Page images

and thy father is a man of war, and will not lodge with the people.

Behold, he is hid now in sone pit, or in some other place: and it will come to pass, when some of them be overthrown at the first, that whosoever heareth it, will say, There is slaughter among the people that follow Absalom.

And he also that is valiant, whose heart is as the heart of a lion, shall utterly melt: for all Israel knoweth that thy father is a mighty man, and they which be with him are valiant men.

Therefore I counsel, that all Israel be generally gathered unto thee, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, as the sand that is by the sea for multitude, and that thou go to battle in thine own person.

So shall we come upon him in some place where he shall be found, and we will light upon him as the dew falleth on the ground: and of him, and of all the men that are with him, there shall not be left so much

as one.

Moreover, if he be gotten into a city, then shall all Israel bring ropes to that city, and we will draw it into the river, until there be not one small stone found there.

And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel: for the LORD had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring evil upon Absalom.

Then said Hushai unto Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, Thus and thus did Ahithophel counsel Absalom and the eldest of Israel: and thus and thus have I counselled.

Now therefore send quickly, and tell David, saying, Lodge not this night in the plains of the wilderness,


but speedily pass over: lest the king be swallowed up, and all the people that are with him.

Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz staid by En-rogel (for they might not be seen to come into the city.) And a wench went and told them! and they went and told king David.

Nevertheless, a lad saw them, and told Absalom : but they went both of them away quickly, and came to a man's house in Bahurim, which had a well in his court, whither they went down.

And the women took and spread a covering over the well's mouth, and spread ground corn thereon: and the thing was not known.

And when Absalom's servants came to the woman to the house, they said, Where is Ahimaaz and Jonathan? and the woman said unto them, They be gone over the brook of water. And when they had sought and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem.

And it came to pass after they were departed, that they came up out of the well, and went and told king David, and said unto David, Arise and pass quickly over the water: for thus hath Ahithophel counselled against you.

Then David arose, and all the people that were with him, and they passed over Jordan: by the morning light there lacked not one of them that was not gone over Jordan.

And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his houshold in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father.

Then David came to Mahanaim: and Absalom passed over Jordan, he and all the men of Israel with him.


And Absalom made Amasa captain of the host instead of Joab.

So Israel and Absalom pitched in the land of Gilead.


[ocr errors]

David imagined that Absalom would make haste to Jerusalem, and so it proved: it seems, he arrived there a considerable time before the king and his followers reached the banks of the river Jordan; for when Hushai came to the city, he found Absalom in quiet possession, and just going to call a council. Absalom supposing Hushai to be inviolably attached to David, was amazed at being accosted by him; but on Hushai's assuring him that whom the LORD and all the men of Israel should choose, his would he be, he immediately resolved to repose entire confidence in him.

Hushai in this instance was not sincere; but we must consider, that he had no other possible way of defeating the counsels of Ahithophel; and if a departure from truth can in any instance be justified, surely it is in such a case as this, where it was evidently practised to prevent a man from murdering his FATHER and his KING.

The advice which Ahithophel gave, though exceedingly wicked, was very likely to succeed in getting the king into Absalon's power; but in mercy to David, the LORD ordained that Hushai's counsel should prevail. The object Hushai seems to have had in view was, to gain time, in order to concert proper measures for preventing bloodshed, and restoring the peace of the nation.

When David, in consequence of Hushai's advice, had passed the river Jordan, he is supposed to have composed the following psalm*:

*Psalm lxxi.


In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust, let me never be put to confusion.

Deliver me in Thy righteousness, and cause me to escape; incline Thine ear unto me, and save me.

Be Thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: Thou hast given commandment to save me, for Thou art my rock and my fortress.

Deliver me, O my GOD, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.

For Thou art my hope, O LORD GOD: Thou art my trust from my youth.

I am as a wonder unto many; but Thou art my strong refuge.

Let my mouth be filled with Thy praise, and with Thy honour all the day.

Cast me not off in the time of old age, forsake me not when my strength faileth.

For my enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait for my soul, take council together,

Saying, GOD hath forsaken him: persecute and take him, for there is none to deliver him.

O GOD, be not far from me: O my GOD, make haste for my help.

But I will hope continually, and will yet praise Thee more and more.

My mouth shall shew forth Thy righteousness, and Thy salvation all the day : for I know not the numbers thereof. I will go in the strength of the LORD GOD: I will make mention of Thy righteousness, even of thine only. O GOD, Thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared Thy wondrous works.

Now also when I am old and grey-headed, O GOD, forsake me not; until I have shewed Thy strength unto this generation, and Thy power to every one that is to come.


Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O GOD, who is like unto thee?

Thou which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shall quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.

Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.

I will also praise Thee with the psaltery, even Thy truth, O my GOD: unto Thee will I sing with the harp, O Thou holy one of Israel.

My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto Thee: and my

soul which thou hast redeemed.

My tongue also shall talk of Thy righteousness all the day long: for they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my hurt.

Great as David's present distress was, he had been redeemed from a severer one, the fear of God's perpetual anger for his heinous sins; his repentance had been accepted, and forgiveness promised. David knew that the LORD was also able to remove the punishment he suffered, and the HOLY SPIRIT gave him assurance, that when the purposes of his reformation and the edification of the world were answered by his chastisement, he should again rejoice before the LORD.

No one deserved death more than Ahithophel; and despair, which generally succeeds the disappointment of wicked plots, suggested the desperate deed of putting a end to his own life. When David heard that Ahithophel his formidable enemy was dead, it was natural for his heart to rejoice; and the following psalm seems particularly adapted to this occasion, because it is likely that being at Mahanaim, he recollected the deliverance of his forefather Jacob from the hand of Esau, and was encou


« PreviousContinue »