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personal and political enemies of David to show themselves. In every government there are disaffected subjects, and every king has his political antagonists. Although David had acted toward the house of Saul with the utmost moderation and magnanimity, yet, while he possessed the throne, it was impossible to satisfy or conciliate all the members of Saul's family, and all his political adherents. Emboldened by the reverses of the Hebrew monarch, the furious Shimei now “came forth, and cursed still as he came. And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of King David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: the Lord hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the Lord hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son; and behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man.”'
In vain did Abishai entreat permission of the king to take off the head of this contumacious rebel. Meekly and quietly the king forbore vengeance. “Behold,” said he, “my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him." Yet the cruel taunts and accusations of this worthless Benjamite were as false as they were inhuman, and stung with fresh grief the lacerated and sensitive soul of David. It is true that David had resided at Ziklag, under the protection of the king of Gath, with whom he was in friendly alliance at the very time that the Philistines were at war with Saul. But David had not instigated that war, nor had he in any wise procured the death of Saul. It is true, also, that Ishbosheth, Saul's son, had been assassinated in his own house at the very time that he and David were competitors for the crown, and under circumstances that might excite a suspicion that David had approved the act; and also Abner, the faithful general of Ishbosheth, had been at the same time treacherously slain by Joab, while he was under the sacred protection of an embassy of peace to David; and to the political enemies of David these events might look as though they had been secretly sanctioned by his connivance. But David was not privy to these crimes. He
had promptly punished the guilty perpetrators, except in the case of Joab, whose authority in the kingdom was such as to make it unsafe to call him to justice then. Indeed, David had shown kindness to the house of Saul until his generous and confiding policy had awakened the displeasure of the officers of his court.
The reproaches of Shimei clearly indicated that though the hostility of the political adherents of the house of Saul had been overawed by the authority of David, and thus kept down, yet their enmity was not subdued. How widely this smothered disaffection might exist, David had no means of knowing; but at a time when he was suffering an insupportable weight of anguish, from the ingratitude and treachery of false friends, this single outburst of vindictive feeling, from a source from whence he had a right to expect gratitude and sympathy, made a deep and sorrowful impression. It was an hour for memory and conscience to work. The matter of Uriah comes back to mind. He felt that as a punishment from God for past sin his sufferings were just; but from man, and particularly from the family of Saul, he deserved better things. Of the reproaches of Shimei he was not worthy; of the crimes alleged against him he was not guilty. Herein a consciousness of innocence and rectitude sustains him, and he feels that in this God will avenge his wrongs. Still the furious Shimei pursued. “And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei went along on the hill-side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dirt. And the king and all the people that were with him came weary, and refreshed themselves there.” Overwhelmed with the greatness of his calamities, and stricken with horror at the bloody imputations of Shimei, the king sits down to give vent to his feelings in the sorrowful, yet dignified strains of his muse. The tone of the Psalm written on this occasion is that of self-justification in the matter of the crimes alleged, and of complaint of bitter and unjust persecution, in the midst of which his confidence in God rises like a tower of strength. David was fond of giving enigmatical titles to his Psalms, and it is not improbable that the name “ Cush," in the title of this Psalm, is to be so understood. Literally, the word means “ an Ethiopian;" metaphorically, it would mean a man of black heart, of dark malice and cruelty;
just as one would call a man a savage on account of his resemblance of disposition. Luther says, “ David calls Shimei a Moor, because of his unabashed wickedness, as one incapable of anything good or righteous.” See 2 Samuel xvi, 1-14.
ON OCCASION OF THE REPROACHES OF SHIMEI.
David prayeth against the violent malice of his enemies, 1, 2; avers his innocency,
and pleads for the judgment of God in his defence, 3–9; by faith he sees his defence and the destruction of his enemies, 10–17.
T Shiggaion of David, which he sang unto the Lord, concerning the words
of Cush the Benjamite; [i. e., according to Horsley, a wandering ode, or, as De Wette has it, a plaintive song, or, as Gesenius has it, simply, a song of David, which he sang unto the Lord, concerning the business of Cush the Benjamite.]
10 LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: Save me from all them that persecute me, and
2 Lest bhe tear my soul like a lion, Rending it in pieces, while there is 'none to deliver.
O LORD my God, if I have done this ; If there be e iniquity in my hands; 4 If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace
(Yea, 'I have delivered him that without cause is
mine enemy :)
the earth, And lay my honour in the dust. Selah!
a Psa. 31. 15.
1 Heb. not a deliverer.
11 Sam. 24. 7. and
Arise, O LORD, in thine anger, Lift up thyself because of the rage of mine enemies; And awake for me to the judgment that thou hast
commanded. 7 So shall the congregation of the people compass thee
about; For their sakes therefore return thou on high. 8 The Lord shall judge the people: Judge me, O LORD, 5 according to my righteousness,
And according to mine integrity that is in me. 9 O let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end;
But establish the just:
My 'defence is of God,
And God is angry with the wicked every day. 12 If he turn not, he will i whet his sword;
He hath bent his bow, and made it ready. 13 He hath also prepared for him the instruments of
death; He kordaineth his arrows against the persecutors.
Behold, 'he travaileth with iniquity, And hath conceived mischief, and brought forth false
hood. 15 'He made a pit, and digged it,
And mis fallen into the ditch which he made. 16 His a mischief shall return upon his own head, And his violent dealing shall come down upon his
own pate. 17 I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness :
And will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.
& Psa. 18. 20.
Jer. 11. 20. Rev. 2. 28.
i Deut. 82. 41.
m Esther 7. 10. Job 4. 8.
Psa. 9. 15. Prov. 5. 22. and 26. 27. Eccl.
10. 8. * 1 Kings 2. 32. Est. 9. 25
INTRODUCTION TO PSALMS XLII, XLIII, AND CXLIII.
PSALMS OF DAVID.
The king and his company had now passed beyond the Mount of Olives, and after a brief refreshment at Bahurim, they resumed their journey toward Jericho. Before them lay the desert mountains on the east of Benjamin, proverbial for their awful solitudes, lifting their sterile forms to heaven, and inviting to their silent retreats the care-worn and exiled monarch. It was on this same route that our Lord afterward laid the scene of the parable of the “Good Samaritan;" and in this same region tradition locates the place of the Saviour's temptation in the wilderness. While the king and his company were threading the narrow defiles of these gloomy mountains, Absalom arrived at Jerusalem, with his numerous retinue of troops and men.
David had intended to encamp that night on the open plain of Jordan, west of the river; but receiving intelligence from the faithful Hushai, who was in Jerusalem, that Ahithophel had counselled Absalom to pursue the king with a detachment of chosen troops, and that, in such an event, his position west of Jordan would be unsafe, he now prepares to pass the ford at Beth-barah. The king and his household cross first, and, passing a little northward, encamp in the plain, near the bank of the river, and under the lofty brow of Gilead. The remainder of the night is occupied in passing the army and baggage.
They had marched more than twenty-five miles in mule paths, over a most wild, inhospitable country, besides the fatigues and agitation connected with their departure from Jerusalem. The recent despatch of Hushai quickened the pulsations of alarm, by leaving it possible that they would be attacked during the night. The perils of his situation seemed to have reached their height. It was an awful night. The king is alone in his tent, communing with his heart and with God. His soul sinks and rises again, as despondency and faith alternate. God seemed to hide his face, and to withdraw his protection. His enemies arose on every hand, and his friends, in numerous instances,