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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 8

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

Verses 1-18

David’s Victories, and a List of his Officers

This chapter concludes this account of David’s reign. The remainder of the book is taken from a different source.

1. Metheg-ammah] RV ’the bridle of the mother city.’ This is supposed to mean ’the authority of the capital,’ namely, Gath (cp. 1 Chronicles 18:1). Many take it, however, as the name (perhaps corrupted) of a place which David took from the Philistines. RM retains Metheg-ammah.

2. Casting them down to the ground] RV ’making them to lie down on the ground.’ David then slew two out of every three. The reason for this severity is not known. Gifts] Moab continued tributary till the death of Ahab (2 Kings 3:5).

3. Hadadezer] i.e. ’Hadad is a help’: cp. Eliezer, Joezer, Azariah. Hadad was the supreme god of Syria. In 2 Samuel 10:16 his name is given more correctly as Hadarezer. Zobah] a Syrian kingdom, whose territory seems to have lain N. of Damascus and not far from the Euphrates. To recover his border] Chronicles reads ’to establish his dominion’ (1 Chronicles 18:3).

4. A thousand chariots, and seven hundred horsemen] RV ’a thousand and seven hundred horsemen.’

5. Damascus] is situated ’in a plain of vast size and extreme fertility, which lies east of the great chain of Anti-Libanus, on the edge of the Desert.’ It has always been one of the most important cities of Syria. It succeeded in throwing off the yoke of Israel in the reign of Solomon (1 Kings 11:24). Its history is related in the books of Kings.

6. Syria of Damascus] The phrase indicates the small Aramæan states in the regions of Damascus.

8. Exceeding much brass] i.e. copper. It is said that the Egyptians of the 18th and 19th dynasties got so much copper from Syria that they gave up working the mines on Mt. Sinai.

9. Hamath] on the Orontes.

10. Joram] LXX ’Jeddoram,’ Chronicles ’Hadoram.’ A Jewish scribe has probably altered Hadoram to the more familiar Joram.

12, 13. Syria.. Syrians] LXX and Chronicles (1 Chronicles 18:12) rightly read ’Edom,’ ’Edomites.’

15-18. These vv. are intended by the author to form the conclusion of his history of David’s reign. Another list of officers is given in 2 Samuel 20:23-26.

17. Zadok.. and Abimelech.. were the priests] Zadok seems to have become chief priest under Saul: David had his own high priest, Abiathar. He solved the resulting difficulty by dividing the office between them. But for the prompt action of Joab, he would probably have divided the command of the army between Joab and Abner. Ahirmelech the son of Abiathar] His name was really Abiathar, the son of Ahirmelech (see 1 Samuel 22:20; 2 Samuel 15:35). But both in OT. and NT. the names are continually confused.

18. The Cherethites and the Pelethites] see on 1 Samuel 30:14; They formed part of David’s foreign bodyguard.

Chief rulers] RV ’priests.’ There can be no doubt that the translation of RV is correct, for the word has never any other meaning than that of ’priests.’ But it is far from clear what were the precise duties which they discharged. Zadok and Abiathar were the priests for the nation, while 2 Samuel 20:26 and 1 Kings 4:5 show that these ’priests’ stood in some special relation to the king. Accordingly Ewald conjectures that they were his domestic priests. In Egypt, the king’s confidential advisers are said to have been chosen from among the priests, and it is this view of their functions which is taken in Chronicles. ’The sons of David were chief about the king.’ See Intro. § 5.

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/2-samuel-8.html. 1909.
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