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David the Shepherd Boy   By:

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[Illustration: "There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep." 1. Sam. xvi. 11.]

DAVID THE SHEPHERD BOY

By AMY STEEDMAN

[Illustration]

THOMAS NELSON & SONS NEW YORK

BOOKS IN THIS SERIES

JOSEPH THE DREAMER THE BABE IN THE BULRUSHES DAVID THE SHEPHERD BOY THE CHILD JESUS THE GOOD PHYSICIAN THE GOOD SHEPHERD

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

The Story of David

[Illustration]

Up amongst the hills, perched like the nest of a bird on one of the long low ridges, lies the little town of Bethlehem. It was but a small town at the time this story begins, and there was nothing about it to make it at all famous. It lay out of the beaten track, and any one wanting to visit it must needs climb the long winding road that led from the plain beneath, through olive groves and sheepfields, up to the city gate a steep, difficult road, leading nowhere but to the little town itself.

It was in these fields on the slope of the hills that David, the shepherd boy of Bethlehem, spent his days watching his father's flocks. That father, whose name was Jesse, was one of the chief men of the town, and David was the youngest of all his sons.

There were seven big brothers at home, and it was no wonder Jesse was proud of his sons. They were tall, splendid young men, all of them doing men's work now, and taking very little notice of the youngest, who was still only a small boy, chiefly useful in looking after the sheep.

But though David was but little thought of, no one could say that he did not do his work well. There was not a more careful or watchful shepherd on all the hills around Bethlehem. He knew each one of his sheep, and never allowed one to stray. He always led them to the best pasture, and found the coolest and freshest water for them to drink. Then, too, he was as brave as a lion, and if any wild beast came lurking round hoping to snatch a lamb away, David was up at once and would attack the fiercest beast single handed. Nothing could ever do any harm to his flock.

Now it happened that one day while David was, as usual, out in the fields that a sudden stir of excitement awoke in the little town of Bethlehem. Men gathered round the city gate, and with anxious, fearful eyes looked down the long white road that led up from the plain below. And yet there seemed nothing there to make them look so terrified and anxious. Only an old feeble man was slowly climbing up towards the town. He was driving a heifer before him, and carrying what looked like a horn in his hand.

[Illustration: An old feeble man was slowly climbing up towards the town.]

But the people whispered together that the old man was none other than Samuel, the prophet of the Lord, who carried God's messages. He must be bringing a message to them, and who knew if it was good or evil. They tried with uneasy minds to remember if they had been doing anything wrong of late as they watched the old man drawing nearer and nearer. Then at last the chief men of the town went out to meet him.

"Comest thou peaceably?" they asked anxiously.

The old man lifted his head and looked at them kindly as he echoed their words.

"Peaceably," he answered at once; "I am come to sacrifice unto the Lord."

A great sigh of relief went up from the people. The visit was a mark of God's favour and not of His displeasure.

It was true, indeed, that Samuel had come to offer sacrifice, but he had come also on a secret errand about which no man knew but himself. God had bidden him take his horn of oil and anoint one of the sons of Jesse to be king over His people instead of Saul, the present king, who had displeased Him. But it was to be done secretly. Saul must not hear of it, or his vengeance would be swift.

It was in Jesse's house that the feast of the sacrifice was prepared, and Samuel ordered that all the sons of the house should pass before him as they went to attend the sacrifice... Continue reading book >>




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