From the Death of David to the Death of Ahab
HOW SOLOMON, WHEN HE HAD RECEIVED THE KINGDOM TOOK OFF HIS ENEMIES.
1. WE have already treated of David, and his virtue, and of the benefits he was the author of to his countrymen; of his wars also and battles, which he managed with success, and then died an old man, in the foregoing book. And when Solomon his son, who was but a youth in age, had taken the kingdom, and whom David had declared, while he was alive, the lord of that people, according to God’s will; when he sat upon the throne, the whole body of the people made joyful acclamations to him, as is usual at the beginning of a reign; and wished that all his affairs might come to a blessed conclusion; and that he might arrive at a great age, and at the most happy state of affairs possible.
2. But Adonijah, who, while his father was living, attempted to gain possession of the government, came to the king’s mother Bathsheba, and saluted her with great civility; and when she asked him, whether he came to her as desiring her assistance in any thing or not, and bade him tell her if that were the case, for that she would cheerfully afford it him; he began to say, that she knew herself that the kingdom was his, both on account of his elder age, and of the disposition of the multitude, and that yet it was transferred to Solomon her son, according to the will of God. He also said that he was contented to be a servant under him, and was pleased with the present settlement; but he desired her to be a means of obtaining a favor from his brother to him, and to persuade him to bestow on him in marriage Abishag, who had indeed slept by his father, but, because his father was too old, he did not lie with her, and she was still a virgin. So Bathsheba promised him to afford him her assistance very earnestly, and to bring this marriage about, because the king would be willing to gratify him in such a thing, and because she would press it to him very earnestly. Accordingly he went away in hopes of succeeding in this match. So Solomon’s mother went presently to her son, to speak to him about what she had promised, upon Adonijah’s supplication to her. And when her son came forward to meet her, and embraced her, and when he had brought her into the house where his royal throne was set, he sat thereon, and bid them set another throne on the right hand for his mother. When Bathsheba was set down, she said, “O my son, grant me one request that I desire of thee, and do not any thing to me that is disagreeable or ungrateful, which thou wilt do if thou deniest me.” And when Solomon bid her to lay her commands upon him, because it was agreeable to his duty to grant her every thing she should ask, and complained that she did not at first begin her discourse with a firm expectation of obtaining what she desired, but had some suspicion of a denial, she entreated him to grant that his brother Adonijah might marry Abishag.
3. But the king was greatly offended at these words, and sent away his mother, and said that Adonijah aimed at great things; and that he wondered that she did not desire him to yield up the kingdom to him, as to his elder brother, since she desired that he might marry Abishag; and that he had potent friends, Joab the captain of the host, and Abiathar the priest. So he called for Benaiah, the captain of the guards, and ordered him to slay his brother Adonijah. He also called for Abiathar the priest, and said to him, “I will not put thee to death because of those other hardships which thou hast endured with my father, and because of the ark which thou hast borne along with him; but I inflict this following punishment upon thee, because thou wast among Adonijah’s followers, and wast of his party. Do not thou continue here, nor come any more into my sight, but go to thine own town, and live on thy own fields, and there abide all thy life; for thou hast offended so greatly, that it is not just that thou shouldst retain thy dignity any longer.” For the forementioned cause, therefore, it was that the house of Ithamar was deprived of the sacerdotal dignity, as God had foretold to Eli, the grandfather of Abiathar. So it was transferred to the family of Phineas, to Zadok. Now those that were of the family of Phineas, but lived privately during the time that the high priesthood was transferred to the house of Ithamar, (of which family Eli was the first that received it,)were these that follow: Bukki, the son of Abishua the high priest; his son was Joatham; Joatham’s son was Meraioth; Meraioth’s son was Arophseus; Aropheus’s son was Ahitub; and Ahitub’s son was Zadok, who was first made high priest in the reign of David.
4. Now when Joab the captain of the host heard of the slaughter of Adonijah, he was greatly afraid, for he was a greater friend to him than to Solomon; and suspecting, not without reason, that he was in danger, on account of his favor to Adonijah, he fled to the altar, and supposed he might procure safety thereby to himself, because of the king’s piety towards God. But when some told the king what Joab’s supposal was, he sent Benaiah, and commanded him to raise him up from the altar, and bring him to the judgment-seat, in order to make his defense. However, Joab said he would not leave the altar, but would die there rather than in another place. And when Benaiah had reported his answer to the king, Solomon commanded him to cut off his head there (1) and let him take that as a punishment for those two captains of the host whom he had wickedly slain, and to bury his body, that his sins might never leave his family, but that himself and his father, by Joab’s death, might be guiltless. And when Benaiah had done what he was commanded to do, he was himself appointed to be captain of the whole army. The king also made Zadok to be alone the high priest, in the room of Abiathar, whom he had removed.
5. But as to Shimei, Solomon commanded that he should build him a house, and stay at Jerusalem, and attend upon him, and should not have authority to go over the brook Cedron; and that if he disobeyed that command, death should be his punishment. He also threatened him so terribly, that he compelled him to take all oath that he would obey. Accordingly Shimei said that he had reason to thank Solomon for giving him such an injunction; and added an oath, that he would do as he bade him; and leaving his own country, he made his abode in Jerusalem. But three years afterwards, when he heard that two of his servants were run away from him, and were in Gath, he went for his servants in haste; and when he was come back with them, the king perceived it, and was much displeased that he had contemned his commands, and, what was more, had no regard to the oaths he had sworn to God; so he called him, and said to him, “Didst not thou swear never to leave me, nor to go out of this city to another? Thou shalt not therefore escape punishment for thy perjury, but I will punish thee, thou wicked wretch, both for this crime, and for those wherewith thou didst abuse my father when he was in his flight, that thou mayst know that wicked men gain nothing at last, although they be not punished immediately upon their unjust practices; but that in all the time wherein they think themselves secure, because they have yet suffered nothing, their punishment increases, and is heavier upon them, and that to a greater degree than if they had been punished immediately upon the commission of their crimes.” So Benaiah, on the king’s command, slew Shimei.
CONCERNING THE WIFE OF SOLOMON; CONCERNING HIS WISDOM AND RICHES; AND CONCERNING WHAT HE OBTAINED OF HIRAM FOR THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE.
1. SOLOMON having already settled himself firmly in his kingdom, and having brought his enemies to punishment, he married the daughter of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and built the walls of Jerusalem much larger and stronger than those that had been before, (2) and thenceforward he managed public affairs very peaceably. Nor was his youth any hinderance in the exercise of justice, or in the observation of the laws, or in the remembrance of what charges his father had given him at his death; but he discharged every duty with great accuracy, that might have been expected from such as are aged, and of the greatest prudence. He now resolved to go to Hebron, and sacrifice to God upon the brazen altar that was built by Moses. Accordingly he offered there burnt-offerings, in number a thousand; and when he had done this, he thought he had paid great honor to God; for as he was asleep that very night God appeared to him, and commanded him to ask of him some gifts which he was ready to give him as a reward for his piety. So Solomon asked of God what was most excellent, and of the greatest worth in itself, what God would bestow with the greatest. joy, and what it was most profitable for man to receive; for he did not desire to have bestowed upon him either gold or silver, or any other riches, as a man and a youth might naturally have done, for these are the things that generally are esteemed by most men, as alone of the greatest worth, and the best gifts of God; but, said he, “Give me, O Lord, a sound mind, and a good understanding, whereby I may speak and judge the people according to truth and righteousness.” With these petitions God was well pleased; and promised to give him all those things that he had not mentioned in his option, riches, glory, victory over his enemies; and, in the first place, understanding and wisdom, and this in such a degree as no other mortal man, neither kings nor ordinary persons, ever had. He also promised to preserve the kingdom to his posterity for a very long time, if he continued righteous and obedient to him, and imitated his father in those things wherein he excelled. When Solomon heard this from God, he presently leaped out of his bed; and when he had worshipped him, he returned to Jerusalem; and after he had offered great sacrifices before the tabernacle, he feasted all his own family.
2. In these days a hard cause came before him in judgment, which it was very difficult to find any end of; and I think it necessary to explain the fact about which the contest was, that such as light upon my writings may know what a difficult cause Solomon was to determine, and those that are concerned in such matters may take this sagacity of the king for a pattern, that they may the more easily give sentence about such questions. There were two women, who were harlots in the course of their lives, that came to him; of whom she that seemed to be injured began to speak first, and said, “O king, I and this other woman dwell together in one room. Now it came to pass that we both bore a son at the same hour of the same day; and on the third day this woman overlaid her son, and killed it, and then took my son out of my bosom, and removed him to herself, and as I was asleep she laid her dead son in my arms. Now, when in the morning I was desirous to give the breast to the child, I did not find my own, but saw the woman’s dead child lying by me; for I considered it exactly, and found it so to be. Hence it was that I demanded my son, and when I could not obtain him, I have recourse, my lord, to thy assistance; for since we were alone, and there was nobody there that could convict her, she cares for nothing, but perseveres in the stout denial of the fact.” When this woman had told this her story, the king asked the other woman what she had to say in contradiction to that story. But when she denied that she had done what was charged upon her, and said that it was her child that was living, and that it was her antagonist’s child that was dead, and when no one could devise what judgment could be given, and the whole court were blind in their understanding, and could not tell how to find out this riddle, the king alone invented the following way how to discover it. He bade them bring in both the dead child and the living child; and sent one of his guards, and commanded him to fetch a sword, and draw it, and to cut both the children into two pieces, that each of the women might have half the living and half the dead child. Hereupon all the people privately laughed at the king, as no more than a youth. But, in the mean time, she that was the real mother of the living child cried out that he should not do so, but deliver that child to the other woman as her own, for she would be satisfied with the life of the child, and with the sight of it, although it were esteemed the other’s child; but the other woman was ready to see the child divided, and was desirous, moreover, that the first woman should be tormented. When the king understood that both their words proceeded from the truth of their passions, he adjudged the child to her that cried out to save it, for that she was the real mother of it; and he condemned the other as a wicked woman, who had not only killed her own child, but was endeavoring to see her friend’s child destroyed also. Now the multitude looked on this determination as a great sign and demonstration of the king’s sagacity and wisdom, and after that day attended to him as to one that had a divine mind.
3. Now the captains of his armies, and officers appointed over the whole country, were these: over the lot of Ephraim was Ures; over the toparchy of Bethlehem was Dioclerus; Abinadab, who married Solomon’s daughter, had the region of Dora and the sea-coast under him; the Great Plain was under Benaiah, the son of Achilus; he also governed all the country as far as Jordan; Gabaris ruled over Gilead and Gaulanitis, and had under him the sixty great and fenced cities [of Og]; Achinadab managed the affairs of all Galilee as far as Sidon, and had himself also married a daughter of Solomon’s, whose name was Basima; Banacates had the seacoast about Arce; as had Shaphat Mount Tabor, and Carmel, and [the Lower] Galilee, as far as the river Jordan; one man was appointed over all this country; Shimei was intrusted with the lot of Benjamin; and Gabares had the country beyond Jordan, over whom there was again one governor appointed. Now the people of the Hebrews, and particularly the tribe of Judah, received a wonderful increase when they betook themselves to husbandry, and the cultivation of their grounds; for as they enjoyed peace, and were not distracted with wars and troubles, and having, besides, an abundant fruition of the most desirable liberty, every one was busy in augmenting the product of their own lands, and making them worth more than they had formerly been.
4. The king had also other rulers, who were over the land of Syria and of the Philistines, which reached from the river Euphrates to Egypt, and these collected his tributes of the nations. Now these contributed to the king’s table, and to his supper every day (3) thirty cori of fine flour, and sixty of meal; as also ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and a hundred fat lambs; all these were besides what were taken by hunting harts and buffaloes, and birds and fishes, which were brought to the king by foreigners day by day. Solomon had also so great a number of chariots, that the stalls of his horses for those chariots were forty thousand; and besides these he had twelve thousand horsemen, the one half of which waited upon the king in Jerusalem, and the rest were dispersed abroad, and dwelt in the royal villages; but the same officer who provided for the king’s expenses supplied also the fodder for the horses, and still carried it to the place where the king abode at that time.
5. Now the sagacity and wisdom which God had bestowed on Solomon was so great, that he exceeded the ancients; insomuch that he was no way inferior to the Egyptians, who are said to have been beyond all men in understanding; nay, indeed, it is evident that their sagacity was very much inferior to that of the king’s. He also excelled and distinguished himself in wisdom above those who were most eminent among the Hebrews at that time for shrewdness; those I mean were Ethan, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol. He also composed books of odes and songs a thousand and five, of parables and similitudes three thousand; for he spake a parable upon every sort of tree, from the hyssop to the cedar; and in like manner also about beasts, about all sorts of living creatures, whether upon the earth, or in the seas, or in the air; for he was not unacquainted with any of their natures, nor omitted inquiries about them, but described them all like a philosopher, and demonstrated his exquisite knowledge of their several properties. God also enabled him to learn that skill which expels demons, (4) which is a science useful and sanative to men. He composed such incantations also by which distempers are alleviated. And he left behind him the manner of using exorcisms, by which they drive away demons, so that they never return; and this method of cure is of great force unto this day; for I have seen a certain man of my own country, whose name was Eleazar, releasing people that were demoniacal in the presence of Vespasian, and his sons, and his captains, and the whole multitude of his soldiers. The manner of the cure was this: He put a ring that had a Foot of one of those sorts mentioned by Solomon to the nostrils of the demoniac, after which he drew out the demon through his nostrils; and when the man fell down immediately, he abjured him to return into him no more, making still mention of Solomon, and reciting the incantations which he composed. And when Eleazar would persuade and demonstrate to the spectators that he had such a power, he set a little way off a cup or basin full of water, and commanded the demon, as he went out of the man, to overturn it, and thereby to let the spectators know that he had left the man; and when this was done, the skill and wisdom of Solomon was shown very manifestly: for which reason it is, that all men may know the vastness of Solomon’s abilities, and how he was beloved of God, and that the extraordinary virtues of every kind with which this king was endowed may not be unknown to any people under the sun for this reason, I say, it is that we have proceeded to speak so largely of these matters.
6. Moreover Hiram, king of Tyre, when he had heard that Solonion succeeded to his father’s kingdom, was very glad of it, for he was a friend of David’s. So he sent ambassadors to him, and saluted him, and congratulated him on the present happy state of his affairs. Upon which Solomon sent him an epistle, the contents of which here follow:
SOLOMON TO KING HIRAM.
“(5)Know thou that my father would have built a temple to God, but was hindered by wars, and continual expeditions; for he did not leave off to overthrow his enemies till he made them all subject to tribute. But I give thanks to God for the peace I at present enjoy, and on that account I am at leisure, and design to build a house to God, for God foretold to my father that such a house should he built by me; wherefore I desire thee to send some of thy subjects with mine to Mount Lebanon to cut down timber, for the Sidonians are more skillful than our people in cutting of wood. As for wages to the hewers of wood, I will pay whatsoever price thou shalt determine.”
7. When Hiram had read this epistle, he was pleased with it; and wrote back this answer to Solomon.
HIRAM TO KING SOLOMON.
“It is fit to bless God that he hath committed thy father’s government to thee, who art a wise man, and endowed with all virtues. As for myself, I rejoice at the condition thou art in, and will be subservient to thee in all that thou sendest to me about; for when by my subjects I have cut down many and large trees of cedar and cypress wood, I will send them to sea, and will order my subjects to make floats of them, and to sail to what place soever of thy country thou shalt desire, and leave them there, after which thy subjects may carry them to Jerusalem. But do thou take care to procure us corn for this timber, which we stand in need of, because we inhabit in an island.”
