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any other might have been. As for the authority of Philo, which hath drawn many late writers into the opinion that Joash was not of the posterity of Solomon, it is enough to say that this was Friar Annius's Philo; for no other edition of Philo hath any such matter; but Annius can make authors to speak what he lists. (3.) That Joash may probably be thought to have been the son
of Jehoram. In so doubtful a case, if it seem lawful to hold an opinion that no man hath yet thought upon, methinks it were not amiss to lay open at once, and peruse together two places of Scripture, whereof the one telling the wickedness of Jehoram 4, the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, for which he and his children perished, rehearseth it as one of God's mercies towards the house of David, that according to his promise he would give him a light, and to his chil• dren for ever :' the other doth say, that for the offences of the same Jehoram, there was not a son left
him save Jehoahaz, the youngest of his sons.' Now, if it were in regard of God's promise to David, that, after those massacres of Jehoram upon all his brethren, and of the Philistines and Arabians upon the children of Jehoram, one of the seed of David escaped; why may it not be thought that he was said to have escaped, in whom the line of David was preserved ? for had all the race of Solomon been rooted up in these woeful tragedies, and the progeny of Nathan succeeded in place thereof, like enough it is, that some remembrance more particular would have been extant of an event so memorable. That the race of Nathan was not extinguished, it is indeed apparent by the genealogy of our Lord, as it is recounted by St. Luke; but the preservation of the house of David, mentioned in the books of Kings and Chronicles, was performed in the person of Je.
4 2 Kings viii. 19.
o place the particular WoThat the
hoahaz, in whom the royal branch of Solomon, the natural, and only legal issue remaining of David, was kept alive. Wherefore it may be thought that this Joash, who followed Athaliah in the kingdom, was the youngest son of Jehoram, whose life Athaliah, as a step dame, was not unlikely to pursue. For it were not easily understood, why the preservation of Da. vid's line, by God's especial mercy, in regard of his promise made, should pertain rather to that time, when, besides Ahaziah himself, there were two and forty of his brethren", or (as in another place they are called) sons of his brethren, remaining alive, which afterwards were all slain by Jehu, than have reference to the lamentable destruction, and little less than extirpation of that progeny, wherein one only did escape. Certainly that inhuman murder which Jehoram committed upon his brethren, if it were (as appeareth in the history) revenged upon his own children, then was not this vengeance of God accomplished by the Philistines and Arabians, but, being only begun by them, was afterwards prosecuted by Jehu, and finally took effect by the hands of that same wicked woman, at whose instigation he had committed such barbarous outrage. And from this execution of God's heavy judgment laid upon Jeho'ram and all his children?, only Jehoahaz, his youngest son, was exempted; whom therefore if I should affirm to be the same with Joash, which is called the son of Ahaziah, I should not want good probability. Some further appearance of necessity there is, which doth argue that it could no otherwise have been. For it was the youngest son of Jehoram, in whom the race was preserved, which could not in any likeli. hood be Ahaziah, seeing that he was twenty years old at the least, (as is already noted,) when he began 'to reign, and consequently was born in the eighteenth or twentieth year of his father's age. Now I know not whether of the two is more unlikely, either that
5 2 Kings X. 13. 6 2 Chron. xxii. 8. 7 2 Chron. sxi. 14.
