The life and reign of king David

 

 

From Patriarchs and Prophets

 

 

 

Table of Contents

 

 1. Why was Sin Permitted? ........................................ 33

 2. The Creation .................................................. 44

 3. The Temptation and Fall ....................................... 52

 4. The Plan of Redemption ........................................ 63

 5. Cain and Abel Tested .......................................... 71

 6. Seth and Enoch ................................................ 80

 7. The Flood ..................................................... 90

 8. After the Flood .............................................. 105

 9. The Literal Week ............................................. 111

10. The Tower of Babel ........................................... 117

11. The Call of Abraham .......................................... 125

12. Abraham in Canaan ............................................ 132

13. The Test of Faith ............................................ 145

14. Destruction of Sodom ......................................... 156

15. The Marriage of Isaac ........................................ 171

16. Jacob and Esau ............................................... 177

17. Jacob's Flight and Exile ..................................... 183

18. The Night of Wrestling ....................................... 195

19. The Return to Canaan ......................................... 204

20. Joseph in Egypt .............................................. 213

21. Joseph and His Brothers ...................................... 224

22. Moses ........................................................ 241

23. The Plagues of Egypt ......................................... 257

24. The Passover ................................................. 273

25. The Exodus ................................................... 281

26. From the Red Sea to Sinai .................................... 291

27. The Law Given to Israel ...................................... 303

28. Idolatry at Sinai ............................................ 315

29. Satan's Enmity Against the Law ............................... 331

30. The Tabernacle and Its Services .............................. 343

31. The Sin of Nadab and Abihu ................................... 359

32. The Law and the Covenants .................................... 363

33. From Sinai to Kadesh ......................................... 374

34. The Twelve Spies ............................................. 387

35. The Rebellion of Korah ....................................... 395

36. In the Wilderness ............................................ 406

37. The Smitten Rock ............................................. 411

38. The Journey Around Edom ...................................... 422

39. The Conquest of Bashan ....................................... 433

40. Balaam ....................................................... 438

41. Apostasy at the Jordan ....................................... 453

42. The Law Repeated ............................................. 462

43. The Death of Moses ........................................... 469

44. Crossing the Jordan .......................................... 481

45. The Fall of Jericho .......................................... 487

46. The Blessings and the Curses ................................. 499

47. League With the Gibeonites ................................... 505

48. The Division of Canaan ....................................... 510

49. The Last Words of Joshua ..................................... 521

50. Tithes and Offerings ......................................... 525

51. God's Care for the Poor ...................................... 530

52. The Annual Feasts ............................................ 537

53. The Earlier Judges ........................................... 543

54. Samson ....................................................... 560

55. The Child Samuel ............................................. 569

56. Eli and His Sons ............................................. 575

57. The Ark Taken by the Philistines ............................. 581

58. The Schools of the Prophets .................................. 592

59. The First King of Israel ..................................... 603

60. The Presumption of Saul ...................................... 616

61. Saul Rejected ................................................ 627

62. The Anointing of David ....................................... 637

63. David and Goliath ............................................ 643

64. David a Fugitive ............................................. 649

65. The Magnanimity of David ..................................... 660

66. The Death of Saul ............................................ 675

67. Ancient and Modern Sorcery ................................... 683

68. David at Ziklag .............................................. 690

69. David Called to the Throne ................................... 697

70. The Reign of David ........................................... 703

71. David's Sin and Repentance ................................... 717

72. The Rebellion of Absalom ..................................... 727

73. The Last Years of David ...................................... 746

    Appendix ..................................................... 757

 

 

 

Chap. 67 - Ancient and Modern Sorcery

 

     The Scripture account of Saul's visit to the woman of Endor has been a source of perplexity to many students of the Bible. There are some who take the position that Samuel was actually present at the interview with Saul, but the Bible itself furnishes sufficient ground for a contrary conclusion. If, as claimed by some, Samuel was in heaven, he must have been summoned thence, either by the power of God or by that of Satan. None can believe for a moment that Satan had power to call the holy prophet of God from heaven to honor the incantations of an abandoned woman. Nor can we conclude that God summoned him to the witch's cave; for the Lord had already refused to communicate with Saul, by dreams, by Urim, or by prophets. 1 Samuel 28:6. These were God's own appointed mediums of communication, and He did not pass them by to deliver the message through the agent of Satan.  {PP 683.1} 

     The message itself is sufficient evidence of its origin. Its object was not to lead Saul to repentance, but to urge him on to ruin; and this is not the work of God, but of Satan. Furthermore, the act of Saul in consulting a sorceress is cited in Scripture as one reason why he was rejected by God and abandoned to destruction: "Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it; and inquired not of the Lord: therefore He slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse." 1 Chronicles 10:13, 14. Here it is distinctly stated that Saul inquired of the familiar spirit, not of the Lord. He did not communicate with Samuel, the prophet of God; but through the sorceress he held intercourse with Satan. Satan could not present the real Samuel, but he did present a counterfeit, that served his purpose of deception.

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 {PP 683.2} 

     Nearly all forms of ancient sorcery and witchcraft were founded upon a belief in communion with the dead. Those who practiced the arts of necromancy claimed to have intercourse with departed spirits, and to obtain through them a knowledge of future events. This custom of consulting the dead is referred to in the prophecy of Isaiah: "When they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?" Isaiah 8:19.  {PP 684.1} 

     This same belief in communion with the dead formed the cornerstone of heathen idolatry. The gods of the heathen were believed to be the deified spirits of departed heroes. Thus the religion of the heathen was a worship of the dead. This is evident from the Scriptures. In the account of the sin of Israel at Bethpeor, it is stated: " Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor." Numbers 25:1-3. The psalmist tells us to what kind of gods these sacrifices were offered. Speaking of the same apostasy of the Israelites, he says, "They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead" (Psalm 106:28); that is, sacrifices that had been offered to the dead.  {PP 684.2}

     The deification of the dead has held a prominent place in nearly every system of heathenism, as has also the supposed communion with the dead. The gods were believed to communicate their will to men, and also, when consulted, to give them counsel. Of this character were the famous oracles of Greece and Rome.  {PP 684.3} 

     The belief in communion with the dead is still held, even in professedly Christian lands. Under the name of spiritualism the practice of communicating with beings claiming to be the spirits of the departed has become widespread. It is calculated to take hold of the sympathies of those who have laid their loved ones in the grave. Spiritual beings sometimes appear to persons in the form of their deceased friends, and relate incidents connected with their lives and perform acts which they performed while living. In this way they lead men to believe that their dead friends are angels, hovering over them and communicating with

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them. Those who thus assume to be the spirits of the departed are regarded with a certain idolatry, and with many their word has greater weight than the word of God.  {PP 684.4} 

     There are many, however, who regard spiritualism as a mere imposture. The manifestations by which it supports its claims to a supernatural character are attributed to fraud on the part of the medium. But while it is true that the results of trickery have often been palmed off as genuine manifestations, there have also been marked evidences of supernatural power. And many who reject spiritualism as the result of human skill or cunning will, when confronted with manifestations which they cannot account for upon this ground, be led to acknowledge its claims.  {PP 685.1} 

     Modern spiritualism and the forms of ancient witchcraft and idol worship--all having communion with the dead as their vital principle--are founded upon that first lie by which Satan beguiled Eve in Eden: "Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, . . . ye shall be as gods." Genesis 3:4, 5. Alike based upon falsehood and perpetuating the same, they are alike from the father of lies.  {PP 685.2} 

     The Hebrews were expressly forbidden to engage in any manner in pretended communion with the dead. God closed this door effectually when He said: "The dead know not anything. . . . Neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun." Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6. "His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." Psalm 146:4. And the Lord declared to Israel: "The soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set My face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people." Leviticus 20:6.  {PP 685.3}

     The "familiar spirits" were not the spirits of the dead, but evil angels, the messengers of Satan. Ancient idolatry, which, as we have seen, comprises both worship of the dead and pretended communion with them, is declared by the Bible to have been demon worship. The apostle Paul, in warning his brethren against participating, in any manner, in the idolatry of their heathen neighbors, says, "The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God, and I would not that ye

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should have fellowship with devils." 1 Corinthians 10:20. The psalmist, speaking of Israel, says that "they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils," and in the next verse he explains that they sacrificed them "unto the idols of Canaan." Psalm 106:37, 38. In their supposed worship of dead men they were in reality worshiping demons.  {PP 685.4}

     Modern spiritualism, resting upon the same foundation, is but a revival in a new form of the witchcraft and demon worship that God condemned and prohibited of old. It is foretold in the Scriptures, which declare that "in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." 1 Timothy 4:1. Paul, in his second letter to the Thessalonians, points to the special working of Satan in spiritualism as an event to take place immediately before the second advent of Christ. Speaking of Christ's second coming, he declares that it is "after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders." 2 Thessalonians 2:9. And Peter, describing the dangers to which the church was to be exposed in the last days, says that as there were false prophets who led Israel into sin, so there will be false teachers, "who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them. . . . And many shall follow their pernicious ways." 2 Peter 2:1, 2. Here the apostle has pointed out one of the marked characteristics of spiritualist teachers. They refuse to acknowledge Christ as the Son of God. Concerning such teachers the beloved John declares: "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father." 1 John 2:22, 23. Spiritualism, by denying Christ, denies both the Father and the Son, and the Bible pronounces it the manifestation of antichrist.  {PP 686.1} 

     By the prediction of Saul's doom, given through the woman of Endor, Satan planned to ensnare the people of Israel. He hoped that they would be inspired with confidence in the sorceress, and would be led to consult her. Thus they would turn from God as their counselor and would place themselves under the guidance of Satan. The lure by which spiritualism attracts the multitudes is its pretended power to draw aside the veil from the future and reveal to men what God has hidden. God has in His

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word opened before us the great events of the future--all that it is essential for us to know--and He has given us a safe guide for our feet amid all its perils; but it is Satan's purpose to destroy men's confidence in God, to make them dissatisfied with their condition in life, and to lead them to seek a knowledge of what God has wisely veiled from them, and to despise what He has revealed in His Holy Word.  {PP 686.2} 

     There are many who become restless when they cannot know the definite outcome of affairs. They cannot endure uncertainty, and in their impatience they refuse to wait to see the salvation of God. Apprehended evils drive them nearly distracted. They give way to their rebellious feelings, and run hither and thither in passionate grief, seeking intelligence concerning that which has not been revealed. If they would but trust in God, and watch unto prayer, they would find divine consolation. Their spirit would be calmed by communion with God. The weary and the heavy-laden would find rest unto their souls if they would only go to Jesus; but when they neglect the means that God has ordained for their comfort, and resort to other sources, hoping to learn what God has withheld, they commit the error of Saul, and thereby gain only a knowledge of evil.  {PP 687.1} 

     God is not pleased with this course, and has expressed it in the most explicit terms. This impatient haste to tear away the veil from the future reveals a lack of faith in God and leaves the soul open to the suggestions of the master deceiver. Satan leads men to consult those that have familiar spirits; and by revealing hidden things of the past, he inspires confidence in his power to foretell things to come. By experience gained through the long ages he can reason from cause to effect and often forecast, with a degree of accuracy, some of the future events of man's life. Thus he is enabled to deceive poor, misguided souls and bring them under his power and lead them captive at his will.  {PP 687.2}

     God has given us the warning by His prophet: "When they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Isaiah 8:19, 20.  {PP 687.3} 

     Shall those who have a holy God, infinite in wisdom and

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power, go unto wizards, whose knowledge comes from intimacy with the enemy of our Lord? God Himself is the light of His people; He bids them fix their eyes by faith upon the glories that are veiled from human sight. The Sun of Righteousness sends its bright beams into their hearts; they have light from the throne of heaven, and they have no desire to turn away from the source of light to the messengers of Satan.  {PP 687.4} 

     The demon's message to Saul, although it was a denunciation of sin and a prophecy of retribution, was not meant to reform him, but to goad him to despair and ruin. Oftener, however, it serves the tempter's purpose best to lure men to destruction by flattery. The teaching of the demon gods in ancient times fostered the vilest license. The divine precepts condemning sin and enforcing righteousness were set aside; truth was lightly regarded, and impurity was not only permitted but enjoined. Spiritualism declares that there is no death, no sin, no judgment, no retribution; that "men are unfallen demigods;" that desire is the highest law; and that man is accountable only to himself. The barriers that God has erected to guard truth, purity, and reverence are broken down, and many are thus emboldened in sin. Does not such teaching suggest an origin similar to that of demon worship?  {PP 688.1}

     The Lord presented before Israel the results of holding communion with evil spirits, in the abominations of the Canaanites: they were without natural affection, idolaters, adulterers, murderers, and abominable by every corrupt thought and revolting practice. Men do not know their own hearts; for "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." Jeremiah 17:9. But God understands the tendencies of the depraved nature of man. Then, as now, Satan was watching to bring about conditions favorable to rebellion, that the people of Israel might make themselves as abhorrent to God as were the Canaanites. The adversary of souls is ever on the alert to open channels for the unrestrained flow of evil in us; for he desires that we may be ruined, and be condemned before God.  {PP 688.2} 

     Satan was determined to keep his hold on the land of Canaan, and when it was made the habitation of the children of Israel, and the law of God was made the law of the land, he hated Israel with a cruel and malignant hatred and plotted their destruction.

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Through the agency of evil spirits strange gods were introduced; and because of transgression, the chosen people were finally scattered from the Land of Promise. This history Satan is striving to repeat in our day. God is leading His people out from the abominations of the world, that they may keep His law; and because of this, the rage of "the accuser of our brethren" knows no bounds. "The devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." Revelation 12:10, 12. The antitypical land of promise is just before us, and Satan is determined to destroy the people of God and cut them off from their inheritance. The admonition, "Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation" (Mark 14:38), was never more needed than now.  {PP 688.3} 

     The word of the Lord to ancient Israel is addressed also to His people in this age: "Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them;" "for all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord." Leviticus 19:31; Deuteronomy 18:12.  {PP 689.1} 

 

Chap. 68 - David at Ziklag

 

     David and his men had not taken part in the battle between Saul and the Philistines, though they had marched with the Philistines to the field of conflict. As the two armies prepared to join battle the son of Jesse found himself in a situation of great perplexity. It was expected that he would fight for the Philistines. Should he in the engagement quit the post assigned him and retire from the field, he would not only brand himself with cowardice, but with ingratitude and treachery to Achish, who had protected him and confided in him. Such an act would cover his name with infamy, and would expose him to the wrath of enemies more to be feared than Saul. Yet he could not for a moment consent to fight against Israel. Should he do this, he would become a traitor to his country--the enemy of God and of His people. It would forever bar his way to the throne of Israel; and should Saul be slain in the engagement, his death would be charged upon David.  {PP 690.1} 

     David was caused to feel that he had missed his path. Far better would it have been for him to find refuge in God's strong fortresses of the mountains than with the avowed enemies of Jehovah and His people. But the Lord in His great mercy did not punish this error of His servant by leaving him to himself in his distress and perplexity; for though David, losing his grasp on divine power, had faltered and turned aside from the path of strict integrity, it was still the purpose of his heart to be true to God. While Satan and his host were busy helping the adversaries of God and of Israel to plan against a king who had forsaken God, the angels of the Lord were working to deliver David from the peril into which he had fallen. Heavenly messengers moved upon the Philistine princes to protest against the presence of David and his force with the army in the approaching conflict.

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 {PP 690.2} 

     "What do these Hebrews here?" cried the Philistine lords, pressing about Achish. The latter, unwilling to part with so important an ally, answered, "Is not this David, the servant of Saul the king of Israel, which hath been with me these days, or these years, and I have found no fault in him since he fell unto me unto this day?"  {PP 691.1} 

     But the princes angrily persisted in their demand: "Make this fellow return, that he may go again to his place which thou hast appointed him, and let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he be an adversary to us: for wherewith should he reconcile himself unto his master? should it not be with the heads of these men? Is not this David, of whom they sang one to another in dances, saying, Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands?" The slaughter of their famed champion and the triumph of Israel upon that occasion were still fresh in the memory of the Philistine lords. They did not believe that David would fight against his own people; and should he, in the heat of battle, take sides with them, he could inflict greater harm on the Philistines than would the whole of Saul's army.  {PP 691.2} 

     Thus Achish was forced to yield, and calling David, said unto him, "Surely as Jehovah liveth, thou hast been upright, and thy going out and thy coming in with me in the host is good in my sight: for I have not found evil in thee since the day of thy coming unto me unto this day. Nevertheless the lords favor thee not. Wherefore now return, and go in peace, that thou displease not the lords of the Philistines."  {PP 691.3} 

     David, fearing to betray his real feelings, answered, "But what have I done? and what hast thou found in thy servant so long as I have been with thee unto this day, that I may not go fight against the enemies of my lord the king?"  {PP 691.4} 

     The reply of Achish must have sent a thrill of shame and remorse through David's heart, as he thought how unworthy of a servant of Jehovah were the deceptions to which he had stooped. "I know that thou art good in my sight, as an angel of God," said the king: "notwithstanding, the princes of the Philistines have said, He shall not go up with us to the battle. Wherefore now rise up early in the morning with thy master's servants that are come with thee: and as soon as ye be up early in the morning, and have light, depart." Thus the snare in which David had become entangled was broken, and he was set free.

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 {PP 691.5} 

     After three days' travel David and his band of six hundred men reached Ziklag, their Philistine home. But a scene of desolation met their view. The Amalekites, taking advantage of David's absence, with his force, had avenged themselves for his incursions into their territory. They had surprised the city while it was left unguarded, and having sacked and burned it, had departed, taking all the women and children as captives, with much spoil.  {PP 692.1} 

     Dumb with horror and amazement, David and his men for a little time gazed in silence upon the blackened and smoldering ruins. Then as a sense of their terrible desolation burst upon them, those battle-scarred warriors "lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep."  {PP 692.2} 

     Here again David was chastened for the lack of faith that had led him to place himself among the Philistines. He had opportunity to see how much safety could be found among the foes of God and His people. David's followers turned upon him as the cause of their calamities. He had provoked the vengeance of the Amalekites by his attack upon them; yet, too confident of security in the midst of his enemies, he had left the city unguarded. Maddened with grief and rage, his soldiers were now ready for any desperate measures, and they threatened even to stone their leader.  {PP 692.3} 

     David seemed to be cut off from every human support. All that he held dear on earth had been swept from him. Saul had driven him from his country; the Philistines had driven him from the camp; the Amalekites had plundered his city; his wives and children had been made prisoners; and his own familiar friends had banded against him, and threatened him even with death. In this hour of utmost extremity David, instead of permitting his mind to dwell upon these painful circumstances, looked earnestly to God for help. He "encouraged himself in the Lord." He reviewed his past eventful life. Wherein had the Lord ever forsaken him? His soul was refreshed in recalling the many evidences of God's favor. The followers of David, by their discontent and impatience, made their affliction doubly grievous; but the man of God, having even greater cause for grief, bore himself with fortitude. "What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee" (Psalm 56:3), was the language of his heart. Though he himself

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could not discern a way out of the difficulty, God could see it, and would teach him what to do.  {PP 692.4}

     Sending for Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, "David inquired of the Lord, saying, If I pursue after this troop, shall I overtake them?" The answer was, "Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and shalt without fail recover all." 1 Samuel 30:8, R.V.  {PP 693.1} 

     At these words the tumult of grief and passion ceased. David and his soldiers at once set out in pursuit of their fleeing foe. So rapid was their march, that upon reaching the brook Besor, which empties near Gaza into the Mediterranean Sea, two hundred of the band were compelled by exhaustion to remain behind. But David with the remaining four hundred pressed forward, nothing daunted.  {PP 693.2} 

     Advancing, they came upon an Egyptian slave apparently about to perish from weariness and hunger. Upon receiving food and drink, however, he revived, and they learned that he had been left to die by his cruel master, an Amalekite belonging to the invading force. He told the story of the raid and pillage; and then, having exacted a promise that he should not be slain or delivered to his master, he consented to lead David's company to the camp of their enemies.  {PP 693.3} 

     As they came in sight of the encampment a scene of revelry met their gaze. The victorious host were holding high festival. "They were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah." An immediate attack was ordered, and the pursuers rushed fiercely upon their prey. The Amalekites were surprised and thrown into confusion. The battle was continued all that night and the following day, until nearly the entire host was slain. Only a band of four hundred men, mounted upon camels, succeeded in making their escape. The word of the Lord was fulfilled. "David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives. And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor anything that they had taken to them: David recovered all."  {PP 693.4} 

     When David had invaded the territory of the Amalekites, he had put to the sword all the inhabitants that fell into his hands.

