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whether Athaliah left any behind her, it is uncer. · tain ; 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 particu- lar 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 king. dom. Therefore it is evident, that either they were now dead, or, (perhaps following Hazael in the wars against Jehu,) absent from Jerusalem ; whereby Je. hoiada might, with the more confidence, adventure to take arms against their mother that was desolate.
2 Deut. xxiv, 16.
OF JOASH AND AMAZIAH, WITH THEIR CONTEMPORARIES;
ALSO SOMEWHAT OF THE BUILDING OF CARTHAGE.
Sect. I. · 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 im. posed by Moses', partly out of the liberality of the
1 2 Chron, xxiv,
to rule with as a need holy place
temple. It wout a protein in hand
as, thakedness of that ho piece of
people, who gave so freely, that the temple, besides all reparations, was enriched with vessels of gold and silver, and with all other utensils. The sacrifices likewise were offered, as under godly kings they had been, and the service of God was magnificently celebrated.
Sect. II. | The death of Jehoiada, and apostacy of Joash."
But this endured no longer than the life of Jehoi. ada the priest; who, having lived a hundred and thirty years, died before his country could have spared him. He was buried among the kings of Judah, as he well deserved, having preserved the race of them, and restored the true religion, which the late princes of that house, by attempting to eradicate, failed but a little of rooting up themselves and all their issue. Yet this honourable funeral seems to have been given to him at the motion of the people; it being said, • they buried him in the city of David. As for the king himself, who did owe to him no less than his crown and life, he is not likely to have been author of it, seeing that he was as easily comforted after his death, as if he had thereby been discharged of some heavy debt.
For after the death of Jehoiada, when the princes of Judah began to flatter their king, he soon forgot not only the benefits received by this worthy man, his old counsellor, but also the good precepts which he had received from him, yea, and God himself, the author of all goodness. These princes drew him to the worship of idols, wherewith Jehoram and Athaliah had so infected the country, in fifteen or sixteen years, that thirty years, or thereabouts, of the reign of Joash, wherein the true religion was exercised, were not able to clear it from that mischief. The king himself, when once he was entered into these courses, ran on headlong, as one that thought it a to.
ken of his liberty, to despise the service of God; and a manifest proof of his being now king indeed, that he regarded no longer the sour admonitions of devout priests. Hereby it appears, that his former zeal was only counterfeited, wherein, like an actor upon the stage, he had striven to express much more lively affection, than they could shew that were indeed religious.
Sect. III. The causes and time of the Syrians invading Judah, in
the days of Joash. But God, from whom he was broken loose, gave hiin over into the hands of men that would not easily be shaken off. Hazael, king of Aram, having taken Gath, a town of the Philistines, addressed himself towards Jerusalem, whither the little distance of way, and great hope of a rich booty, did invite him. He had an army heartened by many victories, to hope for more; and for ground of the war, (if his ambition cared for pretences,) it was enough, that the kings of Judah had assisted the Israelites, in their enterprises upon Aram, at Ramoth-Gilead. Yet I think he did not want some further instigation. For if the kingdom of Judah had molested the Aramites, in the time of his predecessor, this was thoroughly recompensed, by forbearing to succour Israel, and leaving the ten tribes in their extreme misery, to the fury of Hazael himself. Neither is it likely, that Hazael should have gone about to awake a sleeping dog, and stir up against himself a powerful enemy, before he had assured the conquest of Israel, that lay between Jerusalem and his own kingdom, if some opportunity had not promised such easy and good success, as might rather advance, than any way disturb, his future proceedings against the ten tribes. Wherefore I hold it probable, that the sons of Athaliah, mentioned before, were with him in this action, promising (as men expelled their countries usually do) to
dràw many partakers of their own to his side; and not to remain, as Joash did, a neutral in the war between him and Israel, but to join all their forces with his, as they had cause, for the rooting out of Jehu's posterity, who, like a bloody traitor, had utterly destroyed all the kindred of the queen their mother, even the whole house of Ahab, to which he was a subject. If this were so, Hazael had the more apparent reason to invade the kingdom of Judah. How. soever it were, we find it plainly, that Joash was afraid of him, and therefore · took all the hallowed 6 things, and all the gold that was found in the trea.
sures of the house of the Lord," or in his own house, with which present he redeemed his peace; the Syrian, (questionless,) thinking it a better bargain, to get so much readily paid into his hand for nothing, than to hazard the assurance of this, for the possibility of not much more. So Hazael departed with a rich booty of unhappy treasure, which, belong. ing to the living God, remained a small while in the possession of this mighty, yet corruptible man, but sent him quickly to the grave. For in the thirty-se. venth year of Joash, which was the fifteenth of Jehoahaz, he made this purchase; but in the same, or the very next year, he died, leaving all that he had unto his son Benhadad, with whom these treasures prospered none otherwise than ill-gotten goods are wont.
This enterprise of Hazael is, by some, confound. ed with that war of the Aramites upon Judah, men. tioned in the second book of Chronicles. But the reasons alledged by them that hold the contrary 0pinion, do forcibly prove, that it was not all one war. For the former was compounded without bloodshed or fight; in the latter, Joash tried the fortune of a battle, wherein, being put to the worst, he lost all his princes, and hardly escaped with life: in the one, Hazael himself was present; in the other, he was
1 1 2 Kings xii 18.