William M. (William Mackergo) Taylor.

David, king of Israel: his life and its lessons online

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hands : but the man that shall touch them must be fenced
with iron and the staff of a spear ; and they shall be utterly
burned with fire in the same place." These words, at first
sight, seem obscure ; but when you read them properly, they
become perfectly clear. Thus, let the last clause of the sixth
verse and the first of the seventh be thrown into a paren-
thesis, and let the first part of the sixth verse be connected
with the last of the seventh, and we have this result: "But
the sons of Belial, all of them, are as thorns to be thrust out,
and to be utterly burned with fire in the place ; for they can
not be taken by the hand, and the man who shall touch them
must be armed with an axe, and with the shaft of a spear."
The enemies of Christ are thus compared to the strong,
prickly thorns peculiar to Palestine, whose stalks twine to-
gether, and whose spines, pointing in every direction, are so
troublesome that they can not be touched by the hand without
danger, but must be cut down and removed by long-handed
instruments of iron. We have here, therefore, a description
parallel to that given by the author of the Epistle to the He-
brews (chap, vi., 7, 8) : " The earth which drinketh in the
rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet


for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God :
but that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is
nigh unto cursing ; whose end is to be burned ;" and both
alike bring before us the solemn fact, that while the recep-
tion of the Gospel is the means of blessing to those who
believe and obey it, its rejection entails the greatest calami-
ties on those who put it from them. Christ has a baptism
of the Holy Ghost for his people, but a baptism of fire for his
enemies. The wheat he shall gather into his barn, but the
chaff he shall burn with fire unquenchable. They who wel-
come the Messiah with open arms, and receive him into their
hearts, have every thing to hope for from his royal admin-
istration ; but they who defiantly reject him, and refuse to
submit themselves to him, are courting their eternal de-

Midway between these figurative descriptions of the bless-
edness of those who receive the Gospel, and the destruction
of those who reject it, we have a touching verse, making ref-
erence to David's personal feelings in the case : " Although
my house be not so with God ; yet he hath made with me an
everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure : for this
is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it
hot to grow." The common interpretation of these words
is, that David is alluding to the sad events in his own per-
sonal and domestic history, and declaring that, in spite of
these, he trusted in God's well-ordered and everlasting cov-
enant. That was all his salvation and desire, though in
himself and in his sons it had not been made to grow.
Now it is always painful to disturb an old and, it may be,
hallowed explanation of such a passage as this ; but the ob-
jections to this understanding of David's words are so seri-
ous, that I fear we must conclusively give it up ; for not only
does it require us to give to one Hebrew word, which occurs
four times in the verse, four different meanings, but it takes


the term house in its limited sense of family circle; whereas
here, as in all the Messianic prophecies connected with Da-
vid, it means dynasty or regal lineage. The best expositors,
therefore, propose to read it thus, or somehow after this fash-
ion : " For is not my house so with God ? for he hath made
with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and
sure ; for this is all my salvation and all my desire ; for will
he not make it [that is, my house] to grow ?" Observe, Da-
vid has been describing the character of a ruler ; and redu-
plicating on that description, he in effect says, "Is it not to
be the distinctive feature of my lineage that it shall rule in
justice, and in the fear of the Lord?" a feature which came
out not only in Solomon, but also in Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hez-
ekiah, Josiah, and others, and especially and pre-eminently
in Jesus Christ, in whom this prophecy culminated, and by
whom it was thoroughly fulfilled. Nay, was it not assured
to David by God's everlasting covenant that this should be
the character of his house, and peculiarly of Him who was
its greatest and most illustrious member ? In this, therefore,
he would rest. This was his salvation, this was his desire ;
for beyond all doubt God would make it to grow. Thus, as
the aged prophet sings his death-song he sees Messiah's glo-
ry afar off, and is glad. He rests in the promise of the com-
ing ruler. He looks forward in death to the same Saviour-
King to whom now we look backward ; and so, stretching
through long centuries on either side, our hands meet and
touch his, as together we take hold of the same benign Re-
deemer. Nor is this a mere fanciful interpretation, resting
upon no foundation ; for what says Peter in reference to the
1 6th Psalm? "Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that
God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his
loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit
on his throne ; David, seeing this before, spake of the resur-
rection of Christ, that his soul was not left in Hades, neither


