Front Matter The Story of a Beautiful Garden The First Baby in the World and His Brother The Great Ship That Saved Eight People The Tower That Was Never Finished The Story of a Long Journey How Abram's Choice Brought Blessing The Angel by the Well The Rain of Fire That Fell on a City The Boy Who Became an Archer How an Angel's Voice Saved a Boy's Life The Story of a Journey after a Wife How Jacob Stole His Brother's Blessing Jacob's Wonderful Dream A Midnight Wrestling Match The Rich Man's Son Who Was Sold as a Slave From the Prison to the Palace How Joseph's Dream Came True A Lost Brother Found From the Land of Famine to the Land of Plenty The Beautiful Baby Who Was Found in a River The Voice from the Burning Bush The River That Ran Blood The Night When a Nation Was Born How the Sea Became Dry Land and the Sky Rained Bre The Mountain That Smoked and Words That Were Spoke How Aaron Made a Golden Calf and What Became of It The Tent Where God Lived Among His People How They Worshipped God in the Tabernacle What Strong Drink Brought to Aaron's Sons The Scapegoat in the Wilderness The Cluster of Grapes from the Land of Canaan How the Long Journey of the Israelites Came to an What a Wise Man Learned from an Ass How Moses Looked upon the Promised Land The Story of Job The Story of a Scarlet Cord How the River Jordan Became Dry The Story of a Wedge of Gold How Joshua Conquered the Land of Canaan The Old Man Who Fought Against the Giants The Avenger of Blook and the Cities of Refuge The Story of an Altar Beside the River The Presnt That Ehud Brought to King Eglon How a Woman Won a Great Victory Gideon and His Brave Three Hundred Jephthah's Rash Promise and What Came from It The Strong Man: How He Lived and How He Died The Idol Temple at Dan and Its Priest How Ruth Gleaned in the Field of Boaz The Little Boy with a Linen Coat How the Idol Fell Down Before the Ark The Last of the Judges The Tall Man Who Was Chosen King How Saul Saved the Eyes of the Men of Jabesh The Brave Young Prince Saul's Great Sin and His Great Loss The Shepherd Boy of Bethlehem The Shepherd Boy's Fight with the Giant The Little Boy Looking for the Arrows Where David Found the Giant's Sword How David Spared Saul's Life The Last Days of King Saul The Shepherd Boy Becomes a King The Sound in the Treetops The Cripple at the King's Table The Prophet's Story of the Little Lamb David's Handsome Son and How He Stole the Kingdom Absalom in the Wood; David on the Throne The Angel with the Drawn Sword on Mount Moriah Solomon on This Father's Throne The Wise Young King The House of God on Mount Moriah The Last Days of Solomon's Reign The Breaking Up of a Great Kingdom The King Who Led Israel to Sin The Prophet Who Raised a Boy to Life The Prayer That Was Answered in Fire The Voice That Spoke to Elijah in the Mount The Wounded Prophet and His Story What Ahab Paid for His Vineyard The Arrow That Killed a King Elijah's Chariot of Fire A Spring Sweetened by Salt The Pot of Oil and the Pot of Poison The Little Boy at Shunem How a Little Girl Helped to Cure a Leper The Chariots of Fire around Elisha What the Lepers Found in the Camp Jehu, the Furious Driver of His Chariot Elisha and the Bow; Jonah and Nineveh How the Ten Tribes Were Lost The First Four Kings of Judah The Little Boy Who Was Crowned King Three Kings and a Great Prophet The Good King Hezekiah The Lost Book Found in the Temple The Last Four Kings of Judah and the Weeping Proph What Ezekiel Saw in the Valley The Jewish Captives in the Court of the King The Golden Image and the Fiery Furnace The Tree That Was Cut Down and Grew Again The Writing upon the Wall Daniel in the Den of Lions The Story of a Joyous Journey The New Temple on Mount Moriah The Beautiful Queen of Persia The Scribe Who Wrote the Old Testament The Nobleman Who Built the Wall of Jerusalem Ezra's Great Bible Class in Jerusalem The Angel by the Altar The Manger of Bethlehem The Star and the Wise Men The Boy in his Father's House The Prophet in the Wilderness Jesus in the Desert, and beside the River The Water Jars at the Wedding Feast The Stranger at the Well The Story of a Boy in Capernaum and a Riot A Net Full of Fishes The Leper and the Man Let Down through the Roof The Cripple at the Pool and the Withered Hand The Twelve Disciples and the Sermon on the Mount The Captain's Servant, the Widow's Son, and a Sinn Some Stories Jesus Told by the Sea "Peace, Be Still" The Little Girl Who Was Raised to Life A Dancing Girl and What Was Given Her The Feast beside the Sea and What Followed It The Answer to a Mother's Prayer The Glory of Jesus on the Mountain The Little Child in the Arms of Jesus At the Feast of Tabernacles The Man with Clay on His Face The Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan Lazarus Raised to Life Some Parables in Perea The Poor Rich Man and the Rich Poor Man Jesus at Jericho Palm Sunday The Last Vistis of Jesus to the Temple The Parables on the Mount of Olives The Last Supper The Olive Orchard and the High Priests Hall The Crown of Thorns The Darkest Day of All the World The Brightest Day of All the World The Stranger on the Shore The Church of the First Days The Man at the Beautiful Gate The Right Way to Give, and the Wrong Way Stephen with the Shining Face The Man Reading in the Chariot The Voice That Spoke to Saul What Peter Saw by the Sea How the Iron Gate Was Opened The Earliest Missionaries The Song in the Prison Paul's Speech on the Hill Paul at Corinth Paul at Ephesus Paul's Last Journey to Jerusalem The Speech on the Stairs Two Years in Prison The Story That Paul Told to the King Paul in the Storm How Paul Came to Rome and How He Lived There The Throne of God The City of God

