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edom the Gittite. months the LORD blessed Obed-edom and all his household, because of the Ark. When David saw this, and that a blessing was with the sacred presence, if It was treated with fitting reverence, he went for it, and brought the Ark up to Bethlehem with great gladness and solemnity, with shoutings, and trumpets, and sacrifices. David himself went with the Ark, wearing a linen ephod as a minister of the LORD, and he joined in the dances of joy before the Ark. His wife Michal, Saul's daughter, saw him, and in her pride she despised David for thus taking part in the rejoicings; and she mocked him and spoke disrespectfully to him, who was both her husband and king. David rebuked her mildly, telling her that those who are lowly in their own eyes, and give all honour to God, shall be exalted. But the LORD punished Michal by never giving her any children; and this was a heavy punishment to a Jewish woman especially, as they looked upon bearing children as a glory and honour, and also each one hoped that she might be the appointed mother of the promised Messiah. When all the rejoicings were ended, David left Zadok the high priest, and many other priests, to
He did so, and for three
minister before the Ark; and he returned to his own house.
David's house was such as king's houses generally are, splendid and rich, built with cedar wood. But David was not pleased that while he dwelt in a house of cedars, the Ark of the LORD should be only sheltered within curtains. He told the prophet Nathan how he desired to build a house, or temple for the LORD, and Nathan inquired of the LORD what David should do. But God spoke to David through Nathan, forbidding him to build the temple, but promising that the LORD would build up David's house and family, and that his son should build the LORD's house. This came to pass later, when King Solomon built the temple. GOD made very solemn promises to David that He would never take His mercy away from David's son, as He had taken it from Saul. David went in before the LORD, and made his solemn thanksgiving, offering up himself and all his ways to GOD, and praying for a continuance of GOD's blessing. "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."
THE LORD had promised to be with David,. and He fulfilled His Word by giving him the victory over many enemies; the Philistines, the Moabites, the Syrians, and other nations that made war with Israel. In his prosperity David did not forget how he had promised Jonathan to care for his family, and he made inquiries if there was no one of Saul's house still living, that he might show him kindness for Jonathan's sake? David's servants told him of an old servant of Saul named Ziba, and when Ziba was brought to the king, he told him that there was still a child of Jonathan's living. His name was Mephibosheth; he was a boy of five years old when his father and grandfather were slain on the mountains of Gilboa. When the tidings of the death came, Mephibosheth's nurse took him hastily and fled, and in their haste, the child fell, and was lamed for life. David sent for his friend's son, and said to him, "Fear not, for I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore unto thee all the land of Saul thy father, and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually." Then
David gave orders that all which had belonged to Saul's house should be made over to Mephibosheth, and that Ziba and his family should take care of the land for him, while Mephibosheth himself should be brought up at Jerusalem as one of the king's own sons.
DAVID AND URIAH.
We have seen David triumphing over his outward enemies, and conquering his foes among kings and nations; and now we must turn to another side of his history, and see him conquered by that most dangerous foe of all-the foe who wages war upon our souls with sore temptations of the world and the flesh, even Satan himself. The king's army, under Joab his chief captain, was absent besieging Rabbah, but David himself tarried in Jerusalem. Perhaps he had given way to indolence and softness in not going forth with his army, since it is ever when we so give way, that the devil is readiest to come and tempt idle hearts to sin. Now, David saw a very beautiful woman called Bathsheba, the wife of one Uriah the Hittite. He desired greatly to have her for his own wife,
and step by step he was led on from breaking the tenth commandment, and coveting his neighbour's wife; to breaking the seventh commandment, and then further still, to murder-and that of a very cruel kind. David sent Uriah, who was a brave soldier, to the army, with a private letter to Joab, bidding the chief captain set the bearer in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire from him, that he might be smitten and die.
It all fell out as David looked for. Joab put Uriah into a place where he would meet with valiant enemies, and when they came forth from the city and fought, some of David's soldiers were killed, and among them was Uriah the Hittite. Joab saw through his master's evil thoughts, for when he sent tidings to the king of his having been worsted in the last fighting, he bade the messenger to appease David's wrath with the tidings that Uriah was dead. When David heard this, he was satisfied; and later on, when Bathsheba had ended her mourning for Uriah, he took her for his wife, and she bore him a son. All this time David does not seem to have thought about his great sin, or to have been sorry for it. It is so easy to deceive ourselves, and go on in a course of self-pleasing,