And the three broke through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but David would not drink of it, but poured it out to the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Brake through the host.—Not the main army, but the outpost in front of Bethlehem. There were heroes before Agamemnon, and there was chivalry before the Crusades.
By the gate.—Heb., in.
Poured it out.—As a libation or drink-offering. The technical term is used, as in Genesis 35:14. An act of free sacrifice, done under a sudden impulse of thankfulness, and not according to any formal prescription of the Law.1 Chronicles 11:18-19. David would not drink of it — That water which he thought too precious for his own drinking, he poured out to the Lord — For a drink-offering. If we have any thing better than other, let God be honoured with it, who is the best, and should have the best. Shall I drink the blood, &c. — It put him into the utmost confusion, to think three brave men should hazard their lives to fetch water for him. In his account it turns the water into blood. It is to the honour of great men, not to be prodigal of the blood of those they employ.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.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.And the three brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but David would not drink of it, but poured it out to the LORD.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)18. brake through the host] The word “host” in the Hebrew means a host encamped, not a host embattled. Perhaps this exploit took place by night; compare the deed of David and Abishai (1 Samuel 26:6-12).Verse 18. - David... poured it out to the Lord. This was done after the nature of a libation (1 Samuel 7:6; Judges 6:20; Exodus 30:9; Genesis 35:14). 2 Samuel 23:8-39 also, though there are many divergences in the names, which for the most part have found their way into one or other of the texts by errors of transcription. The conclusion (1 Chronicles 11:41-47 of the Chronicle) is not found in 2 Samuel 23, either because the author of the Chronicle followed another and older register than that used by the author of the book of Samuel, or because the latter has not communicated all the names contained in his authority. The former of these is the more probable supposition. In the Chronicle the superscription of the register is enlarged by the insertion in 1 Chronicles 11:10, before the simple superscription in 1 Chronicles 11:11, cf. 2 Samuel 23:8, of a further superscription informing us of the design which the chronicler had in introducing the register at this place. "These are the chiefs of David's heroes who stood by him strongly (עם התחזּק, as Daniel 10:21) in his kingdom, with the whole of Israel to make him king, according to the word of Jahve, over Israel." The collocation הגּבּרים ראשׁי is accounted for by the fact that הגּבּור is a designation of a valiant or heroic man in general, without reference to his position, whether co-ordinate with or subordinate to others. Among David's גּבּרים who helped to establish his kingdom, are not merely those who are mentioned by name in the following register, but also, as we learn from 1 Chronicles 12, the great number of valiant men of all the tribes, who, even during his persecution by Saul, crowded round him, and immediately after Saul's death came to him in Hebron to hail him king. The enumeration in our passage contains only the chiefs, ראשׁים, of those valiant men, i.e., those who held the first rank among them, and who were in great part leaders in the army of David, or became so. להמליכו is not to be confined to the mere appointment to the kingship, but includes also his establishment in it; for there follows an account of the heroic deeds which the men enumerated by name performed in the wars which David waged against his enemies in order to maintain and increase his kingly power. יהוה דּבר יהוה .rewop concerning Israel is the word of the Lord, the import of which is recorded in 1 Chronicles 11:3, that David should feed His people Israel, and be ruler over them. The ipsissima verba are not found in the earlier history of David, but the substance of them has been deduced from 1 Samuel 16:13 and 1 Samuel 15:28; cf. herewith the remarks on 2 Samuel 3:18. The enumeration of these heroes is introduced in 1 Chronicles 11:11 by a short supplementary superscription, "these the number of the heroes." That מספּר should be used instead of the שׁמות of Samuel is surprising, but is explained by the fact that these heroes at first constituted a corps whose designation was derived from their number. They originally amounted to thirty, whence they are still called the thirty, השּׁלשׁים; cf. 1 Chronicles 11:12, and the discussion on 2 Samuel 23:8. In both narratives three classes are distinguished.
Jashobeam, Eleazar, and Shammah hold the first place, and specially bold and heroic deeds performed by them are recorded, 1 Chronicles 11:11-14, and 2 Samuel 23:8-12. For details as to themselves and their deeds, see on the last cited passage. There we have already remarked, that in 1 Chronicles 11:13 of the text of the Chronicle, the three lines which in Samuel come between שׁם נאספוּ בּפּלשׁתּים (2 Samuel 23:9) and פלשׁתּים ויּעספוּ, 1 Chronicles 11:11, have been, through wandering of the copyist's eye, omitted; and with them the name of the third hero, שׁמּה, has also been dropped, so that the heroic deed done by him, 1 Chronicles 11:13, 1 Chronicles 11:14, appears, according to our present text, to have been performed by Eleazar. In place of the words, "And the Philistines had gathered themselves together there to battle, and there was a parcel of ground full of barley," 1 Chronicles 11:13, the text, according to the narrative in 2 Samuel 23:11, must have stood originally thus: "The Philistines had gathered themselves together there to battle, and the men of Israel went up (sc., retreating from the Philistines up the mountain); he, however, stood firm, and smote the Philistines till his hand was wearied, and cleaved unto the sword (i.e., clung crampedly to his sword through fatigue): there wrought Jahve a great deliverance on that day, and the people returned (from their flight) behind him only to spoil. And after him was Shammah the son of Aga the Hararite, and the Philistines had gathered themselves together to battle," etc. In 1 Chronicles 11:14 the plural forms יתיצּבוּ, ויּצּילוּה, ויּכּוּ, are incorrect, and should be changed into singulars, as in 2 Samuel 23:12, since only the deed of the hero Shammah is here spoken of. The plurals were probably introduced into the text after the missing lines had been dropped out by a reader or copyist, who, on account of the דּייד עם היה הוּא (1 Chronicles 11:13), understood the three clauses of 1 Chronicles 11:14 to refer to Eleazar and David. ויּושׁע, on the contrary, is here perfectly appropriate, and is not to be altered to suit the ויּעשׂ of Samuel, 1 Chronicles 11:14, for the καὶ ἐποίησε of the lxx is not of itself a sufficient reason for doing so.
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