Persecution: The first great persecution for religious opinion of which we have any
record was that which broke out against the worshippers of God among
the Jews in the days of Ahab, when that king, at the instigation of
his wife Jezebel, "a woman in whom, with the reckless and licentious
habits of an Oriental queen, were united the fiercest and sternest
qualities inherent in the old Semitic race", sought in the most
relentless manner to extirpate the worship of Jehovah and substitute
in its place the worship of Ashtoreth and Baal. Ahab's example in
this respect was followed by Manasseh, who "shed innocent blood very
much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another"
(2 Kings 21:16) comp.
(2 Kings 24:4) In all ages, in one form or another,
the people of God have had to suffer persecution. In its earliest
history the Christian church passed through many bloody persecutions.
Of subsequent centuries in our own and in other lands the same sad
record may be made. Christians are forbidden to seek the propagation
of the gospel by force
(Luke 9:54-56; Romans 14:4; James 4:11,12) The words of
(Psalms 7:13) "He ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors," ought
rather to be, as in the Revised Version, "He maketh his arrows fiery