8. The copies of these epistles remain at this day, and are preserved not only in our books, but among the Tyrians also; insomuch that if any one would know the certainty about them, he may desire of the keepers of the public records of Tyre to show him them, and he will find what is there set down to agree with what we have said. I have said so much out of a desire that my readers may know that we speak nothing but the truth, and do not compose a history out of some plausible relations, which deceive men and please them at the same time, nor attempt to avoid examination, nor desire men to believe us immediately; nor are we at liberty to depart from speaking truth, which is the proper commendation of an historian, and yet be blameless: but we insist upon no admission of what we say, unless we be able to manifest its truth by demonstration, and the strongest vouchers.
9. Now king Solomon, as soon as this epistle of the king of Tyre was brought him, commended the readiness and good-will he declared therein, and repaid him in what he desired, and sent him yearly twenty thousand cori of wheat, and as many baths of oil: now the bath is able to contain seventy-two sextaries. He also sent him the same measure of wine. So the friendship between Hiram and Solomon hereby increased more and more; and they swore to continue it for ever. And the king appointed a tribute to be laid on all the people, of thirty thousand laborers, whose work he rendered easy to them by prudently dividing it among them; for he made ten thousand cut timber in Mount Lebanon for one month; and then to come home, and rest two months, until the time when the other twenty thousand had finished their task at the appointed time; and so afterward it came to pass that the first ten thousand returned to their work every fourth month: and it was Adoram who was over this tribute. There were also of the strangers who were left by David, who were to carry the stones and other materials, seventy thousand; and of those that cut the stones, eighty thousand. Of these three thousand and three hundred were rulers over the rest. He also enjoined them to cut out large stones for the foundations of the temple, and that they should fit them and unite them together in the mountain, and so bring them to the city. This was done not only by our own country workmen, but by those workmen whom Hiram sent also.
OF THE BUILDING OF THIS TEMPLE
1. SOLOMON began to build the temple in the fourth year of his reign, on the second month, which the Macedonians call Artemisius, and the Hebrews Jur, five hundred and ninety-two years after the Exodus out of Egypt; but one thousand and twenty years from Abraham’s coming out of Mesopotamia into Canaan, and after the deluge one thousand four hundred and forty years; and from Adam, the first man who was created, until Solomon built the temple, there had passed in all three thousand one hundred and two years. Now that year on which the temple began to be built was already the eleventh year of the reign of Hiram; but from the building of Tyre to the building of the temple, there had passed two hundred and forty years.
2. Now, therefore, the king laid the foundations of the temple very deep in the ground, and the materials were strong stones, and such as would resist the force of time; these were to unite themselves with the earth, and become a basis and a sure foundation for that superstructure which was to be erected over it; they were to be so strong, in order to sustain with ease those vast superstructures and precious ornaments, whose own weight was to be not less than the weight of those other high and heavy buildings which the king designed to be very ornamental and magnificent. They erected its entire body, quite up to the roof, of white stone; its height was sixty cubits, and its length was the same, and its breadth twenty. There was another building erected over it, equal to it in its measures; so that the entire altitude of the temple was a hundred and twenty cubits. Its front was to the east. As to the porch, they built it before the temple; its length was twenty cubits, and it was so ordered that it might agree with the breadth of the house; and it had twelve cubits in latitude, and its height was raised as high as a hundred and twenty cubits. He also built round about the temple thirty small rooms, which might include the whole temple, by their closeness one to another, and by their number and outward position round it. He also made passages through them, that they might come into on through another. Every one of these rooms had five cubits in breadth, (7) and the same in length, but in height twenty. Above these there were other rooms, and others above them, equal, both in their measures and number; so that these reached to a height equal to the lower part of the house; for the upper part had no buildings about it. The roof that was over the house was of cedar; and truly every one of these rooms had a roof of their own, that was not connected with the other rooms; but for the other parts, there was a covered roof common to them all, and built with very long beams, that passed through the rest, and rough the whole building, that so the middle walls, being strengthened by the same beams of timber, might be thereby made firmer: but as for that part of the roof that was under the beams, it was made of the same materials, and was all made smooth, and had ornaments proper for roofs, and plates of gold nailed upon them. And as he enclosed the walls with boards of cedar, so he fixed on them plates of gold, which had sculptures upon them; so that the whole temple shined, and dazzled the eyes of such as entered, by the splendor of the gold that was on every side of them, Now the whole structure of the temple was made with great skill of polished stones, and those laid together so very harmoniously and smoothly, that there appeared to the spectators no sign of any hammer, or other instrument of architecture; but as if, without any use of them, the entire materials had naturally united themselves together, that the agreement of one part with another seemed rather to have been natural, than to have arisen from the force of tools upon them. The king also had a fine contrivance for an ascent to the upper room over the temple, and that was by steps in the thickness of its wall; for it had no large door on the east end, as the lower house had, but the entrances were by the sides, through very small doors. He also overlaid the temple, both within and without, with boards of cedar, that were kept close together by thick chains, so that this contrivance was in the nature of a support and a strength to the building.
3. Now when the king had divided the temple into two parts, he made the inner house of twenty cubits [every way], to be the most secret chamber, but he appointed that of forty cubits to be the sanctuary; and when he had cut a door-place out of the wall, he put therein doors of Cedar, and overlaid them with a great deal of gold, that had sculptures upon it. He also had veils of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and the brightest and softest linen, with the most curious flowers wrought upon them, which were to be drawn before those doors. He also dedicated for the most secret place, whose breadth was twenty cubits, and length the same, two cherubims of solid gold; the height of each of them was five cubits (8) they had each of them two wings stretched out as far as five cubits; wherefore Solomon set them up not far from each other, that with one wing they might touch the southern wall of the secret place, and with another the northern: their other wings, which joined to each other, were a covering to the ark, which was set between them; but nobody can tell, or even conjecture, what was the shape of these cherubims. He also laid the floor of the temple with plates of gold; and he added doors to the gate of the temple, agreeable to the measure of the height of the wall, but in breadth twenty cubits, and on them he glued gold plates. And, to say all in one word, he left no part of the temple, neither internal nor external, but what was covered with gold. He also had curtains drawn over these doors in like manner as they were drawn over the inner doors of the most holy place; but the porch of the temple had nothing of that sort.
4. Now Solomon sent for an artificer out of Tyre, whose name was Hiram; he was by birth of the tribe of Naphtali, on the mother’s side, (for she was of that tribe,) but his father was Ur, of the stock of the Israelites. This man was skillful in all sorts of work; but his chief skill lay in working in gold, and silver, and brass; by whom were made all the mechanical works about the temple, according to the will of Solomon. Moreover, this Hiram made two [hollow] pillars, whose outsides were of brass, and the thickness of the brass was four fingers’ breadth, and the height of the pillars was eighteen cubits and their circumference twelve cubits; but there was cast with each of their chapiters lily-work that stood upon the pillar, and it was elevated five cubits, round about which there was net-work interwoven with small palms, made of brass, and covered the lily-work. To this also were hung two hundred pomegranates, in two rows. The one of these pillars he set at the entrance of the porch on the right hand, and called it Jachin (9) and the other at the left hand, and called it Booz.
5. Solomon also cast a brazen sea, whose figure was that of a hemisphere. This brazen vessel was called a sea for its largeness, for the laver was ten feet in diameter, and cast of the thickness of a palm. Its middle part rested on a short pillar that had ten spirals round it, and that pillar was ten cubits in diameter. There stood round about it twelve oxen, that looked to the four winds of heaven, three to each wind, having their hinder parts depressed, that so the hemispherical vessel might rest upon them, which itself was also depressed round about inwardly. Now this sea contained three thousand baths.
6. He also made ten brazen bases for so many quadrangular lavers; the length of every one of these bases was five cubits, and the breadth four cubits, and the height six cubits. This vessel was partly turned, and was thus contrived: There were four small quadrangular pillars that stood one at each corner; these had the sides of the base fitted to them on each quarter; they were parted into three parts; every interval had a border fitted to support [the laver]; upon which was engraven, in one place a lion, and in another place a bull, and an eagle. The small pillars had the same animals engraven that were engraven on the sides. The whole work was elevated, and stood upon four wheels, which were also cast, which had also naves and felloes, and were a foot and a half in diameter. Any one who saw the spokes of the wheels, how exactly they were turned, and united to the sides of the bases, and with what harmony they agreed to the felloes, would wonder at them. However, their structure was this: Certain shoulders of hands stretched out held the corners above, upon which rested a short spiral pillar, that lay under the hollow part of the laver, resting upon the fore part of the eagle and the lion, which were adapted to them, insomuch that those who viewed them would think they were of one piece: between these were engravings of palm trees. This was the construction of the ten bases. He also made ten large round brass vessels, which were the lavers themselves, each of which contained forty baths; (10) for it had its height four cubits, and its edges were as much distant from each other. He also placed these lavers upon the ten bases that were called Mechonoth; and he set five of the lavers on the left side of the temple (11) which was that side towards the north wind, and as many on the right side, towards the south, but looking towards the east; the same [eastern] way he also set the sea Now he appointed the sea to be for washing the hands and the feet of the priests, when they entered into the temple and were to ascend the altar, but the lavers to cleanse the entrails of the beasts that were to be burnt-offerings, with their feet also.
7. He also made a brazen altar, whose length was twenty cubits, and its breadth the same, and its height ten, for the burnt-offerings. He also made all its vessels of brass, the pots, and the shovels, and the basons; and besides these, the snuffers and the tongs, and all its other vessels, he made of brass, and such brass as was in splendor and beauty like gold. The king also dedicated a great number of tables, but one that was large and made of gold, upon which they set the loaves of God; and he made ten thousand more that resembled them, but were done after another manner, upon which lay the vials and the cups; those of gold were twenty thousand, those of silver were forty thousand. He also made ten thousand candlesticks, according to the command of Moses, one of which he dedicated for the temple, that it might burn in the day time, according to the law; and one table with loaves upon it, on the north side of the temple, over against the candlestick; for this he set on the south side, but the golden altar stood between them. All these vessels were contained in that part of the holy house, which was forty cubits long, and were before the veil of that most secret place wherein the ark was to be set.
8. The king also made pouring vessels, in number eighty thousand, and a hundred thousand golden vials, and twice as many silver vials: of golden dishes, in order therein to offer kneaded fine flour at the altar, there were eighty thousand, and twice as many of silver. Of large basons also, wherein they mixed fine flour with oil, sixty thousand of gold, and twice as many of silver. Of the measures like those which Moses called the Hin and the Assaron, (a tenth deal,) there were twenty thousand of gold, and twice as many of silver. The golden censers, in which they carried the incense to the altar, were twenty thousand; the other censers, in which they carried fire from the great altar to the little altar, within the temple, were fifty thousand. The sacerdotal garments which belonged to the high priest, with the long robes, and the oracle, and the precious stones, were a thousand. But the crown upon which Moses wrote [the name of God],]was only one, and hath remained to this very day. He also made ten thousand sacerdotal garments of fine linen, with purple girdles for every priest; and two hundred thousand trumpets, according to the command of Moses; also two hundred thousand garments of fine linen for the singers, that were Levites. And he made musical instruments, and such as were invented for singing of hymns, called ,Nablee and Cindree, [psalteries and harps,] which were made of electrum, [the finest brass,] forty thousand.
9. Solomon made all these things for the honor of God, with great variety and magnificence, sparing no cost, but using all possible liberality in adorning the temple; and these things he dedicated to the treasures of God. He also placed a partition round about the temple, which in our tongue we call Gison, but it is called Thrigcos by the Greeks, and he raised it up to the height of three cubits; and it was for the exclusion of the multitude from coming into the temple, and showing that it was a place that was free and open only for the priests. He also built beyond this court a temple, whose figure was that of a quadrangle, and erected for it great and broad cloisters; this was entered into by very high gates, each of which had its front exposed to one of the [four] winds, and were shut by golden doors. Into this temple all the people entered that were distinguished from the rest by being pure and observant of the laws. But he made that temple which was beyond this a wonderful one indeed, and such as exceeds all description in words; nay, if I may so say, is hardly believed upon sight; for when he had filled up great valleys with earth, which, on account of their immense depth, could not be looked on, when you bended down to see them, without pain, and had elevated the ground four hundred cubits, he made it to be on a level with the top of the mountain, on which the temple was built, and by this means the outmost temple, which was exposed to the air, was even with the temple itself. He encompassed this also with a building of a double row of cloisters, which stood on high upon pillars of native stone, while the roofs were of cedar, and were polished in a manner proper for such high roofs; but he made all the doors of this temple of silver.
HOW SOLOMON REMOVED THE ARK INTO THE TEMPLE HOW HE MADE SUPPLICATION TO GOD, AND OFFERED PUBLIC SACRIFICES TO HIM.
1. WHEN king Solomon had finished these works, these large and beautiful buildings, and had laid up his donations in the temple, and all this in the interval of seven years, and had given a demonstration of his riches and alacrity therein, insomuch that any one who saw it would have thought it must have been an immense time ere it could have been finished; and would be surprised that so much should be finished in so short a time; short, I mean, if compared with the greatness of the work: he also wrote to the rulers and elders of the Hebrews, and ordered all the people to gather themselves together to Jerusalem, both to see the temple which he had built, and to remove the ark of God into it; and when this invitation of the whole body of the people to come to Jerusalem was every where carried abroad, it was the seventh month before they came together; which month is by our countrymen called Thisri, but by the Macedonians Hyperberetoets. The feast of tabernacles happened to fall at the same time, which was celebrated by the Hebrews as a most holy and most eminent feast. So they carried the ark and the tabernacle which Moses had pitched, and all the vessels that were for ministration, to the sacrifices of God, and removed them to the temple. (13) The king himself, and all the people and the Levites, went before, rendering the ground moist with sacrifices, and drink-offerings, and the blood of a great number of oblations, and burning an immense quantity of incense, and this till the very air itself every where round about was so full of these odors, that it met, in a most agreeable manner, persons at a great distance, and was an indication of God’s presence; and, as men’s opinion was, of his habitation with them in this newly built and consecrated place, for they did not grow weary, either of singing hymns or of dancing, until they came to the temple; and in this manner did they carry the ark. But when they should transfer it into the most secret place, the rest of the multitude went away, and only those priests that carried it set it between the two cherubims, which embracing it with their wings, (for so were they framed by the artificer,) they covered it, as under a tent, or a cupola. Now the ark contained nothing else but those two tables of stone that preserved the ten commandments, which God spake to Moses in Mount Sinai, and which were engraved upon them; but they set the candlestick, and the table, and the golden altar in the temple, before the most secret place, in the very same places wherein they stood till that time in the tabernacle. So they offered up the daily sacrifices; but for the brazen altar, Solomon set it before the temple, over against the door, that when the door was opened, it might be exposed to sight, and the sacred solemnities, and the richness of the sacrifices, might be thence seen; and all the rest of the vessels they gathered together, and put them within the temple.
2. Now as soon as the priests had put all things in order about the ark, and were gone out, there cane down a thick cloud, and stood there, and spread itself, after a gentle manner, into the temple; such a cloud it was as was diffused and temperate, not such a rough one as we see full of rain in the winter season. This cloud so darkened the place, that one priest could not discern another, but it afforded to the minds of all a visible image and glorious appearance of God’s having descended into this temple, and of his having gladly pitched his tabernacle therein. So these men were intent upon this thought. But Solomon rose up, (for he was sitting before,) and used such words to God as he thought agreeable to the Divine nature to receive, and fit for him to give; for he said, “Thou hast an eternal house, O Lord, and such a one as thou hast created for thyself out of thine own works; we know it to be the heaven, and the air, and the earth, and the sea, which thou pervadest, nor art thou contained within their limits. I have indeed built this temple to thee, and thy name, that from thence, when we sacrifice, and perform sacred operations, we may send our prayers up into the air, and may constantly believe that thou art present, and art not remote from what is thine own; for neither when thou seest all things, and hearest all things, nor now, when it pleases thee to dwell here, dost thou leave the care of all men, but rather thou art very near to them all, but especially thou art present to those that address themselves to thee, whether by night or by day.” When he had thus solemnly addressed himself to God, he converted his discourse to the multitude, and strongly represented the power and providence of God to them; – how he had shown all things that were come to pass to David his father, as many of those things had already come to pass, and the rest would certainly come to pass hereafter; and how he had given him his name, and told to David what he should be called before he was born; and foretold, that when he should be king after his father’s death, he should build him a temple, which since they saw accomplished, according to his prediction, he required them to bless God, and by believing him, from the sight of what they had seen accomplished, never to despair of any thing that he had promised for the future, in order to their happiness, or suspect that it would not come to pass.