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But for the restraining power of God the Amalekites would have retaliated by destroying the people of Ziklag. They decided to spare the captives, desiring to heighten the honor of the triumph by leading home a large number of prisoners, and intending afterward to sell them as slaves. Thus, unwittingly, they fulfilled God's purpose, keeping the prisoners unharmed, to be restored to their husbands and fathers.  {PP 693.5} 

     All earthly powers are under the control of the Infinite One. To the mightiest ruler, to the most cruel oppressor, He says, "Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further." Job 38:11. God's power is constantly exercised to counteract the agencies of evil; He is ever at work among men, not for their destruction, but for their correction and preservation.  {PP 694.1} 

     With great rejoicing the victors took up their homeward march. Upon reaching their companions who had remained behind, the more selfish and unruly of the four hundred urged that those who had had no part in the battle should not share the spoils; that it was enough for them to recover each his wife and children. But David would permit no such arrangement. "Ye shall not do so, my brethren," he said, "with that which the Lord hath given us. . . . As his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff; they shall part alike." Thus the matter was settled, and it afterward became a statute in Israel that all who were honorably connected with a military campaign should share the spoils equally with those who engaged in actual combat.  {PP 694.2} 

     Besides recovering all the spoil that had been taken from Ziklag, David and his band had captured extensive flocks and herds belonging to the Amalekites. These were called "David's spoil;" and upon returning to Ziklag, he sent from this spoil presents to the elders of his own tribe of Judah. In this distribution all those were remembered who had befriended him and his followers in the mountain fastnesses, when he had been forced to flee from place to place for his life. Their kindness and sympathy, so precious to the hunted fugitive, were thus gratefully acknowledged.  {PP 694.3} 

     It was the third day since David and his warriors returned to Ziklag. As they labored to restore their ruined homes, they watched with anxious hearts for tidings of the battle which they

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knew must have been fought between Israel and the Philistines. Suddenly a messenger entered the town, "with his clothes rent, and earth upon his head." He was at once brought to David, before whom he bowed with reverence, expressing recognition of him as a powerful prince, whose favor he desired. David eagerly inquired how the battle had gone. The fugitive reported Saul's defeat and death, and the death of Jonathan. But he went beyond a simple statement of facts. Evidently supposing that David must cherish enmity toward his relentless persecutor, the stranger hoped to secure honor to himself as the slayer of the king. With an air of boasting the man went on to relate that during the battle he found the monarch of Israel wounded, and sore pressed by his foes, and that at his own request the messenger had slain him. The crown from his head and the golden bracelets from his arm he had brought to David. He confidently expected that these tidings would be hailed with joy, and that a rich reward would be his for the part that he had acted.  {PP 694.4} 

     But "David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him: and they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the Lord, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword."  {PP 695.1} 

     The first shock of the fearful tidings past, David's thoughts returned to the stranger herald, and the crime of which, according to his own statement, he was guilty. The chief demanded of the young man, "Whence art thou?" And he answered, "I am the son of a stranger, an Amalekite. And David said unto him, How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the Lord's anointed?" Twice David had had Saul in his power; but when urged to slay him, he had refused to lift his hand against him who had been consecrated by the command of God to rule over Israel. Yet the Amalekite feared not to boast that he had slain the king of Israel. He had accused himself of a crime worthy of death, and the penalty was inflicted at once. David said, "Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the Lord's anointed."  {PP 695.2} 

     David's grief at the death of Saul was sincere and deep, evincing the generosity of a noble nature. He did not exult in the fall of his enemy. The obstacle that had barred his access to

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the throne of Israel was removed, but at this he did not rejoice. Death had obliterated the remembrance of Saul's distrust and cruelty, and now nothing in his history was thought of but that which was noble and kingly. The name of Saul was linked with that of Jonathan, whose friendship had been so true and so unselfish.  {PP 695.3} 

     The song in which David gave utterance to the feelings of his heart became a treasure to his nation, and to the people of God in all subsequent ages:

 

 

          "Thy glory, O Israel, is slain upon thy high places!

           How are the mighty fallen!

           Tell it not in Gath,

           Publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon;

           Lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice,

           Lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.

           Ye mountains of Gilboa,

           Let there be no dew nor rain upon you, neither fields of

              offerings:

           For there the shield of the mighty was vilely cast away,

           The shield of Saul as of one not anointed with oil. . . .

           Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives,

           And in their death they were not divided;

           They were swifter than eagles,

           They were stronger than lions.

           Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,

           Who clothed you in scarlet delicately,

           Who put ornaments of gold upon your apparel.

           How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!

           Jonathan is slain upon thy high places.

           I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan:

           Very pleasant hast thou been unto me:

           Thy love to me was wonderful,

           Passing the love of women.

           How are the mighty fallen,

           And the weapons of war perished!"

                                          2 Samuel 1:19-27, R.V.  {PP 696.1} 

 

Chap. 69 - David Called to the Throne

 

     The death of Saul removed the dangers that had made David an exile. The way was now open for him to return to his own land. When the days of mourning for Saul and Jonathan were ended, "David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the Lord said unto him, Go up. And David said, Whither shall I go up? And He said, Unto Hebron."  {PP 697.1} 

     Hebron was twenty miles north from Beersheba, and about midway between that city and the future site of Jerusalem. It was originally called Kirjath-arba, the city of Arba, the father of Anak. Later it was called Mamre, and here was the burial place of the patriarchs, "the cave of Machpelah." Hebron had been the possession of Caleb and was now the chief city of Judah. It lies in a valley surrounded by fertile hill country and fruitful lands. The most beautiful vineyards of Palestine were on its borders, together with numerous plantations of olive and other fruit trees.  {PP 697.2} 

     David and his followers immediately prepared to obey the instruction which they had received from God. The six hundred armed men, with their wives and children, their flocks and herds, were soon on the way to Hebron. As the caravan entered the city the men of Judah were waiting to welcome David as the future king of Israel. Arrangements were at once made for his coronation. "And there they anointed David king over the house of Judah." But no effort was made to establish his authority by force over the other tribes.  {PP 697.3} 

     One of the first acts of the new-crowned monarch was to express his tender regard for the memory of Saul and Jonathan. Upon learning of the brave deed of the men of Jabesh-gilead in rescuing the bodies of the fallen leaders and giving them honorable burial, David sent an embassy to Jabesh with the message,

                                                                           698

"Blessed be ye of the Lord, that ye have showed this kindness unto your lord, even unto Saul, and have buried him. And now the Lord show kindness and truth unto you: and I also will requite you this kindness." And he announced his own accession to the throne of Judah and invited the allegiance of those who had proved themselves so truehearted.  {PP 697.4} 

     The Philistines did not oppose the action of Judah in making David king. They had befriended him in his exile, in order to harass and weaken the kingdom of Saul, and now they hoped that because of their former kindness to David the extension of his power would, in the end, work to their advantage. But David's reign was not to be free from trouble. With his coronation began the dark record of conspiracy and rebellion. David did not sit upon a traitor's throne; God had chosen him to be king of Israel, and there had been no occasion for distrust or opposition. Yet hardly had his authority been acknowledged by the men of Judah, when through the influence of Abner, Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, was proclaimed king, and set upon a rival throne in Israel.  {PP 698.1} 

     Ishbosheth was but a weak and incompetent representative of the house of Saul, while David was pre-eminently qualified to bear the responsibilities of the kingdom. Abner, the chief agent in raising Ishbosheth to kingly power, had been commander-in-chief of Saul's army, and was the most distinguished man in Israel. Abner knew that David had been appointed by the Lord to the throne of Israel, but having so long hunted and pursued him, he was not now willing that the son of Jesse should succeed to the kingdom over which Saul had reigned.  {PP 698.2} 

     The circumstances under which Abner was placed served to develop his real character and showed him to be ambitious and unprincipled. He had been intimately associated with Saul and had been influenced by the spirit of the king to despise the man whom God had chosen to reign over Israel. His hatred had been increased by the cutting rebuke that David had given him at the time when the cruse of water and the spear of the king had been taken from the side of Saul as he slept in the camp. He remembered how David had cried in the hearing of the king and the people of Israel, "Art not thou a valiant man? and who is like to thee in Israel? wherefore then hast thou not kept thy lord the king? . . . This thing is not good that thou hast done. As the

                                                                           699

Lord liveth, ye are worthy to die, because ye have not kept your master, the Lord's anointed." This reproof had rankled in his breast, and he determined to carry out his revengeful purpose and create division in Israel, whereby he himself might be exalted. He employed the representative of departed royalty to advance his own selfish ambitions and purposes. He knew that the people loved Jonathan. His memory was cherished, and Saul's first successful campaigns had not been forgotten by the army. With determination worthy a better cause, this rebellious leader went forward to carry out his plans.  {PP 698.3} 

     Mahanaim, on the farther side of Jordan, was chosen as the royal residence, since it offered the greatest security against attack, either from David or from the Philistines. Here the coronation of Ishbosheth took place. His reign was first accepted by the tribes east of Jordan, and was finally extended over all Israel except Judah. For two years the son of Saul enjoyed his honors in his secluded capital. But Abner, intent upon extending his power over all Israel, prepared for aggressive warfare. And "there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker."  {PP 699.1} 

     At last treachery overthrew the throne that malice and ambition had established. Abner, becoming incensed against the weak and incompetent Ishbosheth, deserted to David, with the offer to bring over to him all the tribes of Israel. His proposals were accepted by the king, and he was dismissed with honor to accomplish his purpose. But the favorable reception of so valiant and famed a warrior excited the jealousy of Joab, the commander-in-chief of David's army. There was a blood feud between Abner and Joab, the former having slain Asahel, Joab's brother, during the war between Israel and Judah. Now Joab, seeing an opportunity to avenge his brother's death and rid himself of a prospective rival, basely took occasion to waylay and murder Abner.  {PP 699.2} 

     David, upon hearing of this treacherous assault, exclaimed, "I and my kingdom are guiltless before the Lord forever from the blood of Abner the son of Ner. Let it rest on the head of Joab; and on all his father's house." In view of the unsettled state of the kingdom, and the power and position of the murderers--for Joab's brother Abishai had been united with him--David could not visit the crime with just retribution, yet he publicly

                                                                           700

manifested his abhorrence of the bloody deed. The burial of Abner was attended with public honors. The army, with Joab at their head, were required to take part in the services of mourning, with rent garments and clothed in sackcloth. The king manifested his grief by keeping a fast upon the day of burial; he followed the bier as chief mourner; and at the grave he pronounced an elegy which was a cutting rebuke of the murderers. "The king lamented over Abner, and said:

 

 

          "Died Abner as a fool dieth?

           Thy hands were not bound,

           Nor thy feet put into fetters:

           As a man falleth before wicked men,

           So fellest thou."  {PP 699.3}

     David's magnanimous recognition of one who had been his bitter enemy won the confidence and admiration of all Israel. "All the people took notice of it, and it pleased them: as whatsoever the king did pleased all the people. For all the people and all Israel understood that day that it was not of the king to slay Abner the son of Ner." In the private circle of his trusted counselors and attendants the king spoke of the crime, and recognizing his own inability to punish the murderers as he desired, he left them to the justice of God: "Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel? And I am this day weak, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah be too hard for me: the Lord shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness."  {PP 700.1} 

     Abner had been sincere in his offers and representations to David, yet his motives were base and selfish. He had persistently opposed the king of God's appointment, in the expectation of securing honor to himself. It was resentment, wounded pride, and passion that led him to forsake the cause he had so long served; and in deserting to David he hoped to receive the highest position of honor in his service. Had he succeeded in his purpose, his talents and ambition, his great influence and want of godliness, would have endangered the throne of David and the peace and prosperity of the nation.  {PP 700.2} 

     "When Saul's son heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands were feeble, and all the Israelites were troubled." It was

                                                                           701

evident that the kingdom could not long be maintained. Soon another act of treachery completed the downfall of the waning power. Ishbosheth was foully murdered by two of his captains, who, cutting off his head, hastened with it to the king of Judah, hoping thus to ingratiate themselves in his favor.  {PP 700.3} 

     They appeared before David with the gory witness to their crime, saying, "Behold the head of Ishbosheth the son of Saul thine enemy, which sought thy life; and the Lord hath avenged my lord the king this day of Saul, and of his seed." But David, whose throne God Himself had established, and whom God had delivered from his adversaries, did not desire the aid of treachery to establish his power. He told these murderers of the doom visited upon him who boasted of slaying Saul. "How much more," he added, "when wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own house upon his bed? shall I not therefore now require his blood of your hand, and take you away from the earth? And David commanded his young men, and they slew them. . . . But they took the head of Ishbosheth and buried it in the sepulchre of Abner in Hebron."  {PP 701.1} 

     After the death of Ishbosheth there was a general desire among the leading men of Israel that David should become king of all the tribes. "Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh." They declared, "Thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the Lord said to thee, Thou shalt feed My people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel. So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and King David made a league with them in Hebron before the Lord." Thus through the providence of God the way had been opened for him to come to the throne. He had no personal ambition to gratify, for he had not sought the honor to which he had been brought.  {PP 701.2} 

     More than eight thousand of the descendants of Aaron and of the Levites waited upon David. The change in the sentiments of the people was marked and decisive. The revolution was quiet and dignified, befitting the great work they were doing. Nearly half a million souls, the former subjects of Saul, thronged Hebron and its environs. The very hills and valleys were alive with the multitudes. The hour for the coronation was appointed; the man who had been expelled from the court of Saul, who had fled

                                                                           702

to the mountains and hills and to the caves of the earth to preserve his life, was about to receive the highest honor that can be conferred upon man by his fellow man. Priests and elders, clothed in the garments of their sacred office, officers and soldiers with glittering spear and helmet, and strangers from long distances, stood to witness the coronation of the chosen king. David was arrayed in the royal robe. The sacred oil was put upon his brow by the high priest, for the anointing by Samuel had been prophetic of what would take place at the inauguration of the king. The time had come, and David, by solemn rite, was consecrated to his office as God's vicegerent. The scepter was placed in his hands. The covenant of his righteous sovereignty was written, and the people gave their pledges of loyalty. The diadem was placed upon his brow, and the coronation ceremony was over. Israel had a king by divine appointment. He who had waited patiently for the Lord, beheld the promise of God fulfilled. "And David went on, and grew great, and the Lord God of hosts was with him." 2 Samuel 5:10.  {PP 701.3}

 

Chap. 70 - The Reign of David

 

     As soon as David was established on the throne of Israel he began to seek a more appropriate location for the capital of his realm. Twenty miles from Hebron a place was selected as the future metropolis of the kingdom. Before Joshua had led the armies of Israel over Jordan it had been called Salem. Near this place Abraham had proved his loyalty to God. Eight hundred years before the coronation of David it had been the home of Melchizedek, the priest of the most high God. It held a central and elevated position in the country and was protected by an environment of hills. Being on the border between Benjamin and Judah, it was in close proximity to Ephraim and was easy of access to the other tribes.  {PP 703.1} 

     In order to secure this location the Hebrews must dispossess a remnant of the Canaanites, who held a fortified position on the mountains of Zion and Moriah. This stronghold was called Jebus, and its inhabitants were known as Jebusites. For centuries Jebus had been looked upon as impregnable; but it was besieged and taken by the Hebrews under the command of Joab, who, as the reward of his valor, was made commander-in-chief of the armies of Israel. Jebus now became the national capital, and its heathen name was changed to Jerusalem.  {PP 703.2} 

     Hiram, king of the wealthy city of Tyre, on the Mediterranean Sea, now sought an alliance with the king of Israel, and lent his aid to David in the work of erecting a palace at Jerusalem. Ambassadors were sent from Tyre, accompanied by architects and workmen and long trains laden with costly wood, cedar trees, and other valuable material.  {PP 703.3} 

     The increasing strength of Israel in its union under David, the acquisition of the stronghold of Jebus, and the alliance with Hiram, king of Tyre, excited the hostility of the Philistines, and they again invaded the country with a strong force, taking up

                                                                           704

their position in the valley of Rephaim, but a short distance from Jerusalem. David with his men of war retired to the stronghold of Zion, to await divine direction. "And David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go up to the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the Lord said unto David, Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand."  {PP 703.4} 

     David advanced upon the enemy at once, defeated and destroyed them, and took from them the gods which they had brought with them to ensure their victory. Exasperated by the humiliation of their defeat, the Philistines gathered a still larger force, and returned to the conflict. And again they "spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim." Again David sought the Lord and the great I AM took the direction of the armies of Israel.  {PP 704.1}

     God instructed David, saying, "Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees. And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the Lord go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines." If David, like Saul, had chosen his own way, success would not have attended him. But he did as the Lord had commanded, and he "smote the host of the Philistines from Gibeon even to Gazer. And the fame of David went out into all lands; and the Lord brought the fear of him upon all nations." 1 Chronicles 14:16, 17.  {PP 704.2} 

     Now that David was firmly established upon the throne and free from the invasions of foreign foes, he turned to the accomplishment of a cherished purpose--to bring up the ark of God to Jerusalem. For many years the ark had remained at Kirjath-jearim, nine miles distant; but it was fitting that the capital of the nation should be honored with the token of the divine Presence.  {PP 704.3} 

     David summoned thirty thousand of the leading men of Israel, for it was his purpose to make the occasion a scene of great rejoicing and imposing display. The people responded gladly to the call. The high priest, with his brethren in sacred office and the princes and leading men of the tribes, assembled at Kirjath-jearim. David was aglow with holy zeal. The ark was brought out from the house of Abinadab and placed upon a new cart drawn by oxen, while two of the sons of Abinadab attended it.  {PP 704.4} 

