« AnteriorContinuar »
He was now an outcast from both nations. Israel and In the Philistia were alike closed against him. There was no re
Adullam. source but that of an independent outlaw. His first retreat was the cave of Adullam, probably the large cavern not far from Bethlehem, now called Khureitûn. From its vicinity to Bethlehem, he was joined there by his whole fanıily, now feeling themselves insecure from Saul's fury. This was probably the foundation of his intimate connection with his nephews, the sons of Zeruiab. Of these, Abisbai, with two other companions, was among the earliest. Besides these, were outlaws from every part, including doubtless some of the original Canaanites—of whom the name of one at least bas been preserved, Abimelech the Hittite. In the vast columnar halls and arched chambers of this subterranean palace, all who had any grudge against the existing system gathered round the hero of the coming age, the unconscious materials out of which a new world was to be formed. His next move was to a stronghold, either the moun- In the
6 tain afterwards called Herodium, close to Adullam, or the gigantic fastness afterwards called Masada, in the neighbourhood of En-gedi. Whilst there, he had, for the sake of greater security, deposited his aged parents beyond the Jordan, with their ancestral kinsmen of Moab. The neighbouring king, Nahash of Ammon, also treated him kindly.8 He was joined here by two separate bands. One was a detachment of men from Judah and Benjamin under his nephew Amasa, who henceforth attached himself to David's fortunes.9 Another was a little body of eleven Gadite 10
11 Sam. xxi. 1-xxvi. 25.
* See Bonar's Land of Promise, p. 244–247.
1 Sam. xxii. 1.
1 Chron. xi. 15, 20; 1 Sam. xxvi. 6: 2 Sam. xxiii. 13, 18.
51 Sam. xxvi. 6. Sibbechai, who kills the giant at Gob (2 Sam. xxi. 18), is said by Josephus to have been
6 1 Sam. xxii. 4, 5; 1 Chron. xii. 8, 16.
' Ithmah the Moabite (1 Chr. xi. 46) and Zelek the Ammonite (2 Sam. xxxii. 30) may have followed his track. $ 2 Såm. x. 2.
1 Chron. xii. 16–18. 10 1 Chron. xii. 8–15.
mountaineers, who swam the Jordan in flood-time to reach him. Each deserved special mention by name; each was renowned for his military rank or prowess; and their activity and fierceness was like the wild creatures of their own wild country ; like the gazelles of their hills, and the lions of their forests. Following on their track, as it would seem, another companion appears for the first time, a schoolfellow, if we may use the word, from the schools of Samuel, the prophet Gad,' who appears suddenly, like Elijah, as if too he, as his name implies, had come, like Elijah, from the hills and forests of Gad.
It was whilst he was with these little bands that a foray of the Philistines had descended on the vale of Rephaim in harvest time. The animals were there being laden with the ripe corn. The officer in charge of the expedition was on the watch in the neighbouring village of Bethlehem. David, in one of those passionate accesses of home-sickness, which belong to his character, had longed for a draught of water from the well, which he remembered by the gate of his native village, that precious water which was afterwards conveyed by costly conduits to Jerusalem." So devoted were his adherents, so determined to gratify every want, however trifling, that three of them started instantly, fought their way through the intervening army of the Philistines, and brought back the water. His noble spirit rose at the sight. With a still loftier thought than that which inspired Alexander's like sentiment in the desert of Gedrosia, he poured the cherished water on the ground—as an offering to the Lord.' That which had been won by the lives of those three gallant chiefs was too sacred for him to drink, but it was on that very account deemed by him as worthy to be consecrated in sacrifice to God as
1 1 Sam. xxii. 5.
15-19. See REPHAIM in Dict. of Bible.
See Ritter's Palestine, 278.
any of the prescribed offerings of the Levitical ritual. Pure Chivalry and pure Religion there found an absolute union. At the warning of Gad, David Aled next to the forest of In the
hills of Hareth (which has long ago been cleared away) among the Judah. hills of Judah, and there again fell in with the Philistines, and, apparently advised by Gad, made a descent on their foraging parties, and relieved a fortress of repute at that time, Keilah, in which he took up his abode until the harvest was gathered safely in. He was now, for the first time, in a fortified town of his own,' and to no other situation can we equally well ascribe what may be almost called the FortressHymn of the 31st Psalm.2 By this time the 400 who had joined him at Adullam 3 had swelled to 600. Here he received the tidings that Nob had been destroyed, and the priestly family exterminated. The bearer of this news was the only survivor of the house of Ithamar, Abiathar, who brought with him the High Priest's ephod, with the Urim and Thummim, which were henceforth regarded as Abiathar's special charge, and from him, accordingly, David received oracles and directions as to his movements. A fierce burst of indignation against Doeg, the author of the massacre, traditionally commemorates the period of the reception of this news.
