« PreviousContinue »
Obed, who was the son of the poor gleaner Ruth ; “for," said the Lord to him, “I have provided me a king among Jesse's sons. Jesse invited him to a sacrificial feast with his sons, that he might see them, and anoint privately the one whom the Lord had chosen. Jesse appeared with seven sons. But much as he was pleased with them all, yet respecting each of them it was said to him, “The Lord hath not chosen this.” Samuel asked Jesse whether those were all his sons. There still remained the youngest. He was with the sheep in the fields, and no one had thought of him. He was sent for. He came; a sunburnt youth of a ruddy and a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look at. And the Lord said, “ Arise, anoint him : for this is he.” Then Samuel took his horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren.
From that day the Spirit of the Lord came and rested upon him. But the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and he became very much disquieted. He wanted some one who could play upon the harp, and sing, when the evil spirit came upon him. One of his servants told him of the son of Jesse, who, he said, was a valiant and a prudent young man, and a good player upon the harp. David was accordingly sent for from the sheepfolds; and Saul made him his armour-bearer.
37. DAVID AND GOLIATH. AFTER some time, when war had broken out with the Philistines, David returned again to Bethlehem; but his elder brothers went with Saul's army. The father sent David to the camp to see his brethren.
When he came to the trench, he saw the armies in battle
array. And a giant came out of the Philistine army, in formidable armour, who challenged the bravest of the Israelites to fight with him. David heard of him; he heard, also, that the king had promised, that whoever slew the giant should have the king's daughter to wife, and that his father's house should be free in Israel. The reward he did not care for; but he was grieved that no Israelite should be found who had sufficient confidence in God to fight with the Philistine. He sent word, therefore, to the king, that he would encounter the giant. The king tried to dissuade him from it. “ Thou art but a youth,” he said, “and he a man of war from his youth.” “The Lord,” said David, " that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.” Saul armed him with his own armour, and put an helmet head; he clothed him also with a coat of mail. But David put it off again, and took no sword; but in his light shepherd's coat, just as
was, having chosen five smooth stones out of the brook, he went with a staff and a sling against the giant.
When the giant saw the shepherd boy coming, he cursed him: “Am I a dog," said he, thou comest to me with staves ?
Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.” David said, “ Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield : but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.” And whilst the Philistine was coming towards David, he
hastened and slung a stone at his forehead, so that he fell down upon his face; and before the Philistine could rise again, David took his sword and cut off his head with his own sword. a
Fear seized the Philistines, and they fled; and the Israelites pursued them, even to their own cities.
Saul asked David about his family. David said, “ I am the son of thy servant Jesse, the Bethlehemite.”b And while David was speaking to Saul, the heart of Jonathan, Saul's son, knitted itself to the heart of David. And Jonathan loved him as his own soul. As a public mark of his friendship, the king's son gave to the brave shepherd his sword, his bow, and his girdle. Saul would not let Dávid go home again, but placed him among his own officers.
38. DAVID'S PERSECUTION.
David's prosperity did not last long. As the Israelites returned home from the field of battle, victorious over the Philistines, the women sang in their dances, “Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." The king heard this with jealousy: “ What can he have more," said he, “but the kingdom?" The more, therefore, the king saw that David won the affections of the people, so much the more did he hate him ; so that he at last sought to slay him. Whilst he was playing upon the harp before him, Saul cast a javelin at him. Then be sent messengers to mur
6 1 Sam. xvii. 17, 58.
der him in his own house; but Michal, his wife, who was Saul's daughter, let him down out of the window, and he escaped. David then fled.
Jonathan, who had succeeded once before in bringing his father to better thoughts, tried again to effect a reconciliation, but in vain. Saul told his son that he had determined that he should die. Jonathan, however, renewed his covenant of friendship with him, and advised him to flee. David then fled to the king of the Philistines, taking with him the sword of Goliath. But the princes of the Philistines looked upon him with great suspicion, and he scarcely escaped with his life.
David now dwelt among the rocks and caves in the mountains of Judea, where, by degrees, as many as six hundred men, together with many old men, and
women, and children, came together to him, many of whom were friends and relations of David, and on that account persecuted by Saul. For Saul's revenge went to such a length, that he ordered the high-priest to be slain, who had, without knowing that David fled from Saul, given him bread and Goliath's sword; and with him eightyfour innocent priests were also murdered. Nay, even this did not satisfy his revenge ; but the whole city of the priests was destroyed, and many women and children were killed. One single individual escaped and fled to David; this was Abiathar, who then became the high-priest. So wickedly did Saul act after the Spirit of God had departed from him.
David still continued, after his flight, to have Jonathan for his most faithful friend ; and he himself still retained towards Saul an affectionate and dutiful state of feeling ; never forgetting that
Saul was his king, his father-in-law, and the father of his friend.
Shortly after the slaughter of the priests, Saul went out with three thousand men to seize David in the mountains of Judea. And it so happened, that Saul went into a cave to rest, whilst David and his men were themselves concealed in the inner part of the cave.
And while Saul was asleep, David's men said to him, “Behold the day of which the Lord said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee." And David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily. Afterwards David's heart smote him because he had cut off Saul's skirt. And he said unto his men,
- The Lord forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the Lord's anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord." And David would not suffer his servants to hurt Saul. And Saul rose up out of the cave and went on his way; and David also arose and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, “My lord the king! behold, this day the Lord delivered thee into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared thee! and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord ; for he is the Lord's anointed. Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand." Then Saul wept, and said, “ Thou art more righteous than 1.”a So Saul was ashamed of his conduct, and went home.
But, not long after, he went out again against
a 1 Sam. xxiv. 4-17.