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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
2 Samuel 23

 

 

Verse 1

2 Samuel 23:1 Now these [be] the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man [who was] raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said,

Ver. 1. Now these be the last words of David.] The last he set down as a penman of holy writ, and as divinely inspired. This was his swanlike song; Davidis novissima; wherein he doth, in few words but full of matter, acknowledge God’s benefits, confess his sins, profess his faith, comfort himself in the covenant, and denounce destruction to unbelievers. So that we may well say of this piece of Scripture, as Cicero did of Brutus’s laconical epistle, Quam multa quam paucis! How much in a little! Some think that they were his very last solemn words that he uttered, (a) though here set down.

David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high.] Though raised up to regal majesty, yet as not ashamed of his mean parentage and the obscurity of his family; saying in effect as Iphierates afterwards did, εξ οιων εις οια, from what a low estate am I advanced to this height of honour!

The sweet psalmist of Israel.] Sweet indeed: for in his psalms are amulets of comfort, as one (b) well saith, more pleasant than the pools of Heshbon, more glorious than the tower of Lebanon, more redolent than the oil of Aaron, more fructifying than the dew of Hermon. One touch of the son of Jesse, one murmur of this heavenly turtle dove, one michtam of David’s jewel, is far above the buskined raptures, garish phantasms, splendid vanities, pageants and landscapes of profaner wits.


Verse 2

2 Samuel 23:2 The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word [was] in my tongue.

Ver. 2. The Spirit of the Lord spake by me.] Both here and in other psalms composed by me; I had from the Holy Ghost both matter and words. See Acts 4:25, Luke 24:44.


Verse 3

2 Samuel 23:3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men [must be] just, ruling in the fear of God.

Ver. 3. The God of Israel.] God the Father.

The Rock of Israel.] God the Son, who is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit: and is said to have spoken to David by the Holy Spirit.

He that ruleth over men must be just.] This, God told David: and this, dying David telleth his son and successor Solomon; whom he would have to know, that regimen without righteousness is but robbery with authority, and soon turneth into tyranny. An unjust judge is a very thief, saith Columella, (a) as an unskilful physician is a manslayer.

Ruling in the fear of God.] Royalty without religion is but eminent dishonour. This, Jethro knew; and therefore preseribeth that princes and rulers should be men of courage, fearing God, [Exodus 18:21] when he cast Moses a mould for a polity in Israel, &c. [Psalms 2:10-11 2 Chronicles 19:7]


Verse 4

2 Samuel 23:4 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.

Ver. 4. And he shall be as the light of the morning.] "Which shineth more and more unto the perfect day." [Proverbs 4:18] He shall prosper and proceed, do great exploits, as did Joshua and Josiah, [Jeremiah 22:15] Constantine, Gustavus, king of Sweden, &c. But all these things are chiefly to be understood concerning Christ, saith Vatablus. Lyra applieth the next words thus to Christ, "As the tender grass springeth out of the earth," &c. As the ground is barren and bringeth forth no fruit but by the rain falling upon it, so the blessed Virgin could not have brought forth a son, but by the Spirit of God making her fruitful. Peter Martyr also understandeth this and the next verse of the kingdom of Christ.


Verse 5

2 Samuel 23:5 Although my house [be] not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all [things], and sure: for [this is] all my salvation, and all [my] desire, although he make [it] not to grow.

Ver. 5. Although my house be not so with God.] Or, And is not my house so with God? so some render it interrogatively, q.d., Either it is or it ought to be. But in case it be not, as the truth is, "In many things we offend all," and keep not touch with God, - which is a hindrance to our complete happiness, - yet the foundation of God remaineth sure; neither shall our unbelief make the faith of God of none effect. [Romans 3:3] We change often, but he changeth not, [Malachi 3:6] and his covenant is firm and immutable, [Jeremiah 31:32-34] "ordered and established in everything," by him who will "not suffer his faithfulness to fail, nor alter the thing that is gone out of his mouth."

