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fully, and will bless them for faith and obedience: who also overlooks the most secret designs of the wicked, and will punish them for sin. The Syrians were taught by their own defeat, that the Lord was God of the plains as well as of the hills, and able to put all those to confusion who trusted in vain idols.

How greatly was the impious king of Syria humbled by the LORD! but Ahab's folly in not pursuing his conquest, and turning it to advantage, is quite amazing.

Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard contiguous to the king's palace, which Ahab was desirous of possessing; he therefore desired that Naboth would either sell it to him, or exchange it for another; but Naboth refused to comply with the king's request, who was so enraged with him, that he returned to his house angry and disappointed, retired to his bed, and refused food. Jezebel understanding the cause of Ahab's uneasiness, rcproached him with want of spirit: and obtaining from him the royal signet, engaged to put him in possession of the vineyard. In order to do so, she wrote letters in Ahab's name to the governors of the place where Naboth lived, to proclaim a fast; as if they were apprehensive of an impending judgment from God on account of some concealed ofiender, which could only be averted by public humiliation, and the death of the impious wretch, who like Achan, provoked the Lord to send a curse on the city. Those to whom the letters were addressed, were wicked enough to comply with the contents. Naboth was pointed out as the suspected person, and brought to the usual place of trial; false witnesses were easily procured, who accused him of blaspheming God and the king. By the former crime, if it could be proved, his life was forfeited : and by the latter, his estate was confiscated to the crown. Being furnished with no means

of

9

of it; and had Ahab improved this blessed opportunity by continuing humble, and resolving to forsake his evil ways and root out idolatry, he would have been pardoned, and the curse entirely removed. This instance of Divine forbearance shews the great mercy and goodness of the SUPREME Being, roho willeth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should turn from his wickedness and live.

SECTION LIX.

THE REIGN OF AHAB KING OF ISRAEL CONCLUDED.

From 1 Kings, Chap. xxii. - 2 Chron. Chap. xviii.

And they continued three

years without

war between Syria and Israel.

And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel.

Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab.

(And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye

that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria?) And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramoth-gilead ? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses.

And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Euquire I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to-day.

Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king...

And

And Jelioshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORR besides, that we might enquire of him? And the king of Israel said unto Jehushaphat, There is yet one man (Micaiah the son of Imlah) by whom we may enquire of the Lord; but I hate him, for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.

Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah,

And the king of Israel, and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, sat each on his throne, having put on their robes in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria, and all the prophets prophesied before them.

And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron : and he said, Thus saith the LORD, with these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them.

And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth-gilead, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the king's hand.

And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah, spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth : let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good.

And Micaiah said, as the LORD liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak.

So he came to the king, and the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper : for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.

And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which

is

is true in the name of the LORD? And Micaiah said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd. And the Lord said, These have no master : let them return every man to his house in peace.

And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee, that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil? And Micaiah said, Hear thou, therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him, on his right hand and on his left: And the LORD said, who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ranioth-gilead? and one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.

And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him.

And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith ? and he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also : go forth, and do so.

Now therefore behold, the LORD had put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.

But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which

way

went the Spirit of the Lord from me to speak unto thee?

And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner-chamber to hide thyself.

And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah and carry him back unto Ammon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king's son; and say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of effliction, and with water of affliction, until I come

in peace.

And

And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the LORD hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O ye people, every one of you.

So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead,

And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself and enter into the battle, but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle.

But the king of Syria commanded his thirty-two captains that had rule over his chariots, saying, Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel.

And it came to pass when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely it is the king of Israel: therefore they compassed about him to fight: but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him, and God moved them to depart from him.

And it came to pass when the captains o the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him.

And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness : wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host : for I am wounded.

And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot.

And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country.

So the king died, and was brouglit to Samaria, and they buried the king in Samariaa

And

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