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dom wrested from him. In reply to the address of his people, who entreated an alleviation of their burdens, he declared, that instead of requiring less. at their hands he should demand more. “My father made your yoke heavy, I will add to your yoke; my father chastised. you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.” Such a resolution, expressed in language at once so contemptu. ous and severe, alienated from his government ten tribes, who sought a more indulgent master in Jeroboam, a declared enemy of the house of David. Hence the origin of the kingdom of Israel, as distinguished from that of Judah ; and hence, too, the disgraceful contentions between these kindred states, which acknowledged one religion, and professed to be guided by the same law. Arms and negotiation proved equally unavailing, in repeated attempts which were made to reunite the Hebrews under one sceptre; till, at length, about two hundred and seventy years after the death of Solomon, the younger people were subdued by Shalmaneser, the powerful monarch of Assyria, who carried them away captive into the remoter provinces of his vast empire.*

Our plan does not admit a minuter detail of the sacred history than may be readily found in the pages of the Old Testament. Suffice it therefore to observe, that Jerusalem soon ceased to be regarded by the Israelites as the centre of their religion, and the bond of union among the descendants of Abraham.

Jeroboam had erected in his kingdom the emblems of a less pure faith, to which he confined the attention of his subjects; while the frequent wars

* 2 Kings xvii. 1—7.

.......22

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that ensued, and the treaties formed on either side with the Gentile nations on their respective borders, soon completed the estrangement which ambition had begun. Little attached to the native line of princes, the Israelites placed on the throne of Samaria a number of adventurers, who had no qualities to recommend them besides military courage and an irreconcilable hatred towards the more legitimate claimants of the house of David. The following list will give a condensed . view of the names, the order, and the length of the reigns which belong to the sovereigns of Israel, from the demise of Solomon down to the extinction of their kingdom by the arms of Assyria :

Years. B.C. 1. Jeroboam.................................

990 2. Nadad, ................

968 3. Baasha, .......

966 4. Ela,

943 5. Zimri and Omri, ...............

942 6. Ahab,..................

931 7. Ahaziah........

909 8. Jehoram or Joram..............

907 9. Jehug..............................

895 10. Jehoahaz, ............

867 11. Jehoash or Joash,.......

850 12. Jeroboam II.,.........

834
1st Interregnum......

793
13. Zechariah and Shallum.............
14. Menahem,........

770
15. Pekahiah, ................................
16. Pekah,...

................
2d Interregnum,..............

738
17. Hoshea,.......

728 Samaria taken, ........................271 719 It appears to have escaped the notice of the greater number of commentators, that the separation of interests, which in the days of Rehoboam produced a permanent division of the tribes, had manifested itself at a much earlier period. In truth,

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it is extremely doubtful whether the union and cooperation between the northern and the southern communities, which was meant to be accomplished by the institution of monarchy, were ever cordial or efficient. There is no doubt, at least, that the two parties differed essentially in their choice of a successor to Saul; for, while the people of Judah invited David to the supreme power as their anointed sovereign, the suffrages of Israel were unanimous in favour of Ishbosheth, the son of the deceased king. We may therefore conclude, that the exactions of Solomon were the pretext rather than the true cause of the unfortunate dismemberment of the Hebrew confederation, which in the end conducted both sections of it by gradual steps to defeat and captivity,

The kingdom of Judah, less distracted by the pretensions of usurpers, and being confirmed in the principles of patriotism by a more rigid adherence to the law of Moses, continued during one hundred and thirty years to resist the encroachments of the two rival powers, Egypt and Assyria, which now began to contend in earnest for the possession of Palestine. Several endeavours were made, even after the destruction of Samaria, to unite the energies of the Twelve Tribes, and thereby to se. cure the independence of the sacred territory a little longer. But a pitiful jealousy had succeeded to the aversion generated by a long course of hostile aggression; while the overwhelming hosts, which incessantly issued from the Euphrates and the Nile to select a field of battle within the borders of Canaan, soon left to the feeble councils of Jerusalem no other choice than that of an Egyptian or an Assyrian master.

· In the year six hundred and two before the Christian era, when Jehoiakim was on the throne of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar, who already shared with his father the government of Assyria, advanced into Palestine at the head of a formidable army. A timely submission saved the city as well as the life of the pusillanimous monarch. But after a short period, finding the conqueror engaged in more important affairs, the vanquished king made an effort to recover his dominions by throwing off the Babylonian yoke. The siege of Jerusalem was renewed with greater vigour on the part of the invaders, in the course of which Jehoiakim was killed, and his son Coniah ascended the throne. Scarcely, however, had the new sovereign taken up the reins of government, when he found it necessary to open the gates of his capital to the Assyrian prince, who carried him, his principal nobility, and the most expert of his artisans, as prisoners to the banks of the Tigris.

The nominal authority was now confided to a brother or uncle of the captive king, whose original name, Mattaniah, was changed to Zedekiah by his lord paramount, who considered him merely as the governor of a province. Impatient of an office so subordinate, and instigated, it is probable, by the emissaries of Egypt, he resolved to hazard his life and liberty for the chance of reconquering the independence of his crown. This imprudent step brought Nebuchadnezzar once more before the walls of Jerusalem. A siege, which appears to have continued fifteen or sixteen months, terminated in the final reduction of the holy city, and in the captivity of Zedekiah, who was treated with the utmost severity. His two sons were executed in his presence,

after which his eyes were put out; when, being loaded with fetters, he was carried to Babylon and thrown into prison.

The work of demolition was intrusted to Nebu. zar-adan, the captain of the guard, who “ burnt the house of the Lord, and the king's house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man's house burnt he with fire. And the army of the Chaldees that were with the captain of the guard brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about. The rest of the people that were left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the King of Babylon, with the remnant of the multitude, did the captain of the guard carry away. But he left the poor of the land to be vine-dressers and husbandmen."*

The kings who reigned over Judah from the demise of Solomon to the destruction of the first Temple are as follows :

Years, B. C. 1. Rehoboam, ..........

990 2. Abijah,........................

..... 3 973 3. Asa,..

.......41 970 4. Jehoshaphat, ............

929 5. Jehoram or Joram,.

904 6. Ahaziah,...........

896 7. Queen Athaliah..........

895 8. Joash or Jehoash, ............

889 9. Amaziah, .....................

849 Interregnum.........

11 - 820 10. Uzziah or Azariah,.......

.....52 809 11. Jotham,.........

16

757 12. Ahaz, .....

.......16 741 13. Hezek

.....29 725 14. Manasseh, ... ... ... ..........

55 696 15. Amor...........................

641 16. Josiah....

639 17. Jehoahaz.....

..... 3 months 18. Jehoiakim,.....

.....11 608 19. Coniah or Jehoiaching.......,

3 months 20. Zedekiah, ......

597 Jerusalem taken...............

404

586

.....17

29

- - 2 Kings xxv. 4—13.

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