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struct the people, and he now appointed judges, whose business it was to punish the violators of the law, and decide controversies between man and man.
By the prophet's reproof to Jehoshaphat, we are taught to avoid the society of impious men, lest we encourage sin by appearing to countenance it, and endanger the corruption of our own principles.
We likewise learn, that God is not extreme to mark what we do amiss, and to punish for every offence; neither doth he withdraw his protection every time mer forfeit it: we must not however presume on the forbearance of the Lord, but imitate the example of Jehoshaphat, who repented of his sin, and endeavoured to repair the injury he might have done by it to religion, or the souls of others.
The charge which Jelioshaphat gave to his judges, contains excellent instructions to all magistrates, teach. ing them to examine every cause that comes before them with caution and impartiality; to consider them. selves as the ministers of God for the punishment of evil doers, and the protection of the innocent: and to remember that they ought, as far as the infirmities of human nature will permit, to imitate the ALMIGHTY in his administration of justice,
JEHOSHAPHAT'S ALLIANCE WITH AMAZIAH.
From 2 Chron. Chap. xx. And after this did Jehosliaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly: and he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish: and they made the ships in Ezion-geber.
Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah
prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the LORD hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish.
Then said Ahaziah the son of Ahab unto Jehoshaphat, Let my servants go with thy servants in the ships. But Jehoshaphat would not.
There was then no king in Edom: a deputy was king.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. It appears that Jehoshaphat still retained a kindness for Ahab's family; and as his alliance with them by the marriage between his son and Ahab's daughter had (we may suppose) been a condition of their promoting each other's interest, this induced him to admit Ahaziah as a partner in the profitable trade which he carried on to Ophir : but as Jehoshaphat was very blameable in this particular, he was reproved and punished for it; and warned, by the breaking of his ships, to break off his alliance with Ahaziah, and it seems he took the warning.
This section affords another instance of the great danger there is in forming connections and alliances with impious wicked persons.
THE REIGN OF AHAZIAH KING OF ISRAEL.
From 1 Kings, Chap. xxii. 2 Kings, Chapi. ANAZIAH the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel.
And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin:
For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the Lord God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.
Then Moab rebelled against Israel, after the death of Ahab. And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his
upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick; and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, enquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover of this disease.
But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tish. bite, Arise, Go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to enquire of Baal. zebub the god of Ekron ? Now therefore thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. And Elijah departed.
And when the messengers turned back unto him, he said unto them, Why are ye now turned back? And they said unto him, There came a man up to meet us, and said unto us, Go, turn again unto the king that sent you, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Io it not because there is not a God in Israel that thou sendest to enquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron ? therefore thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.
And he said unto them, What manner of man was he which came up to meet you, and told you these words ? And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and
girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.
Then the king sent up to him a captain of fifty, with his fifty. And he went up to him. And behold, he sat on the top of an hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down.
And Elijah answered, and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and
Again also he sent unto him another captain of fifty, with his fifty. And he answered and said unto him, O man of God: thus hath the king said, Come down quickly.
And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, sume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed 'him and his fifty.
And he sent again a captain of the third fifty, with his fifty. And the third captain of the fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and be. sought him, and said unto him, O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight.
Behold, there came down fire from heaven and burned up the two captains of the former fifties, with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight.
And the angel of the LORD said unto Elijah, Go down with him; be not afraid of him. And he arose and went down with him unto the king.
And he said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers to enquire of Baal
zebub the god of Ekron; is it not because there is no God in Israel to enquire of his word ? therefore thou shalt not come down off that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.
So he died according to the word of the Lord which Elijah had spoken. And Jehoram reigned in his stead, because Ahaziah had no son.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. We read that king David gained a signal victory over the Moabites: this people continued in subjection to Solomon and Rehoboam ; but after the revolt of the ten tribes, they became tributaries to the kings of Israel, though they had still kings of their own, but these were little better than viceroys. We are not told the exact time when they rebelled; but may conclude, that it was at the latter end of Ahaziah's reign, as we read of no battle fought at this period.
Though Ahaziah was the son of Ahab and Jezebel, and consequently must have had a very bad education ; yet it might have been expected he would have taken warning from the destruction in which his father had been involved, by crediting the prophets of Baal; but instead of doing so, he followed the wicked example of his parents : however, he was soon stopt in his sinful career by a fatal accident. Baal-zebub, the name of the idol he sent to consult, signifies the lord of Aies ; given him, perhaps, on account of some deliverance the inhabitants of the place had received from a plague of flies, which they foolishly attributed to the power of this idol.
It was impossible for Abaziah to dishonour the LORD JEHOVAH in a greater degree than he did by this action, and we must acknowledge the justice of the Lord in the