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OF THE WAR WAGED AGAINST THE AMMONITES, AND! ITS
and Ziba had worshipped him, and promised || ther advised him not to give heed to David's to do all that he had bidden him, he went his words, lest he should be deluded by him, and way. So that this son of Jonathan dwelt at so fall into an inconsolable calamity. AccordJerusalem, and dieted at the king's table, and ingly Nahash's son, the king of the Ammonites, had the same care that a son could claim taken thought these princes spake what was more of him. He also bad himself a son, * whom he probable than the truth would admit; and so named Micha.
abused the ambassadors that were sent, after
a very harsh manner. For he shaved the one CHAP. VI.
half of their beards, g and cut off one half of their garments; and sent his answer not in words, but in deeds. When the king of Israel
saw this, he had indignation at it: and shewBOUT this † time died Nahash, king of | ed openly that he would not overlook this in
the Ammonites, who was a friend of ljurious and contumelious treatment: but would David's. I And when his son had succeeded make war with the Ammonites, and would his father in the kingdom, David sent ambas- || avenge this wicked treatment of his ambassa-sadors to him, tò comfort him; and exhorted dors on their king. So that king's intimate him to take his father's death patiently, and to friends and commanders understanding that expect that he would continue the same kind. || they had violated their league, and were lianess to himself, which he had shewed to his ble to be punished for the same, made prepafather. But the princes of the Ammonites | rations for war; they also sent a thousand tatook this niessage in evil part, and not as Da-lents to the Syrian king of Mesopotamia, and vid's kind disposition gave reason to take it, endeavored to prevail with him and || Shoand they excited the king to resent it; and said bach to assist them for that pay. Now that David had sent men to spy out the coun- | these kings bad twenty thousand footmen. try, and wbat strength it had, under the pre- They also hired the king of the country tence of humanity and kindness. They far- || called Maacah ; and a fourth king, by name
* 1 Chron, viii. 34.
ever a soldier, among the Lacedemonians, was convicted + About An. 1078 B. C.
of cowardice, he was obliged to go with one part of his ^ What the particular benefits which David had re
upper lip shaved, and the other not. Nay, even at this ceived from Nahash were, we are no where told in Scrip. I day, no greater indignity can be offered to a man of ture; but some of the Jews say, that he fled to him | Persia, than to cause his beard to be shaved; and there
fore Tavernier, in his Travels, relates the story, that when when he durst stay no longer with Achish, king of the Philistines, and that he received him very kindiy; others, the Sophi caused an ambassador of Arenge-zebe's to be that he entertained his relations, when the king of Moab, used in this manner, telling him that he was not worthy to whom he had committed them, slew some of them :
to wear a beard, the emperor (even in the manner as but the most likely opinion is, that as he was a bitter
David here did) most highly resented the affront that enemy to Saul, who had given him a great overthrow,
was done to hiin, in the person of his ambassador. And he, for that very reason, became a friend to David,
as shaving David's ambassadors was deservedly accountwhen he perceived how Saul persecuted him, and there
ed a grievous affront, so the cutting off half the beard upon might send him relief and assistance, and perhaps || addition to it, where. beards were held in great venera
(which made them look still more ridiculous) was a great offer him protection in his kingdom. Patrick's Commentary. B.
tion ; and where long habits down to the heels were § This was one of the greatest indignities that the ma
worn, (especially by persons of distinction) without any
breeches or drawers, the cutting their garments, even to lice of men could invent, in those countries where all
the middle, thereby to expose their nakedness, was such people thought their hair so great an ornament, that some a brutal and shameless insult, as would badly become a would rather have submitted to die than part with it.
man of David's martial spirit, and just sentiments of hoWhat a foul disgrace and heavy punishment this was
nor, to have tamely passed by. Patrick's and Calmer's accounted in ancient times, we may learn from Ni- || Commentaries. B. cholaus Damascenus, as mentioned by Stobæus, (tit. 42.) || Josephus took this Shobach, and Ishlob, mentioned who says, that among the Indians, the king commanded || presently, to be the names of princes or captains, and the greatest offenders to be shaven, as the heaviest pu
not of countries, as they stand in the present Hebrew and nishment that he could inflict upon them; and to the Septuagint copies. Which is in the right I cannot delike purpose Plutarch, (in Agesil.) tells us, that when
termine. VOL. I.-(21.)
