Story Eleven

 •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 7
THE SOUND IN THE TREE-TOPS
AFTER Dā́ vid had reigned as king over the tribe of Jū́ dah for seven years, and when Sa̤ul's son, Ĭsh=bṓ sheth was dead, all the men in Ĭś̄ ra-el saw Dā́ vid was the one man who was fit to be king over the land. So the rulers and elders of all the twelve tribes came to Dā́ vid in Hḗ bron, and said to him, "We are all your brothers; and in time past, when Sa̤ul was king, it was you who led the people; and the Lord said, Dā́ vid shall be the shepherd of my people, and shall be prince over Ĭś̝ ra-el.' Now we are ready to make you king over all the land.”
Then Dā́ vid and the elders of Ĭś̝ ra-el made an agreement together before the Lord in Hḗ bron; and they anointed Dā́ vid as king over all the twelve tribes of Ĭś̝ ra-el, from Dan in the far north to Bḗ ershḗ bȧ in the south. Dā́ vid was now thirty-seven years old, and he reigned over all Ĭś̝ ra-el thirty-three years.
He found the land in a helpless state, everywhere under the power of the Phĭ-lĭś tines, and with many of its cities still held by the Cā́ năan-īte people. The city of Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm, on Mount Zī́ ŏn, had been kept as a stronghold by a Cā́ ná an-īte tribe called the Jĕb́ u-sītes, ever since the days of Jŏsh́ u-ȧ. Dā́ vid led his men of war against it, but the Jĕb́ u-sītes, from their high walls and steep rocks, laughed at him.
To mock King Dā́ vid, they placed on the top of the wall the blind and lame people, and they called aloud to Dā́ vid, "Even Hind men and lame men can keen you out of our city.”
This made Dā́ vid very angry, and he said to his men, "Whoever first climbs up the wall, and strikes down the blind and the lame upon it, he shall be the chief captain and general of the whole army.”
Then all the soldiers of Dā́ vid rushed against the wall, each striving to be first. The man who was able first to reach the enemies and strike them down was Jṓ ăb, the son of Dā́ vid's sister Zĕr-u-ī́ ah; and he became the commander of Dā́ vid's army, a place which he held as long as Dā́ vid lived. After the fortress on Mount Zī́ on was taken from the Jĕb́ u-sītes, Dā́ vid made it larger and stronger, and chose it for his royal house; and around it the city of Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇˗lĕm grew up as the chief city in Dā́ vid's kingdom.
The Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝ soon found that there was a new king in Ĭś̝ ra-el and a ruler very different from King Sa̤ul. They gathered their army and came against Dā́ vid. He met them in the valley of Rĕph́ a-ĭm, a little to the south of Jē̇-rṳ́ sa-lĕm, and won a great victory over them, and carried away from the field the images of their gods; but that the Ĭś̝ ra-el-ītes might not be led to worship them, Dā́ vid burned them all with fire.
A second time the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝ came up and encamped in the valley of Rĕph́ a-ĭm. And when Dā́ vid asked of the Lord what he should do, the Lord said to him, "Do not go against them openly. Turn to one side, and be ready to come against them from under the mulberry-trees; and wait there until you hear a sound overhead in the tops of the trees. When you hear that sound, it will be a sign that the Lord goes before you. Then march forth and fight the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝.”
And Dá̄ vid did as the Lord commanded him; and again a great victory was won over the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝. But Dā́ vid did not rest when he had driven the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝ back to their own land. He marched with his men into the Phĭ-lĭś tines̝ country, and took their chief city, Găth, which was called "the mother city of the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝." He conquered all their land; and ended the war of a hundred years by making all the Phĭ-lĭś tĭne plain subject to Ĭś̝ ra-el.
Now that the land was free, Dá̝ vid thought that the time had come to bring the holy ark of the Lord out from its hiding-place, where it had remained all through the rule of Săḿ u-el and the reign of Sa̤ul. This was in Kīŕ jath=jḗ a-rĭm, called also Bā́ al-ē, a town on the northern border of Jū́ dah. Dā́ vid prepared for the ark a new Tabernacle on Mount Zī́ ŏn; and with the chosen men of all the tribes, he went to bring up the ark to Mount Zī́ ŏn.
They did not have the ark carried by the priests, as it had been taken from place to place in the earlier days; but they stood it on a wagon, to be drawn by oxen, driven by the sons of the man, in whose house the ark had been standing, though these men were not priests. And before the ark walked Dā́ vid and the men of Ĭś̝ ra-el, making music upon all kinds of musical instruments.
At one place the road was rough, and the oxen stumbled, and the ark almost fell from the wagon. Uź zah, one of the men driving the oxen, took hold of the ark to steady it. God's law forbade anyone except a priest from touching the ark, and God was displeased with Uź zah for his carelessness; and Uź zah fell dead by the ark of the Lord.
This death alarmed Dā́ vid and all the people. Dā́ vid was afraid to have the ark of God come into his city. He stopped the procession and placed the ark in the house nearby of a man named Ṓ bed=ḗ dom. There it stayed three months. They were afraid that it night bring harm to Ṓ bed=ḗ dom and his family; but instead it brought a blessing upon them all.
When Dā́ vid heard of the blessings that had come to Ṓ bed=é dom with the ark, he resolved to bring it into his own city on Mount Zī́ ŏn. This time the priests carried it as the law commanded, and sacrifices were offered upon the altar. They brought up the ark into its new home on Mount Zī́ ŏn, where a Tabernacle was standing ready to receive it. Then as of old the priests began to offer the daily sacrifices, and the services of worship were held, after having been neglected through so many years.
Dā́ vid was now living in his palace on Mount Zī́ ŏn, and he thought of building a temple to take the place of the Tabernacle, for the ark and its services. He said to Nā́ than, who was a prophet, through whom the Lord spoke to the people, "See, now I live in a house of cedar; but the ark of God stands within the curtains of a tent.”
"Go, do all that is in your heart," answered Nā́ than, the prophet, "for the Lord is with you.”
And that night the voice of the Lord came to Nā́ than, saying, "Go and tell my servant Dā́ vid, thus saith the Lord, 'Since the time when the children of Ĭś̝ ra-el came out of Ḗ ġy̆pt, my ark has been in a tent; and I have never said to the people, build me a house of cedar. Say to my servant Dā́ vid, I took you from the sheep-pasture, where you were following the sheep, and I have made you a prince over my people Ĭś̝ ra-el, and I have given you a great name and great power. And now, because you have done my will, I will give you a house. Your son shall sit on the throne after you, and he shall build me a house and a Temple. And I will give you and your children and your descendants, those who shall come from you, a throne and a kingdom that shall last forever.”
This promise of God, that under Dā́ vid's line should rise a kingdom to last always, was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who came long afterward from the family of Dā́ vid, and who reigns as King in heaven and in earth,