his flesh did see corruption."* David, then, Peter being wit-
ness, had a glimpse of Messiah's coming, and on that com-
ing he rested all his hope. It was his salvation and desire.
For years he had lived on the prophecy and promise which
God gave to him by the mouth of Nathan ; and now, as he
lay dying, he pillowed his head upon God's covenant that
the great righteous Ruler would be sure to come. This was
his hope in death ; for now we take our leave of him whose
checkered history we have followed with such growing in-
terest during these by-gone months. " David slept with his
fathers." Slept ; for thus early was the good man's death
accounted a sleep, not only as bringing rest after " life's fit-
ful fever," but also as predicting an awakening at the resur-
rection-day. "He was buried in the city of David," and
doubtless, as in the case of Samuel, all Israel would mourn
beside his grave, which in after-years became the centre of
the catacombs wherein were contained the sepulchres of the
kings of Judah. Even so late as the Day of Pentecost Da-
vid's sepulchre was distinguishable, but now it is unknown.
Yet it matters not where his tomb is ; here is his monument
in the history which we have been studying, and in the lega-
cy of sacred song which he has left to the Church of every
age, and yonder, on high, is his record. Adieu ! thou sweet
Psalmist ; thou royal prophet ; thou tempted, tried, stricken,
erring, yet in the main, true-hearted man of God ; we shall
know thee better when we meet above, now that we have
traced thy history so minutely here. Now is thy wish grati-
fied, now is thy prayer answered, for now beholdest thou " the
beauty of the Lord," and inquires! " in his Temple." May
God make us meet to be there eternally thy fellow - wor-
shipers !

I have time only for two practical reflections, which I

*Acts ii., 30, 31.


can do little more than name. We must have felt, all through
our study of this great man's life, how honest the biographies
of the Bible are. Here is no hiding of imperfections, no
cloaking of sins, no palliating or excusing of iniquity. Da-
vid is spoken of as he was.; and we see him to have been a
man of like passions with ourselves, very far from being
perfect, sorely marked, indeed, by sin, yet in the main a man
of God. Though often falling into errors, he never made
his rest in sin ; frequently overtaken in a fault, yet not de-
lighting in iniquity, he proved that the polarity of his soul
was heavenward. Who so bitterly bewailed his sins as he
did himself? Who so broken-hearted for his iniquities as he
was himself? If his sins were exceptional, so was his repent-
ance ; and He on whom he rested would not cast him out.
The voyage of his life had been long and perilous, and at
one time such a storm overtook him that he had well-nigh
gone down ; but after many turnings and tackings, he bore
up anew and steered right onward ; and now he enters the
harbor not, indeed, with all sails set, and banners flying,
and the firing of salutes, and the sound of merry music, but
battered and weather-beaten ; the canvas torn and the masts
broken, and with every evidence of having passed through a
fearful gale. Yet he enters the harbor, and that is a great
thing ; let the Judge of all determine the measure of his
blame. To be blamed he certainly was ; and as we see in
all this that he was a man like ourselves, let us remember
that there is another life recorded here in which there is no
flaw. Now if we accept the honesty of the sacred biogra-
pher in telling us of David's sins, shall we not accept it also
when he tells us of the sinlessness of Jesus ? and shall we
not see in that the evidence that he was more than man?
From all our imperfections, let us flee to his perfection ;
from all our iniquities, let us turn to his spotlessness ; and
let us be thankful that, amidst our agony in the struggle with


self and sin, there is One to whom we can cling who " was in
all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin," and who
is a human brother indeed, but also and especially a Divine
Helper. The more closely we keep to him, the more se-
curely shall we be kept from falling into sin. It is much to
get safely to the land at last, even though it should be " on
boards, or on broken pieces of the ship." But if we give all
diligence to follow him, and determine in all circumstances
to adhere to his commands, we shall have " an entrance min-
istered to us abundantly " into his everlasting kingdom. It
is better to be " saved, yet so as by fire," than not to be saved
at ail. But oh, how much better still it is to be saved in full-
ness. Be it ours, therefore, to aim after the abundant en-
trance and the glad "Well done !"

