« AnteriorContinuar »
26. "O celebrate the praises of God in this united con- | passed with thousands and ten thousands of angels, and gregation of our tribes. Celebrate the praises of Jehovah, innumerable chariots, that stand ready prepared in the all you who are descended from Israel, your great and armory of heaven! that rides through ihe heavens in his fruitful progenitor.".
majesty, whose voice is in the thunder, who makes the 27. Even Benjamin himself was present, who, though clouds and vapours of heaven subservient to his pleasure, the smallest of our tribes, had so far the pre-eminence over and al whose presence the earth, the heavens dissolve, and the rest, as to give the first king and ruler to the people; the highest hills seem to melt away like wax! Descriptions even he was present, and rejoiced to see the honour done the most sublime in their nature, and that tend to sirike the to Jerusalem, and the crown established on my head. mind with a holy reverence and awe. And as to his Here the princes of Judah attended, with the supreme moral character, and providential government of the world, council of that powerful tribe; with the princes of Zebu- he is represented as the righteous God, the hater and punishlon, and those of Naphtali; who from their distant borders er of incorrigible wickedness, the father of the fatherless, joined the procession; all unanimously consenting that the judge of the widow, that blesses men with numerous Jerusalem should become the seat of worship, and capital families, that breaks the prisoner's chains, and restores bim of my kingdom.
to his liberty; the God and guardian of his people, the 28. It is thy God, Israel, who hath thus advanced great disposer of victory, and giver of national prosperity; thee, as a nation, to thy present state of dignity and power. the supreme author of every kind of salvation, and as Strengthen, O God, the foundation of our happiness, and having death under his absolute command, and directing by thy favour render it perpetual.
the outgoings of it by his sovereign will. This was the 29. As the ark of thy presence is now fixed in Jerusalem, God of the ancient Hebrews. This is the God whom Daprotect it by thy power, and let the kings of the earth bring vid worshipped, and whom all wise and good men must iheir gifts, present their offerings, and pay their adoration acknowledge and adore. Nor is there one circumstance or at thy altar
expression in this noble composure, derogatory 10 the 30. O rebuke and break the power of the Egyptian croc- majesty and honour of the supreme being, or that can conodile, his princes and nobles, who pay homage to their vey a single sentiment to lessen our esteem and venerabulls, and all his people, who stupidly worship their calves, tion for him. Let any one compare, with this psalm of Daand dance in honour of them io the tinkling sounds of vid, the ancient hymns of the most celebrated poets on their instruments and bells. Trample under foot their silver- deities, how infinitely short will they fall of the grandeur plated idols, and utterly disperse the people who delight in and sublimity which appear in every part of it. Strip the
hymn of Callimachus on Jove of the poetry and language, 31. Let the princes of Egypt come and worship at thy and the sentiments of it will appear generally puerile and sanctuary, and the far-distani Ethiopia accustom herself to absurd, and it could not be read without the atmost conlift up her hands in adoration of thy majesty.
tempt. Jove with him, that αιεν αναξ, αει μεγας, δικασπολος 32. O may all the kingdoms of the earth celebrate, in ovpavidnou, that perpetual king, ever great, and lawgiver sacred songs, the majesty of our God. Let all sing the to the celestial deities, as he calls him, was born, he can't praises of our Jehovah.
tell where, whether in Mount Ida, or Arcadia, washed on 33. He is the omnipresent God, the proprietor and Lord his birth in a river of water, to cleanse him from the deof the heaven of heavens, which he spread out of old. He filements he brought into the world with him, had bis navel makes the clouds his chariot when he rides through the string fall from him, sucked the dugs of a goat, and ate heavens, and storms and tempests, thunders and lightnings, sweet honey, and so at last he grew up to be the supreme the instruments of his vengeance against his enemies. God. No despicable ballad can contain more execrable When he sends forth his voice in the mighty thunder, how stuff than this, and some other like circumstances that he awful and astonishing that voice !
relates of him; circumstances that render utterly incredible 34. Ascribe to him that almighty strength which belongs what he says of him, as never dying, giving laws to the to him. Though his empire is universal, his kingdom is gods, obtaining heaven by his power and strength, govpeculiarly exalted over Israel, by whom alone he is ac- erning kings and princes, and the inspector of their knowledged as the true God, and who manifests the greal- actions, the giver of riches and prosperity, wisdom and ness of his power in the clouds of heaven.
