down. And who could assure him, that some ambitious spirit, foreseeing what might be gotten thereby, did not already contrive the destruction of him, and all his seed? Wherefore it were the wisest way to design by his authority, not only his successor, but also the reversioner, and so to provide, that the crown might never be subject to any rifling, but remain in the disposition of them that loved him best, if, the worst that might be feared coming to pass, his own posterity could not-retain, it.
Such persuasions being urged, and earnestly followed by the importunate solicitation of her that
fjoverned his affections, were able to make the jeaous tyrant think, that the only way to frustrate all devices of such as gaped after a change, was to make her heir the last and youngest of his house, whom it most concerned, as being the queen-mother, to uphold the first and eldest..
. If Athaliah took no such course as this in her husband's time, yet she might do it in her son's. For Ahaziah, (besides that he was wholly ruled by his mother,) was not likely to take much care for the security of his half-brethren, or their children; as accounting his father's other wives, in respect of his own born-mother, little better than concubines, and their children basely begotten. But if this mischievous woman forgot herself so far in her wicked policy, that she lost all opportunity, which the weakness of her husband and son did afford, of procuring unto herself some seeming title; yet could she afterwards feign some such matter, as boldly she might; being sure that none would ask to see her evidence, for fear of being sent to learn the certainty of her son or husband in another world. But I rather think that she took order for her affairs before-hand. For though she had no reason to suspect or fear the sudden death of her son, yet it was the wisest way to
Erovide betimes against all that might happen, whilst er husband's issue by other women was young and able to resist. We plainly find that the brethren or nephews of Ahaziah, to the number of two and forty, were sent to the court of Israel, only to salute the children of the king, and the children of the queen. The slender occasion of which long journey con«sidered, together with the quality of these persons, (being in effect all the stock of Jehoram that could be grown to any strength,) makes it very suspiciom that their entertainment in Jezebel's house would only have been more formal, but little differing in substance, from that which they found at the hand of Jehu. He that looks into the courses held both before and after by these two queens, will find cause enough to think no less.
Of such as have aspired unto lordships not belonging to them, and thrust out the right heirs by pretence of testaments^ that had no other validity than the sword of such as claimed by them could give, histories of late, yea of many ages, afford plentiful examples;