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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 23

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said,

Now these be the last words of David. Various opinions are entertained as to the precise meaning of this statement, which, it is obvious, proceeded from the compiler or collector of the sacred canon. Some think that, as there is no division of chapters in the Hebrew Scriptures, this introduction was intended to show that what follows is no part of the preceding song; others regard this as the last of the king's poetical compositions; while a third party consider it the last of his utterances as an inspired writer. The fact seems to be, that they formed the last divine communication which David received of the kingly character and glory of the Messiah; and although he probably composed some of his sacred lyrics afterward, especially Psalms 72:1-20, in which are embodied some glorious predictions of the great King, yet these were only an expansion or particular application of the "last words." The distinctness and fullness of the revelation left so vivid and permanent an impression, that it thenceforth formed the grand subject which filled and elevated his mental vision. His imagination dwelt upon it with increasing delight, until it eventually gave a tone to his habitual thoughts, and tinged with its golden hues his strong faith in the perpetuity of his dynastic glory. (See his dying charge to Solomon, 1 Kings 2:4) In this view the "last words" of David were analogous to the prophetic utterances of Jacob and Moses; and like theirs, too, these appear in the poetical form, extending ever seven verses, which are subdivided by the nature of their contents into sections-the one of five and the other of two verses.

David the son of Jesse said, [ nª'um (H5002)] - a special term, applied solely to solemn oracular utterances, implying a revelation, the word of God, and equivalent to "Thus saith the Lord" (see the notes at Numbers 24:3).

And the man who was raised up on high. [ hageber (H1397), "the man," an almost exclusively poetical word (implying strength). `Al (H5921), 'above,' 'upon,' 'over,' is here rendered "on high," the object being omitted; so that the imagination is left to picture to itself the greatness as well as the extent of sovereign power and glory to which the shepherd son of Jesse was raised (cf. 2 Samuel 22:44-45).] With the exception of Abraham and of Moses, no Hebrew ever attained to a height of power or influence superior to, or was the honoured medium of more precious blessings to mankind than, David.

The anointed of the God of Jacob - chosen to be king by the special appointment of that God to whom, by virtue of an ancient covenant, the people of Israel owed all their special destiny and distinguished privileges, and consecrated to the high office of their king by the formal ceremony of the sacred oil sprinkled on his head by the hand of God's commissioned prophet (cf. 2 Samuel 22:51). In this respect he was pre-eminently, the Lord's anointed, the type of Christ.

The sweet psalmist of Israel - i:e., delightful, highly esteemed, 'sweet in psalms of Israel' (Hengstenberg); 'the darling of the songs of Israel' (Bunsen). This formal introduction bears a close resemblance to that of Balaam's prophetic utterance. In both cases the speaker introduces himself by the announcement of his name and parentage, in order to demonstrate his own insignificance, and to magnify the preternatural power of God imparted to him. But in the case of David there is added a statement of the grounds on which it was to be expected that he would be employed as an agent of God in the utterance of this important prophecy-his antecedents in the public service of Israel, as raised by a special act of Providence from an obscure family and condition to the throne of Israel, and called to the highest offices both in the kingdom and Church which He had chosen out of the world.

Verse 2

The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.

The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, [ diber (H1696) biy (H871a)] - speaketh in me; referring, not to his general inspiration only, but to the revelation which immediately follows.

And his word was in my tongue, [ uwmilaatow (H4405), His word]. Millah is an exclusively poetic term (Job 6:26; Job 33:32; Job 36:2; Psalms 19:5; Psalms 106:2; Psalms 139:4; Proverbs 23:9). 'The parallelism here employed is not to be viewed as consisting of two simply synonymous members, in which the same sentiment is taught without any difference of mode or degree, but is obviously of the class termed gradational, in which the idea introduced in the former member is continued, but amplified in the latter' (Henderson). In order to attach greater interest and importance to his composition, he premises that it was not the product of his own mind, the invention of his own poetic genius, or the result of his own penetrating sagacity: it was the inhabitation of the Divine Spirit, whose extraordinary influence had qualified him to be an inspired writer, supplying the matter, and afterward enabling him to select appropriate language, a fitting vehicle for the embodiment of the ideas, in the form of sacred song. Having made this statement with reference to his character as an organ of divine communications generally, he goes on to announce a special revelation which had been communicated to him, either by direct inward impression on his mind (cf. 1 Peter 1:11; 2 Peter 1:21), or by an audible voice, of which the sacred history records many instances.

