|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:1-8 How does David render good for evil! Absalom would have only David smitten; David would have only Absalom spared. This seems to be a resemblance of man's wickedness towards God, and God's mercy to man, of which it is hard to say which is most amazing. Now the Israelites see what it is to take counsel against the Lord and his anointed.
Verse 1. - And David numbered. The verb really means that he organized his army, and arranged it in companies and divisions. As Absalom gathered all Israel to him, there would be some delay; and David, like a wise general, made use of it for training the brave but undisciplined men who had joined him, chiefly from Gilead. Besides these, he had with him numerous veterans, whose skill and experience would be invaluable in such service. The result was that when the rebels came to close quarters, they had a vast body of men, but David a disciplined force, which, under skilful generalship, scattered Absalom's raw levies with ease. The arrangement into thousands and hundreds was in accordance with the civil divisions (Exodus 18:25), both being, in fact, dictated by nature as multiples of our hands.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And David numbered the people that were with him,.... Which Josephus says (d) were four thousand; but one would think there should be more by what follows:
and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them; he divided his army into companies, which consisted some of a thousand and others of a hundred; over each of which he set captains, to lead them on, direct, and command them in battle.
(d) Antiqu. l. 7. c. 10. sect. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2Sa 18:1-4. David Reviewing the Armies.
1, 2. David numbered the people that were with him—The hardy mountaineers of Gilead came in great numbers at the call of their chieftains, so that, although without money to pay any troops, David soon found himself at the head of a considerable army. A pitched battle was now inevitable. But so much depending on the life of the king, he was not allowed to take the field in person; and he therefore divided his forces into three detachments under Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, the commander of the foreign guards.
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