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deigned to make, as he looked up to a window of the palace, which was a part of the wall of the city. Two or three eunuchs, looking out from behind her, answered the summons, for the wicked and haughty queen had no real friends. “Throw her down?” ordered Jehu; and in a moment the blood from her mangled body splashed upon the walls and upon the horses. In another instant the wheels of the chariot passed over her lifeless remains. Jehu would have permitted a decent burial, “ for,” said he, “she is a king's daughter;” but before her mangled corpse could be collected, in the general confusion, the dogs of the city had devoured all that remained of her but the skull, the feet, and hands.
So perished the most infamous woman that ever wore a royal diadem, as had been predicted. With her also perished the seventy sons of Ahab, all indeed that survived of the royal house of Omri. And the work of destruction did not end until the courtiers of the late king and all connected with them, even the palace priests, were killed. Then followed the massacre of the other.priests of Baal, the destruction of the idolatrous temples, and the restoration of the worship of Jehovah, not only at Samaria, but at Jerusalem, for the revolution extended far and wide on the death of Ahaziah as of Joram. Athaliah, the daughter of Jezebel, who reigned over Judah, also perished in those revolutionary times.
It is not to be supposed that the relentless and savage Jehu was altogether moved by a zeal for Jehovah in these revolting slaughters. He was an ambitious and successful rebel ; but like all notable forces, he may be regarded as an instrument of Providence, whose ways are “mysterious,” because men are not large enough and wise enough to trace effects to their causes under His immutable laws. Jehu was a necessary consequence of Ahab and Jezebel. Jehovah, as the national deity of the Jews, was the natural and necessary rallying cry of the revolt against Phænician idolatry and foulness. The missionary sermons of those crude days were preached with the sword and the strong arm. God's revelations of himself and his purposes to man have always been through men, and by His laws the medium always colors the light which it transmits. The splendor of the noonday sun cannot shine clearly through rough, imperfect glass; and so the conceptions of Deity and of the divine will, as delivered by the prophets, in every case show the nature of the man receiving and delivering the inspired message. And yet, through all the turmoil of those times, and the startling contrast between the conceptions presented by the “Jehovah ” of Elijah and the “ Father” of Jesus, the one grand central truth which the seed of Abraham were chosen to conserve stands out distinctly from first to last, – the unity and purity of God. However obscured by human passions and interests, that principle always retained a vital hold upon some — if only a “remnant” — of the Hebrew race.
The influence of Elijah, then, acting personally through him and his successor Elisha, had caused the extermination of the worship of Baal. But the golden calves still remained; and there was no improvement in the political affairs of the kingdom. It was steadily declining as a political power, whether on account of the degeneracy which succeeded prosperity, or the warlike enterprises of the empires and states which were hostile equally to Judah and Israel. Jehu was forced to pay tribute to Assyria to secure protection against Syria; and after his death Israel was reduced to the lowest depression by Hazael, and had not the power of Syria soon after been broken by Assyria, the northern kingdom would have been utterly destroyed.
It was not given to Elijah to foresee the future calamities of the Jews, or to declare them, as Isaiah and Jeremiah did. It was his mission, and also Elisha's, to destroy the worship of Baal and punish the apostate kings who had introduced it. He was the messenger and instrument of Jehovah to remove idolatry, not to predict the future destiny of his nation. He is to be viewed, like Elisha, as a reformer, as a man of action, armed with supernatural gifts to awe kings and
influence the people, rather than as a seer or a poet, or even as a writer to instruct future generations. His mission seems to have ended shortly after he had thrown his mantle on a man more accomplished than himself in knowledge of the world. But his last days are associated with unspeakable grandeur as well as pathetic interest.
Elijah seems to have known that the day of his departure was at hand. So, departing from Gilgal in company with his beloved companion, he proceeded toward Bethel. As he approached the city he besought Elisha to leave him alone; but Elisha refused to part with the master whom he both loved and revered. Onward they proceeded from Bethel to Jericho, and from Jericho to the Jordan. It was a mournful journey to Elisha, for he knew as well as the sons of the prophets at Jericho that he and his master, and friend more than master, were to part for the last time on earth. The waters of the Jordan happened to be swollen, and the two prophets, and the fifty sons of the prophets — their pupils, who came to say farewell -- could not pass over. But the sacred narrative tells us that Elijah, wrapping his mantle together like a staff, smote the waters, so that they were divided, and the two passed over to the eastern bank, in view of the disciples. In loving intercourse Elijah promises to give to his companion as token of his love whatever Elisha may
choose. Elisha asks simply for a double portion of his master's spirit, which Elijah grants in case Elisha shall see him distinctly when taken away.
“And it came to pass, as they still went on and talked, that behold there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire, which parted them both asunder. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, “My father, my father! the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof !'” – Thou art the chariot of Israel; thou hast been its horsemen! And then there fell from Elijah, as he vanished from human sight, the mantle by which he had been so well known; and it became the sign of that fulness of divine favor which was given to his successor in his arduous labors to restore the worship of Jehovah, "and to prepare the way for Him in whom all prophecy is fulfilled.”