Ishtob, which last bad twelve thousand arm This defeat did not still induce the Ammoned men.
ites to be quiet, nor to own those that were David was under no consternation at this superior to them to be so. But they sent to confederacy ; nor at the forces of the Ammon- † Chalaman, the king of the Syrians, beyond ites. But putting his trust in God, because Euphrates, and hired him for an au
auxiliary. he was going to war in a just cause, on ac- He had Shobach for the captain of his host, count of the injurious treatment he had met with eighty thousand footmen, and ten thouwith, he immediately sent Joab, * the cap- sand horsemen. Now when the king of the tain of his host, against them, with the flower | Hebrews understood that the Ammonites had of his army.
Joab pitched his camp by again gathered so great an army together, Rabbath, the metropolis of the Ammonites; he determined to make war with them no whereupon the enemy came out, and set longer by his generals, but passed over the themselves in array; not all of them together, river Jordan himself
, with all his army; and but in two bodies. For the auxiliaries were when he met them he joined battle with set in array in the plain by themselves ; but them, and slew forty thousand of their footthe army of the Ammonites at the gates, over men, and seven thousand of their horsemen. against the Hebrews. When Joab saw this, He also wounded Shobach, the general of he opposed one stratagem against another, Chalaman's forces, who died of that stroke. and chose out the most hardy part of his men, But the people of Mesopotamia, upon such and set them in opposition to the king of Sy- a conclusion of the battle, delivered themria, and the kings that were with bim ; and selves up to David, and sent him presents ; gave the other part to his brother Abishai, who at winter-time returned to Jerusalem : and bade him set them in opposition to the but at the beginning of the spring I he sent Ammonites; and said to him, in case he | Joab, the captain of the host, to fight against should see that the Syrians distressed him, the Ammonites ; who overran all their counand were too hard for him, he should order try, and laid it waste, and shut them up in his troops to turn about, and assist him : and their metropolis, Rabbah, and besieged them he said, that he himself would do the same to therein. him, if he saw him in the like distress from the Ammonites. So he sent his brother be
CHAP. VII. fore, and encouraged him to do every thing courageously and with alacrity, which would
OF DAVID'S ADULTERY WITH BATHSHEBA, AND HIS MURDER teach them to be afraid of disgrace, and to
OF HER HUSBAND URIAH, FOR WHICH HE WAS RÈPROVED fight manfully. And so he dismissed him to fight with the Ammonites
, while he fell upon BUT. Plavid, fell now inte har vore ferieralis the And though opposition for a while, Joab slew many of a righteous and a religious man, and one that them, and compelled the rest to betake them- firmly observed the laws of our fathers. For selves to flight: which when the Ammonites when late in an evening be took a view round saw, and were withal afraid of Abishai, and him from the roof of his royal palace, g where. his army, they staid no longer ; but imitated he used to walk at that hour, he saw a woman their auxiliaries, and fled to the city. So washing herself in her own house. She Joab, when he had thus overcome the enemy, was one of extraordinary beauty, and therein returned with great glory to Jerusalem, to surpassed all other women. Her name was
Bathsheba. So he was overcome by that wo
air; and as David's palace was built on one of the highest + About An. 1077.
places of Mount Sion, he might easily look down upon the An, 1076.
lower parts of the lowl, and take a view of all the gar§ The manner of building, in all eastern countries, I vens that were within due distance. Le Clerc's Commenwas to have their houses flat-roofed with a terrass, and tary. B. parapet wall for the convenience of walking in the cool À Thus Jupiter is said to have seen Proserpina washing
* 2 Sam. 8.7.
