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The God of my rock, in him will I trust.
My shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower
and my refuge.
He sent from on high, he took me ;
He drew me out of great waters;
He delivered me from my strong enemies.
He teacheth my hands to war;
So that mine arms do bend a bow of brass.
Thou hast enlarged my steps under me,
And my feet have not slipped.
I have pursued my enemies and destroyed them;
Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of my people;
A people whom I have not known shall serve me.
Jehovah liveth, and blessed be my rock;
And exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation.
Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, Jehovah, among the nations,
And will sing praises unto thy name.
Great deliverance giveth he to his king;
And showeth loving-kindness to his anointed,
Trust in Jehovah, as helper and deliverer, was one side of David's righteousness. Jehovah also speaks to men through conscience, telling them the right and command
1 2 Samuel xxii.
ing them to do it; for he is a righteous God, full of mercy and kindness, loving righteousness and rewarding it :
"Jehovah rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands he recompensed
For I have kept the ways of Jehovah,
And have not wickedly departed from my God.
And I kept myself from mine iniquity.
Therefore hath Jehovah recompensed me according to
According to my cleanness in his eyesight.
With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful,
And with the perverse thou wilt show thyself froward.
But thine eyes are upon the haughty, that thou mayest
David's direct obedience to Jehovah as the God from whom he expects help, and his broader observance of righteousness, were united in David's mind. In the same song of praise, Jehovah's help is sung of, and then Jehovah's righteousness. Likewise in David's life, righteousness and devotion to his God are the same: as, when he thirsted and his mighty men broke through and got him drink; it became not David to drink water gotten at such peril; so he pours it forth to Jehovah. Twice Saul is given into his power, but David will not raise his hand against Jehovah's anointed. And without hesitation he punishes the man who laid claim to have slain Saul at his own request: How wast thou not afraid to put forth thine hand to destroy Jehovah's anointed?" a Likewise he punishes the assassins of Ishbosheth, though he was his enemy and not anointed of Jehovah, for they had 1 2 Samuel xxii, 21. 22 Samuel i, 14.
slain a righteous person in his bed.' And again, though he may not then punish, David cries out against the sin of Abner's assassination: " May Jehovah reward the evildoer according to his wickedness!" The sinfulness of murder is identical in David's mind with his thought of Jehovah's retribution.
David has become king and has rest from his enemies. He thinks of Jehovah, and plans to build a house for the ark. Jehovah sends the prophet Nathan with words of promise to his servant, whom he had taken from the sheepcote and whose throne he will establish forever. With perfect humility, David makes answer in grateful recognition of Jehovah's mercy and loving-kindness.' And shall he not in human way strive to imitate it, and ever feel his own unworthiness before Jehovah? It is not for him to let the priests bear the ark forth with the king fleeing from Absalom: "And the king said unto Zadok, 'Carry back the ark of God into the city; if I shall find favor in the eyes of Jehovah, he will bring me again and show me both it and his habitation; but if he say thus, I have no delight in thee; behold here am I, let him do to me as it seemeth good unto him.' Neither is it for David, humbled in trouble, and learning deeply from his sorrow, to avenge himself on his revilers; so he checks those about him who would slay Shimei for his curses: "And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? Because he curseth, and because Jehovah hath said unto him, Curse David, who then shall say, Wherefore hast thou done so ? Behold my son,
which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life; how much more may this Benjamite now do it? Let him alone, and let him curse; for Jehovah has bidden him. It may be that Jehovah will look on the wrong done unto me, and that Jehovah will requite me good for his cursing of me this day."
1 2 Samuel iv, II.
42 Samuel xv, 25, 26.
2 2 Samuel iii, 39.
3 2 Samuel vii.
5 2 Samuel xiv, 10-12; cf. ibid., xix, 16–23.
David may have felt there was reason why he should accept the humiliation of Absalom's revolt as punishment for his own sin. How had Nathan once spoken in the years that were past?"Wherefore hast thou despised the word of Jehovah, to do that which is evil in his sight? Thou hast smitten 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. 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 will give them unto thy neighbors."i David had then answered, "I have sinned against Jehovah." There was no more to say, but much to do and be. The king repented and would show that repentance through a life led in more complete obedience, in humble acceptance of tribulation as punishment, and in striving to sin no more. As he had borne the sorrow of the child's death, so he was to bear the outrage and more bitter grief of Absalom's wickedness, atoning for his sin and gaining in that righteousness which lies in the attitude of a soul always turned towards God. And the final seal of David's righteousness was that he died in peace, and that his last acts were done, his last words spoken, in grateful recognition of Jehovah's mercies: "Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Israel, which hath given one to sit on my throne this day, mine eyes even seeing it."'
One that ruleth over men righteously,
That ruleth in the fear of God,
He shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth,
A morning without clouds;
When the tender grass springeth out of the earth,
Responsive to David's buoyant heroic character there
was an upburst of national spirit in Israel. For a time. she was a mighty nation, and these years engendered hopes which remained immortal, if unfulfilled. The reign of Solomon was a dream, a dream of pomp and material splendor foreign to the deeper currents of Israel's life. The temple was built, and what the previous reign had made possible was brought to prosperous realization. Jehovah's worship may have become turbid. Not that it ever had been free from idolatrous influences; and doubtless the conception of Jehovah and his righteousness for man had not attained its height in David's time. But it is evident that with David and his people Jehovah's worship was single-minded with thoughts set towards the heights reached by the prophets. Neither can one fail to see from these narratives how in the time of Solomon came a material prosperity and enjoyment, bringing a less strenuous tone and turning men to those heathen worships which fitly ministered to more luxurious tastes. The particular shortcoming of Solomon and other kings, that of sacrificing in the “high places," was indeed a sin only in the minds of much later men; and yet a sin in result; for to worship Jehovah and sacrifice to him wherever the spot seemed fit, led to confusing him with heathen gods-led to idolatry.
The glamour of Solomon's reign never passed from Israel's memory, and in her grimmer thoughts its splendor served to point the vanity of riches. Yet the king stood for an ideal in Israel, that of "wisdom," the faculty which knows life's factors in their true relations, and apprehends the ways of God with men. Ancient and true is the story of his choice of wisdom among the blessings offered by Jehovah, and peculiarly Hebrew in its humility.' Besides an understanding heart to judge the people, natural knowledge is also ascribed to him, for "he spake of trees and also of beasts and of fowls and of creeping things and fishes." This tradition indicates 1 I Kings iii, 5-10. 21 Kings iv, 33.