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A. M. 2919. A. C. 1055; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4311. A. C. 1070. SAM. i- xix. By this time the palace, which Hiram king of Tyre | marched his army to secure his territories, which borderhad furnished David with men and materials to build, ed upon the Euphrates. The Syrians of Zobah, under was finished ; and, as he was reflecting upon the inean- the command of d Hadadezer, caine with a strong force, ness of God's habitation in comparison of his own, it and gave bim battle: but he soon routed them, and, came into his mind to build a noble fabric for his religi- besides a great number of foot prisoners, took a thouous worship, which design he communicated to a Nathan. sand chariots, and seven thousand horsemen that attendNathan at first approved of it; but the night following, ed them; but, reserving to himself no more horses than he was conumanded to forbid it, with this assurance, that were necessary for an hundred chariots, the rest he hamGod accepted of his sincere intentions; promised that stringed, to make them unserviceable for war. e The his son should succeed him, and build him a temple; and Syrians of Damascus, hearing of Hadadezer's ill success, that his posterity should reign for many generations. came to his assistance. But David put them to the rout
David was a man of war, and therefore, since God had likewise, and having slain two and twenty thousand of refused hin the privilege of building him a temple, and them, he became master of their country; put garrisons had reserved that work for his son Solomon, whose name into their fortified cities, and made them tributary; and denotes peaceable, to execute, he thought himself bound (what was another victory in this expedition) in his return to subdue all his enemies on every side, that, when his from Syria, he engaged a great body of Edomites S in son came to undertake that great affair, he might meet the valley of salt, slew eighteen thousand of them, and with as little molestation as possible.
brought them under the like subjection. In the beginning of his reign, the Philistines bad twice Thus loaded with honour and spoils David returned invaded him, and therefore he began with them. Their from this campaign; but all the rich materials that he royal city of Gath, which was called Metheg-Ammal, or had compiled together, namely, gold, silver, and brass, the bridge of Ammah, because it stood upon a hill of he dedicated to the Lord, or laid them up for the future that name, and was a bridle to curb the tribe of Judah, use of the temple. And, what was no small addition to and keep them in obedience, he took and made it a his store, Toi, the king of Hamath, hearing of his vicbarrier against themselves. The Moabites he utterly tories, sent his own son to congratulate him thereupon, subdued ; and, having dismantled all their strong places, and, in a large present of vessels of gold, and vessels he c slew the greater part of them, reserving such only of silver, &c., to acknowledge his kindness in breaking as were requisite to till the ground. From hence he the power of his most inveterate enemies.
All the while that David was thus engaged in foreign a At what time this prophet began to appear in Israel, we are wars, he took care to have justice administered to his now here informed. This is the first time that the scripture subjects at home, and a certain number of very great makes mention of him. He was a man of great temper, prudence, and fine address, who knew to mitigate the rigour of his reproofs with a great deal of sweetness and wisdom, which qual- d In the fragment of Nicolaus Damascenus, which Josephus ified him so well for the conversation of kings, and other great has preserved, this prince is simply called Adad, which was the persons. He was always equally esteemed and beloved by David, common name of the kings of Syria, who, according to the man and, in his conduct towards him, maintained a just medium ner of other eastern princes, took their titles from the celestial between an inflexible austerity and a servile Aattery.-Calmet's bodies, and, in their language, Adad signifies the sun. The Commentary.
fragment, recorded by Josephus is to this effect. “A long time 6 The words in the text are, “I will establish the throne of his after, one Adad, a valiant man, and a native of the place, had kingdom for ever;' which, in their primary sense, do relate to the command of Damascus and Syria, Phænicia only excepted. the terrestrial kingdom of David's family, and the long duration There happened to be a war between the same Adad and David of it, enough to justify the expression for ever,' taken in a less the king of the Jews, and several encounters between them; strict signification. But if we take it in a more sublime and but, in the end Adad was overcome at Euphrates, behaving absolute sense, it can belong to none but that Son of David, to himself with the resolution of a brave prince and a great captain." whom God the Father gave an eternal kingdom, properly so The same author, speaking further of his posterity, says, “'That called, over all things both in heaven and earth, which though it the government was handed down from father to son to the tenth was not so well known in the times when this prophecy was ut- generation, and that the successor still received the father's name tered, was, by the event afterwards, made plain and evident.- with the empire, as the Ptolemies did among the Egyptians.”Le Clerc's Commentary.
