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Priesthood-an immortal Priest like the ancient Melchizedek — it is as the mighty Leader who is to trample, like Joshua, on the necks of his enemies, who is to be surrounded by his armies, numerous and fresh and brilliant as the drops of the morning dew, striking through kings in the day of his wrath, filling his pathway with the corpses of the dead, wounding the heads of many countries, refreshed as he passes by the watercourse which divides country from country, and going on with his head aloft, conquering and to conquer.' This was the foundation of that resplendent image of the Messiah, which it required the greatest of all religious changes to move from the mind of the Jewish nation, in order to raise up instead of it the still more exalted idea which was to take its place -an Anointed Sovereign conquering by other arts than those of war, and in other dominions than those of earthly empire.
To understand how deeply this imagery is fixed in David's life, we must briefly pass through the wars in which the dominions of David assumed their new proportions.
His first conquests were over the Philistines. Two battles immediately following on the occupation of Jerusalem have been already noticed. But the complete reduction of the country was effected by the capture of Gath, and was the longest remembered. It was the scene of his own exile, and the chief of the five towns of Philistia, and was regarded as the key of the whole country. In the encounters which took place round this famous city may have occurred the adventurous single 3 combats between the warriors of David's army and the gigantic champions of Gath, which repeat his own first achievement. His nephew Jonathan, who must
· Ps. cx. 1 (see Ewald, iii. 202).
This (whatever be the precise meaning of Metheg-ammah) must be the general sense of 2 Sam. viii. 1,
and i Chr. xviii. 1. See Ecclus. xlvii. 7.
: 2 Sam. xxi. 15–22; 1 Chr. XX. 4-8.
have been but a youth, almost exactly re-enacts the original combat. It would seem that these were also the last occasions on which these personal displays of his prowess were made. He had so narrowly escaped, by the intervention only of his nephew Abishai, that henceforth he was kept out of the direct battle, lest he should extinguish the torch that lighted Israel on its way to victory."
The next war was with the hitherto friendly state of Moabite Moab, apparently in the depth of winter. It is a Jewish tradition that the King of Moab broke the trust which David had reposed in him, and put to death the aged parents confided to his charge. The invention of such a reason, if it be an invention, implies a sense that some explanation was needed of the vengeance, so terrible in its results, though so briefly reported, which exterminated one-third of the nation, and reduced the remainder to slavery. The treasures of Heshbon and Ar were carried off for the future temple which David was preparing. As Joab had won his high place by the capture of Jerusalein, it is probable that so his successor Benaiah won his place at the head of the royal guards by his three exploits in this campaign. But David's great war was that which, beginning and Ammonite
and Syrian ending with Ammon, involved in its sweep the whole country east of the Jordan as far as the Euphrates. The old king of Ammon, who had roused the hostilities of Saul, seems to have been proportionately friendly to the rival David-possibly from some family relationship obscurely indicated through the parentage of David's sister Abigail. A Jewisb tradition relates that on the slaughter of David's family by the neighbouring king of Moab, the one of his
I 2 Sam. xxi. 17. It has been argued, from 2 Sam. x, 18, xii. 29, that this must have been later in David's life. But there is no proof that in the Ammunite wars he was engaged in personal conflict.
2 2 Sam. xxiii. 20.
: See Lecture XXII. See the quo-
4 2 Sam. viii. 3.
brothers who escaped found shelter with Nahash. However this may be, on the death of Nahash, David sent messengers of condolence to his successor, who requited the embassy with an insult, which provoked the most determined vengeance recorded in the whole of David's reign. The war, thus begun, was divided into five distinct campaigns. The forces of Syria were subsidised by Ammon and combined in an attack on Medeba, a town of Reuben. To relieve this was the object of the first campaign, conducted by Joab, who undertook the attack on the Syrians, and Abishai, who undertook the attack on Ammon. The second campaign carried the war into a wider field. Syria became now the chief object. David himself appeared at the head of his army. The whole body of Aramaic tribes, even those from beyond the 2 Jordan, rallied in a death-struggle for their independence. At the decisive battle of Helam, they were routed, with the loss of their commander, Shobach, and a second victory reduced the capital, Damascus. The importance of the campaign was marked in many ways. It is the only war of this time that has left traces on heathen records. The Empire was at once extended to the Euphrates, and Israelite officers were placed over the intermediate towns. The King of Hamath, on the distant Orontes, became an ally of the victorious David. The trophies of the war long remained amongst the most conspicuous historic monuments of Jerusalem. The horses for which Syria was famous were destroyed, for their introduction into Israel was not yet come. But one hundred chariots came in stately procession to Jerusalem, and in the sacred ornaments of the Temple that was to be, the golden shields 5 and the brazen basin and columns long reminded
11 Chron. xix. 7-15; 2 Sam. X. 6-14.
? 2 Sam. x. 16; 1 Chron. xix. 16.
