(Gr. katatome; i.e., "mutilation"), a term used by Paul
contemptuously of those who were zealots for circumcision (Phil.
3:2). Instead of the warning, "Beware of the circumcision"
(peritome) i.e., of the party who pressed on Gentile converts
the necessity of still observing that ordinance, he says,
"Beware of the concision;" as much as to say, "This circumcision
which they vaunt of is in Christ only as the gashings and
mutilations of idolatrous heathen."
Heb. 'eglah, (Deut. 21:4, 6; Jer. 46:20). Untrained to the yoke
(Hos. 10:11); giving milk (Isa. 7:21); ploughing (Judg. 14:18);
treading out grain (Jer. 50:11); unsubdued to the yoke an emblem
of Judah (Isa. 15:5; Jer. 48:34).
Heb. parah (Gen. 41:2; Num. 19:2). Bearing the yoke (Hos.
4:16); "heifers of Bashan" (Amos 4:1), metaphorical for the
voluptuous females of Samaria. The ordinance of sacrifice of the
"red heifer" described in Num. 19:1-10; comp. Heb. 9:13.
the strikerdown; the wild man. (1.) The fifth in descent from
Cain. He was the first to violate the primeval ordinance of
marriage (Gen. 4:18-24). His address to his two wives, Adah and
Zillah (4:23, 24), is the only extant example of antediluvian
poetry. It has been called "Lamech's sword-song." He was "rude
and ruffianly," fearing neither God nor man. With him the
curtain falls on the race of Cain. We know nothing of his
(2.) The seventh in descent from Seth, being the only son of
Methuselah. Noah was the oldest of his several sons (Gen.
5:25-31; Luke 3:36).
(1 Cor. 11:20), called also "the Lord's table" (10:21),
"communion," "cup of blessing" (10:16), and "breaking of bread"
In the early Church it was called also "eucharist," or giving
of thanks (comp. Matt. 26:27), and generally by the Latin Church
"mass," a name derived from the formula of dismission, Ite,
missa est, i.e., "Go, it is discharged."
The account of the institution of this ordinance is given in
Matt. 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:19, 20, and 1 Cor.
11:24-26. It is not mentioned by John.
It was designed, (1.) To commemorate the death of Christ:
"This do in remembrance of me." (2.) To signify, seal, and apply
to believers all the benefits of the new covenant. In this
ordinance Christ ratifies his promises to his people, and they
on their part solemnly consecrate themselves to him and to his
entire service. (3.) To be a badge of the Christian profession.
(4.) To indicate and to promote the communion of believers with
Christ. (5.) To represent the mutual communion of believers with
The elements used to represent Christ's body and blood are
bread and wine. The kind of bread, whether leavened or
unleavened, is not specified. Christ used unleavened bread
simply because it was at that moment on the paschal table. Wine,
and no other liquid, is to be used (Matt. 26:26-29). Believers
"feed" on Christ's body and blood, (1) not with the mouth in any
manner, but (2) by the soul alone, and (3) by faith, which is
the mouth or hand of the soul. This they do (4) by the power of
the Holy Ghost. This "feeding" on Christ, however, takes place
not in the Lord's Supper alone, but whenever faith in him is
This is a permanent ordinance in the Church of Christ, and is
to be observed "till he come" again.
in Rom. 13:2, means "condemnation," which comes on those who
withstand God's ordinance of magistracy. This sentence of
condemnation comes not from the magistrate, but from God, whose
authority is thus resisted.
In 1 Cor. 11:29 (R.V., "judgment") this word means
condemnation, in the sense of exposure to severe temporal
judgements from God, as the following verse explains.
In Rom. 14:23 the word "damned" means "condemned" by one's own
conscience, as well as by the Word of God. The apostle shows
here that many things which are lawful are not expedient; and
that in using our Christian liberty the question should not
simply be, Is this course I follow lawful? but also, Can I
follow it without doing injury to the spiritual interests of a
brother in Christ? He that "doubteth", i.e., is not clear in his
conscience as to "meats", will violate his conscience "if he
eat," and in eating is condemned; and thus one ought not so to
use his liberty as to lead one who is "weak" to bring upon
himself this condemnation.
The first-fruits of the ground were offered unto God just as the
first-born of man and animals.
The law required, (1.) That on the morrow after the Passover
Sabbath a sheaf of new corn should be waved by the priest before
the altar (Lev. 23:5, 6, 10, 12; 2:12).
(2.) That at the feast of Pentecost two loaves of leavened
bread, made from the new flour, were to be waved in like manner
(Lev. 23:15, 17; Num. 28:26).
(3.) The feast of Tabernacles was an acknowledgement that the
fruits of the harvest were from the Lord (Ex. 23:16; 34:22).
(4.) Every individual, besides, was required to consecrate to
God a portion of the first-fruits of the land (Ex. 22:29; 23:19;
34:26; Num. 15:20, 21).
(5.) The law enjoined that no fruit was to be gathered from
newly-planted fruit-trees for the first three years, and that
the first-fruits of the fourth year were to be consecrated to
the Lord (Lev. 19:23-25). Jeremiah (2:3) alludes to the
ordinance of "first-fruits," and hence he must have been
acquainted with the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers,
where the laws regarding it are recorded.
