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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

2 Samuel 5

 

 

Verse 1

DAVID MADE KING OVER ALL ISRAEL, 2 Samuel 5:1-5.

1. Then came all the tribes — The elders, as representatives of all the tribes. 2 Samuel 5:3. In accordance with the note on 2 Samuel 2:10, we hold that David was not recognised as king by all Israel immediately after the death of Ishbosheth. The connective ( ו, then,) with which this chapter begins, does not always imply immediate sequence, (Exodus 2:2,) but may pass over an interval of years whose history it was not the purpose of the writer to record. If all the Israelites were confounded at the assassination of Abner, (iv, 1,) the alarm and astonishment were not likely to grow less with the similar death of Saul’s son, and it is every way probable that several years were allowed to pass before all the tribes agreed to submit to David.

Thy bone and thy flesh — Thy blood relations, for we are all descended from Jacob, our common father.


Verse 2

2. Thou… leddest — As general of Saul’s forces. See 1 Samuel 18:5.

Thou shalt feed my people — This prophecy, like that of 2 Samuel 3:18, is nowhere else recorded, but had probably been uttered by one of the prophets of that age. A keeper of sheep is made the shepherd of the nation, as the fishermen of Galilee were made fishers of men.


Verse 3

3. A league — Consisting of solemn stipulations on both sides.

Before the Lord — This phrase is to be understood here as at Judges 11:11, where see note.

Anointed David king over Israel — On the anointing of kings see note on 1 Samuel 10:1. This was the third time that David was anointed. 2 Samuel 2:4; 1 Samuel 16:13.


Verse 4

4. Thirty years — Age of full maturity, at which priests were consecrated. Numbers 4:3; Luke 3:23.


Verse 6

6. The Jebusites — An ancient tribe descended from Canaan, son of Ham, (Genesis 10:16,) who from the days of Abraham had been well known inhabitants of the land. They were a most hardy and warlike tribe, as is shown from their ability to maintain their ancient position in Central Palestine so long.

Except thou take away — Literally, and after the order of the Hebrew, the passage reads thus: Thou shalt not come hither, for to drive thee away, the blind and the lame saying. Let not David come hither, (will suffice.) Or we may regard הסירךְ as the preterit of the verb סֶור and explain the use of the singular from the fact that the verb precedes its subjects. We then translate: For the blind and the lame have driven thee away. In either case the meaning is the same. The Jebusites ridiculed and derided David’s attempts to subdue them, and, relying upon their strong fortifications, tauntingly said that a few blind and lame men would be sufficient to turn away all the assaults he could make against them. By the blind and the lame some, without sufficient reason, have understood the idols of the Jebusites, which the Israelites called in derision blind and lame, because, having eyes they didnot see, and having feet they did not walk. Psalms 115:5; Psalms 115:7.


Verses 6-10

CAPTURE OF ZION, 2 Samuel 5:6-10.

This account of the capture of Zion (see parallel history in 1 Chronicles 11:4-9) is brief but very important. In the days of Joshua cities of refuge had been appointed on both sides of the Jordan, (Joshua 20,) and, until the death of Eli, Shiloh had been the seat of the sanctuary. Beth-el, Gilgal, Mizpeh, Ramah, and other places, had their particular celebrity, but as yet the nation had no metropolis. The first great enterprise of David, after becoming king of all the land, was to gain full possession of this strong city of the hills, and make it the capital of his kingdom. The lower portion of the city had, in the time of the Judges, been besieged and burned, (Judges 1:8,) but the fortress on Zion had remained impregnable, and the neighbouring tribes of Judah and Benjamin had been obliged to tolerate the Jebusites among them. Joshua 15:63; Judges 1:21. According to an uncontradicted tradition of centuries past, the stronghold of Zion occupied the southwestern hill of the modern city, which overhangs the deep valley of Hinnom. This valley guarded it on the west and south, while its northern and eastern defence was the Tyropoeon valley.


