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nals of his later years." They need not be rehearsed, the peace of the world; for the long period of tranexcept to say that the death of his favorite and wicked quillity enjoyed through the reign of the son is to be asson Absalom, who revolted against the government cribed to the bravery, energy, and wisdom of the father. of the king, was felt by the father as the climax of calamities. Did ever words express a more deep and tender, a more inconsolable grief, than his? When the news of the rebel son's death reached him, "the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he wept, thus he said: O my son Absalom! my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!"

The suppression of Absalom's revolt, though the death of the son caused so profound a grief in the parental bosom, was the salvation of David in respect to his kingdom. He was immediately established in full power; but his calamities were not at an end. In the pride of success, for conquest, or from other improper motive, David determined to take a census of his extensive dominions. According to one account, which gives the lowest number, there were eight hundred thousand men fit to bear arms in Israel, and five hundred thousand in Judah. No census was taken of Benjamin and Levi. The procedure called down the divine displeasure. The king was permitted to choose between three forms of evil - either seven years of famine, three months of unsuccessful, disastrous war, or three days' pestilence. David, with a subdued, penitent temper, left the judgment in the divine hand. Accordingly the pestilence broke out, and seventy thousand persons died. The malady spread to Jerusalem, but was arrested by the building of an altar to the Lord on Mount Moriah, the site of the future temple.*

The remainder of David's life was spent in making the most costly preparations for the building of the temple, and in securing the succession to Solomon, his son by Bathsheba. The former object was effected with comparative ease, as he had commended the enterprise to the zeal and piety of the people. But the latter was a purpose much more difficult of execution. The evils inseparable from Oriental monarchies, where polygamy prevails, and where no certain rule of succession is established among the offspring of different mothers, began to be felt, as the aged king drew near his death. Amid factions and the development of an intention, on the part of one of the king's sons, to secure the crown, measures were promptly taken, by the public authorities, to anoint and proclaim Solomon. This was done at Gihon, 1015 B. C., and the young king entered Jerusalem amid the loudest acclamations. Having given his son such instructions and charges as his experience and sagacity dictated, as to his conduct in the realm, David breathed his last, having reigned forty years over a monarchy which he had himself principally built up. He bequeathed to Solomon a fair, rich, powerful, and prosperous kingdom, which, through the well-disciplined veterans of the army, and the vigorous administration of government, held the balance of power between Asia and Africa, and secured

It may be observed that one prominent cause of the punishment inflicted may have been that the census was taken by military prefects, and not by the genealogists, which was a violation of the Hebrew constitution. Nor was it the purpose of the Deity that the nation should start forth on a career of conquest, as David seems to have intended, and thus

ruin itself in the manner that every prosperous kingdom of antiquity, and many a one of modern times, has done.


The Monarchy

1015 to 975 B. C.

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Reign of Solomon of the Kingdom during his Reign. THE life of Solomon forms, in many respects, an entire contrast to that of his father. The latter was full of adventure and incident, of variety and change, stirring, thrilling, and perilous to all that one holds dear-furnishing the best discipline to character, and the best materials of history. The days of Solomon, on the contrary, were passed in peace, ease, and luxury-in the enjoyment of the acquisitions made by his father, and in the safer as well as more agreeable employment of adorning his country with works of art, or enriching it with lessons of science and wisdom. They were both alike devoted to the real interests and grandeur of the nation, both sagacious and experienced, just and trustworthy, zealously laboring for the institutions of religion and the state, but with different tastes and dispositions, or, if not different, yet expressed each in its peculiar mode.

Solomon was twenty years of age when he ascended the throne. He was soon required to adjust several difficult cases connected with the pretensions of Adonijah, his brother, and the charge or advice of his father. Eventually, Adonijah was put to death, with Joab and Shimei, both dangerous men, and all of them guilty of capital crimes; and Abiathar, the high priest, who supported the pretender, was suspended from his office, and banished from Jerusalem. Thus secured, by the policy of his father, from internal foes, and by the terror of his arms from foreign invasion, Solomon commenced his auspicious reign. Then it was eminently that Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig-tree," from Dan even unto Beersheba." With his administration of justice all parties were content. Every one was filled with admiration of his wisdom. God had endowed him with a vast capacity, and his mind was stored and embellished with the knowledge of every science and art. In answer to his prayer for wisdom to guide his people, the Lord not only conferred that distinction, but added the gift of honor and riches.

