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thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered his voice, and he sent out arrows, and scattered them ; lightning, and discomfited them. And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were discovered, at the rebuking of Jehovah, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils. He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters; he delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but Jehovah was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me. Jehovah rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of Jehovah, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his judgments were before me: and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them. I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore Jehovah hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eyesight. With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright. With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury. And the afflicted people thou wilt save: but thine eyes are upon the haughty, that thou mayest bring them down. For thou art my lamp, 0 Jehovah; and Jehovah will lighten my darkness. For by thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall. As for God his way is perfect; the word of Jehovah is tried : he is a buckler to all them that trust in him. For who is God, save Jehovah ? and who is a rock, save our God? God is my strength and power, and be maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hind's feet: and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war: so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. Thou hast also given me
the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me; so that my feet did not slip. I have pursued mine enemies and destroyed them; and turned not again till I had consumed them. And I have consumed them, and wounded them, that they could not arise: yea, they are fallen under my feet. For thou hast girded me with strength to battle: them that rose up against me hast thou subdued under me. Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies, that I might destroy them that hate me. They looked, but there was none to save; even unto Jehovah, but he answered them not. Then did I beat them as small as the dust of the earth, I did stamp them as the mire of the street, and did spread them abroad. Thou also hast delivered me from the strivings of my people, thou hast kept me to be head of the heathen: a people which I knew not shall serve me. Strangers shall submit themselves unto me: as soon as they hear they shall be obedient unto me. Strangers shall fade away, and they shall be afraid out of their close places. Jehovah liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation, It is God that avengeth me, and that bringeth down the people under me. And that bringeth me forth from mine enemies : thou also hast lifted me up on high above them that rose up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man. Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O Jehovah, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name. He is the tower of salvation for his king, and sheweth mercy to his anointed; unto David, and to his seed for evermore."*
Under the influence of undue self satisfaction, and at the instigation of the great adversary of the human race, who is continually going about seeking whom he may devour,t David was induced to ascertain the number of bis subjects,
in which it is admitted the real strength and power of a monarch consists. Joab and the captains of the host were sensible of the impropriety of this measure, although the king himself could not perceive it, and they remonstrated with him in terms which ought to have induced bim to hesitate. David, however, remained inflexible, and Joab and his captains reluctantly set about their task, which occupied them nine months and twenty days, and at last left off without counting the tribes of Levi and Benjamin: for the king's word was abominable to Joab.*
It does not appear very distinctly whether David's own conscience had smitten him, before he received the message of Jehovah from the prophet Gad ;t but, as soon as the holy seer proposed to him the triple alternative of three years famine, three months flight before a pursuing enemy, or three days pestilence, he became fully sensible of his iniquity, and, in the bitterness of his heart, cried out,“I am in a great strait;" but, as it were, immediately remembering the mercies he had so often experienced at the hand of Jehovah, he hesitated not a moment in making his election, but said with becoming resignation, “Let me fall now into the hand of Jehovah, for very great are his mercies: but let me not fall into the hand of man.”+
God, however, had determined to punish both David for his presumption, and the people for their sins, probably their late repeated rebellions; and, therefore, sent forth his de. stroying angel, who stayed not till, in differents parts of the devoted land, 70,000 men were slain. When, however, this minister of the wrath of God approached Jerusalem, and stretched out his hand to destroy the city, Jehovah repented him of the evil, and said, It is enough, stay now thine hand.
* 1 Chron. xxi. 1-6. 2 Sam, xxiv. 1-9.
# 2 Sam. xxiv 1. I Chron. xxi. 13.
Thus was exemplified the declaration of the psalmist, perhaps upon this very occasion, Jehovah loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.* And thus too was prefigured that tender feeling and compassion which our blessed Saviour himself exhibited towards this long spared but devoted city, when he exclaimed, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not !"+
It was at the threshing floor of Araunah, the Jebusite, that this awful spectacle took place; and if David was already smitten to the heart for the great offence he had given to God, how deeply must he have been affected, when he saw the angel of Jehovah stand between the earth and the heavens, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem? Then it was that David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed with sackcloth, fell on their faces ; and David said unto God, Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered? even 1 it is that have sinned and dope evil indeed; but as for these sheep, what have they done? Let thine hand, I pray thee, O Jehovah, my God, be on me and on my father's house, but not on thy people, that they should be plagued. By the command of God, David purchased the threshing floor of Araunah, at the full price,ll who, however, would willingly have given it as a
* Ps. Ixxxvii. 2. + Matth. xxiii. 37. Luke, xiii. 34.
Called Arnan in Chronicles, but it is evidently the same name: the author of the Book of Chronicles omitting the emphatic article, and pointing the other letters differently. But the English translation massacres both names in the original, according to which that in the Book of Samuel should be Arnayah, and that in the Book of Chroyicles, Arnan.
$ 1 Chron. xxj. 17. || 1 Chron. xxi. 22. 2 Sam. xxiv. 24.
present. And when David saw that Jehovah had answered him at the threshing floor of Araunah, then he sacrificed there, and built there an altar unto Jehovah,* and offered burnt offerings, and peace offerings, and called upon Jehovah; who answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering; and Jehovah commanded the angel, and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof; so Jehovah was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.t
This visible manifestation of the power and presence of God, no doubt determined David to fix upon this very spot, for the erection of the temple he was so desirous should be built for the worship of God; for he said, this is the house of Jehovah, God, and this is the altar of the burnt offering for Israel. In furtherance of this design, the monarch collected a vast quantity of costly materials for the erection of the future structure, and prepared abundantly for it before his death; and then called for Solomon, his son, and charged him to build an house for Jehovah, God of Israel. And David said to Solomon, “My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build an house unto the name of Jehovah, my God: but the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight. Behold, a son shall be born to thee who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about ; for his name shall be
* The tabernacle of Jehovah, which Moses made in the Wilderness, and the altar of the burnt offering, were, at that season, in the high place at Gibeon; but David could not go before it to enquire of God, for he was afraid, because of the sword of the angel of Jehovah. I Chron. xxi, 29, 30.
+ 2 Sam, xxiv. 1 Chron. xxi. * 1 Chron xxii. 1. 2 Chron. iii. I. f 1 Chron. xxii. 2–6.