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the fabric were wooden instruments prepared for 'that purpose. The noise of the ax, the hammer, and every other tool of metal, was confined to the forests of Lebanon, where the timber was procured, and to Mount Libanus, and the plains and quarries of Zeredathah, where the stones were raised, squared, marked and numbered ; that nothing might be heard among the masons at Jerusalem, but harmony and peace.

In the year of the world 3029, King Solomon died, and was succeeded by his son Rehoboam, who, immediately after the death of his father, went down to Shechem, where the chiefs of the people were met together to proclaim him king.

When Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who was in Egypt, whither he had fled from the presence of Solomon, and whose ambition had long aspired to the throne, heard of the death of the king, he hastened to return from Egypt, to put himself at the head of the discontented tribes, and lead them on to rebellion. He accordingly assembled them together, and came to king Rehoboam, and spake to him after this manner :

" Thy father made our yoke grievous ; now, therefore, ease thou somewhat the grievous servitude of thy father, and his heavy yoke that he put upon us, and we will serve thee. And he said unto them, Come again unto me after three

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days. And the people departed. And king lied hoboam took counsel with the old men that had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, What counsel give ye me, to return answer to this people ? And they spake unto him saying, If thou be kind to this people, and please them, and speak goods words to them, they will be thy servants for ever. But he forsook the counsel which the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men that were brought up with him, that stood before him. And he said unto them, What advice give ye, that we may return answer to this people, which have spoken to me, saying, Ease somewhat the yoke that thy father did put upon us ? And the “young men that were brought up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou answer the people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it somewhat lighter for us ; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins. For, whereas my father put a heavy yoke unto you, I will put more to your yoke : my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come again to me on the third day. And the king answered them roughly : and king Rehoboam forsook the counsel

of the old men ; and answered them after the advice of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto : my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. And when all Israel saw that the king would not hearken unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David ? and we have none inheritance in the son of Jesse : every man to your tents, O Israel : and now, David, see to thine own house. So all Israel went to their tents."

See 2 Chron. chap. X. But as for the children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah and Benjamin, Rehoboam reigned over them.

In this manner were the tribes of Israel divided, and under two distinct governments, for 254 years, when the ten revolted tribes, having become weak and degenerated, by following the wickedness and idolatry of the kings who governed them, fell a prey to Salmanezer, king of Assyria, who in the reign of Hoshea, king of Israel, besieged the city of Samaria, laid their country waste, and utterly extirpated their government. Such was the wretched fate of a people who disdained subjection to the laws of the house of David, and whose impiety and effeminacy ended in their destruction.

After a series of changes and Allu ad events, of which an account may be found in the history of the Temple, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, with his forces, took possession of Jerusalem, and have ing made captive Jehoiachim, the king of Judah, elevated his uncle Zedekiah to the throne, after binding him by a solemn oath neither to make innovations in the government, nor to take part with the Egyptians in their wars against Babylon.

At the end of eight years Zedekiah violated his oath to Nebuchadnezzar, by forming a treaty of fensive and defensive with the Egyptians; thinking that jointly they could subdue the king of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar immediately marched, and ravaged Zedekiah's country, seized his castle and fortress, and proceeded to the siege of Jerusalem. Pharoah, learning how Zedekiah was pressed, advanced to his relief, with a view of raising the siege. Nebuchadnezzar, having intimation thereof, would not wait his approach, but proceeded to give him battle, and in one contest drove him out of Syria. This circumstance suspended the siege.

In the ninth year of Zedekiah's reign, the king of Babylon again besieged Jerusalem, with a large army, and for a year and an half exerted all his strength to conquer it ; but the city did not yield, thouglı enfeebled by famine and pestilence.

In the eleventh year the siege went on vigorously ; the Babylonians completed their works, having raised towers all round the city, so as to drive the invaded party from its walls. The place, though a prey to plague and famine, was obstinately defended during the space of a year and a half. But at length, want of provisions and forces compelled its surrender, and it was accordingly delivered, at midnight, to the officers of Nebuchadnezzar.

Zedekiah, seeing the troops enter the temple, absconded by a narrow pass, to the desert, with his officers and friends : but advice of his escape being given to the Babylonians, they pursued them early in the morning, and surrounded them near Jericho, where they were bound, and carried before the king, who ordered his wives and children to be put to death in his sight ; and then ordered Zedekiah's eyes to be put out, and himself conducted in chains to Babylon.

After this victory, Nebuchadnezzar dispatched his principal officer, Nebuzaradan, to Jerusalem, to ransack and burn both palace and temple, to raze the city to the ground, and conduct the captive inhabitants to Babylon; this order 'he accordingly executed. Among the captives were the following persons of eminence : Seraiah, the high priest ; Zephaniah, next in rank; the secre

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