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sorted to him at Ziklag, whilst he was still under the protection of Achish, who might be denominated Pelethites, from the name of their leader* Pelet, the son of Azmaveth.
ZADOK, the son of Ahitub, and ABIMELECH, the son of Abiathar, were the priests; David's eldest sons were chief rulers; AHITHOPHEL was the king's counsellor; and HUSHAI, the Archite, was the king's companion. There were a number of other officers of state in different departments.
DAVID SENDETH FOR MEPHI BOSHETH, JONATHAN'S SON.
From 2 Samuel, Chap. viii. ix.
AND David reigneth over all Israel, and David executed judgment and justice unto all his people.
And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan's sake? And there was of the house of Saul, a servant whose name was Ziba; and when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? and he said, Thy servant is he.
And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of GOD unto him? and Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son which is lame on his feet.
And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lo-debar.
Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lo-debar.
1 Chron. xii. 13.
Now when Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant.
And David said unto him, Fear not; for I will surely shew thee kindness, for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father, and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.
And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am? Then the king called to Ziba Saul's servant and said unto him, I have given unto thy master's son all that pertained to Saul, and to all his house.
Thou therefore and thy sons, and thy servants, shall till the land for him, and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy master's son's family may have food to eat : but Mephibosheth thy master's son shall eat bread always at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons, and twenty servants.
Then said Ziba unto the king, According to all that my lord the king hath commanded his servant, so shall thy servant do. As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king's sons.
And Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Micha: and all that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants unto Mephibosheth.
So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king's table: and was lame on both his feet.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Whenever David enjoyed an interval of peace, he studied to improve it to some good purpose; his gratitude to God had lately been shewn in bringing back the Ark, and the pious design of building a temple for public wor
ship: religion was his first care, and the good of his subjects was the next.
No doubt he often recollected, with painful regret and tender sorrow, his dear friend Jonathan; but whilst his kingdom was in an unsettled state, he could not with propriety and safety introduce into his family one of Saul's race; besides, it is probable, David supposed Mephibosheth was dead (as his nurse concealed him), and that he thought there were none of Jonathan's posterity alive; but as his covenant with his departed friend remained firmly impressed on his memory, he resolved (as soon as he had regulated the affairs of the state) to shew kindness to any one of Saul's family who might be living, for Jonathan's sake; and when he found on enquiry that there was still a son of his left, his heart panted with impatience to shew him kindness, to succour and protect him.
How kindly did David remove the fears of Mephibosheth, and provide for the support of his houshold, by giving him the paternal inheritance of Saul, and receiving him into his own family.
Mephibosheth was now raised from a state of obscu rity and apprehension, to plenty, ease, and magnifi. cence; he had an ample fortune, and was treated as one of the royal family; besides all this, he enjoyed the confidence of the king, who without doubt took every opportunity of engaging his gratitude by acts of generosity and tenderness. Thus we find, that David was faithful in the performance of his promises, and did not suffer prosperity and success to obliterate the remem brance of those benefits which had been conferred on him in the time of his distress. How truly exemplary was his conduct in this instance!
DAVID'S AMBASSADORS ABUSED BY THE AMMONITES. A WAR ENSUES *.
WHEN David had settled the affairs of his kingdom, and testified his grateful respect for the memory of his dear friend Jonathan, he resolved to discharge another debt of gratitude by sending a friendly embassy to Hanun, the son of Nahash, king of the Ammonites, to condole with him on the death of his father, who had on some occasion shewed kindness to David, probably when he was persecuted by Saul.
Instead of receiving this compliment as it was intended, Hanun was persuaded by the princes of Ammon to regard it as an artifice of David's to inform himself of the strength of the city, that he might turn his arms against it; and as a mark of resentment for this supposed offence, Hanun caused David's ambassadors to be seized, and directed that they should have half their beards shaved off, and their garments cut short, and in this condition be sent back to their own country.
This was a very great indignity, because long beards and long garments were marks of honour and distinction; and cutting off the beard was a matter of the highest reproach at that time; for it was inflicted in some places as a punishment for heinous offences, and was a particular insult to the Jews, as their religion prohibited their cutting off any part of their beards.
David, though he must naturally resent this contemptuous and injurious treatment of his ambassadors, did not make any preparations for war, till the Ammonites, who
* 2 Sam. x.
expected to feel the effects of his resentment, had hired confederates and taken the field. It was a fixed principle with David, never to indulge his own revenge against any people; we may therefore conclude, that he referred himself to GoD, and had permission to send forth his army with Joab to repel the invasion.
Joab inadvertently exposed himself and his army to great danger, by not gaining proper information in respect to the situation of the enemy; but with a happy presence of mind, and proper confidence in GoD, he animated his soldiers with a noble speech, and they drove their enemies before them. The sentiments Joab expressed were such as every commander, engaged in a proper cause, should endeavour to inspire into his troops when preparing for battle-To be of good courage; to acquit themselves like men; and to leave the event of the battle to the LORD of HOSTS.
Whether the season of the year was too far advanced to keep the field, or for what reason Joab returned to Jerusalem, we are not told; but it seems, the Syrians expected another attack, and prepared accordingly; when David learnt this, he collected his troops, and went against them in person; a battle ensued, in which was the greatest slaughter that is recorded in any of David's wars. It is said that David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, who were confederate with the Ammonites, and forty thousand horsemen.
The gaining of this battle effectually finished the Syrian war, and established David's dominions on that side, to the utmost extent of God's promise to Abraham.
"Now * was David advanced to the highest pitch of power and grandeur; he had been successful in eight several wars, all righteously begun; and what is very * Delany's Life of King David. D 2