Da'vid (Heb. David', דָּוַד [in the full form, דָּוַיד in 1Ki 3:14, and in Chron., Ezra, Neh., Song of Solomon, Hos., Amos, Eze 34:23, and Zech.], affectionate or beloved; Arab. in common use Daoud; Sept. Δαυϊvδ, N.T. Δαβίδ, older MSS. Δαυείδ; Joseph. Δαυϊvδης), the second but most prominent of the line of Jewish kings. The prominence of this personage in the Old Testament history as well as in the Christian economy requires a full treatment of the subject here.
A. Personal Biography. — The authorities for the life of David may be divided into the following classes:
(I.) The original Hebrew authorities:
(1.) The narrative of 1 Samuel 16, to 1Ki 2:10; with the supplementary notices contained in 1Ch 11:1 to 29:30.
(2.) The "Chronicles" or State-papers of David (1Ch 27:24), and the original biographies of David by Samuel, Gad, and Nathan (1Ch 29:29). These are lost, but portions of them no doubt are preserved in the foregoing.
(3.) The Davidic portion of the Psalms, including such fragments as are preserved to us from other sources, viz., 2Sa 1:19-27; 2Sa 3:33-34; 2Sa 22; 2Sa 23:1-7. SEE PSALMS.
(II.) The two slight notices in the heathen historians, Nicolaus of Damascus in his Universal History (Josephus, Ant. 7:5, 2), and Eupolemus in his History of the Kings of Judah (Euseb. Praep. Ev. 9. 30).
(III.) David's apocryphal writings, contained in Fabricius, Codex Apocryphus V. Test. p. 906-1006.
(1.) Psalm 151, on his victory over Goliath.
(2.) Colloquies with God, on madness, on his temptation, and on the building of the Temple.
(3.) A charm against fire. Of these the first alone deserves any attention.
(IV.) The Jewish traditions, which may be divided into three classes:
(1.) The additions to the Biblical narrative contained in Josephus, Ant. 6:8- vii. 15.
(2.) The Hebrew traditions preserved in Jerome's Quaestiones Hebraicae in Libros Regum et Paralipomenen (vol. 3, Venice edit.).
(3.) The Rabbinical traditions reported in Basnage, Hist. des Juwfs, lib. v, c. 2; Calmet's Dictionary, s.v. David.
(V.) The Mussulman traditions, chiefly remarkable for their extravagance, are contained in the Koran, 2:250-252; 38:20-24; 21:79-82; 22:15, and explained in Lane's Selections from the Koran, p. 228-242; or amplified in Weil's Legends, Eng. tr. p. 152-170.
(VI.) In modern times his life has been often treated, both in separate treatises and in histories of Israel. Many of the monographs on almost every point in his life will be found referred to below. In English, the best known are, Delany's Hist. Account (Lond. 1741-2, 3 vols.), Chandler's Life (Lond. 1766, 2 vols.; new edit. Lond. 1853), and Blaikie, David King of Israel (London, 1856); in French, De Choisi's, and that in Bayle's Dictionary. One of the most recent, and, in some respects, the best treatment, is that in Ewald's Geschichte des Volkes Israel, 3, 71-257. See also Kitto, Daily Bible Illustrations, vol. 2. Other treatises on his life as a whole, or on the several incidents of it, are referred to in Darling's Cyclopoedia, 3, 290 sq.
David's life may be divided into the three following portions, more or less corresponding to the three old lost biographies by Samuel, Gad, and Nathan:
I. His youth before his introduction to the court of Saul. II. His relations with Saul. III. His reign.
I. The early life of David contains in many important respects the antecedents of his after history.
1. His family are mostly well known to us by name, and are not without bearing on his subsequent career. For an extended view of David's lineage, SEE GENEALOGY OF CHRIST.
It thus appears that David (born B.C. 1083) was the youngest son, probably the youngest child, of a family of ten. His mother's name is unknown. SEE NAHASH. We can only conjecture her character from one or two brief allusions to her in the poetry of her son, from which we may gather that she was a godly woman, whose devotion to God's service her son commemorates as at once a token of God's favor to himself, and a stimulus to him to consecrate himself to God's service (Ps 86:16; and perhaps Ps 116:16). His father, Jesse, was of a great age when David was still young (1Sa 17:12). His parents both lived till after his final rupture with Saul (1Sa 22:3). Certain points with regard to his birth and lineage deserve special mention.
(a) His connection with Moab through his ancestress Ruth. This he kept up when he escaped to Moab and entrusted his aged parents to the care of the king (1Sa 22:3). This connection possibly gave greater breadth to his views, and even to his history, than if he had been of purely Jewish descent. Such is probably the significance of the express mention of Ruth in the genealogy in Mt 1:5.
(b) His birthplace, Bethlehem (q.v.). His recollection of the well of Bethlehem is one of the most touching incidents of his later life (1Ch 11:17). From the territory of Bethlehem, as from his own patrimony, he gave a piece of property as a reward to Chimham, son of Barzillai (2Sa 19:37-38; Jer 41:17). It is this connection of David with Bethlehem that gave importance to the place again in later times, when Joseph went up to Bethlehem, "because he was of the house and lineage of David" (Lu 2:4).
(c) His general connection with the tribe of Judah, in which the tribal feeling appears to have been stronger than in any of the others. This connection must be borne in mind throughout the story — both of David's security among the hills of Judah during his flight from Saul, and of the early period of his reign at Hebron, as well as of the jealousy of the tribe at having lost their exclusive possession of him, which broke out in the revolt of Absalom.
(d) His relations to Zeruiah and Abigail. Though called in 1Ch 2:16, sisters of David, they are not expressly called the daughters of Jesse; and Abigail, in 2Sa 17:25, is called the daughter of Nahash. Is it too much to suppose that David's mother had been the wife or concubine of Nahash, and then married by Jesse? This would agree with the difference of age between David and his sisters, and also (if Nahash was the same as the king of Ammon) with the kindnesses which David received first from Nahash (2Sa 10:2), and then from Shobi, son of Nahash (17:27).
2. As the youngest of the family, he may possibly have received from his parents the name, which first appears in him, of David, the darling. But, perhaps for this same reason, he was never intimate with his brethren. The eldest brother, who alone is mentioned in connection with him, and who was afterwards made by him head of the tribe of Judah (1Ch 27:18), treated him scornfully and imperiously (1Sa 17:28), as the eldest brothers of large families are apt to act; his command was regarded in the family as law (1Sa 20:29); and the father looked upon the youngest son as hardly one of the family at all (1Sa 16:11), and as a mere attendant on the rest (1Sa 17:17). The familiarity. which he lost with his brothers, he gained with his nephews. The three sons of his sister Zeruiah, and the one son of his sister Abigail, seemingly from the fact that their mothers were the eldest of the whole family, were probably of the same age as David himself, and they accordingly were to him — especially the three sons of Zeruiah — throughout life in the relation usually occupied by brothers and cousins. In them we see the rougher qualities of the family, which David shared with them, while he was distinguished from them by qualities peculiar to himself. The two sons of his brother Shimeah are both connected with his after history, and both seem to have been endowed with the sagacity in which David himself excelled. One was Jonadab, the friend and adviser of his eldest son Amnon (2Sa 13:3); the other was Jonathan (2Sa 21:21), who afterwards became the counselor of David himself (1Ch 27:32). It is a conjecture or tradition of the Jews preserved by Jerome (Qu. Heb. on 1Sa 17:12) that this was no other than Nathan the prophet, who, being adopted into Jesse's family, makes up the eighth son, not named in 1Ch 2:13-15. But this is hardly probable.
The first record of David's appearance in history at once admits us to the whole family circle. B.C. 1068. There was a practice once a year at Bethlehem, probably at the first new moon of the year, of holding a sacrificial feast, at which Jesse, as the chief proprietor of the place, would preside (1Sa 20:6), with the elders of the town. At this or such like feast (1Sa 16:1) suddenly appeared the great prophet Samuel, driving a heifer' before him, and having in his hand a horn of the consecrated oil of the Tabernacle. The elders of the little town were terrified at this apparition, but were reassured by the august visitor, and invited by him to the ceremony of sacrificing the heifer. The heifer was killed. The party were waiting to begin the feast. Samuel stood with his horn to pour forth the oil, as if for an invitation to begin (1Sa 9:22). He was restrained by divine intimation as son after son passed by Eliab, the eldest, by "his height" and "his countenance," seemed the natural counterpart of Saul, whose rival, unknown to them, the prophet came to select. But the day had gone by when kings were chosen because they were head and shoulders taller than the rest. Samuel said unto Jesse, Are these all thy children? And he said, There yet remaineth the youngest, and behold he keepeth the sheep." The boy was brought in. We are enabled to fix his appearance at once in our minds. He was of short stature, thus contrasting with his tall brother Eliab, with his rival Saul, and with his gigantic enemy of Gath. He had red or auburn hair, as is occasional in the East; or at least a rufous complexion and sanguineous temperament. SEE RUDDY. Later he wore a beard. His bright eyes are especially mentioned (1Sa 16:12), and generally he was remarkable for the grace of his figure and countenance ("fair of eyes," "comely," "goodly," 16:12, 18; 17:42), well made, and of great strength and agility. His swiftness and activity made him (like his nephew Asahel) like a wild gazelle, his feet like harts' feet, and his arms strong enough to break a bow of steel (Ps 18:33-34). He was pursuing the occupation allotted in Eastern countries usually to the slaves, the females, or the despised of the family (comp. the case of Moses, of Jacob, of Zipporah, and of Rachel, and in later times of Mohammed; Sprenger, p. 8). The pastures of Bethlehem are famous throughout the sacred history. The Tower of Shepherds (Ge 35:21) was there; and there too the shepherds abode with their flocks by night (Luke 2). He usually carried a switch or wand in his hand (1Sa 17:40), such as would be used for his dogs (17:43), and a scrip or wallet round his neck, to carry anything that was needed for his shepherd's life (1Sa 17:40). Such was the outer life of David when (as the later Psalmists described his call) he was "taken from the sheepfolds, from following the ewes great with young, to feed Israel according to the integrity of his heart, and to guide them by the skillfulness of his hands" (Ps 78:70-72). The recollection of the sudden and great elevation from this humble station is deeply impressed on his after life. "The man who was raised up on high" (2Sa 23:1) "I have exalted one chosen out of the people" (Ps 89:19 "I took thee from the sheepcote" (2Sa 7:8). The event itself prepared him to do that in which Saul had so eminently failed, viz. to reconcile his own military government with a filial respect for the prophets and an honorable patronage of the priesthood. Besides this, he became knit into a bond of brotherhood with his heroic comrades, to whom he was eminently endeared. by his personal self-denial and liberality (1Sa 30:21-31; 1Ch 11:18).
3. But there was another preparation still more needed for his office, which probably had made him already known to Samuel, and which, at any rate, is his next introduction to the history. When the bodyguard of Saul were discussing with their master where the best minstrel could be found to chase away his madness by music, one of the young men in the guard suggested David. Saul, with the absolute control inherent in the idea of an Oriental king, instantly sent for him, and in the successful effort of David's harp we have the first glimpse into that genius for music and poetry which was afterwards consecrated in the Psalms. It is impossible not to connect the early display of this gift with the schools of the prophets, who exercised their vocation with tabret, psaltery, pipe, and harp (1Sa 10:5), in the pastures (Naioth; comp. Ps 23:2), to which he afterwards returned as to his natural home (1Sa 19:18). Whether any of the existing Psalms can be referred to this epoch of David's life is uncertain. The 23d, from its subject of the shepherd, and from its extreme simplicity (though placed by Ewald somewhat later), may well have been suggested by this time. The 8th, 19th, and 29th, which are universally recognized as David's, describe the phenomena of nature, and, as such (at least the two former), may more naturally be referred to this tranquil period of his life than to any other. The imagery of danger from wild beasts, lions, wild bulls, etc. (Ps 7:2; Ps 22:20-21), may be reminiscences of this time. And now, at any rate, he must have first acquired the art which gave him one of his chief claims to mention in after times — "the sweet singer of Israel" (2Sa 23:1), "the inventor of instruments of music" (Am 6:5); "with his whole heart he sung songs and loved him that made him" (Ecclesiasticus 47:8).
