Antiquities of the Jews, Vol 2, The

CHAPTER 14. That David Made Great Preparations For The House Of God; And That, Upon Adonijah's Attempt To Gain The Kingdom, He Appointed Solomon To Reign.

1. After the delivery of this prophecy, the king commanded the strangers to be numbered; and they were found to be one hundred and eighty thousand; of these he appointed fourscore thousand to be hewers of stone, and the rest of the multitude to carry the stones, and of them he set over the workmen three thousand and five hundred. He also prepared a great quantity of iron and brass for the work, with many [and those exceeding large] cedar trees; the Tyrians and Sidonians sending them to him, for he had sent to them for a supply of those trees. And he told his friends that these things were now prepared, that he might leave materials ready for the building of the temple to his son, who was to reign after him, and that he might not have them to seek then, when he was very young, and by reason of his age unskillful in such matters, but might have them lying by him, and so might the more readily complete the work.

2. So David called his son Solomon, and charged him, when he had received the kingdom, to build a temple to God, and said, "I was willing to build God a temple myself, but he prohibited me, because I was polluted with blood and wars; but he hath foretold that Solomon, my youngest son, should build him a temple, and should be called by that name; over whom he hath promised to take the like care as a father takes over his son; and that he would make the country of the Hebrews happy under him, and that, not only in other respects, but by giving it peace and freedom from wars, and from internal seditions, which are the greatest of all blessings. Since, therefore," says he, "thou wast ordained king by God himself before thou wast born, endeavor to render thyself worthy of this his providence, as in other instances, so particularly in being religious, and righteous, and courageous. Keep thou also his commands and his laws, which he hath given us by Moses, and do not permit others to break them. Be zealous also to dedicate to God a temple, which he hath chosen to be built under thy reign; nor be thou aftrighted by the vastness of the work, nor set about it timorously, for I will make all things ready before I die: and take notice, that there are already ten thousand talents of gold, and a hundred thousand talents of silver 25 collected together. I have also laid together brass and iron without number, and an immense quantity of timber and of stones. Moreover, thou hast many ten thousand stone-cutters and carpenters; and if thou shalt want any thing further, do thou add somewhat of thine own. Wherefore, if thou performest this work, thou wilt be acceptable to God, and have him for thy patron." David also further exhorted the rulers of the people to assist his son in this building, and to attend to the Divine service, when they should be free from all their misfortunes, for that they by this means should enjoy, instead of them, peace and a happy settlement, with which blessings God rewards such men as are religious and righteous. He also gave orders, that when the temple should be once built, they should put the ark therein, with the holy vessels; and he assured them that they ought to have had a temple long ago, if their fathers had not been negligent of God's commands, who had given it in charge, that when they had got the possession of this land, they should build him a temple. Thus did David discourse to the governors, and to his son.

3. David was now in years, and his body, by length of time, was become cold, and benumbed, insomuch that he could get no heat by covering himself with many clothes; and when the physicians came together, they agreed to this advice, that a beautiful virgin, chosen out of the whole country, should sleep by the king's side, and that this damsel would communicate heat to him, and be a remedy against his numbness. Now there was found in the city one woman, of a superior beauty to all other women, [her name was Abishag,] who, sleeping with the king, did no more than communicate warmth to him, for he was so old that he could not know her as a husband knows his wife. But of this woman we shall speak more presently.

4. Now the fourth son of David was a beautiful young man, and tall, born to him of Haggith his wife. He was named Adonijah, and was in his disposition like to Absalom; and exalted himself as hoping to be king, and told his friends that he ought to take the government upon him. He also prepared many chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. When his father saw this, he did not reprove him, nor restrain him from his purpose, nor did he go so far as to ask wherefore he did so. Now Adonijah had for his assistants Joab the captain of the army, and Abiathar the high priest; and the only persons that opposed him were Zadok the high priest, and the prophet Nathan, and Benaiah, who was captain of the guards, and Shimei, David's friend, with all the other most mighty men. Now Adonijah had prepared a supper out of the city, near the fountain that was in the king's paradise, and had invited all his brethren except Solomon, and had taken with him Joab the captain of the army, and: Abiathar, and the rulers of the tribe of Judah, but had not invited to this feast either Zadok the high priest, or Nathan the prophet, or Benaiah the captain of the guards, nor any of those of the contrary party. This matter was told by Nathan the prophet to Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, that Adonijah was king, and that David knew nothing of it; and he advised her to save herself and her son Solomon, and to go by herself to David, and say to him, that he had indeed sworn that Solomon should reign after him, but that in the mean time Adonijah had already taken the kingdom. He said that he, the prophet himself, would come after her, and when she had spoken thus to the king, would confirm what she had said. Accordingly Bathsheba agreed with Nathan, and went in to the king and worshipped him, and when she had desired leave to speak with him, she told him all things in the manner that Nathan had suggested to her; and related what a supper Adonijah had made, and who they were whom he had invited; Abiathar the and Joab the general, and David's sons, excepting Solomon and his intimate friends. She also said that all the people had their eyes upon him, to know whom he would choose for their king. She desired him also to consider how, after his departure, Adonijah, if he were king, would slay her and her son Solomon.

