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DAVID SUBDUES THE AMMONITES *,
The Israelites continued to carry on the war with the Ammonites; probably they had been intimidated by the death of Uriah and his brave followers, and had not proceeded with so much vigour as before, and the enemy
had made a more resolute resistance: at length, however, Joab made a breach in that part of the city where the reservoirs of water were, which reduced the Ammonites to the necessity of submitting; Joab then exhorted king David to come and put a finishing hand to the siege himself.
This was an expedition which came very seasonably to remove David's melancholy, to relieve his distress, and to blot out from the minds of his subjects the memory of his guilt in relation to Uriah, and also to revive his glory in arms. Rabbah was a royal and populous city, the metropolis of Arabia Felix, watered, and in some measure surrounded, by the river Jabbok. It had its name from its grandeur, and was now in the height of its glory; and we may suppose, that the taking of it brought a great accession of glory to David, as we are told it did of wealth.
It is said that the weight of the king of Rabbah's crown, which David took from his head, was a talent of gold t. But it was most likely the value of it with the precious stones instead of the weight, a talent of gold amounting to about 50001.
It appears that the king of Rabbah was deposed, and David crowned in his stead; this king was Hanun, who
* 2 Sam. xit.
+ Essay for a New Translation.
had treated David's ambassadors with so much indignity, and it is imagined that David made Shobi, another son of Nahash, his viceroy at Rabbah; for in a subsequent part of this history it is said, that Shobi was in friend. ship with David, and shewed him great kindness.
David has been greatly censured for his treatment of his prisoners in this defeat. It is said, that he brought them forth, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron ; and that he made them pass through the brick-kilns. It is certainly dreadful to read of such tortures; but if they were actually inflicted, it could only have been by way of retaliation. The Israelites were raised up on purpose to be a scourge upon every vice and enormity in the idolatrous nations; and it was an invariable and fixed point of duty, to retort upon
those sinners every cruelty they had committed. But there is another way of explaining this text, which is, I think, more satisfactory; a learned * author assures us, that it may be translated, he brought forth the inhabitants of it, ard put them to the saw, to iron mines, and to iron axes ; and transported them to the brick. kilns : that is, he reduced them to slavery, and put them to the most servile employments ; some to one kind of labour, some to another, by which means he brought them into entire subjection. It is certain that David did not destroy all the Ammonites ; because we read, that in the reigns of future kings of Israel, they were very numerous.
After this memorable victory, David, with his whole army, returned to Jerusalem.
# Chandler's Life of David.
ABSALOM KILLETH HIS BROTHER AMNON.
From 2 Sam. Chap. xiii, xiv.
AND Absalom David's son hated his brother Amnon because he had done evil to his sister Tamar.
And it came to pass, that Absalom had sheep-shearers in Baal-hazor, which is beside Ephraim: and Absalom invited all the king's sons.
And Absalom came to the king, and said, Behold now thy servant hath sheep-shearers, let the king, I beseech thee, and his servants, go with thy servant.
And the king said to Absalom, Nay, my son, let us. not all now go, lest we be chargeable unto thee. And he pressed him : howbeit he would not go, but blessed him.
Then said Absalom, If not, I pray thee, let my brother Amnon go with us. And the king said unto him, Why should he go with thee? but Absalom pressed him, that he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him.
Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, Mark ye now when Amnon's heart is merry with wine, and when I say unto you, Smite Amnon, then kill him, fear not; have I not commanded you? be courageous, and be valiant.
And the servants of Absalom did unto Amnon as Absalom had commanded : then all the king's sons arose and every man gat bim
up upon his mule, and fled. And it came to pass while they were in the way, that. tidings came to David, saying, Absalom hath slain all the king's sons, and there is not one of them left.
Then the king arose and tare his garments, and lay on the earth ; and all his servants stood by with their clothes rent.
And Jonadab the son of Shimeah, David's brother, answered and said, let not my
that they have slain all the young men the king's sons; for Amnon only is dead: for by the appointment of Absalom hath this been determined,
Now therefore let not my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king's sons are dead: for Amnon only is dead.
But Absalom fled. And the young man that kept the watch, lift up his eyes, and looked, and behold, there came much people by the way of the hill-side be, hind him.
And Jonadab said unto the king, Behold, the king's sons come : as thy servant said so it is.
And it came to pass as soon as he had made an end of speaking, that behold, the king's sons came, and lift up their voice and wept; and the king also, and all his servants, wept very sore.
But Absalom fled and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur: and David mourned for his son every day.
So Absalom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there
And the soul of king David longed to go forth unto Absalom : for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead.
Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king's heart was toward Absalom.
And he entreated the king. And the king said unto Joab, Go and bring the young man Absalom again. And Joab fell to the ground on his face, and bowed
himself, and thanked the king: and Joab said, To-day thy servant knoweth that I have found grace in thy sight, my lord, O king, in that the king hath fulfilled the request of his servant.
So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem.
And the king said, Let him turn to his own house, and let him not see my face. So Absalom returned to his own house, and saw not the king's face.
But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him.
And when he polled his head, (for it was at every year's end that he polled it: becalise the hair was heavy on him, therefore he polled it :) he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels, after the king's weight.
And unto Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter, whose name was Tamar: she was a woman of a fair counteñance.
So Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, and saw not the king's face.
Therefore Absalom sent for Joab, to have sent him to the king ; but he would not come to him; and when he sent again the second time, he would not come.
Therefore he said unto his servants, See, Joab's field is near mine, and he hath barley there ; go, and set it on fire. And Absalom's servants set the field on fire.
Then Joab arose and came to Absaloin unto his house, and said unto him, Wherefore have thy servants set my field on fire ?
And Absalom answered Joab, Behold, I sent unto thee saying, Come hither that I may send thee to the king, to say, wherefore am I come from Geshur? it had been