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sengers, and the like happened each time. Those who were sent to make David captive, were themselves made captive by One Who breaketh the bow, and knappeth the spear in sunder, He before Whom the everlasting mountains are scattered : “His ways are everlasting.”
When Saul found that it was in vain to send messengers, he rose up, and went himself to Naioth in Ramah. Then the same power took hold of Saul,which had already filled his servants, and Saul too was forced to prophesy, and speak the will of the Lord. But he was no longer speaking God's words as His chosen beloved servant; and the voice that might have been one of love and blessing only, was now a voice of condemnation and woe to the unhappy mag, who loved to walk in his own ways, and refused to be led by his LORD.
David now fled from Ramah, and sought Jonathan, saying, “What have I done ? what is mine iniquity ? and what is my sin before thy father, that he seeketh my life ?”
Jonathan answered, "God forbid;" he could not believe his father to be so treacherous. But David replied that Saul only hid his designs from Jonathan because of Jonathan's great love for David, adding, “There is but a step between me and death.” Jonathan promised to do whatever David wished, and it was settled that David should not take his place, as was due, at the king's table the next day, which was a feast, and then Jonathan was to see whether Saul
was well or ill-disposed to his friend. He was to come out afterwards into the field where David lay hid, and to give him a sign by shootiog some arrows. Moreover David and Jonathan made a solemn covenant, in which David promised to show kindness to Jonathan and his z family for ever.
It fell out as David expected. Saul was very angry, and accused his son of taking part with an enemy, who would utterly destroy his own greatness. The king ended by bidding Jonathan fetch David, for he should surely die. When Jonathan withstood his fierce anger, Saul cast a javelin at his own son, as he had before done at David. Jonathan saw by this that there was no hope left of winning his father to justice and gentleness; and he left the royal table sorely grieved. The next morning he went out to the field where David lay hidden, and gave the promised sign. Then David came forth, and fell on his face to the ground, and the two friends kissed one another, and
wept one with the other, until David's grief became excessive. It was plain now that he must go away, and leave the friend whom be loved as his own soul. Jonathan said, “Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the Name of the LORD, saying, The LORD be between me and thee, and between my
seed and thy seed for ever.' Then they parted. Jonathan returned to the city, where his duty kept him by his father, and David went forth in the strength of the LORD-perhaps say. ing in the words of his own psalm, “ I shall find trouble and heaviness, and I will call upon the Name of the LORD: O LORD, I beseech Thee, deliver my soul. Gracious is the LORD, and righteous, yea, our God is merciful. The Lord preserveth the simple, I was in misery, and He helped me.”
David went first to Abimelech the priest, and asked him for food and armour. Abimelech had no bread but the hallowed shewbread, but God permitted this to be given to His anointed servant. The priest told David that
he had no arms save the huge sword which David himself had taken from the giant Goliath; but David took that, and then fled to Achish, King of Gath. But there was danger for him here too. The people knew him to be the promised king of Israel, the great warrior who had conquered Goliath and the Philistines, and David was forced to fly again. This time he went to the cave of Adullam, and there he is believed to have composed two of his most touching Psalms, the 57th and 142nd. “My soul trusteth in Thee, yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. ...
My soul is among lions. I poured out my complaint before God, I showed Him my trouble. . . . I looked on my right hand, but there was no man that would know me, refuge failed me. I cried unto Thee, O LORD; I said, Thou art my refuge and
my portion." While David was at Adullam, about four hundred men joined him, and soon after he went with them to the forest of Hareth in Judah, in consequence of an order from the prophet Gad, through whom the LORD often spoke to David.
When Saul heard this, he was angry, and
asked who of his servants took part with the rebel, accusing them of conspiring with David, and concealing Jonathan's league with him.
It chanced that Saul's chief herdsman, Doeg, i an Edomite, had been at Nob when David went to Abimelech, and now he told Saul how the priest had inquired of God for David, and had supplied him with food and with Goliath's. sword. Saul forthwith took vengeance upon Abimelech : he slew eighty-five priests and those that ministered at the altar, destroying all the inhabitants of Nob, the priests' city, killing even the little children, and all their cattle. Only one of Abimelech's sons, called Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David, and told him of Saul's cruelty. Abiathar remained with David as his priest, and in each fresh difficulty, as it arose, David inquired of the LORD what he should do, and was careful to obey in everything. First he was directed to go against Keilah, a city of the Philistines, which GOD delivered into his hands. Soon David heard that Saul was coming against him there, and.. by the Lord's counsel David fled again intor the wilderness of Ziph, and remained hidden in strong places amid the mountains. told that “ Saul sought him every day, but God