2 Samuel 4:1 And when Saul’s son heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands were feeble, and all the Israelites were troubled.
Ver. 1. His hands were feeble.] He was quite dispirited; nihil neque animi, neque consilii habuit.
And all the Israelites were troubled.] Consternati sunt et conturbati, for loss of their champion. Carnal confidence endeth in confusion: when trust in God is never at an utter loss. See Hebrews 3:17-19.
2 Samuel 4:2 And Saul’s son had two men [that were] captains of bands: the name of the one [was] Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab, the sons of Rimmon a Beerothite, of the children of Benjamin: (for Beeroth also was reckoned to Benjamin:
Ver. 2. And Saul’s son,] i.e., Jonathan; as the Rabbis and some others, who make these two to have been captains under him; and further say, that after Jonathan’s death, they stood for Mephibosheth, their master’s son, whom they would have made king, and have slain Ishbosheth. But Mephibosheth revealed all to Ishbosheth, whereupon these traitors fled, and afterwards hearing ef Abner’s death, returned secretly and slew Ishbosheth. Thus R. Solomon, Rabanus, Cajetan, &c. But who told them all this? and what footing have they for it in Scripture? By Saul’s son here, we may better understand Ishbosheth, as 2 Samuel 3:14; 2 Samuel 3:1.
Captains of bands.] Or, Of rovers, robbers, Latronum (so the Vulgate), raiders, tories.
2 Samuel 4:3 And the Beerothites fled to Gittaim, and were sojourners there until this day.)
Ver. 3. And the Beerothites fled to Gittaim.] A town of their own tribe, but of far greater security. Hither therefore they fled for fear of the Philistines. See 1 Samuel 31:7.
Until this day.] Until the time that this story was written, the penners whereof were Gad and Nathan. [1 Chronicles 29:29-30]
2 Samuel 4:4 And Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son [that was] lame of [his] feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name [was] Mephibosheth.
Ver. 4. That was lame of his feet. He was five years old, &c.] And therefore neither fit to reign, nor likely to revenge Ishbosheth’s death. This encouraged the traitors; and is therefore here brought in.
And his name was Mephibosheth.] Called also Meribbaal. [1 Chronicles 8:34] So Jerubbaal is called Jerubbesheth, [2 Samuel 11:21] and Ishbaal, Ishbosheth, [1 Chronicles 8:33] in detestation of that shame, Baalpeor, [Hosea 9:10] whose very name was odious to right worshippers.
2 Samuel 4:5 And the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, went, and came about the heat of the day to the house of Ishbosheth, who lay on a bed at noon.
Ver. 5. Who lay on a bed at noon.] And on his bed was slain sleeping: so true is that
“ Per quod quis peccat, per idem punitur et ipse. ”
It was much he could sleep at all, having so lately lost his Antipater, his Abner; but to sleep at noon, and without a guard, speaketh him both sluggish and secure. He dieth therefore in his sloth, who had lived slothfully all his days: Qualis vita finis ira. (a) Some hold that these two were captains of Ishbosheth’s guard, and thereby had so easy an access unto his person. Queen Elizabeth complained that in trust she had found treason. And Augustus Caesar was wont to say of his own guard, Metuendum est esse sine custode, sed multo magis a custode metuendum est. (b) It is dangerous to be without a guard, and yet more dangerous to have one.
2 Samuel 4:6 And they came thither into the midst of the house, [as though] they would have fetched wheat; and they smote him under the fifth [rib]: and Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped.
Ver. 6. As though they would have fetched wheat.] Either for their own pay, or for the use of their soldiers.
And they smote him under the fifth rib.] Where there is no bone to hinder; but the belly is soft, and fit for a deadly wound. To the doing of this villainous act, some think they might be encouraged by Joab’s impunity; so true is that political sentence, Bonis nocet qui malis parcit.
And Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped.] But though for a time they had escaped, yet vengeance suffered them not long to live. [Acts 28:4] A tergo Nemesis.
2 Samuel 4:7 For when they came into the house, he lay on his bed in his bedchamber, and they smote him, and slew him, and beheaded him, and took his head, and gat them away through the plain all night.
Ver. 7. He lay on his bed.] Dreading no danger. So great need have we to commit ourselves to God, when we go to our rest, that whether we live or die, we may be his.
They smote him, and slew him.] So do surfeiting and drunkenness slay the soul, saith Hugo, of the spiritual sleeper; taking away his heart. [Hosea 4:11]
2 Samuel 4:8 And they brought the head of Ishbosheth unto David to Hebron, and said to the king, Behold the head of Ishbosheth the son of Saul thine enemy, which sought thy life; and the LORD hath avenged my lord the king this day of Saul, and of his seed.
Ver. 8. Behold the head of Ishbosheth.] A plausible oration they make, but miss of their purpose. They commend their own act to David: (1.) A iucundo, from delight, Lo, here the head of thine enemy; and what more pleasant sight than this? (2.) Ab honesto, from honesty, We did it not without the Lord, who hath set us on work to avenge my lord the king, &c. (3.) Ab utili, from usefulness, For now thine enemy being removed, thou shalt reign alone without a rival. Thus these wretches rhetoricate, and all to insinuate; which yet would not be.
2 Samuel 4:9 And David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said unto them, [As] the LORD liveth, who hath redeemed my soul out of all adversity,
Ver. 9. As the Lord liveth.] Sunt verba iurantis, sed abrupta et praecisa: (a) Understand, I will surely punish you.
Who hath redeemed my soul.] And would have freed me from Ishbosheth also in his good time, without your treasonable practices against your lord and master.
2 Samuel 4:10 When one told me, saying, Behold, Saul is dead, thinking to have brought good tidings, I took hold of him, and slew him in Ziklag, who [thought] that I would have given him a reward for his tidings:
Ver. 10. I took hold of him, and slew him.] So did Caesar serve him who brought him Pompey’s head, looking for a great reward. And when Hamen the false Jew, a physician, had poisoned Bajazet the great Turk, and coming to Constantinople, expected some great reward for his foul treason, by the commandment of Selymus, who succeeded in the throne, he had his head struck off, with this exprobration of his treachery, that opportunity serving, he would not stick to do the like for reward against Selymus himself. (a)
2 Samuel 4:11 How much more, when wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own house upon his bed? shall I not therefore now require his blood of your hand, and take you away from the earth?
Ver. 11. How much more,] q.d., That Amalekite’s perdition should have been your caution; especially since you are far greater sinners against your own souls; for how bad soever Ishbosheth was, yet in comparison of you, he was righteous; and to you a good lord.
In his own house.] Which is a man’s castle, tutissimum cuique Refugium atque Receptaculum, saith the civil law.
Require his blood of your hand.] Which, because it is not in your power to repair and restore, should I not execute you?
2 Samuel 4:12 And David commanded his young men, and they slew them, and cut off their hands and their feet, and hanged [them] up over the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ishbosheth, and buried [it] in the sepulchre of Abner in Hebron.
Ver. 12. And they slew them.] Not without exquisite torments, saith Josephus; he crucified them, saith Theodoret.
And cut off their hands and their feet.] Those weapons of wickedness. God taketh notice of the offending members.
And hanged them up.] For a perpetual monument and punishment of their wickedness: and to declare David’s innocence.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Lent