Then David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by Uriah. In the letter, he said, "Place Uriah in the front line where there is the fiercest fighting, then draw back from behind him, that he may be struck down and die." So Joab, in posting guards over the city, sent Uriah to the place where he knew there were brave men. When the men of the city went out to fight against Joab, some of the soldiers of David fell, and Uriah the Hittite was killed.
Then Joab sent to tell David all about the war, and he gave this command to the messenger: "If, after you have finished telling the ruler all about the war, he is angry and says to you, 'Why did you go so near to the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? Who struck down Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal? Did not a woman cast an upper millstone upon him from the wall, so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go near the wall?' then say, 'Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.'"
So the messenger of Joab went to Jerusalem and told David all that Joab commanded him. Then David said to the messenger, "Say to Joab, 'Let not this thing trouble you, for the sword takes one and then another. Go on fighting against the city and capture it,' and encourage him."
When Bathsheba heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for him as was the custom. When the mourning was over, David sent for her, and she became his wife and she had a son.
What David had done displeased Jehovah and he sent the prophet Nathan to David. Nathan went to him and said, "There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb which he had bought. He fed it, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his own small supply of food and drink out of his own cup, and it lay in his bosom and was like a daughter to him.
"Now a traveller came to the rich man; and he spared his own flock and did not take an animal from it nor from his own herd to make ready for the traveller who had come to him, but took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the guest who had come."
Then David was very angry, and he said to Nathan, "As surely as Jehovah lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; he shall repay seven times the value of the lamb, because he showed no pity."
Nathan said to David, "You are the man! Jehovah the God of Israel declares: 'I made you ruler over Israel and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. I gave you your master's house and your master's wives to be your own, and I gave you the nations of Israel and Judah. If that were too little, I would add as much again. Why have you despised Jehovah by doing that which is wrong in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword shall never cease to smite your family, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.'"
David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against Jehovah!" Then Nathan said to David, "Jehovah has also put away your sin so that you shall not die. Yet, because by this deed you have shown contempt for Jehovah, the child that is born shall surely die." Then Nathan went to his house.
And Jehovah smote Bathsheba's child so that it fell sick. David prayed to God for the child, and ate no food but went in and lay all night in sackcloth upon the earth. The older men in his house stood over him to raise him up from the earth; but he would not rise nor eat with them. When on the seventh day the child died, the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, "While the child was yet alive, we spoke to him and he paid no attention to our voice. How can we tell him that the child is dead, for he will do some harm!"
But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, he knew that the child was dead, and said to his servants, "Is the child dead?" They replied, "He is dead." Then David rose from the earth, washed and put oil on himself, changed his clothes, and went into the temple of Jehovah and worshipped. After that he went to his own house; and he asked for bread, and when they set it before him, he ate.
His servants said to him, "What is this you have done? You ate no food and cried for the child while it was alive, but when the child died, you rose and ate bread." He replied, "While the child was yet alive, I ate no food and cried aloud, for I said, 'Who knows whether Jehovah will have mercy, so that the child will live?' But now that he is dead, why should I eat no food? Can I bring him back? I am going to him, but he will not come back to me."
ABSALOM THE UNGRATEFUL SON
Some time later Absalom, David's son, prepared a chariot and horses and fifty men to run before him. He used to rise early and stand beside the highway which led to the city gate. He would call to him every man who had a suit that was to come before the ruler for judgment and say, "Of what city are you?" When the man replied, "Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel," Absalom would say to him, "Your claims are good and right; but the ruler has not appointed any one to hear you. Oh, that some one would make me judge in the land, so that every man who has any complaint or cause would come to me, and I would see that he received justice!" And whenever a man came near to bow before him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. In this way Absalom treated all the Israelites who came to David for justice. Thus, Absalom stole from David the hearts of the Israelites.
At the end of four years, Absalom said to his father, "I should like to go and keep my promise, which I have made to Jehovah in Hebron." David said to him, "Go in peace." So he went to Hebron; but Absalom sent messengers to all the tribes of Israel to say, "As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, cry, 'Absalom has become ruler in Hebron.'" With Absalom there went two hundred men from Jerusalem, who were invited and went innocently, knowing nothing at all of what he was going to do. Absalom also sent for Ahithophel, David's adviser, from the city of Giloh, while he was offering the sacrifices. And the plot was strong, for more and more people kept going over to Absalom.
When a messenger came to David, saying, "The hearts of the men of Israel have gone over to Absalom," David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, "Up, let us flee; for, if we do not, none of us will escape from Absalom. Go at once, or he may quickly overtake us and bring evil upon us and kill the people of the city." Then David's servants said to him, "It shall be done as our lord wishes; we are your servants."
So David and all the people who followed him went out and stood at the last house, while all the officers and the royal body-guard and all the men of Ittai the Gittite, the six hundred who had followed him from Gath, passed on before him.
Then David said to Ittai, "Why do you also go with us? Go back and stay with the new ruler, for you are a foreigner and away from your own land. Yesterday you came, and to-day shall I make you go up and down the land with us, while I go where I may? Go back and take your men with you, and may Jehovah show you kindness and faithfulness." But Ittai answered, "As surely as Jehovah lives and as my lord the ruler of Israel lives, wherever my lord is, whether dead or living, there your servant will be!" David said to Ittai, "March on." So Ittai marched on with all his men and with all the children who were with him.
All the people were weeping aloud while David stood in the Kidron valley, and they went by before him on the way to the wilderness. And Zadok and Abiathar came carrying the ark of Jehovah and set it down until all the people had passed. Then David said to Zadok, "Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I win Jehovah's favor, he will bring me back and show me both it and the place where he dwells. But if he declares, 'I have no trust in you, then here am I, let him do to me as he thinks best.'" So Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark of God back to Jerusalem and stayed there.
But David went up, weeping as he climbed the Mount of Olives with his head covered and his feet bare. All the people who were with him covered their heads and went up, weeping as they went.
And when David came to the summit, where one worships God, Hushai the Archite with his garment torn and earth upon his head, came to meet him. David said to him, "If you go on with me you will be a burden to me. But if you go back to the city, and say to Absalom, 'Your brothers have gone away and your father has gone after them; I will be your servant, O king; as I have been your father's servant in the past, so now I will be your servant,' you can defeat for me the advice of Ahithophel. And have you not there with you Zadok and Abiathar the priests? See, they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz, Zadok's son, and Jonathan, Abiathar's son. By them you shall send word to me of everything that you hear." So Hushai, David's friend, went into the city, when Absalom came to Jerusalem.
Then David and all the people who were with him, reached the Jordan tired out, but he refreshed himself there.
And Absalom, with all the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel was with him. When Hushai, David's friend, came to Absalom, Hushai said to him, "May the king live, may the king live!" But Absalom said to Hushai, "Is this your love for your friend? Why did you not go with your friend?" Hushai answered, "No! to him whom Jehovah and his people and all the men of Israel have chosen, to him will I belong and with him will I stay. Also whom should I serve? Should it not be his son? As I have served your father, so will I serve you."
The advice which Ahithophel gave in those days was thought by David and Absalom to be the same as if it had come from God himself. And Ahithophel said to Absalom, "Let me now pick out twelve thousand men, and set out and follow David to-night. Thus I will come upon him when he is tired and weak and will frighten him, and all the people who are with him will flee. Then I will kill only the king, and I will bring back all the people to you as the bride turns to her husband. Seek only the life of one man, and all the people will be at peace." This advice pleased Absalom and all the leaders of Israel.
Then Absalom said, "Call now Hushai and let us hear also what he has to say." When Hushai came to Absalom, Absalom said to him, "Thus Ahithophel has spoken; shall we act as he advises? If not, you advise us." Then Hushai said to Absalom, "The advice that Ahithophel has given this time is not good. You know that your father and his men are mighty warriors and are now angry, like a bear robbed of her cubs. Your father is also a soldier and will not stay at night with the people. Even now he has hidden himself in one of the caves or in some other place. If some of the people fall at first, whoever hears it will say, 'There is a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom.' Then even he who is brave, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will completely lose courage; for all Israel knows that your father is a great warrior, and they who are with him are brave men. But I advise, let all the Israelites be gathered to you, from Dan to Beersheba, as many as the sand that is by the sea, with you yourself marching in the midst of them. In this way we will come upon him in some place where he will be found, and we will fall upon him as the dew falls on the ground; and of him and of all the men who are with him not even one shall be left. If he goes into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city, and we will pull it down into the valley, until not even a small stone is found there."
Absalom and all the men of Israel said, "The advice of Hushai is better than the advice of Ahithophel." For Jehovah had planned to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel, so that Jehovah might bring evil upon Absalom.
Then Hushai said to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, "This is what Ahithophel advised Absalom and the leaders of Israel; and this is what I advised. So now send quickly and say to David, 'Do not spend this night at the fords of the wilderness, but by all means cross over, for fear that David and all the people with him be killed.'"
Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying at Enrogel; and a maid-servant was to go and bring them news, and they were to go and tell David, for they must not be seen coming into the city. But a boy saw them and told Absalom. Then they both went away quickly and entered into the house of a man in Bahurim, who had a well in his courtyard into which they descended. The women took and spread the covering over the mouth of the well, and scattered dried fruit upon it, so that nothing was known. And when Absalom's servants came to the woman at the house and said, "Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?" the woman answered, "They have gone over the brook." When they had searched and could find nothing, they returned to Jerusalem.
