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lypse. The description of the bride is very beautiful, when taken in connexion with the eastern imagery which adorns this splendid poem. The form of this poem is prophetic, and although less definite than some of the prophetic hymns of David, it greatly surpasses them in sublimity and the beauty of its imagery.

The 46th and 48th are songs of thanksgiving, which if composed during the age of David, probably refer to the degree which the kings north of Palestine entered into in the Nesibean war. They bear some resemblance to the heroic songs of an earlier age, but are much inferior to them in the overflowing joy of the poet, though much more animated than the poems of this class written by David.

The 47th is a very animated hymn to the Deity, composed either after success had crowned the arms of the Israelites, or at the celebration of the removal of the ark to Mount Zi


The 49th is an exhibition of the affections folly of setting our on wealth, as they cannot rescue the possessor from the snares of death. It bears a striking resemblance as to language, to some parts of the argument of the unbeliever in the book of Ecclesiastes. Compare the 11th, 13th, 18th, and 21st verses, with Ecclesiastes ii. 15th, 16th,-iii. 19th.

The 84th psalm is elegiac as to its form, and was penned when the author was exiled from the courts of Jehovah. It is replete with the same deep tone of feeling, which characterizes the 42d psalm, which was evidently written under the same circumstances. If it belongs to the Korahites, it was probably composed during the rebellion of Absalom, the author accompanying the king in his flight from Jerusalem. It is so similar to the psalm just mentioned, that I cannot but believe it to be written by the same author. In no psalm is the pleasure resulting from worshipping God in his Sanctuary, exhibited with so much

tenderness of feeling.; and nothing
can be more beautiful, than the allu
sion to the sparrow and swallow,
which were permitted to build their
In this place of
nests in the altars.
security, they might rear their young,
unmolested by the rude hand of vi-
olence, while he is exiled from the
house of God, and not permitted to
return and worship him in his courts.
The proximity of these birds to the
places where God was supposed to
dwell, brings to the mind of the poet,
his long separation from the worship
of God, when overwhelmed with the
pleasure of spending even one day
in the courts of God, he says he had
rather take the humblest station in
his service than to enjoy the pros-
perity of the wicked.

The 88th was written after the return from Babylon, as appears from the two first verses, perhaps by one of the descendants of Korah, who may have returned with Ezra or Nehemiah. The 87th appears to be a song in praise of Jerusalem, and the honour which was conferred on an individual who could claim it as his birth place, a distinction much greater than to have been born in any of the cities of the heathen, because God had chosen it for his dwelling place, and it was the city which he loved.


The songs of the sons of Korah, if the 42d and 84th were composed by them, are more replete with tenderness and beauty, than even those of David.

The authors appear to have possessed more native delicacy, than the royal poet, and from several of these hymns, I should infer that they were exposed to all the extremes of suffering and joy, that mark the life of David. Their imaginafree from tions are usually more active, and their style more straint. They are equally susceptible of intense joy, and exhibited a confidence in God, which elevates them above fear in the greatest distress. Their hymns to the Deity are written under the influence of stronger emotions; yielding them


selves up to the sublimity of the subject, their thoughts succeed each other with an animation more sparkling, and with a rapidity which is unequalled by any of the poets of this age. None of these hymns in subHimity equal several of David's, excepting the 45th, which is not surpassed by the loftiest conceptions of the Muse of David. If David was not the author of the 42d, his hymns are inferior to those of the Korahites in poetic beauty.


The 88th psalm is attributed to Heman, the Ezrahite who was a son of Joel, a descendant of Kohath, the son of Levi. He was a distinguished musician in the age of David, and one of the three choristers. He was placed with Asaph and Jeduthun at the head of the band which David organized, 1 Chron. vi. 33, 38. He performed on musical instruments at the removal of the ark, and afterwards was appointed to prophecy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbols. He was greatly renowned for his wisdom, the fame of which continued long after his decease. So great was his wisdom, that he is placed near to Solomon, of whom it is said that he was wiser than all men; than Ethan and Heman &c. (1 Kings iv, 31.) There is but one of his poems remaining. Whether he was one of the Korahites as we might infer from the title, or whether the words, the sons of Korah, were afterwards added to it, is left for us to conjecture. This poem was evidently written under the influence of deep distress, and exhibits a tenderness of feeling, approaching to the psalms of David. Like David he appears to have been forsaken by all his friends, and left to meet adversity alone, while death was drawing nigh to seize his prey. The form of the poem is elegiac, and it exhibits a heart overburthened with sorrow. At what time it was written cannot be deter

*Most of the arguments adduced to prove that the psalms attributed to the sons of Korah were written by them, are equally applicable to Heman and Ethan.

mined. From the Ezrahite being attached to his name, it is possible that it was written by a second Heman, who flourished at a subsequent period. It is supposed by Eichhorn to have been composed as late as the reign of Hezekiah, to whose prayer it bears a striking resemblance. (vid. Isaiah iii, 8, 9.) The 102d psalm is of the same deep tone of feeling, and in the first part resembles the song of that monarch, when delivered from the prison of the grave.

