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Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

2 Samuel 20



1By occasion of the quarrel, Sheba makes a party in Israel.
3David's ten concubines are put in confinement for life.
4Amasa, made captain over Judah, is slain by Joab.
14Joab pursues Sheba unto Abel.
16A wise woman saves the city by Sheba's head.
23David's officers.

Verse 1
And there happened to be there a man of Belial, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite: and he blew a trumpet, and said, We have no part in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to his tents, O Israel.
And there
19:41-43; Psalms 34:19
a man
23:6; Deuteronomy 13:13; Judges 19:22; 1 Samuel 2:12; 30:22; Psalms 17:13; Proverbs 26:21; Habakkuk 1:12,13
he blew
15:10; Judges 3:27; Proverbs 24:21,22; 25:8
We have
19:43; 1 Kings 12:16; 2 Chronicles 10:6; Luke 19:14,27

Verse 2
So every man of Israel went up from after David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri: but the men of Judah clave unto their king, from Jordan even to Jerusalem.
every man
19:41; Psalms 62:9; 118:8-10; Proverbs 17:14
the men
John 6:66-68; Acts 11:23
from Jordan
19:15,40,41; 2 Chronicles 10:17

Verse 3
And David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in ward, and fed them, but went not in unto them. So they were shut up unto the day of their death, living in widowhood.
ten women
15:16; 16:21,22
and put
The confinement and retired maintenance of these women was the only measure which in justice and prudence could be adopted. In China, when an emperor dies, all his women are removed to an edifice called the palace of chastity, situated within the palace, in which they are shut up for the remainder of their lives.
Heb. an house of ward.
Genesis 40:3
Heb. bound. living in widowhood. Heb. in widowhood of life.

Verse 4
Then said the king to Amasa, Assemble me the men of Judah within three days, and be thou here present.
17:25; 19:13; 1 Chronicles 2:17
Heb. Call.

Verse 5
So Amasa went to assemble the men of Judah: but he tarried longer than the set time which he had appointed him.
So Amasa
1 Samuel 13:8

Verse 6
And David said to Abishai, Now shall Sheba the son of Bichri do us more harm than did Absalom: take thou thy lord's servants, and pursue after him, lest he get him fenced cities, and escape us.
2:18; 3:30,39; 10:9,10,14; 18:2,12; 21:17; 23:18; 1 Samuel 26:6; 1 Chronicles 11:20; 18:12
do us
thy lord's
11:11; 1 Kings 1:33
escape us
Heb. deliver himself from our eyes.

Verse 7
And there went out after him Joab's men, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and all the mighty men: and they went out of Jerusalem, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.
23; 8:16,18; 15:18; 23:22,23; 1 Kings 1:38,44

Verse 8
When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa went before them. And Joab's garment that he had put on was girded unto him, and upon it a girdle with a sword fastened upon his loins in the sheath thereof; and as he went forth it fell out.
in Gibeon
2:13; 3:30

Verse 9
And Joab said to Amasa, Art thou in health, my brother? And Joab took Amasa by the beard with the right hand to kiss him.
Art thou
Psalms 55:21; Proverbs 26:24-26; Micah 7:2
took Amasa
Thevenot says, that among the Turks it is a great afront to take one by the beard, unless it be to kiss him, in which case they often do it. D'Arvieux, describing an assembly of Arab emirs at an entertainment, says, "After the usual civilities, caresses, kissings of the beard, and of the hand, which every one gave and received according to his rank and dignity, they sat down upon mats." The doing this by the Arab emirs corresponds with the conduct of Joab, and illustrates this horrid assassination.
to kiss him
Matthew 26:48,49; Luke 22:47,48

Verse 10
But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab's hand: so he smote him therewith in the fifth rib, and shed out his bowels to the ground, and struck him not again; and he died. So Joab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the son of Bichri.
in Joab's
9; Judges 3:21; 1 Chronicles 12:2
he smote
2:23; 3:27; Genesis 4:8; 1 Kings 2:5,6,31-34
and shed
Acts 1:18,19
struck him not again
Heb. doubled not his stroke.
1 Samuel 26:8

Verse 11
And one of Joab's men stood by him, and said, He that favoureth Joab, and he that is for David, let him go after Joab.
He that
for David
4; 2 Kings 9:32

Verse 12
And Amasa wallowed in blood in the midst of the highway. And when the man saw that all the people stood still, he removed Amasa out of the highway into the field, and cast a cloth upon him, when he saw that every one that came by him stood still.
17:25; Psalms 9:16; 55:23; Proverbs 24:21,22

