Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

A. M. 2931. A. C. 1023 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4375. A. C. 1036. 2 SAM. xix-1 KINGS viii. cut off' for reasons of state, and to make his possession | as wise a man as David might have been induced to beof the crown more sase : but, since these things came to lieve the whole to be true, and upon the presumption of pass very near the conclusion of his reign, when, as he its being so, might have proceeded to pass a judgment himself acknowledges' in the very next chapter, God of forfeiture (as in most eastern countries every crime had not only covered him with the shield of his salva- against the state was always attended with such a fortion, and so enlarged his steps under him, that his feet feiture) upon Mephibosheth's estate, and to consign the could not slip, but given him likewise the necks of his ene- possession of it to another. mies, and made him the head over many strange nations ;'

All therefore that David can be blamed for in this he could have no just conception of danger from any whole transaction, is an error in judgment, even when quarter, and consequently no necessity to establish his he was imposed upon by the plausible tale of a sycothrone by blood.

phant, and had no opportunity of coming at the truth ; It could not be then for any private end, that David but upon his return to Jerusalem, when Mephibosheth delivered these children of Saul into the hands of the appears before him, and pleads his own cause, we find Gibeonites, but purely in obedience to the will of God, this the decision of it. Why speakest thou any more who had both directed, and warranted hinı to do so. For of thy matters? I have said, Thou and Ziba divide the we cannot but suppose, as Josephus does, that, when land:' which words must not be understood, as if he David consulted the oracle concerning the famine, God appointed, at that time, an equal division of the estate inforined him, not only for what crime it was inflicted, between Mephibosheth and his servant, for where should but by what means likewise it was to be removed : and the justice of such a sentence be; but rather that he retherefore being let into all this, he was not at liberty to

voked the order he had given to Ziba, upon the supposed do what he pleased, but compelled rather to give up the forfeiture of his master, and put things now upon the same children as so many victims, notwithstanding his

establishment they were at first. pro

4« I have said,' that is, mise and oath to their father; because a superior power

“ my first grant shall stand, when I decreed that Mephiinterposed, and in so doing, cancelled the prior obli- bosheth should be lord of the whole estate, and Ziba gation.

his steward to manage it for him.” His making a grant of Mephibosheth's estate to a vile The words of the grant are these : 5. Then the king miscreant of a servant, without giving his niaster a fair called Ziba, Saul's servant, and said unto him, I have hearing, is another exception that is commonly made to given unto thy master's son all that pertained to Saul, the justice of king David's proceedings in this period of and to all his house. Thou therefore, and thy sons, and time. But how could David have leisure to send for thy servants, shall till the land for him, and thou shalt Mephibosheth from mount Olivet to Jerusalem, and in-bring in the fruits, that thy master's son, may have food quire into the merits of the cause depending between him to eat,' that is, may be enabled to maintain himself and and his servant, when he was in so great a hurry, and family in plenty; 'but Mephibosheth, thy master's son, under flight from the arms of his rebel son? Or how shall eat bread always at my table. From whence it could he suppose that Ziba could have dared to have seems manifest, that this Ziba had been an old steward told him so notorious a lie, when it might in a short time in Saul's family, and had managed his private estate, be disproved ? Every circumstance, in short, on Ziba's which lay at Gibeah of Benjamin.

6 This estate, upon side looked well; but none on the master's. To him

one account or other, had come into David's possession, David had been extremely kind in restoring him to the either in right of his wife, upon the death of Saul's son, forfeited estate of his grandfather Saul, and in allowing or by forfeiture to the crown, upon Ishbosheth's rebelhim ? to eat at his own table, as one of the king's sons ; lion; but he, being willing now to do a generous act to and now at the general rendezvous of his friends, David Saul's family, in memory of his friendship to Jonathan, might well have expected, that the person to whom he passed a free grant or dedition of it to his son, and that had extended so many favours, should not have been so

he might make a provision for all his dependants at negligent of his duty, as to absent himself, unless it had once, put Ziba into the same place he had enjoyed bebeen upon some extraordinary business ; and therefore, fore, constituting him a steward of the royal manor of when Ziba acquaints him with the occasion of his absence, Gibeah, even as he had been in the life of Saul. So though it was a mere fiction, yet with David it might that David's sentence or determination, “thou and Ziba find a readier credence, because at this time he had rea

divide the land,' refers us to this original grant, and son to mistrust every body, and seeing his own family

consequently implies no more, than that all things should alisconcerted and broken, might think the crown liable be in the same situation they were in before, namely, to fall to any new claimant, that could pretend to the that Ziba, and his sons, should manage the estate, and ane right of succession that Mephibosheth might.

