Old Testament History

By Henry Preserved Smith | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII
DAVID

WE have already met the son of Jesse at the court of Saul, whither he came as court musician. That a celebrated warrior may also be a skilled musician is proved by many examples in history. Tradition has delighted to embellish the career of this warrior-minstrel, so that it is difficult for us to discover the actual course of his life. If we content ourselves with selecting what seems most authentic in the story that has come down to us, we shall have a result something as follows:

The young officer was placed by Saul first in a confidential position where he became acquainted with the life of the court. He was then given a post of danger where he was schooled in the art of war. The growing jealousy of the king taught him circumspection. When he was at last compelled to flee the court and to depend on himself, he was able to cope with adversity, to find resources in himself, and to maintain his influence over the turbulent spirits which came to share his outlawry. The nucleus of the band of which he soon became the head was formed by his own kinsmen. In an unsettled state of society such as then prevailed, a masterful spirit easily becomes the head of a band like- minded with himself.1 Jephthah is a case in point. The kingdom of Damascus was founded later by such a freebooter.

The Wilderness of Judah--the country along the western shore of the Dead Sea--is adapted to furnish refuge to such bands. Descending upon the cultivated country in a sudden raid, the troop disappears in the trackless waste, only to make a new attack in an unexpected quarter. To the south the wilderness of Kadesh offers additional security. Edom and Amalek were hereditary enemies of David, and the numerous Bedawin clans, often hostile to each other, were just strong enough to make the

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1
Arabic history shows numerous similar cases, of which one is the famous poet Imru'l-Kais, cited by Procksch, Blutrache, p. 32.

-129-

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Old Testament History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Chapter I - The Sources 1
  • Chapter II - The Origins 11
  • Chapter III - The Patriarchs 35
  • Chapter IV - Egypt and the Desert 52
  • Chapter V - The Conquest 73
  • Chapter VI - The Heroes 87
  • Chapter VII - The Early Monarchy 106
  • Chapter VIII - David 129
  • Chapter IX - Solomon 156
  • Chapter X - From Jeroboam to Jehu 177
  • Chapter XI - The House of Jehu 198
  • Chapter XII - The Fall of Samaria 219
  • Chapter XIII - Hezekiah and Manasseh 238
  • Chapter XIV - Josiah and His Sons 260
  • Chapter XV - The Exile 301
  • Chapter XVI - The Rebuilding of the Temple 344
  • Chapter XVII - Nehemiah and After 382
  • Chapter XVIII - The Greek Period 413
  • Chapter XX - The Priest-Kings 470
  • Appendix - Chronological Table 499
  • Index of Subjects 503
  • Index of Scripture Passages 510
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