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somewhat involved in that of the ten tribes. Her kings were, many of them, devoted to the religion and institutions of their country, and ruled in the hearts of their people. A few of them imitated the profligate kings of Israel; but a reign of misrule and irreligion, was almost invariably succeeded by a return to order and the national faith.

Rehoboam, of whom an account has already been given in part, reigned seventeen years. During his reign, Shishak, king of Egypt, made a descent upon Judea, took Jerusalem, and carried off the treasures of the temple and of the palace.

He was succeeded by his son Abijah, (962 B. C.,) whose war with Jeroboam has already been noticed. Asa, the son of Abijah, followed, 959 B. C. He was a wise and religious prince, employed in fortifying and establishing the national religion, as of old. He repelled an immense force of a million men, headed by Terah, the Ethiopian, who invaded his dominions.

After a reign of forty-one years, Asa was succeeded by his son, Jehoshaphat, (918 B. C.,) who pursued the


prudent and pious course of his father. The kingdom was in a high state of prosperity under his sceptre ; but, in an evil hour, during an alliance with the king of Israel, he married his son Jehoram to Athaliah, the cruel and ambitious daughter of Ahab. She afterwards introduced the crimes and calamities of the Israelitish dynasty into the royal house of Judah.

Jehoram succeeded his father Jehoshaphat, 893 B. C.; during his reign the fatal consequences of the connection with the bloody house of Ahab appeared. This reign began in blood, and proceeded in idolatry and defeat.

Ahaziah, son of Jehoram, (885 B. C.,) was directed by the counsels of his profligate mother. He went, with the vicious Jehoram, king of Israel, — of the same name with his father, and in part contemporaneous with the latter, to war against Hazael, king of Syria. When Jehu destroyed the house of Ahab, he sought Ahaziah, who was hid in Samaria, and slew him.

Passing over two or three reigns, as not important or interesting, we come to the long, religious, and therefore prosperous reign of Uzziah, (809 B. C.,) who swayed

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the sceptre of Judah during fifty-one years. He was in every respect an efficient sovereign, both in war and peace. He made successful attacks upon the Philistines and Arabians. But this excellent prince, becoming intoxicated with success, went into the temple to burn incense upon the altar, and, for his presumption, was struck with leprosy, which caused him to be set aside, and the administration of public affairs to be committed to Jotham, his son.

Jotham's was an able and conscientious, but not an eventful reign.

Ahaz, son of the pious Jotham, commenced his reign 742 B. C., and proved to be the worst and most unfortunate monarch who had ruled in Judah. The idolatry of Ahaz was punished by the captivity of two hundred thousand of his subjects, though they were afterwards sent back, upon the remonstrance of the prophet Obed.

Hezekiah succeeded his impious father on the throne of Judah, 726 B. C. He proved to be a most virtuous prince and eminent reformer, demolishing, with unsparing severity, the materials and the means of idol


He was followed, in the succession, by his son Manasseh, 697 B. C.; a king to whose crimes and irreligion the Jews mainly attribute the dreadful evils

which shortly after consigned them to ruin and slavery. The prince himself, subdued by Esarhaddon, the Assyrian king, was carried to Babylon, bound with fetters. Here he learned wisdom and piety, and, in the end, was restored to the throne of his ancestors.

Josiah, who came to the throne at the age of eight years, (640 B. C.,) surpassed even his most religious predecessors in zeal for the reformation of the national religion, which had been prostrated by his father Amon and grandfather Manasseh. But the virtues of Josiah only delayed for a time the fate of Jerusalem and of the kingdom. He was killed in a battle with Necho, king of Egypt, who took Jerusalem.

Jehoahaz, a younger son of Josiah, had been raised to the throne. After a reign of three months, he was deposed and imprisoned by Necho, who placed Jehoi akim in his room. From this period, the kingdom of Judah fell into a condition of alternate vassalage to the two conflicting powers of Egypt and Assyria. There was but a shadow of the native authority left.