virtue, strength and power. That a mortal-born baby 35. O God, the God of Israel, how terrible is thy majesty, should grow up to become the one snpreme and immortal when thou comest forth from thy heavenly and earthly God, or an infant nursed in Crete should rise to be the sanctuaries, for the destruction of thine enemies, and the king of heaven, or one who gloried in his adulteries, defence of thy people. It is he who inspires them with should be constituted lawgiver to the celestial deities, or strength and courage, and renders them a mighty and he whose character was stained with the vilest impurities, powerful nation. Eternal blessing and praise be ascribed should be the giver of viriue; are absurdities, ihat one unto our God.
would think it was impossible for any one to digest. How I think the division I have made of this psalm, into its free are the hymns of David from all such absurd, dishonseveral parts, is natural and easy, which the subject mat- ourable, and impious descriptions of God! Every sentiter of it points out, and which renders the whole of it a ment he conveys of him is excellent and grand, worthy a regular, well-connected, and elegant composure. With being of infinite perfection, and the supreme Lord and out this, or some such method, it appears to me broken, governor of the universe. It would be easy 10 enlarge on and its parts independent on each other; the expressions this subject. We may further take notice of the propriety will be many of them unintelligible, and the occasion and of these historical incidents, that the Psalmist takes notice propriety of them scarcely discernible. The very learned of in this sacred composure, and how the whole of it is Michaelis acknowledges the difficulties attending this psalm, calculated to promote the true spirii of piety and rational and I suspect my own strength, when I attempt to do whai devotion. The ark, that was now translating to its fixed he thought above his much greater abilities. 'I have how- seat in Jerusalem, was the same ark that accompanied the ever done my best, and submit the whole to the candour of Hebrews in the wilderness, where God was in a peculiar my readers.
manner present, where Moses consulted God, where he I shall now conclude by making a few observations on received answers from him, and whence he received his the whole anthem. And I would first take notice of the directions; and who gave him manifest tokens of his spegreat and glorious subject of this hymn. It is the God of cial protection and favour, in the miraculous works 'he the Hebrews, and designed to celebrate his praises, on ac- performed for them. Hence David puts them in mind of count of the perfections of his nature, and the operations of God's going before them in the wilderness, of the terror bis providence. And with what dignity is he described ! of his majesty on mount Sinai, of the manna and quails How high and worthy the character given him, in every he rained down on them as from heaven, of the viciories respect suitable to his infinite majesty, and ihe moral he gave them over their enemies, and his enriching them rectitude and purity of his nature! How grand are the with the spoils of their conquered forces and countries; to descriptions of him as the omnipresent Gud, inhabiting his excite in them a religious hope and trust, that God would sanctuaries both in heaven and earth! as the original self-ex- protect Jerusalem, which was to be the future residence of isting being, which his name Jehovah signifies; the tre- the ark of his presence, and bless the whole nation with mendous being, worthy of all adoration and reverence, in- prosperity, if they continued firm in their allegiance to and cluded in the name of Jah! as the almighty God, encom- worship of bim. On this account the hymn is calculated to celebrate his praises for these ancient wonders of his offering—six covered wagons (ogeluth) and twelve oxen;" power and goodness wrought in their favour, as well as for -(two oxen to each wagon.) Hero these wagons are exihat present state of national grandeur and prosperily to pressly said to be covered; and it should appear that they which he had advanced them under David's government; were so generally; beyond question those sent by Joseph and, on the other hand, to excite their fear of his dis- for the women of Jacob's family were so; among other puspleasure, if they went on in their trespasses, and proved a poses, for that of seclusion. Perbaps this is a radical idea corrupt and wicked people. Well might this grand assem- in their name; as gal signifies circle, these wagons might bly be glad and rejoice before their God, sing praises to his be covered by circular headings, spread on hoops, like name, ascribe all power and dominion to him, whose excel- those of our own wagons; what we call a tilt. Considerlency, whose majesty and government, were peculiarly over able importance attaches to this heading, or tilt, in the hisIsrael on earth, and who rules in heaven, and manifests tory of the curiosity of the men of Bethshemesh, 1 Sam. vi. his power in the clouds thereof. I would just add, that the 7, where we read that the Philistines advised to make a several ascriptions of glory to God, and ihe frequent ex- new covered wagon, or cart (ogeleh ;)—and the ark of the hortations to bless him, with which the psalm abounds, Lord was put into it-and, no doubt, was carefully covergive an agreeable relief to the mind, are added with great ed over-concealed-secluded by those who sert it;-it propriety, and render the whole composure more pleasing came to Bethshemesh; and the men of that town who were and solemn. It was customary, as has been observed, reaping in the fields, perceiving the cart coming, went and among the