But as soon as the men had gone away, Ahimaaz and Jonathan came up out of the well, and went and told David and said, "Get up, cross quickly over the water, for so has Ahithophel advised in regard to you." Then David and all the people who were with him rose and crossed the Jordan. By daybreak there was not one left behind.
A BROKEN-HEARTED FATHER
After Absalom and all the men of Israel crossed the Jordan, David counted the troops who were with him, and put over them commanders of thousands and of hundreds. And he divided the troops into three divisions; one was under the command of Joab, another under Abishai, and another under the command of Ittai. Then David said to the people, "I too will surely go out with you." But the people said, "You shall not go out; for if we are defeated, or if half of us die, it will make no difference, for you are equal to ten thousand of us. It is therefore more important for you to be ready to help us from the city." David said to them, "I will do what you think best!" So he stood beside the gate, while all the troops marched out by hundreds and by thousands.
David commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, "Deal gently for my sake with the young man, with Absalom!" All the people heard when he gave the commanders this order about Absalom.
So the troops went out into the field against Israel. The battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim. And the soldiers of Israel were defeated there by those who were loyal to David, and the loss of life on that day was great—twenty thousand men. The battle spread over the whole country; and the dense thickets killed more people than were killed by the sword.
Absalom happened to meet the soldiers of David while riding upon his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak, and Absalom's head caught fast in the oak, and he was hung between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. A certain man saw it and told Joab, "I saw Absalom hanging in an oak." Joab said to the man who told him, "You saw him! Why did you not strike him to the ground? I would have given you ten pieces of silver and a belt." But the man said to Joab, "If I were to feel the weight of a thousand pieces of silver in my hand, I would not raise my hand against the ruler's son, for in our hearing he commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, 'Take care of the young man Absalom.' If I had treacherously taken his life, nothing would have been hidden from the ruler of Israel, and you yourself would not have tried to save me." Joab answered, "I will not waste time with you."
So he took three spears in his hand and drove them into Absalom's heart, while he was still alive in the midst of the oak. Then Joab said to a negro slave, "Go, tell the ruler of Israel what you have seen." And the negro bowed before Joab and ran off.
Now David was sitting between the two gates, and when the negro came, he said, "Let my lord receive the good news; Jehovah has punished for you this day all those who rose up against you.'" David said to the negro, "Is it well with the young Absalom?" The negro answered, "May the enemies of my lord and all who rebel against you to harm you be as that young man!"
Then David was very sad and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. As he wept he said, "My son Absalom, my son, O my son Absalom! Oh that I had died for you, Absalom, my son, my son!" And it was reported to Joab, "The ruler of Israel is weeping and mourning for Absalom." So for all the people the victory that day was turned to mourning, because they heard that David was mourning for his son. Therefore, the people stole away into the city, as people who are ashamed steal away when they have run away in battle. But David covered his face and cried aloud, "My son Absalom, Absalom, my son, my son!"
HOW SOLOMON BECAME THE RULER OF ISRAEL
Now when David was old, Adonijah thought, "I will be ruler of Israel." So he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen and fifty men to run before him. His father, David, had never in his life troubled him by saying, "Why have you done thus and so?" Adonijah was very good-looking and was the next younger son after Absalom. He also had made an agreement with Joab and with Abiathar the priest to help him. But Zadok the priest and Benaiah and Nathan the prophet, as well as Shimei and Rei and David's famous warriors, were not on his side.
Adonijah held a feast and killed for it sheep, oxen, and fat beasts by the Serpent's Stone, which is beside the Fuller's Spring; and he invited to the feast all his brothers and all the royal officials of Judah; but he did not invite the prophet Nathan nor Benaiah nor the famous warriors nor his brother Solomon.
Then Nathan said to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, "Have you not heard that Adonijah has been made ruler without David our lord knowing it? Now, therefore, let me advise you that you may save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. Go at once to David and say to him, 'Did you not, my lord, solemnly promise your servant that Solomon your son should rule after you? Why then has Adonijah been made ruler?' While you are still talking with him, I will come in and repeat your words."
So Bathsheba went into David's room; he was very old, and Abishag the Shunamite was caring for him. When David said, "What do you wish?" she said to him, "My lord, you solemnly promised your servant by Jehovah: 'Solomon your son shall rule after me.' But now Adonijah has been made ruler without your knowledge, my lord! Now, my lord, all the Israelites are looking to you, to tell them who shall rule after you. If you do not tell them, then, when my lord dies, I and my son Solomon will be treated as criminals."
While she was still talking with David, Nathan the prophet came in. And they told David, "Nathan the prophet is here." So he came in and bowed before David with his face to the ground. Then Nathan said, "My lord, have you said, 'Adonijah shall rule after me?' For he has gone down this day and killed many oxen and fat beasts and sheep and has invited all your sons and the commanders of the army and Abiathar the priest; and there they are eating and drinking before him and saying, 'May the new ruler Adonijah live!' But he has not invited me, even me your servant, nor Zadok, the priest, nor Benaiah nor your servant Solomon. If you have done this, my lord, you have failed to show your servants who is to rule after my lord."
David answered, "Call Bathsheba to me." So she came in and stood before him. Then David made this solemn promise; "As surely as Jehovah lives, who has delivered me from all trouble, as I have solemnly promised to you by Jehovah, the God of Israel, saying, 'Solomon your son shall rule after me'; so I will certainly do to-day." Then Bathsheba bowed her face to the earth and said, "May my lord live forever."
Then David said, "Call to me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada." When they came before him, he said to them, "Take with you the servants of your lord. Let Solomon my son ride upon my own mule, bring him down to Gihon, and there let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet make him ruler over Israel and blow the trumpet and say, 'May Solomon the ruler live!' Then you shall go up after him, and he shall go in and sit upon my throne, for he shall rule after me; and I have appointed him to be chief over Israel and Judah." Benaiah answered David, "So may it be! May Jehovah confirm the words of my lord. As Jehovah has been with my lord, even so may he be with Solomon, and may he make his throne greater than the throne of my lord David!"
Then Zadok, Nathan, and Benaiah together with the Philistine body-guards, went down and put Solomon on David's mule and brought him to Gihon. Zadok the priest took the horn of oil out of the tent and poured oil on Solomon's head, and they blew the trumpet, and all the people said, "May Solomon live!" Then all the people followed him and the people played on flutes and rejoiced so loudly that the earth seemed to be shaken by the sound that they made.
Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard it just as they had finished eating. And they were terrified and each rose up and went away. But Adonijah in his fear of Solomon went and caught hold of the horns of the altar. When it was reported to Solomon, "See, Adonijah fears Solomon the ruler, for he has caught hold of the horns of the altar and says, 'Let Solomon solemnly promise me first that he will not kill his servant with the sword,'" Solomon said, "If he shall show himself a worthy man, not one of his hairs shall be touched, but if he is found guilty of disloyalty, he shall die." So Solomon had him brought from the altar. And he came and bowed before Solomon the ruler. And Solomon said to him, "Go to your home."
Then David died and was buried in the City of David, after having ruled over Israel forty years.
A YOUNG MAN'S WISE CHOICE
Solomon went to Gibeon to offer a sacrifice there, for that was the great high place. He offered upon that altar a thousand animals as a burnt-offering.
In Gibeon Jehovah appeared to Solomon in a dream by night and said, "Ask what I shall give you." Solomon said, "Thou hast showed to thy servant David my father great kindness. Now, O Jehovah my God, thou hast made thy servant ruler in the place of David my father, although I am but a child who does not know how to go out or come in. Give thy servant, therefore, an understanding mind to rule thy people, that I may see clearly what is good and what is evil; for who is able to rule this thy great people?"
Jehovah was pleased that Solomon had asked this; and God said to him, "Because you have asked this and have not asked for yourself long life nor riches nor the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to see clearly what is just, I have now granted what you ask; I have given you a wise and understanding mind. I have also given you that which you have not asked, both riches and honor." When Solomon awoke, he found that it was a dream; and he returned to Jerusalem.
Once two women came to Solomon and stood before him. The one woman said, "Oh, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house. While with her in the house I had a child. Three days later this woman also had a child, and we were alone by ourselves in the house. While we two were alone this woman's child died in the night, because she lay upon it.
"Then she rose at midnight and took my son from beside me, while your servant slept, and laid it on her breast and laid her dead child on mine. When I rose at dawn to nurse my child, there it was dead; but when I looked at it closely in the morning, I found that it was not my son." Then the other woman said, "No; the living is my son, and the dead child is your son." So they quarrelled before Solomon.
Then Solomon said, "One says, 'This one who is alive is my son, and your son is dead.' But the other says, 'No; your son is dead, and my son is the one that is alive.' Bring me a sword." So they brought him a sword. Then he said, "Divide the living child in two and give half to the one and half to the other." At that the woman to whom the living child belonged spoke to Solomon—for she loved her son with all her heart—and said, "Oh, my lord, give her the living child and on no account put it to death." But the other said, "It shall be neither mine nor yours! Divide it!" Then Solomon said, "Give the first woman the living child, and on no account put it to death; she is its mother."
When all Israel heard of the decision which Solomon had given, they had great respect for him, for they saw that he had divine wisdom to decide questions justly.
BUILDING A GREAT TEMPLE
In the fourth year of Solomon's rule over Israel he built the temple of Jehovah. The temple was ninety feet long, thirty feet wide, and forty-five feet high. The porch before the large room of the temple was thirty feet wide and fifteen feet deep. Solomon made windows for the temple with casings, broad on the inside and narrow on the outside.
