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submission to their lords, and whilst they were courteously received, and entertained at his table, the unsuspecting governor fell a victim to their treachery! The chief number of the people who had returned into Judah, being absent from Mizpah, gathering the vintage, all who remained about the person of Gedaliah, both Jews and Chaldeans, were also put to death. Instead, however, of prosecuting his claim to the crown, the fears of Ishmael now prompted him to take all the women and children, amongst whom were the daughters of Zedekiah, who, in the confusion of his flight, had been separated from their father-and fly with his party into Egypt. Here again the aged Jeremiah was taken prisoner, and carried off by the assassins--but before they had proceeded far on their march, they besought him to supplicate heaven in their behalf, solemnly declaring they would obey his directions. Nothing, however, was less their intention, for when they received in answer, a command to remain in their native country, and a promise of mercy and favour if they did so—they contemptuously replied, that this was not the voice of Jehovah, for they had prospered when they burnt incense to “ the queen of heaven," and therefore they would resort to her altars in Egypt. To Egypt therefore they went, taking the prophet along with them--but not without being told, that the impious idolatry they still cherished in their hearts, had brought upon them all the evils they lamented -and that famine and the sword should not cease to visit them in Egypt, until they were humbled—and that Phaoah himself should be given into the
of his nemies. From this descent into Egypt, Jeremiah is no more spoken of. That he died in Egypt seems certain ; for he was far advanced in years at this time. Profane authors assert, that he was stoned to death by his countrymen, for troubling them with bis preaching against their heathenish practices; others impute his death to Pharoah, because he foretold the downfall of his kingdom.
Thus the government of the Israelites was completely dissolved, about nine hundred years after they were collected into a nation by Moses ; and had possessed the “ promised land" eight hundred and sixty years.
The two tribes again became a nation, as we shall presently see-and were governed by their own laws, but they were never more an independent people.
Mrs. M. Whilst their native country was thus falling into ruin, the Jewish captives, (B. C. 607) Daniel, Hanpaniah, Mishael and Azariah, were advancing to eminence in Babylon. Selected at first from the principal families of Judah, for the beauty of their persons, and educated for the personal service of the monarch, their progress in the languages and sciences of the Chaldees together with the virtue and piety of their characters, had obtained the respect of the officer who had them in charge-when the court was thrown into great agitation by a dream of Nebuchadnezzar's.
Something of momentous aspect was impressed on his imagination while he slept-his repose was disturbed, but every trace of the vision had escaped ! In vain he endeavoured to recal the portentous idea ; and in vain he demanded of his magicians, his astrologers, and his sorcerers, at the peril of their lives, both the dream, and its interpretation.
* To preserve the chronological order of the history, we must bere abandon the plan which has hitherto been pursued, of taking the books as they are arranged in our bibles. It is obvious that even the chapters are, in a few instances, not disposed chronologically: for example, the 7th and 8th chapters of Daniel should procede the 5th and 6th.
Neither learning nor fraud brought relief to their perilous condition-and they ventured to remonstrate against the arbitrary requisition-professing humbly their readiness to interpret, if the dream itself were related to them. But it was gone—nor could the honours, promised as the reward of their skill, induce them to venture on the dangerous project of invention, where the possible recollection of their master might detect the artifice and involve them in destruction. The mighty despot of Asia---accustomed to speak but to be obeyed, became furious by disappointment, and immediately issued an order to put all the wise men of Babylon to death ! The high reputation of Daniel and his companions brought them within the scope of this merciless decree, nor did their virtues afford them a plea of indemnity. But Providence, their director and shield, inspired Daniel with a pious hope of saving both the injured magicians and themselves. Time, therefore, to consider the king's demand was requested of Arioch, the captain of the guard who came to arrest them---and the request was granted. Their united prayers for divine illumination were answered, and Daniel was brought into the royal presence to dissipate the harassing anxiety of Nebuchadnez
“ Art thou able,” demanded the imperious king, " to make known both the dream and the interpretation ?” “ No human penetration, O king,” replied the modest youth, “ could discover thy dream; but there is a God in Heaven, the revealer of secrets, who has previously revealed it unto me---though not for any merit of my own, but for the benefit of others.
Prefaced by the revelation of a fact distinctly remembered by the monarch, that before he slept his mind had been ruminating on his conquests, and their bearing on the
affairs of other kingdoms--his attention was obtained, whilst the orator proceeded, with heavenly wisdom, to postray in vivid lines the faded vision. A splendid image, as in his dream, seemed to stand before the perturbed king. Formed of four different metals, each decreasing in value from the head of gold to the feet of iron-it was explained by Daniel to represent the kingdom of Babylon, transcendent in grandeur, or perhaps first in point of time, and three others,* inferior, which should successively arise in the latter days.” And whilst in his dream he gazed on the terrible image, "a stone," continued the prophet, was serit out without bands, which smote the image upon his feet which were of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces. . Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors ; and the wind carried them away that no place was found for them, and the stone became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.”.
The mystical mountain which Daniel interpreted to be an heavenly kingdom, which should " last for ever," concerned the haughty monarch but little, whilst the head of gold represented himself, pre-eminent in splendour" a king of kings, to whom the God of heaven had given power, and strength, and glory." He was awed, indeed, in the midst of his exultation, and acknowledging the omniscience of the God of Daniel, prostrated himself before His messenger, and commanded his servants to bring incense and offer it to Him. Nor did he stop at these empty honours, but made him great presents and elevated him to be
* The Medo-Persian, or the Medes and Persians---the Mace. donians.--and the Romans.