Although many of the lyrical compositions of David contain prophetic elements wherever he is led to allude to his royal dynasty, developments more or less full of the grand premise made to him (2 Samuel 7:1-29), yet they were only incidentally or in part predictive; whereas these "last words" are wholly in this form, belonging exclusively to the high and pure domain of prophecy; and therefore they have not been, like the preceding song, incorporated with the book of Psalms. They contain a direct and beautiful prediction of the advent and benign government of the Messiah. But the whole poem is exceedingly elliptical, and therefore in several portions of it obscure. Our translators evidently felt great difficulty in rendering the Hebrew text, as may be inferred from the numerous interpolations or italicised words which they have employed as links to unite the apparently disjecta membra of the original, but by which, instead of harmonizing or illustrating the passage, they have produced confusion, and given a version to a great extent remote from the true meaning.

The researches of Kennicott, who lived and wrote since the King James Version was published, have thrown welcome light upon the passage; for, in his 'Dissertation' (vol. 1:) upon the Hebrew text, he mentions a remarkable feature in the oldest, most reliable of the MSS., namely that it has the name Yahweh in this passage-thus determining the poem to be a prophetic song of the Messiah. This was a discovery of a most interesting nature; and on the importance of which to the cause of Biblical criticism, Michaelis, at the time of its announcement to the Christian world, enlarged in the warmest terms of admiration and gratitude.

Verse 3

The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.

The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me. The epithet, "the Rock," applied to God, expresses His immutability and inviolable faithfulness (see the notes at 2 Samuel 22:3; 2 Samuel 22:32; 2 Samuel 22:47; Deuteronomy 32:4). A revelation made by the God of Israel, who is so unchangeable and true to His covenant promises, must have some reference either to the interests of Israel as a nation, or to their subserviency, in the economy of Providence, to the future well-being of the world at large. "Spake to me," may be rendered, 'promised to me.' [In this sense diber (H1696) is used, Deuteronomy 6:3; Deuteronomy 19:8, etc.]

He that ruleth ... must be just, [ mowsheel (H4910), participle; a ruler, a prince] - applied to the Messiah (Micah 5:1).

Over men, [ baa'aadaam (H120)] - over mankind, the human race (2 Sam. 13:44-45 ). The passage, according to the sense thus given to the words, will stand thus:

`The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel promised to me A Ruler, just (righteous), a ruler-fear of God (i:e., ruling in the fear of God).'

This was to be the character of the Uuniversal Ruler (Isaiah 53:11; also 2 Samuel 11:2-3). The foundation of His government was to be righteousness, founded on principles of pure and undefiled religion (cf. Isaiah 9:6-7; Micah 5:2).

Verse 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.

And he shall be as the light of the morning when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds.

Kennicott, founding on the text of the old manuscript referred to, which has the word 'Yahweh' in this passage, renders it, 'and as the morning light shall Yahweh, the Sun, arise, even an unclouded morning, and the verdure shall spring out of the earth by the warm, bright splendour after rain.' The Messiah is frequently compared to the sun (Malachi 4:2; Revelation 22:16), and the blessings of His reign to "the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain" (cf. Psalms 72:6; Psalms 110:3; Isaiah 44:3). Little patches of grass are seen rapidly springing up in Palestine after rain; and even where the ground has been long parched and bare, within a few days or hours after the enriching showers begin to fall, the face of the earth is so renewed that it is covered over with a pure, fresh mantle of green. This beautiful imagery was designed to convey an idea of the auspicious effects that would result from the reign the great Ruler; and how truly descriptive it really was of the ministry and the religion of Christ needs no illustration-the morning sun representing its gladdening influences, and the springing of the tender grass symbolizing the growth, the beautiful development and progress, the silent, but rapid and steady advancement of piety and virtue among nations and people that are subject to the benign power of Christianity.

Verse 5

Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.