The temple was built with stone which had been made ready at the quarry; neither hammer nor chisel nor any iron tool was heard while the temple was building. Against the wall of the temple on the outside Solomon built wings, both around the larger room and the inner room, and made side-chambers around the temple.
The entrance to the lower side-chambers was on the south side of the temple. Winding stairs led to the second floor, and from the second to the third. Solomon built the wings against the sides of the temple, each seven and a half feet high; and they were joined to the temple with timbers of cedar.
He covered the walls of the temple on the inside with boards of cedar from the floor of the temple to the rafters: and he covered the floor of the temple with boards of cypress.
He also made a room thirty feet square in the back part of the temple with boards of cedar reaching from the floor to the rafters. He built it as an inner room, even as the most holy place. The temple, that is the large room in front of the inner room, was sixty feet long. And there was cedar inside the temple with carving in the form of gourds and open flowers. All was cedar, no stone was seen. Solomon prepared the inner room as a place for the ark.
In the inner room Solomon made two winged bulls of olive wood. The height of each was fifteen feet. Each of their wings measured seven and a half feet across, fifteen feet from the end of one wing to the end of the other. He set these up in the inner room of the temple; and their wings were stretched out so that the wing of the one touched the one wall, while the wing of the other touched the other wall, and their wings touched each other in the middle of the temple; and he covered them with gold.
Then Solomon gathered in Jerusalem the leaders of Israel to bring up the ark of Jehovah out of Zion, the City of David, at the time of the autumn festival in September. When all the leaders of Israel had come, the priests took up the ark and the tent of meeting and all the sacred vessels that were in the tent. So the priests brought in the ark of Jehovah to its place in the inner room of the temple under the wings of the winged bulls. There was nothing in the ark except the two tables of stone which Moses put there at Horeb. And when the priests came out from the inner room, the cloud filled the temple of Jehovah, so that the priests could not stand and perform their service on account of the cloud, for the glory of Jehovah filled his temple.
Then Solomon said:
"Jehovah has set the sun in the heavens, But has said that he will dwell in thick darkness. So I have built thee a temple as a lofty dwelling, A place for thee to abide in forever."
As Solomon stood before the altar of Jehovah in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, he spread out his hands toward heaven and said, "O Jehovah, the God of Israel, there is no God like thee in heaven above or on earth beneath, who keepest thy solemn agreement and showest kindness to thy servants who serve thee whole-heartedly, who hast kept with thy servant David my father the promise that thou didst make to him.
"But will God actually dwell on earth? Indeed heaven and the highest heaven cannot hold thee; how much less this temple that I have built!"
A RULER WHO WRONGED HIS PEOPLE
Solomon was building his palace thirteen years before he finished it. He also built the throne-hall where he judged the people. This room was the Hall of Judgment; and it was covered with cedar from floor to ceiling.
His palace where he lived, in another court farther in from the Hall of Judgment, was of the same workmanship. He made a palace, too, similar to this hall, for Pharaoh's daughter whom he had married. All these buildings were of costly stones, hewn according to measurements, sawed with saws, both on the inside and outside.
Solomon also gathered together chariots and horsemen; he had one thousand four hundred chariots and twelve thousand horsemen that he placed in the chariot cities and with him at Jerusalem. And Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel who provided food for him and for his household: each man had to provide food for a month in the year.
When the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to test him with puzzling questions. So she came to Jerusalem with a very large number of servants, with camels that carried spices and a great amount of gold and precious stones. As soon as she came to Solomon, she told him all that was in her mind. And Solomon answered all her questions: nothing was too difficult for him to answer.
When the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the palace that he had built, the food on his table, the housing of his officers, the way his waiters served him, their clothing, his cup-bearers, and the burnt-offering which he offered at the temple of Jehovah, she was greatly surprised. She said to Solomon, "What I heard in my own land of your acts and of your wisdom was true. But I would not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; but as it is, the half was not told me; your wisdom and prosperity are even greater than what was reported to me."
Now Solomon loved women; and he married many foreign wives—Moabites, Canaanites, Edomites, Sidonians, Hittites, and Ammonites. He had seven hundred wives of princely birth, and three hundred concubines. When Solomon was old, his wives influenced him to worship other gods, and he was not loyal to Jehovah his God. Solomon built a place of worship for Chemosh, the god of Moab, on the hill that is opposite Jerusalem, and for Milcom, the god of the Ammonites. He did the same for all his foreign wives, burning incense and offering sacrifices to their gods.
Then God raised up as a foe against him Rezon, the son of Eliada, who had fled from his master, Hadadezer, king of Zobah. He gathered men about him and became commander of a robber band, and he went to Damascus and lived and reigned there. He was a foe to Israel as long as Solomon lived.
Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, was a man of great ability. When Solomon saw that the young man was industrious, he placed him over all the men of the tribe of Joseph who were working for the ruler.
Once upon a time, when Jeroboam went away from Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah of Shiloh met him on the way and took him aside. Now Ahijah had put on a new garment, and while they two were alone in the field, Ahijah took hold of the new garment he had on and tore it in twelve pieces. Then he said to Jeroboam, "Take for yourself ten pieces; for Jehovah, the God of Israel, declares, 'I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and will give ten tribes to you, but he shall have only one tribe.'" So Jeroboam also rebelled against Solomon.
Solomon, therefore, wanted to kill Jeroboam. But Jeroboam arose and fled to Egypt, and he was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.
REHOBOAM'S GREAT MISTAKE
When Solomon died, Rehoboam his son ruled after him. As soon as Jeroboam, who was still in Egypt, heard that Solomon had died, he returned at once to his home town, Zeredah in Mount Ephraim.
Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all the Israelites had come to Shechem to make him ruler. But they said to Rehoboam, "Your father laid a heavy yoke upon us. Now make the hard service of your father and the heavy yoke that he laid upon us lighter, and we will serve you." He said to them, "Go away for three days; then come again to me." So the people went away.
Then Rehoboam asked advice from the old men who had been in the service of Solomon his father during his lifetime and inquired, "What answer do you advise me to give this people?" They said to him, "If now you will serve this people and give them a favorable answer, then they will be your servants forever."
But he rejected the advice which the old men had given him and asked the young men who had grown up with him and had been in his service. And he said to them, "What answer do you advise that we give to this people who have said to me, 'Make the yoke that your father laid upon us lighter'?" The young men who had grown up with him said to him, "Make this answer to them: 'My little finger is thicker than my father's loins! While my father loaded you with a heavy yoke, I will make your yoke heavier; my father punished you with whips, but I will punish you with scourges.'"
So when all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as he had directed, he answered the people harshly and did not follow the advice which the old men had given him, but spoke to them as the young men had advised, saying, "My father made your yoke heavy, but I will make your yoke still heavier; my father punished you with whips, but I will punish you with scourges." So Rehoboam paid no attention to the demand of the people.
When all Israel saw that he paid no attention to their demand they gave him this answer: "What interest have we in David? We have nothing in common with the son of Jesse! To your tents, O Israel! Now look out for your house, O David!"
So the Israelites went to their homes.
Then Rehoboam sent to them Adoniram, who was over the men who did forced labor. But when all the Israelites stoned him to death, Rehoboam quickly mounted his chariot and fled to Jerusalem. So Israel has refused to obey the house of David to the present day.
As soon as all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly of the people and made him ruler over all Israel. None remained loyal to the house of David except the tribe of Judah.
ELIJAH AND THE WIDOW'S SON
When Asa had been ruler of Judah for thirty-one years Omri became ruler over Israel, and he ruled twelve years. He bought the hill Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver; and he built a city on the hill and named it Samaria, after Shemer, the owner of the hill.
When Omri died, Ahab his son ruled in his place. But Ahab displeased Jehovah more than all the kings who had ruled before him. He married Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians, and then began to worship the Phoenician god Baal. He also built an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal, which he built in Samaria.
Then Elijah from Tishbe in Gilead said to Ahab, "As surely as Jehovah the God of Israel lives, whom I serve, there shall be no dew nor rain for years except as I announce it."
Then this message from Jehovah came to Elijah: "Go from here and hide yourself near the Brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there."
So he obeyed the command of Jehovah and lived near the Brook Cherith. The ravens brought him bread every morning and meat every evening, and he drank from the brook. But after a while the brook dried up, for there had been no rain in the land.
Then this message from Jehovah came to him, "Arise, go to Zarephath which belongs to Sidon, and live there. I have commanded a widow there to provide for you." So he went to Zarephath.
When he came to the gate of the city, a widow was there gathering sticks. Calling to her, he said, "Bring me, I beg of you, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink." As she was going to get it, he called after her, "Bring also a bit of bread with you." She replied, "As surely as Jehovah your God lives, I have nothing baked, and only one handful of meal in the jar and a little oil in the jug. Now I am gathering a few sticks, that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die." Elijah said to her, "Fear not; go and do as you have said, but first bake for me a little dough and bring it to me. Afterward make some for yourself and your son. For Jehovah the God of Israel declares: 'The jar of meal shall not be empty, nor the jug of oil fail, until Jehovah sends rain upon the earth.'"
So she did as Elijah directed; and she and her child, as well as Elijah, had food to eat. From that day the jar of meal was never empty and the jug of oil did not fail, as Jehovah had said through Elijah.
Now after this the woman's son fell sick; and his sickness was so severe that he stopped breathing. So she said to Elijah, "What have I to do with you, O man of God? You have come to me to remind me of my sin by taking the life of my son!" He said to her, "Give me your son." So he took him out of her arms and carried him up into the upper room where he was staying and laid him on his own bed. Then he prayed earnestly to Jehovah and said, "O Jehovah, my God, hast thou also brought misfortune upon this widow, with whom I am staying, by taking the life of her son?" And he stretched himself upon the child three times and prayed to Jehovah and said, "O Jehovah, my God, I pray thee, give back this child's life to him again."