The ordinance of marriage was sanctioned in Paradise (Gen. 2:24;
Matt. 19:4-6). Monogamy was the original law under which man
lived, but polygamy early commenced (Gen. 4:19), and continued
to prevail all down through Jewish history. The law of Moses
regulated but did not prohibit polygamy. A man might have a
plurality of wives, but a wife could have only one husband. A
wife's legal rights (Ex. 21:10) and her duties (Prov. 31:10-31;
1 Tim. 5:14) are specified. She could be divorced in special
cases (Deut. 22:13-21), but could not divorce her husband.
Divorce was restricted by our Lord to the single case of
adultery (Matt. 19:3-9). The duties of husbands and wives in
their relations to each other are distinctly set forth in the
New Testament (1 Cor. 7:2-5; Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18, 19; 1 Pet.
an ordinance immediately instituted by Christ (Matt. 28:19, 20),
and designed to be observed in the church, like that of the
Supper, "till he come." The words "baptize" and "baptism" are
simply Greek words transferred into English. This was
necessarily done by the translators of the Scriptures, for no
literal translation could properly express all that is implied
The mode of baptism can in no way be determined from the Greek
word rendered "baptize." Baptists say that it means "to dip,"
and nothing else. That is an incorrect view of the meaning of
the word. It means both (1) to dip a thing into an element or
liquid, and (2) to put an element or liquid over or on it.
Nothing therefore as to the mode of baptism can be concluded
from the mere word used. The word has a wide latitude of
meaning, not only in the New Testament, but also in the LXX.
Version of the Old Testament, where it is used of the ablutions
and baptisms required by the Mosaic law. These were effected by
immersion, and by affusion and sprinkling; and the same word,
"washings" (Heb. 9:10, 13, 19, 21) or "baptisms," designates
them all. In the New Testament there cannot be found a single
well-authenticated instance of the occurrence of the word where
it necessarily means immersion. Moreover, none of the instances
of baptism recorded in the Acts of the Apostles (2:38-41;
8:26-39; 9:17, 18; 22:12-16; 10:44-48; 16:32-34) favours the
idea that it was by dipping the person baptized, or by
immersion, while in some of them such a mode was highly
The gospel and its ordinances are designed for the whole
world, and it cannot be supposed that a form for the
administration of baptism would have been prescribed which would
in any place (as in a tropical country or in polar regions) or
under any circumstances be inapplicable or injurious or
Baptism and the Lord's Supper are the two symbolical
ordinances of the New Testament. The Supper represents the work
of Christ, and Baptism the work of the Spirit. As in the Supper
a small amount of bread and wine used in this ordinance exhibits
in symbol the great work of Christ, so in Baptism the work of
the Holy Spirit is fully seen in the water poured or sprinkled
on the person in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
That which is essential in baptism is only "washing with water,"
no mode being specified and none being necessary or essential to
the symbolism of the ordinance.
The apostles of our Lord were baptized with the Holy Ghost
(Matt. 3:11) by his coming upon them (Acts 1:8). The fire also
with which they were baptized sat upon them. The extraordinary
event of Pentecost was explained by Peter as a fulfilment of the
ancient promise that the Spirit would be poured out in the last
days (2:17). He uses also with the same reference the expression
shed forth as descriptive of the baptism of the Spirit (33). In
the Pentecostal baptism "the apostles were not dipped into the
Spirit, nor plunged into the Spirit; but the Spirit was shed
forth, poured out, fell on them (11:15), came upon them, sat on
them." That was a real and true baptism. We are warranted from
such language to conclude that in like manner when water is
poured out, falls, comes upon or rests upon a person when this
ordinance is administered, that person is baptized. Baptism is
therefore, in view of all these arguments "rightly administered
by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person."
The subjects of baptism. This raises questions of greater
importance than those relating to its mode.
1. The controversy here is not about "believers' baptism," for
that is common to all parties. Believers were baptized in
apostolic times, and they have been baptized in all time by all
the branches of the church. It is altogether a misrepresentation
to allege, as is sometimes done by Baptists, that their doctrine
is "believers' baptism." Every instance of adult baptism, or of
"believers' baptism," recorded in the New Testament (Acts 2:41;
8:37; 9:17, 18; 10:47; 16:15; 19:5, etc.) is just such as would
be dealt with in precisely the same way by all branches of the
Protestant Church, a profession of faith or of their being
"believers" would be required from every one of them before
baptism. The point in dispute is not the baptism of believers,
but whether the infant children of believers, i.e., of members
of the church, ought to be baptized.
2. In support of the doctrine of infant baptism, i.e., of the
baptism of the infants, or rather the "children," of believing
parents, the following considerations may be adduced:
The Church of Christ exists as a divinely organized community.
It is the "kingdom of God," one historic kingdom under all
dispensations. The commonwealth of Israel was the "church" (Acts
7:38; Rom. 9:4) under the Mosaic dispensation. The New Testament
church is not a new and different church, but one with that of
the Old Testament. The terms of admission into the church have
always been the same viz., a profession of faith and a promise
of subjection to the laws of the kingdom. Now it is a fact
beyond dispute that the children of God's people under the old
dispensation were recognized as members of the church.
