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I. SAMUEL. miserable end; and the threatenings denounced against blessings, are at last abandoned by Him, and made examhim by God on several occasions were fully put in exe- ples of his indignation. When we see the sons of Saul, cution. Thus it always has been, and always will be, and Jonathan in particular, a man of so much piety and with the Divine denunciations, whether against particu- virtue, perish with him, we are made to call to mind lar persons, or against sinners in general. This event how often the innocent are involved with the guilty in ought to inspire us with a wholesome fear, and to im- temporal judgments : a dispensation, which God ordains press us with the conviction, that those, who are en- for wise and just reasons, and with the view of promotriched by God with blessings, and who abuse those ling the real welfare of his faithful servants. Ostervald.
The following Chapters from the first Book of Samuel are appointed for Proper Lessons on Sundays
and Holydays :
THE SECOND BOOK OF
S A M U E L,
THE Second Book of Samuel bears an exact relation to the preceding history, and is likewise connected with
that which succeeds. The history contains a period of near forty years, from about A.M. 2948 to 2988. It describes the establishment and prosperity of David's reign; which he deserved, as well by his generous respect for the memory of Saul, as by the excellency of those many qualities which his maturer piety displayed." It relates the extinction of Saul's family, and David's grateful and unsuspicious kindness to the surviving son of Jonathan. The inspired author then records the fall of David; and exhibits a sad proof of the unhappy depravity to which the noblest minds may be seduced by passion. He represents to us God's anger softened, but not appeased, by David's repentance; who was soon after punished by the death of the child, and many domestick calamities. The transgression of Amnon was the first consequence of his bad example; and “evil rose up against him out of his own house" (Nathan's prophetick threat, chap. xii. 11) in the ambitious intrigues and rebellion of Absalom. We soon behold him a degraded and fugitive sovereign, reviled by his meanest subjects, and severely punished for his conduct towards Uriah, by the incestuous outrage of his son, chap. xvi. 21, 22. The submissive repentance, however, and restored virtues of David, procured his pardon and re-establishment on his throne; which he dignified by the display of the greatest moderation, justice, and piety. If in the exultation of his recovered prosperity, God suffered him (chap. xxiv. 1 ; and i Chron. xxi. 1) to be betrayed into an ostentatious numbering of the people, “his heart smote him” to immediate repentance, and he piously threw himself on God's mercy, and entreated that he only might suffer from the indignation which he had provoked. The vicissitude of events which the book describes, the fall and restoration of David, the effects of his errours, and his return to righteousness, are represented in the most interesting manner, and furnish valuable lessons to mankind. The author, in the concise style of sacred history, selects only the most striking features of character, and the most important incidents of those revolutions of which he treats; and among the conspicuous beauties of the book, we can never sufficiently admire the feeling lamentation over Saul
and Jonathan, the expressive parable of Nathan, and the triumphant hymn of David. The prophecies contained in the book are, first, that which blended temporal and spiritual blessings in the
promises relative to Solomon and the Messiah; the permanency of David's throne, and the perpetuity of that kingdom which is prefigured chap. vii. 12. 16; Heb. i. 5. Secondly, the predictive denunciations of Nathan, chap. xii. 11–14: and, lastly, the figurative descriptions of David's psalm, chap. xxii; by whom the “Spirit of the Lord spake," assuring him of an everlasting covenant, chap. xxiii. 2. 5. Dr. Gray.
Amalekites, and David had abode two
days in Ziklag;
2 It came even to pass on the overthrow, and accused himself of Saul's third day, that, behold, a man came death, is slain. . , 17 David lamenteth Saul out of the camp from Saul with his and Jonathan with a song.
clothes rent, and earth upon his head : NO
OW it came to pass after the and so it was, when he came to Da
death of Saul, when David was vid, that he fell to the earth, and did returned from a the slaughter of the obeisance.
a 1 Sam. 30. 17.
Chap. I. ver. 2.
and earth upon his head :) As a token of mourning, Josh. vii. 6; 1 Sam. iv. 12; Job ii. 12.
