Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][ocr errors]

In this chapter we find Davidsin gredt straits, and happily delivered

by the interposition of Providence. !

N

OW the Philistines gathered together all their armies

to Aphek : and the Israelites pitched by a fountain 2 which [is] in Jezreel. And the lords of the Philistines passed:

on by hundreds, and by thousands, sonte at the head of an hundred, and some of a thousand soldiers : but David and his men passed on in the rereward with Achish, who was chosen general of the

whole army, and David went with him as captain of his guards, .3, according to his promise. Then said the princes of the Philis

tines,, What [do] these Hebrews [here ?) thinking it odd that they should go against their own countrymen. And Achish said unto the princes of the Philistines, (is) not this David, the ser. vant of Saul the king of Israel, which hath been with me these

days, or these years, 4 year, and four months, long enough 10. ! prove him, and I have found no fault in him since he fell [unto. 4. me) unto this day? And the princes of the Philistines were

wroth with him ; and the princes of the Philistines said unto him, Make this fellow return, that he may go again to his place which thou hast appointed him at Ziklag, and let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he be an adversary to us, should prove false and revolt : for wherewith should he reconcile himself unto his master? [should it] not [be] with the heads of these men ? by betraying us into the hands of Saul ?.. This was a plausible excuse, but the chief reason was, envy, and

indignation at his reputation, and seeing him so honourably treated. .5 [ls] not this David of whom they sang one to another in

dances, saying, Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thou.. sands ? reminding Achish that he was a very dangerous person, and would hardly forfeit his popularity by fighting against his country.

Then Achish, who was overruled in the council of war, called David, and said unto him, Surely, [as] the LORD liveth,* thou hast-been upright, and thy going out and thy coming in with me

in the host [is] good in my sight: for I have not found evil in . i thee since the day of thy coming unto me unto this day. ; a pery

honourable testimony ; nevertheless the lords favour thee not. 7 Wherefore now return, and go in peace, that thou displease 8 not the lords of the Philistines. And David said unto Achish,

But what have I done ? and what hast thou found in thy servant so long as I have been with thee unto this day, that I may not go fight against the enemies of my lord the king ? David, though

inwardly pleased, would not have Achish imagine he wanted to be 9 dismissed. And Achish, knowing that all things had been well

1

Achish swears as the Lord li veth, and not by Dagon : perhaps David, who spoke of God's testimonies before kings, head instructed him in the knowledge of Jehovah.

managed by him, and prospered in his hand, answered and said to David, I know that thou art good in my sight, as an angel of God: notwithstanding the princes of the Philistines have said, He shall not go up with us to the battle'; and Achish thought it

was better to lose a favourite, than to have a mutiny in the army. 10 Wherefore now rise up early in the morning with thy master's

servants that are come with thee : and as soon as ye be up early 11 in the morning, and have light, depart. So David and his men

rose up early to depart in the morning, to return into the land of the Philistines, And the Philistines went up to Jezreel. This was ordered by God's special providence, to preserve him either from fighting against his own people, or betraying his trust; as also that he might come seasonably to the rescue of his friends at Ziklag, and his own concerns,

REFLECTIONS.

1.

I ,

T is sometimes injurious even to have high reputation.

plause of men, for it exposed David to the envy and hatred of the Philistine lords. Popular applause may soon be turned to reproach; therefore, while we behave honourably, and have the testimony of good conscience, let us not be over solicitous about the applause of mėn.

2. We may see by this remarkable appearance of Providence in David's favour, that the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. He knew not what to do ; he could not desert, without the imputation of cowardice, treachery, and ingratitude to his benefactor ; and yet it was hard to fight against his country, and the Lord's anointed, and would exasperate the Israelites against hiin. He was under no engagements but-to defend Achish ; perhaps he would have done that as captain of his guard ; and perhaps he might have saved Jonathan's life, and accommodated matters between the contending parties. He was much wanted at home, though he did not know it. In this difficulty God appeared for him, by stirring up the Philis. tine lords against him, and suffering them to indulge and succeed in their resentment. David's honourable dismission freed him from all these difficulties, just time enough to save his wives, and children, and substance. His mind was undoubtedly much distressed ; and God suffered this, to chastise his folly in going to the Philise tines ; but because his heart was right, he interposed to rescure him, and his disgrace proved greatly to his advantage. This affords us encouragement to trust in God in all our straits and difficulties, for he can find out ways and means to rescue us, and even stir up our enemies to deliver us out of this or the other evil, from which our friends cannot. In all our ways, therefore, let us acknowledge himg and he will direct our paths.

CHAP. XXX.

We read here of the distressed circumstances in which David and his

men found Ziklage on their return; his pursuit of the enemy; the recovery of their families and effects ; and the distribution of the 'spoil.

ND it came to pass, when David and his men were come

våded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it 2 with fire ; And had taken the women captives, that (were]

therein : they slew not any, either great or small, but carried 3 (them) away, and went on their way. * So David and his men

came to the city, and, behold, (it was] burned with fire ; and

their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken 4 captives. Then David and the people that were] with him

lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to 5 weep. And David's two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam

the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. This was indeed a heavy trial. They had just escaped Saul's fury, and got safe from the Philistines, and expected to meet their wives

and children with joy ; but, behold, all were lost. We can scarce 6 imagine any thing more melancholy. And David was greatly dis

tressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters ; their grief for a time took away their reason, and they ascribed all their miseries to him for having attacked the Amalekites : but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God, his piety kept up his courage. He had a great command of temper,

did not threaten to punish their insolence, but remained silent under Ź all their ill usage.' And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahi

melech's son, I pray thee bring me hither the ephod. And

Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David, In the day of his 8 trouble he sought the Lord. And David inquired at the LORD,

saying, Shall I pursue after this troop ? shall I overtake them And he answered him, Pursue : for thou shalt surely overtake [them,) and without fail recover (all.] God answered, and, for his encouragement, promised more than he required,

