Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 18:3

But the people said, "You should not go out; for if we indeed flee, they will not care about us; even if half of us die, they will not care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us; therefore now it is better that you be ready to help us from the city."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Citizens;   Loyalty;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ahimaaz;   Joab;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Absalom;   Easton Bible Dictionary - David;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Ephraim, Wood of;   Mahanaim;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Samuel, Books of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Abishai;   Samuel, Books of;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Absalom;   David;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Care;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Absalom;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

But now thou art worth ten thousand of us - The particle יתה attah, now, is doubtless a mistake for the pronoun אתה attah, thou; and so it appears to have been read by the Septuagint, the Vulgate, and the Chaldee, and by two of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-samuel-18.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Succour us out of the city - David, with a reserve, would hold the city, and either support the bands in case of need, or receive them within the walls should they be compelled to flee.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-samuel-18.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

2 Samuel 18:3

Thou art worth ton thousand of us.

What are you worth

King David was loved doubtless as much for the amiability and manliness of his character as for the throne on which he sat.

I. True worth should be reckoned by character and not by money. In the civilised world, money is an idol served by many people. If a man possess plenty of gold, he carries a key which unlocks doors that are closed against one that is poorer but more worthy. The world, of course, respects honour and genius, bug it loves money. When you ask, “What is that man worth?” people do not say that he possesses an amiable yet manly character, or a vain and cowardly nature; they tell you he is worth so much a year, or that he is somebody’s son. A man is valued from what he has, rather than for what he is. An Atheist one day said to me, “You talk of Christian people being true friends! Why, the best friend anybody can have is a five-pound note; and my aim is not to get religion, but to get money; for if a man can always have a few of these handy, he will find friends on whom he can rely in every time of need!” Money, in itself, is a gift of God; for it is not money that is the root of evil, but the love of it that harms men and ruins women.

II. Do not be too anxious to possess that wealth which is not your true worth. Our trade is suffering from the madness of people who, in their eagerness for money, have speculated recklessly, and brought themselves and others to ruin. Some people try to get money at all hazards. Have any of you obtained money in a wrong way? If so, I am sure your experience has been that such ill-gotten gains never blesses you. It is “easy come, easy go.” An angler employs many kinds of bait and fishing tackle. The trout is a sharp, suspicious, and dainty fish, and to catch it the angler uses a very fine silk line which cannot be seen in the water, and chooses his sharpest hook, baiting it with the greatest care; and the trout, seeing the bait only, swallows it and the hidden hook. So, when you grab at money wrongfully, the devil is angling for you skilfully with the rod and line of covetousness, baited with “great wealth,” “sudden riches,” “worldly honour,” and other tempting flies to catch gudgeons.

III. Seer the true riches of contentment and manhood. Do you say you are poor and in trouble? Well, you can exhibit the highest qualities in your poverty. When trees are planted they are often protected with a prop; but when each tree has grown a little, the prop is taken away, and it stands firmly amidst the storms. So God would have you who are trees of His planting to stand firmly in your simple manhood. Why do you need the prop of gold, or the fence of possessions? Stand firmly grounded in Gospel righteousness. Men and women, what are you worth? Be possessed of Jesus Christ and His Spirit; be possessed of pardon, holiness, and heaven. May God give us these true riches. Amen. (W. Birch.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "2 Samuel 18:3". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/2-samuel-18.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But the people answered, thou shalt not go forth,.... They were as resolute as David:

for if we flee away, they will not care for us; to pursue after us:

neither if half of us die, will they care for us; they will make no account of the victory; but if they could slay David, or get him into their hands, it would be more to them than if the whole army was routed:

but now thou art worth ten thousand of us; not only in our own esteem, but in the account of the enemy, who had rather thou shouldest fall into their hands than ten thousand of us; and as the advantage to them, so the loss to us would be more than ten thousand men:

therefore now it is better that thou succour us out of the city; either by sending them provisions or recruits, that might be there in reserve, if necessary; or by being ready to receive them into it should they be repulsed; or rather by his prayers to God for them; so the Targum,"now it is better that thou pray for us out of the city;'that is, that the Lord would help us; and so most of the Jewish commentators understand it of helping them by his prayers and counsels.

