Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 10:18

But the Arameans fled before Israel, and David killed 700 charioteers of the Arameans and 40,000 horsemen and struck down Shobach the commander of their army, and he died there.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Hadadezer;   Shobach;   Zobah;   Thompson Chain Reference - Chariots;   Israel;   Israel-The Jews;   Victories;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Chariots;   Syria;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Joab;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Chariot;   Hadadezer;   Joab;   Shobach;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Chariot;   Edom;   Hadad;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ammonites;   Disciples;   Hadad-Ezer;   Helam;   Rivers and Waterways in the Bible;   Samuel, Books of;   Shobach;   Syria;   Zoba(h);   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Abishai;   Ammon, Ammonites;   Chronicles, I;   Euphrates;   Joab;   Maacah;   Shobach;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Shobach ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Hanun;   War;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Chariot,;   Da'vid;   Sho'bach;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - David;   Joab;   Shobach;   Text of the Old Testament;   Zobah;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Hadadezer;   Joshua, the Samaritan Book of;   Shobach;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Seven Hundred chariots - and forty thousand Horsemen - In the parallel place, 1 Chronicles 19:18, it is said, David slew of the Syrians Seven Thousand men, which fought in chariots. It is difficult to ascertain the right number in this and similar places. It is very probable that, in former times, the Jews expressed, as they often do now, their numbers, not by words at full length, but by numeral letters; and, as many of the letters bear a great similarity to each other, mistakes might easily creep in when the numeral letters came to be expressed by words at full length. This alone will account for the many mistakes which we find in the numbers in these books, and renders a mistake here very probable. The letter ז zain, with a dot above, stands for seven thousand, נ nun for seven hundred: the great similarity of these letters might easily cause the one to be mistaken for the other, and so produce an error in this place.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:18". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-samuel-10.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Seven hundred chariots - More probable than the “seven thousand” of 1 Chronicles 19:18. The frequent errors in numbers arise from the practice of expressing numerals by letters, with one or more dots or dashes to indicate hundreds, thousands, etc.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:18". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-samuel-10.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the Syrians fled before Israel,.... After an obstinate and bloody fight between them:

and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians; the word "men" is rightly supplied, for chariots could not be said to be slain, but the men in them; in 1 Chronicles 19:17, they are said to be seven thousand, here seven hundred; which may be reconciled by observing, that here the chariots that held the men are numbered, there the number of the men that were in the chariots given, and reckoning ten men in a chariot, seven hundred chariots held just seven thousand men; though Kimchi takes another way of reconciling the two places, by observing that here only the choicest chariots are mentioned, there all of them, but the former way seems best:

and forty thousand horsemen; in 1 Chronicles 19:17; it is forty thousand "footmen", and so JosephusF3Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 7. c. 6. sect. 3.) ; and the same may be called both horse and foot, be cause though they might come into the field of battle on horseback, yet might dismount and fight on foot; and so one historian calls them horsemen, and the other footmen; or the whole number of the slain, horse and foot mixed together, were forty thousand; Kimchi makes use of another way of removing this difficulty, and which perhaps is the best, that here only the horsemen are numbered that were slain, and there the footmen only, and both true; an equal number of each being slain, in all eighty thousand, besides the seven thousand in the chariots:

and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there; of his wounds upon the spot.

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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 10:18". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-10.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew [the men of] g seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there.

(g) Who were the chief and most principal: for in all he destroyed 7000, as in (1 Chronicles 19:18), or the soldiers who were in 700 chariots.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:18". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-samuel-10.html. 1599-1645.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 10:18 And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew [the men of] seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there.

Ver. 18. And David slew the men of seven hundred chariots.] Heb., Slew seven hundred chariots; that is, seven thousand men that fought in chariots (a) [1 Chronicles 19:18]

And forty thousand horsemen.] Which yet are said to be footmen. [1 Chronicles 19:18] They might be dragoons, as we now call them; or there might be forty thousand of each sort. The Chronicles are therefore called Paralipomena, because they supply that which was wanting in the former books.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:18". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-10.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Samuel 10:18. Slew the men of seven hundred chariots, &c.— Though this reading is the same in the Vulgate, LXX, and Chaldee, yet in the Syriac it is seven hundred chariots, and four thousand horse: in the Arabic, one thousand six hundred chariots, and four thousand horse. The parallel place, 1 Chronicles 19:18 reads, seven thousand men that fought in chariots, and fifty thousand footmen. Dr. Kennicott says, that the verse should be read thus: David destroyed seven thousand horsemen, seven hundred chariots, and forty thousand foot.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:18". 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