gentiles, to celebrate the supposed advent of examined what it contained: "and they saw the very (nn) their gods, at particular times, and to particular places, ark, and were joyful in seeing it." Those who first examwith the greatest demonstrations of joy; but David had ined it, instead of carefully covering it up again, as a samuch nobler reasons for introducing the ark into the tab- cred utensil, suffered it to lie open to common inspection, ernacle he had prepared for it at Jerusalem, with all the which they encouraged, in order to triumph in the votive pomp and splendour, and public festivity and joy, that could offerings it had acquired, and to gratify profane curiosity; possibly be shown on the occasion. The whole procession the Lord, therefore, punished the people, (verse 19,)“ bewas in honour of, and a national instance of homage paid cause they had inspected-pried into (-) the ark." This to the true God. By the ark's being fixed at Jerusalem, affords a clear view of the transgression of these Israelites, that God, who honoured the ark with the tokens of his pres- who had treated the ark with less reverence than the Phience, made Jerusalem his perpetual habitation, became listines themselves; for those heathen conquerors had at the immediate guardian and proiector of the new-built city, least behaved to Jehovah with no less respect than they did and thereby peculiarly concerned for its prosperity and to their own deities; and being accustomed to carry ihem peace. This is represented as the language of God himself. in covered wagons, for privacy, they maintained the same
The Lord hath chosen Sion. He hath desired it for bis privacy as a mark of honour to the God of Israel. The Lehabitation. This is my rest for ever. Here will I dwell, vites seemed to have been equally culpable with the comfor I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provis- mon people; they ought to have conformed to the law, ions. Her saints shall shout aloud for joy.”—CHANDLER. and not to have suffered their triumph on this victorious Ver. 3. And they set the ark of God upon a new
occasion to beguile them into a transgression so contrary
to the very first principles of the theocracy. That this cart, and brought it out of the house of Abina
word ogeleh describes a covered wagon, we learn from dab that was in Gibeah : and Uzzah and Ahio, a third instance, that of Uzzah, 2 Sam. vi. 3, for we canthe sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart.
not suppose, that David could so far forget the dignity of
the ark of the covenant, as to suffer it to be exposed, in a The history of conveyance by means of vehicles, carried public procession, to the eyes of all Israel; especially after or drawn, is a subject too extensive to be treated of fully ihe punishment of the people of Bethshemesh. They here. There can be no doubt, that after man had accus- carried the ark of God, on a new ogeleh-covered cari” tomed caule to submit to the control of a rider, and to sup- -and Uzzah put forth [bis hand, or some catching inport the incumbent weight a person, or persons, whether strument) to the ark of God, and laid hold of it, to stop the animal were ox, camel, or horse, that the next step its advancing any farther, but the oxen harnessed to the was to load such a creature, properly trained, with a litter, cart, going on, they drew ihe cart away from the ark, and or portable conveyance; balanced, perhaps, on each side. the whole weight of the ark falling out of the cart unexThis might be long before the mechanism of the wheel was pectedly, on Uzzah, crushed him to death —"and he died employed, as it is still practised among pastoral people. on the spot, with the ark of God” upon him. And David Nevertheless, we find that wheel-carriages are of great an- called the place “the breach of Uzzah"--that is, where tiquity; for we read of wagons so early as Gen. xlv. 19, Uzzah was broken-crushed to death. See now the proand military carriages, perhaps, for chiefs and officers, first portionate severity of the punishments attending profaof all, in Exodus xiv. 25: “The Lord took off the chariot nation of the ark. 1. The Philistines suffered by diseases, wheels of the Egyptians:” and as these were the fighting from which they were relieved after their oblations. strength of Egypl, this agrees with those ancient writers, 2. The Bethshemites also suffered, but not fatally, by diswho report that Egypt was not, in its early state, intersect- eases of a different nature, which, after a time, passed off. ed by canals, as in later ages; after the formation of These were inadvertences. But, 3. Uzzah, who ought to which, wheel-carriages were laid aside, and little used, have been fully instructed and correctly obedient, who conif at all. The first mention of chariots, we believe, occurs ducted the procession, who was himself a Levite—this man Genesis xli. 43: "Pharaoh caused Joseph to ride (recab) in was punished fatally for his remissness his inattention to the second chariot (marecabeth) that belonged to him.” the law; which expressly directed that the ark should be This, most likely, was a chariot of state, not an ordinary carried on the shoulders of the priests, the Kohathires, or travelling, but a handsome equipage, becoming the rep- Numb. iv. 4, 19, 20, distinct from those things carried in resentative of the monarch's person and power. We find, ogeluth-covered wagons, chap. vii. 9. That this kind of as already hinted, Gen. xlv. 19, that Egypt had another wagon was used for carrying considerable weights and kind of wheel-carriage, better adapted to the conveyance even cumbersome goods, (and therefore was fairly analoof burdens; "Take out of the land of Egypt (nabay ogeluth) gous to our own wagons-tilted wagons,) we gather from wagons, wheel-carriages, for conveyance of your little ones the expression of the Psalmist, xlvi. 9:and your women:” these were family vehicles, for the use
