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house; and the covenant he made with Jonathan, to shew kindness to his posterity. The men who were hanged were inconsiderable persons, and they most likely had been actually concerned with Saul against the Gibeonites, in which case they met with the fate they deserved; but if they were innocent victims to public justice, as they died for the good of their country, God doubtless removed them to a better state.
A full vindication of David's conduct in this transaction has been written by a learned author, and satis. factory reasons given, why God required such an expiation to be made ; but it is of little use, to the generality of readers, to employ their time and thoughts upon this or any obscure passage, since we may be certain it is of no real importance to us to investigate them: for every part of Scripture, essentially necessary to be understood, in order to obtain eternal happiness, is so plainly expressed, that the meanest understanding may comprehend it; though persons who have leisure and abilities are by no means forbidden to employ their researches into what isdifficult, provided they do not, " in the pride of human reason, dispute the truth of DIVINE REVELATION, or say in their hearts, God is * unjust, or unfaithful.”
When the Gibeonites had received full satisfaction, and the famine ceased, David greatly rejoiced, and he is supposed to have written the following Psalm on this occasion.
+ Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto Thee shall the row be performed.
O Thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh
Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, Thou shalt
away. Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest and causest to
* Patrick's Commert.
† Psalın Ixv.
approach unto Thee, that he may dwell in Thy courts : we shall be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house, even of thy holy temple.
By terrible things in righteousness wilt Thou answer us, O God of our salvation : who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off, upon the sea.
Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains ; being girded with power.
Which stilleih the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people.
They also that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at Thy tokens : Thou makest the out-goings of the morna ing and evening to rejoice.
Thou visitest the earth and waterest it : Thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: Thou preparest them corn, when Thou hast so provided for it.
Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: Thou settlest the furrows thereof: Thou makest it soft with showers, Thuu blessest the springing thereof.
Thou crownest the year with Thy goodness, and Thy paths drop fatness.
They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness : and the little hills rejoice on every side.
The pastures are clothed with flocks; the vallies also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.
In this Psalm David acknowledges, that praise is due to God from all mankind, but particularly from those of Sion, where the holy sanctuary was.
He observes that they should not be discouraged by their iniquity from addressing their petitions to thie LORD, since he had graciously pardoned the sins of him and his people. He confesses the almighty power of God, who is able
to rule the stormy elements, and the turbulent passions of the human mind, and to shew forth his glory, in remotest regions, by the wonderful works of nature. David then expresses his gratitude for the late relief from famine, acknowledging that the bounties of harvest are the gifts of Divine Providence, since it would be in vain for the husbandmen to pursue the labours of the field, unless the LORD sent His blessing on the land to give fertility to it. It is needless to remark, that this Psalm is of general application.
We have in this section an account of four successive wars with the Philistines, which, though related in very few words, there is reason to believe, lasted a considerable time. It is imagined that Absalom's rebellion encouraged the Philistines to begin them.
The Philisti, es had at this time several men of extraordinary stature amongst them, all it seems of the kindred of Goliath; and though they had experienced the little use of such men in an army, yet they cast their eyes on these, now flattering themselves, that by their help they might retrieve their honour, and take revenge upon David. But the same Almighty power that had enabled this king, when an inexperienced youth, to defeat the gigantic champion of the Philistines, assisted his valiant officers in destroying the monstrous descendants of this arrogant boaster, who, like their progenitor, confided in human strength and vain idols.
We may observe that the people of Israel entertained a high degree of affection for their venerable king, and would not suffer him, as he was grown old and feeble, to risk a life so valuable to them in any future battle.
When these wars were happily ended, and David was in perfect peace both at home and abroad, he is thought to have published the thanksgiving, which is in the 220 chapter of the 2d of Samuel,
DAVID NUMBERETH THE PEOPLE --A PESTILENCE
From 1 Chron. Chap. xxi, xxii.
AND Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
And David said to Joab, and to the rulers of the peo. ple, Go, number Israel from Beer-sheba even to Dan ; and bring the number of them to me, that I may
know it. And Joab answered, The Lord make his people an hundred times so many more as they be: but, my lord the king, are they not all my lord's servants ? why then doth
my lord require this thing? why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel.
Nevertheless the king's word prevailed against Joab: wherefore Joab departed and went throughout all Israel, and came to Jerusalem.
And Joab gave the sum of the number of the people unto David. And all they of Israel were a thousand thousand and an hundred thousand men that drew swords : and Judah was four hundred threescore and ten thousand men that drew sword.
But Levi and Benjamin counted he not among them : for the king's word was abominable to Joab.
And God was displeased with this thing, therefore he smote Israel.
And David said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing : but now, I beseech thee, do away the iniquity of thy servant, for I have done very foolishly. And the LORD spake unto Gad, David's seer, saying,
Go and tell David, saying, Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three things, choose the one of thens, that I may
do it unto thee. So Gad came to David, and said unto him, thus saith the LORD, Choose thee, either three years famine, or three months to be destroyed before thy foes (while that the sword of thy enemies overtaketh thee), or else three days the sword of the Lord, even the pestilence in the land; and the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the coast of Israel: now therefore advise thyself, what word I shall bring again to him that sent me.
And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait : let me fall now into the hand of the LORD, (for very great are his mercies) but let me not fall into the hand of men.
So the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men.
And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the LORD beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD stood by the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
And David lift up his eyes, and saw the angel of the LORD stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem : then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell upon
their faces. And David said unto God, Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered ? even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed ; but as for these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, O LORD my God, be on me, and on my father's house, but not on thy people, that they should be plagued.
Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say