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Our Young Folk's Josephus by  William Shepard
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DEATH OF JEHORAM, KING OF ISRAEL

AFTER the death of Benhadad, Jehoram, king of Israel, besieged the city of Ramoth, and took it from the Syrains. But while the siege was in progress he was wounded by an arrow, and he returned to Jezreel to have the wound healed, leaving the army and the captured city in charge of Jehu, his general. Elisha the prophet then sent one of his disciples to Ramoth, and the disciple took Jehu into a private chamber and anointed him king of Israel, saying,—

"The Lord hath ordained thee king of Israel, that thou mayest destroy the house of Ahab, and avenge the blood of the prophets slain by Jezebel."

Then the disciple fled.

When Jehu came out again, the officers, who had seen him go in with the disciple, asked him what that young man wanted with him, and was he not a madman?

"Verily," answered Jehu, "the words he spoke were those of a madman."

And when they pressed him to know what those words were, Jehu said,—

"He chose me to be king over Israel."

Then the soldiers all rose and blew their trumpets, and cried,—

"Jehu is king of Israel."

Jehu put himself at the head of the army, and marched [209] towards Jezreel. But when they were at some distance from the city Jehu made his army halt, for he wished to take Jehoram by surprise. So he rode forward in his chariot, accompanied only by a few of his horsemen.

Jehoram was in his chamber, where Ahaziah, the king of Judah, who was his sister's son, had come to visit him. A watchman came into the chamber and reported that he saw a troop of horsemen coming towards the city. Jehoram ordered that a horseman should be sent out to meet them and inquire what they wanted. But when the horseman met Jehu and questioned him, Jehu bade him not meddle with such matters, but to follow him. The watchman saw this, and reported to Jehoram that the horseman had mingled himself among the company, and was coming along with them. When the king sent a second messenger, Jehu commanded him to do as the former had done. When the watchman told this to Jehoram, he at last got on his chariot himself, together with Ahaziah, and drove out to meet the horsemem. The two kings came up to Jehu near the field of Naboth, and Jehoram asked,—

"Are all things well in the camp?"

But Jehu answered, "How can all things be well when the sins of thy wicked mother, Jezebel, have not been avenged?"

Then Jehoram was afraid, and turned his horses' heads, and said to Ahaziah, "We are fought against by deceit and treachery."

But Jehu drew his bow and shot an arrow, which pierced the heart of Jehoram and killed him. And he shot another arrow, which wounded Ahaziah; and though that king jumped on a horse and fled away to his own kingdom, he nevertheless died of his wound a few days after, and was buried in Jerusalem.

Jehu rode on into Jezreel. And Jezebel, hearing what he had done, came out and stood upon a tower on the wall of the city, and said,—

[210] "Thou are a fine servant, to kill thine own master!"

When he saw her he asked who she was, and commanded her to come down to him. But, as she would not do this, he bade some of her servants cast her down. They obeyed him, and the wall be besprinkled with her blood, and her body was trodden under foot by the horses, and so she died. Jehu came to the royal palace with his friends and sat down to dinner. First, however, he told his servants to go and take up the body of Jezebel and bury it, for she was a queen. But his servants could find only her skull and her hands and her feet; all the rest of her body had been eaten by dogs.

Jehu caused the family of Ahab to be put to death, and in this way the prophecies of Elijah were all fulfilled. He also destroyed the false prophets of Baal, and overturned the idols of that god. But he suffered the golden calves to remain, and allowed the Israelites to worship them. For Jehu was not a good man, and he soon forgot all the benefits the Lord had bestowed upon him.


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