Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 18:5

The king charged Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, "Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom." And all the people heard when the king charged all the commanders concerning Absalom.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Abishai;   Ittai;   Parents;   Thompson Chain Reference - Family;   Fathers';   Home;   Love;   Parental;   Parents;   Paternal Love;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Forgiveness of Injuries;   Parents;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ahimaaz;   Joab;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Absalom;   David;   Joab;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Gentleness;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Abishai;   David;   Ittai;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Samuel, Books of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Abishai;   Joab;   Samuel, Books of;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Ittai ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Absalom;   David;   Smith Bible Dictionary - It'ta-I;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Abishai;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Deal gently - with the young man - David was the father of this worthless young man; and is it to be wondered at that he feels as a father? Who in his circumstances, that had such feelings as every man should have, would have felt, or acted otherwise?

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-samuel-18.html. 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

2 Samuel 18:5

Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom.

Grace for the graceless

Bishop Hall thus descants on this--What means this ill-placed love? This unjust mercy. Deal gently with a traitor. Of all traitors, with a son? Of all sons with an Absalom? that graceless darling of so good a father? And all this, for thy sake, whose crown, whose blood, he hunts after? For whose sake must he be pursued, if forborne for thine? Must the cause of the quarrel be the motive of the mercy? Even in the holiest parents nature may be guilty of an injurious tenderness, of a bloody indulgence. But was not this done in type of that immeasurable mercy of the true King and Redeemer of Israel, who prayed for his persecutors. “Father, forgive them. Deal gently with them for my sake.” When God sends an affliction to correct his children it is with this charge, “Deal gently with them for my sake”; for He knows our frame.

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "2 Samuel 18:5". 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

And the king commanded Joab, and Abishai, and Ittai,.... His three generals, to whom he had committed his army divided into three parts:

saying, deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom; he does not call him his son, being in rebellion against him, but the young man, who was young, and rash, and foolish, and so to be pitied; his request is, that they would spare him, and not take away his life, when in their power; that they would not aim at him, and push him hard, and fall upon him with wrath and fury; but if he fell into their hands, to take him alive, and bring him away, and not put him to death. This flowed from a natural affection to him, and a concern for the welfare of his soul, that he might not die in this sin; and also from a consciousness that it was for his own sins that he was raised up to rebel against him; and he seems to speak as if he was certain that the battle would go for him, and against Absalom; and which he might conclude from the answer of prayer he had in defeating the counsel of Ahithophel:

and all the people heard when he gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom; not only the three generals, but all the captains of hundreds and thousands, and this was heard by the common soldiers as well as by the people of the city that were spectators on this occasion, see 2 Samuel 18:12.

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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.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-18.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

2 Samuel 18:5-13. Gives them charge of Absalom.

Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom — This affecting charge, which the king gave to his generals, proceeded not only from his overwhelming affection for his children, but from his consciousness that this rebellion was the chastisement of his own crimes, Absalom being merely an instrument in the hand of retributive Providence; - and also from his piety, lest the unhappy prince should die with his sins unrepented of.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-samuel-18.html. 1871-8.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

(5) And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom.

Reader! pause over the perusal of this verse, and remark with me, the astonishing love of David to this most worthless child. Of all the base, ungrateful sons we read of in history, perhaps none, take it altogether, exceeds the character of Absalom. We find, very frequently, in the feelings of nature, parents unaccountably passing by the worth, and tenderness, and affection of many dear children, to bestow their partiality and favors on one the most undeserving. Certain it is, that Abraham preferred Ishmael to Isaac, in that he begged of the LORD that he might have the blessing. See Genesis 17:18. And Isaac evidently preferred Esau to Jacob, in that, contrary to the divine command, he would have conferred the blessing of the covenant upon him. See Genesis 27:4. There is no explaining this upon any other principle than that, in these matters as well as others, nature and grace are everlastingly opposite to each other. Thus in the case of David: his commanding his servants to deal gently with Absalom meant, no doubt, not to hurt his person. It should seem as if David had strong confidence of victory. No doubt his communion with the LORD was at this time most lively and fervent. But what an infatuation was David under, concerning this unnatural son. The sole cause of the war was on his account; and yet, in David's wish, he must he saved. Supposing he had been spared; did David hope that his clemency would reclaim him? And could David feel so little regard to the lives of his faithful subjects, as to sacrifice numbers to the saving such a son? But, Reader! while we look at David with wonder and astonishment, let us turn our thoughts to that stupendous contemplation, the love of our GOD and FATHER towards us, whose affection, after all our rebellion and baseness, as far exceeds the love of David to Absalom, as the heavens are higher than the earth. GOD our King and FATHER, in the dreadful war induced by our rebellion, usurpation, and hatred against him and his government, not only commands all his servants sent to subdue us to his government again, to deal gently for his everlasting love's sake; but that mercy shall be shown, and grace abundantly displayed, gives up his Son, his only begotten Son, to the accursed death of the cross! Hear O heavens, and be astonished O earth, for the LORD hath done it! And while we thus contemplate thine unequalled love, O thou most gracious and Almighty FATHER, in this unparalleled instance of it, let us no less admire and adore the matchless grace of our JESUS, who in the accomplishment of all this wonderful design, hath dealt, and still continues to deal most gently with us, in all the manifestations of his love. Yes! dearest LORD! on the very cross, thou pleadest for thine unnatural murderers, whose salvation thy death was then accomplishing!

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Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:5". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/2-samuel-18.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom.

