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A. M. 2888. A. C, 1116; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4310. A. C. 1110. 1 SAM. i. TO THE END. or black bile inflamed ; and that the man was hypochon- Music, though an art of no necessity to human life, driac, rather than possessed. Agreeable to this bad was certainly of a very early invention. Before the complexion of body was the natural temper of his mind, deluge, Jubal is called the father, or master of those which through his whole conduct was suspicious, diffident, who played upon the harp, and a ancient organ, as the cruel, passionate, and vindictive. dd to this, that the two Hebrew words ® in that place are generally translated. remorses of his conscience, the menaces of Samuel, In the time of Jacob, we find his father-in-law complainGod's rejection of him, and his continual apprehensions ing of him, ' that he had stolen away from him, and not of being either dethroned or put to death, by his compe- given him an opportunity of dismissing him honourably, titor, confirmed still more and more the evil dispositions with mirth, and with song, with tabret, and with harp. which his temper engendered, and carried them by fits 10 Moses, upon his passage over the Red Sea, cominto downright madness: and as madness is occasioned posed a song, which was sung in parts by himself, at the by an atrabilious humour highly inflamed, and diffused head of the men, and by " his sister, with timbrels and through the blood, and from melancholic vapours which dancing, leading up the women. Samuel, upon his ascend to the brain, and make an alteration in its tem- institution of the schools of the prophets, introduced perature, it is no bard matter to conceive, that the agree- several kinds of music: so that before Saul's election to able sound of a musical instrument, which occasions joy the kingdom, we read of the psaltery, and tabret, the and self-complacency, should dissipate these bad hu- pipe, and the harp, in use among them. The kings of mours, and make the blood and spirits return to their the east made it a point of their grandeur and magniequal and natural motion.
ficence, to have men to play to thein upon several occaWhat the power of music is, to sweeten the temper, sions ; and therefore we may suppose, that Saul, when and allay and compose the passions of the mind, we have he came to the throne, in some reasonable time, consome examples from sacred history, but many more from formed to the mode. David, who was himself a great the profane.
As this same Saul was returning from master of music, kept in his house some companies of Samuel, he met, at the place which is called the hillsinging men and singing women, as the words of old of God,' a company of prophets, playing on several instru- Barzillai seem to imply; and Solomon, who denied his ments ; and such was the effect of their nielody,' that heart no pleasure, came not behind his father in this the Spirit,'as the Scripture expresses it,' came upon him, respect; for he had his " men-singers and women-singers and he was turned into another man.' When Elisha was likewise, and musical instruments of all sorts. Josephus desired by Jehoshaphat, to tell him what his success tells us, that he had made four hundred thousand, merely against the king of Moab would be, the prophet required for the use of the temple ; and therefore we may well a minstrel to be brought unto him, 2 - and when the min- suppose, that he had no small variety of them, for the strel played, (it is said) that the hand of the Lord came
use of the musicians that attended his person. upon him : : not that we are to suppose, that the gift of M. Le Clerc seems to be of opinion, that the music of prophecy was the natural effect of music, but the meaning the ancient Hebrews was not very regular : “ They were a is, that music disposed the organs, the humours, the nation,” says he, “ entirely given to agriculture, and had blood, and in short the whole mind and spirit of the pro- neither theatres nor any public diversions of this kind ; phet, to receive the supernatural impression. The truth all the use which they made of their music, consisted in is, common experience, as well as the testimony of the singing some sacred hymns, which David instituted ; but gravest authors, does prove, that there is in music a we have no reason to think, that their performances of certain charm, to revive the spirits, mellow the humours, this kind were either barmonious or methodical ;” but allay the passions, and consequently, to dissipate that now the learned Kircher has confuted all this. For 15 " it rage, or melancholy, which either fumes up into the brain is not probable,” says he, “ that such an innumerable in vapours, or overspreads the heart with grief and dejec- quantity of musical instruinents, made by the most skiltion. We need less wonder, therefore, that we find the ful hands, should serve only to produce some rude and Pythagoreans, whenever they perceived, either in them- inartificial sounds. Among the Hebrews there was cerselves or others, any violent passion beginning to arise, tainly a wonderful order of songs and chanters, a wonimmediately betaking themselves either to their fute or derful distribution of the singers, and a wonderful guitar ; that we find 'Theophrastus declaring that music is agreement of words fitted to harmonious notes ; neither an excellent remedy against several distempers, both of is it likely that all the instruments of one choir, did perthe mind and body; ' others, that Asclepiades, a renown- form their parts in unison, but that they made a various od physician among the ancients, was used to curemadness harmony, with an admirable and accurate contexture of by the power of symphony; and others again, that the the upper parts with their respective basses.” most violent poison, that of the sting of the tarantula,
But suppose we, as some imagine, that they wanted = has been expelled very frequently by this means.
