Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

exercise the office which appertained not unto him, and to offer a burnt-offering and a peace-offering un. to God, contrary to the ecclesiastical laws of the Hebrews, and God's commandments; others expound the word, obtulit, in this place, by obtulit per sacerdotem, and so make the sin of Saul not to have been any intrusion into the priests office, but first a disobedience to God's commandment, in not staying according to the appointment, 1 Sam. X. 8.; second. ly, a diffidence or mistrust in God's help, and too great relying upon the strength of the people, whose departing from him he could not bear patiently; and lastly, a contempt of the holy prophet Samuel, and of the help which the prayers of so godly a man might procure him. But whatsoever was his sin, notwithstanding his excuses, he was by Samuel reprehended most sharply ", in terms unfitting his estate, had not extraordinary warrant been given to Samuel so to do, from God himself, at which time also Samuel feared not to let him know, that the kingdom should be conferred to another, (a man after God's own heart,) both from Saul and his posterity 3. • After this Samuel and Saul returned to Gibeah, where Saul, when he had taken view of his army, found it to consist of six hundred men; for the most were fled from him and scattered, yea, among those that staid, there was not any that had either sword or spear, but Saul and his son Jonathan only. For the Philistines had not left them any smith in all Israel that made weapons; besides, they that came to Saul came hastily 4, and left such weapons and armour as they had behind them in the garrisons ; for if they had had none at all, it might be much doubted how Saul should be able the year before, or in some part of this very year, to succour Jabesh Gilead with three hundred and thirty thousand men, if there had not now been any iron weapon to defend themselves.

2 1 Sam. xiii. 31 Sam. xiv. 1 Sam. xiii. 7. ,

withal, save only in the hand of Saul and Jonathan his son. But, howsoever, all the rest of the people were formerly disarmed by the Philistines, and all those craftsmen carried out of the land that made weapons; there being left unto the Israelites only files to sharpen and amend such stuff as served for the plough, and for nought else; yet that they had some kind of arms it is manifest, or else they durst not have attempted upon the Philistines as they did. And it is not said in the text, that there was not any sword in all Israel, but only that there was not any found amongst those six hundred soldiers which stayed with Sauls after Samuel's departure, and it seemeth that when Samuel had sharply reprehended Saul, that his own guards forsook him ; having but six hundred remaining of his three thousand ordi. nary soldiers; and of all the rest that repaired unto him, of which many were fled from him before Samuel arrived.

With this small troop, he held himself to his own city of Gibeah, as a place of more strength, and better assured unto him, than Gilgal was. Neither is it obscure how it should come to pass that the Philistines should thus disarm the most part of the Israelites, howsoever, in the time of Samuel, much had been done against them. For the victories of Samuel were not got by sword or spear, but by thunder from heaven; and when these craftsmen were once rooted out of the cities of Israel, no marvel if they could not, in a short peace under Samuel, be replanted again. For this tyranny of the Philistines is to be understood rather of the precedent times, than under Samuel ; and yet under him it is to be thought that by their crafts they proceeded in the policy, not suffering their artificers to teach the Isra: elites, and so, even to the times of Saul, kept them from having any store of armour. The same policy did Nabuchodonosor use after his conquest in Judea

à 1 Sam. xiii. 22. Voli III.

Dionysius in Sicily; and many other princes else. " where, in all ages. But these lost weapons, in part, the Israelites might repair in Gilead ; for over Jordan the Philistines had not invaded. The rest of their defences were such as antiquity used, and their present necessity ministered unto them; to wit, clubs, bows, and slings. For the Benjamites excelled in casting stones in slings; and that these were the natural weapons, and the first of all nations, it is manifest; and so in Chronicles i. 12. it is written of those that came to succour David against Saul, while he lurked at Siklag, " That they were

weaponed with bows, and could use the right and • the left hand with stones:' and with a sling it was that David himself slew the giant Goliath.

