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the Gittites, $ and the priests and Levites bearing the ark of God.
Q. How did this sudden reverse affect David ?
A. Very deeply : nevertheless he was perfectly resigned to the divine will, and ordered the priests to carry back the ark, saying, “If I shall find favour 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.” And David went up Mount Olivet barefooted, and his head covered ; and he, and all the people that were with him, wept as they went.
Q. Of whom was David most afraid ?
A. Of Ahithophel ; for his counsel“ was as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God;" wherefore he said "O Lord, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.”'t
V. Did he use any means to render the counsel of Ahithophel abortive?
A. Yes : he sent back Hushai, who had joined him on Mount Olivet, to Jerusalem; not only to oppose the advice of Ahithophel, but to obtain intelligence of Absalom's designs.
Q. What became of Mephibosheth, Jonathan's son?
6 Men of Gath, 2 Sam. xv. 18. under the command of Ittai, lately exiled, probably for his attachment to David. In the conversation between David and Ittai it is difficult to know which to admire most,—the delicacy of David, or the noble devotion of Ittai. 2 Sam. xv. 19-21.
1 2 Sam. xv. 31. xvi. 23.
A. Being detained in Jerusalem, Ziba his steward went to meet David with a present, and accused his master of remaining behind in the hope of being restored to the kingdom of his father.* Wherefore David made Ziba a grant of all that pertained to Mephibosheth.
Q. What occurred at Bahurim ?
A. Shimei, a man of the family of Saul, cursed David, and threw stones and dust at him. For this offence Abishai wished to slay him, but David said “Let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Çurse David. It may be that the LORD will look on mine afliction, and-requite me good for his cursing this day."
Q. What was Absalom doing in the meantime ? A. He went to Jerusalem where he was joined by Hushai.t There, agreeably to the advice of Ahithophel, he abandoned himself to licentiousness and crime, to make himself abhorred of his father. But Ahithophel's counsel to pursue immediately after David with twelve thousand men, was opposed by Hushai, who sent David an account of their deliberations, by Jonathan and Ahimaaz.
Q. What was the consequence ?
A. Lest Ahithophel's advice should be adopted, David and all his people went over Jordan that same night, and passed on to Mahanaimn. Thither Sbobi the Ammonite, and Machir and Barzillai, the Gileadites,
* The Hebrews called any direct male ancestor a father. Saul, of course, is here intended.
Huslai's dissimulation though narrated in Scripture, is by no means commended. 2 Sam. xvi. 16-19. xvii. 5-14.
brought abundance of provisions, beds, and other necessaries for David and his men.*
Q. What was the result of the deliberations of Ahithophel and Hushai?
A. Absalom rejected the good counsel of Ahithophel, who, probably foreseeing the consequences, immediately went home, and after setting his house in order,t hanged himself.
Q. Did Absalom ultimately pursue David ?
A. Yes : having made Amasa captain of the host, he passed over Jordan, and encamped in Gilead. There, in the wood of Ephraim, [after receiving from David a charge to deal gently with Absalom,] Joab, Abishai, and Ittai joined battle with the Israelites, who were defeated with great slaughter.
Q. What befel Absalom on that day?
A. As he rode upon his mule, his head was caught by the thick branches of a great oak, “and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth, and the mule that was under him went away." The circumstance being reported to Joab “be took three darts in his
* MICHAELIS notices' this circumstance as a proof of the great wealth arising from cattle breeding, when successful. ---See Comment. vol, 1. Art. 23.
+ By the expression, “put his household in order," or, as it is in the Hebrew, he commanded his house, Michaelis nnder. stands the destination of a man's property after his death. Such he considers was Jacob's bequest of Shechem to Joseph, Gen. xlviii. 22. whose posterity actually possessed it by virtue of that declaration. Josh. xxiv. 32. 1 Chron, vii. 28. John iv. 5.See Comment. vol. 1. Art. 80,
hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom." His body was afterwards cast into a great pit in the wood, and a mound of stones raised over it.
Q. What care had Absalom taken to keep his name in remembrance ?
A. He had reared up for himself a pillar in the king's dale, and called it after his own name.
Q. How did David receive the tidings of Absalom's death?
A. He was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept, saying, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son !"
Q. What effect had this circumstance upon the people ?
A. Perceiving that the king was grieved for Absalom's death, they began to desert him ; "and the victory that day was turned into mourning." At Joab's remonstrance, however, " the king arose and sat in the gate : -and all the people came before the king : for Israel had fled every man to his tent."
Q. What was the consequence of Absalom's death?
A. After considerable deliberation and debate, the tribes of Israel determined on David's restoration. David hearing of this, sent to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and to Amasa (whom he promised to make captain of the host,) to induce the tribe of Judah to follow their example. And Amasa “ howed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as one man ; so that they sent this word unto the king, Return thou and all thy servants.”
David therefore, after being met by Judah in Gilead, returned to Jordan.
Q. By what individuals was David met at Jordan ?
A. He was met by a thousand Benjamites, headed by Shimei, whom, notwithstanding the remonstrances of Abishai, he pardoned ; by Ziba, with his fifteen sons and twenty servants; and by Mephibosheth, who “had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes,” since David's departure from Jerusalem.
Q. Did Mephibosheth represent Ziba's behaviour to the king?
A. Yes : he showed him the duplicity of his servant ; but David in reply said, “Why speakest thou any more of thy matters? I have said, Thou and Ziba divide the land."
Q. What individual among the Gileadites that accompanied David to Jordan is particularly noticed ?
A. Barzillai, who was fourscore years old. In return for his kindness, David invited him to Jerusalem ; but he declined the honour, and recommended Chimbam his son to the notice of the king. +
Q. Was David immediately re-established in the throne ?
A. No : the Israelites quarrelling with the men of
This is usually explained as decreeing the restoration of Mephibosheth's estate : but Mepbibosheth's reply clearly indicates the sense in which he took it. 2 Sam. xix. 30.
+ David never forgot the kindness of Barzillai. — See 1 Kings ii. 7.