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unto him, from his first infancy, were such as should have placed Zachariah in the most hearty and assured love of Joash, yea, though he had heen otherwise a man of very small mark, and not very good condition. The truth is, that the message of a prophet sent from God, should be heard with reverence, how simple soever he appears that brings it; but this king Joash having already scorned the admonitions and protestations of such prophets as first were sent, did now deal with Zachariah, like as the wicked husbandmen, in that parable of our Saviour, dealt with the heir of the vineyard; who said, 'This is the heir, 'come let us kill him, that the inheritance may be * ours'.' By killing Zachariah, he thought to become an absolute commander, supposing belike that he was no free prince, as long as any one durst tell him the plain truth, how great soever that man's deserving were that did so, yea, though God's commandment required it. So they conspired against tin's holy prophet, and stoned him to death at the king's appointment; but whether by any form of open law, as was practised upon Naboth, or whether surprising him by any close treachery, I do neither read nor conjecture. The dignity of his person considered, together with their treacherous conspiracy, makes it probable, that they durst not call him into public judgment; though the manner of his death, being such as was commonly, and by order of law, inflicted upon malefactors, may argue the contrary. Most likely it is, that the king's commandment, by which he suffered, took place in stead of law; which exercise of mere power, (as hath been already noted,) was nothing strange among the kings of Judah.
Hffw Joash' was shamefully beaten by the Aramites, and of his death.
This odious murder, committed by an unthankful snake upon the man in whose bosom he had been fostered, as of itself alone it sufficed to make the wretched tyrant hateful to men of his own time, and his memory detested in all ages; so had it the welldeserved curse of the blessed martyr, to accompany it unto the throne of God, and to call for vengeance from thence, which fell down swiftly and heavily upon the head of that ungrateful monster. It was the last year of his reign; the end of his time coming then upon him, when he thought himself beginning to live how he listed, without controulment. When that year was expired, the Aramites came into the country, rather as may seem to get pillage, than to perform any great action; for they came with a small company of men but God had intended to do more by them than they themselves did hope for.
That Joash naturally was a coward, his bloody malice against his best friend is, in my judgment, proof sufficient; though otherwise his base composition with Hazael, when he might have levied, (as his son after him did muster,) three hundred thousand chosen men for the war, doth well enough shew his temper. Yet now he would needs be valiant, and make his people know, how stout of disposition their king was, when he might have his own will. But his timorous heart was no% well cloaked. For to encounter with a few bands of rovers, he took a very great army; so that wise men might well perceive, that he knew what he did, making shew as if he would fight for his country, and expose his person to the danger of war, whereas indeed all was mere os
1 9 Chion. xxiv. at.
tentation, and no peril to be feared; he going forth so strongly appointed, against so weak enemies. Thus might weak men think, and laugh at him in secret, considering what ado he made about that, which in all apparent reason was, (as they say,) a thing of nothing. But God, before whom the wisdom of this world is foolishness, did laugh, not only
their king secure, by reason of the multitude that he drew along with him.
When the Aramites and king Joash met, whether it were by some folly of the leaders, or by some amazement happening among the soldiers, or by whatsoever means it pleased God to work, so it was, that that great army of Judah received a notable overthrow, and all the princes were destroyed; the princes of Judah, at whose persuasion the king had become a rebel to the King of kings. As for Joash himself, (as Abulensis and others expound the story,) he was sorely beaten and hurt by them, being, (as they think,) taken and shamefully tormented, to wring out of him an excessive ransom.
And surely all circumstances do greatly strengthen this conjecture. For the text, (in the old translation,) saith, they exercised upon Joash ignominious judgments; and that departing from him, they dis
that they had him in their hands, and handled him ill-favouredly. Now at that time, Joash the son of Jehoahaz reigned over Israel, and Benhadad the son of Hazael over the Syrians in Damascus; the one a valiant undertaking prince, raised up by God to restore the state of his miserable country; the other inferior every way to his father, of whose purchases he lost a great part, for want of skill to keep it. The difference in condition found between these two princes, promising no other event than such as after followed, might have given to the king of Judah good cause to be bold, and pluck up his spirits, which Hazael had beaten down, if God had not been against him. But his fearful heart being likely to quake upon any apprehension of danger, was able to put the Syrian king in hope, that by terrifying him with some shew of war at his doors, it were easy to make him crave any tolerable conditions of peace. The unexpected good success hereof, already related, and the (perhaps as unexpected) ill success, which the Aramites found in their following wars against the king of Israel, sheweth plainly the weakness of all earthly might resisting the power of the Almighty. For by his ordinance, both the kingdom of Judah, after more than forty years time of gathering strength, was unable to drive out a small company of enemies; and the kingdom of Israel, having so been trodden down by Hazael, that only fifty horsemen, ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen were left, prevailed against his son, and recovered all from the victorious Aramites. But examples hereof are everywhere found, and therefore I will not insist upon this; though indeed we should not, if we be God's children, think it more tedious to hear long and frequent reports of our heavenly Father's honour, than of the noble acts performed by our forefathers upon earth.
When the Aramites had what they listed, and saw that they were not able, being so tew, to take any possession of the country, they departed out of Judah loaded with spoil, which they sent to Damascus themselves belike falling upon the ten tribes, where it is to be thought that they sped not half so well. The king of Judah being in ill case, was killed on his bed when he came home, by the sons of an Ammonitess, and of a Moabitess, whom some, (because only their mother's names, being strangers, are expressed,) think to have been bondmen. Whether it were contempt of his fortune, or fear, lest, (as tyrants use,) he should revenge his disaster upon them, imputing it to their fault, or whatsoever else it were that animated them to murder their king, the scripture tells us plainly, that ' for the blood of the chil4 dren of Jehoiada this befel him*.' And the same appears to have been used as the pretence of their conspiracy, in excuse of the fact when it was done. For Amaziah, the son and successor of Joash, durst not punish them, till his kingdom was established; but contrariwise, his body was judged unworthy of burial in the sepulchres of the kings; whereby it appears, that the death of Zachariah caused the treason wrought against the king, to find more approbation than was requisite among the people, though afterwards it was recompensed by his son, upon the traitors, with well deserved death.
Of the Princes living in the time of Joash: Of the time .a hen Carthage was built; and of Dido.
There lived with Joash, Mezades and Diognetus in Athens; Eudemus and Aristomedes in Corinth; about which time Agrippa Sylvius, and after him Sylvius Alladius, were kings of the Albans in Italy. Ocrazapes commonly called Anacyndaraxes, the thirty-seventh king succeeding unto Ophratanus, began his reign over the Assyrians, about the eighteenth year of Joash, which lasted forty-two years. Jn the sixteenth of Joash, Cephrenes, the fourth from Sesac, succeeded unto Cheops in the kingdom of Egypt, and held it fifty years.
In this time of Joash was likewise the reign of Pygmalion in .Tyre, and the foundation of Cartilage by Dido; the building of which city is, by divers authors, placed in divers ages; some reporting it to be seventy years younger than Rome, others above four hundred years elder; few or none of them giving any reason of their assertions, but leaving us uncertain whom to follow: Josephus', who had read
2 2 Chron. uir. 25.
1 Joseph, cont. App. lib. i.