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“ And so it was at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they feared not Jehovah: therefore Jehovah sent lions among them, which slew some of them. Wherefore they spake to the king of Assyria, saying, The nations which thou hast removed, and placed in the cities of Samaria, know not the manner of the God of the land: therefore he hath sent lions among them, and, behold, they slay them, because they know not the manner of the God of the land. Then the King of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land. Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Beth-el, and taught them how they should fear
Jehovah.”— 2 Kings xvii. 25-28. Jehovah afflicts with diseases.
And Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out, because Jehovah had smitten him."— 2 Chron. xxvi. 20.
See also 2 Kings xv. 5. 2 Chron. xxi. 18. Jehovah appoints to utter destruction,
“And he said unto him, Thus saith Jehovah, Because thou hast let go out of thy hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy peo
ple for his people."--1 Kings xx. 42. Jehovah makes men to be of one inind, of one heart.
“ Also in Judah the hand of God was to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king and of the princes, by the
word of Jehovah.”—2 Chron. xxx. 12. These writers believe in the Mosaic doctrine of temporal rewards and punishments, they therefore ascribe a prosperous reign to the monarch's zeal for the religion of Jehovah, and an unsuccessful reign to the king's desertion of Jehovah, for the worship of other gods, and they regard the captivity as the punishment of Jehovah for the idolatry of his people.
“ And Jehovah was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim ; but sought to Jehovah God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel. Therefore Jehovah stablished the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance.”—2 Chron. xvii. 3-5.
“ Uzziah did that which wus right in the sight of Jehovah.
And he sought God in the days of Zechariah : and as long as
2 Chron. xxvi. 4, 5.
“ For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did ; they departed not from them; until Jehovah removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their
own land to Assyria unto this day.”—2 Kings xvii. 7, 8, 22, 23. Jehovah makes known his secret designs to his prophets, and they reveal them to his people. Therefore before entering upon any important undertaking the kings inquire of Jehovah by means of the prophets. The art of divination was held in the highest veneration, and all mental excitements, and all the transports of enthusiasm, were ascribed to the Spirit of Jehovah.
“And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I
upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah
2 Chron. xx. 14, 15. The Spirit of Jehovah is awakened in the minds of the prophets by the aid of music. Elisha says
“But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of Jehovah came upon him. And he said, Thus saith Jehovah, Make this valley full of
ditches.”—2 Kings iii. 15, 16. When Elijah wishes to hide himself it is said
“The Spirit of Jehovah shall carry thee whither I know not.”—1 Kings xviii. 12.
We have already had occasion to refer to the Spirit sent forth by Jehovah to be a lying Spirit in the mouths of all his prophets.* How human must his conceptions of God have been, and how false his views of morality, who could represent Jehovah as requiring one of his Spirits to act the part of a deceiver, and to cause the prophets to utter lying prophecies, in order to allure a man to do that which will prove his destruction !
“Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before Jehovah, and said, I will persuade him. And Jehovah said unto him, Wherewith ? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also : go forth, and do so. Now therefore, behold Jehovah hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and Jehovah hath spoken evil concerning thee.”—1 Kings xxii. 20-23. Jehovah sometimes employs angels to convey messages to his prophets and to execute his purposes upon the earth. He four times sends an angel to Elijah : once to bring him a cake and some water, and again to remind him to eat before a long fast. The angel of Jehovah appears twice to Elijah respecting the death of Ahaziah.
See 1 Kings xix. 5-7; 2 Kings i. 3-15. Jehovah employs his destroying angel to slay one hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp.
“And it came to pass that night, that the angel of Jehovah went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand : and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.”
2 Kings xix. 35. “And Jehovah sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria.”—2 Chron. xxxii. 21. The people of Israel are afflicted with pestilence: this pestilence is inflicted by the hand of the destroying angel, in obedience to the will of Jehovah, who, when seventy thousand men are dead, repents him of the evil, and desires the angel to stay his hand.
* Page 102.
“So Jehovah sent pestilence upon Israel : and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men. And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, Jehovah beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of Jehovah stood by the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of Jehovah stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem.”—
1 Chron. xxi. 14-16. In these Books Satan is mentioned once, and once only. It is said that “ Satan provoked David to number Israel.” In the account given of this circumstance in the 2nd Book of Samuel it is said, that “ Jehovah moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.” *
These contradictory statements clearly prove that the writer of the 2nd Book of Samuel adopted the opinions of the age in which he lived, and ascribed good and evil alike to God; and that the writer of the 1st Book of the Chronicles adopted the opinions of the age in which he lived, and ascribed evil and evil thoughts to an evil principle.
“And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.”—1 Chron. xxi. 1.
The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah. In the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah it is more distinctly stated than in the Books of the Kings and Chronicles that Jehovah is the God of heaven and earth.
• Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, Jehovah God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? His God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of Jehovah the God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.”—Ezra i. 2, 3.
And thus they returned us answer, saying, We are the
* 2 Sam. xxiv. 1.
servants of the God of heaven and earth, and build the house
“Stand up and bless Jehovah your God for ever and ever:
worshippeth thee.”—Nehem. ix. 5, 6. This same Jehovah is the national-God of the Hebrews. The general remarks in the preceding chapter respecting the representations, attributes, and providence of God, apply equally to the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah.
“And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God : for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens. Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day. And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from Jehovah our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage. For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem. And now, O our God, what shall we say after this ? for we have forsaken thy commandments, which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their unclean
Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever. And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this ; should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping ?