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spoken of, behold, the Lord be between thee and me for ever.”

So David hid himself in the field : and when the new moon was come, the king sat him down to eat meat. And the king sat upon his seat, as at other times, even upon a seat by the wall: and Jonathan arose, and Abner sat by Saul's side, and David's place was empty. Nevertheless Saul spake not any thing that day: for he thought :-“Something hath befallen him, he is not clean; surely he is not clean.” And it came to pass on the morrow, which was the second day of the month, that David's place was empty: and Saul said unto Jonathan his son :-"Wherefore cometh not the son of Jesse to meat, neither yesterday, nor to-day?"

And Jonathan answered Saul:—“David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Beth-lehem: and he said, Let me go, I pray thee; for our family hath a sacrifice in the city; and my brother, he hath commanded me to be there: and now, if I have found favour in thine eyes, let me get away,

I pray thee, and see my brethTherefore he cometh not unto the king's table.” Then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him :—“Thou son of a perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother's nakedness? For as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground, thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom. Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he shall surely die.”

And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said

ren.

unto him :-“Wherefore shall he be slain? what hath he done?” And Saul cast a javelin at him to smite him: whereby Jonathan knew that it was determined of his father to slay David. So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did eat no meat the second day of the month: for he was grieved for David, because his father had done him shame.

And it came to pass in the morning, that Jonathan went out into the field at the time appointed with David, and a little lad with him. And he said unto his lad :—“Run, find out now the arrows which I shoot." And as the lad ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. And when the lad was come to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried after the lad, and said :-"Is not the arrow beyond thee?" And Jonathan cried after the lad:"Make speed, haste, stay not."

And Jonathan's lad gathered up the arrows, and came to his master. But the lad knew not any thing: only Jonathan and David knew the matter. And Jonathan gave his weapons unto his lad, and said unto him :-“Go, carry them to the city.” And as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times: and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded. And Jonathan said to David:–“Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, The Lord be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever.” And he arose and departed: and Jonathan went into the city.

Study Note 33, Outline Study.

XXIII

THE STORY OF ABSALOM.

(II Samueli xvii)

Introductory Note.-The story opens in the reign of David, King of Israel. As is the common failing of Oriental monarchs, who, by their own exertions, have raised themselves to the heights of prosperity, David, in pursuit of luxury and pleasure, neglected the affairs of government. The handsome and popular prince Absalom, David's son, became partly the leader and partly the dupe of a court faction manipulated by Ahithophel the Gilonite, a wily politician, out of favor. The King was flattered and amused while his authority was undermined. Suspecting nothing, he allowed Absalom to go in state to Hebron, the political center of the great tribe of Judah. Here, on a day fixed beforehand, Absalom was proclaimed King of Israel, and simultaneously his partisans throughout the land rose in revolt. King David, suddenly finding himself in the meshes of a plot, the real extent of which he could not at once ascertain, determined not to allow himself to be shut up in Jerusalem, and, with all his old energy, abandoned the pleasures of his palace for the hard life of the wilderness. It boded ill for the success of the revolution that David's mighty men, the grim old companions of his wars, followed their King; the High Priest was also loyal; and friends at once volunteered to act as spies in the councils of the revolutionists. Thoroughly informed by these spies, David with his host in good order, crossed the Jordan and found himself in a friendly country. Meanwhile, Absalom, influenced by the Aattery of David's spies, had resolved to assemble his host and march against his father, as King against King. When Ahitho

1. See Note 30, Outline Study.

phel learned that their cause was to be staked on the issue of battle between the militia of Israel and the veterans of Joab and Abishai, "he set his house in order and hanged himself," leaving the foolish prince to his fate.

And David numbered the people that were with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them. And David sent forth a third part of the people under the hand of Joab,' and a third part under the hand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and a third part under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said unto the people :-“I will surely go forth with you myself also.”

But the people answered:—“Thou shalt not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but now thou art worth ten thousand of us: therefore now it is better that thou succour us out of the city.”

And the king said unto them :-“What seemeth you best I will do." And the king stood by the gate side, and all the people came out by hundreds and by thousands. And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying :-“Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom.” And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom. So the people went out into the field against Israel: and the battle was in the wood of Ephraim; where the people of Israel were slain before the servants of David, and there was there a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men. For the battle was there scattered over the face of all

2. David's nephew.

3

the country: and the wood devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.

And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away. And a certain man saw it, and told Joab, and said :"Behold, I saw Absalom hanged in an oak."

And Joab said unto the man that told him :-“And, behold, thou sawest him, and why didst thou not smite him there to the ground ? and I would have given thee ten shekels of silver, and a girdle.

And the man said unto Joab :-“Though I should receive a thousand shekels of silver in mine hand, yet. would I not put forth mine hand against the king's son: for in our hearing the king charged thee and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Beware that none touch the young man Absalom. Otherwise I should have wrought falsehood against mine own life: for there is no matter hid from the king, and thou thyself wouldst have set thyself against me."

Then said Joab :—“I may not tarry thus with thee.” And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak. And ten young men that

3. The girdle was an essential article of dress in the East, and was worn about the waist; the sword and dagger were suspended from it. In consequence of the costly materials of which girdles were made, they were frequently given as presents.

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