Page images
PDF
EPUB

Goliath the giant, broke forth once more in the venerable monarch. “ As the LORD liveth, that hath redeemed my soul out of all distress,” he said to Bathsheba, “even as I sware unto thee by the LORD God of Israel, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne in my stead, even so will I certainly do this day." Then David desired Zadok, Nathan, and Bepaiah (who was one of his best soldiers), to come before him. He gave them his orders, saying, “ Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon my own mule, and bring him down to Gihon and let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel; and blow ye with the trumpet, and say, God save King Solomon! Then ye shall come up after him, that he may come and sit upon my throne; for he shall be king in my stead, and I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah."

Benaiah answered, “ Amen: the LORD God of my

lord the king say so too. As the LORD hath been with my lord the king, even so be He with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David.”

[ocr errors]

King David's orders were obeyed. His chief officers took Solomon to Gihon, and the High Priest Zadok solemnly anointed him with holy oil out of the tabernacle, and they blew the trumpet, and all the people cried, “God save King Solomon!” Then they made great rejoicings, rending the very earth with the sound of their gladness.

Adonijah and the rebels were just ending their feast, when they heard the trumpet and the shouts of the people. Abiathar's son Jonathan arrived soon, and told them all that had passed, and directly all those who had joined the traitor Adonijah were afraid, and left him, each man going his own way. Ado

. nijah in his fear went to the altar for refuge, and from thence asked his brother Solomon to swear not to put him to death. Solomon promised to spare his life as long as he would behave worthily, adding, “But if wickedness be found in him, he shall die.”

And now the tale was told, and David's last hours came. Once more he charged his beloved son Solomon, saying, “I go

of all the earth : be thou strong, therefore, and show thyself a man, and keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes and His commandments, and His judgments and His testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper

the way

in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself; that the LORD may continue His word which He spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee, said He, a man on the throne of Israel."

David now proved the truth of his own words, “ Blessed is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, and whose hope is in the LORD his God.” That God was about to call him to Himself; and “the anointed of the God of Jacob, the sweet psalmist of Israel,” departed this life. “He died,” says Holy Scripture, “in a good

" old age, full of days, riches, and honour.' Above all, he died in the full faith that all the blessed promises made to him by his God would be fulfilled. “Blessed, indeed, are the dead which die in the LORD."

KING SOLOMON'S WISH.

No one ventured to trouble Solomon's throne any more, except Adonijah, who came forward again in a doubtful way, and thus breaking his promise, was put to death by Solomon. On Abiathar he only passed sentence of exile, telling the traitor priest that though worthy of death, he should be spared, because of all the years during which he bore the Ark of God before the king's father, and because he had so long shared David's afflictions.

Joab's day of doom was also come, when all the innocent blood he had shed should be avenged. He had taken part with Adonijah, and thus betrayed and forsook his aged monarch in his last days. When Adonijah was put to death, Joab fled to the tabernacle, and sought a refuge at the altar. Then Solomon sent Benaiah to slay him, and Benaiah called to Joab to come forth, but he would not, saying, “Nay, but I will die here."

When the king heard this, he bade Benaiah slay Joab nevertheless, for it was the LORD's will to avenge the blood of Abner and Amasa,

who had been basely murdered by Joab. The king made Benaiah chief captain over the host of Israel ; and from this time his kingdom was established and firm. The LORD was with him and strengthened and magnified him exceedingly. He also loved the LORD, and walked in the statutes of his father David.

When he was established on the throne King Solomon went up to Gibeon to the tabernacle, calling all the chief men of Israel together, and offered up solemn sacrifices. The night after God appeared to Solomon, and said unto him, Ask what I shall give thee.” Then Solomon answered the LORD, saying, Thou hast showed unto Thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before Thee in truth and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart before Thee; and Thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that Thou hast given him a son to sit upon his throne, as it is this day. And now, O Lord my God, Thou hast made Thy servant king instead of David my father; and I am but a little child, I know not how to go out or come in, and Thy servant is in the midst of Thy people which Thou hast chosen, a great people, which cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore Thy servant an

a

« PreviousContinue »