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camp of the Syrians, and behold, there was no man there, neither voice of man, but horses tied, and asses tied, and the tents as they were.” Then the porter carried these strange tidings to the king's house ; and the king arose in the night to consider what was to be done. At first he was afraid that the Syrians might have done this merely to deceive them, and that if they were to venture to the camp, they should find themselves surrounded by their enemies, who were probably hidden at no great distance from it. Some of his people, however, who thought that they could not in any way be worse off than they were, persuaded him to allow a few of his men and of the horses which still remained in the city to go to the camp. And they went through all the camp, and then they followed the footsteps of the Syrians as far as the river Jordan, and they could plainly see as they went on, that the Syrians must have fled from the country; for all the way was full of garments and vessels which they had cast away in their haste. Then the messengers returned and told the king all that they had seen. Then the king gladly permitted the people to go to the enemies' camp, and to bring away all their provisions and treasures of different kinds.
And now were the words of the prophet fulfilled : now were fine flour and barley sold at a cheap rate and in abundance at the gate of the city of Samaria : for those who had visited the camp, came and brought it to sell to the inhabitants of the city.
E. I wonder what that wicked man thought of all this; that lord, I mean, who had mocked at the prophet's words.
M. He found the just punishment of his sinful unbelief. It so happened, that the king appointed him to take the charge of the gate to keep order amongst the people at the time that they were passing to and fro, selling and buying corn. He there had an opportunity of seeing with his own eyes the plenty of which the prophet had spoken. But he only saw it. He was not allowed to partake of the happiness around him. The people trode upon him in the gate, and he died as the man of God had said. And what an awful lesson has he left behind! Shall not each of us, as we read, fear for ourselves, and examine carefully that there be not in us an evil heart of unbelief. For although unbelief cannot be punished by men, and is often thought lightly of in the world, we may be sure that it is highly offensive in the sight of God: for what would become of religion without a humble faith in God's Word?
Take care then that you never allow yourself to think or speak lightly of what God has said by his prophets or apostles. Remember the punishment of the unbelieving lord of Samaria, for mocking at the words of Elisha.
TWENTY-NINTH SUNDAY EVENING.
THE HOUSE OF AHAB PUNISHED.
E. MAMMA, you did not tell me the name of that king of Israel, who was besieged in Samaria.
M. His name was Jehoram or Joram; he was one
of the sons of Ahab and his wicked queen Jezebel. You will think, perhaps, that after suffering so much, and being so graciously delivered in so extraordinary a manner, that his heart would have been softened and brought to repentance, and that he would no longer have departed from the Lord: but this does not seem to have been the case. We soon after read of his being deprived both of his crown and of his life. But this is a remarkable part of the history, for now was fully brought to pass that prophecy which was spoken by Elijah against the family of Ahab, at the time that he took the vineyard away from Naboth.
You remember how very wicked Ahab and Jezebel were; you remember how God declared evil against them and their children by the lips of his prophet. You remember how he told Elijah to anoint Jehu to be king of Israel, and Hazael to be king of Syria, that they might bring upon this impious family the vengeance which he had spoken against them.
I will now try to show you how all these things were brought to pass.
E. Was queen Jezebel alive still !
M. She was, and probably expected no evil; she was the mother, you know, of Jehoram, the reigning king, and as such was most likely treated with great respect by all about her; the punishments which God had declared against her did not at all disturb her peace : she most probably cared not at all about them, not believing in the true God, or she thought that the time was gone by, and that she was now quite safe. Unhappy woman! though she was quite
blind to her miserable state, her judgment was fast approaching. But before I speak any more of her, I must tell you how Hazael became king of Syria, and Jehu king of Israel.
Not very long after the siege of Samaria, the prophet Elisha went to Damascus. Whilst he was there, Benhadad, king of Syria, fell sick, and the physicians of his own country were not able to cure him. One of his servants, however, told him that the great prophet of Israel was in Damascus; that very Elisha who had healed his servant Naaman, and who wrought so many wonderful escapes for the king of Israel before his eyes. Benhadad was rejoiced, as you may suppose, to hear that one so able to help him was nigh at hand; he hoped that Elisha would raise him up from his sick bed, and he sent Hazael, one of his chief generals, to the man of God to inquire of him, saying, “Shall I recover from this sickness ?" Hazael departed, and took with him, by the desire of his master, forty camels loaded with all the good things of Damascus, as presents for the prophet; and he came and stood before him, and said, “ Thy son Benhadad, king of Syria, hath sent me to thee saying, shall I recover of this disease ?”
E. What answer did the prophet give him, mamma?
M. He told him to tell his master, that he might certainly recover from this sickness, as it was not at all of a dangerous kind; but at the same time, he told Hazael that the Lord had made known to him that the king should surely die. When the prophet had said these words, he fixed his eyes gravely on