The internal government of his dominions was admirably adjusted and administered. He divided his kingdom into twelve districts. Over each of these he appointed an officer for the collection of the royal tribute. This was in addition to the local and municipal governors. Each of those officers supplied the court for a month. The daily consumption of his household was immense, including, among other articles, three hundred bushels of fine flour, and six hundred of a coarser sort; ten fatted, with twenty other oxen, and one hundred sheep. Forty thousand horses were supplied with provender, besides a large number of dromedaries. The foreign relations of the king were also wisely directed; their aim and effect were the maintenance of friendship and peace. Such was his matrimonial alliance with the royal family of Egypt, as also the renewal of his commercial alliance with

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the king of Tyre.. To the latter are to be attributed the facilities afforded to Solomon for the building of that great national work-the Temple. The king of Tyre furnished both the materials and the artisans; the latter were the most skilful workmen in every kind of manufacture, particularly in the precious metals.

The preparations being made, the work was commenced in the year 1012 B. C., which was the 480th year after the departure of the Israelites from Egypt. It was erected upon the eminence of Moriah, on the east side of the city, the spot where Abraham offered his son. It was finished in the eleventh year of the king's reign, having been seven years and a half in building. It is not necessary here to give the details respecting this celebrated structure. Its richness and magnificence were probably unequalled. "It was a wonder of the world, from the splendor of its materials, more than the grace, boldness, or majesty of its height and dimensions." A profusion of gold was lavished on every part of the edifice, within and without, the floor, the walls, the ceiling, indeed, the whole house is described as overlaid with that precious metal. As soon as the temple, with its courts, was completed, the solemn dedication was performed by the king, with his high officers of state, all the orders of the priesthood and the Levites, and the assembled thousands of Israel. The language of the king was equal to the occasion; and the act was accompanied with the greatest magnificence which the sovereign and the nation could display. It was hallowed by every imposing religious rite, and the presence of the Deity!

The Temple was not the only magnificent work of Solomon. He reared sumptuous palaces for his own residence, with a display of opulence and profusion, not surpassed probably by the older monarchs of Egypt or Babylonia. The great palace, which was fifteen years in building, stood in Jerusalem. It was so constructed as, by a causeway, to lead directly to the temple. Another palace was erected, in a romantic spot in the country, for the king's wife, the daughter of Pharaoh.

Had Solomon been merely a magnificent prince, he would have been little remembered by mankind. His wisdom was his chief endowment, and that has excited the admiration of ages. Neighboring princes visited him to admire his wisdom no less than his

splendor. Poetry, philosophy, the natural sciences, and divine knowledge, appear each to have been cultivated by him with wonderful success. His poetry, consisting of one thousand and five songs, except his epithalamium, and perhaps some of his psalms, has been entirely lost. The same fate has attended his natural history of plants and animals. But all the conclusions which bear the stamp of a divine revelation are embodied in the book of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. The latter book seems to be, among other things, a confession of the errors of his life, and the summing up of its natural good, vanity of vanities!-a melancholy comment from one who had every means of earthly happiness in his power. The errors of his life, especially of the latter part of it, were not few or inconsiderable. He had set at defiance the plainest intimation, of the divine will, had formed a connection with Egypt, had multiplied a great force of cavalry, had accumulated gold and silver, had lavished the resources of the people in his mania for building, and had married many foreign wives. These women, educated in idolatry, led him to permit an idolatrous worship within his dominions. Nor was this the most heinous of his crimes; he even consecrated to the obscene orgies of the heathen, a part of one of the hills which overlooked Jerusalem,-a spot almost fronting the temple which he had erected to the one true God. Moloch triumphed here.

"The wisest heart

Of Solomon he led by fraud to build
His temple right against the temple of God,
On that opprobrious hill, and made his grove
The pleasant valley of Hinnom, Tophet thence
And black Gehenna called, the type of hell."

Hence sprang the difficulties of his declining days -enemies without and within, who attempted conquest, or revolt, or the dismemberment of the empire. It was a dissatisfied people and an insecure throne that he was about to bequeath to his heir. He died, after a reign of forty years, and with him departed the glory and power of the Jewish monarchy.

As the Hebrew nation had reached the height of its greatness and splendor during the reign of Solomon, a concise description may properly be given of its condition at that era.

In respect to the extent of the Hebrew dominions,



which were then at the greatest, they seem to have been generally the same as in the time of David, with the exception of the cities which he received from the king of Egypt as the dowry of his wife, and, on the authority of Josephus, the desert of Syria, in which Tadmor was built. The kingdom extended from the Mediterranean as far as the Persian Gulf. The boundary on the north is not clearly defined. One of Solomon's prefects was over the country about Tyre and Sidon. It seems probable that Solomon owned the country, but not the cities on the coast. The northern limit on the Mediterranean was Berytus; the southern was Sichor, or River of Egypt, and the Elanitic Gulf, or eastern arm of the Red Sea.

