|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
23:8-39 David once earnestly longed for the water at the well of Bethlehem. It seems to be an instance of weakness. He was thirsty; with the water of that well he had often refreshed himself when a youth, and it was without due thought that he desired it. Were his valiant men so forward to expose themselves, upon the least hint of their prince's mind, and so eager to please him, and shall not we long to approve ourselves to our Lord Jesus, by ready compliance with his will, as shown us by his word, Spirit, and providence? But David poured out the water as a drink-offering to the Lord. Thus he would cross his own foolish fancy, and punish himself for indulging it, and show that he had sober thoughts to correct his rash ones, and knew how to deny himself. Did David look upon that water as very precious which was got at the hazard of these men's blood, and shall not we much more value those benefits for purchasing which our blessed Saviour shed his blood? Let all beware of neglecting so great salvation.
Verse 24. - The thirty. This order of knighthood consisted originally of thirty-three men, of whom three were of higher rank, and presided, probably, each over ten, while Joab was chief over them all. This arrangement of men in tens, with an officer over them. was, in fact, the normal rule among the Hebrews. The second triad is unusual, but is explained by the history. In honour of the exploit of bringing the water from the well of Bethlehem, this second order of three was instituted, lower than the three chiefs, but higher than the rest. The third of these is not mentioned, and the disappearance of the name is not the result of accident, but of purpose. Had it been a scribe's error, there would have been some trace of it in the versions. But if the name was erased, it must have been blotted out for treason, and we thus have two candidates for the vacant niche: one is Amasa, and the other Ahithophel. The name of Joab we cannot for one moment admit. He never was a traitor to David, nor would the latter, though king, have ventured to degrade one so powerful, and who continued to be commander-in-chief until David's death. Now, if Amasa is the same as the Amasai in 1 Chronicles 12:18, who was chief of the captains who came from Judah and Benjamin to David when he was in the hold, it is difficult to account for the absence of his name from the list of the thirty. Plainly, however, David did not regard his treason with strong displeasure, but was prepared, after Absalom's death, to make him commander-in-chief. But we must remember that a place in this second triad was gained by one exploit. The three were those who broke through the Philistine host, and fetched the water from Bethlehem. Such a deed would account for the close attachment between David and Ahithophel. He was the king's companion, and his familiar friend. It would account also for his suicide. His love to David had, for some unknown reason, turned to bitter hatred. He sought, not only David's life, but his dishonour. His feelings must have been highly excited before he could have worked himself up to such a pitch; and the reaction and disappointment would be equally extreme. He never could have faced David again, remembering the warmth of former love, and the shamelessness with which he had sought, not only his life, but to bring upon him public shame and ignominy. And his name would have been totally erased, and gone down into silence. Of Ahithophel's personal accomplishments as a brave warrior, we cannot doubt (see 2 Samuel 17:1), and his son Eliam was one of the mighties. (On a son and father both belonging to the order, see note on ver. 33.) Elhanan (see note on 2 Samuel 21:19).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty,.... Or rather over the thirty (n), who are next mentioned; since there are thirty reckoned besides him, and the Arabic version calls him the prince of the thirty; Joab is not named at all, because he was general of the whole army, and so not to be reckoned in any of the three classes:
Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem: a townsman of David.
(n) "supra triginta istos", Junius & Tremellius.
2 Samuel 23:24 Parallel Commentaries
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