Page images
PDF
EPUB

whole history before us, can see that the manner in which than the same result brought about through the exertions he ultimately became king over all Israel, by the free and | of Abner; whose conduct, as between David and Ishbounsolicited choice of the tribes, was more honourable and sheth, must have seemed very equivocal, and could, at the safe to him, and more becoming his divine appointment, 1 best, have been but 'traitorously honest’

CHAPTER IV.

2 | And Saul's sun had two men that were

captains of bands : the name of the one was 1 The Israelites being troubled at the death of Ainer, | Baanah, and the name of the 'other Rechab, 2 Baanah and Rechab slay Ish-bosheth, and bring

the sons of Rimmon a Beerothite, of the chilhis head to Hebron. 9 David causeth them to be slain, and Ish-bosheth's head to be buried.

dren of Benjamin : (for Beeroth also was rec

koned to Benjamin : And when Saul's son heard that Abner was 3 And the Beerothites fled to Gittaim, and dead in Hebron, his hands were feeble, and all were sojourners there until this day.) the Israelites were troubled.

4 And Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son 1 Heb. second.

Verse 4. · Lame of his feet.'— This is mentioned here to shew that Mephibosheth was (according to Eastern notions) physically incapacitated from sustaining the kingly office; and that, in consequence, the assassins of Ishbosheth considered that, by compassing his death, they had extinguished the succession in the house of Saul.“

5. Bed.' - See the note on Deut. iii. 11, where we have mentioned the duan or divan, as the usual, but not exclusive, seat as well as bed of the Orientals. A divan consists of a cushion placed under the wall of a room, upon a bench or platform, often very slightly raised above the floor, and frequently upon the ffoor itself, with other cushions against the wall to support the back. These duans often extend along the upper end and two sides of the apartment, particularly in rooms where the master of the house receives friends and visitors. The Persians, despising the luxury of cushions, have only a breadth of thick felt spread upon the carpeted floor, and have gene. rally no cushions between the back and the wall, unless when lounging in their private apartments. We have said already that the Orientals generally take their afternoon nap, and have their beds at night on these duans, or on the floor itself, and have also noticed exceptions. The annexed engraving illustrates these arrangements, and also bears on the statements given under 1 Sam. xx. 25, respecting the seat in the corner.

12. • Cut off their hands and their feet' — The mutilation of the hand or foot for particular crimes seems to be implied in the lex talionis— Hand for hand, foot for foot,' etc. And, in Deut. xxv. 12, excision of the hand is expressly assigned to a particular offence. In all such directions there seems an idea of retaliating on the offending member. Thus the crimes which the hand or foot are instrumental in committing are punished with the loss of the hand or foot. In the present instance the hands and feet of the assassins are cut off after death, perhaps with a reference to the crime of the foot in entering the king's bedchamber, and the crime of the hand in shedding innocent blood. It is remarkable that mutilation only remains, in the letter of our own law, as a punishment for offences against the majesty of the king—the loss of the hand being ordained for striking within the limits of the king's court, or in the presence of his judicial representative. At present, in the East, mutilation is, in common with other punishments, inflicted, according to no specifio rule, on those whose situation renders them obnoxious to the operations of arbitrary power. But in other cases, where the law is left to its own operation, the excision of the hand is usually for offences of the hand, as theft,

EASTERN Divan. forgery, etc. In Persia, robbery and theft have of late years been punished with death. But the law only pre Mischat-ul-Masibih, from a tradition given by Abuhuscribes mutilation; and this law was so much observed by rairah, is, that a thief is to have his right hand cut off ; the early Mohammedans, that, as we perceive in Arabian | if he offends a second time, he is to be deprived of the left tales, the loss of the hand was a permanent stain on a foot; if he steals again, he is to lose his left hand; and man's character, as an evidence that he had been punished | if a fourth time, his remaining foot is to be taken from for theft. The law of this subject, as stated in the him.

193 VOL. II.

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

M

that was lame of his feet. He was five years LORD hath avenged my lord the king this day ! old when the tidings came of Saul and Jona- of Saul, and of his seed. than out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him 9 | And David answered Rechab and up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made | Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. Beerothite, and said unto them, As the LORD And his name was Mephibosheth.

liveth, who hath redeemed my soul out of all 5 And the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, / adversity, Rechab and Baanah, went, and came about 10 When "one told me, saying, Behold, the heat of the day to the house of Ish-bosheth, Saul is dead, ®thinking to have brought good who lay on a bed at noon.

tidings, I took hold of him, and slew him in 6 And they came thither into the midst of | Ziklag, 'who thought that I would have given the house, as though they would have fetched him a reward for his tidings : wheat; and they smote him under the fifth 11 How much more, when wicked men have rib: and Rechab and Baanah his brother es- slain a righteous person in his own house upon caped.

