Page images

on bread and water, until he returned in peace. But Micaiah said, “ If thou return at all in peace, the LORD hath not spoken by


[ocr errors]

So the two kings went up to battle, and Ahab went into it in disguise, but Jehoshaphat wore his royal robes. The king of Syria had given special orders to every man to try and kill the king of Israel : and at first his captains pursued Jehoshaphat, but he cried to God, and the Lord helped him, and when they saw it was not Ahab, they left him. Ahab could not avoid the Lord's sentence. All disguised as he was, he fell. A man drew his bow at a venture, and the arrow smote the wicked king, and pierced him with a mortal wound. Ahab bid the driver of his chariot take him out of the battle's fury; he“ stayed himself up in his chariot” till the evening, and then just about the time of the sun going down, he died.

Ahab's body was brought back to Samaria, and buried there ; and the prophet Elijah's words that in the same place where the dogs had licked the blood of Naboth, they should lick that of his murderer, were fulfilled. The chariot in which Ahab died was brought to the pool of Samaria to be washed; and as that and the king's armour was washed, the dogs came, and licked up his blood.

Thus ended the history of one famous in Sacred history, as the most wicked among the many bad kings that reigned in Judah and Israel. “There was none like Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up."


When Jehoshaphat returned to Jerusalem after the battle was ended and Ahab dead, he was met by one of his prophets who rebuked him,

saying, “ Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD ? therefore is wrath upon thee from the Lord.” But he also said that God saw good in Jehoshaphat, and that he had prepared his heart to seek God. Soon afterwards, the Moabites and Ammonites, and other heathen nations came to make war upon Jehoshaphat—but he put his trust in God, saying, “ We have no might against this great company, neither know we what to do; but our eyes are upon Thee.” The Spirit of the Lord

came upon a Levite called Jahaziel, and he bade the king and all the people, “Be not afraid or dismayed, for the battle is not your's, but God's.” They went out to battle with the singers in front, praising the beauty of holiness, and singing, “ Praise the Lord, for His mercy endureth for ever." And God gave them an abundant victory over their enemies, and very great spoil.

When Ahab died, his son Ahaziah came to the throne. He was a bad man, and followed in the evil ways of his parents. He met his death by falling from the lattice of an upper chamber in which he seriously injured himself. Ahaziah sent messengers to inquire of Baalzebub whether. he would die or recover ; but the messengers met Elijah, who was sent by the Lord to ask, “Is it because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to inquire of Baalzebub ?" Elijah also answered their question, telling them that the king would die. When Ahaziah's servants told him what had happened, he inquired what the man was like who had thus spoken? They replied, “He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle about his loins.” Then the king said, It is Elijah the Tishbite."

In his anger he sent fifty soldiers with their captain to take

Elijah. They found the prophet at the top of a hill, and the captain bade him come down, saying, “Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down."

Elijah answered, “If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty.” Then there came fire which consumed them all. The same thing happened to a second company. When Ahaziah sent a third captain, this man came and fell on his knees before the prophet, and besought that he and his men might not likewise be destroyed. This time the angel of the LORD spoke to Elijah, bidding him not to fear, but to go down to the king. So he went and repeated to Ahaziah the sentence of the LORD.

His words were fulfilled, and the king of Israel never rose up from his bed of sickness, dying two years after his father Ahab. Ahaziah had no son, but his brother Jehoram or Joram succeeded him. There was at the same time with this king a king Jehoram in Judah, Jehoshaphat having raised his eldest son of that name to share his throne in the fifth year of Jehoram of Israel. Jehoshaphat's son was a wicked man, after his father's death he slew all his own brethren, and many of the princes of Israel. Moreover, he had married a daughter of Ahab, and he followed in all the wicked courses of Ahab and Jezebel. For these sins the Lord sent a heavy judgment upon him. Foreign enemies came up against Jehoram and carried away all his property, and all his family, except his youngest

Jehoram himself was afflicted with a very sore disease, of which he died after two years' suffering. At the end of that time he “departed without being desired,” and the people made no solemn funeral for him. He was succeeded by his only surviving son, Ahaziah.



It is a relief to turn from the troubled blood-stained history of all these wicked kings, to the Prophet Elijah. His earthly mission was now ended, and the LORD saw fit to take His faithful servant up to heaven, without causing him to suffer the pangs of death, appointed as the lot of all men. A solemn scene passed between the venerable Prophet and his faithful servant Elisha. Probably Elijah knew what the LORD was about to do for him, and in his humility would have dismissed even this wit

« PreviousContinue »