4. One incident alone of his solitary shepherd life has come down to us — his conflict with the lion and the bear in defense of his father's flocks (1Sa 17:34-35). But it did not stand alone. He was already known to Saul's guards for his martial exploits, probably against the Philistines (1Sa 16:18), and when he suddenly appeared in the camp his elder brother immediately guessed that he had left the sheep in his ardor to see the battle (1Sa 17:28). To this new aspect of his character we are next introduced. B.C. 1063.
The scene of the battle is at Ephes-dammim (q.v.), in the frontier hills of Judah, called probably from this or similar encounters "the bound of blood." Saul's army is encamped on one side of the ravine, the Philistines on the other; the watercourse of Elah, or "the Terebinth," runs between them. A Philistine of gigantic stature, and clothed in complete armor, insults the comparatively defenseless Israelites, among whom the king alone appears to be well armed (1Sa 17:38; comp. 13:20). No one can be found to take up the challenge. At this juncture David appears in the camp, sent by his father with ten loaves and ten slices of cheese to his three eldest brothers, fresh from the sheepfolds. Just as he comes to the circle of wagons which formed, as in Arab settlements, a rude fortification round the Israelite camp (1Sa 17:20), he hears the well-known shout of the Israelite war-cry (comp. Nu 23:21). The martial spirit of the boy is stirred at the sound; he leaves his provisions with the baggage-master, and darts to join his brothers (like one of the royal messengers) into the midst of the lines. Then he hears the challenge, now made for the fortieth time — sees the dismay of his countrymen — hears of the reward proposed by the king-goes with the impetuosity of youth from soldier to soldier talking of the event, in spite of his brother's rebuke — he is introduced to Saul — undertakes the combat. His victory over the gigantic Philistine is rendered more conspicuous by his own diminutive stature, and by the simple weapons with which it was accomplished — not the armor of Saul, which he naturally found too large, but the shepherd's sling, which he always carried about with him, and the five polished pebbles which he picked up as he went from the watercourse of the valley, and put in his shepherd's wallet. Two trophies long remained of the battle — one, the huge sword of the Philistine, which was hung up behind the ephod in the Tabernacle at Nob (1Sa 21:9); the other the head, which he bore away himself, and which was either laid up at Nob, or subsequently at Jerusalem. See Nos. Psalm cxliv, though by its contents of a much later date, is by the title in the Sept. "against Goliath." But there is also a psalm, preserved in the Sept. at the end of the Psalter, and which, though probably a mere adaptation from the history, well sums up this early period of his life:
"This is the psalm of David's own writing (?) (ίδιόγραφος είς Δαυίδ), and outside the number, when he fought the single combat with Goliath." "I was small amongst my brethren, and the youngest in my father's house. I was feeding my father's sheep. My hands made a harp, and my fingers fitted a psaltery. And who shall tell it to my Lord? He is the Lord, he heareth. He sent his messenger (angel?), and took me from my father's flocks, and anointed me with the oil of his anointing. My brethren were beautiful and tall, hut the Lord was not well pleased with them. I went out to meet the Philistine, and he cursed me by his idols. But I drew his own sword and beheaded him, and took away the reproach from the children of Israel." David's susceptible temperament, joined to his devotional tendencies, must, at a very early age, have made him a favorite pupil of the prophets, whose peculiar mark was the harp and the psalm (1Sa 10:27; 1Sa 19:20-24; see also 2Ki 3:15).
There is no small difficulty in reconciling the recommendation of David to Saul as a skillful player and warrior in 1Sa 16:14-23, with the account in the following chapter of David's appearance in the camp of Saul, and his introduction to that monarch in consequence of his victory over Goliath. Both narratives apparently give the account of David's first introduction to Saul, and yet it is not possible to combine them into one. Some would transpose the latter part of the 16th chap. so as to make it follow after 18:9 (Horsley, Bib. Crit. 1:332); but it is not easy to see what is gained by this; for if David was known to Saul, and accepted into Saul's service as there narrated, how could Saul send for him to his father's house, and receive him as a perfect stranger, as narrated in 1Sa 16:14-20? On the other hand, if David came before the notice of Saul under the circumstances mentioned in this 16th chapter, and was received into his favor and service as there narrated (21-23), how could the facts recorded in the 17th chapter, especially those in verses 31-37, and 55-58, have occurred? The Vatican MS. of the Sept. rejects 1Sa 17:12-31,55-58, and 1Sa 18:1-5, as spurious; and this Kennicott approves as the true solution of the difficulty (see his discussion of the question, Dissert. on the Hebrew Text, p. 418-432, 554-558). What gives some plausibility to this is, that ver. 32 naturally connects with ver. 11, and all between has very much the aspect of an interpolation. At the same time, it can hardly be permitted on such grounds to reject a portion of Scripture which has all other evidence, external and internal, in its favor. The old solution of the difficulty, that as David, after his first introduction to Saul, did not abide constantly with him, but went and came between Saul and his father's house (1Sa 17:15), he may have been at home when the war with the Philistines broke out; and as Saul's distemper was of the nature of mania, he very probably retained no recollection of David's visits to him while under it, but at each new interview regarded and spoke of him as a stranger — still leaves unexplained the fact of Abner's ignorance of David's person, which appears to have been as complete as that of the king, and the fact of David's professing ignorance of warlike weapons, though he had been for some time Saul's armor-bearer. This last difficulty may be alleviated by the consideration that the statement in 1Sa 16:21 may be proleptical; or David, though Saul's armor-bearer, may have had so little practice in the use of armor as to prefer, in such a crisis, trusting to the weapons with which he was familiar. The best adjustment of these passages, however, is to transpose the account in 1Sa 16:14-23, so as to bring it in between 1Sa 18:4-5, and to regard the statement in 1Sa 18:2, of David's permanent residence at court after Goliath's slaughter as referring merely to an attachment to the royal person as a general thing and for the present. On the breaking out of Saul's hypochondria, David may naturally have returned home.
II. David's History in connection with Saul. — The victory over Goliath had been a turning-point of his career. Saul inquired his parentage, and took him finally to his court. Jonathan was inspired by the romantic friendship which bound the two youths together to the end of their lives. The triumphant songs of the Israelitish women announced that they felt that in him Israel had now found a deliverer mightier even than Saul; and in those songs, and in the fame which David thus acquired, was laid the foundation of that unhappy jealousy of Saul towards him which, mingling with the king's constitutional malady, poisoned his whole later relations to David. Three new qualities now began to develop themselves in David's character. The first was his prudence. It had already been glanced at on the first mention of him to Saul (1Sa 16:18), as "prudent in matters;" but it was the marked feature of the beginning of his public career. Thrice over it is emphatically said, "he behaved himself wisely," and evidently with the meaning that it was the wisdom called forth by the necessities of his delicate and difficult situation. It was that peculiar Jewish caution which has been compared to the sagacity of a hunted animal, such as is remarked in Jacob, and afterwards in the persecuted Israelites of the Middle Ages. One instance of it appears immediately, in his answer to the trap laid for him by Saul's servants, "Seemeth it to you a light thing to be the king's son-in-law, seeing that I am a poor man and lightly esteemed?" (1Sa 18:23). Secondly, we now see his magnanimous forbearance called forth, in the first instance, towards Saul, but displaying itself (with a few painful exceptions) in the rest of his life. He is the first example of the virtue of chivalry. Thirdly, his hairbreadth escapes, continued through so many years, impressed upon him a sense of dependence on the Divine help, clearly derived from this epoch. His usual oath or asseveration in later times was, "As the Lord liveth who hath redeemed my soul out of adversity" (2Sa 4:9; 1Ki 1:29); and the Psalms are filled with imagery taken even literally from shelter against pursuers, slipping down precipices (Ps 18:36), hiding-places in rocks and caves, leafy coverts (Ps 31:20), strong fastnesses (Ps 18:2). This part of David's life may be subdivided into four portions:
1. His Life at the Court of Saul till his final Escape (1Sa 18:2-19:18). — His office is not exactly defined. But it would seem that, having been first armor-bearer (1Sa 16:21; 1Sa 18:2), then made captain over a thousand — the subdivision of a tribe — (1Sa 18:13), he finally, on his marriage with Michal, the king's second daughter, was raised to the high office of captain of the king's body-guard, second only, if not equal, to Abner, the captain of the host, and Jonathan, the heir apparent. These three formed the usual companions of the king at his meals (1Sa 20:25). David was now chiefly known for his successful exploits against the Philistines, by one of which he won his wife, and drove back the Philistine power with a blow from which it only rallied at the disastrous close of Saul's reign. He also still performed from time to time the office of minstrel. But the successive snares laid by Saul to entrap him, and the open violence into which the king's madness twice broke out, at last convinced him that his life was no longer safe. He had two faithful allies, however, in the court — the son of Saul, his friend Jonathan — the daughter of Saul, his; wife Michal. Warned by the one and assisted by the other, he escaped by night, and was from that time forward a fugitive. B.C. 1062. Jonathan he never saw again except by stealth. Michal was given in marriage to another (Phaltiel), and he saw her no more till long after her father's death. SEE MICHAL. To this escape the traditional title assigns Psalm 59. Internal evidence (according to Ewald) gives Ps 6; Ps 7 to this period. In the former he is first beginning to contemplate the necessity of flight; in the latter he is moved by the plots of a person not named in the history (perhaps those alluded to in 1Ch 12:17) — according to the title of the psalm, Cush, a Benjamite, and therefore of Saul's tribe. SEE CUSH, 2.
2. His Escape (1Sa 19:18-21:15). — He first fled to Naioth (or the pastures) of Ramah, to Samuel. This is the first recorded occasion of his meeting with Samuel since the original interview during his boy. hood at Bethlehem. It might almost seem as if he had intended to devote himself with his musical and poetical gifts to the prophetical office, and give up the cares and dangers of public life. But he had a higher destiny still. Up to this time both the king and himself had thought that a reunion was possible (see 20:5, 26). But the madness of Saul now became more settled and ferocious in character, and David's danger proportionately greater. The secret interview with Jonathan, of which the recollection was probably handed down through Jonathan's descendants when they came to David's court, confirmed the alarm already excited by Saul's endeavor to seize him at Ramah, and he now determined to leave his country, and take refuge, like Coriolanus, or Themistocles in like circumstances, in the court of his enemy. Before this last resolve he visited Nob (q.v.), the seat of the tabernacle (1 Samuel 21), partly to obtain a final interview with the high- priest Ahimelech (1Sa 22:9,15), partly to procure food and weapons. On the pretext of a secret mission from Saul, he obtained from Ahimelech some of the sacred loaves of shew-bread (q.v.) and the consecrated sword of Goliath, of which he said, "There is none like that; give it me." The incident was of double importance in David's career. First, it established a connection between him and the only survivor of the massacre in which David's visit involved the house of Ahimelech. Secondly, from Ahimelech's surrender of the sacred bread to David's hunger (see Osiander, De Davide panes propositionis recipiente, Tubing. 1751) our Lord drew the inference of the superiority of the moral to the ceremonial law, which is the only allusion made to David's life in the N.T. (Mt 12:3; Mr 2:25; Lu 6:3-4). It is also commemorated by the traditional title of Psalm 52. His hospitable reception, when in distress, by Ahimelech the priest, and the atrocious massacre innocently brought by him on Nob, the city of the priests (1Sa 21; 1Sa 22:9-19), must have deeply affected his generous nature, and laid the foundation of his cordial affection for the whole priestly order, whose ministrations he himself helped to elevate by his devotional melodies. SEE AHIMELECH, 1.
