1902 Encyclopedia > David

Second king of Israel (from c. 1000 BC)

DAVID (Hebrew, TH beloved), son of Jesse, second king of Israel, and founder of the dynasty which continued to reign at Jerusalem until the Babylonian captivity. According to the usual chronology, he reigned 1055-1015 B.C., but the computations which produce this date by counting back from the destruction of Jerusalem, 588 B.C., or the fall of Samaria, 722 B.C., contain numerous precarious elements. Ewald puts the date ten years earlier, but recent investigations on the contrary make it not improbable that David flourished as much as from thirty years to half a century later than is usually assumed.

David is the greatest of the kings of Israel, and his reign changed the whole face of Hebrew history. During the period of the Judges, the Hebrews were weakened by an exaggerated love of personal independence, divided by tribal jealousies, and oppressed by a succession of foreign enemies, of whom the latest and most dangerous were the Philistines, an immigrant people whoso main settlements in the fruitful coastland of southern Canaan appear to have taken place after the Hebrews were established in the land. Forcing their way inland, the Philistines struck a decisive blow in the battle of Ebenezer (1 Sam. iv,), when the collapse of the ancient hegemony of Enhraim and the destruction of the sanctuary of the ark at Shilo, left the Hebrews without national leaders and without a centre of national action. Then arose Samuel, whose prophetic activity rallied the Israelites around Jehovah God of Hosts, and brought about a great national and religious revival. The struggle with the Philistines was renewed with better success, though without decisive issue, and at length the election of Saul as king embodied in a permanent institu-tion the stronger sense of national unity which had grown up under Samuel. But Saul was not equal to the task set before him. He broke with the prophetic party, which was the mainstay of the national revival which the king was called to lead. He felt himself forsaken by Jehovah, and his last years were clouded by accesses of a furious melancholy which destroyed his vigour and alienated his subjects. When at length he was defeated and slain at Gifboa, the Philistines appeared to be absolute masters of the position. They even moved forward and occupied the cities in the plain of Jezreel and on the Jordan, which the Israelites forsook in terror—a movement which cut the country as it were in two, and apparently made it impos-sible for the Hebrews again to unite under a single head. Prom this humiliation David in a few years raised his country to the highest state of prosperity and glory, subduing his enemies on every side, and extending his suzerainty, as he expresses himself in Psalm xviii., even over nations that he had not known. To do this work other qualities than mere military capacity were required. David was not only a great captain,—he was a national hero, who united in his own person the noblest parts of Hebrew genius, and drew to himself by an unfailing personal attraction the best valour, patriotism, and piety of the nation; while his political tact and inborn talent for rule enabled him to master the old tribal particularism, and to shape at Jerusalem a kingdom which, so long as he lived, represented the highest conception of national life that was possible under the rude social conditions then existing. The structure erected by David was, in truth, too much in advance of the times, and too wholly the creation of unique genius to be permanent. Under a successor whose wisdom lacked the qualities of personal force and sympathy with popular feeling, the kingdom of David began to decay, and in the next generation it fell asunder, and lived only in the hearts of the people as the proudest memory of past history, and the prophetic ideal of future glory.
The books of Samuel, which are our principal source for the history of David, show how deep an impression the personality of the king, his character, his genius, and the romantic story of his early years had left on the mind of the nation. Of no hero of antiquity do we possess so life-like a portrait. Minute details and traits of character are preserved with a fidelity which the most sceptical critics have not ventured to question, and with a vividness which bears all the marks of contemporary narrative. But the record is by no means all of one piece. The history, as we now have it, is extracted from various sources of unequal value, which are fitted together in a way which offers con-siderable difficulties to the historical critic. In the history of David's early adventures the narrative is not seldom disordered, and sometimes seems to repeat itself with puzzling variations of detail, which have led critics to the almost unanimous conclusion that the First Book of Samuel is drawn from at least two parallel histories. It is indeed easy to understand that the romantic incidents of this period were much in the mouths of the people, and in course of time were written down in various forms which wire not combined into perfect harmony by later editors, who gave excerpts from Beveral sources rather than a new and independent history. These excerpts, however, have been so pieced together that it is often impossible to separate them with precision, and to distinguish accurately between earlier and later elements. It even appears that some copies of the books of Samuel incorporated narratives which other copies did not acknowledge. From the story of Goliath the Septuagint omits many verses—1 Sam xviL 12-31, xvii. 55-xviii. 5. The omission makes the narra-tive consistent, and obviates serious difficulties involved in the Hebrew text. Hence some have supposed that the Greek translators arbitrarily removed passages that puzzled them. But this hypothesis does not meet the facts, and is inconsistent with what we know of the manner of this part of the Septuagint. There can be little doubt that both here and in other cases the shorter text is original, and that the disturbing additions came in later from some other docu-ment, and were awkwardly patched on to the older text. So too the history of the gradual estrangement of Saul from David is certainly discontinuous, and in the opinion of most critics the two accounts of David sparing Saul's life are duplicate narratives of one event. Even in the earlier part of the history these minor difficulties do not affect the essential excellence of the narrative preserved to us ; and for the period of David's kingship the accounts are still better. All that relates to personal and family matters at the court of Jerusalem (2 Sam. ix.-xx.) seems to come from some writer who had personal cognizance of the events recorded. It does not appear that the plan of this author included the history of David's foreign campaigns. The scanty account of great wars in ch. viii. is plainly from another source, and in general our informa-tion is less adequate on public affairs than on things that, touched the personal life of the king. The narrative is further enriched with poetical pieces, of which one at least (2 Sam. i. 19-27) is known to be extracted from an anthology entitled The Booh of tin Upright. Several brief lists of names and events seem also to have been taken from distinct sources, and sometimes interrupt the original context (e.g., 2 Sam. iii. 2-5). Some important lists were still accessible to the author of Chronicles in a separate form. 1 Chron. xi. 10-47 is fuller at the end than the corresponding list in 2 Sam. xxiii.; and 1 Chron. xii. contains valuable matter altogether wanting in Samuel. See also 1 Chron. xxvii. Besides the books of Samuel (with 1 Kings i. ii.), and the parallel narrative of the Chronicler, we have a few hints for the history of David in 1 Kings xi. and in the titles of Psalms (especially Pss. vii. and lx.), and of course such psalms as can be made out to be really by David are invaluable additions to the Davidic poems incorporated in the books of Samuel.

