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The defeat and death of Saul. i Now the Philistines fought 8 And it came to pass on the against Israel; and the men of morrow, when the Philistines Israel fled from before the Phi- came to strip the slain, that they listines, and fell down slain in found Saul and his sons fallen in mount Gilboa.

mount Gilboa. 2 And the Philistines followed 9 And when they had stripped hard after Saul, and after his him, they took his head, and his sons; and the Philistines slew armour, and sent into the land Jonathan, and Abinadab, and of the Philistines round about, Malchi-shua, the sons of Saul. to carry tidings unto their idols,

3 And the battle went sore a- and to the people. gainst Saul, and the archers hit 10 And they put his armour in him, and he was wounded of the the house of their gods, and archers.

fastened his head in the temple 4 Then said Saul to his ar- of Dagon. mourbearer, Draw thy sword, 11 And when all Jabesh-gilead and thrust me through there- heard all that the Philistines with ; lest these uncircumcised had done to Saul, come and abuse me. But his 12 They arose, all the valiant armourbearer would not: for he men, and took away the body of was sore afraid. So Saul took a Saul, and the bodies of his sons, sword and fell upon it.

and brought them to Jabesh, and 5 And when his armourbearer buried their bones under the oak saw that Saul was dead, he fell in Jabesh, and fasted seven days. likewise on the sword, and died. 13 So Saul died for his trans

6 So Saul died, and his three gression which he committed sons, and all his house died to- against the LORD, even against gether.

the word of the LORD, which 7. And when all the men of he kept not, and also for asking Israel that were in the valley saw counsel of one that had a familiar that they fled, and that Saul and spirit, to enquire of it; his sons were dead, then they 14 And enquired not of the forsook their cities, and fled: and LORD: therefore he slew him, the Philistines came and dwelt and turned the kingdom unto in them.

David the son of Jesse. LECTURE 648. The wicked perish through their own fault. After this account of the defeat and death of Saul, the history is chiefly occupied with David, and the kings of David's family who reigned in Jerusalem. This might probably be so ordered, because those who returned from the Babylonish captivity, for whose use the books of Chronicles were designed, were for the most part members of those tribes which formed the kingdom of Judah. And moreover after their renewed settlement in the land, their attention was much fixt on the promise of the Messiah, whom they hoped soon to see sitting on David's throne. And this same circumstance ought to give us a deep interest in

the history of David, and of his family; it is the history of that family, whence He, who is our Saviour and our King, vouchsafed to derive his earthly lineage.

Now in the very outset of David's promotion, we find that Saul had to be first removed, and his family displaced from all pretensions to the throne. And this is a common case in God's dispensations towards sinful men; few enjoying any distinguished blessing, except at the cost as it seems of some one else. The Canaanites were driven out of the land to make room for the Israelites. The Jews were cast off when the Gentiles were invited into the church of God. So Saul also was rejected from being king when David was taken from the sheepfolds to rule over God's people Israel. Still Saul was in no sense wronged by any one. He died, as we are here told, “ for his transgression which he committed against the Lord.” And by reason of his transgression he was rejected from being king. The wicked suffer through their own fault. And when the portion which they might otherwise have enjoyed is forfeited, we may well admire the bounty of that God who still offers it to such as will believe. When they that are bidden will not come to the feast which He has prepared for them, but begin with one consent to make excuse, He sends out to the highways and hedges, He invites the halt and maimed and blind, He does every thing which the case admits of, in order for his house to be full. See Luke 14. 23.