3 2 Sam. vii. 3; 1 Chr. viii. 11. (See Ewald, ii. 198.)
* Nicolaus of Damascus (Joseph. Ant. vii. 5, $2) and Eupolemus (Eusebius, Præp. Ev. ix. 30).
5 2 Sam. viii. 7; Cant. iv. 4. See Lecture XXVII.
the Israelites of the great fight beside the Euphrates. Some put their trust in chariots and some in horses, but
we will remember the name of Jehovah our God. They are brought down and fallen, but we are risen and stand “ upright.' So probably sang the Psalmists, who welcomed David home from this first stage of the war, with all that fervour of religious gratitude ? which saw in the Conqueror's brilliant deeds the reflection of the Divine favour.
The third campaign was against Edom. It would seem as Edomite if in preparation for this, David had arrayed the whole forces of Palestine. For this great attempt his Divine Protector had portioned out the ancient settlements of Jacob both on the west and east of Jordan. Shechem and Succoth, Gilead and Manasseh were both to be there. Ephraim was to be the covering helmet of the Mighty Leader, who had the rocky mass of Judah for his invincible head. Philistia had quailed before his mighty advance. He had washed his feet in Moab as in a basin of dregs, and now the sandal which had been drawn off for this act of scorn was to be held by Edom as by a submissive slave.3 That ancient enemy, the race of the red-haired Esau, we have not seen since the Passage through the Wildernesshardly since the day when the two brothers parted by the sepulchre of Isaac. Along all the red mountains of Edom, down to the impregnable city of the Rock, —the wild tribes came forth to assist their Ammonite neighbours against the new aggressor. The earlier stage of the war was conducted by Abishai, the later by Joab. Abishai won the victory by a decisive battle in a ravine, apparently commanding the approach to Petra, and then by the storming of the rocky hold itself. “Who will lead us into the
Ps. xx. 7 (Syr, version of title). • This seems the best explanation of Ps. Ix. 6–12, cviii. 7–13, which evidently contains the ancient Davidic Psalm of this period, afterwards ac
commodated in Ps. lx. 1-5, to a
3 Ps. cviii, 7-9.
strong city, who will bring us into Edom?' The conquest was completed by Joab. He took up his quarters in the captured city.
For six months he employed himself in the savage work of exterminating the rock population. With a grim performance of duty, he buried the corpses of the dead as fast as they fell in the tombs of Petra. The terror of his name? was so great, that long afterwards nothing but the news of his death could encourage the exiled chief who had escaped from this eastern Glencoe to return to the haunts of his fathers. David himself came at the close of the campaign to arrange the conquered territory. All that remained of the nation became his slaves; garrisons were established along the mountain passes, and David erected a 3 pillar or other triumphal monument, to commemorate the greatness of the success.
The fourth and fifth campaigns were reserved for the nation which had led to this widespreading war. The spring came, 'the time when kings go forth to battle,' and the devoted Ammonites, now stripped of their allies on north and south, were made over to the relentless Joab. Amongst the hills on the edge of the pastoral country, was the great • city,' * Rabbah of the children of Ammon.' It consisted of a lower town and a citadel. The lower town was, probably from the residence of the kings, called the royal city,' and, from the unusual sight of a perennial stream of water rising within the town and running through it, the city
of waters.' The citadel, properly called “Rabbah,' was on a steep cliff on the north side of the town. It contained the temple of Moloch, the god or ‘king' of Ammon, to whom were made the sacrifices of children. The statue of the god was surmounted by a huge gold 6 crown, containing,
i Ps. lx, 9, cviii. 10.
3 2 Sam. viii. 13, 14 (LXX., Jerome, Gesenius, Ewald). For ‘Syrians' (Aram) should be read ·Edom.' See
VALLEY OF Salt in Dict. of Bible.
+ 2 Sam. xi. 1.
s See Sinai and Palestine, chap. VIII.
6 2 Sam. xii. 30.