Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 10:12

Be strong, and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God; and may the Lord do what is good in His sight."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Country;   Joab;   Patriotism;   Zobah;   Thompson Chain Reference - Courage;   Courage-Fear;   Love;   Manliness;   Nation;   Nation, the;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Ammonites, the;   Syria;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Beard;   Hadadezer or Hadarezer;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Ammon;   Courage;   Joab;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Evil;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Ammonite;   Hanun;   Joab;   Medeba;   Nahash;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Edom;   Joab;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ammonites;   Disciples;   Hadad-Ezer;   Mercy, Merciful;   Samuel, Books of;   Syria;   Tob;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Abishai;   Ammon, Ammonites;   Joab;   Maacah;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Ambassador;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Hanun;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Da'vid;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - War;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Abishai;   Courage;   Joab;   Zobah;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Courage;   Hanun;   Joab;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Be of good courage - This is a very fine military address, and is equal to any thing in ancient or modern times. Ye fight pro aris et focis; for every good, sacred and civil; for God, for your families, and for your country.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:12". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-samuel-10.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

For the cities of our God - This rather indicates that the relief of Medeba was one of the immediate objects in view, and consequently that at this time Medeba was still in the possession of the Reubenites. To prevent an Israelite city falling into the hands of a pagan people, and the rites of Moloch being substituted for the worship of Yahweh, was a very urgent motive to valor.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-samuel-10.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

2 Samuel 10:12

Be of good courage and let us play the men

Of courage

In those words you have these two parts: the braveness of his resolution: “Be of good courage and let us play the men.
” The humbleness of his submission: “And the Lord do that which seemeth him good.” Or, if you will, thus: an exhortation to true noble valour in the former part, “Be of good courage,” &c.; and, secondly, an humble resignation of himself and cause and success into the hands of God; “And the Lord do that which seemeth him good.” His exhortation is strengthened with divers arguments: “It is for our people.” The Ammonites and Syrians are now about us, if you do not behave yourselves valiantly your people are pillaged, plundered, captived, murthered; and therefore “be of courage, and let us play the men.” And for the cities of our God.

I. For the description of good courage you may take it thus: Good courage is that gracious disposition of heart whereby a man, being called by God unto any service, does adventure upon difficulties either in doing good or enduring evil, and that without fear.

Here are four or five things considerable in this description.

1. Good courage is a gracious disposition. There is a moral boldness and a natural audacity, and this is not good courage, for the former is in heathens, and the latter is in brute beasts.

2. Again, there is a sinful desperateness whereby men are apt and ready to rush upon all that is evil, and are sinfully bold, and they think him a fool or a child that will not drink, and be drunk, and whore, and run into all kind of evil: this is not good courage. Good courage is hemmed in with waiting upon the Lord.

3. Again, there is a vaunting, bragging, boasting cavalierism which hath no true courage. Such a cavalier was Rabshakeh, who said, “With us is valour and courage;” when he defied the hosts and servants of the living God. Good courage is the health of the mind; this vaunting, bragging, boasting is the swelling of the mind, not courage.

4. Again, there is a fierce, angry, revengeful disposition, whereby men are ready to run upon cruelties: this is no good courage, “The righteous is as bold as a lion.” The lion himself is merciful, not revengeful; if a creature lies down before him he will spare it. It is a gracious disposition of heart. The truth is, the heart of man is the artillery yard where all the thoughts of courage train continually.

5. Again, I say, whereby a man being called by God unto any service. God’s call is the ground of a Christian’s courage. This was pretended in Rabshakeh’s speech; “Hath not the Lord sent me?” And this was, in truth, the ground of Joshua’s courage: “Be of good courage, have not I commanded thee?” I add, all this must be done without fear: and therefore in Scripture these go together: “Be of good courage; fear not, neither be dismayed.” The more a man’s fears are enlarged, the more his courage is lessened; and the more a man’s courage is enlarged, the more his fears are lessened.