His stay at the court of Achish (q.v.) was short. Discovered possibly by "the sword of Goliath," his presence revived the national enmity of the Philistines against their former conqueror; and he only escaped by feigning madness, by violent gestures, playing on the gates of the city, or on a drum or cymbal, letting his beard grow, and foaming at the mouth (1Sa 21:13, Sept.). (See Ortlob, De Davidis delirio, Lips. 1706; Hebenstreit, De Dav. furorem simulante, Vit. 1711; Krafft, De Dav. in aula Getheorum, Erlang. 1768.) The 56th and 34th Psalms are both referred by their titles to this event, and the titles state (what does not appear in the narrative) that he had been seized as a prisoner by the Philistines, and that he was, in consequence of this stratagem, set freely Achish, or (as he is twice called) Abimelech. SEE ACHISH, 1.
3. His Life as an independent Outlaw (1 Samuel 22:1-26:25). —
(1.) His first retreat was the cave of Adullam, probably the large cavern (the only very large one in Palestine), not far from Bethlehem, now called Khureitun (see Bonar's Land of Promise, p, 244). From its vicinity to Bethlehem, he was joined there by his whole family, now feeling themselves in danger from Saul's fury (1Sa 22:1). This was probably the foundation of his intimate connection with his nephews, the sons of Zeruiah. B.C. 1061. Of these, Abishai, with two other companions, was among the earliest (1Ch 11:15,20; 1Sa 26:6; 2Sa 23:13,18). Besides these were outlaws and debtors from every part, including, doubtless, some of the original Canaanites, of whom the name of one, at least, has been preserved, Ahimelech the Hittite (1Sa 26:6). SEE ADULLAM.
(2.) His next move was to a stronghold, either the mountain afterwards called Herodium, close to Adullam, or the fastness called by Josephus (War, 7:8, 3) Masada, the Graecised form of the Hebrew word Metsadah (1Sa 22:4-5; 1Ch 12:16), in the neighborhood of En-gedi. While there, he had deposited his aged parents, for the sake of greater security, beyond the Jordan, with their ancestral kinsman of Moab (ib. 3). The neighboring king, Nahash of Ammon, — also treated him kindly (2Sa 10:2). Here another companion appears for the first time, a school- fellow, if we may use the word, from the schools of Samuel, the prophet Gad, his subsequent biographer (1Sa 22:5); and while he was there occurred the chivalrous exploit of the three heroes just mentioned to procure water from the well of Bethlehem, and David's chivalrous answer, like that of Alexander in the desert of Gedrosia (1Ch 11:16-19; 2Sa 23:14-17). He was joined here by two separate bands: one a little body of eleven fierce Gadite mountaineers, who swam the Jordan in flood- time to reach him (1Ch 12:8); the other, a detachment of men from Judah and Benjamin, under his nephew Amasai, who henceforth attached himself to David's fortunes (1Ch 12:16-18).
(3.) At the warning of Gad, he fled next to the forest of Hareth (somewhere in the hills of Judah), and then again fell in with the Philistines, and again, apparently advised by Gad (1Sa 23:4), made a descent on their foraging parties, and relieved Keilah (q.v.), in which he took up his abode. While there, now for the first time in a fortified town of his own (1Sa 23:7), he was joined by a new and most important ally — Abiathar, the last survivor of the house of Ithamar, who came with the high-priest's ephod, and henceforth gave the oracles, which David had hitherto received from Gad (1Sa 23:6,9; 1Sa 22:23). By this time the 400 who had joined him at Adullam (1Sa 22:2) had swelled to 600 (1Sa 23:13).
(4.) The situation of David was now changed by the appearance of Saul himself on the scene. Apparently the danger was too great for the little army to keep together. They escaped from Keilah, and dispersed, "whithersoever they could go," among the fastnesses of Judah. Henceforth it becomes difficult to follow his movements with exactness, partly from ignorance of the localities, partly because the same event seems to be twice narrated (1Sa 23:19-24; 1Sa 26:1-4, and perhaps 1Sa 24; 1Sa 26:5-25). But thus much we discern. He is in the wilderness of Ziph. Once (or twice) the Ziphites betray his movements to Saul, who literally hunts him like a partridge; the treacherous Ziphites beating the bushes before him, and 3000 men being stationed by Saul to catch even the print of his footsteps on the hills (1Sa 23:14,22 [Hebrews], 24 [Sept.]; 24:11; 26:2, 20). David finds himself driven to the extreme south of Judah, in the wilderness of Maon. On two, if not three occasions, the pursuer and pursued catch sight of each other. Of the first of these escapes, the memory was long preserved in the name of the "Cliff of Divisions," given to the cliff down one side of which David climbed, while Saul was surrounding the hill on the other side (1Sa 23:25-29), when he was suddenly called away by the cry of a Philistine invasion. On another occasion David took refuge in a cave "by the spring of the wild goats" (En-gedi), immediately above the Dead Sea (1Sa 24:1-2). The rocks were covered with the pursuers. Saul entered, as is the custom in Oriental countries, for a natural necessity. The followers of David, seated in the dark recesses of the cave, seeing, yet not seen, suggest to him the chance thus thrown in their way. David, with a characteristic mixture of humor and generosity, descends and silently cuts off the skirt of the long robe spread, as is usual in the East on such occasions, before and behind the person so occupied and then ensued the pathetic scene of remonstrance and forgiveness (1Sa 24:8-22). The third was in the wilderness further south. There was a regular camp, formed with its usual fortification of wagon and baggage. Into this inclosure David penetrated by night, and carried of the cruse of water, and the well-known royal spear of Saul, which twice had so nearly transfixed him to the wall in former days (1Sa 26:7,11,22). The same scene is repeated as at En-gedi — and this is the 1st interview between Saul and David (1Sa 26:25). B.C. 1055. David had already parted with Jonathan in the forest of Ziph (1Sa 23:18).
To this period are annexed by their traditional titles Psalm 54 ("When the Ziphim came and said, Doth not David hide himself with us?"); 57 ("When he fled from Saul in the cave," though this may refer also to Adullam); 63, "When he was in the wilderness of Judah" (or Idumaea, Sept.); 142 ("A prayer when he was in the cave").
While he was in the wilderness of Maon occurred David's adventure with Nabal (q.v.), instructive as showing his mode of carrying on the freebooter's life, and his marriage with Abigail. His marriage with Ahinoam from Jezreel, also in the same neighborhood (Jos 15:56), seems to have taken place a short time before (1Sa 25:43; 1Sa 27:3; 2Sa 3:2).
4. His Service under Achish (1Sa 27:1; 2Sa 1:27). — Wearied with his wandering life, he at last crosses the Philistine frontier, not, as before, as a fugitive, but the chief of a powerful band — his 600 men now grown into an organized force, with their wives and families around them (1Sa 27:3-4). After the manner of Eastern potentates, Achish gave him for his support a city — Ziklag, on the frontier of Philistia — and it was long remembered that to this curious arrangement the kings of Judah owed this part of their possessions (1Sa 27:6). Here we meet with the first note of time in David's life. He was settled therefor a year and four months (1Sa 27:7), and his increasing importance is indicated by the fact that a body of Benjamite archers and slingers, twenty-two of whom are specially named, joined him from the very tribe of his rival (1Ch 12:1-7). Possibly during this stay he may have acquired the knowledge of military organization and weapons of war (1Sa 13:19-23), in which the Philistines surpassed the Israelites, and in which he surpassed all the preceding rulers of Israel. During his outlawry, David had also become acquainted in turn not only with all the wild country in the land, but with the strongholds of the enemy all around. The celebrity acquired in successful guerilla warfare, even in modern days, turns many eyes on a chieftain; and in an age which regarded personal heroism as the first qualification of a general (1Ch 11:6) and of a king, to triumph over the persecutions of Saul gave David the fairest prospects of a kingdom. That he was able to escape the malice of his enemy was due in part to the direct help given him by the nations around, who were glad to keep a thorn rankling in Saul's side; in part also to the indirect results of their invasions (1Sa 23:27).
He deceived Achish into confidence by attacking the old nomadic inhabitants of the desert frontier, and representing the plunder to be of portions of the southern tribes or the nomadic allied tribes of Israel. But this confidence was not shared by the Philistine nobles, and accordingly David was sent back by Achish from the last victorious campaign against Saul. In this manner David escaped the difficulty of being present at the battle of Gilboa, but found that during his absence the Bedouin Amalekites, whom he had plundered during the previous year, had made a descent upon Ziklag, burnt it to the ground, and carried off the wives and children of the new settlement. A wild scene of frantic grief and recrimination ensued between David and his followers. It was calmed by an oracle of assurance from Abiathar. It happened that an important accession had just been made to David's force. On his march with the Philistines northward to Gilboa, he had been joined by some chiefs of the Manassites, through whose territory he was passing. Urgent as must have been the need for them at home, yet David's fascination carried them off, and they now assisted him against the plunderers (1Ch 12:19-21). They overtook the invaders in the desert, and recovered the spoil. These were the gifts with which David was now able for the first time to requite the friendly inhabitants of the scene of his wanderings (1Sa 30:26-31). A more lasting memorial was the law which traced its origin to the arrangement made by him, formerly in the attack on Nabal, but now again, more completely, for the equal division of the plunder among the two thirds who followed to the field, and the one third who remained to guard the baggage (1Sa 30:25; 1Sa 25:13). Two days after this victory a Bedouin arrived from the north with the fatal news of the defeat of Gilboa. The reception of the tidings of the death of his rival and of his friend, the solemn mourning, the vent of his indignation against the bearer of the message, the pathetic lamentation that followed, well close the second period of David's life (2 Samuel 1:1-27). B.C. 1053.