Jesse, the father of David, was a substantial citizen of Bethlehem. He claimed descent through Boaz from the ancient princes of Judah (Ruth iv. 18,«e2.),but the family connection was not of note in Israel (1 Sam. xviii. 18). As the youngest son of the house David spent his youth in an occupation which the Hebrews as well as the Arabs seem to have held in low esteem. He kept his father's sheep in the desert steppes of Judah, and there developed the strength, agility, endurance, and courage which distinguished him throughout life, and are referred to in Ps. xviii. 32, seq. (comp. 1 Sam. xvii. 34, xxiv. 2 ; 2 Sam. xvii. 9). There, too, he acquired that skill in music which led to his first introduction to Saul. Then he became Saul's armour-bearer, and in this capacity, according to the shorter and more consistent form of the narrative, David took part in the campaign in which he slew the Philistine champion Goliath, and became by one exploit a popular hero, and an object of jealousy to Saul. According to the Massoretic text of 1 Sam., Saul's jealousy leaped at once to the conclusion that David's ambition would not stop short of the kingship. Such a suspicion would be intelligible if we could suppose that the king had heard something of the significant act of Samuel, which now stands at the head of the history of David in witness of that divine election and unction with the spirit of Jehovah on which his whole career hung (1 Sam. xvi. 1-13). But there is not the least trace in the history that even David and David's family understood at the time the meaning that underlay his unction by Samuel, which would naturally be taken as a special mark of favour and a part of the usual " consecration " of the guests in a sacrificial feast. The shorter text of 1 Sam. xviii., represented by the Septuagint, gives an account of Saul's jealousy, which is psychologically more intelligible. According to this Jext Saul was simply possessed with such a personal dislike and dread of David as might easily occupy his disordered brain. To be quit -of his hateful presence he gave him a military command. In this charge David increased his reputation as a soldier and became a general favourite. Saul's daughter Michal loved him ; and her father, whose jealousy continued to increase, resolved to put the young captain on a perilous enterprize, promising him the hand irf Micnal as a reward of success, but secretly hoping that he would perish in the attempt. David's good fortune did not desert him; he won his wife, and in this new advance-ment continued to grow in the popular favour, and to gain fresh laurels in the field.

At this point it is necessary to look back on an episode which is found in the Hebrew text but not in the Greek— the proposed marriage of David with Saul's eldest daughter Merab, who at the time when the proposal was made was already the wife of a certain AdrieL What is said of this tffair interrupts the original context of chap, xviii., to which I the insertion has been clumsily fitted by an interpolation j in v. 21. We have here, therefore, a notice drawn from a i distinct source, atid of uncertain value. Meraband Michal are confounded in 2 Sam. xxi. 8, and perhaps the whole episode of Merab and David rests on a similar confusion of names.

As the king's son-in-law, David was necessarily again at court. He became chief of the body-guard, as Ewald rightly interprets 1 Sam. xxii. 14, and ranked next to Abner (1 Sam. xx. 25), so that Saul's insane fears were constantly exasperated by personal contact with him. On at least one occasion the king's frenzy broke out in an attempt to murder David with his own hand. At an-other time Saul actually gave commands to assassinate his son-in-law, but the breach was made up by Jonathan, whose chivalrous spirit had united him to David in a covenant of closest friendship (1 Sam. xix. 1-7). The circumstances of the final outburst of Saul's hatred, which drove David into exile, are not easily disentangled. The narrative of 1 Sam. xx., which is the principal account of the matter, cannot originally have been preceded by chap, xix. 11-24, for in chap. xx. David appears to be still at court, and Jonathan is even unaware that he is in any danger, while the preceding verses represent him as already a fugitive. It may also be doubted whether the narrative of David's escape from his own house by the aid of his wife Michal (chap. xix. 11-17) has any close connection with verse 10, and does not rather belong to a later period. David's daring spirit might very well lead him to visit his wife even after his first flight. The danger of such an enterprize was diminished by the reluctance to violate the apartments of women and attack a sleeping foe, which appears also in Judges xvi. 2, and among the Arabs. In any case it is certain that chap. xx. must be taken by itself; and it seems safer to conclude that chap xix. 11-24 are fragments which have been misplaced by an editor, than to accept the opinion of those critics who hold that we have two distinct and quite inconsistent accounts of the same events.

According to chap. xx. David was still at court in his usual position when he became certain that the king was aiming at his life. He betook himself to Jonathan, who thought his suspicions groundless, but undertook to test them. A plan was arranged 1 iy which Jonathan should draw from the king an expression of his feelings, and a tremendous explosion revealed that Saul regarded David as the rival of his dynasty, and Jonathan as little better than a fellow conspirator. The breach was plainly irreparable. Jonathan sought out his friend, and after mutual pledges of unbroken friendship they parted, and David fled. His first impulse was to seek the sanctuary at Nob, where he had been wont to consult the priestly oracle (chap, xxii 15), and where, concealing his disgrace by a fictitious story, he also obtained bread from the consecrated table and the sword of Goliath It was perhaps after this that David made a last attempt to find a place of refuge in the prophetic circle of Samuel at Bamah, where he was admitted into the pro-phetic ccenobium, and was for a time protected by the powerful, and almost contagious influences, which the rehgious exercises of the prophets exerted on Saul's emissaries, and even on the king himself. The episode now stands in another connection (chap. xix. 18, seg.), where it is certainly out of place. It would, however, fit excellently into the break that plainly exists in the history at xxi. 10 after the affair at Nob. Deprived of the protec-tion of religion as well as of justice, David tried his fortune among the Philistines at Gath. But he was recognized and suspected as a redoubtable foe. Escaping by feigning madness, which in the East has inviolable privileges,7 he returned to the wilds of Judah, and was joined at Adullam8 by his father's house and by a small band of outlaws, of which he became the head. Placing his parents under the charge of the king of Moab, he took up the fife of a guerilla captain, cultivating friendly relations with the townships of Judah (1 Sam. xxx. 26), which were glad to have on their frontiers a protector so valiant as David, even at the expense of the blackmail which he levied in return. A clear conception of his life at this time, and of the respect which he inspired, by the discipline in which he held

men, and of the generosity wmch tempered his fiery nature, sriveu in 1 Sam. xxv. His force gradually swelled, and be was joined by the prophet Gad and by the priest Ahiathar. the only survivor of a terrible massacre by which Saul took revenge for the favours which David had received at the sanctuary of Nob. He was even able to strike at the Philistines, and to rescue Keilah, in the low country of Judah, from their attack. Had he been willing to raise the standard of revolt against Saul, he might pro-bably have made good his position, for he was now openly pointed to as divinely designed for the kingship. But though Saul was hot in pursuit, and though he lived in constant fear of being betrayed, David refused to do this. His blameless conduct retained the confidence of Jonathan (1 Sam. xxiii. 16), and he deserved that confidence by sparing the life of Saul. But at length it became plain that he must either resist by force or seek foreign protec-tion. He went to Achish of Gath, and was established in the outlying town of Ziklag, where his troops might be useful in chastising the Amalekites and other robber tribes who made forays on Philistia and Judah without distinction.
At Ziklag David continued to maintain amicable relations with his friends in Judah, and his little army received accessions even from Saul's own tribe of Benjamin (1 Chron.xiL 1). At length, in the second year, he was called to join his master in a great campaign against Saul. The Philistines directed their forces towards the rich valley of Jezreel; and Saul, forsaken by Jehovah, already gave himself up for lost. It may be doubted whether the men of Judah took part in this war ; and on his march David was joined by influential deserters from Israel (1 Chron. xii.). The prestige of Saul's reign was gone ; and the Hebrews were again breaking up into parties, each ready to act for itself. Under such circumstances David might well feel that loyalty to his new master was his first duty. But he was providentially saved from the necessity of doing battle with his countrymen by the jealousy of the Philistine lords, who demanded that he be sent back to Ziklag. He returned to find the town pillaged by the Amalekites; but pursuing the foes he inflicted upon them a signal chastise-ment and took a great booty, part of which he spent in politic gifts to the leading men of the Judean towns.

Meantime Saul had fallen, and northern Israel was in a state of chaos. The Philistines took possession of the fertile lowlands of Jezreel and the Jordan; and the shattered forces of Israel were slowly rallied by Abner in the remote city of Mahanaim in Gilead, under the nominal sovereignty of Saul's son Ishbaal. The tribe of Judah, always loosely attached to the northern Hebrews, was ii> these circumstances compelled to act for itself. David saw his opportunity, and advanced to Hebron, where he was anointed king of Judah at the age of thirty, and continued to reign for seven years and a half. His noble elegy on the death of Saul and Jonathan, and his message of thanks to the men of Jabesh Gilead for their chivalrous rescue of the bodies of the fallen heroes, show how deeply he sympathized with the disasters of his nation ; and even in northern Israel many now looked to him as their only helper (2 Sam. iii. 17). But David was not lacking in the caution and even craftiness proper to an Oriental hero ; and he appears to have been careful not to irritate the Philistines by any premature national movement. As he retained Ziklag we must suppose that he had some agree merit with his former suzerain Achish. Abner gradually consolidated the authority of Ishbaal in the north, and at length his forces met those of David at Gibeon. A sham contest was changed into a fatal fray by the treachery of IshbaaPs men ; and in the battle which ensued Abner was not only defeated, but, by slaying Asahel, drew upon him self a blood feud with Joab. The war continued. Ishbaal's party waxed weaker and weaker ; and at length Abner quarrelled with his nominal master and offered the kingdom to David. The base murder of Abner by Joab did not long defer the inevitable issue of events. Ishbaal was assassinated by two of his own followers, and all Israel sought David as king.

The Biblical narrative is not so constructed as to enable us to describe in chronological order the thirty-three years of David's reign over all Israel. Let us look at (1) his internal policy, (2) his relations to foreign nations, (3) other events.

1. Under the judges all authority was at bottom local or tribal, and the wider influence wielded by the more famous of these rulers took the form of a temporary pre-eminence or hegemony of the judge's own tribe. The kingdom of Saul was not radically different in character. There was no national centre. Saul ruled as a Benjamite from his paternal city of Gibeah (cf. 1 Sam. xxii. 7). At the risk of alienating the men of Judah, who in fact appear as the chief malcontents in subsequent civil disturbances, David resolved to break through these precedents, and to form a truly national kingdom independent of tribal feel-ing. The success of so bold a conception was facilitated by the circumstance that, unlike previous kings, he was surrounded by a small but thoroughly disciplined standing army, having gradually shaped his troop of freebooters into an organized force of 600 " mighty men" (Gibborim), always under arms, and absolutely attached to his person. The king began the execution of his plan by a stroke which at once provided a centre for future action, and gave the necessary prestige to his new kingdom. He stormed the Jebusite fortress of Jerusalem, which its inhabitants deemed impregnable, and here, in the centre of the country, on the frontier between Judah and Benjamin, he fortified the " city of David," the stronghold of Zion, and garrisoned it with his Gibborim. His next aim was to make Jerusalem the religious as well as the political centre of the kingdom. The ark of Jehovah, the only sanctuary of national signifi-cance, had remained in obscurity since its return from the Philistines in the early youth of Samuel. David brought it up from Kirjath-Jearim with great pomp, and pitched a tent for it in Zion, amidst national rejoicings. No action of David's life displayed truer political insight than this, (See ARK.) But the whole narrative (2 Sam. vi.) shows that the insight was that of a loyal and God-fearing heart, which knew that the true principle of Israel's unity ami strength lay in national adherence to Jehovah (comp. Pas xv, and xxiv.. one or both of which muv refer it) thu

occasion). It was probably at a later period, when kin kingdom was firmly established, that David proposed to erect a permanent temple to Jehovah. The prophet Nathan commanded the execution of this plan to be delayed for a generation; but David received at the same time a prophetic assurance that his house and kingdom should be established for ever before Jehovah.

