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neither the birds of the air to touch them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night. When David was told of this touching care for the dead shown by Rizpah, he sent and fetched the bones of Saul and Jonathan, and took the bones of these men who had been put to death by the Gibeonites, and buried them all reverently in the sepulchre of Kish, Saul's father, in his own country.

Then God's judgment was stayed, and He heard David's prayers for the famine-stricken land. Holy men of old have seen in this history a very striking type of the great Atonement in our blessed Lord's Crucifixion. In this case as there no sacrifices of the usual kind availed to remove the curse lying on the land, there must be a sacrifice of human life, and that of the just for the unjust. Saul's sons were not guilty, but they died for the sins of another, and through their death, deliverance came to the land. They too were hanged, bearing the curse of the law, which says, “ Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree;" even as CHRIST bore for us the same curse on Mount Calvary, which was shadowed forth afar by Mount Gibeah. in Thus we find indeed that the law was ever foreshadowing, and making ready for the new covenant, teaching men to look on to something deeper, greater, better. It was indeed, , as S. Paul says, a schoolmaster to bring men to CHRIST.


Not long

It is seldom that God's chosen servants are allowed to rest very long in this world,—they have their Master's work to do, and must be up and doing. The time at longest is but short. So we find with David, when one season of trouble and trial was over, and he seemed free, another soon came on. after all the internal wars and rebellions were ended, fresh wars began with the Philistines. King David, though now an old man, went forth to battle, and once having grown faint he was nearly slain by a giant called Ishbibenob. But his captain Abishai came to his help, and killed the Philistine. After this though there were several more battles with the Philistines, the soldiers sware to David that he should no more go out to battle with them, “that thou quench not the light of Israel.” When David saw that he was delivered out of the hand of all his enemies, he poured forth one of his most glorious hymns of praise, saying, “ The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; the God of my rock, in Him will I trust; He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation. My high tower, and my refuge, my Saviour, Thou savest me from violence." After praising the wonderful goodness of God, David refers to his own trials, saying, “He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters; He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me, for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my stay, He brought me forth also into a large place, He delivered me, because He delighted in me. Thou hast girded me with strength to battle, them that rose up against me, hast Thou subdued under me.” And again he ends with a fresh tribute of praise, “ Therefore I will give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto Thy Name. He is the tower of salvation for His king, and showeth mercy to His anointed, unto David, and to his seed for evermore.” Probably it was at this time that many of David's most triumphant psalms of praise were composed, as well.

But there was yet a trial to come upon David, and that through his own fault. It seems as if a time of peace and prosperity had made all, both the king and his subjects, over boastful and self-trusting in their own strength. We are told that God was displeased with the people, and that He punished them through the vanity of their king. David was proud of his large armies, and the number of his men, strong and ready to battle-and giving heed to Satan, who we read, came and provoked him, he indulged in a spirit which sought his own glory, not that of God, and bade Joab, the captain of his host, go through all the tribes and number the people. We generally find Joab giving bad advice to David, and even forcing it on him, but this time Joab urged him not to carry out this plan, saying, “ Now the LORD thy God add unto the people, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes


lord the king may see it; but ? why doth my lord the king delight in this thing ?"

The other captains also urged David to give up his plan, but David would not yield, and


Joab and the other captains went forth to do his bidding. It took them nearly ten months to number the people, and then David found that in Israel and Judah he had thirteen hun. dred thousand valiant men ready for battle.

But David was no longer inclined to rejoice in his pride and strength. The prophet Gad came to rebuke him in the Name of the LORD for his selfwill, and David's heart smote him. He cried unto the LORD,“ I have sinned greatly in that I have done, and now I beseech Thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of Thy servant, for I have done very foolishly.”

Doubtless He Who never refuses forgiveness to those who seek it with their whole heart, forgave His chosen servant with that free full pardon on which David loves to dwell in his psalms. But as before in the matter of Uriah, the punishment of his sin was yet to be borne, although the anger of the LORD was turned away. And we know also that God willed to punish the people as well as David. So God told the king how the LORD gave him his choice of three things. Either seven years of famine should come upon the land ; or he should flee for three months before his enemies, or there should be three days' pestilence.

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