man's beauty, and was not able to restrain ‘his that it was not right, while his fellow-soldiers desires, but sent for her, * and lay with her. and the general of the army slept upon the Hereupon she conceived, and sent to the king, ground, in the camp, and in an enemy's counthat he should contrive some way of conceal-try, that he should go and take his est with ing her sin : for according to the laws of their his wife. When he had thus replied, the king fathers, she who had been guilty of adultery ordered him to stay there that night ; that he ought to be put † to death. So the king sent might dismiss him the next day to the general, . for Joab's armor-bearer, from the siege ; who So the king invited Uriah to supper, and after was the woman's husband, and his name was a cunning and dexterous manner supplied him Uriah.† And when he was come, the king with drink at supper, till he was thereby disinquired of him about the army, and about ordered. Yet did he nevertheless sleep at the the siege; and when he made answer that all king's gates, without any inclination to go to their affairs went according to their wishes, bis wife. Upon this the king was very angry the king took some portions of meat from his at him, and wrote to Joab, and commanded supper, and gave them to him, and bade him him to punish Uriah; for he told him that he go home to his wife, and take his rest with had offended him, and he suggested to him her. Uriah did not do so, but slept near the the manner in which he would have him puking, with the rest of his armor-bearers. nished, that it might not be discovered that he When the king was informed of this, he asked was himself the author of this punishment. him why he did not go home to his house, For he charged hiin to set him over against and to his wife, after so long an absence ? || that part of the enemy's army where the atwhich is the natural custom of all men, when tack would be most hazardous, and where he they come from a long journey. He replied, might be deserted, and be in the greatest
herself, and exposing her whole body to his view, which something of his wife s adultery, and therefore, resolving inflamed his lust after her:
that it should be discovered, would not be persuaded to
down to his house: but, if he did, he certainly acted Δεομένης Βλον ειδος εδέρκετο Περσεφονείης. the part of a trusty servant, wben he would not open the But whether it was in her garden, or court-yard, over- king's letter to know what was in it, though, upon suplooked by the palace, or in some apartment in her house, position that he suspected his criminal commerce with whose windows opened that way, that this woman bathed his wife, he had reason to suspect no good. This puts herself, it is not so certain. Tradition points out the one naturally in mind of the story of Bellerophon's carplace of a fountain still called after her name, which rying letters from Pretus to his father-in-law, Jobates, would make it probable that she bathed in a garden, did | king of Lycia, with an order to kill him ; from whom it not Josephus expressly declare that it was in her own came into a proverb, to carry Bellerophon's letter, or a house, as indeed ihe natural modesty and decency of her death-warrant against one's self, according to that passage sex, as well as the circumstance of the time, (for then it in Plautus : was evening,) make his account more probable; nor can Aha! Bellerophontem jam tuus me fecit filius, it be doubted, but that the declining rays of the sun, shoot Egomet tabellas detuli ut vincirer. Bacchid. ing into the inmost recesses of her chamber, and throwing For the fables of Uriah and Bellerophon are so very much a great lustre around her, might discover her very clearly alike, that the fable of the latter seeins to be founded distant eyes, without the least suspicion, on her upon
story of the former. Bellerophon who, as some part, of any possibility of being seen, and consequently scholiasts think, should be read Boulepher on (a counselwith all the reserve of modesty proper to her sex, The carrier), was a stranger at the court of Protus, as Uriah Hist, of the Life of K. David, vol. ii. B.
(being a Hittite) was at the court of David. He declined * 2 Sam. IX. 2-5. + Levit. xx. 10.
the embraces of Sthenbæa, as Uriah did the bed of BathUriah, though a Hittite by nation, was proselyted to sheba; and was, for that reason, sent to Jobates, general the Jewish religion, and so marrying with a Jewish wo of Prætus's army, with letters, which contained a direcman, lived in Jerusalem; or as he was one of the king's tion to put him to death, as Uriah was sent to Joab, Dalife-guard, which, for reasons above mentioned, seem to vid's general. By Johates he was sent, with a small have been all natives, and of the tribe of Judah, this addi- guard, upon an attack, in which it was intended he should tional name might perhaps be given him, for some gallant be slain, as Uriah was by Joab to that in wliich he fell, action achieved against the Hittites, in the same manner The main of the history is the same in both; the similia as a Roman, in after-ages, came to be called Africanus, tude of Jobates and Joa's name is very remarkable; and Germanicus, Parthicus, &c. upon account of the victories the variation in the whole only lies in some such ornamenobtained over the Africans, Germans, or Parthians. Cal- | tal embellishments as might well be expected in a poeti. met's Commentary. B.
cal composition. Calmer's Commentary, and the History § It may be thought, perhaps, that Uriah suspected of the Life of King David. B.