He maketh wars to cease to the end of the earth, of the feeble; including, if need be, Jacob himself: accord
The bow he breaketh; and cutteth asnnder the spear ; ingly, we read (verse 27) of the wagons which Joseph had
The chariots (ogeluth) he burneth in the fire. sent to carr: him, (Jacob,) and which perhaps the aged pa- The writer is mentioning the instruments of war-the triarch knew by their construction to be Egypt-built; for, bow-the spear; then, he says, the wagons (plural) which so soon as he sees them, he believes the reports from that used to return home loaded with plunder, these share the country, though he had doubted of them before when de- fate of their companions, the bow and the spear; and are livered to him by his sons. This kind of chariot deserves burned in .he fire, the very idea of the classical allegory, attention, as we find it afterward employed on various oc- peace burning the implements of war, introduced here with casions in scripture, among which are the following: first, the happiest effect: not the general's marecabelh ; but the it was intended by the princes of Israel for carrying parts plundering wagons. This is still more expressive, if these of the sacred utensils; Numb. vii. 3: “They brought iheir wagons carried captives; which we kņow they did in other instances, women and children. "The captive-carrying offered up at once. But even supposing that, at set distanwagon is burnt.” There can be no stronger description of ces, there were sacrifices all along the way that they went; the effect of peace; and it closes the period with peculiar yet we are to know that it was no unusual thing for heaemphasis.- TAYLOR IN CALMET.
ihens to confer on their gods, nay, even upon their empe
rors, the same honours that we find David here bestowing Ver. 6. And when they came to Nachon's thrash- upon the ark of the God of Israel. For in this manner
ing-floor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark (as Suetonius tells us) was Otho received-Cum per omne of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook
iter, dextra finistraque, oppidatim victimæ cæderentur: and
the like he relates of Caligula-Ut a miseno movit, inter it. 7. And the anger of the Lord was kindled altaria, et victimas, ardentesque lædas, dencissimo ac against Uzzah, and God smote him there for lætissimo obviorum agmine incessit.-STACKHOUSE. his error; and there he died by the ark of God.
Ver. 14. And David danced before the Lord Happy were it for us, if we could account for the opera- with all his might; and David was girded with tions of God, with the same facility that we can for the a linen ephod. actions of his saints; but his counsels are a great deep, and his judgments (just though they be) are sometimes obscure, In the oriental dances, in which the women engage by and past finding out. For what shall we say to the fate of themselves, the lady of highest rank in the company takes Uzzah ? or what tolerable cause can we assign for his sud- the lead; and is followed by her companions, who imitate Jen and untimely end? It was now near seventy years since her steps, and if she sings, make up the chorus.. The tunes
, Israelites had carried the ark from place to place, and are extremely gay and lively, yet with something in them su long a disuse had made them forget the manner of doing wonderfully soft. The steps are varied according to the it. In conformity to what they had heard of the Philis- pleasure of her who leads the dance, but always in exact tines, they put it into a new cart, or wagon, but this was time. This statement may enable us to form a correct idea. a gainst the express direction of the law, which ordered it of the dance, which the women of Israel performed under to be borne upon men's shoulders. It is commonly sup- the direction of Miriam, on the banks of the Red Sea. The posed that Uzzah was a Levite, though there is no proof of prophetess, we are told, “ took a timbrel in her hand, and it from scripture; but supposing he was, he had no right to all the women went out after her, with timbrels and'danattend upon the ark; that province, by the same law, was ces.” She led the dance, while they imitated her steps, restrained to those Levites only who were of the house of which were not conducted according to a set, well-known Kohath: nay, put the case he had been a Kohathite by form, as in this country, but extemporaneous. The conjecbirth, yet he had violated another command, which prohib- ture of Mr. Harmer is extremely probable, that David did ited even these Levites, (though they carried by staves dance alone before the Lord, when he brought up the upon their shoulders,) upon pain of death, to touch it with ark, but as being the highest in rank, and more skilful than their hands : so that here was a threefold transgression any of the people, he led the religious dance of the males. of the divine will in this method of proceeding. The ark, -Paxton. (as some say,) by Uzzah's direction, was placed in a cart; Uzzah, without any proper designation, adventures to at- Ver. 16. And as the ark of the Lord came into tend it; when he thought it in danger of falling, offi
the city of David, Michal, Saul's daughter, lookciously he put forth his hand, and laid hold on it, (all violating of the divine commands !) and this (as is supposed)
ed through a window, and saw King David not so much out of reverence to the sacred symbol of God's leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she presence, as out of diffidence of his providence, as unable despised him in her heart.
