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intercept him, if he attempted to fly; and it was doubtless at the moment when Michal let him down from the window, that the tempest burst on the place, the Almighty enthroned in the clouds revealed himself to him, and assured him of deliverance; while the flashing lightning, the crashing thunder, and the storm of hail and rain, occupied the attention of the assassins, and driving them from their stations, allowed him to elude them and fly. This is confirmed, moreover, by the consideration that the tempest, like his flight, was in the night, as is indicated by the darkness which at intervals prevailed.
It is a further corroboration of it also that it accounts for his escape without attracting the notice of the assassins, and for the absence from the narrative of any intimation that Saul reproached them for remissness. How, when environed by guards set expressly to watch and intercept him, could he have eluded their notice, and passed out of their circle, unless some such extraordinary cause had distracted their attention, or driven them from the scene? And unless there was some such adequate reason, how is it to be explained that Saul seems not to have reprimanded them for not accomplishing their errand? The supposition that that was the occasion to which he refers, is thus in har
mony with all the particulars of the narrative the sacred historian has given of it.*
The Psalmist next states the thoughts and feelings to which the sense of these dangers prompted him.
14. Metaphor, in the use of temple. "In my distress I will invoke Jehovah, and to my God will cry; He will hear from his temple my voice, and my cry before him will enter into his ears," v. 6. The heavens are called his temple or palace, because it is there that he reigns, and receives the homage
* "Saul also sent messengers unto David's house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning: and Michal, David's wife, told him, saying, If thou save not thy life to-night, to-morrow thou shalt be slain. So Michal let David down through a window: and he went, and fled, and escaped. And Michal took an image and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow of goats' hair for his bolster, and covered it with a cloth. And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, He is sick. And Saul sent the messengers again to see David, saying, Bring him to me in the bed, that I may slay him. And when the messengers were come in, behold, there was an image in the bed, with a pillow of goats' hair for his bolster. And Saul said unto Michal, Why hast thou deceived me so, and sent away mine enemy, that he is escaped? And Michal answered Saul, He said unto me, Let me go; why should I kill thee?" Sam xix. 11-17. It is apparent from this, that the assassins had with drawn from David's house, and without suspecting his escape. That would have been natural if such a storm had occurred; but how is it to be explained on any other supposition}
of his subjects. "Jehovah is in his holy temple, Jehovah, in heaven is his throne" (Ps. xi. 4). He here depicts the thoughts and emotions which his danger excited, as though they were present again. He did not rely on his own exertions to save himself, but instantly cried to God, and with an assurance that he would hear him.
"Then did the earth shake and quake, and the foundations of the mountains trembled and were shaken, because he was angry," v. 7. David had but uttered his supplication, when an earthquake announced to him that Jehovah had heard his cry, and was to interpose in anger to repel his enemies. This language is not tropical-as the writers to whom we have referred suppose-but literal. The verbs are not used by a metaphor, as in that figure the nominative of the affirmation is always used literally, and is the subject of that which the figure expresses. If these verbs then are supposed to be used metaphorically, the earth and mountains must still be the subjects of that which their trembling and quaking denotes; not as those critics suppose, some other objects that bear to them an analogy. The agitations, moreover, which those verbs ascribe to the earth and mountains, are compatible with their nature, and often actually take place. They cannot be used therefore by a metaphor; as in that
figure, that which is affirmed, is never literally true of the subject to which it is applied, but only something of a resembling nature; as when man is denominated a lion, to denote his courage or nobleness; and God is called a shield, to signify that he acts as the protector of his people. But there is no such transference of the verbs shake, quake, and tremble, to the earth and mountains from a different class of objects to which they are exclusively applicable in their literal sense. They are as literally applicable to the earth and hills, as to any other objects in the material world. The earth and mountains must of necessity, therefore, be taken as the subjects of that which those verbs denote; and they must be interpreted as signifying, according to their literal meaning, a shaking of the earth, and trembling of the foundations of the hills.
Nor are the earth and mountains used by hypocatastasis, as representatives of analogous objects. There are no analogous objects of which they can be supposed to be substitutes. They cannot be representatives of Saul and his assassin soldiers. An earthquake is an appropriate symbol of a political convulsion. But there was no such convulsion of the Israelitish kingdom at that epoch. The agitation of the earth was consequential on David's prayer, and was a signal of God's anger at the plot against
his life; but Saul was not agitated in consequence of that prayer, nor was he aware of it, or of God's anger. The earth and mountains then, and their quaking and trembling are not used as representatives of a different class of objects and events. But there is no other figure that can be supposed to exist in the passage. There is no comparison, metonymy, synecdoche, or personification in it. All the objects mentioned in it are exhibited according to their real and ordinary nature. It must be taken, therefore, as absolutely literal; and the shaking and trembling which it ascribes to the earth as a literal earthquake. And this makes it certain that the theophany which is next described, was a real and visible interposition, and of the nature which the Psalmist represents.
15. Metonymy of the heavens or atmosphere, for the clouds of the atmosphere. "Then went up smoke in his wrath, and fire from his mouth devours. Coals are kindled from it. And he bowed the heavens and came down, and gloom was under his feet," v. 8, 9. He is said to have bowed the heavens or sky, to indicate that he caused the clouds occupying it, on which he was enthroned, to descend nearer to the earth.
16, 17, 18. Metaphors in the use of rode, flew, and wings. "And he rode on a cherub, and flew; he