Story of the Bible Told for Young and Old - Jesse Hurlbut

Three Kings and a Great Prophet

Amaziah was the ninth of the kings of Judah, if the years of Athaliah's rule be counted as a separate reign. Amaziah worshipped the Lord, but he did not serve the Lord with a perfect heart. He gathered an army of three hundred thousand men, to make war on Edom, and bring its people again under the rule of Judah. He hired also an army from Israel to help him in this war; but a prophet said to him, "O king, do not let the army of Israel go with you against Edom, for the Lord is not with the people of Israel. But go with your own men, and be strong and brave; and the Lord will help you."

"But how will I get back the money that I have paid to the army of Israel?" said Amaziah to the prophet.

"Fear not," said the prophet; "the Lord is able to give you much more than you have lost."

Then Amaziah obeyed the Lord, and sent back the men of Israel to their own land, and went against the Edomites with the men of Judah. The Lord gave him a great victory in the land of Edom; Amaziah was cruel to the people whom he conquered, and killed very many of them in his anger. And when he came back from Edom, he brought with him the idol-gods of that land, and although they could not save their own people, Amaziah set them up for his own gods, and burned incense to them and bowed down before them. And when a prophet of the Lord came to him, and warned him that God was angry with him, and would surely punish him for this wickedness, Amaziah said to the prophet, "Who has asked you to give advice to the king? Keep still, or you will be put to death!" And the prophet answered him, "I know that it is God's will that you shall be destroyed, because you will not listen to the word of the Lord."

Amaziah's punishment was not long delayed, for soon after this, he made war upon Joash, the king of Israel, whose kingdom was far greater and stronger than his own. We read the story of Joash in Part Fourth, Story Seventeen. The two armies met at Beth-shemesh, northwest of Jerusalem. Amaziah was beaten in a great battle, many of his men were slain, and Amaziah himself was taken prisoner by Joash, the king of Israel. Joash took the city of Jerusalem, and broke down the wall, and carried away all the treasures in the palace and in the Temple of the Lord. After this Amaziah lived fifteen years, but he never gained the power that he had lost. His nobles made a plan to kill him, and Amaziah fled away from the city to escape them. But they caught him, and slew him, and brought his body back to Jerusalem to be buried in the tombs of the kings. His reign began well, but it ended ill, because he failed to obey the word of the Lord.

The high-priest offers sacrifice in the temple


After Amaziah came his son Uzziah, who was also called Azariah. He was the tenth king of Judah. Uzziah was only sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he was king for fifty-two years. He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord during most of his reign. Uzziah found the kingdom weak and he made it strong, for the Lord helped him. He won back for Judah the land of the Philistines, the land of the Ammonites on the east of Jordan, and of the Arabians on the south. He built cities and made strong walls around them, with towers full of weapons for defence against enemies. He loved the fields, and planted trees and vineyards, and raised crops of wheat and barley.

But when Uzziah was strong and rich his heart became proud, and he no longer tried to do God's will. He sought to have the power of the high-priest as well as that of the king, and he went into the Holy Place in the Temple to offer incense upon the golden altar, which was allowed to the priests only. The high-priest Azariah followed Uzziah into the Holy Place with the other priests, and said to him:

"It is not for you to offer incense, O King Uzziah, nor to come into the Holy Place. This belongs to the priests alone. Go out of the Holy Place, for you have disobeyed the Lord's command; and it will not bring you honor, but trouble."

