Meyer, F.B. – David, Shepherd, Psalmist, King

DAVID SHEPHERD, PSALMIST, KING

F. B. MEYER

PREFACE

IT has been supposed that the incident we are now to consider belongs to a subsequent page in David’s history, following the narrative of the slaying of Goliath, so as to make that the occasion of the young shepherd’s first introduction to Saul. This transposition seems to be called for by Saul’s slowness to recognize his former minstrel in the young warrior that stood before him with the head of the Philistines’ champion in his hand.

But, after all, this may be accounted for by David’s manly growth between the period of his minstrelsy and his first great exploit in the battlefield. How long that interval lasted we cannot tell; but during its course David had grown from youth to manhood, his figure becoming stalwart and robust, his face moulded by the growing soul within. If we reject this explanation, and do not allow the incident to remain where we find it, we have to face the further difficulty of how Saul’s courtiers could dare to introduce to their master one whose successes had already stirred his jealousy (1Sa 18:9); or why it was necessary to employ so much circumlocution to describe the personality of the young singer (1Sa 16:18). Surely it would have been sufficient to recall what David ,had done in the vale of Elah to identify him at once. We hold, therefore, that this story should stand in the place it has held ever since this narrative was penned.

After his anointing, David returned to his sheep. When Saul, advised by his courtiers, sent for him to charm away his melancholy, this was the specific indication he gave to Jesse, his father, “Send me David, thy son, which is with the sheep.” It says much for the simplicity and ingenuousness of the boy’s character that he should

THE character and life of DAVID are supremely fascinating, not only to holy souls, whose deepest thoughts have been expressed in his unrivalled Psalms, but to all men: because of their humanness; their variety; their sharply contrasted experiences; their exhibition of traits of generosity and courage which always elicit admiration.

Whilst sketching every period of David’s life, I have concentrated myself on those passages which trace the steps by which the shepherd became the king. It was in these that his character was formed, his sweetest psalms composed, and those manifold experiences encountered which enabled him to interpret and utter the universal heart of man.

Sweet Singer of the World; Ancestor of Christ; Founder of a Dynasty of Kings; a Prophet, inspired and taught, as the Apostle Peter tells us, by the Holy Ghost; the type and precursor of Him, who, though his Son, was also his Lord; the man after God’s own heart, who “did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from any thing that He commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.” So long as time lasts, DAVID must always enlist affection and command respect.

F. B. MEYER

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