3. When the king had thus discoursed to the multitude, he looked again towards the temple, and lifting up his right hand to the multitude, he said,” It is not possible by what men can do to return sufficient thanks to God for his benefits bestowed upon them, for the Deity stands in need of nothing, and is above any such requital; but so far as we have been made superior, O Lord, to other animals by thee, it becomes us to bless thy Majesty, and it is necessary for us to return thee thanks for what thou hast bestowed upon our house, and on the Hebrew people; for with what other instrument can we better appease thee when thou art angry at us, or more properly preserve thy favor, than with our voice? which, as we have it from the air, so do we know that by that air it ascends upwards [towards thee]. I therefore ought myself to return thee thanks thereby, in the first place, concerning my father, whom thou hast raised from obscurity unto so great joy; and, in the next place, concerning myself, since thou hast performed all that thou hast promised unto this very day. And I beseech thee for the time to come to afford us whatsoever thou, O God, hast power to bestow on such as thou dost esteem; and to augment our house for all ages, as thou hast promised to David my father to do, both in his lifetime and at his death, that our kingdom shall continue, and that his posterity should successively receive it to ten thousand generations. Do not thou therefore fail to give us these blessings, and to bestow on my children that virtue in which thou delightest. And besides all this, I humbly beseech thee that thou wilt let some portion of thy Spirit come down and inhabit in this temple, that thou mayst appear to be with us upon earth. As to thyself, the entire heavens, and the immensity of the things that are therein, are but a small habitation for thee, much more is this poor temple so; but I entreat thee to keep it as thine own house, from being destroyed by our enemies for ever, and to take care of it as thine own possession: but if this people be found to have sinned, and be thereupon afflicted by thee with any plague, because of their sin, as with dearth or pestilence, or any other affliction which thou usest to inflict on those that transgress any of thy holy laws, and if they fly all of them to this temple, beseeching thee, and begging of time to deliver them, then do thou hear their prayers, as being within thine house, and have mercy upon them, and deliver them from their afflictions. Nay, moreover, this help is what I implore of thee, not for the Hebrews only, when they are in distress, but when any shall come hither from any ends of the world whatsoever, and shall return from their sins and implore thy pardon, do thou then pardon them, and hear their prayer. For hereby all shall learn that thou thyself wast pleased with the building of this house for thee; and that we are not ourselves of an unsociable nature, nor behave ourselves like enemies to such as are not of our own people; but are willing that thy assistance should be communicated by thee to all men in common, and that they may have the enjoyment of thy benefits bestowed upon them.”
4. When Solomon had said this, and had cast himself upon the ground, and worshipped a long time, he rose up, and brought sacrifices to the altar; and when he had filled it with unblemished victims, he most evidently discovered that God had with pleasure accepted of all that he had sacrificed to him, for there came a fire running out of the air, and rushed with violence upon the altar, in the sight of all, and caught hold of and consumed the sacrifices. Now when this Divine appearance was seen, the people supposed it to be a demonstration of God’s abode in the temple, and were pleased with it, and fell down upon the ground and worshipped. Upon which the king began to bless God, and exhorted the multitude to do the same, as now having sufficient indications of God’s favorable disposition to them; and to pray that they might always have the like indications from him, and that he would preserve in them a mind pure from all wickedness, in righteousness and religious worship, and that they might continue in the observation of those precepts which God had given them by Moses, because by that means the Hebrew nation would be happy, and indeed the most blessed of all nations among all mankind. He exhorted them also to be mindful, that by what methods they had attained their present good things, by the same they must preserve them sure to themselves, and make them greater and more than they were at present; for that it was not sufficient for them to suppose they had received them on account of their piety and righteousness, but that they had no other way of preserving them for the time to come; for that it is not so great a thing for men to acquire somewhat which they want, as to preserve what they have acquired, and to be guilty of no sin whereby it may be hurt.
5. So when the king had spoken thus to the multitude, he dissolved the congregation, but not till he had completed his oblations, both for himself and for the Hebrews, insomuch that he sacrificed twenty and two thousand oxen, and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep; for then it was that the temple did first of all taste of the victims, and all the Hebrews, with their wives and children, feasted therein: nay, besides this, the king then observed splendidly and magnificently the feast which is called the Feast of Tabernacles, before the temple, for twice seven days; and he then feasted together with all the people.
6. When all these solemnities were abundantly satisfied, and nothing was omitted that concerned the Divine worship, the king dismissed them; and they every one went to their own homes, giving thanks to the king for the care he had taken of them, and the works he had done for them; and praying to God to preserve Solomon to be their king for a long time. They also took their journey home with rejoicing, and making merry, and singing hymns to God. And indeed the pleasure they enjoyed took away the sense of the pains they all underwent in their journey home. So when they had brought the ark into the temple, and had seen its greatness, and how fine it was, and had been partakers of the many sacrifices that had been offered, and of the festivals that had been solemnized, they every one returned to their own cities. But a dream that appeared to the king in his sleep informed him that God had heard his prayers; and that he would not only preserve the temple, but would always abide in it; that is, in case his posterity and the whole multitude would be righteous. And for himself, it said, that if he continued according to the admonitions of his father, he would advance him to an immense degree of dignity and happiness, and that then his posterity should be kings of that country, of the tribe of Judah, for ever; but that still, if he should be found a betrayer of the ordinances of the law, and forget them, and turn away to the worship of strange gods, he would cut him off by the roots, and would neither suffer any remainder of his family to continue, nor would overlook the people of Israel, or preserve them any longer from afflictions, but would utterly destroy them with ten thousand wars and misfortunes; would cast them out of the land which he had given their fathers, and make them sojourners in strange lands; and deliver that temple which was now built to be burnt and spoiled by their enemies, and that city to be utterly overthrown by the hands of their enemies; and make their miseries deserve to be a proverb, and such as should very hardly be credited for their stupendous magnitude, till their neighbors, when they should hear of them, should wonder at their calamities, and very earnestly inquire for the occasion, why the Hebrews, who had been so far advanced by God to such glory and wealth, should be then so hated by him? and that the answer that should be made by the remainder of the people should be, by confessing their sins, and their transgression of the laws of their country. Accordingly we have it transmitted to us in writing, that thus did God speak to Solomon in his sleep.
HOW SOLOMON BUILT HIMSELF A ROYAL PALACE, VERY COSTLY AND SPLENDID; AND HOW HE SOLVED THE RIDDLES WHICH WERE SENT HIM BY HIRAM.
1. AFTER the building of the temple, which, as we have before said, was finished in seven years, the king laid the foundation of his palace, which be did not finish under thirteen years, for he was not equally zealous in the building of this palace as he had been about the temple; for as to that, though it was a great work, and required wonderful and surprising application, yet God, for whom it was made, so far co-operated therewith, that it was finished in the forementioned number of years: but the palace, which was a building much inferior in dignity to the temple, both on account that its materials had not been so long beforehand gotten ready, nor had been so zealously prepared, and on account that this was only a habitation for kings, and not for God, it was longer in finishing. However, this building was raised so magnificently, as suited the happy state of the Hebrews, and of the king thereof. But it is necessary that I describe the entire structure and disposition of the parts, that so those that light upon this book may thereby make a conjecture, and, as it were, have a prospect of its magnitude.
2. This house was a large and curious building, and was supported by many pillars, which Solomon built to contain a multitnde for hearing causes, and taking cognizance of suits. It was sufficiently capacious to contain a great body of men, who would come together to have their causes determined. It was a hundred cubits long, and fifty broad, and thirty high, supported by quadrangular pillars, which were all of cedar; but its roof was according to the Corinthian order, (14) with folding doors, and their adjoining pillars of equal magnitude, each fluted with three cavities; which building as at once firm, and very ornamental. There was also another house so ordered, that its entire breadth was placed in the middle; it was quadrangular, and its breadth was thirty cubits, having a temple over against it, raised upon massy pillars; in which temple there was a large and very glorious room, wherein the king sat in judgment. To this was joined another house that was built for his queen. There were other smaller edifices for diet, and for sleep, after public matters were over; and these were all floored with boards of cedar. Some of these Solomon built with stones of ten cubits, and wainscoted the walls with other stones that were sawed, and were of great value, such as are dug out of the earth for the ornaments of temples, and to make fine prospects in royal palaces, and which make the mines whence they are dug famous. Now the contexture of the curious workmanship of these stones was in three rows, but the fourth row would make one admire its sculptures, whereby were represented trees, and all sorts of plants; with the shades that arose from their branches, and leaves that hung down from them. Those trees anti plants covered the stone that was beneath them, and their leaves were wrought so prodigious thin and subtile, that you would think they were in motion; but the other part up to the roof, was plastered over, and, as it were, embroidered with colors and pictures. He, moreover, built other edifices for pleasure; as also very long cloisters, and those situate in an agreeable place of the palace; and among them a most glorious dining room, for feastings and compotations, and full of gold, and such other furniture as so fine a room ought to have for the conveniency of the guests, and where all the vessels were made of gold. Now it is very hard to reckon up the magnitude and the variety of the royal apartments; how many rooms there were of the largest sort, how many of a bigness inferior to those, and how many that were subterraneous and invisible; the curiosity of those that enjoyed the fresh air; and the groves for the most delightful prospect, for the avoiding the heat, and covering of their bodies. And, to say all in brief, Solomon made the whole building entirely of white stone, and cedar wood, and gold, and silver. He also adorned the roofs and walls with stones set in gold, and beautified them thereby in the same manner as he had beautified the temple of God with the like stones. He also made himself a throne of prodigious bigness, of ivory, constructed as a seat of justice, and having six steps to it; on every one of which stood, on each end of the step two lions, two other lions standing above also; but at the sitting place of the throne hands came out and received the king; and when he sat backward, he rested on half a bullock, that looked towards his back; but still all was fastened together with gold.
3. When Solomon had completed all this in twenty years’ time, because Hiram king of Tyre had contributed a great deal of gold, and more silver to these buildings, as also cedar wood and pine wood, he also rewarded Hiram with rich presents; corn he sent him also year by year, and wine and oil, which were the principal things that he stood in need of, because he inhabited an island, as we have already said. And besides these, he granted him certain cities of Galilee, twenty in number, that lay not far from Tyre; which, when Hiram went to, and viewed, and did not like the gift, he sent word to Solomon that he did not want such cities as they were; and after that time these cities were called the land of Cabul; which name, if it be interpreted according to the language of the Phoenicians, denotes what does not please. Moreover, the king of Tyre sent sophisms and enigmatical sayings to Solomon, and desired he would solve them, and free them from the ambiguity that was in them. Now so sagacious and understanding was Solomon, that none of these problems were too hard for him; but he conquered them all by his reasonings, and discovered their hidden meaning, and brought it to light. Menander also, one who translated the Tyrian archives out of the dialect of the Phoenicians into the Greek language, makes mention of these two kings, where he says thus: “When Abibalus was dead,. his son Hiram received the kingdom from him, who, when he had lived fifty-three years, reigned thirty-four. He raised a bank in the large place, and dedicated the golden pillar which is in Jupiter’s temple. He also went and cut down materials of timber out of the mountain called Libanus, for the roof of temples; and when he had pulled down the ancient temples, he both built the temple of Hercules and that of Astarte; and he first set up the temple of Hercules in the month Peritius; he also made an expedition against the Euchii, or Titii, who did not pay their tribute, and when he had subdued them to himself he returned. Under this king there was Abdemon, a very youth in age, who always conquered the difficult problems which Solomon, king of Jerusalem, commanded him to explain. Dius also makes mention of him, where he says thus: “When Abibalus was dead, his son Hiram reigned. He raised the eastern parts of the city higher, and made the city itself larger. He also joined the temple of Jupiter, which before stood by itself, to the city, by raising a bank in the middle between them; and he adorned it with donations of gold. Moreover, he went up to Mount Libanus, and cut down materials of wood for the building of the temples.” He says also, that Solomon, who was then king of Jerusalem, sent riddles to Hiram, and desired to receive the like from him, but that he who could not solve them should pay money to them that did solve them, and that Hiram accepted the conditions; and when he was not able to solve the riddles proposed by Solomon, he paid a great deal of money for his fine; but that he afterward did solve the proposed riddles by means of Abdemon, a man of Tyre; and that Hiram proposed other riddles, which, when Solomon could not solve, he paid back a great deal of money to Hiram.” This it is which Dius wrote.
HOW SOLOMON FORTIFIED THE CITY OF JERUSALEM, AND BUILT GREAT CITIES; AND HOW HE BROUGHT SOME OF THE CANAANITES INTO SUBJECTION, AND ENTERTAINED THE QUEEN OF EGYPT AND OF ETHIOPIA.
1. Now when the king saw that the walls of Jerusalem stood in need of being better secured, and made stronger, (for he thought the wails that encompassed Jerusalem ought to correspond to the dignity of the city,) he both repaired them, and made them higher, with great towers upon them; he also built cities which might be counted among the strongest, Hazor and Megiddo, and the third Gezer, which had indeed belonged to the Philistines; but Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had made an expedition against it, and besieged it, and taken it by force; and when he had slain all its inhabitants, he utterly overthrew it, and gave it as a present to his daughter, who had been married to Solomon; for which reason the king rebuilt it, as a city that was naturally strong, and might be useful in wars, and the mutations of affairs that sometimes happen. Moreover, he built two other cities not far from it, Beth-horon was the name of one of them, and Baalath of the other. He also built other cities that lay conveniently for these, in order to the enjoyment of pleasures and delicacies in them, such as were naturally of a good temperature of the air, and agreeable for fruits ripe in their proper seasons, and well watered with springs. Nay, Solomon went as far as the desert above Syria, and possessed himself of it, and built there a very great city, which was distant two days’ journey from Upper Syria, and one day’s journey from Euphrates, and six long days’ journey from Babylon the Great. Now the reason why this city lay so remote from the parts of Syria that are inhabited is this, that below there is no water to be had, and that it is in that place only that there are springs and pits of water. When he had therefore built this city, and encompassed it with very strong walls, he gave it the name of Tadmor, and that is the name it is still called by at this day among the Syrians, but the Greeks name it Palmyra.
2. Now Solomon the king was at this time engaged in building these cities. But if any inquire why all the kings of Egypt from Menes, who built Memphis, and was many years earlier than our forefather Abraham, until Solomon, where the interval was more than one thousand three hundred years, were called Pharaohs, and took it from one Pharaoh that lived after the kings of that interval, I think it necessary to inform them of it, and this in order to cure their ignorance, and to make the occasion of that name manifest. Pharaoh, in the Egyptian tongue, signifies a king (15) but I suppose they made use of other names from their childhood; but when they were made kings, they changed them into the name which in their own tongue denoted their authority; for thus it was also that the kings of Alexandria, who were called formerly by other names, when they took the kingdom, were named Ptolemies, from their first king. The Roman emperors also were from their nativity called by other names, but are styled Caesars, their empire and their dignity imposing that name upon them, and not suffering them to continue in those names which their fathers gave them. I suppose also that Herodotus of Halicarnassus, when he said there were three hundred and thirty kings of Egypt after Menes, who built Memphis, did therefore not tell us their names, because they were in common called Pharaohs; for when after their death there was a queen reigned, he calls her by her name Nicaule, as thereby declaring, that while the kings were of the male line, and so admitted of the same nature, while a woman did not admit the same, he did therefore set down that her name, which she could not naturally have. As for myself, I have discovered from our own books, that after Pharaoh, the father-in-law of Solomon, no other king of Egypt did any longer use that name; and that it was after that time when the forenamed queen of Egypt and Ethiopia came to Solomon, concerning whom we shall inform the reader presently; but I have now made mention of these things, that I may prove that our books and those of the Egyptians agree together in many things.
