Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 2:10

Ish-bosheth, Saul's son, was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he was king for two years. The house of Judah, however, followed David.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Abner;   Armies;   Hebron;   Ish-Bosheth;   Israel;   Judah;   Mahanaim;   Scofield Reference Index - Kingdom;   Thompson Chain Reference - Judah;   Tribe;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Benjamin, Tribe of;   Judah, the Tribe of;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ishbosheth;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Ephraim;   Judah, tribe and kingdom;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Israel;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Abner;   Ishbosheth;   Jonathan;   Saul;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Samuel, Books of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Abner;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Abner ;   Ishbosheth ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Joab;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Hebron;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - David;   Ish-Bosheth;   Reign;   Samuel, Books of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Abner;   Forty, the Number;   Ish-Bosheth;   Rehoboam;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Ish-bosheth - reigned two years - It is well observed that Ish-bosheth reigned all the time that David reigned in Hebron, which was seven years and six months. Perhaps the meaning of the writer is this: Ish-bosheth reigned two years before any but the tribe of Judah had attached themselves to the interest of David. Some think that Abner in effect reigned the last five years of Ish-bosheth, who had only the name of king after the first two years. Or the text may be understood thus: When Ish-bosheth had reigned two years over Israel, he was forty years of age. Houbigant, dissatisfied with all the common modes of solution, proposes to read שנה ששית shishshith shanah, six years, for the שנים שתים shetayim shanim, two years, of the text, which he contends is a solecism; for in pure Hebrew the words would be שנה שתים as they are everywhere read in the first book; and שנה is the reading of eleven of Kennicott's MSS., and nine of De Rossi's; but the number two is acknowledged by all the ancient versions, and by all the MSS. yet collated. The critical reader may examine Houbigant on the place. After all, probably the expedition mentioned in the succeeding verses is that to which the writer refers, and from which he dates. Ish-bosheth had reigned two years without any rupture with David or his men, till under the direction of Abner, captain of his host, the Israelites passed over Jordan, from Mahanaim to Gibeon, and being opposed by Joab, captain of David's host, that battle took place which is described in the following verses.

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

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Forty … two - The numerals are somewhat strange. First, as regards the 40 years. Even assuming that Ish-bosheth‘s reign did not commence until five and a half years after Saul‘s death, which must have been the case if the two years in the text gives the true length of his reign, it is startling to hear of Saul‘s younger son being 35 years old at his father‘s death, born consequently some three years before his father‘s accession, and five years older than David, the bosom friend of his older brother Jonathan. The age, too, of Jonathan‘s child, Mephibosheth, who was five years old at his father‘s death, would lead one to expect rather a less age for his uncle. Next, as regards the two years. Since David (compare 2 Samuel 2:11; and marginal references) reigned seven years in Hebron over Judah only, it follows, if the two years in the text are correct, either that an interval of five years elapsed between Ish-bosheth‘s death and David‘s being anointed “king over all Israel,” or that a like interval elapsed between Saul‘s death and the commencement of Ish-bosheth‘s reign. Of the two the latter is the more probable, and has the advantage of diminishing Ish-bosheth‘s age by between five and six years. But the narrative in 2 Samuel 4:1-12 of the “long war,” of the birth of David‘s six sons, and of Abner‘s conspiracy and death, seems to imply a longer time than two years, in which case both the numerals would have to be corrected.

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

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Ishbosheth, Saul's son, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel,.... Being born the same year his father began to reign. See Gill on 1 Samuel 31:6,

and reigned two years; which some understand of these, and no more; and whereas David reigned seven years and a half over Judah, before he reigned over all Israel, it is thought by the Jewish chronologerF3Seder Olam Rabba, c. 13. p. 37. that there was a vacancy in the throne of Israel for the space of five years, and so says Kimchi; which vacancy was either before the reign of Ishbosheth, it being a matter in dispute whether he or Mephibosheth should be set up, or after his death; the tribes of Israel being so long before they acknowledged David their king; or Ishbosheth's reign of two years must be in the middle of David's reign over Judah; but there is no need to suppose either of these, for the text says not that Ishbosheth reigned only two years; but the meaning is, as Ben Gersom observes, that he had reigned two years when the following things happened, and a war began, and not by him but by Abner, and carried on by him; and he being an inactive prince, the rest of his reign was reckoned as no reign, whereas he lived and reigned the same length of time David did over Judah; see 2 Samuel 3:1,

but the house of Judah followed David; kept close to him as their king, yielding a cheerful obedience to him.

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

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Ishbosheth Saul's son was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David.

Two years — Namely, before the following war broke out, which continued five years.

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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 2:10". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-samuel-2.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 2:10 Ishbosheth Saul’s son [was] forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David.

