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And the people gat them by stealth that day into the city, as people being ashamed steal away when they flee in battle.
But the king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!
And Joab came into the house to the king, and said, Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants, which this day have saved thy life, and the lives of thy sons, and of thy daughters, and the lives of thy wives: In that thou lovest thine enemies and hatest thy friends; for thou hast declared this day, that thou regardest neither princes, nor servants; for this day I perceive, that if Absalom had lived, and all we had died this day, then it had pleased thee well.
Now therefore arise, go forth, and speak comfortably unto thy servants: for I swear by the LORD, if thou ge not forth, there will not tarry one with thee this night; and that will be worse unto thee than all the evil that befell thee from thy youth until now.
Then the king rose, and sat in the gate: and they told unto all the people, saying, Behold, the king doth sit in the gate and all the people came before the king: for Israel had fled every man to his tent.
And all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, The king saved us out of the hand of our enemies, and he delivered us out of the hand of the Philistines, and now he is fled out of the land for Absalom.
And Absalom whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle: now therefore why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back? And king David sent to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, saying, Speak unto the elders of Judah, saying, Why are ye the last to bring the king F back
back to his house? (seeing the speech of all Israel is come to the king, even to his house.)
Ye are my brethren, ye are my bones and my flesh: wherefore then are ye the last to bring back the king? And say ye to Amasa, Art thou not of my bone, and of my flesh? GOD do so to me and more also, if thou be not captain of the host before me continually in the room of Joab.
And he bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as the heart of one man, so that they sent this word unto the king, Return thou and all thy servants.
So the king returned, and came to Jordan ; and Judah, came to Gilgal, to go to meet the king, to conduct the king over Jordan.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Joab, knowing that if David abandoned himself to sorrow, and the ardour of the people was suffered to abate, many bad consequences might ensue, resolved to expostulate with him: had he done this with tenderness and delicacy, he would have acted a prudent and a friendly part; but Joab had a heart steeled to all the delicate feelings of humanity, he therefore could make no allowance for one whose mind was habituated to the tenderest sensibility. Nothing could be more insolent than Joab's address to his sovereign; however it was not a time for David to express displeasure, and he immediately acquiesced with his desire.
David had many friends amongst the tribes of Israel, who, as soon as they heard that Absalom was dead, endeavoured to persuade the rest to return to their duty; which they did with as much zeal as they had but a short time before rushed into rebellion; their only contention now was, which tribe should most signalize their loyalty
and affection. Amasa was the commander of the tribe of Judah, and as the men of Judah under him had taken such a distinguished part against David, they were apprehensive of his resentment; but, as the king longed for peace, he prudently resolved to win them by mildness, in which we find he happily succeeded. We cannot be surprized at the offer which David made to Amasa, when we reflect on the arrogant and contemptuous treatment he had received from Joab; and when we likewise consider, that he could not have regained possession of Jerusalem without besieging it, if the tribe of Judah had continued to resist him. It is true, that Joab had hitherto adhered to David's interest; but he had dared to kill the king's son contrary to his express command, when he might have taken him prisoner; and had lately threatened David with a fresh rebellion, unless he had acted entirely by his direction; so that it was highly necessary to remove him, and no one was so proper to succeed as Amasa.
David had now the happy prospect of being restored to the peaceable possession of the throne of Israel; and what was still more desirable, he had the comfortable assurance, that he should again present himself before the LORD in his holy tabernacle.
The 119th Psalm seems to be entirely composed of such sentiments as must naturally have arisen in the mind of David during his absence from Jerusalem, and on his return to it; we may therefore apply it to this part of his history.
Blessed are the undefiled in the way; who walk in the law of the LORD.
Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart.
O that my ways were directed to keep Thy statutes !
I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unte Thy ways.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep: seek Thy servant: for I do not forget Thy commandments.
Great are Thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me, according to Thy judgments.
Consider how I love Thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to Thy loving kindness.
I will delight myself in Thy statutes; I will not forget Thy word.
Remove from me reproach and contempt: for I have kept Thy testimonies.
I have chosen the way of truth: Thy judgments have I laid before me.
Let Thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD: even Thy salvation, according to Thy word.
So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in Thy word.
This is my comfort in my affliction: for Thy word hath quickened me.
The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from Thy law.
I remembered Thy judgments of old, O LORD: and have comforted myself.
Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.
I entreated Thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to Thy word.
I thought on my wuys, and turned my feet unto Thy testimonies.
I made haste and delayed not to keep Thy commandments. Thou hast dealt well with Thy servant, O LORD, according to Thy word.
Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept Thy word.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted: that I might learn Thy statutes.
They that fear Thee, will be glad when they see me ; because I have hoped in Thy word.
Let those that fear Thee turn unto me, and those that have known Thy testimonies.
O how I love Thy law! it is my meditation all the day. How sweet are Thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
Accept, I beseech Thee, the free-will offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me Thy judgments.
Mine cycs fail for Thy salvation, and for the word of Thy righteousness.
Order my steps in Thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.
I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in Thy word.
Mine eyes prevent the night-watches, that I might meditate in Thy word.
Seven times a day do I praise Thee: because of Thy righteous judgments.
Great peace have they which love Thy law and nothing shall offend them.
Unless Thy law had been my delight, I should then have perished in mine affliction.
Thy word is true from the beginning and every one of Thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
* I have ventured, without the authority of the learned, to apply some parts of the 119th Psalm on this occasion. The whole might have been introduced with advantage; but I am obliged, in the course of this work, to reject many noble passages, to avoid being too voluminous.