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eo, (if not more,) Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of the ten tribes, enlarged his border on the north; where, obtaining many victories against the Syrians, he won the royal city of Damascus; and he won Hamath, with all the country thereabout, ' from the
* entering of Hamath, unto the sea of the wilder
• ness*;' that is, (as the most expound it,) unto the vast deserts of Arabia, the end whereof was undiscovered. So the bounds of Israel, in those parts, were in the time of this Jeroboam, the same, (or not much narrower,) which they had been in the reign of David,
But it was not for the piety of Jeroboam that he thrived so well; for he was an idolater; it was only the compassion which the Lord had on Israel, seeing the exceeding bitter affliction, whereinto the Aramites had brought his people, which caused him to alter the success of war, and to throw the victorious Aramites under the feet of those whom they had so cruelly oppressed. The line of Jehu, to which God had promised the kingdom of Israel unto the fourth generation was now not far from the end; and now again it was invited unto repentance, by new benefits, as it had been at the beginning. But the sin of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, was held 30 precious, that neither the kingdom itself, given to nim by God, was able to draw Jehu from that politic idolatry, nor the misery falling upon him and his posterity, to bring them to a better course of religion; nor yet, at the last, this great prosperity of Jeroboam the son of Joash, to make him render the honour that was due to the only giver of victory. "Wherefore the promise of God, made unto Jehu, that his sons, unto the fourth generation, should sit on the throne of Israel, was not enlarged; but being almost expired, gave warning of the ap* proaching end, by an accident, (so strange, that we, who find no particulars recorded, can hardly guess
at the occasions,) foregoing the last accomplishment.
When Jeroboam, the son of Joash, after a victorious reign of forty-one years, had ended his life, it seems in all reason that Zachdriah his son should forthwith have been admitted to reign in his stead; the nobility of that race having gotten such a lustre by the immediate succession of four kings, that any competitor, had the crown passed by election, must needs have appeared base; and the virtue of the last king, having been so great, as might well serve to lay the foundation of a new house, much more to establish the already confirmed right of a family so rooted in possession. Notwithstanding all this, two or three and twenty years did pass before Zachariah the son of Jeroboam was, by uniform consent, received as king. The true original causes hereof were to be found at Dan and Bethel, where the golden calves did stand; yet second instruments of this disturbance are likely not to have been wanting, upon which the wisdom of man was ready to cast an eye. Probable it is, that the captains of the army, (who afterwards slew one another so fast, that in fourteen years there reigned five kings,) did now, by headstrong violence, rent the kingdom asunder, holding each what he could, and either despising or hating some qualities in Zachariah; until, after many years, wearied with dissension, and the principal of them, perhaps, being taken out of the way by death, for want of any other eminent man, they consented to yield all quietly to the son of Jeroboam. That this anarchy lasted almost twenty-three years, we find by the difference of time between the fifteenth year of Uzziah, which was the last of Jeroboam's forty-first, (his twenty-seventh concurring with the first of Uzziah,) and the thirty-eighth of the same Uzziah, in the last six months whereof Zachariah reigned in Samaria. There are some indeed that, by supposing Jeroboam to have reigned with his father eleven years, do cut off the interregnum in Judah, (before-mentioned,) and, by the same reason, abridge this anarchy, that was before the reign of Zachariah in Israel. Yet they leave it twelve years long; which is time sufficient to prove that the kingdom of the ten tribes was no less distempered than as is already noted. But I choose rather to follow the more common opinion, as concurring more exactly with the times of other princes reigning abroad in the world, than this doubtful conjecture, which gives to Jeroboam fifty-two years, by adding three quarters of his father's reign unto his own, which was itself indeed so long that he may well seem to have begun it very young; for I do not think that God blessed this idolater, both with a longer reign, and with a longer life, than he did his servant David.