The 89th is attributed to Ethan the Ezrahite. Who this poet was, cannot be determined with certainty. In 1. Chron. xv, 17, Ethan the son of Kushaiah is mentioned, and in the 17th verse he is placed with Asaph and Heman, the chief choris

ters of David's musicians. At the removal of the Ark, he performed on cymbols of brass. As Jeduthun was not at this time one of the principal choristers, but was appointed at a subsequent period, it is possible that Ethan was one of the three distinguished musicians at this time, and afterwards being deceased, Jeduthun was appointed in his place. This conjecture is rendered probable, as Ethan is not mentioned among the Singers, at the time when David divided the Levites into 24 bands. If this poem was written by Ethan the contemporary of David, it is impossible to determine the time when it was penned. I am inclined to believe that it was composed at a period subsequent to his reign, as the poet in the first division of the psalms, dwells on the promises God had made to David, that if his seed should obey him, he would establish his throne forever, but if they should forsake him, he would punish their transgressions. In the second part he describes the disgrace and misery which result from defeat, which cannot refer to David. In the 45th verse he speaks of his throne being cast down to the ground. This cannot refer to the capture of his wives and children, and those of his faithful soldiers by the Amalekites just

before the death of Saul, as God at that time, had not promised to establish his throne forever, (2 Sam. vii, 12,) nor to the wars with the king of Nesibis and his allies, for although he may have been alarmed at this formidable league, still in that war, victory was his constant companion. This psalm is divided into two parts, the first ending with the 38th verse, and the second, sub-divided into three parts. Some critics have supposed it to have been written by Hezekiah, when he was near the grave, and without any son to inherit his throne. There is nothing in this psalm which will warrant this supposition, unless the 45th verse, where the allusion is so remote, that I cannot receive this opinion with confidence. This psalm exhibits deep feeling, but much less intense than Hezekiah's song, or the poems of David, composed while in exile from Jerusalem.

Whether the anonymous psalms were written during this reign, and who were the authors, it is very difficult to determine. Some of them were certainly composed after the captivity. The LXX attribute several of them to David. Whether they bore his name in their titles in the manuscripts they consulted, or whether there is some mistake in copying them, cannot be ascertained. As an examination of these poems would occupy much time, I will dispense with it and proceed

II. To the Historians of this reign.

Of this class of writers, more existed during this age, than at any subsequent period of their history. The names of but three are preserved in the annals of the Israelites, although five historians described the victories of David. In 1. Chron. xxix. 29, we are informed that the acts of David the king, first and last, are written in the book of Samuel the Seer. The first part of the life of the King, and probably most of the events of Saul's reign, were penned by Samuel the Prophet. As he died before the battle on Mount Gil

boa, it is impossible that he should have written more than the first twen ty-four chapters of the first book. Who continued this history after hir decease, we are not informed, but it is not improbable, that he may have committed it to some one of his pu pils in the Prophetic school, who wrote the latter part of the first, and the whole of the second book. This historian probably died, before David, as he terminates his book with an account of the pestilence, which happened a considerable time before the death of the king. This he would not have done, had he survived him, but would have carried his narrative through the whole of David's life, and not have left it for the historian of the 1st book of kings to relate. From the manner in which the 2nd book of Samuel terminates, it is evident that David was living when this history was brought to a conclusion. From this it appears, that the life of David as presented to us in the history of the Hebrews, was penned by three historians, who succeeded each other, viz. Samuel the Prophet, the author of the latter part of the first, and the whole of the second book of Samuel, and the historian of Solo.non's reign. Besides these there were two other historians who flourished during this period. Their names are preserved, though their works have perished.

1. Gad the Seer.-In 1 Chron. xxix, 29, we are informed that the events of this reign were narrated by this prophet. Of his life we know but little, as he is introduced but once during the time of David, when he reproved the king for taking the census. He is called David's Seer, and may have been appointed a successor to Samuel, and have taken charge of the school of the prophets after the death of Samuel. He assisted David in organizing the musicians, and gave directions concerning their mode of performance. These regu lations were preserved and highly valued in the reign of Hezekiah; 2 Chron. xxix, 25. This history was

preserved long after his death, and if we suppose Ezra to have compiled the books of Chronicles, after the return from Babylon, (1 Chron. xxix, 29) it was probably lost during the wars which desolated Palestine between this period and the capture of Jerusalem by Titus.

2. Nathan the Prophet.-This writer also wrote a minute history of the reign of David. He was probably educated in the school of Samuel, after whose death he appears to have been the most distinguished prophet in Israel, having many divine revelations. God reveal ed himself to him, first when David contemplated the erection of a house for the worship of Jehovah; again when David had injured and murdered Uriah, and again at the birth of Solomon. He survived David, and was instrumental in crushing the rebellion of Adonijab, and of establishing Solomon on his throne. He was probably very young when he reproved David for his adultery with Bathsheba, as he not only survived him, but also Solomon, who lived forty years after the death of David. At this period he still enjoyed vigor of mind enough to compose a history of the brilliant reign of Solomon, whose acts, first and last, were related, II. Chron. ix, 29. As it is mentioned by the compiler of the book of Chronicles, it must have been in existence when that book was written. It probably perished subsequently to the return from Babylon. Could the histories of Gad and Nathan be recovered, they would undoubtedly shed much light on the literature of this period.

