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SECTION LXXXI.

DAVID IN A CAVE AT EN-GEDI SPARETH SAUL's

LIFE.

From 1 Samuel, Chap. xxiv. And it came to pass when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold David is in the wilderness of En-gedi.

Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon: the rocks of the wild goats.

And he came to the sheep-cotes by the way, where was a cave ; and Saul went in to cover his feet, and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave.

And the men of David said unto 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. Then David! arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily.

And it came to pass-afterward, that 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 anointe. ed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.

So David stayed his servants with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. But Saul rose : up out of the cave, and went on his

way. David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself.

And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thout : men's words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt?

R6

Behold,

Behold, thine eyes have seen how that the LORD hath delivered thee to-day 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 : for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not : know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee: yet thou huntest ny soul to take it.

The LORD judge between me and thee, and the LORD avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be

upon thee.

As saith the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but mine hand shall not be upon

thee. After whom is the king of Israel come, out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea.

The Lord therefore be judge between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thine hand.

And it came to pass when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David ? and Saul lift up his voice, and wept.

And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I; for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil.

And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt wel, with me : forasmuch as when the Lord had delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst me not.

For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well

away?

away? wherefore the Lord reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day.

And now behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be estar blished in thine hand.

Swear now therefore unto me by the LORD, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my

father's house. And David sware unto Saul. And Saul went home: but David and his men gat them up unto the hold.

And Samuel died: and all the Israelites were gathered together and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah. And David arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran.

ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.

In the countries inhabited by the Iraelites there were many large caves, partly natural, and partly enlarged by art, for the shelter of sheep from the heat of the sun; the cave at En-gedi was one of these. Saul being wearied with the pursuit, turned into this very cave to rest, and it is probable indulged himself with a short repose. David had now an opportunity of putting an end to his fears, and, had he followed the dictates of human policy, he certainly would have complied with his friends' advice; but he was actuated by nobler principles : trust in God and respect for his sovereign; under whose banner he would gladly and courageously have encountered a host of Philistine foes, but he feared to lift up his hand against the LORD's anointed ; and rather chose to endure all the miseries of persecution and exile, than advance himself to the throne till it should please God to call him to it.

We

1

We find that David felt remorse for having even put an affront

upon his King. How must Saul have been astonished, when he heard the voice of David, addressing him in terms of kindness as his king and father; holding in his hand such a convincing proof that he meant him no ill, but, on the contrary, was resolved not to be his own avenger. His pathetic speech was irresistible: and even Saul's hard heart was for a while softened; tears of gratitude streamed from his eyes,

his lips uttered blessings on his generous adversary, and he acknowledged that David was more righteous than himself.

David, willing to give every possible proof of his in-tegrity, took the oath which Saul required, and most religiously observed it: but, as Saul had so frequently violated his solemn engagements, David did not desire an oath in return; neither did he suppose that Saul'spenitence and reconciliation would be lasting : but he had ample cause to praise the Lord for his goodness, in supporting bis mind under such a conflict, which had procured him the highest gratification a generous heart can know, that of returning benefits for injuries. Having escaped * this danger, and got safely out of the cave, he composed the following Psalm +.

Be merciful unto me, O GOD, be merciful unto me, for my soul trusteth in thee : yea, under the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.

I will cry unto Gon most High: unto God that per. formeth all things for me.

He shall send from heaven and save me from the re

* Chandler's Life of David,

+ Psalm lvii.

proach

proach of him that would swallow me up; God shall send forth His mercy und His truth.

My soul is among lions, and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.

Be thou exalted, O God, above the heuvens : let thy glory be above all the earth.

They have prepared a net for my steps, my soul is bowed down; they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves.

My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed ; I will sing and give praise.

Awake up my glory, awake psaltery and harp ; I my. self will awake early.

I will praise thee, O LORD, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.

For thy mercy is great unto the hcarens, and thy truth unto the clouds.

Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth.

“ Samuel * had been the judge of Israel about 40 years, and having ruled with so much integrity and justice, no wonder that his death was universally lamented. He was buried at his own house; for there were no places of public sepulture in those days: se. pulchres were mostly in fields and rocks. He was attended by all Israel to his grave;

and
many

hundred years after his remains were removed with equal solemnity from Ramah to Constantinople, by the Em

peror Arcadius.

“ As Saul was so tyrannical, and David in obscurity, the people were very ill-governed; so that they had

* Delany's Life of King David,

sufficient

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