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INTRODUCTION TO PSALM CXLW.
PSALM OF DAVID.
The extreme age and infirmity of David, at the period now to be considered, prevented him from going abroad, and from giving his usual attention to public affairs. The question of a successor began to agitate the minds of many, and was one of the most grave importance to the nation. As yet David had delayed any formal settlement of the rights of the crown in his family, and had only in private suggested his intentions to Dathsheba to settle the kingdom upon Solomon.
Adonijah was the fourth son of David. Absalom and Amnon were dead, and Daniel, or Chileab, the second son, whose mother was Abigail the Carmelitess, might now, according to the laws of primogeniture, be considered heir to the throne. For some cause, however, his claim seems to have been disparaged, and Adonijah now steps forth as the proper, or, at least, the more eligible, candidate for the coveted honours. He had engaged Joab, the general of the army, and Abiathar, the high priest, two of the most influential men in the nation, to second his pretensions; and had evidently calculated that the feeble state of the king's health, and the uniform tenderness with which David regarded him, (for “his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, ‘Why hast thou done so?’ and he was also a very goodly man,”) would prevent him from making a spirited resistance. With this powerful patronage he proceeded to En-rogel, a fountain in the “king's gardens,” lying in the beautiful dale southeast of Jerusalem, where a princely banquet was served for the courtiers and people. His intention was there to openly assert his claim to the throne, and, while the hearts of all were merry by the feast, to cause himself to be proclaimed king.
In the midst of these proceedings the Prophet Nathan discovered the plot, and communicated the same to Bathsheba, mother of Solomon, who, with the aid of the prophet, succeeded in arousing the king to a just apprehension of the dangers which beset his throne, and the perils which threatened the royal family. The circumstances admitted of no delay. A successor must be appointed, and the question put to rest. David is unable to leave the palace, and is too infirm to appear in public; but, by his order, Solomon is placed on the king's mule, and conducted, by the royal guards and the dignitaries of the nation, to the pool of Gihon, just beyond the city wall on the west. Here he is solemnly anointed and proclaimed king, and successor of his father David. The sound of trumpets, the music of flutes, the general acclamation, “Let King Solomon live!” now rent the air and filled the great metropolis. Solomon was the nation's favourite, and his installation filled with joy and electrified all hearts. The young king was conducted back to the palace, amid these universal demonstrations, in the pomp of an Eastern triumph. Adonijah and his guests were about a mile from Gihon, but perfectly concealed from view by the southern brow of Zion, where the hill breaks off with an abrupt and almost perpendicular descent. On hearing so unusual a noise in the city, and learning its cause, they were alarmed, and, abruptly leaving the feast, each man fled to his house. The rash Adonijah, perceiving that all was lost, and that his own life was at the mercy of Solomon, fled to the tabernacle for refuge, and seized upon the horns of the altar. Here he is discovered and reported to King Solomon, who forgives him with a stern and cautious lenity. The mind of the nation at once settles upon Solomon; no competitor appears, and he finds himself securely seated upon the powerful throne of David, conjointly with his father. David had not been present at the consecration of Solomon, nor on any occasion connected with the investiture of that prince with the regal dignity. Two subjects of public interest bore upon his mind—the contemplated building of the temple, and the final transfer of the sole authority of the kingdom into the hands of Solomon. In respect of both these he wished to deliver his final charge to his son and subjects. Although borne down with the infirmity of extreme old age, he summoned all his energies for the performance of this last public duty. For this purpose he convoked at different times two public assemblies of the heads of the nation; the first was with a principal reference to the building of the house of the Lord, which he committed to the hands of Solomon; the second with reference to the reign of Solomon. On the first occasion he “assembled the princes of Israel with the priests and Levites.” The tribe of Levi, from their numbers and their sacred office, necessarily exerted a vast power upon the political and social affairs of the nation. In the erection of the temple they were interested, both as a tribe and as a sacerdotal order; as in that event their office would assume new dignity and importance before the nation, and their own means of support become more ample and regular. David, like a