Circumcision was the sign and seal of their membership. It was
not because of carnal descent from Abraham, but as being the
children of God's professing people, that this rite was
administered (Rom. 4:11). If children were members of the church
under the old dispensation, which they undoubtedly were, then
they are members of the church now by the same right, unless it
can be shown that they have been expressly excluded. Under the
Old Testament parents acted for their children and represented
them. (See Gen. 9:9; 17:10; Ex. 24:7, 8; Deut. 29:9-13.) When
parents entered into covenant with God, they brought their
children with them. This was a law in the Hebrew Church. When a
proselyte was received into membership, he could not enter
without bringing his children with him. The New Testament does
not exclude the children of believers from the church. It does
not deprive them of any privilege they enjoyed under the Old
Testament. There is no command or statement of any kind, that
can be interpreted as giving any countenance to such an idea,
anywhere to be found in the New Testament. The church membership
of infants has never been set aside. The ancient practice,
orginally appointed by God himself, must remain a law of his
kingdom till repealed by the same divine authority. There are
lambs in the fold of the Good Shepherd (John 21:15; comp. Luke
1:15; Matt. 19:14; 1 Cor. 7:14).
"In a company of converts applying for admission into Christ's
house there are likely to be some heads of families. How is
their case to be treated? How, for example, are Lydia and her
neighbour the keeper of the city prison to be treated? Both have
been converted. Both are heads of families. They desire to be
received into the infant church of Philippi. What is Christ's
direction to them? Shall we say that it is to this effect:
'Arise, and wash away your sins, and come into my house. But you
must come in by yourselves. These babes in your arms, you must
leave them outside. They cannot believe yet, and so they cannot
come in. Those other little ones by your side, their hearts may
perhaps have been touched with the love of God; still, they are
not old enough to make a personal profession, so they too must
be left outside...For the present you must leave them where they
are and come in by yourselves.' One may reasonably demand very
stringent proofs before accepting this as a fair representation
of the sort of welcome Christ offers to parents who come to his
door bringing their children with them. Surely it is more
consonant with all we know about him to suppose that his welcome
will be more ample in its scope, and will breathe a more
gracious tone. Surely it would be more like the Good Shepherd to
say, 'Come in, and bring your little ones along with you. The
youngest needs my salvation; and the youngest is accessible to
my salvation. You may be unable as yet to deal with them about
either sin or salvation, but my gracious power can find its way
into their hearts even now. I can impart to them pardon and a
new life. From Adam they have inherited sin and death; and I can
so unite them to myself that in me they shall be heirs of
righteousness and life. You may without misgiving bring them to
me. And the law of my house requires that the same day which
witnesses your reception into it by baptism must witness their
reception also'" (The Church, by Professor Binnie, D.D.).
cutting around. This rite, practised before, as some think, by
divers races, was appointed by God to be the special badge of
his chosen people, an abiding sign of their consecration to him.
It was established as a national ordinance (Gen. 17:10, 11). In
compliance with the divine command, Abraham, though ninety-nine
years of age, was circumcised on the same day with Ishmael, who
was thirteen years old (17:24-27). Slaves, whether home-born or
purchased, were circumcised (17:12, 13); and all foreigners must
have their males circumcised before they could enjoy the
privileges of Jewish citizenship (Ex. 12:48). During the journey
through the wilderness, the practice of circumcision fell into
disuse, but was resumed by the command of Joshua before they
entered the Promised Land (Josh. 5:2-9). It was observed always
afterwards among the tribes of israel, although it is not
expressly mentioned from the time of the settlement in Canaan
till the time of Christ, about 1,450 years. The Jews prided
themselves in the possession of this covenant distinction (Judg.
14:3; 15:18; 1 Sam. 14:6; 17:26; 2 Sam. 1:20; Ezek. 31:18).
As a rite of the church it ceased when the New Testament times
began (Gal. 6:15; Col. 3:11). Some Jewish Christians sought to
impose it, however, on the Gentile converts; but this the
apostles resolutely resisted (Acts 15:1; Gal. 6:12). Our Lord
was circumcised, for it "became him to fulfil all
righteousness," as of the seed of Abraham, according to the
flesh; and Paul "took and circumcised" Timothy (Acts 16:3), to
avoid giving offence to the Jews. It would render Timothy's
labours more acceptable to the Jews. But Paul would by no means
consent to the demand that Titus should be circumcised (Gal.
2:3-5). The great point for which he contended was the free
admission of uncircumcised Gentiles into the church. He
contended successfully in behalf of Titus, even in Jerusalem.
In the Old Testament a spiritual idea is attached to
circumcision. It was the symbol of purity (Isa. 52:1). We read
of uncircumcised lips (Ex. 6:12, 30), ears (Jer. 6:10), hearts
(Lev. 26:41). The fruit of a tree that is unclean is spoken of
as uncircumcised (Lev. 19:23).
