Page images

entered the room and left it without appearing to have i privacy, to have been rather a 'summer parlour' than a been observed. This was certainly the case in the former state-room, We need not remind the reader that rooms instance, and would scarcely have been practicable had -sometimes large and elaborately finished state-roomsthe room been other than over the gate, with such a sepa frequently occur over the gateways of our old towns and rate entrance as we have described. The room to which castles. David withdrew would seem, from its being sought for


the Philistines ; and now he is fled out of the

land for Absalom. 1 Joab canseth the king to cease his mourning. 9 The

10 And Absalom, whom we anointed over Israelites are earnest to bring the king back. 11 David sendeth to the priests to incite them of Judah. us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why 18 Shimei is pardoned. 24 Mephibosheth excused. speak ye not a word of bringing the king back ? 32 Barzillai dismissed, Chimham his son is taken 11 | And king David sent to Zadok and into the king's family. 41 The Israelites expostulate

to Abiathar the priests, saying, Speak unto with Judah for bringing home the king without them.

the elders of Judah, saying, Why are ye the And it was told Joab, Behold, the king last to bring the king back to his house ? seeweepeth and mourneth for Absalom.

ing the speech of all Israel is come to the 2 And the 'victory that day was turned king, even to his house. into mourning unto all the people: for the 12 Ye are my brethren, ye are my bones people heard say that day how the king was and my flesh : wherefore then are ye the last grieved for his son.

to bring back the king ? 3 And the people gat them by stealth that 13 And say ye to Amasa, Art thou not of day into the city, as people being ashamed | my bone, and of my flesh ? God do so to steal away when they flee in battle.

me, and more also, if thou be not captain of the 4 But the king covered his face, and the host before me continually in the room of Joab. king cried with a loud voice, O my son Ab 14 And he bowed the heart of all the men salom, O Absalom, my son, my son! . of Judah, even as the heart of one man ; so

5 And Joab came into the house to the that they sent this word unto the king, Reking, and said, Thou hast shamed this day turn thou, and all thy servants. the faces of all thy servants, which this day 15 So the king returned, and came to have saved thy life, and the lives of thy sons Jordan. And Judah came to Gilgal, to go to and of thy daughters, and the lives of thy meet the king, to conduct the king over Jordan. wives, and the lives of thy concubines;

16 | And 'Shimei the son of Gera, a Ben6 'In that thou lovest thine enemies, and jamite, which was of Bahurim, hasted and hatest thy friends. For thou hast declared came down with the men of Judah to meet this day, that thou regardest neither princes king David. nor servants : for this day I perceive, that if 17 And there were a thousand men of BenAbsalom had lived, and all we had died this | jamin with him, and "Ziba the servant of the day, then it had pleased thee well.

house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his 7 Now therefore arise, go forth, and speak | twenty servants with him ; and they went over *comfortably unto thy servants : for I swear Jordan before the king. by the LORD, if thou go not forth, there will | 18 And there went over a ferry boat to not tarry one with thee this night: and that | carry over the king's houshold, and to do will be worse unto thee than all the evil that Owhat he thought good. And Shimei the son befell thee from thy youth until now.

of Gera fell down before the king, as he was 8 Then the king arose, and sat in the gate. coine over Jordan; And they told unto all the people, saying, Be 19 And said unto the king, Let not my hold, the king doth sit in the gate. And all lord impute iniquity unto me, neither do thou the people came before the king : for Israel remember that which thy servant did perhad fed every man to his tent.

versely the day that my lord the king went 9 | And all the people were at strife out of Jerusalem, that the king should take it throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, to his heart. , The king saved us out of the hand of our ene- 20 For thy servant doth know that I have mies, and he delivered us out of the hand of sinned : therefore, behold, I am come the first this day of all the house of Joseph to go down | 33 And the king said unto Barzillai, Come to meet my lord the king.

1 Heb, saltation, or, deliverance.
+ Heb. to the heart of thy serrants.

2 lleb. By loving, kace: Kino 2. 8.

