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he states, illustrates this. In describing the manner in debted for his escape each time to the disturbauces which which the chopdars or heralds proclaimed the titles of distracted Khorassan. Empty cisterns (sometimes how. Futty Singh, the Mahratta chief, as they marched before ever with mire at the bottom) were used for the same parhim, when he visited the British camp at Brodera, he pose by the Jews, as we see by Jer. Xxxviii. 6; Zech. says:-- One of the most insignificant-looking men I ever | ix. 11. saw, then became the destroyer of nations, the leveller of 23. `Hanged himself.'—The far-seeing Ahithophel deemed mountains, the exhauster of the ocean. After command the cause of Absalom to be lost when he knew that the ing every inferior mortal to make way for this exalted counsel of Hushai was to be followed. His pride could ill prince, the heralds called aloud to the animal creation, brook the neglect of the advice which he had given, and * Retire, ye serpents; fly, ye locusts; approach not, guanas, which he had used to see so reverently regarded. On both lizards, and reptiles, while your lord and master con accounts he abandoned the cause. He went to his own descends to set his foot upon the earth." Arrogant as home, and while he was still wise enough to set his this language may appear it is less so than that of Ori- affairs in order, he was mad enough to hang himself. ental pageantry in general. The sacred writings afford 25. • Amasa.—The explanation concerning this man's many examples of such hyperbole ; none more so than parentage which follows must be understood to mean that Hushai's speech to Absalom. Indeed, all Hushai's he was a cousin of Absalom. Zeruiah, the mother of speeches to him furnish a choice collection of such Ori Joab and Abishai, was a sister of David : Abigail, the entalisms. Absalom is to collect an army .as the sand mother of this Amasa, was another sister of the king, that is by the sea for multitude :' which army is to light Thus Joab, Abishai, and Amasa were all nephews of upon David and the faithful few as the dew falleth on the David and cousins of Absalom (see i Chron. ii. 16, 17) ground;' and is to pull towns with ropes into rivers 6 until The present text might seem indeed to make the mother there be not one small stone found there.'
of Amasa not the sister, but the daughter of the sister of 18. • Had a well in his court; whither they went down.' Zeruiah. But this arises from the ambiguity of the ex. -This may have been either a proper well, at that time pression, which, as interpreted by parallel texts, can only dry, or a cistern for the preservation of rain-water, which mean that Abigail was daughter to Nahash and sister to happened to be then exhausted. The water in common Zeruiah. The mother's name is given probably to shew ! cisterns is often out before the end of summer, and wells that they were sisters by different mothers. also sometimes become dry in the same season. Some 29. Cheese of kine.' --This is mentioned, we conclude, wells remain dry permanently, and cisterns can of course to distinguish the cheese from that made from the milk of be kept dry when once exhausted. Hence there are in the goats and sheep. These, with cows, furnish most of the East great numbers of dry cisterns and wells, which fur cheese used in the East. Camels' milk is not used for the nish occasional retreats to such as require concealment. purpose, or very rarely. In different times and countries, Hushai himself had, in v. 7, suggested the probability that the milk of a great variety of animals has been used for David was hid in some pit-perhaps referring to some such making cheese. In the middle ages we read of cheese from place of refuge as that which the sons of the priests now deer's milk. The Arabs near Mount Carmel readily be found. Instances are often heard in the East of persons | lieved D'Arvieux, when, to prevent them from seizing the who have remained concealed a considerable length of cheeses which formed part of the cargo of a vessel wrecked time, under similar circumstances. They are also occa on the coast, he told them that they were made with sows' sionally used as prisons. Scott Waring mentions a de- milk. We conclude that when cheese is mentioned withscendant of Nadir Shah whom he found acting as head out such distinction as in the present text, we are to ungroom to Mihdee Ulee Khan, on a salary of about fortyderstand that it is made from the milk of goats, and per. shillings a month. “At two different periods he was con- haps that of sheep. fined in a well for two, and then three years, and was in- |
care for us : but now thou art 'worth ten thou
sand of us : therefore now it is better that 1 David vieuing the armies in their march giveth them thou 'succour us out of the city. charge of Absalom. 6 The Israelites are sore smitten
1 4 And the king said unto them, What in the wood of Ephraim. 9 Absalom, hanging in an oak, is slain by Joab, and cast into a pit. 18 Ab
seemeth you best I will do. And the king salom's place. 19 Ahimaaz and Cushi bring tidings stood by the gate side, and all the people came to David. 33 David mourneth for Absalom. out by hundreds and by thousands.