The population of the empire is somewhat a matter of conjecture, as there is no statement of it in the Scripture narrative. It is estimated, however, that it was very large. If we may judge from the number of the militia in the time of David,- one million three hundred thousand, -it cannot be supposed that the number of inhabitants under Solomon was less than eight millions. Taking the ratio of the number of militia to the number of inhabitants to be as one to seven, the population would even exceed that; but perhaps, in respect to the Israelites, we may take the ratio as one to six, or six and a half. To support so great a population must have required, notwithstanding the aids of commerce, a soil of uncommon fertility. The great progress of the Israelites, both in commerce and agriculture, at this era, must necessarily be inferred.

The revenue of the government is said to have been derived from gifts, spoils, confiscation, crown lands, services of labor, monopolies in trade, particular taxes, and, in extreme cases, poll taxes. The treasury of Solomon, it is probable, was enriched from most of these sources. From all quarters he received the most splendid and costly gifts. The spoils of his enemies came into the account; but these, in his peaceful reign, could not have been considerable. The confiscation of estates was doubtless a source of revenue, such as those of Adonijah, Joab, and others, whom he put to death in conformity to the demands of justice or the will of his father. He inherited, of course, the possessions of his father, received the income of the crown lands, the vineyards, the olive-trees, the sycamore-trees, the herds of Sharon, and the herds of the valleys, the camels, the asses, and the flocks. From services of labor a large income was derived, particularly in the commerce which was carried on by the spice merchants and others, by land and by sea, and in the privilege of exporting horses and chariots from Egypt for the king and the neighboring regions. To furnish the means of completing the magnificent building which Solomon erected, was added a public levy; and this was probably a part of the heavy burden of which the people complained when they assembled to crown Rehoboam. Of the public works of Solomon the magnificent buildings which he caused to be reared- we have already spoken. These certainly indicate great progress in taste and in the arts, both mechanic and imitative. The advancement in the art of government is shown in works for national defence—the surrounding of Jerusalem by a wall, and the fortifications of cities in different parts of his kingdom.

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The state of commerce, particularly, is interesting, as exhibiting the advancement of a people in civilization. Before the establishment of a monarchy, commerce seems to have received little attention from this

people. There was always an inland trade, though somewhat limited in extent; but until the time of David, the people had nothing to do with navigation. One or two seaports upon the Red Sea, secured through the conquests of David, furnished Solomon, if not David also, with the means of a most lucrative commerce. If we may judge from the profit of a single voyage, which has been computed at fifteen millions of dollars, it must have been a source of immense wealth.* That commerce was cherished by Solomon with the most assiduous care. He visited in person Elath and Ezion-Geber, superintended the building of ships, and took pains to settle these cities with seafaring inhab itants from Tyre. His efforts were successful, and were the means of drawing to these ports, and thence to Jerusalem, the trade of Africa, Arabia, Persia, and India. In respect to the situation of Ophir, innumerable conjectures have been put forth. All the facts that are ever likely to be known in regard to it we learn from the Bible, and they are these: the ships sailed from Ezion-Geber; the voyage to and from Ophir occupied three years; the articles imported were gold, peacocks, apes, spices, ivory, and ebony. (See note, p. 80.)

The alliance of Israel with the Phoenicians and Egyptians was of great importance in relation to the improvement of the arts of civilized life. The Phonicians, although they did not control the trade of the East, were even now distinguished for their commercial enterprise and nautical skill. The Tyrian artists, employed in the erection and decoration of the Temple, elevated the ideas of the Israelites in every thing connected with taste, and inspired them with a fondness for elegance and symmetry, while the Tyrian mariners, engaged in navigating their ships, gave to their character a tone of ardor and of enterprise which it never before possessed.