The the barmony of a concert, or several parts of music goonly remaining difficulty is, how David, with his single ing on at the same time; yet it is much to be questioned, harp, and unassisted with any other instruments, could whether that simplicity of composition, which resembles effect such a cure upen Saul ?
And to satisfy this, nature most, is not a greater beauty and perfection than I must be obliged to inquire a little into the nature of the Jewish music which was possibly in vogue at that time.
B Gen, iv, 21. 9 Gen. xxxi. 27.
10 Exod. xv. " Exod. xv, 30. 1' 1 Sam. X. 5.
13 2 Sam. xix. 35. ' 1 Sam. x. 5, &c.
14 Ec. ij. 8. ? 2 Kings jji, 15.
15 Musurgia Univer. b. 2. c. 4. 'Calmet's Commentary on 1 Sam. xxvi. 17.
a This instrument in Hebrew is named Hugah, and was a • Ælianus Var. Hist. h. 14. c. 27. 6 In a book on Frantic Fits. kind of Aute composed of several pipes, of a different bigness, 6 Censorinus de Die Natali, b. 12.
joined to one another.-Calmet's Dictionary, under the word i See Saurin, vol. 4. dissertation 33.
A. M. 2888. A. C. 1116; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4301. A. C. 1110. I SAM. I. TO THE END. that combination of several voices and tunes, which con- an action that was quite contrary to the character of a stitutes our concerts. For, to use the words of another musician. author, in a science wherein I profess to be no adept, * But after all, the words in the text say nothing of !“ The ancients,” says he, “bad as great a number of Saul's forgetfulness of David, or that he inquired who instruments as we; they had their symphonies, and voices he was. They only intimate, that he was ignorant of of all sorts, as well as we ; but then they had this ad- his family, and desired to be informed from what parent vantage above us, that their singing voices and instru- he was descended ; and considering how many servants ments neither drowned the words nor destroyed the sense there are in every court, especially in a lower station, of what they sung. While their ears were charmed with whose pedigree the king knows nothing of, and how apt the melody, and their hearts touched with the delicacy of we are all to forget the names of those that live at a the song, their minds were transported with the beauty distance, as Jesse did from Saul, and with whom we bold of the words, with the liveliness, grandeur, or tenderness little or no intercourse, we need not much wonder, that of the sentiments. So that, at one and the same time, Saul, who had no concern for David's family before this they had all the pleasurable impressions and sensations adventure, should quite forget the name of his father, that the most exact imagery of thoughts and sentiments, living in another country, and which he had cursorily joined with symphony, or a true barmony, could produce heard perhaps, but never once fixed in his mind : but in their breasts ;” and for this reason, it is rightly sup- now that the son was going upon a desperate enterprise, posed by Josephus, that while David played upon his and was * to have great riches, as well as the king's harp, he sung psalms and hymns to king Saul, whose daughter, if he came off victorious, it did not a little bewords very probably were adapted to the occasion, and bove the king to know something more of the parentage that both these put together were conducive to his cure; of this young champion, and into what family he was to though God without doubt, who gave a blessing to his match his daughter : and upon this presumption, there endeavours, was the principal cause of the removal of is no madness, no absurdity, no incongruity, in his bidthe malady.
