Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

2 Samuel 2

Introduction

1David, by God's direction, with his company goes up to Hebron, where he is made king of Judah.
5He commends them of Jabesh-gilead for their kindness to Saul.
8Abner makes Ishbosheth king of Israel.
12A mortal skirmish between twelve of Abner's and twelve of Joab's men.
18Asahel is slain.
25At Abner's motion, Joab sounds a retreat.
32Asahel's burial.

Verse 1

And it came to pass after this, that David enquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the LORD said unto him, Go up. And David said, Whither shall I go up? And he said, Unto Hebron.
enquired
5:19,23; Numbers 27:21; Judges 1:1; 1 Samuel 23:2,4,9-12; 30:7,8; Psalms 25:4,5; Psalms 27:4; 143:8; Proverbs 3:5,6; Ezekiel 36:37
Hebron
11; 5:1-3; 15:7; Genesis 32:2; Numbers 13:22; Joshua 14:14,15; 1 Samuel 30:31; 1 Kings 2:11; 1 Chronicles 29:7
Reciprocal: Genesis 35:27 - Mamre;  Joshua 9:14 - asked not;  Joshua 21:11 - is Hebron;  2 Samuel 15:10 - Hebron;  1 Chronicles 11:1 - Hebron;  1 Chronicles 14:10 - inquired;  2 Chronicles 18:4 - Inquire

Verse 2

So David went up thither, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail Nabal's wife the Carmelite.
1 Samuel 25:42,43; 30:5; Luke 22:28,29
Reciprocal: 2 Samuel 3:3 - Abigail;  1 Chronicles 12:22 - day by day

Verse 3

And his men that were with him did David bring up, every man with his household: and they dwelt in the cities of Hebron.
his men
1 Samuel 22:2; 27:2,3; 30:1,9,10; 1 Chronicles 12:1-7
the cities
Joshua 21:11,12
Reciprocal: Genesis 35:27 - Mamre;  1 Chronicles 12:23 - the numbers

Verse 4

And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, That the men of Jabeshgilead were they that buried Saul.
the men of Judah
11; 19:11,42; Genesis 49:8-10
anointed
7; 5:3,5,17; 1 Samuel 16:13; 1 Chronicles 11:3
the men of Jabesh-gilead
1 Samuel 31:11-13
Reciprocal: 1 Samuel 31:13 - their bones;  2 Samuel 12:8 - gave thee;  2 Samuel 21:11 - told David;  1 Kings 1:34 - Zadok;  2 Kings 11:12 - anointed him;  1 Chronicles 10:11 - when;  1 Chronicles 12:23 - the numbers;  Psalm 21:3 - preventest;  Psalm 55:20 - broken;  Psalm 75:2 - When;  Psalm 141:6 - they shall hear;  Acts 13:22 - he raised

Verse 5

And David sent messengers unto the men of Jabeshgilead, and said unto them, Blessed be ye of the LORD, that ye have shewed this kindness unto your lord, even unto Saul, and have buried him.
David
This was a generous and noble act, highly indicative of the grandeur of David's mind. He respected Saul, though he had been greatly injured by him, as the anointed king of Israel, and once his legitimate sovereign; and he loved Jonathan as his most intimate friend.
Blessed
Ruth 1:8; 2:20; 3:10; 1 Samuel 23:21; 24:19; 25:32,33; Psalms 115:15
Reciprocal: Genesis 14:18 - the most;  Genesis 14:19 - Blessed be;  Judges 21:8 - Jabeshgilead;  1 Samuel 31:13 - their bones;  2 Samuel 21:12 - the bones of Saul;  Psalm 141:6 - for they

Verse 6

And now the LORD shew kindness and truth unto you: and I also will requite you this kindness, because ye have done this thing.
the Lord
15:20; Psalms 57:3; Proverbs 14:22; Matthew 5:7; 2 Timothy 1:16-18
I also
9:3,7; 10:2; Matthew 5:44; 10:16; Philemon 1:18,19
Reciprocal: Judges 21:8 - Jabeshgilead;  Psalm 141:6 - for they

Verse 7

Therefore now let your hands be strengthened, and be ye valiant: for your master Saul is dead, and also the house of Judah have anointed me king over them.
let your
10:12; Genesis 15:1; 1 Samuel 4:9; 31:7,12; 1 Corinthians 16:13; Ephesians 6:10
valiant
Heb. the sons of valour.
Reciprocal: 2 Samuel 2:4 - anointed;  2 Samuel 16:21 - the hands;  2 Kings 11:12 - anointed him;  1 Chronicles 5:18 - valiant men;  1 Chronicles 26:6 - mighty men of valour;  2 Chronicles 18:16 - master;  Nehemiah 2:18 - So they strengthened

