Changes of Fortune
2 Samuel 21:10-14
And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her on the rock…

Some of the worst distresses have come to scenes of royalty and wealth. What porter at the mansion's gate has not let in champing and lathered steed bringing evil despatch? On what tesselated hall has there not stood the solemn bier? Under what exquisite fresco has there not been enacted a tragedy of disaster? What curtained couch hath heard no err of pain? What harp hath never trilled with sorrow? What lordly nature hath never leaned against carved pillar and made utterance of woe. Gall is not less bitter when quaffed from a golden chalice than when taken from a pewter mug. Sorrow is often attended by running footmen, and laced lackeys mounted behind. Queen Anne Boleyn is desolate in the palace of Henry VIII. Adolphus wept in German castles over the hypocrisy of friends. Pedro I. among Brazilian diamonds shivered with fear of massacre. Stephen of England sat on a rocking throne. And every mast of pride has bent in the storm, and the highest mountains of honour and fame are covered with perpetual snow. Sickness will frost the rosiest cheek, wrinkle the smoothest brow, and stiffen the sprightliest step. Rizpah quits the courtly circle and sits on the rock. Perhaps you look back upon scenes different from those in which now from day to day you mingle. You have exchanged the plenty and luxuriance of your father's house for privation and trials known to God and your own heart. The morning of life was flushed with promise. Troops of calamities since then have made desperate charge upon you. Darkness has come. Sorrows have swooped like carrion birds from the sky and barked like jackals from the thicket. You stand amid your slain, anguished and woestruck. So it has been in all ages. Vashti must doff the spangled robes of the Persian Court, and go forth blasted from the palace gate. Hagar exchanges Oriental comfort for the wilderness of Beersheba. Mary Queen of Scots must pass. out from flattery and pomp to suffer ignominious death in the Castle of Fotheringay. The wheel of fortune keeps turning, and mansions and huts exchange, and he who rode in the chariot pushes the barrow, and instead of the glare of festal lights is the simmering of the peat-fire, and in place of Saul's palace is the rock, the cold rock, the desolate rock. But that is the place to which God comes. Jacob with his head on a stone saw the shining ladder. Israel in the desert beheld the marshalling of the fiery baton. John on barren Patmos heard trumpeting, and the clapping of wings, and the stroke of seraphic fingers on golden harps, and nothing but heavenly strength nerved Rizpah for her appalling mission amid the scream of wild birds and the steady tread of hungry monsters.

(T. De Wilt Talmage.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.

WEB: Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water was poured on them from the sky. She allowed neither the birds of the sky to rest on them by day, nor the animals of the field by night.

A Mother's Love and Grief
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