jeopardy; for he bade him order his fellow- || And bade them if they saw the king was soldiers to retire out of the fight. When he angry at it, to add, that Uriah was slain also. had written thus, and sealed the letter with When the king had heard this of the messenhis own seal, he gave it to Uriah, to carry it gers, he said, “That they did wrong when to Joab. When Joab had received it, and they assaulted the wall; whereas they ought, upon reading it understood the king's pur- by undermining, and other stratagems of war, pose,
he set Uriah in that place where he to endeavor the taking of the city, especially knew the enemy would be most troublesome when they had before their eyes the example to them; and gave him for his partners some of † Abimelech, the son of Gideon, who would of the best soldiers in the army, and said that needs take the tower in Thebez by force, and he would come also to their assistance with was killed by a large stone thrown at him by the whole army ; that, if possible, they might an old woman: and although he was a man break down some part of the wall, and enter of great prowess, he died ignominiously by the the city. And he desired him to be glad of dangerous manner of his assault: that they the opportunity of exposing himself to such should remember this accident, and not come great pains, and not to be displeased at it, near the enemy's wall; for that the best method since he was a valiant soldier, and had a of making war with success was to call to great reputation for his valor, both with the mind the accidents of former wars; and what king, and with his countrymen. And when good or bad success had attended them in the Uriah undertook the work he was set upon like dangerous cases; that so they might imiwith alacrity, he gave private orders to those tate the one and avoid the other.' But when who were to be his companions, that when the king was in this disposition, the messenger they saw the enemy make a sally, they should told him that Uriah was slain also ; whereleave him. When, therefore, the Hebrews upon he was pacified. So he bade the mes. made an attack upon the city, the Ammonites senger go back to Joab, and tell him that this were afraid that the enemy might prevent misfortune was no other than what was comthem, and get up into the city; and this at mon among mankind; and that such was the the very place whither Uriah was ordered; nature, and such the accidents of war, that so they exposed their best soldiers to be in sometimes the enemy would have success the fore-front, and opened their gates sud- therein, and sometimes others : but he ordered denly, and fell upon the enemy with great him to go on still in his care about the siege, vehemence, and ran violently upon them. that no ill accident might befall him in it hereWhen those that were with Uriah saw this, | after; that they should raise bulwarks, and they all retreated backward, as Joab had pre- ase machines in besieging the city: and when viously directed ; but Uriah, as ashamed to they had got it, to overturn its very foundarun away and leave his post, sustained the tion, and to destroy all the inhabitants. Acviolence of the onset, and slew many of the cordingly, the messenger carried the king's enemy; but being encompassed round, and message with which he was charged, and caught in the midst of them, he was slain ; * made haste to Joab. Bathsheba, the wife of and some other of his companions were slain Uriah, when she was informed of the death of with him.
her husband, mourned for him many days. But When this was done, Joab sent messengers when her mourning I was over, and the tears to the king, and ordered them to tell him, that which she shed for Uriah were dried ор, the he did what he could to take the city soon : king took her to wife, and a son was born to but that, as they made an assault on the wall, bio by her. they had been forced to retire with great loss. With this marriage God was not well
* 2 Sam, xi. 17.
we cannot suppose that Bathsheba was much longer, con
sidering the reason we have to apply to her the words of How long widows were to mourn for their husbands, Lucan: there is no express precept in the law; but the usual time
Lachrymas non sponte cadentes for common mourners was no more than seven days; and Effudit, gemitusque expressit pectore læto. B.
