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plot and made sympathy with his enemy. By these representations, seconded by promises of liberal reward to all who would befriend his cause, he endeavoured to draw from them some expression of the general sentiments which prevailed on the subject, and also information of the plans of David. Saul well knew that the public mind reposed confidence in David's innocence, and it was known also that Samuel had anointed him as Saul's successor. Few, therefore, were ready to take sides against him, or feel sympathy with Saul. With the latter much depended on his success in endeavouring to change public sentiment with regard to David's innocence. Nothing but calumny and falsehood of the basest sort could effect this. To this Saul readily descends, and now accuses David of premeditated regicide and rebellion. His character once blackened, the sympathies of the people, which had been David's bulwark, once withdrawn, Saul contemplates an easy conquest. It was this infamous policy of Saul and his court, which David deplores so frequently in his Psalms, as the leading cause of his bitter and protracted misfortunes.

Among the officers of Saul was one Doeg, an Edomite, a man of worthless character, and of a menial and cruel disposition, who was ever ready to execute the basest purposes of his master. It happened on David's flight to Gath, when he stopped at Nob, and obtained an interview with Ahimelech, the high priest, that Doeg was there. (See Introduction to Psalm lvi, p. 151.) Doeg now informs the king that, at that time, Ahimelech "inquired of the Lord for David, and gave him victuals, and the sword of Goliath." It was true that Ahimelech had yielded to David's requests at the time, supposing him to be engaged in some business for Saul, but it was not true that he had inquired of the Lord for him, or that he was in any wise privy to his plans. The speech of Doeg, however, was received with a greedy credulity, and inflamed the fevered mind of Saul. The high priest, and with him all his house, were now summoned to appear before the king, who roughly charges them with conspiracy. In vain did Ahimelech assert his ignorance of the fact, and his innocence of the crime of a conspiracy. His sentence was already decreed, and his doom prepared. The ferocious king orders his guards to fall upon him, and upon all the household of the priests.

Shocked at so atrocious an act, the guards refused to obey. The priests of the Lord were holy persons, and they had been condemned without evidence of guilt, or even due form of trial. Such an act had never been known in Israel. But the king was not to be deterred from his purpose. There was one in his service, who was ever ready to fulfil all his wishes, and who feared not to murder even the priests of God. Turning to Doeg, he repeats the command: "Turn thou, and fall upon the priests.' And Doeg, the Edomite, turned and fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod." But the vengeance of Saul was not yet satiated. By a process of reasoning, bordering on insanity, he involves the city of Nob in the alleged conspiracy of Ahimelech, and, resolving to take exemplary vengeance on all who should manifest sympathy with David, he proceeded at once to destroy the entire city. "And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword; both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword." Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech, alone escaped the general massacre, and fled to David, to inform him of the catastrophe of his house, and his native city. "I knew it," says David, "in that day when Doeg, the Edomite, was there, that he would tell Saul. I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy father's house." 1 Samuel xxii.

These events made a deep and lasting impression upon the mind of David. They revealed, beyond any former example, the relentless malice of his enemies, and the danger to which both he and his friends were exposed. His soul was filled with grief and horror at the crimes committed, and he beheld, with anguish of spirit, that the king, surrounded only by base parasites who dealt in falsehood and deceit, was inaccessible to justice or humanity. A heathen courtier, who had neither the fear of God, nor sympathy with the Hebrew family, had gained an entire ascendency over Saul, and had become his familiar companion and confidant. These thoughts find vent in the following Psalms. The destruction of the house of the good Ahimelech, made humanity stand aghast. Sacrilege, cruelty, falsehood, have reached the climax of impious daring, and awaken, in David, new apprehensions for himself, his friends, and the nation. These he deplores, and solemly execrates.

