« PreviousContinue »
serve the lives of as many of them as he could. Having conquered the whole country, David took an exact survey of every part of it, casting them to the ground; that is, laying level their strong holds and fortified places, excepting such as he thought proper to garrison with his troops; then he marked out two tracks of the country, one consisting of those Moabites who had been most active in the war against him; these he condemned to death, and the inhabitants of the other he saved alive, on condition of their paying him tribute.ud os son ena David next went to extend his dominions as far as the grant given by GoD to Abraham, in these words, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates; but he met with great opposition from Hadadezer, the son of Rehob, who was at that time king of Zobah, in the land of Syria.
The Syrians were descended partly from Aram, the youngest son of Shem, and partly from Hamathi, one of the eleven sons of Canaan. Syria, which was of great extent, was divided into many petty kingdoms, of which Zobah was one. Rehob is supposed to have been the first king of it, and to have laid the foundation of his son's grandeur. Hadadezer was a great and ambitious prince, and seems to have aspired at the universal mo-‡ narchy of Syria; but his opposition to David was at tended with such losses, that he was under the necessity of calling in the aid of the people of Damascus (another part of Syria), which place was then without a king; but they soon after received for their sovereign, Rezont, one of Hadadezer's subjects, who revolted from him.
David is said to bave taken from Hadadezer, 1000 chariots and 720,000 footmen; and when the Syrian of
* See the History of the Syrians in the Universal History. CALA quo vift See 1 Kings xi. 23.
Damascus came to their succour, David's army slew of them 22,000 men, and took a vast number of golden shields.
We may form an high idea of the riches of the Syrians, from the number of chariots and horses which even those kings who reigned over a very small part of it possessed; and from the golden shields which David took from their soldiers. David hamstrung the horses, and burned the chariots in the fire, agreeably to the command of the LORD formerly given to prevent his people from placing dependance on their own power, and that they might trust in him alone,
We read that Joab smote every male in Edom, and afterwards put garrisons in that country; from which wẹ may conclude that the Edomites also had joined the fomer conspiracy, to cut off Israel from being a nation, that the name of Israel might no longer remain in remembrance. And from the account of Joab's severity towards them, there is reason to suppose, that as the Edomites had abused the mercy which God had commanded to be shewed towards them, David was authorized to put them to the sword. We must not, however, imagine, that Joab destroyed all the inhabitants in the whole country of Edom; though we are told, that he cut off all the males; for this expression may only extend to those who were in arms against him, and shews that he spared the women and children.
From the time of Moses, when, as we read in a former part of this history, the Edomites refused Israel a passage through their land, sacred history is silent about them, except in respect to their joining the confederacy above mentioned; but it appears, that they had employed themselves in extending their dominions, and had applied themselves to trade and navigation, particularly in the Arabian
Arabian gulf. They dealt in very rich commodities: pure gold, gold of Ophir, the topaz of Ethiopia, corals, pearls, &c. and became a very considerable kingdom; but they now began to feel the effects of Isaac's prophecy, that the elder should serve the younger; for those that were not destroyed, where either brought into subjection by Joab, or fled with their young king into Egypt.
Though David was engaged in wars abroad, he did not neglect the administration of justice at home; all his subjects were safe under his protection, and shared the fruits of his good government. He made choice of able ministers to discharge the great offices of the state. JoaB was commander in chief of the forces; he was a valiant man; but there is reason to suppose, David would willingly have preferred another to this post, on account of Joab's having murdered Amasa; but that he could not remove -him without raising commotions in the kingdoin, as Joab -had great power and influence.
-1 JEHIEL, was tutor and governor of the king's younger sons. JEHOSHAPHAT, the son of Ahilud, was recorder, or a remembrancer or writer of chronicles. JONATHAN and SERAIAH were the scribes, or principal secretaries of state. The brave BENAIAH, who had performed noble exploits, was the captain of the life-guards, who were called Cherethites and Pelethites.
Cherethites was another name for Philistines; but we cannot suppose that David preferred those who had been the inveterate enemies of his country (even if they were now become proselytes) to his own subjects, the most probable conjecture therefore is, that the Cherethites were those troops who had resorted to him in his distress, gone -along with him into Philistia, and adhered to him in his calamities.
The Pelethites are supposed to have been those who re
sorted to him at Ziklag, whilst he was still under the protection of Achish, who might be denominated Pelethites, from the name of their leader*Pelet, the son of Azmaveth.
ZADOK, the son of Ahitub, and ABIMELECH, the son of Abiathar, were the priests; David's eldest sons were chief rulers;AHITIOPHEL was the king's counsellor; and HUSHAI, the Archite, was the king's companion.
There were a number of other officers of state in different departments.
DAVID SENDETH FOR MEPHI BOSHETH,JONATHAN'S SON. From 2 Samuel Chap. viii, ix.
AND David reigned over all Israel, and David executed judgment and justice unto all his people.
And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan's sake? And there was of the house of Saul, a servant whose name was Ziba; and when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he.
And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of GOD unto him? and Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son which is lame on his feet.
And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lo-debar:01T/
Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the House of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lo-debar.
*.1 Chron, xii, 13,
Now when Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant.
And David said unto him, Fear not; for I will surely shew thee kindness, for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father, and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.
And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am? Then the king called to Ziba Saul's servant and said unto him, I have given unto thy master's son all that pertained to Saul, and to all his house.
Thou therefore and thy sons, and thy servants, shall till the land for him, and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy master's son's family may have food to eat: but Mephibosheth thy master's son shall eat bread alway at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons, and twenty servants. Then said Ziba unto the king, According to ail that my lord the king hath commanded his servant, so shall thy servant do. As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king's sons.
And Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Micha: and all that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants unto Mephibosheth.
Sa Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king's table: and was lame on both his feet.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Whenever David enjoyed an interval of peace, he studied to improve it to some good purpose; his gratitude to God had lately been shewn in bringing back the Ark, and the pious design of building a temple for public wor