+ Heb. What
The Amalekite, who accused himself II. SAMUEL.
of Saul's death, is slain. 3 And David said unto him, From 10 So I stood upon him, and slew whence comest thou ? And he said him, because I was sure that he could unto him, Out of the camp of Israel not live after that he was fallen : and am I escaped.
I took the crown that was upon his 4 And David said unto him, + How head, and the bracelet that was on his went the matter ? I pray thee, tell arm, and have brought them hither
And he answered, That the unto my lord. people are fled from the battle, and 1 Then David took hold on his many of the people also are fallen clothes, and brent them; and like- b Chap. 3. and dead; and Saul and Jonathan wise all the men that were with him : 31. & 13. 31. his son are dead also.
12 And they mourned, and wept,
Israel; because they were fallen by
14 And David said unto him, How c Ps. 105. 15. 7 And when he looked behind wast thou not afraid to stretch forth
him, he saw me, and called unto me. thine hand to destroy the Lord's + Heb. And I answered, + Here am I. anointed ? Behold me,
8 And he said unto me, Who art 15 And David called one of the thou ? And I answered him, I am an young men, and said, Go near, and Amalekite.
fall upon him. And he smote him || Or, my coat
9 He said unto me again, Stand, I that he died. of mail, ormy pray thee, upon me, and slay me: 16 And David said unto him, Thy coat hinder for || anguish is come upon me, be- blood be upon thy head; for thy
life is yet whole in me. mouth hath testified against thee,
eth me, that
6. — Saul leaned upon his spear :] Rather, perhaps, concerned at his death, although it caused him to ascend “ Saul had fallen on his spear;" for it is mentioned at the throne, and secured him from any further persecuver. 10, that he was now fallen. It appears from 1 Sam. tions. Thus does every man of sincere piety and solid xxxi. 4, that when Saul fell upon his spear, his armour- virtue behave. Whatever injuries his enemies have bearer thought him immediately dead; but it seems he done to him, how wicked soever their lives have been, was not quite dead when this Amalekite came up; and he never exults over their misfortunes, but rather grieves desired to be killed outright. Thus Josephus relates at them. Ostervald. the event. Dr. Wall. Or else, from the want of con 15. — he smote him that he died.] This he did, to sistency between this account, and that of 1 Sam. xxxi, punish his rashness and presumption, in laying hands we must suppose that the Amalekite contrived a false upon a prince specially appointed by God, and under account, perhaps to ingratiate himself with David, if he the immediate direction of his providence. Pyle. This approved the fact. Dr. Wells, Bp. Patrick. It is by no self-convicted wretched Amalekite died for a crime means probable that the main circumstance told by this which he had not committed; yet he well deserved Amalekite could be true. According to the account of to die, for taking the guilt of it upon him., David Saul's death, given in the course of the history, 1 Sam. rightly judged that Saul had no power over his own xxxi, Saul desires his armourbearer to kill him, but he life, and consequently should not have been obeyed in refuses : he then falls on his own sword; and his ser- such a command: God and the state had as much right vant, seeing him dead, does the same. Now, where is to his life when he was weary of it, as when he most the interval or opening for the scene between Saul and loved it. Besides, it behoved David to vindicate his the Amalekite to take place ? or, would the armour own innocence to the world by this publick execution, bearer, who refused to kill Saul, stand by, and suffer an since otherwise he might have been branded with the Amalekite to kill him? Bp. Horne.
guilt of employing that wretch to murder his perse9. - anguish is come upon me,] There is no certainty cutor. Dr. Delaney. No doubt this wretch intended to about the Hebrew word translated anguish: many per- make a merit of this affair, and to ingratiate himself sons understand the word to mean some article of dress, with David, by telling him that he had destroyed Saul, and therefore prefer the translation of our margin, “my and by presenting him with the spoils of royalty, of embroidered coat (or coat of mail) is upon me," mean- which he had stripped him. But, alas ! he knew not ing, that it prevented the spear from penetrating his David. He knew not that a crown would be unwelbody. Bp. Patrick, Pyle.
come to him at the price of treason, and that a throne 12. And they mourned, and wept,] We may observe would not be tempting to him, if purchased with parrihere the piety and honest heart of David, who behaved cide. Dr. Chandler. David evidently saw through the on this occasion with the same temper towards Saul, character of the man, and perhaps concluded, from his which he had borne in his lifetime, and was thus deeply forward officiousness in the affair, that he had taken
d Josh. 10.
