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Antiquities of the Jews, Book 9.

From the death of Achab until the Assyrian invasion

1. Josaphat appoints judges, and overcomes Israel's enemies

2. Ochosias's wicked rule in Israel; his death is foretold by Elijah

3. The kings of Israel (Joram) and Judas (Josaphat) defeat king Mesha of Moab

4. Joram fights the Syrians; miracles worked through prophet Eliseus

5. Joram's marriage to Othlias; his apostasy and defeat; succeeded by Achaz

6. Violent reform of Jehu, king in Israel; kills Jezabel and the children of Achab

7. Othlias tries to blot out David's line, but Joas rules after her death

8. Northern invasion by Azael of Syria; Joas apostasises; Amasias succeeds him

9. King Amasias of Judas, his victories, pride and punishment

10. Jeroboam of Israel and Jonah; Ozias suffers for usurping the priestly role

11. Squabbles in Israel; Tiglath Pelesher's invasion; Nahum's prophecy vs Assyrians

12. Achaz in Jerusalem; besieged by Syrians; saved by the Assyrians

13. King Pekah of Israel murdered by a friend; the pious reign of Ezekias, in Judas

14. The Assyrians storm Samaria; exile the Samaritans, replacing them with Cutheans


Chapter 1. [001-017]
Josaphat appoints judges, and overcomes Israel's enemies

1.

001 When king Josaphat arrived in Jerusalem, after his alliance with Achab, the king of Israel, in the war against Ader, king of Syria, the prophet Jehu met him and blamed him for assisting Achab, an impious and wicked man, and told him that God was displeased at him for doing so and yet despite his sin had saved him from the enemy because of his good character. 002 Then the king turned to offer thanksgiving and sacrifices to God and went round all this territory and taught the people the laws given by God through Moses, and the worship due to him. 003 He also appointed judges in each of the cities of his kingdom, and told them that when judging the people they should care for nothing so much as for justice and not to be swayed by bribes, or by the dignity of the wealthy or the highly born, but to treat all on an equal footing, knowing that God is aware of every secret action. 004 When he had taught this in every city of the two tribes, he returned to Jerusalem, where he chose judges from the priests and the levites and officers of the people and urged them to pass all their sentences with care and justice. 005 If any of the tribespeople had major differences they should send them from the other cities to these judges, who were obliged to give judgment in such cases with special care, as sentences passed in the city which houses the temple of God and the king's dwelling, must be given with optimum care and justice. 006 In charge of them he appointed Amarias the priest and Zebadias, both of the tribe of Judas, and in this way the king ordered these matters.

2.

007 About that time the Moabites and Ammanites with a large band of Arabs attacked Josaphat, and encamped at Engedi, a city three hundred furlongs from Jerusalem, and beside lake Asphaltitis, where the finest kind of palm trees and the Opobalsamum grow. 008 When Josaphat heard that the enemies had crossed over the lake and had invaded that region belonging to his kingdom, he was afraid and called the people of Jerusalem together in the temple. Standing opposite the sanctuary he prayed and called on God for the power and strength to punish the invaders. 009 The builders of the temple had prayed to Him to protect the city and defeat any who dared to come against it - like those who had now come to take away the land that God had given them. As he prayed this, he wept and the whole crowd, with the women and children, interceded. 010 A prophet named Jaziel came into the assembly and called to the people and the king that God had heard their prayers and promised to fight against their enemies. He told the king to bring out his forces the next day, 011 for he would find them between Jerusalem and the ascent from Engedi, at a place called Exoché (Eminence.) He must not fight them, but only stand still and see how God would fight them. When the prophet had said this, the king and the people fell on their faces and thanked God and worshipped him, and the levites with their instruments continued singing hymns to God.

3.

012 When it was day and the king had arrived in the wilderness below the city of Tekoa, he told the people to trust what the prophet had said and not line themselves up for battle, but to set in front of them the priests with their trumpets and the levites, and then thank God for already saving our region from our enemies. 013 The king's view prevailed and they did as he advised, and God raised up fear and terror among the Ammanites, who saw each other as enemies and began killing each other, until not one was spared from such a large army. 014 When Josaphat looked into the gorge where their enemies had been encamped and saw it full of corpses, he was glad at this miraculous help from God, who had given them the victory by his own power, without any effort of theirs. He allowed his army take the booty of the enemy's camp and despoil their corpses. 015 They did this for three days until they were tired, such was the number of the dead. On the fourth day, all the people assembled in a hollow, narrow place and blessed God for his power and help, from which the place received its name, the Valley of Blessing.

4.

016 When the king had led his army back up to Jerusalem, he began to celebrate festivals and offer sacrifices over many days. Afterwards, when this destruction of their enemies was heard of by foreign nations, all were struck with fear, thinking that in future God would be clearly on his side. So from then on Josaphat lived in glorious splendor, for his righteousness and piety towards God. 017 He was friendly with Achab's son, who was king of Israel, and he joined with him in the building of ships to sail to Pontus and the trading cities of Thrace; but they did not succeed, for the ships were lost due to their size, and from then on he no longer cared for shipping. Such is the story of Josaphat, the king of Jerusalem.

Chapter 2. [018-028]
Ochosias's wicked rule in Israel. His death is foretold by Elijah

1.

018 Ochosias, son of Achab, ruled the Israelites and lived in Samaria. He was an evil man and in all respects like both his parents and Jeroboam, who was the first to go astray and began to lead the people astray. 019 In the second year of his reign, the king of Moab renounced his obedience and left off paying the tributes formerly paid to his father Achab. Then Ochosias had a fall as he was coming down from the roof of his house and in his sickness sent to the Fly, as the god of Akkaron was called, to enquire about his recovery. 020 The God of the Hebrews appeared to the prophet Elijah, telling him to go and meet the messengers and ask them whether the people of Israel had no God of their own, that the king should send to a foreign god to enquire about his recovery, and to bid them return and tell the king that he would not be cured of this disease. 021 When Elijah did as God told him and the messengers had heard his words, immediately they returned to the king, and as he was surprised that they returned so soon and asked them the reason, they said that a man had met them and forbidden them to go any farther but to return and at the command of the God of Israel tell you that this disease will end badly. 022 When the king got them to describe the man who told them this, they replied that he was a hairy man with a leather girdle round his waist. By this he knew that the man described by the messengers was Elijah, so he sent a officer with fifty soldiers, with instructions to bring Elijah to him.

023 When the officer who was sent found Elijah sitting on top of a hill, he told him to come down and come at the king's orders, for if he refused they would take him by force. Then the other told him, "That you may have proof that I am a true prophet, I will pray for fire to fall from heaven and destroy both the soldiers and yourself." So he prayed and a whirlwind of fire fell down and destroyed the officer and his men. 024 When the king heard of their destruction he was furious and sent another officer with the same number of soldiers as before. When this officer too threatened the prophet that unless he came down of his own accord, he would arrest and bring him, he prayed against him too and fire killed him like the officer before him. 025 When told about this too, he king sent out a third officer, but this was a wise man of a mild disposition, so when he reached the place where Elijah happened to be he said civilly to him that he should know he came to him against his will and only at the king's command, and that those who had earlier come had done so unwillingly on the same account, and asked him to have pity on the soldiers with him and to accompany him down to the king. 026 Elijah accepted his discreet words and courteous behaviour and followed him down. When he came to the king, he prophesied to him in God's name, "Since you have scorned him as not being a God able to foretell the truth about your sickness, but have sent to the god of Akkaron to enquire of him about how it will turn out, know that you shall die."

2.

027 Shortly afterwards, as Elijah had foretold, the king died and as he was childless his brother Joram succeeded to the kingdom. But like his father Achab, for twelve years Joram ruled wickedly, indulging in all sorts of evil and impiety towards God, abandoning his worship and worshipping foreign gods, though in other respects he was an effective man. 028 About that time Elijah disappeared from among mankind and to this day no one knows about his death, but he left behind him his disciple Eliseus, as we already said. And it is written in the sacred books about Elijah and about Enoch, who lived before the deluge, that they disappeared in such a way that nobody knew of their death.

Chapter 3. [029-044]
The kings Joram and Josaphat wage successful war on king Mesha of Moab

1.