17. And they to preserve it from overturning. The truth is, this ark
brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in had so long continued in obscurity, that the people, in a manner, had almost lost all sense of a divine power residing
his place, in the midst of the tabernacle that in it, and therefore approached it with irreverence. This David had pitched for it: and David offered is implied in David's exhortation to Zadock and Abiathar, burnt-offerings and peace-offerings before the after this misfortune upon Uzzah. Ye are the chief of
LORD. 18. And as soon as David had made the fathers of the Levites, sanctify yourselves therefore,
an end of offering burnt-offerings and peaceboth ye and your brethren, that you may bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel, unto the place that I have pre- offerings, he blessed the people in the name of I 'red for it; for, because ye did it not at the first, the Lord the LORD of hosts. 19. And he dealt among our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not atter the due order.” What wonder then, if God, being
all the people, even among the whole multitude minded to testify his immediate presence with the ark, to
of Israel, as well to the women as men, to every retrieve the ancient honour of ihat sacred vessel, and to one a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh, curb all licentious profanations of it for the future, should
and a flagon of wine. So all the people desingle out one that was the most culpable of many, one
parted every one to his house. 20. "Then Dawho, in three instances, was then violating his commands, to be a monument of his displeasure against either a wilful
vid returned to bless his household. And Miignorance or a rude contempt of his precepts, be they ever chal, the daughter of Saul, came out to meet so seemingly small; that by such an example of terrı , he David, and said, How glorious was the king of might inspire both priests and people with a sacred dread of his majesiy, and a profound veneration for his mysteries.
Israel to-day, who uncovered himself to-day in -SraCKHOUSE.
the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as
one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth Ver. 13. And it was so, thąt when they that bare himself!
the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings.
When this public transaction of removing the ark was
happily concluded, the pious prince retired to his palace, From these words, some would infer, that David, having to bless his own family and household, and share with them measured the ground between Obed-edom's house, and the the public joy. But an unexpected accident interrupted the place he had built for the reception of the ark, had altars pleasure he promised himself, and could not but greatly raised, at the distance of every six paces, whereon he caused affect him, as it arose from one, from whom he had no sacrifices to be offered as the ark passed by. But it is easy reason to expect the contemptuous treatment that she gave to imagine what a world of confusion this would create in him. As the ark of the Lord was just entered into the city the procession, and therefore the more rational construction of David, or mount Sion, Michal, Saul's daughter, looked is, that after those who carried the ark had advanced six through a window of the palace to behold the procession, paces, without any such token of divine wrath as Uzzah saw David dancing with great spirit and earnestness, and had undergone, then did they offer a sacrifice to God, which viewed him with contempt; or, as the text says, she demight consist of several living creatures, all sacrificed and / spised him in her heart; and when, after the solemnity, David was returned to his habitation, she came out to meet ments are expressly distinguished in the account of the vesthim, and, with indignation and a sneer, said to him, "How ments of the high-priests : “ Thou shalt take garments and glorious was the king of Israel to-day, who open!y showed put upon Aaron, (and as we well render it,) the ephod, and himself to-day to the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, ihe robe of the ephod.” And again : “ There are the garas one of the vain persons openly shows himself!" David's ments, which they shall make, the breastplate, and the answer to her was severe, but just. "Have I descended be- ephod, and the robe." The fabric of them was different; neath the dignity of my character, as king of Israel, by the ephod being made of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet; divesting mysel1 of my royal robes, appearing publicly but the robe formed all of blue. The shape of them was among my people, and, like ihem, dancing and playing be- also different; the ephod reaching only to the knees, but fore the ark ?' It was before the Lord, who chose me be- the robe flowing down so as to cover the feet; called therefore thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me fore by the LXX. modnons, and the Vulgate version, stola. ruler over the people of the Lord. Therefore will I play The robe also had no division in it throughout, but was on my harp before the Lord; and if this be to make myself made whole and round, with an opening in the middle of cheap and contemptible, I will be more so than this; and it, on the top, so that it was impossible that any part of the how high scever be my condition as king, I will always body could be seen through it; or that David, in dancing, be humble in the judgment I form of myself; and as for could expose to view, what decency required' him to conthose maid-servants of whom thou speakest, I shall be ceal; especially as the ephod was, on this occasion, thrown honoured among them; the very meanest of the