Finally : we may see here the believer's hope in death.
David dies not in despair. He has a firm hold of God's
covenant. He knows God will bring the Redeemer at the
appointed time, and in the administration of the Messiah-
King he has his simple trust. Thus his experience in look-
ing forward to Christ's day was singularly parallel to that
of Paul looking backward to Christ's work, and upward to
Christ's throne, and saying, " I know whom I have believed,
and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have
committed to him against that day." Christ, as the great
deliverer of God's covenant and promise, was thus the com-
forter alike of David and of Paul. Death was easy to both,
for they trusted in him, and death will become gain to us
also, when we live in him. " It shall come to pass that
at evening time it shall be light." Thus it was with Isra-
el's king, and thus it shall be also with us, if all our salva-
tion be in and all our desire be for him who is the righteous
ruler and the atoning priest of his believing people. Years
ago I used to travel on foot in the winter mornings for five
miles, to teach in a country school. I had to set out from


home in the dark, and I amused myself with marking the
brightest stars, and seeing how one by one they faded into
day. There was one that held out always longest the bright
and beautiful planet Venus and I can remember yet how
I used to watch and watch, sure that I would see it in the
very act of disappearing. But I was always disappointed.
Something would attract my attention elsewhere for a mo-
ment, and when I looked again it was gone. So the good
man at death goes out of human view.

" He sets as sets the morning-star,
Which goes not down behind the darkened west,
Nor hides obscured amid the tempests of the sky,
But melts away into the light of heaven."

May God grant to us such a glorious and peaceful exodus !


ABIATHAR joins David in the cave of Adullam, 103 ; is made priest at
Jerusalem, 254 ; joins in the revolt of Adonijah, 400.

Abigail, character of, 157, 159, 160; meets David, 160; marriage of, to
David, 1 6 1.

Abner makes Ishbosheth king, 191 ; slays Asahel, 196 ; quarrels with Ish-
bosheth, 196 ; negotiates with David, 197 ; is slain by Joab, 197.

Absalom, beauty of, 299, 317; causes the death of Amnon, and flees to
Geshur, 301 ; is recalled through Joab's instrumentality, 302 ; is rec-
onciled to his father, 303, 318 ; rebels against David, 304; is slain by
Joab, 328 ; lamented by David, 331.

Achish, king of Gath, receives David, 100, 174.

Administration of David : military, 246 ; civil, 249 ; ecclesiastical, 253.

Adonijah, revolt against David, 399-403.

Adullam, cave of, described, 102 ; David's companions in, 103.

Adversity to be expected at an early stage of spiritual life, 72.

Ahimaaz sent by Hushai to David, 325 ; brings to David the news of Ab-
salom's death, 331.

Ahithophel, adhesion of, to Absalom, accounted for, 308 ; advice of, to
Absalom, 309, 311, 320, 322 ; commits suicide, 323 ; lessons from his
conduct, 352.

Alexander, Rev. W. L., LL.D., quoted from, 18.

Amasa, appointed to lead David's troops, 348 ; slain by Joab, 348.

Amnon, sin of, 299 ; terribly revenged by Absalom, 301.

Anger, evil of, exposed, 165.

Anointing of David, at Bethlehem, 19 ; at Hebron, 193 ; influence of, on
David, 20.

Apocryphal Psalm on the battle of Elah, 52.

Appropriating faith, 383.

Ark of the covenant at Kirjath-jearim, 215 ; touched by Uzzah, 216 ; car-
ried into the house of Obed-edom, 217 ; taken up to Jerusalem, 218-

BARZILLAI the Gileadite joins David at Mahanaim, 327 ; declines the
royal invitation to go to Jerusalem, 343, 354 ; his sons commended to
Solomon by David, 417.