029 When Joram took over the kingdom, he decided to make an expedition against the king of Moab, named Mesha, who, as we said already, had broken away from his brother after paying a tribute of two hundred thousand sheep with their fleeces to their father Achab. 030 When he had gathered his local army he sent to Josaphat who had from the start been a friend to his father, asking his help in the war he wanted to make on the Moabites, for abandoning their obedience. Not only did he promise to help him but he would get the king of Idumaea, who was under his authority, to take part in the campaign. 031 With these assurances of help from Josaphat, Joram took his army and came to Jerusalem, and when he had been sumptuously entertained by the king of Jerusalem, they decided to march against their enemies through the wilderness of Idumaea, for the enemy would not expect their attack from that direction; and thus the three set off, the kings of Jerusalem, Israel and Idumaea. 032 When they had gone a circuitous seven days' journey, they were in short of water for the livestock and for the army due to a mistaken direction taken by the guides leading them, so all were struggling, especially Joram, who in his grief cried out to God, asking what wrong they had done to make him hand over the three kings to the king of Moab, without a fight. 033 But Josaphat, a righteous man, encouraged him and told him send to the camp to learn if any prophet of God had come along with them, "through whom we might learn from God what to do." When one of Joram's servants said that he had seen there Elijah's disciple Eliseus, the son of Shaphat, the three kings went to him, at the request of Josaphat.

034 As they came to the prophet's tent, which happened to be pitched outside the camp, they all asked him - and Joram was particular - what would become of the army. When he replied not to trouble him but to go to his father's and mother's prophets who would surely tell him the truth, he continued asking him to prophesy and save them. 035 Then he swore by God that he would not answer him except for the sake of Josaphat, who was a holy and righteous man, and when at his request they brought him a man who could play the harp, as the music played the divine Spirit came upon him and he directed them to dig many trenches in the valley. 036 "For although neither cloud nor wind nor rainstorm can be seen," he said, "ye shall see this river full of water, until your army and livestock are saved by drinking from it. And this is not the only favour you will receive from God, but you will also overcome your enemies and take the best and strongest cities of the Moabites and cut down their fruit trees, and lay waste their region and block up their fountains and rivers."

2.

037 After the prophet said this, the next day before sunrise there was a great flow of water for God had made it rain heavily three days' journey away in Idumaea, so that the army and the livestock had plenty to drink. 038 When the Moabites heard that the three kings were coming on them and approaching through the wilderness, the king of Moab instantly mustered his army and made them pitch camp on the mountains so that their enemies could not invade their land without being seen. 039 When at sunrise they saw the water in the torrent, for it was not far from the land of Moab and that it looked the colour of blood, for at that time the water looks especially red, in the light of the sun they mistakenly judged that in their thirst their enemies had killed each other and that the river was running with their blood. 040 Thinking this to be the case, they asked their king to send them out to despoil the enemy and all hurried as if to something already gained, and came to the camp of their enemies thinking them already destroyed. But this hope deceived them, for their enemies surrounded them and some of them were cut to pieces while the rest were scattered and fled to their own land. 041 Marching into Moab, the kings destroyed its cities and seized and spoiled their fields, filling them with stones from the brooks and cut down the best of their trees and blocked their wells and knocked their walls to the ground. 042 But though pursued like them, the Moabite king withstood a siege and seeing his city in danger of being taken by force, sallied out with seven hundred men, hoping to break through the enemy's camp with his cavalry on the side that was least carefully guarded. But the attempt did not succeed for it came at a place that was carefully watched. 043 Returning to the city he did something that showed his despair and utter woe, for taking his eldest son who was due to reign after him and lifting him up on the wall in full view of the enemy, he offered him as a whole holocaust to God. When the kings saw this, they felt the distress that caused it and were so moved by pity that they raised the siege and each returned to his home.

044 Josaphat came to Jerusalem to live on in peace there but he outlived the campaign only for a short time and died at the age of sixty years, after reigning for twenty-five of them. He received a magnificent burial in Jerusalem, for he had imitated the actions of David.

Chapter 4. [045-094]
Kings Joram and fight the Syrians. Miracles of the prophet Eliseus.

1.

045 Of the many children he left behind he named his eldest son Joram to succeed him, of the same name as his mother's brother who was the son of Achab and king of Israel. 046 When the king of Israel came from Moab to Samaria, he had with him Eliseus the prophet, whose acts I want to treat of in particular, for as we have found them in the sacred books they are illustrious and worthy of recording.

2.

047 They say that the widow of Achab's steward Obedias came to him to say she knew how her husband had saved the lives of the prophets who were to be killed by Achab's wife Jezabel. She told how he had hidden a hundred of them and borrowed money to feed them and how after her husband's death, she and her children were taken into slavery by the creditors, and she asked him for mercy and help on account of what her husband had done. 048 When he asked her what she had in the house, she said, "Nothing but a very small amount of oil in a jug." So the prophet sent her away to borrow many empty vessels from her neighbours and then shut her chamber door and pour some oil into them all, when God would make them full. 049 When the woman had done as he ordered to do she got her children to bring each of the vessels, and all of them were filled and not one left empty, she went to the prophet to tell him of it. 050 He advised her to go and sell the oil and pay the creditors their and that there would be something left over from the price of the oil, which she could use to feed her children. That was how Eliseus discharged the woman's debts and freed her from being harased by her creditors.

3.

051 Eliseus also sent urgently to Joram, warning him to beware of that place, as some Syrians were lying there in ambush to kill him. So the king did as the prophet urged him and refrained from going out hunting. 052 When Ader's plot was unsuccessful he was angry with his own men as if they had betrayed the ambush to Joram. Sending for them, he said that clearly they had betrayed his secret plans and threatened to execute them, since he had entrusted the plot to none but them and yet his enemy knew of it. 053 One who was present said that he was mistaken and should not suspect them of revealing to the enemy about the assassins he had sent. He should realise that it was Eliseus the prophet who had revealed all and shown all his plans. So he had some men sent to learn in what city Eliseus was staying.

054 When the messengers brought word that he was in Dothain Ader sent to that city a large force of horses and chariots to take Eliseus. They surrounded the city by night and kept him confined within it, but at dawn when the prophet's servant noticed how his enemies were trying to capture Eliseus, he hurried to him shouting out wildly in warning. 055 But he was unafraid encouraged the servant, telling him not fear but to scorn the enemy and to show as much hope and courage as he could. God heard the prayer of the prophet and made the servant see a crowd of chariots and horses surrounding Eliseus, until he laid aside his fear and his courage revived at the sight of what he supposed had come to their help.

056 Then Eliseus asked God to blind the eyes of their enemies and cast a mist before them, so they could not see him. When this happend he went among the enemy and asked whom they were looking for, and when they answered, "The prophet Eliseus," he promised to hand him over to them if they would follow him to the city where he happened to be. 057 God so darkened their sight and mind that they eagerly followed the prophet and when Eliseus had brought them to Samaria he told king Joram to shut the gates and surround them with his own army, and then prayed to God to clear the eyes of the enemies and banish the mist from before them; and when they were freed from their darkness they found themselves in the middle of their opponents. 058 Naturally the Syrians were shocked and distressed at so divine and amazing a deed but when king Joram asked the prophet to let him shoot at them, Eliseus forbade it and said that it is fair to kill those who are taken in battle, but that these men had done the region no harm, and had come there unknowingly by the divine Power. 059 His advice was to treat them hospitably at his table and then send them away without harming them. So Joram obeyed the prophet, and after giving the Syrians a splendid and magnificent feast he let them go back to Ader their king.

4.

060 When these men returned and told Ader the strange thing that had happened to them and how they had experienced appearance and power of the God of Israel, and about the prophet with whom God was so evidently present, he feared Eliseus and decided to make no more secret plots against the king of Israel, but resolved to make open war with them, thinking to defeat his enemies by his great army and power. 061 So he set out with a large force against Joram, who, not thinking he could fight him, shut himself up in Samaria and depended on the strength of its walls. Ader planned to capture the city, if not by his machines of war, then by reducing the Samaritans by famine and the lack of supplies, so he set to besiege the city. 062 Joram's supplies were so reduced that from the extreme shortage an ass's head was sold in Samaria for eighty pieces of silver and the Hebrews bought a sextary of dove's dung, in place of salt, for five pieces of silver. 063 He feared that the hunger might cause someone to betray the city to the enemy, so every day he went round the walls and the guards to see if any such idea were lurking there, and by letting himself be seen and taking such care, he forestalled any from trying such a thing, or of carrying it through even if they planned it. 064 When a certain woman cried out, "Have pity on me, my lord," he thought that she was about to ask for something to eat and called God's curse on her, saying he had neither threshing-floor nor wine-press from which to give her what she wanted. 065 But she said she did not want his help in any such thing or to trouble him for food, but asked him to judge her case against another woman. When be bade her speak and tell him what she wanted, she said that because of the intolerable famine and scarcity she had made an agreement with another woman who was her neighbour and friend, that both should kill their children, as each of them had a son of their own, in order to feed each other for a day apiece. 066 "But," she said, "on the first day I killed my son and we survived upon him yesterday, and now this other woman will not do the same but has broken her agreement and hidden her son." 067 When he heard this Joram grieved deeply and rent his garment and shouted with a loud voice and was full of anger against the prophet Eliseus and decided to have him killed for not praying to God to provide them some solution or way of escape from the plight surrounding them; and immediately he sent a man away to cut off his head. 068 This man hurried to execute the prophet, but Eliseus was not unaware of the king's anger towards him, for as he sat at home in his house with his disciples he told them that Joram, the son of a murderer, had sent a man to behead him. 069 "But when the one who is ordered to do this arrives," he said, "be ready for him when he comes in and close the door on him and hold him fast, for the king himself will follow him and come to me, having changed his mind." When the man sent by the king to kill Eliseus arrived, they did as they were told.