III. David's Reign. —
(I.) As King of Judah at Hebron, 7.5 years (2 Samuel 2:l-5:5). — Hebron was selected, doubtless, because it was the ancient sacred city of the tribe of Judah, the burial-place of the patriarchs and the inheritance of Caleb. Here David was first formally anointed king-by whom it is not stated; but the expression seems to limit the inauguration to the tribe of Judah, and therefore to exclude any intervention of Abiathar (2Sa 2:4). To Judah his dominion was nominally confined. But probably for the first five years of the time the dominion of the house of Saul, whose seat was now at Mahanaim, did not extend to the west of the Jordan, and consequently David would be the only Israelite potentate among the western tribes. He then strengthened himself by a marriage with Maacah, daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur (2Sa 3:3), a petty monarch whose dominions were near the sources of the Jordan, and whose influence at the opposite end of the land must have added a great weight into David's scale. From Abigail, widow of the churlish Nabal, David seems to have received a large private fortune. Concerning his other wives we know nothing in particular, only it is mentioned that he had six sons by six different mothers in Hebron. The chief jealousy was between the two tribes of Benjamin and Judah, as Saul had belonged to the former; and a tournament was turned by mutual ill-will into a battle, in which Abner unwillingly slew young Asahel, brother of Joab. "Long war," after this, was carried on between "the house of Saul and the house of David." We may infer that the rest of Israel took little part in the contest; and although the nominal possession of the kingdom enabled the little tribe of Benjamin to struggle for some time against Judah, the skill and age of Abner could not prevail against the vigor and popular fame of David. Gradually David's power increased, and during the two years which followed the elevation of Ishbosheth, a series of skirmishes took place between the two kingdoms. First came a successful inroad into the territory of Ishbosheth (2Sa 2:28). Next occurred the defection of Abner (2Sa 3:12). A quarrel between Abner and Ishbosheth decided the former to bring the kingdom over to David (see Ortlob, De pacto Davidis et Abneri, Lips. 1709). The latter refused to treat unless, as a preliminary proof of Abner's sincerity, Michal, daughter of Saul, was restored to David. The possession of such a wife was valuable to one who was aspiring to: the kingdom; and although David had now other wives, he appears not to have lost his affection for this his earliest bride. She, too, seems to have acquiesced in his claim as being greater than that of the man on whom her father had arbitrarily bestowed her, and the sincere kindness of her new husband had probably not effaced her former attachment to David, although we afterwards find her betrayed into an unworthy act by her pride of position. After giving her back, Abner proceeded to win the elders of Israel over to David; but Joab discerned that if this should be so brought about, Abner of necessity would displace him from his post of chief captain. He therefore seized the opportunity of murdering him when he had come on a peaceful embassy, and covered the atrocity by pleading the duty of revenging his brother's blood. This deed was perhaps David's first taste of the miseries of royal power. He dared not proceed actively against his ruthless nephew, but he vented his abhorrence in a solemn curse on Joab and his posterity, and followed Abner to the grave with weeping. SEE ABNER. Anxious to purge himself of the guilt, he ordered a public wearing of sackcloth, and refused to touch food all the day. His sincere expressions of grief won the heart of all Israel. The feeble Ishbosheth (q.v.), left alone, was unequal to the government, and shortly suffered the same fate of assassination. David, following the universal policy of sovereigns (Tacit. Hist. 1:44), and his own profound sense of the sacredness of royalty, took vengeance on the murderers, and buried Ishbosheth in Abner's tomb at Hebron. During this period, it is not stated against what people his marauding excursions were directed. It is distinctly alleged (2Sa 3:22) that his men brought in a great spoil at the very time at which he had a truce with Abner; possibly it may have been won from his old enemies the Amalekites (1 Samuel 30). The throne, so long waiting for him, was now vacant, and the united voice of the whole people at once called him to occupy it. B.C. 1046. A solemn league was made between him and his people (2Sa 5:3). For the third time David was anointed king, and a festival of three days celebrated the joyful event (1Ch 12:39). His little band had now swelled into "a great host, like the host of God" (1Ch 12:22). The command of it, which had formerly rested on David alone, he now devolved on his nephew Joab (2Sa 2:28). It was formed by contingents from every tribe of Israel. Two are specially mentioned as bringing a weight of authority above the others. The sons of Issachar had "understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do," and with the adjacent tribes contributed to the common feast the peculiar products of their rich territory (1Ch 12:32,40). The Levitical tribe, formerly represented in David's being followed only by the solitary fugitive Abiathar, now came in strength, represented by the head of the rival branch of Eleazar, the high-priest, the aged Jehoiada and his youthful and warlike kinsman Zadok (1Ch 12:27-28; 1Ch 27:5). The kingdom was not at first a despotic, but a constitutional one; for it is stated, "David made a league with the elders of Israel in Hebron before Jehovah; and they anointed David king over Israel" (2Sa 5:3). This is marked out as the era which determined the Philistines to hostility (ver. 17), and may confirm our idea that their policy was to hinder Israel from becoming united under a single king.
Underneath this show of outward prosperity, two cankers, incident to the royal state which David now assumed, had first made themselves apparent at Hebron, and affected all the rest of his career. The first was the formation of a harem, according to the usage of Oriental kings. To the two wives of his wandering life he had now added four, and including Michal, five (2Sa 2:2; 2Sa 3:2-5,15). The second was the increasing power of his kinsmen and chief officers, which the king strove to restrain within the limits of right; and thus, of all the incidents of this part of his career, the most plaintive and characteristic is his lamentation over his powerlessness to prevent the murder of Abner (2Sa 3:31-36).
(II.) Reign over all Israel, 33 years (2Sa 5:5, to 1Ki 2:11). — The reign of David is the great critical era in the history of the Hebrews. It decided that they were to have for nearly five centuries a national monarchy, a fixed line of priesthood, and a solemn religious worship by music and psalms of exquisite beauty; it finally separated Israel from the surrounding heathen, and gave room for producing those noble monuments of sacred writ, to the influence of which over the whole world no end can be seen. His predecessor, Saul, had many successes against the Philistines, but it is clear that he made little impression on their real power; for he died fighting against them, not on their own border, but at the opposite side of his kingdom, in Mount Gilboa. As for all the other enemies on every side" — Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, and the kings of Zobah — however much he may have "vexed them" (1Sa 14:47), they, as well as the Amalekites, remained unsubdued, if weakened. The real work of establishing Israel as lord over the whole soil of Canaan was left for David.
1. The Foundation of Jerusalem. — It must have been with no ordinary interest that the surrounding nations watched for the prey on which the Lion of Judah, now about to issue from his native lair, and establish himself in a new home, would make his first spring. One fastness alone in the center of the land had hitherto defied the arms of Israel. On this, with a singular prescience, perceiving that so southerly a position as Hebron was no longer suitable, David fixed as his future capital. By one sudden assault Jebus was taken, and became henceforth known by the names (whether borne by it before or not we cannot tell) of Jerusalem and Zion. B.C. 1044. SEE JERUSALEM. Of all the cities of Palestine great in former ages, Jerusalem alone has vindicated by its long permanence the choice of its founder. The importance of the capture was marked at the time. The reward bestowed on the successful scaler of the precipice was the highest place in the army. Joab henceforward became captain of the host (1Ch 11:6). The royal residence was instantly fixed there, fortifications were added by the king and by Joab, and it was known by the special name of the "city of David" (1Ch 11:7; 2Sa 5:9).
In the account of this siege, some have imagined the Chronicles to contradict the book of Samuel, but there is no real incompatibility in the two narratives. Joab was, it is true, already David's chief captain; but David was heartily disgusted with him, and may have sought a pretense for superseding him by offering the post to the man who should first scale the wall. Joab would be animated by the desire to retain his office, at least as keenly as others by the desire to get it; and it is credible that he may actually have been the successful hero of that siege also. If this was the case, it will further explain why David, even in the fullness of power, made no further effort to expel him until he had slaughtered Absalom.
The neighboring nations were partly enraged and partly awestruck. The Philistines had already made two ineffectual attacks on the new king (2Sa 5:17-20), both near the valley of Rephaim; and these were probably the first battles fought by David after becoming king of all Israel. A retribution on their former victories now took place by the capture and conflagration of their own idols (1Ch 14:12). Tyre, now for the first time appearing in the sacred history, allied herself with Israel; and Hiram sent cedarwood for the buildings of the new capital (2Sa 5:11), especially for the palace of David himself (2Sa 7:2). That the mechanical arts should have been in a very low state among the Israelites was to be expected, since, before the reign of Saul, even smiths forges were not allowed among them by the Philistines. Nothing, however, could be more profitable for the Phoenicians than the security of cultivation enjoyed by the Israelites in the reigns of David and Solomon. The trade between Tyre and Israel became at once extremely lucrative to both, and the league between the two states was quickly very intimate. Unhallowed and profane as Jebus had been before, it was at once elevated to a sanctity which it has never lost, above any of the ancient sanctuaries of the land. The ark was now removed from its obscurity at Kirjath-jearim with marked solemnity, B.C. 1043. A temporary halt (owing to the death of Uzzah) detained it at Obed-edom's house, after which it againr moved forward with great state to Jerusalem. An assembly of the nation was convened, and (according to 1Ch 13:2; 1Ch 15:2-27) especially of the Levites. The musical arts, in which David himself excelled, were now developed on a great scale (1Ch 15:16-22; 2Sa 6:5). Zadok and Abiathar, the representatives of the two Aaronic families, were both present (1Ch 15:11). Chenaniah presided over the music (1Ch 15:22,27). Obed-edom followed his sacred charge (1Ch 13:14,14,14).
The prophet Nathan appears for the first time as the controlling adviser of the future (2Sa 7:3). A sacrifice was offered as soon as a successful start was made (1Ch 15:26; 2Sa 6:13). David himself was dressed in the white linen dress of the priestly order, without his royal robes, and played on stringed instruments (1Ch 15:27; 2Sa 6:14,20). As in the prophetic schools where he had himself been brought up (1Sa 10:5), and as still in the impressive ceremonial of some Eastern dervishes, and of Seville cathedral (probably derived from the East), a wild dance was part of the religious solemnity. Into this David threw himself with unreserved enthusiasm, and thus conveyed the symbol of the presence of Jehovah into the ancient heathen fortress (see J. E. Muller, De Davide ante arcam saltante, in Ugolini Thes. 32). SEE DANCE. In the same spirit of uniting the sacerdotal with the royal functions, he offered sacrifices on a large scale, and himself gave the benediction to the people (2Sa 6:17-18; 1Ch 16:2). The scene of this inauguration was on the hill which, from David's habitation, was specially known as the "City of David." As if to mark the new era, he had not brought the ancient tabernacle from Gibeon, but had erected a new tent or tabernacle (1Ch 15:1) for the reception of the ark. It was the first beginning of the great design, of which we will speak presently, afterwards carried out by his son, of erecting a permanent temple or palace for the ark, corresponding to the state in which he himself was to dwell. It was the greatest day of David's life. One incident only tarnished its splendor-the reproach of Michal, his wife, as he was finally entering his own palace, to carry to his own household the benediction which he had already pronounced on his people. SEE MICHAL. His act of severity towards her was an additional mark of the stress which he himself laid on the solemnity (2Sa 6:20-23; 1Ch 15:29).
A large number of psalms, either in their traditional titles, or in the irresistible evidence of their contents, bear traces of this great festival, besides those which may be referred either to this occasion, or to the dedication of Solomon's Temple, or even to the restoration of the sacred services on the return from Babylon. The 15th, 101st; and 118th, by their contents, express the feelings of David on his occupation of his new home. The 68th, at least in part, and the 24th, seem to have been actually composed for the entrance of the ark into the ancient gates of the heathen fortress -and the last words of the second of these two psalms may be regarded as the inauguration of the new name by which God henceforth is called, The Lord of hosts. Who is this king of glory?" "The Lord of hosts, he is the king of glory" (Ps 24:10; comp. 2Sa 6:2). Fragments of poetry worked up into psalms (Ps 96:2-13; Ps 105; Ps 106:1,47-48) occur in 1Ch 16:8-36, as having been delivered by David "into the hands of Asaph and his brother" after the close of the festival. SEE PSALMS.