     The men of Israel followed with exultant shouts and songs of

                                                                           705

rejoicing, a multitude of voices joining in melody with the sound of musical instruments; "David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord . . . on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals." It had been long since Israel had witnessed such a scene of triumph. With solemn gladness the vast procession wound its way along the hills and valleys toward the Holy City.  {PP 704.5} 

     But "when they came to Nachon's threshing floor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God smote him there for his rashness; [MARGINAL READING] and there he died by the ark of God." A sudden terror fell upon the rejoicing throng. David was astonished and greatly alarmed, and in his heart he questioned the justice of God. He had been seeking to honor the ark as the symbol of the divine presence. Why, then, had that fearful judgment been sent to turn the season of gladness into an occasion of grief and mourning? Feeling that it would be unsafe to have the ark near him, David determined to let it remain where it was. A place was found for it nearby, at the house of Obed-edom the Gittite.  {PP 705.1}

     The fate of Uzzah was a divine judgment upon the violation of a most explicit command. Through Moses the Lord had given special instruction concerning the transportation of the ark. None but the priests, the descendants of Aaron, were to touch it, or even to look upon it uncovered. The divine direction was, "The sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die." Numbers 4:15. The priests were to cover the ark, and then the Kohathites must lift it by the staves, which were placed in rings upon each side of the ark and were never removed. To the Gershonites and Merarites, who had in charge the curtains and boards and pillars of the tabernacle, Moses gave carts and oxen for the transportation of that which was committed to them. "But unto the sons of Kohath he gave none: because the service of the sanctuary belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders." Numbers 7:9. Thus in the bringing of the ark from Kirjath-jearim there had been a direct and inexcusable disregard of the Lord's directions.  {PP 705.2} 

     David and his people had assembled to perform a sacred work, and they had engaged in it with glad and willing hearts;

                                                                           706

but the Lord could not accept the service, because it was not performed in accordance with His directions. The Philistines, who had not a knowledge of God's law, had placed the ark upon a cart when they returned it to Israel, and the Lord accepted the effort which they made. But the Israelites had in their hands a plain statement of the will of God in all these matters, and their neglect of these instructions was dishonoring to God. Upon Uzzah rested the greater guilt of presumption. Transgression of God's law had lessened his sense of its sacredness, and with unconfessed sins upon him he had, in face of the divine prohibition, presumed to touch the symbol of God's presence. God can accept no partial obedience, no lax way of treating His commandments. By the judgment upon Uzzah He designed to impress upon all Israel the importance of giving strict heed to His requirements. Thus the death of that one man, by leading the people to repentance, might prevent the necessity of inflicting judgments upon thousands.  {PP 705.3} 

     Feeling that his own heart was not wholly right with God, David, seeing the stroke upon Uzzah, had feared the ark, lest some sin on his part should bring judgments upon him. But Obed-edom, though he rejoiced with trembling, welcomed the sacred symbol as the pledge of God's favor to the obedient. The attention of all Israel was now directed to the Gittite and his household; all watched to see how it would fare with them. "And the Lord blessed Obed-edom, and all his household."  {PP 706.1} 

     Upon David the divine rebuke accomplished its work. He was led to realize as he had never realized before the sacredness of the law of God and the necessity of strict obedience. The favor shown to the house of Obed-edom led David again to hope that the ark might bring a blessing to him and to his people.  {PP 706.2} 

     At the end of three months he resolved to make another attempt to remove the ark, and he now gave earnest heed to carry out in every particular the directions of the Lord. Again the chief men of the nation were summoned, and a vast assemblage gathered about the dwelling place of the Gittite. With reverent care the ark was now placed upon the shoulders of men of divine appointment, the multitude fell into line, and with trembling hearts the vast procession again set forth. After advancing six paces the trumpet sounded a halt. By David's direction sacrifices of "oxen and fatlings" were to be offered. Rejoicing now took the place of trembling and terror. The king had laid

                                                                           707

aside his royal robes and had attired himself in a plain linen ephod, such as was worn by the priests. He did not by this act signify that he assumed priestly functions, for the ephod was sometimes worn by others besides the priests. But in this holy service he would take his place as, before God, on an equality with his subjects. Upon that day Jehovah was to be adored. He was to be the sole object of reverence.  {PP 706.3} 

     Again the long train was in motion, and the music of harp and cornet, trumpet and cymbal, floated heavenward, blended with the melody of many voices. "And David danced before the Lord," in his gladness keeping time to the measure of the song.  {PP 707.1} 

     David's dancing in reverent joy before God has been cited by pleasure lovers in justification of the fashionable modern dance, but there is no ground for such an argument. In our day dancing is associated with folly and midnight reveling. Health and morals are sacrificed to pleasure. By the frequenters of the ballroom God is not an object of thought and reverence; prayer or the song of praise would be felt to be out of place in their assemblies. This test should be decisive. Amusements that have a tendency to weaken the love for sacred things and lessen our joy in the service of God are not to be sought by Christians. The music and dancing in joyful praise to God at the removal of the ark had not the faintest resemblance to the dissipation of modern dancing. The one tended to the remembrance of God and exalted His holy name. The other is a device of Satan to cause men to forget God and to dishonor Him.  {PP 707.2} 

     The triumphal procession approached the capital, following the sacred symbol of their invisible King. Then a burst of song demanded of the watchers upon the walls that the gates of the Holy City should be thrown open:

 

 

          "Lift up your heads, O ye gates;

           And be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors;

           And the King of glory shall come in."  {PP 707.3} 

     A band of singers and players answered:

 

          "Who is this King of glory?"  {PP 707.4} 

     From another company came the response:

 

          "The Lord strong and mighty,

           The Lord mighty in battle."

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 {PP 707.5} 

     Then hundreds of voices, uniting, swelled the triumphal chorus:

 

 

          "Lift up your heads, O ye gates;

           Even lift them up, ye everlasting doors;

           And the King of glory shall come in."  {PP 708.1} 

     Again the joyful interrogation was heard, "Who is this King of glory?" And the voice of the great multitude, like "the sound of many waters," was heard in the rapturous reply:

 

 

          "The Lord of hosts,

           He is the King of glory." Psalm 24:7-10.  {PP 708.2}

     Then the gates were opened wide, the procession entered, and with reverent awe the ark was deposited in the tent that had been prepared for its reception. Before the sacred enclosure altars for sacrifice were erected; the smoke of peace offerings and burnt offerings, and the clouds of incense, with the praises and supplications of Israel, ascended to heaven. The service ended, the king himself pronounced a benediction upon his people. Then with regal bounty he caused gifts of food and wine to be distributed for their refreshment.  {PP 708.3} 

     All the tribes had been represented in this service, the celebration of the most sacred event that had yet marked the reign of David. The Spirit of divine inspiration had rested upon the king, and now as the last beams of the setting sun bathed the tabernacle in a hallowed light, his heart was uplifted in gratitude to God that the blessed symbol of His presence was now so near the throne of Israel.  {PP 708.4} 

     Thus musing, David turned toward his palace, "to bless his household." But there was one who had witnessed the scene of rejoicing with a spirit widely different from that which moved the heart of David. "As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal Saul's daughter looked through a window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart." In the bitterness of her passion she could not await David's return to the palace, but went out to meet him, and to his kindly greeting poured forth a torrent of bitter words. Keen and cutting was the irony of her speech:  {PP 708.5} 

     "How glorious was the king of Israel today, who uncovered himself today in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!"

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 {PP 708.6} 

     David felt that it was the service of God which Michal had despised and dishonored, and he sternly answered: "It was before the Lord, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel: therefore will I play before the Lord. And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honor." To David's rebuke was added that of the Lord: because of her pride and arrogance, Michal "had no child unto the day of her death."  {PP 711.1} 

     The solemn ceremonies attending the removal of the ark had made a lasting impression upon the people of Israel, arousing a deeper interest in the sanctuary service and kindling anew their zeal for Jehovah. David endeavored by every means in his power to deepen these impressions. The service of song was made a regular part of religious worship, and David composed psalms, not only for the use of the priests in the sanctuary service, but also to be sung by the people in their journeys to the national altar at the annual feasts. The influence thus exerted was far-reaching, and it resulted in freeing the nation from idolatry. Many of the surrounding peoples, beholding the prosperity of Israel, were led to think favorably of Israel's God, who had done such great things for His people.  {PP 711.2} 

     The tabernacle built by Moses, with all that appertained to the sanctuary service, except the ark, was still at Gibeah. It was David's purpose to make Jerusalem the religious center of the nation. He had erected a palace for himself, and he felt that it was not fitting for the ark of God to rest within a tent. He determined to build for it a temple of such magnificence as should express Israel's appreciation of the honor granted the nation in the abiding presence of Jehovah their King. Communicating his purpose to the prophet Nathan, he received the encouraging response, "Do all that is in thine heart; for the Lord is with thee."  {PP 711.3} 

     But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, giving him a message for the king. David was to be deprived of the privilege of building a house for God, but he was granted an assurance of the divine favor to him, to his posterity, and to the kingdom of Israel: "Thus saith Jehovah of hosts; I took thee

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from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel; and I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth. Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime."  {PP 711.4} 

     As David had desired to build a house for God, the promise was given. "The Lord telleth thee that He will make thee a house. . . . I will set up thy seed after thee. . . . He shall build a house for My name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom forever."  {PP 712.1} 

     The reason why David was not to build the temple was declared: "Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build a house unto My name. . . . Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies: . . . his name shall be Solomon [peaceable], and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. He shall build a house for My name." 1 Chronicles 22:8-10.  {PP 712.2} 

     Though the cherished purpose of his heart had been denied, David received the message with gratitude. "Who am I, O Lord God?" he exclaimed, "and what is my house, that Thou hast brought me hitherto? And this was yet a small thing in Thy sight, O Lord God; but Thou hast spoken also of Thy servant's house for a great while to come;" and he then renewed his covenant with God.  {PP 712.3} 

     David knew that it would be an honor to his name and would bring glory to his government to perform the work that he had purposed in his heart to do, but he was ready to submit his will to the will of God. The grateful resignation thus manifested is rarely seen, even among Christians. How often do those who have passed the strength of manhood cling to the hope of accomplishing some great work upon which their hearts are set, but which they are unfitted to perform! God's providence may speak to them, as did His prophet to David, declaring that the work which they so much desire is not committed to them. It is theirs to prepare the way for another to accomplish it. But instead of gratefully submitting to the divine direction, many fall back as

                                                                           713

if slighted and rejected, feeling that if they cannot do the one thing which they desire to do, they will do nothing. Many cling with desperate energy to responsibilities which they are incapable of bearing, and vainly endeavor to accomplish a work for which they are insufficient, while that which they might do, lies neglected. And because of this lack of co-operation on their part the greater work is hindered or frustrated.  {PP 712.4} 

     David, in his covenant with Jonathan, had promised that when he should have rest from his enemies he would show kindness to the house of Saul. In his prosperity, mindful of this covenant, the king made inquiry, "Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?" He was told of a son of Jonathan, Mephibosheth, who had been lame from childhood. At the time of Saul's defeat by the Philistines at Jezreel, the nurse of this child, attempting to flee with him, had let him fall, thus making him a lifelong cripple. David now summoned the young man to court and received him with great kindness. The private possessions of Saul were restored to him for the support of his household; but the son of Jonathan was himself to be the constant guest of the king, sitting daily at the royal table. Through reports from the enemies of David, Mephibosheth had been led to cherish a strong prejudice against him as a usurper; but the monarch's generous and courteous reception of him and his continued kindness won the heart of the young man; he became strongly attached to David, and, like his father Jonathan, he felt that his interest was one with that of the king whom God had chosen.  {PP 713.1} 

     After David's establishment upon the throne of Israel the nation enjoyed a long interval of peace. The surrounding peoples, seeing the strength and unity of the kingdom, soon thought it prudent to desist from open hostilities; and David, occupied with the organization and upbuilding of his kingdom, refrained from aggressive war. At last, however, he made war upon Israel's old enemies, the Philistines, and upon the Moabites, and succeeded in overcoming both and making them tributary.  {PP 713.2} 

     Then there was formed against the kingdom of David a vast coalition of the surrounding nations, out of which grew the greatest wars and victories of his reign and the most extensive accessions to his power. This hostile alliance, which really sprang from jealousy of David's increasing power, had been wholly

                                                                           714

unprovoked by him. The circumstances that led to its rise were these:  {PP 713.3} 

     Tidings were received at Jerusalem announcing the death of Nahash, king of the Ammonites--a monarch who had shown kindness to David when he was a fugitive from the rage of Saul. Now, desiring to express his grateful appreciation of the favor shown him in his distress, David sent ambassadors with a message of sympathy to Hanun, the son and successor of the Ammonite king. "Said David, I will show kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness unto me."  {PP 714.1} 

     But his courteous act was misinterpreted. The Ammonites hated the true God and were the bitter enemies of Israel. The apparent kindness of Nahash to David had been prompted wholly by hostility to Saul as king of Israel. The message of David was misconstrued by Hanun's counselors. They "said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honor thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? hath not David rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it?" It was by the advice of his counselors that Nahash, half a century before, had been led to make the cruel condition required of the people of Jabesh-gilead, when, besieged by the Ammonites, they sued for a covenant of peace. Nahash had demanded the privilege of thrusting out all their right eyes. The Ammonites still vividly remembered how the king of Israel had foiled their cruel design, and had rescued the people whom they would have humbled and mutilated. The same hatred of Israel still prompted them. They could have no conception of the generous spirit that had inspired David's message. When Satan controls the minds of men he will excite envy and suspicion which will misconstrue the very best intentions. Listening to his counselors, Hanun regarded David's messengers as spies, and loaded them with scorn and insult.  {PP 714.2} 

     The Ammonites had been permitted to carry out the evil purposes of their hearts without restraint, that their real character might be revealed to David. It was not God's will that Israel should enter into a league with this treacherous heathen people.  {PP 714.3} 

     In ancient times, as now, the office of ambassador was held sacred. By the universal law of nations it ensured protection from personal violence or insult. The ambassador standing as a representative of his sovereign, any indignity offered to him demanded

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prompt retaliation. The Ammonites, knowing that the insult offered to Israel would surely be avenged, made preparation for war. "When the children of Ammon saw that they had made themselves odious to David, Hanun and the children of Ammon sent a thousand talents of silver to hire them chariots and horsemen out of Mesopotamia, and out of Syria-maachah, and out of Zobah. So they hired thirty and two thousand chariots. . . . And the children of Ammon gathered themselves together from their cities, and came to battle." 1 Chronicles 19:6, 7.  {PP 714.4} 

     It was indeed a formidable alliance. The inhabitants of the region lying between the river Euphrates and the Mediterranean Sea had leagued with the Ammonites. The north and east of Canaan was encircled with armed foes, banded together to crush the kingdom of Israel.  {PP 715.1} 

     The Hebrews did not wait for the invasion of their country. Their forces, under Joab, crossed the Jordan and advanced toward the Ammonite capital. As the Hebrew captain led his army to the field he sought to inspire them for the conflict, saying, "Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the Lord do that which is good in His sight." 1 Chronicles 19:13. The united forces of the allies were overcome in the first engagement. But they were not yet willing to give over the contest, and the next year renewed the war. The king of Syria gathered his forces, threatening Israel with an immense army. David, realizing how much dependent upon the result of this contest, took the field in person, and by the blessing of God inflicted upon the allies a defeat so disastrous that the Syrians, from Lebanon to the Euphrates, not only gave up the war, but became tributary to Israel. Against the Ammonites David pushed the war with vigor, until their strongholds fell and the whole region came under the dominion of Israel.  {PP 715.2} 

     The dangers which had threatened the nation with utter destruction proved, through the providence of God, to be the very means by which it rose to unprecedented greatness. In commemorating his remarkable deliverances, David sings:

 

 

         "The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the

              God of my salvation:

          Even the God that executeth vengeance for me, and subdueth

              peoples under me.

                                                                           716

 

          He rescueth me from mine enemies:

          Yea, Thou liftest me up above them that rise up against me:

          Thou deliverest me from the violent man.

          Therefore I will give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, among the

               nations,

          And will sing praises unto Thy name.

          Great deliverance giveth He to His king;

          And sheweth loving-kindness to His anointed,

          To David and to his seed, forevermore."

                                              Psalm 18:46-50, R.V.  {PP 715.3}

     And throughout the songs of David the thought was impressed on his people that Jehovah was their strength and deliverer:

 

 

         "There is no king saved by the multitude of a host:

          A mighty man is not delivered by much strength.

          A horse is a vain thing for safety:

          Neither shall he deliver any by his great strength."

                                                       Psalm 33:16, 17.

 

 

         "Thou art my King, O God:

          Command deliverances for Jacob.

          Through Thee will we push down our enemies:

          Through Thy name will we tread them under that rise up

             against us.

          For I will not trust in my bow,

          Neither shall my sword save me.

          But Thou hast saved us from our enemies,

          And hast put them to shame that hated us." Psalm 44:4-7.

 

 

         "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses:

          But we will remember the name of Jehovah our God."