The philosophy and literature of the reign of Solomon were included in his own productions. It is not unlikely that authors and men of genius abounded in his day; yet we know nothing of what was done by others. The philosophy was a religious philosophy, the highest and only true one; and it was also a religious literature, chiefly, that prevailed, as was the fact with that which existed before Solomon's time, including the poetic effusions of his renowned father. The remarks already made upon the productions of Solomon, must suffice for the present condensed narrative. The peculiarities of the government and religion of the Hebrews, as agents in meliorating their character and promoting their improvement, will have sufficient. ly appeared from the many incidents recorded in their history. Their government was a theocracy at first; but when this ceased is a matter of dispute. Some suppose it terminated with the judges, others at the time of the captivity, and others not until the advent of Christ; for the king was ever expected to act but as the viceroy of Jehovah, the real Sovereign. In respect to their religion, as it was practised, there were causes in operation that tended to excite and

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* It is said that silver, so abundant in Spain, was exchanged, at par, for gold, equally abundant in Arabia, by the Phoenician traders of these Solomon was the partner : hence the abundance of these precious metals in Jerusalem, so gold plentiful as stones, strongly expressed in Scripture and silver nothing accounted of." Every nation used the spices of the East, especially frankincense, without stint, in the rites of worship, and at any price. These were always very costly, and the staple of a most lucrative trade.



cherish a vindictive spirit and roughness of character, passions. They thus rose above the partisan feelings contrary to the evident intent of the precept. But of the common people, and left their retirement with this influence was, in some degree, counteracted by more liberal and benevolent principles. They conthe establishment of the schools of the prophets. In tributed, of course, to the refinement of the nation. these institutions, the precise nature of which is doubt- A better state of things existed under both David and ful, men were secluded for a season from the tu- Solomon, who, notwithstanding their many errors and mults of wars, which harassed the multitude, and mistakes, were in the main, earnestly devoted to the necessarily awakened and strengthened the turbulent moral and religious advancement of their people.

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979 to 587 B. C.

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Kingdoms of Judah and Israel - Ten Tribes
rebel, and establish their Independence.
Policy of Jeroboam - Comparison of the
Dynasties of the two Kingdoms- Disas-
trous Attempt at Union Wickedness of
Ahab and his Wife
Apostasy of Israel
Successful Opposition of Elijah The true
Religion restored-Confederation-Annals
of Israel - Its Deportation - Its Fate in
Assyria-Annals of Judah - Deported by
Nebuchadnezzar Jerusalem destroyed.
THE Successor of Solomon was his son Rehoboam;
but the time had arrived for a great change to pass
over this splendid monarchy. It was destined to un-
dergo a disastrous partition, and to be divided into two
kingdoms, till one of them was blotted out forever
from the roll of nations. The immediate cause of the
melancholy change was the indiscretion and haughti-
ness of the new monarch in answer to the reasonable
demands of his people-and threatening them with

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still heavier burdens than his father had laid upon them. This was done at Shechem when the nation, with the popular Jeroboam at their head, petitioned for an alleviation of burdens which it was then impossible to bear. The despotic and fool-hardy temper of the monarch thus resulted in an immediate determination to revolt.

Ten tribes unanimously renounced their allegiance, raised Jeroboam to the throne, forced the son of Solomon to fly to his native kingdom of Judah, and stoned Adoram, the collector of his tribute. The tribes of Judah and Benjamin alone remained faithful to the true succession.


As a matter of policy, and an expression of his disregard of the religious rites of the Hebrew nation, Jeroboam appointed a separate priesthood, and a separate place and establishment for religious purposes. sought thus to avoid the danger of reunion, through the attraction of the national worship at Jerusalem which, among other things, was doubtless intended to bind the tribes together by domestic, commercial, and religious ties, and keep up a patriotic feeling of nationality. To this end, Jeroboam caused two golden calves to be made, and consecrated some obscure persons, not of the Levitical tribe, as the priesthood. These calves were set up, the one in the central position of

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Bethel, and the other in the remote city of Dan. This flagrant violation of the Mosaic polity did not pass unnoticed by the God of the Hebrews. It subjected Jeroboam and his house to calamities, and the latter finally to destruction.

It is not proposed here to enter minutely into the history of the separate kingdoms of Israel and Judah during this long period. There were about twenty sovereigns in each of them, although the kingdom of Judah lasted more than a century beyond that of Israel. The throne of Judah, deriving its prestige from David and Solomon, passed quietly from father to son, and the reign of its occupants in several instances was quite protracted. The race of Jeroboam, having no hereditary greatness in their favor, for he was on'y a domestic in the family of Solomon, speedily cut off from the succession, and adventurer after adventurer contested the kingdom of Israel. Their reigns were generally insecure and short. Only the more striking incidents in the lives of some of the kings, of both nations, will be introduced into this narrative. That which further relates to Jeroboam and his successors will be first separately noticed.


