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allowed the expression) to be raised to a crown : although, possibly, this injury to Yoab might have been, in some measure, an artifice, to prevent the king's suspicion of their combination, and Joab's too great attachment to the interest of his son.
As to Absalom's resolution of being brought 'to the king, even at the hazard of his life ; it seems to be much less the effect of fortitude, than presumption upon his father's fondness. Amnon's, most heinous injury to Tamar, being irreparable, well deserved death. And Absalom well knew, his father would not be extreme, for punishing it, as it deserved, out of form. The provocation was too grievous, not to excuse great irregularity in revenging it ; especially not to exçuse it, in a son, so exceedingly beloved. And therefore Absalom might safely offer himself as a victim to his father's vengeance, fecure not to be sacrificed to it.
CHA P. VII. David falls fick about this time. A
Digression, shewing, that bis Distemper was, probably, the Small-pox. THAT David, at some part of his
| life, was afflicted with a grievous distemper, which he considered as the chastisement of God upon him for his fins, seems sufficiently evident, from many passages in his Psalms, particularly, xxxviïi *. *xxix. xl. and xli f. That this calamity fell upon him about the time that a dangerous and rebellious conspiracy was formed against him, appears from the same Psalms. And forasmuch as we hear of no more than one conspiracy of that kind formed against him, it follows, that his sickness fell upon him about this time. And that his distemper was that which is now known to us, under
* O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath, neither chaften me in thy hot displeasure.
Ver. 2. For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy band presseth me fore.
+ Ver. 4. I said, Lord, be merciful to me : heal my soul; for I have finned against thee.
the name of the Small-pox, is (as I conceive) very probable, from the same Psalms.
Psal. xxxviii. 3. There is no foundness in my fleflo, &c.
5. My wounds stink, and are corrupt.
7. My loins are filled with a fore disease (He was afflicted with violent pains in his back, or perhaps the weight of the distemper fell upon those parts): and there is no foundness in my flesh.
8. I am feeble and fore broken.
10. As for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.
11. My lovers and friends stand aloof from my fore, and my kinsmen fand afar off.
Psal. xxxix. 11. When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest bis beauty to consume away, like a moth, fretting a garment.
Now, I apprehend, that there is no other distemper, in which all these characters, universal soreness, and unfoundness of the flesh, corruption, stench, temporary blindness, (for such David's was) and loss of beauty, are at once united, except the small-pox : particularly that loss of beauty which is caused by reducing the skin into the
condition of a garment fretted by moths. And surely, never was distemper characterized by a clearer or more beautiful allusion and image, than this.
This will also be confirmed, by considering that this was Job's distemper; and that David found himself in the same condition with yob.
THAT this was. Job's distemper, (lupposing it of the number of those known to us) is apparently clear, from that single character of it ; that he was smitten with boils, from the fole of his foot unto his crown*. The same thing is also apparently clear, from another passage, Job xix. 20. I am escaped with the skin of my teeth. His disease had stripped off all the rest of his skin, even that on the inside of his mouth; which fufficiently confirms it to have been the small-pox. .
In this distemper Job complains t, that God had made him to be forsaken of his companions and friends ; that he compassed him with his archers ; tore his reins, and blinded his eyes — My skin is broken, and
† Job xvi. 7, &c.
* Job ii. 7.
become * Job vii. 5. + Ibid. xvi. 7. || Ibid. ver. 20.
become loathsome * ; be, (that is, man) as a rotten thing, consumeth, as a garment that is moth-eaten. Thou haft made desolate all my company t. My friends scorn me ll. His archers compass me round about. He cleaveth my reins afinder My reins be consumed within me : be breaketh me with breach upon breach. On my eye-lids is the shadow of death 1. There are other circumstances (befides these last-mentioned) to prove this to have been Job's distemper ; but as my purpose in recounting these, was only to Thew, that David's distemper was the same with his, I therefore recounted those only in which they both agreed.
Now the reader will find every one of these complaints, from the mouth of David, in the passages now quoted, and referred to: and therefore I think it clear, that his difease was the same with Yob's'; that is, that it was (probably) the small-pox ; conse
I Now, besides the poetic beauty of this expression, there is also a propriety in it, every way expressive of his condition in the finall-pox ; which deserves carefully to be attended to. The blindness was not from any defect or distemper in his eyes, but from the closing of his eye-lids.