support themselves out of it, as usual, and that the reOn the contrary, every thing appeared bright and mainder of the profits which accrued from thence, they plausible on Ziba's side. He, though but a servant, came

should bring to Mephibosheth, for him to dispose of as co join the king, and, instead of adhering to his master's

32 Sam. xix. 29.

Selden de Successionibus, 25. pretendedschemes of advancement, had expressed his duty 5 2 Sam. ix, 10, ul. 6 Poole's Annotations in locum, o his rightful sovereign, in bringing him a considerable

? 2 Sam. xix. 29, 30. present, enough to engage his good opinion. The story a The ancient way of tenancy, nor is it yet quite disused, was Hat he told of his master likewise, though utterly false, that of occupying the land, and giving the proprietor a certain anas cunningly contrived, and fitly accommodated to the half of the annual produce, he was called "colonus partiarius;

When the tenant paid one zature of the times ; so that, in this situation of affairs, and such, in the judgment of the best critics, was Ziba to Mephi

bosheth, as he had been before to Saul.- The History of the 2 Sam. xxii. 36, &c. 3 2 Sam. ix, 11.

Life of King David, vol. 3.

con

[ocr errors]

A. M. 2981. A. C. 1023; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A, M. 4375. A. C. 1036. 2 SAM. xix-1 KINGS viii. he pleased ; and to this sense of the words the following “ Thou rememberest likewise what Joab did unto me; reply seems to be accommodated,‘ yea let him have all,' with what insolence he treated me in the time of the war namely, to his own use and property, ‘since my lord against Absalom ; how, contrary to my orders, he slew the king is come again in peace.'

him, and afterwards talked to me in a menacing and That which leads many into a misconception of David, imperious manner. Thou rememberest what he did to as if he left the world in a vindictive and unforgiving Amasa, whom I intended to have put in his place, and temper, because we find him giving his son some in- made the general of all my forces; and what to Abner, who structions concerning two persons who had grossly mis- was then endeavouring to gain over to my party all that behaved towards him, has been nothing else but the want adhered to the house of Saul. The injury done to these of distinguishing between the same person, when acting two brave men redounds upon me, since they were both or advising in a public, and when in a private capacity. under my protection, and both murdered, basely murder. Slimei curses David in the time of his troubles, and ed, because I had an esteem for them ; and till justice be yet David forgives him, and promises he shall not die. done to their murderer, which I, in my lifetime, had not Joab does many valorous and brave acts for the honour power to do, 2. their innocent blood will not depart of his king, and the enlargement of his dominions; but from my house.' Do thou therefore take care to assoil then he sullies all with his insolent behaviour, and bar- it; and whenever he commits any transgression against barous murders. They both had committed crimes thee, let the blood of these two valuable njen be charged enough to forfeit their lives ; David, however, for reasons to his account, and let him, as he has long deserved, of state, thought it not advisable to seize either of them be put to death. for the present, but directed his son, if ever they should This is the sense of David's words to his son concerngive him a sufficient provocation not to spare them. ing these two men; and it is easy to observe, that in “ Thou hast Shimei with thee, and some share perhaps these dying instructions of his, "he is not to be consihe may have in thy favour ; but trust him not, he is no dered as a private man, acting upon principles of resentfriend to kings, or kingly power. Remember what he ment, but as a king and governor, giving advice to his did to me in my distress ; how bitterly, how virulently, son and successor in aflairs of state. It was for the he cursed me to my face ; and I make no doubt, but public good, that such offenders, as Shimei and Joah, that he would be the same to thee in the like circum- should sufler at a proper time, and as prudence should stances. I forgave him in my exile, because I looked direct: and therefore, since his promise and oath to one upon him as an instrument in God's hands to humble me of them, and the formidable power and interest which the for my great offence. I forgave him in my return home, other had usurped, restrained him, in his lifetime, from because he came to me when my heart was open, and punishing them as they deserved ; and since it would unwilling to damp the joy of my restoration with the have been an unjust thing in itself, and a derogation to effusion of any blood. I promised him his life ; and let the glory of his reign, to suffer such public and crying not that promise be violated in my days: but what I sins to go unpunished, he recommended the considers. did is no rule or obligation to thee. Let him not die tion of these things to his son, and, like a wise magishowever for his offence against me, but rather watch his trate, laid a scheme for the punishment of wickedness