II. In evil times, in times of danger, good courage is very requisite. In time of danger good courage is the strength of a man, it is the spirits of a man, it is the sparkling of a man’s heart, it is the life of one’s life. Saith Solomon, “The spirit of a man shall sustain his infirmity.” Without strength there is no bearing of burthens. Now this is the way to be strong, to stand under burthens in evil times: “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart.”

1. Again, evil times are full of changes, and good courage will keep us from the power of those. It is a good speech Seneca hath: He is a stout man whom prosperity doth not allure; but he is most stout of all whom the change of things doth not disturb. And in another place, saith he, He hath no great mind that can be bent by injuries. And evil times are full of injuries. Without courage a man will easily be bent by them; bent unto sin and bent unto what is evil.

2. Again, evil times are very expensive. Then a man shall be called to lay out much: his estate, his house, his liberty, his body, his all: and no affection, no disposition so spending as courage; good courage will make a man Spend and be spent for God.

III. If this be so, you see what our duty is: to be of “good courage, and play the men.” (W. Bridge, M. A.)

Four pillars of national strength

I. There must be a general intelligence in order to conserve the best interests of popular government. We have never as yet been able to measure the elevating power of a common or general intelligence upon communities, and nations. Some one has said that “a spelling book and a copy of the New Testament dropped into a land, will lift up millions of tons of ignorance and superstition. They will widen the streets, pile up the palaces of trade in every mart, lift up the roof of the poor man’s cottage, and drive the ghosts and demons from every forest and mountain solitude.” Would you know the power of a well-equipped intellect, and the multiplying forces of education, sit for a moment at the feet of the statistician. Here you will learn that only one-fifth of one per cent of our population graduate from our colleges, yet this little handful of men have furnished thirty per cent of all congressmen, fifty per cent of all our senators, sixty per cent of all our presidents, and over seventy per cent of all our supreme judges. See that inspiring host leading in the van of the armies of our civilization. There they come with stately tread, three hundred thousand strong; trained men and women who have passed satisfactory examinations, and whose province it is to disseminate a more general intelligence among the people, and train our children for efficient citizenship. We have ten times as many teachers as Athens has inhabitants when she was mistress of Greece, and legislator of the world. We have more than thirty times as many teachers as Xenophon had in the immortal legion. We have more than twelve times as many teachers as there were soldiers in the army of Hanibal, when he descended from the Alps into the plains of Italy, and shook the inhabitants with mortal fear. We have more than fifty times as many teachers as there were soldiers who followed Caesar over the Rubicon to the conquest of the world. We can depend upon these cultivated and trained men and women for much in the way of strengthening the empire of thought. The magnificent possibilities before them are manifest when we consider the fact that they have under their tutelage more than twelve million students, four times as many as there were inhabitants in the thirteen colonies when our fathers won liberty for mankind. But what signifies intelligence, mere mental power or school drill if there be lacking the element of heroic courage? Devoid of this the scholar becomes a mere pigmy; coupled with it he becomes a giant.

II. “be of good courage,” shouts the heroic Joab. Much need of courage, you say, on the field of battle. Yes, and there is none the less need of courage in the every-day struggles of life. There are evils to be exterminated and abuses to be corrected. The sanctity of law must be maintained, and our free institutions perpetuated and defended at all hazard. We want men who are lawfully in earnest. William Lloyd Garrison touched the keynote of success when he said: “I am in earnest. I will not, equivocate. I will not excuse. I will not retreat a single inch, and I will be heard. The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal, and hasten the resurrection of the dead.” It is the man of heroic enterprise who will hew his way through the sable walls of ignorance, opposition, and prejudice, and create for himself and his coadjutors a new world, We need courage in the everyday conflicts of life. No coward can successfully contend with poverty, with had debts, unscrupulous associates, failures, and temptations. He must have courage to stand fire, stand firm, and, if need be, stand alone. It takes manly courage to stand alone in the face of opposition. Every man needs courage when he goes to exercise the sacred office of his franchisement; and he should put as much conscience into his vote as he does into his prayers. Do not become dispirited because you are not on the popular side. With three hundred men on the side of right, Gideon put to flight one hundred and thirty-five thousand men of war.

