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and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of those that seek Him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.
Selah. Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates, and be lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates, lift them up, () ye everlasting doors, that the King of Glory may come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory. Selah.'
The Ark was carried to the Tabernacle, which was prepared for its reception, and which was now to become truly the Sanctuary of the nation. Then the feelings of David are supposed to have again thus shaped themselves into words (Psalm xv.):
Lord, who shall abide in Thy Tabernacle? who shall dwell in Thy holy hill? He that walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart; he that backbites not with his tongue, nor does evil to his fellow man, nor raises up a reproach against his neighbour; in whose eyes a vile person is contemned, but who honours those that fear the Lord; he that swears to his own hurt, and changes not; he that puts not out his money to usury, nor takes bribe against the innocent: he that does these things, shall never be moved.'
Holocausts and thank-offerings commemorated an event so important in the religious history of the Hebrews; and David pronounced a blessing over the people in the name of God. Great public festivities followed, enhanced by the liberal distribution of royal bounties. All were filled with joy and hope and gratitude. One heart alone seemed unmoved at this soul-stirring spectacle. Michal, seeing David from her window leaping and dancing before the Ark, despised him in her heart, and upbraided him on his
return from the solemnities. She was punished by God for her pride and mockery by remaining childless.
One last wish was now uppermost in David's heart: the city of Jerusalem yet wanted its crown, a Temple, where the Ark of God, no more enclosed in a movable tent and between perishable curtains, would rest worthily enshrined. He consulted the prophet Nathan, who bid him follow the inclination of his own mind. But the Lord appeared to the prophet in a vision, and declared His will, that not David should build the Temple but his son and successor, whose peaceful reign would be unstained by bloodshed, and who, if obedient to the Divine precepts, would be singularly blessed. At the same time God repeated the most glorious promises of help and favour to David and his posterity for ever. The king poured out the gratitude of his heart in a fervent prayer of praise and thanksgiving.
94. DAVID'S VICTORIES.
(2 Sam. VIII.-X.]
The king's energies were now entirely employed in crushing the neighbouring enemies, who were a perpetual danger to Israel. He boldly ventured upon wars of aggression. He was successful everywhere, and he enriched the land with the spoil he took from the heathen foe. He smote and subdued the ever-restless Philistines, and destroyed the independence of their chief town Gath. He invaded Moab, slew the greater part of the soldiers, and imposed upon the people a heavy tribute. He marched against Hadadezer, king of Zoba in Syria, whose empire extended from the vicinity of Damascus eastward to the borders of the Euphrates. He vanquished his armies, subjected his people, and sent the best of his horses to
Jerusalem, while he disabled the rest. The king of Damascus, justly alarmed at these conquests, came to the aid of the king of Zoba, but he was equally unfortunate, and succumbed to the marvellous activity and valour of David: 22,000 of his men were slain; Hebrew garrisons occupied the chief towns of Syria ; and the people were compelled to pay annually a heavy impost. The famous golden shields belonging to the warriors of Hadadezer were brought to Jerusalem, and later deposited in the Temple. From several Syrian towns rich in mines David took immense quantities of copper. Toi, the king of the illustrious Syrian commonwealth of Hamath, rejoiced at the defeat of his rival Hadadezer, sent messengers to Jerusalem, bearing as presents vessels of gold and silver and copper, which David likewise dedicated to God. Lastly, he smote the Edomites in a decisive battle in the Saltvalley, to the south of the Dead Sea; he killed 18,000 of the enemy in the combat, the memory of which he perpetuated by a great monument; and Idumæa became a dependency garrisoned with Hebrew troops.
This unparalleled succession of victories not only established David's power, but spread abroad the glory and the dread of his name. He was looked upon as one of the mightiest rulers of the East. He reigned over all Israel, and executed judgment and justice to all his people. He was now anxious to prove his good-will towards the fallen family of his predecessor Saul, and to discover if there was anyone left to whom he might show kindness for the sake of Jonathan ; so he addressed himself to Ziba, who had formerly been a servant of Saul. From Ziba's lips he heard of the lame son of Jonathan, Mephibosheth, now grown a man, who lived with his young son Micha in Lodebar, a little town in Gilead. With generous delight, he sent for Mephi bosheth and his son, received them with gladness, gave them the land that had belonged to Saul,
and charged Ziba and his servants with the management of that large property. With royal hospitality, Mephibosheth was invited as a perpetual guest at the king's table, and was treated as one of David's own sons.
About this time died Nahash, the king of Ammon, who in the days of David's wanderings had befriended the aged Jesse and his house. Prompted by gratitude, David sent messengers to Hanun, the son of Nahash, to convey his sympathy and condolence. But the Ammonite statesmen, misconstruing David's friendly intentions, roused their master's suspicion, and persuaded him into the belief that those messengers had come as spies to explore the capital and the country. The ungenerous Hanun listened to these imputations, and insulted David's ambassadors in a manner held most disgraceful among Orientals, by shaving off half their beards and curtailing their garments. The men, ashamed thus to appear in Jerusalem, were bidden by the king to stay at Jericho until their beards should have grown again. But Hanun, now justly afraid of David's vengeance, actively prepared for war.
He gathered mercenaries far and wide in those districts of Syria which were still embittered against the Hebrews by recent humiliations. An enormous host was assembled. The Syrian hirelings were to attack the Israelites in the field, while the Ammonites were to await them before their towns. David entrusted the command of his army to his long-tried general Joab, who divided his forces into two parts, retaining one half for himself to meet the Syrians, and confiding the other to his brother Abishai to fight against the Ammonites. Be firm,' he said to him, and let us be firm for our people, and for the cities of our God; and may the Lord do what seems good to Him.' The brothers agreed to come to each other's rescue if the chances of the war should render it necessary. The Syrians were now impetuously assailed by Joab; they
were completely routed and fled in dismay. The Ammonites, disheartened by this disaster, sought refuge in their towns. But the indomitable Hadadezer assembled a fresh and larger army recruited from the countries of the Euphrates, and prepared for battle at Helam, on the eastern side of the Jordan. Now David himself went out to oppose this formidable array. Victory was faithful to him; for, in a fearful carnage that ensued, the enemy's chief general was captured and slain, and the survivors fled in wild confusion. The Syrians, seeing that their strength was utterly broken, submitted to David, and consented to pay tribute.
But Hanun, who had wickedly occasioned this bloody war, was not to remain unpunished. Joab vowed that his sword should not rest until the country of Ammon was completely subdued, and Rabbah, the great city, conquered. The hosts of Israel marched out upon this distant campaign, and with them went, as in olden time, the Ark of the Lord. Joab led the army, passed rapidly through the enemy's country, and commenced the difficult and wearisome siege of Rabbah. David meanwhile remained in Jerusalem.
95. DAVID'S SIN.
[2 Sam. XI. XII.)
Connected with this war and siege is a grievous crime committed by David. It marks the beginning of the decrease of his prosperity. His moral de basement ushered in the dark and mournful decline of his reign. He indeed repented bitterly, but he could not change the sad course of his existence.
Uriah, a Hittite, and one of the bravest officers in the