So Jehovah listened to Elijah's prayer; and the life of the child came back to him, and he sat up. Then Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house and gave him to his mother; and said, "See, your son lives!" The woman said to him, "Now I know that you are a man of God and that the message of Jehovah that you speak is true."
THE PROPHET OF FIRE
In the third year of the famine this command came from Jehovah to Elijah: "Go, show yourself to Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth." So Elijah went to show himself to Ahab.
The famine was so severe in Samaria that Ahab had called Obadiah, the overseer of the palace. Obadiah was very loyal to Jehovah; for when Jezebel tried to kill the prophets of Jehovah, he took a hundred and hid them in a cave and kept them supplied with bread and water. Ahab said to Obadiah, "Come, let us go through the land to all the springs and to all the brooks, in the hope that we may find grass, so that we can save the horses and mules and not lose all of them." So they divided the land between them, Ahab going in one direction and Obadiah in another.
While Obadiah was on the way, Elijah suddenly met him. As soon as Obadiah knew him, he fell on his face and said, "Is it you, my lord Elijah?" He answered, "It is; go, tell your master: 'Elijah is here.'" But Obadiah said, "What sin have I done, that you would give your servant over to Ahab to kill me? As surely as Jehovah your God lives, there is no nation nor kingdom where my lord has not sent to find you; and when they said, 'He is not here,' he made each of the kingdoms and nations take an oath, that no one had found you. Now you say, 'Go, tell your lord, Elijah is here!' As soon as I have left you the spirit of Jehovah will carry you to a place unknown to me, so that when I come and tell Ahab and he cannot find you, he will put me to death, although I, your servant, have been loyal to Jehovah from my youth! Have you not been told what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of Jehovah, how I hid a hundred by fifties in a cave and fed them continually with bread and water?" Elijah answered, "As surely as Jehovah of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will show myself to Ahab to-day."
So Obadiah went to Ahab and told him; and Ahab went to meet Elijah. As soon as Ahab saw Elijah, he said to him, "Is it you, you who have brought trouble to Israel?" He answered, "I have not brought trouble on Israel, but you and your father's house have; because you have failed to follow the commands of Jehovah and have run after the Phoenician gods. Now therefore call together to me at Mount Carmel all the Israelites and the four hundred and fifty prophets of the god Baal who eat at Jezebel's table."
So Ahab sent for all the Israelites and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. Then Elijah came to the people and said, "How long are you going to falter between worshipping Jehovah or Baal? If Jehovah is the true God, follow him, but if Baal, then follow him." But the people were silent. Then Elijah said to the people, "I, even I only, am left as a prophet of Jehovah, but there are four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. Let us take two oxen; let them choose one ox for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, without lighting any fire, and I will dress the other ox and lay it on wood, without lighting any fire. Then you call on your god and I will call on Jehovah. The god who answers by fire is the true God." All the people answered and said, "It is a fair offer."
Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one of the oxen for yourselves and dress it first, for you are many, and call on your god, without lighting any fire." So they took the ox which he gave them and dressed it, and called on their god from morning until noon, saying, "O Baal, hear us." But there was no voice nor answer, although they leaped about the altar which they had built.
When it was noon, Elijah mocked them, saying, "Call loudly, for he is a god; either he is thinking, or he has gone out, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened!" Then they called loudly and cut themselves, as was their custom, with swords and lances until the blood gushed out upon them. When noon was past, they cried out in frenzy until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was neither voice nor answer nor was any attention paid to their cry.
Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come near to me." And all the people drew near to him, and he rebuilt the altar of Jehovah which had been thrown down. Then around the altar he made a ditch that would hold about two bushels of seed. When he had placed the pieces of wood in order, he cut up the ox and laid it on the wood. Then he said, "Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt-offering and on the pieces of wood." And he said, "Do it the second time"; and they did it the second time. He said, "Do it the third time"; and they did it the third time, so that the water ran round the altar. And he also filled the ditch with water.
When it was time to offer the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, "O Jehovah, God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy command. Hear me, O Jehovah, hear me, that this people may know that thou, Jehovah, art God, and that thou mayst win their hearts."
Then the fire of Jehovah fell and burned up the burnt-offering and the wood, the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and cried, "Jehovah, he is God; Jehovah, he is God." But Elijah commanded them, "Take the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape!" So they took them down to the Brook Kishon and there put them to death.
Then Elijah said to Ahab, "Go, eat and drink; for there are signs of a heavy rain." So Ahab went to eat and drink. But Elijah went up to the top of Carmel and crouched down upon the earth, with his face between his knees. And he said to his servant, "Go up now, look toward the sea." So he went up and looked and said, "There is nothing." But seven times he said, "Go again." So the servant went back seven times, but the seventh time he said, "There is a cloud as small as a man's hand rising out of the sea." Then Elijah said, "Go, say to Ahab, 'Make ready your chariot; go down, that the rain may not stop you.'" In a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. And as Ahab rode toward Jezreel, Elijah was given divine strength, so that he tightened his belt and ran before Ahab to the entrance to Jezreel.
GOD'S LOW WHISPER
Now when Ahab told Jezebel that Elijah had put the prophets to death with the sword, she sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, "As surely as you are Elijah and I am Jezebel, may the gods do to me what they will and more too, if I do not make your life as the life of one of those prophets by to-morrow about this time."
Then he was afraid and fled for his life. And he came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he went on a day's journey into the wilderness and sat down under a desert tree, and he asked that he might die, saying, "It is enough; now, O Jehovah, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers."
Then he lay down and slept under the desert tree, but an angel touched him and said to him, "Rise, eat!" When he looked, he saw there at his head a loaf, baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. But the angel of Jehovah came again the second time and touched him and said, "Rise, eat, or else the journey will be too long for you." So he rose and ate and drank and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mountain of God.
Then Jehovah passed by, and a very violent wind tore the mountain apart and broke the rocks in pieces before Jehovah; but Jehovah was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake; but Jehovah was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire; but Jehovah was not in the fire. After the fire there was the sound of a low whisper. As soon as Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then he heard a voice saying, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He replied, "I have been very jealous for Jehovah the God of hosts, for the Israelites have forsaken thee, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword, and I only am left; and they seek to take my life."
Then Jehovah said to him, "On your way back go to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you arrive there, anoint Hazael to rule over Aram, Jehu, the son of Nimshi, to rule over Israel, and Elisha, the son of Shaphat, to be prophet in your place. Then every one who escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall put to death; and every one who escapes the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall put to death. Yet I will spare seven thousand in Israel—all who have not worshipped Baal and kissed his image."
After he had left, Elijah found Elisha the son of Shaphat, as he was ploughing with twelve pairs of oxen. When Elijah went up to him and threw his mantle upon him, he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, "Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you." Elijah said to him, "Go back, for what have I done to you?" So Elisha turned back and took one pair of oxen and offered them as a sacrifice and, using the wooden ploughs and yokes as fuel, boiled their flesh, and gave it to the people to eat. Then he arose and followed Elijah and served him.
AHAB THE THIEF
Now Naboth, the Jezreelite, had a vineyard in Jezreel next to the palace of Ahab, who ruled at Samaria. So Ahab said to Naboth, "Give me your vineyard, that I may have it as a vegetable-garden, for it is near my palace; and I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it is more pleasing to you, I will pay you its value in money." But Naboth answered Ahab, "May Jehovah save me from the crime of giving you what has come down to me from my fathers!"
So Ahab went into his house sullen and in bad humor because of what Naboth had said to him. And he lay down on his bed and covered his face and would eat no food.
But Jezebel his wife came to him and said, "Why are you in such bad humor that you will not eat?" He replied, "Because I made this offer to Naboth, 'Give me your vineyard for its value in money, or else, if it is more pleasing to you, I will give you another vineyard for it.' But he answered, 'I will not give you my vineyard.'" Then Jezebel his wife said to him, "Are you not the one who now rules in Israel? Rise, eat, and set your mind at rest. I will give you the vineyard of Naboth."
So she wrote letters in Ahab's name and sealed them with his seal and sent the letters to the leaders and officials who lived in Naboth's city. In the letters she wrote, "Proclaim a fast and put Naboth in front of the people. Then set up two base men before him and let them bring this charge against him: 'You cursed God and the ruler of Israel.' Then carry him out and stone him to death."
The leaders and officials of Naboth's city did as Jezebel commanded in her letters to them. They proclaimed a fast and put Naboth in front of the people. Then the two base men came in and sat before him, and the scoundrels in the presence of the people said, "Naboth cursed God and the ruler of Israel." Then they carried him out of the city and stoned him to death. And they told Jezebel, "Naboth has been stoned to death."
As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, "Rise, take the vineyard of Naboth which he refused to sell you, for Naboth is not alive but dead." As soon as Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he went down to the vineyard of Naboth to take it. But this command came from Jehovah to Elijah, the Tishbite, "Rise, go down to meet Ahab, the ruler of Israel, who lives in Samaria; he is just now in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone to take it. Say to him, 'This is the message of Jehovah, "Have you killed and also taken his vineyard? In the very place where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth there they shall also lick your blood."'" Ahab said to Elijah, "Have you found me, O my enemy?" He answered, "I have. And Jehovah has declared: 'The dogs shall eat Jezebel in the district of Jezreel.'" When Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his flesh and ate no food.
