Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 23:10

He arose and struck the Philistines until his hand was weary and clung to the sword, and the Lord brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to strip the slain.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Armies;   Eleazar (Eleazer);   Philistines;   Thompson Chain Reference - Israel;   Israel-The Jews;   Victories;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Philistines, the;   War;  
Dictionaries:
Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Victory;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Giants;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Abishai;   Mighty Men;   Samuel, Books of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Giant;   Ithrite, the;   Samuel, Books of;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Army;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;  

The Biblical Illustrator

2 Samuel 23:10

His hand clave unto the sword.

A heroic sword-grasp

In the roll of honour of King David’s army, there was one, Eleazor by name, who was counted worthy to stand with the first three mighty men of David, because “he arose and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword, and the Lord wrought a great victory that day, and the people returned after him only to spoil.” In this account we see that his heroic sword-grasp was looked upon as a proof of his valour, and was made the mark of his honour and of his reward.

I. We observe that Eleazar’s grasp shows his appreciation of the sword as a weapon both for defence and for aggression.

1. We cannot do much with a weapon in which we have little or no confidence.

2. The sword of the Spirit is the only weapon by which we can gain a great victory.

3. The efficiency of God’s Word does not consist in the mere letter, but in the doctrines and duties which it teaches, and in the virtues which it commends such as truthfulness, justice, purity, benevolence, holiness. Our grasp of these shows cur appreciation of them.

II. Eleazar grasped his sword firmly, and did not relax his hold.

1. The enemy, knowing the power of the sword, will seek to wrest it from one’s grasp. If the grasp be weak, a sly thrust at the “Mistakes of Moses,” or a bold, materialistic blow at the “Miracles of Jesus,” may break the grasp, and then we are helpless.

2. Worldliness, or avarice, or appetite, or lust, or malice, may so loosen our grasp upon the principles of the Word that we shall be compelled to surrender.

3. It requires true heroism to hold on to principle when “the men of Israel are gone away,” and “the Philistines are arrayed against” us.

4. A true soldier will die rather than lose his sword.

III. Eleazar’s grasp was made firmer by the conflict.

1. Heroic conflict requires and produces an heroic sword-grasp.

2. A true hero does not stop to count the enemy nor to consider a compromise, nor to hide himself through fear of ridicule or other evil weapons; but putting his strength into his sword he rushes on to victory.

3. Christian conflict is not controversy, but an heroic Christian life which requires and produces a firm grasp on the words and the principles of the Gospel.

4. Jesus With this sword met and repulsed Satan. (Matthew 4:10.)

5. When we are alone, as Jesus was and as Eleazar was, we can gain our greatest victories.

IV. Eleazar’s firmness of grasp, and fierceness of conflict, made his sword cleave unto his hand.

1. Whatever we cling to, shapes the grasp, and will, in proportion to the strength of the grasp, cleave unto the hand.

2. The more firmly we grasp, and the more efficiently we use, the words and the principles of the Word, the more deeply will they be impressed into our nature and cleave unto us.

3. When the sword cleaves unto the hand, and the hand grows weary, we can still fight on.

4. The sword of the Spirit has adhered so firmly to the hand of many a hero in God’s army that even death could not break the grasp.

V. Eleazar’s heroic sword-grasp was made the mark of his heroism and of his reward.

1. The true marks of honour are obtained through conflict and suffering.

2. The cleaving of the sword unto the hand is the mark of God’s greatest heroes: the prophets, apostles, martyrs, reformers, missionaries, and others.

3. Clinging to the true and the right until the true and the right cleave unto us, is as heroic in the peculiar temptations of our day as was Eleazar’s conflict.

4. The marks of our sword-grasp will be our badge of honour in eternity. Let us, then, be assured that if we rightly appreciate the sword of the Spirit, grasp it firmly, and use it efficiently until it cleave unto the hand, we also shall gain a great victory in the conflicts of life, and in the kingdom of heaven a glorious reward. (J. Saxtell.)

The warrior’s scars

I want you to hold the truth with undetachable grip, and I want you to strike so hard for God that it will react, and while you take the sword, the sword will take you. Soldiers coming together are very apt, to recount their experiences, and to show their scars. Here is a soldier who pulls up his sleeve and says, “There I was wounded. I have had no use of that limb since the gunshot fracture.” Oh, when the battle of life is over, and the resurrection has come, and our bodies rise from the dead, will we have on us any scars of bravery for God? Christ will be there all covered with scars. And all heaven will shout aloud as they look at those scars. Ignatius will be there, and he will point out the place where the tooth and the paw of the lion seized him in the Coliseum; and John Huss will be there, and he will show where the coal first scorched the foot on that day when his spirit took wing of flame from Constance. McMillan, and Campbell, and Freeman, American missionaries in India, will be there--the men who with their wives and children went down in the awful massacre at Cawnpore, and they will show where the daggers of the Sepoys struck them. The Waldenses will be there, and they will show where their hones were broken on that day the Piedmontese soldiery pitched them over the rocks. And there will be those there who took care of the sick and who looked after the poor, and they will have evidences of earthly exhaustion. And Christ, with His scarred hand waving over the scarred multitude, will say, “You suffered with Me on earth; now be glorified with Me.” (T. De Witt Talmage.)