people over it, and certainly tied with a girdle, as the priest's will respect me the more for my popularity, when they see ephod always was. With these linen garments David me condescend to share in their sacred mirth, and express clothed himself on this solemnity, both out of reverence it in the same manner, by which they testify their own joy for God, and for conveniency; because they were cooler, in the public solemnities. In this he acied as a wise and and less cumbersome than his royal habit, and would not politic, as well as a religious prince; for in ancient times occasion that large perspiration, which ihe exercise of dancing itself was in use, as a religious ceremony, and in dancing would otherwise have produced. And however testimony of gratitude and joy, in public solemnities. Thus improper such a long flowing robe, gint round with a girdle, Miriam, the prophetess, took a timbrel in her hand, and all may be thought for a man dancing with all his might, yet the women went out after her with timbrels and with it is certain that David did dance in such a one, and there dances, to celebrate their deliverance from Pharaoh, his de- is no reason to think it could be anywise inconvenient to struction in the Red Sea, and their own safe passage through him. For, though the robe was close, i. e. had no opening the waters of it. So also Jephthah's daughter met her father from the breast to the feet, and was girt round with the with timbrels and dances, to congratulate his victory over ephod, yet it was large and wide, and flowing at the lower the Ammonites, and God's having taken vengeance for end; and hanging down in various folds, gave room suflihim of those enemies. Thus at the yearly feast of the cient for the full exercise of the feet in dancing. And of Lord at Shiloh, the virgins of the place came out to dance this every one will have full conviction, who frequents in dances. It was used also frequently among the gentiles, any of our polite assemblies, in which he will see many fair by the greatest personages in honour of the gods, and re- ones dance, like the king of Israel, with all their might, commended by ihe greatest philosophers, as a thing highly without any great inconvenience from the flowing habits, decent and becoming in itself.
which so greatly adorn them. But though David acted from a truly religious zeal, yet It may be further observed, that this robe was worn by he had been very severely censured for his habit and be- kings, their children, priests, Levites, and prophets, when baviour on this occasion; being dressed, as it hath been they appeared on very solemn occasions, which also covrepresented, in a linen ephod, and “dancing before the ered over their other garments. Thus Samuel is repreLord, in such a frantic indecent manner, that he exposed sented as covered with a robe or mantle, as we render it. his nakedness to the bystanders.” Mr. Bayle in the first All the Levites, that bare the ark, and the singers, and part of his remarks, expresses himself in a more cautious Chenaniah, the master of the carriage, or of those who and temperate manner, and doth not pass his judgment, carried the ark, appeared in it on this very occasion. Kings' whether David discovered his nakedness or not; but says, daughters were clothed in the same habit. The princes that "if he did discover it, his action might be deemed of the sea wore them. And even God himself is repreill, morally speaking ; but if he did no more than make sented, clad with zeal, as with a robe. As David therefore himself contemptible by his postures, and by not keeping dressed himself on this occasion, with a long flowing linen up the majesty of his character, it was but an imprudence robe, instead of the robe of state, proper to him as king of ai most, and not a crime.” He adds, that "it ought to be Israel, which was made of different, and much richer maconsidered, on what occasion it was that he danced. It terials; he was scornfully insulted by Saul's daughter, not was when the ark was carried to Jerusalem, and conse- for exposing his nakedness to the spectators, which he po quently the excess of his joy and of his leaping, testified his more did, nor could do, than all the rest of the attendants, attachment and sensibility for sacred things.' I shall just who wore the same habit, but for uncovering himself in remark here, that if David did really discover his naked- the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, i. e. appearing ness on this occasion, yet if it was merely accidental, and openly before the meanest of the people, in a dress, wholly without any design, it could not be deemed ill, morally unworthy, as she thought, the characier and majesty of the speaking, by any good judge of morality. I apprehend king of Israel. Nor was this all; for it appears, by part of also that Mr. Bayle doth not know enough of David's man- David's answer to Michal, that she was particularly offendner of dancing, and the postures he made use of, to be sure ed with his playing publicly on the harp; and, probably, that he rendered himself deservedly ridiculous by the use she mimicked and ridiculed him, by the attitude in which of them; because persons may dance in a very brisk and she put herself on this occasion. For, in answer to her lively manner, without any postures that shall deserve reproach, David says to her, “ It was before the Lord that I contempt, and because there is no word in the original, that uncovered myself .. therefore I will play before the is made use of to express David's behaviour in this pro- Lord,” i. e. look on it with what contempt you please, yet as cession, that either implies, or will justify such a supposi- I openly played on my harp in the presence, and in honour tion.