070 Then Joram repented of his anger against the prophet, and for fear that the man ordered to kill him might get there and do it he hurried to stop the murder and save the prophet. When he reached him, he accused him of not praying to God for their salvation from their plight but merely looked on as they destroyed by it. 071 Eliseus promised that on the next day, at the very same hour that the king came to him, they would have plenty of food and that two seahs of barley would be sold in the market for a shekel and a seah of fine flour would be sold for a shekel. 072 This prediction gladdened Joram and those who were present, for they did not hesitate to believe what the prophet said, having seen his former predictions come true, and the expectation of plenty made the needs and anxieties of that day seem minor to them.

073 But the officer of the third band, a friend and supporter of the king, said, "Prophet, you are making incredible claims! For as God cannot pour down from heaven torrents of barley or fine flour, so is it impossible for what you say to happen." To this the prophet replied, "You shall see these things happen, but you shall not have any share in them."

5.

074 What Eliseus had so foretold happened as follows There was a law in Samaria that those who had leprosy and whose bodies were not cleansed from it, should stay outside the city. Now there were four men who on this account stayed outside the gates, and because of the extremity of the famine nobody brought any food out to them. 075 But the law forbade them to enter the city and even if they were let in they would die miserably of hunger and if they stayed where they were they needed food, so they decided to surrender to the enemy, for then if they were spared they would survive, and if they were killed, it would be an easy death. 076 When they had decided this they came at night to the enemy's camp. Now God had begun to frighten and disturb the Syrians and to bring the noise of chariots and armour to their ears, as though an army were coming upon them, making them think it was coming ever nearer to them. 077 They were so afraid that they left their tents and ran together to Ader saying that king Joram of Israel had hired and led the kings of Egypt and the islands as allies against them for they heard the sound of them coming. 078 Ader believed what they said for his ears were filled with the same noise so they fell into great disorder and uproar and leaving their horses and pack animals and immense wealth in the camp, they took to flight. 079 When, as we said a while ago, the lepers who had left Samaria and gone to the camp of the Syrians, arrived there, all they saw was great peace and silence, so they entered it and immediately went into one of their tents, and when they saw nobody there, they ate and drank and took away clothing and a large amount of gold which they hid outside the camp.

080 Then they went into another tent and as before carried off what was in it, and they did this several times, quite undisturbed by anyone. From this they gathered that the enemy had left and they were ashamed not to tell this to Joram and the citizens. 081 So they came to the walls of Samaria and called aloud to the watchmen and told them about the enemy, and these in turn told the king's guards, through whom Joram heard of it, and he summoned his friends and officers. 082 When they came he said he suspected that the king of Syria's departure was a cunning ambush, "since despairing of subduing us by famine, when we come out from the city to spoil their camp thinking they have fled, he will suddenly attack" and then they would be killed and the city taken without a fight. "So I urge you to stay in the city and not go outside it scornfully thinking that the enemy had really left." 083 Somebody said that he was good and wise to suspect this, but still advised that he should send a few cavalry to search all the region as far as the Jordan. "If they are seized the enemy in ambush, they will save your army from going out unsuspecting into a similar misfortune," adding, "if those cavalry are caught and killed by the enemy, they may added to the people who have died of hunger." 084 He approved of this view and sent some out to see for themselves. They saw no sign of enemies on the road, but found it full of provisions and weapons, which must have been discarded to speed their flight; and when the king heard this, he sent the crowd out to take the spoils of the camp. 085 These were of no small value, for they found a large amount of gold and silver and flocks of all kinds of livestock, and thousands of measures of wheat and barley, more than they ever dreamed of, and not only was their former shortage solved but things were so plentiful that two seahs of barley were bought for a shekel and a seah of fine flour for a shekel, as Eliseus had prophesied. Now a seah is equal to one and a half Italian modii. 086 The officer of the third troop was the only one not to benefit from this plenty, for as he was appointed by the king to guard the gate and prevent the crowds from blocking and crushing each other in the press, he suffered that very fate himself and died in the way foretold by Eliseus, since of all of them only he disbelieved what was said about the abundant provisions they were going to have.

6.

087 When the king of Syria, Ader, had escaped to Damascus and knew that it was the divinity had thrown all his army into this fear and disorder and that it was not caused by the enemy's attack, on finding God so opposed to him he was very downcast and grew sick. 088 At that time the prophet Eliseus had gone from his own region to Damascus, and when Ader knew this he sent Azael, the most faithful of his servants, to meet him and bring him gifts, with instructions to ask him about his sickness and whether he would recover from it. 089 So Azael came to Eliseus with forty camels, bringing the best and most precious fruits of the region of Damascus and from the royal palace itself. He greeted him courteously and said he was sent to him by king Ader bringing gifts, to enquire about his sickness and if he would recover from it. 090 The prophet told Azaelos to tell the king the news was not bad, but that still he must die. Hearing this, the king's servant was sad and Eliseus also wept and his tears ran copiously at seeing in advance the woes his people would suffer after the Ader's death. 091 When Azael asked why he was distressed he said he was weeping in pity for the people of Israel and "the terrible miseries they will suffer through you. For you will kill the best of them and burn their strongest cities and destroy their children and dash them against the stones and rip open their women with child."

092 When Azael asked, "How can I have the power to do such things?" the prophet replied that God had shown that he would become king of Syria. When Azael came to Ader, he brought him good news about his sickness but the next day he spread a wet cloth over him like a net and strangled him and took over his throne. 093 He was an active man and had the great support of the Syrians and of the people of Damascus, both of whom to this day pay divine honours to Ader himself and Azael, who ruled after him, because of their benefactions and for the temples they built to adorn the city of the Damascenes. 094 They hold processions every day in honour of these kings, and pride themselves on their antiquity, unaware that these kings are much later than they imagine and go back less than eleven hundred years. When Joram, the king of Israel, heard that Ader was dead, he recovered from his terror and dread of him and gladly lived in peace.

Chapter 5. [095-104]
King Joram's ill-fated marriage to Othlias. Apostasy and defeat. Achaz succeeds him in Jerusalem.

1.

095 The king of Jerusalem, Joram - for as we have said he had the same name as the king of Israel - on becoming king immediately began to slaughter his brothers and those of his father's friends who had been leaders, and so gave the first proof of his wickedness. He was no better than the kings of Israel who first sinned against their ancestral Hebrew laws and against God's worship. 096 One person who taught him to do wrong in various ways and to worship foreign gods was Gotholia, Achab's daughter who lived with him; and yet God would not quite root out this family, because of his promise made to David, though Joram never ceased introducing new customs and spreading impiety against the customs of his own people. 097 When about that time the Edomites rebelled from him and killed their former king, who had been subject to his father and set up one of their own choosing, Joram attacked the land of Idumaea by night, with his cavalry and chariots, and killed those who were near his own kingdom, but did not proceed further. 098 But this expedition did him no good, for they all rebelled from him, as well as the inhabitants of the region of Libnah. And he went so far as to compel the people to go up to the high places of the mountains and worship foreign gods.

2.

099 As he was doing this and had entirely set aside his ancestral laws, a letter from Elijah the prophet was brought to him declaring that God would greatly punish him for not imitating his forefathers but following the wicked ways of the kings of Israel, and forcing the tribe of Judas and the citizens of Jerusalem to exchange the holy worship of their own God for the worship of idols, as Achab had forced the Israelites, 100 and for killing his brothers and other good and righteous men. In this letter the prophet warned of the punishment he would suffer for this, namely, the people's destruction and the violation of the king's own wives and children, 101 and that he himself would die of a painful stomach illness and his bowels would rot from within and flow out; and that he would look on, unable to help himself, as he died in that way. This was what Elijah told him in that letter.

3.

102 Not long afterwards an army of Arabs and foreigners from near Ethiopia attacked Joram's kingdom and pillaged the region and the king's own house. They killed his sons and wives and one only of his sons, Ochosias by name, survived by escaping from the enemy. 103 After this disaster, he himself fell victim to the disease foretold by the prophet, which lasted a long time, for the angry divinity punished him in the belly, and seeing his bowels flow out he died in misery; and the people insulted his corpse. 104 I imagine that they reckoned that his death had come from the wrath of God and that therefore he was unworthy of a royal funeral, so they did not lay him to rest in the tombs of his fathers or show him special honour, but buried him like a private citizen, after he had lived for forty years and ruled for eight of them. The people of Jerusalem then passed on the kingship to his son Ochosias.

