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Myths of Babylonia and Assyria

Page: 210

Ere Jeroboam died, however, "Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead. In his days the land was quiet ten years. And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves. And commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers and to do the law and the commandment. Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet before him. And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years; because the Lord had given him rest."[438]

Jeroboam died in the second year of Asa's reign, and was succeeded by his son Nadab, who "did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin".[439] Nadab waged war against the Philistines, and was besieging Gibbethon when Baasha revolted and slew him. Thus ended the First Dynasty of the Kingdom of Israel.

Baasha was declared king, and proceeded to operate against Judah. Having successfully waged war against Asa, he proceeded to fortify Ramah, a few miles to the north of Jerusalem, "that he might not suffer any to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah".[440]

Now Israel was at this time one of the allies of the powerful Aramaean State of Damascus, which had resisted the advance of the Assyrian armies during the reign of Ashur-natsir-pal I, and apparently supported the rebellions of the northern Mesopotamian kings. Judah was nominally subject to Egypt, which, however, was weakened by internal troubles, and therefore unable either to assert its authority in Judah or help its king to resist the advance of the Israelites.

In the hour of peril Judah sought the aid of the king of Damascus. "Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king's house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants: and King Asa sent them to Ben-hadad, the son of Tabrimon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying, There is a league between me and thee, and between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent unto thee a present of silver and gold: come and break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me".[441]

Ben-hadad accepted the invitation readily. He waged war against Israel, and Baasha was compelled to abandon the building of the fortifications at Ramah. "Then king Asa made a proclamation throughout all Judah; none was exempted: and they took away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha had builded; and king Asa built with them Geba of Benjamin, and Mizpah."[442]


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