ding Abner 5«to inquire whose son the stripling is.' That David's skill in playing upon the harp, in a great
“ It is a brave and gallant youth. I am charmed with measure removed Saul's melancholy, is manifest from his his behaviour. If he falls in the attempt, he shall have retiring from court to his father's house, and betaking an honourable interment; if he succeeds, and slays the himself to his usual occupation of a shepherd. How giant, he shall be my son-in-law.”. long he continued with his father, the Scripture is silent ;
The Jews give a very romantic reason for David's but a short time might be sufficient to impair the king's going to Achish, the king of the Philistines, namely, that remembrance of him, especially when he appeared in it was to demand an execution of the treaty, whereby another dress than what he wore at court, and was just the conqueror was to have a sovereign power and dominnow come off'rough from a journey. He had played to ion over the conquered, which Goliath proposed when he the king indeed, and happily relieved his disorder : but challenged the Israelites ; and that upon this account, who knows, but that he then wore an habit proper for his the chief ministers about that king were so alarmed at profession as a musician, and, as clothes make a great his arrival, ‘Is not this David, the king of this our land ?* alteration in a man, appeared now quite another creature
as some take the words. It is apparent, however,
from in his plain shepherd's garb? Who knows, but that the the context, that the land, to which these words relate, 2 minister, whoever he was, that recommended him to is Judea, and that David, at this time, was in no condithe king, finding that his music proved medicinal to tion to make any high demands. him, might take the freedom to send to his father, and
Saul's rancour and rage against him were so implacarequest that his son might continue a little longer at ble, and now that so many were turned informers against court, even without the king's knowledge or direction ? him, his power to apprehend him was become so great
, And it seems not unlikely, that the office of armour- that there was no staying any longer in his dominions ; bearer, whatever it imported, was a place of honour and respect, more than strict duty and attendance, because "Saurin's Dissertation on the Combat of David. 1 Sam. xvii. 25. we find David sometimes retiring to his father's house, as
51 Sam. xvii. 56. • See Sol, Jarchi on 1 Sam. xxi. 12. not obliged always to reside at court.
a The suppositions of our author to account for Saul's inquiry
who David was, after we are told in the text, that he had been Without our supposing then, as some commentators made Saul's armour-bearer, and had played for a time before him, bave done, that Saul's distemper had disturbed his head, is perhaps the best that could be made in the circumstances
, but and impaired his memory, we need but consider the is by no means satisfactory. In fact, the whole account in the humour and fashions of a court , the hurry of business, original. Accordingly we find, that in the Septuagint
, ver. 1?
text is so incoherent, that we can hardly record it as a part of the the multitude of servants, the variety of faces, and the -31, ver. 41 and ver. 54 to the end of chap. xvii. are awant shoals of comers and goers, that are every day seen ing, as also, verses 1–5, 9, 10, 11, 17, 18, 19, of chap. xvii. there ; and withal, consider the momentous issue of a and if the narrative is read, omitting the verses, it will be seen battle lost or won, and what full employ the king or his that nothing is awanting to complete the sense, and make it chief commander must have for all his thought and atten- of the Septuagint; and though they are found in the Codes tion, when an army is drawn up in array, and ready to Alexandrinus, Kennicott has shown, that, in all probability, they engage ; and then we may easily account both for Saul were not there till Origen inserted them. See Kennicoti's Genie and Abner's wanting recollection, when they saw David Diss. p. 9, and Pilkinton's remarks on this passage. Michaelis, disguised in his shepherd's coat, and now entering upon consent that these passages are interpolated. Dr Clarke Fas
Datho, Houbigant, Boothroyd, Dr A. Clarke, and other critics, Calmet's Dissertation on the Music of the Ancients.
quoted a considerable part of Kennicott's remarks, and some more
judicious observations will be found in Boothroyd's English * Le Clerc's Commentary on 1 Sam. xxvii. 55.
Translation, and also in his Hebrew Bible.—Ev.