5. Now, as Bathsheba was speaking, the keeper of the king's chambers told him that Nathan desired to see him. And when the king had commanded that he should be admitted, he came in, and asked him whether he had ordained Adonijah to be king, and delivered the government to him, or not; for that he had made a splendid supper, and invited all his sons, except Solomon; as also that he had invited Joab, the captain of his host, [and Abiathar the high priest,] who are feasting with applauses, and many joyful sounds of instruments, and wish that his kingdom may last for ever; but he hath not invited me, nor Zadok the high priest, nor Benaiah the captain of the guards; and it is but fit that all should know whether this be done by thy approbation or not. When Nathan had said thus, the king commanded that they should call Bathsheba to him, for she had gone out of the room when the prophet came. And when Bathsheba was come, David said, "I swear by Almighty God, that thy son Solomon shall certainly he king, as I formerly swore; and that he shall sit upon my throne, and that this very day also." So Bathsheba worshipped him, and wished him a long life; and the king sent for Zadok the high priest, and Benaiah the captain of the guards; and when they were come, he ordered them to take with them Nathan the prophet, and all the armed men about the palace, and to set his son Solomon upon the king's mule, and to carry him out of the city to the fountain called Gihon, and to anoint him there with the holy oil, and to make him king. This he charged Zadok the high priest, and Nathan the prophet, to do, and commanded them to follow Solomon through the midst of the city, and to sound the trumpets, and wish aloud that Solomon the king may sit upon the royal throne for ever, that so all the people may know that he is ordained king by his father. He also gave Solomon a charge concerning his government, to rule the whole nation of the Hebrews, and particularly the tribe of Judah, religiously and righteously. And when Benaiah had prayed to God to be favorable to Solomon, without any delay they set Solomon upon the mule, and brought him out of the city to the fountain, and anointed him with oil, and brought him into the city again, with acclamations and wishes that his kingdom might continue a long time: and when they had introduced him into the king's house, they set him upon the throne; whereupon all the people betook themselves to make merry, and to celebrate a festival, dancing and delighting themselves with musical pipes, till both the earth and the air echoed with the multitude of the instruments of music.

6. Now when Adonijah and his guests perceived this noise, they were in disorder; and Joab the captain of the host said he was not pleased with these echoes, and the sound of these trumpets. And when supper was set before them, nobody tasted of it, but they were all very thoughtful what would be the matter. Then Jonathan, the son of Abiathar the high priest, came running to them; and when Adonijah saw the young man gladly, and said to him that he was a good messenger, he declared to them the whole matter about Solomon, and the determination of king David: hereupon both Adonijah and all the guests rose hastily from the feast, and every one fled to their own homes. Adonijah also, as afraid of the king for what he had done, became a supplicant to God, and took hold of the horns of the altar, which were prominent. It was also told Solomon that he had so done; and that he desired to receive assurances from him that he would not remember the injury he had done, and not inflict any severe punishment for it. Solomon answered very mildly and prudently, that he forgave him this his offense; but said withal, that if he were found out in any attempt for new innovations, that he would be the author of his own punishment. So he sent to him, and raised him up from the place of his supplication. And when he was come to the king, and had worshipped him, the king bid him go away to his own house, and have no suspicion of any harm; and desired him to show himself a worthy man, as what would tend to his own advantage.

7. But David, being desirous of ordaining his son king of all the people, called together their rulers to Jerusalem, with the priests and the Levites; and having first numbered the Levites, he found them to be thirty-eight thousand, from thirty years old to fifty; out of which he appointed twenty-three thousand to take care of the building of the temple, and out of the same, six thousand to be judges of the people and scribes, four thousand for porters to the house of God, and as many for singers, to sing to the instruments which David had prepared, as we have said already. He divided them also into courses: and when he had separated the priests from them, he found of these priests twenty-four courses, sixteen of the house of Eleazar, and eight of that of Ithamar; and he ordained that one course should minister to God eight days, from sabbath to sabbath. And thus were the courses distributed by lot, in the presence of David, and Zadok and Abiathar the high priests, and of all the rulers; and that course which came up first was written down as the first, and accordingly the second, and so on to the twenty-fourth; and this partition hath remained to this day. He also made twenty-four parts of the tribe of Levi; and when they cast lots, they came up in the same manner for their courses of eight days. He also honored the posterity of Moses, and made them the keepers of the treasures of God, and of the donations which the kings dedicated. He also ordained that all the tribe of Levi, as well as the priests, should serve God night and day, as Moses had enjoined them.

