« PreviousContinue »
did not heartily concur in his endeavours for their re. formation; but retained an inclination to idolatrous practices, one of which they obstinately adhered to, namely, sacrificing on high places, notwithstanding the king's example and command to the contrary.
The prediction of Isaiah to Hezekiah was soon ful. filled. It is said that Manasseh was carried into BABYLON by the Assyrians *: in order to account for this, we must have recourse to the history of the Assyrian empire.
“ESSAR-HADDON, the son of Sennacherib, reigned over the Assyrian monarchy, which was fallen into decay at his father's death, in consequence of his defeat at Jerusalem, and the revolt of the Medes : but it is supposed that the kindred race of the Babylonish kings becoming extinct, or some other cause producing an inter-reign in that kingdom, Essar-haddon laid hold of the opportunity, and united Babylon to the crown of Assyria. Grown potent by this union, he proceeded to establish his power over the more distant parts of his empire, and marched into Syria, and against the remnant of Israel and the kingdom of Judah: the two former he removed to distant lands, so that they now ceased to be nations, and in their stead introduced supply of foreigners. He attempted to reduce Judah to the state of dependence it was in during the reign of king Ahaz, and so far succeeded as to take Manasseh, as we have read t." “ Essar-haddon next resolved to invade Egypt and
* See 2 Kings xvii. 24, &c. + This king is called, in different parts of Scripture, Assar-haddon, Sarchedon, Sargon, and Asnapper. The famous cxploit of Judith, in killing Holifernes, is placed in the days of Manasseh ; but as it has no connection with the history of the kings of Judah, and is difficult to explain, it is omitted here: and the history of Tobit is passed over for the same reasons.
Ethiopia ; which he did accordingly, and carried with him into captivity great numbers of the inhabitants' ; he held these kingdoms in subjection to him three years.
“ Thus did Essar-haddon extend his dominions, and spread, once more, the terror of the Assyrian name far and near. After a glorious reign of many years he died * in the thirty-first year of Manasseh, and was succeed by Saosduchinus, called in Scripture Nebuchadonosar. Essar-haddon is supposed to have been a mild and gracious prince, and particularly kind to the captive Jews, whom his father Sennacherib had treated with great cruelty, after his hasty return to Nineveh from the siege of Jerusalem."
THE REIGN OF AMON KING OF JUDAH.
From 2 Chron. Chap. xxxiii. AMON was two and twenty years old when he began to reign.
But he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as did Manasseh his father : for Amon sacrificed unto all the carved images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them; and humbled not himself before the LORD, as Manasseh his father had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more, and he reigned two years
And his servants conspired against him, and slew him in his own house.
But the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against king Amon; and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead. * Prideaux's Connection.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. When Manasseh was dead, and the people were no longer restrained by his authority from the worship of idols, they returned to their former abominations; and Amon, their young king, deluded as we may suppose by some persons whose opinions he valued, encouraged their impiety, and strove to justify it by his own example. No excuse can be made for him, as we may conclude that Manasseh had instructed him in his duty, and informed him of the sad effects of his own bad con, duct; he should therefore have rejected the evil coun. sel of those who endeavoured to draw him aside from the true God: but youth are too apt to lend a willing ear to such as flatter them, and encourage their vices and follies. How much happier are those, whether kings or subjects, who contract early habits of piety and virtue, who steadfastly resolve to serve their God, and
promote the welfare of their fellow-creatures. Had Amon acted thus, he would have enjoyed a prosperous and honourable reign, in consequence of God's covenant with the house of David.
THE REIGN OF JOSIAH KING OF JUDAH.
From 2 Chronicles, Chap. xxxix. JOSIAH was eight years old when he began to reign.
And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand nor to the left.
For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father : and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah
and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images,
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Josiah was very young when he came to the throne ; but had an excellent disposition, and in all probability good guardians. His wisdom and piety displayed themselves at an early age, for he was no more than twelve years
old when he assumed the government, and began the reformation of his kingdom. Isaiah had been long dead, but it pleased the LORD to raise up another great prophet, Jeremiah, as a comforter and counsellor to this good prince, and the pious part of his subjects ; and as a monitor to those who neglected their duty. Some extracts from the writings of this prophet will help to illustrate this period of sacred history.
PART OF THE PROPHECY OF JEREMIAH.
From Chap. i. &c. In the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah, king of Judah, the Word of the Lord came unto me Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, one of the priests that were in Ananoth, in the land of Benjamin, saying, Before thou wert brought into existence, I knew thee; before thou camest into the world, I sanctified thee; and ordained thee a prophet unto all nations,
Then said I, Ah, Lord God, behold I cannot speak: for I am a child.
But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child : for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
Be not afraid of their faces; for I am with thee, to deliver thee, saith the Lord.
Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold I have put my words in thy mouth.
See, I have this day set thee over the nations, and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down; to build, and to plant.
Moreover, the Word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond-tree.
Then said the Lord unto me, Thou hast well seen; for I will hasten my word to perform it.
And the WORD of the Lord came unto me the second time, saying, What seest thou? And I said I see a seething pot, and the face thereof is toward the north.
Then the Lord said unto me out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.
For lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the LORD: and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about and against all the cities of Judah.
And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense under other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands.
Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces : lest I confound thee before them.
For behold, I have made thee this day, a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land.