A. M. 2888. A. C. 1116; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4301. A. C. 1110. I SAM. I. TO THE END, and therefore David's business was to find out some safe count of this transaction a little more narrowly, we may retreat. All the other neighbouring princes were at possibly perceive, that David did not dissemble or act peace with Saul, and must have delivered him up, had a part upon this occasion, but that he was really seized Saul demanded him. Achish was the only one in hos- with a distemper; and that distemper, in all probability, tility with him, and therefore his kingdom the most was an epilepsy, or falling-sickness. proper place for David's refuge, where, though he For whereas it is said of David, that 3. he was struck might not hope to lie long concealed, yet he might to the heart (for so it should be rendered) at the words nevertheless promise himself kind quarter, from the ad- which the officers of Achish said to their master, and vantages that would accrue to Achish, in attaching to thereupon was sore afraid of the king, lest, at their inhis interest a person that was evidently the strength of stigation, he should put him to death;' nothing is known the Jewish, and terror of the Philistine, army. Hard to cause an epilepsy sooner 6 than a sudden and violent was the fate of David, it must be owned, when he was fright. Whereas it is said in our translation, that the forced to fly for protection to those whom he had reason changed his behaviour before them; the words in the to believe were his bitterest enemies ; but many great Hebrew are his taste,' whereby some understand his men have been compelled to the same thing ; Themis - reason, was changed ;' but the Septuagint seem to have tocles to go over to the Persians, and Alcibiades to the hit upon the right sense, his visage, or countenance, Lacedemonians, without turning apostates to the interest was changed ;' for every one knows what a sudden alterof their country.
ation a fit of this distemper occasions in any one's looks. Self-preservation is one of the first laws of nature, Whereas it is said in our translation, that he' feigned and therefore, if David, when he came to the court of himself mad in their hands,' the Septuagint render it, Achish, found his life in manifest danger, I cannot see he trembled, and was convulsed in his bands,' as having why he might not make use of any means, consistent no power to direct their motions, which is another known with a good conscience for the preservation of it. He effect of an epilepsy. Whereas, again, our translation chose to personate the fool, because he presumed that says, “ that he scrabbled, or according to the marginal Achish would readily conclude, that the troubles he had note, made marks upon the doors of the gate,'the Sepsuffered under Saul's persecution of him, had stupified tuagint render the words,he fell down against the door his senses, and turned his head. But he was not the of the gate, and the Hebrew word tava implies, with last wise man who put on that disguise ; for "did not such force and violence, as even to leave marks or Solon, when he found that the Athenians were going to prints upon them ; so that he could not but bruise and surrender Salamine, his native country, into the hands hurt himself very much by these falls. Nor is this all; for of the people of Megara, counterfeit the madman, that there is something in the words of Achish, if we will he might with more impunity take the freedom to divert but adhere to the version of the Septuagint, that shows them from it? And ? Lucius Brutus, that wise imitator David's distemper to have been the falling-sickness, of the fool, as he is called, made use of the same arti- beyond all controversy. For, whereas our translation fice, to escape the suspicion of Tarquin, who had al- is, ' Lo, you see the man is inad, wherefore then have ready murdered his father and eldest brother, in order you brought him to me? I have no need of madmen ;' to seize on their great riches.
the words of the Septuagint are, 'Why did ye bring this But supposing that there were no examples of other man before me? Ye see that he is in an epilepsy, and wise men to countenance this practice of David's; yet epileptic men I do not want. Why then did ye bring wherever did we read, in the word of God, that strata- him to be taken with a fit in my presence ? Had David gems were not allowable against an enemy? When the all this while been only playing the fool, as our transIsraelites besieged Ai, God himself gave them orders to lation makes him, he might possibly have given Achish make a feint, as though they fled, that they might there- some diversion (as e fools in great houses were often by draw the people out of the city; and can the differ- kept to give diversion) by his awkward or frantic tricks ; ence be so great, in pretending to a want of courage, but the horror wherewith the king was struck at the and in counterfeiting a deprivation of reason ? A divine first sight of him, and his indignation against his officers, direction indeed was in the one, and we do not read for bringing him into his presence, are enough to make that it was in the other case ; but why might not God,