Although my house be not so with God. Between his prediction of the beneficent effects of this Ruler's government and its destructive influences on his enemies, David throws in a parenthetical clause, relating to himself, which has been sadly marred in our translation. "The light of the morning" - i:e., the beginning of David's kingdom-was, unlike the clear, brilliant dawn of an Eastern day, overcast by many black and threatening clouds. Neither himself nor his family had been like the tender grass springing up from the ground, and flourishing by the united influences of the sun and rain; but rather like the grass that withereth, and is prematurely cut down. The meaning is, that although David's house had not flourished in an uninterrupted course of worldly prosperity and greatness, according to his hopes-although great crimes and calamities had beclouded his family history-some of the moot promising branches of the royal tree had been cut down in his lifetime-and many of his successors should suffer in like manner for their personal sins-although many reverses and revolutions may overtake his race and his kingdom-yet it was to him a subject of the highest joy and thankfulness that God will inviolably maintain His covenant with His family until the advent of His greatest Son, the Messiah, who was the special object of his desire, and the author of his salvation.

This is the common view of the passage-a view, however, encumbered by so many and so great difficulties as necessitates its abandonment. It represents David, whose doting fondness for his sons rendered him blind to their errors and crimes, as making a strong assertion to their disadvantage; as acknowledging his painful conviction that they were far from exemplifying the attributes of character that were symbolized by the morning sun and the springing of the tender grass; and selfishly congratulating himself, that though his house might be excluded from the blessings of the Great Ruler's government, he would personally enjoy them to the utmost extent of his wishes. It is opposed to the tenor of the context, which guarantees the fulfillment of the covenant promise, not to David personally so much as to his posterity; not to his family but to his house, his dynasty (see 2 Samuel 7:11-16); so that it obviously could not be his intention to draw a picture that would be flattering to himself and disadvantageous to his house, or to admit the one, but exclude the other from the blessings of the promise. Besides, it rests upon an unsound philological basis; because it has given to the Hebrew conjunction [ kiy (H3588), for], which stands at the commencement of the four clauses in 2 Samuel 23:5, as many different significations-although, yet, for, and although a second time. A word which is forced to play so many parts for the purpose of supporting a particular view is evidently perverted from its proper use; whereas, let it bear its legitimate sense, at the same time giving to the first and last clauses an interrogative form, and the several parts of the verse will appear to harmonize with each other, as well as with the context.

`For is not my house so with God? For He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure; For this is all my salvation, and all my desire: For will He not make it (namely, my house) to grow?'

'Is not my house so with God?' - i:e., my dynasty bearing a resemblance to the morning sun and the luxuriant growth of the grass after a seasonable shower; and that his own reign, and that of many of his royal successors on the throne of Judah, did wonderfully approximate in spirit and in beneficent influence to that of the Messiah, the course of the sacred history relating to David, Solomon, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, Josiah, etc., abundantly attests.

An everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, [ `ªruwkaah (H6186)] - arranged, confirmed in all ways. 'The extent to which all interposing obstacles were excluded, or rather had been considered and calculated beforehand, appears especially from 2 Samuel 7:14-15, according to which even the most fatal of all interpositions, the apostasy of the bearers of the covenant, should not destroy the covenant-should not annul the gracious promise made to the race' (Hengstenberg).

And sure, [ uwshmuraah (H8104)] - and kept, carefully observed; i:e., inviolable, because guarded by Him who is "the faithful God, keeping covenant and mercy" (Deuteronomy 7:9; Daniel 9:4: cf. 1 Kings 8:25). The concluding verses of the prophecy exhibit the destructive effects of the ruler's government on his enemies, (cf. 2 Samuel 22:38; also Psalms 2:1-12.)

Verse 6

But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands:

But the sons of Belial, [ uwbªliya`al (H1100)] - worthlessness, wickedness = wicked men (cf. Deuteronomy 13:13).

Shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands. The enemies of Israel are represented as "thorns," Numbers 33:55; and so the enemies of the Messiah's kingdom are here described under the same image. 'Shall be thrust away' [ munaad (H5074), participle, Hophal, naadad (H5074), to move, to flee away], 'shall be put to flight;' referring to the men, not to the thorns. Since thorns are extirpated out of a land which is about to be brought under culture, so wicked men will disappear from the kingdom of the Messiah-the wicked enemies and persecutors of this kingdom of righteousness. They resemble those prickly thorny plants which are twisted together, whose spires point in every direction, and are so sharp and strong that they cannot be touched or approached without danger; but hard instruments and violent means must be taken to destroy or uproot them. So God will remove or destroy all who are opposed to this kingdom.

