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the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 4

Coke's Commentary on the Holy BibleCoke's Commentary

Verse 1

2 Samuel 4:1. And all the Israelites were troubled That is, all those who were united to the interest of Ish-bosheth.

Verses 2-3

2 Samuel 4:2-3. (For Beeroth also was reckoned to Benjamin Beeroth was a city formerly belonging to the Gibeonites, within the lot of Benjamin, but most certainly not inhabited by them, when the Beerothites fled to Gittaim, after the defeat of Gilboa; for Gittaim was a Benjamite city, and had those Beerothites been Gibeonites, they would have fled to any region of the earth, rather than to the protection of the tribe of Benjamin, the tribe of Saul, the mortal enemy to their race. What then are we to infer from the flight of the Beerothites to a Benjamite city at that time, but that they themselves were Benjamites? And how could this city be then inhabited by Benjamites, otherwise than by the expulsion and eradication of the Gibeonites, when Saul destroyed them? And what reason was there for Saul's destroying them, but to give their possessions to his friends, the Benjamites? And certainly there can be no doubt upon the point, when we find them in fact possessed of that city. Here then the divine justice is very remarkable. Saul cut off the Gibeonites, to make way for his Benjamites; and two of these very Benjamites, the sons of a Benjamite of Beeroth, cut off his posterity, the chief stay and hope of his house; and did this against all the dictates of duty, gratitude, and natural affection. How adorable and how dreadful are the divine retributions of vengeance!

Verse 4

2 Samuel 4:4. Jonathan—had a son that was lame This account of Mephibosheth is properly inserted here; for, as the murderers of Ish-bosheth wished to destroy the whole house of Saul, in order to ingratiate themselves with David, the flight of Mephibotheth is designedly mentioned to inform the reader, that he was not put to death with Ish-bosheth, because, after the slaughter of Saul and Jonathan, he was carried away, and did not dwell in the house with Ish-bosheth.

Verses 6-7

2 Samuel 4:6-7. They came thither into the midst of the house Houbigant, following the version of the LXX, translates the whole thus: the keeper of the house, while he was cleaning wheat in the midst of it, slept in the sun; therefore Rechab and Baanah his brother entered the house secretly, and whilst Ish-bosheth slept upon his bed, in an inner chamber, they smote him till he died, and they took his head, which they had cut off, and travelled all the night by the way of the desart, &c.

REFLECTIONS.—Abner, the stay of Saul's family, being dead, Ish-bosheth's affairs sunk the faster; and no other of Saul's house remained who could pretend to the crown, but a child of Jonathan's who was lamed by a fall; and thus was, both by his age and misfortune, unfit to retrieve their ruined circumstances. Note; (1.) The perils of tender infancy are great; to have escaped them unhurt, is a singular mercy. (2.) When God will accomplish his designs, every obstacle in the way will be removed.

In this desperate situation of Ish-bosheth, instead of endeavouring to support or comfort him,
1. Two of his servants conspire his death. Pretending business in some of the magazines, which lay near the king's apartments, they break into his chamber, and murder him. Note; (1.) The higher a man's station, the more dangerous it is. (2.) Ere we close our eyes, let us ever think of our souls, as those who know not whether they shall ever awake again. (3.) A sinking cause is oftener hastened to ruin by the treachery of pretended friends, than the attacks of avowed enemies.

2. The murderers fly, and take the head of Ish-bosheth, as thinking it the most acceptable present they can bring to David; and, pretending zeal not only for his service, but for avenging God's quarrel against the house of Saul, they would cloak their treachery and murder under the pretext of religion. Note; Religion has often been made a cloak for ambition; but God will strip the hypocrite, and cover him with confusion.

Verse 11

2 Samuel 4:11. How much more when wicked men It was a fine reflection which fell from Darius upon finding that Bessus was plotting against him: he told the traitor, that he was as well satisfied of Alexander's justice, as he was of his courage; that they were mistaken who hoped he would reward treachery; that, on the contrary, no man was a more severe avenger of violated faith. It was upon this principle that Caesar put Pompey's murderers to death, and the Romans sent back the Faliscian school-master under the lashes of his own scholars. There is no one villany which the human soul so naturally, so instinctively abhors, as treachery, because it is perhaps the only villany from which no man living is secure; and for this reason every man must take pleasure in the punishment of it. Thus ended the dominion of the house of Saul. Note; Sooner or later every enemy must fall before the Son of David, and his cause prove triumphant over all the powers of earth and hell.

Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 4". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/2-samuel-4.html. 1801-1803.
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