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sions were re-kindled. The evil spirit which before reigned within him, took possession of his breast. Paroxysms of fury returned; and on one occasion of this kind, as he sat in his house, and David played before him on the harp, he made another attempt on his life by endeavoring to transfix him to the wall with a javelin which he held in his hand. But he failed. David, anticipat. ing the danger, was so quick in his movement as to avoid it, retreating from the royal presence, while the javelin was fastened into the wall. He fled immediately home, hoping to find there a place of security.
But Saul despatched men after him, to watch the house and prevent his escape, with positive orders to put him to death in the morning.* For the light, he thought, would make them more sure of their victim. The wife of David was aware of their design, and informing him of his danger, urged the necessity of immediate flight. He yielded to her suggestions, and being let down by her through a window, fled to Ramah, the residence of Samuel, to seek counsel of that venerable prophet of the Lord.
In the meanwhile, Michal took an image, or statue of some kind, which was in the house, and laid it on David's bed in the position of one asleep,
* David is supposed, at this time, to have composed the 5Sin Psalm.
drawing a covering over it, with a pillow of goat's hair for a bolster; or, (as some think the original denotes) so arranged it, as to make it appear like the hair of the individual who was reposing there. By this stratagem she hoped to deceive the assassins, and produce a delay which might possibly afford some opportunity of interceding with Saul in behalf of her husband. Or, if she should fail in this latter particular, he would have, at least, a little more time to provide for his safety. When the morning dawned, therefore, and the men who lay in wait during the night, demanded to see David, she told them that he was sick, and in bed, probably showing them what they supposed was really her husband in that condition.
It would seem that they did not at first attempt, under these circumstances, to execute their errand, but returned to the king, to inform him how the matter stood. He felt no relentings, either on account of his daughter, or her husband; but sent his agents immediately back, with a command which showed the diabolical spirit of vengeance that burned within his breast -blood thirsty and inexorable. "Bring him up, said he, " to me in the bed that I
slay him.” David had eluded him too often. He might do it again ; and Saul would now have the infernal satisfaction of putting him to death with his own hand.
They who were sent hastened to fulfil the directions of the king. On entering David's house, and making their way to the bed, where they expected to find him, how great was their surprise to detect the stratagem of Michal. Of course, they had nothing to do but to inform Saul of it, who soon after demanded of his daughter, why she had thus deceived him, and permitted his enemy, as he called David, to escape. She saw the disappointment and rage of Saul, and dreaded lest it might fall with sudden fury upon her own head. Nothing but a reason of the strongest kind, she knew, would serve to avert the blow, and to furnish this she resorted to a downright falsehood. She protested that it was to save her own life she had consented to let her husband leave the house; as he had threatened to kill her if she attempted to prevent his doing it. Her attachment to him, however, furnished no excuse for such a gross departure from the truth. If she had not deem. ed it prudent to disclose to Saul what actually took place, she might, at least, have remained silent, and left it for God to direct the result.
Samuel felt deeply for the welfare of David, whom he saw exposed to such imminent danger. Commending him to the care of the Almighty, and giving him that advice which he deemed best suited to his situation, he was, however unwilling to have him return to his own home
While David was with him, he thought that the king would hardly dare to commit such an outrage upon a prophet of the Lord, as to do violence to one who was under his protection. He satisfied David, therefore, that at present he had better remain with him; and they both went to Naioth near Ramah, where it is supposed there was a school of the prophets of which Samuel was the head, and abode there.
Saul heard of this, and sent certain of his attendants to seize David. As they approached Naioth, they met the company of the prophets engaged in their peculiar religious exercises, under à .divine influence, with Samuel as their leader. The same influence came upon them also; and joining with the rest, they were thus prevented from carrying into effect the object of their errand. On Saul's being informed of this, he sent others to execute his purpose, and still others, a third time; but they all were affected in the same manner, uniting with the company of the prophets as those who went before them did, and leaving David unmolested. The king now resolved to go himself in person and make sure of the object of his vengeance. As he came near to Ramah, he stopped at a great well in Sechu, a place which often brought together a number of persons to draw water, and inquired of them where Samuel and David were to be found. Being informed that they were at
Naioth, he immediately proceeded to that place. While on his way
the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on and prophesied,” uttering supplications to the Lord, with sacred songs and sentiments, and possibly some predictions of the future, "until he came to Naioth in Ramah.” There he laid aside his robes and external garments, and continued, under a divine influence, in the exercises peculiar to the prophets, all that day and the ensuing night, in the presence of Samuel. It may well be conceived that this greatly astonished those who witnessed it, and led to the exclamation, which was long after used as a proverb by the Israelites,—"Is Saul also among the prophets?”
These signal interpositions of Providence interrupted the attempts of Saul to take the life of David; while the latter, perceiving the imminent danger that threatened him, fled precipitately from Naioth, and sought an interview with his friend Jonathan, who was then at Gibeah.
Somewhere about this time, probably on the occasion of his escaping to Samuel at Ramah, it is supposed that David wrote the fifty-ninth Psalm, in the conclusion of which he utters these de. voutly confiding sentiments, so befitting his condition:
"But I will sing of thy power;