Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. Then all Israel gathered themselves to David unto Hebron--This
event happened on the death of Ish-bosheth
The convention of the estates of the kingdom, the public and solemn
homage of the representatives of the people, and the repeated anointing
of the new king in their presence and by their direction, seem to have
been necessary to the general acknowledgment of the sovereign on the
part of the nation (compare
ZION FROM THE
4. David and all Israel went to . . .
8. Joab repaired the rest of the city--David built a new town to the
north of the old one on Mount Zion; but Joab was charged with a
commission to restore the part that had been occupied by the ancient
Jebus, to repair the breaches made during the siege, to rebuild the
houses which had been demolished or burned in the sacking of the town,
and to preserve all that had escaped the violence of the soldiery. This
work of reconstruction is not noticed elsewhere
10. These . . . are the chief of the mighty
They are here described as those who held strongly with him
(Margin) to make him king, &c. In these words the sacred
historian assigns a reason for introducing the list of their names,
immediately after his account of the election of David as king, and the
conquest of Jerusalem; namely, that they assisted in making David king.
In the original form of the list, and the connection in which it occurs
in Samuel, there is no reference to the choice of a king; and even in
this passage it is only in the clause introduced into the
superscription that such a reference occurs [KEIL].
11-13. Jashobeam, an Hachmonite--or, "son of Hachmoni." He is called
also son of Zabdiel
so that, strictly speaking, he was the grandson of Hachmoni (compare
lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time--The
feat is said
to have been a slaughter of eight hundred in one day. Some endeavor to
reconcile the statements in that passage and in this by supposing that
he slew eight hundred on one occasion and three hundred on another;
while others conjecture that he attacked a body of eight hundred, and,
having slain three hundred of them, the rest fled [LIGHTFOOT].
12. the three mighties--Only two are mentioned; namely, Jashobeam and
Eleazar--the third, Shammah
is not named in this passage.
13. He was with David at Pas-dammim--It was at the time when he was a
fugitive in the wilderness, and, parched with thirst under the burning
heat of noonday, he wistfully thought of the cool fountain of his
This is a notice of the achievement, to which Eleazar owed his fame,
but the details are found only in
where it is further said that he was aided by the valor of Shammah, a
fact corroborated in the passage before us
where it is recorded of the heroes, that "they set themselves in the
midst of that parcel." As the singular number is used in speaking of
the true view seems to be that when Eleazar had given up from
exhaustion, Shammah succeeded, and by his fresh and extraordinary
prowess preserved the field.
Ephes-dammim was situated between Shocoh and Azekah, in the west of the
Judahite territory. These feats were performed when David acted as
Saul's general against the Philistines.
15-19. David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink . . .
of the well of
This chivalrous act evinces the enthusiastic devotion of David's men,
that they were ready to gratify his smallest wish at the risk of their
lives. It is probable that, when uttering the wish, David had no
recollection of the military posted at Beth-lehem. It is generally
taken for granted that those who fought a way to the well of Beth-lehem
were the three champions just mentioned [see on
But this is far from being clear. On the contrary, it would seem that
three different heroes are referred to, for Abishai
was one of them. The camp of the Philistines was in the valley of
which lay on the west of Jerusalem, but an outpost was stationed at
and through this garrison they had to force a passage.
21. howbeit he attained not to the first
22. Benaiah . . . of Kabzeel--a town in the south of Judah
It is said that "he had done many acts," though three only are
mentioned as specimens of his daring energy and fearless courage.
slew two lionlike men of Moab--literally, "lions of God," that is,
great lions or champions. This gallant feat was probably achieved in
David's hostile invasion of Moab
also he went down and slew a lion in a pit in a snowy day--probably a
cave into which Benaiah had taken refuge from the snowstorm, and in
which he encountered a savage lion which had its lair there. In a
spacious cave the achievement would be far greater than if the monster
had been previously snared or cabined in a pit.
23. he went down--the ordinary phraseology for expressing an engagement
in battle. The encounter of Benaiah with this gigantic Egyptian reminds
us, in some respects, of David's combat with Goliath. At least, the
height of this giant, which was about eight feet, and his armor,
resembled his of Gath.
with a staff--that is, having no other weapon in his hand than his
25. David set him over his guard--the Cherethites and Pelethites
that composed the small bodyguard in immediate attendance on the king.
26. Also the valiant men of the armies--This was the third degree
of military rank, and Asahel was their chief; the names of few of those
mentioned are historically known.
27. Shammoth--Between this name and Hebez, that of Elikah has
evidently fallen out, as we may see
(2Sa 23:25, 26)
30. Maharai--chief of the detachment of the guards who attended
on the king in the tenth month, January
39. Naharai--armorbearer to Joab
The non-occurrence of Joab's name in any of the three catalogues is
most probably to be accounted for by the circumstance that his office
as commander-in-chief raised him to a position superior to all these
orders of military knighthood.
41. Uriah the Hittite--The enrolment of this name in such a list,
attesting, as it does, his distinguished merits as a brave and devoted
officer, aggravates the criminality of David's outrage on his life and
honor. The number of the names at
(exclusive of Asahel and Uriah, who were dead) is thirty, and at
is sixteen--making together forty-eight (see on
Of those mentioned
the greater part belonged to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin; the
are all associated with places unknown, or with cities and districts on
the east of the Jordan. The northern tribes do not appear to have
furnished any leaders [BERTHEAU].