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killing himself in a madness, whereinto he fell upon disgrace received, was hardly allowed the honour of burial. That Amaziah did utter such words, I do not find; but having once entertained the thoughts, which are parents of such words, he was rewarded with success according. The very first council wherein this war was concluded, serves to prove,that he was a wise prince indeed at Jerusalem, among his parasites; but a fool, when he had to deal with his equals abroad. For it was not all one, to fight with the Edomites, a weak people, trusting more in the site of their country, than the valour of their soldiers,—and to encounter with Joash, who, from so poor beginnings, had raised himself to such strength, that he was able to lend his friend a hundred thousand men, and had all his nation exercised, and trained up, in a long victorious war. But as Amaziah discovered much want of judgment, in undertaking such a match; so in prosecuting the business, when it was set on foot, he behaved himself as a man of little experience, who having once only tried his fortune, and found it to be good, thought that in war there was nothing else to do, than send a defiance, fight, and win. Joash, on the contrary side, having been accustomed to deal with a stronger enemy than the king of Judah, used that celerity, which peradventure had often stood him in good stead against the Aramite. He did not sit waiting till the enemies broke in and wasted his country, but presented himself with an army in Judah, ready to bid battle to Amaziah, and save him the labour of a long journey. This could not but greatly discourage those of Judah; who, (besides the impression of fear which an invasion beats into people not inured to the like,) having devoured, in their greedy hopes, the spoil of Israel, fully persuading themselves to get as much, and at as easy a rate, as in the journey of Edom, were so far disappointed of their expectation, that well they might suspect all new assurance of good
luck, when the old had thus heguiled them. Notwithstanding all this, their king, that had stomach enough to challenge the patrimony of Solomon, thought, like another David, to win it by the sword. The issue of which fool-hardiness, might easily have been foreseen in human reason; comparing together, either the two kings, or the quality of their armies, or the first and ominous beginning of the war. But mere human wisdom, howsoever it might foresee much, could not have prognosticated all the mischief that fell upon Amaziah. For as soon as the two armies came in sight, God, whose help this wretched man had so despised, did, (as Josephus7 reports it,) strike such terror and amazement into the men of Judah, that without one blow given, they fled all away, leaving their king to shift for himself, which he did so ill, that his enemy soon caught him, and made him change his glorious humour into most abject baseness. That the army which fled, sustained any other loss than of honour, I neither find in the scriptures, nor in Josephus; it being likely that the soon beginning of their flight, which made it the more shameful, made it also the more safe. But of the mischief that followed thisoverthrow, itwas God's will that Amaziah himself should sustain the whole disgrace. For Joash carried him directly to Jerusalem, where he bade him procure that the gates might be opened, to let him in and his army ) threatening him otherwise with present death. So much amazed was the miserable captive, with these dreadful words, that he durst do no other, than persuade the citizens to yield themselves to the conqueror. The town, which afterwards being in weaker state, held out two years against Nebuchadnezzar, was utterly dismayed, when the king, that should have given his life to save it, used all his force of command and entreaty to betray it. So the gates of Jerusalem were opened to Joash, with which honour, (greater than
7. Jos. Ant. 1. 9 c. 10.
any king of Israel had ever obtained,) he could not rest contented; but, the more to despite Amaziah and his people, he caused four hundred cubits of the wall to be thrown down, and entered the city in his chariot through that breach, carrying the king before him, as in triumph. This done, he sacked the temple, and the king's palace, and so, taking hostages of Amaziah, he dismissed the poor creature, that was glad of his life, and returned to Samaria.
A discourse of reasons hindering Joash from uniting Judah to the croicn of Israel, when he had ivon Jerusalem, and held Amaziah prisoner. The end of Joash's reign.