8. After this he parted the entire army into twelve parts, with their leaders [and captains of hundreds] and commanders. Now every part had twenty-four thousand, which were ordered to wait on Solomon, by thirty days at a time, from the first day till the last, with the captains of thousands and captains of hundreds. He also set rulers over every part, such as he knew to be good and righteous men. He set others also to take charge of the treasures, and of the villages, and of the fields, and of the beasts, whose names I do not think it necessary to mention. When David had ordered all these officers after the manner before mentioned, he called the rulers of the Hebrews, and their heads of tribes, and the officers over the several divisions, and those that were appointed over every work, and every possession; and standing upon a high pulpit, he said to the multitude as follows: "My brethren and my people, I would have you know that I intended to build a house for God, and prepared a large quantity of gold, and a hundred thousand talents of silver; but God prohibited me by the prophet Nathan, because of the wars I had on your account, and because my right hand was polluted with the slaughter of our enemies; but he commanded that my son, who was to succeed me in the kingdom, should build a temple for him. Now therefore, since you know that of the twelve sons whom Jacob our forefather had Judah was appointed to be king, and that I was preferred before my six brethren, and received the government from God, and that none of them were uneasy at it, so do I also desire that my sons be not seditious one against another, now Solomon has received the kingdom, but to bear him cheerfully for their lord, as knowing that God hath chosen him; for it is not a grievous thing to obey even a foreigner as a ruler, if it be God's will, but it is fit to rejoice when a brother hath obtained that dignity, since the rest partake of it with him. And I pray that the promises of God may be fulfilled; and that this happiness which he hath promised to bestow upon king Solomon, over all the country, may continue therein for all time to come. And these promises O son, will be firm, and come to a happy end, if thou showest thyself to be a religious and a righteous man, and an observer of the laws of thy country; but if not, expect adversity upon thy disobedience to them."

9. Now when the king had said this, he left off; but gave the description and pattern of the building of the temple in the sight of them all to Solomon: of the foundations and of the chambers, inferior and superior; how many they were to be, and how large in height and in breadth; as also he determined the weight of the golden and silver vessels: moreover, he earnestly excited them with his words to use the utmost alacrity about the work; he exhorted the rulers also, and particularly the tribe of Levi, to assist him, both because of his youth, and because God had chosen him to take care of the building of the temple, and of the government of the kingdom. He also declared to them that the work would be easy, and not very laborious to them, because he had prepared for it many talents of gold, and more of silver, with timber, and a great many carpenters and stone-cutters, and a large quantity of emeralds, and all sorts of precious stones; and he said, that even now he would give of the proper goods of his own dominion two hundred talents, and three hundred other talents of pure gold, for the most holy place, and for the chariot of God, the cherubim, which are to stand over and cover the ark. Now when David had done speaking, there appeared great alacrity among the rulers, and the priests, and the Levites, who now contributed and made great and splendid promises for a future Contribution; for they undertook to bring of gold five thousand talents, and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and many ten thousand talents of iron; and if any one had a precious stone he brought it, and bequeathed it to be put among the treasures; of which Jachiel, one of the posterity of Moses, had the care.

10. Upon this occasion all the people rejoiced, as in particular did David, when he saw the zeal and forward ambition of the rulers, and the priests, and of all the rest; and he began to bless God with a loud voice, calling him the Father and Parent of the universe, and the Author of human and divine things, with which he had adorned Solomon, the patron and guardian of the Hebrew nation, and of its happiness, and of that kingdom which he hath given his son. Besides this, he prayed for happiness to all the people; and to Solomon his son, a sound and a righteous mind, and confirmed in all sorts of virtue; and then he commanded the multitude to bless God; upon which they all fell down upon the ground and worshipped him. They also gave thanks to David, on account of all the blessings which they had received ever since he had taken the kingdom. On the next day he presented sacrifices to God, a thousand bullocks, and as many lambs, which they offered for burnt-offerings. They also offered peace-offerings, and slew many ten thousand sacrifices; and the king feasted all day, together with all the people; and they anointed Solomon a second time with the oil, and appointed him to be king, and Zadok to be the high priest of the whole multitude. And when they had brought Solomon to the royal palace, and had set him upon his father's throne, they were obedient to him from that day.

CHAPTER 15. What Charge David Gave Tohis Son Solomon At The Approach Of His Death, And How Many Things He Left Him For The Building Of The Temple.

