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few Israelites who were left, mingled with the heathen who came and settled there; and hence arose the Samaritan nation.
51. THE PROPHET JONAH.
EVEN to the Assyrians, God sent a prophet out of Israel. Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, was a rich and magnificent city, three days' journey in circumference. And the Lord said to Jonah, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah was disobedient, and went the contrary way, to the sea. He came to Joppa, and finding a ship going to Tarshish, he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. Then the Lord caused a mighty tempest to arise in the sea, so that they feared the ship would be lost. In their distress, they cried every one to his god, and they cast out the goods that were in the ship, to lighten it; but Jonah was below in the ship, and he was asleep. So the shipmaster came and said to him, "What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God." And they said one to another, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us." So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. said to them, "Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea so shall the sea be calm unto you; for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you." And they prayed to God, and said, "We beseech thee, O Lord, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent
THE PROPHET JONAH.
blood." And they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea; and the sea ceased from her raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered sacrifices unto the Lord, and made vows. But the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah, and the Lord preserved him in life. And after three days and three nights, the fish cast him out upon the land.
Then the word of the Lord came unto Jonah a second time, saying, "Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.' So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, and cried out in the streets, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown." And the people believed the words of the prophet, and were greatly afraid; and they fasted and put on sackcloth. The king laid aside his robes, and caused it to be proclaimed that neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, should taste any thing; and that every one should cry mightily unto God, and turn away from his evil way, if peradventure God might turn away from his fierce anger, that they perish not. And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and he spared the city, and did not bring the destruction upon them.
But Jonah was displeased with the Divine clemency, and he said, "It is better for me to die than to live." And he went out of the city, and made him a booth, and sat under it in the shade, that he might see what would become of the city. And the Lord caused a gourd to grow up in the night, which in the morning formed a refreshing shade over Jonah with its beautiful leaves; and Jonah was exceedingly glad of the gourd. And on the second morning God caused a worm to come,
which smote the gourd; and when the sun waxed hot, its leaves withered. And the sun beat upon
Jonah's head; and again he wished for death, and said, "It is better for me to die than to live." And God said to Jonah, "Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd?" And he said, "I do well to be angry, even unto death." And the Lord said, "Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night. And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than six score thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?" a
52. THE LAST KINGS OF JUDAH.
AFTER the division of the kingdom, there sat on
a Jonah iv. 6-11.
THE LAST KINGS OF JUDAH.
the throne of David in Jerusalem twenty kings, during a period of three hundred and seventy-two years; and the kingdom of Judah continued for an hundred years after that of the ten tribes. But, even among the descendants of David, there were more ungodly and wicked kings than good ones. The names of such men as Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah shine in this history but as rare lights in surrounding darkness.
Ahaz set up altars to Baal in the streets of Jerusalem, and he caused the doors of the Lord's house to be shut; so that the temple of God was, for a time, like a house whose owner is dead, and which is exposed for sale.
Hezekiah, the pious son of the ungodly Ahaz, opened again the doors of the temple, and cleansed Jerusalem from idols; and sent letters inviting the people of the ten tribes to return to the God of their fathers, and to come up to the celebration of the passover. It was during his reign that the ten tribes were carried away by the Assyrians; and his kingdom was strengthened by many thousands of the Israelites who took refuge in the land of Judah. Then Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, the successor of Shalmaneser, sent his general with an army; and he took all the strong cities of Judah, and laid siege to Jerusalem. But when he spake contemptuously against the living God, Hezekiah rent his clothes, and prayed to the God of Israel. Then the angel of the Lord went forth, and slew in the camp of the Assyrians, in one night, an hundred and eighty-five thousand men; and, behold! in the morning they all lay dead corpses.
At that time, Hezekiah was sick unto death; and the prophet Isaiah came to him, and said, "Set
thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live." Hezekiah entreated the Lord, with tears, that his life might be lengthened. Then the Lord said to Isaiah, as he was going from the king's house," Turn again, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears; behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years." Then Isaiah directed a plaster of figs to be laid on the boil; and after three days the king was restored, and went up to the temple to give thanks to God for his recovery.
Hezekiah's degenerate son Manasseh destroyed in his reign, which lasted more than fifty years, the good that had been done by his pious father, and led the people back again to idolatry. Near the end of his life, he was taken as a prisoner to Babylon. There he humbled himself, and God heard his prayer; and he was again restored to his kingdom; and he put away the strange gods in Jerusalem.
Amon, the son of Manasseh, was worse than all his predecessors; but he did not continue long, for after two years he was slain by his servants, and he was succeeded by Josiah, who was then a child eight years of age.
And Josiah did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David. While he was yet young, in the eighth year of his reign, he began to seek after God; and in the twelfth year of his reign he cleansed Jerusalem and all Judea from idols, and caused the house of God to be restored again. And, behold, in cleansing the temple, they found there a book which during the time of Manasseh had been lost and forgotten; it was the Bible, that is, the books of Moses. It