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ELISHA.

of fire; and the spirit and power of Elijah came upon him. At Bethel, where the golden calf was set up, some wicked young men mocked the prophet, and called after him, "Go up, thou bald head." Elisha, who well knew when was the time for patience, and when was the time for punishment, cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare two and forty of them. a

At one place to which Elisha went there was a school of the prophets, and the widow of a prophet cried to him, 66 My husband is dead, and a creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen." Elisha said to her, "What hast thou in

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the house?" She said, "I have not the house, save a pot of oil."

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a 2 Kings ii. 23, 24.

any thing in Go," said he,

"borrow vessels; borrow not a few. And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full." She did so, and filled many vessels. Then she said to her son, "Bring me yet another vessel." And her son said, " There is not a vessel more." And the oil stayed. And she came and told the man of God. And he said, "Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.” b

49. NAAMAN.

NAAMAN, the captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, but he was a leper. Now Naaman's wife had a little maid to wait upon her, who had been brought away captive out of the land of Israel. And the little maid said, "Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy." Then Naaman took a journey into the land of Israel, and he came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, "Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean." At this Naaman was very angry, and said, “Behold, I thought he will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Da

b 1 Kings iv. 1—7.

NAAMAN.

mascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean?" So he turned and went away in a rage.

And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, "My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?" Then he went down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. And he returned to the man of God, and offered him presents. "Behold, now I know,' he said, "that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant." And Elisha said, "As the Lord liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none." And he urged him to take it; but Elisha refused. And he said to him, "Go in peace."

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But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, longed for the silver and the gold, and the beautiful garments which his lord had refused. And he followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from his chariot to meet him, and said, "Is all well?" And he said, "All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from Mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver and two changes of garments" And Naaman said, "Take two talents." And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him. And when he came to the tower, he took them

from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed. But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said to him, "Whence comest thou, Gehazi?" And he said, "Thy servant went no whither." And he said to him, "Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever." And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow. a

In a war which the king of Israel carried on against the Syrians, the prophet Elisha made known to the king all that was done in the Syrian camp. Then the king of Syria sent an army to the city Dothan, where the prophet was living, to seize the man of God. The Syrians came in the night and compassed the city. And when the servant of the man of God had risen early in the morning, behold, a host compassed the city with horses and chariots. And the servant cried out, Alas, my master! how shall we do?" And he answered and said, "Fear not; for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." And Elisha prayed, and said, "Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he And the Lord opened the eyes may see. of the young man, and he saw; and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha".

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2 Kings iv., v.

b 2 Kings vi. 13 -17.

THE ASSYRIAN CAPTIVITY.

50. THE ASSYRIAN CAPTIVITY.

AFTER Ahab, twelve kings reigned over the kingdom of the ten tribes, but their reigns were short. One slew another, and became king in his place. Woe to the land where the rulers are often changed! The Syrians came and plundered the land, and laid it waste. But the people would not take warning. The denunciations of the prophets became more and more serious, but the people sank deeper and deeper into idolatry and wickedness. At last the Assyrians, a warlike and powerful nation, came and subdued the people, and made them pay tribute. The king of Israel, Hoshea, swore allegiance to king Shalmaneser, but afterwards broke his oath to him. Then Shalmaneser

came upon Israel with his army, like a desolating storm. He destroyed Samaria, and carried away most of the people of the ten tribes to Armenia, and to other distant parts of his empire. A small portion of the people only were allowed to remain ; and in the place of those who were taken away, Shalmaneser sent people from Syria and Mesopotamia, and other heathen countries, to live in the empty country. And at the beginning of their dwelling there they feared not the Lord. Therefore the Lord sent lions among them which slew some of them. Then they sent to the king of Assyria to inform him of this; and the king commanded that one of the priests whom he had carried away from Samaria should go and dwell there, and teach them how they should fear the Lord. Yet they continued to serve their own gods after the manner of the heathen nations around them.

Thus ended the kingdom of the ten tribes. The

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