« PreviousContinue »
David, and he pitched his camp in the hill of Hachilah. Then David and Abishai came in the night into the midst of the camp, and Saul lay sleeping within a trench, and his spear stuck in the ground at his bolster, and Abner and the people lay round about him. Then said Abishai to Da vid, “God hath delivered thine enemy into thine hand : now, therefore, let me smite him with the spear.” And David said to Abishai, “ Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the Lord's anointed, and be guiltless ?”
And David took the spear and the cruise of water from Saul's bolster. Then David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of the hill afar off.
And he cried “ Abner! Abner !” Saul's captain arose out of his sleep, and said, “ Who art thou that criest to the king ?” David said to him, “ Art not thou a valiant man? and who is like to thee in Israel? wherefore then hast thou not kept thy lord the king? for there came one of the people in to destroy the king thy lord. And now see where the king's spear is, and the cruise of water that was at his bolster.' And Saul knew David's voice, and he said, “Is this thy voice, my son David ?” And David said, “It is my voice, my lord, O king. Wherefore doth my lord thus pursue after his servant ? for what have I done? or what evil is in my hand? The king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains." Then said Saul, “ I have sinned; return, my son David; for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine
eyes this day.” But David knew well that a passionate man was not to be trusted. He said, “Behold the king's spear! let one of the young men come over and fetch it.” So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place. b This was the last time that David and Saul saw each other. Saul did not live long after that.
39. SAUL'S DEATH.-DAVID BECOMES KING.
DAVID then went, with his six hundred men, over the boundary; for he feared that he should some day fall into Saul's hands.' And Achish, the king of Gath, gave David the city of Ziklag, where he lived with his wives and children about a year and a half.
And the princes of the Philistines gathered their armies together to fight against Israel ; and Achish said to David, “ Thou shalt go with me to battle."
b 1 Sam. xxvi. 5 25.
So David went with Achish. But the other four princes of the Philistines were afraid of him, and David returned home again. But what a fearful sight was it, when, on the third day, he came to Ziklag, and found the city nothing but a burning ruin ! The Amalekites had destroyed it, and had taken away the women and children, and all their goods. Weary as his men were with their long march, they determined to pursue the robbers, and went after them all night long through the desert, and before break of day they came up with them. They were spread abroad upon the earth---eating, and drinking, and dancing; because of all the great spoil they had taken out of the land of the Philistines and out of the land of Judea. And David smote them, and not only recovered every thing that they had carried away, but obtained a large spoil besides.
But what was going on all this time in the upper land at Mount Gilboa? The Israelites were defeated by the Philistines ; Jonathan and two other of Saul's sons were slain, and Saul fell upon his own sword.
David had scarcely returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites to the ruins of Ziklag, when he received from an Amalekite the intelligence of Saul's defeat and death. The man had gone out to the field of battle where the slain were lying, and had there found the corpse of the king, who had put an end to his own life ; he took off part of his royal apparel, and took the crown from his head, to bring them to David. The wretched man thought to obtain a large reward by telling a lying story, as though he had himself slain the king. But David rent his clothes with grief, and said unto him, “How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the Lord's anointed ? Thy blood be upon thy head: for thy mouth hath testified against thee." a David commanded him to be put to death.
David returned now with his followers to his own country, and came to Hebron. Out of the spoil of the Amalekites he sent presents to all the elders of the land of Judea. The men of Israel chose him for their king. But Abner made Ish bosheth, the son of Saul, king of Israel. Thus the people had two kings, but only for a short time. Six years afterwards, Ishbosheth was murdered by his own servants, and David was chosen king over all Israel.
URIAH IS SLAIN.
40. The shepherd boy is now become a king, but he has not on that account forgotten his harp; and, even to this day, the hymns of the royal psalmist afford delight to the joyful, and consolation to the afflicted heart.
One of his first cares was to re-establish the worship of God in the tabernacle, which was now set up at Jerusalem. For the ark had not been inquired after for a long time. It was necessary, however, first, that Jerusalem should be re-conquered; for, shortly after the time of Joshua, the Jebusites had taken it again, and the tower of Zion was at that time called Jebus. David took it by storm, and having considerably enlarged and fortified Jerusalem, made it the chief city of the land.
a 2 Sam. i. 2–16.
David carried on many wars, and extended the boundaries of his kingdom from the Mediterranean Sea on the west to the river Euphrates on the east, and from Damascus on the north to Egypt on the south. Notwithstanding these numerous wars, however, the people were much happier under his reign than they had been under the judges; and even the nations whom he conquered—the Syrians, the Edomites, the Moabites, and the Philistines -might esteem themselves happy to be under his sceptre. But he treated the Ammonites more severely.
About this time the king formed a sinful attachment to Bath-sheba, the wife of Uriah, a brave officer in his army; and on this account he directed his chief captain, Joab, to place Uriah in the fore front of the battle, so that he might be slain by the
enemy. David might indeed have recollected that Saul had once planned for him the same fate, but God had prevented it. But he never thought of this, because passion had blinded him; and God allowed it to come to pass that Uriah was slain. For nearly a whole year afterwards, David lived in a state of impenitence.
Then the Lord sent Nathan the prophet to him, and he said, “There were two men in one city ; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds : but the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up; and it grew up together with him, and with his children ; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a