3. But king Solomon subdued to himself the remnant of the Canaanites that had not before submitted to him; those I mean that dwelt in Mount Lebanon, and as far as the city Hamath; and ordered them to pay tribute. He also chose out of them every year such as were to serve him in the meanest offices, and to do his domestic works, and to follow husbandry; for none of the Hebrews were servants [in such low employments]: nor was it reasonable, that when God had brought so many nations under their power, they should depress their own people to such mean offices of life, rather than those nations; while all the Israelites were concerned in warlike affairs, and were in armor; and were set over the chariots and the horses, rather than leading the life of slaves. He appointed also five hundred and fifty rulers over those Canaanites who were reduced to such domestic slavery, who received the entire care of them from the king, and instructed them in those labors and operations wherein he wanted their assistance.
4. Moreover, the king built many ships in the Egyptian Bay of the Red Sea, in a certain place called Ezion-geber: it is now called Berenice, and is not far from the city Eloth. This country belonged formerly to the Jews, and became useful for shipping from the donations of Hiram king of Tyre; for he sent a sufficient number of men thither for pilots, and such as were skillful in navigation, to whom Solomon gave this command: That they should go along with his own stewards to the land that was of old called Ophir, but now the Aurea Chersonesus, which belongs to India, to fetch him gold. And when they had gathered four hundred talents together, they returned to the king again.
5. There was then a woman queen of Egypt and Ethiopia; (16) she was inquisitive into philosophy, and one that on other accounts also was to be admired. When this queen heard of the virtue and prudence of Solomon, she had a great mind to see him; and the reports that went every day abroad induced her to come to him, she being desirous to be satisfied by her own experience, and not by a bare hearing; (for reports thus heard are likely enough to comply with a false opinion, while they wholly depend on the credit of the relators;) so she resolved to come to him, and that especially in order to have a trial of his wisdom, while she proposed questions of very great difficulty, and entreated that he would solve their hidden meaning. Accordingly she came to Jerusalem with great splendor and rich furniture; for she brought with her camels laden with gold, with several sorts of sweet spices, and with precious stones. Now, upon the king’s kind reception of her, he both showed a great desire to please her, and easily comprehending in his mind the meaning of the curious questions she propounded to him, he resolved them sooner than any body could have expected. So she was amazed at the wisdom of Solomon, and discovered that it was more excellent upon trial than what she had heard by report beforehand; and especially she was surprised at the fineness and largeness of his royal palace, and not less so at the good order of the apartments, for she observed that the king had therein shown great wisdom; but she was beyond measure astonished at the house which was called the Forest of Lebanon, as also at the magnificence of his daily table, and the circumstances of its preparation and ministration, with the apparel of his servants that waited, and the skillful and decent management of their attendance: nor was she less affected with those daily sacrifices which were offered to God, and the careful management which the priests and Levites used about them. When she saw this done every day, she was in the greatest admiration imaginable, insomuch that she was not able to contain the surprise she was in, but openly confessed how wonderfully she was affected; for she proceeded to discourse with the king, and thereby owned that she was overcome with admiration at the things before related; and said, “All things indeed, O king, that came to our knowledge by report, came with uncertainty as to our belief of them; but as to those good things that to thee appertain, both such as thou thyself possessest, I mean wisdom and prudence, and the happiness thou hast from thy kingdom, certainly the same that came to us was no falsity; it was not only a true report, but it related thy happiness after a much lower manner than I now see it to be before my eyes. For as for the report, it only attempted to persuade our hearing, but did not so make known the dignity of the things themselves as does the sight of them, and being present among them. I indeed, who did not believe what was reported, by reason of the multitude and grandeur of the things I inquired about, do see them to be much more numerous than they were reported to be. Accordingly I esteem the Hebrew people, as well as thy servants and friends, to be happy, who enjoy thy presence and hear thy wisdom every day continually. One would therefore bless God, who hath so loved this country, and those that inhabit therein, as to make thee king over them.”
6. Now when the queen had thus demonstrated in words how deeply the king had affected her, her disposition was known by certain presents, for she gave him twenty talents of gold, and an immense quantity of spices and precious stones. (They say also that we possess the root of that balsam which our country still bears by this woman’s gift.) (17) Solomon also repaid her with many good things, and principally by bestowing upon her what she chose of her own inclination, for there was nothing that she desired which he denied her; and as he was very generous and liberal in his own temper, so did he show the greatness of his soul in bestowing on her what she herself desired of him. So when this queen of Ethiopia had obtained what we have already given an account of, and had again communicated to the king what she brought with her, she returned to her own kingdom.
HOW SOLOMON GREW RICH, AND FELL DESPERATELY IN LOVE WITH WOMEN AND HOW GOD, BEING INCENSED AT IT, RAISED UP ADER AND JEROBOAM AGAINST HIM. CONCERNING THE DEATH OF SOLOMON.
1. ABOUT the same time there were brought to the king from the Aurea Chersonesus, a country so called, precious stones, and pine trees, and these trees he made use of for supporting the temple and the palace, as also for the materials of musical instruments, the harps and the psalteries, that the Levites might make use of them in their hymns to God. The wood which was brought to him at this time was larger and finer than any that had ever been brought before; but let no one imagine that these pine trees were like those which are now so named, and which take that their denomination from the merchants, who so call them, that they may procure them to be admired by those that purchase them; for those we speak of were to the sight like the wood of the fig tree, but were whiter, and more shining. Now we have said thus much, that nobody may be ignorant of the difference between these sorts of wood, nor unacquainted with the nature of the genuine pine tree; and we thought it both a seasonable and humane thing, when we mentioned it, and the uses the king made of it, to explain this difference so far as we have done.
2. Now the weight of gold that was brought him was six hundred and sixty-six talents, not including in that sum what was brought by the merchants, nor what the toparchs and kings of Arabia gave him in presents. He also cast two hundred targets of gold, each of them weighing six hundred shekels. He also made three hundred shields, every one weighing three pounds of gold, and he had them carried and put into that house which was called The Forest of Lebanon. He also made cups of gold, and of [precious] stones, for the entertainment of his guests, and had them adorned in the most artificial manner; and he contrived that all his other furniture of vessels should be of gold, for there was nothing then to be sold or bought for silver; for the king had many ships which lay upon the sea of Tarsus, these he commanded to carry out all sorts of merchandise unto the remotest nations, by the sale of which silver and gold were brought to the king, and a great quantity of ivory, and Ethiopians, and apes; and they finished their voyage, going and returning, in three years’ time.
3. Accordingly there went a great fame all around the neighboring countries, which proclaimed the virtue and wisdom of Solomon, insomuch that all the kings every where were desirous to see him, as not giving credit to what was reported, on account of its being almost incredible: they also demonstrated the regard they had for him by the presents they made him; for they sent him vessels of gold, and silver, and purple garments, and many sorts of spices, and horses, and chariots, and as many mules for his carriages as they could find proper to please the king’s eyes, by their strength and beauty. This addition that he made to those chariots and horses which he had before from those that were sent him, augmented the number of his chariots by above four hundred, for he had a thousand before, and augmented the number of his horses by two thousand, for he had twenty thousand before. These horses also were so much exercised, in order to their making a fine appearance, and running swiftly, that no others could, upon the comparison, appear either finer or swifter; but they were at once the most beautiful of all others, and their swiftness was incomparable also. Their riders also were a further ornament to them, being, in the first place, young men in the most delightful flower of their age, and being eminent for their largeness, and far taller than other men. They had also very long heads of hair hanging down, and were clothed in garments of Tyrian purple. They had also dust of gold every day sprinkled on their hair, so that their heads sparkled with the reflection of the sun-beams from the gold. The king himself rode upon a chariot in the midst of these men, who were still in armor, and had their bows fitted to them. He had on a white garment, and used to take his progress out of the city in the morning. There was a certain place about fifty furlongs distant from Jerusalem, which is called Etham, very pleasant it is in fine gardens, and abounding in rivulets of water; (18) thither did he use to go out in the morning, sitting on high [in his chariot.]
4. Now Solomon had a divine sagacity in all things, and was very diligent and studious to have things done after an elegant manner; so he did not neglect the care of the ways, but he laid a causeway of black stone along the roads that led to Jerusalem, which was the royal city, both to render them easy for travelers, and to manifest the grandeur of his riches and government. He also parted his chariots, and set them in a regular order, that a certain number of them should be in every city, still keeping a few about him; and those cities he called the cities of his chariots. And the king made silver as plentiful in Jerusalem as stones in the street; and so multiplied cedar trees in the plains of Judea, which did not grow there before, that they were like the multitude of common sycamore trees. He also ordained the Egyptian merchants that brought him their merchandise to sell him a chariot, with a pair of horses, for six hundred drachmae of silver, and he sent them to the kings of Syria, and to those kings that were beyond Euphrates.
5. But although Solomon was become the most glorious of kings, and the best beloved by God, and had exceeded in wisdom and riches those that had been rulers of the Hebrews before him, yet did not he persevere in this happy state till he died. Nay, he forsook the observation of the laws of his fathers, and came to an end no way suitable to our foregoing history of him. He grew mad in his love of women, and laid no restraint on himself in his lusts; nor was he satisfied with the women of his country alone, but he married many wives out of foreign nations; Sidontans, and Tyrians, and Ammonites, and Edomites; and he transgressed the laws of Moses, which forbade Jews to marry any but those that were of their own people. He also began to worship their gods, which he did in order to the gratification of his wives, and out of his affection for them. This very thing our legislator suspected, and so admonished us beforehand, that we should not marry women of other countries, lest we should be entangled with foreign customs, and apostatize from our own; lest we should leave off to honor our own God, and should worship their gods. But Solomon was Gllen headlong into unreasonable pleasures, and regarded not those admonitions; for when he had married seven hundred wives, (19) the daughters of princes and of eminent persons, and three hundred concubines, and those besides the king of Egypt’s daughter, he soon was governed by them, till he came to imitate their practices. He was forced to give them this demonstration of his kindness and affection to them, to live according to the laws of their countries. And as he grew into years, and his reason became weaker by length of time, it was not sufficient to recall to his mind the institutions of his own country; so he still more and more contemned his own God, and continued to regard the gods that his marriages had introduced nay, before this happened, he sinned, and fell into an error about the observation of the laws, when he made the images of brazen oxen that supported the brazen sea, (20) and the images of lions about his own throne; for these he made, although it was not agreeable to piety so to do; and this he did, notwithstanding that he had his father as a most excellent and domestic pattern of virtue, and knew what a glorious character he had left behind him, because of his piety towards God. Nor did he imitate David, although God had twice appeared to him in his sleep, and exhorted him to imitate his father. So he died ingloriously. There came therefore a prophet to him, who was sent by God, and told him that his wicked actions were not concealed from God; and threatened him that he should not long rejoice in what he had done; that, indeed, the kingdom should not be taken from him while he was alive, because God had promised to his father David that he would make him his successor, but that he would take care that this should befall his son when he :was dead; not that he would withdraw all the people from him, but that he would give ten tribes to a servant of his, and leave only two tribes to David’s grandson for his sake, because he loved God, and for the sake of the city of Jerusalem, wherein he should have a temple.
6. When Solomon heard this he was grieved, and greatly confounded, upon this change of almost all that happiness which had made him to be admired, into so bad a state; nor had there much time passed after the prophet had foretold what was coming before God raised up an enemy against him, whose name was Ader, who took the following occasion of his enmity to him. He was a child of the stock of the Edomites, and of the blood royal; and when Joab, the captain of David’s host, laid waste the land of Edom, and destroyed all that were men grown, and able to bear arms, for six months’ time, this Hadad fled away, and came to Pharaoh the king of Egypt, who received him kindly, and assigned him a house to dwell in, and a country to supply him with food; and when he was grown up he loved him exceedingly, insomuch that he gave him his wife’s sister, whose name was Tahpenes, to wife, by whom he had a son; who was brought up with the king’s children. When Hadad heard in Egypt that both David and Joab were dead, he came to Pharaoh, and desired that he would permit him to go to his own country; upon which the king asked what it was that he wanted, and what hardship he had met with, that he was so desirous to leave him. And when he was often troublesome to him, and entreated him to dismiss him, he did not then do it; but at the time when Solomon’s affairs began to grow worse, on account of his forementioned transgressions (21) and God’s anger against him for the same, Hadad, by Pharaoh’s permission, came to Edom; and when he was not able to make the people forsake Solomon, for it was kept under by many garrisons, and an innovation was not to be made with safety, he removed thence, and came into Syria; there he lighted upon one Rezon, who had run away from Hadadezer, king of Zobah, his master, and was become a robber in that country, and joined friendship with him, who had already a band of robbers about him. So he went up, and seized upon that part of Syria, and was made king thereof. He also made incursions into the land of Israel, and did it no small mischief, and spoiled it, and that in the lifetime of Solomon. And this was the calamity which the Hebrews suffered by Hadad.
7. There was also one of Solomon’s own nation that made an attempt against him, Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had an expectation of rising, from a prophecy that had been made to him long before. He was left a child by his father, and brought up by his mother; and when Solomon saw that he was of an active and bold disposition, he made him the curator of the walls which he built round about Jerusalem; and he took such care of those works, that the king approved of his behavior, and gave him, as a reward for the same, the charge of the tribe of Joseph. And when about that time Jeroboam was once going out of Jerusalem, a prophet of the city Shilo, whose name was Ahijah, met him and saluted him; and when he had taken him a little aside to a place out of the way, where there was not one other person present, he rent the garment he had on into twelve pieces, and bid Jeroboam take ten of them; and told him beforehand, that “this is the will of God; he will part the dominion of Solomon, and give one tribe, with that which is next it, to his son, because of the promise made to David for his succession, and will have ten tribes to thee, because Solomon hath sinned against him, and delivered up himself to women, and to their gods. Seeing therefore thou knowest the cause for which God hath changed his mind, and is alienated from Solomon, be thou
8. So Jeroboam was elevated by these words of the prophet; and being a young man, (22) of a warm temper, and ambitious of greatness, he could not be quiet; and when he had so great a charge in the government, and called to mind what had been revealed to him by Ahijah, he endeavored to persuade the people to forsake Solomon, to make a disturbance, and to bring the government over to himself. But when Solomon understood his intention and treachery, he sought to catch him and kill him; but Jeroboam was informed of it beforehand, and fled to Shishak, the king of Egypt, and there abode till the death of Solomon; by which means he gained these two advantages to suffer no harm from Solomon, and to be preserved for the kingdom. So Solomon died when he was already an old man, having reigned eighty years, and lived ninety-four. He was buried in Jerusalem, having been superior to all other kings in happiness, and riches, and wisdom, excepting that when he was growing into years he was deluded by women, and transgressed the law; concerning which transgressions, and the miseries which befell the Hebrews thereby, I think proper to discourse at another opportunity.
HOW, UPON THE DEATH OF SOLOMON THE PEOPLE FORSOOK HIS SON REHOBOAM, AND ORDAINED JEROBOAM KING OVER THE TEN TRIBES.