, conduct, and if he should chance to give thee a fresh without regard to any private revenge. occasion, be sure to lay hold of it, because it is not in David, as we said, durst not call Joab to an account, his nature to be a good subject." *

? 1 Kings ii, 3). * Scripture Vindicated, part 2. p. 106. 'Patrick's Commentary on 2 Kings ji. 8.

Calmet's and Le Clerc's Commentaries on 1 Kings ii. a The way in which this passage here commented upon, rebuke me not in thy wrath, neither (and, for ard not) chasten should be understood and translated, has already been noticed, p. me in thy hot displeasure.' (Ps. Ixxv. 5.) •Lift not up your 393, but for the satisfaction of the curious and inquiring reader horn on high: (and then the negative, understood as repeated by we here subjoin Dr Kennicott's criticism on the text. He says the conjunction, now dropped,) speak not with a stiff neck.' Prof. David is here represented in our English version as finishing xxix. 12.) Our version is this: Doth not he that pondereth the his life, with giving a command to Solomon to kill Shimei, and heart consider it? and he that keepeth the soul, doth not he knew

ill him on account of that very crime for which, as David it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works " here says, he had sworn to him by the Lord he would not put And (Prov. xxx. 3.) 'I neither learned wisdom, nor (ard, ir him to death. The behaviour thus imputed to the king and and not) have the knowledge of the holy,' Is then there are in prophet, and which would be justly censurable, if true, should be fact many such instances, the question is, whether the argchte examined very carefully as to the ground it stands upon; and here, expressed in the former part of David's command, may mo when the passage is duly considered, I presume it will appear be understood as to be repeated in the latter part; and if the highly probable that an injury has been here done to this illustrious may be, a strong reason will be added why it should be so inte. character. The point to which I now beg the reader's attention preted. The passage will run thus: - Behold thou hast with the is this: that it is not uncommon in the Hebrew language to Shimei, who cursed me: but I swore to him by the Lord, sayir: omit the negative in a second part of the sentence, and to con- I will not put thee to death by the sword. Now, therefore, bu-i sider it as repeated when it has been once expressed: and is fol- him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest whal these lowed by the connecting particle. And thus on (Is, xiii. 22,) the oughtest to do unto him, but bring not down his hoary bead to LR late learned annotator says, 'the negative is repeated or referred grave with blood.' Now if the language itself will admit of this to by the conjunction vau, as in many other places.' So also construction, the sense thus given to the sentence derives a te (Is. xxiii. 4.) The necessity of so very considerable an altera- strong support from the context. For how did Solomon und tion as inserting the particle not, may be here confirmed by stand this charge ? Did he kill Shimei in consequence of 1 some other instances. (Ps. i. 5.) • The ungodly shall not stand in Certainly he did not ; for after he had immediately commandes judgment nor (the Hebrew is and, signifying and not) sinners in Joah to be slain, in obedience to his father, he sends for Shimci the congregation of the righteous.' (Ps. ix. 18.) The needy and knowing that Shimei ought to be well watched, confines hin shall not always be forgotten : (and then the negative understood to a particular spot in Jerusalem for the remainder of his file: as repeated by the conjunction now dropped,) the expectation of Kings ii. 36-42: sce also Job. xxiii, 17; xxx. 20; IX). IV. the poor shall not perish for ever.' (Ps. xxxviii. 1.) O Lord, I This is the best mode of interpreting this text.–ED.