The priests or Aaronites must, for a long time, have had little occupation in their sacred office; for the ark was at Kirjath-jearim, under the care of a private family. Indeed, during the reign of Saul, we find shew-bread to have been set forth at Nob (1Sa 21:4-6) by Ahimelech the priest; and it is possible that many other ceremonies were performed by them, in spite of the absence of the ark. But after the dreadful massacre perpetrated on the priestly order by Saul, few Aaronites are likely to have felt at ease in their vocation. To wear an ephod — the mark of a priest who is asking counsel of Jehovah — had almost become a crime; and even after the death of Saul, it is possible that the Aaronites, like the other Israelites, remained organized as bands of soldiers. At least Jehoiada (who, according to 1Ch 27:5, was high-priest at this time, and joined David at Hebron with 3700 Aaronites) was father of the celebrated warrior Benaiah, afterwards captain of David's body-guard-a man whose qualities were anything but priest-like; and Zadok, afterwards high-priest, who joined David "with twenty-two captains of his father's house" at the same time as Jehoiada, is described as "a young man mighty of valor" (1Ch 12:27-28). How long Jehoiada retained the place of high-priest is uncertain. It is probable that no definite conception then existed of the need of having one high-priest; and it is certain that David's affection for Abiathar, because of his father's fate, maintained him in chief place through the greater part of his reign. Not until a later time, it would seem, was Zadok elevated to a coordinate position. SEE ABIATHAR. Any further remarks concerning the orders and courses of the priests will be better reserved for the article on that subject. It is enough here to add that the cruel slaughter ordered by Saul of the Aaronites of the line of Ithamar, whom Abiathar now represented, naturally gave a great preponderance of numbers and power to the line of Eleazar, to which Zadok belonged. We must also refer to the article LEVITES for further information concerning them. The bringing of the ark from Kirjath-jearim to Jerusalem established the line of high-priests in direct service before it; and from this time we may presume that the ceremonies of the great day of atonement began to be observed. Previously, it would appear, the connection between the priesthood and the tabernacle had been very loose. The priests fixed their abode at Nob, when the ark was at Kirjath-jearim, a very short distance; yet there is nothing to denote that they at all interfered with Abinadab in his exclusive care of the sacred deposit.
After this event, the king, contrasting his cedar palace with the curtains of the tabernacle, was desirous of building a temple for the ark; such a step, moreover, was likely to prevent any future change of its abode. This design, when imparted to the prophet Nathan, was received by him with warm encouragement. He had to learn, however, that the seemingly obvious fitness of a public measure did not excuse a prophet from the obligation of consulting the Lord before he ventured to utter an authoritative opinion; for the next day he had to return to the king with an intimation that he must abandon the intention of executing this great undertaking. The design is indeed commended; yet as he had been a warrior from his youth, and had shed much human blood, he was pronounced unfit for this sacred work, which was therefore to be reserved for the peaceful reign of his successor. Encouraged by the divine approbation, and by the high promises which were on this occasion given to him, David henceforth made it one of the great objects of his reign to gather means and materials for this important undertaking, the credit of which he is fairly entitled to divide with his son, by whom it was actually executed. SEE SOLOMON.
Great as might appear the advantage of establishing the same city as the religious and civil metropolis, the effect was, in one respect, most unfortunate; it offended the powerful and central tribe of Ephraim. They had been accustomed to regard Shiloh as the rightful abode of the ark. Against Kirjath-jearim no envy was felt, especially while the ark and its priests were in obscurity; but when so much honor attended it; when it became a peculiar glory to Judah and Benjamin — tribes already too much favored; when a magnificent edifice was erected to receive it, the seeds were sown of that disaffection which ended in a rending of the tribes apart. Nor was the argument unreasonable that a more central spot was needed for Israel to assemble at year by year.
2. Foundation of the Court and Empire of Israel (2 Samuel 8 to 12). — The erection of the new capital at Jerusalem introduces us to a new era in David's life and in the history of the monarchy. Up to this time h: had been a king, such as Saul had been before him, or as the kings of the neighboring tribes, each ruling over his territory, unconcerned with any foreign relations except so far as was necessary to defend his own nation. But David, and through him the Israelitish monarchy, now took a wider range. He became a king on the scale of the great Oriental sovereigns of Egypt and Persia, with a regular administration and organization of court and camp; and he also founded an imperial dominion which for the first time realized the prophetic description of the bounds of the chosen people (Ge 15:18-21). The internal organization now established lasted till the final overthrow of the monarchy. The empire was of much shorter duration, continuing only through the reigns of David and his successor Solomon. But, for the period of its existence, it lent a peculiar character to the sacred history. For once, the kings of Israel were on a level with the great potentates of the world. David was an imperial conqueror, if not of the same magnitude, yet of the same kind as Rameses or Cyrus. "I have made thee a great name like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth" (2Sa 7:9). "Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars" (1Ch 22:8). And as, on the one hand, the external relations of life, and the great incidents of war and conquest receive an elevation by their contact with the religious history, so the religious history swells into larger and broader dimensions from its contact with the course of the outer world. The enlargement of territory, the amplification of power and state, leads to a corresponding enlargement and amplification of ideas, of imagery, of sympathies, and thus (humanly speaking) the magnificent foreshadowings of a wider dispensation in the prophetic writings first became possible through the court and empire of David.
a. In the internal organization of the kingdom the first new element that has to be considered is the royal family, the dynasty, of which David was the founder, a position which entitled him to the name of "Patriarch" (Ac 2:29) and (ultimately) of the ancestor of the Messiah. Once settled in Jerusalem, David proceeded to increase the number of his wives, perhaps in part from the same political motive that actuates other Oriental monarchs, viz. in order to take hostages from the chieftains round in the least offensive mode. This explanation Will not apply to the concubines. We know nothing further concerning David's family relations than the names of eleven sons born in Jerusalem (2Sa 5:14-15), of whom four were children of Bathsheba (1Ch 3:5), and therefore much younger than the elder sons.
Of these, Absalom and Adonijah both inherited their father's beauty (2Sa 14:25; 1Ki 1:6), but Solomon alone possessed any of his higher qualities. It was from a union of the children of Solomon and Absalom that the royal line was carried on (1Ki 15:2). The princes were under the charge of Jehiel (1Ch 27:32), perhaps the Levite (1Ch 15:21; 2Ch 20:14), with the exception of Solomon, who (according at least to one rendering) was under the charge of Nathan (2Sa 12:25). David's strong parental affection for all of them is very remarkable (2Sa 13:31,33,36; 2Sa 14:33; 2Sa 18:5,33; 2Sa 19:4; 1Ki 1:6).
b. The military organization, which was, in fact, inherited from Saul, but greatly developed by David, was as follows:
(1.) "The Host," i.e. the whole available military force of Israel, consisting of all males capable of bearing arms, and summoned only for war. This had always existed from the time of the first settlement in Canaan, and had been commanded by the chief or the judge who presided over Israel for the time. Under Saul we first find the recognized post of a captain or commander-in- chief in the person of Abner; and under David this post was given as a reward for the assault on Jerusalem to his nephew Joab (1Ch 11:6; 1Ch 27:34), who conducted the army to battle in the absence of the king (2Sa 12:26). There were 12 divisions of 24,000 each, who were held to be in duty month by month, and over each of them presided an officer selected for this purpose from the other military bodies formed by David (1Ch 27:1-15). Besides this host, the register proceeds to recount twelve princes over the tribes of Israel, who may perhaps be compared to the governors of our own states in their military capacity. The enumeration of these great officers is remarkable, being as follows:
1, Of the Reubenites; 2, of the Simeonites; 3, of the Levites; 4, of the Aaronites; 5, of Judah 6, of Issachar; 7, of Zebulon; 8, of Naphthali; 9, of Ephraim;
10, of Manasseh; 11, of Manasseh beyond the Jordan; 12, of Benjamin; 13, of Dan.
Here the names of Gad and Asher are omitted without explanation. On the other hand, the Levites and Aaronites are recounted, as though they were tribes coordinate with the rest, and Zadok is named as prince of the Aaronites. It is not to be supposed that the Levites or Aaronites were wholly shut out from civil and military duties. It has already been remarked that Zadok (here chief of the Aaronites) was described in the beginning of David's reign as "a mighty man of valor" (1Ch 12:28), and the same appellation is given to the sons of Shemaiah, a Levite (26:6). Benaiah also, now captain of David's body-guard, was son of the late high-priest Jehoiada (27:5, and 12:27). The army was still distinguished from those of surrounding nations by its primitive aspect of a force of infantry without cavalry. The only innovations as yet allowed were the introduction of a very limited number of chariots (2Sa 8:4), and of mules for the princes and officers instead of asses (2Sa 13:29; 2Sa 18:9). According to a Mussulman tradition (Koran, 21:80), David invented chain armor. The usual weapons were still spears and shields, as appears from the Psalms. For the general question of the numbers and equipment of the army, SEE ARMS and SEE ARMY.
(2.) The Bodyguard. This also had existed in the court of Saul, and David himself had probably been its commanding officer (1Sa 22:14; Ewald). But it now assumed a peculiar organization. They were, at least in name, foreigners, as having been drawn from the Philistines, probably during David's residence at the court of Gath. They are usually called from this circumstance "Cherethites and Pelethites" (q.v.), but had also a body especially from Gath among them, of whom the name of one, Ittai, is preserved as a faithful servant of David (2Sa 15:19). The captain of the force was, however, not only not a foreigner, but an Israelite of the highest distinction and purest descent, who first appears in this capacity, but who outlived David, and became the chief support of the throne of his son, namely, Benaiah, son of-the chief priest Jehoiada, representative of the eldest branch of Aaron's house (2Sa 8:18; 2Sa 15:18; 2Sa 20:23; 1Ki 1:38,44).
(3.) The most peculiar military institution in David's army was that which arose out of the peculiar circumstances of his early life. The nucleus of what afterwards became the only standing army in David's forces was the band of 600 men who had gathered round him in his wanderings. The number of 600 was still preserved, with the name of Gibborim, "heroes" or "mighty men." It became yet further subdivided into three large bands of 200 each, and small bands of 20 each. The small bands were commanded by thirty officers, one for each band, who together formed "the thirty," and the three large bands by three officers, who together formed "the three," and the whole by one chief, "the captain of the mighty men" (2Sa 23:8-39; 1Ch 11:9-47). There seems to have been a second or alternate set to "the three," and in this grade, as well as among the subaltern — "thirty," one is apparently named as outranking his colleagues. There is considerable difficulty in adjusting their relative position, and two or three names appear to have been omitted. The sixteen additional names given in 1 Chronicles 11 may be those of alternates to "the thirty." Of "the thirty," some few only are known to fame elsewhere. Asahel, David's nephew (1Ch 11:26; 2Sa 2:18); Elhanan, the victor of at least one Goliath (1Ch 11:26; 2Sa 21:19); Joel, the brother or son (Sept.) of Nathan (1Ch 11:38); Naharai, the armor-bearer of Joab (1Ch 11:39; 2Sa 23:37); Eliam, the son of Ahitophel (2Sa 23:34); Ira, one of David's priests (1Ch 11:40; 2Sa 23:38; 2Sa 20:26); Uriah the Hittite (1Ch 11:41; 2Sa 23:39; 2Sa 11:3). See Hofmann, Geschichte der Helden David's (in his Exeg. krit. Abhandlungen, No. 6).
The following is a corrected and classified list of the noted warriors of David's veterans. See each name in its alphabetical place.
c. Side by side with this military organization were established social and moral institutions. Some were entirely for pastoral, agricultural, and financial purposes (1Ch 27:25-31), others for judicial (1Ch 26:29-32). Some few are named as constituting what would now be called the court or council of the king; the councilors, Ahithophel of Giloh and Jonathan the king's nephew (1Ch 27:32-33); the companion or "friend" Hushai (1Ch 27:33; 2Sa 15:37; 2Sa 16:19); the scribe Sheva, or Seraiah, and at one time Jonathan (2Sa 20:25; 1Ch 27:32); Jehoshaphat, the recorder or historian (2
Samuel 20:24); and Adoram the tax collector, both of whom survived him (2Sa 20:24; 1Ki 12:18; 1Ki 4:3,6). The cabinet of David (if we may use a modern name) is thus given (1Ch 27:32 -34) with reference to a time which preceded Absalom's revolt:
1, Jonathan, David's uncle, a counsellor, wise man, and scribe; 2, Jehiel, son of Hachmoni, tutor (?) to the king's sons; 3, Ahithophel, the king's counsellor; 4, Hushai, the king's companion; 5, after Ahithophel, Jehoiada, the son of Benaiah; 6, Abiathar the priest. It is added, "and the general of the king's army was Joab." Each tribe had its own head (1Ch 27:16-22). Of these, the most remarkable were Elihu, David's brother (probably Eliab), prince of Judah (ver. 18), and Jaasiel, the son of Abner, of Benjamin (ver. 21). Twelve royal bailiffs are recited as a part of David's establishment (1Ch 27:25,31), having the following departments under their charge:
1, The treasures of gold, silver, etc.; 2, the magazines; 3, the tillage (wheat, etc.?); 4, the vineyards; 5, the wine-cellars; 6, the olive and sycamore trees; 7, the oil-cellars; 8, the herds in Sharon; 9, the herds in the valleys; 10, the camels; 11, the asses; 12, the flocks.
