« ZurückWeiter »
dered in the same manner, and out of the same impatient ambition. This done, he pursued 'Sheba, and finding him enclosed in Abel, assaulted the city with that fury, that the citizens, by the persuasions of a wise woman there inhabiting, cut off Sheba's head, and flung it to Joab over the walls; which done, he retreated his army to Jerusalem, and commanded as before all the host of Israel.
The next act of David's was the delivery of Saul's sons or kinsmen to the Gibeonites, whom those citizens hung up in revenge of their father's cruelty. David had knowledge from the oracle of God, that a famine, which had continued on the land three years, came by reason of Saul and his house; to wit, for the slaughter of the Gibeonites : and therefore he willingly yielded to give them this satisfaction, both because he had warrant from God himself, as also, if we may judge humanly, to rid himself of Saul's line, by whom he and his might, as well in the present as in the future, be greatly molested and endangered ; only he spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, both for the love he bare to his father, as for his oath and vow to God.
Now where it is written in the text, The king took the two sons of Rispah, whom she bare unto Saul, and the five sons of Michol the daughter of Saul, whom she bare to Adriel, and delivered them to the Gibeonites, 2 Sam. xxi. Junius calls this Michol the sister of her that was David's wife, she whom Saul married to Phaltiel ; but Michol here named had Adriel to her husband, the same which is named Merab in 1 Sam. xviii. who was first promised to David, when he slew Goliath in the valley of Raphaim : and because it is written that Michol loved David, which perchance Merab did not, whether David had any human respect in the delivery of her children, it is only known to God.
Now whereas the Geneva nameth Michol for Merab the wife of Adriel; the better translation were out of the Hebrew word here used, having an eclipsis or defect, and signifieth, as I am informed, one of the same kindred, as in
+ 2 Sam. XX. 22.
the 19th verse of the same twenty-first chapter it is said of Goliath, whose spear was weighty as a weaver's beam, when as by the same eclipsis it must be understood by the brother of Goliath; Goliath himself being formerly slain.
As by the death of Saul's children God secured the house of David, leaving no head unto rebellion ; so did he strengthen both the king and nation against foreign enemies, by the valour of many brave commanders, the like of whom, for number and quality, that people of Israel is not known to have had at any time before or after. Thirty captains of thousands there were, all men of mark and great reputation in war. Over these were six colonels, whose valour was so extraordinary, that it might well be held as miraculous. These colonels had some difference of place and honour, which seemeth to have been given upon mere consideration of their virtue. For Abishai, the brother of Joab, who in the war against the Ammonites and Aramites was lieutenant, and commanded half the army, could not attain to the honour of the first rank, but was fain to rest contented with being principal of the three colonels of the second order, notwithstanding his nearness in blood unto the king, the flourishing estate of his own house, and his well approved services. All these colonels and captains, with the companies belonging to them, may seem to have been such as were continually retained, or at the least kept in readiness for any occasion, considering that the numbers which were mustered and drawn out, if need required, into the field, very far exceeded thirty thousand, yea or thirty times as many. They were most of them such as had followed the king in Saul's time, and been hardened with his adversities. Others there were very many, and principal men in their several tribes, that repaired unto him after the death of Saul; but these captains and colonels (who with Joab, that was general of all the king's forces, make up the number of thirty-seven) were the especial men of war, and reckoned as David's worthies u. The long reign of David, as it is known to have consumed many of these excellent men of war, so may it probably be guessed to have wasted the most of those whose deaths we find no where mentioned. For the sons of Zeruia, who had been too hard for David, were worn away, and only Joab left in the beginning of Salomon, who wanted his brother Abishai to stand by his side in his last extremity.
u 2 Sam. xxiii. 39.
By the actions forepassed in the time of David, it is gathered that he had reigned now thirty-three years, or thereabout, when the posterity of Saul was rooted out, so that he enjoyed about seven years of entire quiet and security, wherein it pleased God to remove all impediments that might have troubled the succession of Salomon in his father's throne. In this time also David having established all things in Juda and Israel, and the borders thereof, he again displeased God by * numbering the people, as in ostentation of his power: in which he employed Joab with other captains of his army, who after nine months and twenty days travel, returned with the account and register of all the people able and fit to bear arms, and they amounted to the number of 1,300,000, besides Levi and Benjamin ; whereof in Juda and the cities thereof 500,000, and in Israel 800,000.