Jehoram should have begotten many children before he was eighteen years old, or that having (as he had) many wives and children, he should upon the sudden, at his eighteenth year, become unfruitful, and beget no more in twenty years following ; each of which must have been true, if this were true that Ahaziah was the same Jehoahaz, which was his youngest son. But this inconvenience is taken away, and those other doubts arising from the causeless cruelty of Athaliah, in seeking the life of Joash, are easily cleared, if Joash and Jehoahaz were one. Nei. ther doth his age withstand this opinion, for he was • seven years old when he began to reign $;' which if we understand of years complete, he might have been a year old at the death of Jehoram, being begotten somewhat after the beginning of his sickness. Neither is it more absurd to say that he was the natural son of Jehoram, though called the son of Aha. ziah, than it were to say, as great authors have done, this difficulty notwithstanding, that he was of the posterity of Nathan. One thing, indeed, I know not how to answer; which, had it concurred with the rest, might have served as the foundation of this opi. nion. The name of Jehoahaz, that soundeth much more near to Joash than to Ahaziah, in an English ear, doth in the Hebrew, (as I am informed by some skilful in that language,) through the diversity of certain letters, differ much from that which it most resembleth in our western manner of writing, and little from the other. Now although it be so that Ahaziah himself be also called Azariah', and must have had three names, if he were the same with Jehoabaz; in which manner Joash might also have had several names; yet because I find no other warrant hereof than a bare possibility, I will not presume to build an opinion upon the weak foundation of mine own conjecture, but leave all to the consideration of such
& 2 Chron. xxiv. i. 92 Chron. xxii,6.
(4.) Upon w
if he went all follow that t according blind
as have more ability to judge, and leisure to consider of this point. (4.) Upon what reasons Athaliah might seek to destroy Joash,
if he were her own grandchild. If therefore we shall follow that which is commonly received, and interpret the text according to the letter, it may be said that Athaliah was not only blind. ed by the passions of ambition and zeal to her idolatrous worship of Baalim, but pursued the accomplishment of some natural desires, in seeking the destruction of her grandchild, and the rest of the blood-royal. For whether it were so that Athaliah, (as proud and cruel women are not always chaste,) ħad imitated the liberty of Jezebel, her sister-in-law, whose whoredoms were upbraided by Jehu to her son''; or whether she had children by some former husband, before she was married unto Jehoram, (which is not unlikely in regard of her age, who was daughter of Omri, and sister to Ahab,) certain it is, that she had sons of her own, and those old enough to be employed, as they were, in robbing of the tem. ple. So it is not greatly to be wondered at, that, to settle the crown upon her own children, she did seek to cut off, by wicked policy, all other claims. As for Joash, if she were his grandmother, yet she might mistrust the interest which his mother would have in him, lest when he came to years it might withdraw him from her devotion. And hereof (be, sides that women do commonly better love their daughters husbands than their sons wives) there is some appearance in the reign of her son : for she made him spend all his time in idle journies, to no other apparent end than that she might rule at home, and he, living abroad, be estranged from his wife, and entertain some new fancies, wherein Jezebel had cunning enough to be his tutoress. But when the sword of Jehu had rudely cut in sunder all these fino
. 10 Kings is. 22.
devices, then was Athaliah fain to go roundly to - work, and do as she did, whereby she thought to make all sure. Otherwise, if (as I could rather think) she were only step-dame to Joash, we need not seek into the reasons moving her to take away his life; her own hatred was cause enough to dispatch him among the first.
and events give us inforty of con
Sect. VI. A digression, wherein is maintained the liberty of using
conjecture in histories. Thus much concerning the person of Joash, from whom, as from a new root, the tree of David was propagated into many branches, In handling of which matter, the more I consider the nature of this his
tory, and the diversity between it and others, the . less methinks I need to suspect mine own presumption, as deserving blame for curiosity in matter of doubt, or boldness in liberty of conjecture. For all · histories do give us information of human counsels i and events, as far forth as the knowledge and faith
of the writers can afford; but of God's will, by which - all things are ordered, they speak only at random,
and many times falsely. This we often find in pro· phane writers, who ascribe the ill success of great · undertakings to the neglect of some impious rites,
whereof God indeed abhorred the performance as , vehemently as they thought him to be highly of
fended with the omission. Hereat we may the less · wonder, if we consider the answer made by the Jews
in Egypt, unto Jeremiah the prophet, reprehending their idolatry. For, howsoever the written law of God was known unto the people, and his punishments laid upon them for contempt thereof were very terrible, and even then but newly executed; yet were they so obstinately bent upon their own · wills, that they would not by any means be drawn to acknowledge the true cause of their affliction.