Bath-sheba, her relation to Ahithophel an explanation of his rebellion,
276 ; appeals to David for Solomon, 401.

436 INDEX.

Beauty, personal, right estimation of, 3 1 7.

Benevolence, relation of, to personal expenditure, 231.

Bereaved parents admonished and comforted, 289-298.

Bethlehem, situation of, 14; associations with, 14, 15 ; influence of, upon

David, 15 ; anointing of David at, 16.
Blaikie's " David, King of Israel," quoted from or referred to, 33, 34, 245,

250, 253, 266, 366.
Blood-revenge, right of, 367.

Blunt's " Scriptural Coincidences" referred to, 309, 400.
Book of Jasher, 185.
" Bow," Song of the, 185.
Browning, Robert, lines of, on the power of music, 28.

CARLYLE, Thomas, on David's faults, 274; quotation by, from Richter,


Carmel, village of, 156.

Chandler's "Life of David" referred to, 272, 385.
Character, deterioration of, illustrated from the case of Saul, 188.
Cherubim, symbolic meaning of, 226.
Children, overindulgence of, exposed, 315.
Chimham's place at the royal table, 343.
Christ at the door of the heart, 224.
Commerce stimulated by David, 252.
Communion with God a solace in trial, 357.
Congregational psalmody, importance of, 257.
Consequences of sin can not be arrested, 107.
Convict, letter of a, in illustration of the power of prayer, 127.
Coronation of David at Hebron, 199.
Cush, the slanderer, described, 143.
Cowper, Bishop, on the iigth Psalm, 85.
Cowper, William, on Friendship, 65 ; hymn of, 131.

DAVID, personal appearance of, 19 ; anointing of, by Samuel, 19 ; at He-
bron, 191 ; sent for to the court of Saul, 29 ; personal courage of, 31 ;
playing before Saul, 33 ; Psalms of, their peculiar power, 34, 123, 136,
379 ; return of, to Bethlehem, 41 ; sent to the camp at Elah, 44 ; ac-
cepts the challenge of Goliath, 47 ; interviews of, with Jonathan, 58,
94. 96, 124; friendship of, with Jonathan, 58-63 ; marriage of, to Mi-
chal, 69 ; to Abigail, 161 ; to Maachah, 195 ; escape of, from Gibeah,
77 ; at Ramah, 84; at Nob, 97; at Gath, 99, 174; in the cave of
Adullam, 102 ; provides an asylum for his parents, 105 ; in the wil-
derness of Hareth, 116; at Keileh, 119-122; at Ziph, 123; at En-
gedi, 133 ; spares Saul magnanimously, 137, 140 ; contrasted with
Rebekah, 146; applies to Nabal for supplies, and is refused, 158; at
Ziklag, 174, 177 ; hears of the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, and sings
the " Song of the Bow," 184-188 ; contrasted with Saul, 188-201 ; is

INDEX. 437

crowned at Hebron, 199 ; chooses Jerusalem for his capital, 202-204 ;
builds for himself a cedar palace, 210; defeats the Philistines twice
at Rephaim, 212, 213 ; brings up the ark to Jerusalem, 216 ; returns
to bless his house, 228 ; desires to build a temple, but is prevented
by Nathan, 230 ; deals kindly with Mephibosheth, 241 ; administra-
tion of, 244-263 ; victories of, 259 ; great transgression of,"2l32n-peTiT-
teiice of, 270-275; bereavement of, 284; resignation of, 287; flees
from Jerusalem before Absalom, 309 ; at Mahanaim, 326 ; laments
over the death of Absalom, 331 ; returns to Jerusalem, 341 ; is unjust
to Mephibosheth, 346 ; suppresses the revolt of Sheba, 348 ; gives up
seven of Saul's family to the Gibeonites, 368 ; numbers the people,
371 ; buys the threshing-floor of Araunah, 373 ; gives orders for the
proclamation of Solomon, 403 ; gives a last charge to Solomon, 415 ;
last words of, 422-430 ; death of, 430.

Deception, sin of, exposed, 87-89.

