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very hottest season of the year, might have added a pestilence to the famine: a danger, which it is impossible to imagine David would deliberately devise, both against his people and himself; and consequently demonstrates itself imposed upon him by a fuperior power : confuting all the little cavils of mean men, against the conduct of David, upon this occasion ; Cavils, which are further confuted by the account left us of Rizpah's fingular affection for these unhappy victims. She spread a tent upon the rock on which they were executed, and kept a continual watch over their remains, night and day; and suffered neither the birds of the air to reft on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night. Which when David heard, did he resent this conduct, which might have been a natural means of propagating a pestilence ? Quite otherwise, it sufficiently appears from his subsequent behaviour, that he rather emulated it; for he immediately went to Yabes Gilead, and caused the bones of Şaul and Jonathan to be removed from thence, and deposited, together with the bones of Saul's seven fons, now executed, in the fepulchre of Kish; himself attending them in person to the grave: as if Rizpal's kindness to the remains of these unhappy victims, reproached his own long neglect of doing due honour to those of so excellent a man, and so valuable a friend, as Jonathan.
The sacred historian adds — And they performed all that the king commanded, and after that God was intreated for the land.
This plainly implies, that God gave no signs of being appeased, until after the performance of these funeral rites : which grounds a rational belief, that these offices of humanity, to the remains of the dead, are highly acceptable in the sight of God. And perhaps this very instance gave rise to the religion of this duty in the heathen world.
Another inference is also obvious from this account of God's being intreated for the land, after the discharge of those offices to the dead; viz. that public devotions had been appointed before this, to appease the wrath of God, but proved ineffectual. The same thing is also evident from Psalm lxv. agreed on all hands to have been composed upon the ceasing of this calamity, ver. 1.
Praise Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion, and unto thee Mall the vow be performed.
A COMPLETE comment upon this sacred hymn, is not the work either of my province or genius; and therefore I shall only observe, that the five last verses of it are the most rapturous, truly poetic, and natural image of joy, that imagination can form, or comprehend.
The reader of tafte will see this, in the simplest translation, ver. 9, &c. Thou haft vifted the earth, thou madeft it to covet, and haft enriched it. The river of God is full of water. Thou shalt provide them corn, because thou hast prepared for it. Saturate * the furrows thereof, make them fink, with showers : melt it--- bless its springing buds--Thou bast crowned the year with thy goodness, and thy orbs shall drop down fatness; the pastures of the wilderness Mall drop: the hills shall exult, and be girded with gladness~ The fields have cloathed themselves with cattle; the valleys have covered themselves with corn. They fall shout, yea, they skall fing. * In Hebrew, Make them drunki
THE The reader will easily observe, that when the divine poet had seen the showers falling from heaven, and the Jordan overflowing his banks, all the consequent blessings were that moment present to his quick poetic fight, and he paints them accordingly.
But we must quit this pleasing scene, and divert to something as throughly diftasteful and disagreeable, as this is delightful: for I am now called upon, in justice to my subject, to inform the reader, that David's character, not only as a hero, but as a man of honour, and common honesty, is violently assaulted by one * Thomas Chubbt, who imputes the death of Saul's descendants, procured by the Gibeonites, not to any command of God, but to a plaufble pretext of David's, pretending such command, to get rid of Saul's posterity, his rivals in empire ; blasting David, at once, with the complicated imputation of the basest of lyars, hypocrites, and murderers! Murderer
* See Chubb's pamphlet, on occasion of the oppofition to Dr. Rundle, &c. p. 27, &c.
t Of whom I know no more, than that the business of his whole life seems to be, to invalidate, to the utmost of his power, the credibility of the facred historians.
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of that family which he had twice I los lemnly sworn not to destroy; and this, at the very time, when the hand of God was heavy upon him and his people! Murderer of that family, whose murderers he detested and destroyed !
The sum of Mr. Chubb's reasoning upon the point stands thus :
It is inconsistent with equity, and with God's own declarations, to punish one man, and much more a whole nation, for the faults of another ; therefore the history, which tells us, that God punished the children of Israel with famine, for the crime of Saul, in slaying the Gibeonites, is incredible : consequently God's supposed answer, upon David's inquiry concerning the cause of the famine, was a forgery of David's.
In answer to this charge, I own it inconsistent with equity, and with the divine declarations, to punish one man for the crimes of another, in which he had no share —
f 1 Sam. XX. 15. ---- xxiv. 21, 22. Swear now therefore unto me, by the Lord, that thou wilt not cut off my feed after me ; and that thou wilt not deftroy my name, out of my father's house. And David (ware unto Şaul.