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before the chase and slaughter of an army of stags, that followed him.
These or the like words comforting Amaziah, were able to persuade him that it was even so indeed. And such excuses might have served well enough to please the people, if the king had first studied how to please God. But he that was unwilling to ascribe unto God the good success foretold by a prophet, could easily find how to impute this late disaster unto fortune, and the fault of others. Now concerning fortune; it seems that he meant to keep himself safe from her, by sitting still; for in fifteen years following, (so long he out-lived his honour,) we find not that he stirred. As for his subjects, though nothing henceforth be recorded of his government, yet we may see by his end, that the middle time was ill spent among them, increasing their hatred to his own ruin. He that suspecteth his own worth, or other mens opinions, thinking the less regard is had of his person, than he believeth to be due to his place, will commonly spend all the force of his authority, in purchasing the name of a severe man. For the affected sourness of a vain fellow, doth ma
and the fear wherein they live, which are subject unto oppression, carries a shew of reverence to him that does the wrong; at least it serves to dazzle the eyes of underlings, keeping them from prying into the weakness of such as have jurisdiction over them. Thus the time, wherein, by well using it, men might attain to be such as they ought, they do usually mispend, in seeking to appear such as they are not. This is a vain and deceivable course; procuring, instead of the respect that was hoped for, more indignation than was feared. Which is a thing of dangerous consequence; especially when an unable spirit, being over-perted with so high authority, is too passionate in the execution of such an office as cannot be checked but by violence. If, therefore, Amazi
ny times resemble the
of one that is wise;
ah thought by extreme rigour to hold up his reputation, what did he else than strive to make the people think he hated them, when of themselves they were apt enough to believe that he did not love them? The best was, that he had, by revenging his father's death, provided well enough for his own security; but who should take vengeance, (or Upon whom ?) of such a murther, wherein every one had a part? Surely God himself, who had not given commandment, or leave unto the people, to take his office out of his hand, in shedding the blood of his anointed. Yet as Amaziah, careless of God, was carried headlong byhis own affections; so his subjects, following the same ill example, without requiring what belonged unto their duties, rose up against him, with such headlong fury, that being unable to defend himself in Jerusalem, he was driven to forsake the city, and fly to Lachis, for safeguard of his life. But so extreme was the hatred conceived against him, and so general, that neither his absence could allay the rage of it in the capital city, nor his presence in the country abroad, procure friends to defend his life. Questionless, he chose the town of Lachis for his refuge, as a place, of all others, best affected to him; yet found he there none other favour, than that the people did not kill him with their own hands; for when the conspirators, (who troubled not themselves about raising an army for the matter,) sent pursuers after him, he was abandoned to death. Lachis was the utmost city of his dominion westward, standing somewhat within the border of Judah; so that he might have made an easy escape, (if he dared adventure,) into the territory of the Philistines, or the kingdom of Israel. Therefore it may seem that he was detained there, where certain it is that he found no kind of favour; for had not the people of this town added their own treason to the general insurrection, the murderers could not, at Sq good leisure as they did, have carried away his body to Jerusalem, where they gave him burial with his fathers.
Of the Interregnum or vacancy, that was in the kingdom of Judah, after the death of Amaziah.
It hath already been shewed, that the reigns of the kings of Judah and Israel were sometimes to be measured by complete years, otherwhiles by year* current; and that the time of one king is now and then confounded with the last years of his father's reign, or the foremost of his son's. But we are now arrived at a mere vacation, wherein the crown of Judah lay void eleven whole years; a thing not plainly set down in scriptures, not yet remembered by Josephus, and therefore hard to be believed, were it not proved by necessary consequence.
Twice we find it written, that 'Amaziah king of
• Judah, lived after the death of Joashking of Israel 'fifteen years' whereupon it follows, that the death of Amaziah was about the end of fifteen years complete, which Jeroboam the second, (who, * in
• the fifteenth year of Amaziah was made king over 'Israel *,') had reigned in Samaria. But the succession of Uzziah, who is also called Azariah, unto his father in the kingdom of Judah, was eleven years later than the sixteenth of Jeroboam; for it is expressed, that 4 Azariah began to reign in the seven 'and twentieth year of Jeroboam 3the sixteenth year of his life being joined with the first of two and fifty that he reigned. So the interregnum of eleven years cannot be divided, without some hard means used of interpreting the text otherwise than the letter sounds.
Yet some conjectures there are made, which tend to keep all even, without acknowledging any void time. For it is thought, that in the place last of all
1 2 Chron. xxv. 2. and 2 Kings xiv. J7. 2 2 Kings xiv. 23. 3 2 Kings XV. 1. cited, by the seven and twentieth year of Jeroboam we should perhaps understand the seven and twentieth year of his life; or else, (because the like words are no-where else interpreted in the like sense,) that Azariah was eleven years under age, that is, five years old, when his father died, and so his sixteenth year might concur with the seven and twentieth of Jeroboam; or, that the text itself may have suffered some wrong, by miswriting twenty-seven for seventeen years, and so, by making the seventeenth year of Jeroboam to be newly begun, all maybe salved. These are the conjectures of that worthy man Gerard Mercator; concerning the first of which it may suffice, that the author himself doth easily let it pass as improbable; the last is followed by none that I know, neither is it fit that, upon every doubt, we should call the text in question, which could not be satisfied in all copies, if perhaps it were in one: as for the second, it may be held, with some qualification, that Azariah began his reign, being five years old ; but then must we add those eleven years which passed in his minority, to the fifty-two that followed his sixteenth year, which is all one, in a manner, with allowing an interregnum.
But why should we be so careful to avoid an in* terregnum in Judah, seeing that the like necessity hath enforced all good writers to acknowledge the like vacancy twice happening within few years, in the kingdom of Israel? The space of time between Jeroboam's death, and the beginning of Zachariah's reign, and such another gap found between the death of Pekah, and the beginning of Hosea, have made it easily to be admitted into Samaria, which the consideration of things as they stood in Judah, when Amaziah was slain, doth make more probable to have happened there, yea, although the necessity of computatation were not so apparent.
For the public fury, having so far extended itself, as unto the destruction of the king's own person,
Vol. III. u
was not like to be appeased without order taken for obtaining some redress of those matters, which had caused it at the first to break forth into such extremity. We need not therefore wonder how it came to pass, that they, which had already thrown themselves into such an horrible treason, should afterwards dare to withhold the crown from a. prince of that age, which being invested in all ornaments of regality, is nevertheless exposed to many injuries, proceeding from headstrong and forgetful subjects.
As for their conjecture who make Azariah to have been king but forty-one years, after he came out of his nonage, I dare not allow it, because it agrees too harshly with the text. The best opinion were that which gives unto Jeroboam eleven years of reign with his father, before he began to reign single in the fifteenth of Amaziah 4 did it not swallow up almost the whole reign of joash, and extending the years of those which reigned in Israel, (by making such of them complete as were only current,) and take at the shortest the reigns of princes ruling in other nations. But I will not stand to dispute further of this; every man may follow his own opinion, and see mine more plainly in the chronological table drawn for these purposes.
Sect. XT I.
Of Princes contemporary with Amaziah, and more particularly of Sardanapalus.
The princes living with Amaziah, and in the eleven years that followed his death, were Joash and Jeroboam, in Israel; Cephrenus and Mycerinus, in Egypt; Sylvius Alladius, and Sylvius Aventinus, in Alba; Agamemnon in Corinth; Diognetus Pheredus, and Ariphron in Athens; in Lacedaemon, Thelectus, in whose*time the Spartans won from the Achaians, Gerauthae, Amyclae, and some other towns.
But more notable than all these, was Assyrian Sar