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$18—20. THE DAVIDIC PSALMS FROM THE SECOND BOOK OF SAMUEL. To the Psalms of the Davidic period are appended three other.

1 'Psalms of David, which though not contained in the Psalter, bring out in a remarkable degree the great features of his character, his justice, his intense and tender love, and that exalted grandeu., which made him at once the man after God's own heart and the realisation of Israel's brightest hopes.

$ 18. 2 SAM. I. 19—27. IN the great battle of mount Gilboa Saul and Jonathan perished

The dark fierce jealousy of Saul was now forgotten ; and David's passionate love for Jonathan finds free expression in this wild yet tender outburst of grief. It is Saul of the early days whom he speaks of here; Saul the mighty warrior, the Anointed of Jehovah, the delight of his people, the father of his tenderly loved and faithful friend: and Jonathan, the greatest archer of the great archer tribe, the hero of the battle of Michmash, who with his own hand had dislodged the Philistine garrison from their stronghold and inflicted upon them a defea: from which they did not recover till the end of his father's reign?. David introduced the “song of the bow' among the men of his own tribe as a tribute to the memory of his fallen friend; and so this elegy handed down from generation to generation by the bowmen of Judah, has been preserved to us, to be enshrined in the hearts of men for ever, as the monument of a pure and faithful friendship.

David's LamenT OVER SAUL AND JONATHAN.

1.

19

The beauty of the forest, O Israel, is slain upon thy heights:

how are the mighty fallen!

Ver. 19. The beauty of the forest, i.e. the larger kind of gazeile, the name by which Jonathan was known among his comrades.

* From 2 Sam. i. 19–27. iii. 33, 34. xxiii, 1–7.:
I 1 Sam. xiv,

*** 3 2 Sam i. 18'use of the bow.'

21

tell it not in Gath,

publish it not in the streets of Askalon, lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice;

lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph! Ve mountains of Gilboa, let no dew nor rain come upon you " . and your fields of offerings,

for there the shield of the mighty is stained,
o the bow of Saul, not anointed with oil!
from the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty

the bow of Jonathan turned not back,
and the sword of Saul returned not empty.

.22

Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, 23

and in their death they were not divided, *; they were swifter than eagles, and stronger than lions: ye daughters of Israel, weep for Saul,

who clothed you in scarlet, with delights,
.. who put ornaments of gold on your apperel!

II.
How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle,
: Jonathan slain upon thy heights!
I am distressed for thee, Jonathan! my brother!

... • very pleasant hast thou been to me,

thy love to me was wonderful, yea, passing the love of . HD'. women. .

. . . .

III.
How are the mighty fallen, .. .... . .

and the weapons of war perished!

Ver. 21. fields of offerings, i. e. your fertile slopes, so productive in offerings. rot anoint. ed, i.e. the holy oil rubbed off in the mire. not, i.e. no longer. .:. Ver. 22. the mighty, i.e. the huge giants of Philistia.

Ver. 24. daughters, waiting the arrival of the king laden with spoils (deli hts] for them, Cp. 1 Sam. xviii. 6 and Judges v. 35.

Ver. 26. passing, i.e. surpassing.
Ver. 27. the weapons of war, i. e. those by whom the war was waged , :

§ 19. 2 SAM. III. 33, 34. THE noblest side of David's character shews itself in his conduct

and feelings towards Saul and the upholders of Saul's dynasty? Abner had come to David to Hebron, with 20 chief men of the tribe of Benjamin, to offer him the sovereignty over their tribe and the tribes which had been united with it. He was honourably received and sent away in peace, but Joab, the nephew of David and captain of the host, who was just returned from the pursuit of the enemy, sent messengers after him as though wishing to say something on behalf of the king. Abner returned, and was treacherously slain by Joab and his brother Abishai, in revenge for the death of their brother Asahel? He was buried in Hebron; David himself followed the bier, and lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner; thus bearing witness before assembled Israel that Abner's death had not been, as Joab would have made it appear, the well merited punishment of a villain, but the treacherous murder of an honourable man

David's LAMENT Over ABNER. Should Abner die as a malefactor dieth? . . :::33 thy hands were not bound,

nor thy feet put in fetters; as a man falleth before wicked men, so fellest thou!

§ 20. 2 SAM XXIII. 1—7.

AVID was now near his death. He had already charged Solo

mon3 with his last wishes to keep the covenant with Jehovah, on which his kingship depended. He had assembled the princes of Israel", the captains, the officers and the valiant men, that he might in their presence solemnly charge the new king to complete the Temple, for. which he had been allowed to prepare. And now once again he touches his lyre to sum up the experience of his life in one word of prophetic import, true not only for that, but for all time. It is the very voice of Jehovah“, breathed into the heart of His servant, and by him

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Cp. § 2. vii. and § 15. iv. Introductions.

2 Sam. ii. 23. 3 1 Kings ii. 1-11.

1 Chron. xxviii. 1-10; xxix. 22..

. 50.2-15

uttered for the guidance not only of his son, but of all mankind. It is as though the various notes of former Psalms were here gathered up in one grand chord, uniting and blending them all in full and perfect, harmony.

DAVID'S LAST WORDS. So saith David, the son of Jesse,

so saith the man who was raised on high, the Anointed of the God of Jacob

and the sweet Psalmist of Israel : the spirit of Jehovah speaketh in me,

; and His words are on my tongue;
the God of Israel hath said,
the rock of Israel hath spoken to me;

I. If a man ruleth over men justly, ruling in the fear of God, it is as when a morning is bright and the sun riseth, 4

a morning and no clouds; after sunshine, after rain the tender grass springeth from the earth.

II.

For is not my house so with God that He made with me 5

an everlasting covenant,
ordered in all things and sure?
for all my salvation and all my desire-
yea, should He not make it to grow?

III.
But wicked men are all of them as abominable thorns,

that cannot be grasped with the hand: and whoso cometh near them is fenced with iron and the 7

staff of spears;
and they are forthwith utterly burnt with fire.

Ver. 5. covenant. The covenant between Jehovah and the king, His vicegerent on earth, like all contracts, requires witnesses to its truth and guarantees for its observance. The true prophets are the guarantees and the witnesses, and their words are the evidence upon which this covenant rests. Compare 2 Sam. vii. and § 10. CX,

BOOK II.

PSALMS OF THE MONARCHY FROM

DAVID TO THE CAPTIVITY.

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