3 Heb, that princes or servants are not to thee.

8 Heb. the good in his eyes.

7 Chap. 16. 1

5 Heb, are ye silent 61 Kings 2. 8.

| 9 Chap 16. 5.

thou over with me, and I will feed thee with 21 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah an- me in Jerusalem. swered and said, Shall not Shimei be put to 34 And Barzillai said unto the king, ''How death for this, because he cursed the LORD's long have I to live, that I should go up anointed ?

with the king unto Jerusalem ? 22 And David said, What have I to do | 35 I am this day fourscore years old : and with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should can I discern between good and evil ? can thy this day be adversaries unto ine? shall there servant taste what I eat or what I drink ? can any man be put to death this day in Israel ? | I hear any more the voice of singing men and for do not I know that I am this day king singing women? wherefore then should thy over Israel ?

servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king? 23 Therefore the king said unto Shimei, 36 Thy servant will go a little way over Thou shalt not die. And the king sware Jordan with the king: and why should the unto him.

king recompense it me with such a reward ? 24 1 And Mephibosheth the son of Saul 37 Let thy servant, I pray thee, turn back came down to meet the king, and had neither again, that I may die in mine own city, and dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor be buried by the grave of my father and of my washed his clothes, from the day the king de mother. But behold thy servant Chimham; parted until the day he came again in peace. let him go over with my lord the king ; and

25 And it came to pass, when he was come do to him what shall seem good unto thee. to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king 38 And the king answered, Chimham shall said unto him, Wherefore wentest not thou go over with me, and I will do to him that with me, Mephibosheth ?

which shall seem good unto thee : and what26 And he answered, My lord, O king, soever thou shalt require of me, that will I my servant deceived me: for thy servant do for thee. said, I will saddle me an ass, that I may ride 39 And all the people went over Jordan. thereon, and go to the king ; because thy ser And when the king was come over, the king vant is lame.

kissed Barzillai, and blessed him ; and he re27 And ''he hath slandered thy servant turned unto his own place. unto my lord the king ; but my lord the king 40 Then the king went on to Gilgal, and is as an angel of God: do therefore what is Chimham went on with him : and all the good in thine eyes.

people of Judah conducted the king, and also 28 For all of my father's house were but half the people of Israel. "dead men before my lord the king: yet 41 | And, behold, all the men of Israel didst thou set thy servant among them that came to the king, and said unto the king, did eat at thine own table. What right Why have our brethren the men of Judah therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the stolen thee away, and have brought the king, king ?

and his houshold, and all David's men with 29 And the king said unto him, Why | him, over Jordan ? speakest thou any more of thy matters? I 42 And all the men of Judah answered the have said, Thou and Ziba divide the land. men of Israel, Because the king is near of

30 And Mephibosheth said unto the king, kin to us: wherefore then be ye angry for Yea, let him take all, forasmuch as my lord this matter? have we eaten at all of the king's the king is come again in peace unto his own cost ? or hath he given us any gift ? house.

43 And the men of Israel answered the 31 1 And Barzillai the Gileadite came down men of Judah, and said, We have ten parts from Rogelim, and went over Jordan with the | in the king, and we have also more right in king, to conduct him over Jordan.

David than ye: why then did ye 'sdespise us, 32 Now Barzillai was a very aged man, that our advice should not be first had in even fourscore years old : and he had pro- | bringing back our king? And the words of vided the king of sustenance while he lay at the men of Judah were fiercer than the words Mahanaim ; for he was a very great man of the men of Israel.

10 Chap. 16.3.

11 Heb. men of death.

14 Heb, choose.

13 Chap. 17. 27.

13 Heb. how many days are the years of ny life! 15 Heb. set us at light,

Verse 4. • Covered his face.'—This act is obviously the him take all, since my lord the king is come again to his same, or of equivalent signification to the covering the own house in peace.' head, mentioned in ch. xv. 30, and explained in the 24. ' - had neither dressed his feet.'-His feet, which note.

were lame, and required attention; or perhaps it means 10. Why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back.'

that he had omitted that general attention to the feet which -It might seem the obvious consequence of his victory

is required in the East. that David should repass the Jordan at the head of his

- Nor trimmed his beard.' — After the explanation conquering army, and re-ascend his throne at Jerusalem.

given in the note to ch. x. 4, concerning the estimation in Bat the mass of the people had chosen another for their

which the beard is held in Western Asia, we scarcely need king, and by that act had virtually, to the extent of their

add that very considerable care is taken of it, the neglect of power, deposed himself; and in such a case it would ap

which is understood to express very forcibly the forgetfulpear that the civil principles of the constitution required

ness of grief. The manner in which it is attended to, that he should, in a certain sense, be re-elected to the

however, differs in various nations. It is clipped by some crown by the people before he was entitled to regard him

to give it a favourite shape, and by others only trimmed self as king over any but such as had continued to recog

slightly to improve its appearance. The example of Monize him in that character; he therefore remained beyond

hammed, who is alleged to have diminished the length and the Jordan until the tribes should decide to recall him.

