And Abishai the brother of Joab, he was chief of the three: for lifting up his spear against three hundred, he slew them, and had a name among the three.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)2Samuel 23:18-23, of which the present passage is little more than a duplicate.)
(20) Abishai the brother of Joab.—Heb., Abshai, but in Samuel, Abishai. (Comp. Abram and Abiram.) Samuel adds “son of Zeruiah” after Joab. (Comp. 1Chronicles 2:16 and 1Chronicles 18:12; 1Chronicles 19:11 ff. for other deeds of Abishai.)
He was chief of the three.—Apparently the second triad, one of whose famous exploits has just been related (1Chronicles 11:15-19). The Hebrew text of Samuel seems to read “knights,” but some MSS., the Hebrew margin, and all the versions, agree with Chronicles.
For lifting up . . .—Literally, and he had bran. dished his spear over three hundred slain. The exploit of Jashobeam (1Chronicles 11:11).
And had a name among the three.—That is, among the second triad, of which he was captain.1 Chronicles 11:20-21. Lifting up his spear against three hundred, he slew them — He vanquished them all, and slew a great number of them: it is, however, not said that he slew them all at one time, as it is said of Jashobeam, 1 Chronicles 11:11. He attained not unto the first three — He did not equal them in valiant exploits.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.He slew them; he vanquished them all, and slew a great number of them; though it be not said that he slew them all at one time, as it is said of Jashobeam, above, 1 Chronicles 11:11. 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 Abishai the brother of Joab, he was chief of the three: for lifting up his spear against three hundred, he slew them, and had a name among the three.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)20. chief of the three] In 2 Samuel 23:18 (C’thîb) Abishai is called by the same title (Heb. rôsh hasshâlîshi) as Josheb-basshebeth (ib. 2 Samuel 23:8). This title probably means chief of the third part [of the army]; cp. 2 Samuel 23:11, note. Chief of the three is a faulty reading.
for lifting up his spear] R.V. for he lifted up his spear; cp. 1 Chronicles 11:11, note.
had a name among the three] Cp. 1 Chronicles 11:24, where the same thing is said of Benaiah. The three meant are either the three of 1 Chronicles 11:15-19 or else an unknown three; cp. next note.Verse 20. - Abishai... was chief of the three. It is remarkable that again the name of one of the three is wanting, even if we take Benaiah of ver. 22 for the second. 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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