Despair, the forerunner of aggravated sin, 106, 172-174.

Divine holiness, majesty of the, 225.

Divine protection given in many ways to the good man, 86, 382.

Doeg the Edomite a witness of David's deception at Nob, 98 ; accuses
David and Ahimelech to Saul, 104 ; slays the priests at Nob, 105.

Domestic comfort of the people promoted by David, 252. -

Doxology sung by cotton operatives at Staley bridge, 396.

ECCLESIASTICAL arrangements made by David, 256.

Education fostered by David, 250.

Edwards's " Personal Narrative of the Indian Mutiny " referred to, 136.

Elah, valley of, described, 43 ; battle of, 48; lessons from, 53-57.

Eliab rejected by the Lord as king, 17 ; rudeness of, to David, 46.

Elisha, effect of music on, 28.

Endor, situation of, 180 ; witch of, visited by Saul, 180 ; questions regard-
ing her agency in Samuel's appearance, 181-183.

En-gedi, strongholds of, described, 133.

Esdraelon, vale of, with its branches, described, 178.

Evil spirit from the Lord troubling Saul, 25 ; soothed by David's music,
33 ; but only for a time, 39 ; Christ the true exerciser of, 40.

Ewald's description of the parallelism of Hebrew poetry, 134 ; his view
concerning David's " worthies," 247.

Expiation for sin, necessity of, 376.

Ezel, stone of, 94, 96.

FAIRBAIRN'S " Imperial Bible Dictionary " quoted from, 42.

Faith, lesson of, from David's conflict with Goliath, 55 ; produces humil-
ity, gratitude, and prayer, 239 ; loss of, is the source of greater sin,
106, 172-174.

Family worship enforced, 228.

Famine, visitation of the land by, 360.

438 INDEX.

Faraday, Michael, an example of the profitable employment of leisure

time, 38.

Farinelli's music, power of, over Philip V., 28.

Free agency of man not interfered with by the purposes of God, 35, 331.
Friends, choice of, 63-65.

Froude's " History of England " referred to, 89, 251.
Lectures referred to, 109.

GAD joins David in the cave of Adullam, 103.

Gath, departure of David to, 99.

Gerhardt, Paul, hymns of, 131, 288.

Gibeonites : their history, 364 ; slain by Saul, 366 ; Saul's seven descend-
ants given to, 368.

Gilboa, battle of, 184.

" Gloaming of Life," by Wallace, referred to, 335.

God's eternity a source of comfort to the saint, 394.

faithfulness tested by David's life, 390 ; trust in, enforced, 397.

gentleness, power of, 391.

long-suffering with sinners, 90.

moral government, carried on in harmony with natural law, 360 ;

retributive in its character, 386.

protection of his people, 86, 382.

reception of a sinner contrasted with David's reception of Absa-

lom, 3 17.

Goliath of Gath, height of, 45 ; armor of, 45 ; challenge, the army of Is-
rael, 46 ; encountered and slain by David, 47 ; sword of, given to Da-
vid by Ahimelech, 97.

Guthrie, Rev. John, " Sacred Lyrics," quoted from, 221.

Guthrie, Rev. Dr. Thomas, quoted from, 290.

HACHILAH, David at, 140.

Happiness, how to obtain, 71 ; compared to sleep, 71, 72.

Hebron, 192.

Holiness of God, majesty of the, 225.

Homer's heroes referred to as illustrating points in the narrative, 48, 59.

Honesty of Scriptural biographies, 277, 341.

Honors in Christ's kingdom, how distributed, 262.

Hume, Sir Patrick, sustained by David's Psalms, 136.

Humility, lesson of, from David's bearing at Elah, 57.

Hushai sent to Jerusalem to defeat Ahithophel, 311.

"I HAVE sinned !" how differently uttered by different men, 150.

Indiscriminate indulgence of children reproved, 399.

Infant salvation, arguments in support of, 292-294; consolation from,

294 ; appeals from, 297.
suffering and death, 284, 285, 289 ; solace under, 291.

INDEX. 439

Imprecatory Psalms, 351.

