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by abusing the lenity and respite they once received, they should be guilty of new and capital offences.
At the same time that David gave these charges to his son Solomon relative to Shimei and Joab who had done him the most distinguished injuries, he did not forget one from whom he had received the greatest benefits, by having assisted him at a time when distress stared him in the face abroad, and wretchedness and misery visited his family at home. But shew kindness, said he, unto the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at thy table : for so they came to me when I fled because of Absalom thy brother.
This was the last interview Solomon had with his father David, who, a very short time after, paid the debt of nature in the 71st year of his age, and 40th of his gn, seven of which he ruled over the tribe of Judah alone, and thirty-three years more over all Israel. * He was þuried with great pomp in that part of the city of Jerusalem, which himself had taken from the Jebusites, and called, after his own name, the City of David.t
* It is said (2 Sam. v. 5.) that David reigned seven years and six months in Hebron, and thirty-three in Jerusalem, which makes his reign forty years and an half. But we must remember, that it is very common, in scripture computation, to omit smaller sums, and only reckon by a round nnmber; for which reason these six months are not taken notice of in this account of David's reign.
+ The sepulchre of David was always held in the greatest veneration by the Jews. It was in being in St. Peter's time, for so he tells the people, Acts ii, 29. Dio (in the life of Adrian) informs us that part of it was fallen down in the Emperor Adrian's reign. Modern Travellers describe some magnificent monuments hewed in a rock not far from Jerusalem, which are, doubtless, very ancient, but they do not agree that they were the sepulehres of the kings of Judah. It is, however, somewhat strange, that the place of David's sepulchre (which both the Chaldeans and Romans, when they took Jerusalem, thought proper to spare) should now be so entirely lost, that, for many years past, not the least traces of it have boen to be found. But though Providence has so ordered it, that the place of David's sepulchre should not at present be known, yet there does not want an eternal monument of his most excellent genius. The Book of Psalms, which, for the most part, was composed by him, doth publish the glory of its author more than the most pompous Eulogies; and the son of Sirach has consecrated an epitaph to his memory which will remain when brass and marble shall be no more. As the fat (says hc) is taken away from the peace-offering, so was David chosen out of the people of Israel. He played with lions as with kids, and with bears as With respect to the character* of David, his life is loaded with such a multiplicity of the most singular trans. actions, that, to give it in a compass usual to other distin. guished characters would not be to do him that justice his great merits deserve. We shall therefore, in as concise a manner as possible, recapitulate the principal incidents that occurred from his first becoming popular to the period that produced his dissolution, whereby the reader's mind will be properly refreshed, and the character due to David will not be curtailed of any particle that is necessary to immortalize the name of so excellent and illustrious a person.
David the youngest son of Jesse, (a shepherd youth,) was chosen of God to he king of Israel, and at his command anointed to this dignity by the hands of Samuel, a venerable prophet, in the room of Saul, who had been rejected for his disobedience to the divine orders, in feloniously seizing to his own use, the prey of an enemy, which God, the supreme king of Israel, had devoted to destruction.
- He is introduced to court as a man expert in music, a mighty valiant man, a man of war, prudent in matters, a
with lambs; he slew a giant when he was young, and took away re. proach from the people ; for he called upon the Most High Lord, and he gave strength to his right hand to slay this mighty warrior, and to set up the horn of his people. So the people honored him with ten thousands, and praised him in blessings of the Lord; for he destroyed the enemies on every side, and brought to nought the Philistines, his adversaries:- In all his works he praised the Holy One most high, and blessed the Lord with words of glory:He set singers also before the altar, that, by their voices, they might make sweet melody, and daily sing praises in their songs. He beautified their feasts, and set their solemn times in perfect order:- -The Lord took away his sins, and exalted his horn forever ; he gave him a covenant of kings, and throne of glory in Israel. - See Ecclesiasticus, chap. xlvii. 2, &c.
* The character Josephus gives of David is to this effect: “ He was “(says he) a most excellent person, and possessed every virtue that 66 became a king, and one who had the welfare of so many nations 6 committed to him. He was superior to all others in valor, and in all « his wars on behalf of his subjects, he himself rushed into dangers, “and by undergoing all the difficulties of warfare, encouraged his 66 soldiers to noble actions, rather than commanded thein as a sove. “ reign. He had an excellent faculty of considering and discerning “ how to provide for future events, and managing those that were 6 actually present. He was sober, mild, kind to those in distress, just, “ and humane. As to those things, which kings may claim as their “ peculiar prerogatives, he offended in no one instance, by the abuse 6 of the greatness of his power, but in the affair of the wife of Uriah.”
