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tidings, and not knowing the extent of the conspiracy, but, more than all, impressed with the belief that this is the longexpected judgment of God, and unwilling also to meet the child of his affections in battle, the king resolves on flight. It was the first time that David ever turned his back upon an enemy. Jerusalem was impregnably fortified, and he had about him some of the bravest and most faithful of his troops; but orders were immediately given to 'depart, and the king, with his family and court, escorted by the royal body-guard, the Cherethites and Pelethites, and such troops as were at hand, pass out of the eastern gate of the city, cross the brook Kedron, and wind their way around the southern brow of Mount Olivet. His purpose is instantly formed to pass on the route to Jericho, cross the Jordan, and make his stand in the strong city of Mahanaim, in the country of Gilead. Perhaps he might be obliged to fly to Hermon and the borders of Syria, and enlist the king of Geshur and others of his most faithful tributaries.
It was a moment of the most thrilling excitement and alarm. The great metropolis was wild with commotion. Thousands were hurrying to and fro to tender to their monarch their services and to receive his commands, or to offer their condolence over his misfortunes and theirs. He left Jerusalem amid the loud lamentations of the people. One universal wail of sorrow spoke the deep heart of his subjects, for he had been to them a father, and they were his children. The king alone seemed perfectly self-possessed. Humbled under the stroke, yet firmly confiding in Divine providence, he issued his orders with the utmost calmness and deliberation, attent alike upon the claims of his kingdom and the proprieties of the tenderest private friendship. Never did the noble traits of his character appear to more advantage than now. Never did his piety shine forth with a purer lustre than during these extraordinary trials and sufferings.
Different incidents in the progress of events suggested different strains to his sorrowful muse. Not long after he had left the city, as he was winding his way along the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping, with his head covered and barefoot, in token of his deep humiliation and mourning, “one told David, saying, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with
Absalom.” This announcement fell like a thunder-clap upon the ears of the king. Ahithophel was familiarly acquainted with all his plans, with the genius and temper of the people, and with the condition and resources of the kingdom. His great fame as a statesman, and his consummate address as a courtier were proverbial. He was the Talleyrand of his times. He had possessed almost unlimited sway in the counsels of the nation, and now that he had joined himself to the conspiracy, the evil which must result was easily foreseen, and dreaded by David more than the sword of Absalom. Above all this David felt the ingratitude and baseness of this desertion. Ahithophel had not only been his chief counsellor, but his familiar friend; he had eaten at his table, and they had walked to the house of God in company. The words of David on this point are inimitably pathetic:
“For it was not an enemy that reproached me;
To defeat the counsel of this perfidious courtier, David sends back to Jerusalem Hushai, a faithful and prudent officer, to act as occasion might require. “And David said, 'O Lord, I pray thee turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.' With the perfidy of Ahithophel, and the distress and confusion of the capital in the tumult of revolution before him, blending with his own personal calamities, David sits down on the first halting for rest to pen the following Psalm. See 2 Samuel, xiii, xiv, and xv.
WHEN IT WAS TOLD DAVID, “AHITHOPHEL IS AMONG THE
CONSPIRATORS WITH ABSALOM."
David, in great peril and distress from the malice of his enemies, calls upon God,
1-5; longs for the wings of a dove that he might flee away and be at rest, 6–8; prays against his enemies and describes their wickedness, 9-11; pathetically speaks of the treachery of a false friend who was the principal instrument of his calamities, 12-14; solemnly devotes him, 15; expresses his confidence in God, 16–18;
again describes his deceitful friend, 19-21; encourages himself in the Lord, 22-23. 1 To the chief Musician upon Neginoth, Maschil, [i. e., upon the stringed
instruments. A Psalm for instruction.] A Psalm of David.
1 Give ear to my prayer, O God!
And hide not thyself from my supplication. 2 Attend unto me, and hear me:
I'mourn in my complaint, and make a noise;
My heart is sore pained within me:
Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me,
For then would I fly away, and be at rest. 7 Lo! then would I wander far off,
And remain in the wilderness. Selah! 8 I would hasten my escape From the windy storm and tempest.
Destroy, O LORD, and divide their tongues: For I have seen bviolence and strife in the city.
a Isa 88. 14.
1 Heb. covered me.
b Jer. 6. 7.
10 Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof:
Mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it. 11 Wickedness is in the midst thereof:
Deceit and guile depart not from her streets.
Then I could have borne it:
himself against me;
My guide, and mine acquaintance. 14 . We took sweet counsel together,
And walked unto the house of God in company. 15 Let death seize upon them, ,
And let them go down quick into ‘hell;
As for me, I will call upon God;
Will I pray, and cry aloud;
voice. 18 He hath delivered my
peace From the battle that was against me;
For there were many with me. 19 God shall hear, and afflict them,
Even the that abideth of old. Selah! *Because they have no changes,
Therefore they fear not God. 20 He hath 5 put forth his hands against such as be at
peace with him:
He hath broken his covenant.
e Psa. 41. 9.
. Dan. 6. 10. Luke 18. 1. d Psa. 85. 26. and 38. 16.
Acts 8. 1. and 10.8, 9, 80. ? Heb. according to my rank. 1 Thes. 5. 17. * Heb. who sucetened counsel. Dent. 83. 27. • Or, the grade.
& Acts 12. 1.
. Or, with whom also there be
no changes, yet they fear
21 The words of his mouth were smoother than butter,
But war was in his heart:
Cast thy 'burden upon the LORD,
He i shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. 23 But thou, O God, shall bring them down into the pit
of destruction : Bloody and deceitful men 'shall not live out half
But I will trust in thee.
h Psa 28. 8; 57.4; 62. 4; 64. 8.
Prov. 5. 8, 4. and 12. 18. ? Or, gift. Mat. 6. 26. 1 Pet. 6. 7.
i Psa 87. 24.
Heb. shall not half their
days. Job. 15. 82. Prov. 10. 27. Eccl. 7. 17.
INTRODUCTION TO PSALM VII.
PSALM OF DAVID,
As the king and his retinue reached the summit of the Mount of Olives they halted, and there, in full view of the capital and of his vacant palace, the pious monarch worshipped God. Resuming their journey, they descended the eastern slope of the mountain, where," a little past the top of the hill, the king is met by the faithful Ziba, a servant of Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan, and an old and honourable servant of the house of Saul. Ziba comes with mules laden with refreshments for the king and his household, while Mephibosheth, his master, had remained at Jerusalem and joined the rebellion, in hopes thereby to recover some portion of his father's dominions.
Passing on to Bahurim, a little village on the road to Jericho, not far from Olivet, the king is met by Shimei, a Benjamite, and violent partisan of the house of Saul. It was a time for the