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ship: religion was his first care, and the good of his subjects was the next.
No doubt he often recollected, with painful regret and tender sorrow, his dear friend Jonathan; but whilst his kingdom was in an unsettled state, he could not, with propriety and safety introduce into his family one of Saul's race; besides, it is probable, David supposed Mephibosheth was dead (as his nurse concealed him), and that he thought there were none of Jonathan's posterity alive; but as his covenant with his departed friend remained firmly impressed on his memory he resolved, (as soon as he had regulated the affairs of the state) to shew kindness to any one of Saul's family who might be living for Jonathan's sake; and when he found on enquiry that there was still a son of his left, his heart panted with impatience to shew him kindness,to succour and protect him.
How kindly did David remove the fears of Mephibosheth, and provide for the support of his houshold, by giving him the paternal inheritance of Saul, and receiving him into his own family.
Mephibosheth was now raised from a state of obscurity and apprehension, to plenty, ease, and magnificence; he had an ample fortune, and was treated as one of the royal family; besides all this, he enjoyed the confidence of the king, who without doubt took every opportunity of engaging his gratitude by acts of generosity and tenderness. Thus we find, that David was faithful in the performance of his promises, and did not suffer prosperity and success to obliterate the remembrance of those benefits which had been conferred on him in the time of his distress. How truly exemplary was his conduct in
DAVID'S AMBASSADORS ABUSED BY THE AMMONITES, A WAR ENSUES*.
WHEN David had settled the affairs of his kingdom, and testified his grateful respect for the memory of his dear friend Jonathan, he resolved to discharge another debt of gratitude by sending a friendly embassy to Hanun, the son of Nahash, king of the Ammonites, to condole with him on the death of his father, who had on some occasion shewed kindness to David, probably when he was persecuted by Saul.
Instead of receiving this compliment as it was intended, Hanun was persuaded by the princes of Ammon to regard it as an artifice of David's to inform himself of the strength of the city, that he might turn his arms against it; and as a mark of resentment for this supposed offence, Hanun caused David's ambassadors to be seized, and directed that they should have half their beards shaved off, and their garments cut short, and in this condition be sent back to their own country.
This was a very great indignity, because long beards and long garments were marks of honour and distinction; and cutting off the beard was a matter of the highest reproach at that time; for it was inflicted in some places as a punishment for heinous offences, and was a particular insult to the Jews, as their religion prohibited their cutting off any part of their beards.
David, though he must naturally resent this contemptuous and injurious treatment of his ambassadors, did not make any preparations for war, till the Ammonites, who
* 2 Sam. x.
expected to feel the effects of his resentment, had hired confederates and taken the field. It was a fixed principle with David, never to indulge his own revenge against any people; we may therefore conclude, that he referred himself to GOD, and had permission to send forth his army with Joab to repel the invasion.
Joab inadvertently exposed himself and his army to great danger, by not gaining proper information in respect to the situation of-the enemy; but with a happy presence of mind, and proper confidence in Gon, he animated his soldiers with a noble speech, and they drove their enemies before them. The sentiments Joab expressed were such as every commander, engaged in a proper cause, should endeavour to inspire înto his troops when preparing for battle-To be of good courage; to acquit themselves like men; and to leave the event of the battle to the LORD OF HOSTS.
Whether the season of the year was too far advanced to keep the field, or for what reason Joab returned to Jerusalem, we are not told; but it seems, the Syrians expected another attack, and prepared accordingly; when David learnt this, he collected his troops, and went against them in person; a battle ensued, in which was the greatest slaughter that is recorded in any of David's wars. It is said that David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, who were confederate with the Ammonites, and forty thousand horsemen.
The gaining of this battle effectually finished the Syrian war, and established David's dominions on that side, to the utmost extent of God's promise to Abraham.
"Now* was David advanced to the highest pitch of power and grandeur; he had been successful in eight several wars, all righteously begun; and what is very
*Delany's Life of King David.
extraordinary, had fought no battle which he did not win, and assaulted no city which he did not take-but the LORD was with him.
DAVID CAUSETH URIAH TO BE SLAIN IN BATTLEAND TAKETH BATHSHEBA TO BE HIS WIFE.
From 2 Samuel, Chap. xi, xii.
AND it came to pass, that after the year was expired at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Animon, and besieged Rabbah: but David tarried still at Jerusalem.
And it came to pass, that as David walked on the roof of his house, that he beheld a woman, and she was beautiful.
And David sent and enquired after her, and one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite. And David sent messengers and took her, but the woman returned to her husband's house.
And it came to pass that David wrote a letter to Joab saying, Set yeUriah in the forefront of the hottest battle; and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.
And it came to pass when Joab observed the city, that he assigned Uriah unto a place where he knew that valiant men where..
And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants of David, and Uriah the Hittite died also.
Then Joab sent, and told David all the things con. cerning the war.
And charged the messenger, saying, When thou hast
made an end of telling the matters of the war unto the king, and if so be that the king's wrath arise, and he say unto thee, Wherefore approached ye so nigh unto the city when ye did fight? knew ye not that they would shoot from the wall?
Who smote Abimelech the son of Jerub-besheth? did not a woman cast a piece of a mill-stone upon him from the wall, that he died in Thebez? why went ye nigh the wall? then say thou, Thy servant Urial the Hittite is dead also.
So the messenger went, and came and shewed David all that Joab had sent him for,
And the messenger said unto David, Surely the men prevailed against us, and came out unto us into the field, and we were upon them even unto the entering of the gate.
And the shooters shot from off the wall upon thy servants, and some of the king's servants be dead, and thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.
Then David said unto the messenger, Thus shalt thou say unto Joab, Let not this thing displease thee: for the sword devoureth one as well as another: make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it; and encourage thou him.
And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.
And when the mourning was past, David sent, and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a song but the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.
And the LORD sent Nathan unto David: and he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds; D 3