                                                      Psalm 20:7.  {PP 716.1}

     The kingdom of Israel had now reached in extent the fulfillment of the promise given to Abraham, and afterward repeated to Moses: "Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates." Genesis 15:18. Israel had become a mighty nation, respected and feared by surrounding peoples. In his own realm David's power had become very great. He commanded, as few sovereigns in any age have been able to command, the affections and allegiance of his people. He had honored God, and God was now honoring him.  {PP 716.2} 

     But in the midst of prosperity lurked danger. In the time of his greatest outward triumph David was in the greatest peril, and met his most humiliating defeat.  {PP 716.3} 

 

Chap. 71 - David's Sin and Repentance

 

     The Bible has little to say in praise of men. Little space is given to recounting the virtues of even the best men who have ever lived. This silence is not without purpose; it is not without a lesson. All the good qualities that men possess are the gift of God; their good deeds are performed by the grace of God through Christ. Since they owe all to God the glory of whatever they are or do belongs to Him alone; they are but instruments in His hands. More than this--as all the lessons of Bible history teach--it is a perilous thing to praise or exalt men; for if one comes to lose sight of his entire dependence on God, and to trust to his own strength, he is sure to fall. Man is contending with foes who are stronger than he. "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against wicked spirits in high places." Ephesians 6:12, margin. It is impossible for us in our own strength to maintain the conflict; and whatever diverts the mind from God, whatever leads to self-exaltation or to self-dependence, is surely preparing the way for our overthrow. The tenor of the Bible is to inculcate distrust of human power and to encourage trust in divine power.  {PP 717.1} 

     It was the spirit of self-confidence and self-exaltation that prepared the way for David's fall. Flattery and the subtle allurements of power and luxury were not without effect upon him. Intercourse with surrounding nations also exerted an influence for evil. According to the customs prevailing among Eastern rulers, crimes not to be tolerated in subjects were uncondemned in the king; the monarch was not under obligation to exercise the same self-restraint as the subject. All this tended to lessen David's sense of the exceeding sinfulness of sin. And instead of relying in humility upon the power of Jehovah, he began to trust to his own wisdom and might. As soon as Satan can separate the soul from

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God, the only Source of strength, he will seek to arouse the unholy desires of man's carnal nature. The work of the enemy is not abrupt; it is not, at the outset, sudden and startling; it is a secret undermining of the strongholds of principle. It begins in apparently small things--the neglect to be true to God and to rely upon Him wholly, the disposition to follow the customs and practices of the world.  {PP 717.2} 

     Before the conclusion of the war with the Ammonites, David, leaving the conduct of the army to Joab, returned to Jerusalem. The Syrians had already submitted to Israel, and the complete overthrow of the Ammonites appeared certain. David was surrounded by the fruits of victory and the honors of his wise and able rule. It was now, while he was at ease and unguarded, that the tempter seized the opportunity to occupy his mind. The fact that God had taken David into so close connection with Himself and had manifested so great favor toward him, should have been to him the strongest of incentives to preserve his character unblemished. But when in ease and self-security he let go his hold upon God, David yielded to Satan and brought upon his soul the stain of guilt. He, the Heaven-appointed leader of the nation, chosen by God to execute His law, himself trampled upon its precepts. He who should have been a terror to evildoers, by his own act strengthened their hands.  {PP 718.1} 

     Amid the perils of his earlier life David in conscious integrity could trust his case with God. The Lord's hand had guided him safely past the unnumbered snares that had been laid for his feet. But now, guilty and unrepentant, he did not ask help and guidance from Heaven, but sought to extricate himself from the dangers in which sin had involved him. Bathsheba, whose fatal beauty had proved a snare to the king, was the wife of Uriah the Hittite, one of David's bravest and most faithful officers. None could foresee what would be the result should the crime become known. The law of God pronounced the adulterer guilty of death, and the proud-spirited soldier, so shamefully wronged, might avenge himself by taking the life of the king or by exciting the nation to revolt.  {PP 718.2} 

     Every effort which David made to conceal his guilt proved unavailing. He had betrayed himself into the power of Satan; danger surrounded him, dishonor more bitter than death was

                                                                           719

before him. There appeared but one way of escape, and in his desperation he was hurried on to add murder to adultery. He who had compassed the destruction of Saul was seeking to lead David also to ruin. Though the temptations were different, they were alike in leading to transgression of God's law. David reasoned that if Uriah were slain by the hand of enemies in battle, the guilt of his death could not be traced home to the king, Bathsheba would be free to become David's wife, suspicion could be averted, and the royal honor would be maintained.  {PP 718.3} 

     Uriah was made the bearer of his own death warrant. A letter sent by his hand to Joab from the king commanded, "Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die." Joab, already stained with the guilt of one wanton murder, did not hesitate to obey the king's instructions, and Uriah fell by the sword of the children of Ammon.  {PP 719.1} 

     Heretofore David's record as a ruler had been such as few monarchs have ever equaled. It is written of him that he "executed judgment and justice unto all his people." 2 Samuel 8:15. His integrity had won the confidence and fealty of the nation. But as he departed from God and yielded himself to the wicked one, he became for the time the agent of Satan; yet he still held the position and authority that God had given him, and because of this, claimed obedience that would imperil the soul of him who should yield it. And Joab, whose allegiance had been given to the king rather than to God, transgressed God's law because the king commanded it.  {PP 719.2} 

     David's power had been given him by God, but to be exercised only in harmony with the divine law. When he commanded that which was contrary to God's law, it became sin to obey. "The powers that be are ordained of God" (Romans 13:1), but we are not to obey them contrary to God's law. The apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians, sets forth the principle by which we should be governed. He says, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1.  {PP 719.3} 

     An account of the execution of his order was sent to David, but so carefully worded as not to implicate either Joab or the king. Joab "charged the messenger saying, When thou hast made an end of telling the matters of the war unto the king,

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and if so be that the king's wrath arise, . . . then say thou, Thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also. So the messenger went, and came and showed David all that Joab had sent him for."  {PP 719.4}

     The king's answer was, "Thus shalt thou say unto Joab, Let not this thing displease thee, for the sword devoureth one as well as another: make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it: and encourage thou him."  {PP 720.1} 

     Bathsheba observed the customary days of mourning for her husband; and at their close "David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife." He whose tender conscience and high sense of honor would not permit him, even when in peril of his life, to put forth his hand against the Lord's anointed, had so fallen that he could wrong and murder one of his most faithful and most valiant soldiers, and hope to enjoy undisturbed the reward of his sin. Alas! how had the fine gold become dim! how had the most fine gold changed!  {PP 720.2} 

     From the beginning Satan has portrayed to men the gains to be won by transgression. Thus he seduced angels. Thus he tempted Adam and Eve to sin. And thus he is still leading multitudes away from obedience to God. The path of transgression is made to appear desirable; "but the end thereof are the ways of death." Proverbs 14:12. Happy they who, having ventured in this way, learn how bitter are the fruits of sin, and turn from it betimes. God in His mercy did not leave David to be lured to utter ruin by the deceitful rewards of sin.  {PP 720.3} 

     For the sake of Israel also there was a necessity for God to interpose. As time passed on, David's sin toward Bathsheba became known, and suspicion was excited that he had planned the death of Uriah. The Lord was dishonored. He had favored and exalted David, and David's sin misrepresented the character of God and cast reproach upon His name. It tended to lower the standard of godliness in Israel, to lessen in many minds the abhorrence of sin; while those who did not love and fear God were by it emboldened in transgression.  {PP 720.4} 

     Nathan the prophet was bidden to bear a message of reproof to David. It was a message terrible in its severity. To few sovereigns could such a reproof be given but at the price of certain death to the reprover. Nathan delivered the divine sentence unflinchingly, yet with such heaven-born wisdom as to engage the

                                                                           721

sympathies of the king, to arouse his conscience, and to call from his lips the sentence of death upon himself. Appealing to David as the divinely appointed guardian of his people's rights, the prophet repeated a story of wrong and oppression that demanded redress.  {PP 720.5} 

     "There were two men in one city," he said, "the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: but the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there came a traveler unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man's lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him."  {PP 721.1} 

     The anger of the king was roused, and he exclaimed, "As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing is worthy to die. And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity." 2 Samuel 12:5, 6, margin.  {PP 721.2} 

     Nathan fixed his eyes upon the king; then, lifting his right hand to heaven, he solemnly declared, "Thou art the man." "Wherefore," he continued, "hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight?" The guilty may attempt, as David had done, to conceal their crime from men; they may seek to bury the evil deed forever from human sight or knowledge; but "all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." Hebrews 4:13. "There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known." Matthew 10:26.  {PP 721.3} 

     Nathan declared: "Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul. . . . Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house. . . . Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbor. . . . For thou didst it secretly; but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun."

                                                                           722

 {PP 721.4} 

     The prophet's rebuke touched the heart of David; conscience was aroused; his guilt appeared in all its enormity. His soul was bowed in penitence before God. With trembling lips he said, "I have sinned against the Lord." All wrong done to others reaches back from the injured one to God. David had committed a grievous sin, toward both Uriah and Bathsheba, and he keenly felt this. But infinitely greater was his sin against God.  {PP 722.1} 

     Though there would be found none in Israel to execute the sentence of death upon the anointed of the Lord, David trembled, lest, guilty and unforgiven, he should be cut down by the swift judgment of God. But the message was sent him by the prophet, "The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die." Yet justice must be maintained. The sentence of death was transferred from David to the child of his sin. Thus the king was given opportunity for repentance; while to him the suffering and death of the child, as a part of his punishment, was far more bitter than his own death could have been. The prophet said, "Because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die."  {PP 722.2} 

     When his child was stricken, David, with fasting and deep humiliation, pleaded for its life. He put off his royal robes, he laid aside his crown, and night after night he lay upon the earth, in heartbroken grief interceding for the innocent one suffering for his guilt. "The elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not." Often when judgments had been pronounced upon persons or cities, humiliation and repentance had turned aside the blow, and the Ever-Merciful, swift to pardon, had sent messengers of peace. Encouraged by this thought, David persevered in his supplication so long as the child was spared. Upon learning that it was dead, he quietly submitted to the decree of God. The first stroke had fallen of that retribution which he himself had declared just; but David, trusting in God's mercy, was not without comfort.  {PP 722.3} 

     Very many, reading the history of David's fall, have inquired, "Why has this record been made public? Why did God see fit to throw open to the world this dark passage in the life of one so highly honored of Heaven?" The prophet, in his reproof to David, had declared concerning his sin, "By this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme." Through successive generations infidels have pointed to the character of

                                                                           723

David, bearing this dark stain, and have exclaimed in triumph and derision, "This is the man after God's own heart!" Thus a reproach has been brought upon religion, God and His word have been blasphemed, souls have been hardened in unbelief, and many, under a cloak of piety, have become bold in sin.  {PP 722.4} 

     But the history of David furnishes no countenance to sin. It was when he was walking in the counsel of God that he was called a man after God's own heart. When he sinned, this ceased to be true of him until by repentance he had returned to the Lord. The word of God plainly declares, "The thing that David had done was evil in the eyes of the Lord." 2 Samuel 11:27, margin. And the Lord said to David by the prophet, "Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? . . . Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised Me." Though David repented of his sin and was forgiven and accepted by the Lord, he reaped the baleful harvest of the seed he himself had sown. The judgments upon him and upon his house testify to God's abhorrence of the sin.  {PP 723.1} 

     Heretofore God's providence had preserved David against all the plottings of his enemies, and had been directly exercised to restrain Saul. But David's transgression had changed his relation to God. The Lord could not in any wise sanction iniquity. He could not exercise His power to protect David from the results of his sin as he had protected him from the enmity of Saul.  {PP 723.2} 

     There was a great change in David himself. He was broken in spirit by the consciousness of his sin and its far-reaching results. He felt humbled in the eyes of his subjects. His influence was weakened. Hitherto his prosperity had been attributed to his conscientious obedience to the commandments of the Lord. But now his subjects, having a knowledge of his sin, would be led to sin more freely. His authority in his own household, his claim to respect and obedience from his sons, was weakened. A sense of his guilt kept him silent when he should have condemned sin; it made his arm feeble to execute justice in his house. His evil example exerted its influence upon his sons, and God would not interpose to prevent the result. He would permit things to take their natural course, and thus David was severely chastised.  {PP 723.3} 

     For a whole year after his fall David lived in apparent security; there was no outward evidence of God's displeasure. But

                                                                           724

the divine sentence was hanging over him. Swiftly and surely a day of judgment and retribution was approaching, which no repentance could avert, agony and shame that would darken his whole earthly life. Those who, by pointing to the example of David, try to lessen the guilt of their own sins, should learn from the Bible record that the way of transgression is hard. Though like David they should turn from their evil course, the results of sin, even in this life, will be found bitter and hard to bear.  {PP 723.4} 

     God intended the history of David's fall to serve as a warning that even those whom He has greatly blessed and favored are not to feel secure and neglect watchfulness and prayer. And thus it has proved to those who in humility have sought to learn the lesson that God designed to teach. From generation to generation thousands have thus been led to realize their own danger from the tempter's power. The fall of David, one so greatly honored by the Lord, has awakened in them distrust of self. They have felt that God alone could keep them by His power through faith. Knowing that in Him was their strength and safety, they have feared to take the first step on Satan's ground.  {PP 724.1} 

     Even before the divine sentence was pronounced against David he had begun to reap the fruit of transgression. His conscience was not at rest. The agony of spirit which he then endured is brought to view in the thirty-second psalm. He says:

 

 

          "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is

                covered.

           Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity,

           And in whose spirit there is no guile.

           When I kept silence, my bones waxed old

           Through my roaring all the day long.

           For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me:

           My moisture was changed as with the drought of summer."

                                                 Psalm 32:1-4, R.V.  {PP 724.2}

     And the fifty-first psalm is an expression of David's repentance, when the message of reproof came to him from God:

 

 

          "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy loving-kindness:

           According unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out

               my transgressions.

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           Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from

               my sin.

           For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before

               me. . . .

           Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I

               shall be whiter than snow.

           Make me to hear joy and gladness;

           That the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice.

           Hide Thy face from my sins,

           And blot out all mine iniquities.

           Create in me a clean heart, O God;

           And renew a right spirit within me.

           Cast me not away from Thy presence;

           And take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.

           Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation;

           And uphold me with Thy free Spirit.

           Then will I teach transgressors Thy ways;

           And sinners shall be converted unto Thee.

           Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my

               salvation:

           And my tongue shall sing aloud of Thy righteousness."

                                                     Psalm 51:1-14.  {PP 724.3}

     Thus in a sacred song to be sung in the public assemblies of his people, in the presence of the court--priests and judges, princes and men of war--and which would preserve to the latest generation the knowledge of his fall, the king of Israel recounted his sin, his repentance, and his hope of pardon through the mercy of God. Instead of endeavoring to conceal his guilt he desired that others might be instructed by the sad history of his fall.  {PP 725.1} 

     David's repentance was sincere and deep. There was no effort to palliate his crime. No desire to escape the judgments threatened, inspired his prayer. But he saw the enormity of his transgression against God; he saw the defilement of his soul; he loathed his sin. It was not for pardon only that he prayed, but for purity of heart. David did not in despair give over the struggle. In the promises of God to repentant sinners he saw the evidence of his pardon and acceptance.

 

 

          "For Thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it:

           Thou delightest not in burnt offering.

           The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit:

           A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise."

                                                    Psalm 51:16, 17.

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 {PP 725.2}

     Though David had fallen, the Lord lifted him up. He was now more fully in harmony with God and in sympathy with his fellow men than before he fell. In the joy of his release he sang:

 

 

          "I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I

               not hid.

           I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord;

           And Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. . . .

           Thou art my hiding place; Thou shalt preserve me from

               trouble;

           Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance."

                                                      Psalm 32:5-7.  {PP 726.1}

     Many have murmured at what they called God's injustice in sparing David, whose guilt was so great, after having rejected Saul for what appear to them to be far less flagrant sins. But David humbled himself and confessed his sin, while Saul despised reproof and hardened his heart in impenitence.  {PP 726.2} 

     This passage in David's history is full of significance to the repenting sinner. It is one of the most forcible illustrations given us of the struggles and temptations of humanity, and of genuine repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Through all the ages it has proved a source of encouragement to souls that, having fallen into sin, were struggling under the burden of their guilt. Thousands of the children of God, who have been betrayed into sin, when ready to give up to despair have remembered how David's sincere repentance and confession were accepted by God, notwithstanding he suffered for his transgression; and they also have taken courage to repent and try again to walk in the way of God's commandments.  {PP 726.3} 

     Whoever under the reproof of God will humble the soul with confession and repentance, as did David, may be sure that there is hope for him. Whoever will in faith accept God's promises, will find pardon. The Lord will never cast away one truly repentant soul. He has given this promise: "Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me." Isaiah 27:5. "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." Isaiah 55:7.  {PP 726.4} 

 

Chap. 72 - The Rebellion of Absalom

 

     "He shall restore fourfold," had been David's unwitting sentence upon himself, on listening to the prophet Nathan's parable; and according to his own sentence he was to be judged. Four of his sons must fall, and the loss of each would be a result of the father's sin.  {PP 727.1} 

     The shameful crime of Amnon, the first-born, was permitted by David to pass unpunished and unrebuked. The law pronounced death upon the adulterer, and the unnatural crime of Amnon made him doubly guilty. But David, self-condemned for his own sin, failed to bring the offender to justice. For two full years Absalom, the natural protector of the sister so foully wronged, concealed his purpose of revenge, but only to strike more surely at the last. At a feast of the king's sons the drunken, incestuous Amnon was slain by his brother's command.  {PP 727.2} 

     Twofold judgment had been meted out to David. The terrible message was carried to him, "Absalom hath slain all the king's sons, and there is not one of them left. Then the king arose, and tare his garments, and lay on the earth; and all his servants stood by with their clothes rent." The king's sons, returning in alarm to Jerusalem, revealed to their father the truth; Amnon alone had been slain; and they "lifted up their voice and wept: and the king also and all his servants wept very sore." But Absalom fled to Talmai, the king of Geshur, his mother's father.  {PP 727.3} 

     Like other sons of David, Amnon had been left to selfish indulgence. He had sought to gratify every thought of his heart, regardless of the requirements of God. Notwithstanding his great sin, God had borne long with him. For two years he had been granted opportunity for repentance; but he continued in sin, and with his guilt upon him, he was cut down by death, to await the awful tribunal of the judgment.

                                                                           728

 {PP 727.4} 

     David had neglected the duty of punishing the crime of Amnon, and because of the unfaithfulness of the king and father and the impenitence of the son, the Lord permitted events to take their natural course, and did not restrain Absalom. When parents or rulers neglect the duty of punishing iniquity, God Himself will take the case in hand. His restraining power will be in a measure removed from the agencies of evil, so that a train of circumstances will arise which will punish sin with sin.  {PP 728.1} 

     The evil results of David's unjust indulgence toward Amnon were not ended, for it was here that Absalom's alienation from his father began. After he fled to Geshur, David, feeling that the crime of his son demanded some punishment, refused him permission to return. And this had a tendency to increase rather than to lessen the inextricable evils in which the king had come to be involved. Absalom, energetic, ambitious, and unprincipled, shut out by his exile from participation in the affairs of the kingdom, soon gave himself up to dangerous scheming.  {PP 728.2} 

     At the close of two years Joab determined to effect a reconciliation between the father and his son. And with this object in view he secured the services of a woman of Tekoah, reputed for wisdom. Instructed by Joab, the woman represented herself to David as a widow whose two sons had been her only comfort and support. In a quarrel one of these had slain the other, and now all the relatives of the family demanded that the survivor should be given up to the avenger of blood. "And so," said the mother, "they shall quench my coal which is left, and shall not leave to my husband neither name nor remainder upon the earth." The king's feelings were touched by this appeal, and he assured the woman of the royal protection for her son.  {PP 728.3} 

     After drawing from him repeated promises for the young man's safety, she entreated the king's forbearance, declaring that he had spoken as one at fault, in that he did not fetch home again his banished. "For," she said, "we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person; yet doth He devise means, that His banished be not expelled from Him." This tender and touching portrayal of the love of God toward the sinner--coming as it did from Joab, the rude soldier--is a striking evidence of the familiarity of the Israelites with the great truths of redemption. The king, feeling his own need of God's mercy, could not resist

                                                                           729

this appeal. To Joab the command was given, "Go therefore, bring the young man Absalom again."  {PP 728.4}

     Absalom was permitted to return to Jerusalem, but not to appear at court or to meet his father. David had begun to see the evil effects of his indulgence toward his children; and tenderly as he loved this beautiful and gifted son, he felt it necessary, as a lesson both to Absalom and to the people, that abhorrence for such a crime should be manifested. Absalom lived two years in his own house, but banished from the court. His sister dwelt with him, and her presence kept alive the memory of the irreparable wrong she had suffered. In the popular estimation the prince was a hero rather than an offender. And having this advantage, he set himself to gain the hearts of the people. His personal appearance was such as to win the admiration of all beholders. "In all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him." It was not wise for the king to leave a man of Absalom's character--ambitious, impulsive, and passionate--to brood for two years over supposed grievances. And David's action in permitting him to return to Jerusalem, and yet refusing to admit him to his presence, enlisted in his behalf the sympathies of the people.  {PP 729.1} 

     With the memory ever before him of his own transgression of the law of God, David seemed morally paralyzed; he was weak and irresolute, when before his sin he had been courageous and decided. His influence with the people had been weakened. And all this favored the designs of his unnatural son.  {PP 729.2} 

     Through the influence of Joab, Absalom was again admitted to his father's presence; but though there was an outward reconciliation, he continued his ambitious scheming. He now assumed an almost royal state, having chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And while the king was more and more inclined to desire retirement and solitude, Absalom sedulously courted the popular favor.  {PP 729.3} 

     The influence of David's listlessness and irresolution extended to his subordinates; negligence and delay characterized the administration of justice. Absalom artfully turned every cause of dissatisfaction to his own advantage. Day by day this man of noble mien might be seen at the gate of the city, where a crowd of suppliants waited to present their wrongs for redress.

