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Chapter L.

To him succeeded Ezekias his son, a man very unlike his father in character. For, in the beginning of his reign, urging the people and the priests to the worship of God, he discoursed to them in many words, showing how often, after being chastened by the Lord, they had obtained mercy, and how the ten tribes, having been at last carried away into captivity, as had lately happened, were now paying the penalty of their impiety. He added that their duty was carefully to be on their guard lest they should deserve to suffer the same things. Thus, the 95minds of all being turned to religion, he appointed the Levites and all the priests to offer sacrifices according to the law, and arranged that the Passover, which had for a long time been neglected, should be celebrated. And when the holy day was at hand, he proclaimed the special day of assembly by messengers sent throughout all the land, so that, if any had remained in Samaria, after the removal of the ten tribes, they might gather together for the sacred observance. Thus, in a very full assemblage, the sacred day was spent with public rejoicing, and, after a long interval, the proper religious rites were restored by means of Ezekias. He then carried on military affairs with the same diligence with which he had attended to divine things, and defeated the Philistines in frequent battles; until Sennacherim, king of the Assyrians, made war against him, having entered his territories with a large army; and then, when the country had been laid waste without any opposition, he laid siege to the city. For Ezekias, being inferior in numbers, did not venture to come to an engagement with him, but kept himself safe within the walls. The king of Assyria, thundering at the gates, threatened destruction, and demanded surrender, exclaiming that in vain did Ezekias put his trust in God, for that he rather had taken up arms by the appointment of God; and that the conqueror of all nations, as well as the overthrower of Samaria could not be escaped, unless the king secured his own safety by a speedy surrender. In this state of affairs, Ezekias, trusting in God, consulted the prophet Isaiah, and from his answer he learned that there would be no danger from the enemy, and that the divine assistance would not fail him. And, in fact, not long after, Tarraca, king of Ethiopia, invaded the kingdom of the Assyrians.

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