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reffects great honour on his memory: had not his character for humanity and gentleness of manners been generally known, it cannot be supposed, that one who had sơ vilely insulted him in the day of distress would have ventured to cast himself upon his mercy. The king was resolved not to interrupt the joy of reconcilement with his people, by shedding the blood of a reviler, whose reproaches, though undeserved, had contributed to bring his mind into that humble state, which had made his prayers acceptable to the LORD. What an excellent example has he left for the imitation of those who meet with contumely and reproach!
Barzillai was a faithful subject, and his sovereign was not insensible to his merit. This was a happy day to David; for he had opportunities of exercising his mercy, benevolence, and gratitude.
From 2 Samuel, Chap. xix, xx.
AND behold, all the men of Israel came to the king, and said unto the king, Why have our brethren, the men of Judah, stolen thee away, and have brought the king and his houshold, and all David's men with him over Jordan?
And all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, Because the king is near of kin to us: wherefore then be ye angry for this matter? have we eaten at all of the king's cost? or hath he given us any gift.
And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, We have ten parts in the king, and we have also more right in David than ye: why then did ye
despise us, that our advice should not be first had in bringing back our king? And the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.
And there happened to be there a man of Belial, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite; and he blew a trumpet, and said, We have no part in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: Every man to his tents, O Israel.
So every man of Israel went up from after David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri: but the men of Judah clave unto their king, from Jordan even to Jerusalem. And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came again in peace.
And it came to pass, when he was come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said unto him, Wherefore wentest not thou with me, Mephibosheth? And he answered, My lord, O king, my servant deceived me: for thy servant said, I will saddle me an ass, that I may ride thereon, and go to the king: because thy servant is lame.
And he hath slandered thy servant unto my lord the king; but my lord the king is an angel of GoD: do therefore what is good in thine eyes.
For all of my father's house were but dead men before my lord the king: yet didst thou set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table. What right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the king. And the king said unto him, Why speakest thou any more of thy matters? I have said, Thou and Ziba divide the land..
And Mephibosheth said unto the king, Yea, let him take all, forasmuch as my lord the king is come again in peace unto his own house.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
It is very easy to raise commotions in a state, but hard to quell them; for when fellow-subjects have been used to regard each other as enemies, animosities break out on every trifling occasion; as was the case in the present instance. Perhaps David was impolitic in sending to the men of Judah; but as it was his own tribe, we can scarcely wonder that he was solicitous for their countenancing him on this occasion; neither was it safe for him to go to Jerusalem, till he had their assurance, that they would yield him quiet possession of it. When he knew that the gates of the city would be opened to him, he began his march, never supposing that the other tribes would expect a particular invitation; however, pride and jealousy made them suspect him of partiality to Judah; and the imprudent haughty answer which this tribe returned to their remonstrances, blew. up the flame. Sheba being a Benjamite, had a personal hatred to David, on account of his having been appointed of GoD to supersede Saul's family; he therefore took advantage of the present dispute, with a view to his own interest.
The joy, which David would otherwise have felt at his return to Jerusalem, was greatly damped by these fresh contentions; but he still trusted in the LORD,
Mephibosheth's answer to the king's enquiry, why he had not attended him? implied, that it was his wish to have done so; but David's reply gives us reason to suppose that he did not believe him sincere; though, for the sake of Jonathan, he was contented to pass the måtter over without a scrutiny, which he feared might end in the disgrace of Mephibosheth. Ziba had done the king very acceptable services, and his story was a probable one. If Mephibesheth was able to ride, surely he might 11
have followed, and prevented credit being given to it; so we cannot wonder, that David did not readily give ear to his excuses; for, after the benefits he had conferred on Mephibosheth, he must have been greatly hurt at such an appearance of ingratitude and inattention to his distress. It is hard to decide which deserved blame, Mephibosheth or Ziba; but from Mephibosheth's ready acquiescence, we may conclude that David conducted himself in this affair according to the rules of integrity and honour.
AMASA MADE GENERAL BY DAVID-SLAIN BY JOAB.
From 2 Sam. Chap. xx.
AND David came to his house at Jerusalem. Then said the king to Amasa, Assemble me the men of Judah within three days, and be thou here present...
So Amasa went to assemble the men of Judah; but he tarried longer than the set time which he had appointed him..
And David said to Abishai, Now shall Sheba the son of Bichri do us more harm than did Absalom: take thou thy lord's servants, and pursue after him, lest he get him fenced cities, and escape us.
And there went out after him Joab's men, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and all the mighty men: and they went out of Jerusalem, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.
When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa went before them: and Joab's garment that he had put on was girded unto him, and upon it a girdle with a sword fastened upon his loins in the sheath thereof, and as he went forth it fell out.
And Joab said to Amasa, Art thou in health, my brother; and Joab took Amasa by the beard with the right 3 hand to kiss him.
But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab's hand: so he smote him therewith in the fifth rib, vand shed out his bowels to the ground, and struck him not again, and he died: so Joab and Abishai his brother * pursued after Sheba the son of Bichri.
And one of Joab's men stood by him, and said, He that favoureth Joab, and he that is for David, let him after Joab.
And Amasa wallowed in blood in the midst of the highway: and when the man saw that all the people stood still, he removed Amasa out of the high-way into the field, and cast a cloth upon him, when he saw that every one that came by him stood still.
When he was removed out of the high-way, all the people went on after Joab, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.
And he went through all the tribes of Israel unto › Abel, and unto Beth-maachah, and all the Berites: and they were gathered together, and went also after him.
And they came and besieged him in Abel of Bethmaachah, and they cast up a bank against the city, and it stood in the trench: and all the people that were with Joab, battered the wail to throw it down.
:. Then cried a wise woman out of the city, Hear, hear; say, I pray you, unto Joab, come near hither, that I may speak with thee.
And when he was come near unto her, the woman said, Art thou Joab? And he answered, I am he. Then she said unto him, Hear the words of thine handmaid. And he answered, I do hear.
Then she spake, saying, They were wont to speak in