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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 23

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

Verses 1-39

2 Samuel 23:3 Comments - Note the similarity in Peter's exhortation to the elders in 1 Peter 5:1-4.

2 Samuel 23:4 And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.

2 Samuel 23:4 “as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain” Scripture References - Note:

Isaiah 53:2, “ For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground : he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.”

2 Samuel 23:8-39 David’s Mighty Men - 2 Samuel 23:8-39 gives us an “honor role” of mighty men whom the Lord used to bring victory, and thus peace, to the nation of Israel. These men laid the foundation with King David for the establishment of the Davidic dynasty, much as the apostles laid the foundation for the early Church. Jesus Christ is a King under this lineage of David. Thus, it is not surprising that in this list of David’s mighty men, we find a parallel in the New Testament with Jesus Christ and His apostles. For example, both groups were anointed and filled with courage and boldness in the midst of their adversaries. The religious leaders noted the boldness of these apostles, realizing that they had been with Jesus.

Acts 4:13, “Now when they beheld the boldness of Peter and John, and had perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”

King Saul is a type and figure of man attempting to establish God’s kingdom in the flesh, but failed. David is an example of how God accomplishes His plans and purposes by the Spirit.

Although many of the men listed in this passage are mentioned nowhere else in the Scriptures, it reveals to us that David could not have accomplished what he did without these brave men and their courageous feats of victory.

David had gone into exile with about six hundred men (1 Samuel 23:13). Of these men, about thirty of them learned to partake of David’s anointing and became mighty men of war as their leader. When we read about the feats that some of the most anointed men accomplished in the following passage of Scripture, we find a clue as to why some of them were able to partake of David’s anointing. These were men who were willing to give up their very lives for David their king. Such a willingness to serve and give one’s life in behalf of opens the door of one’s heart to receive from the same anointing that David walked in. We see this displayed as bravery to stand against the enemy. But within their hearts, they had given themselves a sentence of death to their own will in order to accomplish the will of their king and their people. Such were those who because qualified for an anointing.

This passage notes three mighty men who excelled the others (1) Abishai - chief among three (2 Samuel 23:18), (2) Banaiah (2 Samuel 23:22), (3) Eleazor, son of Dodo (2 Samuel 23:9).

In addition, we find that Abraham had three hundred eighteen (318) mighty men of valor who slew the armies of the five kings of the East (Genesis 14:14). They too were under the anointing to perform such a feat.

2 Samuel 23:8-23 David’s Mighty Men - Joshua told the children of Israel that one person would put a thousand to flight (Joshua 23:10). The Lord could have given this anointing to anyone since the conquest of Joshua, but none found a place with God to walk in such an anointing until David.

Joshua 23:10, “One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.”

2 Samuel 23:8 These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.

2 Samuel 23:8 “The Tachmonite” Comments - 1 Chronicles 11:11 reads “an Hachmonite,” while 2 Samuel 23:8 reads “the Tachmonite.”

1 Chronicles 11:11, “And this is the number of the mighty men whom David had; Jashobeam, an Hachmonite , the chief of the captains: he lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time.”

This slight variation is easily justified when looking at the Hebrew text. The first spelling has the definite article “the” attached to it, creating the pronunciation “Tachmonite,” while the second spelling leaves off the article, giving the pronunciation “Hachmonite.”

Hebrew ( תחכמני ) the Tachmonite

Hebrew ( בן־חכמוני ) an Hachmonite

2 Samuel 23:8 “that sat in the seat, chief among the captains” Comments - Scholars interpret this phrase to mean that he presided over the council when plans were drawn up for war.

2 Samuel 23:8 “the same was Adino the Eznite” Word Study on “Adino” Strong says the Hebrew name “Adino” ( עֲדִינו ) (H5722) means, “his spear,” coming from a root word meaning “slender.” - PTW says his name means, “ornament.” This is the only use of this word in the Old Testament.