The eminently prosperous state in which David left his kingdom to Solomon appears to prove that he was on the whole faithfully served, and that his own excellent intentions, patriotic spirit, and devout piety (measured, as it must be, by the standard of those ages), really made his reign beneficial to his subjects.
d. But the more peculiar of David's institutions were those directly bearing on religion. Two prophets appear as the king's constant advisers. Of these, Gad, who seems to have been the elder, had been David's companion in exile, and, from his being called "the seer," belongs probably to the earliest form of the prophetic schools. Nathan, who appears for the first time after the establishment of the kingdom at Jerusalem (2Sa 7:2), is distinguished both by his title of" prophet," and by the nature of the prophecies which he utters (2Sa 7:5-17; 2Sa 12:1-14), as of the purest type of prophetic dispensation, and as the hope of the new generation, which he supports in the person of Solomon (1 Kings 1). Two high-priests — representatives of the two rival houses of Aaron (1Ch 26:3)- here again, as in the case of the two prophets, also appear: one, Abiathar, who attended him at Jerusalem, companion of his exile, and connected with the old time of the judges (1Ch 27:34), joining him after the death of Saul, and becoming afterwards the support of his son; the other Zadok, who ministered at Gibeon (1Ch 16:39), and who was made the head of the Aaronic family (1Ch 27:17). Besides these four great religious functionaries, there were two classes of subordinates — prophets, specially instructed in singing and music, under Asaph, Heman, the grandson of Samuel, and Jeduthun (1 Chronicles 25:1-31); Levites, or attendants on the sanctuary, who again were subdivided into the guardians of the gates and guardians of the treasures (1Ch 26; 1Ch 1:28) which had been accumulated, since the re-establishment of the nation, by Samuel, Saul, Abner, Joab, and David himself (1Ch 26:26-28).
The collection of those various ministers and representatives of worship round the capital must have givsn a new aspect to the history in David's time, such as it had not borne under the disconnected period of the judges. But the main peculiarity of the whole must have been that it so well harmonized with the character of him who was its center. As his early martial life still placed him at the head of the military organization which had sprung up around him, so his early education and his natural disposition placed him at the head of his own religious institutions. Himself a prophet, a psalmist, he was one in heart with those whose advice he sought and whose arts he fostered. What was still more remarkable, though not himself a priest, he yet assumed almost all the functions usually ascribed to the priestly office. He wore, as we have seen, the priestly dress, offered the sacrifices, gave the priestly benediction (2Sa 6:14,17-18); and, as if to include his whole court within the same sacerdotal sanctity, Benaiah, the captain of his guard, ways a priest by descent (1Ch 27:5), and joined in the sacred music (1Ch 16:6); David himself and "the captains of the host" arranged the prophetical duties (1
Chronicles 25:1); and his sons are actually called "priests" (2Sa 8:18; 1Ch 18:17, translated "chief," and αὐλάρχαι, "chief rulers"), as well as Ira, of Manasseh (2Sa 20:26, translated "chief ruler," but ἱερεύς). Such a union was never seen before or since in the Jewish history. Even Solomon fell below it in some important points.
e. From the internal state of David's kingdom we pass to its external relations. David's further victories are narrated in the following order- Philistines, Moab, Zobah, Edom, Northern League stirred up by the Ammonites, Ammon (see Hase, De regni David. et Salom. descriptio geogr. hist., Norimb. 1739, 1754).
1. The short and dry notice concerning the Philistines just gives us to understand that this is the era of their decisive, though not final subjugation. Their towns were despoiled of their wealth (2Sa 8; 2Sa 12), and doubtless all their arms and munitions of war passed over into the service of the conqueror.
2. The Moabites were a pastoral people, whose general relations with Israel appear to have been peaceful. The slight notice of Saul's hostilities with them (1Sa 14:47) is the only breach recorded since the time of Eglon and Ehud. In the book of Ruth we see them as friendly neighbors, and much more recently (1Sa 22:3-4) David committed his parents to the care of the king of Moab. We know no cause, except David's strength, which now drew his arms upon them. A people long accustomed to peace, in conflict with a veteran army, was struck down at once, but the fierceness of his triumph may surprise us. Two thirds of the population (if we rightly interpret the words, 2Sa 8:2) were put to the sword; the rest became tributary.
3. Who are meant by the Syrians of Zobah is still a problem. SEE ZOBAH. We here follow the belief that it was a power of northern Syria, then aiming at extensive empire, which had not only defeated and humbled the king of Hamath, but had obtained homage beyond the Euphrates. The trans-Jordanic tribes in the time of Saul had founded a little empire for themselves by conquering their eastern neighbors, the Hagarenes, and, perhaps, occasionally overran the district on the side of the Euphrates, which Hadadezer king of Zobah, considered as his own. His efforts "to recover his border at the river Euphrates" first brought him into collision with David, perhaps by an attack which he made on the roaming Eastern tribes. David defeated not merely his army, but that of Damascus too, which came too late with succor, and put Israelitish garrisons into the towns of the Damascenes (see Michaelis, Hist. bellorum Dav. c. rege Nesibeno, in his Commentatt. Soc. Gott. 1763, 2:71 sq.). In this career of success, we see, for the first time in history, the uniform superiority over raw troops of a power which is always fighting; whose standing army is ever gaining experience and mutual confidence.
4. Another victory, gained "in the valley of salt," ought, perhaps, to be read, as in 1Ch 18:12, and in the superscription of Psalm 60, "over the Edomites," not "over the Syrians." The difference of the Hebrew textual letters is very slight, ארם and אדם. The verse which follows (2Sa 8:14) seems to tell the result of this victory, viz. the complete subjugation and garrisoning of Edom, which, like Moab, was incorporated with David's empire. Immediately before this last conquest, as would appear, he wrote the 60th Psalm; and as that Psalm gives no hint of his achievements against the king of Zobah and the Damascenes, this is a strong ground for believing that those successes were not gained till somewhat later in time.
5. After David had become master of all Israel, of the Philistine towns, of Edom, and of Moab, while the Eastern tribes, having conquered the Hagarenes, threatened the Ammonites on the north, as did Moab on- the south, the Ammonites were naturally alarmed, and called in the powers of Syria to their help against a foe who was growing dangerous even to them, and whom they had provoked by a gross insult (see Lakemacher, De barba legatis Dav. abrasa, in his Observatt. Philol 10:145 sq.). The coalition against David is described as consisting of the Syrians of Bethrehob and of Maacah, of Zobah, and of Tob. The last country appears to have been in the district of Trachonitis, the first two immediately on the north of Israel. In this war we may believe that David enjoyed the important alliance of Toi, king of Hamath, who, having suffered from Hadadezer's hostility, courted the friendship of the Israelitish monarch (2Sa 8:9-10). We are barely informed that one division of the Israelites under Alishai was posted against the Ammonites; a second, under Joab, met the confederates from the north, 30,000 strong, and prevented their junction with the Ammonites. In both places the enemy was repelled, though, it would seem, with no decisive result. A second campaign, however, took place. The king of Zobah brought in an army of Mesopotamians, in addition to his former troops, and David found it necessary to make a levy of all Israel to meet the pressing danger. A pitched battle on a great scale was then fought at Helam — far beyond the limits of the twelve tribes — in which David was victorious. He is said to have slain, according to 2Sa 10:18, the men of 700 chariots, and 40,000 horsemen; or, according to 1Ch 19:18, the men of 7000 chariots, and 40,000 footmen. If we had access to the court-records of Hamath, we should probably find that Toi had assembled his whole cavalry to assist David, and that to him was due the important service of disabling or destroying the enemy's horse. Such foreign aid may explain the general result, without our obtruding a miracle, for which the narrative gives us not the least warrant. The Syrians henceforth left the Ammonites to their fate, and the petty chiefs who had been in allegiance to Hadadezer hastened to do homage to David. 6. Early in the next season Joab was sent to take vengeance on the Ammonites in their own home by attacking their chief city, or Rabbah of Ammon. The natural strength of their border could not keep out veteran troops and an experienced leader; and though the siege of the city occupied many months (if, indeed, it was not prolonged into the next year), it was at last taken. It is characteristic of Oriental despotism that Joab, when the city was nearly reduced, sent to invite David to command the final assault in person. David gathered a large force, easily captured the royal town, and despoiled it of all its wealth. His vengeance was as much more dreadful on the unfortunate inhabitants than formerly on the Moabites, as the danger in which the Ammonites had involved Israel had been more imminent, The persons captured in the city were put to death by torture; some of them being sawed in pieces, others chopped up with axes or mangled with harrows, while some were smothered in brick- kilns (2Sa 12:31; 1Ch 20:3). This severity was perhaps effectual in quelling future movements of revolt or war; for, until insurrections in Israel embolden them, foreign foes after this remain quiet. Others, however, understand that these prisoners of war were merely put to hard labor with the various instruments named. (See Danz, De mitigata Davidis in Anmonitas crudelitate, Jen. 1710; Nimptsch, De Ammonitis a Dau. absque crudelitate sub jugum missis, Lips. 1731). The royal: crown, or "crown of Milcom," was placed on David's head (2Sa 12:30), and, according to Josephus (Ant. 7:5), was always worn by him afterwards. The Hebrew tradition (Jerome, Qu. Heb. ad 1Ch 20:2) represents it as having been the diadem of the Ammonite god Milcom, or Moloch; and that Ittai the Gittite (doing what no Israelite could have done, for fear of pollution) tore it from the idol's head and brought it to David. The general peace which followed was commemorated in the name of "the Peaceful" (Solomon), given to the son born to him at this crisis.
To these wars in general may be ascribed Ps 9; Ps 10. To the Edomitish war, both by its title and contents, must be ascribed Ps 60:6-12 (108:13), describing the assault on Petra. Psalm 18 (repeated in 2 Samuel 22) is ascribed by its title, and appears from some expressions to belong to the day "when the Lord had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies," as well as "out of the hand of Saul" (2Sa 22:1; Ps 18:1). That "day" may be either at this time or at the end of his life. Ps 20; Ps 21 relate to the general union of religious and of military excellencies displayed at this time of his career. (Ps 21:3," Thou settest a crown of pure gold upon his head," not improbably refers to the golden crown of Ammon, 2Sa 12:30.)
