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____________________