It was a sign and seal of the covenant of grace as well as of
the national covenant between God and the Hebrews. (1.) It
sealed the promises made to Abraham, which related to the
commonwealth of Israel, national promises. (2.) But the promises
made to Abraham included the promise of redemption (Gal. 3:14),
a promise which has come upon us. The covenant with Abraham was
a dispensation or a specific form of the covenant of grace, and
circumcision was a sign and seal of that covenant. It had a
spiritual meaning. It signified purification of the heart,
inward circumcision effected by the Spirit (Deut. 10:16; 30:6;
Ezek. 44:7; Acts 7:51; Rom. 2:28; Col. 2:11). Circumcision as a
symbol shadowing forth sanctification by the Holy Spirit has now
given way to the symbol of baptism (q.v.). But the truth
embodied in both ordinances is ever the same, the removal of
sin, the sanctifying effects of grace in the heart.
Under the Jewish dispensation, church and state were
identical. No one could be a member of the one without also
being a member of the other. Circumcision was a sign and seal of
membership in both. Every circumcised person bore thereby
evidence that he was one of the chosen people, a member of the
church of God as it then existed, and consequently also a member
of the Jewish commonwealth.
the name given to the chief of the three great historical annual
festivals of the Jews. It was kept in remembrance of the Lord's
passing over the houses of the Israelites (Ex. 12:13) when the
first born of all the Egyptians were destroyed. It is called
also the "feast of unleavened bread" (Ex. 23:15; Mark 14:1; Acts
12:3), because during its celebration no leavened bread was to
be eaten or even kept in the household (Ex. 12:15). The word
afterwards came to denote the lamb that was slain at the feast
(Mark 14:12-14; 1 Cor. 5:7).
A detailed account of the institution of this feast is given
in Ex. 12 and 13. It was afterwards incorporated in the
ceremonial law (Lev. 23:4-8) as one of the great festivals of
the nation. In after times many changes seem to have taken place
as to the mode of its celebration as compared with its first
celebration (comp. Deut. 16:2, 5, 6; 2 Chr. 30:16; Lev.
23:10-14; Num. 9:10, 11; 28:16-24). Again, the use of wine (Luke
22:17, 20), of sauce with the bitter herbs (John 13:26), and the
service of praise were introduced.
There is recorded only one celebration of this feast between
the Exodus and the entrance into Canaan, namely, that mentioned
in Num. 9:5. (See JOSIAH ¯T0002116.) It was primarily a
commemorative ordinance, reminding the children of Israel of
their deliverance out of Egypt; but it was, no doubt, also a
type of the great deliverance wrought by the Messiah for all his
people from the doom of death on account of sin, and from the
bondage of sin itself, a worse than Egyptian bondage (1 Cor.
5:7; John 1:29; 19:32-36; 1 Pet. 1:19; Gal. 4:4, 5). The
appearance of Jerusalem on the occasion of the Passover in the
time of our Lord is thus fittingly described: "The city itself
and the neighbourhood became more and more crowded as the feast
approached, the narrow streets and dark arched bazaars showing
the same throng of men of all nations as when Jesus had first
visited Jerusalem as a boy. Even the temple offered a strange
sight at this season, for in parts of the outer courts a wide
space was covered with pens for sheep, goats, and cattle to be
used for offerings. Sellers shouted the merits of their beasts,
sheep bleated, oxen lowed. Sellers of doves also had a place set
apart for them. Potters offered a choice from huge stacks of
clay dishes and ovens for roasting and eating the Passover lamb.
Booths for wine, oil, salt, and all else needed for sacrifices
invited customers. Persons going to and from the city shortened
their journey by crossing the temple grounds, often carrying
burdens...Stalls to change foreign money into the shekel of the
temple, which alone could be paid to the priests, were numerous,
the whole confusion making the sanctuary like a noisy market"
(Geikie's Life of Christ).
a contract or agreement between two parties. In the Old
Testament the Hebrew word _berith_ is always thus translated.
_Berith_ is derived from a root which means "to cut," and hence
a covenant is a "cutting," with reference to the cutting or
dividing of animals into two parts, and the contracting parties
passing between them, in making a covenant (Gen. 15; Jer. 34:18,
The corresponding word in the New Testament Greek is
_diatheke_, which is, however, rendered "testament" generally in
the Authorized Version. It ought to be rendered, just as the
word _berith_ of the Old Testament, "covenant."
This word is used (1) of a covenant or compact between man and
man (Gen. 21:32), or between tribes or nations (1 Sam. 11:1;
Josh. 9:6, 15). In entering into a convenant, Jehovah was
solemnly called on to witness the transaction (Gen. 31:50), and
hence it was called a "covenant of the Lord" (1 Sam. 20:8). The
marriage compact is called "the covenant of God" (Prov. 2:17),
because the marriage was made in God's name. Wicked men are
spoken of as acting as if they had made a "covenant with death"
not to destroy them, or with hell not to devour them (Isa.
(2.) The word is used with reference to God's revelation of
himself in the way of promise or of favour to men. Thus God's
promise to Noah after the Flood is called a covenant (Gen. 9;
Jer. 33:20, "my covenant"). We have an account of God's
covernant with Abraham (Gen. 17, comp. Lev. 26:42), of the
covenant of the priesthood (Num. 25:12, 13; Deut. 33:9; Neh.