Verse 7

But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place.

But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear, [ yimaalee'

(H4390)] - filled with armour; i:e., must be well armed or defended. The verses, thus explained, will stand thus:

`But the sons of Belial, all of them Are as thorns to be thrust out (For they cannot be taken with the hand;

And the man who shall touch them Must be armed with an axe and a spear-staff), And to be utterly consumed with fire in the place.'

In proof that the sceptre of Christ will be a sceptre of judgment as well as of mercy, see Isaiah 61:2, who was anointed to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and (at the same time) the day of vengeance of our God; in Psalms 63:1-11 the Messiah is represented as 'trampling His enemies in His fury;' Malachi 4:1, as burning all the proud, and all that do wickedly, as stubble, leaving neither root nor branch; Matthew 3:12, John Baptist describes him as having 'His fan in His hand, and thoroughly purging His floor, and gathering His wheat into the garner, but burning the chaff with fire unquenchable;' and Revelation 19:15, John, in the Apocalypse, says, 'Out of His mouth goeth sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations, ruling them with a rod of iron, and treading the wine-press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.'

In short, the exercise of judgment along with mercy is essential to that character of righteousness which is the foundation of His government. Since this brief but remarkable prophecy, though its reference to the Messiah is direct and clear, is yet, from its elliptical form, somewhat difficult to render, it may be interesting, in addition to the exegesis given above, to subjoin translations executed by three different persons.

Kimchi offers the following:-`For a morning of mist and clouds, now it shines, and now it rains, and is good only for the growth of grass from the earth. But my house is not so with God; it will shine at all times, and at all seasons, because He has made with me an everlasting covenant. Surely this is all my salvation and all my delight, that promises so bright and so glorious should be connected with my house: shall it not prosper (according to God's promise)?'

Dr. Pye Smith ('Scripture Testimony to the Messiah,' 1:, p. 262), following the text of Kennicott, and assuming the prophecy to bear a Messianic reference, conceives that, as the cross was the way to the crown, the idea of a crucified Saviour must be introduced into a poem relating to Messiah the king; and accordingly he finds it in the strong figurative language 2 Samuel 23:7. This interpretation, however, is not supported by the ordinal text, and in the concluding verse destroys the antithesis. His version is as follows:

`The oracle of David, the son of Jessai; Even the oracle of the high-raised hero Anointed by the God of Jacob, And the delightful author of the songs of Israel.

The Spirit of God speaketh by me, And His word is upon my tongue: The God of Israel saith, To me speaketh the God of Israel. Ruling over man is a righteous one,

Ruling in the fear of God; Even as the light of the morning shall he shine, Yahweh, the sun, A morning without clouds for brightness, (As) After rain the herbage from the earth.

Truly this is my house with God; For an everlasting covenant He has fixed with me But the wicked shall not grow As prickles, to be moved away all of them;

For they cannot be taken by the hand. And the man who shall touch them Will be filled with the iron and the shaft of the spear.'

Hengstenberg's version ('Christology,' 1:, p. 149) is added, as a third specimen of translation:

`For is not thus my house with God? For He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, Ordered in all things, and sure; For all my salvation and all my pleasure -

Should he not make it to grow?'

The "everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure," guaranteed the perpetuity of David's royal "house." So far as related to the temporal part of the promise, it was fulfilled by the Lord's continuing the house of David on the throne of Judah, notwithstanding all their rebellion against him (1 Kings 11:36; 2 Kings 8:19; 2 Chronicles 21:7); and it was frequently pleaded by the Jewish church, when the judgements inflicted upon David's temporal house and kingdom seemed to nullify it. The promise contained in it, as it respected David's natural descendants, was conditional, so that the Lord at length deprived them of the kingdom; but he did not by that dispensation violate the covenant with His servant. How, then, was the promise made good, in "the everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure"? Was the word "everlasting" to be taken, after all, in a limited, though a very extended sense? No; the duration of the covenant was, in the most strictly literal meaning of the word, to be "everlasting." It was to be fulfilled in the person of the Messiah, the last and greatest of David's descendants, and by His being raised from the dead, to sit for ever on His heavenly throne as King of Zion. The promise as it related to the Messiah was absolute, and in Him it had its full, accomplishment. It is plain, from the "last words" of this passage, that David rejoices in the believing confidence that the covenant made with him was "an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure," and confesses that it was all his salvation and all his desire, at the very close of his life, when the prospect perpetuating his dynasty on an earthly kingdom could yield him comparatively little comfort. But we are not left to our own conjectures upon this subject.

