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(g Kings Xxiii. 33; 2 Chronicles Xxxvi. 1—3.)
Temporal prosperity frequently proves hostile to the real welfare of mankind.
This truth receives a remarkable illustration in the histories of the kings of Judah. From the date when the people demanded a king at the hands of Samuel to reign over them, to the period when the Hebrew monarchy was subverted, full many of them, unmindful of their duty to Jehovah, worked wickedness, and were punished by the invasion of hostile powers, by captivity, by disease, and by premature deaths.
Such was the general effect which prosperity had upon the conduct and destinies of the kings of Judah. There were, however, some bright exceptions, as David, and Asa, and Jehoshaphat, and Hezekiah, and Josiah, on whose conduct, in the main, the Divine approbation was stamped. These walked in the ways of the Lord, and "his favour encompassed them as with a shield." The very evils which were predicted to fall upon Judah, for the sins of their wicked rulers, were postponed for the righteousness of Hezekiah and Josiah —a striking proof that piety in the sight of God is of great price.
Among those who did evil, and thereby incurred the anger of the Most High, was Jehoahaz; and the object of the annexed engraving is to represent his punishment, the circumstances connected with which are as follow.
Egypt had been long consolidating its strength, and at length, in the days of Josiah king of Judah, Pharaoh-Necho, who then ruled in the valley of the Nile, taking advantage of the wars in which the Assyrian power was involved with the Medes and Chaldeans, directed his march to Carchemish, an important post on the Euphrates, and the key of Assyria on the western side, designing its conquest. He passed along the sea coast of Palestine northward; and Josiah, being apprised of it, mindful of his relation to Assyria, he reigning by favour of that power, and of his obligation to defend the frontier against the Egyptians, assembled his forces to arrest the passage of the Egyptian monarch. Josiah posted himself on the skirts of the plain of Esdraleon; and hearing of this, Pharaoh-Necho sent messengers to engage him to desist