Page:A Brief Bible History (Boyd and Machen, 1922).djvu/45

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example, from Jer., ch. 11, which tells that this prophetic leader preached in the streets of Jerusalem and through the cities of Judah, saying, "Hear ye the words of this covenant, and do them."

Josiah attempted to attach to Jerusalem all those elements in the territory of the former kingdom of Israel which were in sympathy with Jehovah's Law, and at Bethel itself he defiled the old idolatrous altar and slew its priests. In fact, it was on northern ground, at Megiddo, that Josiah met his tragic end and the new wave of patriotic enthusiasm was shattered, when, in battle against Pharaoh-necho and a great Egyptian army, the king of Judah was killed.

Josiah's four successors were weak and unworthy of David's line. After Jehoahaz, the son whom the people put on the throne to succeed Josiah, had been removed by Necho, Jehoiakim, another son, reigned for eleven years. He owed his throne to the Pharaoh and was at first tributary to him. But early in his reign came the first of many campaigns of the Chaldeans into Palestine, as Nebuchadnezzar, master of Asia, extended his power farther and farther south after crushing the Egyptians at Carchemish in 605 b.c. Jehoiakim had to bow to Nebuchadnezzar's yoke and seems to have lost his life in a fruitless attempt to shake it off. A great number of the leaders of Judah, nobles, priests, soldiers, and craftsmen, were deported, together with Jehoiakim, the young son of Jehoiakim, who had worn the crown but three months, 598 b.c.

For eleven years more, however, the remnant of Judah maintained a feeble state under Zedekiah, a third son of Josiah and the last of David's line to mount the throne. In spite of his solemn oath to the king of Babylon and in the face of the express warnings from Jehovah through his prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel, this weak and faithless king revolted from Babylon, put his trust in the Egyptian army, and prepared to stand a siege. But Jerusalem's end had now come, as Samaria's had come before, and through a breach in the northern wall the Chaldean army entered; the king fled and was captured, blinded, and deported, and the whole city, including houses, walls, gates, and even the Temple — that famous Temple of Solomon which had stood nearly four centuries — was totally destroyed, 587 b.c. All that remained of the higher classes, together with the population of Jerusalem and the chief towns, were carried away to Babylonia, to begin that exile which had been threatened even in the Law, and predicted by many of the prophets, as the extreme penalty for disobedience and idolatry.