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Absalom mingled with them and listened to their grievances, expressing sympathy with their sufferings and regret at the inefficiency of the government. Having thus listened to the story of a man of Israel, the prince would reply, "Thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee;" adding, "O that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice! And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him."  {PP 729.4}

     Fomented by the artful insinuations of the prince, discontent with the government was fast spreading. The praise of Absalom was on the lips of all. He was generally regarded as heir to the kingdom; the people looked upon him with pride as worthy of this high station, and a desire was kindled that he might occupy the throne. "So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel." Yet the king, blinded by affection for his son, suspected nothing. The princely state which Absalom had assumed, was regarded by David as intended to do honor to his court--as an expression of joy at the reconciliation.  {PP 730.1} 

     The minds of the people being prepared for what was to follow, Absalom secretly sent picked men throughout the tribes, to concert measures for a revolt. And now the cloak of religious devotion was assumed to conceal his traitorous designs. A vow made long before while he was in exile must be paid in Hebron. Absalom said to the king, "I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the Lord, in Hebron. For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the Lord shall bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord." The fond father, comforted with this evidence of piety in his son, dismissed him with his blessing. The conspiracy was now fully matured. Absalom's crowning act of hypocrisy was designed not only to blind the king but to establish the confidence of the people, and thus to lead them on to rebellion against the king whom God had chosen.  {PP 730.2} 

     Absalom set forth for Hebron, and there went with him "two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called; and they went in their simplicity, and they knew not anything." These men went with Absalom, little thinking that their love for the son was leading them into rebellion against the father. Upon arriving at Hebron, Absalom immediately summoned Ahithophel, one of the

                                                                           731

chief counselors of David, a man in high repute for wisdom, whose opinion was thought to be as safe and wise as that of an oracle. Ahithophel joined the conspirators, and his support made the cause of Absalom appear certain of success, attracting to his standard many influential men from all parts of the land. As the trumpet of revolt was sounded, the prince's spies throughout the country spread the tidings that Absalom was king, and many of the people gathered to him.  {PP 730.3} 

     Meanwhile the alarm was carried to Jerusalem, to the king. David was suddenly aroused, to see rebellion breaking out close beside his throne. His own son--the son whom he had loved and trusted--had been planning to seize his crown and doubtless to take his life. In his great peril David shook off the depression that had so long rested upon him, and with the spirit of his earlier years he prepared to meet this terrible emergency. Absalom was mustering his forces at Hebron, only twenty miles away. The rebels would soon be at the gates of Jerusalem.  {PP 731.1} 

     From his palace David looked out upon his capital--"beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, . . . the city of the great King." Psalm 48:2. He shuddered at the thought of exposing it to carnage and devastation. Should he call to his help the subjects still loyal to his throne, and make a stand to hold his capital? Should he permit Jerusalem to be deluged with blood? His decision was taken. The horrors of war should not fall upon the chosen city. He would leave Jerusalem, and then test the fidelity of his people, giving them an opportunity to rally to his support. In this great crisis it was his duty to God and to his people to maintain the authority with which Heaven had invested him. The issue of the conflict he would trust with God.  {PP 731.2}

     In humility and sorrow David passed out of the gate of Jerusalem--driven from his throne, from his palace, from the ark of God, by the insurrection of his cherished son. The people followed in long, sad procession, like a funeral train. David's bodyguard of Cherethites, Pelethites, and six hundred Gittites from Gath, under the command of Ittai, accompanied the king. But David, with characteristic unselfishness, could not consent that these strangers who had sought his protection should be involved in his calamity. He expressed surprise that they should be ready to make this sacrifice for him. Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, "Wherefore goest thou also with us? return to thy

                                                                           732

place, and abide with the king: for thou art a stranger, and also an exile. Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? seeing I go whither I may, return thou, and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee."  {PP 731.3} 

     Ittai answered, "As the Lord liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be." These men had been converted from paganism to the worship of Jehovah, and nobly they now proved their fidelity to their God and their king. David, with grateful heart, accepted their devotion to his apparently sinking cause, and all passed over the brook Kidron on the way toward the wilderness.  {PP 732.1} 

     Again the procession halted. A company clad in holy vestments was approaching. "And lo Zadok also, and all the Levites were with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God." The followers of David looked upon this as a happy omen. The presence of that sacred symbol was to them a pledge of their deliverance and ultimate victory. It would inspire the people with courage to rally to the king. Its absence from Jerusalem would bring terror to the adherents of Absalom.  {PP 732.2} 

     At sight of the ark joy and hope for a brief moment thrilled the heart of David. But soon other thoughts came to him. As the appointed ruler of God's heritage he was under solemn responsibility. Not personal interests, but the glory of God and the good of his people, were to be uppermost in the mind of Israel's king. God, who dwelt between the cherubim, had said of Jerusalem, "This is My rest" (Psalm 132:14); and without divine authority neither priest nor king had a right to remove therefrom the symbol of His presence. And David knew that his heart and life must be in harmony with the divine precepts, else the ark would be the means of disaster rather than of success. His great sin was ever before him. He recognized in this conspiracy the just judgment of God. The sword that was not to depart from his house had been unsheathed. He knew not what the result of the struggle might be. It was not for him to remove from the capital of the nation the sacred statutes which embodied the will of their divine Sovereign, which were the constitution of the realm and the foundation of its prosperity.

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 {PP 732.3}

     He commanded Zadok, "Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favor in the eyes of the Lord, He will bring me again, and show me both it and His habitation: but if He thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let Him do to me as seemeth good unto Him."  {PP 735.1} 

     David added, "Art not thou a seer?"--a man appointed of God to instruct the people. "Return into the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz thy son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. See, I will tarry in the plain of the wilderness, until there come word from you to certify me." In the city the priests might do him good service by learning the movements and purposes of the rebels, and secretly communicating them to the king by their sons, Ahimaaz and Jonathan.  {PP 735.2} 

     As the priests turned back toward Jerusalem a deeper shadow fell upon the departing throng. Their king a fugitive, themselves outcasts, forsaken even by the ark of God--the future was dark with terror and foreboding. "And David went up by the ascent of Mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and  he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up. And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom." Again David was forced to recognize in his calamities the results of his own sin. The defection of Ahithophel, the ablest and most wily of political leaders, was prompted by revenge for the family disgrace involved in the wrong to Bathsheba, who was his granddaughter.  {PP 735.3} 

     "And David said, O Lord, I pray Thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness." Upon reaching the top of the mount, the king bowed in prayer, casting upon God the burden of his soul and humbly supplicating divine mercy. His prayer seemed to be at once answered. Hushai the Archite, a wise and able counselor, who had proved himself a faithful friend to David, now came to him with his robes rent and with earth upon his head, to cast in his fortunes with the dethroned and fugitive king. David saw, as by a divine enlightenment, that this man, faithful and truehearted, was the one needed to serve the interests of the king in the councils at the capital. At David's request Hushai returned to Jerusalem to offer his services to Absalom and defeat the crafty counsel of Ahithophel.

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 {PP 735.4} 

     With this gleam of light in the darkness, the king and his followers pursued their way down the eastern slope of Olivet, through a rocky and desolate waste, through wild ravines, and along stony and precipitous paths, toward the Jordan. "And when King David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came. And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of King David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial. The Lord hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the Lord hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man."  {PP 736.1} 

     In David's prosperity Shimei had not shown by word or act that he was not a loyal subject. But in the affliction of the king this Benjamite revealed his true character. He had honored David upon his throne, but he cursed him in his humiliation. Base and selfish, he looked upon others as of the same character as himself, and, inspired by Satan, he wreaked his hatred upon him whom God had chastened. The spirit that leads man to triumph over, to revile or distress, one who is in affliction is the spirit of Satan.  {PP 736.2} 

     Shimei's accusations against David were utterly false--a baseless and malignant slander. David had not been guilty of wrong toward Saul or his house. When Saul was wholly in his power, and he could have slain him, he merely cut the skirt of his robe, and he reproached himself for showing even this disrespect for the Lord's anointed.  {PP 736.3} 

     Of David's sacred regard for human life, striking evidence had been given, even while he himself was hunted like a beast of prey. One day while he was hidden in the cave of Adullam, his thoughts turning back to the untroubled freedom of his boyhood life, the fugitive exclaimed, "Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!" 2 Samuel 23:13-17. Bethlehem was at that time in the hands of the Philistines; but three mighty men of David's band broke through the guard, and brought of the water of Bethlehem to their master. David could not drink it. "Be it far from me," he

                                                                           737

cried; "is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives?" And he reverently poured out the water as an offering to God. David had been a man of war, much of his life had been spent amid scenes of violence; but of all who have passed through such an ordeal, few indeed have been so little affected by its hardening, demoralizing influence as was David.  {PP 736.4} 

     David's nephew, Abishai, one of the bravest of his captains, could not listen patiently to Shimei's insulting words. "Why," he exclaimed, "should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head." But the king forbade him. "Behold," he said, "my son . . . seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him. It may be that the Lord will look on mine affliction, and that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day."  {PP 737.1} 

     Conscience was uttering bitter and humiliating truths to David. While his faithful subjects wondered at his sudden reverse of fortune, it was no mystery to the king. He had often had forebodings of an hour like this. He had wondered that God had so long borne with his sins, and had delayed the merited retribution. And now in his hurried and sorrowful flight, his feet bare, his royal robes changed for sackcloth, the lamentations of his followers awaking the echoes of the hills, he thought of his loved capital--of the place which had been the scene of his sin--and as he remembered the goodness and long-suffering of God, he was not altogether without hope. He felt that the Lord would still deal with him in mercy.  {PP 737.2}

     Many a wrongdoer has excused his own sin by pointing to David's fall, but how few there are who manifest David's penitence and humility. How few would bear reproof and retribution with the patience and fortitude that he manifested. He had confessed his sin, and for years had sought to do his duty as a faithful servant of God; he had labored for the upbuilding of his kingdom, and under his rule it had attained to strength and prosperity never reached before. He had gathered rich stores of material for the building of the house of God, and now was all the labor of his life to be swept away? Must the results of years of consecrated toil, the work of genius and devotion and statesmanship, pass into the hands of his reckless and traitorous son, who regarded not the honor of God nor the prosperity of

                                                                           738

Israel? How natural it would have seemed for David to murmur against God in this great affliction!  {PP 737.3} 

     But he saw in his own sin the cause of his trouble. The words of the prophet Micah breathe the spirit that inspired David's heart. "When I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against Him, until He plead my cause, and execute judgment for me." Micah 7:8, 9. And the Lord did not forsake David. This chapter in his experience, when, under cruelest wrong and insult, he shows himself to be humble, unselfish, generous, and submissive, is one of the noblest in his whole experience. Never was the ruler of Israel more truly great in the sight of heaven than at this hour of his deepest outward humiliation.  {PP 738.1} 

     Had God permitted David to go on unrebuked in sin, and while transgressing the divine precepts, to remain in peace and prosperity upon his throne, the skeptic and infidel might have had some excuse for citing the history of David as a reproach to the religion of the Bible. But in the experience through which He caused David to pass, the Lord shows that He cannot tolerate or excuse sin. And David's history enables us to see also the great ends which God has in view in His dealings with sin; it enables us to trace, even through darkest judgments, the working out of His purposes of mercy and beneficence. He caused David to pass under the rod, but He did not destroy him; the furnace is to purify, but not to consume. The Lord says, "If they break My statutes, and keep not My commandments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless My loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer My faithfulness to fail." Psalm 89:31-33.  {PP 738.2}

     Soon after David left Jerusalem, Absalom and his army entered, and without a struggle took possession of the stronghold of Israel. Hushai was among the first to greet the new-crowned monarch, and the prince was surprised and gratified at the accession of his father's old friend and counselor. Absalom was confident of success. Thus far his schemes had prospered, and eager to strengthen his throne and secure the confidence of the nation, he welcomed Hushai to his court.  {PP 738.3} 

     Absalom was now surrounded by a large force, but it was mostly composed of men untrained for war. As yet they had not

                                                                           739

been brought into conflict. Ahithophel well knew that David's situation was far from hopeless. A large part of the nation were still true to him; he was surrounded by tried warriors, who were faithful to their king, and his army was commanded by able and experienced generals. Ahithophel knew that after the first burst of enthusiasm in favor of the new king, a reaction would come. Should the rebellion fail, Absalom might be able to secure a reconciliation with his father; then Ahithophel, as his chief counselor, would be held most guilty for the rebellion; upon him the heaviest punishment would fall. To prevent Absalom from retracing his steps, Ahithophel counseled him to an act that in the eyes of the whole nation would make reconciliation impossible. With hellish cunning this wily and unprincipled statesman urged Absalom to add the crime of incest to that of rebellion. In the sight of all Israel he was to take to himself his father's concubines, according to the custom of oriental nations, thus declaring that he succeeded to his father's throne. And Absalom carried out the vile suggestion. Thus was fulfilled the word of God to David by the prophet, "Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbor. . . . For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun." 2 Samuel 12:11, 12. Not that God prompted these acts of wickedness, but because of David's sin He did not exercise His power to prevent them.  {PP 738.4} 

     Ahithophel had been held in high esteem for his wisdom, but he was destitute of the enlightenment which comes from God. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 9:10); and this, Ahithophel did not possess, or he could hardly have based the success of treason upon the crime of incest. Men of corrupt hearts plot wickedness, as if there were no overruling Providence to cross their designs; but "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision." Psalm 2:4. The Lord declares: "They would none of My counsel: they despised all My reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them." Proverbs 1:30-32.  {PP 739.1}

     Having succeeded in the plot for securing his own safety,

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Ahithophel urged upon Absalom the necessity of immediate action against David. "Let me now choose out twelve thousand men," he said, "and I will arise and pursue after David this night: and I will come upon him while he is weary and weak-handed, and will make him afraid: and all the people that are with him shall flee; and I will smite the king only: and I will bring back all the people unto thee." This plan was approved by the king's counselors. Had it been followed, David would surely have been slain, unless the Lord had directly interposed to save him. But a wisdom higher than that of the renowned Ahithophel was directing events. "The Lord had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the Lord might bring evil upon Absalom."  {PP 739.2} 

     Hushai had not been called to the council, and he would not intrude himself unasked, lest suspicion should be drawn upon him as a spy; but after the assembly had dispersed, Absalom, who had a high regard for the judgment of his father's counselor, submitted to him the plan of Ahithophel. Hushai saw that if the proposed plan were followed, David would be lost. And he said, "The counsel that Ahithophel hath given is not good at this time. For, said Hushai, thou knowest thy father and his men, that they be mighty men, and they be chafed in their minds, as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field: and thy father is a man of war, and will not lodge with the people. Behold, he is hid now in some pit, or in some other place;" he argued that, if Absalom's forces should pursue David, they would not capture the king; and should they suffer a reverse, it would tend to dishearten them and work great harm to Absalom's cause. "For," he said, "all Israel knoweth that thy father is a mighty man, and they which be with him are valiant men." And he suggested a plan attractive to a vain and selfish nature, fond of the show of power: "I counsel that all Israel be generally gathered unto thee, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, as the sand that is by the sea for multitude; and that thou go to battle in thine own person. So shall we come upon him in some place where he shall be found, and we will light upon him as the dew falleth on the ground: and of him and of all the men that are with him there shall not be left so much as one. Moreover, if he be gotten into a city, then shall all Israel bring ropes to that city, and we will draw it into the river, until there be not one small stone found there.

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 {PP 740.1} 

     "And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel." But there was one who was not deceived--one who clearly foresaw the result of this fatal mistake of Absalom's. Ahithophel knew that the cause of the rebels was lost. And he knew that whatever might be the fate of the prince, there was no hope for the counselor who had instigated his greatest crimes. Ahithophel had encouraged Absalom in rebellion; he had counseled him to the most abominable wickedness, to the dishonor of his father; he had advised the slaying of David and had planned its accomplishment; he had cut off the last possibility of his own reconciliation with the king; and now another was preferred before him, even by Absalom. Jealous, angry, and desperate, Ahithophel "gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died." Such was the result of the wisdom of one, who, with all his high endowments, did not make God his counselor. Satan allures men with flattering promises, but in the end it will be found by every soul, that the "wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23.  {PP 741.1}

     Hushai, not certain that his counsel would be followed by the fickle king, lost no time in warning David to escape beyond Jordan without delay. To the priests, who were to forward it by their sons, Hushai sent the message: "Thus and thus did Ahithophel counsel Absalom and the elders of Israel; and thus and thus have I counseled. Now therefore . . . lodge not this night in the plains of the wilderness, but speedily pass over; lest the king be swallowed up, and all the people that are with him."  {PP 741.2} 

     The young men were suspected and pursued, yet they succeeded in performing their perilous mission. David, spent with toil and grief after that first day of flight, received the message that he must cross the Jordan that night, for his son was seeking his life.  {PP 741.3} 

     What were the feelings of the father and king, so cruelly wronged, in this terrible peril? "A mighty valiant man," a man of war, a king, whose word was law, betrayed by his son whom he had loved and indulged and unwisely trusted, wronged and deserted by subjects bound to him by the strongest ties of honor and fealty--in what words did David pour out the feelings of his soul? In the hour of his darkest trial David's heart was stayed upon God, and he sang:

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          "Lord, how are they increased that trouble me!

           Many are they that rise up against me.

           Many there be which say of my soul,

           There is no help for him in God.

           But Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me;

           My glory, and the lifter up of mine head.

           I cried unto the Lord with my voice,

           And He heard me out of His holy hill.

           I laid me down and slept;

           I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.

           I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people,

           That have set themselves against me round about. . . .