The Levites, from the leisure afforded them, and from the fact that they received their support from their brethren, enjoyed advantages for making attainments in knowl. edge, much superior to the other tribes. They were the professional men of the nation. They were employed first as physicians, secondly

*When the Israelites were attacked with a disease on the skin, they were re

as geologists, thirdly as scribes, who copied the law, fourthly as judges, Deut. xxi, 5. David appointed 6000 Levites to officiate as judges when he raised the judiciary. The Levites under Moses, and probably under David, decided upon many questions of difficulty. Fifthly as musicians. From this tribe David selected all his bands of singers, as well as his choristers. From the employments which I have specified, it will be seen, that the influence which they exerted must have been greater than that of any other tribe. This was greatly increased by the fact, that from this tribe, viz. from the family of Aaron all the priests were chosen, not excepting the High Priest. When we remember that they were the Literati of the nation, and that they filled all those stations which are occupied by professional men in other countries, we must conclude that although they were not more than a twentieth part of the nation, a tithe of the produce of the land, and the perquisites which they enjoyed was not more than an adequate remuneration for their services. This is a much smaller proportion, than the professional men in this country and in Europe receive at the present time.


As the Levites lived, in a great measure, secluded from their brethren in the cities belonging to them, the remaining tribes were probably very ignorant. As there were schools at that time, and as manuscripts were very expensive, we have reason to conclude that few of them could write, or perhaps even read. This we should infer from the fact, that Joab, the nephew of David and the commander in chief of the army besieging Rabbah, sent quired to go and shew themselves to the priest, who was to decide whether it was

leprosy or not. In Leviticus xiii, we have

a very particular account of the manner in which the priest formed an opinion respecting this disease. Whether in diseases that were less malignant they were consulted, Sacred History does not inform


a verbal message of the death of Uriah to the king, instead of writing to him.

III. Religion.

During the reign of David, and for a long time afer bis decease, there were no houses of public worship, where the Israelites could meet and receive instruction from week to week, and in this manner be enabled to form their system of faith. There was but one place of public worship, and that was Jerusalem, where the nation were required to assemble three times a year, at the great festivals. Most of the time they remained in the metropolis, they were employed in commerce and in festivities. The opportunity here presented for religious worship was so limited, that they made but little progress in theological science. There were no regular teachers of religion who expounded from week to week, the Mosaic Law. The Levites it is true, formed a large body of learned men, and the descendants of Aaron composed the priesthood, but with the exception of those who officiated at Jerusalem, they appear to have resided in the forty-eight cities which Joshua allotted to them. Thus insulated, they must have exerted but little influence on the morals of the Hebrews.

As only a small number of copies of the Law existed, and as the expense of copying it must have been great, few of the Israelites if they had been disposed, would have been able to procure it, and fewer still to read and understand it. It is true that Moses commanded the Priests once in seven years to read the law to the people at the solemnity of the year of release, the feast of tabernacles. (Deut. xxxi, 10, 11.) The knowledge which they would acquire in thus bearing it read once in seven years, or three or four times after they were old enough to understand it, must have been very imperfect. Parents were required to teach children the decalogue, and to bind it for a sign upon their hands, and VOL. VI.-No. 1.


for frontlets between their eyes, and to write it on the posts of their houses, and on their gates, that fu ture generations might not depart from the worship of the true God. They were also required to teach their children the song which Moses composed just before his death, that it might be a witness against them if they forsook Jehovah. The influence of these precepts must have been very auspicious on the religious character of the Hebrews, as long as they complied with this command of their Lawgiver. From these they were enabled to learn merely the elements of religion, and notwithstauding repeated revelations were made through the medium of the prophets, they often sunk into the grossest wickedness. The heroic songs, which were probably sung in every cottage of Israel, may have kept alive for a long period, a knowledge of the miracles which God wrought for their forefathers, but the great popularity of these poems, united with the blessings which they enjoyed when they obeyed God, and the chastisement inflicted upon them when they departed from his commands, did not prevent them from relapsing into idolatry.

Such was the state of religion among the Hebrews when David ascended the throne. He doubtless exerted great influence on the religious character of his countrymen. He was the idol of the nation, and whatever he did, met with the appro bation of his subjects. He always acknowledged the hand of God in his victories, and delighted to dwell on his loving kindness and tender mercy. At the removal of the ark, he assembled all Israel to listen to a public acknowledgment of his great goodness, in a song of praise which he composed for the occasion. He availed himself of the subsequent events of his life, in which God had been merciful to him, to acknowledge his obligations to his great Benefactor. In seasons of distress he called upon God as his only refuge, and

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