Verse 8

8. Getteth up to the gutter — This the Septuagint renders, Let him put to the sword. Similarly the Syriac and Arabic. The whole verse is obscure, and appears to be an abridged and broken transcription from a fuller document. Our translators have attempted to emend the passage by comparison with its parallel in 1 Chronicles 11:6. The word צנור, here rendered gutter, is rendered water-spout in Psalms 42:7 . Gesenius and Keil render it cataract. According to Furst, it means a hollow passage, a water-conduit. Adopting the last signification, we refer it to the deep hollow beneath the citadel and translate thus: Every one smiting a Jebusite, let him thrust (him) into the gulf, (beneath,) both the lame and the blind, (who) hated the soul of David. The Masoretic pointing is of insufficient authority to lead us to adopt the keri שׂנואי ; the kethib should be pointed and read שׂנאו— the kal preterit. Ewald translates the passage metrically, thus:

Whoso shall conquer the Jebusite,

Let him hurl down from the cliff

The lame and the blind together,

Hated of David’s soul.

To this order David also added the offer recorded in 1 Chronicles 11:6 : Whosoever smiteth the Jebusites first shall be chief and captain; and other things he doubtless said on that day which have not been recorded.

Wherefore they said — Therefore, that is, from this circumstance the following proverb arose.

The blind and the lame shall not come into the house — The spirit and meaning of the proverb is, Those who are repulsive and hateful to us we shall not allow to enter our dwellings; a proverb characteristic of Jewish antipathy and intolerance towards persons of another nation and another religion.


Verse 9

9. Built round about from Millo and inward — Millo was a fortress or rampart of ancient Zion, apparently so called from having been filled in ( מלא ) with earth and stones. The article connected with the Hebrew word serves to designate it as some well known fortress, and it was evidently a noted stronghold before the city was occupied by David. It was afterwards built up again and strengthened by Solomon, (1 Kings 9:15; 1 Kings 9:24; 1 Kings 11:27,) and later still by Hezekiah. 2 Chronicles 32:5. It seems to have been situated on the northern side of Zion, where the natural defences were less strong than on the other sides; and from it, as a bulwark, David built all round the northern side a strong wall, and fortified it inward towards the south, so as to make it more secure against assault than it had ever been before.


Verse 11

DAVID’S INTERCOURSE WITH HIRAM — HIS TEMPORAL PROSPERITY, 2 Samuel 5:11-16.

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11. And Hiram — Called Huram in 2 Chronicles 2:3; 2 Chronicles 2:11; 2 Chronicles 8:2; 2 Chronicles 9:10. On the question of the identity of this Hiram with the one who assisted Solomon in building the temple, see on 1 Kings 5:1.

Tyre — On the locality of this great city see Joshua 19:29. From this verse we learn that it was under a monarchical form of government, and in it the mechanical arts had been carried to a noteworthy state of perfection. In Isaiah xxiii, 8, it is called “the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honourable of the earth.” Its power and glory are more fully delineated in Ezekiel 26-28.

Sent messengers to David — Probably for the purpose of forming an alliance with him. David seems to have availed himself of the opportunity thus offered to secure from Hiram the service of carpenters and masons — workers in wood and stone — and also the gift of cedar wood from Lebanon.

They built David a house — A royal palace on Zion. This verse is evidently the mere outline of many interesting facts in the history of David which the sacred writer has not seen proper to record. This mention of David’s intercourse with the king of Tyre, as well as what follows about the growth of his family, is appended to the notice of the capture of Zion, (2 Samuel 5:6-10,) not because these events followed in chronological order immediately after its capture, but in order to show how David grew great and prospered.


Verse 12

12. David perceived — He was convinced by the signal providences attending his own personal history, and the strength and honour of his kingdom, that his prosperity was of the Lord. How strong is he whose growing greatness is enhanced by the consciousness of Jehovah’s favour!

For his people Israel’s sake — David’s ways were not always right, yet for Israel’s sake, and for his own great Name’s sake, Jehovah blessed him. Marvellous was God’s favour and regard for his chosen people.


Verse 13

13. More concubines and wives — “He had, in all conscience, enough before; he had, in the whole, eight wives and ten concubines. True, that dispensation permitted polygamy, but from the beginning it was not so; and as upon an average there are about fourteen males born to thirteen females, polygamy is unnatural, and could never have entered into the original design of God.” — Clarke.

Out of Jerusalem — That is, in or at Jerusalem, as appears from 1 Chronicles 14:3.


Verse 14

14. The names — A comparison of these names with the lists in Chronicles will show some discrepancies, for which at this day we are unable to account. Some of them are, perhaps, errors of copyists, but this must not always be supposed. Children who died in infancy were registered in some tables, and in others not.