Peter, by the infallible inspiration of the Holy Spirit, tells us expressly how David understood this promise. After having cited his prophecy of Christ's resurrection from Psalms 16:1-11, he adds, "Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption" (Acts 2:25-32). From these words it is evident that David understood, from the promise guaranteed to him by the everlasting covenant, not only that the Messiah was to come of his seed, but that He was to be raised up from the dead to sit on His heavenly throne. All the subsequent prophecies of the Messiah have a reference to this covenant promise made to David, and are just so many renewals, illustrations, and enlargements of it (Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 11:1; 55:15 : cf. Psalms 89:28-29; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Jeremiah 33:14-26; Ezekiel 34:23-24; Hosea 3:5; Amos 9:11 with Acts 15:16-17).

Verse 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.

These be the names of the mighty men whom David had. This verse should be translated thus:-He who sits in the seat of the Tachmonite (i:e., of Jashobeam the Hachmonite), who was chief among the captains, the same is Adino the Eznite; he lifted up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.-The text is corrupt in this passage; the number 800 should be 300 (Davidson's 'Herm.'). Under Joab he was chief or president of the council of war. The first or highest order was composed of him and his two colleagues, Eleazar [Septuagint, Eleanan] and Shammah [Septuagint, Samaia]. Eleazar seems to have been left to fight the Philistines alone; and on his achieving the victory, they returned to the spoil. In like manner Shammah (see the notes at 1 Chronicles 11:12) was left to stand alone in his glory, when the Lord by him worked a great victory. It is not very easy to determine whether the exploits afterward described were performed by the first or the second three.

Verses 9-14

And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away:

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 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!

The well of Beth-lehem. An ancient cistern, with four or five holes in the solid rock, at about ten minutes' distance to the north of the eastern corner of the hill of Beth-lehem, is pointed out by the natives as Bir-Daoud-that is, David's well. Dr. Robinson doubts the identity of the well; but others think that there are no good grounds for doing so. Certainly, considering this to be the ancient well, Beth-lehem must have once extended ten minutes further to the north, and must have lain in times of old, not as now on the summit, but on the northern rise of the hill; because the well is by or (1 Chronicles 11:7) at the gate. 'I find in the descriptions of travelers that the common opinion is, that David's captains had come from the southeast, in order to obtain, at the risk of their lives, the so-much-longed-for water; while it is supposed that David himself was then in the great cave that is not far to the southeast of Beth-lehem; which cave is generally held to have been that of Adullam. But (Joshua 15:35) Adullam lay "in the valley" - that is, in the undulating plain at the western base of the mountains of Judea, and consequently to the southwest of Beth-lehem. Be this as it may, David's three men had in any case to break through the host of the Philistines in order to reach the well; and the position of Bir-Daoud agrees well with this' (Van de Velde).

Verse 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.

He would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the Lord. The probability is that a vivid recollection of the refreshing water of Beth-lehem excited a momentary wish to taste it again, and he gave utterance to the wish, without dreaming that any of his attendants heard or heeded his exclamation. When he thought of the imminent peril at which the draught had been procured, he would not partake of it, lest he should seem to prefer the selfish gratification of his palate to the lives of his most valued soldiers. "He poured it out unto the Lord," as a sort of libation or acknowledgment of the divine goodness in preserving the lives of his men.

Verse 17

And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men.

Be it far from me, O Lord, [ chaaliylaah (H2486) liy (H3807a)] - Woe is me from Yahweh; God forbid [Septuagint, hileoos moi, kurie, Far be it from me, O Lord]. By no means (cf. Matthew 16:22).

Verse 18

And Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief among three. And he lifted up his spear against three hundred, and slew them, and had the name among three.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 19

Was he not most honourable of three? therefore he was their captain: howbeit he attained not unto the first three.

The fist three. The mighty men or champions in David's military staff were divided into three classes-the highest, Jashobeam, Eleazar and Shammah. The distinguished position this warrior, who was in the first class of David's mighties, arose from the gallant service which, along with Eleazar, he rendered to the king, by enabling him to maintain a successful stand against a troop of Philistine. The second class, Abishai, Benaiah, and Asahel; and the third class, the thirty, of which Asahel was the chief.