Psalm cix is called emphatically, the imprecatory Psalm. It is generally referred to David's persecution, either by Saul or Absalom. If to the former, Doeg is the monster-man execrated in the Psalm; if to the latter, Ahithophel is the one denounced. The probabilities seem decidedly in favour of the former hypothesis. It does not appear that Ahithophel calumniated and reproached David, that he "loved cursing," (verses 17, 18,) or pursued David with personal malice. He was, indeed, a formidable political enemy, but he was an enemy only for political, not personal reasons. On the contrary, Doeg answers the description of the Psalm, "as face answers to face in a glass." We refer it, therefore, to the persecutions of Doeg. For an explanation of the maledictory portions of the Psalm, see the article on "Vindictive Psalms," in the General Introduction. In a prophetical view, it relates to Judas Iscariot. See section on Messianic Prophecy, in the General Introduction. 1 Samuel xxii, 6-23.


ON THE DESTRUCTION OF THE HOUSE OF AHIMELECH. David describeth and execrateth Doeg, 1-5; the righteous shall laugh at his destruction, 6, 7; David, upon his confidence in God's mercy, giveth thanks, 8, 9.

To the chief musican, Maschil, [i. e., a song of instruction,] A Psalm of David, when Doeg, the Edomite, came and told Saul, and said unto him, "David is come to the house of Ahimelech."

1 Why boasteth thou thyself in mischief, O mighty


The goodness of God endureth continually.

2 Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs;

Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.

3 Thou lovest evil more than good;

And lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah!

4 Thou lovest all-devouring words,

'O thou deceitful tongue!

5 God shall likewise 'destroy thee forever,

He shall take thee away,

a Ezek. 22. 9.

b1 Sam. 21. 7.

© Psa. 50. 19.

d Jer. 9, 4, 5.

1 Or, And the deceitful tongue!

2 Heb. beat thee down.

And pluck thee out of thy dwelling-place,

And root thee out of the land of the living. Selah! 6 The frighteous also shall see,

And fear, and shall laugh at him:

7 Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; But trusted in the abundance of his riches,


And strengthened himself in his 'wickedness.

8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.

9 I will praise thee forever because thou hast done it: And I will wait on thy Name;

For it is good before thy saints.

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ON THE DESTRUCTION OF THE HOUSE OF AHIMELECH. David complaineth of his slanderous enemies, and execrateth them, 1-15; he showeth their sin, 16-20; complaining of his own misery, he prayeth for help, 21-29; he promiseth thankfulness, 30, 31.

To the chief musician, A Psalm of David.

i Jer. 11. 16. Hos. 14. 6.

k Pss. 54. 6.

1 Hold "not thy peace, O God of my praise! 2 For the mouth of the wicked

1 Psa. 83. 1.

1 Heb. deceit.

And the 'mouth of the deceitful' are opened against me: They have spoken against me with a lying tongue.

3 They compassed me about also with words of hatred; And fought against me without a cause.

4 For my love they are my adversaries; But I give myself unto prayer.

5 And they have rewarded me evil for good, And hatred for my love.

6 Set thou a wicked man over him;

And let 'Satan stand at his right hand.

2 Heb. have opened themselves.

b Pss. 85. 7. John 15. 25.

e Psa. 85. 7, 12.

3 Or, an adversary. Zech. 8. 1.

7 When he shall be judged, let him 'be condemned; And let his prayer become sin. 8 Let his days be few;

And let another take his 'office.

9 Let fhis children be fatherless,

And his wife a widow.

10 Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: Let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.

11 Let the extortioner catch all that he hath;

And let the stranger spoil his labour.

12 Let there be none to extend mercy unto him;

Neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children. 13 Let his posterity be cut off;

And in the generation following let their name be blotted out.

14 Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the LORD;

And let not the sin of his mother 'be blotted out.

15 Let them be before the LORD continually,

That he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.

Heb. go out guilty, or,


d Prov. 28. 9.

• Acts 1. 20.

•Or, charge.

16 Because that he remembered not to show mercy,
But persecuted the poor and needy man,
That he might even slay the "broken in heart.

17 As he loved cursing-so let it come unto him:

As he delighted not in blessing-so let it be far from him.

18 As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his


So let it come 'into his bowels like water,

And like oil into his bones.

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