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the news, others ran forth to see, and the common joy was so great, that without apprehension of peril, under the windows of the court, were the people running and praising the king'. Athaliah hearing and beholding the extraordinary concourse, and noise of folks in the streets, making towards the temple, with much unusual passion in their looks, did presently conceive, that somewhat worthy of her care had happened; though what it might be she did not apprehend. Howsoever it were, she meant to use her own wisdom in looking into the matter, and ordering all as the occasion might happen to require. It may be, that she thought it some especial solemnity used in the divine service, which caused this much ado; and hereof the unaccustomed number of Levites, and of other devout men about the town, might give some presumption.
Many things argue, that she little thought upon her own tragedy ; although Josephus would make it seem otherwise. For we find in the text, ' She came 4 to the people into the houseofthe Lord*,'(which was near to her palace,) and that when she looked and saw the king stand by his pillar, as the manner was, with the princes, or great men of the land by him, she rent her clothes, and cried, ' treason ! treason!' Hereby it appears, that she was quietly going, without any mistrust or fear, to take her place; which, when she found occupied by another, then she began to afflict herself, as one cast away, and cried out in vajn upon the treason whereby she saw that she must perish. But that she came with a guard of armed men to the temple, (as Josephus reporteth,) and that her company being beaten back, she entered alone, and commanded the people to kill the young tyrant, I find no where in scripture, neither do I hold it credible. For had she truly known how things went, she would surely have gathered her friends about her, and used those forces in defence of her crown, by
1 2 Chron. xxiii. 12. U 2 Chron. xxiil 12, 11. 2 Kings xi. IS, 14
which she got it, and hitherto had held it. Certainly, if it were granted, that she, like a new Semirainis, did march in the head of her troop, yet it had been mere madness in her to enter the place alone, when her assistants were kept out: But if she, perceiving that neither her authority, nor their own weapons, could prevail to let in her guard, would nevertheless take upon her to command the death of the new king; calling a child of seven years old a conspirator, and bidding them to kill him, whom she saw to be armed in his defence,—may we not think that she was mad in the most extreme degree? Certain it is, that the counsel of God would have taken effect in her destruction, had she used the most likely means to disappoint it; yet we need not so cut her throat with any moral impossibilities. It is enough to say, that the godly zeal of Jehoiada found more easy success, through her indiscretion, than otherwise could have been expected; so that at his appointment she was, without more ado, carried out of the temple and slain; yea so, that no blood save her own was shed in that quarrel; her small train, that she brought along with her, not daring to stand in her defence.
The death of AthaUah, with a comparison of her and
Most like it is, that Athaliah had many times, with great indignation, bewailed the rashness of her nephew Jehoram, the Israelite, who did foolishly cast himself into the very throat of danger, gaping upon him, only through his eager desire of quickly knowing what the matter meant; yet she herself, by the like bait, was taken in the like trap, and having lived such a life as Jezebel had done, was rewarded with a suitable death. These two queens were in many points much alike; each of them was daughter, wife, and mother, to a king ; each of them ruled her husband; was an idolatress, and a murderess. The only difference appearing in their conditions is,, that Jezebel is more noted as incontinent of body, Athaliah as ambitious: so that each of them, surviving her husband about eight years, did spend the time in satisfying her own affections; the one using tyranny as the exercise of her haughty mind; the other painting her face, for the ornament of her unchaste body. In the manner of their death, little difference there was, or in those things which may seem in this world to pertain unto the dead when they are gone. Each of them was taken on the sudden by conspirators, and each of them exclaiming upon the treason, received sentence from the mouth of one that had lived under her subjection; in execution whereof, Jezebel was trampled under the feet of her enemies horses, Athaliah slain at her own horse-gate: the death of Athaliah having, (though not much,) the more leisure to vex her proud heart; that of Jezebel, the more indignity, and shame of body. Touching their burial, Jezebel was devoured by dogs, as the Lord had threatened by the prophet Elias; what became of Athaliah, we do not find. Like enough it is that she was buried, as having not persecuted and slain the Lord's prophets, but suffered the priests to exercise their function ; yet of her burial there is no monument; for she was a church-robber. The service of Baal, erected by these two queens, was destroyed as soon as they were gone; and their chaplains, the priests of that religion, slain. Herein also it came to pass alike, as touching them both when they were dead ; the kings who slew them, were afterwards afflicted, both of them by the same hand of Hazael, the Syrian; in which point Athaliah had the greater honour, if the Syrian, (who seems to have been her good friend,) pretended her revenge, as any part of his quarrel to Judah. Concerning children, all belonging to Jezebel perished in a few days after her; whether Athaliah left any behind her, it is uncertain; she had sons living after she was queen; of whom, or of any other, that they were slain with her, we do not find.
This is a matter not unworthy consideration, in regard of much that may depend upon it. For if the children of Athaliah had been in Jerusalem when their mother fell, their death would surely have followed hers, and been registered, as well as the death of Mattan, the priest of Baal. That law by which * God forbade that the children should die for • the fathers*,' could not have saved these ungracious imps, whom the clause following would have cut off, which commands, that every man shall die for his own sin. Seeing, therefore, that they had been professors and advancers of that vile and idolatrous worship of Baal, yea, had robbed the temple of the Lord, and enriched the house of Baal with the spoil of it; likely it is, that they should not have escaped with life, if Jehoiada the priest could have gotten them into his hands. As there was lawful cause enough requiring their death, so the security of the king and his friends, that is, of all the land, craved as much, and that very earnestly. For these had been esteemed as heirs of their mother's crown, and being reckoned as her assistants in that particular business of robbing the temple, may be thought to have carried a great sway in other matters, as princes and fellows with their mother in the kingdom. Therefore it is evident, that either they were now dead, or, (perhaps following Hazael in the wars against Jehu,) absent from Jerusalem; whereby Jehoiada might, with the more confidence, adventure to take arms against their mother that was desolate.
3 Deut. xxir. IS.
OF JOASH AND AMAZIAH, WITH THEIR CONTEMPORARIES; ALSO SOMEWHAT OF THE BUILDING OF CARTHAGE.
Of Joash's doings, while Jehoiada the priest lived.
By the death of Athaliah, the whole country of Judah was filled with great joy and quietness; wherein Joash, a child of seven years old, or thereabout, began his reign, which continued almost forty years. During his- minority, he lived under the protection of that honourable man Jehoiada the priest, who did as faithfully govern the kingdom, as he had before carefully preserved the king's life, and restored him unto the throne of his ancestors. When he came to man's estate, he took, by appointment of Jehoiada, two wives, and begat sons and daughters, repairing the family of David, which was almost worn out. The first act that he took in hand, when he began to rule without a protector, was the reparation of the temple. It was a needful piece of work, in regard of the decay wherein that holy place was fallen, through the wickedness of ungodly tyrants; and requisite it was, that he should uphold the temple, whom the temple had upheld. This business he followed with so earnest a zeal, that not only the Levites were more slack than he, but even Jehoiada was fain to be quickened by his admonition. Money was gathered for the charges of the work, partly out of the tax imposed by Moses', partly out of the liberality of the
1 2 Chron. xxiv.