5 And the king commanded Joab and And David numbered the people that were Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my with him, and set captains of thousands and sake with the young man, even with Absalom. captains of hundreds over them.
And all the people heard when the king gave 2 And David sent forth a third part of the all the captains charge concerning Absalom. people under the hand of Joab, and a third 6 So the people went out into the field part under the hand of Abishai the son of | against Israel : and the battle was in the wood Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and a third part of Ephraim; under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. And the 7 Where the people of Israel were slain king said unto the people, I will surely go before the servants of David, and there was forth with you myself also.
there a great slaughter that day of twenty 3 But the people answered, Thou shalt not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not 8 For the battle was there scattered over 'care for us ; neither if half of us die, will they the face of all the country: and the wood 1 Heb. set their heart on us. 2 Heb. as ten thousand of us.
3 Heb. be to succo.ar.
devoured more people that day than the sword not bear tidings this day, but thou shalt devoured.
"bear tidings another day : but this day thou 9 And Absalom met the servants of shalt bear no tidings, because the king's son David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, is dead. and the mule went under the thick boughs of 21 Then said Joab to Cushi, Go tell the a great oak, and his head caught hold of the king what thou hast seen. And Cushi bowed oak, and he was taken up between the heaven | himself unto Joab, and ran. and the earth; and the mule that was under 22 Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok him went away.
yet again to Joab, But "howsoever, let me, I 10 And a certain man saw it, and told pray thee, also run after Cushi. And Joab Joab, and said, Behold, I saw Absalom hanged said, Wherefore wilt thou run, my son, seeing in an oak.
that thou hast no tidings "Sready? 11 And Joab said unto the man that told 23 But howsoever, said he, let me run. him, And, behold, thou sawest him, and why | And he said unto him, Run. Then Ahididst thou not smite him there to the ground ? | maaz ran by the way of the plain, and overand I would have given thee ten shekels of ran Cushi. silver, and a girdle.
24 And David sat between the two gates : 12 And the man said unto Joab, Though, and the watchman went up to the roof over I should receive a thousand shekels of silver the gate unto the wall, and lifted up his eyes, in mine hand, yet would I not put forth mine | and looked, and behold a man running alone. hand against the king's son: for in our hear 25 And the watchman cried, and told the ing the king charged thee and Abishai and king. And the king said, If he be alone, Ittai, saying, "Beware that none touch the there is tidings in his mouth. And he came young man Absalom.
apace, and drew near. 13 Otherwise I should have wrought false- 26 And the watchman saw another man hood against mine own life : for there is no running: and the watchman called unto the matter bid from the king, and thou thyself porter, and said, Behold another man running wouldest have set thyself against me.
alone. And the king said, He also bringeth 14 Then said Joab, I may not tarry thus tidings. with thee. And he took three darts in his | 27 And the watchman said, “Me thinketh hand, and thrust them through the heart of the running of the foremost is like the runAbsalom, while he was yet alive in the midst ning of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok. And the of the oak.
king said, He is a good man, and cometh 15 And ten young men that bare Joab's with good tidings. . armour compassed about and smote Absalom, 28 And Ahimaaz called, and said unto the and slew him.
king, "s 10 All is well. And he fell down to 16 And Joab blew the trumpet, and the the earth upon his face before the king, and people returned from pursuing after Israel : said, Blessed be the LORD thy God, which for Joab held back the people.
hath "delivered up the men that lifted up 17 And they took Absalom, and cast him their hand against my lord the king. into a great pit in the wood, and laid a very | 29 And the king said, ''Is the young man great heap of stones upon him: and all Israel | Absalom safe? And Ahimaaz answered, řed every one to his tent.
When Joab sent the king's servant, and me 18 1 Now Absalom in his lifetime had | thy servant, I saw a great tumult, but I knew taken and reared up for himself a pillar, which not what it was. is in 'the king's dale: for he said, I have no | 30 And the king said unto him, Turn aside,
and stand here. And he turned aside, and he called the pillar after his own name: and stood still. it is called unto this day, Absalom's place. 31 And, behold, Cushi came; and Cushi
19 [ Then said Ahimaaz the son of Za- said, "Tidings, my lord the king : for the dok, Let me now run, and bear the king Lord hath avenged thee this day of all them tidings, how that the Lord hath ''avenged that rose up against thee. him of his enemies.
