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I will anxiously study to reform whatever I shall find amiss; and of whatever defect in the performance of my duty I am sensible, whatever corrupt propensity I may discover, of whatever sinful thoughts, words, or actions, I may have been guilty, I will endeavour to improve as an incitement more deeply to repent of sin, more highly to value the love of my crucified Redeemer, and more implicitly to rely on his atoning merits, for pardon and acceptance, and on the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit, for victory over sin, and advancement in purity and holiness of heart and life.
May the Spirit of all grace fill my heart with heavenly wisdom, and form me anew in my Saviour's image! May the bright example of Jesus Christ be ever before my eyes; and may his lessons be ever graven on my heart! Through his blood may my defiled and guilty conscience be cleansed from all sin! May he reign in my heart, and ever continue the object of my ardent desire, of my undeviating reliance, of my cheerful homage, of my lively and active gratitude, and of my highest love! And may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of everlasting compassion, the God of grace and peace, sanctify me wholly, and through the blood of the everlasting covenant make me perfect in every good work to do his will, that I may be enabled eyer to render to the Father, Son, and Spirit, one God, the praise and glory of all I have, am, or hope for! Amen.
OF I SAMUEL, xvi. AND xvii. The following is Dr. Warburton's explanation of the apparent inconsistency which there is in these two chapters.
“ There is a difficulty in the history of David, in which Spinoza much exults, as it supports him in his impious undertaking on sacred scripture. It is this: in the 16th chapter of the first book of Samuel, we find David sent for to court, to sooth Saul's melancholy with his harp. On his arrival, he gave so much satis. faction, that the distempered monarch sent to his father to desire that he might stand before him, (ver. 22.) that is, remain in his service. David hath leave; and becomes Saul's armour-bearer, (ver. 21). Yet in the very next chapter, viz.. the 17th, (which relates an incursion of the Philistines, and the defiance of Goliath), when David goes to Saul, for leave to accept the challenge, neither the king, nor the captain of his host, know any thing of VOL. II.
their champion or his lineage. This is the difficulty, and a great one it is. But it would soon become none, in the usual way critics have of removing difficulties, which is by supposing that whatever occasions them is an interpolation; and some blind manuscript is always at hand to support the blinder criticism. But had more time been employed in the study of the nature of scripture history, and somewhat less in collations of manuscripts, these would have found a nearer way to the wood, who now cannot see wood for trees. In a word, the true solution seems to be this; David's adventure with Goliath was prior in time to his solacing Saul with his music, which latter story is given by way of anticipation in chap. 16, but very properly and naturally; for there the historian having related at large how God had rejected Saul, and anointed David, goes on, as it was a matter of highest moment in a religious history, to inform us of the effects both of one and the other; though we are not to suppose them the instantaneous effects. The effects of Saul's rejection was, he tells us, the departure of God's spirit from him, and his being troubled with an evil spirit. (ver. 14.) This leads him naturally to speak of the effect of David's election; namely, his being endowed with many divine graces; for Saul's malady was only to be alleviated by Da. vid's skill on the harp. When the historian had, in this very judicious manner, anticipated the story, he returns from the fourteenth to the twenty-third verse of the sixteenth chapter, to the order of time, in the beginning of the seventeenth chapter. So that the true chronology of this part of David's life stands thus: He is anointed by Samuel; he carries provisions to his brethren, encamped against the Philistines, in the valley of Elah; he fights and overcomes Goliath; is received into the king's court; contracts a friendship with Jonathan; incurs Saul's jealousy; retires home to his father; is, after some time, sent for back to court, to sooth Saul's melancholy with his harp; proves successful, and is made his armour-bearer; and again excites Saul's jealousy, who endeavours to smite him with his javelin. This whole history is to be found between the first verse of the 16th, and the tenth of the 18th chapter. Within this is the anticipation above-mentioned, beginning at the fourteenth verse of the sixteenth chapter, and ending at the twenty-third verse; which anticipated history, in order of time, comes in between the ninth and tenth verses of the eighteenth chapter, where, indeed, the breach is apparent; for in the ninth verse it is said, “ And Saul eyed David from that day forward.” He had just begun, as the text tells us, to entertain a jealousy of David from the women's saying in their songs, “ Saul
hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” “ From that day forward Saul eyed David,” i. e. watched over his conduct; yet in the very next verse it says, “ And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul; and David played with his hand; and Saul cast the javelin.” This could never be on the morrow of that day on which he first began to entertain a jealousy; for the text says, “ from that day forward” he began to watch over his conduct, to find whether his jealousy was well grounded. Here then is the breach between which, in order of time, comes in the relation of the evil spirit's falling upon Saul, his sending for David from his father's house, &c.; for when Saul began first, on account of the songs of the women, to grow jealous of David, and to watch his behaviour, David, uneasy in his situation, asked leave to retire, which we may suppose was easily granted. He is sent for again to court: Saul again grows jealous; but the cause, we are now told, was different: “ and Saul was afraid of David,” “ because the Lord was with him, and was departed from Saul,” (ver. 12.) This plainly shows, that the departing of God's spirit from Saul was after the conquest of Goliath; consequently, that all between verse fourteenth and twenty-third of the sixteenth chapter, is an anticipation, and, in order of time, comes in between verse ninth and tenth of the eighteenth chapter, where