pleased ;* but was angry at David. And he and the other poor : the rich may had a great appeared to Nathan the prophet in his sleep; many flocks of cattle, of sheep, and of kine; and complained of the king. Now Nathan + but the poor man had but one ewe lamb. This was a prudent man; and considering that he brought up with his children, and let her kings, when they fall into a passion, are guided eat her food with them, and he had the same more by that passion than by justice, he re- natural affection for her which any one might solved to conceal the threatenings that pro- have for a daughter. Now upon the coming ceeded from God, and made a good-natured of a stranger to the rich man, he would not discourse to him; and this after the following vouchsafe to kill any of his own flocks, and manner,f desiring that the king would give thence regale his friend; but he sent for the him his opinion in the following case : - poor man's lamb, and took her away from “ There were,” said he, “two men, inhabit- him, and made her ready for food, and thence ing the same city; the one of them was rich, || feasted the stranger.” This discourse troubled
NOONNNNNNNinora * According to the Jewish doctors, it was utterly un parables, like histories, wherein we have no concern, are lawful for any to marry another man's wife in case he had heard with more attention, and are so contrived as to give defiled her before. The canonical law declares such nu offence, even though they provoke the man to whom marriages null and void as are contracted between an they are addressed to condemn himself, .«. There were adulterous man, and a woman that was partner with him two men in one city; 'the one rich, and the other poor : in the crime; and though che law of Moses does not ex And the rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds;" pressly forbid them, yet we may not thence infer that as David had many wives and concubines, with whom he they were permitted among the Jews. For these rea might have been well satisfied, without violating another sons some have thought that this marriage of David and
man's bed; “but the poor had nothing, save one little ewe Bathsheba was null and invalid; but others, upon better i lamb, which he had bought and nourished up.". Bathgrounds, have supposed, that though there were many cri- sheba, very likely, was the only wife that Uriah had, with minal circumstances attending it, yet these did not vacate whom he was highly pleased and delighted, and she very its effect, and, in short, though it ought not to have been probably with him, till David's temptations bad perverted done, yet, being done, the marriage was good, and the || her mind.
her mind. “And it grew up together with him, and with children which were afterwards born were legitimate. his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his Calmet’s and Patrick's Commentaries. B.
own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was' unto him as a + We learn little more of this great man, in the sacred daughter.” Nathan, in his resemblance; cannot be said to writings, but that he was David's prophet, intimate coun
have surpassed the truth, considering how fond many per. sellor, and historiographer. Josephus says of him, that sons were anciently, not only of lambs, but of several bemper au pe met : he was a politę a prudent man, one wbo knew how to
other creatures, which they suffered to eat with them at
their tables, and lie with them in their beds; and that And Grotius compares him to Manius Lepidus, of | even at this day it is a custom in Arabia (which is conwhom Tacitus rsays, that he had a talent of turning away | tiguous to Jadea) ,to bave one of the finest lambs in the Tiberius's mind from those cruel purposes, to which the
flock brought up in the house, and fed with the children.
"And there came à traveller to the rich man:" this devile flattery of others inclined him, and was, at the same time, in equal favor and authority with him. Nathan notes David's 'straggling appetite, which he suffered to certainly knew the art of reproving kings with authority, wife : and of this appetite the Jewish doctors have this ob
wander from his own home, and to covet another man's and
yet without giving offence. So far from that, he in his prince's favor and estimation, as long as he lived; servation, that in the beginning it is but a traveller, but insomuch, that David (as tradition tells us) called one son
in time it becomes à guest, and in conclusion is the master
of the house,' after his name, and committed another (even his beloved
“And he spared to take of his own flock Solomon) to bis care and tuition. The History of the Life
and his own herds,” wherewith he might have satisfied of King Dayid, vol. iii. B.
his appetite, “but took the poor man's lamb, and dressed
it for the wayfaring man that was come to bim.” Most 1.2 Sam. xii. l-15.
commentators here take notice, that Nathan' did not go so : § There is a passage of Seneca, (Epist. 59,) where he | far in the parable as to say any thing of the rich man's treats of the style fit for philosophic writing, which suits | killing the poor man. This certainly would have made so well with this parable of Nathan's that I choose to give the resemblance more complete, but it is therefore omitted, it in his own w
words, as a fit preamble to the short comment | that David' might not so readily apprehend Nathan's which follows of it. "Invenio, inquit, imagines, quibus | meaning, and so be induced unawares to pronounce a si quis nobis uti vetat, et poetis illas, solis judicat esse con sentence of condenination upon himself; wbereupon the Cessas neminem mibi videtur ex antiquis legisse apud quos prophet had a fair 'opportunity to shew. bim, that if the nondum captabatur plausibilis oratio. Illi, qui simpliciter, rich man, who took away the poor man's lamb, deserved et demonstrandæ rei causa loquebantur, parabolis" referti death according to his own judgment, how mucli more sunt, quas existimo necessarias non ex eadem causa qua did he deserve it, who had not only 'taken another man's poetis, sed ut imbecillitatis nostræ adminicula sint, et ut || wife, but caused him to be slain likewise by the enemies discentem et audientem in rem præsentem adducant:" For of Israel. Patrick's Commentary. B. VOL. 1.—(21.)