III. Be loyal to your own conviction of duty and right. It is said of the last and greatest apostle of our Lord that he “conferred not with flesh and blood.” He sacrificed whatever he had prized of an earthly character in order that he might be loyal to his convictions of duty. When he was apprised of the fact that the way which he had marked out for himself was beset with difficulties, and that “bonds and imprisonments awaited him,” his reply was plain and emphatic: “None of these things move me.” Give us a few more men who would rather be right than popular, who Would rather be in harmony with God and conscience than with party or party declarations. You may not be called upon to prove your loyalty as did the heroes at Gettysburg, Atlanta, and the wilderness, but there are formidable enemies yet to meet and conquer. These will test your mettle. Think of the forces of intemperance, the growing evil of gambling, unchastity, infidelity, and the appalling array of unscrupulous politicians and demagogues. Never did loyalty mean more than it does now. The long-suffering wifehood, sisterhood, and motherhood of the nation is calling aloud for redress. The oppressed are looking to us for alleviation and help. To disappoint them is to prove recreant in the most important trust, and suffer defeat in the greatest battle ever fought.

IV. The fourth pillar we mention is evangelical religion. Science and art have wrought wonders. The world stands amazed at their achievements. They have tamed fierce beasts of prey and brought the elements of nature into subjection. They have spanned the ocean, annihilated distance, joined continent to continent, given life to steam, a tongue to the wire, and a voice to the lightning. But these fierce passions in the human heart are more fierce than beasts of prey, and disturbing forces more tumultuous than nature’s stormy winds and tempests and more difficult to control than the most subtle elements. No mere human skill can master these. Christian science as taught in the school of Jesus Christ alone can enable man to obtain the mastery over these. There is a broader field for the Church to-day than ever before. “Egypt and Ethiopia” are not only reaching out their hands to us, but Europe and Asia are clasping ours, and instead of being under the necessity of crossing the restless Atlantic, our work is facilitated by their coming to our own doors. Finally, religion wipes guilt from the conscience and drives darkness from the mind. It gives hope to the heart, light to the eyes, and strength to the hand. It will make life pleasant, toil sweet, and death triumphant. It gives faith to the fearful, courage to the timid. It robs the grave of its terrors, and death of its sting, and gilds the pathway to man’s future abode with an eternal brightness. (G. W. Shepherd.)

Playing the man

I. The motives by which we should be actuated. Joab appealed to

II. The spirit by which we should re animated. The moral quality of any work we do resides in the intention; and the success in any work we attempt depends mainly upon the spirit in which we prosecute it. Joab inculcated

Elements of true manhood

I. Courage. Courage is not mere fearlessness. There is in many natures a stolid indifference to danger. It is said that Nelson never knew what fear was. True courage always implies a supreme love for right. Right is appreciated more titan ease, comfort, property, health, even life itself, and for it all are willingly sacrificed when necessary. The finest example of true moral courage, you have in Paul who for the sake of what he believed to be right, braved the greatest perils, and with a daring valour confronted his greatest enemies. He did not count his life dear to him so that he might discharge his obligations.

II. generosity. “Let us play the men for our people and for the cities of our God.” The selfish man, the man who lives to himself, and for himself alone, is destitute of the chief element of true manhood. We do not “play the men,” when we fight for our own little interests, or battle for our own little sect, but when we stand up from the dictates of pure generosity and struggle for the good of others.

III. Piety. “The Lord do that which seemeth Him good.” True piety is a devout acquiescence in the will of the great God, and without this there can be no greatness of character. It is not until we feet his will to the supreme rule of our life that we experience the pulsation of a true manly heart. (Homilist.)

