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it seems that she was soon given away to one of the transJordanic friends of the house of Saul. Michal herself became enamoured of the boyish champion, and with her, at the cost of an hundred Philistine lives, counted in the barbarous fashion of the age, David formed his first great
marriage, and reached the very foot of the throne. His
More close, however, than the alliance with the royal friendship with
house by marriage, was the passionate friendship conceived Jonathan. for him by the Prince Jonathan; the first Biblical instance
of such a dear companionship as was common in Greece, and has been since in Christendom imitated, but never surpassed, in modern works of fiction. • The soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.'! Each found in each the affection that he found not in his own family. No jealousy of future eminence ever interposed. Thou shalt be king in Israel, and I shall be next to thee. By the gift of his royal mantle,? his sword, his girdle, and his famous bow, the Prince on his very first interview confirmed the compact which was to bind them together as by a sacramental union.
The successive snares laid by Saul to entrap him, and the open violence into which the king's madness twice broke out, 3 at last convinced him that his life was no longer safe. Jonathan he never saw again except by stealth. Michal was given in marriage to another-Phaltiel, an inhabitant of the neighbouring village of Gallim, and he saw her no more till long after her father's death.
The importance of the crisis is revealed by the amount of detail which clings to it. He was himself filled with grief and perplexity at the thought of the impending necessity of leaving the spot which had become his second home. His
1 1 Sam. xviii. 1; 2 Sam. i. 26.
9-11) is omitted in the Vatican MS.
passionate tears at night, his remembrance of his encounters with the lion in the pastures of Bethlehem, his bitter sense of wrong and ' ingratitude, apparently belong to this moment. The chief agent of Saul in the attack, was one of his own tribe, ? Cush; to whom David had formerly rendered
2 some service. A band of armed men encircled the whole town in which David's house stood; yelling like savage Eastern dogs, and returning, evening after evening, to take 3
their posts, to prevent his escape. So it was conceived, at least, in later tradition. That escape he effected by climbing out of the house window, probably over the wall of the town. His flight was concealed for some time by a device similar to that under cover of which a great potentate of our own time escaped from prison. The statué of the household genius was put in the bed, with its head covered by a goat's hair net ;“ and by this the pursuers were kept at bay till David was in safety. He sang of the power of his Divine Protector. The bows and arrows of the Benjamite archers were to be met by a mightier Bow and by sharper Arrows than their own; he sang aloud of His mercy in the morning; for He had been his defence and his refuge in the day of his trouble.5
He 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 boyhood at Bethlehem. It might almost seem as if David 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. The consecrated haunts which even over the mind of Saul exercised a momentary influence,' were not to become the permanent refuge of the greatest soul of that stirring age. Although up to this time both the king and himself bad thought that a reunion was possible, it now appeared that the madness of Saul became constantly more settled and ferocious; and David's danger proportionably greater. The tidings of it were conveyed to him in the secret interview with Jonathan, by the cairn of Ezel, of which the recollection was probably handed down through Jonathan's descendants when they came to David's court,
Ps. vi. 6-8, vii. 2, 4, 6 (Ewald). ? Ps. vii. 1.
· Title of Ps. lix, and see verses 3, 6, 14. There are expressions in this Pealm, however (verses 5,8,11), which look more like allusions to the invasion of the Scythians (see Ewald, Psalmen,
• So Ewald (iii. 101). The LXX. takes it to be a 'goat's liver,' which Josephus (Ant. vi. 11, $4) represents as a device to give the motion of palpitation and breathing.
5 Ps. vii. 12, 13, 17; lix. 16.
The interview brings out all the peculiarities of Jonathan's character-his little artifices, his love both for his father and his friend, his bitter disappointment at his father's ungovernable fury, his familiar sport of archery, under cover of which the whole meeting takes place. The former compact between the two friends is resumed, extending even to their immediate posterity; Jonathan laying such emphasis on this portion of the agreement, as almost to suggest the belief that he had a slight misgiving of David's future conduct in this respect. With tender words and wild tears, the two friends parted, never again to meet in the royal home.