Jewish Antiquities, b. 7. c. 6. c There is no small obscurity in the words of the text, which e Aram Damasek, which we translate Syria of Damascus, was are these: “He smote Moab, and measured them with a line, that part of Syria which lay between Libanus and Antilibanus, casting them down to the ground; even in two lines measured whose chief city was Damascus, situate in a valley, called by he to put to death, and with one line to keep alive.' Which several names in Scripture, and watered by five rivers, the two Words seem to allude to a custom among the kings of the east, principal of which, namely, Abana and Pharphar, (mentioned in when they were thoroughly incensed against any nation, namely, 2 Kings v. 12.) descended from mount Hermon; whereof the to make the captives all come together in one place, and prostrate latter washed the walls of Damascus, and the other ran through themselves upon the ground; that, being divided into two parts, it, and divided the city into two parts.- Patrick's Commentary. as it were with a line, their conqueror might appoint which part f The valley of salt here is thought by many to be the place be pleased either for death or life, which was sometimes deter-adjoining to the Dead sea. But, as the country of the Edomites, mined by casting of lots. Some are of opinion, that David made whom David subdued in his return from his expedition into Syria, three lots or parts of these Moabites, two of which he ordered to must necessarily lie towards the east of Canaan, we must look be slain, and one part only to be kept alive. The reason of this for some other valley of salt in the confines of that country. severity against this miserable people, the rabbins assure us, Now, about a league southward from the city of Palmyra, or kas, because they had slain his parents and brethren, whom he Tadmor, in the road to Edom, we find a large plain abounding bad corrmitted to the custody of the king of Moab during his with salt pits, whence a great part of Syria is furnished with exile. But of the reality of this motive there is no manner of that con.modity; and therefore it is very probable, that the battle appearance; and since this execution which David inflicted may between David's generals and the Edornites was fought in this relate either to the whole nation, or the army only, to clear plain; which is about two days' journey from Bozrah, the capital David írom the imputation of too much cruelty we should rather city of the eastern Edom, whence the people might march out onceive it of the third, or half part at most, of the army.—Le to meet David's forces, and oppose them in their return home.Clerc's and Calmet's Commenlaries.
A. M. 2019. A. C. 1055; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4311. A. C. 1070. 2 SAM. i–xix. men employed in the highest offices of trust. Joab, as | Nahash was dead, sent his compliments of condolence we said before, was captain-general; Jehoshaphat," to his son and successor Hanun; but the great men chancellor of the kingdom; Abiathar, was high priest; that were about the young king, made him believe, that Seraiah, secretary of state ; Benaiah, captain of his the sole intent of David's sending this embassy was to guard ; and his own sons, the prime ministers of his spy out the weakness of the city, and in what place it household, such as lord chamberlain, lord treasurer, lord might most advantageously be assaulted : so that the too steward, as we call them; and to these he added one credulous prince ordered the ambassadors to be treate more, Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, to whom he in the most ignominious manner, and with e their beards restored all his grandfather Saul's estate ; and though half-shaved, and their clothes cut short, even to the midhe was a cripple,c and lame of both his feet, yet, for the dle of their buttocks, to be sent about their business. love he had for his father, he entertained him with great The ambassadors being ashamed to return home, were kindness, and ordered him to sit with his own sons at the ordered to continue at Jericho, until their beards royal table every day.
again; but as for the indignity put upon them, David David, not long after this, hearing that his d old friend gave them assurance that he would resent it in a proper
manner. Accordingly he sent an army under the coma The word in our translation is recorder, which in the mar-mand of Joab, to call these unhospitable Ammonites to ginal note, is remembrancer, or writer of chronicles; an employ- an account. The Ammonites were apprised of his dement of no mean estimation in the eastern world, where it was sign, and therefore provided against the worst, by procustomary with kings to keep daily registers of all the transactions of their reigns; and a trust, which, however discharged to pur- curing 33,000 mercenaries of the Syrians, who lay pose, must be let into the true springs and secrets of action, encamped at some distance in the fields, whilst their own and consequently must be received into the inmost confidence forces covered the city. For whether the office of a lord chancellor was consistent with Upon this situation of the enemy, Joab divided his the constitution of the Jewish state, a modern author seems to army into two bodies, one of which he gave to his brodoubt.-History of the Life of King David, vol. 2.