his bed ? shall I not therefore now require his 7 For when they came into the house, he blood of your hand, and take you away from lay on his bed in his bedchamber, and they | the earth? smote him, and slew him, and beheaded him, 12 And David commanded his young men, and took his head, and gat them away through and they slew them, and cut off their hands and the plain all night.

their feet, and hanged them up over the pool 8 And they brought the head of Ish-bosheth | in Hebron, But they took the head of Ishuato David to Hebron, and said to the king, bosheth, and buried it in the 'sepulchre of Behold the head of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul | Abner in Hebron. thine enemy, which sought thy life ; and the |

2 Chap. 1. 4, 15, a Heb, he was in his our eyes a bringer, &c. Or, which was the reward I gave him for his tidings. 5 Chap. 3. 32.

CHAPTER V.

of the land : which spake unto David, saying,

Except thou take away the blind and the lame, 1 The tribes come to Hebron to anoint David over

thou shalt not come in hither: “thinking, David Israel. 4 David's age. 6 He taking Zion from the Jebusites dwelleth in it. 11 Hiram sendeth to

cannot come in hither. David. 13 Eleven sons are born to him in Jeru 7 Nevertheless David took the strong hold salem. 17 David, directed by God, smiteth the of Zion : the same is the city of David. Philistines at Baal-perazim, 22 and again at the

8 And David said on that day, Whosoever mulberry trees.

getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the JeTHEN 'came all the tribes of Israel to David busites, and the lame and the blind, that are unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we hated of David's soul, he shall be chief and are thy bone and thy flesh.

captain. "Wherefore they said, The blind and 2 Also in time past, when Saul was king the lame shall not come into the house. over us, thou wast he that leddest out and 1 9 So David dwelt in the fort, and called it broughtest in Israel : and the Lord said to | the city of David. And David built round thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and about from Millo and inward. thou shalt be a captain over Israel.

| 10 And David 'went on, and grew great, 3 So all the elders of Israel came to the and the LORD God of hosts was with him. king to Hebron; and king David made a 11 | And Hiram king of Tyre sent mesleague with them in Hebron before the sengers to David, and cedar trees, and carLORD ; and they anointed David king over penters, and 'masons : and they built David Israel.

an house. 4 | David was thirty years old when he 12 And David perceived that the LORD had began to reign, and he reigned forty years. established him king over Israel, and that he

5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah 'seven had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel's years and six months : and in Jerusalem he sake. reigned thirty and three years over all Israel 13 | And ''David took him more concuand Judah.

bines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he was 6 | And the king and his men went to come from Hebron : and there were yet sons Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants and daughters born to David. 11 Chron. 11. 1. 2 Psalm 78, 71. 3 Chap. 2, 11, Or, saying, David shall not, &c.

51 Chron, 11. 6. Or, because they had said, even the blind and the lame, He shall not come into the house.

7 Heb, went going and growing. 9 Heb. hewers of the stone of the wall.

10 i Chron. 3. $.

194 81 Chron. 14. 1.

14 And these be the names of those that LORD hath broken forth upon mine eriemies were born unto him in Jerusalem ; Sham- before me, as the breach of waters. Therefore muah, and Shobab, and Nathan, and Solo- he called the name of that place “Baalmon,

perazim. 15 Ibhar also, and Elishua, and Nepheg, 21 And there they left their images, and and Japhia,

David and his men 15 16 burned them. 16 And Elishama, and Eliada, and Eli-1 22 | And the Philistines came up yet phalet.

again, and spread themselves in the valley of 17 | "But when the Philistines heard that Rephaim. they had anointed David king over Israel, all 23 And when David enquired of the LORD, the Philistines came up to seek David ; and he said, Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a David heard of it, and went down to the hold. | compass behind them, and come upon them

18 The Philistines also came and spread over against the mulberry trees. . themselves in the valley of Rephaim.

24 And let it be, when thou hearest the 19 And David enquired of the LORD, sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry saying, Shall I go up to the Philistines ? wilt trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for thou deliver them into mine hand? And the | then shall the LORD go out before thee, to LORD said unto David, Go up: for I will | smite the host of the Philistines. doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine | 25 And David did so, as the LORD had hand.

commanded him; and smote the Philistines 20 And David came to "Baal-perazim, from Geba until thou come to Gazer. and David smote them there, and said, The

11 1 Chron, 3. 5.

19 i Chron, 11. 16, and 14. 8.

15 | Chron, 14. 19.