comely person, and one favored of the Lord.—By his skill in music he relieved Saul under a melancholy indisposition that had seized him, was highly beloved by his royal master, and made one of his guards.- In a war with the Philistines he accepted the challenge of a gigantic champi. on, who defied the armies of Israel, and being skilful at the sling, he slew him with a stone, returned safely with his head, and thus secured to bis prince an easy victory over his country's enemies. The reputation he gained, by this glorious action, raised an incurable jealousy and resentment against him, in the mind of the king his master; who, after two unsuccessful attempts to murder him, married him to his younger daughter, that she might be a snare to him, and that he might cause him to fall by the hands of the Philistines; sending him upon an expedition against them, to bring in an hundred of their foreskins, in which he hoped he would have met with his own destruction.In this exalted station, and amidst the dangers that encompassed him, he behaved with singular prudence, so that he was in high esteem both in the court and camp.-The modesty and prudence of his behavior, and his approved courage and resolution, gained him the confidence and friendship of Jonathan, the king's eldest son, who loved him as his own soul, became his advocate with his father, and obtained from him a promise, confirmed by an oath, that he would no more attempt to destroy him.—But his jealousy returned by a fresh victory David gained over the Philistines; who, finding the king was determined to have his life, retired from court, and was dismissed in peace by Jonathan, after a solemn renewal of their friendship, to provide for his own safety.—In this state of banishment, there resorted to him companies of men, who were uneasy in their circumstances, oppressed by their creditors, or discontented with Saul's tyrannical government, to the number of six hundred men, to protect him from the violence of his unreasonable persecutor; whom he kept in the most excellent order, exercised in the most friendly services, and by whose valor he gained signal advantages for his country; but never employed them in opposition to, or rebellion against the king, or in a single instance to distress or subvert his government-Such was the veneration he paid bim, and so sacred the regard he bad for his life, such the generosity of his temper, that though it was thrice in his power to have cut him off, he gloriously spared him, and was absolutely determined never to destroy him, whom God had constituted the king of Israel.-His friendship with Jonathan, the king's son, was a friendship of strict honor, whom he never seduced from his allegiance and filial duty; in him Jonathan had so firm a confidence, that as he knew he would be king, he promised himself he should be the next person in dignity and authority under bim; and with his friend David covenanted by oath, that he would not cut off his kindness from his house for ever. -Being provoked by a churlish farmer, who evil treated and abused his messengers, he, in the warmth of his temper, swore he would destroy him and his family; but was immediately pacified by the address and prudence of a wife of whom the wretch was unworthy; her he sent in peace and honor to her family, and blessed for her advice, in keeping him from avenging himself with his own hand.-Being forced to banish himself into an enemy's country, he was faithful to the prince who protected him; and, at the same time mindful of the interest of his nation, he cut off many of those, who had harassed and plundered his fellow subjects.- When pressed by the king, into whose dominions he retired, to join in a war against his own country, and father-in-law, he prudently gave him such an answer as his situation required; neither promising the aid demanded of him, nor tying up his hands from serving his own prince, and the army that fought under him; only assuring him in general, that he had never done any thing that could give him just reason to think he would refuse to assist him against bis enemies.
Upon the death of Saul, he cut off the Amalekite who came to make a merit of having slain him; and by the immediate direction of God, who had promised him the cession, went up to Hebron, where, on a free election, he was anointed king over the house of Judah; and after about a seven years contest, he was unanimously chosen king by all the tribes of Israel, according to the word of the Lord by Samuel, upon the death of Ishbosheth, who was treacherously murdered by two of his own captains; whom David justly cut off for their perfidy, treason and parricide.
As king of Israel, he administered justice and judgment to all his people, was a prince of courage, and great military prudence and conduct, had frequent wars with the neighboring nations, to which he was generally forced by their invading his dominions and plundering his subjects; against them he never lost a battle; he never besieged a city without taking it, nor, as for any thing that can be proved, used any severities against those he conquered, beyond what the law of arms allowed, his own safety required, or the cruelties of his enemies rendered just, by way of retaliation; enriching his people by the spoils he took, and providing large stores of every thing necessary for the magnificent temple he intended to erect, in honor of the God of Israel.—Having rescued Jerusalem out of the hands of the Jebusites, he made it the capital of his king. dom, and the place of his residence; and being willing to honor it with the presence of the Ark of God, he brought it to Jerusalem in triumph, and divested himself of his royal robes, out of reverence to God, he clothed himself in the habit of his ministers, and with them expressed his joy by dancing and music; contemned only by one haughty woman, whom, as a just punishment of her insolence, he seems ever to have separated from his bed. Though his crimes were heinous, and highly aggravated, in the affair of Uriah and Bathsheba, he patiently endured reproof, humbly submitted to the punishment appointed him, atoned for his sins, as far as he could, by a sincere repentance, and obtained mercy and forgiveness from God, though not without some severe marks of his displeasure, for the grievous offences he had been guilty of.—A rebellion is raised against him by his son Absalom, whose life he commanded the general to spare.—When forced by it to de. part from Jerusalem, he prevented the just punishment of a wretch who cursed and stoned him.-When restored to his throne, he spared him upon his submission, and would not permit a single man to be put to death in Israel, upon account of it.-He, with a noble confidence, made the commander of the rebel forces general of his own army, in the room of Joab, whom he intended to call to an account for murder and treason. After this, when obliged by the command of God, to give up some of Saul's family to justice, for the murder of the Gibeonites, he spared Mephibosheth,