1. NOW when Solomon was dead, and his son Rehoboam (who was born of an Amntonite wife; whose name was Naamah) had succeeded him in the kingdom, the rulers of the multitude sent immediately into Egypt, and called back Jeroboam; and when he was come to them, to the city Shethem, Rehoboam came to it also, for he had resolved to declare himself king to the Israelites while they were there gathered together. So the rulers of the people, as well as Jeroboam, came to him, and besought him, and said that he ought to relax, and to be gentler than his father, in the servitude he had imposed on them, because they had borne a heavy yoke, and that then they should be better affected to him, and be well contented to serve him under his moderate government, and should do it more out of love than fear. But Rehoboam told them they should come to him again in three days’ time, when he would give an answer to their request. This delay gave occasion to a present suspicion, since he had not given them a favorable answer to their mind immediately; for they thought that he should have given them a humane answer off-hand, especially since he was but young. However, they thought that this consultation about it, and that he did not presently give them a denial, afforded them some good hope of success.
2. Rehoboam now called his father’s friends, and advised with them what sort of answer he ought to give to the multitude; upon which they gave him the advice which became friends, and those that knew the temper of such a multitude. They advised him to speak in a way more popular than suited the grandeur of a king, because he would thereby oblige them to submit to him with goodwill, it being most agreeable to subjects that their kings should be almost upon the level with them. But Rehoboam rejected this so good, and in general so profitable, advice, (it was such, at least, at that time when he was to be made king,) God himself, I suppose, causing what was most advantageous to be condemned by him. So he called for the young men who were brought up with him, and told them what advice the elders had given him, and bade them speak what they thought he ought to do. They advised him to give the following answer to the people (for neither their youth nor God himself suffered them to discern what was best): That his little finger should be thicker than his father’s loins; and if they had met with hard usage from his father, they should experience much rougher treatment from him; and if his father had chastised them with whips, they must expect that he would do it with scorpions. (23) The king was pleased with this advice, and thought it agreeable to the dignity of his government to give them such an answer. Accordingly, when the multitude was come together to hear his answer on the third day, all the people were in great expectation, and very intent to hear what the king would say to them, and supposed they should hear somewhat of a kind nature; but he passed by his friends, and answered as the young men had given him counsel. Now this was done according to the will of God, that what Ahijah had foretold might come to pass.
3. By these words the people were struck as it were by all iron hammer, and were so grieved at the words, as if they had already felt the effects of them; and they had great indignation at the king; and all cried out aloud, and said, “We will have no longer any relation to David or his posterity after this day.” And they said further, “We only leave to Rehoboam the temple which his father built;” and they threatened to forsake him. Nay, they were so bitter, and retained their wrath so long, that when he sent Adoram, which was over the tribute, that he might pacify them, and render them milder, and persuade them to forgive him, if he had said any thing that was rash or grievous to them in his youth, they would not hear it, but threw stones at him, and killed him. When Rehoboam saw this, he thought himself aimed at by those stones with which they had killed his servant, and feared lest he should undergo the last of punishments in earnest; so he got immediately into his chariot, and fled to Jerusalem, where the tribe of Judah and that of Benjamin ordained him king; but the rest of the multitude forsook the sons of David from that day, and appointed Jeroboam to be the ruler of their public affairs. Upon this Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, assembled a great congregation of those two tribes that submitted to him, and was ready to take a hundred and eighty thousand chosen men out of the army, to make an expedition against Jeroboam and his people, that he might force them by war to be his servants; but he was forbidden of God by the prophet [Shemaiah] to go to war, for that it was not just that brethren of the same contry should fight one against another. He also said that this defection of the multitude was according to the purpose of God. So he did not proceed in this expedition. And now I will relate first the actions of Jeroboam the king of Israel, after which we will relate what are therewith connected, the actions of Rehoboam, the king of the two tribes; by this means we shall preserve the good order of the history entire.
4. When therefore Jeroboam had built him a palace in the city Shechem, he dwelt there. He also built him another at Penuel, a city so called. And now the feast of tabernacles was approaching in a little time, Jeroboam considered, that if he should permit the multitude to go to worship God at Jerusalem, and there to celebrate the festival, they would probably repent of what they had done, and be enticed by the temple, and by the worship of God there performed, and would leave him, and return to their first kings; and if so, he should run the risk of losing his own life; so he invented this contrivance; He made two golden heifers, and built two little temples for them, the one in the city Bethel, and the other in Dan, which last was at the fountains of the Lesser Jordan (24) and he put the heifers into both the little temples, in the forementioned cities. And when he had called those ten tribes together over whom he ruled, he made a speech to the people in these words: “I suppose, my countrymen, that you know this, that every place hath God in it; nor is there any one determinate place in which he is, but he every where hears and sees those that worship him; on which account I do not think it right for you to go so long a journey to Jerusalem, which is an enemy’s city, to worship him. It was a man that built the temple: I have also made two golden heifers, dedicated to the same God; and the one of them I have consecrated in the city Bethel, and the other in Dan, to the end that those of you that dwell nearest those cities may go to them, and worship God there; and I will ordain for you certain priests and Levites from among yourselves, that you may have no want of the tribe of Levi, or of the sons of Aaron; but let him that is desirous among you of being a priest, bring to God a bullock and a ram, which they say Aaron the first priest brought also.” When Jeroboam had said this, he deluded the people, and made them to revolt from the worship of their forefathers, and to transgress their laws. This was the beginning of miseries to the Hebrews, and the cause why they were overcome in war by foreigners, and so fell into captivity. But we shall relate those things in their proper places hereafter.
5. When the feast [of tabernacles] was just approaching, Jeroboam was desirous to celebrate it himself in Bethel, as did the two tribes celebrate it in Jerusalem. Accordingly he built an altar before the heifer, and undertook to be high priest himself. So he went up to the altar, with his own priests about him; but when he was going to offer the sacrifices and the burnt-offerings, in the sight of all the people, a prophet, whose name was Jadon, was sent by God, and came to him from Jerusalem, who stood in the midst of the multitude, and in the ‘hearing of’ the king, and directing his discourse to the altar, said thus: God foretells that there shall be a certain man of the family of David, Josiah by name, who shall slay upon thee those false priests that shall live at that time, and upon thee shall burn the bones of those deceivers of the people, those impostors’ and wicked wretches. However, that this people may believe that these things shall so come to pass, I foretell a sign to them that shall also come to pass. This altar shall be broken to pieces immediately, and all the fat of the sacrifices that is upon it shall be poured upon the ground.” When the prophet had said this, Jeroboam fell into a passion, and stretched out his hand, and bid them lay hold of him; but that hand which he stretched out was enfeebled, and he was not able to pull it in again to him, for it was become withered, and hung down, as if it were a dead hand. The altar also was broken to pieces, and all that was upon it was poured out, as the prophet had foretold should come to pass. So the king understood that he was a man of veracity, and had a Divine foreknowledge; and entreated him to pray to God that he would restore his right hand. Accordingly the prophet did pray to God to grant him that request. So the king, having his hand recovered to its natural state, rejoiced at it, and invited the prophet to sup with him; but Jadon said that he could not endure to come into his house, nor to taste of bread or water in this city, for that was a thing God had forbidden him to do; as also to go back by the same way which he came, but he said he was to return by another way. So the king wondered at the abstinence of the man, but was himself in fear, as suspecting a change of his affairs for the worse, from what had been said to him.
HOW JADON THE PROPHET WAS PERSUADED BY ANOTHER LYING PROPHET AND RETURNED [TO BETHEL,] AND WAS AFTERWARDS SLAIN BY A LION. AS ALSO WHAT WORDS THE WICKED PROPHET MADE USE OF TO PERSUADE THE KING, AND THEREBY ALIENATED HIS MIND FROM GOD.
1. NOW there was a certain wicked man in that city, who was a false prophet, whom Jeroboam had in great esteem, but was deceived by him and his flattering words. This man was bedrid, by reason or the infirmities of old age: however, he was informed by his sons concerning the prophet that was come from Jerusalem, and concerning the signs done by him; and how, when Jeroboam’s right hand had been enfeebled, at the prophet’s prayer he had it revived again. Whereupon he was afraid that this stranger and prophet should be in better esteem with the king than himself, and obtain greater honor from him: and he gave orders to his sons to saddle his ass presently, and make all ready that he might go out. Accordingly they made haste to do what they were commanded, and he got upon the ass and followed after the prophet.; and when he had overtaken him, as he was resting himself under a very large oak tree that was thick and shady, he at first saluted him, but presently he complained of him, because he had not come into his house, and partaken of his hospitality. And when the other said that God had forbidden him to taste of any one’s provision in that city, he replied, that “for certain God had not forbidden that I should set food before thee, for I am a prophet as thou art, and worship God in the same manner that thou dost; and I am now come as sent by him, in order to bring thee into my house, and make thee my guest.” Now Jadon gave credit to this lying prophet, and returned back with him. But when they were at dinner, and merry together, God appeared to Jadon, and said that he should suffer punishment for transgressing his commands, – and he told him what that punishment should be for he said that he should meet with a lion as he was going on his way, by which lion he should be torn in pieces, and be deprived of burial in the sepulchers of his fathers; which things came to pass, as I suppose, according to the will of God, that so Jeroboam might not give heed to the words of Jadon as of one that had been convicted of lying. However, as Jadon was again going to Jerusalem, a lion assaulted him, and pulled him off the beast he rode on, and slew him; yet did he not at all hurt the ass, but sat by him, and kept him, as also the prophet’s body. This continued till some travelers that saw it came and told it in the city to the false prophet, who sent his sons, and brought the body unto the city, and made a funeral for him at great expense. He also charged his sons to bury himself with him and said that all which he had foretold against that city, and the altar, and priests, and false prophets, would prove true; and that if he were buried with him, he should receive no injurious treatment after his death, the bones not being then to be distinguished asunder. But now, when he had performed those funeral rites to the prophet, and had given that charge to his sons, as he was a wicked and an impious man, he goes to Jeroboam, and says to him, “And wherefore is it now that thou art disturbed at the words of this silly fellow?” And when the king had related to him what had happened about the altar, and about his own hand, and gave him the names of divine man, and an excellent prophet, he endeavored by a wicked trick to weaken that his opinion; and by using plausible words concerning what had happened, he aimed to injure the truth that was in them; for he attempted to persuade him that his hand was enfeebled by the labor it had undergone in supporting the sacrifices, and that upon its resting awhile it returned to its former nature again; and that as to the altar, it was but new, and had borne abundance of sacrifices, and those large ones too, and was accordingly broken to pieces, and fallen down by the weight of what had been laid upon it. He also informed him of the death of him that had foretold those things, and how he perished; [whence he concluded that] he had not any thing in him of a prophet, nor spake any thing like one. When he had thus spoken, he persuaded the king, and entirely alienated his mind from God, and from doing works that were righteous and holy, and encouraged him to go on in his impious practices (25) and accordingly he was to that degree injurious to God, and so great a transgressor, that he sought for nothing else every day but how he might be guilty of some new instances of wickedness, and such as should be more detestable than what he had been so insolent as to do before. And so much shall at present suffice to have said concerning Jeroboam.
CONCERNING REHOBOAM, AND HOW GOD INFLICTED PUNISHMENT UPON HIM FOR HIS IMPIETY BY SHISHAK [KING OF EGYPT].
1. Now Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, who, as we said before, was king of the two tribes, built strong and large cities, Bethlehem, and Etare, and Tekoa, and Bethzur, and Shoco, and Adullam, and Ipan, and Maresha, and Ziph, and Adorlam, and Lachlsh, and Azekah, and Zorah, and Aijalon, and Hebron; these he built first of all in the tribe of Judah. He also built other large cities in the tribe of Benjamin, and walled them about, and put garrisons in them all, and captains, and a great deal of corn, and wine, and oil, and he furnished every one of them plentifully with other provisions that were necessary for sustenance; moreover, he put therein shields and spears for many ten thousand men. The priests also that were in all Israel, and the Levites, and if there were any of the multitude that were good and righteous men, they gathered themselves together to him, having left their own cities, that they might worship God in Jerusalem; for they were not willing to be forced to worship the heifers which Jeroboam had made; and they augmented the kingdom of Rehoboam for three years. And after he had married a woman of his own kindred, and had by her three children born to him, he married also another of his own kindred, who was daughter of Absalom by Tamar, whose name was Maachah, and by her he had a son, whom he named Abijah. He had moreover many other children by other wives, but he loved Maachah above them all. Now he had eighteen legitimate wives, and thirty concubines; and he had born to him twenty-eight sons and threescore daughters; but he appointed Abijah, whom he had by Maachah, to be his successor in the kingdom, and intrusted him already with the treasures and the strongest cities.
2. Now I cannot but think that the greatness of a kingdom, and its change into prosperity, often become the occasion of mischief and of transgression to men; for when Rehoboam saw that his kingdom was so much increased, he went out of the right way unto unrighteous and irreligious practices, and he despised the worship of God, till the people themselves imitated his wicked actions: for so it usually happens, that the manners of subjects are corrupted at the same time with those of their governors, which subjects then lay aside their own sober way of living, as a reproof of their governors’ intemperate courses, and follow their wickedness as if it were virtue; for it is not possible to show that men approve of the actions of their kings, unless they do the same actions with them. Agreeable whereto it now happened to the subjects of Rehoboam; for when he was grown impious, and a transgressor himself, they endeavored not to offend him by resolving still to be righteous. But God sent Shishak, king of Egypt, to punish them for their unjust behavior towards him, concerning whom Herodotus was mistaken, and applied his actions to Sesostris; for this Shishak, (26) in the fifth year of the reign of Rehoboam, made an expedition [into Judea] with many ten thousand men; for he had one thousand two hundred chariots in number that followed him, and threescore thousand horsemen, and four hundred thousand footmen. These he brought with him, and they were the greatest part of them Libyans and Ethiopians. Now therefore when he fell upon the country of the Hebrews, he took the strongest cities of Rehoboam’s kingdom without fighting; and when he had put garrisons in them, he came last of all to Jerusalem.
3. Now when Rehoboam, and the multitude with him, were shut up in Jerusalem by the means of the army of Shishak, and when they besought God to give them victory and deliverance, they could not persuade God to be on their side. But Shemaiah the prophet told them, that God threatened to forsake them, as they had themselves forsaken his worship. When they heard this, they were immediately in a consternation of mind; and seeing no way of deliverance, they all earnestly set themselves to confess that God might justly overlook them, since they had been guilty of impiety towards him, and had let his laws lie in confusion. So when God saw them in that disposition, and that they acknowledge their sins, he told the prophet that he would not destroy them, but that he would, however, make them servants to the Egyptians, that they may learn whether they will suffer less by serving men or God. So when Shishak had taken the city without fighting, because Rehoboam was afraid, and received him into it, yet did not Shishak stand to the covenants he had made, but he spoiled the temple, and emptied the treasures of God, and those of the king, and carried off innumerable ten thousands of gold and silver, and left nothing at all behind him. He also took away the bucklers of gold, and the shields, which Solomon the king had made; nay, he did not leave the golden quivers which David had taken from the king of Zobah, and had dedicated to God; and when he had thus done, he returned to his own kingdom. Now Herodotus of Halicarnassus mentions this expedition, having only mistaken the king’s name; and [in saying that] he made war upon many other nations also, and brought Syria of Palestine into subjection, and took the men that were therein prisoners without fighting. Now it is manifest that he intended to declare that our nation was subdued by him; for he saith that he left behind him pillars in the land of those that delivered themselves up to him without fighting, and engraved upon them the secret parts of women. Now our king Rehoboam delivered up our city without fighting. He says withal (27) that the Ethiopians learned to circumcise their privy parts from the Egyptians, with this addition, that the Phoenicians and Syrians that live in Palestine confess that they learned it of the Egyptians. Yet it is evident that no other of the Syrians that live in Palestine, besides us alone, are circumcised. But as to such matters, let every one speak what is agreeable to his own opinion.