of God, I glory in it, and will continue to do it, when any The case which Mr. Bayle mentions from Ferrand of fair opportunity presents itself. His particularly mentionSt. Francis of Assisi, is so perfectly different from that of ing playing before the Lord, plainly shows, that there was David, as that it should not have been related by him in somewhat, in the nature and manner of her reproach, thar the article of David, at least without some mark of disap- | gave occasion to it. probation. St. Francis voluntarily stripped himself stark Besides, it should be remarked, that the eastern princes, naked, in the presence of many persons, met together to be out of affectation, and to strike the people with greater revwitness to his absolute renunciation of his paternal inher- erence, seldom appeared in public, and whenever they itance. This was the downright madness of enthusiasm. did, not without great pomp and solemnity; as is the cusDavid, on the contrary, divested himself only of his royal lom among them to this day. Michal therefore unquestiondress, and put on such a habit, as effectually preserved ably thought, that David made himself too cheap, by thus him from every thing of indecency and absurdity in his discovering himself to public view, without any royal pomp: appearance. For he was clothed in a double garment; a or marks of distinction, and familiarly mixing himself robe of fine linen, with a linen ephod. These two gar- with the attendants on this solemnity, as though he had been one of them, and not the king of Israel. And the Ver. 19. And he dealt among all the people, even meaning of Michal's words in this view will be: How glo- among the whole multitude of Israel, as well rious was the king of Israel to-day, who uncovered, i. e. stripped himselfof his majesty, and allihe ensigns of his royal
to the women as men, to every one a cake of dignity, and openly exposed himself to the most public view bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of the meanest of the people, as a vain thoughtless person, of wine. So all the people departed every one who, without a proper habit, or regard to character, expo- to his house. ses himself to public ridicule and scorn!
Mr. Bayle seems to be pretty much of Michal's opinion, The entertainer at a feast, occasionally dismissed his when he says, " It would be thought very strange, in any guests with costly presents. Lysimachus of Babylon havpart of Europe, if, on a day of procession of the holy sac- ing entertained Åemerus the tyrant of the Babylonians and rament, the kings should dance in the streets with nothing Seleucians, with three hundred other guests, gave every man bul a small girdle on their bodies.” It may be so, but the a silver cup, of four pounds weight. When Alexander observation is nothing to the purpose, because David did made his marriage feast at Susa in Persia, he paid the not dance in the streets in this manner, as he insinuates. debts of all his soldiers out of his own exchequer, and preBesides, Mr. Bayle could not but know, that customs vary, sented every one of his guests, who were not fewer than and that the same customs may be thought very venerable nine thousand, with golden cups. The master of the house and ridiculous, in different nations, and at different times. among the Romans, used also to give the guests certain However solemn and sacred the procession of the sacra- presents at their departure, or to send them after they were ment might have seemed here, two or three centuries ago, gone, to their respective habitations. It is probable that and may at this day appear in popish countries, it would this custom, like many others which prevailed in Greece now seem a most contemptible and absurd farce in this na- and Rome, was derived from the nations of Asia ; for the tion. We should look with indignation and scorn, to see sacred writers allude repeatedly to a similar custom, which a crowned head holding the stirrup or bridle of a triple- closed the religious festivals or public entertainments mnitred monk's horse, or humbly bending to kiss his toe; or among the chosen people of God. When David brought emperors and princes carrying wax candles in their hands, up the ark from the house of Obed-edom, into the place in company of a set of shorn baldpated priests, or devoutly which he had prepared for it, he offered burnt-offerings praying before a dead log of wood, or going in pilgrimage and peace-offerings before the Lord. And as soon as the io consecrated statues, and kiss thresholds, and venerate solemnity was finished, “he dealt among all the people, the relics of dead bodies; and yet, despicable as these even among the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the practices are in themselves, they have been used, and some women as men, to every one a cake of bread, and a flag. of them continue in other nations to be used to this day; on of wine."- PAXTON. and have been, and are now, so far from being thought Dr. Chandler and his associates, received presents from strange or ridiculous, as that they were, and are still es- the Greeks of Athens, consisting of perfumed flowers, leemed very high and laudable instances of piety and de- pomegranales, oranges, and lemons, pastry, and other artivotion.