We may justly marvel how it came to pass, that Joash, being thus in possession of Jerusalem, having the king in his hands, his enemies forces broken, and his own entire, could be so contented to depart quietly with a little spoil, when he might have seized upon the whole kingdom. The reign of Athaliah had given him cause to hope, that the issue of David might be dispossessed of that crown; his own nobility, being the son and grandchild of kings, together with the famous acts that he had done, were enough to make the people of Judah think highly of him; who might also have preferred his form of government before that of their own king's, especially at such a time, when a long succession of wicked princes had smothered the thanks which were due to the memory of a few good ones. The commodity that would have ensued, upon the union of all the twelve tribes, under one prince, is so apparent, that I need not to insist on it. That any message from God forbade the Israelites, (as afterwards, in the victory which Pekah, the son of Remaliah, got upon Ahaz,) to turn his present advantage to the best use, we do not read. AU this makes it the more difficult
to resolve the question, why a prince so well exercised as Joash had been, in recovering his own, and winning from his enemy, should forsake the possession of Jerusalem, and wilfully neglect the possibilities, or rather cast away the full assurance of so fair a conquest as the kingdom of Judah.
But concerning that point, which of all others had been most material, I mean the desire of the vanquished people to accept the Israelite for their king, it is plainly seen, that entering Jerusalem in triumphant manner, Joash was unable to concoct his own prosperity. For the opening of the gates had been enough to have let him not only into the city, but into the royal throne, and the people's hearts, whom by fair entreaty, (especially having sure means of compulsion,) he might have made his own, when they saw themselves betrayed, and basely given away by him whose they had been before. Ihe fair mark which this opportunity presented he did not aim at, because his ambition was otherwise and more meanly busied, in levelling at the glory of a triumphant entry through a breach. Yet this error might afterwards have been corrected well enough, if entering as an enemy, and shewing what he could do, by spending his anger upon the walls, he had within the city done offices of a friend, and laboured to shew good will to the inhabitants. But when his pride had done, his covetousness began and sought to please itself, with that which is commonly most ready to the spoiler, yet should be most forborne. The treasure wherewith Sesac, Hazael, and the Philistines, men ignorant of the true God and his religion, had quenched their greedy thirst, ought not to have tempted the appetite of Joash, who, though an idolator, yet acknowledged also and worshipped the eternal God, whose temple was at Jerusalem. Therefore when the people saw him take his way directly to that holy place, and lay his ravenous hands upon the consecrated vessels, calling the family of Obed
Edom", (whose children had hereditary charge of the treasury,) to a strict account, as if they had. been officers of his own exchequer, they considered him rather as an execrable church-robber, than as a noble prince, an Israelite, and their brother, though of another tribe. Thus following that course, which the most virtuous king of our age, (taxing it with the same phrase,) hath wisely avoided; by stealing a few apples, he lost the inheritance of the whole orchard. The people detested him, and after the respite of a few days, might, by comparing themselves one to one, perceive his soldiers to be no better than men of their own mould, and inferior in number to the inhabitants of so great a city. It is not so easy to hold by force a mighty town entered by capitulation, as to enter the gates opened by unadvised fear. For when the citizens, not being disarmed, recover their spirits, and begin to understand their first error; they will think upon every advantage, of place, of provisions, of multitude, yea, of women armed with tile-stones, and rather choose, by desperate resolution, to correct the evils grown out of their former cowardice, than suffer those mischiefs to poison the body, which, in such half-conquests, are easily tasted in the mouth.
A more lively example hereof cannot be desired, than the city of Florence, which through the weakness of Peter de Medicis, governing therein as a prince, was reduced into such hard terms, that it opened the gates unto the French King Charles the Eighth, who not plainly professing himself either friend or foe to the sjate, entered the town with his army, in triumphant manner, himself and his horse armed, with his lance upon his thigh. Many insolencies were therein committed by the French, and much argument of quarrel ministred, between them and the townsmen; so far forth, that the Florentines, to preserve their liberty, were driven to prepare for fight. To coo's
1 X Chton, zivi. 15.