1. A Little afterward David also fell into a distemper, by reason of his age; and perceiving that he was near to death, he called his son Solomon, and discoursed to him thus: "I am now, O my son, going to my grave, and to my fathers, which is the common way which all men that now are, or shall be hereafter, must go; from which way it is no longer possible to return, and to know any thing that is done in this world. On which account I exhort thee, while I am still alive, though already very near to death, in the same manner as I have formerly said in my advice to thee, to be righteous towards thy subjects, and religious towards God, that hath given thee thy kingdom; to observe his commands and his laws, which he hath sent us by Moses; and neither do thou out of favor nor flattery allow any lust or other passion to weigh with thee to disregard them; for if thou transgressest his laws, thou wilt lose the favor of God, and thou wilt turn away his providence from thee in all things; but if thou behave thyself so as it behooves thee, and as I exhort thee, thou wilt preserve our kingdom to our family, and no other house will bear rule over the Hebrews but we ourselves for all ages. Be thou also mindful of the transgressions of Joab, 26 the captain of the host, who hath slain two generals out of envy, and those righteous and good men, Abner the son of Ner, and Amasa the son of Jether; whose death do thou avenge as shall seem good to thee, since Joab hath been too hard for me, and more potent than myself, and so hath escaped punishment hitherto. I also commit to thee the son of Barzillai the Gileadite, whom, in order to gratify me, thou shalt have in great honor, and take great care of; for we have not done good to him first, but we only repay that debt which we owe to his father for what he did to me in my flight. There is also Shimei the son of Gera, of the tribe of Benjamin, who, after he had cast many reproaches upon me, when, in my flight, I was going to Mahanaim, met me at Jordan, and received assurances that he should then suffer nothing. Do thou now seek out for some just occasion, and punish him."

2. When David had given these admonitions to his son about public affairs, and about his friends, and about those whom he knew to deserve punishment, he died, having lived seventy years, and reigned seven years and six months in Hebron over the tribe of Judah, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem over all the country. This man was of an excellent character, and was endowed with all virtues that were desirable in a king, and in one that had the preservation of so many tribes committed to him; for he was a man of valor in a very extraordinary degree, and went readily and first of all into dangers, when he was to fight for his subjects, as exciting the soldiers to action by his own labors, and fighting for them, and not by commanding them in a despotic way. He was also of very great abilities in understanding, and apprehension of present and future circumstances, when he was to manage any affairs. He was prudent and moderate, and kind to such as were under any calamities; he was righteous and humane, which are good qualities, peculiarly fit for kings; nor was he guilty of any offense in the exercise of so great an authority, but in the business of the wife of Uriah. He also left behind him greater wealth than any other king, either of the Hebrews or, of other nations, ever did.

3. He was buried by his son Solomon, in Jerusalem, with great magnificence, and with all the other funeral pomp which kings used to be buried with; moreover, he had great and immense wealth buried with him, the vastness of which may be easily conjectured at by what I shall now say; for a thousand and three hundred years afterward Hyrcanus the high priest, when he was besieged by Antiochus, that was called the Pious, the son of Demetrius, and was desirous of giving him money to get him to raise the siege and draw off his army, and having no other method of compassing the money, opened one room of David's sepulcher, and took out three thousand talents, and gave part of that sum to Antiochus; and by this means caused the siege to be raised, as we have informed the reader elsewhere. Nay, after him, and that many years, Herod the king opened another room, and took away a great deal of money, and yet neither of them came at the coffins of the kings themselves, for their bodies were buried under the earth so artfully, that they did not appear to even those that entered into their monuments. But so much shall suffice us to have said concerning these matters.


1 (return)
[ It ought to be here noted, that Joab, Abishai, and Asahel were all three David's nephews, the sons of his sister Zeraiah, as 1 Chronicles 2:16; and that Amasa was also his nephew by his other sister Abigail, ver. 17.]

2 (return)
[ This may be a true observation of Josephus's, that Samuel by command from God entailed the crown on David and his posterity; for no further did that entail ever reach, Solomon himself having never had any promise made him that his posterity should always have the right to it.]

3 (return)
[ These words of Josephus concerning the tribe of Issachar, who foreknew what was to come hereafter," are best paraphrased by the parallel text. 1 Chronicles 12:32, "Who had understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do;" that is, who had so much knowledge in astronomy as to make calendars for the Israelites, that they might keep their festivals, and plough and sow, and gather in their harvests and vintage, in due season.]