6 These guards are called in the text “the Cherethites and the ther Abishai, to keep the Ammonites in play, while himPelethites;" but who they were, is variously conjectured. That self with the other, which consisted of his choice men, they were soldiers, is evident, from their being mentioned as attacked the Syrians. Their agreement was, to relieve present at the proclamation of king Solomon, against Adonijah, each other, in case there was occasion : but Joab, at the which could not conveniently have been done without some armed force, to protect the persons who proclaimed him; and that they first onset, charged the Syrians so home, that as they were were not common soldiers, but the constant guards of David's but mercenaries, and thought not the cause their own, person, is manifest from the title of Eupatoquruxss, keepers of they soon gave way, which made the Ammonites, who the body, which Josephus gives them. Some are of opinion, that depended much upon their courage, endeavour to secure they were men of a gigantic stature ; but we find no ground for themselves by retreating into their city; for the season speak, and of known fidelity to their prince, (2 Sam. xv. 18. and of the year being too far advanced, made it impraexx. 7.) Others again, think that they were Philistines; but it is ticable for Joab to besiege it. hardly supposable, that David would have any of these hated uncircumcised people to be his body guard, neither can we be forces the last campaign ; and being apprehensive that
Hadadezer had assisted the Ammonites, with some lieve, that the Israelitish soldiers would have taken it patiently, to see foreigners of that nation put in such places of honour and David would fall foul upon him, he resolved to be betrust. Cherethite, however, is certainly but another name for Philistine, as appears from Zephaniah ji. 5.; and therefore the reason, became a friend to David, when he perceived how Saul question is, how came any of David's subjects to be called after persecuted him, and thereupon might send him relief and assistthat name? And the answer to this is obvious,—They were so ance, and perhaps offer him protection in his kingdom.- Patrick's called, because they went at first with him into Philistia, and Commentary. continued there with him, all the time that he was under the e This was one of the greatest indignities that the malice of protection of Achish. These were the persons who accompanied man could invent, in those countries where all people thought him from the beginning, in his utmost distress, and clave to him their hair so great an ornament, that some would rather have in all calamities; and therefore it is no wonder, if men of such submitted to die than part with it. What a foul disgrace and approved fidelity were made choice of for his body guards; nor is it heavy punishment this was accounted in ancient times
, we may any uncommon thing in history, for legions, or bands of soldiers, learn from Nicolaus Damascenus, as mentioned by Stohrus
, to take their names, not from the place of their nativity, but their (tit. 42.) who says, that among the Indians, the king commandresidence, and very frequently from the name of their captain ored the greatest offenders to be shaven, as the heaviest punishment commander. Since therefore, in 1 Chron, xii. 3. we find men that he could inflict upon them; and to the like purpose Plutaredi tion made of one Pelet, the son of Azmaveth, who resorted to (in Agesil.) tells us, that whenever a soldier, among the LacedemoDavid while he was at Ziklag, but still under the protection of nians, was convicted of cowardice, he was obliged to go with atte Achish, it is but supposing him to be their captain, and then we part of his upper lip shaved, and the other not. Nay, even ut come to the reason why they were called Pelethites, unless we this day, no greater indignity can be offered to a man of Persia
, suppose them rather denominated from Peleth son of Jonathan, than to cause his beard to be shaved; and therefore Tavernier, who was of the king's own tribe. -Patrick's Commentary; in his travels, relates the story, that when the sophi caused an Poole's Annot.; and The History of the Life of King David. ambassador of Aureng-zebe's to be used in this manner, telling
c Mephibosheth was very young when his father Jonathan was him that he was not worthy to wear a beard, the emperor, even killed at the battle of Gilboa, which put his nurse into so great a in the manner that David here did, most liighly resented the consternation, that she let the child fall, as she was making haste affront that was done to him in the person of his ambassador, to escape with him, and from that time he was lame of both feet And as shaving David's ambassadors, was deservedly accounted for ever after.2 Sam. iv, 4,
a grievous afiront, so the cutting off half the beard, which made d What the particular benefits which David had received from them look still more ridiculous, was a great addition to it, where Nahash were, we are no where told in Scripture; but some of the beards were held in great veneration; and where long habits down Jews say, that he fled to him, when he durst stay no longer with to the heels were worn, especially by persons of distinction, without Achish king of the Philistines, and that he received him very any breeches or drawers, the cutting their garments, even to this kindly; others
, that he entertained his relations when the king middle, therehy to expose their nakedness, was such a brutal of Moab, to whom he had committed them, slew some of them and shameless insult, as would badly become a man of David's but the most likely opinion is, that as he was a bitter enemy to martial spirit, and just sentiments of honour, to have tamely Saul, who had given him a great overthrow, he, for that very passed by:- Patrick's and Calmet's Commentaries.
