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from her subsequent conduct; for David sent for her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son,
The transaction however displeased Jehovah, and he sent to David the prophet Nathan, who thus beautifully but pointedly, brought conviction and contrition upon the fallen monarch. “There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many Alocks and herds : but the poor man had nothing save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the way-faring man that was come unto him: but took the poor man's lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him. And David's anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, as Jehovah liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: and he shall restore the lamb four-fold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity. And Nathan said unto David, THOU ART THE MAN! Thus saith Jehovah, God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; and I gave thee thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah ; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandnient of Jehovah to do evil in his sight? Thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite, to be thy wife. Thus saith Jehovah, behold I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house,
and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against Jehovah. And Nathan said unto David, Jehovah also hath pat away thy sin: thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of Jehovah to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die."
The child died, but David afterwards had by this same Bathsheba, his successor Solomon, whom Jehovah loved; and he called his name Jedidiah,t because of Jehovah.
It is perhaps one of the most mysterious transactions in the divine economy, that the genealogy of the divine Saviour, who knew no sin, and who was, and was to be, designated
*2 Sam. xii. 1-14. “ Thou art this son of dea!h, and thou shalt restore this lamb FOURFOLD. Is it indulging fancy too much to say David was called, in the course of a just providence, to pay this fourfold debt: to lose four sons by untimely deaths, viz: this son of Bathsheba, on whom David bad set his heart, was slain by the Lord; Ammon, murdered by his brother Absalom ; Absalom, slain in the oak by Joab; and Adonijah, slain by the order of his brother Solomon, even at the altar of the Lord. The sword of calamity did not depart from his house, from the murder of the wretched Ammon by his brother, to the slaughter of the sons of Zedekiah before their father's eyes, by the King of Babylon. His daughter was dishonoured by her own brother; and his wives contaminated, publicly, by his own son. How dreadfully, then, was David punished for his sin! Who would repeat his trangression to share in its penalty ! Can his conduct ever be an inducement to, or an encouragement in sin ?-Surely, no. It must ever fill the reader and the hearer with horror ; behold the goodness and severity of God! Reader, lay all these solemn things to heart.” Ad. Clarke. It was probably apon this occasion that David wrote the 51st Psalm. Scott.
+ Or, beloved of Jehovah.
emphatically the Holy One, was appointed to be traced through more than one apparently polluted channels; but so it is, and all we bave to do with it is to adore and wonder.
After the taking of Rabbah, other wars arose with the Philistines; in one of which David, waxing faint, had nearly been slain by Ishbibenob, one of the sons of the giant, when he was preserved by Abishai, the son of Zeruiah, who slew the Philistine. Upon this occasion the men of David sware unto him, “Thou shalt go no more out with us to battle, that thou quench not the light of Israel."* And after this there was another battle, where Labmi, a brother, and Sippai and another son of Goliath, the Gittite, were respectively slain by Sibbechai, the Hushatbite, Elhanan, the son of Jair, and Jonathan, the son of Shimea, one of David's brothers.
It is neither safe nor lawful for fallible man to construe particular acts of divine providence into judgments upon individuals; but can we wonder if, after the complicated ruin and disgrace which David had brought upon Uriah and his house, a righteous God should see fit to punish the monarch in some sort after a similar manner? Nor is it without its use, that sinful man should know that although partienlar sins may be pardoned, so that his salvation may be secured, yet that it rarely happens but that such sins meet with some proportionate punishment in this life; and that there is a much greater certainty of retribution for every evil action than is generally imagined.
In the case of David, however, we have the authority of God himself | to come to such a conclusion, as that monarch soon found to his sorrow, when the peace of his own family became invaded by the vices and rebellion of his children. Absalom, who was David's son by Maacah,ş had a fair sister
* 1 Chron. XX. 4-8.
• 2 Samn. xxi. 16, 17.
1 2 Sam. xii, 11, 12,
$ 2 Sam, iji. 3.
of the name of Tamar, with whom Ammon, another of the monarch's sons by Ahinoam,* became enamoured. By the advice of his cousin Jonadab, who was a subtle, and without doubt, a wicked man, he feigned sickness, and when his sister came, in compliance with his request, to make him a couple of cakes, he ravished her; and, as frequently happens in similar cases, immediately conceived as strong an aversion as he had before entertained a passion for her, and turned her out of doors; upon which she returned home to her brother Absalom's house.
At first Absalom advised his sister to keep the matter secret, upon the ground of Ammon being their brother; but he only smothered his resentment, and waited for an opportunity to avenge himself; taking care, in the mean time, to avoid all communication with the offender.
When David heard of the melancholy occurrence, he was very wroth; but it is not said that he adopted any measures for the punishment of Ammon: if he had, he might have prevented the catastrophe which ensued.
At the expiration of two years, Absalom invited all his brethren to a sheep-shearing at Baalhazor, and with some difficulty prevailed upon David to let Ammon go amongst the rest. According to a previous command, Ammon was assassinated, whilst merry with wine, by the servants of Absalom, who immediately fled to Talmai, the son of Ammi. hud, King of Geshur, with whom he resided three years.
David at first mourned bitterly for the loss of Ammon;
2 Sam. iii. 2. + In proof of this suggestion, the Septuagint, the Vulgate, and Josephus, have the following addition to the text-" But he would not grieve the soul of Ammon his son, for he loved him, because he was his first born." Ad. Clarke.
He was his grandfather. 2 Sam. iii. 3. § 2 Sam. xiii. 3.
but, as that grief wore off, his heart softened towards Absalom, which was soon perceived by Joab.
By the means of an ingenious device, Joab induced David to allow Absalom to return in privacy to his own house; but would not see him himself. This youthful prince was remarkable for beauty of person, and particularly for a profusion of fine hair. Becoming impatient of living in retirement, he sent for Joab, and prevailed upon him to reconcile him unto his father David; and when Absalom bowed himself on his face to the ground, the king kissed him, and a reconciliation, which was no doubt sincere on the part of David, apparently took place.*
David, however, had yet to experience a still greater trial; for this favourite son, as he really was, soon afterwards engaged in a scheme of rebellion against his father's throne and person, which was but too successful. Having assumed an appearance of state, he basely insinuated that his father neglected to administer judgment to his subjects, and lamented that he was himself deprived of the power of doing so. By an affected condescension, he won upon the affections of the people, so that he stole the hearts of the men of Israel. +
As soon as he iniagined he had secured the affections of the populace, be obtained leave from David to go to Hebron, the place of his birth, under the hypocritical pretence of paying a vow he had made whilst at Geshur, that if Jehovah would bring him again to Jerusalem, then he would serve Jehovah.
According to a previously concerted plan, as soon as Absalom had arrived in Hebron, he was proclaimed king; and one of the chief conspirators was A hithophel, the Gilonite. That this conspiracy was of wide and alarming extent, we
• 2 Sam. xiii. xiv. + 2 Sam. xv. 1.6.