David lamenteth Saul and
Jonathan with a song. saying, I have slain the Lord's an 22 From the blood of the slain, ointed.
from the fat of the mighty, the 17 And David lamented with this bow of Jonathan turned not back, lamentation over Saul and over Jona- and the sword of Saul returned not than his son:
they were swifter than eagles, they
over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet,
thou wast slain in thine high places.
the weapons of war perished !
e Micah 1. 10.
some undue advantage of Saul in his wounded state; fields about Gilboa, which, by the large increase they and slain him on purpose that he might find favour with produced, afforded very liberally firstfruits for offerings his successor, by bringing him all this welcome intelli- to the Lord. Dr. Chandler. gence. This may be inferred from David's words at the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away,] 2 Sam. iv. 10, Bp. Horne.
Even “ the shield of Saul, as though he had not been 17. And David lamented-over Saul and over Jonathan] anointed with oil;” that is, as if he had not been a This is the first specimen afforded us of David's poeti- king, but a common soldier. Bp. Putrick. The throwcal talents : it is elegant, tender, and pathetick." Dr. ing away the shield was matter of the highest reproach Hales.
among all nations of antiquity; and, this in the practice 18. (Also he bade them teach &c.] This comes in, as of so brave a prince as Saul, was an example of terrible a parenthesis, between the former verse and that which consequence, and therefore must not go unreproved, follows, to shew the early endeavours of David to pro- especially in a song which soldiers were to learn. Dr. mote the good of his people; and his care of the living, Delaney. Or it may be meant, that, after the death of amidst his lamentations for the dead. He ordered that Saul, his shield was “vilely cast away” without any the children of Judah should be immediately better regard to the sacred character of the owner, instructed in the use of the bow and arrow, in order
in their death they were not divided :] This is more effectually to contend with the Philistines. Bp. said in the true spirit of friendship, and in one of its Patrick.
finest distresses ; he congratulates Saul and Jonathan behold, it is written] That is, the fact of his on that happy circumstance of their friendship, that they having given this order for teaching the children of were undivided in death. Dr. Delaney. Judah the use of the bow, "is written in the book of 27. — the weapons of war perished !] All military Jasher;" respecting which see note at Josh. x. 13. Bp. glory is gone from Israel
. Bp. Patrick. Or, the weaPatrick.
pons and armour of the slain are taken away by the 19. - how are the mighty fallen !] What a slaughter Philistines in triumph. Dr. Wells. is made among the valiant men of the army; the flower Let any man but read over this admirable ode of of the nation, the choicest of its young men, lost, toge- David, than which there is nothing more elegant and ther with Saul and his sons! Bp. Patrick. This excla- passionate in all antiquity, and he will find in it all the mation, with which three stanzas are marked, verse 25, marks of a generous grief, and the utmost decency and 27, seems to be the simple dictate of sorrow on the propriety in the expression of it. In the encomiums several topicks of lamentation which presented them- passed respectively on Saul and Jonathan, there is noselves. It is therefore to be considered as a kind of thing but what became the character of both, and suited burden to the song. David knew that the death of these the situation of him that gave them. He celebrates mighty men, with the flower of the army, as it was mat- Saul for his former victories, and sheds a tear over him ter of reproach to the nation, so would be the subject of for his defeat, and the indignities offered to him after exultation to their enemies; and not being able to en- his death ; but without a single reflection on his past dure the thought of this, breaks out into that beautiful injustice and cruelty towards himself. And as to Jonaapostrophe, "Tell it not in Gath,” the chief city of the than his friend, the sorrow he expresses for him is most Philistines, &c. Dr. Delaney.
tender and pathetick. The lamentation over the slain 21. nor fields of offerings :] Meaning fruitful fields, heroes of Israel in the beginning, and several times refrom which offerings might be brought to the house of peated; the manner in which he expresses his grief at God. Bp. Patrick. There seem to have been fruitful the thought of the defeat's
being published among the
a 1 Mac. 2.
bi Sam. 31.
David is made king of Judah.