32 And the king said unto Cushi, Is the 20 And Joab said unto him, Thou shalt young man Absalom safe? And Cushi an• Heb. #ultiplied to devour. 5 Heb. weigh upon mine hand. 6 Heb. Beware whosoever ye be os, &c. 7 Heb. before thee. 8 Heb, heart.
9 Gen. 14. 17. 13 Oc, convenient.
10 Heb. judged him from the hand, &c.
11 Heb. be a man of tidings. 14 Heb. I see the running.
15 Or, Peace be to thee.
16 Ileb. Peace. 18 Heb. Is there peace?
19 Heb. Tidings is brought.
12 leb. be what may.
17 Hleb, shut up.
swered, The enemies of my lord the king, and wept : and as he went, thus he said, O my all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would that young man is.
God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, 33 And the king was much moved, and my son! went up to the chamber over the gate, and
Verse 6. `In the wood of Ephraim.'-This wood was, of | refined a people, they determined to retain the essential course, not in the tribe of Ephraim, but on the east of the character of this kind of monument, but at the same time Jordan, near Mahanaim. It was so called, as some sup- to render it a gigantic effort of human art and human pose, from the slaughter of the Ephraimites in this neigh labour. Princes, and chiefs slain in battle, seem to have bourhood by Jephthah. Others think that the Ephraimites been most generally distinguished by such heaped monuhad pasture grounds there : for it is an alleged fact, ments. Absalom was both. Nevertheless, it must be which, if true, will well explain why the name of Ephraim confessed that in instances which occurred some centuries occurs in places remote from the inheritance of the tribe earlier, a heap of stones does, on the first view, appear to that the Hebrews believe that Joshua gave to them the have been considered a posthumous degradation (see Josh. privilege of feeding their cattle in any wood within the vii. 26; viii. 29); but on this too much stress must not be lot of any of the other tribes : and the present wood being laid, as we know that the same posthumous treatment of conveniently situated near the Jordan, they used to take the body became, in other instances, honourable, which their cattle across the river for pasture.
8. 'The wood devoured more people that day than the sword.' -Josephus explains this by observing that more of Absalom's army were slain in the pursuit through the forest and vallies than on the field of battle. This not unfrequently happens.
9. • His head caught hold of the oak.' – The Rev. I. Hartley, in his Researches in Greece, writes—Passing under the olive-trees, I have frequently noticed how easily the accident which befel Absalom might actually occur. It is necessary to be continually on one's guard against the branches of trees; and when the hair is worn in large locks floating down the back, as was the case with a young man of the party to which I belonged, any thick boughs interposing in the path might easily dislodge a rider from his seat, and catch hold of his flowing hair. The custom of wearing the hair exceedingly long, which Paul con
Cairn. demns as effeminate (1 Cor. xi. 14), is still common in Greece, especially amongst the priesthood. Absalom doubt- had originally been accounted degrading-burning for less wore his hair in this manner (2 Sam. xiv. 26); and instance. Homer celebrates continually the 'Achæans, with the head But we are disinclined, in any of the cases mentioned, of flowing hair.'
