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weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me that the child may live ? 23 But now he is dead, 23 Happy faith! happy hope! we wherefore should I fast? can believe that as Jesus died and rose I bring him back again? I again, even so them also who sleep shall go to him, but he shall in Jesus,shall God so bring with him.
The spirits of the redeemed shall not return to me. And David
meet again, and shall live together, comforted Bath-sheba his for ever holy and for ever happy, in wife, and went in unto her, the eternal mansions of the blessed. and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved him. And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he called his name Jedidiah, because of the Lord. And Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and took the royal city. And Joab sent messengers to David, and said, I have fought against Rabbah, and have taken the city of waters. Now therefore gather the rest of the people together, and encamp against the city, and take it : lest I take the city, and it be called after my name. And David gathered all the people together, and went to Rabbah, and fought against it, and took it. And he took their king's crown from off his head, the weight whereof was a talent of gold with the precious stones : and it was set on David's head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city in great abundance. And he brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brickkiln: and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon. So David and all the people returned unto Jerusalem.
EVENING. 2 SAMUEL xix. And it was told Joab, Behold, the king weepeth and mourneth for Absalom. ? And the vic
2 It were unnatural for a father tory that day was turned into
not to mourn a son dead. But this mourning unto all the people: son was a rebel to his king. Hence for the people heard say that the indignation of the people, that he day how the king was grieved
should be publicly mourned. 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. But the king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom, 0 Absalom, my son, my son! And Joab came into the house to the king, and 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, and the lives of thy wives, and the lives of thy concubines; in
6 Absalom had been, politically, his that thou lovest thine ene
father's bitter enemy. mies, 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 7 Exalted station has its peculiar arise, go forth, and speak drawbacks to felicity; and it is not comfortably unto thy ser- among the least of these drawbacks, vants: for I swear by the by Providence to be a sovereign
that in the case of one who is called Lord, if thou go not forth, the father of his people—he must there will not tarry one with let no consideration for private feeling thee this night: and that will interfere with public duty be worse unto thee than all the evil that befell thee from thy youth until now. Then the king arose, and sat in the gate. And they told unto all the people, saying, Behold, the king doth sit in the gate. And all the people came before the king: for Israel had fled every man to his tent. And all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, The king saved us out of the hand of our enemies, and he delivered us out of the hand of the Philistines; and now he is fled out of the land for Absalom. And Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back? And king David sent to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, saying, Speak unto the elders of Judah, saying, Why are ye the last to bring the king back to his house ? seeing the speech of all Israel is come to the king, even to his house. Ye are my brethren, ye are my bones and my flesh : wherefore then are ye the last to bring back the king ? And 13 Amasa was David's nephew. say ye to Amasa, Art thou not of my bone, and of my flesh ? God do so to me, and more also, if thou be not captain of the host before me continually in the room of Joab. And he bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as the heart of one man; so that they sent this word unto the king, Return thou, and all thy servants. So the king returned, and came to Jordan. And Judah came to Gilgal, to go to meet the
* If a nation rejoices, the sovereign must rejoice ; and even when in his heart he mourns a son, a friend, a brother-his own individual sorrow must be forgotten amid the shouts of victory, and the gratulations of the conquerors. Who would envy the great ones of the earth? Dearly is their greatness purchased. Let us feel for them, and pray for them.