Chapter 6. [105-139]
Jehu's violent reform in Israel. He kills queen Jezabel and the children of Achab

1.

105 After the death of Ader, Joram, the king of Israel, hoped to take Aramatha, a city of Galadene, from the Syrians, so he set out against it with a large army. During the siege he was shot with an arrow by one of the Syrians, so he returned to Jezreel to let his wound heal, leaving his whole army in Aramatha under the command of Jehu, son of Amases. Already the city had been taken by force. 106 He intended when he was healed to make war on the Syrians, but Eliseus the prophet sent one of his disciples to Aramatha, with holy oil to anoint Jehu and to tell him that God had chosen him as their king. He had him say other things to him also, and to travel like a fugitive so as to leave without anyone knowing. 107 Reaching the city, he found Jehu sitting among the military officers, as Eliseus had said he would, and approached saying that he wanted to speak with him about something. 108 When the other got up and followed him into an inner chamber, the young man took the oil and poured it on his head and said that God made him king in order to destroy the house of Achab and to revenge the blood of the prophets so evilly killed by Jezabel, 109 to exterminate their house just as those of Jeroboam, son of Nebat, and of Basanes had died for their wickedness, and that no seed might remain of Achab's family. Having said this, he left the chamber quickly, trying not to be seen by anyone among the army.

2.

110 Jehu came forward to the place he had earlier sat with the officers, and when they asked and cajoled him to say why the raving young man had come to him, he answered, "You have guessed right, for the words he spoke were those of a madman!" 111 When they pressed to hear more, he told how he had said that God had chosen him as king over the people. When he had said this, each of them took off his cloak, and spread it under his feet and blew the trumpets, to proclaim Jehu as king. 112 Gathering the army he prepared to attack Joram in the city of Jezreel, where, as we have said, he was recovering from the wound he had received at the siege of Aramatha. Now Ochosias, king of Jerusalem, happened to have come to Joram on account of their relationship, for as we have said he was his sister's son, to see how he was surviving his wound. 113 Since Jehu wished to attack Joram's group unexpectedly, he wanted none of the soldiers to go and tell Joram what had happened, for this would clearly show their favour for him and that they wished to make him king.

3.

114 They agreed with his words and guarded the roads in case anyone should slip into Jezreel secretly and tell it to the people there. Jehu sat into his chariot and with his elite cavalry headed for Jezreel, and at his approach the watchman Joram had set there to look out for anyone coming to the city saw Jehu riding with a throng, and told Joram that a troop of cavalry were coming. 115 Immediately he ordered one of his horsemen out to meet them to find out who was coming. When the horseman reached Jehu he asked him about the army, saying that the king wished to know, but was told not to concern himself such matters, but to follow him. 116 Seeing this, the watchman told Joram that the horseman had joined the company and was coming with them. When the king sent a second messenger, Jehu told him to do likewise. 117 When the watchman told this also to Joram, he finally got into his chariot, along with Ochosias the king of Jerusalem who, as we have said, was there to see how his kinsman was doing after his wound, and out they went to meet him. 118 Jehu was marching slowly, and in good order, and when Joram met him in the field of Naboth he asked him if all was well in the camp, but Jehu bitterly rebuked him, even calling his mother a witch and a prostitute. Fearing his purpose and suspecting that it boded him no good, the king turned his chariot as quickly as he could and told Ochosias that they were caught by deceit and treachery. Then Jehu drew his bow and struck him, the arrow going through his heart. 119 Joram immediately fell on his knees and gave up the ghost; and Jehu ordered Bidkar, the officer of a third of his army, to throw Joram's corpse into Naboth's field, reminding him how Elijah had prophesied to Achab his father, when he killed Naboth, that both he and his family would die in that place, 120 for as they sat behind Achab's chariot, they had heard the prophet say so and it now happened according to his prophecy. When Joram fell, Ochosias feared for his own life and turned his chariot onto another road, thinking he could hide from Jehu. 121 But he pursued him and overtook him at a certain ascent and drew his bow and wounded him; and leaving his chariot he got on his horse and fled from Jehu to Megiddo. Although he was cared for there, he died a little later of the wound and was brought to Jerusalem and buried there, after reigning for one year and proving an evil man, even worse than his father.

4.

122 When Jehu entered Jezreel, Jezabel dressed up and stood on the tower and said what a fine servant he was, to have killed his master! Looking up at her, he asked who she was and told her to come down to him. Finally he ordered the eunuchs to throw her from the tower. 123 In her fall, she spattered the wall with her blood and was trodden by the horses and so died. When this was done, Jehu came to the palace with his friends and relaxed after his journey, with a meal and in other ways. He told his servants to take Jezabel and bury her, because of her lineage, as one descended from kings. 124 However, those appointed to bury her found nothing remaining but her extremities, for all the rest was eaten by dogs. When Jehu heard this, he admired the prophecy of Elijah, who had foretold that she would die in Jezreel, in this way.

5.

125 Achab had seventy sons who had been reared in Samaria. So Jehu sent two letters, one to those who had reared the children, and the other to the officers of Samaria, saying that they should appoint the bravest of Achab's sons as king, since they had many chariots and horses and armour and a large army and fortified cities, and in this way avenge their master's death. 126 This he wrote to test the feelings of those of Samaria. When the officers and those who had reared the children, read the letter, they were afraid, and considering that they could not oppose one who had already subdued two great kings, they replied that they accepted him as master and would do whatever he ordered. 127 He wrote back in reply insisting that they obey him and cut off the heads of Achab's sons and send them to him. So the officers sent for those who brought up the sons of Achab and directed them to kill them, to cut off their heads and send them to Jehu. They obeyed their orders without exception, and placed them in wicker baskets and sent them to Jezreel. 128 When Jehu, at supper with his friends, was told that the heads of Achab's' sons had been brought, he ordered them to make two heaps of them, one before each of the gates. 129 in the morning he went out to view them and when he saw them he began to say to the people present that he himself had campaigned against his master and killed him, but that it was not he who killed all these, and he wanted them to note that all had happened to Achab's family according to God's prophecy and his house had died just as Elijah had foretold. 130 When he had further destroyed any relatives of Achab who were found in Jezreel, he went to Samaria, and on the way he met the relatives of Ochosias king of Jerusalem and asked them where they were going. 131 They replied that they had come to greet Joram and their own king Ochosias, for they did not know that he had killed them both. So Jehu ordered them all captured and killed, being in number forty-two persons.

6.

132 After these, he met a good and holy man called Jehonadab who had been his friend of old, who greeted Jehu and began to commend him for doing everything according to God's will, in extirpating the house of Achab. 133 Jehu wanted him to come up into his chariot and join in his entry into Samaria, telling him that he would not spare a single criminal, but punish the false prophets and priests who had deceived the people and got them to leave the worship of God Almighty and to worship foreign gods, for it was a fine and pleasing sight to a good and holy man to see the wicked punished. 134 Persuaded by this, Jehonadab mounted into Jehu's chariot and came to Samaria. And Jehu sought out all Achab's relatives and killed them. Wanting none of the false prophets or priests of Achab's god to escape punishment, he caught them deceitfully by a ruse as follows. 135 Assembling the people he told them he would worship twice as many gods as Achab worshipped. Then he summoned his priests and prophets and servants as he intended to offer great, expensive sacrifices to Achab's god, and any of his priests who absented themselves would be punished with death. Now Achab's god was called Baal. 136 When he had set a day on which to offer the sacrifices, he sent around all the region of the Israelites to bring the priests of Baal to him, and Jehu ordered that vestments be given to all the priests. When they had received them, he went into the house with his friend Jonadab and had them search for any foreigner or stranger among them, for he would have none of a different religion present at their rites. 137 When they said that there was no stranger there and began their sacrifices, he set eighty men outside, from among the soldiers he knew to be most faithful and told them to kill the prophets and avenge their ancestral laws now so long dishonoured, threatening that if any escaped, their own lives would be forfeit. 138 So they killed all those men with the sword and burned the house of Baal and so purged Samaria of foreign customs. This Baal was the god of the Tyrians, for Achab had built a temple for him in Samaria to gratify his father-in-law, Ethbaal, the king of Tyre and Sidon, and assigned prophets for him and worshipped him in every way. 139 Once this god was demolished, Jehu allowed the Israelites to worship the golden heifers; but because he had taken care to punish the wicked, God foretold by his prophet that his sons would reign over Israel for four generations. This was the state of afairs under Jehu.

Chapter 7. [140-158]
Othlias tries to blot out David's line. Joas becomes king after her death

1.