wise and pious sovereign, whose eye scanned the true policy and power of government, and whose heart felt a sincere concern for the spiritual good of his people, desired to attach the priesthood firmly to the administration of Solomon; while, on the other hand, he wished his son and successor to feel the obligation of extending over the religious interests of the people the firm guardianship and the impenetrable shield of the law. The building of the temple had ever been the dearest object of David's ambition, and it was now to become the grand, popular act in Solomon's reign, which should unite and consolidate the nation, and shed new lustre upon his crown. These thoughts were constantly before the mind of David when he addressed this vast assembly. He dwelt with great particularity upon the building of the temple, upon the fact that Solomon alone was charged with this vast enterprise, and that the coöperation and fidelity of the Levites were indispensable to success. He charges Solomon and the people to be faithful to the principles of the theocracy, making religion the basis of all their plans, as God alone is the author of all their prosperity. The religious character of this whole address (which is contained in 1 Chronicles xxii) was well suited to the occasion, and calculated to make a deep impression upon the Levites, and attach all classes firmly to the administration of the young prince. Psalm cylv celebrates the general and the special providence of God; the majesty, glory and perpetuity of his kingdom; the variety and wisdom of his works; his tender compassion for his creatures, and the justice and holiness of his government. The Jews had a saying, that if a man should repeat this Psalm three times a day, he would be sure of eternal life. It seems to have been written at a late period in David's life, when he had passed the severe conflicts of his eventful career, and calmly reviewed the providence and grace of God to him. It is highly fitted to impress the minds of men with the duty and obligation of trust and obedience, and to awaken in them the cheerful feelings of hope and affection. It is emphatically “David's Psalm of praise.”
The chronological order of chapters xxii to xxvii of the First Book of Chronicles is disarranged. The order in which they should be read, and on which the foregoing account is based, is as follows: read 1 Chronicles xxiii, 1, 2; then read chapter xxii. This closes the occasion of the first assemblage. Chapter xxiii, 3, &c., to the end of chapter xxvii, is a parenthesis, and is totally disconnected from the preceding, both in its facts and chronology. The Bible reading, therefore, belonging to the foregoing Introduction is as follows: 1 Kings i, and 1 Chronicles xxiii, 1, 2, and chapter xxii.
ON THE DELIVERY OF DAVID'S FIRST CHARGE TO SOLOMON AND THE PEOPLE, when, BEING OLD, HE REVIEWS HIS PAST LIFE.
David extolleth the name and the acts of Jehovah, 1–7; his goodness, 8–10; his kingdom, 11–13; his providence, 14–16; his saving mercy, 17–21.
T David's Psalm of praise.
* I will extol thee, my God, O King! And I will bless thy name for ever and ever. * Every day will I bless thee; And I will praise thy name for ever and ever. * Great "is the LoRD, and greatly to be praised; ‘And his greatness is unsearchable. * One "generation shall praise thy works to another, And shall declare thy mighty acts.
a Psa. 96.4. there is no search. b Isa. 88, 10. * Heb. and of his greatness Job 5.9. Rom. 11. 33.
* I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, And of thy wondrous ' works. * And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts; And I will "declare thy greatness. 7 They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, And shall sing of thy righteousness. * The “LoRD is gracious, and full of compassion; Slow to anger, and ‘of great mercy. * The "LoRD is good to all; And his tender mercies are over all his works. 10 All othy works shall praise thee, O Lord! And thy saints shall bless thee. * They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, And talk of thy power; * To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, And the glorious majesty of his kingdom. * Thy kingdom is “an everlasting kingdom, And thy dominion endureth throughout all generations. 14 The Lord upholdeth all that fall, And 'raiseth up all those that be bowed down. * The eyes of all ‘wait upon thee; And & thou givest them their meat in due season. 16 Thou openest thy hand, And "satisfiest the desire of every living thing. 17 The LoRD is righteous in all his ways, And 'holy in all his works. * The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, To all that call upon him “in truth.
* Heb. things, or, words. e Psa. 19. 1. g Psa. 186. 25. * Heb. declare it. * Heb. a kingdom of all ages. h Psa. 104. 21. c Exod. 34. 6, 7. Num. 14, 18. Psa. 146. 10. 1 Tim. 1. 17. * Or, merciful, or, Psa. 86. 5, 15. f Psa. 146. 8. bountiful. * Heb. great in mercy, * Or, look unto thee, Psalm i Deut. 4. 7.
d Psa. 100. 5. Nah. 1.7. 104. 27. k John 4. 24.