Uzziah was standing before the golden altar with a censer of incense in his hand. Instantly the white scales of leprosy rose upon his forehead. The priests saw in that moment that God had smitten Uzziah with leprosy; indeed, he felt it himself, and turned to leave the Holy Place. But they would not wait for him to go out; they drove him out, for the leper's presence made the house unholy. And from that day until he died, Uzziah was a leper. He could no longer sit as king, but his son Jotham took his place; nor was he allowed to live in the palace, but he stayed in a house alone. And when he died they would not give him a place among the tombs of the kings; but they buried him in a field outside. Jotham, the eleventh king, ruled after his father's death sixteen years. He served the Lord, but he did not stop his people from worshipping idols. He was warned by his father's fate, and was content to be a king, without trying at the same time to be a priest and to offer incense in the temple. God was with Jotham, and gave his kingdom some success.

Uzziah is smitten with leprosy


The next king, the twelfth, was Ahaz, who was the wickedest of all the kings of Judah. He left the service of God, and worshipped the images of Baal. Worse than any other king, he even offered some of his own children as burnt-offerings to the false gods. In his reign the house of the Lord was shut up, and its treasures were taken away, and it was left to fall into ruin. For his sins and the sins of his people, God brought great suffering upon the land. The king of Israel, Pekah, came against Ahaz, and killed more than a hundred thousand of the men of Judah, among them the king's own son. The Israelites also took away many more,—men, women, and children,—as captives. But a prophet of the Lord in Israel, whose name was Oded, came out to meet the rulers, and said to them:

"The Lord God was angry with Judah, and gave its people into your hand. But do you now intend to keep your brothers of Judah as slaves? Have not you also sinned against the Lord? Now listen to the word of the Lord, and set your brothers free and send them home."

Then the rulers of Israel gave clothing to such of the captives as were in need, and set food before them; and they sent them home to their own land, even giving to those that were weak among them asses to ride upon. They brought them to Jericho, in the valley of the Jordan, and gave them to their own people.

When the Edomites came against Judah, King Ahaz sent to the Assyrians, a great people far away, to come and help him. The Assyrians came, but they did not help him, for they made themselves the rulers of Judah, and robbed Ahaz of all that he had, and laid heavy burdens upon the land. At last Ahaz died, leaving his people worshippers of idols and under the power of the king of Assyria.

In the days of these three kings, Uzziah, Jotham and Ahaz, God raised up a great prophet in Judah, whose name was Isaiah. The prophecies that he spoke in the name of the Lord are given in the book of Isaiah. In the ear that King Uzziah died, Isaiah was a young man. One day, while he was worshipping in the temple, a wonderful vision rose suddenly before his sight. He saw the form of the Lord God upon a throne, with the angels around him. He saw also strange creatures called seraphim, standing before the throne of the Lord. Each of these had six wings. With two wings he covered his face before the glory of the Lord, with two wings he covered his feet, and with two he flew through the air to do God's will. And these seraphim called out to one another, "Holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!"

And the young Isaiah felt the walls and the floor of the Temple shaking at these voices; and he saw a cloud of smoke covering the house. Isaiah filled with fear. He cried out saying:

"Woe has come to me! for I am a man of sinful lips, and I live among a people of sinful lips: and now my eyes have seen the king, the Lord of hosts!"

Then one of the seraphim took into his hand the tongs that were used in the sacrifices. He flew to the altar, and with the tongs took up a burning coal. Then he flew to the place where Isaiah was standing, and pressed the fiery coal to Isaiah's lips: and he said, "This coal from God's altar has touched your lips, and how your sin is taken away, and you are made clean."

Then Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord saying: "Whom shall I send to this people? Who will bear the message of the Lord to them?"

And Isaiah said, "Here am I, Lord; send me!"

And the Lord said to Isaiah, "You shall be my prophet, and shall go to this people, and shall give to them my words. But they will not listen to you, nor understand you. Your words will do them no good, but will seem to make their hearts hard, and their ears heavy, and their eyes shut. For they will not hear with their ears, nor see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor will they turn to me and be saved."

And Isaiah said, "How long must this be, O Lord?"

And the Lord said:

"Until the cities are left waste without people, and the houses without men to live in them; and the land shall become utterly desolate; and the people shall be taken far away into another land. But out of all this there shall be a few people, a tenth part, to come back, and to rise like a new tree from the roots where the old tree has been cut down. This tenth part shall be the seed of a new people in the times to come."

By this Isaiah knew that, though his words might seem to do no good, yet he was to go on preaching, for long afterward a new Judah should arise out of the ruins of the old kingdom, and should serve the Lord.

Isaiah lived for many years, and spoke the word of the Lord to his people until he was a very old man. He preached while four kings, perhaps also a fifth, were ruling. Some of these kings were friendly, and listened to his words: but others were not willing to obey the prophet and do the will of God; and the kingdom of Judah gradually fell away from the worship of the Lord, and followed the people of the Ten Tribes in the worship of idols.