to

A. M. 2981. A. C. 1023; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4375. A. C. 1036. 2 SAM. xix-I KINGS viii. because his power and interest was so great in the army The most common therefore, and indeed the only (and it was the army that David in a great measure de- probable opinion is, that this act of David's proceeded pended on) that it might have occasioned an alteration from pride and ambition, and a foolish curiosity to in the government, had he pretended to do it: but when know the number of his subjects, the strength of his Solomon came to the throne, Joab was not that mighty forces, and the extent of his empire : as if all these had man he had formerly been. He was at least of an equal greatly contributed to his glory and renown; as if they age

with David; had commanded the armies of Israel had been of his own acquiring, and more proper to place for twenty years, and upwards ; and as he was only for his confidence in, than the power and assistance of hini midable at the head of his troops, and in the times of whose protection he had so long experienced ; whom, war and public disorder ; so 'the profound peace which upon other occasions, he was wont to call his rock, his bad subsisted for some time, both before and after the shield, and castle of defence ;' and who was able at all

beginning of Solomon's reign, had impaired his power, times, to save with a handful of men, as well as a mul- and made him in a manner useless. Upon this account, titude.

Solomon had not the like reason to fear him that his Pride then, and an arrogant conceit of himself, which father had ; nor did he lie under the like obligations to is always attended with a forgetfulness of God, was at spare him. He had done David great services indeed; the bottom of David's numbering the people; and inand a sufficient recompense it was, that he had been in- deed so visible to others, as well as to the all-seeing eye dulged for so many years, with an impunity for his crimes; of God, that we find Joab, who was then of his privy but whatever the father might be, the son was under no council, thus remonstrating against it: ? Now the Lord ties or obligations, especially when he found him con- thy God add unto thy people, how many soever they be, spiring to take away his kingdom, and translate it to an hundred-fold, and that the eyes of my lord the king another,

may see it; but why doth my lord the king delight in Wherein the formality of David's sin in numbering the this thing ?' people, which, at first view, seems not to be so very hei- It is a judicious observation of the apostle, 8 • Let no nous, did consist, it is not so well agreed among inter- man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for preters. 2. When thou takest the number of the children God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any of Israel,' says God to Moses, ' after their number, then man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away with shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the his own lust, and enticed ;' and therefore it may justly be Lord, that there be no plague among them, when thou reckoned a peculiar elegance in the Hebrew tongue, that numberest them :' upon which passage Josephus, and it frequently leaves out the nominative noun to a verb some others, have founded this conjecture :—That David active, which, when it happens, the accusative following had quite forgot to demand of every man that was mus- supplies the place of the nominative that is wanting. tered, an half shekel, which was appointed by the law, | This shows that our translators have made a gross misand is here called 'a ransom for his soul ;' and there- take in rendering the passage,' the Lord moved David sore God sent among the people a pestilence; because, to number Israel and Judah,' because in the original amidst the great plenty and abundance which they now there is no such thing as the Lord ;' for the nominative enjoyed, it was a very impious and provoking thing not is omitted, as I said, and the accusative supplying its to pay him his dues. * But where do we find, that upon place makes the sense simply · David was moved, (by every numbering of the people, a half shekel was ordered what is not named, but by bis pride and vanity, we may to be paid ? It was in this case only, when the people say, as well as the instigations of the devil) to number were to contribute towards the building of the taberna- the people.' So that there is no contradiction in the cle, and God threatens those who should refuse to do it ; Scripture account of this transaction, no appearance of but this has no manner of relation to what David did, a confederacy between God and Satan; nor was God who nowhere stands charged with such an omission, any further concerned in it, than as his providence, any more than with a design of raising a capitation tax, for wise ends, thought proper to permit it. as others conceive, upon every poll through the king

“ But if David only was culpable in this affair, why dom.

