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Q. What circumstance brought David into public notice ?
A. The Philistines had invaded Israel with a powerful army, and brought with them Goliath, a man of gigantic stature,* who challenged the Israelites to determine the war by single combat. Saul and the men of Israel were utterly dismayed at this circumstance, when David, then in the camp, engaged to fight him ; declaring to the king his confidence that God who had in time past delivered him from the paw of a lion, and from the paw of a bear, would also deliver him out of the hand of this Philistine. Unable, however, to sustain the king's armour in which he had been arrayed, he put it off, and went against Goliath with no other weapons than his shepherd's staff, a sling,t and five stones.
Q. How did the Philistine receive him ?
* His height “ six cubits and a span,” i Sam. xvii. 4. estimated at eighteen inches the cubit, and nine inches the span, must have been nine feet nine inches.
The ordinary weight of a complete suit of armour was sixty pounds; but Goliath's armour, 1 Sam. xvii. 5. 7. is supposed to have weighed not less than two hundred and seventy-two pounds thirteen ounces.--See Dr. A. CLARKE's Comment.
+ The sling, a simple but very powerful engine, consists of a small strap of leather, or other material, and two strings. One of these is secured to the hand, and the other is parted with at the projecting of the stone. The Benjamites were skilled in the use of this weapon, Judg. xx. 16. 1 Chron. xii. 2. equalling, if not excelling, the inhabitants of the Balearic isles, in this exercise. M. Rollin in his Anc. Hist. book ii. part 2. has given a minute description of these slingers.
A. He disdained him, and cursed him by his gods : but David, trusting in the Lord God of Israel, advanced boldly towards him, and slung a stone at him with such violence, that it sunk into his forehead, and he fell with his face to the earth. Then David ran and stood upon him, and cut off his head with his own sword.
Q. What was the consequence ?
A. “When the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled," and were pursued by the Israelites to the gates of Ekron.
Q. How were Saul and his army received on their return home?
A. The women came out of all the cities of Israel to welcome them, with songs, music, and dancing, saying one to another “ Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands ;" which thing greatly displeased Saul, and he "eyed David from that day and forward."
Q. How did he reward David ?
" and David behaved himself wisely in all his ways ; for the LORD was with him ;" wherefore Saul “ was afraid of him."
Q. What was the consequence of Saul's jealousy ?
A. Desirous of compassing David's death he sent him against the Philistines, promising him Merab his elder daughter to wife, as the reward of his valour ; but when she “ should have been given to David, she was given unto Adriel the Mebolathite." Still eager, however, to accomplish his purpose, he offered him Michal, his younger daughter, on the express condition that he
should slay two hundred Philistines ; but David fulfilled the condition and married Michal.' Nevertheless “ Saul became David's enemy continually,"* and at length commanded Jonathan his son, and all his servants to kill him.
Q. How did David escape ?
A. Jonathan who “ loved David as his own soul,"' acquainted him with Saul's design, and advised him to conceal himself until his father was reconciled to him : this took place soon after by Jonathan's interposition.
Q. What particular service did David occasionally render to Saul ?
A. The monarch being sometimes troubled with “an evil spirit from the Lord,”+ David, who was “a cunning player on the harp,” refreshed him by the power ofmusic, “and the evil spirit departed from him." I
Q. To what did this friendly office expose David ?
A. To the malignity of Saul, who thrice endeavoured to smite him with a javelin. After the last attempt David fled from Saul, and took refuge in his own house : thither he was followed by Saul's messengers, but Michal let him down through a window, and he escaped.
Q. Did Saul pursue him?
A. Yes : he hunted him from place to place, when oue doth hunt a partridge in the mountains."'
* 1 Sam. xviii. 5-9, 14, 15, 17-27. xix. 1, 2. + Probably some mental disease.
xvi. 14-23. xviii. 10. xix. 9, 10. $ xxvi. 20. This expression alludes to a practice yet common amoug the Arabs.--See Dr. A. CLARKE's Commept.
Q. Whither did David go?
A. He first went to Ramah, and showed Samuel all that Saul had done : and Sanl sent messengers thither three several times to take him; but “when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied.” Therefore Saul went thither himself; and the Spirit of God came upon him likewise, and he prophesied. *
Q. Did David remain with Samuel ?
A. No: he left Naioth in Ramalı, and, after taking an affectionate leave of his beloved Jonathan, went to Xob the city of the priests, where Abimelech gave him shew-bread to eat, and girt him with the sword of Goliath : from thence he fled to Gath, where he feigned madness, to avoid the vengeance of the Philistines : and leaving Gath, he "escaped to the cave Adullamn." There he was joined by his father's family, and four hundred malecontents, over whom he became captain.
Q. How did David show his filial piety at this time?
A. Anxious for the safety of his parents, he committed them to the care of the king of Moab: and then, by the advice of Gad the prophet, returned to the land of Judah, and came into the forest of Hareth.
* Prophesying not only signifies predicting, but teaching, and worship by prayer. Gen. xx. 7. 1 Kings xviii, 29. '1 Cor. xiv. 22, 24, 25, 29—32. In 1 Sam. xix. 24. it is sai
naked;” by which critics understand that he lay down without his upper garments, or without his royal robes.
Q. Of what sanguinary act was Saul guilty about this time?
A. Being informed by Doeg, the Edomite, of Ahimelech's kindness to David, he summoned all the priests in Nob before him, and commanded his servants to slay them : this, however, they refused to do; wherefore Doeg fell upon them, and slew eighty-five priests that wore a linen ephod. Saul then smote Nob with the edge of the sword, and slew both men and women, children and sucklings, and also the cattle ; but Abiathar, one of the sons of Abimelech, escaped with an ephod in his hand,* and fled to David.
Q. What induced David to leave the forest of Hareth?
A. He was told that the Philistines fought against Keilah and robbed the threshing floors : therefore, having first inquired of the Lord, he went against them, and defeated them with great slaughter.
Q. How was Saul now occupied ?
A. In practising mischief secretly against David, whom he pursued to Keilah.
Q. What became of David ? A. He fled to the wilderness of Ziph, where Jonathan had an interview with him ; after this he went to the wilderness of Maon; thence to the strong-holds at Engedi, where he remained until after the death of Samuel.
Q. What happened in Engedi ?
* See the high priest's ephod described, Exod. xxxix. 1.-26. + When this happened it is impassible to ascertain.