Religion and patriotism the constituents of good soldiers

“Be of good courage, and let us play the men.” Courage is an essential character of a good soldier--not a savage, ferocious violence; not a foolhardy insensibility of danger, or headstrong rashness to rush into it; not the fury of inflamed passions, broken loose from the government of reason; but calm, deliberate, rational courage; a steady, judicious, thoughtful fortitude; the courage of a man, and not of a tiger; such a temper as Addison ascribes with so much justice to the famous Marlborough and Eugene:--

Whose courage dwelt not in a troubled flood

Of mounting spirits and fermenting blood;--But

Lodg’d in the soul, with virtue over-ruled,

Inflamed by reason, and by reason cool’d.

The Campaign.

This is true courage, and such as we ought all to cherish. This will render men vigilant and cautious against surprise, prudent and deliberate in concerting their measures, and steady and resolute in executing them. But without this they will fall into unsuspected dangers, which will strike them with wild consternation; they will meanly shun dangers that are surmountable, or precipitantly rush into those that are causeless, or evidently fatal, and throw away their lives in vain. There are some men who naturally have this heroic turn of mind. The wise Creator has adapted the natural genius of mankind with a surprising and beautiful variety to the state in which they are placed in this world. He that winged the imagination of a Homer or a Milton; he that gave penetration to the mind of Newton; he that made Tubal-Cain an instructor of artificers in brass and iron, and gave skill to Bezaleel and Aholiab in curious works; nay, he that sent out Paul and his brethren to conquer the nations with the gentler weapons of plain truth, miracles, and the love of a crucified Saviour; he, even that same gracious power, has formed and raised up an Alexander, a Julius Caesar, a William, and a Marlborough, and inspired them with this enterprising, intrepid spirit; the two first to scourge a guilty world, and the two last to save nations on the brink of ruin. There is something glorious and inviting in danger to such noble minds; and their breasts beat with a generous ardour when it appears. “The Lord do that, which seemeth Him good.” This may be looked upon in various views; as:--

I. It may be understood as the language of uncertainty and modesty. Let us do all we can; but after all, the issue is uncertain; we know not, as yet, to what side God will incline the victory. Such language as this becomes us in all our undertakings; it sounds creature-like, and God approves of such self-diffident humility. But to indulge sanguine and confident expectations of victory, to boast when we put on our armour, as though we were putting it off, and to derive our high hopes from our own power and good management, without any regard to the providence of God, this is too lordly and assuming for such feeble mortals; such insolence is generally mortified; and such a haughty spirit is the forerunner of a fall.

II. This language, “The Lord do as seemeth Him good,” may be looked upon as expressive of a firm persuasion that the event of war entirely depends upon the providence of God. Let us do our best; but after all, let us be sensible, that the success does not depend on us; that it is entirely in the hands of an all-ruling God. That God governs the world is a fundamental article of natural as well as revealed religion: it is no great exploit of faith to believe in this: it is but a small advance beyond atheism and downright infidelity. I know no country upon earth where I should be put to the expense of argument to prove this. The heathens gave striking proofs of their belief of it, by their prayers, their sacrifices, their consulting oracles, before they engaged in war; and by their costly offerings and solemn thanksgivings after victory. And shall such a plain principle as this be disputed in a Christian land? No; we all speculatively believe it; but that is not enough; let our spirits be deeply impressed with it, and our lives influenced by it: let us live in the world as in a territory of Jehovah’s empire.

III. That these words, “The Lord do what seemeth Him good,” may express an humble submission to the disposal of Providence, let the event turn out as it would. We have not the disposal of the event, nor do we know what it will be; but Jehovah knows, and that is enough: we are sure He will do what is best, upon the whole; and it becomes us to acquiesce.

IV. These words, in their connection, may intimate, that, let the event be what it will, it will afford us satisfaction to think that we have done the best we could. We cannot command success; but let us do all in our power to obtain it, and we have reason to hope that in this way we shall not be disappointed. (S. Davies, A. M.)