A war occurred between the two nations immediately after the accession of the second king of Judah, Abijah, (962 B. C.,) in which their whole military force was called out, eight hundred thousand men on the side of Israel, and four hundred thousand on that of Judah. Although the design of Abijah was to reduce the kingdom of Israel to subjection, and he obtained a great victory, yet the object was not attained. The disaster, however, preyed upon Jeroboam's mind, and he never afterwards recovered his power or enterprise. At his death, his son Nadab, who succeeded him, (977 B. C.,) was dethroned and put to death, and his whole lineage destroyed by Baasha, (955 B. C.,) who occupied the throne twenty-four years.

Zimri, the fourth sovereign after Jeroboam, enjoyed the crown only seven days. The beautiful city Tirzah, in which he was besieged by Omri, being taken, he burnt himself to death in his palace, and the royal residence was transferred to Samaria- so long the I hated rival of Jerusalem.

Under Ahab, the sixth in succession after Jeroboam, the apostasy of the ten tribes reached its height. Ahab was the most impious king that ever reigned over Israel. He married Jezebel, a daughter of the king of Sidon, under whose auspices the Sidonian worship of Baal, the sun, was introduced. This species of idolatry, so fierce and persecuting, threatened to exterminate the ancient religion. Its preservation from utter extinction in the ten tribes, was owing to the intrepidity of the prophets, who, though put to death in great numbers, or obliged to lie concealed, often arose to remonstrate against the wickedness of the king and his fierce, vindictive consort.

Elijah, the greatest of the whole prophetic race, entered so vigorously into the contest, and was so sustained by divine interposition, that he triumphed over the impious house of Ahab. They of the prophetic order were, at this period, the principal conservators of religion, particularly in that part of the country whence the Levites had been expelled, and where the priesthood had been degraded. They were the champions of right and of liberty, and of the strict observance of the law, civil and religious. Elijah, by a public challenge of the numerous priests of Baal, vindicated and proved the superiority of the Lord's wor

ship over all their idolatries, and the people, being at once convinced, put the law in force, and the idolatrous priests present on the occasion were slain on the banks of the Kishon.

A degree of prosperity attended the affairs of Israel after the restoration of the ancient religion. A powerful invasion of the Syrians was repelled once and again; but Ahab and his queen, though divinely favored by the success of their arms, and by other means, were neither reconciled to the worship of the true God, nor brought to a just reverence for the institutions of Israel. Among other crimes, they wantonly murdered Naboth for refusing to give up his vineyard to the king. Both perished miserably, as did their whole family at subsequent periods.

During the short reign of Ahaziah, (891 B. C.,) the son and successor of Ahaz, the two Hebrew kingdoms were joined in a confederacy. Its duration was only two years.

The crown was next worn by Jehoram, brother of Ahaziah; but he was destined to die a violent death, after a reign of twelve years.

Jehu, a captain under Jehoram, was anointed king by the prophet Elisha, and, though a profligate and ambitious man, was the instrument of executing the divine vengeance upon his impious contemporaries. He put to death the seventy sons of Ahab, and, after having slain all the priests of Baal, he destroyed the images and the house of their God.

Jehoash (638 B. C.) was a successful warrior. He defeated Benhadad, king of Syria, in three battles. In a war against Amaziah, king of Judah, he took the latter prisoner, broke down the wall of Jerusalem, and plundered the temple and the king's palace.

Pekah, (758 B. C.,) an unprincipled but able monarch, made war against Judah with Rezin, king of Damascus an event which, with other collisions between the two kingdoms, hastened their ruin. Their first expedition did not meet with much success: a second descent was more fatal. The loss of Judah was great. During Pekah's reign, a part of the ten tribes were carried captive to Assyria by Tiglath Pileser. After a

The end of the kingdom now drew near. period of anarchy which lasted about nine years, the sceptre fell into the feeble hands of Hosea. He had reigned nine years, when Shalmaneser, an Assyrian monarch of great ambition, made him tributary. But Hosea having revolted, the Assyrian king besieged Samaria, which, after an obstinate resistance of three years, surrendered; and thus terminated forever the independent kingdom of Israel. (See p. 77.)

Those who

This melancholy event occurred in a little more than two centuries and a half after the separation of the ten tribes from those of Judah and Benjamin, the former having suffered in the mean while a dreadful series of calamities. Except a few who remained in Canaan, the Israelites were dispersed throughout Assyria, and lost their distinctive character. remained in their native country became intermixed with strangers. The descendants of these mingled races were afterwards known by the name of Samaritans. Whether that larger portion of them, who were removed, became extinct as a separate people, or roved into remote and inaccessible regions, where their descendants even now expect the final restoration of the twelve tribes to their native land, is still a question among the learned.

The contemporaneous history of Judah is, of course,

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