In civil and military affairs David was careful to combine necessary innovations with a due regard for the old habits and feelings of the people, which he thoroughly understood and turned to good account. The 600 Gibborim, and a small body-guard of foreign troops from Philistia (the Cherethites and Pelethites), formed a central military organization, not large enough to excite popular jealousy, but sufficient to provide officers and furnish an example of discipline and endurance to the old national militia, exclu-sively composed of foot-soldiers.1 In civil matters the king looked heedfully to the execution of justice (2 Sam. viii. 15), and was always accessible to the people (2 Sam. xiv. 4). But he does not appear to have made any change in the old local administration of justice, or to have appointed a central tribunal (2 Sam. xv. 2, where, however, Absalom's complaint that the king was inaccessible is merely factious). A few great officers of state were appointed at the court of Jerusalem (2 Sam. viii.), which was not without a splendour hitherto unknown in Israel. The palace was built by Tyrian artists. Royal pensioners, of whom Jonathan's son Mephibosheth was one, were gathered round a princely table. The art of music was not neglected (2 Sam. xix. 35). A more dangerous piece of magnificence was the harem, which, though always deemed an indispensable part of Eastern state, did not befit a servant of Jehovah, and gave rise to public scandal as well as to fatal disorders in the king's household. Except in this particular, David seems to have ventured on only one dangerous innovation, which was undertaken amidst universal remonstrances, and was checked by the rebukes of the prophet Gad and the visitation of a pestilence. To us the proposal to number the people seems innocent or laudable. But David's con-science accepted the prophetic rebuke, and he tacitly admitted that the people were not wrong in condemning his design as an attempt upon their liberties, and an act of presumptuous self-confidence (2 Sam. xxiv.).

1 For the manner in which this national force was called out, compare 1 Chron. xxvii. . ...
fighting men (2 Sam. viii. 2). Mesha destroys every inhabitant of
2. David's wars were always successful, and, so far as we can judge from the brief record, were never provoked by himself. His first enemies were the Philistines, who rose in arms as soon as he became king of all Israel. We read of two great battles in the valley of Rephaim, west-ward from Jerusalem (2 Sam. v.) ; and a record of in-dividual exploits and of personal dangers run by David is preserved in 2 Sam. xxi and xxiii. At length the Philistines were entirely humbled, and the " bridle" of sovereignty was wrested from their hands (chap. viii. 1, Heb.) But the long weakness of Israel had exposed the nation to wrongs from their neighbours on every side ; and the Tyrians, whose commerce was benefited by a stable government in Canaan, were the only permanent allies of David. Moab, an ancient and bitter foe, was chastised by David with a severity for which no cause is assigned, but which may pass for a gentle reprisal if the Moabites of that day were not more humane than their descendants in the days of King Mesha . A deadly conflict with the Ammonites was provoked by a gross insult to friendly ambassadors of Lsrael; and this war, of which we have pretty full details in 2 Sam. x. 1-xi. 1, xii. 26-31, assumed dimensions of unusual magnitude when tfce Ammonites procured the aid of their Aramean neighbours and especially of Hadadezer, whose kingdom of Zoba seeme to have held at that time a pre-eminence in Syria at least

equal to that which was afterwards gained by Damascus. The defeat of Hadadezer in two great campaigns brought in the voluntary or forced submission of all the lesser kingdoms of Syria as far as the Orontes and the Euphrates.* The glory of this victory was increased by the simultaneous subjugation of Edom in a war conducted by Joab with characteristic severity. After a great battle on the shores of the Dead Sea the struggle was continued for six months. The Edomites contested every inch of ground, and all who bore arms perished (2 Sam. viii. 13 ; 1 Kings xi. 15-17; Ps. lx., title). The war with Ammon was not ended till the following year, when the fall of Rabbah crowned David's warlike exploits. But the true culminating point of his glory was his return from the great Syrian campaign, laden with treasures to enrich the sanctuary ; and it is at this time that we may suppose him to have sung the great song of triumph preserved in 2 Sam. xxii. (Ps. xviii.). Before the fall of Rabbah this glory was clouded with the shame of

