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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 8

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-18

2 Samuel 8:2 . Two lines. The measuring line gave inheritance, but here the line gave the inheritance of rebels to others, as is the manner of treating rebels by a total forfeiture of inheritance. The line is often mentioned in the old testament. Most of the nations, named below, had made unprovoked war on David, as in Psalms 83:0.

2 Samuel 8:3 . David smote Hadadezer king of Zobah. We know nothing of this city; but the kingdom of this prince was bordered by the Euphrates on the north, Hamath and Damascus on the west, and Ammon on the south. David marched from Moab east of the Jordan, and attacked him before his allies, it would seem, had arrived. Tadmor must have been a principal city in this kingdom, which had retained its prince, and where he built a palace: 2 Samuel 10:16-19.

2 Samuel 8:4 . David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen. The Septuagint: “A thousand chariots, and seven thousand horsemen.” The Hebrew scribe had here dropped the word chariots, and so made it one thousand seven hundred horsemen; and the Vulgate follow the Hebrew. But the English, 1 Chronicles 18:4, have put in chariots, and made it as it is in the Septuagint. They might also, out of the Septuagint and 1 Chronicles, have set the number of horsemen right; not seven hundred, but seven thousand. Josephus has “chariots almost a thousand.”

2 Samuel 8:9 . When Toi king of Hamath, heard of the fall of his old enemy, he sent his son to congratulate David. Hamath was a kingdom extending from the north of Lebanon to Antioch. The river Orontes flowed in the centre, and watered Emesa the metropolis; which is but another name for Hemath. 1 Chronicles 13:5. Jeremiah 49:28.

2 Samuel 8:13-14 . David gat him a name when he returned from smiting of the Syrians in the valley of Salt, being eighteen thousand men: and he put garrisons in Edom. The Septuagint: “David got him a name: when he returned he smote Edom in Gebelim, eighteen thousand men; and he put garrisons in Edom.” 1 Chronicles 18:12-13: “Moreover Abishai the son of Zeruiah slew of the Edomites, in the valley of Salt, eighteen thousand: and he put garrisons in Edom.” Title of the 60th Psalm of David: “When he strove with Aram-naharaim, and with Aram-zobah; when Joab returned and smote of Edom, in the valley of Salt, twelve thousand.” No expositor makes any doubt but that all these texts refer to the same battle, notwithstanding the mistaken readings that are in some of them. Josephus states that Abishai, Joab’s brother, led the army against the Idumeans, and slew of them about eighteen thousand, and put garrisons in all Idumea. Gebelim in the Septuagint, is nothing but a corruption of the Hebrew name Begemelach, in the valley of Salt. David, in this text, is said to have had the victory which was obtained by his army under Abishai, or Joab, as generals. The people vanquished were the Edomites; as is plain by the words that are next in all the copies. “And he put garrisons in Edom.” But in the Hebrew the word Edom is missing; unless Aram, which is here translated “the Syrians,” be a corruption of it. They differ but in one letter, resh for daleth. All copies agree, it was upon his return from vanquishing the Syrians that he vanquished the Edomites. The number in the title of the Psalm is probably mis-written, twelve thousand for eighteen thousand. They that will not allow that, say, Joab slew twelve thousand, and Abishai six thousand. Dr. Wall.

2 Samuel 8:18 . Cherethites, כרתי Cretes, Islanders, engaged as body guards. Pelethites, degenerate Israelites gathered out of Philistia.


In this chapter we follow the hero of the Hebrews through a circuitous tour of victories, from Philistia in the west to Moab in the south; for Moab by some new cruelties had highly provoked him. Attempting next to fix the boundaries of his empire in the east, Hadadezer opposed his march, and afforded him new laurels, vast riches, and large dominions. The Assyrians in the north, jealous of his power, cut off his retreat; and by this daring act exposed themselves to a tremendous slaughter.

In these victories we see all at once accomplished the long slumbering promises which God had made to Abraham, and which Moses had repeated to Israel, that God would give them the land from the wilderness in the south, to Lebanon in the north; and from the sea in the west, to the Euphrates, which should form their eastern border. Thus David made his long-afflicted country a martial people; he enriched himself with spoil, and opened the avenues of wealth and power, by surrounding his empire with a vast belt of tributary kings. But while the believer views those actions as a glorious accomplishment of past promises, let him say that they presignify the sure victories which the lion of the tribe of Judah shall obtain for his church and people; and let him be inspired by the example to shake off every fetter, and to vanquish every foe.

By those victories David filled all Jerusalem with trophies, with ambassadors, and with psalms of joy, which exalted his name for ever, and made his throne a shadow to his people. Now every man could sit under his own vine and figtree, none daring to make him afraid. Thus, by and bye, the Lord shall raise his long oppressed and afflicted people. Jesus shall have the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. So all in heaven shall sing in a higher and happier sense, than in the age of Constantine: “Hallelujah, the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our God, and of his Christ The Lord will hasten it in its time.”

It would seem from Psalms 83:0. that the nations had formed a conspiracy against David on hearing that he was made king. Like Cyrus therefore he went round, and threw the yoke on their own necks.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/2-samuel-8.html. 1835.
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