13 Isa. 19, 21, 14 That is, The plain of breaches. 18 Or, took them away.

Verse 3. • King David made a league with them....before | deemed impregnable. The fact that his rule was likely, the Lord.'-It is important not to let this escape our atten- | under all circumstances, to find the most zealous supporters tion, as it shews that the Hebrew monarchs were by no means | in his own tribe of Judah, probably disinclined David to absolute in the strongest sense of the term; but that there remove from its borders; and he determined to make his were certain conditions which they pledged themselves to new conquest the metropolis of the empire. A more cenobserve. These leagues and covenants, which we find trical situation with respect to all the tribes would have newly-elected kings entering into with the people, formed placed him in the hands of the Ephraimites, whose cordiwhat would, in our days, be called a constitution. The ality towards a Judahite king might well be suspected, and terms of these covenants are not expressed; but a careful in whom little confidence could be placed in times of study of the historical books will enable the reader to dis danger and difficulty. Similar considerations have dictated cover several very important privileges of royalty as well the choice of a very inconveniently situated capital to the as restrictions on the royal power, . The covenant probably reigning dynasty of Persia. But although better sites for stated the rights of the king on the one hand, and those of a metropolitan city might have been found in the largest the people on the other. This is not the only instance of extent of Palestine, there was none better within the limits such a covenant. On the election of Saul, Samuel wrote to which, for the reasons indicated, the choice of David was 'the manner of the kingdom' in a book, and laid it up be confined. That the site is overlooked from the Mount of fore the Lord; and this book probably stated the rights Olives, although a great disadvantage in the eyes of modern and limitations of the kingly power, and formed the basis military engineers, was of little consequence under the anon which the Hebrew government was established. The cient systems of warfare, and could not countervail the pecucovenant was not renewed at the commencement of every liar advantages which it offered in being enclosed on three fresh reign, as probably every succeeding king was con sides by a natural fosse of ravines and deep vallies, and tersidered, without any formal stipulation, to stand on the minating in an eminence, which, while strong in its defences same ground as his predecessors. Hence we only read of without, commanded the town within, and was capable of such covenants in the cases of Saul, the first king; of being strongly fortified. The united influence of all these David, the founder of a new dynasty; and of Joash (2 considerations appears to have determined the preference of Kings xi. 17), who succeeded after an usurpation. It David for a site which was open to the serious objection, seems, however, that the people retained the right of pro among others, of being so remote from the northern tribes posing, at the commencement of a new reign, even in the as to render the legal obligation of resort to it three times ordinary course of succession, such further stipulations as in a year a more burdensome matter to them than it would their experience under former reigns suggested : and the have been had a more centrical situation been chosen, refusal of Rehoboam to listen to any such proposal, gave

As Jerusalem henceforth becomes of importance in the occasion for ten of the tribes to secede from their allegiance history of the Jews, we shall here state such particulars to the house of David, and establish a new and independent concerning it as may conduce to the better understanding kingdom.

of the references to it, in the history of the kingdom of 6. The king and his men went to Jerusalem.'-It was which it was the capital ; purposing, in the New Testathus the first act of David's reign to undertake the reduc ment, to resume the subject, with a view to the illustration tion of the fortress of Jebus, on Mount Zion, which had of such references to its then existing and then foreremained in the hands of the natives ever since the days of seen future state, as occur in that portion of the Holy Joshua, and which, as Josephus reports (Antiq. v. 2), had Scriptures. been, from its situation and its fortifications, hitherto ! The Scriptural history of Jerusalem we shall not here

[ocr errors][graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small]

give. This would be essential in any other work; but in mountainous : and is, moreover, cut up by deep rallies notes to the Bible it seems a supererogatory undertaking to | which run east or west on either side towards the Jordan repeat that which the text itself sufficiently states. To the or the Mediterranean. time of Ezra and Nehemiah the history of Jerusalem is From the great plain of Esdraelon onwards towards the found in the Scriptures; and will for that period be unno south, the mountainous country rises gradually, forming ticed, unless as the several prominent circumstances of that the tract anciently known as the mountains of Ephraim history occur in the sacred narrative. But in our future and Judah ; until, in the vicinity of Hebron, it attains an potes, we shall supply all that part of its history concerning elevation of 3250 feet above the level of the Mediterranean which the Scripture contains no information. This will Sea. Further north, on a line drawn from the north end be from the termination of the Old Testament accounts to of the Dead Sea towards the true west, the ridge bas an the time of our Saviour, with a view of the subsequent de elevation of only about 2710 feet; and here, close upon the solations which He foretold; and this will lead to some watershed, lies the city of Jerusalem. Its mean geogranotice of its present condition.