Deal gently — If you conquer (which be presaged they would by God's gracious answer to his prayer for the turning of Ahithophel's counsel into foolishness,) take him prisoner, but do not kill him. Which desire proceeded, from his great indulgence towards his children: from his consciousness that he himself was the meritorious cause of this rebellion, Absalom being given up to it for the punishment of David's sins; from the consideration of his youth, which commonly makes men foolish, and subject to ill counsels: and from his piety, being loth that he should be cut off in the act of his sin without any space for repentance. But ''what means, says Bp. Hall, this ill-placed mercy? Deal gently with a traitor? Of all traitors with a son? And all this for thy sake, whose crown, whose blood he hunts after? Even in the holiest parents nature may be guilty of an injurious tenderness. But was not this done in type of that unmeasurable mercy, of the true King of Israel, who prayed for his murderers, Father, forgive them! Deal gently with them for my sake!" Yea, when God sends an affliction to correct his children, it is with this charge, deal gently with them for my sake: for he knows our frame.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-samuel-18.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 18:5 And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, [Deal] gently for my sake with the young man, [even] with Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom.

Ver. 5. Deal gently for my sake.] Heb., Leniter propter me, sc., agite. Though he hath deserved no favour, yet do something for me, who cannot grow out of kind, though he doth, who cannot choose but love him after all the unkindness, and am much afraid lest he should die in his sins. This is said to be the best line in all Terence,

Pro peccato magno paulum supplicii satis est patri.

A little punishment for a great offence seemeth to a father to be enough. It doth so surely to our heavenly Father. Laudent alii pietatem Dei, ego misericordiam. (a)

And all the people heard.] But no man ever heard David threaten, that if they slew Absalom, he would slay himself, as Josephus falsely saith that he did.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-18.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Samuel 18:5. Deal gently for my sake with the young man, &c.— The king yielded to the affectionate entreaties of the people, that he should not hazard his life in the battle; and, no doubt, he did it with less reluctance, upon a reflection that he must otherwise go against his own subjects, and draw his sword against a rebel son, whom he could not think of but with too much tenderness, in spite of all his crimes: and as a proof of this, he here gives the kindest charge concerning him to all his captains. He begs them to deal gently with that young man; as if all his faults were more those of his youth than of his nature: but at the same time that his people could not but discern in these words the excess of his weakness for that profligate son, they could not but observe also in them a calm presage and assurance of their success against their enemies.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:5". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-samuel-18.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Deal gently with Absalom; if you conquer, (which he presaged they would by God’s gracious answer to his prayer for the turning of Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness,) take him prisoner, but do not kill him. Which desire proceeded, partly, from his great indulgence towards his children; partly, from David’s consciousness that he himself was the meritorious and procuring cause of this rebellion, Absalom being given up to it for the punishment of David’s sins, and therefore did indeed deserve some pity from him; partly, from the consideration of his youth, which commonly makes men foolish, and heady, and violent, and subject to ill counsels; and partly, from his piety, being loth that he should be cut off in the act of his sin without any space or means for repentance, whereby both his soul and body would be in danger to perish for ever. All the people, to wit, the citizens and others who stood with the king in the gate when the army marched forth.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:5". 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

5.Gently for my sake with the young man — Josephus says that he was afraid some mischief might befall himself if Absalom were slain. But it was David’s deep affection for the beautiful youth, which, notwithstanding all his errors, still yearned for him. The tenderness of the father exceeded the justice of the king.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:5". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-18.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Samuel 18:5. Deal gently for my sake, &c. — If you conquer, (which he expected they would, from God’s gracious answer to his prayer, in turning Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness,) take him prisoner, but do not kill him. Which desire proceeded from his great indulgence toward his children; from his consciousness that he himself was the meritorious cause of this rebellion, Absalom being given up to it for the punishment of David’s sins; from the consideration of Absalom’s youth, which commonly makes men foolish, and subject to ill counsels; and from David’s own piety, being loath that his son should be cut off in the act of his sin without any space for repentance. But “what means,” says Bishop Hall, “this ill-placed mercy? Deal gently with a traitor? Of all traitors, with a son? And all this for my sake, whose crown, whose blood he hunts after? Even in the holiest parents, nature may be guilty of an injurious tenderness. But was not this done in type of that unmeasurable mercy of the true King of Israel, who prayed for his murderers, Father, forgive them! Deal gently with them for my sake!” Yea, when God sends an affliction to correct his children, it is with this charge, Deal gently with them for my sake: for he knows our frame.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:5". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-samuel-18.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Save us: do not hurt, ver. 12. St. Augustine (Doct. iii. 23.) concludes, that David wished to allow his son time for repentance. (Menochius) --- He seems to have been sure of victory. (Abulensis)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:5". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-18.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

heard. this explains 2 Samuel 18:12

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:5". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-samuel-18.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom.

Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom. This affecting charge, which the king gave to his generals, proceeded not only from his overweening affection for his children, but from his consciousness that this rebellion was the chastisement of his own crimes, Absalom being merely an instrument in the hand of retributive Providence; and also from his piety, lest the unhappy prince should die with his sins unrepented of.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-samuel-18.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom.
Deal gently
16:11; 17:1-4,14; Deuteronomy 21:18-21; Psalms 103:13; Luke 23:34
all the people
Reciprocal: 1 Samuel 26:6 - to Abishai;  2 Samuel 18:14 - thrust them;  2 Samuel 18:20 - because;  2 Samuel 19:1 - General1 Kings 2:5 - Joab;  Philemon 1:10 - my son

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-18.html.