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of Judah.

him the crown

and Abner.

A.M. 2949. David's path to the throne was now comparatively smooth and BC. 1055. unoccupied, but he moved not without consulting that divine Director

who had always been his first resort in distress. He was commanded

to repair to Hebron, where all the princes of his own tribe and that of Elected king Benjamin (greatly intermixed with it) met him, and solemnly tendered

him the crown. A rival, however, appeared in the person of IshIsh-bosheth bosheth, a weak surviving prince of Saul's house, whom Abner, his

uncle, supported, and declared king of all the remaining tribes..
There was long war” between the contending claimants, but little
of active hostility, as it would seem from the sacred narration; the
only instance of a battle originated in a kind of hostile sport between
the out-posts of the armies commanded by Joab and Abner. The
forces of the house of Saul were defeated on this occasion with the loss
of three hundred and sixty men, while on the side of David but
nineteen were missing, though Asahel the brother of Joab (through
his own imprudent temerity) was amongst the slain. During this
interval the family of David increased considerably, and of his sons,
Amnon, Chileab, Absalom, Adonijah, Shephatiah, and Ithream,
were given to him in Hebron. The correctness of his administration
daily increased his power, and his well-known talents for war kept
all the outward enemies of his people in check. The period
approached that was to consummate his early anointing, and evident
designation to the throne of all Israel; his foes were divided amongst
themselves; and Abner, after seven years of inglorious and unavailing
opposition, secretly offered to abandon the wretched Ish-bosheth,
and transfer his influence to David. From this event we date

SECTION 3.—THE PERIOD OF DAVID'S PUBLIC PROSPERITY. .
A.M. 2951. But that God to whom David resigned every thing, and who in
B.C. 1053. every thing relating to his advancement, appeared peculiarly to

evince his independence of means, was hastening the catastrophe of Saul's house from another quarter. Abner perished by the hand of Joab as he was about to bring his various projects to completion. Two of the principal officers of Ish-bosheth, under pretence of bringing or taking out wheat for the household, approached the palace of this unhappy prince at noon-day, and finding him asleep on his couch, assassinated him, and travelled day and night to bring his head to David. Their reception was worthy their deed, and of the often-tried magnanimity of the king. “ As the Lord liveth,” said David, solemnly, “who hath redeemed my soul out of all adversity, when one told me, saying, behold Saul is dead, thinking to have brought good tidings, I took hold of him, and slew him in Ziklag; how much more when wicked men have slain a righteous person in

his bed; shall I not, therefore, require his blood of your hand, and Avenged by take you away from the earth?” He instantly ordered their execuDavid.

tion, and interred the head of Ish-bosheth in the sepulchre of Abner.

The tribes now unanimously invited David to the throne. In

Ishbosheth's death.

the midst of their past inconstancy to God, and inconsistency with A.M. 2956. the character of his chosen people, a silent stream of pious and B.C. 1048. observant individuals still fertilized the moral waste of Israel, and David king in the present public acknowledgment of David as peculiarly their of all Israel. “ bone and flesh,” their leader, their shepherd, and their captain, such persons would doubtless remember the ancient promise to all Israel, in the distinguished tribe of Judah, that there, at least, a lawgiver and a sceptre should always be found, until SHILOH, his greater son, should gather the nations to his feet. David is recorded to have been at this time in the thirty-eighth year of his age, during seven of which he reigned over the united tribes of Judah and Benjamin, in Hebron.

After three days devoted to gratitude and national festivity, 16 we find David marching forth to war, for the first time since he wore the honours of royalty, against the Jebusites at Jerusalem. This place never before was fully subdued to the Israelitish yoke. Joshua slew its king, and Caleb, a worthy predecessor of David, in the history of the tribe of Judah, had taken the town, but there was a strong fortress, now called Zion, which resisted every attack, and in which the ancient inhabitants seem to have possessed a long and secure retreat. Emboldened by this circumstance, they sent out an insulting message to David, that if he could contrive to take away the blind and the lame out of the fortress, he might, perhaps, prevail against it; but some commentators have understood this to allude to the Israelites having called the idols of the old inhabitants by these opprobrious names. However this may be, the taunt seems peculiarly to have excited David's anger, and he ordered, in consequence, the assault of the place, promising immediate promotion to the first who should succeed in smiting the blind and the lame, thus described. The fort quickly fell, and David is supposed to Takes the have celebrated the conquest in the 115th Psalm, part of which fort of Zion. (ver. 2 to 8), would strongly confirm the conjectured allusion. David enlarged this fortress considerably, removed the seat of government to Jerusalem, and called this part of it the city of David.