140 When Othlias, the daughter of Achab, heard of the death of her brother Joram and of her son Ochosias and of the royal family, she wanted none of the house of David to be left alive and the whole family exterminated, so that no king might come from it later on. 141 She thought she had achieved this, but one of Ochosias's sons was saved, who escaped death in this way: Ochosias had a half-sister named Joshabeth, who was married to the high priest Jodas. 142 She went to the royal palace and among the slain she found Joas, for that was the one-year-old child's name, concealed with his nurse, and took and locked them both into a secret bed-chamber. For six years she and her husband Jodas brought him up secretly in the temple, during which time Othlias ruled over Jerusalem and the two tribes.

2.

143 On the seventh year, Jodas shared this with five of the centurions and persuaded them to help in his attempts against Othlias and to join him in claiming the kingship for the child. They duly swore not to betray each other and then he had good hope of deposing Othlias. 144 The men whom Jodas the priest had chosen as his partners went around all the region and from it gathered the priests and levites and the heads of the tribes and brought them to Jerusalem to the high priest. 145 He asked them to promise under oath to keep secret what he was to reveal to them, which needed their silence and their help. When they had sworn and thereby made it safe for him to speak, he produced the child of the family of David that he had brought up and told them, "This is your king, of that house which you know God foretold would reign over you for all time. 146 My advice is that one third of you guard him in the temple and one third keep watch at all the gates of the temple and that the rest of you guard the gate which opens towards to the royal palace and let the rest of the people be in the temple, unarmed, and let no man go armed into the temple, except the priests." 147 Then he directed some of the priests and levites to stand around the king as a bodyguard with swords drawn, and to immediately kill anyone else who dared to enter the temple armed, and told them to fear nobody, but to continue guarding the king.

148 These agreed to do as the high priest asked and proved their resolve in action. Then Jodas opened the armoury which David had made in the temple and distributed to the centurions and priests and levites all the spears and quivers and any other kind of weapons it contained and set them armed in a circle around the temple, within arm's reach of each other, thereby barring entry to those who should not enter. 149 Bringing the child into the centre they put on him the royal crown and anointing him with oil Jodas installed him as king, while the throng rejoiced and cried out, "God save the king!"

3.

150 Surprised to hear the uproar and the acclamations, Othlias was greatly troubled in mind and instantly came out from the royal palace with her own army, and when she arrived at the temple, the priests received her, but those on guard around it followed the high priest's orders and blocked her armed followers from going in. 151 When Othlias saw the child standing beside the tent, with the royal crown upon his head, she rent her clothes and shouted very loudly, commanding them to kill the one who had plotted against her and tried to take the leadership from her. But Jodas called on the centurions to bring Othlias to the valley of the Cedron and kill her there, for he would not have the temple defiled by the wretched woman's execution. 152 He also ordered that if anyone came near to help her, he too should be killed, and those in charge of killing Othlias took her and led her to the gate of the king's mules, and did away with her there.

4.

153 When Othlias had been despatched in this way, Jodas called the people and the warriors together into the temple and made them take an oath to obey the king and care for his safety and that of his government; and he made the king promise to worship God and not break the laws of Moses. 154 Then they ran to the house of Baal, which Othlias and her husband Joram had built in honour of Achab and to the dishonour of the God of their fathers and demolished it and killed Mathan, who held his priesthood. 155 Jodas left to the priests and levites the care and custody of the temple as arranged by king David, ordering them to offer their appointed holocausts twice a day and the incense according to the law. He also assigned some of the levites and porters to guard the temple, so that no defiled person might enter it.

5.

156 After arranging these things he, along with the centurions and officers and all the people, brought Joas from the temple to the king's palace, and when he had set him on the royal throne the people shouted their joy and began a festival that lasted for many days, and after the death of Othlias the city returned to peace. 157 Joas was seven years old when he took over the kingdom, and his mother's name was Sabia, a native of Beersabe. And as long as Jodas lived, Joas carefully oversaw the keeping of the laws and zealous in the worship of God. 158 When he came of age the high priest arranged married two wives for him, with whom he had sons and daughters. That is our report of king Joas and how he escaped the treachery of Othlias and took over the kingdom.

Chapter 8. [159-185]
Northern invasion by Azael of Syria. Apostasy of Joas in Jerusalem. Amasias rules after him

1.

159 Azael, the king of Syria, made war on the Israelites and their king Jehu and ruined the eastern parts of the land beyond the Jordan, belonging to the Rubelites, the Gadites and the Manassites, and Galaditis and Batanaea, burning and robbing and doing violence to all that he laid hands on. 160 But Jehu still made no haste to defend the distressed land, for he had become a scorner of religion and despised holiness and the laws and died after ruling the Israelites for twenty seven years. He was buried in Samaria and left the succession to his son Joazos.

2.

161 King Joas of Jerusalem felt strongly inclined to repair the temple of God, so calling on Jodas he had him send the levites and priests through all the land to require a half shekel of silver per head for the rebuilding and repair of the temple, which had been left to decay by Joram and Othlias and her sons. 162 The high priest did not do so, thinking that nobody would willingly pay that money, but in the twenty-third year of Joas's reign, when the king sent for him and the levites to complain that they had not obeyed his orders and again directed them to see about rebuilding the temple, he collected the money, by a ruse gladly accepted by the masses. 163 He made a wooden chest and sealed it on all sides, with one single opening in it, and set it in the temple beside the altar, asking each to throw into it, through the hole, whatever he wished, for the repair of the temple. This was acceptable to the people and they competed with each other and jointly collected large amounts of silver and gold. 164 When the scribe and the priest in charge of the treasury emptied the chest and counted the money in the king's presence, they put it back in its place and did so every day. When the people seemed to have thrown in as much as was needed, the high priest Jodas and king Joas sent to hire masons and carpenters and buy large pieces of the finest timber. 165 Then when they had repaired the temple, they used the considerable amount of gold and silver that remained for bowls and mixing-bowls and cups and other vessels and proceeded every day to load the altar with precious sacrifices. These things were well cared for as long as Jodas lived.

3.

166 When he died, after living a hundred and thirty years as righteous and good in every respect, he was buried in the king's burial vaults in Jerusalem, having restored the kingship to the family of David and shown his care for God. 167 The leading folk were as corrupted as he and neglected their duty and what had been established as best for them. And God was displeased with the change in the king and in the rest of the people and sent prophets to clarify what was happening and to get them to give up their evil-doing. 168 But they were so strongly drawn and inclined to it that not even the example of those who, along with their entire families, had been so severely punished for breaking the laws, nor the fear of what the prophets now foretold, could bring them to repent and return from their sins to their former fidelity. The king gave orders to have Zacharias, son of the high priest Jodas, stoned to death in the temple, forgetting the favours he had received from his father. 169 For when God had appointed him to prophesy, he stood among the people and gave this counselled them and the king to act with justice and foretold severe punishment for them if they did not obey. As he was dying Zacharias appealed to God to witness and avenge all he had suffered for his good advice and that he died a bitter and violent death for the good his father had done for Joas.

4.

170 Soon afterwards, the king was punished for his crime, for when Azael, king of Syria, invaded his land and destroyed and despoiled Gitta, he turned his attack on Jerusalem; and Joas was afraid and emptied all the treasuries of the temple and of the palace and took down the votive gifts and sent them to the king of Syria and by this bribe was spared from a dangerous siege, 171 for the great the sum of money persuaded the attacker not to bring his army against Jerusalem. Joas, however, fell into a severe sickness and was attacked by his friends who, to avenge the death of Zacharias, son of Jodas, plotted against the king and killed him. 172 Although he was buried in Jerusalem, it was not in the royal burial vaults of his ancestors, because of his impiety. He lived for forty-seven years and Amasias his son succeeded him as king.

5.

173 In the twenty first year of the reign of Joas, Joazos, son of Jehu, won the leadership of the Israelites in Samaria and retained it for seventeen years. Though not quite imitating his father, he was as guilty of wicked practices as those who first scorned God. 174 But the king of Syria humbled him by an expedition against him. After destroying his army he reduced his forces to only ten thousand warriors and fifty cavalry and took away his large cities from him. 175 The people of Israel suffered these things according to the prophecy of Eliseus, who foretold that Azael would kill his master and reign over the Syrians and Damascenes. In these straits, Joazos had recourse to prayer and supplication to God, begging him to save him from the hands of Azael and not ignore his situation under him. 176 And God accepted his repentance in place of virtue, wanting rather to admonish the contrite than see them utterly destroyed, so he gave him reprieve from war and dangers. Once the land was at peace it returned to its former condition and flourished again.

6.