MICAIAH'S COURAGE IN TELLING THE TRUTH
For three years there was no war between Aram and Israel. But in the third year, when Jehoshaphat the ruler of Judah came to visit the ruler of Israel, Ahab said to his followers, "Do you not know that Ramoth in Gilead belongs to us; yet we sit still instead of taking it from the king of Aram?" Then he asked Jehoshaphat, "Will you go with me to attack Ramoth in Gilead?" Jehoshaphat replied, "I am with you, my people are as your people, my horses as your horses."
And Jehoshaphat said to the ruler of Israel, "Ask now what Jehovah has to say." So Ahab gathered the prophets together (in all about four hundred men), and asked them, "Shall I go to fight against Ramoth in Gilead or shall I not?" They said, "Go up; for Jehovah will give it into your hands." But Jehoshaphat said, "Is there any other prophet of Jehovah, that we may ask him?" The ruler of Israel answered, "There is another by whom we may ask of Jehovah, Micaiah, the son of Imlah, but I hate him; for he prophesies for me nothing good, but only evil." Jehoshaphat said, "Do not say so."
Then the ruler of Israel called a servant and said, "Bring quickly Micaiah, the son of Imlah." The messenger who went to call Micaiah said to him, "See, the prophets have all of them promised the ruler of Israel success. Agree with them, and prophesy success." But Micaiah said, "As surely as Jehovah lives, I will speak what he says to me."
When he came to Ahab, he said to him, "Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth in Gilead to fight, or shall we not?" He answered him, "Go up and conquer! Jehovah will give it into your hands!" But Ahab said to him, "How many times shall I warn you to speak nothing to me in the name of Jehovah but the truth?" He said, "I saw all the Israelites scattered upon the mountains as sheep that have no shepherd. And Jehovah said, 'These have no master; let each of them go home in peace!'"
The ruler of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "Did I not tell you that he would prophesy for me nothing good, but only evil?" Micaiah said, "Hear then the message from Jehovah: I saw Jehovah sitting on his throne and all the host of heaven standing about him. And Jehovah said, 'Who will deceive Ahab, so that he will go up and fall at Ramoth in Gilead?' One suggested one thing and another, another, until a spirit came out and stood before Jehovah and said, 'I will deceive him.' Jehovah said to him, 'By what means?' He said, 'I will go out and become a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' Then Jehovah said, 'You shall succeed in deceiving him. Go out and do so.' So Jehovah has now put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, for he has decided to bring evil upon you."
Then Zedekiah came near and struck Micaiah a blow on the cheek and said, "How was it that the spirit of Jehovah went from me to speak to you?" Micaiah replied, "Indeed, you shall see on the day when you shall go from one hiding-place to another." Then the ruler of Israel said, "Take Micaiah back to Amon, the governor of the city, and to Joash, the ruler's son, and say, 'This is the ruler's command: Put this fellow in prison and feed him with a scanty fare of bread and water until I return successful.'" Micaiah said, "If you indeed return successful, Jehovah has not spoken by me."
Then Ahab, the ruler of Israel, and Jehoshaphat, the ruler of Judah, went up to Ramoth in Gilead. And the ruler of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "I will dress myself so that no one will know me, and go into the battle, but you can put on your robes."
But a certain man shot an arrow, and by chance it struck the ruler of Israel between the breastplate and the lower part of his armor. So Ahab said to the driver of his chariot, "Turn about and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded." But the battle grew more intense, so that Ahab stayed until evening propped up in his chariot in the sight of the Arameans, and the blood ran out of the wound into the bottom of the chariot. And that evening he died.
About sunset the cry went out through the army, "Each to his town and each to his land, for the ruler is dead!" So they went to Samaria and buried Ahab there. And when they washed the chariot by the pool of Samaria, the dogs licked up his blood just as Jehovah had said.
THE MANTLE OF ELIJAH
When Jehovah took up Elijah to heaven in a whirlwind, he was going with Elisha from Gilgal. And Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay here, for Jehovah has sent me as far as Bethel." But Elisha said, "As surely as Jehovah lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel.
Then the followers of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and said, "Do you know that to-day Jehovah will take away your master from you?" He said, "Yes, I know it; say no more." And Elijah said to him, "Elisha, stay here, for Jehovah has sent me to Jericho." But he said, "As surely as Jehovah lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So they came to Jericho.
Then the followers of the prophets at Jericho came near to Elisha and said, "Do you know that to-day Jehovah will take your master from you?" He answered, "Yes, I know it; say no more." And Elijah said to him, "Stay here, for Jehovah has sent me to the Jordan." But he said, "As surely as Jehovah lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So they both went on.
Fifty followers of the prophets stood opposite them at a distance, while they two stood by the Jordan. Then Elijah rolled up his mantle and with it struck the waters; and they were divided, so that they two went over on dry ground. When they had gone over, Elijah said to Elisha, "Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you." Elisha said, "Let a double portion of your spirit be upon me." He replied, "You have asked what is difficult; but if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall come to you; but if you do not, it shall not come."
As they were going on their way talking, a fiery chariot with horses of fire suddenly came and separated the two; and Elijah went up in a whirlwind to heaven. When Elisha saw it, he cried, "My father, my father! the chariots and the horsemen of Israel!" And he saw Elijah no more, but he took hold of his own robes and tore them in two. Then he took up the mantle that had fallen from Elijah.
ELISHA HEALING THE SICK BOY
One day Elisha went over to Shunem where a rich woman lived, and she asked him to be her guest. Afterward, whenever he passed by, he stopped there to eat. So she said to her husband, "Now I see that this is a holy man of God who is constantly passing by our door. Let us make a little chamber on the roof, and put there for him a bed, a table, a seat, and a candlestick, so that whenever he comes to us, he can stay there."
One day when he came, he went into the upper room and lay down there. Then he said to Gehazi his servant, "Call this Shunamite." So he called her, and she stood before him. Elisha said to Gehazi, "Say now to her, 'See, you have been so anxious to care for us; what can be done for you? May I ask the ruler or the commander of the army to do a favor for you?'" She answered, "I am living among my own people." Elisha said, "What then can be done for her?" Gehazi answered, "Verily, she has no son, and her husband is old." Then Elisha said, "Call her." So he called her, and she stood at the door. Then Elisha said, "At this time a year from now you shall hold a son in your arms!" But she said, "No, my lord, O man of God, do not deceive your servant!" But the next year the woman had a son at the very time Elisha had promised her.
When the child had grown up he went out one day to his father to the reapers. And he called to his father, "My head, my head!" So his father said to his servant, "Carry him to his mother." When he had been taken to his mother, the boy sat on her lap until noon and then died. His mother went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door as she went out.
Then she called her husband and said, "Send me one of the servants and one of the asses, that I may go quickly to the man of God and return." He said, "Why do you go to him to-day, for it is neither the feast of the new moon nor the sabbath?" She said, "I have good reason."
Then she saddled an ass and said to her servant, "Drive on fast, do not stop until I tell you." So she went to the man of God on Mount Carmel. But when Elisha saw her at a distance, he said to Gehazi, his servant, "See, there is the Shunamite! Run down to meet her and say to her, 'Is all well with you? Is your husband well? Is the child well?'" And she answered, "All is well." But when she came to the man of God on the mountain, she caught hold of his feet. When Gehazi tried to push her away, Elisha said, "Let her alone, for she is deeply troubled and Jehovah has not told me the reason." Then she said, "Did I ask a son of my lord? Did I not say, 'Do not deceive me?'"
Elisha said to Gehazi, "Tighten your belt, take my staff in your hand and go! If you meet any one, do not speak to him, and if any one speaks to you do not answer him, and lay my staff on the face of the child." But the mother of the child said, "As surely as Jehovah lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So he rose and went with her. And Gehazi had gone on before them and had laid the staff upon the face of the child, but there was neither sound nor sign of life in the boy. So he went back to meet him and told him, "The child has not awakened."
When Elisha came into the house, there was the child lying dead on his bed. So he went in and shut the door after them and prayed to Jehovah. He also went up and lay upon the child and put his mouth upon his mouth, his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands. As he lay upon him, the flesh of the child became warm. Then he turned and walked backward and forward in the house, and again went up and lay upon him, and the child sneezed seven times, and then opened his eyes. Calling Gehazi, he said, "Call this Shunamite woman." So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, "Take up your son." Then she went nearer, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground; after that she took up her son and went out.
A SLAVE GIRL WHO HELPED HER MASTER
Naaman, the commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a man who was beloved by his master and was held in high honor, for through him Jehovah had given victory to Aram. He was an able man, but he was a leper.
Now the Arameans had gone out to rob and had brought away captive from the land of Israel a little maid who became the servant of Naaman's wife. She said to her mistress, "O that my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would cure him of his leprosy." So Naaman went in and told the king what the maid from the land of Israel had said. The king of Aram said, "Go now, and I will send a letter to the ruler of Israel."
So Naaman set out and took with him a thousand pounds of silver and six thousand gold pieces and ten suits of fine clothes. He also brought to the ruler of Israel the letter, which read: "This letter is to tell you that I have sent Naaman, my servant, to you, that you may cure him of his leprosy." When the ruler of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, "Am I a god, who can kill and make alive, that this king sends a man to me to cure him of his leprosy? But you can clearly see that he is seeking a quarrel with me!"
When Elisha the man of God heard that the ruler of Israel was tearing his clothes, he sent this message to him: "Why are you tearing your clothes? Let him come now to me and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel!" So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha's house. And Elisha sent a messenger to him to say, "Go and wash seven times in the Jordan and your flesh will again be well and clean."