Trust in God, and exertion of courage, our duty in times of national danger

I. The interests we have at stake. Our people and the cities of our God: in other words, our civil rights and our religion. The defence of their persons and possessions against lawless power, and the secure enjoyment of the means of happiness here and hereafter, were the great motives that induced men to submit originally to government. And every particular government is good or bad, as it answers or fails of answering these purposes.

II. The spirit with which we ought to defend ourselves against them. “Let us be of good courage, and play the men.” These words may seem to express the duty of the soldiery alone: and, without question, they express that peculiarly; and, joined with the following ones, clearly show that a strong sense of religion and a virtuous concern for the common welfare are the true principles that will give military persons bravery and success, as they did to those whose history the text relates. But still the more literal translation is, “Be strong, and let us strengthen one another.”

III. An humble dependence on heaven for the event of all. (T. Secker.)

Growth of loyalty, heroism, and patriotism

As the maternal instinct had been cultivated for thousands of generations before clanship came into existence, so for many succeeding ages of turbulence the patriotic instinct, which prompts to the defence of home, was cultivated under penalty of death. Clans defended by weakly loyal or cowardly warriors were sure to perish. Unflinching bravery and devoted patriotism were virtues necessary to the survival of the community, and were thus preserved until at the dawn of historic times, in the most grandly militant of clan societies, we find the word “virtus” connoting just these qualities, and no sooner does the fateful gulf yawn open in the forum than a Curtius joyfully leaps into it, that the commonwealth may be preserved from harm. (Fiske, “Through Nature to God. ”)

Publicity in religious life and deed

Joab says to his brother Abishai: “Let us play the men for our people,” recognising that they two, as champions in the host, will be seen and noted; that they will be more than seen, that they will be imitated, and that their courage will stimulate the courage of others. Joab may therefore be said to recognise the duty of acting so as to be seen. But there is a wide distinction between this and the desire of the later Pharisees, who did their religious deeds in public on purpose to be seen of men. Compelling imitation is a better and a more difficult thing than winning applause. It is easier for a man to get two hundred to applaud him for sortie superficial virtue than to get two to follow him in the exercise of some obscure one. The man that ruleth his spirit may be greater than he that taketh a city, but he will not therefore fill as large a place in the world’s thought, or be as widely talked about. (Quiver.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "2 Samuel 10:12". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/2-samuel-10.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Be of good courage, and let us play the men,.... This Joab said, not only to encourage Abishai and himself, but in the hearing of the rest of the officers of the army, and of many of the people, to hearten them to the battle; who might be somewhat intimidated with the number of their enemies, and the position they were in, being before and behind them; and therefore he thought proper to make such a speech to them to animate them to light:

for our people, and for the cities of our God; that the people of Israel might not be carried captive, and their cities spoiled and plundered; and instead of being cities where the people of God dwelt, and he was worshipped, would, if taken, become the habitations of idolatrous Heathens, and where temples would be erected to idols, and the worship of them; these were the arguments he used to engage them to fight manfully for their country, the liberties and religion of it:

and the Lord do that which seemeth him good: tacitly suggesting that victory was of the Lord, and that it became them to do their part in fighting courageously, and leave the issue to the Lord, on whom alone success depended.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-10.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Be of good courage, and let us play the men for e our people, and for the cities of our God: and the LORD do that which seemeth him good.

(e) Here it is declared why war should be undertaken: for the defence of true religion and God's people.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:12". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-samuel-10.html. 1599-1645.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 10:12 Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the LORD do that which seemeth him good.

Ver. 12. Be of good courage, and let us play the men.] A brave speech, and such as than which a better could not have been uttered by any captain, saith Pellican. (a) That of Hunniades to his soldiers, when ready to join battle with the Turks, (b) is a very good one. Of them both it may be well said, as one did once of Julius Caesar, Si acta eius penitus ignorasses, per linguam tamen militem esse diceres; Had you never heard of their acts, yet you might have known them to have been good soldiers by their very speeches.

