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Also in times past when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel; and the LORD said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel and thou shalt be a captain over Israel.»,
So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron, and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign.
And these are the numbers of the bands that were ready armed to the war, and came to David to Hebron to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the LORD.
The children of Judah that bare shield and spear, were six thousand and eight hundred ready armed to the war.
Of the children of Simeon, mighty men of valour for the war, seven thousand and one hundred..
Of the children of Levi, four thousand and six hundred.
And Jehoiada was the leader of the Aaronites, and with him were three thousand and seven hundred.
And Zadok, a young man of mighty valour, and of his father's house twenty and two captains.
1 And of the children of Benjamin the kindred of Saul three thousand for hitherto the greatest part of them had kept the ward of the house of Saul.
And of the children of Ephraim, twenty thousand and eight hundred, mighty men of valour, famous throughout the house of their fathers.
And of the half tribe of Manasseh, eighteen thousand which were expressed by name to come and make David king.
And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel
ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred, and all their brethren were at their commandment.
Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war with all instruments of war, fifty thousand which could keep rank; they were not of double heart.
And of Naphtali, a thousand captains, and with them with shield and spear, thirty and seven thousand. And of the Danites expert in war, twenty and eight thousand and six hundred,
And of Asher such as went forth to battle, expert in "war, forty thousand.
And on the other side of Jordan, of the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and of the half tribe of Manasseh, with all manner of instruments of war for the battle, an hundred and twenty thousand.
All these men of war that could keep rank came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel; and all the rest also of Israel were of one heart to make David king.
And there they were with David three days, eating and drinking: for their brethren had prepared for them.
Moreover, they that were nigh them, even unto Issachar, and Zebulun, and Naphtali, brought bread on asses and on camels, and on mules, and on oxen, and meat, meal, cakes of figs, and bunches of raisins, and wine, and oil, and oxen, and sheep, abundantly; for there was joy in Israel.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
David spent seven years and six months at Hebron; and as it appears that he did not take the field during that time, we may conjecture that he employed himself in settling and regulating his ARMY; for we may learn from
different parts of scripture*, that he appointed twelve courses of military men for the service of the year, each consisting of 24,000 soldiers, with their proper officers included, to do military duty wherever occasion required one month in every year. Itt likewise appears, that the officers of each course were usually the fathers of the principal families of which that course consisted, so that there was little fear of cruelty and oppression on one side, or of disobedience and desertion on the other; and the commanders were naturally engaged to be more diligent in instructing and forming their soldiers, and the soldiers more attentive in learning their duty.
David had three commanders in chief of the first order, three of the second, thirty-one of the third, and thirty of the fourth: Asahel is mentioned as one of the chiefs, therefore this regulation of the army must have been established before the battle of Gilboa; and as it is said that "there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David," and we read but of little bloodshed, we may presume, that though there might be frequent skirmishes, there was no battle besides that at Gibeon; and we may suppose, that during the seven years of Ish-bosheth's reign over Israel, David exercised and disciplined his troops, so that at the conclusion of it he had a noble army.
The people of Israel, without a king and leader, were like sheep having no shepherd; and as they were convinced by David's mild and wise government over Judah, that he was deserving of the supreme authority, they were unanimous in choosing him for their sovereign. How highly delightful must it have been to David, to receive the willing homage of such multitudes, who at length
* 2 Sam. xxiii. +1 Chron. xxvii.
+ I Chron. xi.
acknowledged that he was the chosen of the LORD, and worthy to govern them!
The covenant which David entered into, is supposed to have been a solemn promise in the name of the LORD, that he would administer justice, and govern agreeably to the law of GOD, given to Moses; and the people bound themselves in the same solemn manner, to obey him as that law required.
Instead of strife and contention, nothing was now heard in Israel but joyful acclamations. Now were those friends reconciled whom civil discord had set at variance; and all the blessings of unanimity presented themselves to the mind. Mirth and festivity filled up the happy hours, and warlike instruments, were exchanged for the merry harp and the lute; every countenance was enlivened with gladness, and every tongue invoked blessings on David. "Yet amidst all this rejoicing, there was no luxury or intemperance: nothing but the produce of the earth in its native simplicity; and as David presided, we may reasonably suppose that the feast began and ended with praises and thanksgivings to the LORD."
It is delightful to read, that David, after all his troubles, was invited to the throne of Israel in so honourable a manner. He certainly had resisted many temptations to gain possession of it by violence; for he was firmly persuaded, that the promises of GOD were sure, and the aid of the LORD sufficient.
In order to make proper reflections on reflections on this part of David's history, we should read his Psalms, which shew at once what he thought on these occasions, and what sentiments others should entertain in a state of prosperity.
DAVID TAKETH ZION,—MAKETH ALLIANCE WITH HIRAM, KING OF TYRE, 15)
WHEN+the Israelites, in the days of Joshua, cast lots for their future inheritance, Sion fell to Benjamin: soon after Joshua's death, the tribe of Judah took the lower city, but the Jebusites still maintained the fortress: after the city was rebuilt, the children of Judah and Benjamin inhabited it; but they very imprudently suffered the Jebusites to dwell amongst them. In Saul's time, however, the Hebrews dwelt in it (for David carried Goliath's head thither); but it is supposed, that the Jebusites took entire possession of it after the battle of Gilboa. The Israelites certainly had an undoubted right to SION, by the appointment of GOD; and a man of David's courage and enterprizing spirit, would scarcely suffer so strong a fortress to remain in the hands of one of those people who were devoted by God to destruction: his claim to it was just, and the taking of it necessary to the security and peace of his government and people, he therefore went up against it. The Jebusites supposing the city impregnable treated David with the utmost scorn and contempt, saying that even the blind and the lame amongst them were able to defend it against his utmost force; and it is thought, that in derision they placed such impotent persons on their ramparts, (instead of able soldiers) who perhaps joined in deriding David, and blaspheming the ALMIGHTY GOn, in whom Israel confided; on which account David expressed his hatred against them, and promised great
* 2 Sam.
+ Chandler's Life of King David.