But Naaman went away in a rage, saying, "I expected that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of Jehovah his God and wave his hand over the place, and so cure the leper. Are not Amana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?" So he turned and went away in a rage. But his servants came near and said to him, "If the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? Why not, then, when he says to you, 'Wash and be clean!'" So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan as the man of God commanded; and his flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was cured of his leprosy.
Then Naaman, with all his followers, returned to the man of God. When he arrived, he stood before him and said, "Now I know that there is no god in all the earth, but in Israel; therefore accept a present from your servant." But Elisha said, "As surely as Jehovah lives, before whom I stand, I will take nothing." And although he urged him to take it, he would not. Then Naaman said, "If not, at least give your servant a load of earth, what two mules can draw, for your servant will from this time on offer burnt-offering and sacrifice to no other god but Jehovah." And Elisha said to him, "Go, and may good fortune attend you."
But when he had gone from him a short distance, Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, thought to himself, "My master has let this Naaman the Aramean go without accepting what he brought! As surely as Jehovah lives, I will run after him and take something from him." So Gehazi ran after Naaman; and when Naaman saw some one running after him, he stepped down from the chariot to meet him and said, "Is all well?" Gehazi replied, "All is well. My master has sent me to say, 'Just now two young men of the followers of the prophets have come to me from the highland of Ephraim. Give them a hundred pounds of silver and two suits of fine clothes.'" Naaman said, "Agree to take twice as much silver." So he urged him and bound up two hundred pounds of silver in two bags, with two suits of fine clothes, and laid them on two of his servants, and they carried them before Gehazi. But when he came to the hill, he took them from their hand and hid them in the house and let the men go.
Then he went in to Elisha; but when he stood before his master, Elisha said to him, "Where do you come from, Gehazi?" He answered, "Your servant has not been anywhere." But Elisha said to him, "Was I not in spirit with you when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Now you have received money and you may get clothes, olive yards, vineyards, sheep, oxen, and slaves; but the leprosy of Naaman shall stick to you and to your children forever." Then Gehazi went from Elisha's presence a leper as white as snow.
ELISHA'S WAY OF TREATING ENEMIES
Once while the king of Aram was at war with Israel, he said to his officers, "In such and such a place we shall hide and surprise them." But Elisha, the man of God, sent word to the ruler of Israel, "Take care that you do not pass that place, for the Arameans are hiding there." So the ruler of Israel sent soldiers to the place of which the man of God had told him. Thus he warned him many times, so that he could there be on his guard.
The king of Aram was very much troubled by this, and he called his officers and said to them, "Can you not tell me who has betrayed us to the ruler of Israel?" One of his officers replied, "No one, my lord, O king, for Elisha, the prophet in Israel, tells the ruler of Israel the words that you speak in your bedchamber." The king said, "Go and see where he is, that I may send and seize him." And they told the king, "Elisha is now in Dothan."
So the king sent horses and chariots there and a great army. And they arrived at night and surrounded the city. When the man of God rose early the next morning and went out, an army with horses and chariots was about the city; so that his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" He answered, "Fear not, for they who are with us are more than they who are with them." And Elisha prayed and said, "Jehovah open his eyes, that he may see." Then Jehovah opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw that the highlands around about Elisha were full of horses and chariots of fire.
When the Arameans came toward him, Elisha prayed to Jehovah, and said, "Make this people blind." So Jehovah made them blind, as Elisha asked. Then Elisha said to them, "This is not the way nor the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek!" So he led them to Samaria.
But as soon as they came to Samaria, Elisha said, "O Jehovah, open the eyes of these men, that they may see." And Jehovah opened their eyes, so that they could see, and there they were in Samaria. When the ruler of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, "My father, shall I cut them down?" Elisha answered, "You shall not cut them down; would you cut down those whom you have not taken captive with your sword nor with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master." So he prepared a great feast for them; and when they had had food and drink, he sent them back to their master. So the robber bands of Arameans no longer invaded the land of Israel.
Later, Benhadad, king of Aram, gathered all his army and besieged Samaria. The famine was so severe in Samaria while they were besieging it, that an ass's head was sold for eighty pieces of silver.
Once as the ruler of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, "Help, my lord." He answered, "If Jehovah does not help you, from where can I bring help to you? From the threshing-floor or from the wine-press?" However, the ruler of Israel said to her, "What is the trouble with you?" She answered, "This woman said to me, 'Give your son, that we may eat him to-day, and we will eat my son to-morrow!' So we cooked my son and ate him, and I said to her on the next day, 'Give your son that we may eat him'; but she has hidden her son."
When the ruler of Israel heard the words of the woman, he tore his clothes; and as he was passing by on the wall, the people looked and saw that he wore sackcloth next to his skin.
Now Elisha was sitting in his house with the elders beside him; and while he was still talking with them, the ruler of Israel came down to him and said, "See, this is the evil that comes from Jehovah! Why should I put my hope in Jehovah any longer?" But Elisha said, "Hear the word of Jehovah, for he says, 'To-morrow about this time a peck of fine meal shall be sold for a piece of silver and two pecks of barley for a piece of silver in the gate of Samaria.'" Then the charioteer on whose arm the ruler of Israel leaned answered the man of God, "If Jehovah himself should make windows in heaven, could this be possible?" He said, "You shall see it with your own eyes."
Now there were four lepers just outside the gate; and they said one to another, "Why do we sit here until we die? If we say, 'We will enter the city,' then, since there is famine in the city, we shall die there; but if we sit here, we shall die too. Now, come, let us go over to the army of the Arameans. If they spare our lives, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die."
So they set out in the evening to go over to the camp of the Arameans. But when they came to the edge of the camp of the Arameans, no one was there, for the Lord had made the army of the Arameans hear a noise of chariots and of horses and of a great army, and they said to one another, "Surely the ruler of Israel has hired the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us." So they rose and fled in the twilight; and they left their tents, their horses and their asses, even the camp as it was, and fled for their lives. When these lepers came to the edge of the camp, they went into one tent and ate and drank and carried away silver and gold and clothing and hid them. Then they came back and entered another tent and carried away what was in it and went and hid that.
Then they said to one another, "We are not doing right; this day is a day of good news. If we keep still and wait until morning punishment will overtake us. Now, come, let us go and tell those in the palace." So they called the watchmen at the city gate and said to them, "We went to the camp of the Arameans, but there was no one there and no sound of men's voices. The horses and asses were tied and the tents were just as they had been."
The watchmen at the city gate shouted this news to those in the palace. And the ruler of Israel rose in the night and said to his servants, "I will now tell you what the Arameans have done: they know that we are hungry; so they have gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the field, thinking, 'When they come out of the city, we will take them alive and get into the city.'"
But one of his servants spoke up and said, "Let some men take a pair of the horses which are left here. If they die, they will be like most of the Israelites who are dying! Let us send and find out." So they took two men on horseback, and the ruler of Israel sent them after the army of the Arameans with the command, "Go and see." They followed them to the Jordan; and all the way was filled with clothes and weapons which the Arameans had thrown away in their haste. So the messengers returned and told the ruler of Israel.
Then the people went and carried things away from the camp of the Arameans. So a peck of fine meal was sold for a piece of silver, and two pecks of barley for a piece of silver, just as Jehovah had said.
THE END OF AHAB'S SELFISH FAMILY
Elisha the prophet called one of the followers of the prophets and said to him, "Tighten your belt, take this flask of oil in your hand and go to Ramoth in Gilead. When you arrive there, look for Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, and when you go in take him into an inner room, away from those who are with him. Then from the flask pour oil on his head, and say, 'Jehovah declares, I have anointed you to rule over Israel.' Then open the door and flee without delay."
So the young man went to Ramoth in Gilead. When he arrived, the officers of the army were sitting together. And he said, "Commander, I have a message for you." Jehu said, "To which of us?" He replied, "To you, O commander." Then Jehu rose and went into the house; and the young man poured the oil on his head and said to him, "Jehovah the God of Israel says, 'I have anointed you to rule over Jehovah's people, over Israel!'" Then he opened the door and hurried away.
When Jehu came out to the servants of his master, they asked him, "Is all well? Why did this insane fellow come to you?" He answered, "You know the man and his message." But they said, "You are deceiving us. You must tell us." Jehu replied, "He said this to me: 'Jehovah says, I have anointed you to rule over Israel.'" Then each quickly took his garment, laid it at his feet on the bare stairs, and blew the horn and cried, "Jehu is the ruler of Israel." So Jehu plotted against Joram.
Now Joram, with all the Israelites, had been defending Ramoth in Gilead against Hazael king of Aram, but Joram had gone back to Jezreel to recover from the wounds which he had received from the Arameans when he fought with Hazael king of Aram. So Jehu said, "If it is your will, let no one escape from the city to bring news to Jezreel." Then Jehu mounted his chariot and went toward Jezreel.
While the watchman was standing on the tower of Jezreel, he saw the cloud of dust about Jehu, as he came, and said, "I see a cloud of dust." Joram said, "Send a horseman to meet him and ask whether he comes with peaceful purpose." So the horseman went out to meet him and said, "The ruler of Israel asks, 'Do you come with peaceful purpose?'" Jehu replied, "What have you to do with peace? Turn and follow me." So the watchman said, "The messenger went to them, but does not return." Then Joram sent out a second horseman who went to them and said, "The ruler of Israel asks, 'Do you come with peaceful purpose?'" Jehu answered, "What have you to do with peace? Turn and follow me." So the watchman said, "He also went to them but does not return; however, the driving is like the driving of Jehu, for he drives very fast."