Ishbosheth made king by Abner, 191 ; war between David and, 196;
quarrels with Abner, 197 ; is slain by his servants, 199.

JABESH-GILEAD, relieved by Saul, 10 ; men of, take the bodies of Saul
and his sons from the battle-field, 187; David sends a message of
thanks to, 194.

Jacox, Francis, " Scripture Texts Illustrated," quotation from, 28.

Jasher, book of, 185.

Jesse, lineage of, 17; children of, 18; character of, 18; sends David to
Elah with supplies, 45 ; sent to Moab by David for safety, 105.

Joab commands David's army against Abner, 195 ; treacherously slays
Abner, 197 ; contrives to procure Absalom's recall to Jerusalem, 302 ;
slays Absalom, 329 ; upbraids David for immoderate grief over Ab-
salom, 339 ; slays Amasa, 348 ; suppresses the revolt of Sheba, 349 ;
David charges Solomon concerning, 417.

Jonathan, first victory of, 43 } interview of, with David after the battle of
Elah, 58, 59 ; friendship with David, 59-63 ; intercession of, with Saul
for David, 75, 76 ; interview with David at the stone Ezel, 94 ; in the
wood of Ziph, 124; death of, at Gilboa, 184; David's lament over,

Jonathan and Ahimaaz sent by Hushai to David, 325.

Judah, wilderness of, 1 16.

Judges appointed by David, 249.

" KEIL on i Samuel," quoted from or referred to, 45, 51, 204, 233, 234.
Keilah, rescue of, by David, 120; perfidy of the citizens of, 121.
Kingdom of David : its similarity and dissimilarity to that of Christ, 208,

209, 262.

Kingsley, Charles, quotation from, 397.
Kitto's " Cyclopaedia," quoted from or referred to, 44, 255.
"Daily Bible Illustrations," quoted from or referred 10,51,97,

223, 234, 236, 277, 366.
Knighthood, order of, instituted by David, 247.

LEISURE hours, importance of, 36 ; reasons for the improvement of, 36-38.
Letter of a convict, illustrating the mode in which God answers prayer,

Levites the offerers of the service of song, 218 ; divided into courses for

the musical service, 257.

Liberality of the people' for the building of the Temple, 405.
Little things more dangerous to a believer's life than great ones, 165.
Logan's " Words of Comfort for Parents bereaved of Little Children,"

referred to, 298.

Long-suffering of God with sinners, 89.
Luther's version of the 46th Psalm, 130.

440 INDEX.

MACHIR of Lo-debar joins David, 327.

M'Leod, Dr. Norman, lines from, 74.

Madness feigned by David at Gath, 100.

Mahanaim, arrival of David at, 326 ; battle of, 328.

Marriage, Christian law of, 166.

Meekness, lesson of, from the bearing of David to Eliab, 55 ; from the
conduct of Mephibosheth, 356.

Mephibosheth, kindly treated by David, 241 ; grief of, at David's depart-
ure from Jerusalem, 343 ; perfidy of Ziba to, 312, 344 ; faithfulness of,
to David, and its poor requital, 344-346.

Michal, marriage of, to David, 69 ; device of, to save David's life, 77 ;
images of, 78-80 ; deceit of, 87-89 ; punishment of, by David, 224-225.

Miller, Hugh, an instance of the profitable employment of leisure time, 38.

Military organization formed by David, 246.

Milton, " Paradise Lost" of, 130; referred 10,223.

Montgomery, James, lines from, 33.

Music, congregational, how to foster, 257 ; medicinal effects of, 27-29.

Musical arrangements made by David, 256.

NABAL, character of, 156 ; rudeness of, to David, 158 ; death of, 161 ; con-
trasted with Samuel, 162.

Nathan, message of, to David in reference to the Temple, 233 ; visit of, to
David after his great transgression, 271 ; parable of the ewe lamb, 271 ;
agency of, in the defeat of Adonijah, 401.

Online LibraryWilliam M. (William Mackergo) TaylorDavid, king of Israel: his life and its lessons → online text (page 34 of 36)