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vengeance. He hurled at his son the javelin which he held, with an intent to take his life. But Jonathan avoided the stroke, and rising from the feast in fierce anger, left the presence of his father. Nor did he partake of any food during that day; he was so overwhelmed with grief at the conduct of Saul, and at the public and unmerited disgrace which had been inflicted both upon his friend and himself. No doubt now remained in his mind with regard to the inflexibility of his father's purpose to put David to death. The sooner the latter could be apprised of this the better. Yet it must be done with caution. David would certainly be in his place of concealment on the third day of the feast. Early, therefore, in the morning of that day, Jonathan went out into the field, accompanied by a young lad, as had been agreed upon. Approaching the wellknown stone, he ordered the lad to run forward in that direction, and gather up the arrows which he should shoot, to bring them back to him. In the meanwhile he shot an arrow quite beyond him, and as he was reaching the place where it fell, Jonathan cried out, "Is not the arrow beyond thee ?" adding, "make speed, haste, stay not." The lad, ignorant of the momentous errand on which he had been sent, gathered up the arrows and brought them to his master, who immediately sent him back with them, and the bow and quiver, into the city.
Jonathan lingered behind. He had come prepared to withdraw immediately if necessary; but seeing nothing which threatened exposure, he could not forego the satisfaction of a short, parting interview with David. The latter came forth from his hiding-place, already aware of his destiny. He must flee with all possible despatch from the inexorable malice of the king. He must be an exile from the court, from his friends, from his home, from the altars of his God, and the ordinances of religious worship. He must leave Jonathan, on whom, under Providence, he most relied for counsel and protection, never perhaps to meet him again in this world. It was a moment of overwhelming interest. The circumstances of the occasion, too, demanded haste. A look, a word, a short and hurried farewell, and these two friends must separate.
David approached Jonathan, giving vent to the noble and ingenuous, as well as grateful emotions of his breast. He wished to let his friend see how much he respected him, both in his character and rank, and that he should not forget to do this in his future course, which Providence, (so he was taught to believe,) would yet mark with prosperity and elevation. He bowed himself to the ground three times, and rising embraced Jonathan. They kissed each other. They wept a profusion of tears; David's grief exceeding that of his friend. They prepared to separate
The farewell of David is not recorded. Perhaps his heart was too full for utterance. His looks, his sighs, his tears may have been the only language of his soul. Jonathan's parting words were few, but full of meaning, showing the piety of his heart, and the sacred fidelity of his friendship. "Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, The Lord be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever.” Jonathan then returned to Gʻbeah; while David sought to escape the danger that threatened him by fleeing to Nob, a city in the tribe of Benjamin, some eight or ten miles distant. It seems that the tabernacle, for some reason, had been removed there from Shiloh; while the ark yet remained at Kirjathjearim. Ahimelech, the high priest, was at Nob, and from him David hoped to obtain that protection which he had failed to receive from the prophet Samuel, and Jonathan the son of the king.
The high priest, when he saw the unhappy exile, was apprehensive that some disgrace, or evil, had befallen him, as he came without his usual retinue; and immediately inquired the reason of this. The temptation to conceal the real cause, and even to depart from the truth, (so imininent did David consider his danger to be,) was too strong to be resisted. Hoping the better to elude the search of Saul, and fearing there might be those at Nob who would betray him, he re
plied to Ahimelech, that the king had despatched him upon
a business which he had been ordered to execute with great secrecy, and that his attendants were stationed at convenient places to wait his further orders. A few only were with him, and for these and himself he asked of the priest a small supply of food; five loaves, if there were so many, of the bread which was in his possession.
Ahimelech replied that he had none but hallowed bread; (the show-bread, which used to remain a week on the golden table in the sanctuary, and was taken thence for the use of the priests and their families.) He was willing, however, to distribute this to David and his attendants, provided they were all free from any ceremonial uncleanness. David assured him that this was the case, and added that he ought not to scruple to comply with his request, as the bread was already in a manner common, since the peculiar religious use of it was at an end, other bread having been that day sanctified, and placed in its stead.
The high priest consented; and what took place at this time, it will be recollected, was referred to by our Savior when the Pharisees found fault with his disciples for plucking and eating the ears of corn on the Sabbath-day, to satisfy the demands of hunger. "Have ye not read,” said he," what David did when he was an hungered, and they that were with him: how he entered into the house of God, and did eat the show bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests. Or, have ye not read in the law, how that, on the Sabbath-days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, that in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the son of man is lord even of the Sabbath-day.”
Christians serve a kind Master; one who, on the Sabbath, as well as on other days, will not require of them a stricter service in all external, religious observances than is compatible with the demands of necessity and mercy. But let them be careful not to abuse this indulgence. Let them conscientiously and prayerfully inquire when it may be fairly applied to their case, and especially on that sacred day, devoted to the worship of God, when their example has such a mighty in fiuence, for good or evil, on the world around them.