there is a great breach discoverable by the disjointed parts of distant time: thus the main difficulty is mastered. But there is another, near as stubborn, which this solution likewise removes. When David is recommended by the courtiers for the cure of Saul's disorder, he is represented as a mighty valiant man, a man of war and prudent in matters, and that the Lord was with him," chap. 16, ver. 18. i. e. a soldier well versed in affairs, and successful in his undertakings. Accordingly he is sent for; and preferred to a place which required valour, strength, and experience; he is made Saul's “ armourbearer." Yet when afterwards, according to the common chronology, he comes to fight Goliath, he proves a raw unexperienced stripling, unused to arms, and unable to bear them, and as such despised by the giant. I will not mispend the reader's time, in reckoning up the strange and forced senses the critics have put upon these two passages to make them consistent; but only observe, that this reformation of the chronology renders all clear and easy. David had vanquished the Philistine; was become a favourite of the people, and, on that account, the object of Saul's jealousy; to avoid the ill effects of which he prudently retired. During this recess, Saul was seized with his disorder. His ser, vants supposed it might be alleviated by music, Saul consents to the remedy, and orders an artist to he sought for. They were acquainted with David's skill on the harp, and likewise with Saul's indisposition towards him. It was a delicate point, which required address; and therefore they recommend him in this artful manner: “ The son of Jesse is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person;" that is, “ as you must have one constantly in attendance, both at court and in your military expeditions, to be always at hand on occasion, the son of Jesse will become both stations well; he will strengthen your camp, and adorn your court; for he is a tried soldier, and of a graceful presence. You have nothing to fear from his ambition, for you saw with what prudence he went into voluntary banishment, when his popularity had incurred your displeasure." Accordingly, Saul is prevailed on; David is sent for, and succeeds with his music. This dissipates all former umbrage; and, as one that was to be ever in attendance, he is made his “ armour-bearer.” This sunshine continued till David's great successes again awakened Saul's jealousy, and then the lifted javelin was, as usual, to strike off all court payments. Thus we see how these difficulties are cleared up, and what light is thrown upon the whole history by the supposition of an anticipation in the latter part of the sixteenth chapter; an anticipation the most natural, proper, and necessary for the purpose of the historian. The only reason I can conceive of its lying so long unobserved is, that in the seventeenth chapter, verse fifteen, it is said, “ But David went and returned from Saul, to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehum.” Now this, being when the Israelites were encamped in Elah against the Philistines, and after the relation of his going to court to sooth Saul's trouble spirit with his music, seems to fix the date of his standing belore Saul in quality of musician in the order of time in which it is re. related. But the words “ David went and returned from Sally seem not to be rightly understood; they do not mean, David Saul's court where he had resided, but that he left Saul's camp to which he had been summoned. The case was this;' a sudd invasion of the Philistines had penetrated to Shochoh, “ wh belonged to Judah.” Now on such occasions, there always wel out a general summons for all able to bear arms, to meet al appointed rendezvous; where a choice being made of those i fit for service, the rest were sent back again to their ser homes. To such a rendezvous all the tribes at this time asse bled. Amongst the men of Bethlehem, came Jesse and his elsa
sons; the three eldest were enrolled into the troops, and the rest sent home again. But of these David is only particularly named; as the history related particularly to him. “ Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehem-Judah, whose name was Jesse, and he had eight sons; and the man went amongst men for an old man in the days of Saul: and the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the battle; and David was the youngest, and the three eldest followed Saul. But David went and returned from Saul to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem," i. e. he was dismissed by the captains of the host, as too young for service; and in these sentiments, we find, they continued when he returned with a message from his father to the camp. I have only to add, that this way of anticipation is very frequent with this sacred historian. In the eighteenth chapter, verse eleven, it is said, “ And Saul cast the javelin, for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it; and David avoided out of his presence twice." But one of these times relates to a second casting of the javelin, a considerable time after the first here spoken of, which is recorded in chapter nineteen verse ten. So again, the historian telling us in the tenth chapter, how Saul, when he was first anointed by Samuel, prophesied amongst the prophets, says, “ And it came to pass, when all that knew him beforetime saw, that behold, he prophesied among the prophets; then the people said one to another, What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets? Therefore it became a proverb, Is Saul also among the prophets?" (ver. 11, 12.) But it is evident, that the original of the proverb was his second prophesying amongst the prophets at Naioth, recorded chapter nineteenth, both for the reasons given above, and for these: 1. Saul was not at this time known to the people; and 2. The original of the proverb is said to arise from this second prophesying, (ver. 24.) Therefore the account of the proverb in the tenth chapter is given by way of anticipation."
As a further illustration of the difficulties of these chapters, · we invite the reader's attention to the following, which is taken from that valuable work, the Christian Observer.
As the inconsistencies which strike an attentive reader in the narration of that part of the life of David, contained in the six- teenth and seventeenth chapters of 1 Samuel, has induced some persons to get over the difficulty by pleading an interpolation of thirty-nine verses, which is a very rash and dangerous way of explaining scripture; I have thought it might not be unacceptable to