did not God immediately punish him for it, instead of Others are of opinion, that this numbering of the peo- falling upon the people, who were confessedly innople was a thing contrary to the fundamental promise cent ?” which God made Abraham, namely, that his seed should The generality perhaps were innocent as to the aflair 80 increase, as even to exceed the stars in multitude ; of numbering the people : that might be chiefly David's and therefore since God had promised to increase them sin; but in other respects they were not. They had

many beyond number, it savoured of infidelity and distrust in great and grievous sins, which justly deserved punishGod, for any one to go about to number them: but quite ment, and for which probably they would have been contrary to this, the Scripture in another place tells us, punished before, had it not been for God's tenderness to that David, out of a religious regard to the promise of David, who must have been a sufferer in the common God, never intended to take an exact number of all, but calamity ; but now, when both king and people had deof such only as were fit to bear arms ; for so the words served correction, God was pleased to let loose his anger are ” He took not the number of them, from twenty upon both. David, indeed, was not smitten in person, years old and under, because the Lord hath said, he but a king is never more sensibly punished than when would increase Israel like to the stars of the heavens.' the judgment of God falls upon his people and diminCalmet's Commentary.

2 Exod. xxx. 12, • Calmet's Commentary in locum. 4 Patrick in locum.

6 Calmet's Commentary in locum. 51 Chron. xxxii. 23, 24.

7 2 Sam. xxiv. 3, 8 Jas, i, 13, 14,

91 Chron, xxi. 1.

A. M. 2981. A. C. 1023; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4375. A. C. 1036. 2 SAM. xix-1 KINGS viii. ishes their number, and their strength, for the body poli- | legionary soldiers, as they are called, or those companies tic is not unlike the body natural ; no sooner does the of militia which attended the king's person by turns, head suffer, but all the members suffer with it; nor can and might make the number either greater or less, the least part of the body be in pain, but the head is according as they were numbered or not numbered in immediately affected : and therefore we need not doubt the account: but this solution is purely arbitrary, and but that David, when he saw the angel stretching out such as has no foundation in Scripture. It supposes his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it,' and thereupon withal, that the real number was what is recorded in broke out into this exclamation, “ Let thy hand, I pray Chronicles, which, taking in the several articles that are thee, be against me, and against any father's house,' had said to be omitted, surpasses all faith. his heart as full of grief and anxiety as any one that lay Since there is then no possibility of reconciling these languishing in the plague.

different computations, the question is, which of the two Thus, in all the afilictions of his people, David was we are to receive ? And this, without all controversy, ailiicted : and if this sore judgment befell the nation a must be that in Samuel, not only because the Arabic little while before Absalom's rebellion, as some have sus- translators in their version of the Chronicles, have pected a mislocation in this part of the history, this may inserted it, but because there is vothing excessive, or suggest a reason why God might think fit to preserve --xtravagant, in the supposition, that, in a fertile and David, and not cut him off', as he deserved, for his sin; well cultivated country of sixty leagues in length, and 2 that the dissension which might have arisen among his thirty in breadth, a multitude of people, to the number sons, about the right of succession, in case of his death, of six or seven millions, which taking in the other artiand the foreign and domestic wars that would thereupon cles, will be the sum total, might very comfortably be have ensued, and a proved more fatal to the Israelites, maintained. * Rather, then, than have recourse to such than this destroying pestilence, might, by David's life, solutions as do but more embarrass the matter, we may and interposition, be prevented. And from the sense of adventure to say, without any diminution to the Scripthis, very probably, it is, that we find him commemorating ture's authority, that the excessive number in the Chroniliis deliverance from this public calamity, in such exalted cles was a mistake of the person, who, after the captistrains, as make it disputable, whether their piety or vity, transcribed this part of the sacred writ; “ For poetry are more remarkable. ” He that dwelleth in the I do hesitate to say,” says Sulpicius, ' in his sacred secret places of the Most High, shall abide under the history, “ that truth had been corrupted rather by the shadow of the Almighty. He shall deliver thee from the carelessness of transcribers during a course of so many snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. ages, than that the prophet erred.” Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for It must be acknowledged, that in most nations where the arrow that fieth by day, nor for the pestilence that the regal power was at this tine established, the right of walketh in darkness, or for the destruction that wasteth at succession was generally hereditary, and the eldest som noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thou- seldom, except in cases of incapacity, postponed. This sand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh is what Adonijah, urges to Bathsheba ; 1• thou knowest thee.'