This reflexion is fitted to -reconcile our minds to the fearful sight, which we behold in looking out upon the world; where so large a portion of mankind seem as remote as possible from the kind of life which God would have them live here, and from any fitness for a life in heaven hereafter. And under the distress we feel, at the thought of seeing so many shut out from everlasting happiness, when we ourselves, as we trust, shall enter in, we may do well to reflect, that our gain is not so much which is taken from them, either by us, or by God for our sakes; but is so much which some have thrown away, foolishly and wickedly, and so much, which God, of his great mercy, and in default of others to accept it, is pleased to offer unto us. It was not the family of David that really displaced that of Saul, but it was Saul's own wicked conduct; it was Saul's not keeping the word which the Lord commanded him, and his asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, instead of enquiring of the Lord. It is not they who shall be saved that displace those who shall be lost, and shut against them heaven's gates; but it is their own unbelief and impenitence. God would have all men to be saved. And in nothing more than this are good men like to God, that they desire the salvation of all men. Only let us always remember, that in order to be saved men must cease from sin; and that if they persist in sinning wilfully, their end must be to perish miserably.

David is made king. 1 Then all Israel gathered 8 And he built the city round themselves to David, unto He- about, even from Millo round bron, saying, Behold, we are about: and Joab repaired the thy bone and thy flesh. rest of the city.

2 And moreover in time past, 9 So David waxed greater and even when Saul was king, thou greater: for the Lord of hosts wast he that leddest out and was with him. broughtest in Israel: and the 10 These also are the chief of Lord thy God said unto thee, the mighty men whom David Thou shalt feed my people Is- had, who strengthened themrael, and thou shalt be ruler selves with him in his kingdom, over my people Israel.

and with all Israel, to make 3 Therefore came all the elders him king, according to the word of Israel to the king to Hebron; of the LORD concerning Israel. and David made a covenant 11 And this is the number of with them in Hebron before the the mighty men whom David Lord; and they anointed Da- had; Jashobeam, an Hachmovid king over Israel, according nite, the chief of the captains: to the word of the LORD by he lifted up his spear against Samuel

three hundred slain by him at 4 And David and all Israel one time. went to Jerusalem, which is Je- 12 And after him was Eleazar bus; where the Jebusites were, the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, the inhabitants of the land. who was one of the three migh

5 And the inhabitants of Jebus ties. said to David, Thou shalt not 13 He was with David at Pascome hither. Nevertheless Da- dammim, and there the Philisvid took the castle of Zion, tines were gathered together to which is the city of David. battle, where was a parcel of

6 And David said, Whosoever ground full of barley; and the smiteth the Jebusites first shall people fled from before the Phibe chief and captain. So Joab listines. the son of Zeruiah went first

up, 14 And they set themselves in and was chief.

the midst of that parcel, and de7 And David dwelt in the livered it, and slew the Philiscastle; therefore they called it tines; and the LORD saved the city of David.

them by a great deliverance. LECTURE 649.

The authenticity of Scripture. The account of the death of Saul, given in the last chapter, and a great part of that which follows relating to David's history, is to be met with in the books of Samuel. And in like manner the history of the second book of Chronicles runs parallel to the history of the two books of Kings. The comparison of these two series of history forms a profitable occupation for the devout student of holy Scripture. "For whilst the worldly wise are apt to stumble at each apparent difference between these two

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portions of the sacred record, the faithful reader will be thankful for the opportunity of verifying the facts of sacred history, out of the mouths of two independent witnesses. Any actual disagreement which we meet with, is no more than can be readily accounted for by the fact, that for nearly two thousand years these books could be copied only by writing with the hand. In which pro. cess so often repeated, nothing short of a miracle could have prevented those who copied out the manuscripts from sometimes writing out a word or figure wrong. As for instance, in the passage before us, the chief of the captains is said to have slain “ three hundred men” at once, but in the second book of Samuel, 23. 8, it is written “eight hundred.”