to consider the heap of stones as a peculiarly sepulchral 17. Čast him into a great pit.... and laid a very monument, whether for honour or degradation. If we great heap of stones upon him.'—The common opinion is, consider the declared sense in which heaps of stone are that this was intended as a dishonourable grave, for one thrown up, we find that they were heaps of witness,' or who wanted nothing but the power to have been a parri memorials of various transactions-of covenants or events cide. Under this view, Divine Providence rendered his —and not monuments of persons, or only so as connected death dishonourable, by hanging him in a tree; and man with events, being a commemoration of the event of which made his funeral dishonourable, by subjecting him after the death of such a person formed the crisis or termination, death to the punishment of stoning-awarded in the law Thus the heap of Achan commemorated the termination, to the rebellious son (Deut. xxi. 21). And this opinion is by his punishment, of the public evil which his sin had alleged to be supported by the fact, that the people are occasioned; that over the king of Ai commemorated continually throwing stones toward the monument of Ab the downfal of that city; and that in the text was a salom, in the valley of Jehoshaphat, to mark their detesta memorial of the rebellion which terminated in Absalom's tion of his crime. We feel obliged to dissent from this death. view. We will not decidedly contend that the heap of As to the fact that the natives throw stones at the supstones was intended to honour the memory of the king's posed tomb of Absalom ; the act has many meanings in beloved, though guilty, son ; but we are certainly persuaded the East, and we are not sure that travellers have not that no such stigma was originally intended by this mode given it, in many instances, the explanation which they of interment. Where do we read that a heap of stones | judged probable, rather than that which the natives had in over a grave was accounted disgraceful ? So far from view. We will mention a few instances of this practice. being so, perhaps the most ancient and prevalent method It is customary to make a heap of stones where a traveller of preserving the memory of the mighty dead was to erect has been murdered, and every one who passes throws one over their graves a heap of earth or stones: and how shall to increase the heap, from some superstitious feeling which we say, that what was deemed honourable under ordinary has not been well defined. Some think it a mark of de circumstances, was disgraceful in the case of Absalom ? testation of the deed; this it may be in part, but we believe It is even possible that those wonders of the world, the the leading idea is to cover deep the innocent blood shed Egyptian pyramids-if they be indeed sepulchral monu- there, that its cry from the earth for vengeance may not ments-were, as such, founded on the idea which the be heard. It may also be a contribution of respect to the primitive heap of loose unwrought stones suggested. A memory of the deceased. The idea is not confined to the pyramid is little other than such a heap, compacted into a blood of man. Burckhardt notices that the man who regular and stable form, such as an ingenious and labo- sacrificed a goat at the tomb of Aaron, at Mount Hor, rious people might naturally think of giving to it. A py- covered the blood with a heap of stones. The throwing ramid is, in this view, a tumulus; and the rude tumulus of of stones may also be an act of respect. The Mohamheaped earth or stone being perhaps deemed ungeemly by so medan pilgrims to Sinai visit what they believe to be the print of Mohammed's foot (or his camel's foot, accord stated to be for the purpose of memorial ; which we being to some) impressed on the rock; and, to testify their lieve to be the primary motive wherever the practices respect, they bring a stone with them, which they lay occur, in any of the diversified forms in which they are there, and which has occasioned a very large heap to ac exhibited. cumulate. The Arabs also thus distinguish the stone which 18. · Absalom's place. This is literally · Absalom's they suppose to be that which was twice stricken by Moses. hand' (see the note on 1 Sam. xv. 12), and properly, .AbThis mode of doing honour may be very widely traced. The salom's monument' or 'pillar. The monument now Egyptian and Grecian Hermes was thought to be honoured shewn in the valley of Jehoshaphat, as Absalom's tomb, by stones being thrown at the feet of his statue. Purchas, may perhaps be taken as the representative of this monuafter Acosta, remarks the same custom among the Pe ment. He was buried under the great heap of stones on ruvians: 'And such as their gods be, such are the things the east of Jordan, and this therefore could not really be which they offer unto them in their worship. They have his tomb, unless we suppose that David caused his remains used, as they go by the way, to cast in the cross ways, to be disinterred and removed to near Jerusalem, which in the hills, and tops of mountains, old shoes, feathers, | the feeling of the Jews with respect to the dead renders and coca chewed. And when they had nothing else, they altogether unlikely. Josephus describes Absalom's pillar cast a stone as an offering, that they might pass freely and as of marble, and as being two furlongs from Jerusalem. lustily ; hence it is that they find in the high-ways great The structure now shewn, is situated on the edge of the heaps of stones offered, and such other things.' As, how valley of Jehoshaphat near the brook Kidron, and between ever, there is no particular reason to respect the memory it and the Mount of Olives. It answers well enough to of Absalom, it is probable that the sense in which stones the indication of Josephus ; the distance would, as Buckare thrown at his tomb is similar to that of the famous ingham remarks, depend on the part