           Salvation belongeth unto the Lord:

           Thy blessing is upon Thy people." Psalm 3:1-8.  {PP 741.4}

     David and all his company--warriors and statesmen, old men and youth, the women and the little children--in the darkness of night crossed the deep and swift-flowing river. "By the morning light there lacked not one of them that was not gone over Jordan."  {PP 742.1} 

     David and his forces fell back to Mahanaim, which had been the royal seat of Ishbosheth. This was a strongly fortified city, surrounded by a mountainous district favorable for retreat in case of war. The country was well-provisioned, and the people were friendly to the cause of David. Here many adherents joined him, while wealthy tribesmen brought abundant gifts of provision, and other needed supplies.  {PP 742.2} 

     Hushai's counsel had achieved its object, gaining for David opportunity for escape; but the rash and impetuous prince could not be long restrained, and he soon set out in pursuit of his father. "And Absalom passed over Jordan, he and all the men of Israel with him." Absalom made Amasa, the son of David's sister Abigail, commander-in-chief of his forces. His army was large, but it was undisciplined and poorly prepared to cope with the tried soldiers of his father.  {PP 742.3} 

     David divided his forces into three battalions under the command of Joab, Abishai, and Ittai the Gittite. It had been his purpose himself to lead his army in the field; but against this the officers of the army, the counselors, and the people vehemently protested. "Thou shalt not go forth," they said: "for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but thou art worth ten thousand of us: therefore

                                                                           743

now it is better that thou be ready to succour us out of the city. And the king said unto them, What seemeth you best I will do." 2 Samuel 18:3, 4, R.V.  {PP 742.4} 

     From the walls of the city the long lines of the rebel army were in full view. The usurper was accompanied by a vast host, in comparison with which David's force seemed but a handful. But as the king looked upon the opposing forces, the thought uppermost in his mind was not of the crown and the kingdom, nor of his own life, that depended upon the wage of battle. The father's heart was filled with love and pity for his rebellious son. As the army filed out from the city gates David encouraged his faithful soldiers, bidding them go forth trusting that the God of Israel would give them the victory. But even here he could not repress his love for Absalom. As Joab, leading the first column, passed his king, the conqueror of a hundred battlefields stooped his proud head to hear the monarch's last message, as with trembling voice he said, "Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom." And Abishai and Ittai received the same charge--"Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom." But the king's solicitude, seeming to declare that Absalom was dearer to him than his kingdom, dearer even than the subjects faithful to his throne, only increased the indignation of the soldiers against the unnatural son.  {PP 743.1} 

     The place of battle was a wood near the Jordan, in which the great numbers of Absalom's army were only a disadvantage to him. Among the thickets and marshes of the forest these undisciplined troops became confused and unmanageable. And "the people of Israel were slain before the servants of David, and there was there a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men." Absalom, seeing that the day was lost, had turned to flee, when his head was caught between the branches of a widespreading tree, and his mule going out from under him, he was left helplessly suspended, a prey to his enemies. In this condition he was found by a soldier, who, for fear of displeasing the king, spared Absalom, but reported to Joab what he had seen. Joab was restrained by no scruples. He had befriended Absalom, having twice secured his reconciliation with David, and the trust had been shamelessly betrayed. But for the advantages gained by Absalom through Joab's intercession, this rebellion, with all its horrors, could never have occurred. Now it was in Joab's power

                                                                           744

at one blow to destroy the instigator of all this evil. "And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom. . . . And they took Absalom, and cast him into a great pit in the wood, and laid a very great heap of stones upon him."  {PP 743.2} 

     Thus perished the instigators of rebellion in Israel. Ahithophel had died by his own hand. The princely Absalom, whose glorious beauty had been the pride of Israel, had been cut down in the vigor of his youth, his dead body thrust into a pit, and covered with a heap of stones, in token of everlasting reproach. During his lifetime Absalom had reared for himself a costly monument in the king's dale, but the only memorial which marked his grave was that heap of stones in the wilderness.  {PP 744.1} 

     The leader of the rebellion being slain, Joab by the sound of the trumpet recalled his army from the pursuit of the fleeing host, and messengers were at once dispatched to bear the tidings to the king.  {PP 744.2} 

     The watchman upon the city wall, looking out toward the battlefield, discovered a man running alone. Soon a second came in sight. As the first drew nearer, the watchman said to the king, who was waiting beside the gate, "Me thinketh the running of the foremost is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok. And the king said, He is a good man, and cometh with good tidings. And Ahimaaz called, and said unto the king, All is well. And he fell down to the earth upon his face before the king, and said, Blessed be the Lord thy God, which hath delivered up the men that lifted up their hand against my lord the king." To the king's eager inquiry, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" Ahimaaz returned an evasive answer.  {PP 744.3}

     The second messenger came, crying, "Tidings, my lord the king: for the Lord hath avenged thee this day of all them that rose up against thee." Again from the father's lips came the absorbing question, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" Unable to conceal the heavy tidings, the herald answered, "The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is." It was enough. David questioned no further, but with bowed head he "went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom! my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!"

                                                                           745

 {PP 744.4} 

     The victorious army, returning from the field, approached the city, their shouts of triumph awaking the echoes of the hills. But as they entered the city gate the shout died away, their banners drooped in their hands, and with downcast gaze they advanced more like those who had suffered defeat than like conquerors. For the king was not waiting to bid them welcome, but from the chamber above the gate his wailing cry was heard, "O my son Absalom! my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!"  {PP 745.1} 

     "The victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people; for the people heard say that day how the king was grieved for his son. And the people gat them by stealth that day into the city, as people being ashamed steal away when they flee in battle."  {PP 745.2} 

     Joab was filled with indignation. God had given them reason for triumph and gladness; the greatest rebellion that had ever been known in Israel had been crushed; and yet this great victory was turned to mourning for him whose crime had cost the blood of thousands of brave men. The rude, blunt captain pushed his way into the presence of the king, and boldly said, "Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants, which this day have saved thy life, and the lives of thy sons and of thy daughters; . . . in that thou lovest thine enemies, and hatest thy friends. For thou hast declared this day, that thou regardest neither princes nor servants: for this day I perceive, that if Absalom had lived, and all we had died this day, then it had pleased thee well. Now therefore arise, go forth, and speak comfortably unto thy servants: for I swear by the Lord, if thou go not forth, there will not tarry one with thee this night: and that will be worse unto thee than all the evil that befell thee from thy youth until now."  {PP 745.3} 

     Harsh and even cruel as was the reproof to the heart-stricken king, David did not resent it. Seeing that his general was right, he went down to the gate, and with words of courage and commendation greeted his brave soldiers as they marched past him.  {PP 745.4} 

 

Chap. 73 - The Last Years of David

 

     The overthrow of Absalom did not at once bring peace to the kingdom. So large a part of the nation had joined in revolt that David would not return to his capital and resume his authority without an invitation from the tribes. In the confusion that followed Absalom's defeat there was no prompt and decided action to recall the king, and when at last Judah undertook to bring back David, the jealousy of the other tribes was roused, and a counter-revolution followed. This, however, was speedily quelled, and peace returned to Israel.  {PP 746.1}

     The history of David affords one of the most impressive testimonies ever given to the dangers that threaten the soul from power and riches and worldly honor--those things that are most eagerly desired among men. Few have ever passed through an experience better adapted to prepare them for enduring such a test. David's early life as a shepherd, with its lessons of humility, of patient toil, and of tender care for his flocks; the communion with nature in the solitude of the hills, developing his genius for music and poetry, and directing his thoughts to the Creator; the long discipline of his wilderness life, calling into exercise courage, fortitude, patience, and faith in God, had been appointed by the Lord as a preparation for the throne of Israel. David had enjoyed precious experiences of the love of God, and had been richly endowed with His Spirit; in the history of Saul he had seen the utter worthlessness of mere human wisdom. And yet worldly success and honor so weakened the character of David that he was repeatedly overcome by the tempter.  {PP 746.2}

     Intercourse with heathen peoples led to a desire to follow their national customs and kindled ambition for worldly greatness. As the people of Jehovah, Israel was to be honored; but as pride and self-confidence increased, the Israelites were not content

                                                                           747

with this pre-eminence. They cared rather for their standing among other nations. This spirit could not fail to invite temptation. With a view to extending his conquests among foreign nations, David determined to increase his army by requiring military service from all who were of proper age. To effect this, it became necessary to take a census of the population. It was pride and ambition that prompted this action of the king. The numbering of the people would show the contrast between the weakness of the kingdom when David ascended the throne and its strength and prosperity under his rule. This would tend still further to foster the already too great self-confidence of both king and people. The Scripture says, "Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel." The prosperity of Israel under David had been due to the blessing of God rather than to the ability of her king or the strength of her armies. But the increasing of the military resources of the kingdom would give the impression to surrounding nations that Israel's trust was in her armies, and not in the power of Jehovah.  {PP 746.3} 

     Though the people of Israel were proud of their national greatness, they did not look with favor upon David's plan for so greatly extending the military service. The proposed enrollment caused much dissatisfaction; consequently it was thought necessary to employ the military officers in place of the priests and magistrates, who had formerly taken the census. The object of the undertaking was directly contrary to the principles of a theocracy. Even Joab remonstrated, unscrupulous as he had heretofore shown himself. He said, "The Lord make His people a hundred times so many more as they be: but, my lord the king, are they not all my lord's servants? why then doth my lord require this thing? why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel? Nevertheless the king's word prevailed against Joab. Wherefore Joab departed, and went throughout all Israel, and came to Jerusalem." The numbering was not finished when David was convicted of his sin. Self-condemned, he "said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing: but now, I beseech Thee, do away the iniquity of Thy servant; for I have done very foolishly." The next morning a message was brought to David by the prophet Gad: "Thus saith the Lord, Choose thee either three years' famine; or three months to be destroyed before

                                                                           748

thy foes, while that the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee; or else three days the sword of the Lord, even the pestilence, in the land, and the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the coasts of Israel. Now therefore," said the prophet, "advise thyself what word I shall bring again to Him that sent me."  {PP 747.1} 

     The king's answer was, "I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for His mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man."  {PP 748.1} 

     The land was smitten with pestilence, which destroyed seventy thousand in Israel. The scourge had not yet entered the capital, when "David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the Lord stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces." The king pleaded with God in behalf of Israel: "Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered? even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed; but as for these sheep, what have they done? let Thine hand, I pray Thee, O Lord my God, be on me, and on my father's house; but not on Thy people, that they should be plagued."  {PP 748.2} 

     The taking of the census had caused disaffection among the people; yet they had themselves cherished the same sins that prompted David's action. As the Lord through Absalom's sin visited judgment upon David, so through David's error He punished the sins of Israel.  {PP 748.3} 

     The destroying angel had stayed his course outside Jerusalem. He stood upon Mount Moriah, "in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite." Directed by the prophet, David went to the mountain, and there built an altar to the Lord, "and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the Lord; and He answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering." "So the Lord was entreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel."  {PP 748.4} 

     The spot upon which the altar was erected, henceforth ever to be regarded as holy ground, was tendered to the king by Ornan as a gift. But the king declined thus to receive it. "I will verily buy it for the full price," he said; "for I will not take that which is thine for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings without cost. So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of

                                                                           749

gold by weight." This spot, memorable as the place where Abraham had built the altar to offer up his son, and now hallowed by this great deliverance, was afterward chosen as the site of the temple erected by Solomon.  {PP 748.5}

     Still another shadow was to gather over the last years of David. He had reached the age of threescore and ten. The hardships and exposures of his early wanderings, his many wars, the cares and afflictions of his later years, had sapped the fountain of life. Though his mind retained its clearness and strength, feebleness and age, with their desire for seclusion, prevented a quick apprehension of what was passing in the kingdom, and again rebellion sprang up in the very shadow of the throne. Again the fruit of David's parental indulgence was manifest. The one who now aspired to the throne was Adonijah, "a very goodly man" in person and bearing, but unprincipled and reckless. In his youth he had been subjected to but little restraint; for "his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so?" He now rebelled against the authority of God, who had appointed Solomon to the throne. Both by natural endowments and religious character Solomon was better qualified than his elder brother to become ruler of Israel; yet although the choice of God had been clearly indicated, Adonijah did not fail to find sympathizers. Joab, though guilty of many crimes, had heretofore been loyal to the throne; but he now joined the conspiracy against Solomon, as did also Abiathar the priest.  {PP 749.1} 

     The rebellion was ripe; the conspirators had assembled at a great feast just without the city to proclaim Adonijah king, when their plans were thwarted by the prompt action of a few faithful persons, chief among whom were Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. They represented the state of affairs to the king, reminding him of the divine direction that Solomon should succeed to the throne. David at once abdicated in favor of Solomon, who was immediately anointed and proclaimed king. The conspiracy was crushed. Its chief actors had incurred the penalty of death. Abiathar's life was spared, out of respect to his office and his former fidelity to David; but he was degraded from the office of high priest, which passed to the line of Zadok. Joab and Adonijah were spared for the time, but after the death of David they suffered the penalty of

                                                                           750

their crime. The execution of the sentence upon the son of David completed the fourfold judgment that testified to God's abhorrence of the father's sin.  {PP 749.2} 

     From the very opening of David's reign one of his most cherished plans had been that of erecting a temple to the Lord. Though he had not been permitted to execute this design, he had manifested no less zeal and earnestness in its behalf. He had provided an abundance of the most costly material--gold, silver, onyx stones, and stones of divers colors; marble, and the most precious woods. And now these valuable treasures that he had collected must be committed to others; for other hands must build the house for the ark, the symbol of God's presence.  {PP 750.1} 

     Seeing that his end was near, the king summoned the princes of Israel, with representative men from all parts of the kingdom, to receive this legacy in trust. He desired to commit to them his dying charge and secure their concurrence and support in the great work to be accomplished. Because of his physical weakness, it had not been expected that he would attend to this transfer in person; but the inspiration of God came upon him, and with more than his wonted fervor and power, he was able, for the last time, to address his people. He told them of his own desire to build the temple, and of the Lord's command that the work should be committed to Solomon his son. The divine assurance was, "Solomon thy son, he shall build My house and My courts; for I have chosen him to be My son, and I will be his Father. Moreover I will establish his kingdom forever, if he be constant to do My commandments and My judgments, as at this day." "Now therefore," David said, "in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the Lord, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the Lord your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you forever."  {PP 750.2} 

     David had learned by his own experience how hard is the path of him who departs from God. He had felt the condemnation of the broken law, and had reaped the fruits of transgression; and his whole soul was moved with solicitude that the leaders of Israel should be true to God, and that Solomon should obey God's law, shunning the sins that had weakened his father's authority, embittered his life, and dishonored God. David knew

                                                                           751

that it would require humility of heart, a constant trust in God, and unceasing watchfulness to withstand the temptations that would surely beset Solomon in his exalted station; for such prominent characters are a special mark for the shafts of Satan. Turning to his son, already acknowledged as his successor on the throne, David said: "And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek Him, He will be found of thee; but if thou forsake Him, He will cast thee off forever. Take heed now; for the Lord hath chosen thee to build a house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it."  {PP 750.3} 

     David gave Solomon minute directions for building the temple, with patterns of every part, and of all its instruments of service, as had been revealed to him by divine inspiration. Solomon was still young, and shrank from the weighty responsibilities that would devolve upon him in the erection of the temple and in the government of God's people. David said to his son, "Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."  {PP 751.1} 

     Again David appealed to the congregation: "Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the Lord God." He said, "I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God," and he went on to enumerate the materials he had gathered. More than this, he said, "I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal." "Who then," he asked of the assembled multitude that had brought their liberal gifts--"who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?"  {PP 751.2}

     There was a ready response from the assembly. "The chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king's work, offered willingly, and gave, for the service of the house of God, of

                                                                           752

gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron. And they with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of the Lord. . . . Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.  {PP 751.3} 

     "Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be Thou, Lord God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is Thine; Thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and Thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come of Thee, and Thou reignest over all; and in Thine hand is power and might; and in Thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank Thee, and praise Thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee. For we are strangers before Thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding. O Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build Thee an house for Thine holy name cometh of Thine hand, and is all Thine own. I know also, my God, that Thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness.  {PP 752.1} 

     "As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy Thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto Thee. O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and of Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of Thy people, and prepare their heart unto Thee: and give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep Thy commandments, Thy testimonies, and Thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for the which I have made provision. And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the Lord your God. And all the congregation blessed the Lord God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshiped the Lord."  {PP 752.2} 

     With deepest interest the king had gathered the rich material

                                                                           753

for building and beautifying the temple. He had composed the glorious anthems that in afteryears should echo through its courts. Now his heart was made glad in God, as the chief of the fathers and the princes of Israel so nobly responded to his appeal, and offered themselves to the important work before them. And as they gave their service, they were disposed to do more. They swelled the offerings, giving of their own possessions into the treasury. David had felt deeply his own unworthiness in gathering the material for the house of God, and the expression of loyalty in the ready response of the nobles of his kingdom, as with willing hearts they dedicated their treasures to Jehovah and devoted themselves to His service, filled him with joy. But it was God alone who had imparted this disposition to His people. He, not man, must be glorified. It was He who had provided the people with the riches of earth, and His Spirit had made them willing to bring their precious things for the temple. It was all of the Lord; if His love had not moved upon the hearts of the people, the king's efforts would have been vain, and the temple would never have been erected.  {PP 752.3} 

     All that man receives of God's bounty still belongs to God. Whatever God has bestowed in the valuable and beautiful things of earth is placed in the hands of men to test them--to sound the depths of their love for Him and their appreciation of His favors. Whether it be the treasures of wealth or of intellect, they are to be laid, a willing offering, at the feet of Jesus; the giver saying, meanwhile, with David, "All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee."  {PP 753.1} 

     When he felt that death was approaching, the burden of David's heart was still for Solomon and for the kingdom of Israel, whose prosperity must so largely depend upon the fidelity of her king. "And he charged Solomon his son, saying, I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and show thyself a man; and keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His judgments, and His testimonies, . . . that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself: that the Lord may continue His word which He spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said He) a man on the throne of Israel." 1 Kings 2:1-4.

                                                                           754

 {PP 753.2} 

     David's "last words," as recorded, are a song--a song of trust, of loftiest principle, and undying faith:

 

 

          "David the son of Jesse saith,

           And the man who was raised on high saith,

           The anointed of the God of Jacob,

           And the sweet psalmist of Israel:

           The Spirit of Jehovah spake by me: . . .

           One that ruleth over men righteously,

           That ruleth in the fear of God,

           He shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth,

           A morning without clouds;

           When the tender grass springeth out of the earth,

           Through clear shining after rain.

           Verily my house is not so with God;

           Yet He hath made me an everlasting covenant,

           Ordered in all things, and sure:

           For it is all my salvation, and all my desire."

