Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1, 2. Then came all the tribes of Israel--a combined deputation of the
leading authorities in every tribe.
David possessed the first and indispensable qualification for the
throne; namely, that of being an Israelite
Of his military talent he had furnished ample proof. And the people's
desire for his assumption of the government of Israel was further
increased by their knowledge of the will and purpose of God, as
declared by Samuel
3. King David made a league with them in Hebron before the
This formal declaration of the constitution was chiefly made at the
commencement of a new dynasty, or at the restoration of the royal
family after a usurpation
though circumstances sometimes led to its being renewed on the accession
of any new sovereign
It seems to have been accompanied by religious solemnities.
ZION FROM THE
6. the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites--The first
expedition of David, as king of the whole country, was directed against
this place, which had hitherto remained in the hands of the natives. It
was strongly fortified and deemed so impregnable that the blind and
lame were sent to man the battlements, in derisive mockery of the
Hebrew king's attack, and to shout, "David cannot come in hither." To
understand the full meaning and force of this insulting taunt, it is
necessary to bear in mind the depth and steepness of the valley of
Gihon, and the lofty walls of the ancient Canaanitish fortress.
7. the stronghold of Zion--Whether Zion be the southwestern hill
commonly so-called, or the peak now level on the north of the temple
mount, it is the towering height which catches the eye from every
quarter--"the hill fort," "the rocky hold" of Jerusalem.
8. Whosoever getteth up to the gutter--This is thought by some to
mean a subterranean passage; by others a spout through which water was
poured upon the fire which the besiegers often applied to the woodwork
at the gateways, and by the projections of which a skilful climber
might make his ascent good; a third class render the words, "whosoever
dasheth them against the precipice"
9. David dwelt in the fort, &c.--Having taken it by storm, he changed
its name to "the city of David," to signify the importance of the
conquest, and to perpetuate the memory of the event.
David built round about from Millo and inward--probably a row of stone
bastions placed on the northern side of Mount Zion, and built by David
to secure himself on that side from the Jebusites, who still lived in
the lower part of the city. The house of Millo was perhaps the
principal corner tower of that fortified wall.
11, 12. Hiram . . . sent carpenters, and masons--The influx of Tyrian
architects and mechanics affords a clear evidence of the low state to
which, through the disorders of long-continued war, the better class of
artisans had declined in Israel.
13. David took him more concubines and wives--In this conduct David
transgressed an express law, which forbade the king of Israel to
multiply wives unto himself
17. when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over
Israel--During the civil war between the house of Saul and David, those
restless neighbors had remained quiet spectators of the contest. But
now, jealous of David, they resolved to attack him before his
government was fully established.
18. valley of Rephaim--that is, "of giants," a broad and fertile plain,
which descends gradually from the central mountains towards the
northwest. It was the route by which they marched against Jerusalem.
The "hold" to which David went down "was some fortified place where he
might oppose the progress of the invaders," and where he signally
21. there they left their images--probably their "lares" or household
deities, which they had brought into the field to fight for them. They
were burnt as ordained by law
22. the Philistines came up yet again--The next year they renewed
their hostile attempt with a larger force, but God manifestly
interposed in David's favor.
24. the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees--now
generally thought not to be mulberry trees, but some other tree, most
probably the poplar, which delights in moist situations, and the leaves
of which are rustled by the slightest movement of the air