Verses 20-23

And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow: No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 24

Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem,

Asahel, [ `Asaah'eel (H6214), made by God] - youngest son of Zeruiah, David's sister.

Elhanan, [ 'Elchaanaan (H445), God bestowed].

Verse 25

Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite,

Shammah, [ Shamaah (H8048), astonishment] - or Shammoth (1 Chronicles 11:27), or Shamhuth (1 Chronicles 27:8). The genuine form of the name, according to Kennicott ('Dissertation,' p. 181), is Shammoth the Harodite.

Elika the Harodite, [ 'Eliyqaa' (H470)] - from a town, Charod (see the notes at 1 Chronicles 11:27).

Verse 26

Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite,

Helez the Paltite, [ Chelets (H2503)] (see the notes at 1 Chronicles 11:27) - "the Paltite," a corrupt form of Pelonite.

Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite, [ `Iyraa' (H5896), wakeful]. He was the sixth captain of the sixth monthly course of 24,000 (see 1 Chronicles 27:9).

Verse 27

Abiezer the Anethothite, Mebunnai the Hushathite,

Abiezer the Anethothite, [ 'Abiy`ezer (H44), father of help. The Septuagint explains Anethothite to mean: ek toon huioon tou Aoothitou].

Mebunnai the Hushathite, [ Mªbunay (H4012), supposed to be a corruption for Cibªkay (H5444) (see the notes at 2 Samuel 21:18; also 1 Chronicles 27:11: cf. Numbers 26:20)]. The Septuagint omits this name.

Verse 28

Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite,

Zalmon the Ahohite, [ Tsalmown (H6756), shady]. He is called, 1 Chronicles 11:29, Ilai the Ahohite, which, according to Kennicott ('Dissertation,' p. 187), is the correct reading. [The Septuagint has Helloon ho Aooitees.]

Maharai the Netophathite [ Mahªray (H4121), impetuous] - belonging to Netophah, a city of Judah. [The Septuagint and Vatican call him Noere; Alexandrine, Maeraei (see other variations, 1 Chronicles 11:30; 1 Chronicles 27:13).]

Verse 29

Heleb the son of Baanah, a Netophathite, Ittai the son of Ribai out of Gibeah of the children of Benjamin,

Heleb the son of Baanah, [ Cheeleb (H2460) or Cheeled (H2466) (1 Chronicles 11:30); or Chelday (H2469) (1 Chronicles 27:15). The Septuagint and Vatican omit; Alexandrine, Alaf].

Ittai the son of Ribai, [ 'Itay (H863) (perhaps near, Gesenius); also Ithai (1 Chronicles 11:31); Septuagint, Esthai].

Verse 30

Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash, Benaiah the Pirathonite, [ Bªnaayaahuw (H1141), whom Yahweh has built] (see variation, 1 Chronicles 11:31; 1 Chronicles 27:14) - from Pirathon, an Ephraimite city (Judges 12:15; 1 Chronicles 11:31), the site of which is unknown. The Septuagint omits.

Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash, [ Hiday (H1914); called Hurai, 1 Chronicles 11:32; Septuagint and Alexandrine, Aththai: the Vatican omits minachªleey (H5158) Gaa`ash (H1608), from the wadies (valleys) around Mount Gaash (shaking), in the territory of Ephraim (cf. 1 Chronicles 11:32).]

Verse 31

Abi-albon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite,

Abi-albon the Arbathite - called Abiel, 1 Chronicles 11:32, from Arab, a Benjamite town (Joshua 15:52).

Azmaveth the Barhumite, [ `Azmaawet (H5820), strong like death (Gesenius) (cf. 1 Chronicles 11:33); Septuagint, Asmooth ho Bardiamitees.