Ver. 10. And reigned two years,] sc., Peaceably and quietly, before war fell out betwixt him and David. So Saul is said to have reigned two years, [1 Samuel 13:1] that is, free from foreign enemies, and unmolested by the Philistines. After this, there was five years’ war betwixt the house of Saul and the house of David, till Ishbosheth’s death. [2 Samuel 3:1]

But the house of Judah followed David.] Yet were they not guilty of the sin of schism: no more are the Reformed Churches, for forsaking of Antichrist, to follow the Lamb wheresoever he goeth, to set the crown upon the Lord Christ’s head.

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

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Samuel 2:10. Ish-bosheth—was forty years old,—and reigned two years Ish-bosheth was born in the year that Saul was made king, for Saul reigned forty years, Acts 13:21. Ish-bosheth reigned two years, says the sacred writer. Now, by referring to the next verse, and the first of the next chapter, we shall see that this is to be understood with some restriction. Ish-bosheth reigned all the time that David resided at Hebron, that is seven years and a half; but they both reigned two years in peace, without attacking each other; which seems to be all that the sacred historian would affirm. The five last years of Ish-bosheth's reign, were rather the years of Abner's reign than of his own; for this general left him only the name of a king. Different solutions are given to this passage by other interpreters. Houbigant, in particular, reads six instead of two years, but without any authority; and Le Clerc and Schmidt think, that Ish-bosheth really reigned only two years; an opinion utterly irreconcileable with the next chapter. Possibly, the words reigned two years, may be considered as referring to what follows in the 12th verse, to mark out the epocha of the commencement of hostilities between the two kings; and so they might be rendered, and he had reigned two years: then, inclosing the next and what follows in a parenthesis, the 12th verse might begin, Then Abner, &c. The phrase, went out, in that verse is military; and we frequently find to come in and go out, used in that sense in Scripture.

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

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Reigned two years, to wit, before the following war broke forth; compare 1 Samuel 13:1; for that he reigned longer, may appear both from the following verse and from 2 Samuel 3:1, and from the following history; though some think he reigned only two years, and that the rest of David’s seven years the Israelites by Abner’s instigation stuck to the house of Saul, but were in suspense whether they should confer the crown upon Mephibosheth the right heir, but a child; or upon Ish-bosheth, a grown man, whom with some difficulty, and after long debates amongst themselves, they preferred.

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

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

10.Ishbosheth’ reigned two years — The next verse informs us that David reigned in Hebron ever Judah seven years and six months, and therefore we must naturally conclude that for five years and six months the other tribes of Israel were without an acknowledged king. It is altogether gratuitous to assume, as some critics have done, that Ishbosheth reigned all the time that David reigned in Hebron. It is probable, however, that David was king in Hebron some time before Ishbosheth began to reign. David seems to have been anointed very soon after Saul’s death, but it must have taken Abner some time to gather up the scattered army and recover from the defeat and losses of Gilboa sufficiently to attend to the inauguration of Ishbosheth. So it is likely that David reigned in Hebron a year or more before the son of Saul was anointed at Mahanaim. Then followed two years of strife and bickering between the two governments, which was of sufficient length to be called “long war.” 2 Samuel 3:1. And after both Abner and Ishbosheth had been vilely assassinated, it is but natural to suppose that the northern tribes would wait some years to observe the manner of David’s government before they all came together to acknowledge and anoint him king. See on 2 Samuel 5:1.

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

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

He reigned two years, viz., before he began visibly to decline: but in all he reigned seven years and six months: for so long David reigned in Hebron. (Challoner) (Worthington) --- The Jews admit of an interregnum in Israel of above five years, which is by no means probable. Two years elapsed before the two houses came to an open war; (Salien) soon after which, the power of Isboseth was greatly weakened by the defeat, and afterwards by the defection, of Abner. (Haydock) --- Hence the sacred historian refers to the commencement of hostilities, and not to the end of Isboseth's dominion. (Estius; Tirinus; Calmet)

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

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Ishbosheth Saul's son was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David.

Ish-bosheth ... reigned two years. It was not until seven years and a half after Saul's death that the way was paved for David's elevation to the throne of Israel (2 Samuel 2:11). So that if Ish-bosheth had succeeded immediately on the death of his father, his reign in Israel must have been commensurate with that of David in Hebron. The statement, therefore, that 'Ish-bosheth reigned two years' must refer either to the time that elapsed after he was made king, before the war broke out between him and David, or to an inter-regnum of 5 1/2 five years and six months in Israel, when, through the great influence of Abner, he was raised to the throne of his father, and had occupied it for two years when he was cut off.

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

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Ishbosheth Saul's son was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David.
two years
Houbigant proposes to read shesh shanah, "six years" instead of shetayim shanim, "two years," of the text, which he contends is a solecism; for, in pure Hebrew, the words should be shetayim shanah; and this is the reading of twenty MSS.; but two is acknowledged by all the versions and MSS. yet collated.
Reciprocal: 2 Samuel 3:14 - Ishbosheth;  Psalm 18:43 - from

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