There are many dogs in the countries where the Bible was written, but
the people do not like them as well as we do, and do not let them live
about their yards and houses. So the dogs go wandering about without
any master, and live on whatever they can find in the streets or around
the markets. In the fifty-ninth Psalm you will find the verse: "They
return at evening; they make a noise like a dog, and go round about the
city,"-and a little farther on you will see, "Let them wander up and
down for meat, and grudge if they be not satisfied." These verses show
that the dogs wandered about in those days just as they do now.
Sometimes when they do not find enough to eat, they become very fierce
and cruel, so that you would be afraid to meet one of them.
There is a sad story in some of the chapters of the two books of Kings,
in which you will find these dogs mentioned. There was a very proud and
wicked queen, named Jezebel, and she tried to make her husband, king
Ahab, do all the evil she could. Once Ahab wanted a piece of ground
that was near his palace, so that he might have it made into a garden,
and he asked the owner of it, whose name was Naboth, to sell it to him.
But Naboth was not willing, because he used it for his vineyard, and
because his father had given it to him before he died. Then Ahab was
very angry about it, and acted just as I have seen some foolish children
do when they were not pleased. He went into his great splendid house,
and laid himself down on the bed; then he turned his face towards the
wall, and when it was dinner time he would not get up or eat any thing.
So his wife Jezebel asked him what was the matter; and when she found
out, she told him that he need not be troubled, for she could get that
vineyard for him. Then she contrived to have Naboth killed by stoning,
and when he was dead king Ahab took the vineyard.
Now you may be sure God was displeased with such wickedness as this, and
you will think it was very right that he should punish the cruel
Jezebel. Do you think her husband Ahab ought to be punished too? I do;
because he knew that his wife was going to kill Naboth, and yet he did
not try to keep her from doing it. I think he was as wicked as she.
After Ahab had taken the vineyard, God sent to him the prophet Elijah to
say to him these words, "Thus saith the Lord, In the place where dogs
licked the blood of Naboth, shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine." And
of Jezebel he said, "The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel."
Now see how the word of God was fulfilled, just as he had said. Pretty
soon after this, king Ahab went out to fight with his enemies, and as he
was riding along in his carriage a man drew his great, strong bow, and
shot an arrow which pierced the king and almost killed him. He lived a
few hours, until nearly night, and then he died. The blood had run down
from his wound into the carriage, and after the king was dead they took
it to the pool of Samaria to wash it: there the dogs came and licked up
the blood of Ahab.
The wicked Jezebel lived some years after this, and one of her sons
became king; but God raised up another king, named Jehu, who slew this
son, and then went to Jezreel, the city where Jezebel lived. She heard
he was coming, and feared that he meant to put her to death; but she
determined that, instead of begging him to spare her life, she would act
as though she was still a queen, and then perhaps he would not dare to
injure her. So she put ornaments on her head, and painted her face, and
then sat down by an upper window in all the splendor of a queen. When
Jehu came near, she called out to him in great anger and scorn, to
reproach him for having put her son to death. When Jehu heard her voice
and saw her sitting at the window, he cried out, "Who is on my side?"
and two or three of the queen's officers looked out at the windows.
Then he said to them, "Throw her down." They were very glad to get rid
of the proud and cruel queen, and so they threw her down, as he had
said. It was so far to the ground that she was killed immediately, and
her blood was sprinkled upon the walls. But Jehu did not care for this;
he went into the house to eat and drink. After he had taken his dinner,
he thought of Jezebel, and told some of his servants that they must go
and bury her: but in the mean time a terrible thing had happened. The
dogs had seized and devoured the body, and nothing was left of it but
the feet, and the palms of the hands, and part of the bones of the head.
So God's word came to pass, "The dogs shall eat Jezebel."