4. When Shishak was gone away, king Rehoboam made bucklers and shields of brass, instead of those of gold, and delivered the same number of them to the keepers of the king’s palace. So, instead of warlike expeditions, and that glory which results from those public actions, he reigned in great quietness, though not without fear, as being always an enemy to Jeroboam, and he died when he had lived fifty-seven years, and reigned seventeen. He was in his disposition a proud and a foolish man, and lost [part of his] dominions by not hearkening to his father’s friends. He was buried in Jerusalem, in the sepulchers of the kings; and his son Abijah succeeded him in the kingdom, and this in the eighteenth year of Jeroboam’s reign over the ten tribes; and this was the conclusion of these affairs. It must be now our business to relate the affairs of Jeroboam, and how he ended his life; for he ceased not nor rested to be injurious to God, but every day raised up altars upon high mountains, and went on making priests out of the multitude.
CONCERNING THE DEATH OF A SON OF JEROBOAM. HOW JEROBOAM WAS BEATEN BY ABIJAH WHO DIED A LITTLE AFTERWARD AND WAS SUCCEEDED IN HIS KINGDOM BY ASA. AND ALSO HOW, AFTER THE DEATH OF JEROBOAM BAASHA DESTROYED HIS SON NADAB AND ALL THE HOUSE OF JEROBOAM.
1. HOWEVER, God was in no long time ready to return Jeroboam’s wicked actions, and the punishment they deserved, upon his own head, and upon the heads of all his house. And whereas a soil of his lay sick at that time, who was called Abijah, he enjoined his wife to lay aside her robes, and to take the garments belonging to a private person, and to go to Ahijah the prophet, for that he was a wonderful man in foretelling futurities, it having been he who told me that I should be king. He also enjoined her, when she came to him, to inquire concerning the child, as if she were a stranger, whether he should escape this distemper. So she did as her husband bade her, and changed her habit, and came to the city Shiloh, for there did Ahijah live. And as she was going into his house, his eyes being then dim with age, God appeared to him, and informed him of two things; that the wife of Jeroboam was come to him, and what answer he should make to her inquiry. Accordingly, as the woman was coming into the house like a private person and a stranger, he cried out, “Come in, O thou wife of Jeroboam! Why concealest thou thyself? Thou art not concealed from God, who hath appeared to me, and informed me that thou wast coming, and hath given me in command what I shall say to thee.” So he said that she should go away to her husband, and speak to him thus: “Since I made thee a great man when thou wast little, or rather wast nothing, and rent the kingdom from the house of David, and gave it to thee, and thou hast been unmindful of these benefits, hast left off my worship, hast made thee molten gods and honored them, I will in like manner cast thee down again, and will destroy all thy house, and make them food for the dogs and the fowls; for a certain king is rising up, by appointment, over all this people, who shall leave none of the family of Jeroboam remaining. The multitude also shall themselves partake of the same punishment, and shall be cast out of this good land, and shall be scattered into the places beyond Euphrates, because they have followed the wicked practices of their king, and have worshipped the gods that he made, and forsaken my sacrifices. But do thou, O woman, make haste back to thy husband, and tell him this message; but thou shalt then find thy son dead, for as thou enterest the city he shall depart this life; yet shall he be buried with the lamentation of all the multitude, and honored with a general mourning, for he was the only person of goodness of Jeroboam’s family.” When the prophet had foretold these events, the woman went hastily away with a disordered mind, and greatly grieved at the death of the forenamed child. So she was in lamentation as she went along the road, and mourned for the death of her son, that was just at hand. She was indeed in a miserable condition at the unavoidable misery of his death, and went apace, but in circumstances very unfortunate, because of her son: for the greater haste she made, she would the sooner see her son dead, yet was she forced to make such haste on account of her husband. Accordingly, when she was come back, she found that the child had given up the ghost, as the prophet had said; and she related all the circumstances to the king.
2. Yet did not Jeroboam lay any of these things to heart, but he brought together a very numerous army, and made a warlike expedition against Abijah, the son of Rehoboam, who had succeeded his father in the kingdom of the two tribes; for he despised him because of his age. But when he heard of the expedition of Jeroboam, he was not affrighted at it, but proved of a courageous temper of mind, superior both to his youth and to the hopes of his enemy; so he chose him an army out of the two tribes, and met Jeroboam at a place called Mount Zemaraim, and pitched his camp near the other, and prepared everything necessary for the fight. His army consisted of four hundred thousand, but the army of Jeroboam was double to it. Now as the armies stood in array, ready for action and dangers, and were just going to fight, Abijah stood upon an elevated place, and beckoning with his hand, he desired the multitude and Jeroboam himself to hear first with silence what he had to say. And when silence was made, he began to speak, and told them, – “God had consented that David and his posterity should be their rulers for all time to come, and this you yourselves are not unacquainted with; but I cannot but wonder how you should forsake my father, and join yourselves to his servant Jeroboam, and are now here with him to fight against those who, by God’s own determination, are to reign, and to deprive them of that dominion which they have still retained; for as to the greater part of it, Jeroboam is unjustly in possession of it. However, I do not suppose he will enjoy it any longer; but when he hath suffered that punishment which God thinks due to him for what is past, he will leave off the transgressions he hath been guilty of, and the injuries he hath offered to him, and which he hath still continued to offer and hath persuaded you to do the same: yet when you were not any further unjustly treated by my father, than that he did not speak to you so as to please you, and this only in compliance with the advice of wicked men, you in anger forsook him, as you pretended, but, in reality, you withdrew yourselves from God, and from his laws, although it had been right for you to have forgiven a man that was young in age, and not used to govern people, not only some disagreeable words, but if his youth and unskilfulness in affairs had led him into some unfortunate actions, and that for the sake of his father Solomon, and the benefits you received from him; for men ought to excuse the sins of posterity on account of the benefactions of parent; but you considered nothing of all this then, neither do you consider it now, but come with so great an army against us. And what is it you depend upon for victory? Is it upon these golden heifers, and the altars that you have on high places, which are demonstrations of your impiety, and not of religious worship? Or is it the exceeding multitude of your army which gives you such good hopes? Yet certainly there is no strength at all in an army of many ten thousands, when the war is unjust; for we ought to place our surest hopes of success against our enemies in righteousness alone, and in piety towards God; which hope we justly have, since we have kept the laws from the beginning, and have worshipped our own God, who was not made by hands out of corruptible matter; nor was he formed by a wicked king, in order to deceive the multitude; but who is his own workmanship, (28) and the beginning and end of all things. I therefore give you counsel even now to repent, and to take better advice, and to leave off the prosecution of the war; to call to mind the laws of your country, and to reflect what it hath been that hath advanced you to so happy a state as you are now in.”
3. This was the speech which Abijah made to the multitude. But while he was still speaking Jeroboam sent some of his soldiers privately to encompass Abijab round about, on certain parts of the camp that were not taken notice of; and when he was thus within the compass of the enemy, his army was affrighted, and their courage failed them; but Abijah encouraged them, and exhorted them to place their hopes on God, for that he was not encompassed by the enemy. So they all at once implored the Divine assistance, while the priests sounded with the trumpet, and they made a shout, and fell upon their enemies, and God brake the courage and cast down the force of their enemies, and made Ahijah’s army superior to them; for God vouchsafed to grant them a wonderful and very famous victory; and such a slaughter was now made of Jeroboam’s army (29) as is never recorded to have happened in any other war, whether it were of the Greeks or of the Barbarians, for they overthrew [and slew] five hundred thousand of their enemies, and they took their strongest cities by force, and spoiled them; and besides those, they did the same to Bethel and her towns, and Jeshanah and her towns. And after this defeat Jeroboam never recovered himself during the life of Abijah, who yet did not long survive, for he reigned but three years, and was buried in Jerusalem in the sepulchers of his forefathers. He left behind him twenty-two sons, and sixteen daughters; and he had also those children by fourteen wives; and Asa his son succeeded in the kingdom; and the young man’s mother was Michaiah. Under his reign the country of the Israelites enjoyed peace for ten years.
4. And so far concerning Abijah, the son of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, as his history hath come down to us. But Jeroboam, the king of the ten tribes, died when he had governed them two and twenty years; whose son Nadab succeeded him, in the second year of the reign of Asa. Now Jeroboam’s son governed two years, and resembled his father in impiety and wickedness. In these two years he made an expedition against Gibbethon, a city of the Philistines, and continued the siege in order to take it; but he was conspired against while he was there by a friend of his, whose name was Baasha, the son of Ahijah, and was slain; which Baasha took the kingdom after the other’s death, and destroyed the whole house of Jeroboam. It also came to pass, according as God had foretold, that some of Jeroboam’s kindred that died in the city were torn to pieces and devoured by dogs, and that others of them that died in the fields were torn and devoured by the fowls. So the house of Jeroboam suffered the just punishment of his impiety, and of his wicked actions.
HOW ZERAH, KING OF THE ETHIOPIANS, WAS BEATEN BY ASA; AND HOW ASA, UPON BAASHA’S MAKING WAR AGAINST HIM, INVITED THE KING OF THE DAMASCENS TO ASSIST HIM; AND HOW, ON THE DESTRUCTION OF THE HOUSE OF BAASHA ZIMRI GOT THE KINGDOM AS DID HIS SON AHAB AFTER HIM.
1. Now Asa, the king of Jerusalem, was of an excellent character, and had a regard to God, and neither did nor designed any thing but what had relation to the observation of the laws. He made a reformation of his kingdom, and cut off whatsoever was wicked therein, and purified it from every impurity. Now he had an army of chosen men that were armed with targets and spears; out of the tribe of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of the tribe of Benjamin, that bore shields and drew bows, two hundred and fifty thousand. But when he had already reigned ten years, Zerah, king of Ethiopia, (30) made an expedition against him, with a great army, of nine hundred thousand footmen, and one hundred thousand horsemen, and three hundred chariots, and came as far as Mareshah, a city that belonged to the tribe of Judah. Now when Zerah had passed so far with his own army, Asa met him, and put his army in array over against him, in a valley called Zephathah, not far from the city; and when he saw the multitude of the Ethiopians, he cried out, and besought God to give him the victory, and that he might kill many ten thousands of the enemy: “For,” said he, (31) “I depend on nothing else but that assistance which I expect from thee, which is able to make the fewer superior to the more numerous, and the weaker to the stronger; and thence it is alone that I venture to meet Zerah, and fight him.”
2. While Asa was saying this, God gave him a signal of victory, and joining battle cheerfully on account of what God had foretold about it, he slew a great many of the Ethiopians; and when he had put them to flight, he pursued them to the country of Gerar; and when they left off killing their enemies, they betook themselves to spoiling them, (for the city Gerar was already taken,) and to spoiling their camp, so that they carried off much gold, and much silver, and a great deal of [other] prey, and camels, and great cattle, and flocks of sheep. Accordingly, when Asa and his army had obtained such a victory, and such wealth from God, they returned to Jerusalem. Now as they were coming, a prophet, whose name was Azariah, met them on the road, and bade them stop their journey a little; and began to say to them thus: That the reason why they had obtained this victory from God was this, that they had showed themselves righteous and religious men, and had done every thing according to the will of God; that therefore, he said, if they persevered therein, God would grant that they should always overcome their enemies, and live happily; but that if they left off his worship, all things shall fall out on the contrary; and a time should come, wherein no true prophet shall be left in your whole multitude, nor a priest who shall deliver you a true ,answer from the oracle; but your cities shall be overthrown, and your nation scattered over the whole earth, and live the life of strangers and wanderers. So he advised them, while they had time, to be good, and not to deprive themselves of the favor of God. When the king and the people heard this, they rejoiced; and all in common, and every one in particular, took great care to behave themselves righteously. The king also sent some to take care that those in the country should observe the laws also.
3. And this was the state of Asa, king of the two tribes. I now return to Baasha, the king of the multitude of the Israelites, who slew Nadab, the son of Jeroboam, and retained the government. He dwelt in the city Tirzah, having made that his habitation, and reigned twenty-four years. He became more wicked and impious than Jeroboam or his son. He did a great deal of mischief to the multitude, and was injurious to God, who sent the prophet Jehu, and told him beforehand that his whole family should be destroyed, and that he would bring the same miseries on his house which had brought that of Jeroboam to ruin; because when he had been made king by him, he had not requited his kindness, by governing the multitude righteously and religiously; which things, in the first place, tended to their own happiness, and, in the next place, were pleasing to God: that he had imitated this very wicked king Jeroboam; and although that man’s soul had perished, yet did he express to the life his wickedness; and he said that he should therefore justly experience the like calamity with him, since he had been guilty of the like wickedness. But Baasha, though he heard beforehand what miseries would befall him and his whole family for their insolent behavior, yet did not he leave off his wicked practices for the time to come, nor did he care to appear other than worse and worse till he died; nor did he then repent of his past actions, nor endeavor to obtain pardon of God for them, but did as those do who have rewards proposed to them, when they have once in earnest set about their work, they do not leave off their labors; for thus did Baasha, when the prophet foretold to him what would come to pass, grow worse, as if what were threatened, the perdition of his family, and the destruction of his house, (which are really among the greatest of evils,) were good things; and, as if he were a combatant for wickedness, he every day took more and more pains for it: and at last he took his army and assaulted a certain considerable city called Ramah, which was forty furlongs distant from Jerusalem; and when he had taken it, he fortified it, having determined beforehand to leave a garrison in it, that they might thence make excursions, and do mischief to the kingdom of Asa.
4. Whereupon Asa was afraid of the attempts the enemy might make upon him; and considering with himself how many mischiefs this army that was left in Ramah might do to the country over which he reigned, he sent ambassadors to the king of the Damascenes, with gold and silver, desiring his assistance, and putting him in mind that we have had a friendship together from the times of our forefathers. So he gladly received that sum of money, and made a league with him, and broke the friendship he had with Baasha, and sent the commanders of his own forces unto the cities that were under Baasha’s dominion, and ordered them to do them mischief. So they went and burnt some of them, and spoiled others; Ijon, and Dan, and Abelmain (32) and many others. Now when the king of Israel heard this, he left off building and fortifying Ramah, and returned presently to assist his own people under the distresses they were in; but Asa made use of the materials that were prepared for building that city, for building in the same place two strong cities, the one of which was called Geba, and the other Mizpah; so that after this Baasha had no leisure to make expeditions against Asa, for he was prevented by death, and was buried in the city Tirzah; and Elah his son took the kingdom, who, when he had reigned two years, died, being treacherously slain by Zimri, the captain of half his army; for when he was at Arza, his steward’s house, he persuaded some of the horsemen that were under him to assault Elah, and by that means he slew him when he was without his armed men and his captains, for they were all busied in the siege of Gibbethon, a city of the Philistines.
5. When Zimri, the captain of the army, had killed Elah, he took the kingdom himself, and, according to Jehu’s prophecy, slew all the house of Baasha; for it came to pass that Baasha’s house utterly perished, on account of his impiety, in the same manner as we have already described the destruction of the house of Jeroboam. But the army that was besieging. Gibbethon, when they heard what had befallen the king, and that when Zimri had killed him, he had gained the kingdom, they made Omri their general king, who drew off his army from Gibbethon, and came to Tirzah, where the royal palace was, and assaulted the city, and took it by force. But when Zimri saw that the city had none to defend it, he fled into the inmost part of the palace, and set it on fire, and burnt himself with it, when he had reigned only seven days. Upon which the people of Israel were presently divided, and part of them would have Tibni to be king, and part Omri; but when those that were for Omri’s ruling had beaten Tibni, Omri reigned over all the multitude. Now it was in the thirtieth year of the reign of Asa that Omri reigned for twelve years; six of these years he reigned in the city Tirzah, and the rest in the city called Semareon, but named by the Greeks Samaria; but he himself called it Semareon, from Semer, who sold him the mountain whereon he built it. Now Omri was no way different from those kings that reigned before him, but that he grew worse than they, for they all sought how they might turn the people away from God by their daily wicked practices; and oil that account it was that God made one of them to be slain by another, and that no one person of their families should remain. This Omri also died in Samaria and Ahab his son succeeded him.
