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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 23

Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the BibleKretzmann's Commentary

Verses 1-7

David's Last Prophetic Song

v. 1. Now, these be the last words of David. David, the son of Jesse, said, he uttered a divine, oracular saying based on immediate inspiration, and the man who was raised up on high, from his lowly position as the son of a shepherd, the anointed of the God of Jacob, who had the royal dignity conferred on him by God, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, he who was pleasant in the praise-songs of Israel, said, all in the power of the Holy Spirit,

v. 2. The spirit of the Lord spake by me, using him as His instrument to convey the divine truths to men, in his writings and psalms, and His Word was in my tongue, for the Spirit acts through the Word.

v. 3. The God of Israel said, He who chose Israel for His possession, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He who is unchangeable, faithful, and trustworthy, he that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God, literally, "a ruler over men just, a ruler in the fear of God" (there will be), that is, such a Ruler would arise whose rule would be exercised in the fear of God.

v. 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. The picture is that of a cloudless, beautiful morning after a night of ram, when all the plants, refreshed with moisture, respond to the coaxing warmth of the sunlight. That is the character of the Messianic period, such are the conditions following the coming of the promised King.

v. 5. Although my house be not so with God (the sentence is a question, like 2 Samuel 7:18, expressing David's surprise over the goodness of God which was shown to his family), yet He hath made with me an ever lasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure, 2 Samuel 7:12 ff. the declaration of God ordering and arranging all things beyond the possibility of overthrow; for this is all my salvation and all my desire, the salvation promised by God being a constant source of pleasure to David, although he make it not to grow, literally, "Should He not make it sprout?" Messiah would surely be a righteous Branch, who would reign and prosper, Jeremiah 23:5; Jeremiah 33:15. The contrast between this excellent condition and the judgment upon the ungodly is now brought out.

v. 6. But the sons of Belial, the godless, vain, and worthless scoundrels, shall be all of them as thorns thrust away because they cannot be taken with hands, they are so hurtful and dangerous that one does not take his bare hands to handle them, but uses tools;

v. 7. but the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear, in order to avoid all contact with them; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place, so that there will be an end to them. The reference is to the final judgment upon the godless and unbelievers, Matthew 13:30. Note: The first part of this prophecy is fulfilled. The wonderful grace of God in Christ Jesus has appeared to all men, the dawn of the Messianic day has come. All believers enjoy the light and the warmth of the grace of Jesus Christ, both in life and in death, and therefore bring forth, as long as they live, fruits of righteousness, to the honor and praise of God.

Verses 8-39

List of David's Heroes

v. 8. These be the names of the mighty men, the heroes, whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains, he belonged to the family of Hachmon, 1 Chronicles 27:32, and his name was Jashobeam, the most distinguished of the king's guard, the most eminent of the three greatest heroes. The same was Adino the Eznite; he lifted up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time. That was the greatest feat of this hero.

v. 9. And after him, next in the list, 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, when they had marched against the Philistines, to meet them in battle.

v. 10. He arose and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword, cramped around the sword-hilt from excessive weariness; and the Lord wrought a great victory that day; and the people, who had apparently fallen back, returned after him only to spoil.

v. 11. And after him was Shammah, the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, at Lehi or Ramath-lehi, where was a piece of ground full of lentils; and the people fled from the Philistines.

v. 12. But he stood in the midst of the ground, determined to hold it against the enemy, and defended it, and slew the Philistines; and the Lord wrought a great victory, for this was His gift.

v. 13. And three of the thirty chief, of the knights of David, went down, and came to David in the harvest time, unto the cave of Adullam, 1 Samuel 22:1; and the troop of the Philistines, a plundering party, pitched in the Valley of Rephaim, 1 Samuel 5:12.

v. 14. And David was then in an hold, in a mountain stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem, their camp was near Bethlehem.

v. 15. And David longed, he had a strong desire, and said, Oh, that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem which is by the gate! The water of this well, which David had so often tasted as a lad, was exceptionally good, and he longed for it with the desire of home-sickness.

v. 16. And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, thrusting aside the enemies who tried to hinder their passage, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, some little distance outside, and took it, and brought it to David. Nevertheless, he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the Lord, as a drink-offering to Jehovah, to whom alone it ought to belong.

v. 17. And he said, Be it far from me, O Lord, that I should do this, namely, drink the water thus obtained. Is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? They had brought it at the price of their lives, at the risk of their souls, and therefore it had the value of their blood, it was too precious to drink. Therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men.

v. 18. And Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief among three, also distinguished for exceptional feats of valor. And he lifted up his spear against three hundred, brandishing it in battle, and slew them, and had the name among three.

v. 19. Was he not most honorable of three, among all the knights of David? Therefore he was their captain, becoming their leader; howbeit, he attained not unto the first three, the heroes whose exploits were described above.

v. 20. And Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, the priest, who was captain of David's body-guard, 2 Samuel 8:18; 2 Samuel 20:23, the son of a valiant, or honorable, honest, man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, having many feats to his credit; he slew two lion like men of Moab, two famous Moabite heroes; he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow, when the lion, searching for food, had fallen into a cistern or into a trap set for him.

v. 21. And He slew an Egyptian, a certain well-known enemy, a goodly man; and the Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, showing both bravery and skill in snatching the weapon out of the enemy's hand, and slew him with his own spear.

v. 22. These things did Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men, among the heroes of David.

v. 23. He was more honorable than the thirty, honored above the other knights, but he attained not to the first three. And David set him over his guard, 2 Samuel 8:18; 2 Samuel 20:23.

v. 24. Asahel, the brother of Joab, was one of the thirty, a member of the corps of David's knights, 2 Samuel 2:18; Elhanan, the son of Dodo of Bethlehem;

v. 25. Shammah the Harodite; Elika the Harodite;

v. 26. Helez the Paltite; Ira, the son of Ikkesh, the Tekoite;

v. 27. Abiezer the Anethothite; Mebunnai the Hushathite;

v. 28. Zalmon the Ahohite; Maharai the Netophathite;

v. 29. Heleb, the son of Baanah, a Netophathite; Ittai, the son of Ribai, out of Gibeah of the children of Benjamin;

v. 30. Benaiah the Pirathonite; Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash;

v. 31. Abialbon the Arbathite; Azmaveth the Barhumite;

v. 32. Eliahba the Shaalbonite, of the sons of Jashen, Jonathan:

v. 33. Shammah the Hararite; Ahiam, the son of Sharar, the Hararite;

v. 34. Eliphelet, the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite; Eliam, the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite;

v. 35. Hezrai the Carmelite; Paarai the Arbite;

v. 36. Igal, the son of Nathan of Zobah; Bani the Gadite;

v. 37. Zelek the Ammonite; Nahari the Beerothite, armor-bearer to Joab, the son of Zeruiah;

v. 38. Ira, an Ithrite; Gareb, an Ithrite;

v. 39. Uriah the Hittite: thirty and seven in all, namely, Joab as the commander-in-chief, three heroes of the first degree, three heroes of the second degree, and the thirty knights of David. As the names of these faithful followers of David were here entered into the catalog of heroes, so the names of the true servants of Christ are entered into the book of life, to be read on the last day, when all such men will receive the reward of mercy.

Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 23". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kpc/2-samuel-23.html. 1921-23.
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