                                                      2 Samuel 23:1-5, R.V.  {PP 754.1} 

     Great had been David's fall, but deep was his repentance, ardent was his love, and strong his faith. He had been forgiven much, and therefore he loved much. Luke 7:47.  {PP 754.2}

     The psalms of David pass through the whole range of experience, from the depths of conscious guilt and self-condemnation to the loftiest faith and the most exalted communing with God. His life record declares that sin can bring only shame and woe, but that God's love and mercy can reach to the deepest depths, that faith will lift up the repenting soul to share the adoption of the sons of God. Of all the assurances which His word contains, it is one of the strongest testimonies to the faithfulness, the justice, and the covenant mercy of God.  {PP 754.3} 

     Man "fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not," "but the word of our God shall stand forever." "The mercy of Jehovah is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him, and His righteousness unto children's children; to such as keep His covenant, and to those that remember His commandments to do them." Job 14:2; Isaiah 40:8; Psalm 103:17, 18.  {PP 754.4}

     "Whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever." Ecclesiastes 3:14.  {PP 754.5} 

     Glorious are the promises made to David and his house, promises that look forward to the eternal ages, and find their complete fulfillment in Christ. The Lord declared:

                                                                           755

 {PP 754.6} 

     "I have sworn unto David My servant . . . with whom My hand shall be established: Mine arm also shall strengthen him. . . . My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him: and in My name shall his horn be exalted. I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. He shall cry unto Me, Thou art my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation. Also I will make him My first-born, higher than the kings of the earth. My mercy will I keep for him forevermore, and My covenant shall stand fast with him." Psalm 89:3-28.

 

 

          "His seed also will I make to endure forever,

           And his throne as the days of heaven." Psalm 89:29.

 

 

          "He shall judge the poor of the people,

           He shall save the children of the needy,

           And shall break in pieces the oppressor.

           They shall fear thee while the sun endureth,

           And so long as the moon, throughout all generations. . . .

           In his days shall the righteous flourish;

           And abundance of peace, till the moon be no more.

           He shall have dominion also from sea to sea,

           And from the river unto the ends of the earth."

          "His name shall endure forever:

           His name shall be continued as long as the sun:

           And men shall be blessed in him:

           All nations shall call him blessed."

                                        Psalm 72:4-8, R.V., 17.  {PP 755.1}

     "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end." Isaiah 9:6; Luke 1:32, 33.

 

 

                                                           (757)  {PP 755.2} 

 

Appendix

 

                              APPENDIX

 

     NOTE I. PAGE 258. IN THE COMMAND FOR ISRAEL'S RELEASE, THE LORD SAID TO PHARAOH, " ISRAEL IS MY SON, EVEN MY FIRST-BORN.... LET MY SON GO, THAT HE MAY SERVE ME." EXODUS 4:22, 23. THE PSALMIST TELLS US WHY GOD DELIVERED ISRAEL FROM EGYPT: "HE BROUGHT FORTH HIS PEOPLE WITH JOY, AND HIS CHOSEN WITH GLADNESS: AND GAVE THEM THE LANDS OF THE HEATHEN: AND THEY INHERITED THE LABOR OF THE PEOPLE; THAT THEY MIGHT OBSERVE HIS STATUTES, AND KEEP HIS LAWS." Psalm 105:43-45. HERE WE LEARN THAT THE HEBREWS COULD NOT SERVE GOD IN EGYPT.  {PP 757.1}

     IN DEUTERONOMY 5:14, 15 WE FIND SPECIAL EMPHASIS GIVEN TO THAT PORTION OF THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT WHICH REQUIRES THE MANSERVANT AND THE MAIDSERVANT TO REST, AND THE ISRAELITE WAS TOLD TO REMEMBER THAT HE HAD BEEN A SERVANT IN THE LAND OF EGYPT. THE LORD SAID, "THE SEVENTH DAY IS THE SABBATH OF THE LORD THY GOD: IN IT THOU SHALT NOT DO ANY WORK, THOU, NOR THY SON, NOR THY DAUGHTER, NOR THY MANSERVANT, NOR THY MAIDSERVANT, NOR THINE OX, NOR THINE ASS, NOR ANY OF THY CATTLE, NOR THY STRANGER THAT IS WITHIN THY GATES; THAT THY MANSERVANT AND THY MAIDSERVANT MAY REST AS WELL AS THOU. AND REMEMBER THAT THOU WAST A SERVANT IN THE LAND OF EGYPT, AND THAT THE LORD THY GOD BROUGHT THEE OUT THENCE THROUGH A MIGHTY HAND AND BY A STRETCHED-OUT ARM: THEREFORE THE LORD THY GOD COMMANDED THEE TO KEEP THE SABBATH DAY." IN EXODUS 5:5 WE LEARN THAT MOSES AND AARON MADE THE PEOPLE "REST FROM THEIR BURDENS."  {PP 757.2}

     FROM THESE FACTS WE MAY CONCLUDE THAT THE SABBATH WAS ONE OF THE THINGS IN WHICH THEY COULD NOT SERVE THE LORD IN EGYPT; AND WHEN MOSES AND AARON CAME WITH THE MESSAGE OF GOD (EXODUS 4:29-31), THEY ATTEMPTED A REFORM, WHICH ONLY INCREASED THE OPPRESSION. THE ISRAELITES WERE DELIVERED THAT THEY MIGHT OBSERVE THE STATUTES OF THE LORD, INCLUDING THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT, AND THIS PLACED UPON THEM AN ADDITIONAL OBLIGATION TO KEEP THE SABBATH STRICTLY, AS WELL AS TO KEEP ALL THE COMMANDMENTS. THUS IN DEUTERONOMY 24:17, 18 THE FACT OF THEIR DELIVERANCE FROM EGYPT IS CITED AS PLACING THEM UNDER SPECIAL OBLIGATION TO SHOW KINDNESS TO THE WIDOW AND THE FATHERLESS: "THOU SHALT NOT PERVERT THE JUDGMENT OF THE STRANGER, NOR OF THE FATHERLESS; NOR TAKE A WIDOW'S RAIMENT TO PLEDGE: BUT THOU SHALT REMEMBER THAT THOU WAST A BONDMAN IN EGYPT, AND THE LORD THY GOD REDEEMED THEE THENCE: THEREFORE I COMMAND THEE TO DO THIS THING."

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 {PP 757.3}

     NOTE 2. PAGE 272. THAT THE PLAGUES WERE DESIGNED TO DESTROY THE CONFIDENCE OF THE EGYPTIANS IN THE POWER AND PROTECTION OF THEIR IDOLS, AND EVEN MADE THEIR GODS TO APPEAR AS CRUEL TORMENTORS OF THEIR WORSHIPERS, CAN BE SEEN FROM A STUDY OF THE EGYPTIAN RELIGION. A FEW EXAMPLES MAY SERVE TO ILLUSTRATE THIS FACT.  {PP 758.1}

     THE FIRST PLAGUE, TURNING THE WATER OF THE RIVER NILE AND OF ALL CANALS INTO BLOOD (EXODUS 7:19), WAS DIRECTED AGAINST THE SOURCE OF EGYPT'S VERY EXISTENCE. THE RIVER NILE WAS REGARDED WITH RELIGIOUS REVERENCE, AND AT SEVERAL PLACES SACRIFICES WERE OFFERED TO THE NILE AS TO A GOD.  {PP 758.2}

     THE SECOND PLAGUE BROUGHT FROGS OVER EGYPT. EXODUS 8:6. FROGS WERE HELD SACRED BY THE EGYPTIANS, AND ONE OF THEIR DEITIES, HEQA, WAS A FROG-HEADED GODDESS THOUGHT TO POSSESS CREATIVE POWER. WHEN THE FROGS, AS THE RESULT OF MOSES' COMMAND, MULTIPLIED TO THE EXTENT THAT THEY FILLED THE LAND FROM ONE END TO THE OTHER, THE EGYPTIANS MAY HAVE WONDERED WHY HEQA WAS TORMENTING HER ARDENT WORSHIPERS INSTEAD OF PROTECTING THEM. IN THIS WAY THE EGYPTIANS WERE NOT ONLY PUNISHED BY THE SECOND PLAGUE, BUT WITNESSED ALSO CONTEMPT HEAPED UPON THEM, AS THEY SUPPOSED, BY ONE OF THEIR GODS (EXODUS 9:3), OF WHICH MANY REPRESENTED POWERFUL GODS IN THE EGYPTIANS PANTHEON. TO MENTION ONLY A FEW, WE FIND THAT THE APIS BULL WAS DEDICATED TO PTAH, THE FATHER OF ALL THE GODS, THE COW WAS SACRED TO HATHOR, ONE OF THE MOST WIDELY WORSHIPED OF ALL FEMALE DEITIES OF THE NILE COUNTRY, WHILE THE RAM REPRESENTED SEVERAL GODS LIKE KHNEMU, AND THE RAM-HEADED AMEN, WHO WAS EGYPT'S CHIEF GOD IN THE NEW EMPIRE PERIOD. HENCE, THE DISEASE WHICH SLEW THE ANIMALS DEDICATED TO THEIR DEITIES REVEALED TO THE EGYPTIANS THE IMPOTENCE OF THEIR GODS IN THE PRESENCE OF THE GOD OF THE DESPISED HEBREWS.  {PP 758.3}

     THE NINTH PLAGUE (EXODUS 10:21) DEALT A HEAVY BLOW TO ONE OF THE GREATEST GODS OF EGYPT, THE SUN OF GOD RA, WHO HAD BEEN CONTINUOUSLY WORSHIPED FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES OF THAT COUNTRY'S KNOWN HISTORY. IN A LAND WHICH HARDLY EVER SAW CLOUDS IN THE SKY, THE SUN WAS RECOGNIZED AS A NEVER-FAILING POWER WHICH PROVIDED WARMTH, LIGHT, LIFE, AND GROWTH TO THE WHOLE WORLD. EVERY EGYPTIAN KING CONSIDERED HIMSELF AS  A "SON OF RA," AND CARRIED THIS EXPRESSION IN HIS TITULARY. WHEN AMEN OF THEBES BECAME CHIEF GOD OF EGYPT DURING THE EIGHTEENTH DYNASTY, THE POWER OF THE SUN-GOD RA WAS RECOGNIZED AS SO GREAT THAT A COMPROMISE WAS MADE BY COMBINING AMEN AND RA TO MAKE ONE GOD --AMEN-RA. A FEW YEARS AFTER THE EXODUS, WHEN IKHNATON INTRODUCED A SHORT-LIVED MONOTHEISM, THE ONLY GOD RETAINED WAS ATON, THE SUN DISK. SEEING HOW ENTRENCHED SUNWORSHIP WAS IN THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THE EGYPTIANS, AND HOW HIGHLY THE SUN GOD RA, AMEN-RA, OR ATON WAS REVERED, WE CAN UNDERSTAND WHY THE PLAGUE DIRECTED AGAINST THE GOD WAS BROUGHT UPON EGYPT TOWARD THE CULMINATION OF THE FIGHT BETWEEN THE GOD OF THE HEBREWS AND HIS EGYPTIAN ADVERSARIES.

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 {PP 758.4}

     ALSO THE TENTH PLAGUE, THE SLAUGHTERING OF THE FIRST-BORN (EXODUS 12:29), WAS STRIKING AT LEAST ONE GOD, AND THAT WAS THE KING, WHO WAS CONSIDERED TO BE HORUS, THE SON OF OSIRIS. AS THE RULER OF THE NILE COUNTRY, HE WAS ADDRESSED BY HIS SUBJECTS AS "THE GOOD GOD." HENCE, THE LAST PLAGUE CROWNED THE ACTIONS WROUGHT BY THE MIRACLE-WORKING POWER OF THE HEBREW GOD. SO FAR GODS CONTROLLING THE FORCES OF NATURE OR ANIMALS HAD BEEN DISGRACED, BUT NOW A GOD LIVING IN A VISIBLE FORM AMONG THE EGYPTIANS WAS ALSO HUMILIATED BY THE DESPISED GOD OF THE HEBREWS SLAVES, OF WHOM THE PROUD PHARAOH ONCE HAD SAID, "WHO IS THE LORD, THAT I SHOULD OBEY HIS VOICE TO LET ISRAEL GO? I KNOW NOT THE LORD, NEITHER WILL I LET ISRAEL GO." EXODUS 5:2.  {PP 759.1}

     NOTE 3. PAGE 282. IN GENESIS 15:13 WE READ THAT THE LORD SAID TO ABRAHAM, "KNOW OF A SURETY THAT THY SEED SHALL BE A STRANGER IN A LAND THAT IS NOT THEIRS, AND SHALL SERVE THEM: AND THEY SHALL AFFLICT THEM FOUR HUNDRED YEARS." THIS TEXT RAISES THE QUESTIONS WHETHER THE 400 YEARS REFER TO THE TIME OF AFFLICTION OR SOJOURNING, OR BOTH, AND WHAT THE RELATION OF THE 400 YEARS IS TO THE 430 YEARS OF EXODUS 12:40, 41, AND GALATIANS 3:16, 17.  {PP 759.2}

     THE STATEMENT IN EXODUS 12:40, THAT "THE SOJOURNING OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, WHO DWELT IN EGYPT, WAS FOUR HUNDRED AND THIRTY YEARS," GIVES THE IMPRESSION THAT THE ISRAELITES, FROM JACOB'S ENTRY INTO EGYPT TO THE EXODUS, ACTUALLY SPENT 430 YEARS IN THE COUNTRY OF THE NILE. THAT THIS IMPRESSION CANNOT BE CORRECT IS OBVIOUS FROM PAUL'S INSPIRED INTERPRETATION PRESENTED IN GALATIANS 3:16, 17, WHERE THE 430 YEARS ARE SAID TO COVER THE PERIOD BEGINNING WHEN GOD MADE HIS COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM UNTIL THE LAW WAS PROMULGATED AT SINAI. PAUL SEEMS TO REFER TO THE FIRST PROMISE MADE BY GOD TO ABRAHAM WHEN HE WAS CALLED TO LEAVE HARAN. GENESIS 12:1-3. AT THAT TIME THE 430 YEARS BEGAN, WHEN ABRAHAM WAS SEVENTY-FIVE YEARS OLD (CHAPTER 12:4), WHILE THE 400 YEARS OF THE PROPHECY OF GENESIS 15:13 BEGAN THIRTY YEARS LATER, WHEN ABRAHAM WAS 105 AND HIS SON ISAAC FIVE YEARS OLD (CHAPTER 21:5). AT THAT TIME ISHMAEL, WHO "WAS BORN AFTER THE FLESH PERSECUTED HIM [ISAAC] THAT WAS BORN AFTER THE SPIRIT" (GALATIANS 4:29; GENESIS 21:9-11), BEGINNING A TIME OF AFFLICTION OF ABRAHAM'S SEED WHICH INTERMITTENTLY WOULD BE CONTINUED UNTIL THE TIME OF THE EXODUS. ISAAC HAD NOT ONLY TROUBLES WITH HIS HALF BROTHER ISHMAEL, BUT ALSO WITH THE PHILISTINES (GENESIS 26:15, 20, 21); JACOB FLED FOR HIS LIFE FROM ESAU (GENESIS 27:41-43), AND LATER FROM LABAN (GENESIS 31:21), AND THEN WAS AGAIN IN JEOPARDY FROM ESAU (GENESIS 32:8); JOSEPH WAS SOLD INTO SLAVERY BY HIS BRETHREN (GENESIS 37:28), AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL WERE OPPRESSED BY THE EGYPTIANS FOR MANY DECADES (EXODUS 1:14).  {PP 759.3}

     THE TIME FROM ABRAHAM'S CALL TO JACOB'S ENTRY INTO EGYPT WAS 215 YEARS, BEING THE TOTAL OF (1) TWENTY-FIVE YEARS LYING BETWEEN ABRAHAM'S CALL AND THE BIRTH OF ISAAC (GENESIS 12:4; 21:5), (2) SIXTY YEARS LYING

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BETWEEN ISAAC'S BIRTH AND JACOB'S BIRTH (GENESIS 25:26), AND (3) THE AGE OF JACOB AT THE TIME OF HIS MIGRATION INTO EGYPT (GENESIS 47:9). THIS LEAVES THE REMAINING 215 YEARS OF THE 430 AS THE ACTUAL TIME THE HEBREWS SPENT IN EGYPT. HENCE THE 430 YEARS OF EXODUS 12:40 INCLUDES THE SOJOURN OF THE PATRIARCHS IN CANAAN AS WELL AS THEIR STAY IN EGYPT. SINCE IN THE TIME OF MOSES, PALESTINE WAS PART OF THE EGYPTIAN EMPIRE, IT IS NOT STRANGE TO FIND AN AUTHOR OF THAT PERIOD INCLUDING CANAAN IN THE TERM " EGYPT." THE TRANSLATORS OF THE SEPTUAGINT, KNOWING THAT THE 430 YEARS INCLUDED THE SOJOURN OF THE PATRIARCHS IN CANAAN, MADE THIS POINT CLEAR IN THEIR RENDERING OF THIS PASSAGE: "AND THE SOJOURNING OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, WHILE THEY SOJOURNED IN THE LAND OF EGYPT AND THE LAND OF CANAAN, WAS FOUR HUNDRED AND THIRTY YEARS." AN ADDITIONAL CORROBORATION OF THE INTERPRETATION OF THE 430 YEARS GIVEN ABOVE IS FOUND IN THE PROPHECY THAT THE FOURTH GENERATION OF THOSE WHO HAD ENTERED EGYPT WOULD LEAVE IT (GENESIS 15:16), AND ITS RECORDED FULFILLMENT IN EXODUS 6:16-20.  {PP 759.4}

     NOTE 4. PAGE 316. THE ISRAELITES, IN THEIR ADORATION OF THE GOLDEN CALF, PROFESSED TO BE WORSHIPING GOD. THUS AARON, WHEN INAUGURATING THE WORSHIP OF THE IDOL, PROCLAIMED, "TOMORROW IS A FEAST UNTO JEHOVAH." THEY PROPOSED TO WORSHIP GOD, AS THE EGYPTIANS WORSHIPED OSIRIS, UNDER THE SEMBLANCE OF THE IMAGE. BUT GOD COULD NOT ACCEPT THE SERVICE. THOUGH OFFERED IN HIS NAME, THE SUN-GOD, AND NOT JEHOVAH, WAS THE REAL OBJECT OF THEIR ADORATION.  {PP 760.1}

     THE WORSHIP OF APIS WAS ACCOMPANIED WITH THE GROSSEST LICENTIOUSNESS, AND THE SCRIPTURE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE CALF WORSHIP BY THE ISRAELITES WAS ATTENDED WITH ALL THE LICENSE USUAL IN HEATHEN WORSHIP. WE READ: "THEY ROSE UP EARLY ON THE MORROW, AND OFFERED BURNT OFFERINGS, AND BROUGHT PEACE OFFERINGS; AND THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND TO DRINK, AND ROSE UP TO PLAY." EXODUS 32:6. THE HEBREW WORD RENDERED "TO PLAY" SIGNIFIES PLAYING WITH LEAPING, SINGING, AND DANCING. THIS DANCING, ESPECIALLY AMONG THE EGYPTIANS, WAS SENSUAL AND INDECENT. THE WORD RENDERED "CORRUPTED" IN THE NEXT VERSE, WHERE IT IS SAID, "THY PEOPLE, WHICH THOU BROUGHTEST OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT, HAVE CORRUPTED THEMSELVES," IS THE SAME THAT IS USED IN GENESIS 6:11, 12, WHERE WE READ THAT THE EARTH WAS CORRUPT, "FOR ALL FLESH HAD CORRUPTED HIS WAY UPON THE EARTH." THIS EXPLAINS THE TERRIBLE ANGER OF THE LORD, AND WHY HE DESIRED TO CONSUME THE PEOPLE AT ONCE.  {PP 760.2}

