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sary to maintain a priest, or rather a priesthood.
Abiathar, David's faithful followerin all his wanderings,
was, as a matter of course, raised to the office of High
Priest to the sanctuary in Zion. There was, however,
another high priest in Gibeon,whom Saul had placed
there after the destruction of Eli's family in Nob.
David could not entirely displace him, for such a
course would have led to dissensions. He therefore
confirmed his predecessor's appointment, and thus
retained two high priests in office at the same time
Abiathar in Jerusalem, and Zadok in Gibeon. A
former pupil of the Levitical choirs, himself a poet
and a musician, David naturally followed Samuel's
example and introduced choral singing into the
solemn religious services. He also composed hymns
of praise at times, when a victory over the enemy, or
some other success filled his heart with thankfulness,
and animated him with poetical fervour. It may be
said that his songs have become the prototypes of this
lofty and inspiring style of verse. Besides the royal
psalmist there were other poets and musicians, such
as Asaph, Heman, a grandson of Samuel, and Jedu-
thun. Their descendants were the Asaphites and
Korachites (Bene Korach), who are named with
David as the most famous composers of psalms.
David arranged that Asaph and his choir should lead


the choral service in the sanctuary at Jerusalem, whilst
his fellow-musicians, Heman and Jeduthun, performed
the same functions at the altar in Gibeon. Samuel's
creation of a spiritual divine service was thus
lirmly established by David; and though he was an
upholder of sacrificial rites, he valued the elevating
and refining influence of psalmody too highly not to
make it an integral element of the public cult. At a
time when poetry as an art had hardly awakened
amongst the other nations, it already occupied a
prominent place in the divine service of Israel.

As David was the actual founder of a sanctifying
divine worship, he was also the creator of a system of
government which was based on justice. He presided
at the tribunal, listened untiringly to the disputes of
individuals or of tribes, and administered justice with
strict impartiality. His throne was not only the high
seat of government and power, it was also that of
order and justice. Succeeding generations pro-
nounced David the ideal king. His throne was
looked upon as the prop of justice, and his sceptre
as the standard of civic peace. Jerusalem was by
him made an ideal city, where a pure worship of God
had been established, and justice, in its most exalted
form, had found its earthly resting-place. A later
psalmist says

"Jerusalem, that art builded as a city that is compact together,
Whither the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord ;
For a testimony unto Israel,
To give thanks unto the name of the Lord.
For there are set thrones for judgment,
The thrones of the house of David." PSALM cxxii. 3-5.

Jerusalem was considered "a faithful citadel full of
righteousness where justice had its dwelling-place."
These circumstances, the deliverance from the yoke
of the Philistines, the universal safety, and the estab-
lishment of justice under David's rule, rendered him
again the favourite of the people, as he had been in
his youth. A feeling of loyalty to him prevailed,


which was of spontaneous growth, and in which force
had no share.

David partly altered the internal arrangements of
the country. The constitution of the tribes remained
intact. The elders represented the families, and the
head of the oldest family was also the prince of his
tribe (Naszi-Beth-Ab). The princes were the repre-
sentatives of the tribes with the king. But it was
necessary to limit the freedom, or rather the arbitrari-
ness of the tribes, in regard to military arrange-
ments. Each tribe, in case of war, was bound to con-
tribute a number of capable soldiers (over twenty
years of age) as its contingent to the national army
\Zaba]. A special officer was appointed over this con-
tingent, who was called the enumerator (Sop her] ^ or
the keeper of the rolls. He wrote down on a list the
names of the men fit for active service, looked to
their enrolment, and compelled the attendance of
all defaulters. This duty David delegated to a
man named Shavsha, from whom it passed on to his
heirs. As soon as the army was assembled, it was
commanded by the field officer (Sar-ka-Zaba), who
at this conjuncture was Joab. David also supported
a troop of mercenaries whom he recruited from the
heathen soldiery, the Cherethites, who came from a
territory belonging to the Philistine dominions, and
the Pelethites, whose origin is unknown. Benaiah,
son of Jehoiada, one of the bravest of David's
soldiers, was their commander. David also ap-
pointed a special officer on whom devolved the duty
of reporting to the king all important, or apparently
important events. He was called the recorder
(Maskkir}. As favouritism is inseparable from
kingly will, David also had a favourite (named
Hushai the Arkhi) on whom he could rely under all cir-
cumstances, especially in cases requiring discretion.
He was also fortunate in having an adviser at hand,
who could give suitable counsel in various emergen-
cies; his name was Ahithophel, and his birthplace

