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according to later i tradition, a precious stone of magnetic power. The country which he overlooked was regarded as bis possession. His priests ranked above the nobles. The nobles took their rank as his servants.2

Against this city the whole force of Israel was gathered under Joab. The king's own guards 3 were there, and (to mark the magnitude of the crisis) the Ark, for the first time since its return from the Philistine captivity, is recorded to have accompanied the expedition. The army was encamped in booths 5 round the city. For a whole year — probably from its perennial stream-it held out against the besiegers. From a particular part of the wall, constant sallies were made. On one occasion, for reasons at the time unknown to the army, Joab ordered a detachment headed by one of the bravest and best of the king's officers to come within the fatal range. The siege continued notwithstanding, and the lower town was at last taken. Then, with the true loyalty of his character, Joab sent a triumphant message to his uncle at Jerusalem, inviting him to come and finish the war for himself. “I have fought against Rabbah, and have taken the city

of waters.' David was to do the rest, lest Joab take the city, and it be called after his name.' The king was roused from his ease at Jerusalem. The Ammonites with all their property had crowded into the upper fortress; the one well within at last failed, and David entered the place in triumph. When they approached the statue of Moloch, there was, according to Jewish tradition, a panic in the ranks of the conquerors, till Ittai of Gath 6 — doing what no Israelite could have done for fear of the pollution—tore the vast golden covering from the idol's head, and brought it to David. It


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was purified, and from that time is described as the royal crown.- Thou hast set a crown of pure gold upon his head.''

So in all probability sang the Psalmist who celebrated this proud victory. He celebrated also its darker side. Thine • hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall ' find out those that hate thee. Thou shalt make them as a

fiery oven in the time of thy wrath.' The expressions agree well with the cruel extermination of the conquered inhabitants by fire? and by strange and savage tortures—a vengeance to be accounted for, not excused, by the formidable resistance of the besieged.

Thus ended the wars of David. It may be that the 18th Psalm was once again sung on this last deliverance from all his enemies.' It may be that the 68th Psalm received some new accommodation to the triumphal return of the Ark 3 to Jerusalem. The 21st Psalm, at any rate, wound up the joyous festival, with the glad thought that the king shall joy in Thy strength, O Lord; and in Thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice. Thou hast given him his heart's desire, and hast not denied him the request of his

lips. So it was to all outward appearance, and the new son who was born to him at this time received the auspicious name of Solomon, as if to inaugurate the universal peace and prosperity which seemed to have set in. It remains for us to trace the deep canker that lay concealed under this outward show.

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ii. 1).

1 Ps. xxi. 3; Joseph. Ant. vii. 7, $5.

? The burning alive of the captives which seems indicated in Psalm xxi. 9, and 2 Sam. xii. 31, appears to have been a custom usual in Trans-Jordanic

wars (Jer. xlviii. 45, xlix. 2; Amos

A similar custom existed among the Philistines (Judg. 1v. 6).

* Hengstenberg on Ps. Lxviii.



The Psalms which, by their titles or contents, belong to this period,

are :

For the affair of Uriah, Psalms xxxii., li.
For the revolt of Absalom, Psalms iii., iv., lxix. (?), cix. (?), cxliii.

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THREE great external calamities are recorded in David's reign, which may be regarded as marking its beginning, middle, and close. A three years' ' famine; a three months' ' exile; a three days' pestilence. Of these the first 2 has been already noticed in connexion with the last traces of the house of Saul. The third belongs to the last decline of his prosperity. But the second forms the culminating part of the group of incidents which contains the main tragedy of David's life. Amongst the thirty commanders of the thirty bands into Uriah and

Bathsheba. which the Israelite army of David was divided, was the gallant Uriah, like others of his officers," a foreignera Hittite. His 5 name, however, and perhaps his manner of speech, indicate that he had adopted the Jewish religion. He had married Bathsheba, a woman of extraordinary beauty, the daughter of Eliam,-one of his brother officers, and possibly the son of Ahithophel. He was passionately devoted to his wife, and their union was celebrated in Jerusalem as one of peculiar tenderness. He had a house in




' 2 Sam. xxiv. 13 (LXX.); 1 Chron. 11. 12. See Ewald, iii. 207.

* That it took place early in David's Fign appears (1) from the freshness of the allusion to Saul's act, 2 Sam. ui. 1, 2; (2) from the apparent allusion to the massacre of Saul's sons in 2 Sam. xvi. 8; (3) from the apparent connexion with 2 Sam. ix. (See Lecture XXI. Ewald, iii. 173, 174.)

* 2 Sam. xxiii. 39; 1 Chron, xi. 41.

* Ittai of Gath, Ishbosheth the Ca-
naanite, 2 Sam. xxiii, 8 (LXX.);
Zelek the Ammonite, xxiii. 37, Ismaiah
the Gibeonite, 1 Chron. xii. 4.

• Uriah, Ur-Jah='Fire of Jehovah.'
6 2 Sam. xi. 11.

? Ibid. xi. 3, xxiii. 34. Hence, per-
haps, as Professor Blunt conjectures
(Coincidences, II. x.), Uriah's first
acquaintance with Bathsheba.

8 Ibid. xii. 3.


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