13:29), and of the covenant of Sinai (Ex. 34:27, 28; Lev.
26:15), which was afterwards renewed at different times in the
history of Israel (Deut. 29; Josh. 1:24; 2 Chr. 15; 23; 29; 34;
Ezra 10; Neh. 9). In conformity with human custom, God's
covenant is said to be confirmed with an oath (Deut. 4:31; Ps.
89:3), and to be accompanied by a sign (Gen. 9; 17). Hence the
covenant is called God's "counsel," "oath," "promise" (Ps. 89:3,
4; 105:8-11; Heb. 6:13-20; Luke 1:68-75). God's covenant
consists wholly in the bestowal of blessing (Isa. 59:21; Jer.
The term covenant is also used to designate the regular
succession of day and night (Jer. 33:20), the Sabbath (Ex.
31:16), circumcision (Gen. 17:9, 10), and in general any
ordinance of God (Jer. 34:13, 14).
A "covenant of salt" signifies an everlasting covenant, in the
sealing or ratifying of which salt, as an emblem of perpetuity,
is used (Num. 18:19; Lev. 2:13; 2 Chr. 13:5).
COVENANT OF WORKS, the constitution under which Adam was
placed at his creation. In this covenant, (1.) The contracting
parties were (a) God the moral Governor, and (b) Adam, a free
moral agent, and representative of all his natural posterity
(Rom. 5:12-19). (2.) The promise was "life" (Matt. 19:16, 17;
Gal. 3:12). (3.) The condition was perfect obedience to the law,
the test in this case being abstaining from eating the fruit of
the "tree of knowledge," etc. (4.) The penalty was death (Gen.
This covenant is also called a covenant of nature, as made
with man in his natural or unfallen state; a covenant of life,
because "life" was the promise attached to obedience; and a
legal covenant, because it demanded perfect obedience to the
The "tree of life" was the outward sign and seal of that life
which was promised in the covenant, and hence it is usually
called the seal of that covenant.
This covenant is abrogated under the gospel, inasmuch as
Christ has fulfilled all its conditions in behalf of his people,
and now offers salvation on the condition of faith. It is still
in force, however, as it rests on the immutable justice of God,
and is binding on all who have not fled to Christ and accepted
CONVENANT OF GRACE, the eternal plan of redemption entered
into by the three persons of the Godhead, and carried out by
them in its several parts. In it the Father represented the
Godhead in its indivisible sovereignty, and the Son his people
as their surety (John 17:4, 6, 9; Isa. 42:6; Ps. 89:3).
The conditions of this covenant were, (1.) On the part of the
Father (a) all needful preparation to the Son for the
accomplishment of his work (Heb. 10:5; Isa. 42:1-7); (b) support
in the work (Luke 22:43); and (c) a glorious reward in the
exaltation of Christ when his work was done (Phil. 2:6-11), his
investiture with universal dominion (John 5:22; Ps. 110:1), his
having the administration of the covenant committed into his
hands (Matt. 28:18; John 1:12; 17:2; Acts 2:33), and in the
final salvation of all his people (Isa. 35:10; 53:10, 11; Jer.
31:33; Titus 1:2). (2.) On the part of the Son the conditions
were (a) his becoming incarnate (Gal. 4:4, 5); and (b) as the
second Adam his representing all his people, assuming their
place and undertaking all their obligations under the violated
covenant of works; (c) obeying the law (Ps. 40:8; Isa. 42:21;
John 9:4, 5), and (d) suffering its penalty (Isa. 53; 2 Cor.
5:21; Gal. 3:13), in their stead.
Christ, the mediator of, fulfils all its conditions in behalf
of his people, and dispenses to them all its blessings. In Heb.
8:6; 9:15; 12:24, this title is given to Christ. (See
beloved, the eighth and youngest son of Jesse, a citizen of
Bethlehem. His father seems to have been a man in humble life.
His mother's name is not recorded. Some think she was the Nahash
of 2 Sam. 17:25. As to his personal appearance, we only know
that he was red-haired, with beautiful eyes and a fair face (1
Sam. 16:12; 17:42).
His early occupation was that of tending his father's sheep on
the uplands of Judah. From what we know of his after history,
doubtless he frequently beguiled his time, when thus engaged,
with his shepherd's flute, while he drank in the many lessons
taught him by the varied scenes spread around him. His first
recorded exploits were his encounters with the wild beasts of
the field. He mentions that with his own unaided hand he slew a
lion and also a bear, when they came out against his flock,
beating them to death in open conflict with his club (1 Sam.
While David, in the freshness of ruddy youth, was thus engaged
with his flocks, Samuel paid an unexpected visit to Bethlehem,
having been guided thither by divine direction (1 Sam. 16:1-13).
There he offered up sacrifice, and called the elders of Israel
and Jesse's family to the sacrificial meal. Among all who
appeared before him he failed to discover the one he sought.
David was sent for, and the prophet immediately recognized him
as the chosen of God, chosen to succeed Saul, who was now
departing from the ways of God, on the throne of the kingdom. He
accordingly, in anticipation, poured on his head the anointing
oil. David went back again to his shepherd life, but "the Spirit
of the Lord came upon David from that day forward," and "the
Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul" (1 Sam. 16:13, 14).
