There were three on each side of Jordan, though the population was scantier on the east than on the west side, for the extent of country was about the same. They stood, roughly speaking, opposite each other, Kedesh and Golan in the north, Shechem and Ramoth central, Hebron and Bezer in the south. So, wherever a fugitive was, he had no long distance between himself and safety.
They had not realised that Ramoth was theirs, and they were too lazy and cowardly to go and take it. Ignorance of the fulness of the gift, and slothful timidity in daring everything in the effort to make it ours, explain a great deal of the present condition of Christian people.
Now, I have nothing more to do with Ahab and Jehoshaphat, but I wish to turn the words of my test, and the thoughts that may come from them, into a direction profitable to ourselves. 'Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours? and yet it had to be got out of the hands of the King of Syria. I. What is ours and not ours.
Now Joram, the king of Israel, after the death of Benhadad, hoped that he might now take Ramoth, a city of Gilead, from the Syrians. Accordingly he made an expedition against it, with a great army; but as he was besieging it, an arrow was shot at him by one of the Syrians, but the wound was not mortal.
But Ramoth in Gilead, belonging to the northern kingdom, remained in the hands of the Syrians. In the mean time Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, whose son Jehoram had married Athaliah, daughter of Ahab, and who was therefore in friendly social and political relations with Ahab, came to visit him. They naturally talked about the war, and lamented the fall of Ramoth-Gilead.
When he had said this, every one of them put off his garment, and strewed it under him, and blew with trumpets, and gave notice that Jehu was king. So when he had gotten the army together, he was preparing to set out immediately against Joram, at the city Jezreel, in which city, as we said before, he was healing of the wound which he had received in the siege of Ramoth.
It was a long way off; there was a river to be forded; there were heights to be climbed; there were weary marches to be taken; there were hard knocks going in front of the walls of Ramoth before they got inside it; and on the whole it was more comfortable to sit at home, or look after their farms and their merchandise, than to embark on the quixotic attempt to win back a city that had not been theirs for ever so long, and that they had got on very well without.
And Jehovah said, 'Who will deceive Ahab, so that he will go up and fall at Ramoth in Gilead? One suggested one thing and another, another, until a spirit came out and stood before Jehovah and said, 'I will deceive him. Jehovah said to him, 'By what means? He said, 'I will go out and become a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. Then Jehovah said, 'You shall succeed in deceiving him.
Kedemoth also with her suburbs, and Mephaath with her suburbs: And out of the tribe of Gad; Ramoth in Gilead with her suburbs, and Mahanaim with her suburbs, And Heshbon with her suburbs, and Jazer with her suburbs. Now the sons of Issachar were, Tola, and Puah, Jashub, and Shimrom, four.
The spirit of a boyhood in this homestead is veraciously told in "The Barefoot Boy," "School-Days," "Snow-Bound," "Ramoth Hill," and "Telling the Bees." It was a chance copy of Burns that revealed to the farmer lad his own desire and capacity for verse-writing.