CH. vii. DAVID'S RULE. 123

was the Judaean town of Gilo. At that time his
advice was currently said to be as infallible as the
oracles uttered by the lips of the high priest. This
wise and over-wise councillor of David was destined
to exercise a great influence over his royal master.
At one time David's judicial conscience was put to
a severe test. A famine of long duration overspread
the land on account of a two years' drought. The
distress continued to grow when, at the commence-
ment of the third year, no rain had fallen, and the
people turned to the king for help. This misfortune,
in which the entire country shared, was interpreted
as being God-sent retribution for some secret and
unavenged sin. David therefore inquired of the
priest Abiathar what sin required expiation, and the
answer came, "on account of Saul and his ruthless
persecution of the Gibeonites." David then sent to
the remnant of the Gibeonites, and inquired of them
what atonement they desired. Not satisfied with an
expiatory sum of money, they demanded that seven
descendants of Saul should be hanged in Gibeah-Saul.
The demand of the Gibeonites seemed just, for
according to the views of the time, only blood could
atone for the shedding of blood and a breach of faith.
With a heavy heart David had to comply with the
demand of the Gibeonites, and satisfy the desire of
the nation. The two sons of Saul's concubine
Rizpah, and his grandson, the son of his daughter
Merab, were sought out, handed over to the
Gibeonites, and killed by them in cold blood, in
Gibeah-Saul, the town in which their father had won
a crown.

David spared only Mephibosheth, the son of
Jonathan, for he remembered the oath made to his
friend, that he would always protect his descendants.
The corpses of the seven victims were to remain on
the gallows until rain should fall from the heavens,
but it was long ere the rainfall came. It was in those
dire days that the beautiful Rizpah, for whose sake


Abner had quarrelled with Ishbosheth, showed of
what a mother's love is capable. In order to prevent
her sons' corpses from being devoured by eagles and
jackals, she made her couch on the rocks on which
the bodies were exposed, and guarded them with a
watchful eye through the heat of day. Nor did she
relax her vigilance in the night, but continued her
work of scaring away the beasts of prey from the
dead. When at length in the autumn the rain fell,
the seven bodies were taken down, and at David's
command the last honours were bestowed on them.
He also seized this opportunity to remove the
remains of Saul and Jonathan from Jabesh-Gilead,
and to bury them, together with the remains of
their kindred, in the family tomb of the house of
Kish at Zelah. It appears that, on this occasion,
David caused his deeply touching lament for the
death of Saul and of Jonathan to be reproduced, in
order to express publicly how deeply the destruction
of the royal house of Benjamin had affected him.
He directed that the elegy should be committed to
memory by the youths of the country. Jonathan's
surviving son, Mephibosheth (who had been living in
the house of a much-respected man on the other side
of the Jordan) was brought to Jerusalem, and David
received him in his own house, placed him at his own
table, and treated him as one of his own sons. David
also restored to him Saul's lands in the tribe of
Benjamin, and entrusted the management of them
to one of Saul's slaves, named Ziba. Notwith-
standing this, the Benjamites accused David of
destroying the house of Saul, and of having pre-
served Mephibosheth, because he was lame and unfit
to rule. When David's fortune was on the wane,
the embittered Benjamites cast stones at him.



War with the Moabites Insult offered by the king of the Ammonites
War with the Ammonites Their Defeat Battle of Helam
Attack of Hadadezer Defeat of the Aramaeans Acquisition of
Damascus War with the Idumasans Conquest of the town of
Kabbah Defeat of the Idumasans Conquered races obliged to
pay tribute Bathsheba Death of Uriah the Hittite Parable of
Nathan Birth of Solomon (1033) Misfortunes of David Absa-
lom Wise Woman of Tekoah Reconciliation of David and
Absalom Numbering of the Troops Pestilence breaks out in
Israel Absalom's Rebellion Murder of Amasa Sheba's Insur-
rection David and Nathan Adonijah.