Bathsheba, and the blood of Uriah.
3 Hadadezer is also mentioned in 2 Sam. viii. in the general summary of David's wars, but we can hardly suppose that a different Syrian war is here meant.
3. As the birth of Solomon cannot have been earlier than the capture of Babbah, it appears that David's wars were ended within the first half of his reign at Jerusalem, and the tributary nations do not seem to have attempted any revolt while he and Joab lived (comp. 1 Kings xi. 14-25). But when the nation was no longer knit together by the fear of danger from without, the internal difficulties of the new kingdom became more manifest. The inveterate jealousies of Judah and Israel reappeared ; and, as has been already mentioned, the men of Judah were the chief malcontents. In this respect, and presumably not in this alone, David suffered for the very excellence of his impartial rule. In truth all innovations are dangerous to an Eastern sovereign, and all Eastern revolutions are conservative. On the other hand David continued to tolerate some ancient usages inconsistent with the interests of internal harmony. The practice of blood-revenge was not put down, and by allowing the Gibeonites to enforce it against the house of Saul, the king involved himself in a feud with the Benjamites (comp. 2 Sam. xxi. with chap. xvL 8, which refers to a later date). Yet he might have braved all these dangers, but for the disorders of his own family, and his deep fall in the matter of Bathsheba, from which the prophet Nathan rightly foresaw fatal consequences, not to be averted even when divine forgiveness accepted the sincere contrition of the king. That the nation at large was not very sensitive to the moral enormities which flow from tho system of the harem is clear from 2 Sam. xvi. 21. But the kingdom of David was strong by rising above the level of ordinary Oriental monarchy, and expressing the ideal of a rule after Jehovah's own heart (1 Sam. xiii. 14), and in the spirit of the highest teaching of the prophets. This ideal, shattered by a single grievous fall, could be restored by no repentance- Within the royal family the continued influence of Bathsheba added a new element to the jealousies of the harem. David's sons were estranged from one another, and acquired all the vices of Oriental princes. The severe impartiality of the sacred historian has concealed no feature in this dark picture,—the brutal passion of Amnon, the shameless counsel of the wily Jonadab, the black scowl that rested on the face of Absalom through two long years of meditated revenge, the panic of the court

blow was struck and Arnnon was assassinated in the midst of his brethren. Three years of exile and two of further disgrace estranged the heart of Absalom from his father. His personal advantages and the princely lineage of his mother gave him a pre-eminence among the king's sons, to which he added emphasis by the splendour of his retinue, while he studiously courted personal popularity by a pretended interest in the administration of kingly justice. Thus ingratiated with the mass he raised the standard of revolt in Hebron, with the malcontent Judeans as his first supporters, and the crafty Ahithophel, a man of southern Judah, as his chief adviser. Arrangements had been made for the simultaneous proclamation of Absalom in all parts of the land. The surprise was complete, and David was compelled to evacuate Jerusalem, where he might have been crushed before he had time to rally his faithful subjects. Ahithophel knew better than any one how artificial and unsubstantial was the enthusiasm for Absalom. He hoped to strike David before there was time for second thoughts ; and when Absalom rejected this plan, and acted on the assumption that he could count on the whole nation, he despaired of success and put an end to his own life. David in fact was warmly received by the Gileadites, and the first battle destroyed the party of Absalom, who was himself captured and slain by Joab. Then all the people except the Judeans saw that they had been befooled ; but the latter were not conciliated without a virtual admission of that prerogative of kinship to the king which David's previous policy had steadily ignored. This concession involved important consequences. The precedence claimed by Judah was challenged by the northern tribes even on the day of David's solemn return to his capital, and a rupture ensued, which but for the energy of Joab, might have led to a second and more dangerous rebellion. The remaining years of David's life appear to have been untroubled, and according to the narrative of Chronicles the king was much occupied with schemes concerning the future temple. He was already decrepit and bed-ridden under the fatigues of seventy years, when the last spark of his old energy was called forth to secure the succession of Solomon against the ambition of Adonijah. It is noteworthy that, as in the case of Absalom, the pretensions of the latter, though supported by Joab and Abiathar, found their chief stay among the men of Judah (1 Kings i. 9).

The principles that guided David's reign are worthily summed up in his last words, 2 Sam. xxiii. 1 seq., with which must be compared his great song of triumph, 2 Sam. xxii. The foundation of national prosperity is a just rule baaed on the fear of Jehovah, strong in His help, and swift to chastise wrong-doers with inflexible severity. That the fear of Jehovah is viewed as receiving its chief practical expression in the maintenance of social righteousness is a necessary feature of the Old Testament faith, which regards the nation rather than the individual as the subject of the religious life. Hence the influence upon his life of David's religious convictions is not to be measured by the fact that they did not wholly subdue the sensuality which is the chief stain on his character, but rather by his habitual recognition of a generous standard of conduct, by the un-doubted purity and lofty justice of an administration which was never stained by selfish considerations or motives of personal rancour, and was never accused of favouring evil doers, and finally by the calm courage, rooted in faith in Jehovah's righteousness, which enabled him to hold an even and noble course in the face of dangers and treachery.

That he was not able to reform at a stroke all ancient abuses appears particularly in relation to the practice of blood revenge ; but even in this matter it is clear from 2 Sam. iii. 28, seq., xiv. 1-10, that his sympathies were against the barbarous usage. Nor is it just to accuse him of cruelty in his treatment of enemies. Every nation has a right to secure its frontiers from hostile raids; and as it was impossible to establish a military cordon along the borders of Canaan, it was necessary absolutely to cripple the adjoining tribes. From the lust of conquest for its own sake David appears to have been wholly free.