Verse 17

17. When the Philistines heard… all the Philistines came up — Whether these wars with the Philistines occurred before or after the capture of Zion is somewhat uncertain, but from the course of this history we most naturally suppose that they occurred while David was fortifying Zion, and building, or taking measures to build, his royal palace.

To seek David — For hitherto they had known him as a lawless wanderer, having no certain abode; and, though now anointed king, he had not yet a settled, permanent home.

David… went down to the hold — Not to the citadel on Zion, for its situation, as we have already seen, was so lofty that it would be manifestly improper to speak of going down to it; but to the cave of Adullam, as we may infer from 2 Samuel 23:13-14, where we have the record of an incident which took place at this time.


Verses 17-25

WARS WITH THE PHILISTINE, 2 Samuel 5:17-25.

While David reigned, at Hebron, the Philistines, with whom he had so recently been in league, saw no occasion to molest him. They probably considered him as an enemy to the mass of the Israelites, and took no trouble to watch his movements; but when all Israel accepted him as king, and the ancient stronghold of the Jebusites fell into his power, they became alarmed, and gathered their forces for a most determined war against him. Then, doubtless, they deplored that they had not destroyed him when he was in their power.


Verse 18

18. Valley of Rephaim — An upland plain a little southwest of Jerusalem, hemmed in on all sides by low hills, so that it is properly called a valley.

See on Joshua 15:18, where it is translated “valley of the giants.”


Verse 20

20. Baal-perazim — Furst renders, Baal of Perazim mount, and understands it as the name of a mountain city in the immediate vicinity of the place where the battle was fought. The word perazim means breakings forth, or breaches. Not only does David undertake the battle by the counsel of Jehovah, but he gives to the place of his triumph a name forever suggestive of Jehovah’s assistance in battle.


Verse 21

21. Their images — Their idol-gods, (1 Chronicles 14:13,) which they carried with them into battle, as Israel once did the ark, (1 Samuel 4:3,) expecting they would therefore be led to certain victory. The capture of them by the Israelites was a striking counterpart to the capture of the ark by the Philistines.

Burned them — As the law required. Deuteronomy 7:5; Deuteronomy 7:25. The Hebrew text reads, took them away. “Burned” has been supplied from Chronicles.


Verse 22

22. Came up yet again — Probably soon after the defeat just recorded. They were chagrined at the loss of their gods, and probably David had not followed up his victory.

Thou shalt not go up — So as to meet and attack them face to face as before.


Verse 23

23. Mulberry trees — The word thus rendered occurs only here and in the parallel passage in 1 Chronicles 14:14. The Vulgate translates by pear trees, and so the Septuagint in Chronicles, but here by grove of weeping. Only the Jewish rabbins and some modern versions understand the mulberry tree. The most probable opinion is that adopted by Furst, that becaim ( בכאים ) is “the name of a tree like the balsam shrub, now growing about Mecca, and called bacha from the dropping of a resin when the leaves are cut.”


Verse 24

24. The sound of a going — Like the noise of a moving army. It was the sound of Jehovah’s host moving before the army of Israel and leading David on to victory; and though, like Elisha’s servant, his eyes were holden that he could not behold the horses and chariots around him, (2 Kings 6:17,) yet he was permitted to hear the noise of their movements. This is one of the Old Testament texts which point to an unseen world of spiritual agencies around us which are sent forth to minister to the saints of God. Some of the saints have had their spiritual eyes unvailed to see the angelic hosts of God, but the cold rationalism of our day would fain rob us of all belief in a supernatural world of principalities and powers beyond us. Compare notes on 2 Kings 2:11-12; 2 Kings 6:17.


Verse 25

25. From Geba — Rather, from Gibeon, as in 1 Chronicles 14:16, for Geba (see note on 1 Samuel 13:3) lay to the northeast of Jerusalem, and it is not supposable that the Philistines would have passed near it in their flight. For the site of Gibeon see on Joshua 9:3.

Gazer — The same as Gezer, whose exact site has not been identified with any modern town, but must be sought somewhere between the Lower Beth-horon and the Sea. See on Joshua 10:33.

 


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 5:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-5.html. 1874-1909.

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