In the fourth year of Jehoiakim, who came to the throne 601 B. C., the powerful Nebuchadnezzar was associated in the Assyrian empire with his father, and, within a year or two, passed the Euphrates, and rapidly overran the whole of Syria and Palestine. The Jewish king, on his submission, was spared; but the



temple was plundered, and a number of well-born | placed over this wreck of a kingdom, attempted, in the youths, among whom were Daniel and three others, ninth year of his reign, a resistance against the Aswere carried away captives. The captivity of seventy syrian king, and Jerusalem, with all it contained, was years commenced from this date. Jehoiakim, how-levelled in one common ruin. This work of destrucever, rebelled, but perished, in a short time, amid the tion was consummated in the year 587 B. C., and is devastation of his country. Jeconias, his son, had bewailed in the inimitable Lamentations of Jeremiah. scarcely ascended the throne, when Nebuchadnezzar After this event, there were a few efforts among contendin person appeared at the gates of Jerusalem, and ing chiefs for the sovereignty of Judea, but they were of received its submission. Almost every thing valuable no avail. Here closes the first period of Jewish history, remaining in the temple, as well as the king and his but not the existence of the Israelitish race, as might family, the strength of the army and nobility, and all the have been expected. Their laws and their religion more useful artisans, were carried away to Babylon. have proved to be the principle of an inextinguishZedekiah, the younger son of Josiah, (598 B. C.,) able nationality.

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Ezra reading and explaining the Law.

Cyrus, King of Persia-Ezra-Return of the
Exiles Annals -Two hundred thousand
Jews settle in Egypt and Cyrene- Annals
Sufferings under Epiphanes - The Jews
cured forever of Idolatry - Revolt The
Maccabees-Independence established by a
Series of glorious Exploits - Annals- Dis-
sensions call in the Interference of Rome
Pompey renders the Jews tributary.

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AFTER the Jews had been in captivity to the Babylonians the seventy years predicted by Jeremiah, they were permitted by Cyrus, king of Persia, to return to their native land, 534 years B. C. Previously to this event, important and interesting incidents occurred, in which several kings of Babylon in succession, and Daniel, with his associates, were concerned. These are minutely related in the prophecy of Daniel, and need not be here repeated. At the close of the seventy years, Cyrus, who had succeeded Darius, and who became the founder of a new dynasty and a new empire, found himself the undisputed mon

High Priests.

arch of all the territories of the kingdom. It was doubtless through the influence of the prophet Daniel that Cyrus issued the welcome edict in respect to the exiles of Judea.

The affairs of the returned Jews had fallen into confusion, when, in 457 B. C., the Persian king sent Ezra, the priest and scribe, to put things in order. His commission was ample, and exactly suited to the case. He was empowered, as governor, to appoint the observance of the law, and punish the refractory superior and inferior judges, rectify abuses, enforce with fines, imprisonment, and even death; and various means were allowed him for the use of the temple.

In four months, the caravan from Persia, led by Ezra, and numbering about six thousand souls, reached Jerusalem. Having deposited the donations to the temple, and shown his commission, Ezra reformed the practices of the colonists, and caused the law to be publicly read to the assembled people, explaining it to them in their own idioms. He also collected and revised the books of the Old Testament, and gave them their present form. The patriotic Nehemiah was sent as governor, in 444 B. C. He rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, and the Jews long remained quiet, happy, and faithful to the Persian government, to which they seem to have been as much attached as it was possible for them to be to any foreign power.

At length, the peace of this favored district was interrupted by the invasion of Alexander, (333 B. C.,) whose career of conquest over Asia had commenced. He received the submission of the people, and is said to have transplanted one hundred thousand of them




to his new colony in Egypt. On the death of Alex- | place of the priest's residence. He was supported in ander, Judea came into the possession of Laomedon, this bold measure by his five sons, now in the prime one of his generals. On his defeat, Ptolemy, the king of life, Johanan, Simon, Judas, Eleazar, and Jonathan. of Egypt, advanced against Jerusalem, assaulted it on He fell upon the king's commissioner, put him to the Sabbath, and met with no resistance, the Jews death, and summoned all the citizens who were zealscrupling to desecrate the holy day even in self- ous for the law, to follow him to the mountains. One defence. Ptolemy held the country, however, with thousand of them, however, perished in their caves, no firm grasp. Twice was it wrested from his hands as they would not defend themselves on the Sabbath, by Antigonus; but finally it was made part of his share when they were attacked by the Syrians. Upon the as one of the successors of Alexander. He carried occurrence of this event, Mattathias and his followers away one hundred thousand captives, whom he settled discarded that superstitious view of the day, and assertchiefly in Alexandria and Cyrene. ed the lawfulness of defensive war on the Sabbath.