177 After the death of Joazos, his son Joas succeeded as king, in the thirty-seventh year of [the other]
Joas, the king of the tribe of Judas. This Joas who took over the kingdom of Israel in Samaria had the same name as the king of Jerusalem and he held the kingship for sixteen years. 178 He was a good man, of a disposition not at all like his father. By this time the prophet Eliseus was already very old and had fallen sick, and the king of Israel went to visit him. 179 When he realised that the old man was ready to die, he began to weep and sob in his sight, calling him his father and his armour, on whose account he had never needed weapons against his enemies, as without fighting he had overcome his foes by his prophecies; but now he was departing this life and leaving him defenceless to the Syrians and other enemies sent by them. 180 He declared that his own life was no longer safe and it would be as well to hasten his end and leave this life with him. Amid this moaning, Eliseus comforted the king and bade him bend a bow that was brought to him, and when the king had the bow ready Eliseus gripped his hands and told him to shoot. 181 When he paused after shooting three arrows Eliseus said, "If you had shot more, you would have cut the kingdom of Syria off at the roots, but since you were satisfied to shoot only three, you shall fight and beat the Syrians just three times, to recover the region they annexed from your kingdom during your father's reign;" and hearing this, the king left. 182 Shortly afterwards the prophet died, a man celebrated for righteousness and in great favour with God. He had performed wonderful and amazing works by prophecy, preserved in glorious memory by the Hebrews, and had a magnificent funeral, such as was fitting for a person so beloved of God. 183 Around that time some robbers threw into Eliseus's grave a man whom they had killed and when his corpse came close to Eliseus's body, it came back to life. Now that is our account of the prophet Eliseus, what he did while he was alive and how he also had divine power after his death.

7.

184 At the death of Azael the king of Syria, the kingship came to Adda his son, on whom Joas the king of Israel, made war, and after defeating him in three battles took from him all that region and the cities and villages his father Azael had taken from the kingdom of Israel. 185 This all happened according to the prophecy of Eliseus. When the king came to die, he was buried in Samaria and the leadership fell to his son Joas.

1.

186 Now, in the second year of the reign of Joas over Israel, Amasias ruled over the tribe of Judas in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jehoaddan, who was born in Jerusalem. From his youth he cared for what was right but when he took over as leader he decided he should first avenge his father Joas and punish those his friends who had done violence to him. 187 He captured them all and executed them yet was not harsh on their children, but acted according to the laws of Moses, who did not think it right to punish children for the sins of their fathers. 188 Then he chose an army from the tribes of Judas and Benjamin, of men in their prime about twenty years old, and when he had collected about three hundred thousand of them he set centurions over them. He also sent to the king of Israel and hired a hundred thousand of his soldiers for a hundred talents of silver, intending to go on campaign against the nations of the Amalekites and Edomites and Gebalites. 189 As he was preparing for his campaign and about to go to war, a prophet advised him to dismiss the Israelite army as bad men, because God foretold that he would be defeated if he used them as allies, but that he would overcome his enemies with only a few soldiers, if it so pleased God. 190 When the king begrudged paying the Israelites their wages, the prophet urged him to do what God wished, as thereby he would obtain much wealth from him. So he dismissed them and said that he still freely gave them their pay and went himself with his own army and made war with the above-named nations. 191 After defeating them in battle, he killed ten thousand of them and took as many prisoners alive, whom he brought to the great rock which is in Arabia and threw them headlong down from it. He also took away a large amount of booty and vast wealth from those nations. 192 While Amasias was engaged in this expedition, the Israelites whom he had hired and then dismissed were very annoyed and insulted, thinking that they had been treated with contempt, so they attacked his kingdom and proceeded to despoil the region as far as Bethsemeron and took much livestock and killed three thousand men.

Chapter 9. [186-204]
King Amasias of Judas, his victories, pride and punishment

2.

193 After his victory and great exploits, Amasias was puffed up and began to ignore God, who had given him the victory and proceeded to worship the gods he had brought from the region of the Amalekites. 194 So a prophet came to him and said that he wondered how he could deem as gods objects who did not help their own people who had honoured them or saved them from his hands, but had let many of them be killed and taken prisoner. Indeed, they had been brought to Jerusalem just as one might capture one of the enemy alive and lead him away. 195 At this the king was angry and ordered the prophet to be silent and threatened to punish him if he meddled with it. He replied that he would stay silent but foretold that God would not ignore his innovations. 196 Amasias was not content with the prosperity God had given him but scorned him and wrote insolently to Joas, the king of Israel, ordering him and all his people to obey him, as they had formerly obeyed his ancestors, David and Solomon, and if he were not wise enough to obey, he would impose his authority by war. 197 Joas responded as follows. "King Joas to king Amasias: On Mount Lebanon there was a very tall cypress tree and also a thistle; this thistle sent to the cypress to give the his daughter in marriage to his son, but as it was saying this, a wild beast came and trod down the thistle. 198 Let this be a lesson to you not to be so ambitious and be careful not to let your success in the battle with the Amalekites make you so proud as to bring danger upon yourself and upon your kingdom."

3.

199 When Amasias read this letter, he was even more eager for the campaign, by a divine impulse I suppose, to punish him for his offense against God. But when he led out his army against Joas and was going to join battle with him, there came a fear and alarm upon Amasias's army, such as an angry God sends upon men, putting them to fight. 200 Even without a battle they were scattered by their terror and Amasias, left all alone, was taken prisoner by the enemy. Joas then threatened to kill him if he would not persuade Jerusalem's citizens to open their gates and receive him and his army into the city. 201 In his plight Amasias was so fearful for his life that he had the enemy welcomed into the city and they demolished some four hundred feet of the wall, and Joas drove his chariot through the breach into Jerusalem, leading Amasias as his prisoner. 202 In this way he became master of Jerusalem and seized the treasures of God and carried off all the gold and silver in the king's palace; then he set him free from captivity and returned to Samaria. 203 These things happened to the Jerusalem dwellers in the fourteenth year of the reign of Amasias. When his friends later plotted against him, he fled to the city of Lachish where his life was ended by the plotters, through men sent there to kill him. His corpse was brought to Jerusalem and royally buried. 204 Amasias's life was taken in this way because of his rebellion and his contempt for God, after he had lived for fifty-four years and ruled for twenty-nine; and he was succeeded by his son, named Ozias.

Chapter 10. [205-227]
Jonah's reluctant prophetic ministry. King Ozias suffers, for usurping the priestly role

1.

205 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Amasias, Jeroboam the son of Joas had ruled over Israel in Samaria for forty years. This king was scornful of God, and acted in a most unlawful way by worshipping idols and doing many things that were novel and foreign, and he brought countless troubles on the people of Israel. 206 A man called Jonah prophecied to him that he would make war on the Syrians and defeat their army and enlarge the borders of his kingdom to the north, as far as the city of Hamath and on the south as far as lake Asphaltitis. 207 These were the ancient borders of the Canaanites, as set by general Joshua ; so Jeroboam attacked the Syrians and overran all their region, as prophecied by Jonah.

2.

208 After promising a detailed account of our affairs, I think the deeds of this prophet must be described, as I found them written in the Hebrew books. When ordered by God to go to the kingdom of Nineveh and announce in the city that it was to lose its former rule over the nations, he was afraid and did not go, and instead fled from God to the city of Joppa where he took ship and sailed to Tarsus in Cilicia. 209 Then a horrendous storm arose which threatened to sink the ship, so that the sailors, their officers and even the captain made prayerful vows, in hopes of escaping the sea. But Jonah went into hiding, not imitating what he saw the others doing. 210 Then, as the waves grew greater and the sea was lashed by the winds, they naturally suspected that somebody on board was the cause of bringing this storm on them and they agreed to find out by lot which of them it was. 211 When they had cast lots, it pointed to the prophet, and when they asked him where he came from and what he had done, he said he was a Hebrew and a prophet of the almighty God. Then he advised them, if they wanted to escape their imminent danger, to throw him out into the sea, as it was he who brought this storm on them. 212 At first they did not dare, thinking it wrong to throw to his death a foreigner who had entrusted his life to them. But finally, overwhelmed by their misfortune and with the ship about to sink, and urged to it by the prophet and by fear for their own safety, they threw him into the sea, and the storm calmed down. 213 It is also said that he was swallowed by a whale and after three days and nights on the Euxine Sea was vomited out alive, without suffering any bodily harm. 214 Then, after praying God's forgiveness for his sins, he went off to the city of Nineveh, and standing up where he could be heard he preached that they would soon lose their rule over Asia, and after announcing this, went home. I have given this account about him just as I found it written down.

3.

