|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:15-18 David neither did wrong, nor denied or delayed right to any. This speaks his close application to business; also his readiness to admit all addresses and appeals made to him. He had no respect of persons in judgment. Herein he was a type of Christ. To Him let us submit, his friendship let us seek, his service let us count our pleasure, diligently attending to the work he assigns to each of us. David made his sons chief rulers; but all believers, Christ's spiritual seed, are better preferred, for they are made kings and priests to our God, Re 1:6.
Verse 17. - Zadok... and Ahimelech... were the priests. We have already seen that this was contrary to the letter of the Mosaic Law, and yet that there was no schism, and that by patience matters came back to the right groove. Zadok, of the elder line of Eleazar (1 Chronicles 6:4-8, 50-53), was high priest at Gibeon, and Ahimelech, of the junior line of Ithamar, was the high priest at Jerusalem. Instead of Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, the Syriac transposes the names, and reads, "Abiathar the son of Ahimelech" This agrees with the list in 2 Samuel 20:25, and it is certain that Abiathar outlived David (1 Kings 2:26), and that he was David's high priest throughout his reign, though Zadok is not only constantly associated with him, but is placed first, as the man of higher rank (2 Samuel 15:24-35; 2 Samuel 17:15; 2 Samuel 19:11; 2 Samuel 20:25). It is also remarkable that our Lord makes Abiathar the person who gave David the shewbread (Mark 2:26), whereas in 1 Samuel 21. he is repeatedly called Ahimelech. As both the LXX. and the Vulgate support the Hebrew against the Syriac, and as the reading "Ahimelech" is confirmed by 1 Chronicles 18:16 and 1 Chron 24:3, 6, 31, we must reject the emendation of the Syriac, and conclude that there was a double tradition respecting these names, some manuscripts making Abiathar the father, and others giving the seniority to Ahimelech. Our Lord made Abiathar the father, but the scribes, in their editing of the Hebrew text, gave that place to Ahimelech, yet did not carry out their restoration so thoroughly as not to leave proof that the names probably ought to be reversed. Seraiah was scribe. His office was similar to that of a secretary of state with us. For Seraiah we have Shavsha in 1 Chronicles 18:16, Shisha in 1 Kings 4:3, and Sheva in 2 Samuel 20:25. This illustrates what has just been said as to the uncertainty about proper names. They are always most difficult to read, as the sense gives no aid, and these various forms of a name that does not occur elsewhere really bear witness to the high antiquity of the manuscripts uses by the scribes in settling the text of the Old Testament; and also to their self-restraint in not making them all forcibly agree.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Zadok the son of Ahitub, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, were the priests,.... Not high priests, as Josephus (i) suggests, for there was only one high priest at a time; indeed there was a "sagan", or deputy priest, on occasion; and so Abarbinel says that Zadok was the high priest, and Ahimelech his second or deputy; but the truth of the case was this, Abiathar was high priest only, and continued so until the time of Solomon, when he was thrust out of his office, and Zadok put into it; and Ahimelech his son and Zadok were the principal priests under him, the one of the family of Ithamar, the other of Eleazar; so the Targum on 1 Chronicles 18:16 calls them "sagans", or deputies of the high priesthood. Zadok is mentioned first, though Ahimelech was the son of the present high priest, because he was in great favour with David, as afterwards with Solomon, in whose days the high priesthood was translated to him; the family of Eli being now upon the decline, and near being removed from the high priesthood, as was foretold by Samuel it should:
and Seraiah was the scribe; or secretary of state; in 1 Chronicles 18:16 he is called Shavsha; he seems to have had two names.
(i) Ut supra, (Antiqu. l. 7. c. 5.) sect. 4.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17. Zadok … and Ahimelech … were the priests—On the massacre of the priests at Nob, [1Sa 22:19], Saul conferred the priesthood on Zadok, of the family of Eleazar (1Ch 6:50), while David acknowledged Ahimelech, of Ithamar's family, who fled to him. The two high priests exercised their office under the respective princes to whom they were attached. But, on David's obtaining the kingdom over all Israel, they both retained their dignity; Ahimelech officiating at Jerusalem, and Zadok at Gibeon (1Ch 16:39).
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