Word Study on “the Eznite” Strong says the Hebrew word “Eznite” ( עֶצְנִי ) (H6112) means, “a spear,” coming from an unused root that means, “to be sharp, or strong.” This is the only use of this word in the Old Testament.

Comments - His proper name was Adino the Eznite, but his other name is given in 1 Chronicles as Jashobeam Hebrew ( יָשָׁבְעָם ).

1 Chronicles 11:11, “And this is the number of the mighty men whom David had; Jashobeam, an Hachmonite, the chief of the captains : he lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time.”

There is a possible reference to him again in 1 Chronicles 12:6; 1 Chronicles 27:2.

1 Chronicles 12:6, “Elkanah, and Jesiah, and Azareel, and Joezer, and Jashobeam , the Korhites,”

1 Chronicles 27:2, “Over the first course for the first month was Jashobeam the son of Zabdiel: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.”

Thus, some scholars believe the KJV translation, “that sat in the seat,” Hebrew ( בשבת ישב ) should read as a proper name, “Josheb-bassebet.” Thus, 2 Samuel 23:8 would read, “Josheb-bassebet, the Hachmonite, chief among the captains” in the place of “The Tachmonite that sat in the seat,” which better matches its parallel passage in 1 Chronicles 11:11. This is reflected in other translations of this verse.

ASV, “These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite, chief of the captains ; the same was Adino the Eznite, against eight hundred slain at one time.”

JPS, “These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite, chief of the captains ; the same was Adino the Eznite; he lifted up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.”

RSV, “These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-basshe'beth a Tah-che'monite; he was chief of the three ; he wielded his spear against eight hundred whom he slew at one time.”

WEB, “These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite, chief of the captains ; the same was Adino the Eznite, against eight hundred slain at one time.”

2 Samuel 23:8 “eight hundred” Comments - 1 Chronicles 11:11 reads “three hundred.”

1 Chronicles 11:11, “And this is the number of the mighty men whom David had; Jashobeam, an Hachmonite, the chief of the captains: he lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time.”

Note the variant readings in the Hebrew text:

Hebrew ( עַל־שְׁמֹנֶ֥ה מֵא֛וֹת ) “against eight hundred”

Hebrew ( עַל־שְׁלֹשׁ־מֵא֥וֹת ) “against three hundred”

Scholars suggest a variety of explanations:

1. A Copyist Error - A look at the Hebrew text shows that both numbers begin with the letter ( ש ), suggesting a copyist error, as many scholars believe is the cause of this discrepancy.

2. Adino the Eznite Fought Against 800, but Slew 300 - John Gill suggests that he fought against eight hundred, but slew only three hundred. He refers to the LXX reading to justify this interpretation. Brenton reads, “he drew his sword against eight hundred soldiers at once,” [67]

[67] John Gill, 2 Samuel, in John Gill’s Expositor, in e-Sword, v. 7.7.7 [CD-ROM] (Franklin, Tennessee: e-Sword, 2000-2005), comments on 2 Samuel 23:8.

3. A Reference to Two Different Battles - Another explanation says that there were two different battles fought by this same individual, once against eight hundred, and the other against three hundred.

2 Samuel 23:10 He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.

2 Samuel 23:10 “He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary” Comments - Though weariness set in, the Spirit of God sustained the man's strength to continue fighting. He had faith in God’s protection and God’s hand was on his side, so the power of God was with him. Likewise are kept by the power of God through faith (1 Peter 1:5) and God keeps us from evil (2 Timothy 4:18).

1 Peter 1:5, “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

2 Timothy 4:18, “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Here Eleazar denied the weariness of flesh and trusted God for his strength.

2 Samuel 23:10 “and his hand clave unto the sword” Comments - Our sword is God’s Word (Ephesians 6:17). God's Word is the source of our life (John 6:63, Proverbs 4:20-22, Psalms 119:50).

Ephesians 6:17, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:”

John 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

Psalms 119:50, “This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.”