The sword of the valiant

Of the old hero the minstrel sung, “With his Yemen sword for aid, ornament it carried none but the notches on the blade.” What nobler declaration of honour can any good man seek after than his scar of service, his losses for the cross, his reproaches for Christ’s sake, his being worn out in the Master’s service. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

The sword for use

The glittering sword with its keen edge and jewelled hilt is an object of beauty as a work of art, yet it is harmless. But in the muscular grip of a soldier’s hand and swung with a purpose and an aim, it is a dread weapon. So with truth wielded with skill and power by the consecrated preacher.

Hitting hard

It is told of Abraham Lincoln that once, when quite a young man, he saw men and women put on the block, exhibited for sale, and bought like cattle. He saw the humbling and degrading familiarities which the buyers took with file human chattels, saw the looks of dumb and piteous agony which stole across the poor black faces as wives were sold away from their husbands, and children torn from their mother’s arms; and he forced his way out the ring and with flaming eyes, and voice husky with suppressed passion, said to a companion, gripping him by the arm, “If ever I get a chance to hit at this thing I’ll hit hard, by the Eternal God.” “My chance has come,” he exclaimed, later in life, “and I mean to hit hard.”

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "2 Samuel 23:10". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/2-samuel-23.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary,.... He rose up when the Israelites fled, and stood his ground alone, and fought with the Philistines, and smote them with his sword, until his hand was weary with smiting:

and his hand clave unto the sword; which was contracted by holding it so long, and grasping it so hard, that it could not easily be got out of it; or through the quantity of blood which ran upon his hand, as it was shed, so JosephusF20Antiqu. l. 7. c. 12. sect. 4. ; and which being congealed, and dried, caused his hand to stick to the hilt of his sword, so that they were, as it were, glued together by it; or the sense may be only, that though weary, he did not drop his sword, but held it fast till he had destroyed the enemy:

and the Lord wrought a great victory that day; for to him it must be ascribed, and not to the strength and valour of the man:

and the people returned after him only to spoil; they that fled, when they saw what a victory was obtained by him, returned and came after him; not to help him in smiting, but to spoil those that were slain, and strip them of what they had.

Copyright Statement
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 23:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-23.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his g hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.

(g) By a cramp which came from weariness and fighting.
Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 23:10". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-samuel-23.html. 1599-1645.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 23:10 He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.

Ver. 10. Until his hand was weary.] Scanderbeg fought against the Turks with such earnestness, that the blood burst out at his lips, as he was slaying them.

And his hand clave unto the sword.] By the contraction of his sinews, through the pains he had taken. Spasmus est tendonum contractio: quae aliquando fit, quum prae nimio sudore tendones siccescunt.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 23:10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-23.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

He arose, i. e. he undertook the work, as that word sometimes is used. Or, he stood (as it sometimes signifies) when the rest fled.

His hand clave unto the sword; either through sweat or blood, or by a contraction of the sinews. Or thus, yet did his hand cleave to his sword, i.e. though he was weary, he did not desist, but continued fighting.

Only to spoil i.e. to pursue the enemy, whom he had discomfited, and to take their spoil.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 23:10". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-samuel-23.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

10.He arose — Took a bold, defiant position; resolved to maintain his ground.

His hand clave unto the sword — So long and so firmly had he grasped its hilt that his hand became benumbed and cramped, yet firmly fixed in its grasp. Some think his hand was stuck fast to his sword by the blood which was on it.

Returned after him only to spoil — That is, after they had retreated from him, and he was left alone to fight with the foe, and they saw at a distance the mighty victory wrought through him, they returned again and followed after him, not now to help him, but only to gather up the spoil.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 23:10". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-23.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Sword; holding it, and exerting himself so long; (Sanctius) or on account of the blood, which glued, as it were, his hand to the sword. (Josephus) (Menochius) --- This verse, and as far as troop in the following, is omitted in 1 Paralipomenon; so that Semma is not so much as mentioned, (Haydock) and of course the number thirty seven cannot be found. (Kennicott) --- Perhaps Samaoth may be the same hero, 1 Paralipomenon ii. 17., and xxvii. 8. (Calmet)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 23:10". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-23.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the LORD (Hebrew. Jehovah, App-4.) wrought. Compare 2 Samuel 23:12, and see Acts 14:27; Acts 15:4, Acts 15:12; Acts 21:19.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 23:10". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-samuel-23.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(10) Clave unto the sword.—Instances are rare, but well authenticated, of a sort of cramp following excessive exertion, so that the hand could only be released from the sword by external appliances.

Returned after him.—Does not imply that they had at any time deserted him, but only that they turned wherever he went to gather the spoil of the men he slew.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 23:10". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-23.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.
the Lord
Joshua 10:10,42; 11:8; Judges 15:14,18; 1 Samuel 11:13; 14:6,23; 19:5; 2 Kings 5:1; Psalms 108:13; 144:10; Romans 15:18; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Ephesians 6:10-18
and the people
Psalms 68:12; Isaiah 53:12
Reciprocal: 1 Samuel 17:52 - the men of Israel;  2 Samuel 23:12 - the Lord;  1 Chronicles 11:14 - and the Lord

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 23:10". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-23.html.