« AnteriorContinuar »
this day, shall be carried into Babylon; nothing shall be left, saith the Lord."
Thus was foretold the captivity which, not many years after, befel this people, when they were taken prisoners into Babylon, and once more bade adieu to the land of promise.
After Hezekiah's death, his son Manasseh, was king, who did much wickedness; he huilt up all the idols that his father had destroyed, and caused the people again to forsake their God: he also was very cruel, and shed much innocent blood, till at length the Almighty declared that He would give them into the hands of their enemies.
Amon was the next king, he also did evil, and his servants slew him in his own house; then was Josiah, his son, king in his stead, who did all the works that the man of God had prophesied to Jeroboam while standing at the altar; he was very young when he came to the throne, but he did what was right in the sight of the Lord: he gathered together the elders of Judah, went up to the temple with his people, there read to them the book of the law of God, and made a covenant (3) with the Almighty. Then he destroyed the altars, and burnt upon them dead
men's bones, even on the very altar isen which Jeroboam had offered incense.("") This young king turned unto the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, yet the Lord remembered his just anger against his people which he had declared in the reign of Manasseh; for, after the death of Josiah, the king of Egypt made war against them, and the king of Babylon carried away their princes, and their great men captives, spoiled the temple which Solomon had built, and took away all the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon.
Thus we have seen that the same Almighty Power which saved Joseph from the hands of his brethren, led him into Egypt, caused him to be the means of giving food to his family; raised up Moses and Aaron for their deliverance from bondage, led them through the wilderness, supported them on their weary journey, bore with all their murmurings, gave them a home in the fruitful land of promise, and, so long as they obeyed Him, made them to flourish as a green bay tree; was at length obliged to
punish His people for their many sins, and again to banish them from the land of Canaan.
You will, perhaps, like to hear what befel some of the Jews who were thus carried away from their native land, and driven to seek a home among strangers.
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, told one of his servants to take some of the young Jewish princes, children who were well-favored, skilful in all wisdom, cunning in all knowledge, and understanding science, and fit them to stand before him; they were to be taught the learning and tongue of the Chaldeans; and the king ordered them a daily supply of meat and wine, of which they were to
partake three years, that at the end of that time they might appear before him.
Among those who were chosen, we find mention made of four who belonged to the kingdom of Judah; one named Daniel, who was sometimes called Belteshazzar; and three others, to whom they gave the names of Shadrach,Meshach, and Abednego. These four young men feared God, and walked in His ways, and they were not ashamed to serve Him before their enemies; they refused to eat of the king's meat and wine, and begged the man whom the king had set over them to give them pulse (“) to eat, and water to drink. .Now God had brought Daniel into favor and tender care with this man, and he told him that he was afraid to grant his request, lest such simple food should make them look worse, and then the king would be very angry with him. But Daniel begged that they might be tried for ten days, which was agreed to; and at the end of that time their “countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than did all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat.” “As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom; and Daniel hack understanding in all visions and dreams." At the time fixed on, they were brought before the king, who, in all matters of wisdom, found them ten times better than all the wise men that were in his realm.
In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, he had a dream which troubled him, and he called together all the wise men of Babylon, and asked them to tell him not merely the interpretation thereof, but the dream itself, for he had forgotten what it was; but this they could not do, upon which they were all threatened with death: when Daniel heard this, "he went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation. Then he prayed unto his God, who made known to his servant, while he lay asleep, what He had hid from those who would have explained the king's dream according to their own wisdom, and have given all the praise unto themselves. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven," and went unto Nebuchadnezzar, told him the dream, and, in the name of the Lord, explained its meaning. Great honours were given to Daniel, and the king said unto him, “Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a