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and after he had learned that his daughter Michal loved David, he would not confent to their union, but on condition of his undertaking an enterprize against the Philistines, which would be attended with extreme hazard. David, however, completed it in safety; and the king being now unable to form a further pretext for withholding the fulfilment of her promise, their marriage was soon after folemnized.
The more prudently and uprightly David acted, and the more popular he became thereby, fo much the more Saul's rancour and jealoufy increased; till at length it arrived at fo great a height, that he enjoined his fon Jonathan and his principal chieftains to put him to death, whenever a favourable opportunity should offer.
But Jonathan, whofe friendship for David increased with the knowledge of his worth, on receiving the fanguinary mandate, thus remonftrated with his father in behalf of his friend: "Let not the king, my father, be thus incenfed against his fervant David. His conduct has not deferved fuch treatment at thy hands. Did he not venture his life, beyond any other, for the fervice of thee and
thy people, when he combated the gigantic Philiftine? Was it not entirely through his fuccefs in that encounter, that their army was afterwards totally overthrown? And has not the whole of his conduct fince, in the stations to which thou haft raised him, been perfectly conformable to rectitude and prudence? Has he not, by repeated acts of valour, arrived at the honour of being thy fon-in-law? Why, then, wilt thou fo foon make thy daughter a widow? Reflect a moment, my father, and I dare fay you will fee the impropriety of your commands."
Saul, overcome by these affectionate remonftrances, yielded to the wishes of his fon, and promised to lay aside his refentment towards David, confirming it with an oath. Jonathan no fooner received this favourable declaration, than he flew with transport to his friend, and communicated to him the joyful tidings; nor would he reft fatisfied, till he had led David to his father, and brought about an apparent reconciliation between them.
The Philistines having fome time after made a fresh irruption into the Hebrew territories, Saul gave the command of his army to David, and fent him against them. In this expedition
expedition he was likewife fuccefsful. defeated them with great flaughter, and returned once more crowned with honour.
This fuccefs reviving the jealous apprehenfions of the king, he again fought to deftroy David! and he found an early opportunity of attempting it; for a paroxism of his demoniacal complaint returning, he fent for David to play and fing before him as ufual; and while he was engaged in his employment, feized a fpear which flood by him, and threw it at him with all his might. David, however, being aware of the king's defign, dexterously avoided the weapon, and haftily retired from the royal prefence.
From this time, David became the object of Saul's perfecution; nor was it in the power of Jonathan to mitigate, fave for a few intervals, his father's enmity against him. David was confequently constrained to feek for fhelter in feveral diftant places, and continued in exile for fome years. During that period, various adventures befel him; but our limits not permitting a recapitulation of them, we must refer those who wish to trace him through every movement, to the First Book of Samuel, and to Jofephus.
The following proofs of David's moderation must not however be omitted; as they tend to fhew, that he harboured no inveteracy against Saul, notwithstanding his unmerited perfecution; but, on the contrary, that his heart was ftored with loyalty and forbearance to an uncommon degree.
Saul, at the head of three thoufand of his troops, being in purfuit of David, (who was at this time in the wildernefs of Engedi, and had been joined by about four hundred men), Nature requiring exoneration, the king retired for that purpofe into a cave which ftood by the way-fide. In this cave, for it was very extenfive, David and his adherents lay concealed. A favourable opportunity now prefented itself to him, of destroying the man who unjustly fought his life, and thereby putting an end to his exile. But, inftead of liftening to the incitements of his companions, who all thought fo opportune a moment ought not to be miffed, he only advanced, unobferved, to the place where the king was, and cut off the skirt of his robe; then following him at a distance, as he left the cave, David fhowed him what he had done, and endeavoured to convince him, by this proof of his forbearance, that
he had never deferved the fufpicions which he had entertained against him. Saul, amazed at fo unexpected an incident, and greatly affected by fuch an unexampled instance of moderation, exclaimed, "Is this really thy voice, my fon David; and haft thou done this?" And his obdurate heart being for a moment foftened by the fudden impulfe, he wept aloud. Of course, a temporary reconciliation took place.
We foon after read, that on another occafion, nearly a fimilar circumftance happened at a place named Hachilah, while Saul was again in purfuit of his exiled fonin-law. Here David entered the camp of Saul, juft before the morning dawned, and, making his way to the royal tent, found the king and his principal officers afleep. But, being actuated by the fame moderation, and the fame veneration for the Lord's annointed, as when Saul lay at his mercy before, he only carried off his fpear and his crufe of water, which stood by his bed-fide, without offering any injury to his perfon, as a proof of his having poffeffed the power of acting otherwife. A reconciliation now likewife took place, but of the fame weak tenure as the former.