Verse 32

Eliahba the Shaalbonite, of the sons of Jashen, Jonathan,

Eliahba the Shaalbonite, of the sons of Jashen, Jonathan - probably from Shaalbin, or Shaalabbin (a city of foxes), in the tribe of Dan (Joshua 19:42; Judges 1:35; 1 Kings 4:9). Instead of "the sons of Jashen, Jonathan," the parallel list (1 Chronicles 11:34) has "the sons of Hashem the Gizonite," and "Jonathan" stands in another connection. [The Septuagint has huioi Asan.] The disorderly state of the list in this passage Kennicott ('Dissertation,' 1:, pp. 201-203) has proposed to rectify by reading in both places, 'Gouni, of the sons of Hashem; Jonathan, the son of Shamha the Hararite.' This reading rests on the Alexandrine version of the passage in Chronicles. [Bertheau ('Chronik.,' p. 134) thinks that bªneey (H1121) has been introduced into the text by a copyist, through an inadvertent repetition of the last letters of the word that precedes, ha-Sha`alboniy (H8170); so that the text should read only, 'Hashem the Gizonite.']

Verse 33

Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite, Shammah the Hararite. Kennicott ('Dissertation,' p. 181) conjoins this with Jonathan in the preceding verse; and, from a comparison of 1 Chronicles 11:34, proposes to correct the text by reading both in this and the parallel passage, 'Jonathan, the son of Shamha the Hararite.'

Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite, [ 'Achiy'aam (H279), father's brother]. "Sharar" should be "Sacar" (1 Chronicles 11:35), according to Kennicott's suggestion.

Verse 34

Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,

Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, [ 'EliypeleT (H467), God is his deliverance] - or Eliphal (1 Chronicles 11:35). "Ahasbai" (I take refuge in God, Gesenius) the Maachathite, from Maachah; probably the modern Lejah. [The Septuagint has: Alifaleth huios tou Machachi.]

Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite, [ 'Eliy`aam (H463)] - omitted in the parallel list of 1 Chronicles 11:1-47; traditionally believed to be the same as the person mentioned, 2 Samuel 11:23 (Jerome, 'Quaest. Hebraicae,' in loco), the father of Bath-sheba. [The Septuagint calls him "Eliab".]

Verse 35

Hezrai the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite,

Hezrai the Carmelite - or Hezro (1 Chronicles 11:37). Kennicott decides, on the almost unanimous authority of MSS., in favour of the name in this passage being the true one. "The Carmelite," from the southern Carmel, the estate of Nabal [Septuagint, Asarai ho Karmeelios].

Paarat the Arbite - or Naarai, the son of Ezbai (1 Chronicles 11:37), which is preferred by Kennicott. [The Septuagint and Vatican, omitting the first letter, combine the rest of the letters with the following word into the strange compound ouraioerchi.]

Verse 36

Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite,

Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah. The parallel list (1 Chronicles 11:38) has "Joel the brother of Nathan," which is considered by Kennicott as the correct reading [Septuagint, Gaal huios Nathana].

Bani the Gadite, [ Baaniy (H1137), built. The Septuagint reads: Poludunameoos huios Galaaddi].

Verse 37

Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Beerothite, armourbearer to Joab the son of Zeruiah,

Zelek the Ammonite, [ Tseleq (H6768), fissure; Septuagint, Elie].

Nahari the Beerothite, [ Nachªray (H5171), snorer] - or Naharai, 1 Chronicles 11:39 [where the Septuagint calls him Nachoor, but omits the name in this passage]. "The Beerothite," from Beeroth, one of the four cities of the Hivites (Joshua 9:17) [Septuagint, Geloore ho Beethooraios].

Verse 38

Ira an Ithrite, Gareb an Ithrite,

Ira an Ithrite, [ `Iyraa' (H5896) ha-Yitriy (H3505)] - Ira (wakeful), Ithrite, from Jattir ('Attir), a town in the highland district of Judah. He is called the Jairite, 2 Samuel 20:26 [Septuagint, Iras ho Ethiraios].

Gareb an Ithrite, [ Gaareeb (H1619) ha-Yitriy (H3505)] - Gareb (scabby) the Ithrite; i:e., according to a common opinion, 'the son of Jether,' But it is preferable to regard it, like the preceding, as denoting an inhabitant of Jattir.

Uriah the Hittite, [ 'Uwriyaah (H223), light of Yahweh]. There are 31 men mentioned in the list, including Asahel; and these added to the two superior orders, make 37. Two of them, we know, were already dead-namely, Asahel and Uriah; and if the dead, at the drawing up of the list, amounted to seven, then we might suppose a legion of honour consisting of the definite number 30, and in which the vacancies, when they occurred, were replaced by fresh appointments.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 23". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/2-samuel-23.html. 1871-8.
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