thickness of his beard, has had more weight with some of It seems there was a general disposition among the people

his followers than with others. Almost every Moslem to do this; they blamed one another for their rebellion

carries a comb with him for the sole purpose of combing against the king, and for their remissness in recalling him,

his beard. This is often done, particularly after prayers, but all seemed to shrink from taking the first step in

at the conclusion of which the devotee usually remains the matter. Judah, from its more intimate relations with

sitting on his heels and combing his beard. The hairs David, might be expected to give the example; but

which fall are carefully collected and preserved, to be Judah had been the head-quarters of the rebellion; and it

buried with the person to whose beard they belonged; and

sometimes when he has collected a certain quantity, he deappears that Jerusalem was in the occupation of Amasa, who, from the extent to which he had committed himself

posits them himself in his destined sepulchre. It seems in Absalom's rebellion, might judge his case desperate, and

that in the time of Mohammed the Jews did not dye their hence use all his influence to prevent the king's return.

beards, but the Arabs did; for the traditions mention it as

a point of difference between Moslems and Jews. This, 14. And he bowed the heart,' etc.—The Jewish inter

however, is not conclusive evidence that the latter never preters refer this, with great probability, to Amasa, not to

did so. The dyes usually employed for the beard are black David : that is, that David having won over Amasa, the

or fiery red, The latter is obtained by the application of latter employed his great influence in bringing the men of

a paste of henna leaves, and the black by a further applicaJudah back to their allegiance,

tion of indigo. The process is painful and tiresome, and 18. . And there went over a ferry boat.-This translation

must be repeated every fortnight; but men cheerfully is very doubtful, and the text on which it is founded is not

submit to it for the honour of their beards. The Persians free from suspicion of being corrupted. It is probable that

dye their beards more generally than any other people, the reading now exhibited in the Septuagint is that of the

and prefer the black colour. The Turks almost never dye original Hebrew, and is followed by good modern autho

theirs, and the Arabs but seldom. When the last named rities. According to that, the words of the clause refer to

people use a dye, they are commonly content with the red the men mentioned in the preceding verse; and would be

colour. In this they follow the instruction of their prorendered, 'And these went over Jordan before the king,

phet, who recommended dyeing the beard, but hated the and were serviceable in bringing over the king's house black dye, preferring the red, and recommending in this hold: that is, as some of the rabbins understand, by car

the nearest approach to yellow that could be obtained by rying over, on their backs, the women and children who

art. Beards are also anointed, perfumed, and incensed in could not conveniently ford the river. Josephus and some

the East by the upper classes. All this care of the beard of the ancient translators understood that they threw a

will illustrate the entire abandonment to sorrow which bridge (of boats ?) over the river; while Jerome supposes

the neglect of that important appendage implies. that they forded the river before the king's people, pointing 35. Can I heur any more the voice of singing men and out the proper places. An open interpretation, applicable

singing women ?'-As Barzillai mentions this among the to all these explanations, such as that we have indicated,

attractions of the court, of which age rendered him incawould be the best and safest. As the text now stands,

pable of enjoying, it would seem that David had made however, a ferry boat or raft might have been used. Nor

music to form one of the enjoyments of his regal state, and is the thing itself unlikely : for, although the Jordan is not

had probably trained or collected a body of vocal and ina great river, it is wide enough and deep enough to render

strumental performers, as part of his royal establishment. such a mode of passing over aged people, women, children,

This we might expect from so accomplished a musician as and baggage, convenient. The ancients had also shallow

David. The performances of his singing men and singflat-bottomed boats suited to such rivers; and at this day

ing women'would seem, from what Barzillai says, to have (according to the author of Eothen) rafts are employed for

been so much admired, that the subject formed one of such purposes on the Jordan.