cles. The presents made by David were no doubt very If we examine the words themselves, by which Michal different. Leavened and unleavened bread, the flesh which reproached David, they can never be fairly so interpreted, remained from the peace-offerings, and some of the wine as to mean that indecency, which some writers would be then presented. (Josephus.). The rabbins suppose that glad to find in them; and as to David's answer, it is utterly the word we translate, a good piece of flesh, signifies the inconsistent with such a meaning. David said to Michal, sixth part of an animal. Without, however, admitting the " It was before the Lord.” What was before the Lord ? propriety of this assertion, it may lead to the true explanaWhat, his discovering his nakedness? The very consid- tion of the word. Maillet affirms, that a sheep, with a eration of his being before the Lord would have prevented proper quantity of rice, which answers the purpose of bread it, as he knew that such an indecency, in the solemnities of very frequently in the East, will furnish a good repast for divine worship, was highly offensive to God, and prohibit- sixty, people. If now the people of the Jewish army were ed under penalty of death. Again he says, “ Therefore divided into tens, as it seems they were, who might mess will I play before the Lord,” i. e. play upon my harp; together, and lodge under one and the same tent, as it is which must refer to her reproaching him, as appearing like highly probable, from every tenth man's being appointed to a common harper; for it would be no answer to her, had fetch or prepare provision for their fellow-soldiers, accordshe reproached him for that scandalous appearance, which ing to what we read, Judges xx. 10, then the sixth part of some would make him guilty of. Further he adds: “And a sheep would be sufficient for the men at one repast, and I will be more vile than this, and will be base in my own be suficient for one mess or tent of soldiers; and from this sight.” I will not scruple to submit to lower services than particular case it may come to signify, in general, a suffithis, in honour of God; and notwithstanding my regal dig. cient portion for each person, which, indeed, seems to be nity, will not think myself above any humiliations, how the meaning of our translators, when they render the word great soever they may be, that may testify my gratitude and a good piece of flesh-enough for an ample repast. The submission to him ;-expressions these which evidently other part of this royal and sacred donation was a flagon show, that what she called David's uncovering himself
, of wine, perhaps a gourd full of wine is meant. The shells was what he had designedly done, and not an accidental of gourds are used to this day in the eastern parts of the involuntary thing, without design, and contrary to his in- world for holding quantities of wine for present spending, tention. And had he designedly exposed his nakedness, and particularly in sacred festivals. So when Dr. Richard or even without design, how could he have made himself Chandler was about leaving Athens, he tells us, he supped more vile, or rendered himself more worthy of censure and at the customhouse, where "the archon provided a gourd reproach? Upon the whole, that David danced so, as to of choice wine, and one of the crew excelled on the lyre." discover what he ought to have concealed, is an invidious And describing a panegyris, or general sacred assembly of surmise, that no man of learning or candour will affirm, the Greeks in the Lesser Asia, he informs us, “that the and which has nothing in the grammatical sense of the ex- church was only stones piled up for walls, without a roof, pressions made use of to support it, and is in its nature im- and stuck on this solemnity with wax-candles lighted, and possible, from the make and form of the garments he was small tapers, and that after sulfilling their religious duties, clothed with.
it is the custom of the Greeks to indulge in festivity; at I shall only add, that when the scripture says, “ There- which time he found the multitude sitting under half-tenis, fore Michal, Saul's daughter, had no child to the day of her with a store of melons and grapes, besides lambs and sheep death,” it doth not seem to be remarked, as though it was to be killed, wine in gourds and skins, and other necessary a punishment on her for this contempt of David, unless he provision.”' What the size of the gourds that anciently voluntarily left her bed, for so heinous and undeserved an grew in that country was, or what that of those that are insult; but as a reproach on herself for her barrenness, she now found there, may not be qnite certain. But a gourd having never had any children by David; barrenness being full of wine, for each person, was abundantly sufficient for accounted as reproachful and dishonourable a circum- a joy that required attention to temperance.-HARMER. stance, as could befall a married woman. So that she had
CHAPTER VII. little reason to reproach her husband, when she was liable to a much greater reproach herself.-CHANDLER.
Ver. 18. Then went King David in, and sat be