On the other hand the existence of such disagreements, especially as to figures, which are most easily mistaken, proves the scrupulous fidelity with which the copies have been preserved unaltered, as far as the care of man could effect their preservation. Unintentional errors in transcribing there must have been many. Intentional alterations there can have been none. None at least can ever have been made in all the manuscripts at once, with a view to render the volume less liable to objection, on the scorners and scoffers. Else surely one of the first of such alterations would have been in points so obviously differing, and so easily made to tally, as the dates, and numbers, and figures, in the books of Kings and Chronicles. Points of difference like these, in the two concurrent series of history, are sure to meet the eye of the attentive observer; and could be often reconciled by one stroke of the transcriber's pen. No sect or party, in any age of the Jewish or Christian church, would have been aggrieved in their party interests by such an alteration. In the dark ages, all parties might have easily been persuaded, that such a measure would be desirable, for the better maintenance of the truth of God's most holy word. The fact therefore that it never was adopted, and that we have in these two portions of Scripture so many differences, as to dates and the like, is a proof of the most convincing kind, that no alteration was ever wilfully made in the great body of the manuscripts of Scripture, during all the ages that they were copied by writer after writer; down to the time when printing made the copies too numerous to admit of their ever being thus all altered to the end of time. This is indeed a greater marvel, than it would have been to preserve the transcribers of Scripture from ever writing a word wrong by mistake: that those who ordered the transcribing should have been preserved from ever ordering it to be altered on purpose. And when we consider how many periods there have been, when rulers both in church and state have thought it meet to practise pious frauds, which are amongst the most impious of falsehoods; we shall thank God for having given us, in the volume of his word itself, this evidence that we have it without intentional corruption.

David's mighty men. 15 Now three of the thirty hand was a spear like a weaver's captains went down to the rock beam; and he went down to him to David, into the cave of Adul- with a staff, and plucked the lam; and the host of the Philis- spear out of the Egyptian's band, tines encamped in the valley of and slew him with his own spear. Rephaim.

24 These things did Benaiah 16 And David was then in the the son of Jehoiada, and had a hold, and the Philistines' garri- name among the three mighties. son was then at Beth-lehem. 25 Behold, he was honourable 17 And David longed, and said, among the thirty, but attained Oh that one would give me not to the first three: and David drink of the water of the well of set him over his guard. Beth-lehem, that is at the gate! 26 Also the valiant men of the

18 And the three brake through armies were, Asahel the brother the host of the Philistines, and of Joab, Elhanan the son of Dodrewwater out of the well of Beth- do of Beth-lehem, lehem, that was by the gate, and 27 Shammoth the Harorite, took it, and brought it to David: Helez the Pelonite, but David would not drink of it, 28 Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tebut poured it out to the Lord, koite, Abi-ezer the Antothite,

19 And said, My God forbid it 29 Sibbecai the Hushathite, me, that I should do this thing: Ilai the Ahohite, shall I drink the blood of these 30 Maharai the Netophathite, men that have put their lives in Heled the son of Baanah the jeopardy? for with the jeopardy Netophathite, of their lives they brought it. 31 Ithai the son of Ribai of Therefore he would not drink it. Gibeah, that pertained to the These things did these three children of Benjamin, Benaiah mightiest.

the Pirathonite, 20 And Abishai the brother of 32 Hurai of the brooks of GaJoab, he was chief of the three: ash, Abiel the Arbathite, for lifting up his spear against 33 Azmaveth the Baharumite, three hundred, he slew them, and Eliahba the Shaalbonite, had a name among the three. 34 The sons of Hashem the

21 Of the three, he was more Gizonite, Jonathan the son of honourable than the two: for he Shage the Hararite, was their captain : howbeit he 35 Ahiam the son of Sacar the attained not to the first three. Hararite, Eliphal the son of Ur,

22 Benaiah the son of Jehoi- 36 Hepher the Mecherathite, ada, the son of a valiant man of Ahijah the Pelonite, Kabzeel, who had done many acts; 37 Hezro the Carmelite, Naahe slew two lionlike men of Mo- rai the son of Ezbai, ab: also he went down and slew 38 Joel the brother of Nathan, a lion in a pit in a snowy day. Mibhar the son of Haggeri,

23 And he slew an Egyptian, 39 Zelek the Ammonite, Naa man of great stature, five cu- harai the Berothite, the armourbits high; and in the Egyptian's bearer of Joab the son of Zeruiah,

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