During this period, Onias, the high priest, administered the public affairs for twenty-one years. He was succeeded, (332 B. C.,) the year after the battle of Issus, by Simon the Just, a pontiff of great repute in Jewish tradition. Under the first three Ptolemies, both the native and Alexandrine Jews enjoyed many marks of the royal favor; but their prosperity was endangered by the misconduct of the high priest, son and successor of Simon the Just. They were delivered, however, from a threatened Egyptian invasion by the address of Joseph, son of Tobias, who collected the tribute which the high priest had failed to pay.

Mattathias soon died, and Judas Maccabeus, the most valiant of his sons, took upon himself the management of this great and glorious enterprise, (166 B. Č.) Having tried the soldiers by many gallant adventures, surprising several cities, which he garrisoned and fortified, Judas determined to meet the enemy in the field. Apollonius, the governor of Samaria, first advanced against him, and was totally defeated and slain. Seron, the governor of Lower Syria, advanced to avenge the defeat of Apollonius; but Judas encountered him, slew eight hundred of his men, and put the rest to flight. Antiochus, the next year, sent a large army of forty-seven thousand men against the Jews; but Judas defeated them with immense slaughter.

The attempt of Antiochus Epiphanes, who succeeded to the Syrian throne, 176 B. C., to exterminate the religion of the Jews, and substitute that of the Greeks, Lysias soon appeared in Judea with a still roused the dormant energy of the whole people. He larger force, but was overcome by Judas, lost five had, upon the intimation of an insurrection in Judea, thousand of his men, and was obliged to retreat. The which was magnified into a revolt of the whole Maccabean triumphantly entered the desolate Jerusanation, marched against Jerusalem, sacked and pil-lem, purified the temple, and set it in order, and built laged the temple, destroyed forty thousand of the inhabitants, and seized as many more, to be sold as slaves. These and other outrages were followed by attempts to abolish the worship of God, and to force the Jews to forsake their religion. The Samaritans were now disposed to disown their relation to the Jews, to whom, in prosperity, they pretended alliance, and they consecrated their temple on Mount Gerizim to Jupiter.

a wall about Mount Zion. He now acted no longer on the defensive alone, but carried his victorious arms into the territories of the Idumeans and Ammonites, and enlarged the boundaries of his country.

In the mean time, the great oppressor of the Jews, Antiochus, had died in Persia. He met with a miserable end, as both Jewish and Roman historians attest. As he hastened homeward to repair the disastrous state of his affairs in Palestine, he was seized with an incurable disorder a loathsome ulcer, breeding worms. Accompanying this painful condition of his body was his more agonized mind, affected by horrible apparitions and remorse of conscience fruit of his dreadful barbarities and sacrilege in Judea.

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His son Antiochus Eupator, a child of nine years old, succeeded him, (162 B. C.) He made peace with the Jews, but quickly violated it. Menelaus, the high priest, he put to death, and conferred the priesthood on Alcimus or Jacimus. In the mean while, Demetrius Soter, the son of Seleucus, the lineal heir to the throne of Antioch, had escaped from Rome, where he had been confined, and came into Syria. He caused himself to be crowned king; and, after some struggle, he overpowered Lysias and Antiochus, and put them to death.