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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 18:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-18.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

But the people answered, Thou shalt not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but b now [thou art] worth ten thousand of us: therefore now [it is] better that thou succour us out of the city.

(b) Signifying that a good governor is so dear to his people that they would rather lose their lives than have anything happen to him.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:3". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-samuel-18.html. 1599-1645.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 18:3 But the people answered, Thou shalt not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but now [thou art] worth ten thousand of us: therefore now [it is] better that thou succour us out of the city.

Ver. 3. But now thou art worth ten thousand of us.] Christ, of whom David was a type, is "the chief of ten thousand": and so every good heart holdeth him. When David was in danger of being slain by Ishbibenob the giant, Abishai interposed and rescued him. [2 Samuel 21:17] When our Henry II was in imminent peril of his life at the siege of Bridgenorth, A.D. 1155, Hubert de St Clare preserved his sovereign’s life with the loss of his own. (a) When Mauricius, the young Saxon prince, valiantly charging the Turks at the siege of Pesth, had his horse slain under him, and was in danger to have been there lost himself, Nicholas Ribische, one of his own followers, covered him with his own body, till such time as he was rescued by others, Ribische himself presently dying of his wounds. (b) A commen soldier at Musselburgh field, in Edward VI’s time, finding the Earl of Huntly assaulted by the English, and without his helmet, took off his own headpiece, and put it on the earl’s head. The earl was therewith taken prisoner, but the soldier, for want thereof, was presently struck down. (c) John Careless, martyr, in a letter to Mr Bradford in prison, writeth thus, ‘Oh that my life, and a thousand such wretches’ lives more, might go for yours! Oh, why doth God suffer me and such other caterpillars to live, that can do nothing but consume the alms of the Church, and take away so worthy a workman and labourer in the Lord’s vineyard! But woe be to our sins and great unthankfulness,’ &c. (d) A public spirited man is all for Christ; and can drown all self-respects in his glory. Vivat et regnet Christus, Let Christ live and rule, is his motto. He is also much taken up with the care of community, and will venture his own particular good for the general: as heavy things will ascend to keep out vacuity, and to preserve the universe.

Therefore now it is better that thou succour us out of the city.] Si fueris nostra causa, pervigil, so Tremellius rendereth; Si fueris nobis praesto civitate, so Piscator. Thou thence shalt help us, or cause us to be helped; thy prayers shall prevail with God for our assistance, - so others, - that God may send us in the supplies of his Spirit, [Philippians 1:19] and thou also may help us with fresh supplies of men and victuals, as there shall be occasion.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-18.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Thou shalt not go forth; for this was Absalom’s great error, into which he was drawn by a Divine infatuation, and by Hushai’s craft, to go to battle in his own person, which was the utter ruin of him and of his cause.

Thou art worth ten thousand of us; not only for the dignity of thy person, but also for the importance of our common cause and concern, which, if thou art slain, is irrecoverably lost.

That thou succour us out of the city, by sending us supplies of men, and provisions of all sorts, as we have occasion; and by securing our retreat, if we be defeated. Or thus, Not go along to the battle with us, but only go out with us, or accompany us out of the city, (to encourage the company,) slid then retire for thy own safety. And so it seems by the next verse.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-samuel-18.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