1035 1015 B. c. E.

WHEN David had completed two decades of his
reien, he became involved in several wars, which


withdrew him from the peaceful pursuits of regu-
lating the internal affairs of the country, and of
attending to the administration of justice. These
wars with distant nations, forced on him against
his will, p^ave him an immense accession of


power, and raised the prestige of the people in a
surprising degree. David first began a fierce war-
fare with the Moabites, who dwelt on the opposite
side of the Dead Sea. With them he had been on
friendly terms during his wanderings, and amongst
them he had met with a hospitable reception. It is
probable that the Moabites had ousted from their
possession the neighbouring Reubenites, and that
David hurried to their rescue. It must in any
case have been a war of retribution, for, after his vic-
tory, David treated the prisoners with a severity
which he did not display towards any of the other
nations whom he conquered. The Moabite captives
were fettered, and cast side by side on the ground,


then measured with a rope, and two divisions were
killed, whilst one division was spared. The whole
land of Moab was subdued, and a yearly tribute was
to be sent to Jerusalem.

Some time afterwards, when Nahash, king of the
Ammonites, died, David, who had been on friendly
terms with him, sent an embassy to his son Hanun,
with messages of condolence. This courtesy only
roused suspicion in Rabbath-Ammon, the capital of
the Ammonites. The new king's counsellors im-
pressed him with the idea that David had sent his
ambassadors as spies to Rabbah, in order to discover
their weakness, to conquer them, and to deliver them
over to the same fate that had befallen the Moabites.
Hanun was so carried away by his suspicions that he
offered an insult to the king of Israel which could
not be passed over unnoticed. He obliged the
ambassadors, whose persons, according to the laws
of nations, were inviolable, to have their beards
shaved off on one side, and their garments cut short,
and thus disgraced he drove them out of the country.
The ambassadors were ashamed to appear at Jeru-
salem in this guise, but they informed David of the
occurrence. He immediately prepared himself for
battle, and the militia was called out; the old warriors
girded their loins, and the Cherethite and Pelethite
mercenaries sallied forth with their heroic leader
Benaiah at their head. Hanun, who feared the valor
of the Israelites, looked around for help, and en-
gaged mercenary troops from among the Aramseans,
who lived in the regions between the mountains of
Hermon and the banks of the Euphrates. Hadade-
zer, king of Zobah on the Euphrates, contributed the
greatest number 20,000 men. David did not per-
sonally conduct this war, but left the supreme com-
mand with the careful and reliable Joab. Having led
the Israelite army across the Jordan, Joab divided it
into two bodies. With the one he attacked the
Aramseans, the other he left under the command of

CH. vin. HANUN'S INSULT. 127

his brother Abishai. He aroused the enthusiasm of
his army by inspiring words: " Let us fight bravely
for our people and the city of our God, and may the
Lord God do what seemeth good unto Him." Joab
then dashed at the Aramaeans, and put them to flight.
On this, the Ammonites were seized with such fear
that they withdrew from the field, and took shelter
behind the walls of their capital. It was a most suc-
cessful achievement. Joab hurried to Jerusalem to
report to the king, and to lay before him a plan by
which the Aramaeans might be totally annihilated,
and any future interference on their part prevented.
The victorious army, having been recalled from the
Ammonitish territories, was reinforced, and with the
king himself at its head pursued the Aramaean enemy
on the other side of the Jordan. King Hadadezer, on
his part, also sent fresh troops to the aid of his de-
feated forces, but in a battle at Helam, the Aramaean
army was again defeated, and its general, Shobach,
fell in the encounter. The vassals of the mighty
Hadadezer then hastened to make peace with David.

Toi (or Tou). the king of Hamath, who had been at
war with Hadadezer, now sent his son Joram to
David with presents, congratulating him on the vic-
tory over their common foe. David followed up
his successes until he reached the capital of king
Hadadezer, situated on the banks of the Euphrates.
The Aramaeans were then defeated a third time ;
their chariots and soldiers could not withstand the
attack of the Israelite army. The extensive district
of Zobah, to which various princes had been tribu-
tary, was divided into several parts.