6. Now by these events we may learn what concern God hath for the affairs of mankind, and how he loves good men, and hates the wicked, and destroys them root and branch; for many of these kings of Israel, they and their families, were miserably destroyed, and taken away one by another, in a short time, for their transgression and wickedness; but Asa, who was king of Jerusalem, and of the two tribes, attained, by God’s blessing, a long and a blessed old age, for his piety and righteousness, and died happily, when he had reigned forty and one years; and when he was dead, his son Jehoshaphat succeeded him in the government. He was born of Asa’s wife Azubah. And all men allowed that he followed the works of David his forefather, and this both in courage and piety; but we are not obliged now to speak any more of the affairs of this king.
HOW AHAB WHEN HE HAD TAKEN JEZEBEL TO WIFE BECAME MORE WICKED THAN ALL THE KINGS THAT HAD BEEN BEFORE HIM; OF THE ACTIONS OF THE PROPHET ELIJAH, AND WHAT BEFELL NABOTH.
1. NOW Ahab the king of Israel dwelt in Samaria, and held the government for twenty-two years; and made no alteration in the conduct of the kings that were his predecessors, but only in such things as were of his own invention for the worse, and in his most gross wickedness. He imitated them in their wicked courses, and in their injurious behavior towards God, and more especially he imitated the transgression of Jeroboam; for he worshipped the heifers that he had made; and he contrived other absurd objects of worship besides those heifers: he also took to wife the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Tyrians and Sidonians, whose name was Jezebel, of whom he learned to worship her own gods. This woman was active and bold, and fell into so great a degree of impurity and madness, that she built a temple to the god of the Tyrians, Which they call Belus, and planted a grove of all sorts of trees; she also appointed priests and false prophets to this god. The king also himself had many such about him, and so exceeded in madness and wickedness all [the kings] that went before him.
2. There was now a prophet of God Almighty, of Thesbon, a country in Gilead, that came to Ahab, and said to him, that God foretold he would not send rain nor dew in those years upon the country but when he should appear. And when he had confirmed this by an oath, he departed into the southern parts, and made his abode by a brook, out of which he had water to drink; for as for his food, ravens brought it to him every day: but when that river was dried up for want of rain, he came to Zarephath, a city not far from Sidon and Tyre, for it lay between them, and this at the command of God, for [God told him] that he should there find a woman who was a widow that should give him sustenance. So when he was not far off the city, he saw a woman that labored with her own hands, gathering of sticks: so God informed him that this was the woman who was to give him sustenance. So he came and saluted her, and desired her to bring him some water to drink; but as she was going so to do, he called to her, and would have her to bring him a loaf of bread also; whereupon she affirmed upon oath that she had at home nothing more than one handful of meal, and a little oil, and that she was going to gather some sticks, that she might knead it, and make bread for herself and her son; after which, she said, they must perish, and be consumed by the famine, for they had nothing for themselves any longer. Hereupon he said, “Go on with good courage, and hope for better things; and first of all make me a little cake, and bring it to me, for I foretell to thee that this vessel of meal and this cruse of oil shall not fail until God send rain.” When the prophet had said this, she came to him, and made him the before-named cake; of which she had part for herself, and gave the rest to her son, and to the prophet also; nor did any thing of this fall until the drought ceased. Now Menander mentions this drought in his account of the acts of Ethbaal, king of the Tyrians; where he says thus: “Under him there was a want of rain from the month Hyperberetmus till the month Hyperberetmus of the year following; but when he made supplications, there came great thunders. This Ethbaal built the city Botrys in Phoenicia, and the city Auza in Libya.” By these words he designed the want of rain that was in the days of Ahab, for at that time it was that Ethbaal also reigned over the Tyrians, as Menander informs us.
3. Now this woman, of whom we spake before, that sustained the prophet, when her son was fallen into a distemper till he gave up the ghost, and appeared to be dead, came to the prophet weeping, and beating her breasts with her hands, and sending out such expressions as her passions dictated to her, and complained to him that he had come to her to reproach her for her sins, and that on this account it was that her son was dead. But he bid her be of good cheer, and deliver her son to him, for that he would deliver him again to her alive. So when she had delivered her son up to him, he carried him into an upper room, where he himself lodged, and laid him down upon the bed, and cried unto God, and said, that God had not done well, in rewarding the woman who had entertained him and sustained him, by taking away her son; and he prayed that he would send again the soul of the child into him, and bring him to life again. Accordingly God took pity on the mother, and was willing to gratify the prophet, that he might not seem to have come to her to do her a mischief, and the child, beyond all expectation, came to life again. So the mother returned the prophet thanks, and said she was then clearly satisfied that God did converse with him.
4. After a little while Elijah came to king Ahab, according to God’s will, to inform him that rain was coming. Now the famine had seized upon the whole country, and there was a great want of what was necessary for sustenance, insomuch that it was after the recovery of the widow’s son of Sarepta, God sent not only men that wanted it, but the earth itself also, which did not produce enough for the horse and the other beasts of what was useful for them to feed on, by reason of the drought. So the king called for Obadiah, who was steward over his cattle, and said to him, that he would have him go to the fountains of water, and to the brooks, that if any herbs could be found for them, they might mow it down, and reserve it for the beasts. And when he had sent persons all over the habitable earth (33) to discover the prophet Elijah, and they could not find him, he bade Obadiah accompany him. So it was resolved they should make a progress, and divide the ways between them; and Obadiah took one road, and the king another. Now it happened that the same time when queen Jezebel slew the prophets, that this Obadiah had hidden a hundred prophets, and had fed them with nothing but bread and water. But when Obadiah was alone, and absent from the king, the prophet Elijah met him; and Obadiah asked him who he was; and when he had learned it from him, he worshipped him. Elijah then bid him go to the king, and tell him that I am here ready to wait on him. But Obadiah replied, “What evil have I done to thee, that thou sendest me to one who seeketh to kill thee, and hath sought over all the earth for thee? Or was he so ignorant as not to know that the king had left no place untouched unto which he had not sent persons to bring him back, in order, if they could take him, to have him put to death?” For he told him he was afraid lest God should appear to him again, and he should go away into another place; and that when the king should send him for Elijah, and he should miss of him, and not be able to find him any where upon earth, he should be put to death. He desired him therefore to take care of his preservation; and told him how diligently he had provided for those of his own profession, and had saved a hundred prophets, when Jezebel slew the rest of them, and had kept them concealed, and that they had been sustained by him. But Elijah bade him fear nothing, but go to the king; and he assured him upon oath that he would certainly show himself to Ahab that very day.
5. So when Obadiah had informed the king that Elijah was there, Ahab met him, and asked him, in anger, if he were the man that afflicted the people of the Hebrews, and was the occasion of the drought they lay under? But Elijah, without any flattery, said that he was himself the man, he and his house, which brought such sad afflictions upon them, and that by introducing strange gods into their country, and worshipping them, and by leaving their own, who was the only true God, and having no manner of regard to him. However, he bade him go his way, and gather together all the people to him to Mount Carmel, with his own prophets, and those of his wife, telling him how many there were of them, as also the prophets of the groves, about four hundred in number. And as all the men whom Ahab sent for ran away to the forenamed mountain, the prophet Elijah stood in the midst of them, and said, “How long will you live thus in uncertainty of mind and opinion?” He also exhorted them, that in case they esteemed their own country God to be the true and the only God, they would follow him and his commandments; but in case they esteemed him to be nothing, but had an opinion of the strange gods, and that they ought to worship them, his counsel was, that they should follow them. And when the multitude made no answer to what he said, Elijah desired that, for a trial of the power of the strange gods, and of their own God, he, who was his only prophet, while they had four hundred, might take a heifer and kill it as a sacrifice, and lay it upon pieces of wood, and not kindle any fire, and that they should do the same things, and call upon their own gods to set the wood on fire; for if that were done, they would thence learn the nature of the true God. This proposal pleased the people. So Elijah bade the prophets to choose out a heifer first, and kill it, and to call on their gods. But when there appeared no effect of the prayer or invocation of the prophets upon their sacrifice, Elijah derided them, and bade them call upon their gods with a loud voice, for they might either be on a journey, or asleep; and when these prophets had done so from morning till noon, and cut themselves with swords and lances, (34) according to the customs of their country, and he was about to offer his sacrifice, he bade [the prophets] go away, but bade [the people] come near and observe what he did, lest he should privately hide fire among the pieces of wood. So, upon the approach of the multitude, he took twelve stones, one for each tribe of the people of the Hebrews, and built an altar with them, and dug a very deep trench; and when he had laid the pieces of wood upon the altar, and upon them had laid the pieces of the sacrifices, he ordered them to fill four barrels with the water of the fountain, and to pour it upon the altar, till it ran over it, and till the trench was filled with the water poured into it. When he had done this, he began to pray to God, and to invocate him to make manifest his power to a people that had already been in an error a long time; upon which words a fire came on a sudden from heaven in the sight of the multitude, and fell upon the altar, and consumed the sacrifice, till the very water was set on fire, and the place was become dry.
6. Now when the Israelites saw this, they fell down upon the ground, and worshipped one God, and called him The great and the only true God; but they called the others mere names, framed by the evil and vile opinions of men. So they caught their prophets, and, at the command of Elijah, slew them. Elijah also said to the king, that he should go to dinner without any further concern, for that in a little time he would see God send them rain. Accordingly Ahab went his way. But Elijah went up to the highest top of Mount Carmel, and sat down upon the ground, and leaned his head upon his knees, and bade his servant go up to a certain elevated place, and look towards the sea, and when he should see a cloud rising any where, he should give him notice of it, for till that time the air had been clear. When the Servant had gone up, and had said many times that he saw nothing, at the seventh time of his going up, he said that he saw a small black thing in the sky, not larger than a man’s foot. When Elijah heard that, he sent to Ahab, and desired him to go away to the city before the rain came down. So he came to the city Jezreel; and in a little time the air was all obscured, and covered with clouds, and a vehement storm of wind came upon the earth, and with it a great deal of rain; and the prophet was under a Divine fury, and ran along with the king’s chariot unto Jezreel a city of Izar (35) [Issaachar].
7. When Jezebel, the wife of Ahab, understood what signs Elijah had wrought, and how he had slain her prophets, she was angry, and sent messengers to him, and by them threatened to kill him, as he had destroyed her prophets. At this Elijah was affrighted, and fled to the city called Beersheba, which is situate at the utmost limits of the country belonging to the tribe of Judah, towards the land of Edom; and there he left his servant, and went away into the desert. He prayed also that he might die, for that he was not better than his fathers, nor need he be very desirous to live, when they were dead; and he lay and slept under a certain tree; and when somebody awakened him, and he was risen up, he found food set by him and water: so when he had eaten, and recovered his strength by that his food, he came to that mountain which is called Sinai, where it is related that Moses received his laws from God; and finding there a certain hollow cave, he entered into it, and continued to make his abode in it. But when a certain voice came to him, but from whence he knew not, and asked him, why he was come thither, and had left the city? he said, that because he had slain the prophets of the foreign gods, and had persuaded the people that he alone whom they had worshipped from the beginning was God, he was sought for by the king’s wife to be punished for so doing. And when he had heard another voice, telling him that he should come out the next day into the open air, and should thereby know what he was to do, he came out of the cave the next day accordingly, When he both heard an earthquake, and saw the bright splendor of a fire; and after a silence made, a Divine voice exhorted him not to be disturbed with the circumstances he was in, for that none of his enemies should have power over him. The voice also commanded him to return home, and to ordain Jehu, the son of Nimshi, to be king over their own multitude; and Hazael, of Damascus, to be over the Syrians; and Elisha, of the city Abel, to be a prophet in his stead; and that of the impious multitude, some should be slain by Hazael, and others by Jehu. So Elijah, upon hearing this charge, returned into the land of the Hebrews. And when he found Elisha, the son of Shaphat, ploughing, and certain others with him, driving twelve yoke of oxen, he came to him, and cast his own garment upon him; upon which Elisha began to prophesy presently, and leaving his oxen, he followed Elijah. And when he desired leave to salute his parents, Elijah gave him leave so to do; and when he had taken his leave of them, he followed him, and became the disciple and the servant of Elijah all the days of his life. And thus have I despatched the affairs in which this prophet was concerned.
8. Now there was one Naboth, of the city Izar, [Jezreel,] who had a field adjoining to that of the king: the king would have persuaded him to sell him that his field, which lay so near to his own lands, at what price he pleased, that he might join them together, and make them one farm; and if he would not accept of money for it, he gave him leave to choose any of his other fields in its stead. But Naboth said he would not do so, but would keep the possession of that land of his own, which he had by inheritance from his father. Upon this the king was grieved, as if he had received an injury, when he could not get another man’s possession, and he would neither wash himself, nor take any food: and when Jezebel asked him what it was that troubled him, and why he would neither wash himself, nor eat either dinner or supper, he related to her the perverseness of Naboth, and how, when he had made use of gentle words to him, and such as were beneath the royal authority, he had been affronted, and had not obtained what he desired. However, she persuaded him not to be cast down at this accident, but to leave off his grief, and return to the usual care of his body, for that she would take care to have Naboth punished; and she immediately sent letters to the rulers of the Israelites [Jezreelites] in Ahab’s name, and commanded them to fast and to assemble a congregation, and to set Naboth at the head of them, because he was of an illustrious family, and to have three bold men ready to bear witness that he had blasphemed God and the king, and then to stone him, and slay him in that manner. Accordingly, when Naboth had been thus testified against, as the queen had written to them, that he had blasphemed against God and Ahab the king, she desired him to take possession of Naboth’s vineyard on free cost. So Ahab was glad at what had been done, and rose up immediately from the bed whereon he lay to go to see Naboth’s vineyard; but God had great indignation at it, and sent Elijah the prophet to the field of Naboth, to speak to Ahab, and to say to him, that he had slain the true owner of that field unjustly. And as soon as he came to him, and the king had said that he might do with him what he pleased, (for he thought it a reproach to him to be thus caught in his sin,) Elijah said, that in that very place in which the dead body of Naboth was eaten by dogs both his own blood and that of his wife’s should be shed, and that all his family should perish, because he had been so insolently wicked, and had slain a citizen unjustly, and contrary to the laws of his country. Hereupon Ahab began to be sorry for the things he had done, and to repent of them; and he put on sackcloth, and went barefoot (36) and would not touch any food; he also confessed his sins, and endeavored thus to appease God. But God said to the prophet, that while Ahab was living he would put off the punishment of his family, because he repented of those insolent crimes he had been guilty of, but that still he would fulfill his threatening under Ahab’s son; which message the prophet delivered to the king.
HOW HADAD KING OF DAMASCUS AND OF SYRIA, MADE TWO EXPEDITIONS AGAINST AHAB AND WAS BEATEN.
1. WHEN the affairs of Ahab were thus, at that very time the son of Hadad, [Benhadad,] who was king of the Syrians and of Damascus, got together an army out of all his country, and procured thirty-two kings beyond Euphrates to be his auxiliaries: so he made an expedition against Ahab; but because Ahab’s army was not like that of Benhadad, he did not set it in array to fight him, but having shut up every thing that was in the country in the strongest cities he had, he abode in Samaria himself, for the walls about it were very strong, and it appeared to be not easily to be taken in other respects also. So the king of Syria took his army with him, and came to Samaria, and placed his army round about the city, and besieged it. He also sent a herald to Ahab, and desired he would admit the ambassadors he would send him, by whom he would let him know his pleasure. So, upon the king of Israel’s permission for him to send, those ambassador’s came, and by their king’s command spake thus: That Ahab’s riches, and his children, and his wives were Benhadad’s, and if he would make an agreement, and give him leave to take as much of what he had as he pleased, he would withdraw his army, and leave off the siege. Upon this Ahab bade the ambassadors to go back, and tell their king, that both he himself and all that he hath are his possessions. And when these ambassadors had told this to Berthadad, he sent to him again, and desired, since he confessed that all he had was his, that he would admit those servants of his which he should send the next day; and he commanded him to deliver to those whom he should send whatsoever, upon their searching his palace, and the houses of his friends and kindred, they should find to be excellent in its kind, but that what did not please them they should leave to him. At this second embassage of the king of Syria, Ahab was surprised, and gathered together the multitude to a congregation, and told them that, for himself, he was ready, for their safety and peace, to give up his own wives and children to the enemy, and to yield to him all his own possessions, for that was what the Syrian king required at his first embassage; but that now he desires to send his servants to search all their houses, and in them to leave nothing that is excellent in its kind, seeking an occasion of fighting against him, “as knowing that I would not spare what is mine own for your sakes, but taking a handle from the disagreeable terms he offers concerning you to bring a war upon us; however, I will do what you shall resolve is fit to be done.” But the multitude advised him to hearken to none of his proposals, but to despise him, and be in readiness to fight him. Accordingly, when he had given the ambassadors this answer to be reported, that he still continued in the mind to comply with what terms he at first desired, for the safety of the citizens; but as for his second desires, he cannot submit to them, – he dismissed them.