So David went, he and the six hundred men that [were) with him, and came to the brook Besor, where those that were left 10 behind stayed. But David pursued, he and four hundred men:

for two hundred abode behind, which were so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor ; their grief had made them neglect to take hroper refreshment. This was a great trial of David's faith, as it took from him a third part of his army ; yet

he showed them great tenderness, and though the case was urgent, 11 did not hurry them beyond their strength. And they found an

It was strange that they did not destroy ther, as David had done their wives and chil. dren. There was however a remarkable providence in it, as they did not stop till they got to the borders of their own country: then they staid to refresh themselves, and rejoice in their pigtasy.

Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David, and gave him 12 bread, and he did eat; and they made him drink water. And

they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of rai. sins : and when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him ; they did what they could to recover and comfort hin, for he had

eaten no bread, nor drank (any) water, three days and three 13 nights, that is, part of three days and three nights. And David

said unto him, To whom [belongest] thou ? and whence [art] thou? And he said, I (am) a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite ; and my master left me, because three days agone I fell sick. This was the highest degree of inhumanity and cruelty; he left himn sick, in an enemy's country, destitute of

necessaries, when they had plenty, and with their camels could 14 easily have taken him with them, We made an invasion

[upon] the south of the Cherethites, the Philistines, and upon (the coast] which [belongeth] to Judah, and upon the south

of Caleb's inheritance, where Nabal's possessions were, and we 15 þurned Ziklag with fire. And David said to him, Canst thou

bring me down to this company? And he said, Swear unto me by God, that thou wilt neither kill me, nor deliver me into the bands of my master, of whose cruelty I have had sufficient proof,

and I will bring thee down to this company, 16 And when he had brought him down, behold, they were]

spread abroad upon all the earth, eating, and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah ; here

they thought themselves perfectly secure, because the Philistines 17 and Israelites were gone to war. And David came upon them

early in the morning, and smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day : and there escaped not a

man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon 18 camels, and fled. And David recovered all that the Amalekites 19 had carried away : and David rescued his two wives. And

there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any [thing] that

they had taken to them : David recovered all, according to God's 20 word. And David took all the flocks and the herds, taken by

the Amalekites from the Philistines and the men of Judah, (which] they drave before those (other) cattle, belonging to David and the men of Ziklag, and said, This [is] David's spoil, obtained by his valour and conduct. The soldiers now repented of their inso

lence, and were willing that David should have all the new spoils 31 rohich were taken. And David came to the two hundred men,

which were so faint that they could not follow David, whom they had made also to abide at the brook Besor : and they went forth to meet David, and to meet the people that (were) with him, to congratulate them on their success, and receive their ver and children ; and when David came near to the people, he saluted them, in the most friendly manner inquiring about their health, for he had left them rycak and faint.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

22 Then answered all the wicked men and (men) of Belial, of -- those that went with David, properly so called, because they were

covetous and barbarous ; probably David when he saluted the two hundred men, told them they should have their own things restored, and part of the spoil ; but these wicked men objected, and said, Because they went not with us, we will not give them (aught) of the spoil that we have recovered, save to every man his wife

and his children, that they may lead [them) away, and depart. 23 Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that

which the Lord hath given us, who hath preserved us, and de24 livered the company that came against us into our hand. For

who will hearken unto you in this matter ? but as his part [is]

that goeth down to the battle, so [shall] his part (be) that tar25 rieth by the stuff : they shall part alike.* And it was (so)

from that day forward, that he made it a perpetual statute and

an ordinance for Israel unto this day. 26 And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto

the elders of Judah, (even] to his friends,t saying, Behold a 27 present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the LORD : To

[them] which [were) in Bethel, and to [them) which (were) in 28 south Ramoth, and to (them) which were) in Jattir, And to

(them) which were) in Aroer, and to (them) which (were) in 29 Siphmoth, and to (them) which were) in Eshtemoa, And to

[them) which were) in Rachal, and to (them) which (were) in

the cities of the Jerahmeelites, and to (them) which were) in 30 the cities of the Kenites, And to [them] which (were] in Hor· mah, and to them) which were) in Chorashan, and to [them] 31 which were) in Athach, And to (them) which were] in Heb.

ron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt ; to the friends among whom they had lurked, and from whom they had received intelligence and provisions. He sent these presents, as a token that he wished them prosperity, in gratitude for their kindness, and as a means of securing their affection.

1

REFLECTIONS.

1.

SE
TEE here a striking instance of the uncertainty of all created

comfort. Little did David and his men think of so melancholy a sight. Being dismissed from the army, they were highly delighted with the thoughts of rejoicing with their families and friends. But what a dreadful scene opened to their view! When we go abroad, we know not what occurrence may happen before we return; we may go out cheerful, and return doleful ; our houses

David overruled their cruel proposal, yet in a frier.dly manner; and argued, 'that since God had been so good to them, it would be peculiarly base and impious in them to be unkind to their brethren. He reasoned from the equity of the thing; they were left behind by common consent, were part of the same body, and might have been serviceable in case of a retreat.

+ The Amalekites were a rich, luxurious, effeminate people, see Judges viii. 24, 26. Da. vid sent part of the jewels and other spoils to the elders of Jadab, and other friends, lest hila men should grow effeminate by using tiem,

« PreviousContinue »