Prosperity now shone upon this illustrious prince, with a steadi- His great ness only equalled by his patience in obtaining it. He went on, prosperity. and grew great, “going and growing,” until it was at once the conclusion of truth and modesty, that God had “exalted his kingdom for his people Israel's sake.” He formed a friendship of great public benefit to him, with Hiram, the king of Tyre, from whose dominions he imported timber and masonry, and received a considerable accession of artificers in the various public buildings he carried on. To this season of uninterrupted peace, most critics have assigned the filling up of a considerable valley between the fortress of Zion above named, and the hill Acra, on the south of

15 To which occasion Delaney assigns the composition of the 60th Psalm, objecting to its present title.

with the

15.

A.M. 2961. Jerusalem, with streets. “Millo,” in which he is said to have B.C. 1043. “ built round about and inward,” is thought to have been the name Buildings. of this valley. He erected a sumptuous palace in that quarter of

the city which was honoured by his name, and increased his family by various children; he indulged also in the evils of polygamy, and

afterwards reaped its bitter fruits. Perilous war A new war, however, upon a most formidable scale, now demanded

his attention, and for a short time suspended all his improvements. Philistines. 18 dienoon, anu 101 a su

The Philistines, confederated, as Josephus states, with the Phænicians, the Syrians, and several other surrounding nations, appeared in great force in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem. The irruption appears to have been sudden and well concerted, for David was evidently unprepared for the war; and was compelled to retire to his former refuge in the fastnesses of Adullam. In this well known retreat, he marshalled his troops with his accustomed prudence and piety; and at this time occurred the adventurous journey of his three valiant chiefs through the encampments of the Philistines, to fetch

water for David from the well of Bethlehem, and his memorable 1 Chron. xi. reply—“Shall I drink the blood of these men that have put their

lives in jeopardy; my God forbid it me that I should do this thing!” and he poured out the water as a libation of thanks to God. But his army was now to be prepared and animated to more serious strife. The enemy filled the rich valley of Rephaim, on the southwest of Jerusalem, about the time of barley harvest, and David must have been most anxious to dislodge them. He commends his cause to God in the 83d Psalm, and pressed forward so eagerly in person to attack the Philistines, that this appears to have been the time when he suddenly found himself, with his three chief captains, alone in the midst of them; and gathering courage from the danger, headed the route described in 2 Sam. xxiii. 10, until, with his brave supporters, “ his hand was weary, but it still clave to his sword.” If this adventure shall appear rash, it must be remembered that he was stimulated to it by counsel that never misled him, and though the victory was but partial, he commemorated the deliverance by surnaming the place Perazim, the place of breaches; for God, he said, had appeared for him as suddenly and unexpectedly as the breaking out of waters. The enemy were soon able, however, to re-occupy their former position, and David was directed to a very different kind of victory. He was to march round their encampment toward some mulberry-trees in the rear, and when he heard (either by means of an unusual wind, or some other decisive interposition) a sound as of a flying army in the tops of the trees, he was forthwith to commence the attack, assured of success. He obeyed the monition, and obtained a triumph which compelled the enemy to retreat, and ultimately closed the war.

The consequences of these repulses of the Philistines are not further stated than that they brought him fame and glory in all the

at first.

neighbouring nations; but they now left him leisure to prosecute a A.M. 2962. · design, which he appears previously to have meditated, of removing B.C. 1042. the ark of God to Zion. To assist at this solemnity, he summoned David all the Levites, princes, and rulers of his people, from Sihon of femins to Egypt (near the mouth of the Nile) to Hamath northward, at the ark to Zion. fountains of the Jordan, a description of his northern and southern frontier, which may give us some conception of the extent of his dominions. At the appointed period, the king himself, attended by 30,000 troops, the high priest and his brethren, and all the magistracy of the land, repaired to a hill near Kirjath-jearim, in the tribe of Judah, and removed the ark from its long abode in the house of Abinadab and his family. According to the best chronologists, it had been deposited here about 90 years.