His refuge in the centre of Prophetical influence had been discovered. He therefore turned to another sanctuary, one less congenial, but therefore less to be suspected. On the slope of Olivet, overlooking the still unconquered city of Jerusalem, all unconscious of the future sanctity of that venerable hill, stood the last relic of the ancient nomadic times — the Tabernacle of the Wanderings, round which since the fall of Shiloh had dwelt the descendants of the bouse of Eli. It was a little colony of Priests. No less tban eighty-five persons ministered there in the white linen
: Sam, xxi. 1; xxii. 18.
1 1 Sam. xix. 22-24.
dress of the Priesthood, and all their families and herds were gathered round them. The Priest was not so ready to befriend as had been the Prophet. As the solitary fugitive, famished and unarmed, stole up the mountain side, he met with a cold reception from the cautious and courtly Ahimelech. By a ready' story of a secret mission from Saul, and of a hidden company of attendants, he put Abimelech off his guard; and by an urgent entreaty, it may be, by a gentle flattery,' persuaded him to give him five loaves from the consecrated store, and the sword of the Philistine giant from its place behind the sacred vestment of the priestly oracle, and through that oracle to give him counsel for his future guidance. It was a slight incident, as it would seem, in the flight of David, but it led to terrible results, it was fraught with a momentous lesson. As the loaves and the sword were handed to David out of the sacred curtains, his eye rested on a well-known face, which filled him with dismay. It was Doeg, the Edomite * keeper of Saul's stables, who had in earlier years (so it was believed) chosen him as Saul's minstrel. He was for some ceremonial reason enclosed within the sacred precincts; and David immediately augured ill. On the information of Doeg followed one of those ruthless massacres with which the history of this age abounds, the house of Ithamar was destroyed, and the sanctuary of Nob overthrown. It may be that with the savage sentiment of revenge was mingled in the King's mind some pretext from the profanation of the sacred bread for common use.
Jewish teachers in later times imagined that the loaves thus given became useless in the hands of the hungry 5 fugitive. But a Higher than Saul or
This is given somewhat differently in the Hebrew and in the LXX.
: 1 Sam. xxii. 9, 15.
1 Sam xxi. 7; xxii. 22. Lecture XX.
'1 Sam. xxi. 5, 'It is sanctified this day by the instrument,' i.e. by him that gives it (so Thenius).
5 Jerome, Qu. Heb. in loc.
At the court of Achish.
David selected this act of Abimelech ' as the one incident in David's life on which to bestow His especial commendation ; because it contained — however tremulously and guardedly expressed--the great Evangelical truth that the ceremonial law, however rigid, must give way before the claims of suffering humanity.
Prophet and Priest having alike failed to protect hini, David now threw himself on the mercy of his enemies, the Philistines. They seem to have been at this time united under a single head, Achish, King of Gath, and in his court David took refuge. There, at least, Saul could not pursue him. But, discovered possibly by the sword of Goliath,' his presence revived the national enmity of the Philistines against their former conqueror. According to one version he was actually imprisoned, and was in danger of his ? life; and he only escaped by feigning a madness, probably suggested by the ecstasies of the Prophetic schools; violent gestures, playing on the gates of the city, as on a drum or cymbal, letting his beard grow, and foaming at the mouth. * There was a noble song of triumph ascribed to him on the success of this plan. Even if not actually composed by him, it is remarkable as showing what a religious aspect was ascribed in after times to one of the most secular and natural events of his life. • The angel of the Lord encamped about him in his prison, and delivered him.' And he himself is described as breathing the loftiest tone of moral dignity in the midst of his lowest degradation: Keep thy tongue from evil and thy • lips that they speak no guile. Depart from evil and do ' good, seek peace and pursue it.''
I Matt. xii. 3 ; Mark ii. 25; Luke vi. 3, 4.
2 Title of Ps. lvi.
$ This is the subject of one of David's apocryphal colloquies (Fabri. cius, p. 1002).
• 1 Sam. xxi. 13, LXX. Aghyle Aga, a well-known modern Arab chief, escaped from the gorernor of Acre in like manner, pretending to be a mad dervish.
$ Ps. xxxiv. 1, 7, 21.