And the Lord do that which seemeth him good.] Det victoriam cui volet. Let him dispose of the victory as he pleaseth; but let us not be wanting in good courage, whose cause is so good. It is an excellent saying of Demosthenes, the Greek orator, Dει μεν τους αγαθους ανδρας, &c. It behoveth good men to make good attempts, and therein to hope the best, but to bear valiantly what event soever God shall order them.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:12". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-10.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 10:12

From these words I draw four useful and practical lessons.

I. I learn a lesson of mutual helpfulness. "As occasion demands," says Joab, "thou shalt help me and I will help thee." He was neither so vain as to think he could not possibly need a brother's help, nor so mean as to dream of standing aloof in a brother's difficulty. God intends that we shall be indebted to each other, and if Joab has to come to the help of Abishai, Abishai has no more reason to be ashamed than Joab.

II. I learn from the text a lesson of manly heroism. "Be of good courage and let us play the man." A hero is a man in the fullest sense of the word. There are heroes of the workshop, of the counter, of the office, of the market-place, on whose fortitude might be put quite as severe a strain as though they stood upon the battlefield, amid the glitter of cold steel or the rattle of musketry. If you are to play the part of the man, you must carefully cultivate the higher part of your nature. Lay the foundation of those intellectual and moral habits which will not only open up to you a vast range of elevating enjoyment, but will make you more capable of receiving the highest truth of all—the truth that concerns the kingdom of God.

III. I learn from the text a lesson of Christian patriotism. Great dangers put an edge upon true courage. "God and our country," was the cry of these two young men. It was a call to action and to danger, impelled by love to Israel and Israel's God. "Christian patriotism" was the term I used. You have no right to separate these words. The weal of our land is inseparably bound up with its religious condition. A true patriot will burn with desire to have his country leavened with real piety.

IV. I learn from the text a lesson of pious submission. ''And the Lord do that which seemeth Him good." I do not venture to say that Joab was a saint, but on this occasion, certainly, his conduct and language were admirable, and worthy of imitation.

J. Thain Davidson, Forewarned, Forearmed, p. 78.


References: 2 Samuel 10:12.—Parker, vol. vii., p. 235. 2Sam 10—Ibid., p. 146. 2 Samuel 11:1.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. viii., No. 450, and vol. xv., No. 895. 2 Samuel 11:2.—Ibid., Evening by Evening, p. 17. 2 Samuel 11:13,—Preacher's Monthly, vol. iv., p. 43.



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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:12". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/2-samuel-10.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Samuel 10:12. Be of good courage, &c.— There cannot be a more noble martial speech than this. We may learn from it, how naturally great dangers inspire sentiments of true religion, even in some who upon other occasions manifest too little of its spirit.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:12". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-samuel-10.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

For our people; for the preservation of ourselves and all our brethren from that utter ruin which our enemies design for us. Our war is not vainly undertaken to enlarge our empire or glory, but for our own just and necessary defence; and therefore we may hope for God’s blessing and assistance in it.

For the cities of our God; which are devoted to his worship and service, and therefore he will plead their cause against his enemies.

The Lord do that which seemeth him good; let us do our parts, and quietly refer ourselves and the event to God’s good pleasure, which we have no reason to distrust.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:12". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-samuel-10.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

12.Play the men — Show yourselves courageous and brave.

The cities of our God — The cities God had given Israel. The children of Israel were taught to regard themselves and their land as the property of God. Leviticus 25:23.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:12". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-10.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Samuel 10:12. Be of good courage, &c. — These words, it is likely, were not spoken to Abishai alone, but to all the army by their officers, that they might not be disheartened at the sight of such numerous forces as in a manner encompassed them, but be so much the more resolute for the preservation of their country. And the Lord do that which seemeth him good — If they did their duty, he trusted Divine Providence would favour them. But if not, he would be resigned to God’s will: he would piously leave the issue with him. And when we have done our part, according to the duty of our place, we may, with the greatest satisfaction, leave the event with God; not thinking that our efforts bind him to prosper us, but that he may still do as he pleaseth, and yet hoping for his salvation in his own way and time.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:12". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-samuel-10.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

City, Jerusalem, the metropolis; or, all the cities of Israel. (Paralipomenon)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:12". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-10.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

play the men = Be strong and let us put forth our strength. Hebrew. hozak.