31 Sam, xxi. 12.
* 1 Sam, xxi, 13. who had David always under his immediate care and
Saurin, vol. 4. Dissertation 34. in Mr Dumont's Letter. protection, put him upon this expedient, as the only 6 The author of the book, which goes under the name of Hipescape he had for his life? Or if the expedient was pocrates, written professedly upon this subject, ripi 'ligous vóoso, matter of his own invention, since the circumstances be among many other causes of this distemper, makes mention of was in did absolutely require it, it cannot deserve our
a sudden fright as one: “It passes away by reason of an un
expected fright.” blame, according to that common distich, that
c Tarquin the Proud kept L. Junius Brutus as a fool, for so no less a name than Cato's :
he pretended to be, to divert his children with his absurd disInsipiens esto, cum tempus postulat, aut res;
course and actions. But Anacharsis, who lived about three Stultitiam simulare loco, prudentia summa est. a hundred years after David, complains of this custom among the This might be some apology for David's conduct at Grecians, by telling us, that a man was a creature too serious to this critical juncture, supposing that he personated the tinuance of this custom, Pliny, writing to one of his friends, who
be designed for so ridiculous a purpose ; and to show the confool or madman. But if we look into the Scripture ac
had complained to him, that at a great entertainment, he had
passed his time but very disagreeably, by reason of the kept fools, Diogenes Laertius, b. 1. in Solone.
who were always interrupting conversation, tells him, that every * Dionysius Halicarn. Antiq. Rom. b. 4.
one has his taste, but, as for himself, he could never be deligh:ed a Be foolish, when time or circumstance demands; seasonably with such extravagancies, though some complaisance was due to to pretend foolishness, is the highest wisdom.
those of another way of thinking.-Epist. 17.
A. M. 2888. A. C. 1116; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4301. A. C. 1110. I SAM. I. TO THE END. one believe, that his distemper had made him a frightful | leave their country or lose their liberty. The submission object: and therefore the king commanded immediately to and discipline wherein he kept his people, and the high have him removed out of his presence, and out of the notions of respect and reverence which he always infused palace.
into them, for the government and person of the king, Upon the whole, therefore, we may conclude, that as are an anıple testimony that he meditated no defection David had the true symptoms of an epilepsy upon him, or revolt; and the debtors whom he secured from cruel which, in all probability, was occasioned by a violent prosecutions or slavery, he put in a condition to pay fright; God, in his good providence, might permit this their creditors, by leading them against the enemies of distemper to befall him at this juncture, in order to facili- Israel, from whom, in several expeditions, they returned tate his escape out of the bands of Achish, and as soon laden with rich spoils. as the danger was over, restored him to his former health There is one part, however, of David's conduct, that again. For this reason we find him, in those psalms, cannot so well be vindicated; and that is, what passed which he is thought to have composed upon this occasion, between him and Achish, upon his second retreat to his alluding both to the nature of his distemper, and to court. We may suppose, indeed, that during this interGod's goodness, in preserving him in it, and delivering val, an alliance was made between Achish and him, him from it: "Great are the troubles of the righteous ; (though the sacred historian makes no mention of it,) but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. He and that this new ally, hearing how violently Saul perse. keepeth all his bones, so that none of them is broken ;'cuted him, might in hopes of making the breach wider, and and therefore 2. unto thee, O God, will I pay my vows, of exasperating David against him, voluntarily invite him unto thee will I give thanks ; for thou hast delivered my into his dominions; but certainly we cannot but say, soul from death, and my feet from falling, that I may that David should by no means have gone. God had walk before God in the light of the living.'
expressly conımanded him by his prophet to return into David, upon his escape from the court of Achish, not the tribe of Judah, and, at the same time, gave him assiknowing of any other place of retreat, betook himself to rance, that he would be his safeguard and protector. It the cave of Adullam, where he found it necessary to pro- was therefore an apparent diffidence of God's providence, vide for his security, by putting himself upon some foot which had been so long employed in his preservation, of defence. Jonathan, from full conviction, had told to make an enemy's country the place of his refuge ; and him, (as himself from frequent experience bad found,) a breach it was of truth and fidelity to his new ally, to that his father, at all adventures, would endeavour to take make him believe that he was fighting against his foes, away his life. His family by this time were fallen under when all the while he was destroying his confederates. the displeasure of Saul, and were in danger of being all But what can we say for his conduct, when he joins cut off (as lately were the priests of Nob) under pretence of forces with the enemies of his country, takes the field a conspiracy against him; and therefore it is no wonder, with them, promises to act offensively, and looks upon that his brethren, having this apprehension of danger be it as a kind of slight and indignity to be dismissed ? fore their eyes, resorted to him for their own security; no * « What have I done,' says he to Achish, that I nay wonder, that in a times of national discord, refugees of all not go fight against the enemies of my lord the king ? kinds, either through their private wants, or the oppression One would really suspect, by his asking the question, of their enemies, a disaffection to the government, or a zeal that he had an intention, not unlike that of the famous for the next successor, should flock to David : nor was Martius Cariolanus, who, to revenge himself of the David any ways blamable, for receiving them, since ingratitude of his country, joined with the Volsci to we have abundant reason to presume, that he took none destroy it. But if his intention was either to stand under his protection, but such as were forced to fly from neuter, or to turn against the Philistines in the day of Saul's injustice and oppression, nor screened any debt-battle, his perfidy and ingratitude to Achish must be ors, but such as were under a real inability to satisfy open and conspicuous. their creditors, and were therefore necessitated either to In short how well soever we may wish David's cha· Ps. xxxiv. 18.