Then Joram said, "Get my chariot ready," and when it was ready he went to meet Jehu and found him in the field of Naboth the Jezreelite. When Joram saw Jehu, he said, "Do you come with peaceful purpose, Jehu?" Then Joram turned to flee, but Jehu drew his bow and struck Joram between the shoulders, so that the arrow went through his heart, and he fell down in his chariot.
Then Jehu said to Bidkar, his charioteer, "Take him up and throw him into the field of Naboth the Jezreelite, for I well remember that, as you and I rode together after Ahab, his father, Jehovah pronounced this sentence upon him: 'Surely I saw yesterday the blood of Naboth and his sons, and I will punish you on this same piece of land.' So throw him into this piece of land, as Jehovah said."
Then Jehu arrived at Jezreel. As soon as Jezebel heard of it, she painted her eyes, arranged her hair, and looked out of the window. As Jehu came in at the gate, she said, "Is all well with you, you traitor, you murderer of your master?" But he looked up to the window and cried, "Who is on my side? who?" Two or three slaves looked down at him, and he said, "Throw her down." And they threw her down and the horses trampled on her. When Jehu had gone in and had had something to eat and drink, he gave this command, "Look after this woman and bury her, for she is a king's daughter." But when they went to bury her, they found no more of her than the skull, the feet, and the hands. When they went back and told Jehu, he said, "This is what Jehovah declared by his servant Elijah when he said, 'On the piece of land at Jezreel the dogs shall eat Jezebel's flesh, and her body shall be as refuse on the surface of the field, so that no one can say, This is Jezebel.'"
THE BOY JOASH ON THE THRONE OF JUDAH
When Joram had ruled twelve years over Israel, Ahaziah the son of Jehoram began to rule over Judah. And he went down to Jezreel to visit Joram, who was ill. When Jehu struck down Joram, Ahaziah saw it and fled toward Beth-gannim. But Jehu followed after him with the words, "Shoot him down, too, in the chariot." So they shot him down on the way up to Gur, near Ibleam, but he escaped to Megiddo and died there.
When Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, learned that her son was dead, she rose and put to death all of Ahaziah's children except Joash, whom his aunt, Jehosheba, secretly took and placed with his nurse in the bedchamber. In this way she hid him from Athaliah, so that he was not put to death. He was with her, hid in the temple of Jehovah, six years, while Athaliah ruled over the land.
But in the seventh year Jehoiada the priest called together the officers of the royal guard and brought them into the temple of Jehovah. After he had made them make a solemn promise, he showed them Ahaziah's son, and gave them these orders, "This is what you shall do: a third part of you who go in on the Sabbath to guard the palace shall keep watch over it. Two divisions of you, including all who go out on the Sabbath to guard the temple of Jehovah, shall surround Joash, each with his weapons in his hand. And let every one who comes within the ranks be put to death. Thus you shall guard Joash, when he goes out and when he comes in."
The officers did as Jehoiada the priest commanded. And he brought out Ahaziah's son and put the crown and the royal ornaments upon him; and they made him ruler over Judah and poured oil upon his head and clapped their hands, crying, "Long live the ruler!"
But when Athaliah heard the people shouting, she came to them in the temple of Jehovah. When she saw Joash standing by the pillar, as was the custom, and the officers and the trumpeters by him, and all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets, she tore her clothes and cried, "Treason! Treason!" But Jehoiada the priest gave this order to the officers: "Bring her out between the ranks, and kill with the sword whoever follows her," for the priest said, "Let her not be put to death in the temple of Jehovah." So they seized her, and she was killed as she went through the horses' entry to the palace.
Jehoiada made a solemn agreement between Jehovah and the new ruler and the people, that they should be Jehovah's people; also between the ruler and the people, and Joash ruled forty years in Jerusalem.
A YOUNG MAN WHO SAID, "SEND ME"
Uzziah, Joash's grandson, was sixteen years old when he began to rule over Judah and he ruled fifty-two years in Jerusalem.
He fought against the Philistines, and broke down the wall of Gath and of Jabneh and of Ashdod and built cities near Ashdod and among the Philistines. And God helped him against the Philistines. The Ammonites also paid tribute to Uzziah, for he became very strong.
And Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate and at the Valley Gate and at the corner of the wall, and fortified them. He also built towers in the wilderness and dug many cisterns, for he had many herds in the lowland and farmers in the plain and vine-dressers in the mountains and in the fruitful fields, for he loved to cultivate the ground. But he was a leper to the day of his death. He lived in his own house, while Jotham, his son, was at the head of the royal household, ruling the people of the land. And Uzziah died; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David, and Jotham, his son, became ruler in his place.
Isaiah said it was in the year that Uzziah, the ruler of Judah, died that I saw the Lord sitting on a high and lofty throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Guardian angels stood above him. Each had six wings, one pair to cover the face, another pair to cover the feet, and another pair with which to fly. And they cried to one another:
"Holy, holy, holy, is Jehovah of hosts, The whole earth is full of his glory."
The foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of those who called, and the temple was filled with smoke. Then I said: "Woe is me! I am ruined; for I am a man with unclean lips, and I live among a people with unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of hosts!" But one of the guardian angels flew to me with a hot coal in his hand that he had taken from off the altar, and with it he touched my mouth and said: "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin forgiven."
Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:
"Whom shall I send, And who will go for us?"
and I said, "Here am I, send me."
JEREMIAH'S CALL TO DO A HARD TASK
This was the message which came to me from Jehovah: "Before you were born I knew you and prepared you for your work. I have appointed you to be a prophet to the nations." But I (Jeremiah) said: "O Lord Jehovah! I do not know how to speak in public, for I am only a youth." Then Jehovah said to me: "Do not say, 'I am only a youth,' for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to protect you."
Then Jehovah stretched out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me: "See. I have put my words in your mouth, and I have appointed you this day over the nations and kingdoms, to tear up and break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant."
Again this message came from Jehovah, "What do you see?" I answered, "A great kettle brewing hot, and it faces from the north." Then Jehovah said to me: "From the north trouble is brewing for all the people of the land. For I am about to call all the kingdoms of the north, and they shall come and each set up his throne at the entrance to the gates of Jerusalem and around its walls and against all the cities of Judah. And I will pass judgment upon Jerusalem and these cities for all their wickedness, for they have been disloyal to me and offered sacrifices to other gods and have worshipped that which their own hands have made.
"Therefore make ready, rise, speak to them all that I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for see, I myself will make you this day like a fortified city, and like a bronze wall against the rulers of Judah, its leaders, its priests, and the common people. Though they fight against you, they will not overcome you, for I am with you to protect you."
THE YOUNG JOSIAH AND THE BOOK OF THE LAW
Josiah was eight years old when he began to rule, and he ruled thirty-one years in Jerusalem. In the eighteenth year of his rule he sent Shaphan, the scribe, to the temple of Jehovah with the command, "Go up to Hilkiah, the chief priest, and see that, when he has taken the money that is brought into the temple of Jehovah and that which the doorkeepers have gathered from the people, they give it to the workmen who have charge of the temple of Jehovah. Then let them give it to the carpenters, the builders, and the masons who are in the temple of Jehovah, to repair the breaks in it and to buy timber and cut stone to restore it." But no account was asked of them for the money that was given to them, for they dealt honestly.
Then Hilkiah, the chief priest, said to Shaphan, the scribe, "I have found the book of the law in the temple of Jehovah." And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. Then Shaphan went to Josiah and told him, "Your servants have taken the money that was found in the temple and have turned it over to the workmen who have charge of the temple of Jehovah." Shaphan, the scribe, also said to Josiah, "Hilkiah, the priest, has given me a book." And Shaphan read it to him.
When Josiah had heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes. Then he gave this command to Hilkiah, the priest, to Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, to Achbor, the son of Micaiah, to Shaphan, the scribe, and to Asaiah, his servant, "Go, ask of Jehovah for me and for the people and for all Judah about the words of this book that has been found; for Jehovah must be very angry with us, because our fathers have not listened to the words of this book nor done all that we are there commanded to do."
So Hilkiah, the priest, and Ahikam and Achbor went to Huldah, the prophetess, who lived in Jerusalem and talked with her. She said to them, "This is the message of Jehovah, the God of Israel: 'Tell the man who sent you to me, Jehovah says, I am now about to bring evil upon this place and upon its people even all that is written in the book which the ruler of Judah has read. But you shall say to him who sent you to ask of Jehovah, Jehovah the God of Israel declares, Because you listened and humbled yourself before Jehovah and have wept before me, I also have heard you,'" So they brought back word to Josiah.
Then at his command they got together all the leaders of Judah and of Jerusalem. And Josiah went up to the temple of Jehovah, and with him all the men of Judah and all the people of Jerusalem, as well as the priests and the prophets and all the people, including the children. And he read to them all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the temple of Jehovah. And Josiah stood by the pillar and made a solemn promise before Jehovah to obey all the commands and carry out the rules written in this book. And all the people also agreed to do so.
Then Josiah commanded Hilkiah, the chief priest, and the second priest and the doorkeepers to bring out from the temple of Jehovah all the things that were made for Baal and for the Canaanite goddess of fortune, and for the Babylonian star gods. And he burned them outside Jerusalem in the lime-kilns by the Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel. He also put away the idolatrous priests, whom the rulers of Judah had appointed to offer sacrifice at the temples on the heights in the towns of Judah and in the places about Jerusalem; those also who offered sacrifices to Baal, to the sun, the moon, and the planets and all the starry host.
