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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 4

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations



Ish-bosheth and his party are astonished at Abner’s death, 2 Samuel 1:7.

Two captains murder Ish-bosheth, and bring his head to David, 2 Samuel 4:2-8; who caused them to be put to death, and hanged up; and Ish-bosheth’s head to be buried, 2 Samuel 4:9-12.

Verse 1

His hands were feeble; his spirit, and courage, and strength failed him. This phrase is used in the same sense Ezra 4:1; Nehemiah 6:9; Isaiah 13:7; Isaiah 35:3. The Israelites were troubled, because now they were unable to oppose David, and doubtful of obtaining his favour, now Abner their peace-maker was dead.

Verse 2

Of the children of Benjamin; of Ish-bosheth’s own tribe, whom therefore he trusted the more; and this gave them opportunity to execute their wicked design.

Beeroth also, was reckoned to Benjamin: this is added as the reason why he called them Beerothites, because though Beeroth was now in the hands and possession of the Philistines, 1 Samuel 31:7, yet of right it belonged to the Benjamites, Joshua 18:25.

Verse 3

And, or, yet, or but; for this comes in to anticipate an objection against what he had now said. It is true, saith he, the

Beerothites fled. as others did, upon the overthrow of Saul and his army, 1 Samuel 31:7, to a place called

Gittaim, 2 Samuel 4:3; not that in Benjamin, Nehemiah 11:33, but some other place of that name more remote from the Philistines; and so they were Gittaimites by their present habitation, but Beerothites by their original, and place of their birth.

Verse 4

This history is inserted as that which encouraged these men to this wicked murder, because Saul’s family was now reduced to a low ebb; and if Ish-bosheth was dispatched, there would be none left but a lame child, who was altogether unfit to manage the kingdom, especially in so troublesome a time as this was; and therefore the crown must necessarily come to David by their act and deed, for which they promised themselves no small recompence.

Jezreel; the place of that last and fatal fight, 1 Samuel 29:1.

Mephibosheth; called also Merib-baal, 1 Chronicles 8:34. See Poole "2 Samuel 2:8".

Verse 5

Either from discontent of mind, as Ahab did, 1 Kings 21:4; or from sloth and sensuality, as David seems to have done, 2 Samuel 11:2.

Verse 6

Into the midst of the house, or, into the house; for the midst is not always taken exactly, and mathematically, but for any part within, as Genesis 48:16; Exodus 8:22; Joshua 3:17.

As though they would have fetched wheat; which was laid up in public granaries in the king’s house, and was fetched thence by the captains and commanders of the army for the pay of their soldiers, who in those ancient times were not paid in money, but in corn, as is well known. Upon this pretence they were admitted into the house, and so went from room to room, to the place where the king lay.

Rechab and Baanah escaped; which was not difficult to do, when the king was left alone; either because he desired to compose himself to rest or sleep; or because his guards, if he had any, were very small and negligent, now, at least, in his declining and forlorn condition.

Verse 7

Through the plain, i.e. in the way from Mahanaim to Hebron; which for the most part was a plain country.

Verse 8

Which sought thy life, i.e. to destroy it, or take it away; as this phrase is used, 1 Samuel 20:1; 1 Samuel 23:15, and elsewhere. They thought their action not only blameless, but meritorious; because they had but executed justice upon Saul’s house, and David’s enemies, and made way for David’s obtaining of his rights. It may seem strange they were not discouraged by David’s punishing of the Amalekite for killing Saul, 2 Samuel 1:0, and by his sharp reproof of Joab for murdering Abner; but they thought the first case much differing from theirs, because Saul was anointed king by God; whereas Ish-bosheth was not, but was a mere usurper: and for the latter, they thought that David’s sharp words proceeded rather from art and policy, than from any real dislike of thee thing; which they judged, because David contented himself with words, and Joab did not only go unpunished, but continued in his former place and power.

Verse 9

Who hath hitherto delivered and will deliver me from all mine enemies. So that I needed not your wicked help in this way.

Verse 11

A righteous person; for so he was comparatively, and in respect of these men, having not deserved death at their hands.

Verse 12

His young men; those of his guard, who used to execute justice upon malefactors at the king’s command.

Their hands and their feet; which had been most instrumental in this villany; their hands to cut off his head, and their feet to carry them away, and his head with them.

Hanged them up over the pool in Hebron; as monuments of their villany, and of David’s abhorrency of it.

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 4". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/2-samuel-4.html. 1685.
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