The generous elevation of David's character is seen most clearly in those parts of his life where an inferior nature would have been most at fault,—in his conduct towards Saul, in the blameless imputation of himself and his band of outlaws in the wilderness of Judah, in his repentance under the rebuke of Nathan, and in his noble bearing on the revolt of Absalom, when calm faith in God and humble submission to His will appear in combination with masterly command over circumstances, and swift wisdom in resolu-tion and action. His unfailing insight into character and his power of winning men's hearts and touching their better impulses, appear in innumerable traits of the history (e.g., 2 Sam. xiv. 18-20 ; iii. 31-37 ; xxiii. 15-17). His know-ledge of men was the divination of a poet rather than the acquired wisdom of a statesman, and his capacity for rule stood in harmonious unity with the lyrical genius that was already proverbial in the time of Amos (Amos vi. 5). To the later generations David was pre-eminently the Psalmist. The Hebrew titles ascribe to him 73 psalms ; the Septuagint adds some 15 more; and later opinion, both Jewish and Christian, claimed for him the authorship of the whole Psalter (so the Talmud, Augustine, and others). That the tradition of the titles requires careful sifting is no longer questionable, as is admitted in such cases as Pss. Ixxxvi., lxix., cxli. even by the cautious and conservative Delitzsch. The biographer must therefore use the greatest circumspec-tion in drawing from the Psalter material for the study of David's life and character. On the other hand, the tradi-tion expressed in the titles could not have arisen unless David was really the father of Hebrew psalmody. As a psalmist he appears in 2 Sam. xxii. xxiii. in two poems, which are either Davidic or artificial compositions written in his name. If we consider the excellent information as to David which appears throughout the books of Samuel, the intrinsic merits and fresh naturalness of the poems, and the fact that Ps. xviii. is an independent recension of 2 Sam. xxii., the hypothesis that these pieces are spurious must appear very forced, though it has received the support of some respectable critics, especially of Kuenen,2 who main-tains that the religion of David is far below the level of the Psalter. If we reject this position, which can hardly be made good without doing great violence to the narrative of the books of Samuel, we cannot well stop short of the admission that the Psalter must contain Davidic psalms, some of which at least may be identified by judicious criticism, such as has been exercised by Ewald with singular insight and tact in his Dichter des AUen Bundes. Ewald claims for David Pss. iii., iv., vii, viii., xi., (xv.), xviii., xix., xxiv., xxix., xxxii., ci., and probably this list should rather be extended than curtailed. Compare Hitzig:s Psalmen, Leipsic, 1863.
Literature.—The earliest notices of David in profane history- are found in the fragments of Eupolemus preserved by Eusebius [Miiller, Fragm. Hist. Graze, iii. 225 ; Freudenthal, Alexander Polyhistor (Breslau, 1875), p. 120 p. 225] and in Nicolaus of Damascus as quoted by Josephus, Arch. vii. 5. 2. [Miiller I.e. iii. 373]. Josephus, Arch. vi. 8—vii. 15, has no sources independent of the Bible. Modern discussion of the life of David was stimulated in the first instance by the unfavourable judgment passed on his character by Bayle, the English freethinkers, and Voltaire. Chandler's Life of David is mainly directed against Bayle (first edition 1766). The history of David is one of the best parts of Ewald's Geschichte. Stanley's pic-turesque narrative (Lectures on the Jewish Church, second series, 1865), and Dillmann's lucid article in Schenkel's Bibel-Lexikon, rest mainly on Ewald. Stiihelins Leben Davids (Basel, 1866), is valu-able for the numerous parallels adduced from Oriental history Compare also Gratz's Geschichte der Juden, vol. i., Leipsic, 1874, and Hitzig's Geschichte des Voltees Israel, Leipsic, 1869. (W. R. S.)


The admitted confusion in the chronology of the books of Kings can hardly be cleared up without the aid of synchronisms with the history of foreign nations, Egypt and Assyria. The Assyrian syn-chronisms seem to bring down the date of J ehu, and hence of all who preceded him, by nearly forty years. This is at least not contradicted by the only available Egyptian synchronism, the war of Shishak with Rehoboam. (See Schräder, Keüivsehriftenund A. T., Giesson, 1872, and in control of his conclusions Wellhansen in the Jahrbücher für Deutsche Theologie, 1875, p. 607, seq., and G. Smith's Assyrian Eponym Canon, 1875.) An additional element of uncertainty lie» in the forty years' reign ascribed to Solomon. Forty is often used as an indefinite number, and the marriage of Rehoboam to Absalom's daughter seems inconsistent with so long a reign, as Rehoboam came to th* throne at the age of forty-one.
1 The proof of this turns in good measure on arguments that cannot be reproduced here. But the discussion in Wellhausen'e Text der

