Imatges de pÓgina

And now, O LORD GOD, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant.

Therefore now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee: for thou, O LORD GOD, hast spoken it, and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever.


David was now at rest from his enemies, and had established the public worship at JERUSALEM ; but he wished to give the service of God all the dignity due to it, to diffuse the GLORY of the LORD throughout the ends of the earth, that the light of true religion should rise from JERUSALEM, like the sun from his tabernacle; that its going forth should be from the uttermost parts of the heavens, and its circuit unto the ends of it, and that nothing should be hid from the light and influence of it.

David had a deep sense of the deficiency of his best endeavours, and an ardent desire to do more; he therefore formed a scheme for building a magnificent temple. Nathan the prophet, his friend with whom he consulted, thinking it a laudable design, encouraged him to put it in execution; but as at this time Nathan spake only ac cording to the dictates of his own reason, he advised wrong; for the LORD revealed to him by the Holy Spirit, that he had appointed other business for David; and to soften the refusal, the LORD graciously promised that David's son should build the temple, and that he would establish his kingdom for ever. David, overcome with gratitude and astonishment, hasted to the Tabernacle, to pour out his acknowledgements to his Divine Benefactor; his words as recorded in this Section were expressive of the utmost piety, modesty, and humility.




DAVID understanding, from Nathan's answer, that he was not to build a temple unto the LORD, but that he was appointed to subdue the enemies of Israel, and establish his people in peace and security; reflected, that as they were not in full possession of the promised land, it was his peculiar business to drive out the idolaters, and settle the tribes of Israel in their stead. He therefore began with the Philistines, having made no treaty with them; and it is likely that even Achish, who had be haved in so friendly a manner when David fled to him for succour, had joined in committing hostilities against him as a king of Israel; besides, it was utterly inconsistent with David's present situation, to shew partial favour towards Achish, from private motives.

It is related that David subdued the Philistines, and took from them Metheg Ammah, by which is meant the city of Gath and the territories belonging to it.

The Moabites had been so effectually subdued by Ehud, that we read no more of them in sacred history till the days of Saul, who warred against them with success. The king of Moab behaved with great hospitality to David's parents; however, when he came to the crown, they entered into a confederacy against him with the neighbouring nations, and renewed their hostilities; so David smote them also. The LORD had expressly commanded, that the Israelites should not attack the Edomites, Moabites, and Amorites, without provocation ; for this reason, David was particularly careful to pre

serve the lives of as many of them as he could. Having conquered the whole country, David took an exact survey of every part of it, casting them to the ground; that is, laying level their strong holds and fortified places, excepting such as he thought proper to garrison with his troops; then he marked out two tracks of the country, one consisting of those Moabites who had been most active in the war against him; these he condemned to death, and the inhabitants of the other he saved alive, on condition of their paying him tribute.

David next went to extend his dominions as far as the grant given by GoD to Abraham, in these words, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt into the great river, the river Euphrates; but he met with great opposition from Hadadezer, the son of Rehob, who was at that time king of Zobah, in the land of Syria.

The Syrians* were descended partly from Aram, the youngest son of Shem, and partly from Hamathi, one of the eleven sons of Canaan. Syria, which was of great extent, was divided into many petty kingdoms, of which Zobah was one. Rehob is supposed to have been the first king of it, and to have laid the foundation of his son's grandeur. Hadadezer was a great and ambitious prince, and seems to have aspired at the universal monarchy of Syria; but his opposition to David was attended with such losses, that he was under the necessity of calling in the aid of the people of Damascus (another part of Syria), which place was then without a king; but they soon after received for their sovereign, Rezon †, one of Hadadezer's subjects, who revolted from him.

David is said to have taken from Hadadezer, 1000 chariots and 720,000 footmen; and when the Syrian of

* See the History of the Syrians in the Universal History.

+ See 1 Kings xi. 23.


Damascus came to their succour, David's army slew of them 22,000 men, and took a vast number of golden shields.

We may form an high idea of the riches of the Syrians, from the number of chariots and horses which even those kings who reigned over a very small part of it possessed; and from the golden shields which David took from their soldiers. David hamstrung the horses, and burned the chariots in the fire, agreeably to the command of the LORD formerly given to prevent his people from placing dependence on their own power, and that they might trust in him alone.

We read that Joab smote every male in Edom, and afterwards put garrisons in that country; from which we may conclude that the Edomites also had joined the former conspiracy, to cut off Israel from being a nation, that the name of Israel might no longer remain in remembrance. And from the account of Joab's severity towards them, there is reason to suppose, that as the Edomites had abused the mercy which Gon had commanded to be shewn towards them, David was authorized to put them to the sword We must not, however, imagine that Joab destroyed all the inhabitants in the whole country of Edom; though we are told, that he cut off all the males; for this expression may only extend to those who were in arms against him, and shews that he spared the women and children.

From the time of Moses, when, as we read in a former part of this history, the Edomites refused Israel a passage through their land, sacred history is silent about them, except in respect to their joining the confederacy above-mentioned; but it appears, that they had employed themselves in extending their dominions, and had applied themselves to trade and navigation, particularly in the Arabian gulf. They dealt in very rich

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commodities: pure gold, gold of Ophir, the topaz of Ethiopia, corals, pearls, &c. and became a very considerable kingdom; but they now began to feel the effects of Isaac's prophecy, that the elder should serve the younger; for those that were not destroyed, were either brought into subjection by Joab, or fled with their young king into Egypt.

Though David was engaged in wars abroad, he did not neglect the administration of justice at home; all his subjects were safe under his protection, and shared the fruits of his good government. He made choice of able ministers to discharge the great offices of the state. JOAB was commander in chief of the forces; he was a valiant man; but there is reason to suppose, David would willingly have preferred another to this post, on account of Joab's having murdered Amasa; but that he could not remove him without raising commotions in the kingdom, as Joab had great power and influence.

JEHIEL was tutor and governor of the king's younger sons. JEHOSOPHAT, the son of Ahilud, was recorder, or a remembrancer or writer of chronicles. JONATHAN and SERAIAH were the scribes, or principal secretaries of state. The brave BENAIAH, who had performed noble exploits, was the captain of the life-guards, who were called Cherethites and Pelethites.

Cherethites was another name for Philistines; but we cannot suppose that David preferred those who had been the inveterate enemies of his country (even if they were now become proselytes) to his own subjects, the most probable conjecture therefore is, that the Cherethites were those troops who had resorted to him in his distress, gone along with him into Philistia, and adhered to him in his calamities.

The Pelethites are supposed to have been those who


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