3. David's subsequent History. — Three great calamities may be selected as marking the beginning, middle, and close of David's otherwise prosperous reign, which appear to be intimated in the question of Gad (2Sa 24:13), "a three years' famine, a three months' flight, or a three days' pestilence."
a. Of these, the first (the three years' famine) introduces us to the last notices of David's relations with the house of Saul. There has often arisen a painful suspicion in later times, as there seems to have been at the time (16:7), that the oracle which gave as the cause of the famine Saul's massacre of the Gibeonites may have been connected with the desire to extinguish the last remains of the fallen dynasty. But such an explanation is not needed. The massacre was probably the most recent national crime that had left any deep impression; and the whole tenor of David's conduct towards Saul's family is of an opposite kind. It was then that he took the opportunity of removing the bodies of Saul and Jonathan to their own ancestral sepulchre at Zelah (2Sa 21:14); and it was then, or shortly before, that he gave a permanent home and restored all the property of the family to Mephibosheth, the only-surviving son of Jonathan (2Sa 9; 2Sa 21:7). The seven who perished were two sons of Saul by Rizpah, and five grandsons — sons of Michal and Adriel (2Sa 21:8), as stated in the common Hebrew and Greek text, and in our received version; and Josephus imagines that they were born of her after a second divorce from David. But it is certain, from 1Sa 18:19, that Michal is here a mistake for Merab, which name De Wette has introduced into his version. The description of the other bereaved mother, Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah, who took her station upon the rock, and watched the bodies of her sons day and night, lest they should be devoured by beasts of prey or torn by the birds of the air, is deeply affecting. It touched the heart of David when he heard of it. He would not allow public decency to be any further offended to satisfy the resentment of the Gibeonites, but directed the bodies to be taken down and honorably deposited in the family sepulchre .
b. The second group of incidents contains the tragedy of David's life, which grew in all its parts out of the polygamy, with its evil consequences, into which he had plunged on becoming king.
(1.) Underneath the splendor of his last glorious campaign against the Ammonites was a dark story, known probably at that time only to a very few, and even in later times kept as much as possible out of the view of the people, but now recognised as one of the most instructive portions of his career — the double crime of adultery with Bathsheba, and of the virtual murder of Uriah. B.C. 1035. The crimes are undoubtedly those of a common Oriental despot. But the rebuke of Nathan, the sudden revival of the king's conscience, his grief for the sickness of the child, the gathering of his uncles and elder brothers around him, his return of hope and peace, are characteristic of David, and of David only. If we add to these the two psalms, the 32d and the 51st, of which the first by its acknowledged internal evidence, the second by its title, also claim to belong to this crisis of David's life, we shall feel that the instruction drawn from the sin has more than compensated to us at least for the scandal occasioned by it, (See Bebel, David peccans et poenitens, Argent. 1703.) But, though the "free spirit" and "clean heart" — of David returned, and although the birth of Solomon was as auspicious as if nothing had occurred to trouble the victorious festival which succeeded it, the clouds from this time gathered over David's fortunes, and henceforward "the sword never departed from his house" (2Sa 12:10). The outrage on his daughter Tamar, the murder of his eldest son Amnon, and then the revolt of his best beloved Absalom, brought on the crisis which once more sent him forth a wanderer, as in the days when he fled from Saul; and this, the heaviest trial of his life, was aggravated by the impetuosity of Joab, now, perhaps from his complicity in David's crime, more unmanageable than ever.
(2.) Of all his sons, Absalom had naturally the greatest pretensions, being, by his mother's side, grandson of Talmai, king of Geshur; while, through his personal beauty and winning manners, he was high in popular favor. It is evident, moreover, that he was the darling son of his father. When his own sister Tamar had been dishonored by her half-brother Amnon, the eldest son of David, Absalom slew him in vengeance, but, in fear of his father, then fled to his grandfather at Geshur. B.C. 1033. Joab, discerning David's longings for his son, effected his return after three years; but the conflict in the king's mind is strikingly shown by his allowing Absalom to dwell two full years in Jerusalem before he would see his face. SEE ABSALOM.
(3.) The insurrection of Absalom against the king was the next important event, in the course of which there was shown the general tendency of men to look favorably on young and untried princes rather than on those whom they know for better and for worse. B.C. 1023. Absalom erected his royal standard at Hebron first, and was fully prepared to slay his father outright, which might probably have been done if the energetic advice of Ahithophel had been followed. The rebellion was fostered apparently by the growing jealousy of the tribe of Judah at seeing their king absorbed into the whole nation; and if, as appears from 2Sa 11:3; 2Sa 23:34, Ahithophel was the grandfather of Bathsheba, its main supporter was one whom David had provoked by his own crimes.
It was apparently early on the morning of the day after he had received the news of the rebellion at Hebron that the king left the city of Jerusalem on foot. He was accompanied by a vast concourse, in the midst of which he and his body-guard were conspicuous. They started from a house on the outskirts of the city (2Sa 15:17, Sept.), and every stage of the mournful procession was marked by some incident which called forth a proof of the deep and lasting affection which the king's peculiar character had the power of inspiring in all who knew him. The first distinct halt was by a solitary olive-tree (2Sa 15:18, Sept.) that marked the road to the wilderness of the Jordan. Among his guard of Philistines and his faithful company of 600 he observed Ittai of Gath, and, with the true nobleness of his character, entreated the Philistine chief not to peril his own or his countrymen's lives in the service of a fallen and a stranger sovereign. But Ittai declared his resolution (with a fervor which almost inevitably recalls a like profession made almost on the same spot to the great descendant of David centuries afterwards) to follow him in life and in death. They all passed over the ravine of the Kedron; and here, when it became apparent that the king was really bent on departure, "the whole land wept with a loud voice" — the mountain and the valley resounded with the wail of the people. At this point they were overtaken by the two priests, Zadok and Abiathar, bringing the ark from its place on the sacred hill, to accompany David in his flight — Abiathar, the elder, going forward up the mountain, as the multitude defiled past him. Again, with a spirit worthy of the king, who was prophet as well as priest, David turned them back. He had no superstitious belief in the ark as a charm; he had too much reverence for it to risk it in his personal peril. And now the whole crowd turned up the mountain pathway; all wailing, all with their heads muffled as they went; the king only distinguished from the rest by his unsandaled feet. At the top of the mountain, consecrated by an altar of worship, they were met by Hushai the Archite, "the friend," as he was officially called, of the king. The priestly garment, which he wore after the fashion, as it would seem, of David's chief officers, was torn, and his head was smeared with dust, in the bitterness of his grief. In him David saw his first gleam of hope. A moment before, the tidings had come of the treason of Ahithophel; and, to frustrate his designs, Husbai was sent back, just in time to meet Absalom arriving from Hebron. It was noon when David passed over the mountain top, and now, as Jerusalem was left behind, and the new scene opened before him, two Taew characters appeared, both in connection with the hostile tribe of Benjamin, whose territory they were entering. One was Ziba, servant of Mephibosheth, taking advantage of the civil war to make his own fortunes. At Bahurim, also evidently on the downward pass, came forth one of its inhabitants, Shinmei, in whose furious curses broke out the longsuppressed hatred of the fallen family of Saul, as well perhaps as the popular feeling against the murderer of Uriah. With characteristic replies to both, the king descended to the Jordan valley (2Sa 16:14; and comp. 17:22; Joseph. Ant. 7:9, 4), and there rested after the long and eventful day at the ford or bridge (Abara) of the river. At midnight they were aroused by the arrival of the two sons of the high-priests, and by break of day they had reached the opposite side in safety.
To the dawn of that morning is to be ascribed Psalm 3, and (according to Ewald, though this seems less certain) to the previous evening Psalm 4. Psalm 143, by its title in the Sept., "When his son was pursuing him," belongs to this time. Also, by long popular belief, the Trans-Jordanic exile of Psalm 42 has been supposed to be David, and the complaints of Ps 55; Ps 69 to be leveled against Ahithophel (q.v.), who, on finding his advice disregarded, committed suicide in a fit of offended pride and despair (see Schwarz, De morte Achitophelis, Wittenb. 1704).
The history of the remaining period of the rebellion is comparatively brief. Mahanaim was the capital of David's exile, as it had been of the exiled house of Saul (2Sa 17:24; 2Sa 2:8,12). Three great chiefs of that pastoral district are specially mentioned as supporting him: one, of great age, not before named. Barzillai the Gileadite; the two others, bound to him by former ties, Shobi, the son of David's ancient friend Nahash, probably put by David in his brother's place (2Sa 12:30; 2Sa 10:2), and Machir, the son of Ammiel, the former protector of the child of David's friend Jonathan (2Sa 17:27; 2Sa 9:4). Strengthened by the warlike Eastern tribes, and surrounded by his experienced captains, the king no longer hesitated to meet Absalom in the field. His forces were arranged under the three great military officers who remained faithful to his fortunes — Joab, captain of the host; Abishai, captain of "the mighty men;" and Ittai, who seems to have taken the place of Benaiah (had he wavered in his allegiance, or was he appointed afterwards?), as captain of the guard (2Sa 18:2). On Absalom's side was David's nephew, Amasa (2Sa 17:25). The warlike spirit of the old king and of his faithful followers at this extremity of their fortunes is well depicted by Hushai, "chafed in their minds, as a bear robbed of her whelps in the 'field' (or a fierce wild boar in the Jordan valley, Sept.);" the king himself, as of old, lodging not with the people," but "hid in some pit or some other place" (2Sa 17:8-9). The final battle was fought in the "forest of Ephraim," resulting in a decisive victory on the part of David's forces, and terminating in the accident leading to the death of Absalom at the hand of Joab during the retreat. David was waiting the event of the battle in the gateway of Mahanaim. Two messengers, each endeavoring to outstrip the other, were seen running breathless from the field. The first who arrived was Ahimaaz, the son of Zadok, already employed as a messenger on the first day of the king's flight. He had been entreated by Joab not to make himself the bearer of tidings so mournful; and it would seem that when he came to the point his heart failed, and he spoke only of the great confusion in which he had left the army. At this moment the other messenger burst in — a stranger, perhaps an Ethiopian- and abruptly revealed the fatal news (2Sa 18:19-32). SEE CUSHI. The passionate burst of grief which followed is one of the best proofs of the deep affection of David's character. He wrapped himself up in his sorrow, and even at the very moment of his triumph he could not forget the hand that had slain his son. He made a solemn vow to supersede Joab by Amasa, and in this was laid the lasting breach between himself and his powerful nephew, which neither the one nor the other ever forgave (2Sa 19:13). Perhaps Joab on the former occasion, when he murdered Abner, had blinded the king by pleading revenge for the blood of Asahel, but no such pretense could here avail. The king was now probably brought to his determination partly by his disgust at Joab, partly by his desire to give the insurgents confidence in his amnesty. If Amasa is the same as Amasai, David may likewise have retained a grateful remembrance of the cordial greeting with which he had led a strong band to his assistance at the critical period of his abode in Ziklag (1Ch 12:18); moreover, Amasa, equally with Joab, was David's nephew, their two mothers, Abigail and Zeruiah, being sisters to David by at least one parent (2Sa 17:25; 1Ch 2:13,16). The unscrupulous Joab, however, was not so to be set aside., Before long, catching an opportunity, he assassinated his unsuspecting cousin with his own hand; and David, who had used the instrumentality of Joab to murder Uriah, did not dare to resent the deed (2Sa 20:5-12).
The return was marked at every stage by rejoicing and amnesty — Shimei forgiven, Mephibosheth partially reinstated, Barzallai rewarded by the gifts long remembered, to his son Chimham (2Sa 19:16-40; 1Ki 2:7). Judah was first reconciled. The embers of the insurrection still smoldering (2Sa 19:41-43) in David's hereditary enemies of the tribe of Benjamin were trampled out by the mixture of boldness and sagacity in Joab, now, after the murder of Amasa, once more in his old position. David again reigned in undisturbed peace at Jerusalem (2Sa 20:1-22).