Not long after this David was sent for to soothe with his harp
the troubled spirit of Saul, who suffered from a strange
melancholy dejection. He played before the king so skilfully
that Saul was greatly cheered, and began to entertain great
affection for the young shepherd. After this he went home to
Bethlehem. But he soon again came into prominence. The armies of
the Philistines and of Israel were in battle array in the valley
of Elah, some 16 miles south-west of Bethlehem; and David was
sent by his father with provisions for his three brothers, who
were then fighting on the side of the king. On his arrival in
the camp of Israel, David (now about twenty years of age) was
made aware of the state of matters when the champion of the
Philistines, Goliath of Gath, came forth to defy Israel. David
took his sling, and with a well-trained aim threw a stone "out
of the brook," which struck the giant's forehead, so that he
fell senseless to the ground. David then ran and slew him, and
cut off his head with his own sword (1 Sam. 17). The result was
a great victory to the Israelites, who pursued the Philistines
to the gates of Gath and Ekron.
David's popularity consequent on this heroic exploit awakened
Saul's jealousy (1 Sam. 18:6-16), which he showed in various
ways. He conceived a bitter hatred toward him, and by various
stratagems sought his death (1 Sam. 18-30). The deep-laid plots
of the enraged king, who could not fail to observe that David
"prospered exceedingly," all proved futile, and only endeared
the young hero the more to the people, and very specially to
Jonathan, Saul's son, between whom and David a life-long warm
friendship was formed.
A fugitive. To escape from the vengeance of Saul, David fled
to Ramah (1 Sam. 19:12-18) to Samuel, who received him, and he
dwelt among the sons of the prophets, who were there under
Samuel's training. It is supposed by some that the sixth,
seventh, and eleventh Psalms were composed by him at this time.
This place was only 3 miles from the residence of Saul, who soon
discovered whither the fugitive had gone, and tried
ineffectually to bring him back. Jonathan made a fruitless
effort to bring his father to a better state of mind toward
David (1 Sam. 20), who, being made aware of the fact, saw no
hope of safety but in flight to a distance. We accordingly find
him first at Nob (21:1-9) and then at Gath, the chief city of
the Philistines. The king of the Philistines would not admit him
into his service, as he expected that he would, and David
accordingly now betook himself to the stronghold of Adullam
(22:1-4; 1 Chr. 12:8-18). Here in a short time 400 men gathered
around him and acknowledged him as their leader. It was at this
time that David, amid the harassment and perils of his position,
cried, "Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well
of Bethlehem;" when three of his heroes broke through the lines
of the Philistines and brought him the water for which he longed
(2 Sam. 23:13-17), but which he would not drink.
In his rage at the failure of all his efforts to seize David,
Saul gave orders for the massacre of the entire priestly family
at Nob, "persons who wore a linen ephod", to the number of
eighty-five persons, who were put to death by Doeg the Edomite.
The sad tidings of the massacre were brought to David by
Abiathar, a son of Ahimelech, the only one who escaped. Comp.
Hearing that Keilah, a town on the western frontier, was
harassed by the Philistines, David with his men relieved it (1
Sam. 23:1-14); and then, for fear of Saul, he fled to the
strongholds in the "hill country" of Judah. Comp. Ps. 31. While
encamped there, in the forest in the district of Ziph, he was
visited by Jonathan, who spoke to him words of encouragement
(23:16-18). The two now parted never to meet again. Saul
continued his pursuit of David, who narrowly escaped from him at
this time, and fled to the crags and ravines of Engedi, on the
western shore of the Dead Sea (1 Sam. 23:29). Here Saul, who
still pursued him with his army, narrowly escaped, through the
generous forbearance of David, and was greatly affected by what
David had done for him. He returned home from pursuing him, and
David betook himself to Maon, where, with his 600 men, he
maintained himself by contributions gathered from the district.
Here occurred the incident connected with Nabal and his wife
Abigail (1 Sam. 25), whom David married after Nabal's death.
Saul again went forth (1 Sam. 26) in pursuit of David, who had
hid himself "in the hill Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon," in
the wilderness of Ziph, and was a second time spared through his
forbearance. He returned home, professing shame and penitence
for the way in which he had treated David, and predicting his
elevation to the throne.
Fighting against Israel. Harassed by the necessity of moving
from place to place through fear of Saul, David once more sought
refuge among the Philistines (1 Sam. 27). He was welcomed by the
king, who assigned him Ziklag as his residence. Here David lived
among his followers for some time as an independent chief
engaged in frequent war with the Amalekites and other tribes on
the south of Judah.
Achish summoned David with his men to join his army against
Saul; but the lords of the Philistines were suspicious of
David's loyalty, and therefore he was sent back to Ziklag, which
he found to his dismay may had been pillaged and burnt during
his brief absence. David pursued after the raiders, the
Amalekites, and completely routed them. On his return to Ziklag
tidings reached him of Saul's death (2 Sam. 1). An Amalekite
brought Saul's crown and bracelet and laid them at his feet.