A. M. 2949. A. C. 1055; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4311. A. C. 1070. 2 SAM. i–xix. forehand with him. To this purpose levying a vast army, safety in devising some means to conceal it. Hereupon not only in Syria, but in Mesopotamia likewise, be sent he sent a despatch to Joab for Urial to come to him, as it, under the command of Shobach his general, over the if he had something particular to inquire of him; but his river Euphrates, as far as Helam, a town in the borders whole intent was to give him an opportunity of lying of the half tribe of Manasseh. This David had soon with his wife, that so the child, when it was born, inight intelligence and therefore uniting all his forces, he be reputed his. Uriah came; and after the king had barched with the utmost expedition, and coming upon asked him some few questions concerning the condition the enemy sooner than was expected, slew seven thou- of the army, and the advances of the siege, he ordered saud men, who attended seven hundred chariots ; which him to go home, d and refresh himself after his journey, so disheartened the rest, that he soon despatched forty and sent a handsome collation after him for his enterthousand more, together with their general, who fell in tainment. But so it was, that instead of going near the action, and died upon the spot. Upon this success, his wife, he chose to sleep in the guard room. several petty kings who had assisted Hadadezer in this *David was informed of this the next morning ; and expedition, fearing some worse consequence, made a was therefore resolved to make use of another expedient. peace with David, and became tributary to him; and He invited him to sup at his own table, and prevailed even Hadadezer himself, being thus forsaken by his with him to drink to such a pitch, that he did not doubt confederates, gave him assurance that he would no lon- but that the heat of the liquor would have inflamed his ger espouse the cause of the Ammonites, but leave them appetite, and made him go home to his wife; but still he to shift for themselves. Whereupon David sent Joab lay in the guard room, and in excuse to the king, said, against them with a powerful army, who laid the country that he thought it was his duty so to do, while the rest waste, destroyed all that came in his way, and to make of the soldiers were encamped. So that finding himself short of the matter, laid siege to their royal city of still disappointed, the king ordered him at last back to Rabbah.
the army, and e sent him with letters to Joab, wherein While Joab was carrying on the siege of Rabbah, he commanded him to manage matters so, that Uriah David continued in Jerusalem, and walking one evening might be killed by the Ammonites, which accordingly
on the top of his palace to take the fresh air, he came to pass : for in an assault upon the town, Uriah, chanced to o espy a beauteous woman bathing herself in her garden. The unguarded king, as soon as he saw d The words in the text are, ' go down to thy house, and wash her, was smitten; and inquiring who she was, was in thy feet,’ (2 Sam. xi. 8.) for in these countries, where it was not
the custom to wear shoes, but sandals only, and, in some places formed that she was Bathsheba, the daughter of Ammiel, to go barefoot, washing the feet was a great refreshment alter a and wife of Uriah c the Hittite, an officer in his army, journey, and a common compliment that the master of the house who was then with Joab at the siege of Rabbah. David usually made to any stranger at his first entrance. But this sent for her, lay with her, and dismissed her. But, in a
custom of washing the feet, was not only after a journey, to
cleanse them from dirt and dust, but very much used likewise, short time, finding herself with child, she apprized him before people sat down to meat ; and therefore David's meaning of it, and desired him withal to consult her honour and in the expression is, that Uriah should go down and feast with
his wife, for which reason he sent a collation to his house, and a The manner of building, in all eastern countries, was to have after so long an absence, indulge himself in her company. For their houses flat-roofed, with a terrace and parapet wall, for the David's intention hitherto was, neither to murder Uriah, nor convenience of walking in the cool air; and as David's palace marry his wife, but only to screen her honour and his own crime. was built on one of the highest places of Mount Sion, he might-Calmet's Commentary. easily look down upon the lower parts of the town, and take a e It may he thought perhaps, that Uriah suspected something view of all the gardens that were within due distance. --Le of his wife's adultery, and therefore, resolving that it should be Clerc's Commentary.
