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this deliverance, appear with a grandeur very superior to that of either a Cæsar or an
Alexander ! The latter, in their height of glory, were but mere rulers of men ; but the former, upontheir knees, the dependents, and the friends of God.
From this event, of Saul's being called off by the Philistine invasion, the mountain, which then parted him from David, was from thenceforward called Selahammalekoth, The Rock of Divifons; a name which Oħander thinks David gave it, in gratitude for this deliverance; as a memorial, that God had there, by little less than a miracle, divided his enemy from him *.
a remarkable effe&t of Divine Providence, that tbeir enemies offered them battle on the very day appointed in England for the people to implore a blessing on their arms : so that at the time that they were fighting, the whole body of the English nation were lifting up their eyes and hands to heaven for their success and safety. And when the battle was over, this truly great prince, sensible of the divine goodness to him, directed the cxvth psalm to be Sung; and at that verse, Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to thy name be the glory, he commanded his whole army at once to prostrate themselves to the ground, in token of humiliation and gratitude, and he himself set them the example.
* Possibly this was a rock of one of those mountains which Solomon calls the mountains of Bether (Cant. ii. 17.); which, in the margin of the Bible, is interpreted Division.
CH A P. XVI. The Vineyards of Engedi, in all proba
bility, planted by David. The Ad
venture of the Cave explained. W H EN David was delivered from
W Saul, as related in the last chapter, he departed, and took up his retreat in the strong-holds of Engedi, now called Anguedi * : here he resided during the whole time of Saul's pursuing and repelling the Philistines.
What time this took up, we cannot say: but from the expression here used, of David's dwelling at Engedi, it seems to have been no inconsiderable space.
The word En-gedi fignifies, in Hebrew, the Kid's-fountain; from whence the neighbouring region took its name, probably, because there they watered their flocks.
Eusebius places it on the confines of the Dead-sea to the West. With him, it is famous for excellent balm ; and with Solomon in his Song, for vineyards.
* Thevenot's Travels, part 1. chap. 47.
SINCE then it appears from the cviith psalm, that David had, in his exile, planted vineyards in the desart; (and vineyards are known to thrive among barren wilds) is it irrational to surmise, that the vineyards of Engedi were of his planting; and, for that reason, peculiarly celebrated by his son *?
This opinion is not ill supported by other circumstances. Solomon compares his beloved to a clufter of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi (Cant. i. 14.). If by this he meant; as fome interpret it; the garden-cypress; that is said to delight in hot fandy ground, such as may naturally be expected in a defart, and therefore not ill suited to Engedi: And if, as others interpret it, the noble balsam-tree peculiar to Judea be here meant} Pliny tells us, that this anciently grew there only in two royal gardens.
Now Eusebius and St: Ferom tell us, it grew in the vineyards of Engedi ; may we not then fairly conclude, that this was anciently a royal garden? And what reason so likely for its being so distinguished, a
* Possibly too this may be alluded to, Cant. iv. 6. I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, to the hill of frankincense.
scene fo rude, so untempting, and of such difficult access, as its having been originally planted by David ? Nay, there is a place still shewn there, in the recess of a low valley, said to have been Solomon's garden, called Hortus Conclufus, because it is shut in by two high hills.
I Am persuaded, that all readers of refinement take a pleasure in pursuing great men to their retirements ; and their curiosity is agreeably gratified, in contemplating upon their amusements and employment in those recesses. For my own part, I must confess, I behold David with more pleasure, retiring to a desart, after the conquest of Goliah, the relief of Keilah, and the repeated defeats of the Philistines, there weeding his wilds, planting and pruning his vineyards, and tending his balsam, than I do Cincinnatus returning to his plough from his dictatorship, and his triumph ! Indeed, the pleasure of attending him thither, is very much allayed, by the regret to see him so soon disturbed, and forced to fly once more for his life; for Saul was no sooner returned from repelling the Philistines, but he enquired eagerly after David. And being told, that he was in the wilderness of Engedi, he pursued himi thither with three thousand men chosen out of all Ifrael. His intelligence was, that David was in that wilderness, and he naturally expected to find him in the most unfrequented recesses and fastnesses of it. And that he went thither in quest of him, is plainly implied in the text, which tells us. that Saul went to search for him upon the faces of the rocks of the wild goats * ; that is, upon the highest and craggiest cliffs ! doubtless, according to the information he had received of David's residing there.
DAVID was a soldier, and a master in the trade ; and, from his knowledge of Saul's skill in the military art, could form a rational conjecture how he would reason and conduct himself in this pursuit. He knew very well, that rocks could be surrounded, and fastnesses starved out by a long liege ; and therefore he had no way to escape, but by hiding himself in a place where Saul, according to the intelligence he had received, and according to all the rules of prudence, and military skill, could have no reason to expect him. . * I Sam, xxiv. 3. Hebr. Bible.