David and his men rent their clothes and mourned for Saul, who
had been defeated in battle near Mount Gilboa. David composed a
beautiful elegy, the most beautiful of all extant Hebrew odes, a
"lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son" (2 Sam.
1:18-27). It bore the title of "The Bow," and was to be taught
to the children, that the memory of Saul and Jonathan might be
preserved among them. "Behold, it is written in the book of
David king over Judah. David and his men now set out for
Hebron under divine direction (2 Sam. 2:1-4). There they were
cordially welcomed, and he was at once anointed as king. He was
now about thirty years of age.
But his title to the throne was not undisputed. Abner took
Ish-bosheth, Saul's only remaining son, over the Jordan to
Mahanaim, and there crowned him as king. Then began a civil war
in Israel. The first encounter between the two opposing armies,
led on the one side by Abner, and on the other by Joab, took
place at the pool of Gibeon. It resulted in the defeat of Abner.
Other encounters, however, between Israel and Judah followed (2
Sam. 3:1, 5), but still success was on the side of David. For
the space of seven and a half years David reigned in Hebron.
Abner now sided with David, and sought to promote his
advancement; but was treacherously put to death by Joab in
revenge for his having slain his brother Asahel at Gibeon
(3:22-39). This was greatly to David's regret. He mourned for
the death of Abner. Shortly after this Ish-bosheth was also
treacherously put to death by two Canaanites of Beeroth; and
there being now no rival, David was anointed king over all
David king over all Israel (2 Sam. 5:1-5; 1 Chr. 11:1-3). The
elders of Israel now repaired to Hebron and offered allegiance
to David in name of all the people, among whom the greatest
enthusiasm prevailed. He was anointed king over all Israel, and
sought out a new seat of government, more suitable than Hebron,
as the capital of his empire. At this time there was a Jebusite
fortress, "the stronghold", on the hill of Zion, called also
Jebus. This David took from the Jebusites, and made it Israel's
capital, and established here his residence, and afterwards
built for himself a palace by the aid of Tyrian tradesmen. The
Philistines, who had for some time observed a kind of truce, now
made war against David; but were defeated in battle at a place
afterwards called, in remembrance of the victory, Baal-perazim.
Again they invaded the land, and were a second time routed by
him. He thus delivered Israel from their enemies.
David now resolved to bring up the ark of the covenant to his
new capital (2 Sam. 6). It was in the house of Abinadab at
Kirjath-jearim, about 7 miles from Jerusalem, where it had been
for many years, from the time when the Philistines had sent it
home (1 Sam. 6; 7). In consequence of the death of Uzzah (for it
was a divine ordinance that only the Levites should handle the
ark, Num. 4), who had put forth his hand to steady the ark when
the cart in which it was being conveyed shook by reason of the
roughness of the road, David stayed the procession, and conveyed
the ark into the house of Obed-edom, a Philistine from Gath.
After three months David brought the ark from the house of
Obed-edom up to Jerusalem. Comp. Ps. 24. Here it was placed in a
new tent or tabernacle which David erected for the purpose.
About seventy years had passed since it had stood in the
tabernacle at Shiloh. The old tabernacle was now at Gibeah, at
which Zadok ministered. David now (1 Chr. 16) carefully set in
order all the ritual of divine worship at Jerusalem, along with
Abiathar the high priest. A new religious era began. The service
of praise was for the first time introduced into public worship.
Zion became henceforth "God's holy hill."
David's wars. David now entered on a series of conquests which
greatly extended and strengthened his kingdom (2 Sam. 8). In a
few years the whole territory from the Euphrates to the river of
Egypt, and from Gaza on the west to Thapsacus on the east, was
under his sway (2 Sam. 8:3-13; 10).
David's fall. He had now reached the height of his glory. He
ruled over a vast empire, and his capital was enriched with the
spoils of many lands. But in the midst of all this success he
fell, and his character became stained with the sin of adultery
(2 Sam. 11:2-27). It has been noted as characteristic of the
Bible that while his military triumphs are recorded in a few
verses, the sad story of his fall is given in detail, a story
full of warning, and therefore recorded. This crime, in the
attempt to conceal it, led to anoter. He was guilty of murder.
Uriah, whom he had foully wronged, an officer of the Gibborim,
the corps of heros (23:39), was, by his order, "set in the front
of the hottest battle" at the siege of Rabbah, in order that he
might be put to death. Nathan the prophet (2 Sam. 7:1-17;
12:1-23) was sent by God to bring home his crimes to the
conscience of the guilty monarch. He became a true penitent. He
bitterly bewailed his sins before God. The thirty-second and
fifty-first Psalms reveal the deep struggles of his soul, and
his spiritual recovery.
Bathsheba became his wife after Uriah's death. Her first-born
son died, according to the word of the prophet. She gave birth
to a second son, whom David called Solomon, and who ultimately
succeeded him on the throne (2 Sam. 12:24, 25).
Peace. After the successful termination of all his wars, David
formed the idea of building a temple for the ark of God. This he
was not permitted to carry into execution, because he had been a
man of war. God, however, sent Nathan to him with a gracious
message (2 Sam. 7:1-16). On receiving it he went into the
sanctuary, the tent where the ark was, and sat before the Lord,
and poured out his heart in words of devout thanksgiving
(18-29). The building of the temple was reserved for his son
Solomon, who would be a man of peace (1 Chr. 22:9; 28:3).