discovered, would not be persuaded to go down to his house. 6. Thus Jupiter is said to have seen Proserpina washing her. But if he did, he certainly acted the part of a trusty servant, self, and exposing her whole body to his view, which inflamed when he would not open the king's letter to know what was in liis lust after her. But whether it was in her garden, or court- it, though, upon supposition that he suspected lis criminal yard, overlooked by the palace, or in some apartment in her commerce with his wife, he had reason to expect no good. This house, whose windows opened that way, that this woman bathed puts one naturally in mind of the story of Bellerophon's carrying herself, it is not so certain, Tradition points out the place of a letters from Prætus to his father-in-law Jobates, king of Lycia, fountain still called after her name, which would make it prob- with an order to kill him; from whom it came into a proverb, able that she bathed in a garden, did not Josephus expressly de- to carry Bellerophon's letter or a death warrant against one's clare that it was in her own house, as indeed the natural mo- self, according to that passage in Plautus: “ Aha! thy son hath desty and decency of her sex, as well as the circumstance of the now made me a Bellerophon, I myself have brought the warrant time, for then it was evening, make his account more probable ; for my bondage.”— Bacchid. For the fable of Uriah and Belleropor can it be doubted, but that the declining rays of the sun, phon are so very much alike, that the fable of the latter seems to shooting into the inmost recesses of her chamber, and throwing be founded upon the story of the former. Bellerophon, who, as a great lustre around her, might discover her very clearly to some scholiasts think, should be read Boulephoron, a council very distant eyes, without the least suspicion on her part, of any carrier, was a stranger at the court of Præetus, as Uriah being a possibility of being seen, and consequently with all the reserve of Hittite, was at the court of David. He declined the embraces modesty proper to her sex.—The History of the Life of King of Sthenobæa, as Uriah did the bed of Bathsheba ; and was for David, vol. 3.
that reason, sent to Jobates, general of Prætus's army, with « Uriah, though an Hittite by nation, was proselyted to the letters, which contained a direction to put him to death, as Uriah Jewish religion, and so marrying with a Jewish woman, lived was sent to Joab, David's general. By Jobates he was sent, in Jerusalem; or as he was one of the king's lifeguard, which with a small guard, upon an attack, in which it was intended, for reasons above mentioned, seem to have been all natives, and he should be slain, as Uriah was by Joab to that in which he of the tribe of Judah, this additional name might perhaps be fell. The main of the history is the same in both; the similigiven him, for some gallant action achieved against the Hittites, tude of Jobates and Joah's name is very remarkable; and the in the same manner as a Roman, in after ages, came to be called variation in the whole only lies in some such ornamental emAfricanus, Germanicus, Parthicus, &c., upon account of the vic- bellishments, as might well be expected in a poetical compositories obtained over the Africans, Germans, or Parthians.— tion.—Calmet's Commentary, and The History of the Life of Calmet's Commentary.
d. M. 2949. A. C. 1055; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES. A. M. 4341. A. C, 1070. 2 SAM. i–XIX. being deserted by the other soldiers, who had private this state he continued without any molestation, or aporders to retire when the onset began, a fell immediately prehension of having done wrong, for the space of several by the enemy's sword.