215 After living in great prosperity and ruling for forty years, king Jeroboam died, and was buried in Samaria and his son Zacharias took over the kingdom. 216 In the same way, in the fourteenth year of the Jeroboam's reign, Ozias, son of Amasias and of Achia, a native of that city, began to reign in Jerusalem over the two tribes. He was a good man of righteous nature and magnanimous and very conscientious about the affairs of the realm. 217 He also made war on the Philistines and overcame them in battle and took the cities of Gitta and Jabneh and broke down their walls. After this expedition he attacked the Arabs on the borders of Egypt and built a city on the Red Sea and put a garrison into it. 218 Then he destroyed the Ammanites and made them pay tax and conquered everwhere up to the borders of Egypt and then devoted the rest of his concern to Jerusalem. He rebuilt and repaired all those parts of the wall which had fallen down over time, or through the carelessness of the kings before him, as well as the part which had been thrown down by the king of Israel, when he brought his father Amasias as a prisoner into the city. 219 Further, he built many towers, a hundred and fifty feet high, and built walled towns in desert places and put garrisons into them and dug many channels to bring water. He had also many ploughing animals and a large amount of livestock, for the region was well supplied with pasturage. 220 He was devoted to farming and took care of the soil, planting it with all sorts of plants and seeds. But he also had round him an army of three hundred and seventy thousand picked men, led by two thousand brave and unyielding officers and generals. 221 He divided his whole army into groups and armed each of them with a sword and bronze bucklers and breastplates, along with bows and slings. Besides, he equipped them with many stone- and spear-throwing machines for sieges, and grapplers and other things of that sort.

4.

222 While involved in this planning and preparations, his mind was blinded by pride and his store of perishable things made him scornful of what is eternal and goes beyond time, namely piety towards God and keeping the laws. 223 The prospering of his affairs proved his undoing, and he was dragged down into his father's sins, unable to behave well amid his splendid success and the glorious deeds he had done. On a special day of popular festival, he put on the sacred vestment and went into the temple to offer incense to God upon the golden altar. 224 Azarias the high priest and eighty of the priests tried to stop him, saying that it was not lawful for him to offer sacrifice and that "none besides the descendants of Aaron may do so." When they shouted that he must leave the temple and not sin against God, he was angry and threatened to kill them if they did not hold their peace. 225 A great earthquake shook the ground and a bright ray of sunlight shone through a gap in the temple and fell on the king's face, and immediately leprosy came on him; and at a place called Eroge, in front of the city, half the mountain broke off on the western side and rolled for four furlongs as far as the eastern mountain, blocking the roads as well as the king's gardens. 226 When the priests saw the king's appearance touched by leprosy, they told him of his fate and ordered to leave the city as under a curse. Shamed by this dire event and no longer confident, he did as he was told and bore this awful penalty for wanting to surpass all human limits, and the impiety this implied against God. 227 So he passed his time outside the city, living as a private person, while his son Jotham took over the leadership. He later died of grief and despair at what had happened, after living sixty-eight years and reigning for fifty-two of them, and was buried in solitude in his own gardens.

Chapter 11. [228-242]
Regnal squabbles in Israel; Tiglath Pelesher invades. Nahum's prophecy against Assyria

1.

228 After Zacharias, son of Jeroboam, had ruled Israel for six months he was killed by the treachery of a friend named Sellem, son of Jabes, who later took over the kingdom, but held it for only thirty days. 229 For general Manahem was at that time in the city of Tharsé and heard of what had happened to Zacharias, so he moved with all his forces to Samaria and fought and killed Sellem; and after making himself king, went away and came to the city of Thapsas. 230 But the citizens inside shut and barred their gates against the king and would not admit him; and in revenge he burned the region round about it and took the city by siege. 231 Very angry at what the Thapsites had done, he killed them all, not even sparing the infants, and inflicted all kinds of barbarity and savagery, treating his own countrymen with such severity as would be unpardonable even towards defeated foreigners. 232 Having thus become king, Menahem continued his savage reign for ten years. When the king of Assyria, Phoulos, went to war against him, he did not wish to fight or engage the Assyrians in battle, but persuaded him to accept a thousand talents of silver and leave, and so put an end to the war. 233 This sum the people collected for Menahem, by exacting fifty drachmae per head, as poll-money. After this he died and was buried in Samaria and left his son Pekahias as his successor in the kingdom; he too followed his father's savagery but ruled for only two years. 234 Then he was killed treacherously with his friends at a feast, by Pekah, the captain of his cavalry and the son of Remalias, who plotted against him. This Pekah ruled for twenty years and proved a criminal and a transgressor. 235 But the king of Assyria, named Taglath Phalasar, attacked the Israelites and overran all the Galadene and the land beyond the Jordan and the adjoining region, which is called Galilee and Kudissa and Asor, and captured the inhabitants and deported them to his own kingdom. Let this suffice as our report about the Assyrian king.

2.

236 Josas the son of Ozias ruled over the tribe of Judas in Jerusalem, being a citizen of it by his mother, named Jerusha. This king was not lacking in any virtue, but was religious towards God and righteous towards men and concerned for the city. 237 Whatever was in need of repair or refurbishment he magnificently rebuilt, attending to the foundations of the porticoes in the temple and repairing the walls that had fallen down and building great towers that were almost impregnable, and if anything else in his kingdom had been neglected, he took great care of it. 238 He also marched on the Ammanites and defeated them in battle and made them pay a tribute of a hundred talents and ten thousand cori of wheat and as many of barley, every year, and so developed his kingdom that his enemies could not despise it and his own people lived happily.

3.

239 There was at that time a prophet, named Nahum, who spoke in this way about the destruction of the Assyrians and of Nineveh: "Nineveh shall be a pool of turbulent water and so shall all her people be troubled and tossed and take flight, while they say to each other "Wait and take the gold and silver!" but none shall wish to do so. 240 For they will rather save their lives than their money, for terrible civil strife shall overwhelm them with tears and loss of nerve and their faces shall be dark with fear. 241 Where will be the lions' lair and the mother of the young lions? For God says to you, Nineveh, they shall deface you and the lion shall no longer go out from you to give laws to the world." 242 And the prophet prophesied many other things about Nineveh, which I do not think I need repeat and will omit so as not to burden my readers. All of this did happen to Nineveh a hundred and fifteen years later. But enough has been said on these matters.

Chapter 12. [243-257]
Impiety of king Achaz. Jerusalem besieged by the Syrians. Saved by the Assyrians under Taglath Phalasar

1.

243 After living for forty-one years and ruling for sixteen of them, Jotham died and was buried in the burial vaults of the kings, and the kingship came to his son Achaz, who proved most impious towards God and a transgressor of the ancestral laws. He imitated the kings of Israel, raising altars in Jerusalem and offering sacrifices upon them to idols, even offering his own son to them as a holocaust, just like the Canaanites, and did other things also like them. 244 As he carried on crazily like this, Rezin, king of Syria and Damascus and Pekah, king of Israel, who were now friends, made war on him, and driving him into Jerusalem, besieged it a long time without success, due to the strength of its walls. 245 But when the king of Syria had taken the city of Elath on the Red Sea, and killed the inhabitants, he peopled it with Syrians, and when he had killed those in the garrisons and the Jews round about, and driven off much booty, he returned with his army to Damascus. 246 When the king of Jerusalem learned that the Syrians had gone home, thinking himself able for the king of Israel, he led his army out against him but was defeated in the battle, because God was angry at his many great impieties. 247 A hundred and twenty thousand Israelites were killed that day, whose general, named Amasias, killed the king's son, Zacharias, in his conflict with Achaz, as well as the ruler of the kingdom, named Erkam, and took Elikan, the leader of the tribe of Judas, into captivity, along with the women and children of the tribe of Benjamin. Having seized a large amount of booty, they returned to Samaria.

2.

248 A man called Obed, who was at that time a prophet in Samaria, met the army outside the city walls and in a loud voice told them that the victory had come to them not for their own strength, but because of God's anger at king Achaz. 249 He blamed them for not being content with their good fortune against him and boldly maing slaves of their relatives, the tribes of Judas and Benjamin. He advised them to let them go home and not harm them, for they would be punished if they did not obey God in this. 250 So the people of Israel gathered in assembly to consider this and a man named Barachias, highly reputed in the state, stood up with three others and said, "We will not let the soldiers bring these prisoners into the city or God may destroy us all. We have committed enough sins against him, as the prophets say, so let us not add any new crimes." 251 Hearing this, the soldiers let them do as they thought best. So these men took and released the prisoners, caring for them and providing for them and sending them home without harm, and the four even accompanied them as far as Jericho, not far from Jerusalem, before returning to Samaria.

3.