phical position is in lat. 31° 46' 43'' N., and long. 350 13 E. All therefore we have now to do, is to convey some from Greenwich. general impressions concerning the site and immediate en The traveller, on his way from Ramleh to Jerusalem, at virons of this renowned city; and even this duty is further about an hour and half distance therefrom, descends into limited by the occasion which we shall find to notice, and crosses the great Terebinth vale, or valley of Elah (see separately, the particular spots which are historically men the note on 1 Sam. xvii. 19). On again reaching the high tioned in the Scriptures. In such a general ichnographical ground on its eastern side, he enters upon an open tract glance as we have now to offer, it is desirable, as far as sloping gradually downwards towards the east; and sees possible, to abstain from noticing such circumstances as before him, at the distance of about two miles, the walls have proceeded from the hands of man and the alterations and domes of the city, and beyond them the highest ridge of time--that is, to render the view, as far as possible, of Olivet. The traveller now descends gradually towards natural only. But it is impossible altogether to exclude the town along a broad swell of ground having at some dissuch circumstances; since all our topographical notices are tance on his left the shallow northern part of the valley of of much later date than the historical statements in the Old Jehoshaphat, and close at hand on his right the basin which Testament.

forms the beginning of the valley of Hinuom. Further Jerusalem lies near the summit of a broad mountain down both these vallies become deep, narrow, and preciridge. This ridge or mountainous tract extends, without pitous; that of Hinnom bends south and again east, nearly interruption, from the plain of Esdraelon to a line drawn at right angles, and unites with the other, which then conbetween the south end of the Dead Sea and the south-east tinues its course to the Dead Sea. Upon the broad and corner of the Mediterranean: or more properly, perhaps, elevated promontory within the fork of the two vallies of it may be regarded as extending as far as the southern Jehoshaphat and of Hinnom, lies the holy city. All around desert where, at Jebel Arâif, it sinks down at once to the are higher hills: on the east the Mount of Olives, on the level of the great plateau. This tract, which is nowhere south the Hill of Evil Counsel, so called, rising directly less than from twenty to twenty-five geographical miles in from the vale of Hinnom; on the west the ground rises breadth, is, in fact, high uneven table-land. The surface gently, as above described, to the borders of the great of this upper region is everywhere rocky, uneven, and valley; while on the north, a bend of the ridge connected with the Mount of Olives bounds the prospect at a distance valley of the Tyropæon or Cheesemakers as it was called, of more than a mile. Towards the south-west the view is which has already been mentioned as separating the hills somewhat more open; for here lies the plain of Rephaim, of the upper and lower city, extended qnite down to Siloam, commencing just at the southern brink of the valley of -a fountain so named, whose waters were sweet and Hinnom, and stretching off south-west, when it runs to the abundant. From without, the two hills of the city were western sea. In the north-west, too, the eye reaches up enclosed by deep vallies; and there was no approach bealong the upper part of the valley of Jehoshaphat; and cause of the precipices on every side. from many points can discern the mosque of Neby Samwil Dr. Robinson, in comparing the information derivable (Prophet Samuel], situated on a lofty ridge beyond the from Josephus with his own materials, declares that the great valley, at the distance of two hours.