months, till at length God sent e Nathan the prophet to As soon as Uriah was dead, Joab sent an express rouse him out of his adulterous lethargy, and, by fan thereof to the king, who returned him orders to carry on the siege with more vigour, until he had made himself does not expressly forbid them, yet we may not thence infer that master of it; and then to raze it even to the ground, and they were permitted among the Jews. For these reasons some to put all the inhabitants to the sword, without sparing have thought that this marriage of David and Bathsheba was so much as one man. Upon this order Joab advanced that though there were many criminal circumstances attending
null and invalid; but others, upon better grounds, have supposed his approaches, and renewed his assaults every day, until it, yet these did not vacate its effect, and in short, though it he had got possession of the water works which sup- ought not to have been done, yet being done, the marriage was plied the town ; and then sent a courier to acquaint the good, and the children, which were afterwards born, were legiti
mate.-Calmet's and Patrick's Commentaries, king, that the city was reduced to the utmost extremity; was in no condition to hold out much longer, and there but that he was David's prophet, intimate counsellor, and his
e We learn little more of this great man in the sacred writings, fore he desired him to come in person, that he might toriographer. Josephus says of him, that he was a polite and a have the honour of taking it. The king, according to prudent man, one who knew how to temper the severity of wishis general's desire, went with a strong reinforcement, Manius Lepidus, of whom Tacitus says that he had a talent of took the place by storm, gave the plunder of it to his turning away Tiberius's mind from those cruel purposes, to which soldiers, but reserved to himself what belonged to the the vile flattery of others inclined him, and was, at the same time, king, among which was the crown of inestimable value. in equal favour and authority with him. Nathan certainly knew Having thus wasted the city and divided the spoil, offence. So far from that, he grew in his prince's favour and
the art of reproving kings with authority, and yet without giving he put the men who had held it out against him, to the estimation, as long as he lived ; insomuch, that David, as tradimost exquisite torments; and other places that would tion tells us, called one son after his name, and committed not immediately surrender, he treated with the same another, even his beloved Solomon, to his care and tuition. The severity.
History of the Life of King David, vol. 3. Upon the death of Uriah, his wife e Bathsheba pre- of the style fit for philosophic writing, which suits so well with this
f There is a passage of Seneca, (Epist. 59.) where he treats tended to mourn for him ; but it was not long before parable of Nathan's, that I choose to give it in his own words, as a David sent for her, d and declared her his wife : and in fit preamble to the short comment which follows it:—"I find,"
says he, “ images, which if any one forbids us to use, and deems
that they ought to be allowed to poets only, yet it is my opinion, a The fate and fall of the gallant Uriah is thus related by Jose- that none of the ancients ever read them who was not captiphus:-“ Joab put Uriah upon a desperate forlorn, and to cover vated with the beautiful diction. Those who spoke in a simple his design, gave him several brave men to back him, with a pro- manner, and with the view of proving something, made great mise to support him with the whole army, in case there was any use of parables, which I think necessary, not for the same reason possibility of entering the town ; and at the same time recom- that poets use them, but that they might be of assistance to our mended it earnestly to him, to maintain the reputation he had weakness, and further both teacher and listener to the point in already acquired with the king and the army, by acquitting hand.” For parables, like histories, wherein we have no concerni
, himself gallantly upon this occasion. Uriah with great cheer- are heard with more attention, and are so contrived, as to give no fulness undertook the post, while Joab gave his companions pri- offence, even though they provoke the man to whom they are vate orders to withdraw, and leave him, as soon as they found addressed, to condemn himself. “There were two men in die themselves in danger. The Hebrews pressed hard upon the city, the one rich, and the other poor; and the rich man bad wall, and put the Ammonites under a dreadful apprehension, exceeding many flocks and herds;' as David had many wives and that they would force the town; whereupon the besieged threw concubines, with whom he might have been well satisfied, withopen their gates, and made a desperate sally, which was as good out violating another man's bed; but the poor man had nothing as a signal to those that were with Uriah, to abandon him; which save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished accordingly they did, and left him to be cut to pieces. He did up.' Bathsheba, very likely, was the only wife that Uriah had, all the execution that was possible to be done by one single man with whom he was highly pleased and delighted, and she very against numbers, and after several wounds received, fell like a probably with him, tili David's temptations, had perverted her man of honour, with his face to the enemy.”—Jewish Antiqui- mind. And it grew up together with him and with his chilties, b. 7. c. 7.
