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Bible Commentaries

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

2 Samuel 10

Verses 1-19

Play the Man

2 Samuel 10:12

What is it to play the man? It is:

I. To Take Things Seriously Of Louis XV of France it was said that, being wholly occupied with his amusements, he had not an hour in the day for important matters; while the best that could be said of our own King Charles II was that he was a 'merry monarch'. There was no true manhood there, to say nothing of royal dignity.

II. Cheerful Courage. But along with this seriousness, this clear and frank recognition of things as they are, there must be also, if we would play the man, that courage for which Joab appealed, and a courage which is something better than obstinacy and dogged endurance a courage which has in it something of cheerfulness and hope. If you are a man, then, even though you may feel tired, and though the burden may weigh heavily upon you, and though the prospect may not be too bright, still you will set your face and press on. And the harder the battle, the stonier the path, the more resolute you will be not to be beaten, and not to cry out and make a fuss. Of course it is often difficult to play a manly part in this sense. It is especially difficult to keep going steadily on. That is the hardest kind of courage to practise: the courage that is needed in order to persevere.

III. The Courage to Endure And if you need manhood for patient continuance in well-doing, you need it also, and perhaps more, for patient continuance in the bearing of pain and trouble. It is much easier for us to bear our troubles at first than later on.

IV. Public Spirit. 'Let us play the men for the people and for the cities of our God.' It is not only courage and patience that are demanded of us, but public spirit. There is no nobler ambition that can possess any man's mind, when he looks out into the world and sees how his brethren are faring, than the ambition to play a true man's part in the defence of the needy and the weak, and in the furtherance, though it be by much toil and sacrifice, of every sacred cause which aims at beating down the enemies of mankind, and bringing in the golden age of which so many prophets have dreamed, and for which so many martyrs have died. That, indeed, is the very Spirit of Jesus.

H. Arnold Thomas, Christian World Pulpit, vol. LXXII. 1907, p. 81.

References. X. 12. Canon Atkinson, Christian Manliness, Sermons, 1828-93. XI. 1. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. viii. No. 450; see also vol. xv. No. 895. XII. 5-7. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture 2 Samuel, p. 55.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/edt/2-samuel-10.html. 1910.