1 Chronicles 11:15
Now three of the thirty captains went down to the rock to David, into the cave of Adullam; and the host of the Philistines encamped in the valley of Rephaim.
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(15-19) Three unnamed heroes who fetched water for David from the well at Bethlehem.

(15) Now three of the thirty captains.—Literally, and a three out of the thirty chiefs went down; a mode of description which appears to distinguish this trio from the former (1Chronicles 11:11-14). The form of the verb, however, connects this exploit with the same war. (Comp. 2Samuel 23:13-17.)

To the rock.—’Al haç-çûr (later use of ‘al, “on”). Samuel has “at (or towards) harvest,” ‘el qaçir. In Hebrew writing the phrases are very similar. Our phrase looks like a correction of that in Samuel. At any rate, the Syriac, Targum, Arabic, and probably the LXX., read qaçir in the MSS. of Samuel. Here the LXX. has “to the rock;” Syriac omits the phrase.

Cave of Adullam.—See 1Samuel 22:1.

Encamped.Were camping.

Valley of Rephaim.—See Joshua 15:8, Note. It lay south-west of Jerusalem, in the direction of Bethlehem. It may have got its name from the aboriginal Rephaim, Deuteronomy 3:11 (Authorised Version, giants), Joshua 17:15. It was a rich corn land (Isaiah 13:5). (Comp. 1Chronicles 11:13.)

11:10-47 An account is given of David's worthies, the great men who served him. Yet David reckoned his success, not as from the mighty men that were with him, but from the mighty God, whose presence is all in all. In strengthening him, they strengthened themselves and their own interest, for his advancement was theirs. We shall gain by what we do in our places for the support of the kingdom of the Son of David; and those that are faithful to Him, shall find their names registered much more to their honour, than these are in the records of fame.Compare this passage with 2 Samuel 23:9-10.

Barley - In 2 Samuel 23:11, "lentiles." The words for barley and lentils are so similar in the Hebrew that we may fairly explain the diversity by an accidental corruption.

15-19. David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink … of the well of Beth-lehem—(See on [365]2Sa 23:15). 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 [366]1Ch 11:13]. But this is far from being clear. On the contrary, it would seem that three different heroes are referred to, for Abishai (1Ch 11:20) was one of them. The camp of the Philistines was in the valley of Rephaim (1Ch 11:15), which lay on the west of Jerusalem, but an outpost was stationed at Beth-lehem (1Ch 11:16), and through this garrison they had to force a passage. No text from Poole on this verse.

And inquired not of the Lord,.... For though he did inquire in some sense in an external, careless, and hypocritical manner, yet not done seriously, sincerely, and heartily, nor with constancy; it was accounted as if he inquired not at all, 1 Samuel 28:6 the Targum adds another reason of his death, because he killed the priests of Nob; but that is not in the text:

therefore he slew him; or suffered him to be slain:

and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse; translated the kingdom of Israel out of Saul's family, upon his death, into Jesse's, even unto David; for the sake of which observation this short account is given of the last end of Saul.

Now three of the {d} thirty captains went down to the rock to David, into the cave of Adullam; and the host of the Philistines encamped in the valley of Rephaim.

(d) That is, Eleazar and his two companions.

15. the thirty captains] R.V. the thirty chief.

to the rock] Samuel “in the harvest-time.” Perhaps both readings are wrong, the original reading being the name of a place. LXX. (B) in Sam. has εἰς Καδών.

the cave of Adullam] Perhaps we should read here (and in 1 Samuel 22:1; 2 Samuel 23:13) “strong hold of Adullam.” It is called “the hold” (strong hold) in 1 Samuel 22:4. G. A. Smith (Hist. Geog. p. 229) suggests an identification with a commanding hill in the Shephelah called ‘Aid-el-ma. It is about twelve miles to the S.W. of Beth-lehem.

the valley of Rephaim] Probably the broad depression traversed by the road from Jerusalem to Beth-lehem. See Joshua 15:8 (“vale of Rephaim” R.V.; “valley of the giants” A.V.).