dren; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and 6 Some learned men are of opinion, that this royal city of Rab-lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.' Nathan, in bah was likewise called the city of waters,' either because it stood his resemblance, cannot be said to have surpassed the truth, coliupon a river, or was encompassed with water both for its defence sidering how fond many persons were anciently, not only o and delight. But Junius renders it, that “ he cut off the waters lambs, but of several other creatures, which they suffered to eat which supplied the town;" which translation not only Josephus with them at their tables, and lie with them in their beds; and seems to favour by telling us, that Joab seized on all the aque- that even at this day it is a custom in Arabia, which is contiguducts which led into the city; but Polybius (5.5.) likewise, speak ous to Judea, to have one of the finest lambs in the flock brought ing of the siege of this same place by Antiochus, relates the story, up in the house, and fed with the children. And there came a low a certain deserter discovered to that prince a subterraneous traveller to the rich man;' this denotes David's straggling appepassage through which the besieged came to draw water, which tite, which he suffered to wander from his own home, and to Antiochus stopped up, and by reason of their thirst compelled them covet another man's wife: and of this appetite the Jewish doctors to surrender.—Poole's Annotations, and Calmet's Commentary. have this observation, that "in the beginning it is but a traveller,
c How long widows were to mourn for their husbands, there is but in time it becomes a guest, and in conclusion is the master no express precept in the law; but the usual time for common of the house.” And be spared to take of his own flock, and mourners was no more than seven days; and we cannot suppose his own herds,' wherewith he might have satisfied his appetite, that Bathsheba was much longer, considering the reason we have but took the poor man's lamb, and dressed it for the wayfaring to apply to her the words of Lucan: “Unwilling she shed the man that was come to him. Most commentators here take dotrickling tears, and from a heart of joy heaved forth groans." tice, that Nathan did not go so far in the parable, as to say any
d According to the Jewish doctors it was utterly unlawful for thing of the rich man's killing the poor man. This certainly any to marry another man's wife in case he had defiled her be- would have made the resemblance more complete, but it is fore. The canonical law declares such marriages null and void, therefore omitted, that David might not so readily apprehend Naas are contracted between an adulterous man, and a woman that than's meaning, and so be induced unawares to pronounce a sevwas partner with him in the crime; and though the law of Moses tence of condemnation upon himself; whereupon the propliet A. M. 2949. a. C. 1065; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A.M. 4341. A. C. 1070. 2 SAM. i–xix. elegant parable, to represent the baseness and wicked- therefore the son, for by this time Bathsheba was brought ness of what he had done, and to make him pronounce to bed of a son, begotten in this adulterous congress, sentence against his guilty self.
should not live ; that several of his family should come David accordingly condemns himself, and confesses to an untimely death; that some one of his sons should his guilt, and humbly begs pardon for what he had done : rise up in rebellion against him ; and his own wives be Whereupon Nathan was sent again to inform him, that a defiled publicly, and in the sight of all the world, beGod had pardoned his transgression, namely, the eternal cause he had given such scandal to his own people, punishment due to his transgression God had remitted, and c such occasion to the enemies of God to blaspheme. but the temporal should be inflicted on him. That Nor was it long before part of this sentence began to
be executed upon him. For the child, which he had by had a fair opportunity to show him, that if the rich man, who Bathsheba, was taken sick and died. While it was sick, wok away the poor man’s lamb, deserved death, according to his David fasted and prayed, if possibly he might appease own judgment, how much more did he deserve it, who had not only taken another man's wife, but caused him to be slain like the divine wrath, and intercede for its life ; but when it wise by the enemies of Israel. - Patrick's Commentary. was dead, he acknowledged the justice of God, and,
a It may very well be asked, how God so readily came to forcheerfully submitting to his will, made his ardent supgive David, when he acknowledged his transgression, and yei plications to him, that the remainder of his afilictions have sinned.' But the answer is obvious, that, be the form of might be mixed with mercy. This in some measure was expression what it will
, unless it proceeds from the sincerity of done ; for, in a proper space of time, he had another son e the beart, the great Searcher of hearts will not regard it. The true reason, therefore, why Saul could not obtain a revocation of terms, that he suflers men, naturally wicked, to follow the bent his sentence of rejection, was, because his repentance was not of their tempers, without any interposition of his providence to sincere; it did not proceed from an humble and contrite spirit. restrain them.—Le Clerc's Commentary. At the same time that he acknowledged his sin, he desired c David's crime, which at first was secret, was in time disSamuel “to honour him before the people,' and persisted in his covered, and the report of it carried to the neighbouring nations. disobedience ever after. Whereas David, on the contrary, hum- The Syrians, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Edomites, the bled himself, wept and lamented for his sin, and of his penitence Philistines, people whom he had subdued, and who, out of pure has left us a perpetual and eternal monument in Psalm li. 'Have malice, had always a jealous eye upon his conduct, would not mercy upon me, o God, after thy great goodness; according to fail upon this occasion to murmur, and say, “How could God the multitude of thy mercies, do away mine ofiences; wash thus favour an adulterer and murderer ? Where is his justice me thoroughly from my wickedness, and cleanse me from and his providence ? Is this the God who is said to be so equitmy sin,' &c.