The king of Damascus, an ally of the king of
Zobah, was also defeated by David, and the ancient
town of Damascus henceforth belonged to the king
of Israel. David placed land-overseers in all the
Aramaean territories from Hermon to the Euphrates,
in order to enforce the payment of tribute. David
and his army themselves must have been astonished


at the wonderful result which they had achieved. It
rendered the king and his army objects of fear far
and wide. Meanwhile the king of the Ammonites
had escaped punishment for his insults to the ambas-
sadors of Israel. In consequence of the campaign
against the Aramaeans, which lasted nearly a year, the
Israelitish army had been unable to resume the war
against Hanun. It was only after the great events
narrated above that David was again enabled to send
his forces, under Joab, against Ammon. Yet another
war arose out of the hostilities against this nation.
The Idumaeans, on the south of the Dead Sea, had
also assisted the Ammonites by sending troops to
their aid, and these had to be humiliated now. David
deputed his second general, Abishai, Joab's brother,
to direct the campaign against the Idumaeans. Joab
was in the meantime engaged in a long contest with
the Ammonites, who had secured themselves behind
the strong walls of their fortified capital, and were con-
tinually making raids on their foes. The Israelitish
army had neither battering rams nor other instru-
ments of siege. Their only alternative was to
storm the heights of the city, and in their attempts
to carry out this plan they were often repelled by the
bowmen on the walls. At length Joab succeeded,
after repeated attacks, in gaining possession of one
part of the city the Water-Town ; he reported
this victory to David at once, and urged him to
repair to the camp in order to lead in person the
attack on the other quarters, so that the honour of
the conquest might be entirely his own. When
David arrived at Rabbah with fresh troops, he suc-
ceeded in subduing the whole town, and in obtaining
rich booty. David himself put on his head the
golden diadem, richly adorned with precious stones,
which had heretofore crowned the Ammonitish idol
Malchom (Milchom). It appears that David did not
destroy the city of Rabbah, as he had intended.
He merely condemned the male inhabitants, or per-


haps only the prisoners, to do hard work, such as
polishing stones, threshing with iron rollers, hewing
wood with axes, and making bricks. He treated the
other prisoners from the various towns in a similar
manner. Hanun, the original cause of the war, who
had so deeply insulted David, was either killed or
driven out of the kingdom. In his stead David
appointed his brother Shobi as king. Meanwhile
Abishai had been engaged in a war against the Idu-
maean king, and had utterly routed him in the Valley
of Salt probably in the neighbourhood of the rock-
salt mountain, near the Dead Sea. Eighteen thousand
Idumaeans are said to have fallen there. The rest
orobably submitted ; and for this reason David con-
tented himself with placing excise officers and a
garrison over them, as he had done in Damascus and
the other Aramaean provinces. The Idumaeans, how-
ever, seem later on to have revolted against the
Israelitish garrison and the tax collectors, and to have
massacred them. Joab therefore repaired to Idumaea,
caused the murdered Israelites to be buried, and all
Idumaean males to be put to death. He was occupied
with this war of destruction during half a year, and
so thoroughly was the task executed that only a few
of the male sex could save themselves by flight.
Amongst them was a son or a grandson of the
Idumaean king.

By these decisive victories, in the west over the
Philistines, in the south over the Idumaeans, in the
east (on the opposite side of the Jordan) over the
Moabites and Ammonites, and in the north over the
Aramaeans, David had raised the power of Israel to
an unexpected degree. While, at the commence-
ment of his reign, when he was first acknowledged
king of all Israel, the boundaries of the country had
been comprised between Dan and Beersheba, he
now ruled over the wide-spread territory from
the river of Egypt (Rhinokolura, El-Arish) to the
Euphrates, or from Gaza to Thapsacus (on the


Euphrates). The nations thus subdued were obliged
annually to do homage by means of gifts, to pay
tribute, and perhaps also to send serfs to assist in
building and other severe labour.

These wars and victories were better calculated
than his early hardships to bring to light the gr-eat
qualities of David's mind. Strong and determined
as he was in every undertaking in which the honour
and safety of his people were involved, he remained
modest and humble, without a spark of presumption,
after success had been attained. He erected no
monument to commemorate his victories as had
been done by Saul ; like his general, Joab, he was
imbued with the thought that to God alone was to
be attributed the victory. The faith in God, to which
David had given utterance when he prepared him-
self for the duel with the Rephaite Goliath (i Samuel
xvii. 47), he preserved in all great contests. David
elaborated this guiding thought in a psalm, which he
probably chanted before the ark at the close of the
war, and in which he gives a retrospect of his entire
past life.

