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[99] As he was doing this, and had entirely cast his own country laws out of his mind, there was brought him an epistle from Elijah the prophet 1 which declared that God would execute great judgments upon him, because he had not imitated his own fathers, but had followed the wicked courses of the kings of Israel; and had compelled the tribe of Judah, and the citizens of Jerusalem, to leave the holy worship of their own God, and to worship idols, as Ahab had compelled the Israelites to do, and because he had slain his brethren, and the men that were good and righteous. And the prophet gave him notice in this epistle what punishment he should undergo for these crimes, namely, the destruction of his people, with the corruption of the king's own wives and children; and that he should himself die of a distemper in his bowels, with long torments, those his bowels falling out by the violence of the inward rottenness of the parts, insomuch that, though he see his own misery, he shall not be able at all to help himself, but shall die in that manner. This it was which Elijah denounced to him in that epistle.

1 This epistle, in some copies of Josephus, is said to come to Jotare from Elijah, with this addition," for he was yet upon earth," which could not be true of Elijah, who, as all agree, was gone from the earth about four years before, and could only be true of Elisha; nor perhaps is there any more mystery here, than that the name of Elijah has very anciently crept into the text instead of Elisha, by the copiers, there being nothing in any copy of that epistle peculiar to Elijah.

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