For this, when by the prophet Gad he was offered from God the choice of three punishments, whereof he might submit himself to which he pleased ; to wit, seven years famine; three months war, wherein he should be unprosperous in all attempts, and be chased by his enemies; or a general pestilence to last three days; David made choice to bow himself under the hand of God only, and left himself subject to that cruel disease, which hath no compassion or respect of persons, of which there perished 70,000. And hereby he hath taught all that live, that it is better to fall into the hands of God than of men; whereof he giveth us this divine reason, y For his mercies are great.
* 2 Sam. xxiv. 1 Chron. xxi. y 2 Sam. xiv.
SECT. VIII. Of the lust acts of David; Adonijah's faction; the revenge upon
Joab and Shimei. LASTLY, when he grew weak and feeble, and past the acts and knowledge of women, he was yet advised to lie in the arms of a young and well-complexioned maiden, to keep him warm. In this his weak estate of body, when he was in a manner bedrid, Adonijah his eldest son, (Amnon and Absalom being now dead,) having drawn unto his party that invincible, renowned, and feared Joab, with Abiathar the priest, began manifestly to prepare for his establishment in the kingdom after his father. For being the eldest now living of David's sons, and a man of a goodly personage, Salomon yet young, and born of a mother formerly attainted with adultery, for which her name was omitted by St. Matthew, (as Beda, Hugo, Thomas, and others suppose,) he presumed to carry the matter without resistance. Hereof when David had knowledge by Bersabe the mother of Salomon, who did put him in mind of his faithful promise, that Salomon her son should reign after him, (Nathan the prophet affirming the same thing unto the king, and seconding her report of Adonijah's presumption,) the king calling unto him Zadoc the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the captain of his guard, gave charge and commission to anoint Salomon, and to set him on the mule whereon himself used to ride in his greatest state; which done, Salomon, attended and strongly guarded by the ordinary and choice men of war, the Cherethites and Pelethites, shewed himself to the people. Those tidings being reported to Adonijah, he presently abandoned his assistants, and for the safety of his life he held by the horns of the altar, whom for the present Salomon pardoned. After this, 2 David had remaining two especial cares, whereof he was desirous to discharge his thoughts; the one, concerning the peace of the land, which might be disturbed by some rebellion against Salomon; the other, concerning the building of the temple, which he sought by all means to advance, and make the bu
• 1 Kings i.
siness public. a 'To bring these intentions to good effect he summoned a parliament, consisting of all the princes of Israel, the princes of the several tribes, all the captains and officers, with all the mighty, and men of power, who repaired unto Jerusalem.
In this assembly the king stood up, and signified his purpose of building the temple, shewing how the Lord had approved the motion. Herein he took occasion to lay open his own title to the crown, shewing that the kingdom was by God's ordinance due to the tribe of Juda, (as Jacob in his blessing prophetically bequeathed it,) and that God himself was pleased to make choice of him among all his father's sons. In like manner he said that God himself had appointed Salomon by name to be his successor ; whereupon he earnestly charged both the people and his son to conform themselves unto all that God had commanded, and particularly to go forward in this work of the Lord's house which Salomon was chosen to build b. Then produced he the pattern of the work, according to the form which God himself had appointed ; and so laying open his own preparations, he exhorted all others to a voluntary contribution. - The king's proposition was so well approved by the princes and people, that whereas he himself had given 3000 talents of gold and 7000 of silver, they added unto it 7000 of gold and 10,000 of silver, besides brass, iron, and jewels, heartily rejoicing in the advancement of so religious a work. This business being well despatched, a solemn feast with great sacrifice was made, at which time Salomon was again anointed king, and received fealty of all the princes and people of the land, and of all the princes his brethren, the sons of king David. Salomon being thus established king, his father David finding himself even in the hands of death, first exhorted his son to exercise the same courage and strength of mind which himself had done in all his attempts, and to the end that a happy end might follow the beginning of all his enterprises, he uttered these mighty words ; cTake heed to the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and
a i Chron, xxviii, J. Chron. xxix. 19. ci Kings ii. 3.