king, to conduct the king over Jordan. And Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite, which was of Bahurim, hasted and came down with the men of Judah to meet king David. And there were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they went over Jordan before the king. And there went over a ferry boat to carry over the king's household, and to do what he thought good. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was come over Jordan; and said unto the king, Let not my lord impute iniquity unto me, neither do thou remember that which thy servant did perversely the day that my lord the king went out of Jerusalem, that the king should take it to his heart. For thy servant doth know that I have sinned : therefore, behold, I am come the first this day of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered and said, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he
22 David, grateful for the divine cursed the Lord's anointed ? forbearance towards himself,rejoiced 22 And David said, What have in exercising forbearance towards I to do with you, ye sons of others. Gratitude was followed by Zeruiah, that ye should this humility, and humility by clemency. day be adversaries unto me? shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel ? for do not I know that I am this day king over Israel ? Therefore the king said unto Shimei, Thou shalt not die. And the king sware unto him. And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came again in peace. And it came to pass, when he was come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said unto him, Wherefore wentest not thou with me, Mephibosheth? And he answered, My lord, O king, my servant deceived me: for thy servant said, I will saddle me an ass, that I may ride thereon, and go to the king ; because thy servant is lame. And he hath slandered thy servant unto my lord the king; but my lord the king is as an angel of God: do therefore what is good in thine eyes. For all of my father's house were but dead men before my lord the king : yet didst thou set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table. What right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the king ? And the king said unto him, Why speakest thou any more of thy matters? I have said, Thou and Ziba divide the land. And Mephibosheth said unto the king, Yea, let him take all,
forasmuch as my lord the king is come again in peace unto his own house. And Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim, and went over Jordan with the king, to conduct him over Jordan. Now Barzillai was a very aged man, eren fourscore years old : and he had provided the king of sustenance while he lay at Mahanaim ; for he was a very great man. And the king said unto Barzillai, Come thou over with me, and I will feed thee with me in Jerusalem. And Barzillai said unto the king, How long have I to live, that I should go up with the king unto Jerusalem ? 35 The example of Barzillai, loyal 1 I am this day fourscore and affectionate, aged and unworldly, years old : and can I discern is recorded for our instruction between good and evil ? can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink ? can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women ? wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king? Thy servant will go a little way over Jordan with the king: and why should the king recompense it me with such a reward? Let thy servant, I pray thee, turn back again, that I may die in mine own city, and be buried by the grave of my father and of my mother. But behold thy servant Chimham ; let him go over with my lord the king ; and do to him what shall seem good unto thee. And the king answered, Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do to him that which shall seem good unto thee : and whatsoever thou shalt require of me, that will I do for thee. And all the people went over Jordan. And when the king was come over, the king kissed Barzillai, and blessed him; and he returned unto his own place. Then the king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him : and all the people of Judah conducted the king, and also half the people of Israel. And, behold, all the men of Israel came to the king, and said unto the king, Why have our brethren the men of Judah stolen thee away, and have brought the king, and his houshold, and all David's men with him, over Jordan ? And all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, Because the king is near of kin to us : wherefore then be ye angry for this matter? have we eaten at all of the king's cost? or hath he given us any gift ?
43 Where envy is admitted, whether
No sufferings of his sovereign could weaken Barzillai's loyalty; no changes alter his affection. But old age had cooled his ambition: all his request now is, that he may die at home! We are well instructed, as advancing years conduct us nearer to our end, to devote our time more and more to that calm and holy meditation, which best soothes the bed of pain, and cheers the else weary hours of weakness and decay.
the men of Israel answered in public or in private life, turbuthe men of Judah, and said, lence and misery naturally follow, We have ten parts in the king, and we have also more right in David than ye: why then did ye despise us, that our advice should not be first had in bringing back our king? And the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.
The seventh Sunday after Trinity.
MORNING, 2 SAMUEL xxi.
I THEN there was a famine 1 Three years' famine was in the in the days of David three
land. Then David inquired of the
Lord—then also the Lord answered. years, year
Surely God is more ready to hear David enquired of the Lord. than we to pray. In the time of And the LORD answe
wered, It trouble seek comfort in prayer is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites. And the king called the Gibeonites, and said unto them; (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn unto them: and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.) Wherefore David said unto the Gibeonites, What shall I do for you? and wherewith shall I make the atonement, that ye may bless the inheritance of the Lord ? And the Gibeonites said unto him, We will have no silver nor gold of Saul, nor of his house; neither for us shalt thou kill any man in Israel. And he said, What
say, that will I do for you. And they answered the king, The man that consumed us, and that devised against us that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel, let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the Lord in Gibeah of Saul, whom the Lord did choose. And the king said, I will give them. But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the Lord's oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul.
* Saul slew the Gibeonites, contrary to the covenant made with them, Josh. ix. 15. That so long an interval passed between the offence and the punishment, is of course among the hidden things of God. We are taught, however, by this history, that present impunity by no means screens the offender eventually. Let me always remember, that the end is not yet.