Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 20:15

They came and besieged him in Abel Beth-maacah, and they cast up a siege ramp against the city, and it stood by the rampart; and all the people who were with Joab were wreaking destruction in order to topple the wall.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Abel-Beth-Maachah;   Abishai;   Battering-Ram;   Beth-Maachah;   Siege;   Walls, of the Cities;   Thompson Chain Reference - Sieges;   Trenches;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Arms, Military;   Walls;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Abelbethmaachah;   Sheba;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Woman;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Engines;   Sheba;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Abel-Beth-Maacha;   Beth-Maachah;   Fenced Cities;   Maacah;   Sheba (1);   War;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Abel (Place Name);   Abel-Beth-Maachah or Abel-Beth-Maacah;   Rampart;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Abel (of) Beth-Maacah;   Beth-Maacah;   Fortification and Siegecraft;   Joab;   Mount;   Samuel, Books of;   Wisdom;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Abelbethmaachah ;   Bethmaachah ;   Bichri ;   Sheba ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Abel-beth-maachah;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - David;   Smith Bible Dictionary - A'bel-Beth-Ma'achah;   Beth-Ma'achah;   Da'vid;   She'ba;   War;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Abel-Beth-Maacah;   Bank;   Meadow;   Siege;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Abel;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Abel-Beth-Maachah;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

They cast up a bank against the city - The word סללה solelah, which we render bank, means, most probably, a battering engine of some kind, or a tower overlooking the walls, on which archers and slingers could stand and annoy the inhabitants, while others of the besiegers could proceed to sap the walls. That it cannot be a bank that stood in the trench, is evident from the circumstance thus expressed.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:15". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-samuel-20.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Cast up a bank - See the marginal references. The throwing up of mounds against the walls of besieged places by the besiegers is well illustrated in the Assyrian sculptures.

The trench - The “pomoerium,” or fortified space outside the wall. When the mound was planted in the pomoerium the battering engines were able to approach close to the wall to make a breach.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:15". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-samuel-20.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And they came and besieged him in Abel of Bethmaachah,.... That is, Joab and Abishai, with the forces under them, who pursued him hither:

and they cast up a bank against the city; which some understand of a warlike machine or engine, with which stones were cast; but it rather seems to be a bank of earth thrown up, for the better working of such engines to more advantage against the city, by throwing from thence darts into the city, or stones against the walls of it, to batter it down; such banks were used in sieges, as that Caesar's soldiers raised in twenty five days, which was three hundred thirty feet broad, and eighty feet highF26Caesar. Comment. l. 7. c. 24. ; Kimchi interprets this of filling up the ditches round about the city with dust and earth, and so making it level, whereby they could come the more easily to the walls and batter them, or scale them, and take the city by storm:

and it stood in the trench; the army under Joab stood where the trench round the city had been, now filled up:

and all the people that were with Joab battered the wall to throw it down; with their engines, or whatever battering instruments they had; so, often, as HesiodF1Opera & Dies, l. 1. ver. 236. says, a whole city suffers for one bad man.

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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 20:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-20.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And they came and besieged him in Abel of Bethmaachah, and they cast up a bank against the city, and it stood in the trench: and all the people that [were] with Joab k battered the wall, to throw it down.

(k) That is, he went about to overthrow it.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:15". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-samuel-20.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Abel of Beth-maachah — a verdant place - the addition of “Maachah” betokening that it belonged to the district Maachah, which lay far up the Jordan at the foot of Lebanon.

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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 20:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-samuel-20.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And they came and besieged him in Abel of Bethmaachah, and they cast up a bank against the city, and it stood in the trench: and all the people that were with Joab battered the wall, to throw it down.

They — That is, Joab and his army.

A bank — From whence they might either batter the wall, or shoot at those who defended it.

It stood — The bank stood in, or near to the trench, or the wall of the city; so that the city was in great danger of being taken.

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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 20:15". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-samuel-20.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 20:15 And they came and besieged him in Abel of Bethmaachah, and they cast up a bank against the city, and it stood in the trench: and all the people that [were] with Joab battered the wall, to throw it down.

Ver. 15. And they came and besieged him.] Who now probably repented him of his bold and treacherous enterprise; sicut Leo cassibus irretitus ait, Si praescivissem?

Battered the wall to throw it down.] It had been pity those walls should have stood, if they had been too high to throw a traitor’s head over. Sheba, likely, thought himself very safe when gotten into a walled city: but what said the voice from heaven to Phocas the traitor? - if Nicephorus may be believed - Though thou build thy walls as high as heaven, and as strong as thou canst make them, yet sin lying at the bottom will easily undermine and overturn them: ευαλωτος η απολις, the city of thy defence will soon be taken.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-20.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Samuel 20:15. They cast up a bank against the city The LXX render it, they levelled the bank, or glacis, of the city; which receives some countenance from the words immediately following, and it stood in the trench. The Vulgate reads, and they surrounded the city with fortifications. But some learned persons have imagined, that the word סללה solelah, rendered a bank, signifies an engine of war, used in casting stones, or other heavy bodies, against the walls of a city. Parkhurst is of this opinion, who says, that it signifies a balista, a battering engine, anciently made use of to shoot stones against the wall of a besieged city, in order to beat them down. That this is the true meaning of the word, rather than a bank heaped up of stones or earth, seems evident from the present passage, and Jeremiah 6:6; Jeremiah 32:24; Jeremiah 33:4. One of the Greek versions in the Hexapla renders it, Ezekiel 26:8 by βελοστασεις balistas. But should any one in some places prefer the other meaning, which the ancient versions generally favour, it will be best to render it battery, which will preserve the idea of the word. Dr. Delaney observes, that from the accounts we have of Joab's digging a trench round this city, and battering the walls, critics have fairly concluded, that the science of besieging cities with lines of circumvallation and contravallation, as they call them, and battering engines, was much older than any account left us of this practice in the history of the heathen world: though Herodotus, in his first book, gives Harpagus, Cyrus's general, the credit of having invented the lines now mentioned, and taken the city of Phocoea (the first city, according to him, so taken) by that invention; whereas the sacred writer speaks of one of those lines on occasion of the siege of Abel, as of a thing familiar and well known to his readers. See Scheuchzer on the place.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:15". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-samuel-20.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

