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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
2 Samuel 20

 

 

Verses 1-26

1 Samuel 20. The Revolt of Sheba (J).

2 Samuel 20:1 f. The result of this altercation was a fresh rebellion under a Benjamite, Sheba ben Bichri.

2 Samuel 20:3. The members of the king's harem whom he had left in Jerusalem are condemned to pass the rest of their days in seclusion (cf. 2 Samuel 16:21).

2 Samuel 20:4-12. David bade his new commander-in-chief, Amasa, assemble the general levy of Judah by a given day; the day came, but Amasa and the army did not appear. A few days before Amasa had been in command of an army fighting against Judah, and the men of Judah might be slow to trust him. Time pressed; David, still unwilling to forgive Joab, placed his brother, Abishai, in command of the bodyguard and the standing army, with Joab as a subordinate. Read, in 2 Samuel 20:7, on the basis of the LXX, "And there went out after Abishai, Joab and the Cherethites, etc." Meanwhile Amasa had collected his force and also started northwards. The two armies met near Gibeon; Joab treacherously murdered Amasa by some ruse which is not clearly explained—the latter part of 2 Samuel 20:8 is unintelligible. Joab then assumed the command.

2 Samuel 20:13-22. Joab led the united force in pursuit of Sheba, who had been traversing the country trying unsuccessfully to gather adherents. 2 Samuel 20:14 is obscure and the text doubtful; it is not clear how it should be restored. Some find in it a statement that Sheba was treated with contempt. Further, we should probably read "to Abel-beth-maacah," in the extreme N. of Palestine; "all the Bichrites," Sheba's kinsfolk. Joab shut up the rebels in Abel, and was preparing to storm the city. The inhabitants opened negotiations through a "Wise Woman," probably someone on the border line between a prophetess and a witch, two classes which were not always clearly distinguished. She appealed to the reputation of Abel as a stronghold of national tradition: "They used to say formerly: Let them ask in Abel and in Dan whether what the faithful in Israel established has come to an end" (so ICC, etc., on the basis of LXX). Such a city Joab was proposing to destroy. The negotiations ended in the people of Abel putting Sheba to death; whereupon Joab and his army returned to Jerusalem. Apparently the king did not venture to dispute Joab's right to resume his post of commander-in-chief.

2 Samuel 20:23-26. A second list of David's officers, varying somewhat from that in 2 Samuel 8:16 ff., which see. There is a new office, Master of the Tribute, or rather the forced labour (cf. 1 Samuel 8:16). David's sons disappear from the list of priests, but Ira, who takes their place, is neither Levite nor Aaronite, but belongs to Jair, a clan of E. Manasseh. The differences between the two lists may be due to changes in the course of the reign or to variations in the traditions. Probably neither list is exhaustive; no doubt there were other officers and other priests who might have been mentioned. The list will have been composed by an editor from ancient material, and at one time was the conclusion of an edition of the book which ended at this point.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/2-samuel-20.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, December 12th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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