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good for me to have been there still; now therefore let me see the king's face; and if there be any iniquity in me, let him kill me.

So Joab came to the king, and told him. And when he had called for Absalom, he came to the king, and bowed himself on his face, to the ground before the king. And the king kissed Absalom.

ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.

The prophecy of Nathan now began to be fulfilled upon David before his eyes: the sword was brought into his house, and not likely to depart from it. The sacred historian most pathetically describes David's distress on this afflicting occasion, by which he was deprived of two of his sons; for one was killed by the unnatural and barbarous command of his brother, and the murderer was obliged to flee away, in order to secure himself from public justice.

It appears from Absalom's subsequent conduct, that he was actuated to the cruel deed, partly by resentment, and partly by ambition, for he aspired to the crown; and when Amnon was removed, he was the eldest son ; it was supposed that Chileab was dead, as no mention is made of him.

Absalom was the son of Maachah, daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur. How it came to pass that David made an alliance with a foreign princess, we are not informed; but it is supposed, that she was a proselyte to the Jewish religion. Had David observed the command of God given by Moses, that the king should not multiply wives to himself, he, would, in all probability, have escaped a variety of sins, and consequently many misfortunes ; but in those days it was the custom to have a great many wives ; and as David had no more than was

usual, usual, we may suppose he did not think he was wrong in this particular.

Joab (either from affection, or to make his court to the king) invented an ingenious artifice in order to have Absalom recalled * ; the thing was managed with great ingenuity and address, and without doubt David wasgreatly pleased with it; but much as he longed to see Absalom, he restrained his wishes, lest he should be thought to countenance his sin.

Absalom, we find, was remarkable for his beauty and insinuating discourse ; he made use of these advantages to gain popularity; and perhaps persuaded the people to think that he was fully justified in killing Amnon, and that his father was too rigid in banishing him his presence on that account.

Though Joab had taken such pains to prevail on David to suffer Absalom to come back to Jerusalem, he had too much policy to be very urgent for his return to court, because it was likely, that his own interest and influence might be lessened by it.

It was very mortifying to a vain young man to be detained in obscurity; therefore, wlien Absalom found his messages were neglected, he determined to shew his resentment: what David felt when he saw Absalom, is easier to imagine than describe.

SECTION XVIJ.

ABSALOM FORMETH A CONSPIRACY, AND DELUDETH

THE PEOPLE.

From 2 Sam. Chap. xv. And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots, and horses, and fifty men to run before him.

* See 2 Sam, Chap. xiv.

And

And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is one of the tribes of Israel.

And Absalom said unto him, See thy matters are good and right, but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee.

Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause, might come unto me, and I would do him justice.

And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, to put forth his hand, and took him and kissed him.

And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

And it came to pass that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the Lord, in Hebron.

For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the Lord shall bring me again, indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD.

And the king said unto him, Go in peace. So he arose and went to Hebron.

But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then

ye

shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron. And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called, and they went in their simplicity, and they knew not any thing.

And Absalom sent for Ahithopel the Gilonite, David's counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he

offered

offered sacrifices; and the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.

And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom.

And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword.

And the king's servants said unto the king, Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint.

And the king went forth, and all his houshold after him: and the king left ten women to keep the house.

And the king went forth, and all the people after him, and tarried in a place that was far off.

And all his servants passed on beside him : and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men which came after him from Gath passed on before the king.

Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, Wherefore goest thou also with us ? return to thy place and abide with the king : for thou art a stranger, and also an exile. Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee 'to go up and down with us ? seeing I go whither I may, return thou, and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee.

And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the LORD Jiveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be.

And David said to Ittai, Go and pass over. And Ittai the Gittite passed over and all his men, and all the little ones that were with him.

And

And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over : the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness.

And lo Zadok also, and all the Levites were with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God, and they set down the ark of God: and Abiathar went up, until all the people had done passing out of the city.

And the king said unto Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city; if I shall find favour in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me again, and shew me both it, and his habitation.

But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee: behold, here am I, let him do unto me as seemeth good unto him.

The king said also unto Zadok, the priest, Art not thou a seer? return into the city in peace, and thy two sons with you, Ahimaaz thy son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.

See I will tarry in the plain of the wilderness, until there come word from you to certify me.

Zadok, therefore, and Abiathar carried the ark of God again to Jerusalem : and they tarried there.

ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. It is reasonable to think, that David, as his sons grew up, gave each of them some patrimony; and perhaps Absalom's might be increased by presents from his grandfather, the king of Geshur. It seems he was determined to make a figure, and to have an equipage suitable to the king's eldest son; he had learnt how the princes of other nations were attended, and resolved to multiply horses to himself, instead of riding on a mule like his father. David's tenderness prevented his taking any measures to repress the pride of Absalom, or correct

his

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