able in his dealings with men, and so severe an avenger of ini6 In the threats, which God orders Nathan to denounce against quity, and yet makes choice of such a monster as this to govern David, the expressions are, I will raise up evil against thee out his people! This is the David, the man after God's own heart, of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, whom he preferred before Saul, on whom he hath poured down and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy innumerable blessings, and for whom he hath many rich promises wives in the sight of the sun; for thou didst it secretly: but I in reserve; and yet did Saul ever commit such horrid enormi. will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun ;' (2 Sam. ties as this man has done, and still continues to be the favourite xii. 11-12.) Where the words, “I will raise up, I will take, of God ?" Such reflections we may reasonably imagine would I will do,' do not denote any positive actions of God, as if he David's transgressions have occasioned among strangers and prompted wicked men to do the same things, wherewith he enemies, who might thence be induced to despise a religion they threatens David, insomuch that, without such prompting, they were acquainted with, and which he, who should have been its would not have done them, but by it were necessitated to do main support, so little regarded.—Calmet's Commentary. them. Such a construction as this is injurious to the divine d David's acts of humiliation for his sins are thus described attributes, and makes God the author of evil. But the true by Sylvian, On the Government of God. “He put off his purple, meaning is, that God, at that time, saw the perverse disposition threw away his royal ornaments, laid down his diadem, wholly of one of his sons, and the crafty wiliness of one of his counsel- stripped himself of his kingship, and appeared as a penitent, in lors, which, without restraining them, would not fail to create a squalid, rueful garb, fasting, lying on the ground, confessing, David no small uneasiness. And therefore, because David had mourning, repenting, deprecating, &c., and yet, with all his violated his law, and, to gratify his lust, had committed both humiliation and compunction, he could not obtain a revocation adultery and murder, God would not interpose, but suffered the of this punishment." But why should the death of this child, tempers of these two wicked persons to follow their own course, who, had he lived, would have been a perpetual monument of and have their natural swing; whereupon the one, being ambi- guilt, and a brand of infamy upon his parents, be accounted by tious of a crown, endeavours to depose his father, and the other, David so great a punishment ? The true way to account for this, willing to make the breach irreparable, advised the most de- is to ascribe it to David's excess of passion for Bathsheba, which tested thing he could think of. This indeed was the very thing so strongly attached him to every offspring of hers, and made him that God had foretold, but, without any imputation upon his forget every thing in this child, but that motive of endearment. attributes, we may say, that God can so dispose and guide a Besides this, there is something in human nature, which prompts train of circumstances, that the wickedness of any action shall us to rate things after a manner seemingly unaccountable; and to happen in this manner rather than another, though he do not estimate them, not according to their real worth, but according to infuse into any man the will to do wickedly. “To the torrent the expense or trouble, or even the distress they cost us. Nor of iniquity, if I may so speak,” for I give you the commentator's should it be forgot, that this excessive mourning did not proceed own words, because there is something very accurate in them, simply from the fear of the loss of the child, but from a deep " he adds no strength, but prevents its outbreaking to one side sense of his sin, and of the divine displeasure manifested in the rather to another, and all the circumstances (which have no vice child's sickness, and particularly from a just apprehension of the in themselves) he so directs and regulates that they may attain injury which he had done the infant by his sin, and which he to some certain issue. But there are innumerable circumstances thought himself bound in justice, by prayer and intercession, as of such a nature, having no real evil in themselves, but in which much as he was able, to repair.- Patrick's Commentary, and however the events are varied according to the will of God, and Poole's Annotations. the Almighty hath many methods by which he overrules all things e It is very observable, that in the whole compass of this without any diminution of his glory, and all in such a manner as story, there is not a word said either of Bathsheba's guilt or punto leave to men the liberty either of breaking or obeying his ishment; but this might be, because, as to the matter of her commandments.” So that from such scripture phrases as these, husband's death, she was innocent: to the adultery which she we may not infer, that God either does, or can do evil, but only, committed, she was enticed by the offers of a powerful king: and that he permits that evil to be done, which he foreknew would in the calamities which befell him, she, no doubt, had her share, be done, but might have prevented had he pleased; or, in other and felt her punishment.- Patrick's Commentary.