Verse 8

But Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul's host, took Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim;
Abner
1 Samuel 14:50; 17:55; 26:14
Saul's host
Heb. the host which was Saul's. Ish-bosheth.
3:7,8; 4:5,6; 1 Chronicles 8:33; 9:39
Esh-baal
Mahanaim.
17:26,27; Genesis 32:2
Reciprocal: Joshua 13:26 - Mahanaim;  1 Samuel 26:5 - Abner;  2 Samuel 3:6 - Abner;  2 Samuel 3:38 - a prince;  2 Samuel 17:24 - Mahanaim;  1 Kings 4:14 - Mahanaim;  2 Kings 10:3 - Look even;  1 Chronicles 12:29 - the greatest part of them;  Psalm 60:2 - broken;  Psalm 60:6 - divide;  Psalm 108:8 - Gilead

Verse 9

And made him king over Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jezreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel.
Gilead
Numbers 32:1-42; Joshua 13:8-11; Psalms 108:8
Ashurites
The LXX. read [ ] Thasiri; and the Vulgate Gessuri, "Geshurites;" but it is probable that for ashuri, "Ashurites," we should read ashairi, "Asherites," or those of the tribe of Asher.
Genesis 30:13; Numbers 1:40
over Jezreel
Joshua 19:18
Reciprocal: Genesis 25:3 - Asshurim;  Judges 20:1 - with the;  2 Samuel 3:6 - Abner;  2 Samuel 3:21 - will gather;  1 Kings 18:45 - Ahab;  2 Kings 10:3 - Look even;  1 Chronicles 12:29 - the greatest part of them;  Psalm 18:43 - from;  Psalm 60:6 - divide

Verse 10

Ishbosheth Saul's son was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David.
two years
Houbigant proposes to read shesh shanah, "six years" instead of shetayim shanim, "two years," of the text, which he contends is a solecism; for, in pure Hebrew, the words should be shetayim shanah; and this is the reading of twenty MSS.; but two is acknowledged by all the versions and MSS. yet collated.
Reciprocal: 2 Samuel 3:14 - Ishbosheth;  Psalm 18:43 - from

Verse 11

And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.
time
Heb. number of days.
5:4,5; 1 Kings 2:11; 1 Chronicles 3:4; 29:27
Reciprocal: Genesis 23:2 - Kirjatharba;  Genesis 35:27 - Mamre;  Numbers 13:22 - Hebron;  Joshua 10:3 - Hebron;  2 Samuel 2:1 - Hebron;  2 Samuel 2:4 - the men of Judah;  2 Samuel 15:10 - Hebron;  2 Chronicles 11:10 - Hebron

Verse 12

And Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.
A. M. 2951. B.C. 1053. An. Ex. Is. 438. Mahanaim
17:14; Genesis 32:2
Gibeon
Joshua 9:3; 10:2,4,12; 18:25
Reciprocal: 2 Samuel 2:29 - Mahanaim;  2 Kings 10:3 - fight for

Verse 13

And Joab the son of Zeruiah, and the servants of David, went out, and met together by the pool of Gibeon: and they sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool.
Joab
18; 8:16; 20:23; 1 Kings 1:7; 2:28-35; 1 Chronicles 2:16
together
Heb. them together. pool.
Jeremiah 41:12
Reciprocal: 2 Samuel 20:8 - in Gibeon;  2 Samuel 24:2 - Joab

Verse 14

And Abner said to Joab, Let the young men now arise, and play before us. And Joab said, Let them arise.
play before
17,26,27; Proverbs 10:23; 17:14; 20:18; 25:8; 26:18,19
Reciprocal: Judges 9:29 - Increase thine army;  1 Samuel 14:12 - Come up to us;  2 Kings 14:8 - Come;  2 Chronicles 25:17 - let us see

Verse 16

And they caught every one his fellow by the head, and thrust his sword in his fellow's side; so they fell down together: wherefore that place was called Helkathhazzurim, which is in Gibeon.
by the head
Probably by the beard or hair of the head. Plutarch, in his Apophthegms, informs us, that all things being ready for a battle, Alexander's captains asked him whether he had any thing else to command them. "Nothing," said he, "but that the Macedonians shave their beards." Parmenio wondering what he meant, "Dost thou not know," said he, "that in fight, there is no better hold than the beard?"
Helkath-hazzurim
that is, the field of strong men.
Reciprocal: Joshua 19:25 - Helkath;  2 Samuel 2:26 - it will be;  1 Kings 20:20 - they slew;  Acts 1:19 - Aceldama

Verse 17

And there was a very sore battle that day; and Abner was beaten, and the men of Israel, before the servants of David.
Abner
3:1
Reciprocal: 2 Samuel 2:14 - play before;  2 Samuel 18:7 - the people