that the kingdom was mine by right of primogeniture

, It must be owned indeed, that there is a very large and that all Israel set their faces on me, that I should ditterence, in the Scripture accounts of the number of reign:' but then, there was this peculiar to the Jewish men, fit to bear arms, that were found in David's constitution, that as God had been their only king from dominious : * In Samuel it is said, that they were in Is- the time that they first became a nation, so when they rael eight hundred thousand, and in Judah five hundred thought fit to have that form of government altered, lie thousand; but in 5 Chronicles, they of Israel were a still reserved to himself the right of nominating the thousand thousand, and a hundred thousand, and they of successor, when the throne became vacant: 116 when ihou Judah four hundred threescore and ten thousand ; and art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth various have been the attempts to adjust and settle this thee, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like all disagreement. Some suppose, that, as Joab undertook the nations that are about me, thou shalt by all means this oflice with no small reluctancy, and David, very make him king over thee whom the Lord thy God shall probably, might repent of the thing, before it was fully choose.' So that when God had declared his pleasure executed, though the commissioners might make an exact concerning the person that was to succeed him, as he review, ' yet they thought proper to lay before the king did by the prophet Nathan, David was not at liberty to no more than what the sum in Samuel amounts to ; but make choice of any

other, that the author of the book of Chronicles might, from We do not dispute at all, but that Bathsheba, who 1.78 some of these commissioners, receive the complete sum, his favourite wife, had a great ascendency over her husa which occasioned the difference.

band; but Solomon's title was not founded upon her · Others inagine, that this difference arises from the interest and management with the king,

ordination and appointment of God. 19. Of all my sons, 1 2 Sam. xxiv. 16, 17.

says David, (“for the Lord hath given me many sons,) be * Le Clerc's Commentary in locum. 3 Ps, xci, 1, &c.

hath chosen Solomon my son tv sit upon the throne of 2 Sam. xxiv. 9. 51 Chron. xxi. 5. 61 Chron. xxvii, 24. the kingdom of the Lord over Israel;' and therefore . See Calmet's Commentary on 2 Sam. xxiv, 9.

Adonijah himself acknowledges, 13 « that it was of the a The character which Livy gives us of such factions and dissensions, is conceived in these words:-" They ended, and brought to many people more destruction than foreign wars, | Le Clerc's Commentary in locum.

Book 1. famines, or pestilences, or any other calamity inflicted by the

10 ) Kings ii. 15. 11 Dcut, xvii, 14, 15. wrath of an angry Deity,” b. 4.

" 1 Kings ii. 15.

12 I Chrop, xxviii. 5.

but upon

the

successor.

A, M. 2981. A. C. 1023 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4373. A. C, 1036. 2 SAM. xix-1 KINGS viii. Lord, that the kingdom was turned about and became mother, and carry their point without ever discovering his brother's.'

the malevolent intent of it. Nathan indeed put Bathsheba upon another argument, The wives of the late king, according to the customs namely, the sacredness of the king's oath, in order to pre- of the east, belonged to his successor, and were never vail with himn in behalf of her son : ‘Didst not thou married to any under a crowned head. 8 Abishag was swear unto thy handmaid, saying, Surely Solomon thy doubtless a beautiful woman, and, by her near relation son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my to David might have a powerful interest at court; throne ?' But at what time this promise was made, is a Adonijah might therefore hope, by this marriage, to matter of sonie dispute. The generality of interpreters strengthen his pretensions to the crown, or, at least, are of opinion, that after the death of the first child which to lay the foundation for some future attempt, upon David had by Bathsheba, he comforted her for her loss, a proper opportunity, either if Solomon should die, and gave her assurance, that, if God should give him and leave a young son, not able to contest the point another son by her, he would not fail to make him his with him, or if at any time he should happen to fall