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,' amongst the fastnesses of Judah.
The inhabitants of Keilah were probably Canaanites. At any rate, they could not be punished for sheltering the young outlaw. It may be, too, that the inhabitants of southern
' 1 Sam. xxii. 5, xxiii. 4,
? Ps. xxxi. 2, 3, 4, 8, 20, 21 (where the metrical rersion of Tate and Brady has inserted "Keilah's wellfenced town').
3 1 Sam. xxii. 2, xxiii. 13.
+1 Sam. xxiii. 6, xxi. 20-23. Jerome, Qu. Heb. on the passage.
5 Ps. lii. (title).
Judæa retained a fearful recollection of the victory of Saul over their ancient enemies,' the Amalekites, the great trophy of which had been set up on the southern Carmel. The pursuit (so far as we cano trace it) now becomes unusually hot.
He is in the wilderness of Ziph. Under the shade of the forest of Ziph for the last time, he sees Jonathan. Once (or twice) the Ziphites betray his movements to Saul. From thence Saul literally hunts him like a partridge, the treacherous Zipbites beating the bushes before him, or, like“ a single flea skipping from crag to crag before the 3,000 men stationed to catch even the print of his footsteps on the hills. David finds himself driven to a fresh covert, to 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 rock down one side of which David climbed, whilst Saul was surrounding the hill on the other side, and whence be was suddenly called away by a panic of Philistine invasion. On another occasion, David took refuge in a cave at Engedi, so called from the beautiful spring frequented by the wild goats which leap from rock to rock along the precipices immediately above the Dead Sea. The hills were covered with the pursuers. Into the cavern, where in the darkness no
was visible, Saul turned aside for a moment, as Eastern wayfarers are wont, from public observation. David and his followers were seated in the innermost recesses of the cave, and saw, without being seen, the King come in and sit down, spreading his
41 Sam. xxiv. 14, xxvi. 20; Heb.
See Lecture XXI. and Wright's
2 We cease to follow the events with exactness, partly from ignorance of the localities, partly because the same event seems to be twice narrated (1 Sam. xxiii. 19-24, xxvi. 1-4; and perhaps 1 Sam. xxiv. 1-22, xxvi. 5–25).
1 Sam. xxii. 16.
• Ibid. xxiii. 14, 22 (Heb. ‘foot'), 24 (LXX.), xxiv. 11, xxvi. 2, 20. 6 Ibid. xxiii, 25-29.
Ibid. xxiv. 1, 2.
Ibid. xxiv. 3, to cover his feet.' The Oriental usage leaves no doubt as to the nature of the act intended.
wide robe, as is usual in the East on such occasions, before and behind the person so occupied. There had been an augury, a prediction of some kind, that a chance of securing his enemy would be thrown in David's way. The followers in their dark retreat suggest that now is the time. David, with a characteristic mixture of humour and generosity, descends and silently cuts off the skirt of the long robe from the back of the unconscious and preoccupied King, and then ensued the pathetic scene of remonstrance and forgiveness, which shows the true affection that lived beneath the hostility of the two rivals. The third meeting (if it can be distinguished from the one just given) was again in the wilderness of Ziph. The King was entrenched in a regular camp, formed by the usual Hebrew fortification of waggons and baggage. Into this enclosure David penetrated by night, and carried off the cruse of water, and the wellknown royal spear? of Saul, which had twice so nearly transfixed him to the wall in former days. The same scene is repeated as at Engedi—and this is the last interview between Saul and David. Return, my son David; for I will no
more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine • eyes this day. . . . . Blessed be thou, my son David; 'thou shalt both do great things and also shalt prevail.'3
The crisis was now passed. The earlier stage of David's life is drawing to its close. Samuel was dead, and with him the house of Ramah was extinct. Saul had ceased to be dangerous, and the end of that troubled reign was rapidly approaching. David is now to return to a greater than his former position, by the same door through which he left it, as an ally of the Philistine kings. We seem for a moment to find him in one of the levels of life, which like many transitional epochs have the least elevation. He comes back
si Sam. xxvi. 7, 11, 22.
i 1 Sam. xxiv. 4.
• Ibid. xxiv. 8-22. For the Mussulman legend, see Weil, p. 156.