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

JEHORAM, king of Israel, gathered up his armies to fight against the Moabites. And he sent to Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, asking for his help. Jehoshaphat agreed to go to war with him, and the king of Edom also collected an army to assist him. So the three kings joined their forces and set out together. After they had journeyed for seven days, they were in distress for want of water for the men and the beasts. Then Jehoram cried out that God had forsaken them, and intended to deliver them into the hands of the enemy. But Jehoshaphat encouraged him, and bade him send to the camp and learn if any prophet of God had come along with the army. One of the soldiers said he had seen there Elisha, who was the servant of Elijah. So the three kings went to Elisha's tent and asked him, "What will become of the army?"

Elisha, seeing Jehoram, said to him,—

[201] "Why dost thou come to me? Go to the prophets of thy father and thy mother, and let them assist thee."

But Jehoram still begged that the prophet would answer him.

Elisha said, "As surely as the Lord liveth, I would not answer thee were it not for the respect I hear to Jehoshaphat, who is a holy and a righteous man. But bring me hither a musician."

A musician came, and as he began to play the prophet became inspired. And he told the kings to dig many ditches in the valley.

"For," said he, "though there appear neither cloud, nor wind, nor storm of rain, ye shall see these trenches full of water, and the army and the cattle shall be saved by drinking of it, and, moreover, the Lord will deliver your enemies into your hands."

The words of the prophet came true, for next morning the Lord caused water to flow into the valley, so that the trenches were filled with it.

When the Moabites learned that the three kings had come against them, they gathered up their army and came to meet the Israelites. The sun had just risen, and its rays made the water in the ditches look red as blood. The Moabites falsely supposed that their enemies had been fighting with one another, and that this was their blood. They asked their king to let them go and gather the spoil from the camp, and then rushed in disorder towards the place. But they found themselves surrounded on all sides by their enemies, who killed a great many and put the rest to flight. The three kings pursued them into their own country, and took their cities, and overthrew their walls, and destroyed their harvests. They besieged the king of Moab in his royal city, but when the king found that he could not cut his way out or escape, he did a thing that showed despair and the utmost distress, for he took his eldest son, who was to reign after him, and lifting [202] him up on the wall, where he might be visible to all the Israelites, he offered him up as a sacrifice to his god. When the kings saw this, they were so much affected by pity that they raised the siege, and every one returned to his own house.

Jehoshaphat died a short time after this expedition, having reigned twenty-five years. His son Jehoram, who, having married a daughter of Ahab, was a brother-in-law of his namesake, Jehoram, king of Israel, succeeded Jehoshaphat as king of Jerusalem.


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