4 (return)
[ What our other copies say of Mount Sion, as alone properly called the city of David, 2 Samuel 5:6-9, and of this its siege and conquest now by David, Josephus applies to the whole city Jerusalem, though including the citadel also; by what authority we do not now know perhaps, after David had united them together, or joined the citadel to the lower city, as sect. 2, Josephus esteemed them as one city. However, this notion seems to be confirmed by what the same Josephus says concerning David's and many other kings of Judah's sepulchers, which as the authors of the books of Kings and Chronicles say were in the city of David, so does Josephus still say they were in Jerusalem. The sepulcher of David seems to have been also a known place in the several days of Hyrcanus, of Herod, and of St. Peter, Antiq. B. XIII. ch. 8. sect. 4 B. XVI. ch. 8. sect. 1; Acts 2:29. Now no such royal sepulchers have been found about Mount Sion, but are found close by the north wall of Jerusalem, which I suspect, therefore, to be these very sepulchers. See the note on ch. 15. sect. 3. In the meantime, Josephus's explication of the lame, and the blind, and the maimed, as set to keep this city or citadel, seems to be the truth, and gives the best light to that history in our Bible. Mr. Ottius truly observes, [up. Hayercamp, p. 305,] that Josephus never mentions Mount Sion by that name, as taking it for an appellative, as I suppose, and not for a proper name; he still either styles it The Citadel, or The Upper City; nor do I see any reason for Mr. Ottius's evil suspicions about this procedure of Josephus.]

5 (return)
[ Some copies of Josephus have here Solyma, or Salem; and others Hierosolyma, or Jerusalem. The latter best agree to what Josephus says elsewhere, [Of the War, B. VI. ch. 10.,] that this city was called Solyma, or Salem, before the days of Melchisedec, but was by him called Hierosolyma, or Jerusalem. I rather suppose it to have been so called after Abraham had received that oracle Jehovah Jireh, "The Lord will see, or provide," Genesis 22;14. The latter word, Jireh, with a little alteration, prefixed to the old name Salem, Peace, will be Jerusalem; and since that expression, "God will see," or rather, "God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt-offering," ver. 8, 14, is there said to have been proverbial till the days of Moses, this seems to me the most probable derivation of that name, which will then denote that God would provide peace by that "Lamb of God which was to take away the sins of the world." However, that which is put into brackets can hardly be supposed the genuine words of Josephus, as Dr. Hudson well judges.]

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[ It deserves here to be remarked, that Saul very rarely, and David very frequently, consulted God by Urim; and that David aimed always to depend, not on his own prudence or abilities but on the Divine direction, contrary to Saul's practice. See sect. 2, and the note on Antiq. B. III. ch. 8. sect. 9; and when Saul's daughter, [but David's wife,] Michal, laughed at David's dancing before the ark, 2 Samuel 6:16, &c., and here, sect. l, 2, 3, it is probable she did so, because her father Saul did not use to pay such a regard to the ark, to the Urim there inquired by, or to God's worship before it, and because she thought it beneath the dignity of a king to be so religious.]

7 (return)
[ Josephus seems to be partly in the right, when he observes here that Uzzah was no priest, [though perhaps he might be a Levite,] and was therefore struck dead for touching the ark, contrary to the law, and for which profane rashness death was the penalty by that law, Numbers 4:15, 20. See the like before, Antiq. B. VI. ch. 1. sect. 4. It is not improbable that the putting this ark in a cart, when it ought to have been carried by the priests or Levites, as it was presently here in Josephus so carried from Obededom's house to David's, might be also an occasion of the anger of God on that breach of his law. See Numbers 4:15; 1 Chronicles 15:13.]

8 (return)
[ Josephus here informs us, that, according to his understanding of the sense of his copy of the Pentateuch, Moses had himself foretold the building of the temple, which yet is no where, that I know of, in our present copies. And that this is not a mistake set down by him unwarily, appears by what he observed before, on Antiq. B. IV. ch. 8. sect. 46, how Moses foretold that, upon the Jews' future disobedience, their temple should be burnt and rebuilt, and that not once only, but several times afterward. See also Josephus's mention of God's former commands to build such a temple presently, ch. 14. sect. 2, contrary to our other copies, or at least to our translation of the Hebrew, 2 Samuel 7:6, 7; 1 Chronicles 17:5, 6.]

9 (return)
[ Josephus seems, in this place, with our modern interpreters to confound the two distinct predictions which God made to David and to Nathan, concerning the building him a temple by one of David's posterity; the one belongeth to Solomon, the other to the Messiah; the distinction between which is of the greatest consequence to the Christian religion.]

10 (return)
[ Whether Syria Zobah, 2 Samuel 3:8; 1 Chronicles 18:3-8, be Sophene, as Josephus here supposes; which yet Ptolemy places beyond Euphrates, as Dr. Hudson observes here, whereas Zobah was on this side; or whether Josephus was not here guilty of a mistake in his geography; I cannot certainly determine.]