(4.) A quarrel, however, which took place between the men of Judah and those of the other tribes in bringing the king back, had encouraged a Benjamite named Sheba to raise a new insurrection, which spread with wonderful rapidity. "Every man of Israel," are the strong words of the text, "went up from after David, and followed Sheba, the son of Bichri," a man of whom nothing besides is known. This strikingly shows that the later unpatriotic features of David's reign had to a great degree exhausted the enthusiasm once kindled by his devotion and chivalry, and that his throne now rested rather on the rotten foundation of mere military superiority. Amasa was collecting troops as David's general at the time when he was treacherously assassinated by his cousin, who then, with his usual energy, pursued Sheba, and blockaded him in Beth-maachah before he could collect his partisans. Sheba's head was cut off and thrown over the wall; and so ended the new rising (2Sa 20:1-22). Yet this was not the end of trouble, for the intestine war seems to have inspired the Philistines with the hope of throwing off the yoke. Four successive battles are recorded (2Sa 21:15-22), in the first of which the aged David was nigh being slain. His faithful officers kept him away from all future risks, and Philistia was once more, and finally, subdued.
c. The closing period of David's life, with the exception of one great calamity, may be considered as a gradual preparation for the reign of his successor. This calamity was the three days' pestilence which visited Jerusalem at the warning of the prophet Gad (see Blessig, De censu Dav. pesteque hunc secuta, Argent. 1788; Becker, Quare Deus Davidem pestilentia puniverit, Rost. 1767). The occasion which led to this warning was the census of the people taken by Joab at the king's orders (2Sa 24:1-9; 1Ch 21:1-7; 1Ch 27:23-24); an attempt not unnaturally suggested by the increase of his power, but implying a confidence and pride alien to the spirit inculcated on the kings of the chosen people. Joab's repugnance to the measure was such that he refused altogether to number Levi and Benjamin (1Ch 21:6). The king also scrupled to number those who were under twenty years of age (1Ch 27:23), and the final result was never recorded in the "Chronicles of King David" (1Ch 27:24). The plague, however, and its cessation were commemorated down to the latest times of the Jewish nation. Probably Ps 30; Ps 131 have reference to this time. But a more certain memorial was preserved on the exact spot which witnessed the close of the pestilence, or, as it was called, "The Death." Outside the walls of Jerusalem, Araunah or Ornan, a wealthy Jebusite — perhaps even a descendant of the ancient king of Jebus (2Sa 24:23) — possessed a threshing-floor; there he and his sons were engaged in threshing the corn gathered in from the harvest (1Ch 21:20). At this spot an awful vision appeared, such as is described in the later days of Jerusalem, of the Angel of the Lord stretching out a drawn sword between earth and sky over the devoted city. The scene of such an apparition at such a moment was at once marked out for a sanctuary. David demanded, and Araunah willingly granted, the site; the altar was erected on the rock of the threshing-floor; the place was called by the name of "Moriah" (2Ch 3:1); and for the first time a holy place, sanctified by a vision of the Divine presence, was recognized in Jerusalem. It was this spot which afterwards became the altar of the Temple, and therefore the center of the national worship, with but slight interruption, for more than 1000 years, and it is even contended that the same spot is the rock, still regarded with almost idolatrous veneration, in the centre of the Mussulman "Dome of the Rock" (see Prof. Willis in Williams's Holy City, 2).
The selection of the site of this altar probably revived the schemes of the king for the building of a permanent edifice to receive the ark, which still remained inside his own palace in its temporary tent. Such schemes, we are told, he had entertained after the capture of Jerusalem, or at the end of his wars. Two reasons were given for their delay: one, that the ancient nomadic form of worship was not yet to be abandoned (2Sa 7:6); the other, that David's wars unfitted him to be the founder of a seat of peaceful worship (1Ch 22:8). But a solemn assurance was given that his dynasty should continue "for ever" to prosecute the work (2Sa 7:13; 1Ch 22:9-10). Such a founder, and the ancestor of such a dynasty, was Solomon to be, and to him, therefore, the stores and the plans of the future Temple (according to 1Ch 22:2-19; 1Ch 28:1-29:19) were committed.
d. The last commotion recorded took place when David's end seemed nigh, and Adonijah, one of his elder sons, feared that the influence of Bathsheba might gain the kingdom for her own son Solomon. B.C. 1015. Adonijah's conspiracy was joined by Abiathar, one of the two chief priests, and by the redoubted Joab; upon which David took the decisive measure of raising Solomon at once to the throne. Of two young monarchs, the younger and the less known was easily preferred, when the sanction of the existing government was thrown into his scale; and the cause of Adonijah immediately fell to the ground. Zadok, Nathan, Benaiah, Shimei, and Rei remaining firm, the plot was stifled, and Solomon's inauguration took place under his father's auspices (1 Kings 1:1-53). SEE ADONIJAH. Amnesty was proclaimed to the conspirators, and was faithfully observed by Solomon till a later violation of its terms. SEE SOLOMON.
4. By this time David's infirmities had grown upon him. The warmth of his exhausted frame was attempted to be restored by the introduction of a young Shunamite, of the name of Abishag (q.v.), mentioned apparently for the sake of an incident which grew up in connection with her out of the later events (1Ki 1:1; 1Ki 2:17). His last song is preserved (see Pfeiffer,
Erklar. der sogenannten letzten Worte David's, Altdorf, 1774; De Baer, In ultima verba Davidis, in the Bibl. Hag. 2:439-504; Trendelenburg, In verba novissima Davidis, Gotting. 1779) — a striking union of the ideal of a just ruler which he had placed before him, and of the difficulties which he had felt in realizing it (2Sa 23:1-7). His last words, as recorded, to his successor are general exhortations to his duty, combined with warnings against Joab and Shimei, and charges to remember the children of Barzillai (1Ki 2:1-9).
He died B.C. 1013, at the age of seventy (2Sa 5:4), and "was buried in the city of David" (1Ki 2:10). After the return from the captivity. "the sepulchres of David" were still pointed out "between Siloah and the house of the 'mighty men,'" or "the guard-house" (Ne 3:16). His tomb, which became the general sepulchre of the kings of Judah, was point ed out in the latest times of the Jewish people. "His sepulchre is with us unto this day," says Peter at Pentecost (Ac 2:29); and Josephus (Ant. 7:15, 3; 13:8, 4; 16:7, 1) states that Solomon, having buried a vast treasure in the tomb, one of its chambers was broken open by Hyrcanus, and another by Herod the Great. It is said to have fallen into ruin in the time of Hadrian (Dio Cassius, 69:14). In Jerome's time a tomb, so called, was the object of pilgrimage (Ep. ad. Marcell. 17, 46), but apparently in the neighborhood of Bethlehem. The edifice shown as such from the Crusades to the present day is on the southern hill of modern Jerusalem, commonly called Mount Zion, under the so-called "Coenaculum." For the description of it, see Barclay's City of the Great King, p. 209. For the traditions concerning it, see Williams's Holy City, 2:509-513. The so-called "tombs of the kings" have of late been claimed as the royal sepulchre by De Saulcy (2. 162-215), who brought to the Louvre (where it may be seen) what he believed to be the lid of David's sarcophagus. But these tombs are outside the walls, and therefore cannot be identified with the tomb of David, which was emphatically within tie walls (see Robinson, 3, p. 252, note).
The character of David has been so naturally brought out in the incidents of his life that it need not be here described in detail (see Niemeyer, Charakt. 4:125 sq.). In the complexity of its elements, passion, tenderness, generosity, fierceness — the soldier, the shepherd, the poet, the statesman, the priest, the prophet, the king-the romantic friend, the chivalrous leader, the devoted father — there is no character of the O.T. at all to be compared to it. Jacob comes nearest in the variety of elements included within it. But David's character stands at a higher point of the sacred history, and represents the Jewish people just at the moment of their transition from the lofty virtues of the older system to the fuller civilization and cultivation of the later. In this manner he becomes naturally, if one may say so, the likeness or portrait of the last and grandest development of the nation and of the monarchy in the person and the period of the Messiah. In a sense more than figurative, he is the type and prophecy of Jesus Christ. Christ is not called the son of Abraham, or of Jacob, or of Moses, but he was truly "the son of David." To his own people, his was the name most dearly cherished after their first ancestor Abraham. "The city of David," "the house of David," "the throne of David," "the seed of David," "the oath sworn unto David" (the pledge of the continuance of his dynasty), are expressions which pervade the whole of the Old Testament and all the figurative language of the New, and they serve to mark the lasting significance of his appearance in history.
His Psalms (whether those actually written by himself be many or few) have been the source of consolation and instruction beyond any other part of the Hebrew Scriptures. In them appear qualities of mind and religious perceptions not before expressed in the sacred writings, but eminently characteristic of David — the love of nature, the sense of sin, and the tender, ardent trust in, and communion with, God. No other part of the Old Testament comes so near to the spirit of the New. The Psalms are the only expressions of devotion which have been equally used through the whole Christian Church — Abyssinian, Greek, Latin, Puritan, Anglican.
The difficulties that attend his character are valuable as proofs of the impartiality of Scripture in recording them, and as indications of the. union of natural power and weakness which his character included. The Rabbis in former times, and critics (like Bayle) in later times, have seized on its dark features and exaggerated them to the utmost. It has often been asked, both by scoffers and the serious, how the man after God's own heart could have murdered Uriah, and seduced Bathsheba, and tortured the Ammonites to death? An extract from one who is not a too-indulgent critic of sacred characters expresses at once the common sense and the religious lesson of the whole matter. "Who is called 'the man after God's own heart?' David, the Hebrew king, had fallen into sins enough-blackest crimes — there was no want of sin. And therefore the unbelievers sneer, and ask, 'Is this your man according to God's heart?' The sneer, I must say, seems to me but a shallow one. What are faults, what are the outward details of a life, if the inner seeret of it, the remorse, temptations, the often baffled, never ended struggle of it be forgotten? . . . David's life and history, as written for us in those Psalms of his, I consider to be the truest emblem ever given us of a man's moral progress and warfare here below. All earnest souls will' ever discern in it the faithful struggle of an earnest human soul towards what is good and test. Struggle often baffled — sore baffled — driven as into entire wreck; yet a struggle never ended, ever with tears, repentance, true unconquerable purpose begun anew" (Carlyle's Heroes and Hero-Worship, p. 72).
See generally Havercamp, Dav. res gestce vindicatae (L. B. 1735); Niemeyer, Ueber Leben und Char. Dav. (Hal. 1779); Ewald, Leben Dav. (Gera, 1795); Hauser, De Hist. Dav. (Tub. 1780); Hosmann, Hist. Sam. Sauli et Dav. (Kil. 1752); Feuerlein, Illustria Davidis facta exjurisprud. naturali illustrata (Alt. 1715); Newton, David, the King of Israel (Lond. 1854); Shepherd, Life of David illustrated by Psalms (Lond. 1858); A. L. O. E., Shepherd of Bethlehem (1861); Hasse, Idiognomik Davids (Jen. 1784); Metzger, Desiderium regis Dav. ad domnum Dei (Augsb. 1776); Serpilius, Personalia Davidis (vol. 9 of his Personalia, Leipsic, 1713); Krummacher, David the King [from the Germ.] (Edinb. 1867, N. Y. 1868). SEE PSALMS.
B. In phrases. — The "House of David" (Isa 7:2,13; Jer 21:12; Zec 13:1) signifies his family, posterity. "In David," that is, in the Book of David, the Psalms (Mt 22:42-45; Heb 4:7; Ps 95:7). The name "David," in Eze 34:23-24; Eze 37:24; Hcosiah 3:5, denotes the expected Messiah. "The Son of David" is often applied to Jesus as a title of the Messiah (Mt 1:1; Mt 9:27; Mt 12:23; Mt 15:22; Mt 20:30-31; Mr 10:47-48), but not in John's writings. So the "Root of David" is used in the same sense (Re 5:5; Re 22:16; Isa 11:1,10). Hence the kingdom or reign of the Messiah is designated by the appellations "the Kingdom of David" (Mr 11:10); "the Throne of David" (Lu 1:32); "the Tabernacle of David" (Ac 15:16; Am 9:10); "the Key of David" (Re 3:7; Isa 22:22; Mt 16:19).