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his son Hadoram* to David, to salute him, and to bless him, because he had vanquished Hadarezer, with whom Toi also had been engaged in war: and Hadoram brought with him vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and vessels of brass ; all which David also dedicated unto Jehovah, as well as the silver and gold of all the nations which he subdued, viz: of Syria, of Edom, of Moab, of the children of Ammon, of the Philistines, of Amalek, and of the spoil of Hadarezer.
And David put garrisons into all the cities of Edom, and they became tributary to him, and Jehovah preserved David whithersoever he went.
And David reigned over all Israel, and executed judgment and justice to all his people; and appointed Joab captain of the host, Jehoshaphat recorder, Zadock and Ahimelech priests, Seraiaht scribe, and Benaiah captain of the Cherethites and Pelethites. I
Mindful of his oath to Saul, and his love for Jonathan, David caused an enquiry to be instituted, whether any of the posterity of Saul were yet alive, in order that he might shew kindness to them for Jonathan's sake. And Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fed: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.ll Ziba, one of Saul's servants, having introduced Mephibosheth into his presence, he fell on his face, and did reverence, when David said, fear not, for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul, and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.
• 1 Chron. xviii. 10. Called Joram, 2 Sam. viil. 10. + 2 Sam. viii. 17. Called Shavsha in 1 Chron. xviii. 16. Burder, O. L. 491. § 2 Sam. ix. 3. || 2 Sam. iv. 3.
Then the king said to Ziba, I have given unto thy master's son all that pertained to Saul, and to all his house. Thou, therefore, and thy sons, and thy servants, shall till the land for him, and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy master's son may have food to eat; but he shall eat bread always at my table, as one of my sons. And Mephibosheth dwelt at Jerusalem, and had a young son, whose name was Micha, and Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants, all of whom were servants to Mephibosheth.*
Upon the death of Nahash, the king of Ammon, David, bearing in mind the civilities he had formerly received from that monarch, sent a respectful embassy to his son Hanun, to condole with him on bis loss, and to congratulate him on his own accession. The Ammonitish counsellors, either through ignorance or perverseness, formed the notion that the real object of this embassy (as indeed has but too often been the case), was to spy into the actual state of their country ; and the young monarch, weakly yielding to their suggestions, treated the ambassadors of the King of Israel with the extremest indignity, by shaving one half of their beards, and cutting their garments off in the middle. So great was this insult considered by David, that he ordered the ambassadors to stop in the city of Jericho, and not make their appearance in Jerusalem, till their beards had grown again.
It may be well imagined that David was disposed to resent such an injury, and it is probable he had given some expression to his resentment, although we are not informed he had actually prepared for warlike measures, until he heard that the Ammonitish monarch, anticipating the probable results of his own insolence and aggression, was proceeding to form an army, chiefly composed of Syrian auxiliaries, whom he hired
• 2 Sam, ix. 12.
for 1,000 talents of silver. The Ammonites formed a separate army by themselves,
To meet this formidable army, David sent a strong force under the command of Joab, who, finding himself placed between the two hostile armies, selected all the choice men of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians; and sent the rest of the army, under his brother Abishai, against the Ammonites ; with the understanding, that in case of need, they were mutually to succour each other: but Joab having defeated the Syrian army, the Ammonites fled before Abishai into their cities. *
In order to revenge this defeat, Hadarezer, King of Zobah, whom David had so lately defeated,t drew his forces from beyond the river Euphrates, and sent them to Helam, under the command of Shophach. Upon this David gathered all Israel together, and passing over Jordan, fought a pitched battle before Helam, and slew near 50,000 men, including their commander-in-chief; upon which the Syrian princes immediately sued for peace, and no longer afforded any assistance to the Ammonites.
David, having determined to finish the war with this devoted nation, sent Joab with a large army to besiege Rabbah, their royal city, but remained himself at Jerusalem. Joab's expedition having proved successful, he sent messengers to his sovereign, saying, I have fought against Rabbah, and have taken the city of waters ; & now, therefore, gather the rest of the people together, and encamp against the city, and take it; lest I take the city, and it be called after my name. And David gathered all the people together, and went to Rabbah, and fought against it, and took it. And he took the king's
* 2 Sam. 1. I Chron. xix. + 2 Sam. viii. 3—7. * 2 Sam. x. 19. I Chron. xix. 9. That is, I have cut off the water of the city. Ad. Clarke.
crown from off his head, the weight whereof was a talent of gold, with the precious stones: and it was set on David's head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city in great abundance. And he brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and made them pass through the brick-kiln: and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon. So David and all the people returned unto Jerusalem. *
It was during the early part of this siege, whilst David was, perhaps improperly, staying at Jerusalem, and whilst his army was warring against the Ammonites, that the melancholy occurrence took place, which involved the Israelitish monarch in such a complication of flagitious iniquity. So much has been written upon this subject by every commentator, that it will probably be better in this place only to touch generally upon the leading features of a transaction, which we would gladly avoid noticing altogether.
Uriah, the Hittite, was one of David's bravest officers, t and, at this time, absent from Jerusalem, and fighting his sovereign's battles under the command of Joab. The monarch having accidentally seen Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, in a situation calculated to excite unholy desires, yielded to their influence, and having signified his wishes, obtained but too ready a compliance.
The first object of David, like all impenitent sinners, being to conceal his crime, he sent orders to Joab, that Uriah should come immediately to Jerusalem, in the confident expectation that he would immediately repair to his own house, and associate with his wife; and thus, if she should prove pregnant, it would create neither suspicion nor scandal.
Whether Uriah had received any intimation of his wife's infidelity, and his sovereign's baseness, or whether he was
2 Sam. xi. l. xii. 26-31.
I Chron. xx. 1-3. + 1 Cbron. xi. 41.
restrained from visiting his own house and family, by the especial providence of God, who had determined that David's sin should be exposed, and that he should thereby be instructed in the depths of iniquity in his own heart; Uriah refused to go to his own dwelling, and that so steadily, that although the monarch descended so low as to make Uriah drunk for that express purpose, he was not to be diverted from his resolution. And we may easily imagine what a stinging reproach Uriah's remark must have made upon the conscience of his sovereign, when he reflected upon the contrast which it formed to his own conduct, “ the ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents, and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat, and to drink, and to lie with my wife as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.”
Unable by this means to secure a protection from discovery, David conceived the horrible design of adding murder to adultery, and actually accomplished that object by the most base and atrocious means: for he sent Uriah back with his own death warrant in his hand, ordering Joab to place him in the front of the battle, in a feigned assault of that part of the city which was known to be guarded by the most vigilant troops; and then, if a sortie was made, to order a retreat secretly, so that this brave and faithful officer might be certainly slain.
Joab obeyed the unhallowed command, and Uriah was slain with others of the army. The sacred history informs us that Bathsheba mourned for her husband, by which most probably, no more is meant than that she complied with such outward ceremonials as the manners then in use prescribed upon such occasions ; for that her sorrow could not be real, may be inferred, not only from her previous criminality, but
2 Sam. xi. II.