But the Jews, instructed by the early history of their nation, and cured forever of idolatry by the captivity, were not so easily persuaded to renounce the religion of their fathers. Antiochus, in pursuance of his impious purpose, met their fidelity to their God with the fiercest persecutions. Two women, who circumcised their children, were hanged in a conspicuous part of the city, with their children round their necks. Cruelties too horrible to be related, sometimes for that reason, do not meet with the detestation they deserve. Among other martyrdoms, Jewish tradition points, with pious exultation, to that of Eleazar, an aged scribe, ninety years old, who determined "to leave a notable example to such as be young, to die willingly and courageously for the honorable and holy laws;" and to that of the seven brethren who, encouraged by their mother, rejected the most splendid offers, and At the instance of Alcimus, Demetrius sent Nicaconfronted the most terrible torments, rather than in-nor, with a great army, against Judas, whom he enfringe the law. From the capital, the persecution deavored to surprise. They joined in battle, but the spread throughout the country, and such was the zeal superior forces of Nicanor were totally routed, and with which the pagan rites were enforced, that, though he himself slain. Judas hereupon took a more denumbers resisted unto death, the worship of Jehovah cided step to secure the independence of his country, came near being totally abolished. and entered into a formal treaty of alliance with Rome; but before the treaty was made known, the glorious career of the Maccabee had terminated, Demetrius sent Alcimus and Bacchides with a new army of twenty thousand men against him. Judas was abandoned by all his troops except eight hundred

At this crisis, divine Providence interposed in behalf of the descendants of Abraham. Mattathias, a man of the priestly line of Joarib, though advanced in years, resisted the officer of Antiochus, who came to execute the edict against the Jewish religion in the



men, yet he would not be prevailed upon to retreat. | government and high priesthood were settled on him He fell, nobly fighting to the last, (161 B. C.)

His brother, Jonathan, was chosen general in his stead. A third member of this gallant race, John, had fallen in an affray with an Arab tribe. Jonathan now entered into an alliance with Rome, or consummated that made by his brother; and, having wearied Bacchides with war, as well as alarmed him in view of the danger of oppressing an ally of Rome, obliged the latter to make a league, and withdraw his army from Judea.

Alexander Balas, an adventurer, who announced himself as the son of king Antiochus Epiphanes, ventured with an army into Syria; the garrison of Ptolemais opened their gates to him on account of their hatred to Demetrius, and the latter consequently prepared himself for war. As he courted an alliance with Jonathan, the Jewish general seized the occasion of repairing the fortifications of Jerusalem. Alexander was also no less desirous to obtain the friendship of Jonathan, and, to oblige him, conferred on him the high priesthood. Jonathan immediately assumed the pontifical robe, and in his person commenced the reign of the Asmonean Princes, (152 B. C.) Demetrius and Alexander having come to a battle, Demetrius was defeated and slain. His eldest son, however, Demetrius Nicanor, entered Cilicia with an army, 148 years B. C. Apollonius, his general, receiving the command of Syria, attacked Jonathan, the high priest, who overcame him, took Joppa and Azotus, and burnt the temple of Dagon.

and his heirs, and the Jews were by this means discharged from all manner of tribute to any foreign prince. He took Zion, the fortress of Jerusalem, drove out of the city all idolaters, and placed in it the true worshippers of God. Under his prudent administration, the wasted country began to resume its ancient fertility.

Simon, now grown old, (135 B. C.,) intrusted the command of his forces to his sons Judas and John Hyrcanus. But the Maccabean race seemed destined to perish by violence. Ptolemy, the son of Ahabus, Simon's son-in-law, invited Simon and his son Judas to a castle which he had fortified, and there, at a banquet, barbarously murdered them both. An attempt was made to secure John in Gazara; but he contrived to escape, and was unanimously proclaimed the high priest and ruler of his country. He inherited the vigor and ability of his family, and his administration of the government was attended with success. He reduced Idumea to subjection, and incorporated its people with the Jews. Among other exploits, he took Sechem, and demolished the temple on Mount Gerizim, two hundred years after it had been built by Sanballat. He governed Judea twenty-nine years.

Aristobulus, (Judas,) the eldest son of Hyrcanus, succeeded his father (107 B. C.) in the government and high priesthood. He was the first, after the return from the captivity, who set a crown upon his head, and changed the state into a monarchy. His reign was short, but filled with crime and misery. It is recorded that he caused his brother Antigonus to

claiming a right to the sovereignty by virtue of the will of Hyrcanus, was barbarously stoned to death; and that her other sons were held in close confinement. In his wars he was successful, but his wicked life and reign were speedily closed. He died in a paroxysm of remorse for his crimes.

