Story Two

 •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 7
JĒ̇-HŎSH́ A-PHĂT, the king of Judah, was a good man and a wise king, but he made one mistake which brought in great trouble upon his family and upon his land in after days. He married his son Jē̇-hṓ ram to Ăth-a-lī́ ah, the daughter of Ā́ hăb and the wicked Jĕź e-bĕl. When Jē̇-hŏsh́ a-phăt died and Jē̇-hó ram became king of Jū́ dah, his wife, Ăth-a-lī́ ah, led him into all the wickedness of the house of Ā́ hăb. Jē̇-hó ram killed all his brothers, the sons of Jē̇-hŏsh́ a-phăt, so that no one of them might rise up against him. His queen Ăth-a-lī̇ ah, set up idols all around Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lem and in Jū́ dah, and led the people in worshipping them.
The prophet Ē̇-lī́ jah was still living in Ĭś̝ ra-el when Jē̇-hṓ ram began to reign in Jū́ dah. He sent to King Jē̇-hṓ ram a letter containing a message from the Lord. He wrote:
"Thus saith the Lord, the God of Dā́ vid, 'Because you have not walked in the ways of your father, Jē̇-hŏsh́ a-phăt, but have walked in the ways of the kings of Ĭś̝ ra-el, and have led the people of Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm and of Jū́ dah to turn from the Lord to idols, and because you have slain your brothers; who were better than you, therefore the Lord will strike you and your house, and your people; and you shall have a terrible disease that none can cure.'
And after this great troubles came upon Jē̇-hṓ ram and his land. The Ḗ dom-ītes on the south, who had been under the rule of Jū́ dah since the days of Dā́ vid, broke away from King Jē̇-hṓ ram and set up a kingdom of their own. The Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝ on the west and the Ā̇-rā́ bĭ-ans̝ of the desert made war upon him. They broke into his palace, and carried away his treasures, and killed all his children except one, the youngest.
And upon Jē̇-hṓ ram himself fell a sickness that lasted many years, and caused him great suffering. No cure could be found, and after long years of pain Jē̇-hṓ ram died. So evil had been his reign of eight years that no one was sorry to have him die, and they would not allow his body to be buried among the kings of Jū́ dah.
After Jē̇-hṓ ram his youngest son, Ā-ha-zī́ ah, became king. His mother was the wicked Ăth-a-lī́ ah, the daughter of Jĕź e-bĕl. A-ha-zī́ ah reigned only one year; for while he was visiting King Jē̇-hṓ ram of Ĭś̝ ra-el, his uncle, he was slain by Jḗ hu; for this was the time when Jḗ hū rose against the house of Ā́ hăb, killed Jē̇-hō-́ ram, Ā́ hăb's son, and Jĕź e-bĕl,
Ā́ hăb's widow, and made himself king of Ĭś̝ ra-el. But Jḗ hu gave to the body of Ā́ ha-zī ah a king's burial, for he said, "He was the son of Jē̇-hŏsh́ a-phăt, who sought the Lord with all his heart.”
When Ăth-a-lī́ ah, the mother of Ā-ha-zī́ ah, heard that her son was dead, all the fierceness of her mother Jĕź e-bĕl arose in her. She seized the princes who belonged to the family of Dā́ vid and killed them, so that there was not a man of the royal line left. And she made herself the queen and ruler over the land of Judah. She shut up the house of the Lord, and built a temple for Bā́ al; and for six years led the people of Jū́ dah in all wickedness.
In the slaughter of the royal family by Ăth-a-lī́ ah one little child of Ā-ha-zī́ ah had been saved alive. His name was Jṓ ăsh. He was a baby, only a year old when his grandmother, Ăth-a-lī́ ah, seized the throne; and his aunt, a sister of Ā-ha-zī́ ah and the wife of the priest Jē̇-hoí a-dȧ, hid him in the Temple of the Lord, and kept him safe from the hate of Queen Ăth-a-lī́ ah, There he stayed for six years, while Jē̇-hoí a-dȧ, the priest, was preparing to make him king. When all things were ready, and little Jṓ ăsh was seven years old, Jē̇-hoí a-dȧ, the priest, brought him out of his hiding-place, and set him before the people and the rulers in the temple, and placed the crown upon his head. Then all the people shouted, "Long live the king! Long live the king!”
Queen Ăth-a-lī́ ah heard the noise of the shouting, and came out of her palace to see what had taken place. She saw the little boy-king standing by a pillar in the Temple, with the crown upon his head, and around him the soldiers and the people, crying aloud, "Long live the king!”
Ăth-a-lī́ ah was very angry as she saw all this. She called for her servants and her soldiers to break up this gathering of the people, and to take the boy-king. But no one would follow her, for they were tired of her cruel rule, and they wished to have for their king one who came from the line of Dā́ vid.
Jē̇-hoí a-dȧ said to the soldiers, "Take this woman a prisoner, and carry her out of the Temple of the Lord. Let not her blood be spilled in the holy house.”
So they seized Ath-a-lī́ ah, and dragged her out of the Temple, and killed her. Then Jē̇-hoí a-dȧ and all the people made a promise to serve the Lord only. They tore down the house of the idol Bā́ al, and destroyed the images, and broke its altar in pieces. They made the Temple holy once more, and set the house in order, and offered the sacrifices, and held the daily worship before the altar. And all the people were glad to have a descendant of Dā́ vid, one of the royal line, once more on the throne of Jū́ dah.
As long as Jē̇-hoí a-dȧ, the good priest lived, Jṓ ash ruled well, and his people served the Lord. When King Jṓ ăsh grew up he wished to have the Temple of the Lord made new and beautiful; for in the years that had passed since the Temple had been built by Sŏĺ o-mon, it had grown old, and had fallen into decay. Then, too, Queen Ăth-a-lī́ ah and the men who worshipped Bā́ al had broken down the walls in many places, and they had carried away the gold and the silver of the Temple to use in the worship of Bā́ al.
At first King Jṓ ash told the priests and Lḗ vītes, who served in the Temple, to go through the land; and ask the people for money to be spent in the fitting up of the Temple. But the priests and the Lḗ vītes were slow in the work, and the king tried another plan for getting the money that was needed.
He caused a large box or chest to be made, and had it placed at the door of the Temple, so that all would see it when they went to worship the Lord. In the lid of the box was a hole through which they dropped money into the box. And the king caused word to be sent through all the land that the princes and the people should bring gifts of money, and drop it into the chest, whenever they came to the Temple.
The people were glad, and brought their gifts willingly; for they all wished to have God's house made beautiful. In a short time the box was full of gold and silver. Then the king's officers opened the box, and tied up the money in bags, and placed the bags of money in a safe place. The box was filled with gold and silver many times, until there was money in abundance to pay for all the work needed in the Temple, and for making new ornaments of gold and silver for the house.
When Jē̇-hoí a-dȧ, the good priest, was very old, he died; and after his death there was no one to keep King Jṓ ash in the right way. The princes of the land loved to worship idols, and did not serve God, and they led King Jṓ ash into wicked ways after he had done so well. God was not pleased with Rash after he forsook the Lord, and God allowed the Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ans̝ from the north to come upon the land. They robbed the cities and left Jṓ ăsh sick and poor. Soon after the coming of the Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ans̝ his own servants killed him, and made Ăm-a-zī́ ah, his son, king in his place.