For this is all my salvation and all my desire.] In eo uno acquiesco. In this covenant with me and my house, through Christ, I rest fully satisfied, and have abundant complacency; through good assur ance of safety here, and salvation hereafter.

Although he make it not to grow,] i.e., Though the glory of my temporal kingdom grow not; but there fall out sometimes wants of issue, and ruin of state. Some make this to be the sense, Although I see not that blessed Branch, the Messiah yet to grow forth, who is all my salvation, and my desire, will, or longing. Compare Isaiah 4:2.


Verse 6

2 Samuel 23:6 But [the sons] of Belial [shall be] all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands:

Ver. 6. But the sons of Belial.] Lawless, aweless, yokeless, masterless men, or monsters rather, such as contemn the word, and refuse to be reformed; untractable, incorrigible, such as were the Jews in Christ’s time, and so continue to be.

Shall be all of them as thorns.] That bear no good fruit, but only pricks, to hurt those that meddle with them. These shall be thrust away, that is, powerfully proceeded against; they shall be stubbed up by the roots, and burnt, viz., in hell fire. Those refractory Jews, for instance, on whom wrath came to the utmost, because "they pleased not God, but were contrary to all men," [1 Thessalonians 2:15-16] and the same is and shall be seen in Antichrist and his adherents, cast alive into the lake of fire. [Revelation 19:20]


Verse 7

2 Samuel 23:7 But the man [that] shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the [same] place.

Ver. 7. And they shall be utterly burnt with fire in the same place,] sc., Where they grew, or whither they are thrust away. Certain it is they shall be utterly destroyed here or in hell, as those stubborn Jews were who crucified Christ. The Romans came upon them with their iron weapons, killed innumerable of them in the very same place, and burnt down their city. "And when the king heard thereof," - that as thorns they drew blood of his dearest servants, or at least were as thorns in their eyes, [Joshua 4:13] untractable, untameable, and, therefore, fit for the fire, [Hebrews 6:8] - "he was wroth, and sent forth his armies," the Romans, "and destroyed those murderers, and burnt up their city." [Matthew 22:7]


Verse 8

2 Samuel 23:8 These [be] the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same [was] Adino the Eznite: [he lift up his spear] against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.

Ver. 8. These be the names of the mighty men which David had.] Who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, [1 Chronicles 11:10] being valiant and godly men. Joab is not once mentioned among them for his wickednesses; though some have thought that he was meant by this Tachmonite that sat in the seat as president of the council of war. But this is expressly said to be Adino, his proper name, the Eznite, from the country where he was born or bred, the son of one Tachmoni. [1 Chronicles 11:11] Some render it thus, These are the valiant men which David, sitting in the chair of state, had. Christ also had his worthies, and still hath, whose names are written in heaven.

Ite nunc fortes: superata tellus

Sidera donat. ”

- Boet., lib. iv. metr. 7.

Herehence the heathens borrowed their heroes, their Argonauts, Jason with his fifty-four mighties: Castor, Pollux, Typhis, Hercules, &c. Dei Simia Satan haec effinxit.

He lift up his spear against eight hundred.] Whom he routed and put to flight, so that they were slain; himself with his own hands killing three hundred of them upon the place. [1 Chronicles 11:11] Scanderbeg was such another.


Verse 9

2 Samuel 23:9 And after him [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:

Ver. 9. When they defied the Philistines,] viz., At Pasdammim. [1 Chronicles 11:13]

And the men of Israel were gone away.] Fled, and forsook their captains; a shame to forsake such a captain, of whom it might be said, as was once of Fabius Maximus,

Hic patria est, murique urbis stant pectore in uno. ” - Silius.


Verse 10

2 Samuel 23:10 He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.

Ver. 10. Until his hand was weary.] Scanderbeg fought against the Turks with such earnestness, that the blood burst out at his lips, as he was slaying them.

And his hand clave unto the sword.] By the contraction of his sinews, through the pains he had taken. Spasmus est tendonum contractio: quae aliquando fit, quum prae nimio sudore tendones siccescunt.


