UPON THE SECOND BOOK OF
This book IS the history of the reign of king David. We had, in the foregoing Book, an account of his designation to the government, and his struggles with Saul, which ended at length in the death of his persecutor. This Book begins with his accession to the throne, and is entirely taken up with the affairs of the government during the forty years he reigned, and therefore is entitled, by the Seventy, the Third Book of the Kings. It gives us an account of David's triumphs and his troubles.
I. His triumphs over the house of Saul; (ch. 1••4.) over the Jebusites and Philistines; (ch. 5.) at the bringing up of the ark; (ch. 6 and 7. ) over the neighbouring nations that opposed him, ch. 8••10. And so far the history is agreeable to what we might expect from David's character, and the choice made of him. But his cloud has a dark side.
II. We have his troubles, the cause of them, his sin in the matter of Uriah, (ch. 11 and 12.) the troubles themselves from the sin of Amnon, (ch. 13.) the rebellion of Absalom, (ch. 14••19 ) and of Sheba, (ch. 20.) and the plague in Israel for his numbering the people, (ch. 24.) beside the famine for the Gibeonites, (ch. 21.) His song we have, (ch. 22.) and his words and worthies, ch. 2o. Many things in this history are very instructive; but for the hero, that is the subject of it, though, in many instances, he appears here very great, and very good, and very much the favourite of Heaven, yet it must be confessed that his honour shines brighter in his Psalms than in his Annals.
II. SAMUEL, I.
In the close of the foregoing Book, (which with this is connected as a continuation of the same history,) we had Saul's exit; he went down slain to the pit, though he was the terror of the mighty in the land of the living. We are now to look toward the rising sun, and to inquire where David is, and what he is doing. In this chapter, we have, I. Tidings brought him to Ziklag of the death of Saul and Jonathan, by an Amalekite, who undertook to give him a particular narrative of it, v. 1..10. II. David's sorrowful reception of these tidings, v. 11, 12. III. Justice done upon the messenger, who boasted that he had helped Saul to despatch himself, v. 13..16. IV. An elegy which David penned upon this occasion, 17..27. And in all this, David's breast appears very happily free from the sparks, either of revenge or ambition, and he observes a very suitable demeanonr.
1. NOW it came to pass, after the death of Saul, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, and David had abode two days in Ziklag; 2. It came even to pass on the third day, that, behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul, with his clothes rent, and earth upon his head: and so it was, when he came to David, that he fell to the earth, and did obeisance. 3. And David said unto him, From whence comest thou? And he said unto him, Out of the camp of Israel am I escaped. 4. And David said unto him, How went the matter? I pray thee, tell me. And he answered. That the people are fled from the battle, and many of the people also are fallen and dead; and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also. 5. And David said unto the young man that told him. How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead? 6. And the young man that told him said, As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and, lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. 7