Ps. Ivi. 12, 13. racter, there is no vindicating his conduct in this parti3 Calmet's Commentary on 1 Sam. xxii. 2.
cular. Which party soever he had taken, he must have a Though there be no comparison between the proceedings of been culpable ; and one party he must have taken, had not a very righteous and a very wicked man, David and Catiline, Providence so timely interposed to preserve his honour
, yet it may not be amiss, upon this occasion, to take notice of what Sallust says of Manlius, Catiline's agent and ambassador. without injuring his conscience. However, if we would In Etruria Manlius was engaged in collecting those individuals suppose any thing in extenuation of his fault, we must who, oppressed by poverty and grief in having by the tyranny represent to ourselves a fugitive, pursued by a formidable of Sylla lost their property and effects, were become desirous of revolution; robbers also of every description, and in no scant enemy, and every moment in danger of falling into his numbers, flocked around his standard, &c. It is not improbable, hands ; this fugitive kindly received at a foreign court, however, that the usage now prevailed among the Jews, which and protected by a prince that was in hostility with his Cæsar tells us, anciently obtained among the Gauls, for persecutor ; this prince expecting of his refugee, in conthose that were in debt, oppressed by tributes, or the tyranny of sideration of the favours he had conferred on him, that the great, to betake themselves to the service of some eminent man for protection. By him they were maintained, and to him he should attend him to the war, and espouse his cause they devoted themselves, under a solemn obligation to live and against their common enemy; and all this while the other die with him. These were called in the Gallic language, Sol- bound in gratitude not to be uncivil, and considering the durii, from whence the word soldier is derived ; and as they dangerous situation of his own affairs, not daring to dismight be honest and good men, though they had the misfortune to be in debt, or could not submit to tyrannical treatment: so, in
cover his real purposes. If we imagine this, I say, we all probability, David's companions were.-See the Life of David, by the author of Revelation Examined.
4 I Sanı, xxix. 8. * Ibid. xii, 14. and xv.
A. M. 2888. A. C. 1116; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4301. A. C. 1110. I SAM. i. TO THE END. must allow, that if in any case, what they call a finesse | flying from his country, enlisting men, and putting himin policy were allowable, it was in this of David's, when self in a condition of defence, would, even under our mild he had unhappily brought himself into these circumstances. government, be looked upon as seditious and rebellious
It may seem a little strange, perhaps, that David, who proceedings. And therefore we may suppose, that David in these and several other grosser instances, could not himself might not have so favourable an opinion of the but be culpable in the eyes of God, should nevertheless course of life he was compelled at that time to follow; be styled in Scripture, is the man after his own heart;' might think that he gave some umbrage to Saul's jeabut, whoever observes the occasion of that expression, lousy, and suspicion of him; and might thereupon be will find that it ought to be taken in a comparative sense
more inclinable to excuse the violence of his persecuonly, and in derogation indeed to Saul, whose trans- tion, and to make no other use of the advantages he had gression, in sparing Amalek, the prophet Samuel was against him, than to demonstrate his own innocence, and then reproving ; that in executing his decrees upon the the groundlessness of the other's suspicions; for such idolatrous nations round about him, David would be seems to be the sense of his own words : 5. Wherefore more punctual, and not so remiss as Saul had been; and doth my lord thus pursue after his servant ? For, what in this respect would conform to the divine will, or be have I done, or what evil is in my hand ? Wherefore the man after God's own heart. This seems to be the hearest thou men's words, saying, David seeketh thy hurt? primary sense of the words, though the common solution, Behold this day thine eyes have seen how the Lord hath viz, that though David was a great and grievous sinner, delivered thee into mine hand in the cave, but mine eye yet the severity of his repentance cleared him in the spared thee; therefore cursed be they before the Lord, sight of God, and made an amends for the enormity of who make this difference betwixt us ; for they have bis transgressions, be not much amiss.