Dissensions having arisen, at this era, between Ptolemy Philometer, king of Egypt, and Alexander Balas, who had become his son-in-law by marrying Cleopatra, his daughter-and both having soon perished-be killed on suspicion of disloyalty; that his mother, Jonathan availed himself of the opportunity to besiege the citadel at Jerusalem, held by a garrison of Macedonians. Complaint being made to Demetrius, Jonathan appeased him by presents, and obtained new favors for the Jews. In the year 144 B. C., Tryphon, with some soldiers who revolted from Demetrius, undertook to establish Antiochus, the son of Alexander Balas, in the kingdom of Syria. With this view, war was made upon Demetrius by young Antiochus, and the former, being vanquished, fled into Seleucia. Jonathan, who assisted Antiochus in this enterprise, was crowned with signal honors. Tryphon, actuated by ambitious views, now engaged in measures to get rid of Antiochus, and reign in his stead; but, fearing Jonathan's opposition, he invited him to come to Ptolemais, and bring with him some few of his soldiers, promising to deliver the city into his hands. Jonathan, suspecting no treachery, came thither with only a thousand men. No sooner had he entered the city, than Tryphon commanded the gates to be closed. Jonathan was taken prisoner, and all his men put to the sword.


Upon this occurrence, the Jews made choice of Simon Maccabeus for their general, in the place of his brother Jonathan. The crafty Tryphon began to negotiate he offered to yield up Jonathan for one hundred talents of silver. The money having been paid him, he violated his promise, and put the illustrious prisoner to death. Simon, having collected the bones, erected a stately monument of seven pillars for his father, mother, and five Maccabean brethren, at Modin, their native place.

The Romans, at this period, renewed their leagues with Simon, and wrote them in tables of brass. The

There were several successors of the Asmonean race in the kingdom, as Alexander Jannæus, Alexandra, Aristobulus II., Hyrcanus II., and Antigonus, whose rule, including that of the founder of the dynasty, continued about one hundred and twenty-six years. In the year 63 B. C., Pompey came to Jerusalem to settle the affairs of Judea. He restored Hyrcanus, between whom and his brother Aristobulus there had been a contest for the crown, with the title of "Prince of the Jews," and conferred the government of the country on Antipater, an Idumean proselyte.

Pompey had the curiosity to enter the temple itself, even to the most holy place, with some of his officers; no one venturing to oppose the act. He noted every thing with a wondering eye, though he left the sacred utensils untouched, and did not disturb the treasures contained in the temple. He, however, made the Jews tributary to the Roman people. In the civil wars between Cæsar and Pompey, the former sent Aristobulus, whom Pompey had carried captive to Rome, into Judea, to engage the Jews in Cæsar's cause; but he was poisoned by his enemies. At the same time, Pompey caused his son Alexander to be beheaded. After one other revolution, giving Hyrcanus the full priesthood and a share in the government, the family of the Herodians was seated on the throne of Judea, of whom an account remains to be given.



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HEROD, afterwards named the Great, who was a younger son of Antipater, the Idumean, had figured in Jewish story some years previously to his possession of the sovereignty. His father had appointed him to the government of Galilee, in the year 47 B. C., and in this capacity the natural decision and severity of his character began to be developed. In the year 40 B. C., he defeated his rival, Antigonus, and Pacorus, the Parthian, who had invaded Syria, plundered Jerusalem, and ravaged the Holy Land. Two years subsequently, he took Jerusalem, married the beautiful Mariamne, daughter of Hyrcanus, of the Asmonean family, and was made king of Judea by the Roman power. He was the last independent sovereign of Palestine, and began his reign 37 B. C.

utmost bitterness, with his barbarous conduct towards her relatives. Stung with such an exhibition of indifference and resentment, and urged on by his envious sister Salome, he ordered her to execution.