Abner maketh Ish-bosheth
4 a And the men of Judah came, CHRIST CHAP. II. 1 David, by God's direction, with his com
and there they anointed David king about 1056.
5 q And David sent messengers
Lord, that ye have shewed this kind-
that buried him.
6 And now the Lord shew kind-
so up into any of the
7 Therefore now let your hands
king over them. 3 And his men that were with him 8 9 But Abner the son of Ner, did David bring up, every man with captain of + Saul's host, took Ish- + Heb. the his houshold : and they dwelt in the bosheth the son of Saul, and brought cities of Hebron.
him over to Mahanaim;
host which was Saul's,
Philistines : his passionately wishing that neither dews to mention Jonathan, the sublimity ceases ; and, not nor rains might ever fall on the mountains of Gilboa able to mention his generous friendship and the most and the fields surrounding them; his recounting the noble instances ever given by man, he sinks into a fond. past victories of Saul and Jonathan, who never drew a ness that will not admit of high language or allusions bow or brandished a sword without its proving fatal to to the greater circumstances of their life, and turns only their enemies, to set forth in a more lively manner the upon their familiar converse : “I am distressed for thee, reverse of their condition ; his honourable mention of &c." See ver. 26. Steele. their mutual affection while they lived, and their dying bravely together in the field of battle; his exclamation Chap. II. ver. 1.- Shall I go up into any of the cities to the daughters of Israel to mourn over Saul : his cele of Judah?] Though David well knew that his head bration of the mutual tender friendship between himself was long before anointed, and though he had heard Saul and Jonathan ; in a word his whole elegy, both in sen himself confidently affirming his succession, yet he will timent and expression, hath all the charms with which not stir till he has consulted the Lord. It did not con. the spirit of poetry can adorn it, shews the richness of tent him that he had God's warrant for the kingdom, David's genius, and will be a monument to his praise but he must have his instructions for taking possession through all generations. Dr. Chandler. This ode is a la of it. How safe and happy is the man that is resolved mentation equally pathetick and heroick, the lamentation to do nothing without God! Bp. Hall. of a brave man over brave men. The bursts of sorrow
Unto Hebron.] As Hebron was situate in the in it are so strong and sudden; so short, various, and midst of the tribe of Judah, and a very ancient city, the unconnected, that never perhaps was grief painted in metropolis of the whole tribe, and the possession of more living and lasting colours. It affords a beautiful those priestly families, who espoused David's interest, proof that David's heart was so softened and melted by it was a very commodious city for him to make the place grief, as to lose every trace of Saul's cruelty to him. of his residence at this juncture; as he was not inHe remembered nothing in him now but the brave man, sensible that the determination of the metropolis in his the valiant leader, the magnificent prince, the king of favour would be of great weight to influence the whole God's appointment, his own once indulgent master; tribe : and accordingly we find, that he was soon inthe father of his Michal and his Jonathan ; of his be- vested with the sovereignty of it. Dr. Delaney. Hebron loved wife and his lamented friend. Dr. Delaney. seems now to have been the capital city of Judah ;
Noble ideas aggrandize the soul of him, who writes Jerusalem, or at least the fortress of mount Sion, that with a true taste of virtue. David's lamentation over commanded it, being at this time in the hands of the Saul and Jonathan is peculiarly pleasing, in that there Jebusites. Dr. Chandler. is such an exquisite sorrow expressed in it, without the 4. — there they anointed David] As he had before least allusion to the difficulties from which David was been privately anointed by Samuel, when he was first extricated by the fall of those great men in his way to marked out for the kingdom; so he was now publickly empire. When he receives the tidings of Saul's death, anointed by way of inauguration on assuming the royal
generous mind has in it no reflection upon the merit office. The men of Judah, here acting independently of the unhappy man who was taken out of his way, but for themselves, did not presume to know the sense of what raises in him sorrow, instead of giving him con- the other tribes of Israel, but trusted they would aftersolation. How beautiful is the more amiable and noble wards follow this example, as in fact they did, chap. v. part of Saul's character, represented by a man whom 3. Bp. Patrick. that very Saul pursued to death! But when he comes 8. – Abner-took Ish-bosheth the son of Saul,] If