those prominent wonders of the court, of which people 23. "Thou shalt not die.' - Considering the circum living in distant parts of the country were accustomed to stance which Shimei urged, that he was the first in all speak. This is still a royal custom of the East. Of proIsrael (Judah excepted) to come forward with a strong fessed singing women, who are also musicians and dancers, party to promote the restoration of the king; and consi we have written under 1 Sam. xviii, 7. Of the corredering-what was a still greater merit and a more important sponding vocation among men, we may meution that it is benefit to the royal cause--that his party was from the tribe confined to music and singing, as men do not dance proof Benjamin, it would have been a most ungracious act had fessionally. Much that illustrates the various scriptural the king been inexorable. He therefore pardoned him intimations with regard to such persons might be drawn freely, although some of the officers were for putting him from the existing usages of the East. Jonas Hanway reto death. It was for the like reason probably-that is, for lates that Nadir Shah had in his army no less than nine fear of disgusting the valuable party to which he be hundred • chioux or chanters.' They wore a distinctive longed, and in which he had much influence—the king dress, which Jonas describes, and they frequently chanted dared not entirely recal from Ziba the grant of Mephibo moral sentences and encomiums on the Shah, occasionally sheth's lands which he had hastily made to him. Under also proclaiming his victories as he passed along' (Travels, the circumstances, the king could only say, 'Thou and i. 170). Forbes, in his Oriental Memoirs, more than once Ziba divide the land;' to which the reply of Mephibosheth mentions a description of bards, whose services are much in was worthy the son of the generous Jonathan— Yea, let request in the courts of India. No Hindoo rajah is with


[graphic][merged small]


out them. Hyder Ali, though not a Hindoo, delighted | such a concert, drawn from the life, is given by Russel, to be constantly preceded by them. They have a wonders in his Natural History of Aleppo, and a copy of it is here ful facility in speaking improvisatore upon any subject pro | introduced. The existence of such persons appears to posed to them, in a kind of declamation, which may be arise from the fact, that, although the Orientals take great considered as a kind of medium between blank verse and pleasure in hearing music and singing, no man of any modulated prose (similar to the Hebrew poetry]; but their rank likes to sing or to handle a musical instrument; por proper profession is that of chanting the exploits of are the youth of either sex taught music as an accomplishformer days in front of the troops, while marshalling to ment; and the persons whose skill in vocal and instrubattle, and inciting them to emulate the glory of their an mental music delights them are not regarded with much cestors. In Syria there are men singers, who perform in respect. This could not have been the case among the concert, each accompanying his voice by the musical in Hebrews, with whom persons of the highest rank and strument in which he has most skill. A representation of respectability were skilled in music.


house, and put them in 'ward, and fed them,

but went not in unto them. So they were 1 By occasion of the quarrel, Sheba maketh a party in Israel. 3 David's ten concubines are shut up in

'shut up unto the day of their death, "living perpetual prison. 4 Amasa, made captain over | in widowhood. Judah, is slain by Joab. 14 Joab pursueth Shebu | 4 | Then said the king to Amasa, 'Asunto Abel. 16 A wise woman saveth the city by semble me the men of Judah within three Sheba's head. 23 David's officers.

days, and be thou here present. And there happened to be there a man of 5 So Amasa went to assemble the men of Belial, whose name was Sheba, the son of Judah : but he tarried longer than the set Bichri, a Benjamite: and he blew a trumpet, time which he had appointed him. and said, We have no part in David, neither 6 And David said to Abishai, Now shall have we inheritance in the son of Jesse : every Sheba the son of Bichri do us more harm than man to his tents, O Israel.

did Absalom : take thou thy lord's servants, 2 So every man of Israel went up from and pursue after him, lest he get him fenced after David, and followed Sheba the son of cities, and Rescape us. Bichri : but the men of Judah clave unto their 7 And there went out after him Joab's men, king, from Jordan even to Jerusalem.

and the "Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and 3 And David came to his house at Jeru- | all the mighty men: and they went out of salem ; and the king took the ten women his Jerusalem, to pursue after Sheba the son of 'concubines, whom he had left to keep the Bichri. 1 Chap. 16.22. Heb. a house of ward. 3 Heb. bound. 4 Heb. in widowhood of & Heb. deliver himself from our eyes.

• Heb., in weiderhood of lig

7 Chap. 8. 18. 236

6 Heb, Cail.

[ocr errors]

8 When they were at the great stone which 17 And when he was come near unto her, is in Gibeon, Amasa went before them. And the woman said, Art thou Joab? And he Joab's garment that he had put on was girded | answered, I am he. Then she said unto him, unto hiin, and upon it a girdle with a sword | Hear the words of thine handmaid. And he fastened upon his loins in the sheath thereof; answered, I do hear. and as he went forth it fell out.