2. Now when Benhadad heard this, he had indignation, and sent ambassadors to Ahab the third time, and threatened that his army would raise a bank higher than those walls, in confidence of whose strength he despised him, and that by only each man of his army taking a handful of earth; hereby making a show of the great number of his army, and aiming to affright him. Ahab answered, that he ought not to vaunt himself when he had only put on his armor, but when he should have conquered his enemies in the battle. So the ambassadors came back, and found the king at supper with his thirty-two kings, and informed him of Ahab’s answer; who then immediately gave order for proceeding thus: To make lines round the city, and raise a bulwark, and to prosecute the siege all manner of ways. Now, as this was doing, Ahab was in a great agony, and all his people with him; but he took courage, and was freed from his fears, upon a certain prophet coming to him, and saying to him, that God had promised to subdue so many ten thousands of his enemies under him. And when he inquired by whose means the victory was to be obtained, be said,” By the sons of the princes; but under thy conduct as their leader, by reason of their unskilfulness [in war].” Upon which he called for the sons of the princes, and found them to be two hundred and thirty-two persons. So when he was informed that the king of Syria had betaken himself to feasting and repose, he opened the gates, and sent out the princes’ sons. Now when the sentinels told Benhadad of it, he sent some to meet them, and commanded them, that if these men were come out for fighting, they should bind them, and bring them to him; and that if they came out peaceably, they should do the same. Now Ahab had another army ready within the walls, but the sons of the princes fell upon the out-guard, and slew many of them, and pursued the rest of them to the camp; and when the king of Israel saw that these had the upper hand, he sent out all the rest of his army, which, falling suddenly upon the Syrians, beat them, for they did not think they would have come out; on which account it was that they assaulted them when they were naked (37) and drunk, insomuch that they left all their armor behind them when they fled out of the camp, and the king himself escaped with difficulty, by fleeing away on horseback. But Ahab went a great way in pursuit of the Syrians; and when he had spoiled their camp, which contained a great deal of wealth, and moreover a large quantity of gold and silver, he took Benhadad’s chariots and horses, and returned to the city; but as the prophet told him he ought to have his army ready, because the Syrian king would make another expedition against him the next year, Ahab was busy in making provision for it accordingly.
3. Now Benhadad, when he had saved himself, and as much of his army as he could, out of the battle, he consulted with his friends how he might make another expedition against the Israelites. Now those friends advised him not to fight with them on the hills, because their God was potent in such places, and thence it had come to pass that they had very lately been beaten; but they said, that if they joined battle with them in the plain, they should beat them. They also gave him this further advice, to send home those kings whom he had brought as his auxiliaries, but to retain their army, and to set captains over it instead of the kings, and to raise an army out of their country, and let them be in the place of the former who perished in the battle, together with horses and chariots. So he judged their counsel to be good, and acted according to it in the management of the army.
4. At the beginning of the spring, Benhadad took his army with him, and led it against the Hebrews; and when he was come to a certain city which was called Aphek, he pitched his camp in the great plain. Ahab also went to meet him with his army, and pitched his camp over against him, although his army was a very small one, if it were compared with the enemy’s; but the prophet came again to him, and told him, that God would give him the victory, that he might demonstrate his own power to be, not only on the mountains, but on the plains also; which it seems was contrary to the opinion of the Syrians. So they lay quiet in their camp seven days; but on the last of those days, when the enemies came out of their camp, and put themselves in array in order to fight, Ahab also brought out his own army; and when the battle was joined, and they fought valiantly, he put the enemy to flight, and pursued them, and pressed upon them, and slew them; nay, they were destroyed by their own chariots, and by one another; nor could any more than a few of them escape to their own city Aphek, who were also killed by the walls falling upon them, being in number twenty-seven thousand. (38) Now there were slain in this battle a hundred thousand more; but Benhadad, the king of the Syrians, fled away, with certain others of his most faithful servants, and hid himself in a cellar under ground; and when these told him that the kings of Israel were humane and merciful men, and that they might make use of the usual manner of supplication, and obtain deliverance from Ahab, in case he would give them leave to go to him, he gave them leave accordingly. So they came to Ahab, clothed in sackcloth, with ropes about their heads, (for this was the ancient manner of supplication among the Syrians,) (39) and said, that Benhadad desired he would save him, and that he would ever be a servant to him for that favor. Ahab replied he was glad that he was alive, and not hurt in the battle; and he further promised him the same honor and kindness that a man would show to his brother. So they received assurances upon oath from him, that when he came to him he should receive no harm from him, and then went and brought him out of the cellar wherein he was hid, and brought him to Ahab as he sat in his chariot. So Benhadad worshipped him; and Ahab gave him his hand, and made him come up to him into his chariot, and kissed him, and bid him be of good cheer, and not to expect that any mischief should be done to him. So Berthadad returned him thanks, and professed that he would remember his kindness to him all the days of his life; and promised he would restore those cities of the Israelites which the former kings had taken from them, and grant that he should have leave to come to Damascus, as his forefathers had to come to Samaria. So they confirmed their covenant by oaths, and Ahab made him many presents, and sent him back to his own kingdom. And this was the conclusion of the war that Benhadad made against Ahab and the Israelites.
5. But a certain prophet, whose name was Micaiah, (40) came to one of the Israelites, and bid him smite him on the head, for by so doing he would please God; but when he would not do so, he foretold to him, that since he disobeyed the commands of God, he should meet with a lion, and be destroyed by him. When that sad accident had befallen the man, the prophet came again to another, and gave him the same injunction; so he smote him, and wounded his skull; upon which he bound up his head, and came to the king, and told him that he had been a soldier of his, and had the custody of one of the prisoners committed to him by an officer, and that the prisoner being run away, he was in danger of losing his own life by the means of that officer, who had threatened him, that if the prisoner escaped he would kill him. And when Ahab had said that he would justly die, he took off the binding about his head, and was known by the king to be Micaiah the prophet, who made use of this artifice as a prelude to his following words; for he said that God would punish him who had suffered Benhadad, a blasphemer against him, to escape punishment; and that he would so bring it about, that he should die by the other’s means (41) and his people by the other’s army. Upon which Ahab was very angry at the prophet, and gave commandment that he should be put in prison, and there kept; but for himself, he was in confusion at the words of Micaiah, and returned to his own house.
CONCERNING JEHOSHAPHAT THE KING OF JERUSALEM AND HOW AHAB MADE AN EXPEDITION AGAINST THE SYRIANS AND WAS ASSISTED THEREIN BY JEHOSHAPHAT, BUT WAS HIMSELF OVERCOME IN BATTLE AND PERISHED THEREIN.
1. AND these were the circumstances in which Ahab was. But I now return to Jehoshaphat, the king of Jerusalem, who, when he had augmented his kingdom, had set garrisons in the cities of the countries belonging to his subjects, and had put such garrisons no less into those cities which were taken out of the tribe of Ephraim by his grandfather Abijah, when Jeroboam reigned over the ten tribes [than he did into the other]. But then he had God favorable and assisting to him, as being both righteous and religious, and seeking to do somewhat every day that should be agreeable and acceptable to God. The kings also that were round about him honored him with the presents they made him, till the riches that he had acquired were immensely great, and the glory he had gained was of a most exalted nature.
2. Now, in the third year of this reign, he called together the rulers of the country, and the priests, and commanded them to go round the land, and teach all the people that were under him, city by city, the laws of Moses, and to keep them, and to be diligent in the worship of God. With this the whole multitude was so pleased, that they were not so eagerly set upon or affected with any thing so much as the observation of the laws. The neighboring nations also continued to love Jehoshaphat, and to be at peace with him. The Philistines paid their appointed tribute, and the Arabians supplied him every year with three hundred and sixty lambs, and as many kids of the goats. He also fortified the great cities, which were many in number, and of great consequence. He prepared also a mighty army of soldiers and weapons against their enemies. Now the army of men that wore their armor, was three hundred thousand of the tribe of Judah, of whom Adnah was the chief; but John was chief of two hundred thousand. The same man was chief of the tribe of Benjamin, and had two hundred thousand archers under him. There was another chief, whose name was Jehozabad, who had a hundred and fourscore thousand armed men. This multitude was distributed to he ready for the king’s service, besides those whom he sent to the best fortified cities.
3. Jehoshaphat took for his son Jehoram to wife the daughter of Ahab, the king of the ten tribes, whose name was Athaliah. And when, after some time, he went to Samaria, Ahab received him courteously, and treated the army that followed him in a splendid manner, with great plenty of corn and wine, and of slain beasts; and desired that he would join with him in his war against the king of Syria, that he might recover from him the city Ramoth, in Gilead; for though it had belonged to his father, yet had the king of Syria’s father taken it away from him; and upon Jehoshaphat’s promise to afford him his assistance, (for indeed his army was not inferior to the other,) and his sending for his army from Jerusalem to Samaria, the two kings went out of the city, and each of them sat on his own throne, and each gave their orders to their several armies. Now Jehoshaphat bid them call some of the prophets, if there were any there, and inquire of them concerning this expedition against the king of Syria, whether they would give them counsel to make that expedition at this time, for there was peace at that time between Ahab and the king of Syria, which had lasted three years, from the time he had taken him captive till that day.
4. So Ahab called his own prophets, being in number about four hundred, and bid them inquire of God whether he would grant him the victory, if he made an expedition against Benhadad, and enable him to overthrow that city, for whose sake it was that he was going to war. Now these prophets gave their counsel for making this expedition, and said that he would beat the king of Syria, and, as formerly, would reduce him under his power. But Jehoshaphat, understanding by their words that they were false prophets, asked Ahab whether there were not some other prophet, and he belonging to the true God, that we may have surer information concerning futurities. Hereupon Ahab said there was indeed such a one, but that he hated him, as having prophesied evil to him, and having foretold that he should be overcome and slain by the king of Syria, and that for this cause he had him now in prison, and that his name was Micaiah, the son of Imlah. But upon Jehoshaphat’s desire that he might be produced, Ahab sent a eunuch, who brought Micaiah to him. Now the eunuch had informed him by the way, that all the other prophets had foretold that the king should gain the victory; but he said, that it was not lawful for him to lie against God, but that he must speak what he should say to him about the king, whatsoever it were. When he came to Ahab, and he had adjured him upon oath to speak the truth to him, he said that God had shown to him the Israelites running away, and pursued by the Syrians, and dispersed upon the mountains by them, as flocks of sheep are dispersed when their shepherd is slain. He said further, that God signified to him, that those Israelites should return :in peace to their own home, and that he only should fall in the battle. When Micalab had thus spoken, Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “I told thee a little while ago the disposition of the man with regard to me, and that he uses to prophesy evil to me.” Upon which Micaiah replied, that he ought to hear all, whatsoever it be, that God foretells; and that in particular, they were false prophets that encouraged him to make this war in hope of victory, whereas he must fight and be killed. Whereupon the king was in suspense with himself: but Zedekiah, one of those false prophets, came near, and exhorted him not to hearken to Micaiah, for he did not at all speak truth; as a demonstration of which he instanced in what Elijah had said, who was a better prophet in foretelling futurities than Micaiah (42) for he foretold that the dogs should lick his blood in the city of Jezreel, in the field of Naboth, as they licked the blood of Naboth, who by his means was there stoned to death by the multitude; that therefore it was plain that this Micalab was a liar, as contradicting a greater prophet than himself, and saying that he should be slain at three days’ journey distance: “and [said he] you shall soon know whether he be a true prophet, and hath the power of the Divine Spirit; for I will smite him, and let him then hurt my hand, as Jadon caused the hand of Jeroboam the king to wither when he would have caught him; for I suppose thou hast certainly heard of that accident.” So when, upon his smiting Micaiah, no harm happened to him, Ahab took courage, and readily led his army against the king of Syria; for, as I suppose, fate was too hard for him, and made him believe that the false prophets spake truer than the true one, that it might take an occasion of bringing him to his end. However, Zedekiah made horns of iron, and said to Ahab, that God made those horns signals, that by them he should overthrow all Syria. But Micaiah replied, that Zedekiah, in a few days, should go from one secret chamber to another to hide himself, that he might escape the punishment of his lying. Then did the king give orders that they should take Micaiah away, and guard him to Amon, the governor of the city, and to give him nothing but bread and water.
5. Then did Ahab, and Jehoshaphat the king of Jerusalem, take their forces, and marched to Ramoth a city of Gilead; and when the king of Syria heard of this expedition, he brought out his army to oppose them, and pitched his camp not far from Ramoth. Now Ahalx and Jehoshaphat had agreed that Ahab should lay aside his royal robes, but that the king of Jerusalem should put on his [Ahab’s] proper habit, and stand before the army, in order to disprove, by this artifice, what Micaiah had foretold. (43) But Ahab’s fate found him out without his robes; for Benhadad, the king of Assyria, had charged his army, by the means of their commanders, to kill nobody else but only the king of Israel. So when the Syrians, upon their joining battle with the Israelites, saw Jehoshaphat stand before the army, and conjectured that he was Ahab, they fell violently upon him, and encompassed him round; but when they were near, and knew that it was not he, they all returned back; and while the fight lasted from the morning till late in the evening, and the Syrians were conquerors, they killed nobody, as their king had commanded them. And when they sought to kill Ahab alone, but could not find him, there was a young nobleman belonging to king Benhadad, whose name was Naaman; he drew his bow against the enemy, and wounded the king through his breastplate, in his lungs. Upon this Ahab resolved not to make his mischance known to his army, lest they should run away; but he bid the driver of his chariot to turn it back, and carry him out of the battle, because he was sorely and mortally wounded. However, he sat in his chariot and endured the pain till sunset, and then he fainted away and died.
6. And now the Syrian army, upon the coming on of the night, retired to their camp; and when the herald belonging to the camp gave notice that Ahab was dead, they returned home; and they took the dead body of Ahab to Samaria, and buried it there; but when they had washed his chariot in the fountain of Jezreel, which was bloody with the dead body of the king, they acknowledged that the prophecy of Elijah was true, for the dogs licked his blood, and the harlots continued afterwards to wash themselves in that fountain; but still he died at Ramoth, as Micaiah had foretold. And as what things were foretold should happen to Ahab by the two prophets came to pass, we ought thence to have high notions of God, and every where to honor and worship him, and never to suppose that what is pleasant and agreeable is worthy of belief before what is true, and to esteem nothing more advantageous than the gift of prophecy (44) and that foreknowledge of future events which is derived from it, since God shows men thereby what we ought to avoid. We may also guess, from what happened to this king, and have reason to consider the power of fate; that there is no way of avoiding it, even when we know it. It creeps upon human souls, and flatters them with pleasing hopes, till it leads them about to the place where it will be too hard for them. Accordingly Ahab appears to have been deceived thereby, till he disbelieved those that foretold his defeat; but, by giving credit to such as foretold what was grateful to him, was slain; and his son Ahaziah succeeded him.