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takers in their fact, nor strong maintainers of their persons, but rested secure, as having done well, seeing it was not ill taken; the king, who perceived his government well established, called them into question, at such a time as, the heat of mens affections being well allayed, it was easy to distinguish between their treasons and God's judgments, which by their treasons had taken plausible effect. : So they were put to death without any tumult, and their children, (as the law did require,) were suffered to live ; which could not but give contentment to the people, seeing that their king did the office of a just prince, rather than of a revenging son. This being done, and his own life better secured, by such exemplary justice, against the like attempts, Amaziah carried himself outwardly as a prince well affected to religion, and so continued in rest about twelve or thirteen years.
As Amaziah gathered strength in Judah by the. commodity of a long peace, so Joash, the Israelite, grew as fast in power, by following the war hotly against the Aramites. He was a valiant and fortunate prince, yet an idolator, as his predecessors had been, worshipping the calves of Jeroboam. For this sin, had God so plagued the house of Jehu, that the ten tribes wanted little of being utterly consumed, by Hazael and Beyhadad, in the time of Jehu and his son Jehoahaz. But as God's benefits to Jehu sufficed not to withdraw him from this politic idolatry ; so were the miseries, rewarding that impiety, unable to reclaim Jehoahaz from the same impious course ; yet the mercy of God, beholding the trouble of Israel, condescended unto tlie prayers of this ungodly prince, even then, when he and his miserable subjects were obstinate in following their own abominable ways. Therefore, in temporal matters, the ten tribes recovered apace, but the favour of God, which had been infinitely more worth, I do not find, nor believe that they sought; that they had it
Whether it couse of Ephraim, with Israel, neith
not, I find in the words of the prophet, saying plainly to Amaziah, “the Lord is not with Israel, neither i with all the house of Ephraim':'
Whether it were so, that the great prophet Eli. sha, who lived in those times, did foretel the prosperity of the Israelites, under the reign of Joash; or whether Jehoabaz, wearied and broken with long adversity, thought it the wisest way to discharge him. self in part of the heavy cares attending those unhappy Syrian wars, by laying the burden upon his hopeful son; we find, that in the thirty-seventh • year of Joash, king of Judah, Joash the son of Jeho
alaz began to reign over Israel in Samaria”;' which was in the fifteenth year of his father's reign, and some two or three years before his death.
It appears that this young prince, even from the beginning of his rule, did so well husband that poor stock, which he received from his father, of ten chasiots, fifty horsemen, and ten thousand foot, that he might seem likely to prove a thriver. Among other circumstances, the words which he spake to Elisha the prophet, argue no less. For Joash visiting the prophet, who lay sick, spake unto him thus; • ( my * father, my father, the chariots of Israel, and the
horsemen of the same 3:' by which manner of speech he did acknowledge, that the prayers of this holy man had stood his kingdom in more stead than all the horses and chariots could do.
This prophet, who succeeded unto Elias, about the first year of Jehoram the son of Ahab, king of Israel, died, as some lave probably collected,) about the third or fourth year of this Joash, the nephew of Jehu. To shew how the spirit of Elias was doubled, or did rest upon him, it exceedeth my faculty. This is recorded of him, that he did not only raise a dead child unto life, as Elias had done, but when he himself was dead, it pleased God that his dead bones should restore life unto a carcase, which touched
1 2 Chron. xxv. 7. 2 2 Kings xiii. 10, s 2 Kings xiii. 14.
them in the grave. In fine, he bestowed, as a legacy, three victories upon king Joash, who thereby did set Israel in a fair way of recovering all that the Aramites had usurped, and weakening the kings of Damascus in such sort, that they were never after terrible to Samaria.
