Bible Commentaries

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 14

Verse 2

Thecua, twelve miles south of Jerusalem. (St. Jerome) --- Joab causes this unknown woman to come from the country to conceal his design, (Calmet) hoping that Absalom would be his father's successor. (Menochius)

Verse 4

Save me. So the Jews frequently repeated Hosanna; and David addressed God, save us, 1 Paralipomenon xvi. 35. (Tirinus)

Verse 5

Dead. Some conclude from ver. 16, that this is a true history; but it appears rather, that it was only a parable, (ver. 19.; Calmet) invented by Joab. (Menochius)

Verse 7

Heir. She expresses their sentiments more than their words. (Calmet) --- Some of the relations might desire to obtain the inheritance. (Menochius) --- See Numbers xxxv. 18. --- Spark. Posterity is often denoted by a lamp, chap. xxi. 17. Hebrew and Septuagint, "my coal," reserved to enkindle my fire, (Calmet) or to perpetuate our name in Israel, (Haydock) or that of his father, to whose title the son succeeded. The mother could claim no inheritance. (Menochius)

Verse 9

Guiltless, if the murderer be not brought to execution. I am willing to bear all the blame and punishment. (Calmet) --- Abigail and Rebecca speak in the same manner, 1 Kings xxv. 24., and Genesis xxvii. 13. (Tirinus) --- Though kings may not pardon as they please, yet in this instance David might protect the widow's son, as there was no witness to prove that he had committed the murder. (Menochius) --- The woman was not satisfied with the former promise. She wished to extort something more decisive. She intimates that the danger is pressing, and if any misfortune should arrive, she cannot impute it to the king, (Calmet) which gives him occasion to encourage her the more. (Haydock)

Verse 11

Multiplied, or overwhelm me with their numbers. (Calmet)

Verse 13

Exile, the banished Absalom, (Haydock) who, in similar circumstances, has only committed a crime like that which the king is willing to pardon at the entreaty of a poor widow; though all the people of God seem interested for the welfare of Absalom, whom they look upon as the heir apparent. This was the drift of the whole parable. (Calmet) --- To sin, may be referred to Absalom, who might be driven by despair to worship idols. (Menochius)

Verse 14

Earth; so great was the distress of the people at the absence of their darling prince. (Haydock) --- His death would not bring Amnon to life again. We must not cherish sentiments of eternal enmity. --- Perish. Chaldean, "a just judge cannot take the money of iniquity." Le Clerc, "And cannot the prince (or judge) pardon a man, and devise means to leave his son no longer in exile?" (Calmet) --- Protestants, "neither doth God respect any person; yet doth he devise means, that his banished son be not expelled from him." Let the king imitate this example. (Haydock)

Verse 15

Before the people. Hebrew also, "through fear, or respect for the people," who generally wished that Absalom might return. (Haydock) --- Joab was present, (ver. 21) and no doubt many others; who, if requisite, might join their prayers with hers. (Calmet)

Verse 16

Me. She identifies her cause with that of her son, as if she could not survive his death; or, at least, could not retain the inheritance, if he should perish. (Haydock)

Verse 17

Sacrifice; perfect and inviolable. (Tirinus) --- Cursing, provided he be in the right. (Menochius) --- Hebrew, "the king to discern (hear) good and bad;" of consummate wisdom; (ver. 20.; Haydock) so that no one can impose upon him.

Verse 19

Right, but he hath ordered me to say all these things. Joab had given her leave to make this declaration, as he perceived that the king's heart was already inclined towards Absalom, ver. 1. (Menochius)

Verse 21

Boy. This expression might tend to excuse what he had done amiss; as it shewed also the tenderness of David for Absalom. (Menochius)

Verse 22

Blessed. That is, praised, and gave thanks to the king.

Verse 24

Face, though he lived in Jerusalem. (Calmet) --- This was done, in order that he might enter seriously into himself, and avoid similar excesses. (Menochius) --- He felt this privation more than exile. (Haydock)

Verse 26

A year. Hebrew and Septuagint, "from the end of the days to days." --- Chaldean, "as it was convenient." But the Vulgate seems the best, (Calmet) and is followed by the Protestant version. (Haydock) --- Sicles, including all his hair. The Hebrews wore their hair very long. It does not commonly grow above four inches in a year; so that the hair which was cut off could not weigh 200 sicles. (Calmet) --- Weight. Hebrew, "after the king's stone," Beeben; but one manuscript has Boshkol, with the Septuagint, "after the king's sicle (Kennicott) weight," at Babylon, as Pelletier supposes that this work was written towards the end of the captivity. He allows that Absalom's hair might weigh almost 31 ounces. Some women wear above 32 ounces, if we may believe the hair-dressers. Some suppose that r (200) has been substituted instead of d (4) or c, (20) &c. But all are not convinced that the Hebrew formerly marked the numbers by letters. Septuagint have, "100 sicles," (Calmet) which some attempt to reconcile with the common reading, by saying, that they speak of the sicles of the sanctuary, which were double the weight of the king's sicles. Yet the Alexandrian and Vatican copies agree with the Vulgate: (Haydock) and of this distinction of weights there is no proof. The Rabbins assert that the value, and not the weight, of Absalom's hair is given; (Calmet) and that he made a present of his hair to some of his friends, who sold it to the ladies of Jerusalem, to adorn their heads. (Sanctius) --- Tirinus adopts this sentiment, and ridicules those who say that the weight is meant; as he says, 200 sicles would be equivalent to 8¾ Roman pounds, which comes near to Arbuthnot's calculation in English. (Haydock) --- Bochart reduces the weight to four such pounds, each consisting of twelve ounces; and he supposes that the hair was so heavy, on account of the gold dust with which it was covered, according to the fashion of those times. (Josephus, [Antiquities?] viii. 1.) --- But this weight would be only accidental. (Calmet) --- Josephus ([Antiquities?] vii. 8.) intimates, that Absalom's hair was "cut every eight days," or "for the space of eight days." It is quite incredible that it should weigh 200 sicles, or five minæ of Alexandria, each consisting of twelve ounces. The Latin interpreter reads, "every eight months." (Calmet) --- St. Epiphanius and Hero have 125 sicles, or about 31 ounces. (Haydock) --- The Babylonian sicle, here mentioned, was only the third part of that used by the Hebrews. (Du Hamel)

Verse 27

Sons, who all died before their father, chap. xviii. 18. --- Thamar, in memory of his sister; (Abulensis) or this Thamar received the name from her aunt, who resided with Absalom. (Menochius) --- Some Greek and Latin copies add, that she was married to Roboam, the son of Solomon, by whom he had Abias. But this addition is of no authority, and can hardly be reconciled with chronology. We read that Roboam espoused Maaca, the daughter of Absalom; (2 Paralipomenon xi. 20.) but she might be only his grand-daughter, by Thamar. (Calmet) --- Josephus had adopted this addition. (Haydock)

Verse 29

To him. Joab, like a crafty courtier, would neither disoblige the king nor the prince, and therefore wished not to meddle in this affair; as he might either excite the suspicions of the own, or the resentment of the other. (Calmet)

Verse 33

Kissed Absalom, and thus was reconciled to his prodigal son, Luke xv. 20. The ungrateful wretch only took occasion, from his father's goodness, to alienate the minds of the people from him, by insinuating that he neglected the welfare of the people. (Haydock)

Verse 38


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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 14". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.