Proverbs 4:20, “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”

We are to cling to the Word of God, who fight our battles. 1 Timothy 6:12 is illustrated by this verse. Eleazar’s hand conformed to the shape of the handle of the sword until it was not able to easily straighten out. If we cling to God’s Word, our lives will conform to the Word of God until a time will come when our lives will not be easily removed from the Word of God.

1 Timothy 6:12, “ Fight the good fight of faith , lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”

2 Samuel 23:10 “The Lord wrought and great victory that day” Comments - God was working in him (Philippians 2:12). Also, God received glory in battle.

Philippians 2:12, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

2 Samuel 23:10 “the people returned after him only to spoil” - Comments - Others can benefit from our struggles against sin and the flesh and the victories that we receive thru it. Note how Paul used his life as an example for others to follow.

2 Samuel 23:13 And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim.

2 Samuel 23:13 Comments - King David has organized his army in groups. This is why he can have thirty chief men. Note how Moses also organized his army in Exodus 18:25, “And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.”

2 Samuel 23:15 And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!

2 Samuel 23:15 Comments - Bethlehem was the city where David was born. He was raised drinking water from this well. I remember when I first moved from home to college. I never found water that tasted quite so good as that from the deep well at my house. David longed for a drink of water that would satisfy his thirst, and nothing tasted better to him than the water he grew up drinking.

2 Samuel 23:16 And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.

2 Samuel 23:16 “but poured it out unto the LORD” - Comments - We read in Numbers 28:1-8 about the daily burnt offering of one lamb each morning and a lamb in the evening. These daily offerings were to be accompanied with a meat offering of flour mixed with oil and a drink offering of strong wine. David poured out this water as part of the daily offering unto the Lord.

Numbers 28:7, “And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the LORD for a drink offering.”

2 Samuel 23:16 Comments - The water from the well of Bethlehem represented David’s joy in the Lord from the presence of the Holy Spirit upon him, which joy he offered back to the Father by pouring out the water unto Him. This joy of the Lord, which comes from the throne of God by staying in the presence of God, and which joy surpasses our power to tell, cannot be fully received by others. It is a joy that is shared only between the Lord and oneself. Thus, we can only give it back to Him, as David poured out his drink offering unto the Lord. David could have shared this water with others, but it was representative of a joy that men would not understand, so it had to be offered unto the Lord. Note these words from Frances J. Roberts:

“Ye must walk in the Spirit, and in so doing keep thyself from becoming entangled in the things of the flesh. Ye just live in obedience to the Spirit, and thus be kept from being in bondage to the desires of the flesh. Myself cannot keep you except ye first make this choice. It was concerning this matter that Jude wrote his word of admonition: And ye, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith by praying in the Holy Ghost, keeping yourselves in the love of God (Jude 1:20-21). By setting your soul through deliberate choice of your will to pursue the worship of God by praying in the Spirit, thou shalt find thy faith strengthened and thy life bathed in the love of God. With thy faith laying hold upon God’s promises and power, and thine actions motivated by the love of God, thou wilt find thyself in the path of the activity of God: His blessing shall be upon thee, and He will accomplish His works through thee. Thou needest make no plans nor resort to any clever strategy. Keep yourself in the love of God. Pray in the Spirit. Rejoice evermore. Set your affections upon Christ. God will do through you and for His glory such things as it pleases Him to do, and thou shalt rejoice with Him. For as thine own spirit is aware when His Spirit is grieved within thee, so shalt thou also be aware when His Spirit rejoices within thee. This is His joy. This is the joy He promised. This is the greatest joy that can come to the human heart, for it is the joy of God, and the joy of God transcends the joy of man. Surely thou shalt not only rejoice but be exceeding glad, with a gladness surpassing thy power to tell. So shalt thou give this back to Him, since no other can fully receive it, even as David poured out to Him the precious water from the well of Bethlehem (2 Samuel 23:15-16). Praise His wonderful name.” [68]

[68] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 83-4.

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 23". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/2-samuel-23.html. 2013.
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