Sect. VIII. Of Amaziah's war against Edom; his apostacy, and
overthrow by Joash. The happy success which Joash had found in his war against the Aramites, was such as might kindle in Amaziah a desire of undertaking some expedition, wherein himself might purchase the like honour. His kingdom could furnish three hundred thousand serviceable men for the wars; and his treasure was sufficient for the payment of these and the hire of many more. Cause of war he had very just against the Edomites, who having rebelled in the time of his grandfather Jehoram, had about fifty years been unreclaimed; partly by reason of the troubles happening in Judah, partly through the timorousness of his father Joash. Yet, forasmuch as the men of Judah had in many years been without all exercise of war, (excepting that unhappy fight wherein they were beaten by a few bands of the Aramites,) he held it a point of wisdom to increase his forces, with sol. diers waged out of Israel ; whence he hired for an hundred talents of silver, 'an hundred thousand va• liant men';' as the scripture telleth us, though Josephus diminishes the number”, saying, that they were but twenty thousand.
This great army, which with so much cost Amaziah had hired out of Israel, he was fain to dismiss, before he had employed it, being threatened by a prophet with ill success, if he strengthened himself with the help of those men, whom God, (though in mercy
1 2 Chion. xxv. 6. 2 Joseph Ant. Jud. l. 9. cap. 10.
he gave them victory against the cruel Aramites,) did not love, because they were idolators. The Israelites therefore departed in great anger, taking in ill part this dismission, as an high disgrace; which to revenge, they fell upon a piece of Judah in their return, and shewed their malice in the slaughter of three thousand men, and some spoil which they carried away. But Amaziah with his own forces, know. ing that God would be assistant to their journey, entered courageously into the Edomites country; over whom obtaining victory, he slew ten thousand, and took other ten thousand prisoners, all which he threw from an high rock; holding them, it seems, rather as traitors, than as just enemies. This victory did not seem to reduce Edom under the subjection of the crown of Judah, which might be the cause of that severity, which was used to the prisoners; the Edomites that had escaped, refusing to buy the lives of their friends and kinsinen at so dear a rate, as the loss of their own liberty. Some towns in mount Seir Amaziah took, as appears by his carrying away the idols thence ; but it is like they were the places most indefensible, in that he left no garrisons there, whereby he might another year the better have pursued the conquest of the whole country. Howsoever it were, he got both honour by the journey, and gains enough, had he not lost himself. : Among other spoils of the Edomites, were car. ried away their gods, which, being vanquished and taken prisoners, did deserve well to be led in triumph. But they contrariwise, I know not by what strange witchcraft, so besotted this unworthy king Amaziah, • That he set them up to be his gods, and worship* ped them, and burnt incense unto them?!'.
When he was rebuked for this by a prophet sent from God, he gave a churlish and threatening answer; asking the prophet, who made him a counsellor, and bidding him hold his peace for fear of the
3 2 Chroo. XXV, 14.
devotionnself togs of pless or kept lave ra:
worst. If either the costly stuff whereof these idols were made, or the curious workmanship and beauty with which they were adorned by artificers, had ravished the king's fańcy, methinks he should have rather turned them to matter of profit, or kept them as houshold ornaments and things of pleasure, than there: by have suffered himself to be blinded with such unreasonable devotion towards them. If the supersti. tious account wherein the Edomites had held them, were able to work much upon his imagination; much more should the bad service which they had done to their old clients, have moved him thereupon to laugh, both at the Edomites and them. Wherefore it seems to me, that the same affections carried him from God unto the service of idols, which afterwards mov: ed him to talk so roughly to the prophet reprehending him. He had already obeyed the warning of God by a prophet, and sent such auxiliary forces as he had gathered out of Israel, which done, it is said, that he was encouraged, and led forth his people 4; thinking belike, that God would now rather assist him by miracle, than let him fail of obtaining all his heart's desire. But with better reason he should have limited his desires by the will of God, whose pleasure it was, that Esau, having broken the yoke of Jacob from his neck, according as Isaac had foretold, should no more become his servant. If therefore Amaziah did hope to re-conquer all the country of Edom, he failed of his expectation ; yet so, that he brought home both profit and honour, which might have well contented him.
But there is a foolish and a wretched pride, wherewith men being transported, can ill endure to ascribe into God the honour of those actions, in which it hath pleased him to use their own industry, courage, or foresight. Therefore it is commonly seen, that they who, entering into battle, are careful to pray for aid from heaven, with due acknowledgement of
4 2 Chron. xxv. 11. VOL. III.