11 (return)
[ David's reserving only one hundred chariots for himself out of one thousand he had taken from Hadadezer, was most probably in compliance with the law of Moses, which forbade a king of Israel "to multiply horses to himself," Deuteronomy 17:16; one of the principal uses of horses in Judea at that time being for drawing their chariots. See Joshua 12:6; and Antiq. B. V. ch. 1. sect. 18. It deserves here to be remarked, that this Hadad, being a very great king, was conquered by David, whose posterity yet for several generations were called Benhadad, or the son of Hadad, till the days of Hazael, whose son Adar or Ader is also in our Hebrew copy [2 Kings 13:24: written Benhadad, but in Josephus Adad or Adar. And strange it is, that the son of Hazael, said to be such in the same text, and in Josephus, Antiq. B. IX. ch. 8. sect. 7, should still be called the son of Hadad. I would, therefore, here correct our Hebrew copy from Josephus's, which seems to have the true reading, nor does the testimony of Nicolaus of Damascus, produced in this place by Josephus, seem to be faultless, when it says that he was the third of the Hadads, or second of the Benhadads, who besieged Samaria in the days of Ahab. He must rather have been the seventh or eighth, if there were ten in all of that name, as we are assured there were. For this testimony makes all the Hadads or Benhadads of the same line, and to have immediately succeeded one another; whereas Hazael was not of that line, nor is he called Hadad or Benhadad in any copy. And note, that from this Hadad, in the days of David, to the beginning of Hazael, were near two hundred years, according to the exactest chronology of Josephus.]

12 (return)
[ By this great victory over the Idameans or Edomites, the posterity of Esau, and by the consequent tribute paid by that nation to the Jews, were the prophecies delivered to Rebecca before Jacob and Esau were born, and by old Isaac before his death, that the elder, Esau, [or the Edomites,] should serve and the younger, Jacob, [or the Israelites,] and Jacob [or the Israelites] should be Esau's [or the Edomites'] lord, remarkably fulfilled. See Antiq. B. VIII. ch 7. sect. 6; Genesis 25;9,3; and the notes on Antiq. B. I. ch. 18. sect. 5, 6.]

13 (return)
[ That a talent of gold was about seven pounds weight, see the description of the temple ch. 13. Nor could Josephus well estimate it higher, since he here says that David wore it on his head perpetually.]

14 (return)
[ Whether Josephus saw the words of our copies, 2 Samuel 12:31, and 1 Chronicles 20:3, that David put the inhabitants, or at least the garrison of Rabbah, and of the other Ammonite cities, which he besieged and took, under, or cut them with saws, and under, or with harrows of iron, and under, or with axes of iron, and made them pass through the brick-kiln, is not here directly expressed. If he saw them, as is most probable he did, he certainly expounded them of tormenting these Ammonites to death, who were none of those seven nations of Canaan whose wickedness had rendered them incapable of mercy; otherwise I should be inclinable to think that the meaning, at least as the words are in Samuel, might only be this: That they were made the lowest slaves, to work in sawing of timber or stone, in harrowing the fields, in hewing timber, in making and burning bricks, and the like hard services, but without taking away their lives. We never elsewhere, that I remember, meet with such methods of cruelty in putting men to death in all the Bible, or in any other ancient history whatsoever; nor do the words in Samuel seem naturally to refer to any such thing.]

15 (return)
[ Of this weight of Absalom's hair, how in twenty or thirty years it might well amount to two hundred shekels, or to somewhat above six pounds avoirdupois, see the Literal Accomplishment of Prophecies, p. 77, 78. But a late very judicious author thinks that the LXXX. meant not its weight, but its value, Was twenty shekels.—Dr. Wall's Critical Notes on the Old Testament, upon 2 Samuel 14:26. It does not appear what was Josephus's opinion: he sets the text down honestly as he found it in his copies, only he thought that "at the end of days," when Absalom polled or weighed his hair, was once a week.]

16 (return)
[ This is one of the best corrections that Josephus's copy affords us of a text that in our ordinary copies is grossly corrupted. They say that this rebellion of Absalom was forty years after what went before, [Footnote of his reconciliation to his father,] whereas the series of the history shows it could not be more than four years after it, as here in Josephus; whose number is directly confirmed by that copy of the Septuagint version whence the Armenian translation was made, which gives us the small number of four years.]

17 (return)
[ This reflection of Josephus's, that God brought to nought the dangerous counsel of Ahithophel, and directly infatuated wicked Absalom to reject it, [which infatuation is what the Scripture styles the judicial hardening the hearts and blinding the eyes of men, who, by their former voluntary wickedness, have justly deserved to be destroyed, and are thereby brought to destruction,] is a very just one, and in him not unfrequent. Nor does Josephus ever puzzle himself, or perplex his readers, with subtle hypotheses as to the manner of such judicial infatuations by God, while the justice of them is generally so obvious. That peculiar manner of the Divine operations, or permissions, or the means God makes use of in such cases, is often impenetrable by us. "Secret things belong to the Lord our God; but those things that are revealed belong to us, and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law," Deuteronomy 29:29. Nor have all the subtleties of the moderns, as far as I see, given any considerable light in this, and many other the like points of difficulty relating either to Divine or human operations.—See the notes on Antiq. B. V ch. 1. sect. 2; and Antiq. B. IX. ch. 4. sect. 3.]

18 (return)
[ Those that take a view of my description of the gates of the temple, will not be surprised at this account of David's throne, both here and 2 Samuel 18:21, that it was between two gates or portals. Gates being in cities, as well as at the temple, large open places, with a portal at the entrance, and another at the exit, between which judicial causes were heard, and public consultations taken, as is well known from several places of Scripture, 2 Chronicles 31:2; Psalm 9:14; 137:5; Proverbs 1:21; 8:3, 31; 31:23, and often elsewhere.]

19 (return)
[ Since David was now in Mahanairn, and in the open place of that city gate, which seems still to have been built the highest of any part of the wall, and since our other copies say he went up to the chamber over the gate, 2 Samuel 18:33, I think we ought to correct our present reading in Josephus, and for city, should read gate, i.e. instead of the highest part of the city, should say the highest part of the gate. Accordingly we find David presently, in Josephus, as well as in our other copies, 2 Samuel 19:8, sitting as before, in the gate of the city.]

20 (return)
[ By David's disposal of half Mephibosheth's estate to Ziba, one would imagine that he was a good deal dissatisfied, and doubtful whether Mephibosheth's story were entirely true or not; nor does David now invite him to diet with him, as he did before, but only forgives him, if he had been at all guilty. Nor is this odd way of mourning that Mephibosheth made use of here, and 2 Samuel 19:24, wholly free from suspicion by hypocrisy. If Ziba neglected or refused to bring Mephibosheh an ass of his own, on which he might ride to David, it is half to suppose that so great a man as he was should not be able to procure some other beast for the same purpose.]

21 (return)
[ I clearly prefer Josephus's reading here, when it supposes eleven tribes, including Benjamin, to be on the one side, and the tribe of Judah alone on the other, since Benjamin, in general, had been still father of the house of Saul, and less firm to David hitherto, than any of the rest, and so cannot be supposed to be joined with Judah at this time, to make it double, especially when the following rebellion was headed by a Benjamite. See sect. 6, and 2 Samuel 20:2, 4.]

22 (return)
[ This section is a very remarkable one, and shows that, in the opinion of Josephus, David composed the Book of Psalms, not at several times before, as their present inscriptions frequently imply, but generally at the latter end of his life, or after his wars were over. Nor does Josephus, nor the authors of the known books of the Old and New Testament, nor the Apostolical Constitutions, seem to have ascribed any of them to any other author than to David himself. See Essay on the Old Testament, pages 174, 175. Of these metres of the Psalms, see the note on Antiq. B. II. ch. 16. sect. 4.]

23 (return)
[ The words of God by Moses, Exodus 30:12, sufficiently satisfy the reason here given by Josephus for the great plague mentioned in this chapter:—"When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give a ransom for his soul unto the Lord, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague amongst them, when numberest them." Nor indeed could David's or the neglect of executing this law at this numeration of half a shekel apiece with them, when they came numbered. The great reason why nations are so committed by and with their wicked kings and governors that they almost constantly comply with them in their of or disobedience to the Divine laws, and suffer Divine laws to go into disuse or contempt, in order to kings and governors; and that they sub-political laws and commands of those governors, instead of the righteous laws of God, which all mankind ought ever to obey, let their kings and governors say what they please to the contrary; this preference of human before Divine laws seeming to me the principal character of idolatrous or antichristian nations. Accordingly, Josephus well observes, Antiq. B. IV. ch. 8. sect. 17, that it was the duty of the people of Israel to take care that their kings, when they should have them, did not exceed their proper limits of power, and prove ungovernable by the laws of God, which would certainly be a most pernicious thing to their Divine settlement. Nor do I think that negligence peculiar to the Jews: those nations which are called Christians, are sometimes indeed very solicitous to restrain their kings and governors from breaking the human laws of their several kingdoms, but without the like care for restraining them from breaking the laws of God. "Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto men more than to God, judge ye," Acts 4:19. "We ought to obey God rather than men," ver. 29.]

