« PreviousContinue »
out the nation, and exciting a deeper and deeper interest. We must infer this from the fact, as it is generally understood, of certain of the principal men among the Gadites, coming from beyond the Jordan to join the forces of David. They were eleven in number; men of might, and men of war, fit for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains.” They were either captains of the hosts of Saul at the time, or of those of David afterwards, some over hundreds, and some over thousands. Abundant proof both of their courage,
and of their devotion to the cause of David, was given by their crossing the Jordan at the most dangerous period, when it had overflown its banks, and by putting to flight all in the valleys, towards the east and the west, who attempted to oppose their progress.
The tribes, too, of Benjamin and Judah furnished no inconsiderable accession to the band at the cave of Adullam. David, indeed, as he saw the men approaching, had at first some fears lest they might prove to be the emissaries of Saul, and addressed them in the following language; "If ye 'be come peaceably unto me to help me, my heart shall be knit unto you: but if ye be come to betray me to mine enemies, seeing there is no wrong in my hands, the God of our fathers look thereon, and rebuke it.” Their pious and patriotic reply, soon put his mind at rest, and inspired him with fresh confidence in the over-ruling providence of God." The Spirit came upon Amasai, who was chief of the
captaiňs, and he said, Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse ; peace, peace be unto thee, and peace be to thy helpers ! for thy God helpeth thee."
David welcomed them to his hold, and immediately made them captains of his band.
David provides for the safety of his parents. He goes to
the forest of Hareth. Saul orders Ahimelech and the other priests to be put to death.
An occurrence took place while David was in the cave of Adullam, which, though not of much importance in itself, showed the devoted attachment of his followers, and the danger to which they were ready to expose themselves on his account. He had expressed a strong desire to drink of the water of Bethlehem, his native city, which was not far distant, and occupied at the time by a body of the Philistine forces. This came to the ears of three of the bravest of his chieftains, who no sooner heard of it than they resolved to gratify the wishes of their leader. Making their way through the hosts of the enemy, whether at the expense of any of the lives of the latter we are not told, they reached the well near the gate of the city, and drawing a supply of water, brought it back in safety to David. He was so much affected by the intrepidity of the exploit, and the risk they had incurred, that he did not drink of the water, but poured it out, as a religious offering before the Lord. "Be it far from me, O Lord !” he exclaimed, " that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives?"
The situation of David, he perceived, exposed his aged parents to many hardships and dangers, and, as might prove to be the case, to the risk of being seized by the forces of Saul, should he send them forth against him in considerable numbers. He felt it to be his duty to provide for their safety, and went himself to Mizpeh, the residence of the king of Moab, a city of Gad, in the mountains of Gilead, for this purpose. Could he place them there, under the protection of that monarch, his mind would be greatly relieved, and they spared much anxiety and alarm. The king of Moah, being at variance with Saul, he thought, would be favorable to his wishes, and in addition
to this, he who solicited the boon was descended from a Moabitess. "Let my father and my mother, I pray thee,” said he, come forth, and be with you, till I know what God will do for me.”
His request was granted, and the parents of David remained with the king of Moab as long as the former continued in his strong hold at Adullam.
We see in this a striking exhibition of dutiful, filial affection. Affairs of great moment pressed upon the attention of David. He needed to be continually watchful and active, in order to pursue the course of wisdom; to regulate his increasing forces; to guard against the attacks of an enemy; and to provide for his own safety on which such various and important interests depended. But these things must not stand in the way of the duty which he owed to his beloved parents. He left his affairs, for a season, under the care of that Providence in whom he trusted, while himself took a long and perilous journey to fulfil these sacred obligations.
A greater than David, and with infinitely greater interests weighing upon his soul, has set before us a still more affecting example of filial piety. While Christ was agonizing on the cross, and about to consummate by his death the work for which he came into our world, that heart which was bleeding as a propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of millions, yearned, also, with the
affection of a son towards his mother. He commended her to the beloved disciple. "Woman," said he, "behold thy son." "Behold thy mother,” was the short and touching injunction addressed to John, who " from that hour took her unto his own home.”
How, my young friend, do you treat your parents,—their memory, if they are dead-themselves, if they are living? A very simple question, but the reply to which involves considerations to you of infinite importance. You cannot be an undutiful child, and tin heir of heaven. The curse of God rests upon such. " Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother: and all the people shall say, Amen."
See to it that you obey the command of God, and follow the example of Christ, in this matter, as you hope to be saved through his blood.
There was a prophet by the name of Gad, (educated probably at the school of the prophets in Naioth, under the instruction of Samuel,) who appears to have been raised up to attend David in his trials, and who brought him, some time after his return from Mizpeh, a divine communication. It was an order to leave his strong hold in the cave, and find a new station in the country of Judah. He immediately obeyed, and went with his men into the forest of Hareth. The pro. vidential reason of this seems to have been, the better to prepare David to rescue one of the