cence, and died worthy of the noble lineage of which She met her fate with the calm intrepidity of innothe last blood flowed in her veins. But the murderer of Mariamne, as also of her grandfather, father, brother, and uncle, could feel no satisfaction or repose. All his passions were alike without bounds. From the extreme of love and resentment, his stormy mind vibrated to the extreme of remorse and despair. On his imagination was ever pictured the form of his still dear though murdered Mariamne. He sought alleviation from horror and grief in every variety of amusement; but in vain. Anguish of mind at length brought on disease of body and temporary derangement; and though he recovered from this malady after a time, an ineffaceable gloom was left upon his spirit. His fierce and violent temper received from this hour a fearful exacerbation, and his future course was marked more than ever with cruelty and blood. He put to death many men of rank and distinction.

rather be one of Herod's swine than one of his sons. The crime did not remain long unpunished; it recoiled with dreadful force upon almost all who were impli

At the instigation of Antipater, a son of Herod by his wife whom he divorced in order to marry Mariamne, he condemned to death his two sons by Mariamne, Aristobulus and Alexander-youths of a noble bearing, and greatly beloved by the Jewish people. He was brought to this dreadful purpose by the strong urgency of his own suspicious and jealous nature, and after a miseraThe people being attached to the Asmonean family, ble conflict with his fears and affections. It was either he had great difficulties to encounter from their opposi- on this or on some similar occasion, his imperial tion; but he proceeded with such vigor in his admin-patron, Augustus, uttered the bitter sarcasm, that he had istration, as to make every thing bend to his will. Against the faction of Antigonus, which was strong in Jerusalem, he proceeded without scruple, put to death forty-five of the chiefs, and confiscated all their prop-cated in it. Antipater, his beloved son, the heir of his erty. The whole Sanhedrim fell victims to his vengeance, except Shammai and Pollio, who, during the siege of the city, had endeavored to persuade it to capitulate. A short time after his establishment on the throne, Herod, in order to please Mariamne, appointed her brother Aristobulus high priest; but, perceiving that he was much beloved by the Jews, and fearing a rival, he caused him to be drowned while bathing. After the battle of Actium, (31 B. C.,) Herod went to Rhodes, to meet Augustus; and though he had been attached to Antony, he manifested before the conqueror such a frankness and loftiness of tone, as won the kindred heart of the arbiter of the world's destinies. Augustus confirmed Herod's title as king of Judea. Upon his return from Rhodes, the king condemned to death his wife Mariamne, and her mother, Alexandra.

The cause of this nefarious deed was, the inextinguishable jealousy he entertained that, in the event of his death, his beautiful Mariamne would become the wife of another. On two occasions, when he left home on some dangerous enterprise, he left orders that she should be killed upon the contingency of his death. In each instance, she had discovered the fatal secret, and as she was so imprudent the first time as to intimate to him her knowledge of it, she barely escaped being slain on the spot; but the power of beauty overcame the resolution of Herod. He spared her; yet the second time, upon his return, instead of submitting to his caresses, she manifested the most repulsive indifference, and reproached him, in terms of the

kingdom, for whom he had imbrued his hands in the blood of his own children, fell a special victim, as he was clearly proved to have conspired to poison his old and doting father. His execution took place only at the last moment of Herod's life, (4 B. C.,) when also the will of the sovereign, in respect to the succession, received its last remodelling. Herod had suffered from a terrible disease, and perished gradually in the utmost torture of body and mind.

It was either late in the year before, or early in the same year with the death of Herod, -four years before the vulgar Christian era,—that the murder of the children of Bethlehem took place. The jealousy of Herod against any one who should be born as a King in Judea. the dread that the high religious spirit of the people might be resuscitated by the hope of a real Messiah-as well as the summary manner in which he endeavored to rid himself of the objects of his fears, are strictly in accordance with the relentlessness and decision of his character.

During the reign of Herod, Judea fast sunk into a province of the Roman empire, and he, instead of being head of the Hebrew religious republic, became more and more on a level with other kings, vassals of Rome. By his affability and the most costly adulation, he secured his interests with Rome, and by creating a strong Grecian party, he hoped to neutralize the turbulent and exclusive spirit of his Jewish subjects. He built magnificent works, and even reared the temple in its former pride and splendor. The structure of Zorobabel, erected five hundred years before, had become

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