Verse 11

2 Samuel 23:11 And after him [was] Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines.

Ver. 11. Into a troop.] Or, For foraging.

And the people fled.] As 2 Samuel 23:9, for it seemeth that this exploit was achieved jointly by these two worthies at the same time. [1 Chronicles 11:14]


Verse 12

2 Samuel 23:12 But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.

Ver. 12. In the midst of the ground, and defended it,] i.e., That part of the ground that had the lentiles; as Eleazar had done that part that had the barley. It was for provender, and about harvest, that they skirmished mostly. [1 Samuel 23:1]


Verse 13

2 Samuel 23:13 And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim.

Ver. 13. And three of the thirty chief.] Or, The three captains over the thirty; viz., those three afore mentioned.

In the valley of Rephaim.] About the beginning of David’s reign. [2 Samuel 5:17-18]


Verse 14

2 Samuel 23:14 And David [was] then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines [was] then [in] Bethlehem.

Ver. 14. In an hold.] In the cave of Adullam. [2 Samuel 23:13]

And the garrison of the Philistines, &c.] This difficulty did but edge and whet on those heroic spirits to venture.


Verse 15

2 Samuel 23:15 And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which [is] by the gate!

Ver. 15. Oh that one would give me drink of the water,] q.d., If wishing were anything, I had as lief as any good, &c. Id certe mallem, quam multum argenti accipere. (a) He had like longings after God. [Psalms 42:1-2; Psalms 119:5; Psalms 119:20]


Verse 16

2 Samuel 23:16 And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that [was] by the gate, and took [it], and brought [it] to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.

Ver. 16. Nevertheless he would not drink thereof.] Accounting it too dear a draught for himself, he poured it out unto the Lord, out of a religious respect; and this put a difference betwixt this act of David’s, and the like done by Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar. (a) Finibus, non officiis, a vitiis discernuntur virtutes, saith Augustine, propter Te, Domine.


Verse 17

2 Samuel 23:17 And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: [is not this] the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men.

Ver. 17. Is not this the blood of the men?] So, say we; Is not this the blood of the souls of our servants whom we keep from the ordinances, for our pleasure? It is reported of Dr Chatterton, master of Emmanuel College, that he was married fifty-three years, and yet in all that time he never kept any of his servants from church to prepare his dinner. (a)


Verse 18

2 Samuel 23:18 And Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief among three. And he lifted up his spear against three hundred, [and] slew [them], and had the name among three.

Ver. 18. Against three hundred.] Josephus saith six hundred; but he is out in this count, as he is oft, seeking the honour of his nation.


Verse 19

2 Samuel 23:19 Was he not most honourable of three? therefore he was their captain: howbeit he attained not unto the [first] three.

Ver. 19. He attained not to the first three,] viz., In degree and dignity. Men may have their praise, though they be not among the first, Honestum est ei qui in primis non potest, in secundis tertiisve consistere, saith the orator. (a) Every man cannot excel, who yet may be useful.


Verse 20

2 Samuel 23:20 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow:

Ver. 20. The son of a valiant man.] Fortes creantur fortibus et bonis. (a)

He slew two lion-like men.] Heb., Two Ariels of Moab, perhaps they were brothers, but coeur-de-lions certainly, (b) Or, He took two strong forts, called Ariel, both, - as Vatablus.

And slew a lion.] Which feared the people with his roaring. This was not rashness or ostentation, but magnanimity.


Verse 21

2 Samuel 23:21 And he slew an Egyptian, 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, and slew him with his own spear.

Ver. 21. A goodly man.] A man of great stature. [1 Chronicles 11:23]


Verse 22

2 Samuel 23:22 These [things] did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men.

Ver. 22. Among three.] Asahel seemeth to be the third of those who made up the second band or squadron of colonels.


Verse 23

2 Samuel 23:23 He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the [first] three. And David set him over his guard.

Ver. 23. But he attained not.] See on 2 Samuel 23:19.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 23:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-23.html. 1865-1868.

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Sunday, December 15th, 2019
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