They came, i.e. Joab and his army, which is easily understood, both from the foregoing and following verses.

They cast up a bank; from whence they might either batter the wall, or shoot at those who defended it against them who should assault it. See 2 Kings 19:32 Jeremiah 32:24 33:4. Otherwise, they threw down the bank of the city, which they had raised up to defend the city on the weakest side.

It stood in the trench, i.e. the bank stood in or near to the trench, or wall of the city; so that the city was in great danger of being taken. Otherwise, the city stood within the trench, or wall, being defended only by a single trench, or a weak wall; the bank which was raised up there to defend it being thrown down.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:15". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-samuel-20.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

15.A bank against the city — A mound or rampart on which the besieging forces might easily approach the city wall.

It stood in the trench — The marginal reading is better, it stood against the outmost wall; that is, the embankment or rampart just mentioned stood against or near by the exterior fortification (pomoerium ) which the inhabitants of Abel had built around the wall of their city. The building of an embankment against these outer works of the city enabled the besieging army to batter the wall with engines.

Battered the wall — What methods or instruments they used for destroying these walls it is difficult to tell. The engines invented during Uzziah’s reign (2 Chronicles 26:15) were not then in use; but perhaps they used something resembling the battering ram of the ancient Romans.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:15". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-20.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Samuel 20:15. They came and besieged him — Joab and his army pursued him thither. And cast up a bank — They raised a very large mound of earth, equal, probably, to the height of the walls, from whence they might either batter the walls, or throw darts, or shoot at those that defended them. It stood in the trench — This bank or mound was carried on so far, that it now stood in or near to the trench and foot of the wall; so that the city was in great danger of being taken.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:15". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-samuel-20.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Works. Hebrew, a bank, or terrace against the city, and it stood in the trench; (Haydock) so that the town ditch was filled up, (Grotius) or terraces were raised, from which archers assailed the besieged. Joab made a ditch to defend his men from foreign assailants; and he had already taken the outward wall, so that the town could not hold out for any length of time. --- The walls. St. Jerome thinks with battering rams: but they were not yet invented. (Calmet) --- They undermined the walls, while some attempted to pull them down with hooks and ropes, chap. xvii. 13. (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:15". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-20.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

bank = mound.

trench = rampart.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:15". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-samuel-20.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And they came and besieged him in Abel of Beth-ma'achah, and they cast up a bank against the city, and it stood in the trench: and all the people that were with Joab battered the wall, to throw it down.

Abel of Beth-maachah - or Abel-maim (the meadow of waters) (cf. 1 Kings 15:20; 2 Kings 15:29; 2 Chronicles 16:4). A verdant place-the addition of "maachah" betokening that it belonged to the district Maachah, which lay far up the Jordan, at the foot of Lebanon. The first preparation for a siege was the construction of a causeway or embankment for wheeling the battering rams and other military machines close to the wall. These consisted sometimes simply of immense mounds of earth, at other times the heap of earth was largely mixed with branches of trees, or a rude pathway was formed of stones or brickwork. Such a construction was necessary, especially where there was a moat or trench round the city, as there appears to have been at Abel. Numerous illustrations of these military processes for carrying on a siege are found depicted on the monuments of Assyria and Egypt.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-samuel-20.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(15)Abel of Beth-maachah.—Omit the preposition “of.” (See 2 Samuel 20:14.)

Stood in the trench.—The “trench” is the space between the wall of the city and the lower outer wall. When the besiegers had succeeded in planting the mounds for their battering engines in this space they had already gained an important advantage.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:15". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-20.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And they came and besieged him in Abel of Bethmaachah, and they cast up a bank against the city, and it stood in the trench: and all the people that were with Joab battered the wall, to throw it down.
cast up
2 Kings 19:32; Jeremiah 32:24; 33:4; Luke 19:43
a bank
So LXX. generally render solelah, by [proschoma or choma;] which latter is described by Potter as "a mount, which was raised so high as to equal, if not exceed, the top of the besieged walls. The sides were walled in with bricks or stones, or secured with strong rafters; the fore part only, being by degrees to be moved near the walls, remained bare."
it stood in the trench
or, it stood against the outmost wall. battered, etc. Heb. marred to throw down.
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 15:20 - Dan;  2 Kings 15:29 - Ijon;  Ecclesiastes 9:14 - There was;  Ezekiel 26:8 - he shall make

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:15". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-20.html.