But it is much more probable, that David did under the people's displeasure, as his father had done not make any declaration of a promise to Bathsheba, before him. until God had revealed it to him, 2 that he should have This might be Adonijah's design, and Solomon ac. a son, distinct from what he had already, who should cordingly might have information of it: but supposing succeed him in the kingdom, and have the honour of that his brother's design was entirely innocent, yet since building bim a temple ; and no sooner was Solomon his request, according to the customs then prevailing, born, but David was convinced that this was the child to was confessedly bold and presumptuous, and bad in it whom the promise belonged, by Nathan's being sent to all the appearance of treason, it was none of Solomon's give him a name, denoting his being & beloved of the business to make any farther inquiry about it, or to inLord:' and it was at this time, most probably, that David terpret the thing in his brother's favour. It was sufficient gave his mother a promise, confirmed upon oath, that, for him that the action was in itself criminal, and of since God had so manifestly declared in favour of the dangerous consequence to the state ; for it is by their child, he, for his part, would do his utmost to facilitate actions, and not intentions, that all offenders must be tried. his succession. But, upon the whole, he did not choose Adonijah indeed, had he lived under our constitution, for himself,' neither was his declaration to Bathsheba would have had a fair hearing before conviction; but we previous to Nathan's information, but rather the effect ought to remember, that, in the kingdoms of the east, and consequence of it.

the government was absolute, and the power of life or But even suppose there had been no divine interposi- death entirely in the prince ; so that Solomon, without tion in favour of Solomon, why might not David, who the formality of any process, could pronounce his brohad done such signal service in his reign, nominate his ther dead : and, because he conceived, that, in cases of successor ? Several great princes in most nations have this nature, delays were dangerous, might send immeclaimed this privilege. Among the Romans, Aurelius diately, and have him despatched ; though we cannot but named Nerva, and Nerva chose Trajan, and so did say, that it had been more to his commendation, had he Augustus appoint his successor, And that this was a showed more clemency, and spared his life. prerogative belonging to the crown of Israel, and what And in like manner, had he not married bis Egyptian continued with it for some time after David, is evident queen, there might be less objection to his character ; for, from the story of his grandson Rehoboam, who though whatever augmentation of power he might promise hima prince of no great merit, took upon him the authority self from that alliance, ""he certainly ran the hazard of of nominating his successor, and to the prejudice of his having his religion corrupted by this unlawful mixture. eldest son, made one of his youngest king.

Others, however, have observed that as the sacred ScripFar are we from vindicating Solomon in all his actions, tures commend the beginning of Solomon's reign, in all any more than David in the matter of Uriah. His se- other respects, except the 11 people's sacrificing in high verity to his brother for a seemingly small offence looked places,' which might be the rather tolerated, because like revenge, and as if he had taken the first opportunity there was no house built unto the name of the Lord in to cut bim off, for his former attempt upon the kingdom; those days ;' and as they give him this character, 12 that and yet we cannot but imagine, ’ from Solomon's words he loved the Lord, and walked in all the statutes of to his mother, “Why dost thou ask Abishag for Adoni- David his father,' he would never bave done an act so jah ? Ask for him the kingdom also, for he is mine elder directly contrary to the laws of God, as marrying an brother,' that there was some farther conspiracy against idolatrous princess, had she not been first proselyted to bim, though not mentioned in holy writ, whereof he had the Jewish faith. The Scripture indeed takes notice got intelligence, and wherein Joab and Abiathar were of the gods of the Moabites, Ammonites, and Sidonians, engaged ; and that he looked upon this asking Abishag in for whom Solomon, in compliance to his strange wives, marriage as the prelude to it, and the first overt act, as it built places of worship: but as there is no mention mado were, of their treason. It is certain that they thought of any gods of the Egyptians, it seems very likely that to impose upon the king, as they had done upon his this princess, when she was espoused to Solomon, quitted

the religion of her ancestors, to which these words in '1 Kings i. 13. 2 Sam. xii. 24.

the psalm, supposed to have been written upon this * 1 Chron. xxii. 9, 10. * The name was Jedidiah, 2 Sam, xii. 25. • Calmet's Commentary in locum.

& Poole's Annotations on 1 Kings ii. 22. > Patrick's Commentary on 1 Kings i. 20. 62 Chron. xi. 21, 22. 9 Calmet's Commentary in locum.

10 See 1 Kings xi. 1 Kings ji. 22.

"I Kings iii. 2. 12 i Kings iii, 3.

7

« PreviousContinue »