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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 2

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

Verses 1-32

David made King over Judah, Ishdosheth over israel. Asahel slain by Abner

1. Shall I go up?] The defeat and death of Saul had entirely changed David’s position. He had, for some time to come, nothing to fear from Abner, who was occupied elsewhere (2 Samuel 2:8-9). The Philistines would not molest him, as he was their vassal. But even so, he asks God’s wishes, before he takes the decisive step. Hebron] There were several reasons which rendered Hebron suitable. It was fairly central, was a celebrated town, and David had friends there (1 Samuel 30:31). It was 14 m. distant from his birthplace, Bethlehem. No other town in Judah, while Jerusalem was still in Canaanite hands, had the same claim.

5. This was probably an attempt to gain over Jabesh-gilead, the capital of eastern Palestine, and to add the trans-Jordanic tribes to his little kingdom of Judah. If so, it failed for the present. But during his flight from Absalom, it was in eastern Palestine that David found refuge.

8. Ish-bosheth] His name was really Eshbaal (1 Chronicles 8:33) i.e. ’man of Baal.’ The name Baal means ’lord,’ and so could be used for Jehovah (Hosea 2:16), but afterwards it was confused with the Canaanite Baal and altered to Bosheth, i.e. ’Shame’: cp. Mephibosheth. Ish-bosheth was the fourth son of Saul, and now that his three elder brothers were slain (1 Samuel 31:6), he became the heir to the throne: see on 2 Samuel 5:20. Mahanaim] was David’s capital during his flight from Absalom (2 Samuel 17:24).

9. The Ashurites] This is doubtless a mistake for Asher. Abner first gained possession of eastern Palestine, then of Asher in the extreme north of western Palestine, next of the great central plain of Issachar, then of the hill-country of Ephraim and Benjamin.

By this time his master’s dominions touched those of David, and before long a collision occurred (2 Samuel 2:12-13).

10. Forty years old] This number is probably wrong. David was 30 years old when he began to reign (2 Samuel 5:4), and Jonathan would be about the same age or a little younger. Ish-bosheth would be younger still. Probably we should read 20 for 40. In old Hebrew writing, the numbers would be much alike.

10, 11. Two years.. seven years and six months] Either it was five years and six months after the death of Ish-bosheth before the Israelites would accept David, or it took Abner that length of time to establish his master’s son as king (2 Samuel 2:9).

13. The pool of Gibeon] Gibeon was a large and important town (Joshua 10:2), 5 m. N. of Jerusalem. The pool still exists. Robinson mentions it as an open pool 120 ft. long by 100 broad.

14. Play] As this word is not used elsewhere of fighting, a preliminary contest to the serious battle must be intended.

16. Helkath-hazzurim] i.e. ’Field of sharp edges.’

23. The hinder end of the spear] Abner did not wish to kill him. The spear had a sharp point by which it was stuck into the ground. Stood still] out of grief at the sight: cp. 2 Samuel 20:12.

27. The AV and RV represent two different explanations: (a) If Abner had not spoken, the pursuit would have continued till the morning. (b) If Abner had not proposed the mimic fight, there would have been no battle at all. The former explanation seems preferable.

28. Neither fought they any more] i.e. on that day, for see 2 Samuel 3:1.

29. All that night] for fear of pursuit. The plain] RV ’the Arabah,’ i.e. the valley of the Jordan.

Bithron] the name of some ravine they passed through on their way.

32. All night] i.e. all the night after the burial.

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/2-samuel-2.html. 1909.
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