252 King Achaz, having been so fully defeated by the Israelites, sent to Taglath Phalasar, king of the Assyrians, looking for his help in the war against the Israelites and Syrians and Damascenes. He promised to send him a large amount of money and sent him splendid gifts. 253 When those envoys arrived, he came to help Achaz and made war on the Syrians and devastated their region and took Damascus by storm and killed their king Arasen and deported the people of Damascus to Upper Media and brought a colony of Assyrians and planted them in Damascus. 254 He also harmed the land of Israel and from it took many prisoners. While he was doing the same to the Syrians, king Achaz took all the gold from the royal treasury and the silver and precious gifts from the temple of God and brought them to Damascus to give to the king of Assyria, as agreed, and thanked him for all he had done for him and returned to Jerusalem. 255 This king was so foolish and unaware of what was expedient that even when he was defeated by the Syrians he did not cease worshipping their gods, but he went on adoring them as though they would bring him victory. 256 When he was defeated again, he began to honour the gods of the Assyrians, and seemed more eager to honour any gods other than his own paternal and true God, whose anger was the cause of his defeat. 257 He proceeded to such lengths of imbecilic contempt that in the end he closed the temple entirely and forbade them to offer the appointed sacrifices and took away the gifts already bestowed on it. After scorning God in this way, he died, aged thirty-six years and after reigning for sixteen of them, leaving as his successor his son Ezekias.

Chapter 13. [258-276]
Murder of King Pekah of Israel. Reforms of king Ezekias, helped by Isaiah

1.

258 About that time Pekah, king of the Israelites, died by the treachery of a friend of his, named Hoshea, who ruled for nine years but was a criminal who cared little for God. 259 The Assyrian king, Shalmaneser, made war on him and defeated him, probably because God did not show favour or help to Hoshea, and subjected him to pay some appointed taxes. 260 In the fourth year of Hoshea's reign, Ezekias, the son of Achaz and of Abias, a native of the city, began to reign in Jerusalem. He was of a good, righteous and religious nature, and as he arrived at the kingship he considered nothing as more necessary, or more useful to himself and his subjects than the worship of God. He called together the people and the priests and levites and made this speech to them. 261 "You are not unaware how many great woes you suffered through the sins of my father, who offended against the sacred honour due to God, when your minds were seduced by him and persuaded to worship what he thought were gods. 262 But I urge you that, taught by this the horror of impiety, you leave all that aside and purify yourselves from past pollutions and open the temple to these priests and levites convened here, and cleanse it with the prescribed sacrifices and renew all to the honour it had in ancient times; and so regain God's favour and appease his anger."

2.

263 When the king had said this, the priests opened the temple, and setting out the vessels of God and throwing out what was impure, they brought the prescribed sacrifices to the altar. The king sent around to the region subject to him calling the people to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Unleavened Bread, for it had been a long time neglected, by the fault of the aforesaid kings. 264 He also sent to the Israelites, urging them to give up their present lifestyle and return to the prescribed ways and to worship God. He gave them leave to come to Jerusalem and join with the others in celebrating the feast of Unleavened Bread. This, he said, was just an invitation, for their own benefit and happiness, and was not required as an act of obedience to him. 265 But when the envoys came and put before them what their king had said, far from complying with it, the Israelites mocked the envoys as fools, insulting the prophets who gave them the same advice and foretold what they would suffer if they did not return to the worship of God; and finally they took and killed them. 266 They did not stop even at this level of sinning, but devised things even worse than those already described, and did not give up until, to punish their impiety, God made them subject to their enemies; but of that we shall say more, later. 267 However, from the tribes of Manasses and Zebulon and Issachar there were many who listened to the prophets' advice and returned to piety, and all of these hurried to Jerusalem, to Ezekias, to worship God.

3.

268 When these arrived, king Ezekias went up into the temple, with the officers and all the people and offered seven bulls and as many rams, with seven lambs and as many kid goats, on his own behalf. The king himself and the officers placed their hands on the heads of the sacrifices and then let the priests complete the sacred actions properly. 269 So they sacrificed and offered holocausts, while the levites with their musical instruments stood around them, singing hymns to God and playing as David had taught them, while in response to the songs the other priests sounded the trumpets they carried. When this was done, the king and the people prostrated themselves and worshipped God. 270 He also sacrificed seventy bulls, a hundred rams and two hundred lambs, and gave the people six hundred oxen and three thousand other cattle to feast upon. The priests performed everything according to the law and the king, overjoyed with this, feasted with the people and gave thanks to God. 271 When the feast of Unleavened Bread arrived, after offering the sacrifice called the Passover they offered other sacrifices for seven days. When, along with what their own sacrifices, the king gave the people two thousand bulls and seven thousand other livestock, the same thing was done by the officers. They gave them a thousand bulls and a thousand and forty other cattle. 272 Never had this festival been so well observed from the days of king Solomon, as it was now first renewed with splendor and magnificence. Then after the festival ended, they went out into the region and purged it, 273 and cleansed the city of all pollution of idols. The king ordered too that the daily sacrifices should be offered according to the law, at his own expense, and directed the people to give the tithes and the first-fruits to the priests and levites, so they could constantly attend to worship and never be distracted from the service of God. 274 The laity then brought to the priests and the levites all sorts of produce, and the king made storerooms and cupboards for these, to be distributed to each of the priests and levites and their children and wives. 275 In this way they returned to their old way of worship. When the king had settled these matters as described above, he made war on the Philistines and defeated them and took all the enemy cities, from Gaza to Gitta. Then the king of Assyria sent to him, threatening to overthrow his realm unless he paid him the tax which his father had done in the past. 276 Ezekias was not concerned at his threats, but trusting in his piety towards God and in the prophet Isaias, from whom he accurately learned everything about what was to come. So much will do for now, about this king.

Chapter 14. [277-291]
The Assyrian invasion of Samaria. The Samaritans are exiled, and replaced by Cutheans

1.

277 When it was reported to the Assyrian king Shalmaneser that Hoshea the king of Israel had secretly sent for help against him to Soas, the king of Egypt, he set out in a rage against Samaria, in the seventh year of Hoshea's reign. 278 When the king would not receive him, he besieged Samaria for three years and stormed it in the ninth year of Hoshea's reign, which was the seventh year of Ezekias as king of Jerusalem. He dismantled the government of the Israelites and transplanted all the people into Media and Persia, and brought king Hoshea alive along with them. 279 He then transplanted other nations from a place called Cuthah, for there is a river of that name in Persia, to Samaria, to the land of the Israelites. 280 So the ten tribes of the Israelites were moved from Judea nine hundred and forty-seven years after their ancestors had come from the land of Egypt and captured the region, and eight hundred years after Joshua had led them. It was, as I have noted, two hundred and forty years, seven months and seven days after their revolt from David's grandson, Roboam, when they handed the kingdom over to Jeroboam. 281 This was the end reached by the Israelites, for breaking the laws and ignoring the prophets, who foretold this fate for them, if they would not cease their wrongdoing. 282 The start of these evils was their rebellion against David's grandson, Roboam, when they appointed his servant Jeroboam as their king, who by his sins against divinity, and their imitating his bad example, made an enemy of God; and this was the punishment he justly deserved.

2.

283 The king of Assyria with his army invaded all of Syria and Phoenicia, and the name of this king is written in the archives of Tyre, for he attacked Tyre in the reign of Eluleus. Menander attests to it, when writing his Chronology and translating the archives of Tyre into the Greek language, and gives us the following story. 284 Eluleus, surnamed Puas, ruled for thirty-six years. When the Citteans rebelled, he sailed and reduced them again to a subjection. The king of Assyria sent an army against him and overran all Phoenicia, but soon made peace with them all and returned home. 285 but Sidon and Arce and Old Tyre rebelled, and many other cities there were which gave themselves up to the king of Assyria. When the Tyrians would not submit, the king attacked them again, and the Phoenicians furnished him with sixty ships and eight hundred men to row them. 286 When the Tyrians sailed against them in twelve ships and the enemies were scattered, they captured five hundred men and the value of everything in Tyre went up. 287 But the king of Assyria returned and placed guards on their rivers and aqueducts, to stop the Tyrians from drawing water. This continued for five years, and still the Tyrians bore the siege and drank of the water they got from the wells they dug. This is what is written in the Tyrian archives about Shalmaneser, king of Assyria.

3.
288 Into Samaria came the Cutheans, for that how they are called up to now, since they were taken from the region called Cuthah, a region of Persia near a river of that name, and each of them, according to their nations, which were five in number, brought their own gods into Samaria. By worshipping them, as was the custom of their own countries, they provoked the anger and displeasure of Almighty God. 289 A wasting plague seized them, and when they found no cure for it, they learned by the oracle that they should worship Almighty God, as their means to be saved. So they sent envoys to the king of Assyria, asking him to send them some of the priests of the Israelites whom he had taken prisoner. 290 When he sent them and by them the people were taught the laws and the holy worship of God, they worshipped him properly and immediately the plague ceased. To this day they continue to follow the same customs and are called in Hebrew "Cutheans," but in Greek "Samaritans." 291 Whenever they see the Jews prospering, they seem to change, claiming to be related to them, as descended from Joseph and so linked with them from the start; but if they see them falling behind, they deny any link with them and say they have no right to their goodwill or clan spirit, rejecting them as immigrants from other nations. We shall have more to say about these, at a suitable time.