This much being spoken of the time wherein the throne of Israel was void, before the reign of Zachariah, little may suffice to be said of his reign itself, which lasted but a little while. Six months only was he king, in which time he declared himself a worshipper of the golden calves; which was enough to justify the judgment of God, whereby he was slain. He was the last of Jehu's house, being (inclusively) the fifth of that line; which may have been some cause of the troubles impeaching his orderly succession; the prophecy having determined that race in the fourth generation. But, (besides that God's promise was extended unto the utmost,) there was no warrant given to Shallum, or to any other, for the death of Zachariah, as had been given to Jehu, for the slaughter of Jehoram, and for the eradication of Ahab's house.
Zachariah having been six months a king, was then slain by Shallum, who reigned after him, the space of a month, in Samaria 4. What this Shallum was, I do not find; save only that he was a traitor, and the son of one Jabesh, whereby his father got no
1 2 Kings xv. 13.
honour. It seems that he was one of those who, in time of faction, had laboured for himself; and now, when all other competitors were sitten down, thought easily to prevail against that king, in whose person the race of Jehu was to fail. Manifest it is, that Shallum had a strong party; for Tiphsah or Thapsa, and the coast thereof, even from Tirzah, where Menahem his enemy and supplanter then lay, refused to- admit as king in his stead the man that murdered him. Yet, at the end of one month, Shallum received the reward of his treason, and was slain by Menahem who reigned in his place.
Menahem the son of Gadi, reigned after Shallum ten years. In opposition to Shallum, his hatred was deadly, and inhuman; for he not only destroyed Tiphsah, and all that were therein, or thereabouts, but he ripped up all their women with child, because they did not open their gates and let him in. Had this cruelty been used in revenge of Zachariah's death, it is like that he would have been as earnest in procuring unto him his father's crown when it was first due. But in performing that office, there was used such long deliberation, that we may plainly discover ambition, disdain, and other private passions, to have been the causes of this beastly outrage.
In the time of Menahem, and, (as it seems,) in the beginning of his reign, Pul, king of Assyria, came against the land of Israel, whom this new king appeased, with a thousand talents of silver, levied upon all the substantial men in his country. With this money, the Israelite purchased not only the peace of his kingdom, but his own establishment therein; some factious men, belike, having either invited Pul thither, or, (if he came uncalled,) sought to use his help, in deposing this ill-beloved king, Josephus reports of this Menahem 5, that his reign Tyas no milder than his entrance. But after ten
5 Josh. Ant, 1. u, c. xi,
ears, his tyranny ended with his life, and Pekahiah,
Of this Pekahiah the story is short; for he reigned only two years, at the end whereof he was slain by Pekah, the son of Remaliah, whose treason was rewarded with the crown of Israel, as, in time coming another man's treason against himself shall be. There needs no more to be said of Menahem, and his son, save that they were both of them idolaters; and the son, (as we find in Josephus6,) like to his father in cruelty. Concerning Pul the Assyrian king, who first opened unto those northern nations the way unto Palaestina, it will shortly follow, in order of the story, to deliver our opinion, whether he was that Belosus, (called also Beleses, and by some, Phul Belochus,) who joined with Arbaces the Median, against Sardanapalus, or whether he was some other man. At the present it is more fit that we relate the end of Uzziah's life, who outlived the happiness wherein we left him.
As the zeal of Jehoiada, that godly priest, was the means to preserve the lineage of David, in the person of Joa%h; so it appears, that the care of holy men was not wanting to Uzziah, to bring him up, and advance him to the crown of Judah, when the hatred borne to his father Amaziah, had endangered his succession. For it is said of Uzziah, that 4 he 4 sought God in the days of Zachariah, (which un4 derstood the visions of God,) and when he sought 4 the Lord, God made him prosper'.'
4 But, when he was strong, his heart was lifted up 4 to his destruction; for he transgressed against the 4 Lord his God; and went into the temple of the 'Lord to burn incense, upon the altar of incense*.'
< Jos. ibid. 1 a Chroo. xxvi. 5. 3 3 Chron. xxvi.