Hüche-r Saamtelix, Göttingen, 1871. appears to be ooncl»«iv«

The remarks of Samuel as the sons of J esse passed before him were presumably not audible. The wonls " unto Jesse " in ver. 10 are not in the LXX. it is not therefore necessary to conclude with some critics that this story is to be taken as a mere figurative embodiment of the idea of David's election by God. When the true sense of the act was divined it is not easy to determine. David appears still unconscious of his destiny in 1 Sam. xviii. 23, but Abigail, 1 Sam. xxv. 30, knows that the prophetic word has marked him out as king. Compare 2 Sam. iii. 9, v. 2.
From ch. xviii. the LXX. omits ver. 1 to the middle of ver. 6 inclusive, the first and last clauses of ver. 8, verses 9 to 11 inclusive, the reason given for Saul's fear in ver. 12, verses 17-19 inclusive, the second naif of ver. 21. It also modifies ver. 98, and omits the seconi' half of ver. 29 and the whole of ver. 30.
This seems to be the true meaning of 1 Sam. xviii. 19.
* 1 Sam. xix. 9. The parallel narrative, ch. xviii. 10, 11, may
refer to a different occasion. Hut as the text of ch. xviii. is disordered,
w, 1 tlie verses ar- wanting in the Greek, tfeis is not certain

5 The close of ver. 10 in the Hebrew is corrupt, and the words " that night " seem to belong to next verse. So the Greek read.*.
6 Wellhausen cites a closely parallel case from SprengerB Mohammed, vol. ii. p. 543.
7 An interesting parallel in Barhebreei Chron., ed. Bruns et Kirsch, p. 222.
8 The cave of Adullam is traditionally placed at Charatuii, two houre journey south of Bethlehem. But the town of Adullam, which h&a not been identified with any certainty, lay in the low country of Jndah (Josh. xv. 35). The " cave " is also spoken of as a 14 hold or mountain fortress, and perhaps " hold " is everywhere the tnie reading (Wellhaufien, Noldeke), Compare Theodotion in I Sam. Jtxiii. 15, xxiv. 1

1 Sam. xxiii. 12, 19, Psalm vii., 1 Chron. xii. 17. 1 Sam. xxvi. 1 seems to refer to the same event as ch. xxiii. 19.
We have seen that this act of generosity either was repeated or is twice recorded, 1 Sam. xxiv. and xxvi. Neither narrative suggests the existence of the other, and the two are not more divergent than the two forms of the story of Goliath. But it is hard to comprehend how Ewald can give the preference to ch. xxiv. The tour-de-force by which he changes Saul's cruse of water into a basin, and adduces legendary parallels, ignores obvious features of truthfulness in ch. xxvi. Compare Thomson's Land and Book, p. 367. The conversation in ch. sxvi. is full of antique and characteristic ideas wanting in ch. xxiv. That David is recognized by his voice is meaningless in xxiv. 16 icomp. ver. 8), but appropriate in xxvi. 17.
1 Sam. xxvh. 7-12, must be compared with ch. xxx. 14, 16. l'he Cherethites whom the Amalekites attacked were Philistines. It must not therefore be supposed, as ch. xxvii. might seem to imply, that David systematically attacked populations friendly to Achish, and then pretended that he had been making forays against Judah. Such a policj could not have been long kept secret, and a* it is pretty plain that the Pnii'Stmes acquiesced in David's sovereignty in Hebron, it is not easy to see that they ever had an interest in embroiling him with the men of Judah They coveted the richer lands of northern Canaan (1 Sam. xxxi. 7), and it would be their wise policy to detach Judah ficrn Israel. The details of the text ind meaning of 1 Sam. xxvii. '-12 are very obscure.

1 For the manner in which this national force was called out, com-
pare 1 Chron. xxvii.

David destroyed two-thirds of the Moabites—presumably ot their

fighting men (2 Sam. viii. 2). Mesha destroys every inhabitant of

cities captured in honour of his god Chemosh.

Hadadezer is also mentioned in 2 Sam. viii. in the general sum-mary of David's wars, but we can hardly suppose that a different Syrian war is here meant.

That Kuenen still follows Bayle in assigning revenge as the motive of David's charge to Solomon in 1 Kings ii. 5, 8, 9, can only be matter of surprise. A young and untried sovereign could not afford to continue the clemency which his father was strong enough to extend to dangerous enemies.

o Historisch-kritisch Onderzoek (Leiden, 1865), vol. iii. § 140.

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