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Though the LORD was in a peculiar manner the God of Israel, he did not utterly forsake the rest of the worlds the wonders which God wrought for his own people were done openly. In the wars with Israel, the heathens frequently heard the prophets, and were eye-witnesses of many miracles; but they hardened their hearts against conviction : notwithstanding this, (we have reason to think) they were not brought to utter destruction without particular warnings, of which we read many instances.
It appears from Jonah's anger, that he was more solia citous for his own reputation, than for the honour of the LORD. This part of his conduct deserves censure. His history teaches us to reflect on the omnipresence of God, and to say with the Royal Psalmist, Whither shall rue go from Thy Spirit? or whither shall we flee from thy presence? If we ascend up into.heaven, Thou art there; if
down to the place of the dead, Thou art there also. If we take the wings of the morning, and remain in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there also shall Thy hand lead and Thy right hand shall hold us * !
THE REIGN OF MENAHEM, PEKAIH, AND PEKAH,
KINGS OF ISRAEL..
From 2 Kings, Chap. xv.
Then Menahem smote Tipsah, and all that were therein, and the coasts thereof to Tirzah; because they opened not unto him.
In the nine and thirtieth year of Azeriah king of Judah, began Menahem the son of Gadi to reign over Israel,
And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not all his days from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin,
And Pul the king of Assyria came against the land: and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him, to confirm the kingdom in his hand.
And Menahem exacted the money of Israel, even of all the mighty men of wealth, of each man fifty shekels of silver, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back, and stayed not there in the land.
And Menahem reigned ten years in Samaria, and he slept with his fathers: and Pekaiah his son reigned in his stead.
In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekaiah the son of Menahem began to reign over Israel in Samaria; and reigned two years;
And did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.
But Pekah the son of Remaliah, a captain of his, conspired against him, and smote him in Samaria, in the palace of the king's house, with Argob, and Arieh, and with him fifty men of the Gileadites: and he killed him, and reigned in his room.
In the two and fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judalı, Pekah the son of Remaliah began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned twenty years.
And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.
In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and took ljon, and Abel-bethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kadesh, and Hazor, and 1
Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naplatali, and carried them captive to Assyria,
And Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and smote him, and slew him, and reigned in his stead.
In the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah king of Judah, when Pekah liad reigned twenty years.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Menahem was a monster of barbarity ; his ambition would endure no opposition, as his miserable subjects experienced to their sorrow !
'TIRZAH, which is frequently mentioned in Scripture, was for a long time the regal city of the kingdom of Israel. Jeroboam, who was the first king of Israel after the division of the tribes (though he dwelt for some time at Shechem), resided there in his latter days at least, as did all the other kings of Israel, until Omri, having reigned six years in Tirzah, built Samaria, and removed the royal seat thither, where it continued till a final period was put to the kingdom. Tipsah, where Menahem exercised so much cruelty, is supposed to have been å town near to Tirzah.
There is no occasion to comment on the reign of Pekaiah; for that has been remarked of former kings, whose characters and fate resembled his, may be applied to him.
Pekah's reign is rendered remarkable by the captivity of the tribe of Naphtali, and a considerable part of the kingdom of Israel.
As we shall in the ensuing history frequently read of the Assyrians, it will be proper, before we proceed, to give a short account of the origin of the second Assyrian monarchy. Pul, the king mentioned in this Section, appears (according to scripture)to have been the founder of it; and we have reason to think, that he was raised up to great power, in the same manner as Hazael king of Syria had been, that he might be instrumental to the punishment of the Israelites, for their abominable idolatry and profaneness. For we do not read in sacred history of any king of Assyria till this period; and it had been foretold, by the prophet Amos in particular, above twenty years before, that God would raise up a nation that should humble the house of Israel, at that time elated with their success against Damascus and Hamath: but what nation he names not ; from which we may imply, that it did not then subsist, because we find that succeeding prophets frequently mention the Assyrians. Pul is supposed to have reigned at Nineveh, and to have been either that king to whom Jonah preached, or most likely, his son. What particular conquests he gained we are not told; but there is reason to think, that he either vanquished or received voluntary homage from Syria and other nations, as well as from Israel. Perhaps Pul was rendered eminent, and permitted to molest Israel, as a reward for his repentance and that of the Ninevites.
The new monarchy of the Assyrians gained ground under the government of TigLATH-PILESER, who is supposed to have been the son and successor of Pul.
PART OF THE PROPHECY OF HOSEA.
From Chap. vii, &c. When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Sa. maria : for they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth withou:.
And they consider not in their hearts, that I ber all their wickedness : now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face.
They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies.
Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart : they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.
When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them;
I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven :I will chastise them as their congregation hath heard.
Woe unto them ! for they have Aed from me : desruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me: though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me.
And they have not cried unto me with their heart when they howled upon their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against me. Though I have bound and strengthened their arms, yet do they imagine mischief against me.
They return, but not to the Most High: they are like a deceitful bow: their princes shall fall by the sword for the
rage of their tongue. This shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.
Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off; mine anger is kindled against them: how long will it be ére they attain to innocency?
For from Israel was it also; the workmen made it : therefore it is not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces. For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap
the whirlwind; it hath not stalk; the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.
Israel is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure.