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DAVID AND JONATHAN.
Jacob called it Gilead. And Laban said, This heap is
witness between me and thee this day.
is witness betwixt me and thee.
The God of
Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their
father, judge betwixt us. Fear of his father Isaac. in the mountain, and called his brethren to eat bread: and they did eat bread."1 Here, again, the cutting of the covenant and the sharing of a feast in connection with the rite-the "cutting" and the "eating"-are in accordance with all that we know of the primitive rite of blood-covenanting in the East, in earlier and in later times.
And Jacob sware by the And Jacob offered a sacrifice
Yet more explicit is the description of the bloodcovenanting which brought into loving unity David and Jonathan. It was when the faith-filled heroism of the stripling shepherd-boy was thrilling all Israel with grateful admiration that David was brought into the royal presence of Saul, and of Saul's more than royal hero-son, Jonathan, to receive the thanks of the is sacrificed, cut into small pieces, and cooked in a pot. "Then he who is to take the oath, holding his hand, or a long kriss of the finest sort, over the grave-stone, and over the cooked animal, says: If such and such be not the case, may I be afflicted with the worst evils.' The whole of the company then partake of the food" (A Naturalist's Wanderings, p. 198 f.). This seems to be a vestige of the primitive custom of eating on the witness-heap of an oath.
1 Gen. 31: 44-54.
king for the rescue of the tarnished honor of the Israelitish host. Modestly, David gave answer to the question of the king. "And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul." "Then Jonathan and David cut a covenant, because he [Jonathan] loved him [David] as his own soul [as his own life, his own blood]." Then followed that gift of raiment and of arms which was a frequent accompaniment of bloodcovenanting. "And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his apparel, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle." From that hour the hearts of David and Jonathan were as one. Jonathan could turn away from father and mother, and could repress all personal ambition, and all purely selfish longings, in proof of his loving fidelity to him who was dear to him as his own blood. His love for David was "wonderful, passing
the love of women."5
Nor was this loving compact between Jonathan and David for themselves alone. It was for their posterity as well.6 "The Lord be with thee, as he hath been
with my father," said Jonathan.
And thou shalt
2 See pages 14, 24, 28, 35 f., 62, supra.
41 Sam. 19: I-7.
6 See pages 10, 53, supra.
LEGACIES OF FRIENDSHIP.
not only while yet I live shew me the kindness of the Lord, that I die not: but also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever: no, not [even] when the Lord hath cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth. So Jonathan cut a covenant with the house of David, saying [as in the imprecations of a blood-covenant], And the Lord shall require it [fidelity to this covenant] at the hand of David's enemies. And Jonathan caused David to swear again, for the love he had to him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul [his own life, his own blood]." And years afterward, when the Lord had given David rest from all his enemies around about him, the memory of that blood-covenant pledge came back to him; "and David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan's sake?" The seating of lame Mephibosheth at David's royal table3 was an illustration of the unfailing obligation of the primitive covenant of blood-which had bound together David and Jonathan, for themselves and for theirs forever.
9. THE BLOOD COVENANT IN THE GOSPELS.
And now from David to David's greater Son; from type to anti-type; from symbol and prophecy to reality and fruition.
11 Sam. 20: 13-17. 22 Sam. 7: I; 9: I.
32 Sam. 9: 2-13.
Death had passed upon all men. Yet in the hearts of the death-smitten there was still a longing for life. Sin-leprous souls yearned for that in-flow of new being which could come only through inter-union with the divine nature, in oneness of life with the Author and Source of all life. Revelation and prophecy had assured the possibility and the hope of such interunion. Rite and ceremony and symbol, the wide. world over, signified man's desire, and man's expectation, of covenanted access to God, through personal surrender, and through life-giving, life-representing blood.
But where men yielded up unauthorized offerings, even of their own blood, or of the very lives of their first-born, they confessed themselves unsatisfied with their attitude God-ward; and, where men followed a divinely prescribed ritual, they were taught by that very ritual itself that the outpoured blood and the partaken flesh of the sacrifices were, at the best, but mere shadows of good things to come. The whole creation was groaning and travailing in pain together, until the birth of the world's promised redemption.2
The symbolic covenant of blood-friendship was between God and Abraham's seed; and in that seed were all the nations of the earth to have a blessing. God had called on Abraham to surrender to him his only
1 Heb. 10: I-4.
2 Rom. 8: 22.
THE DIVINE-HUMAN BLOOD.
son, in proof of his unfailing love; and, when Abraham had stood that test of his faith, God had spared to him the proffered offering. It now remained for God to transcend Abraham's proof of friendship, and to spare not his own and only Son,' but to make him a sacrificial offering, by means of which the covenant of blood-friendship, between God and the true seed of Abraham, might become a reality instead of a symbol. Abraham had given to God of his own blood, by the rite of circumcision, in token of his desire for interunion with God. God was now to give of his blood, in the blood of his Son, for the re-vivifying of the sons of Abraham in "the blood of the eternal covenant."
Then, in the fullness of time, there came down into this world He who from the beginning was one with God, and who now became one with man. Becoming a sharer of the nature of those who were subject to death, and who longed for life, Jesus Christ was here among men as the fulfillment of type and prophecy; to meet and to satisfy the holiest and the uttermost yearnings of the human soul after eternal life, in communion and union with God. "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, truth." "In him was life [life that death could not destroy; life that could destroy death], and the life [which was in him] was the light [the guide and the
1 Rom. 8:32.
2 Heb. 13: 20.