24 (return)
[ What Josephus adds here is very remarkable, that this Mount Moriah was not only the very place where Abraham offered up Isaac long ago, but that God had foretold to David by a prophet, that here his son should build him a temple, which is not directly in any of our other copies, though very agreeable to what is in them, particularly in 1 Chronicles 21:25, 28; 22:1, to which places I refer the reader.]

25 (return)
[ Of the quantity of gold and silver expended in the building of Solomon's temple, and whence it arose, see the description of ch. 13.]

26 (return)
[ David is here greatly blamed by some for recommending Joab and Shimei to be punished by Solomon, if he could find a proper occasion, after he had borne with the first a long while, and seemed to have pardoned the other entirely, which Solomon executed accordingly; yet I cannot discern any fault either in David or Solomon in these cases. Joab's murder of Abner and Amasa were very barbarous, and could not properly be forgiven either by David or Solomon; for a dispensing power in kings for the crime of willful murder is warranted by no law of God, nay, is directly against it every where; nor is it, for certain, in the power of men to grant such a prerogative to any of their kings; though Joab was so nearly related to David, and so potent in the army under a warlike administration, that David durst not himself put him to death, 2 Samuel 3:39; 19:7. Shimei's cursing the Lord's anointed, and this without any just cause, was the highest act of treason against God and his anointed king, and justly deserved death; and though David could forgive treason against himself, yet had he done no more in the case of Shimei than promised him that he would not then, on the day of his return and reinauguration, or upon that occasion, himself put him to death, 2 Samuel 19:22; and he swore to him no further, ver. 23, as the words are in Josephus, than that he would not then put him to death, which he performed; nor was Solomon under any obligation to spare such a traitor.]

BOOK VIII. Containing The Interval Of One Hundred And Sixty-Three Years.—From The Death Of David To The Death Of Ahab.

CHAPTER 1. How Solomon, When He Had Received The Kingdom Took Off His Enemies.

CHAPTER 2. Concerning The Wife Of Solomon; Concerning His Wisdom And Riches; And Concerning What He Obtained Of Hiram For The Building Of The Temple.

CHAPTER 3. Of The Building Of This Temple

CHAPTER 4. How Solomon Removed The Ark Into The Temple How He Made Supplication To God, And Offered Public Sacrifices To Him.

CHAPTER 5. How Solomon Built Himself A Royal Palace, Very Costly And Splendid; And How He Solved The Riddles Which Were Sent Him By Hiram.

CHAPTER 6. How Solomon Fortified The City Of Jerusalem, And Built Great Cities; And How He Brought Some Of The Canaanites Into Subjection, And Entertained The Queen Of Egypt And Of Ethiopia.

CHAPTER 7. How Solomon Grew Rich, And Fell Desperately In Love With Women And How God, Being Incensed At It, Raised Up Ader And Jeroboam Against Him. Concerning The Death Of Solomon.

CHAPTER 8. How, Upon The Death Of Solomon The People Forsook His Son Rehoboam, And Ordained Jeroboam King Over The Ten Tribes.

CHAPTER 9. How Jadon The Prophet Was Persuaded By Another Lying Prophet And Returned [To Bethel,] And Was Afterwards Slain By A Lion. As Also What Words The Wicked Prophet Made Use Of To Persuade The King, And Thereby Alienated His Mind From God.

CHAPTER 10. Concerning Rehoboam, And How God Inflicted Punishment Upon Him For His Impiety By Shishak [King Of Egypt].

CHAPTER 11. Concerning The Death Of A Son Of Jeroboam. How Jeroboam Was Beaten By Abijah Who Died A Little Afterward And Was Succeeded In His Kingdom By Asa. And Also How, After The Death Of Jeroboam Baasha Destroyed His Son Nadab And All The House Of Jeroboam.

CHAPTER 12. How Zerah, King Of The Ethiopians, Was Beaten By Asa; And How Asa, Upon Baasha's Making War Against Him, Invited The King Of The Damascens To Assist Him; And How, On The Destruction Of The House Of Baasha Zimri Got The Kingdom As Did His Son Ahab After Him.

CHAPTER 13. How Ahab When He Had Taken Jezebel To Wife Became More Wicked Than All The Kings That Had Been Before Him; Of The Actions Of The Prophet Elijah, And What Befell Naboth.

CHAPTER 14. How Hadad King Of Damascus And Of Syria, Made Two Expeditions Against Ahab And Was Beaten.

CHAPTER 15. Concerning Jehoshaphat The King Of Jerusalem And How Ahab Made An Expedition Against The Syrians And Was Assisted Therein By Jehoshaphat, But Was Himself Overcome In Battle And Perished Therein.


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