图书图片
PDF
ePub

performed by one of the Bible worthies, it is treated with comparative neglect and contempt.

Another remark suggests itself: one can hardly imagine what must have been the feelings of the Israelitish officers and captains, that could allow such a youth thus to expose himself to the rage and fury of the giant, whilst they stood at a distance in security; and more especially of Saul himself, who, we are informed, was taller by the head than all his brethren, and probably than all his own army, and therefore the fittest person, both in stature and dignity, to accept the challenge: we say we cannot easily imagine what his feelings must be, whilst buckling his armour on to David.

Saul would have had David wear his own armour; but as the latter had not, at this period, been accustomed to wear any, he found it cumbersome, and probably it prevented him from using his limbs with sufficient activity ; he therefore laid it aside, and proceeded to meet Goliath with his staff and a sling, and five small stones, * a mode of offence, in which he was most likely well skilled.

When the Philistine saw David, who was a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance, approaching, he disdained him, and exclaimed in a rage, am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves ? Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field. But David replied to the Philistine, “thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air,

• The brook whence David fetched the stones is still seen. Wilson's

Travels in the Holy Land, i. 190.

and to the wild beasts of the earth: that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly sball know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear : for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hands."*

David having slain the Philistine, by smiting him in the head with a stone out of his sling, ran and stood upon him, and cut off his head with his own sword; upon which the Philistines fled, and thereupon the men of Israel and of Judah arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines until the valley and gates of Ekron, and the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron. And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem.t

Saul, it appears, either from the difference in his dress, or from the effects of the disease to cure which, by playing on the harp, David had formerly been sent for, had forgotten him ; for he inquired whose stripling he was, but Abner, the captain of the host, could not tell him. And upon being presented to Saul, with the head of Goliath in his hand, he said, whose son art thou, young man ? when David replied, I am the son of thy servant, Jesse, the Bethlehemite.

Upon this occasion it was, that the friendship was conceived between David and Jonathan, which, in the sequel of their story, affords so many touching and pathetic incidents. For when David had made an end of speaking unto Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul; and Saul took David that day, and would let him go no more home to his father's house. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved

• 1 Sam. xvii. 45-47. + Burder, O. L. 443 1 Unless, as suggested in p. 20, there is some anticipation of

him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle. And David went out whithersocver Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul's servants. *

An occurrence took place, however, as the army was returning from this victory over the Philistines, which laid the foundation for that enmity against David, on the part of Saul, which no fidelity, no forbearance, no integrity, on the part of the former, could ever eradicate. The women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music. And the women answered one to another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten housands. And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him ; and he said, they have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands : and what can he have more but the kingdom? And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.t

On the morrow, the evil spirit again attacked Saul, and David, as at other times, played on his harp to relieve him ; but under the influence of the envious feeling excited by the singing of the women, Saul attempted David's life, by throwing his javelin at him twice, which he was enabled to avoid.

Excited alike by fear and jealousy, Saul removed David from immediate attendance on his person, and appointed him captain over a thousand men, and in this situation he behaved himself wisely in all his ways, wherefore Saul was afraid of him ; but all Israel and Judah loved him.

The reward held out to the champion who should vanquish

* 1 Sam. xviii. 2-3.

+ | Sain, xviij. 6–9.

Goliath, amongst other things, had been the king's eldest daughter ; but hitherto Saul had omitted to redeem that pledge. Now, however, with the basest intentions, he offered to give him Merab to wife ; adding, be thou valiant for me, and fight the Lord's battles : for, said he, let not mine hand be upon him, but let the hand of the Philistines be upon him. It does not appear from the sacred history, whether David really wished to avoid or to embrace this offer, as his answer may be considered either as an expression of modest diffidence, of his own unworthiness, or a delicate refusal of a favour he did not covet. It seems, however, that when the period arrived, perhaps after some victory, or a prescribed period of time, that Merab should have been given to David, Saul gave her unto Adriel, the Meholathite, to wife ; but we are not told that David ever shewed any resentment, or made any complaint to Saul upon this subject.

Saul, however, had another daughter named Michal, and it is said she loved David, from which we may presume, that the attachment was mutual; and to the existence of that attachment we may probably ascribe the cautious answer David gave to Saul as to Merab, and the little anxiety he betrayed at her being given to another. This attachment, however, gave Saul another opportunity of shewing his malice and envious spirit against David, for the thing pleased him, in the hope that his daughter might be a snare to David, and that the hand of the Philistines might be against him, wherefore Saul said to David, thou shalt this day be my son-in-law, in the one of the twain.

By the command of Saul, his servants communed secretly with David, and said, behold, the king hath delight in thee, and all his servants love thee; now, therefore, be the king's son-in-law. Still, however, David was cautious, for he said, “ seemeth it to you a light thing to be a king's son-in-law, seeing that I am a poor man, and lightly esteemed ?”

When this answer was returned to Saul, he desired them to tell David, that he desired not any dowry ; but an hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to be avenged of the king's enemies; and that, in the hope that David would fall by their hands.

We here see a melancholy instance how far a man, who neglects God, and forsakes his laws, may be given up to the utmost extent of folly, as well as of sin and wickedness ; for it is repeatedly said, that Saul knew the Lord was with David: he knew, also, that he was himself rejected, and that the kingdom was destined for David : and he had lately seen how signally the Lord had sustained and protected him : how then could he imagine it would be a matter of difficulty for him to slay 100 Philistines? As soon as David was assured of Saul's declaration, it pleased him well, and he and his men went forth and slew 200 Philistines, and brought their foreskins to Saul, who disguising his disappointment and chagrin, gave him his daughter Michal for a wife.

This union, however, only served to increase the apprehensions of Saul, so deep rooted was his malignity ; for he became David's enemy continually : but the Philistines having gone forth, David acted more wisely than all the servants of Saul, so that he rose into high estimation.

The more, however, that David prospered, the more he became an object of distrust and hatred to Saul, who no longer affected to conceal his malice ; for he not only practised with his servants to destroy him, but hesitated not to try to involve his own son Jonathan, in the dreadful crime of murder. But Jonathan delighted much in David, and therefore told him, that Saul, his father, sought to kill him, and besought him to take heed to himself until the morning, and to abide in a secret place, and hide bimself.

But the friendship of Jonathan was not satisfied with merely giving David a warning ; he proceeded to serve him more effectually, for he said, I will go out and stand beside

« 上一页继续 »