main features depicted by the Jewish historian may still The surface of the elevated promontory itself, on which the be recognised. • True,' he says, 'the valley of the Tyrocity stands, slopes somewhat steeply towards the east, termi pæon and that between Akra and Moriah have been greatly nating on the brink of the valley of Jehoshaphat. From the filled up with the rubbish accumulated from the repeated northern part, near the present Damascus gate, a depression desolations of nearly eighteen centuries. Yet they are still or shallow valley runs in a southern direction, having on the distinctly to be traced; the hills of Zion, Akra, Moriah and west the ancient hills of Akra and Zion, and on the east the Bezetha are not to be mistaken, while the deep vallies of lower ones of Bezetha and Moriah. Between the hills of the Kidron and of Hinnom, and the Mount of Olives, are Akra and Zion another depression or shallow valley (still permanent natural features, too prominent and gigantic easy to be traced) comes down from near the Jaffa gate, indeed to be forgotten, or to undergo any perceptible and joins the former. It then continues obliquely down the change.' slope, but with a deeper bed, in a southern direction, quite Recurring to the walls, Josephus says:- Of these three to the pool of Siloam and the valley of Jehoshaphat. This walls the old one was hard to be taken; both by reason is the ancient Tyropæon. West of its lower part Zion of the vallies, and of that hill on which it was built, and rises loftily, lying mostly without the modern city; while which was above them. But besides that great advantage, on the east of the Tyropæon and the valley first mentioned, as to the place where they were situate, it was also built lie Bezetha, Moriah, and Ophel, the last a long and compa very strong: because David, and Solomon and the followratively narrow ridge, also outside of the modern city, and ing kings were very zealous about this work.' After some terminating in a rocky point over the pool of Siloam. further account of the walls, which has no immediate conThese three last hills may strictly be taken as only parts of nection with our present subject, he adds that 'the city in one and the same ridge. The breadth of the whole site of its ultimate extension, included another hill, the fourth, Jerusalem from the brow of the valley of Hinnom, near the called Bezetha, to the north of the temple, from which it Jaffa gate, to the brink of the valley of Jehoshaphat, is was separated by a deep artificial ditch.'' But this part of about one thousand and twenty yards, or nearly half a | the city belonging to the New Testament history, will not geographical mile; of which distance three hundred and at present engage our attention. eighteen yards are occupied by the area of the great mosque From this account of Josephus, as compared with those of Omar, which occupies the site of Solomon's temple. furnished by others, it appears that Jerusalem stood on North of the Jaffa gate the city wall sweeps round more to three hills, Mount Zion, Mount Akra, and Mount Moriah, the west, and increases the breadth of the city in that part. on which last the temple stood. Or we may consider them The country around Jerusalem is all of limestone formation. as two, after Mount Akra had been levelled, and the valley The rocks everywhere come out above the surface, which filled up which separated it from Mount Moriah. Of these in many parts is also thickly strewed with loose stones; and hills Zion was the highest, and contained the upper city, the aspect of the whole region is barren and dreary; yet the city of David,' with the citadel, the strength of which, the olive thrives here abundantly, and fields of grain are and of the position on which it stood, enabled the Jebusites seen in the vallies and level places, but they are less so long to retain it as their strong hold, and to maintain productive than in the region of Hebron and Nabulus. their command over the lower part of the city, even when Neither vineyards nor fig-trees flourish on the high ground they were obliged to allow the Israelites to share in its around the city, though the latter are found in the gardens occupation. This Mount Zion (which we are only here below Siloam, and very frequently in the vicinity of Beth noticing cursorily formed the southern portion of the anlehem.

cient city. It is almost excluded from the modern city, The Scripture affords few materials for a connected view and is under partial cultivation. It is nearly a mile in of the ancient city; and although Josephus is more parti circumference, is highest on the west side, and towards cular, the idea which he furnishes is less distinct than it the east slopes down in broad terraces in the upper part may at the first view appear. His descriptions also refer | of the mountain, and narrow ones on the side, towards to a time later even than that of Christ, although in all | the brook Kidron. This mount is considerably higher essential points applicable to the New Testament period ; than the ground on which the ancient (lower) city stood, and then the city had become in most respects very different or that on the east leading to the valley of Jehoshaphat, from the more ancient city which the Old Testament pre- but has very little relative height above the ground sents to our notice. Still his account affords certain lead | on the south and on the west, and must have owed its ing ideas which must have been applicable at all periods, boasted strength principally to a deep ravine, by which it is and its substance may therefore be stated in this place. He | encompassed on the east, south and west, and the strong describes Jerusalem as being in his time enclosed by a triple high walls and towers by which it was enclosed and flanked wall, wherever it was not encircled by impassable vallies; completely round. The breadth of this ravine is about one for there it had but a single wall. The ancient city lay | hundred and fifty feet, and its depth, or the height of Mount upon two hills over against each other, separated by an in Zion above the bottom of the ravine, about sixty feet. The tervening valley, at which the houses terminated. Of these | bottom is rock, covered with a thin sprinkling of earth, and hills, that (Zion which bore the upper city was the highest, in the winter season is the natural channel for conveying and was straighter in extent. On account of its fortifica off the water that falls into it from the higher ground. tions, it was called by King David the Fortress or Citadel On both of its sides the rock is cut perpendicularly down; (see v. 7-9); but in the time of the historian it was known and it was probably the quarry from which much of the as the Upper Market. The other hill, sustaining the lower stone was taken for the building of the city. eity, and called Akra, had the form of the gibbous moon. The site, regarded as a whole, without further attending Over against this was a third hill, naturally lower than to the distinction of hills, is surrounded on the east, west, Akra, and separated from it by another broad valley. But and south by vallies of various depth and breadth, but to in the time when the Asmonæans had rule they threw the north-west extends into the plain, which in this part is earth into this valley, intending to connect the city with called the plain of Jeremiah,' and is the best wooded tract the temple; and working upon Akra, they lowered the height in the whole neighbourhood. The progressive extension of it, so that the temple rose conspicuously above it. The of the city was thus necessarily northward, as stated by

« PreviousContinue »