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Aware of the purpose of God, David acceded to this proposal, and made only one stipulation, viz.: that he should bring David's wife, Michal, with him, whom Saul, when he had driven David from his presence, had given to Phalti, the son of Laish.* In order to accomplish which object, David also sent messengers of his own to Ishbesheth, who immediately complied and sent, and took Michal from Phalti, the son of Laish ; and her husband went with her, weeping behind her, as far as Bahurim, when, by the command of Abner, he quitted her, and returned.+
Abner, having won over the elders of Israel and Benjamin to his purpose, went to David in Hebron, to report his success, and took with him twenty men, for whom David made a feast; after which Abner went away, promising that he would gather all Israel to make a league with David, that he might reign over all that his heart desired.
Abner had hardly quitted Hebron, when Joab, with a band of soldiers, returned from some expedition, and brought in great spoil with him; and, as soon as he heard that Abner had been with David, and how he had been received, and sent away in peace, he remonstrated with him; insinuating that he had only come as a spy to deceive David, and, in fact, that he ought not to have permitted Abner to go away in safety. We are not informed what reply David made to this representation; but Joab, without his knowledge, sent messengers after Abner, who brought him back from the well of Sirah, most probably by force; and, as soon as he had returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate, to speak with him quietly, and smote him there under the fifth rih, that he died. So Joab and Abishai his brother slew Abner, because he had slain their brother Asahel, in the battle of Gibeon.
* | Sam. XXV. 44.
+ 2 Sam. iii, 16.
* 2 Sam jii. 26.
As soon as David was made acquainted with this act of assassination, he declared his own innocence, and that he and his kingdom were guiltless before Jehovah for ever, from the blood of Abner, the son of Ner; and pronounced a curse upon the head of Joab and all his father's house, that there should not fail from his house one that had an issue, or that was a leper, or that leaned on a staff, or that fell on the sword, or that should lack bread*.
Not satisfied with this, David ordered a public funeral for Abner, and buried him in Hebron, going himself as chief mourner, and compelling Joab also to attend the funeral, † and making all the people rend their clothes and gird themselves with sackcloth. Neither would he eat any meat till the sun went down, and all the people were pleased: for whatever the king did pleased them. And David said, “ Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel? And I am this day weak, though anointed king; and these men, the sons of Zeruiah, be too hard for me: Jebovah shall reward the doer of evil, according to his wickedness."
As soon as Ishbosheth heard that Abner was slain, his hands became feeble, and all the Israelites were troubled; and Baanah and Rechab, two of his officers, assassinated him as he lay on his bed in the heat of the day, and cut off his head, and took it o David in Hebron, and said, Behold the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, thine enemy, which sought thy life; and Jehovah hath avenged my lord the king
* 2 Sam. iii, 30. † One of the first acts of Paul, Emperor of Russia, after the decease of his mother, Catherine II., was to exhumate the corpse of his father, Peter III., and have it reinterred with all the pomp and ceremony of a royal funeral ; compelling Count Orloff, his reputed murderer, to attend as PRINCIPAL MOURNER!
* 2 Sam. iij. 38, 39.
this day of Saul, and of his seed.* But David said to them, as Jehovah liveth, who hath redeemed my soul out of all adversity, when one told me, saying, behold Saul is dead, thinking to have brought good tidings, I took hold of him, and slew him in Ziklag, who thought that I would bave given him a reward for his tidings: how much more then when wicked men have slain a righteous person, in his own house upon his bed ? Shall I not, therefore, now require his blood at your hand, and take you away from the earth! And David commanded his young men, and they slew them, and cut off their hands and their feet, and hanged them up over the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ishbosheth, and buried it in the sepulchre of Abner, in Hebron.*
Immediately after the death of Ishbosheth, there being none of the issue of Saul left, except Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, who was now only five years old, and had been lame from his infancy,I all the tribes of Israel came to David unto Hebron, saying to him, behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel, and Jehovah said to thee, thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel. So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and King David made a league with them, in Hebron, before Jehovah; and they anointed David king over Israel. S
Either upon this occasion, or progressively during the war occasioned by the death of Saul, David had collected a large army, for the following are the numbers of the bands that were ready armed to the war, and came to David to Hebron, to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of Jehovah. The children of Judah, that bear shield and spear,
* 2 Sam. iv. 8. + 2 Sam. iv. 9—19.
were six thousand and eight hundred, ready armed to the war. Of the children of Simeon, mighty men of valour for the war, seven thousand and one hundred. Of the children of Levi, four thousand and six hundred. And Jehoiada was the leader of the Aaronites, and with him were three thousand and seven hundred ; and Zadok, a young man, mighty of valour, and of his father's house, twenty and two captains. And of the children of Benjamin, the kindred of Saul, three thousand, for hitherto the greatest part of them had kept the ward of the house of Saul. And of the children of Ephraim, twenty thousand and eight hundred, mighty men of valour, famous throughout the house of their fathers. And of the half tribe of Manasseh, eighteen thousand, which were expressed by name to come and make David king. And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment. Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank: they were not of double heart. And of Naphtali, a thousand captains, and with them with shield and spear, thirty and seven thousand. And of the Danites, expert in war, twenty and eight thousand and six hundred. And of Asher, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, forty thousand. And on the other side of Jordan, of the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, with all manner of instruments of war for the battle, an hundred and twenty thousand. All these men of war, that could keep rank, came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel, and all the rest also of Israel were of one heart to make David king. And there they were with David three days, eating and drinking: for their brethren had prepared for them. Moreover they that were nigh them, even unto Issachar, and Zebulun, and Naphtali, brought bread on
asses, and on camels, and on mules, and on oxen; and meat, meal, cakes of figs, and bunches of raisins, and wine, and oil, and oxen, and sheep, abundantly: for there was joy in Israel. *
Amongst the various idolatrous nations which inhabited the land of Canaan, at the time of the Exodus, and who were to be extirpated † by the express command of Jehovah, were the Jebusites, who were descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham, the third son of Noah. They dwelt in the mountains of Palestine, and part of their country was in the lot of Benjamin, and part in the lot of Judah, neither of which tribes, however, had ever been able to drive them out,ll or take Jerusalem, their capital city, which was so impregnable, both by nature and art, as almost to bid defiance to the missiles then made use of in sieges.
It was so strong at the accession of David, that when he approached the city with his troops, the Jebusites said unto him, ff except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither. David immediately issued a proclamation, that whosoever should get up to the gutter, and smite the Jebusites first, and the lame, and the blind, that were hated of David's soul, should be chief and captain : upon which Joab went first up,tt and the castle or strong hold of Sion, the chief dependance of the Jebusites was taken, and obtained the promised reward. And David thereupon established himself in the castle, whence that quarter of Jerusalem was called the city of David. And he built the city round about even from Millo round about and inward : and Joab repaired the rest
* ] Chron, xii. 23-40. + Exodus, xxxiii, 2. xxxiv. II.
Gen. x. 16. I Chron. j. 14. ☆ Numb. xiii. 29.
1) Josh. xv. 63. Jud. i. 21. xix. 11. 1 2 Sam. v. 6. ** Burder, 0). C. 341. 2 Russell's Connect. 167. and Ad. Clarke.
++ 1 Chron. xi. 6.