18 Then she spake, saying, "They were 9 And Joab said to Amasa, Art thou in wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall health, my brother? And Joab took Amasa surely ask counsel at Abel : and so they ended by the beard with the right hand to kiss him. | the matter.

10 But Amasa took no heed to the sword 19 I am one of them that are peaceable and that was in Joab's hand : so he smote him faithful in Israel : thou seekest to destroy a therewith in the fisth rib, and shed out his city and a mother in Israel : why wilt thou bowels to the ground, and struck him not | swallow up the inheritance of the Lord? again; and he died. So Joab and Abishai 20 And Joab answered and said, Far be it, his brother pursued after Sheba the son of far be it from me, that I should swallow up or Bichri.

destroy. 11 And one of Joab's men stood by him, 21 The matter is not so: but a man of and said, He that favoureth Joab, and he that mount Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri "-by is for David, let him go after Joab.

name, hath lifted up his hand against the king, 12 And Amasa wallowed in blood in the even against David : deliver him only, and I midst of the highway. And when the man will depart from the city. And the woman saw that all the people stood still, he removed said unto Joab, Behold, his head shall be Amasa out of the highway into the field, and | thrown to thee over the wall. cast a cloth upon him, when he saw that every | 22 Then the woman went unto all the one that came by him stood still

people in her wisdom. And they cut off the 13 When he was removed out of the high head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and cast it way, all the people went on after Joab, to out to Joab. And he blew a trumpet, and pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.

they "Sretired from the city, every man to his 14 | And he went through all the tribes of tent. And Joab returned to Jerusalem unto Israel unto Abel, and to Beth-maachah, and the king. all the Berites: and they were gathered toge | 23 Now ''Joab was over all the host of ther, and went also after him.

Israel : and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was 15 And they came and besieged him in over the Cherethites and over the Pelethites : Abel of Beth-maachah, and they cast up a L 24 And Adoram was over the tribute : bank against the city, and it stood in the and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was "retrench : and all the people that were with Joab corder : ''battered the wall, to throw it down.

25 And Sheva was scribe : and Zadok and 16 | Then cried a wise woman out of the Abiathar were the priests : city, Hear, hear; say, I pray you, unto Joab, 26 And Ira also the Jairite was a chief Come near hither, that I may speak with ruler about David. thee. € Heb. doubled not his stroke.

9 Or, it stood against the outmost wall. 11 OT, They plainly spake in the beginning, saying, Surcly they will ask of Abel, and so make an end. 13 Heb, were scattered.

14 Chap. 8. 16.

15 Or, remembrancer.

19 Feb, marted to throw down.

12 Heb. by his name. 16 Or, a prince.

Verse 1. We have no part in David, etc.-From the other tribes in an unfavourable position by comparison, result we may see ground to doubt the wisdom of the se They alleged also their claim to be considered, on the parate appeal which David bad made to his own tribe of ground that the ten tribes had tenfold the interest in the Jadab, inasmuch as his more intimate connection with kingdom to that which the single tribe of Judah could that tribe, by birth and by having reigned over it sepa claim. The answer of that tribe was the most impolitic rately for seven years, required the most cautious policy and provoking that could be made. They alleged that on his side, to prevent his appearing to the

s as

the other tr

seeing the king was of their own tribe, their bone and the king of a party. Now, when he had crossed the their flesh,' they had a right to take a peculiar and exJordan, people from all the tribes flocked to him to join in clusive interest in his recall. This quarrel grew so hot, the act of recall and restoration. But when they came to as to strengthen the natural disposition of the tribes to consider of it, the other tribes were not willing to forgive regard David as the king of the Judahites; and but a Jadah for having been beforehand with them; and they slight impulse was wanting to induce them to leave him felt great displeasure that, instead of inviting them to join to his own party. This impulse was supplied by one in the act of recall, the elders of Judah, by acting indepen- | Sheba, of the discontented tribe of Benjamin, who, per. dently, had enabled themselves to exhibit the appearanceceiving the state of feeling, blew the trumpet, and gave of more alacrity and zeal in the king's behalf, putting the forth the Hebrew watchword of revolt, • To your tents, O

« PreviousContinue »