driven me out this day from abiding in the inheritance It cannot, however, with justice be said, that David of the Lord.' For herein he not only pleads his own was any ways culpable in sparing the life of Saul, innocence, and good intentions towards the king, but, in even when Providence seems to have put it in his hand. some measure, excuses the king's conduct towards him, This trial God inade of his virtue and clemency; and a as being under the influence of evil counsellors, who glorious conquest it was, not only to overcome his own both imposed upon the king's credulity, and compelled resentments, which were justly enough founded against him to such a method of life as was far from being agreeSaul, but the arguments and instigations likewise of those able to his interest or inclination. about him : ? Behold the day, of which the Lord said Upon many accounts, therefore, it was an act of his unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine great and generous soul, for David to spare the life of hand, that thou mayest do to him, as it shall seem good his severest enemy. But though we cannot, in like manunto thee.' God had delivered him into his hand, indeed; ner, justify his indignation against Nabal, and the oath but had given him no order, or permission to slay Saul. which he swore to destroy his whole family; yet some"He had promised him the kingdom likewise, but would thing may be offered in excuse of it, if we attend a little by no means allow him to ascend the throne by blood. to what occasioned it, and the too common effect which His title to the succession was real and incontestable, but such treatment, as Nabal's was, is apt to have upon such not allowed to be put in force, or himself to attempt, by spirits as we may suppose David's to have been. David ways of violence, the possession of the crown, as long as while he continued in the wilderness of Paran, had given Saul was permitted by God to reign, and recognised as his men charge, not only to do no injury to Nabal's sovereign by the people. David, as yet, being only a shepherds and herdsmen, but even to protect and assist private man, had no authority to wage war against Saul; them, in case they were invaded by any of the neighand though it be allowable for any one to defend him- bouring Arabians; and now that their master was shearself against any unjust aggressor, and to repel force by ing his sheep, which was always a festival season, not far force, yet this must be done only in order to secure his from the place where David was encamped, to show him own life, and not to take away that of his adversary; for the greater respect, he sent no less than ten young men what the apostle says of judging, or censuring, is much of his company to make his compliments to him, and, in more forcible in the matter of killing : 4.Who art thou the most civil manner, to request something of him, as it that judgest another man's servant? To his own master was the custom to be generous and liberal at such a time he standeth, or falleth ; for there is one lawgiver, who as that, for the relief of himself and his followers in this is able to save, and to destroy: who art thou then that form : 6. Peace be to thee,' as the young men's instrucjudgest another ?' And these rules, which ought to be tions were,' and peace be to thine house, and peace be observed by private persons, are much more extensive unto all thou hast.' Peace, in the sacred language, comwhen they relate to a prince and his subject. The sub-prehends all manner of blessings, both spiritual and ject is obliged in duty, even though he be innocent, to temporal; and therefore a higher compliment, as he bear patiently the ill-treatment of his prince. David, say, or a more affectionate salutation, could not have no doubt, was conscious of his own integrity; but were been devised : “ And now I have heard that thou hast it not for the preceding promises of God in his favour, shearers, and thy shepherds, which were with us, we hurt and the orders which, from time to time, he received them not, neither was there ought missing unto them, all from the high priest's oracle, it would not have been so the while that they were in Carinel :' a sufficient argueasy a matter to justify some part of his conduct. His ment, one would think, to engage Nabal’s grateful ac
knowledgment : because it certainly was a matter of "] Sam. xiii. 14. and xv. 28. 21 Sam. xxiv. 4. no small courtesy, for a body of men in arms, and in • Calmet's Commentary on 1 Sam. xxiv. 4. * Rom. xiv, 4. and Jam, iv. 12.
si Sam, xxiv. 9, 10.
6 1 Sam. xxv. &c.