While the state of Israel stood in these hard terms, the Philistines having parted their army into three troops, that they might spoil and destroy many parts at once; Jonathan, strengthened by God, and followed by his esquire only, scaled a mountain, whereon a company of Philistines were lodged '; the rest of their army, (as may be gathered by the success,) being encamped in the plain adjoining. And though he were discovered before he came to the hill top, and in a kind of derision called up by his enemies; yet he so behaved himself, as, with the assistance of God, he slew twenty of the first Philistines that he encountered. Whereupon the next companies taking the alarm, and being ignorant of the cause, fed away amazed altogether. In which confusion, fear, and jealousy, they slaughtered one another instead of enemies; whereupon those Hebrews which became of their party, because they feared to be spoil. ed by them, took the advantage of their destruction, and slew of them in great numbers. And lastly, Saul himself taking knowledge of the rout and disorder, together with those Israelites that shrouded them. selves in mount Ephraim, set upon them, and ob.

6 1 Sam. xiv. 12. 7 1 Sam. zü.

tained, (contrary to all hope and expectation,) a most happy and glorious victory over them. Here was that prophecy in Deuteronomy fulfilled by Jonathan, " That one of those which feared God, should • kill a thousand, and two of them ten thousand.'

This done, the small army of Israel made retreat from the pursuit. And though Saul had bound the people by an oath not to take food till the evening, yet his son Jonathan, being enfeebled with extreme labour and emptiness, tasted a drop of honey in his passage ; for which Saul, his father, would have put him to death, had not the people delivered him from his cruelty.

The late miraculous victory of Saul and Jonathan seems to have reduced unto the Philistines remembrance of their former overthrow, likewise miracu. lous, in the days of Samuel ; so that for some space of time they held themselves quiet. In the mean while Saul being now greatly encouraged, undertook by turns all his bordering enemies; namely, the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, and the Arabians of Zobah, against all which he prevailed. He then assembled all the forces he could make, to wit, two · hundred and ten thousand men, and receiving the commandment of God by Samuel, he invaded Amálek, wasting and destroying all that part of Arabia Pe. træa, and the desert, belonging to the Amalekites, from Havilah towards Tigris, unto Shur, which bora dereth Egypt; in which war he took Agag their king prisoner. But whereas he was instructed by Samuel to follow this nation without compassion, because they first of all attempted Israel', when they left Egypt in Moses's time; he notwithstanding, did not only spare the life of Agag, but reserved the best of the beasts and spoil of the country, with pretence to offer them in sacrifice to the living God. Therefore did Samuel, now a second time, make him know, that God would cast him from his royal

8 1 Sam. xvi. 9 Exod. xvii.

estate to which he was raised, when he was of base condition, and, as the text hath it, little in his own ' eyes.' And though the offence was great in Saul for not obeying the voice of God by Samuel, had there been no former precept to that effect; yet seeing Saul could not be ignorant how severely it pleased God to enjoin the Israelites to revenge themselves upon that nation, he was in all inexcusable. For God had commanded that the Israelites should • put out the remembrance of Amalek from under • heaven''. For the cruelty which the predeces. sors of this Agag used against the Israelites, espe. cially on those which were overwearied, sick, faint, and aged people, was now to be revenged on him and his nation, above four hundred years afterwards; and now he was to pay the debt of blood, which his forefathers borrowed from the innocent; himself having also sinned in the same kind, as these words of Samuel witness : “ As thy sword hath made women 6 childless, so shall thy mother be childless among • women ":' at which time Samuel himself, (after he had been by many bootless intreaties persuaded to stay a while with Saul,) did cut Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal, and soon after he departed to Ramath, and · came no more to see Saul, o until the day of his death.'

SECT. V. Of the occurrences between the rejection of Saul and his

death. Now while Samuel mourned for Saul, God commanded him to choose a king for Israel, among the sons of Ishai; which Samuel, (doubting the violent hand of Saul,) feared in a sort to perform, till it pleased God to direct him how he might avoid both The suspicion and the danger. And if Samuel knew that it was no way derogating from the providence

10. Deut. xxv. 15. 11 Sam. xv. 35.

« AnteriorContinuar »