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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 18

Haydock's Catholic Bible CommentaryHaydock's Catholic Commentary

Verse 1

Hundreds. Josephus only allows David 4000 men. But his army seems to have been pretty numerous, since he divides it into three parts, and appoints three head commanders, with officers of a thousand, &c., under them. See ver. 4. (Calmet) --- He designed to lead them to battle himself, if the people had not dissuaded him. (Salien)

Verse 3

Ten thousand, "like us." (Hebrew) (Calmet) --- Succour us, "by praying for us." (Chaldean) or by sending reinforcements, where they may be necessary. (Menochius) --- David was persuaded "to reserve himself (like Otho) for the interest of the state, at a distance from the danger of battle." (Tacitus, An. ii.)

Verse 5

Save us: do not hurt, ver. 12. St. Augustine (Doct. iii. 23.) concludes, that David wished to allow his son time for repentance. (Menochius) --- He seems to have been sure of victory. (Abulensis)

Verse 6

Ephraim, where the men of that tribe had formerly signalized themselves, Judges vii., and viii., and xii. (Calmet)

Verse 8

Country; people fighting in great numbers. But the army of Absalom was soon dispersed. (Haydock) --- Consumed, viz., by pits and precipices: (Challoner) "wild beasts." (Syriac, &c.) Many also died of their wounds, and were slain in the wood; (Calmet) so that not less, probably, than 50,000 perished on this fatal day. (Haydock)

Verse 9

Oak, between the branches, which hindered him from escaping. (Calmet) --- His beautiful curls got also entangled. (Menochius)

Verse 11

Silver, somewhat above a guinea: sicles are not expressed in Hebrew. (Haydock) --- Belt, the richest part of armour. Jonathan and Ajax made presents of their belts to David and Hector, 1 Kings xviii. 4. (Homer, Iliad H.) See Job xiii. 18. The Romans wore very splendid belts. Balteus et notis fulserunt cingula bullis. (Claud., Proserp. ii.)

Verse 12

Save. Protestants, "beware that none touch the young man."

Verse 13

My own. Some copies of the Hebrew and Septuagint read, "his;" others, my, &c. The soldier would have acted against his conscience, and exposed his life to danger, if he had transgressed the king’s order. (Haydock) --- By me? or, omitting the mark of interrogation, "Thou wouldst have declared thyself against me." (Calmet)

Verse 14

Sight. Hebrew, "I will not tarry thus with thee." I will not stand to refute these reasons, nor imitate thy example. (Haydock)

Verse 15

Ten. Naharai alone is specified, chap. xxiii. 37. Why he had ten does not appear. (Calmet) --- Slew him, inflicting many wounds on him; though Joab had already done sufficient. (Haydock) --- These men abused his corpse, as if to revenge the insult offered to David’s ten wives. (Salien) --- It is asked whether Joab did wrong? He consulted the public welfare, rather than the parental affection of the king for a son, whom the law condemned to die for rebellion, incest, and murder, Leviticus xviii. 29., and chap. xiii. 28. But still he was not a proper judge to inflict this death in cold blood; and thus to render the salvation of Absalom’s soul more desperate. David would, however, have done well to have punished this son, as incorrigible and dangerous to the state. (Haydock)

Verse 17

Him. Thus was the law executed upon Absalom, Deuteronomy xxi. 18. (St. Jerome) (Menochius) -- History scarcely affords a more detestable character; and his punishment was no less terrible than instructive. He was a figure of the Jews persecuting Jesus Christ, while he gave his blood for the redemption of these his enemies, and prayed for them. As they continued obdurate, they were held up as objects of horror both to heaven and to all nations, like Absalom suspended on the tree, and rejected by heaven and earth. (Calmet)

Verse 18

No son. The sons mentioned above, chap. xiv. 27, were dead when this pillar was erected; unless we suppose he raised this pillar before they were born: (Challoner) or meant this pillar to perpetuate his memory, when they should be no more. (Josephus, [Antiquities?] vii. 9.) --- This author says that it was a pillar of marble; so that it is different from that which Doubdan (15) mentions, observing , that all who pass throw a stone at it. Thus was his vanity chastised! --- Hand, work. So Martial (viii. 51.) says of a vial! Mentoris hæc manus est an, Polyclete, tua? (Menochius) --- The same word is translated, triumphal arch, 1 Kings xv. 12. (G.[Calmet?])

Verse 21

Chusi: perhaps, of Ethiopian extraction. (Grotius)

Verse 22

Tidings. People of reputation did not wish to perform this office, 3 Kings ii. 42. Hebrew, "these tidings will bring thee nothing;" or, "do not suit thee." (Calmet) --- Protestants, "seeing thou hast no tidings ready?" (Haydock)

Verse 24

Two gates, one leading into the town, the other into the country. In the middle was a chamber for public meetings, and another above, Job xxix. 7. On the roof a guard was stationed on this occasion.

Verse 25

Mouth. If the army had been routed, all would have been in confusion. (Calmet) --- Now they are employed in plundering the vanquished. (Menochius)

Verse 28

Shut up; frustrated the attempts of the enemy, and consigned many to the grave. (Haydock)

Verse 29


Else. This was false, ver. 20. (Calmet) --- But he wished not to communicate the bad news; for which reason he had got first to the king. (Haydock)

Verse 32

Is. This was as much as to tell plainly that he was dead, (Menochius) or at least, a prisoner. But David understood him right. (Haydock)

Verse 33

Wept, in private. (Menochius) --- Would. David lamented the death of Absalom, because of the wretched state in which he died; and therefore would have been glad to have saved his life, even by dying for him. In this he was a figure of Christ weeping, praying, and dying for his rebellious children, and even for them that crucified him. (Challoner; St. Ambrose (de Ob. Valent.); Theodoret, q. 35.) --- David had presently ceased to weep for the son of Bethsabee, because he had reason to hope that he was saved. (Calmet)

Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hcc/2-samuel-18.html. 1859.
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