     NOTE 5. PAGE 329. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS WERE THE "COVENANT" TO WHICH THE LORD REFERRED WHEN, IN PROPOSING A COVENANT WITH ISRAEL, HE SAID, "IF YE WILL OBEY MY VOICE INDEED, AND KEEP MY COVENANT," ETC. EXODUS 19:5. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS WERE TERMED GOD'S "COVENANT" BEFORE THE COVENANT WAS MADE WITH ISRAEL. THEY WERE NOT AN AGREEMENT MADE, BUT SOMETHING WHICH GOD COMMANDED THEM TO PERFORM. THUS

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THE TEN COMMANDMENTS--GOD'S COVENANT--BECAME THE BASIS OF THE COVENANT MADE BETWEEN HIM AND ISRAEL. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS IN ALL THEIR DETAILS ARE "ALL THESE WORDS," CONCERNING WHICH THE COVENANT WAS MADE. SEE EXODUS 24:8.  {PP 760.3}

     NOTE 6. PAGE 354. WHEN A SIN OFFERING WAS PRESENTED FOR A PRIEST OR FOR THE WHOLE CONGREGATION, THE BLOOD WAS CARRIED INTO THE HOLY PLACE AND SPRINKLED BEFORE THE VEIL AND PLACED UPON THE HORNS OF THE GOLDEN ALTAR. THE FAT WAS CONSUMED UPON THE ALTAR OF BURNT OFFERING IN THE COURT, BUT THE BODY OF THE VICTIM WAS BURNED WITHOUT THE CAMP. SEE LEVITICUS 4:1-21.  {PP 761.1}

     WHEN, HOWEVER, THE OFFERING WAS FOR A RULER OR FOR ONE OF THE PEOPLE, THE BLOOD WAS NOT TAKEN INTO THE HOLY PLACE, BUT THE FLESH WAS TO BE EATEN BY THE PRIEST, AS THE LORD DIRECTED MOSES: "THE PRIEST THAT OFFERETH IT FOR SIN SHALL EAT IT: IN A HOLY PLACE SHALL IT BE EATEN, IN THE COURT OF THE TENT OF MEETING." LEVITICUS 6:26, R.V. SEE ALSO LEVITICUS 4:22-35.  {PP 761.2}

     NOTE 7. PAGE 366. THAT THE ONE WHO SPOKE THE LAW, WHO CALLED MOSES INTO THE MOUNT AND TALKED WITH HIM, WAS OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, IS EVIDENT FROM THE FOLLOWING CONSIDERATIONS:  {PP 761.3}

     CHRIST IS THE ONE THROUGH WHOM GOD HAS AT ALL TIMES REVEALED HIMSELF TO MAN. "BUT TO US THERE IS BUT ONE GOD, THE FATHER, OF WHOM ARE ALL THINGS, AND WE IN HIM; AND ONE LORD JESUS CHRIST, BY WHOM ARE ALL THINGS, AND WE BY HIM." 1 CORINTHIANS 8:6. "THIS IS HE [MOSES], THAT WAS IN THE CHURCH IN THE WILDERNESS WITH THE ANGEL WHICH SPAKE TO HIM IN THE MOUNT SINAI, AND WITH OUR FATHERS: WHO RECEIVED THE LIVELY ORACLES TO GIVE UNTO US." ACTS 7:38. THIS ANGEL WAS THE ANGEL OF GOD'S PRESENCE (ISAIAH 63:9), THE ANGEL IN WHOM WAS THE NAME OF THE GREAT JEHOVAH (EXODUS 23:20-23). THE EXPRESSION CAN REFER TO NO OTHER THAN THE SON OF GOD.  {PP 761.4}

     AGAIN: CHRIST IS CALLED THE WORD OF GOD. JOHN 1:1-3. HE IS SO CALLED BECAUSE GOD GAVE HIS REVELATIONS TO MAN IN ALL AGES THROUGH CHRIST. IT WAS HIS SPIRIT THAT INSPIRED THE PROPHETS. 1 PETER 1:10, 11. HE WAS REVEALED TO THEM AS THE ANGEL OF JEHOVAH, THE CAPTAIN OF THE LORD'S HOST, MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL.  {PP 761.5}

     NOTE 8. PAGE 603. THE QUESTION HAS BEEN RAISED, AND IS NOW MUCH AGITATED, IF A THEOCRACY WAS GOOD IN THE TIME OF ISRAEL, WHY WOULD NOT A THEOCRATICAL FORM OF GOVERNMENT BE EQUALLY GOOD FOR THIS TIME? THE ANSWER IS EASY:  {PP 761.6}

     A THEOCRACY IS A GOVERNMENT WHICH DERIVES ITS POWER IMMEDIATELY FROM GOD. THE GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL WAS A TRUE THEOCRACY. THAT WAS REALLY A GOVERNMENT OF GOD. AT THE BURNING BUSH, GOD COMMISSIONED MOSES TO LEAD HIS PEOPLE OUT OF EGYPT. BY SIGNS AND WONDERS AND MIGHTY MIRACLES MULTIPLIED, GOD DELIVERED ISRAEL FROM EGYPT AND

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LED THEM THROUGH THE WILDERNESS AND FINALLY INTO THE PROMISED LAND. THERE HE RULED THEM BY JUDGES "UNTIL SAMUEL THE PROPHET," TO WHOM, WHEN HE WAS A CHILD, GOD SPOKE, AND BY WHOM HE MADE KNOWN HIS WILL. IN THE DAYS OF SAMUEL THE PEOPLE ASKED THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE A KING. THIS WAS ALLOWED, AND GOD CHOSE SAUL, AND SAMUEL ANOINTED HIM KING OF ISRAEL. SAUL FAILED TO DO THE WILL OF GOD; AND AS HE REJECTED THE WORD OF THE LORD, THE LORD REJECTED HIM FROM BEING KING AND SENT SAMUEL TO ANOINT DAVID KING OF ISRAEL; AND DAVID'S THRONE GOD ESTABLISHED FOREVERMORE. WHEN SOLOMON SUCCEEDED TO THE KINGDOM IN THE PLACE OF DAVID HIS FATHER, THE RECORD IS: "THEN SOLOMON SAT ON THE THRONE OF THE LORD AS KING INSTEAD OF DAVID HIS FATHER." 1 CHRONICLES 29:23. DAVID'S THRONE WAS THE THRONE OF THE LORD, AND SOLOMON SAT ON THE THRONE OF THE LORD AS KING OVER THE EARTHLY KINGDOM OF GOD. THE SUCCESSION TO THE THRONE DESCENDED IN DAVID'S LINE TO ZEDEKIAH, WHO WAS MADE SUBJECT TO THE KING OF BABYLON, AND WHO ENTERED INTO A SOLEMN COVENANT BEFORE GOD THAT HE WOULD LOYALLY RENDER ALLEGIANCE TO THE KING OF BABYLON. BUT ZEDEKIAH BROKE HIS COVENANT, AND THEN GOD SAID TO HIM:  {PP 761.7}

     "THOU, PROFANE WICKED PRINCE OF ISRAEL, WHOSE DAY IS COME, WHEN INIQUITY SHALL HAVE AN END, THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD; REMOVE THE DIADEM, AND TAKE OFF THE CROWN: THIS SHALL NOT BE THE SAME: EXALT HIM THAT IS LOW, AND ABASE HIM THAT IS HIGH. I WILL OVERTURN, OVERTURN, OVERTURN, IT: AND IT SHALL BE NO MORE, UNTIL HE COME WHOSE RIGHT IT IS; AND I WILL GIVE IT HIM." EZEKIEL 21:25-27. SEE ALSO CHAPTER 17:1-21.  {PP 762.1}

     THE KINGDOM WAS THEN SUBJECT TO BABYLON. WHEN BABYLON FELL, AND MEDO-PERSIA SUCCEEDED, IT WAS OVERTURNED THE FIRST TIME. WHEN MEDO-PERSIA FELL AND WAS SUCCEEDED BY GREECE, IT WAS OVERTURNED THE SECOND TIME. WHEN THE GREEK EMPIRE GAVE WAY TO ROME, IT WAS OVERTURNED THE THIRD TIME. AND THEN SAYS THE WORD, "IT SHALL BE NO MORE, UNTIL HE COME WHOSE RIGHT IT IS; AND I WILL GIVE IT HIM." WHO IS HE WHOSE RIGHT IT IS? "THOU . . . SHALT CALL HIS NAME JESUS. HE SHALL BE GREAT, AND SHALL BE CALLED THE SON OF THE HIGHEST: AND THE LORD GOD SHALL GIVE UNTO HIM THE THRONE OF HIS FATHER DAVID: AND HE SHALL REIGN OVER THE HOUSE OF JACOB FOREVER; AND OF HIS KINGDOM THERE SHALL BE NO END." LUKE 1:31-33. AND WHILE HE WAS HERE AS "THAT PROPHET," A MAN OF SORROWS AND ACQUAINTED WITH GRIEF, THE NIGHT IN WHICH HE WAS BETRAYED HE HIMSELF DECLARED, "MY KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD." THUS THE THRONE OF THE LORD HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM THIS WORLD AND WILL "BE NO MORE, UNTIL HE COME WHOSE RIGHT IT IS," AND THEN IT WILL BE GIVEN HIM. AND THAT TIME IS THE END OF THIS WORLD, AND THE BEGINNING OF "THE WORLD TO COME."  {PP 762.2}

     TO THE TWELVE APOSTLES THE SAVIOUR SAID, "I APPOINT UNTO YOU A KINGDOM, AS MY FATHER HATH APPOINTED UNTO ME; THAT YE MAY EAT AND DRINK AT MY TABLE IN MY KINGDOM, AND SIT ON THRONES, JUDGING THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL." LUKE 22:29, 30. FROM MATTHEW'S ACCOUNT OF

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CHRIST'S PROMISE TO THE TWELVE WE LEARN WHEN IT WILL BE FULFILLED; "IN THE REGENERATION WHEN THE SON OF MAN SHALL SIT IN THE THRONE OF HIS GLORY, YE ALSO SHALL SIT UPON TWELVE THRONES, JUDGING THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL." MATTHEW 19:28. IN THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS, CHRIST REPRESENTS HIMSELF UNDER THE FIGURE OF A NOBLEMAN WHO "WENT INTO A FAR COUNTRY TO RECEIVE FOR HIMSELF A KINGDOM, AND TO RETURN." LUKE 19:12. AND HE HIMSELF HAS TOLD US WHEN HE WILL SIT UPON THE THRONE OF HIS GLORY: "WHEN THE SON OF MAN SHALL COME IN HIS GLORY, AND ALL THE HOLY ANGELS WITH HIM, THEN SHALL HE SIT UPON THE THRONE OF HIS GLORY: AND BEFORE HIM SHALL BE GATHERED ALL NATIONS." MATTHEW 25:31, 32.  {PP 762.3}

     TO THIS TIME THE REVELATOR LOOKS FORWARD WHEN HE SAYS, "THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD ARE BECOME THE KINGDOMS OF OUR LORD, AND OF HIS CHRIST; AND HE SHALL REIGN FOREVER AND EVER." REVELATION 11:15. THE CONTEXT CLEARLY SHOWS WHEN THIS WILL TAKE PLACE: "THE NATIONS WERE ANGRY, AND THY WRATH IS COME, AND THE TIME OF THE DEAD, THAT THEY SHOULD BE JUDGED, AND THAT THOU SHOULDEST GIVE REWARD UNTO THY SERVANTS THE PROPHETS, AND TO THE SAINTS, AND THEM THAT FEAR THY NAME, SMALL AND GREAT; AND SHOULDEST DESTROY THEM WHICH DESTROY THE EARTH." VERSE 18. IT IS AT THE TIME OF THE FINAL JUDGMENT, THE REWARD OF THE RIGHTEOUS, AND THE PUNISHMENT OF THE WICKED THAT THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST WILL BE SET UP. WHEN ALL WHO OPPOSE THE SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST HAVE BEEN DESTROYED, THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD BECOME THE KINGDOMS OF OUR LORD AND OF HIS CHRIST.  {PP 763.1}

     THEN CHRIST WILL REIGN, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." REVELATION 19:16. "AND THE KINGDOM AND DOMINION, AND THE GREATNESS OF THE KINGDOM UNDER THE WHOLE HEAVEN, SHALL BE GIVEN TO THE PEOPLE OF THE SAINTS OF THE MOST HIGH." AND "THE SAINTS OF THE MOST HIGH SHALL TAKE THE KINGDOM, AND POSSESS THE KINGDOM FOREVER, EVEN FOREVER AND EVER." DANIEL 7:27, 18.  {PP 763.2}

     UNTIL THAT TIME THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST CANNOT BE ESTABLISHED ON THE EARTH. HIS KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD. HIS FOLLOWERS ARE TO ACCOUNT THEMSELVES "STRANGERS AND PILGRIMS ON THE EARTH." PAUL SAYS, "OUR CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN; FROM WHENCE ALSO WE WAIT FOR A SAVIOUR, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST." HEBREWS 11:13; PHILIPPIANS 3:20, R.V.  {PP 763.3}

     SINCE THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL PASSED AWAY, GOD HAS NEVER DELEGATED AUTHORITY TO ANY MAN OR BODY OF MEN TO EXECUTE HIS LAWS AS SUCH. "VENGEANCE IS MINE; I WILL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD." ROMANS 12:19. CIVIL GOVERNMENTS HAVE TO DO WITH THE RELATIONS OF MAN WITH MAN; BUT THEY HAVE NOTHING WHATEVER TO DO WITH THE DUTIES THAT GROW OUT OF MAN'S RELATION TO GOD.  {PP 763.4}

     EXCEPT THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL, NO GOVERNMENT HAS EVER EXISTED ON THE EARTH IN WHICH GOD BY INSPIRED MEN DIRECTED THE AFFAIRS OF STATE. WHENEVER MEN HAVE ENDEAVORED TO FORM SUCH A GOVERNMENT AS THAT OF ISRAEL, THEY HAVE, OF NECESSITY, TAKEN IT UPON THEMSELVES TO INTERPRET AND ENFORCE THE LAW OF GOD. THEY HAVE ASSUMED THE RIGHT TO

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CONTROL THE CONSCIENCE, AND THUS HAVE USURPED THE PREROGATIVE OF GOD.  {PP 763.5}

     IN THE FORMER DISPENSATION, WHILE SINS AGAINST GOD WERE VISITED WITH TEMPORAL PENALTIES, THE JUDGMENTS EXECUTED WERE NOT ONLY BY DIVINE SANCTION, BUT UNDER HIS DIRECT CONTROL, AND BY HIS COMMAND. SORCERERS WERE TO BE PUT TO DEATH. IDOLATERS WERE TO BE SLAIN. PROFANITY AND SACRILEGE WERE PUNISHED WITH DEATH. WHOLE NATIONS OF IDOLATERS WERE TO BE EXTERMINATED. BUT THE INFLICTION OF THESE PENALTIES WAS DIRECTED BY HIM WHO READS THE HEARTS OF MEN, WHO KNOWS THE MEASURE OF THEIR GUILT, AND WHO DEALS WITH HIS CREATURES IN WISDOM AND MERCY. WHEN MEN, WITH HUMAN FRAILTIES AND PASSIONS, UNDERTAKE TO DO THIS WORK, IT NEEDS NO ARGUMENT TO SHOW THAT THE DOOR IS OPENED TO UNRESTRAINED INJUSTICE AND CRUELTY. THE MOST INHUMAN CRIMES WILL BE PERPETRATED, AND ALL IN THE SACRED NAME OF CHRIST.  {PP 764.1}

     FROM THE LAWS OF ISRAEL, WHICH PUNISHED OFFENSES AGAINST GOD, ARGUMENTS HAVE BEEN DRAWN TO PROVE THE DUTY OF PUNISHING SIMILAR SINS IN THIS AGE. ALL PERSECUTORS HAVE EMPLOYED THEM TO JUSTIFY THEIR DEEDS. THE PRINCIPLE THAT GOD HAS DELEGATED TO HUMAN AUTHORITY THE RIGHT TO CONTROL THE CONSCIENCE IS THE VERY FOUNDATION OF RELIGIOUS TYRANNY AND PERSECUTION. BUT ALL WHO REASON THUS LOSE SIGHT OF THE FACT THAT WE ARE NOW LIVING IN A DIFFERENT DISPENSATION, UNDER CONDITIONS WHOLLY DIFFERENT FROM THOSE OF ISRAEL; THAT THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL WAS A TYPE OF THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST, WHICH WILL NOT BE SET UP UNTIL HIS SECOND COMING; AND THAT THE DUTIES WHICH PERTAIN TO MAN'S RELATION TO GOD ARE NOT TO BE REGULATED OR ENFORCED BY HUMAN AUTHORITY.  {PP 764.2}

     NOTE 9. PAGE 608. CONCERNING THE IDENTITY OF THE RAMAH OF SAMUEL WITH THE RAMAH OF BENJAMIN, DR. EDERSHEIM SAYS: "THESE TWO POINTS SEEM ESTABLISHED: SAUL'S RESIDENCE WAS AT GIBEAH, AND HE FIRST MET SAMUEL IN RAMAH. BUT IF SO, IT SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE, IN VIEW OF 1 SAMUEL 10:2, TO IDENTIFY THE RAMAH OF SAMUEL WITH THE RAMAH OF BENJAMIN, OR TO REGARD IT AS THE MODERN NEBY SAMUEL, FOUR MILES NORTHWEST OF JERUSALEM."  {PP 764.3}

 

 

01     http://freedomfortheliving.com/PatriarchsandProphets/In_The_Beginning_To_The_Flood.html

 

02     http://freedomfortheliving.com/PatriarchsandProphets/The_Flood_to_the_Tower_of_Babel.html

 

03     http://freedomfortheliving.com/PatriarchsandProphets/The_Call_to_Abraham_to_Jacob_and_his_sons.html

 

04     http://freedomfortheliving.com/PatriarchsandProphets/Joseph_in_Egypt_to_Moses_to_Mount_Sinai_and_the_Ten_Commandments.html

 

05     http://freedomfortheliving.com/PatriarchsandProphets/Giving_of_the_Ten_Commandments_to_leaving_Mount_Sinai.html

 

06     http://freedomfortheliving.com/PatriarchsandProphets/From_Mount_Sinai_to_the_death_of_Moses.html

 

07     http://freedomfortheliving.com/PatriarchsandProphets/From_Joshua_to_Crossing_the_Jordan_to_Jericho_to_the_Judges.html

 

08     http://freedomfortheliving.com/PatriarchsandProphets/From_the_Judges_to_Samson_to_Samuel_to_the_schools_of_the_Prophets.html

 

09     http://freedomfortheliving.com/PatriarchsandProphets/The_life_and_death_of_king_Saul_and_David_and_Goliath.html

 

10    http://freedomfortheliving.com/PatriarchsandProphets/The_life_and_reign_of_king_David.html