In consequence of their great victories, two firm
convictions were impressed on the minds of the
people, and these actuated and possessed them in
all times to come. The one idea occurs in various
forms: "A king cannot escape by the multitude of
his army, nor a warrior by his power; vain is the
horse for safety." God alone decides the fate of
war, brings it to a close, gives victory or defeat, and
"to Him it is equally easy to conquer with few or
with many." The other idea, in closest connection
with it, is that God leads the armies of Israel to vic-
tory, if they go forth to glorify His name or to save
His people. The God of Israel was, in accordance
with this idea, designated by a special name which
fully expresses this thought; He was named the
God of hosts (Adonai Zebaoth), the God who gives
victory unto Israel in its conflicts. The King


Zebaoth was invoked before every battle, and the
Israelitish troops went forth with the firm conviction
that they could never be defeated. This confidence,
certainly, worked wonders in the course of time.

Severely as David treated the idols of the nations
whom he had conquered, he behaved with com-
parative leniency to the conquered idolaters. The
Moabites alone were cruelly punished, and the Am-
monites were enslaved, but the other conquered
races were merely obliged to pay tribute. The
offences of the former must have been very great
to have deserved so heavy a punishment. The
foreign races residing in the country were not mo-
lested; thus we find Jebusites in Jerusalem, and
Canaanites and Hittites in other parts of the coun-
try. Hence we find many strangers and natives
not of Israelitish descent enrolled in his corps of
warriors, or leading their own troops in his service.
The Hittite Uriah, one of David's thirty heroes, who
was destined to play a melancholy part in David's
career, was deeply attached to the Israelitish nation.

The joy over these great achievements remained,
however, but for a short time unmarred. The hap-
piness of a state, like that of individuals, is but
seldom of long duration, and days of sunshine must
be followed by periods of darkness, to prevent the
enervation of the national vigour. By one false step
David lost not only his own inward contentment and
peace, but shook the very foundations of that state
which it had cost him such exertions to establish.
When David returned home from the Aramaean
war, and was resting from the fatigues of battle,
which Joab and his army were still undergoing in
the land of Ammon, he beheld from the roof of his
palace a beautiful woman, who was bathing. She
was the wife of one of his most faithful warriors (the
Hittite, Uriah), and her name was Bathsheba. The
houses of the warriors were built on Zion in the
vicinity of the king's palace, and thus he happened to


see Bathsheba. Carried away by his passion, he sent
messengers to command her to repair to the palace,
and Bathsheba obeyed. When David, some time
after, found that this violation of the marriage tie
had not been without consequences, his only thought
was to save his honour, and thus he involved himself
in deeper sin. He commanded Uriah to return to
Jerusalem from the camp at Rabbah. He received
him in a friendly manner, and gave him permission
to rest, and enjoy the company of his wife. Uriah,
however, made no use of this permission, but re-
mained with the guard, who slept at the entrance of
the king's palace, and protected his person. David
was disappointed. He sought an escape from the
dilemma, and this led him into a heinous crime.
As he could not save his honour, he determined that
Uriah should lose his life. David therefore sent him
to the camp with a letter to Joab, saying that the
bearer should be placed in a post of extreme danger
-nay, of certain death during one of the sorties of
the Ammonites. This command was fulfilled, and
Uriah fell, struck dead by an Ammonite arrow.
Bathsheba fulfilled the customary time of mourning
for her husband, and was then received into the
palace by David as his wife.

In every other State the court circle would have
discussed a king's fancy with bated breath; it would
hardly have been blamed, and certainly it would soon
have been forgotten. But in Israel there was an eye
which could pierce this factitious darkness, and a con-
science which declaimed in a loud voice against the
crimes of even a royal wrong-doer. Prophetism pos-
sessed this clear sight which never failed, and this con-
science which never slept. It was its foremost duty not
to allow sin to grow into a habit by hushing it up and
screening it, but to expose it in glaring colors, and

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