God. Hebrew. Elohim. App-4.

the LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:12". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-samuel-10.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(12) Be of good courage, and let us play the men.—Literally, Be strong and let us strengthen ourselves. The same phrase is translated in Chronicles, “Be of good courage and let us behave ourselves valiantly.” (Compare 1 Samuel 4:9.) Joab felt that the battle was a critical one, and on it depended the welfare and even the safety of “our people” and “the cities of our God.” The latter expression is in recognition of the fact that the whole land belonged to God, who allowed the use of it to His people.

The Lord do.—Rather, The Lord will do. Joab’s courage rose here to that highest point which is marked by the full trust that whatever may be the result, it will be that which seems best to Infinite wisdom and love.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:12". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-10.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the LORD do that which seemeth him good.
Be of good
This is a very animating address, and equal to any thing of the kind in ancient or modern times. Ye fight pro aris et focis; for every good, sacred and civil; for God, for your families, and for your countries. Such harangues, especially in very trying circumstances, are very natural, and may perhaps be found in the records of every nation. Several instances might be quoted from Roman and Grecian history; but few are more remarkable than that of Tyrtaeus, the lame Athenian poet, to whom the command of the army was given in one of the Messenian wars. The Spartans had at that time suffered great losses, and all their stratagems proved ineffectual, so that they began to despair of success; when the poet, by his lectures on honour and courage, delivered in moving verse to the army, ravished them to such a degree with the thoughts of dying for their country, that, rushing on with a furious transport to meet their enemies, they gave them an entire overthrow, and by one decisive battle brought the war to a happy conclusion.
Numbers 13:20; Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:6,7,9,18; 1 Samuel 14:6,12; 17:32; 2 Chronicles 32:7; Nehemiah 4:14; Hebrews 13:6
play
1 Samuel 4:9; 1 Chronicles 19:13; 1 Corinthians 16:13
the Lord
16:10,11; Judges 10:15; 1 Samuel 3:18; Job 1:21
Reciprocal: Judges 18:9 - be not;  1 Samuel 17:37 - Go;  2 Samuel 2:7 - let your;  2 Samuel 24:3 - General1 Kings 2:2 - and show;  Esther 4:16 - if I perish;  Psalm 60:12 - we shall;  Proverbs 27:17 - so

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:12". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-10.html.

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

"Handfuls of Purpose"

For All Gleaners

"Let us play the men for our people."2 Samuel 10:12.

The Old Testament continually calls men to courage.—The Bible would seem to be the enemy of all timidity, all moral cowardice, all bodily shrinking from danger and loss.—Read the exhortations of God to Joshua; read passages related to this verse: their whole tone is identical, being a tone of urging men to put on their strength, to arouse their courage to its highest fashion, and to go forward with steadfastness and zeal and hopefulness in all difficult service.—"Let us play the men,"—let us be strong, noble, energetic, alive in every point, putting away from us all that is feeble and emasculating in sentiment.—There is always another manhood deeper than the one we have yet realised: a larger self, an in-tenser force; let us call up all that is deepest and strongest within us, and as danger thickens let us rise in courage.—Courage would seem to be but another word for faith.—Courage is the Old Testament word, faith is the New Testament word.—The courageous man does not fail if his cause be good; though he fall he shall rise again, though many enemies spring upon him he shall be enabled to throw them all off, and carry forward his processes to their fullest fruition.—We should say, "Lord, increase our faith: Lord, increase our courage;" we should accept the exhortation of the prophet, "Put on thy strength."

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Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:12". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jpb/2-samuel-10.html. 1885-95.