The King of Country Jeng Admonished His Defending Generals

(A historical event in 712 B.C.)

Tzuoo’s Interpretation of Spring-Fall

    In July, 712 B.C., the King of Country Luu united with the Kings of Country Chyi and Country Jeng to attack Country Sheu. On the 10th, they surrounded the capital of Sheu. Uncle K was the first to take the flag of Country Jeng and climb the city wall with it. However, his colleague shot him from below in revenge for their previous quarrel. Uncle K fell and died. General S picked up the flag and climbed the wall again. When he reached the top of the wall, he waved the flag in all directions and shouted, "The King of Jeng has ascended the city wall and entered the capital already." The troops of Jeng then ascended the wall and entered the city. Two days later, they occupied Country Sheu. The King of Sheu escaped to Country Wey. The King of Chyi demanded that the King of Luu take Country Sheu. The King of Luu said, "You accused the King of Sheu of not paying your taxes, so I came to help you attack Sheu. Country Sheu has admitted guilt, so I cannot accept the offer despite your order." Consequently, the King of Chyi gave the land of Sheu to the King of Jeng.

    The King of Jeng divided Country Sheu into East Sheu and West Sheu. He then ordered Prime Minister B of Sheu to establish the brother of the King of Sheu as the King of East Sheu. The King of Jeng told B, "God is unhappy with the King of Sheu, so He used my force to bring disaster upon Sheu. Our few officials do not even have time to serve our own people. How dare I consider conquering Sheu as my accomplishment? My brother, Duann, has to wander all over China because we cannot get along. In view of my limited capability, how can I continue to govern Country Sheu for long? My friend! I would like you to serve your king and pacify your people and I will send Adviser H to assist you. If I die and God regrets bringing disaster to Sheu and chooses to help Sheu, then Sheu's territory will not be limited to the present small space. Furthermore, if this were to happen, the deposed king of Sheu would regain his kingship. At that time, our Country would voluntarily give up the control of West Sheu and pursue normal diplomacy with Sheu. Then it would be as if the two countries were related by marriage. I hope that the people in East Sheu have the patience to follow my orders and won’t allow other neighboring countries to invade Country Jeng. Otherwise, our country will be busy fighting the enemy instead of peacefully enjoying the privilege of governing Sheu. Thus I order you to establish East Sheu not only for the benefit of Country Sheu but also for strengthening our border defenses."

    Then the King of Jeng ordered Adviser H to govern West Sheu. He told H, "You should not put any of your valuables or possessions in Sheu. After I die, you should leave Sheu as soon as possible. My father was offered new land here by the Emperor of Chou. However, the Chou family has gradually become disorganized and its policies are failing to follow God's will. In contrast, the people in Country Sheu are the descendents of the god of agriculture. God dislikes what the Chou dynasty has done, so how can I oppose God’s favored Country Sheu?"

    Historians praise the King of Jeng as a politician of principle. Principles are the basis for governing a country, keeping the society in peace, improving the living standards, and benefiting future generations. Country Sheu violated the law, so the king of Jeng attacked it. Once they admitted guilt, the king then let them survive. The King of Jeng solved problems according to principles and executed his policy with vision. Furthermore, he acted in a timely manner without putting a burden on Adviser H. Therefore, it is appropriate to say that the king of Jeng was a man of principle.

    The King of Jeng was good at diplomatic innuendo. When he told the Prime Minister of Sheu, "I will send Adviser H to assist you", he meant, "I will send H to watch you". When he said, "If I die, Sheu’s territory will not be limited to the present small space", he actually meant, "As long as I live, I will not tolerate any resistance from Sheu." Also, the king's advice to H showed that the King of Jeng executed his policy with vision.