David led the way in the heartfelt melodies of the occasion, and plaved before the Lord, we are told, “ with all Israel, on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals.” But the procession was imperfectly arranged, and ended in a fatal III success error. A new cart, or open carriage of some description, drawn by at oxen, had been provided to carry the sacred symbol of God's power and presence. In this perhaps there was intended some confused memorial of the miracle whereby the ark had been brought back in the preceding century from the land of the Philistines, as it is certain, (on the other hand,) in the conductors appointed, Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, there was a strange forgetfulness of the express designation of the Levites only, to the care of every part of Num. i. 51. the tabernacle. Times of confusion, however, had long been corrupting the public mind; God was now pleased to show that his laws, when forgotten by us, are not necessarily extinct with Him. The oxen arriving near a corn floor at Gath-rimmon, in the tribe of Dan, suddenly grew restive and shook the ark, which Uzzah venturing to touch, in the effort to replace it, to the terror of the people and of David, fell dead upon the spot. Convicted of an error which as yet Uzzah slain. he could not comprehend, David now wisely delayed the further execution of his design, until he should be able to offer a more acceptable service. He ordered the ark to be deposited in the house of a neighbouring Levite, Obed-edom, and proceeded to Jerusalem disappointed, but still determined to understand the will of God in this affair. No one could better it explain than, after a very short interval, he was enabled to do. “The Lord our God made a breach upon us," he says, “ for that we sought him not after the due order.”

Having ascertained what this was correctly, and given the Levites that prominence in his new arrangements which the law of God had so expressly assigned them, within the period of about three months from the first attempt, David once more essayed to bring up this Final and sacred vessel to Jerusalem, and in the animated language of his own home poem on that occasion, (the sixty-eighth Psalm,) “ The singers” again the ark.

removing of

A.M. 2962. “ went before, the players on instruments followed after, among them
B.c. 1042. were the damsels playing with timbrels.” And finding, on advanc-

ing a few paces, no further interruption to his progress, he offered
oxen and fatlings on the spot, and probably at intervals all the way.
David's animation increasing with his progress and evident accep-
tance with God, the whole of the interesting composition alluded to
was appropriately sung as they approached Jerusalem.—(Delaney
has suggested the possible adaptation of the twenty-fourth Psalm as
a final chorus at this time, and certainly it is eminently in unison
with the occasion.)—David danced in the sacred procession, and gave
his soul up to joy, as the ark of God passed to its rest in the hill of
Zion, and JEHOVAH in his chosen symbols “ascended on high,”
leading these once dishonoured “ captives captive!

One painful interruption of the festival, now instituted, was found in the unaccountable conduct of Michal, his lately restored wife. Seeing David's almost boundless devotion in the scene just closed, she charged him with an indecorous exposure of his person before the women in the procession; an allegation so unfounded, and arguing a state of mind so averse to David's conduct on the occasion, and so forgetful of his generosity to her, that David warmly retorted the rebuke, and she was visited with the opprobrium of barrenness for her impiety. He closed this most important of all his triumphs by the composition of a Psalm, given at length in 1 Chron. xvi. and

forming part of the 96th and 105th of the canon. Religious

David now proceeded to regulate to the best of his discretion, and services set

with the constant aid of God's appointed ministers, the various in order.

religious services connected with the immediate presence of the ark at Jerusalem ; but comparing his unparalleled honours and security with all the previous history of his people, his heart gradually overflowed with a desire to consecrate some nobler dwelling than he had

yet found to the service of his God. The eighty-fourth Psalm will build a temple. be found to express great anxiety on this point, though some com

mentators have ascribed it to scenes of greater distance from God's worship than David could now complain of. To the general disposition evinced by his deeply-seated desires upon this subject, the prophet Nathan was commissioned to reply with God's decided approval; but the execution of his wish to consecrate a settled and magnificent TEMPLE to Jehovah, was almost immediately denied to him, and referred to a promised and more peaceful son. . Yet for his anxiety to erect a house for God's worship, he was assured that God would“ build him an house ;' that his mercy should not depart from him, as it had departed from Saul; but that his seed should possess the throne of Israel “for ever.” An eloquent and humble acknowledgment of these distinguished mercies closed the several interviews with the prophet on these occasions, and will be found in 2 Sam. vii. 18—29.

From the Philistines, David shortly after these circumstances took

David's desire to

He takes
Gath.

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