A cloudy evening. Hitherto David's carrer had been one of
great prosperity and success. Now cloudy and dark days came. His
eldest son Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam of Jezreel, was
guilty of a great and shameful crime (2 Sam. 13). This was the
beginning of the disasters of his later years. After two years
Absalom terribly avenged the crime against Tamar, and put Amnon
to death. This brought sore trouble to David's heart. Absalom,
afraid of the consequences of his guilt, fled to Geshur beyond
Jordan, where he remained for three years, when he was brought
back through the intrigue of Joab (2 Sam. 14).
After this there fell upon the land the calamity of three
years' famine (2 Sam. 21:1-14). This was soon after followed by
a pestilence, brought upon the land as a punishment for David's
sinful pride in numbering the people (2 Sam. 24), in which no
fewer than 70,000 perished in the space of three days.
Rebellion of Absalom. The personal respect for David was sadly
lowered by the incident of Bathsheba. There was a strong popular
sentiment against the taking of the census, and the outburst of
the plague in connection with it deepened the feeling of
jealously that had begun to manifest itself among some of the
tribes against David. Absalom, taking full advantage of this
state of things, gradually gained over the people, and at length
openly rebelled against his father, and usurped the throne.
Ahithophel was Absalom's chief counsellor. The revolt began in
Hebron, the capital of Judah. Absalom was there proclaimed king.
David was now in imminent danger, and he left Jerusalem (2 Sam.
15:13-20), and once more became a fugitive. It was a momentous
day in Israel. The incidents of it are recorded with a fulness
of detail greater than of any other day in Old Testament
history. David fled with his followers to Mahanarm, on the east
of Jordan. An unnatural civil war broke out. After a few weeks
the rival armies were mustered and organized. They met in
hostile array at the wood of Ephraim (2 Sam. 18:1-8). Absalom's
army was defeated, and himself put to death by the hand of Joab
(9-18). The tidings of the death of his rebellious son filled
the heart of David with the most poignant grief. He "went up to
the chamber over the gate, and wept" (33), giving utterance to
the heart-broken cry, "Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom,
my son, my son!" Peace was now restored, and David returned to
Jerusalem and resumed the direction of affairs. An unhappy
dispute arose between the men of Judah and the men of Israel
(19:41-43). Sheba, a Benjamite, headed a revolt of the men of
Israel. He was pursued to Abelbeth-maachah, and was there put to
death, and so the revolt came to an end.
The end. After the suppression of the rebellion of Absalom and
that of Sheba, ten comparatively peaceful years of David's life
passed away. During those years he seems to have been
principally engaged in accumulating treasures of every kind for
the great temple at Jerusalem, which it was reserved to his
successor to build (1 Chr. 22; 28; 29), a house which was to be
"exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all
countries" (22:5). The exciting and laborious life he had spent,
and the dangers and trials through which he had passed, had left
him an enfeebled man, prematurely old. It became apparent that
his life was now drawing to its close. A new palace conspiracy
broke out as to who should be his successor. Joab favoured
Adonijah. The chiefs of his party met at the "Fuller's spring,"
in the valley of Kidron, to proclaim him king; but Nathan
hastened on a decision on the part of David in favour of
Solomon, and so the aim of Adonijah's party failed. Solomon was
brought to Jerusalem, and was anointed king and seated on his
father's throne (1 Kings 1:11-53). David's last words are a
grand utterance, revealing his unfailing faith in God, and his
joyful confidence in his gracious covenant promises (2 Sam.
After a reign of forty years and six months (2 Sam. 5:5; 1
Chr. 3:4) David died (B.C. 1015) at the age of seventy years,
"and was buried in the city of David." His tomb is still pointed
out on Mount Zion.
Both in his prophetical and in his regal character David was a
type of the Messiah (1 Sam. 16:13). The book of Psalms commonly
bears the title of the "Psalms of David," from the circumstance
that he was the largest contributor (about eighty psalms) to the
collection. (See PSALMS ¯T0003013.)
"The greatness of David was felt when he was gone. He had
lived in harmony with both the priesthood and the prophets; a
sure sign that the spirit of his government had been throughly
loyal to the higher aims of the theocracy. The nation had not
been oppressed by him, but had been left in the free enjoyment
of its ancient liberties. As far as his power went he had
striven to act justly to all (2 Sam. 8:15). His weak indulgence
to his sons, and his own great sin besides, had been bitterly
atoned, and were forgotten at his death in the remembrance of
his long-tried worth. He had reigned thirty-three years in
Jerusalem and seven and a half at Hebron (2 Sam. 5:5). Israel at
his accession had reached the lowest point of national
depression; its new-born unity rudely dissolved; its territory
assailed by the Philistines. But he had left it an imperial
power, with dominions like those of Egypt or Assyria. The
sceptre of Solomon was already, before his father's death, owned
from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates, and from the Orontes to
the Red Sea.", Geikie's Hours etc., iii.