Verse 15. - Three of the thirty. The thirty here alluded to have not been mentioned either in the Book of Samuel or here, except by implication of our ver. 11, where we might imagine the sense to be, "Now these are the names of the mighty men, in number thirty, whom David had, viz. Jashobeam, an Hachmonite, the chief of the thirty." Nor are we told in either place who were the "three" here spoken cf. The article is absent in both places, or it would be convenient and natural to suppose that the three just mentioned are those intended, which cannot, however, be taken for granted. The language of vers. 20-22, 25, might rather indicate that the three mentioned in those verses are those in question. The repeated uncertainty in which we are left on matters to which no intrinsic difficulty adheres seems evidence of injured manuscripts rather than of anything else. To the rock to David. This is the right reading, עֵל־חֵצֻּר אֶל־דָּוִד; and that in the parallel passage ("to David in the harvest-time") is not correct, אֶל־קָצִיר אֶל־דָּוִד. The cave of Adullam. Adullam, evidently a place of great antiquity (Genesis 38:l, 12, 20), is mentioned in Joshua 12:15; Joshua 15:35; it was the seat then of a Canaanite king. It afterwards lay in Judah, in that lowland (called often the Shephelah) that ran from Joppa to Gaza, near the Mediterranean Sea. It kept name and fame to the last (2 Chronicles 11:7; Nehemiah 11:30). The "rock" marks the limestone cliffs of the region (Stanley's 'Sinai and Palestine,' pp. 254-259, edit. 1866). We read of it, as David's refuge (1 Samuel 22:1, 2). From our present passage, and its parallel we should have concluded that it could not have been far from Bethlehem. In this sense Dr. Thomson ('The Land and the Book,' pp. 606, 607) refers to the tradition that fixes the cave at a spot now called Khureitun, between Bethlehem and the Dead Sea, and says, "Leaving our horses in charge of wild Arabs, and taking one Arab for a guide, we started for the cave, having a fearful gorge below, gigantic cliffs above, and the path winding along a shelf of the rock, narrow enough to make the nervous among us shudder. At length from a great rock, hanging on the edge of this shelf, we sprang by a long leap into a low window, which opened into the perpendicular face of the cliff. We were then within the hold of David, and creeping half-doubled through a narrow crevice for a few rods, we stood beneath the dark vault of the first grand chamber of this mysterious and oppressive cavern. Our whole collection of lights did little more than make the damp darkness visible. After groping about as long as we had Lime to spare, we returned to the light of day, fully convinced that, with David and his lion-hearted followers inside, all the strength of Israel under Saul could not have forced an entrance, and would not even have attempted it." The host. For this word "host" (מַחֲגֵה) the parallel (2 Samuel 23:13) has the "life of the Philistines" (but the Authorized Version, the "troop of"), i.e. the beasts and cattle of the Philistines. So also the Syriac Version translates, The Septuagint shows in this place παρεμβολή, and in Samuel τὰγμα. The valley of Rephaim. The situation of this notable valley is not certain. Yet there can be little doubt, in spite of Furst ('Handwortbuch,' 2:383), who supposes a situation north-west of Jerusalem, that it must be near Bethlehem, and therefore south-west of the city. The word employed Here for "valley" (עִמֶק should mark an enclosed one. Rephaim means "giants." Hence our Authorized Version, "The valley of Hinnom westward, which is at the end of the valley of the giants northward" (Joshua 15:8; Joshua 18:16; also 2 Samuel 5:18; comp. with our present passage; and 2 Samuel 5:22 comp. with 1 Chronicles 14:9). 1 Chronicles 11:15In 1 Chronicles 11:15-19 (cf. 2 Samuel 23:13-17) there follows an exploit of three others of the thirty, whose names have not been handed down. ראשׁ השּׁלושׁים, the thirty chiefs (not, as Thenius wrongly interprets the words, these three knights the chief parts, i.e., these three chief knights), are David's heroes hereafter mentioned, the thirty-two heroes of the third class named in 1 Chronicles 11:26-40 (or vv. 24-39 of Samuel). That three others, different from the before-mentioned Jashobeam, Eleazar, and Shammah are intended, is plain from the omission of the article with שׁלושׁה; for if these three were spoken of, we would have השׁלושׁה, as in 1 Chronicles 11:18. For further remarks on this exploit, which was probably performed in the war treated of in 1 Chronicles 14:8., and in 2 Samuel 5:17., see on 2 Samuel 23:13-17. The words וגו האנשׁים הדם, 1 Chronicles 11:19, are to be translated, "The blood of these men shall I drink in their souls? for for their souls (i.e., for the price of their souls, at the risk of their life) have they brought it." The expression "blood in their souls" is to be understood according to Genesis 9:4 and Leviticus 17:14 (הוּא בנפשׁו דּמו, "his blood is in the soul," is that which constitutes his soul). As there blood and soul are used synonymously (the blood as seat of and container of the soul, and the soul as floating in the blood), so here David, according to our account of his words, compares the water, which those heroes had brought for the price of their souls, to the souls of the men, and the drinking of the water to the drinking of their souls, and finally the souls to the blood, in order to express his abhorrence of such a draught. The meaning therefore may be thus expressed: "Shall I drink in this water the souls, and so the blood, of these men; for they have brought the water even for the price of their souls?"
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