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THE JEWISH ADVOCATE.
BIBLE HISTORY OF THE JEWS.
WHEN Solomon had completed the house of the Lord, he built for himself a beautiful palace in Jerusalem ; he also repaired the walls of that city, which he made very strong with towers ; he builded a palace for his queen, the daughter of the king of Egypt; and he built cities, “ Geser, and Beth-horon the nether, and Baalath, and Tadmor in the wilderness."
Meanwhile the wisdom of her king and the fame of his doings, drew many strangers to Jerusalem. Amongst others, the queen of Sheba came
prove him with hard questions ;” who, when she had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, declared that the half had not been told her. “ Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth,” was Mount Zion, the city of the GREAT KING!” Here lay the real strength and beauty of Jerusalem, that God was known in her palaces, for a refuge.” From being " the fewest of all people,” the Most High God had given them a place and a name among the nations of the earth, that through them His name might be exalted among the heathen ; and so long as they clave to Him, He blessed them among all nations.
But, alas! Solomon, he who was so wise in his youth, that his name went far unto the islands," he who had written books of the most profound “ wisdom,” forsook the guide of his youth, and drew down upon himself the displeasure of God, by acting in defiance of many of the Hebrew laws. He entered into an alliance with Egypt; he greatly increased the cavalry of Israel, respecting which it had been expressly said, that no king of Israel should “multiply horses to himself;" he gathered up silver and gold, much more than was needful for the Lord's house ; and he took to himself wives from the idolatrous heathen, which led to the greatest falling away of all; because, for the sake of these strange wives, he tolerated their false gods; nay, to please them, he even went the length of building a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon, on a high hill which overlooked Jerusalem, in the very face of Mount Zion, where he himself had raised a temple to the Almighty.
For this the Lord was angry with Solomon, and declared that he would surely rend the kingdom from him, and give it to one of his servants. For David's sake the storm was stayed during Solomon's life-time, but we find that his latter days were darkened by the forebodings of coming trouble. Hada an Edomite, and Rezon, of Zobah, lately fugitives by force of David's arm, now returned; the one to reign over Syria, the other to possess himself of the city of Damascus, and they did much mischief to Israel, all the days of Solomon. But an adversary still more to be dreaded, appeared in the person of “ Jeroboam
the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon's servant." Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious,” placed confidence in him, and put him into a place of trust. Now it happened one day, Jeroboam being out in the fields alone, that he was met by the prophet Ahijah, who, catching hold of a new garment that was on him, rent it in twelve pieces, and addressed him in these words : “ Take thee ten pieces : for thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee : because they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes. It was further declared, that these things should not happen till after Solomon's death ; when the kingdom should be taken out of his son's hand. All but one tribe, which should remain faithful, “ that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.” The Lord further promised to be with Jeroboam, and to build him "
a sure house,” so long as he walked
in His ways:
When Solomon heard of this he sought to kill Jeroboam, who fled into Egypt, where he remained until the death of Solomon, which happened after he had reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel for forty years.
- And Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.”'
And now the smothered discontent of the people broke forth. It seems likely that it was
during the reign of Solomon that the Israelitish people first experienced the truth of what Samuel had told them, of the burdens that a king would lay upon them. For the tribute money paid by the conquered nations, and the profits of his foreign trade, were not sufficient to carry out all Solomon's great works, without taxing his own people as they had never been taxed before, and their dissatisfaction was very great.
Accordingly, when all Israel came together to Shechem, to make Rehoboam king, a deputation from the tribes, with Jeroboam at their head (whom they had fetched from Egypt for that purpose), waited
him, saying, Thy father made our yoke grievous : now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee.”
Rehoboam asked three days to consider their petition ; meanwhile he “consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived,” who advised him “ to speak good words” to the people, and they would be his servants for ever! But he neglected their advice, and followed the counsel of “ the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him;” and thus it was, that when the appointed day came, the king answered the people roughly, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke : my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions."
Indignant at this reply, all Israel raised the cry, “What portion have we in David ?” your tents, O Israel !” Ten tribes revolted from their allegiance, and declared Jeroboam king :
* there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only.”
It remains, then, that we trace the fate of the rival kingdoms, henceforth distinguished as Judah and Israel. Never again to be united under one head, till the outcasts of Israel and the dispersed of Judah shall be gathered from the four corners of the earth; “when Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim,” but “ the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel.”*
ACCOUNT OF THE LONDON SOCIETY FOR
PROMOTING CHRISTIANITY AMONGST THE JEWS.
(Continued from page 30.) The Committee of the newly formed institution had many lessons to learn, which nothing but experience could teach them. There existed great ignorance about the Jews; as it regards their religious opinions and practices, and intellectual acquirements; and the difficulties which beset the path of every inquirer.
Amongst the means adopted, a large free school was commenced near the Jewish quarter, in the hope that some of the children of the Jews might be sent to receive the benefits of gratuitous education. From three to four hundred children were regularly educated there for a time; but only a very few of them were of the people of Israel. In another school, as many as twenty
* Isaiah xi, 12, 13; Jeremiah üi. 18.