of the city it was stone-throwing in the Mohammedan pilgrimage to Arafat, measured from, but could not in any case be far from the and which is considered as throwing stones at Satan, who truth; and the term marble may be indefinitely used to is believed to have there tempted Ădam and Abraham, imply any fine stone, and that of pillar to express any The motive of the Arabs in throwing stones at Absalom's lofty monument. Our cut will sufficiently exhibit its aptomb does not, however, shew the original intention of the pearance, and supersede the necessity of detailed descripheap. And even with regard to the act as an expression tion. No one will suppose that this monument, as it now of detestation at Arafat, it is much forgotten, even by Mo appears, was the work of Absalom. It bears the unqueshammedans, that it was considered by Mohammed himself tionable impress of classical taste in some of its parts; and, as no less an act of honour to God than of hate to Satan. upon the whole, there is not a finer piece of workmanship He says: Throwing stones and running between Safa and to be met with in this part of the country. It is a square Merwa, has not been ordained for any other purpose than isolated block hewn out of the rocky ledge, so as to leave to remember God.' (Mischat-ul-Masabih, vol. i. p. 631.) an area or niche around it. The body of the monument Even here, then, throwing stones and heaping them, is ' is about twenty-four feet square, and is ornamented on
EASTERN TOWN GATE. each side with two columns and two half columns of the require. The gateway of Malianaim was in fact the Ionic order, with pilasters at the corners. The elevation head quarters. Or David may have taken a lesson from is about eighteen or twenty feet to the top of the archi- | Uriah, remaining in the gate and refusing the enjoyments trave, and it is wholly cut from the rock. But the ad- of his chamber, while his army remained in the field. We jacent rock is not here so high as at the place of an are not to suppose that David's presence formed any obadjacent monument which bears the name of Zacharias, struction in the gateway. There is frequently a raised and therefore the upper part of the work has been carried bench of masonry on each side, where the officers in atup with masonry of large stones. This consists first of tendance often sit; and there are also sometimes rooms or two square layers, of which the upper one is smaller than cells, sometimes entirely open in front, for their accomthe lower, and then a small dome or cupola runs up into a modation and that of the guard. We have only to suplow spire, which appears to have formerly spread out a pose that David sat on the bench, or, if there were none, little at the top, like an opening flame; the main work is in the front of one of those side rooms or recesses. Then, perhaps twenty feet high, giving to the whole an elevation the gateway was high, as we see by its top being the of about forty feet. There is a small excavated chamber station of a sentinel, who could from thence command a in the body of the tomb, through which a hole has been view of the country. It was apparently a sort of gatebroken through one of the sides several centuries ago in tower. The height was occupied by a room above the search of treasure. Upon the whole, it appears probable, gateway, and to which one could ascend from thence. that the original square mass with the moulding and cor This is the room which, in the note to xv. 2, we have supnice, formed the ancient Jewish tomb, surmounted perhaps posed to have sometimes formed the seat of the gate tri. with a pyramid (such as appears in the tomb of Zechariah'), bunal. There is such a room in most Oriental gateways, and that the columns, with the metopes and the triglyphs, whether of public or private buildings. In the foriner it were sculptured at a subsequent period, and the dome of is usually a sort of state-room, and in the latter often a masonry perhaps added at a still later date; so that its drawing-room, handsomely fitted up, where the house. I primitive character, and perhaps its destination, became holder receives and entertains his friends, whom etiquette greatly changed.
does not allow him to take to the interior parts of his 24. • David sat between the two gates : and the watch mansion. He can come from the interior to it by a dis. man went up to the roof over the gate.'...33. “And the | tinct passage, while visitors ascend to it by a flight of steps king was much moved, and went up io the chamber over the near to or in the gateway. In most cases this room has a gate.'— The due understanding of the passages we have | window towards the street, being usually the only one here copied, will render intelligible many references to that appears. In Egypt and Turkey this window projeets the gate which the Scriptures contain, and will corrobo forward, something like a bay window, and is called a rate some of the statements in the note to chap. xv. 2. It kiosk: but in Persia it is commonly a strong lattice of is not difficult to perceive that the entrance to the walled curious joinery inserted in the wall. Sometimes, however, town of Mahanaim was through a gateway, closed by two this favourite apartment was, and still is, nised as a private gates, one outward, facing the suburbs, and one inward, sitting-room, being the only place, except the roof, from facing the town. They may have been opposite to each which the master can amuse himself by observing what is other; but this is not always the case. In the gate-way, going on out of doors. In this sense it seems to have between the two gates, David sat, to render his presence as been the summer parlour' of Eglon (Judg. jï. 20), and public as possible to the persons going to the battle, and to | the bed-chamber' of Ishbosheth (chap. iv. 7); as we be ready to receive such intimations as the occasion might may observe from the fact that the regicides seem to have