Verse 18

And there were three sons of Zeruiah there, Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel: and Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe.
three
1 Chronicles 2:15,16; 11:26
was as light
1:23; 1 Chronicles 12:8; Psalms 147:10,11; Ecclesiastes 9:11; Amos 2:14
foot
Heb. his feet. a wild roe. Heb. one of the roes that is in the field.
Psalms 18:33; Song of Solomon 2:17; 8:14; Habakkuk 3:19
The word {tzevee,} rather denotes the gazelle or antelope
(See note on De 15:22.)
Reciprocal: 1 Samuel 26:6 - to Abishai;  2 Samuel 2:13 - Joab;  2 Samuel 14:1 - Joab;  2 Samuel 20:6 - Abishai;  2 Samuel 22:34 - like hinds';  2 Samuel 23:18 - Abishai;  2 Samuel 23:24 - Asahel;  1 Chronicles 11:6 - Joab;  1 Chronicles 11:20 - Abishai;  1 Chronicles 27:7 - Asahel;  Joel 2:7 - They shall run

Verse 19

And Asahel pursued after Abner; and in going he turned not to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner.
turned
21; Joshua 1:7; 23:6; 2 Kings 22:2; Proverbs 4:27
following Abner
Heb. after Abner.
Reciprocal: 2 Samuel 3:27 - for the blood;  2 Samuel 3:30 - because;  Joel 2:7 - They shall run

Verse 21

And Abner said to him, Turn thee aside to thy right hand or to thy left, and lay thee hold on one of the young men, and take thee his armour. But Asahel would not turn aside from following of him.
and take thee
It seems that Asahel wished to get the armour of Abner as a trophy.
armour
or, spoil.
Judges 14:19
Reciprocal: 2 Samuel 2:19 - turned

Verse 22

And Abner said again to Asahel, Turn thee aside from following me: wherefore should I smite thee to the ground? how then should I hold up my face to Joab thy brother?
wherefore
2 Kings 14:10-12; Proverbs 29:1; Ecclesiastes 6:10
how then
3:27
Reciprocal: 1 Samuel 19:17 - why should;  Psalm 143:3 - smitten

Verse 23

Howbeit he refused to turn aside: wherefore Abner with the hinder end of the spear smote him under the fifth rib, that the spear came out behind him; and he fell down there, and died in the same place: and it came to pass, that as many as came to the place where Asahel fell down and died stood still.
the fifth rib
3:27; 4:6; 5:6; 20:10
stood still
20:12,13

Verse 26

Then Abner called to Joab, and said, Shall the sword devour for ever? knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end? how long shall it be then, ere thou bid the people return from following their brethren?
Shall
14; Acts 7:26
sword
11:25; Isaiah 1:20; Jeremiah 2:30; 12:12; 46:10,14; Hosea 11:6
it will be
16; Proverbs 17:14
how long
Job 18:2; 19:2; Psalms 4:2; Jeremiah 4:21
Reciprocal: Genesis 34:26 - edge;  Judges 9:38 - GeneralJudges 21:6 - repented them;  2 Samuel 18:7 - twenty thousand men;  2 Chronicles 11:4 - against;  Psalm 133:1 - how good;  Proverbs 20:18 - and;  Proverbs 25:8 - hastily;  Jeremiah 47:6 - how long;  Galatians 5:15 - General

Verse 27

And Joab said, As God liveth, unless thou hadst spoken, surely then in the morning the people had gone up every one from following his brother.
As God
This was spoken in allusion to the proposal of Abner, (ver. 14,) which led to the slaughter of twelve young men of each party, and thus provoked the battle. It is probable, that Joab had orders simply to act on the defensive, and would not have attacked the Israelites that day unless compelled; therefore the blame lay upon Abner and Israel.
1 Samuel 25:26; Job 27:2
unless
14; Proverbs 15:1; 17:14; 20:18; 25:8; Isaiah 47:7; Luke 14:31,32
in the morning
Heb. from the morning. gone up. or, gone away.
Reciprocal: Judges 9:38 - GeneralPsalm 133:1 - how good;  Galatians 5:15 - General

Verse 29

And Abner and his men walked all that night through the plain, and passed over Jordan, and went through all Bithron, and they came to Mahanaim.
Bithron
Bithron or Bether is probably the same as Betarus, which is placed in the Antonine Itinerary between Caesarea of Palestine and Diospolis or Lydda, 18 miles from the former, and 22 from the latter. The Jerusalem Itinerary mentions a place called Bethar, 16 miles from Caesarea, and 20 from Diospolis, which is probably the same. The Talmudists say that it was four miles distant from the sea.
Song of Solomon 2:17
Bether
Mahanaim.

Verse 31

But the servants of David had smitten of Benjamin, and of Abner's men, so that three hundred and threescore men died.
three hundred
The slain of Israel, though greatly exceeding those of Judah, were not great. This might be owing to the directions given by David, to be as lenient as possible; but the death of Asahel seems to have stopped the pursuers, and greatly favoured the escape of the vanquished.
3:1; 1 Kings 20:11
Reciprocal: 2 Samuel 18:7 - twenty thousand men

Verse 32

And they took up Asahel, and buried him in the sepulchre of his father, which was in Bethlehem. And Joab and his men went all night, and they came to Hebron at break of day.
buried
1 Samuel 17:58; 1 Chronicles 2:13-16; 2 Chronicles 16:14; 21:1
went
5:1; Proverbs 22:29
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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tsk/2-samuel-2.html.