He also destroyed Topheth, which is in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, so that no man could ever make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Molech. He removed the horses at the entrance of the temple of Jehovah, which the rulers of Judah had given to the sun, and burned the chariots of the sun. Josiah broke down and crushed in pieces the altars that were on the roof, which the rulers of Judah had made.
Josiah also tore down the altar and the old temple at Bethel, broke its stones in pieces, and beat it to dust.
Then he gave this command to all the people: "Keep the passover to Jehovah your God, as is commanded in this book of the covenant." Such a passover as this had not been kept from the days of the judges who ruled Israel and during the period of the rulers of Israel and of Judah; but this passover was kept in Jehovah's honor in Jerusalem for the first time in the eighteenth year of Josiah's rule.
Josiah put away all the mediums, the wizards, the idols and all the evil things that were discovered in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might carry out the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah, the priest, found in the temple of Jehovah. Josiah was the first ruler who turned to Jehovah with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his strength in exact accord with the law of Moses, nor were any of the rulers that followed like him.
THE WRITING OF AN ANCIENT BOOK
When Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, had been ruler for four years, this message came to Jeremiah from Jehovah, "Take a parchment roll and write on it all the words that I have spoken to you about Jerusalem and Judah and all the nations from the time of Josiah to the present. Perhaps the people of Judah will pay attention to all the evil which I intend to bring upon them, so that they will turn each from his evil way, that I may forgive their guilt and sin."
Then Jeremiah called Baruch, the son of Neriah; and Baruch wrote on a parchment roll as Jeremiah told him all the words which Jehovah had spoken to him. And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, "I am not permitted to go to the temple of Jehovah. Therefore you go and read in the temple on the fast day the words of Jehovah from the roll which you have written at my command. You shall read them to all the people of Judah who have come from their towns. Perhaps they will pray to Jehovah and each turn from his evil way; for great is the anger and wrath of Jehovah against this people." So Baruch did as Jeremiah, the prophet, commanded him, reading in the temple from the writing the words of Jehovah.
The next year, when all the people who had come to Jerusalem from the cities of Judah were observing a fast in the temple courts, Baruch read to them all from the writing the words of Jeremiah.
When Micaiah, the grandson of Shaphan, had heard all the words of Jehovah, he went down to the palace, where all the court officials were sitting, and told them all that he had heard when Baruch read the book to the people.
Then all the nobles sent Jehudi, the son of Nethaniah, to Baruch to say: "Take the roll from which you have read to all the people and come here." So Baruch took the roll in his hand and went to them. And they said to him, "Sit down now and read it to us." So Baruch read it to them. But when they had heard all, they turned in fear to one another and said to Baruch, "We must surely tell Jehoiakim all this." So they asked Baruch, "Tell us now: how did you write all this?" Baruch answered, "Jeremiah told it all to me and I wrote it down in ink." Then the nobles said to Baruch, "Go, hide both yourself and Jeremiah, and let no one know where you are."
But after they had put the roll in the room of Elishama, the chancellor, they went to Jehoiakim's room, and told all these things to him. Then he sent Jehudi to bring the roll, and he brought it out of the room of Elishama, the chancellor. And Jehudi read it to him and to all the leaders who were with him.
Now Jehoiakim was sitting in the winter house with a brazier burning before him. When Jehudi had read three or four double columns, Jehoiakim cut it with a paper-knife and threw it into the fire that was on the brazier, and the entire roll was burned up. But neither he nor any of his servants who were present, were disturbed or tore their garments. Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah begged Jehoiakim not to burn the roll, but he would not listen to them. He also ordered Jerahmeel, his son, and Seraiah, the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah, the son of Abdeel, to seize Baruch, the scribe, and Jeremiah, the prophet, but Jehovah kept them hidden.
Then Jeremiah took another roll and gave it to Baruch, the scribe, who wrote on it as Jeremiah spoke to him, all the words of the book which Jehoiakim, the ruler of Judah, had burned in the fire; and many other similar words were added.
A PROPHET WHO SAVED A GREAT CITY
Once the king of Assyria sent a high official with a great army to Jerusalem. When they arrived at Jerusalem, they called for Hezekiah the ruler of Judah, Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, Shebnah, the scribe, and Joah, the son of Asaph, and they came out to them. And the high official said to them, "Why are you so confident? To whom do you look for help that you have rebelled against me? You count on Egypt to help you. Pharaoh, king of Egypt, is as weak as a broken reed. But if you say, 'We trust in Jehovah our God,' is not he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah has destroyed? Now therefore make a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders upon them. How then can you conquer one of the least of my master's servants? Have I now come up against this place to destroy it without Jehovah's approval? Jehovah it was who said to me, 'Go up against this land and destroy it.'"
Then Eliakim and Shebnah and Joah said to the high official, "Speak, I pray you, to your servants in the Aramaic language, for we understand it; but do not speak with us in the Jewish language in the hearing of the people who are on the wall." But the high official said to them, "Has my master sent me to your master and to you to speak these words? Is it not rather to the men who sit on the wall, who will suffer most from the siege?"
Then the high official stood and cried with a loud voice, in the Jewish language, saying, "Hear the message of the great king, the king of Assyria. 'Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you; for he will not be able to save you from my hand. Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in Jehovah by saying, Jehovah will surely save us, and this city shall not be given into the power of the king of Assyria.'"
"Do not listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria, 'Make your peace with me and come over to me; then each one of you shall eat from his own vine and his own fig-tree and drink the waters of his own cistern, until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land full of grain and new wine, a land full of bread and vineyards, a land full of olive-trees and honey, that you may live and not die. But do not listen to Hezekiah, when he deceives you by saying, Jehovah will save us. Has any of the gods of the nations ever saved his land from the power of the king of Assyria? Have the gods of the land of Samaria saved Samaria from my power? Who are they among all the gods of the countries, that have saved their country from my power, that Jehovah should save Jerusalem from my power?'"
Then the people were silent and made no answer; for the ruler's command was, "Do not answer him." But Eliakim, the steward of the palace, and Shebnah, the scribe, and Joah, the son of Asaph, came to Hezekiah with torn clothes and told him the words of the high official. And as soon as Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the temple of Jehovah. And he sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebnah, the scribe and the oldest of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah, the prophet. And they said to him, Hezekiah says, "This is a day of trouble, of discipline and of shame. It may be Jehovah your God will hear all the words of the high official, whom his master, the king of Assyria, has sent to defy the living God, and will punish him for them; therefore lift up your prayer for the people."
When the servants of Hezekiah came to Isaiah, Isaiah said to them, "Take back this answer to your master: Jehovah says, 'Do not be afraid of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have insulted me. I will put a spirit in him, so that he will hear bad news and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.'"
So the high official returned and found the king of Assyria making war against Libnah, for he had heard that he had gone from Lachish. But the king of Assyria had heard that Tirkakah, king of Ethiopia, had come out to fight against him. Now that very night the angel of Jehovah went out and struck down in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and eighty-five thousand. And when men arose early the next morning, these were all dead.
Then Sennacherib, king of Assyria, went away and returned to Nineveh. While he was worshipping in the temple of Nisroch his god, his sons struck him down with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon, his son, became king in his place.
JEREMIAH'S COURAGE IN DANGER
The command came to Jeremiah from Jehovah, "Stand in the door of the temple and speak this message: 'Hear the word of Jehovah, all you people of Judah who enter these gates to worship him. Jehovah, the God of Israel, says: Change your ways and your deeds and I will let you live in this place. Trust not in misleading words, thinking, this is the temple of Jehovah. For if you really change your ways and your deeds, if you faithfully see that justice is done between a man and his neighbor, if you do no wrong to the foreigners who live among you, to the fatherless nor to the widow, and do not shed the blood of the innocent in this place nor follow other gods to your hurt, then I will let you stay in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, forever and ever.
"'But now you are trusting in misleading words that are useless. Will you steal, murder, tell lies and offer sacrifice to Baal, and follow other gods whom you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house which bears my name and say, We are free to do all these shameful deeds? Is this my house, which bears my name, in your eyes a den of robbers? I myself have seen these shameful deeds,' says Jehovah.
"'Then go to my temple which was at Shiloh, where people used to worship me at first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel. Now because you have done all these deeds, and have paid no attention, although I spoke to you earnestly and often; and have not answered, although I called you, I will destroy the temple which bears my name, in which you trust, and the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I did at Shiloh. I will also send you from my sight, as I have sent away your relatives, even all the Northern Israelites.'"
When Jeremiah had finished speaking all that Jehovah had commanded him to say, the priests and prophets seized him and said, "You must die. Why have you said in the name of Jehovah that this temple shall be like Shiloh and this city shall be deserted, with no one living in it?" And all the people were gathered about Jeremiah in the temple of Jehovah.
But when the public officials of Judah heard of these things, they came up from the palace to the temple of Jehovah and held court at the entrance, at the new gate of the temple. Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and to the people, "This man should be put to death, for he has prophesied against this city as you have heard with your own ears." But Jeremiah answered the officials and all the people, "It was Jehovah who sent me to prophesy against this temple and city all that you have heard. Now therefore change your ways and your deeds and listen to Jehovah your God; and he will not do the evil things that he has threatened to do to you. But as for me, see, I am in your power; do to me as you think right and proper. Only remember that, if you put me to death, you will bring upon yourselves and upon this city and upon its inhabitants guilt for shedding innocent blood, for Jehovah has indeed sent me to you to tell you all these things."