3.Better that thou succour us out of the city — Better for thee to remain here at Mahanaim, with a strong force with thee, and thus be able to come forth with reinforcements to our help in case of need.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:3". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-18.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ten thousand, "like us." (Hebrew) (Calmet) --- Succour us, "by praying for us." (Chaldean) or by sending reinforcements, where they may be necessary. (Menochius) --- David was persuaded "to reserve himself (like Otho) for the interest of the state, at a distance from the danger of battle." (Tacitus, An. ii.)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:3". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-18.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

succour us out of the city = come to us out of the city with succour by prayer and counsel.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:3". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-samuel-18.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(3) Now thou art worth ten thousand of us.—The Hebrew text reads now, but without thou, and as it stands must be translated, now there are ten thousand like us; but the change of a single letter alters the word now into thou, and this change should unquestionably be made in accordance with the LXX. and Vulg., followed by the English. The people urge truly that David is the very centre of their whole cause, and suggest that, even while avoiding unnecessary exposure, he may yet be equally helpful by keeping a reserve in the city to help them in case of need.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-18.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But the people answered, Thou shalt not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but now thou art worth ten thousand of us: therefore now it is better that thou succour us out of the city.
Thou shalt
21:17
if we flee
17:2; 1 Kings 22:31; Zechariah 13:7
care for us
Heb. set their heart on us. but now. The particle âttah, Now, is doubtless a mistake for the pronoun attah, Thou: and so it appears to have been read by the LXX., Vulgate, and Chaldee, and by two of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS.
worth, etc
Heb. as ten thousand of us.
Lamentations 4:20
succour
Heb. be to succour.
10:11; Exodus 17:10-12
Reciprocal: Exodus 18:23 - and all this;  1 Samuel 14:38 - chief;  Jeremiah 40:15 - wherefore;  Acts 19:30 - the disciples;  Romans 5:7 - some

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-18.html.

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

"Handfuls of Purpose"

For All Gleaners

"... thou art worth ten thousand of us."2 Samuel 18:3.

David was determined to go forth with the people, but they resisted and said, "Thou shalt not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us; but now thou art worth ten thousand of us: therefore, now it is better that thou succour us out of the city."—This was a right estimate of human worth.—Whilst there is a sense in which one man is as good as another, there is a larger sense in which one man may be equal to ten thousand.—Caesar was greater than all his legions.—Sometimes a name carries with it magic.—To know that such a man is in the war or in the council, is to know precisely how war and council will end.—Sometimes it is better to serve a cause intellectually than in a military sense.—The sword will cut down the greatest as well as the meanest.—We may actually, therefore, be showing more bravery by devoting our attention to the moral aspect and the intellectual need of the case, than by going forth with sword and buckler and spear.—When some men are taken out of the way the hearts of other men are filled with dismay.—So long as men of magical name and influence live, their very life is an inspiration to their followers.—We should be careful not to expose our leaders to needless danger.—The people showed a true and philosophical economy by requesting David to keep out of the way of physical danger, and to help the nation by prayer and counsel and music and words of stimulus and inspiration.—The king accepted the position, saying, "What seemeth you best I will do," and he who was a leader of soldiers, the very captain and glory of the army, "stood by the gate side, and all the people came out by hundreds and by thousands."—We may be great in waiting.—We may serve most by doing least.—In the Christian warfare we must not abuse this doctrine; we must remember that the Christian warfare is throughout spiritual, not carnal, and that every man is called to go forth to this war to fight for himself and to fight for the general good.—This is not a battle in which some men may remain at home merely for the sake of giving counsel; they can give the best counsel by showing the best example.—Armour is provided for every Prayer of Manasseh, exactly adapted to his stature, and to the conditions tinder which he is to do battle, and to the peculiarity of his temperament—"Take unto you the whole armour of God."—This does not destroy the difference between one Christian leader and another, nor between Christian leaders and their followers.—There are great men in the Church,—great psalmists, great expositors, great preachers, great defenders of the faith, men who are mighty in prayer and mighty in sympathy.—There is nothing monotonous in all the providence of God over his Church: even its commonplaces are miracles; even the smallest men in the Church are greater than the mightiest men outside.—Jesus Christ declared this to be the case in reference to John the Baptist—how much more so in reference to those who have neither John"s intellectual capacity or intensity of spiritual consecration?

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Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:3". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jpb/2-samuel-18.html. 1885-95.