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So David called the Gibeonites, and asked what he should do for them in atonement ?
They answered, “We will have no silver or gold of Saul, nor of his house; neither for us shalt thou kill any man in Israel.” And David
“What ye shall say, that will I do for you.” Then they replied, saying, “The man that consumed us, and that devised against us that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel ; let seven of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the LORD in Gibeah of Saul." The king kept his word, and delivered up to the Gibeonites seven of Saul's descendants two of whom were his own sons, born to him by Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah-and the others his grandsons. But David spared Mephibosheth, Jonathan's son, because of the solemn oath by which he had sworn to his friend that he would protect Jonathan's family, Then the Gibeonites took the seven men, and hanged them on the hill before the Lord in the first days of the barley harvest.
But Rizpah, their bereaved mother, took sackcloth, and spread it on the rock, and remained there day and night from the beginning of harvest until the rains fell; and she suffered 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.
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.
DAVID'S NUMBERING THE PEOPLE.
It is seldom that God's chosen seryants 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
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
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
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
lord the king may see it; but why doth my lord the king delight in this
of my the eyes
The other captains also urged David to give up his plan, but David would not yield, and