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Bible Commentaries

Layman's Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 23

Verses 1-7

David’s Testament (23:1-7)

This psalm is very confused in its text and the meaning is not always clear. It is probable that, in its original form, it goes back to David. As it is, it presents an idealized picture of him compared with the one in the contemporary records that we have been discussing. The skillful warrior and shrewd ruler, with his sins and failings, is replaced by a religious hero who, as God’s anointed, is marked by deep piety. David is pictured as a just ruler, under whom Israel enjoys prosperity (vss. 3-4). The everlasting Covenant of the Lord with David’s house is celebrated (vs. 5), and the doom of the evil and godless is seen in the declaration that they will go down before the weapons of the righteous (vss. 6-7).

Verses 8-39

More Mighty Warriors (23:8-39)

We have here a second list of David’s heroes, but included in it is a charming story going back to the king’s early days as a refugee in the stronghold of Adullam. David craved spring water from the well of Bethlehem, a city occupied by the Philistines. Three of his heroes broke through the Philistine camp and secured the water. David, moved by their faithfulness and love, poured out the precious water on the ground as a sacrifice to the Lord, for it had become as blood in his eyes because of the risk his warriors had taken. We need to remember that, for the Hebrew, the blood contained the life essence and must thus always be poured out to God and never consumed. 1 Chronicles 11:10-41 has the same list of heroes and offers a better text.

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Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 2 Samuel 23". "Layman's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lbc/2-samuel-23.html.