Verse 13
When he was removed out of the highway, all the people went on after Joab, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.
the highway
12,13; Numbers 20:19; Judges 21:19; 1 Samuel 6:12; 2 Kings 18:17; Proverbs 16:17; Isaiah 7:3; Isaiah 36:2; 62:10; Jeremiah 31:21; Mark 10:46

Verse 14
And he went through all the tribes of Israel unto Abel, and to Bethmaachah, and all the Berites: and they were gathered together, and went also after him.
Or rather, probably, Abel of Beth-Maachah, as in the next verse. It appears, from Joab having marched "through all the tribes of Israel," to have been situated in the northern confines of the land of Israel, and in the half tribe of Manasseh, east of Jordan, as that was the situation of Maachah, to which it belonged. This agrees with the situation of the Abela which Eusebius and Jerome place between Paneas, or C├Žsarea Philippi, and Damascus. Josephus says it was a fortified city, and a metropolis of the Israelites; and also that it belonged to the ten tribes, having been taken from the king of Damascus.
1 Kings 15:20; 2 Kings 15:29; 2 Chronicles 16:4
Joshua 18:25

Verse 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.
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.

Verse 16
Then cried a wise woman out of the city, Hear, hear; say, I pray you, unto Joab, Come near hither, that I may speak with thee.
14:2; 1 Samuel 25:3,32,33; Ecclesiastes 9:14-18

Verse 17
And when he was come near unto her, the woman said, Art thou Joab? And he answered, I am he. Then she said unto him, Hear the words of thine handmaid. And he answered, I do hear.
Hear the words
14:12; 1 Samuel 25:24

Verse 18
Then she spake, saying, They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely ask counsel at Abel: and so they ended the matter.
They were wont, etc
or, They plainly spake in the beginning, saying, Surely they will ask of Abel, and so make an end.
Deuteronomy 20:10,11

Verse 19
I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful in Israel: thou seekest to destroy a city and a mother in Israel: why wilt thou swallow up the inheritance of the LORD?
Genesis 18:23; Romans 13:3,4; 1 Timothy 2:2
a mother
Judges 5:7; Ezekiel 16:45-49
17:16; Numbers 16:32; 26:10; Psalms 124:3; Jeremiah 51:34,44; Lamentations 2:2,5,16; 1 Corinthians 15:54; 2 Corinthians 5:4
the inheritance
21:3; Exodus 19:5,6; Deuteronomy 32:9; 1 Samuel 26:19

Verse 20
And Joab answered and said, Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy.
Far be it
23:17; Job 21:16; 22:18
that I should
10; Proverbs 28:13; Jeremiah 17:9; Luke 10:29

Verse 21
The matter is not so: but a man of mount Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, hath lifted up his hand against the king, even against David: deliver him only, and I will depart from the city. And the woman said unto Joab, Behold, his head shall be thrown to thee over the wall.
a man
1; Judges 2:9; 7:24; 2 Kings 5:22; Jeremiah 4:15; 50:19
by name
Heb. by his name. lifted.
23:18; 1 Samuel 24:6; 26:9
his head
17:2,3; 2 Kings 10:7; Judges 18:4-8

Verse 22
Then the woman went unto all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and cast it out to Joab. And he blew a trumpet, and they retired from the city, every man to his tent. And Joab returned to Jerusalem unto the king.
in her wisdom
Ecclesiastes 7:19; 9:14-18
he blew
1; 2:28; 18:16
Heb. were scattered. And Joab.
3:28-39; 11:6-21; Ecclesiastes 8:11

Verse 23
Now Joab was over all the host of Israel: and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and over the Pelethites:
Now Joab
8:16-18; 1 Chronicles 18:15-17
and Benaiah

Verse 24
And Adoram was over the tribute: and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder:
1 Kings 4:6; 12:18
or, remembrancer.
1 Kings 4:3

Verse 25
And Sheva was scribe: and Zadok and Abiathar were the priests:
8:17; 1 Kings 4:4; 1 Chronicles 18:16

Verse 26
And Ira also the Jairite was a chief ruler about David.
23:38; 1 Chronicles 11:40
Judges 10:4,5
chief ruler
or, prince.
8:18; Genesis 41:43,45; Exodus 2:14,16; The Hebrew is {cohen ledawid,} which might be rendered, a priest of David; and so the Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac, and Arabic. The Chaldee has {rav,} a chief or prince: probably he was a kind of domestic chaplain or seer to the king.; 24:11; 2 Chronicles 35:15


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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

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