The men of seven hundred chariots; Heb. seven hundred chariots, i.e. the men belonging to them, that fought in or with them; as plainly appears,

1. Because the men only, and not the chariots, were capable of being killed, as these are said to have been.

2. Because it is thus explained in the Book of Chronicles, which was written after this book, for this end, to explain what was dark or doubtful, and to supply what was omitted here; where, instead of these words, are seven thousand men which fought in chariots, 1 Chronicles 19:18. And this is a very common metonymy; of which see above, 2 Samuel 8:4, and the notes on 1 Samuel 13:5. Although there might be seven thousand chariots in all, whereof seven hundred where chosen ones; according to the distinction made Exodus 14:7.

Forty thousand horsemen; for which in 1 Chronicles 19:18, is forty thousand footmen; which may be reconciled divers ways.

1. Both these may be true, that he slew forty thousand horsemen, which being the most considerable part and strength of the army, it might seem sufficient to name them, and every one could easily understand that the footmen in that case were certainly cut off; and that he slew also forty thousand footmen, as is said in 1 Chronicles where he mentions them only, because they were omitted in 2 Samuel, and the horsemen being expressed here, it was needless to repeat them in 1Ch 2. The horsemen may be here called footmen, in opposition to those that fought in chariots; because they sometimes fought on horseback, and sometimes came down from their horses, and fought on foot, when the place of the battle was more commodious for footmen than for horsemen; which it is not improbable was their case here; for David being a soldier of great prudence and experience, and understanding the great numbers of the Syrian horsemen, whereas the Israelites had but very few, Deuteronomy 17:16, would doubtless endeavour to choose a place as inconvenient for their horsemen as he could.

3. Peradventure the Syrians designed to bring the war into David’s country, and therefore hastened their march, and for that end put their footmen on horseback, (as hath been frequently done in like cases,) who, when they came to the place of battle, carne down from their horses, and fought on foot. So there is no need of acknowledging an error of the scribe in the sacred text; which yet if it were granted in such historical passages of no moment to the doctrine of faith and good life, it would not shake the foundation of our faith in matters of great importance, which it might reasonably be presumed the providence of God would more watchfully preserve from all depravation or corruption.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:18". 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

18.Seven hundred chariots — In 1 Chronicles 19:18, we have seven thousand. The discrepancy is doubtless the error of a copyist.

Forty thousand horsemen — In Chronicles forty thousand footmen, another discrepancy resulting either from the carelessness of some early copyist, or the fragmentary character of these accounts. A fully detailed history of this war would doubtless give us many facts and figures now unknown.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:18". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-10.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Hundred. Paralipomenon, thousand, allowing ten men for each chariot. (Du Hamel; Menochius) --- The men is omitted in both texts. See chap. viii. 4. (Haydock) --- Horsemen. Paralipomenon reads, footmen, supplying what is here omitted, (Salien) so that 87,000 Syrians perished, unless there be a mistake of the transcribers. (Calmet) --- Smote, though not perhaps with his own hand, as he slew so many thousands by means of his army. (Menochius)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:18". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-10.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

seven hundred. =1 Chronicles 19:187; 1 Chronicles 19:000. But Hebrew j = 7 and j = 7,000, probably a scribe"s

infirmity. Compare 2 Samuel 8:4 and 1 Chronicles 18:4.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:18". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-samuel-10.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there. Seven hundred chariots of the Syrians. In the parallel passage of 1 Chronicles 19:18 the reading is seven thousand, which is more probable. The result of this great and decisive victory was, that all the petty kingdoms of Syria submitted, and became his tributaries (see the notes at 1 Chronicles 19:1-19 : cf. Psalms 60:1-12, title).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:18". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-samuel-10.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(18) Seven hundred chariots.—In this campaign David delivered a crushing blow upon his foes, from which they did not recover during the rest of his reign or that of his son. For the seven hundred here 1 Chronicles 19:18 has seven thousand, which is almost an incredible number of chariots, and the number here is evidently the more correct; but the same place has forty thousand footmen, while here it is forty thousand horsemen. Probably both statements are meant to include both infantry and cavalry, though only one of them is especially mentioned in each case. Comp. Note on 2 Samuel 10:6.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:18". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-10.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there.
fled
8:4; Psalms 18:38; 46:11
horsemen
1 Chronicles 19:18
footmen
Shobach.
Judges 4:2,22; 5:26
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 20:29 - an hundred thousand;  2 Chronicles 12:3 - twelve hundred;  Psalm 20:7 - Some trust;  Psalm 76:6 - both

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:18". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-10.html.