1 Chronicles 11:21
Of the three, he was more honorable than the two; for he was their captain: however, he attained not to the first three.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) Of the three, he was more honourable than the two.—The Hebrew text here varies from Samuel, which has “Above (or out of) the three, was he not honoured? n The reading of Chronicles seems to be an exegetical alteration of this, and should probably be rendered, “Above the three of the second rank he was honoured,” i.e., he was the most honoured member of the second triad. So the Vulg., et inter tres secun-dos inclitus. The LXX. has ἀπὸ τῶν τριῶν ὑπὲρ δύο ένδοξος (“Of the three, renowned above the two”). But the Hebrew expression, which means literally, “in the two,” seems plainly to indicate a second group of three. Otherwise, we might translate: “Of the three he was honoured among the two,” that is, above the other two members of his triad. Both here and in 1Chronicles 11:20 the Syriac reads thirty instead of three: “Above the thirty he was honoured, and he became chief over them and warlike; the thirty he used to make” (1Chronicles 11:21). The Arabic is more correct: “And he was mightier than the two, and chief over them twain, and he came not to the three.”

Howbeit he attained not . . .—Literally, but to the three he came not, i.e., the first triad of warriors (1Chronicles 11:11-14).

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.

21. howbeit he attained not to the first three—(See on [367]2Sa 23:19). He did not equal them in valiant exploits. 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.

Of the three, he was more honorable than the two; for he was their captain: howbeit he attained not to the first three.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21. Of the three he was more honourable than the two] R.V. mg. “Of the three in the second rank he was the most honourable.” The word, translated “in the second rank,” is however certainly corrupt (cp. 2 Samuel 23:19), and should be corrected. We then translate: He was more honourable than the three. The verse probably comes from a lost poem. What is meant by the three and by the first three cannot be determined owing to the loss of the context.Verse 21. - Than the two. The Hebrew (בַשְׁנַיִס) cannot be thus translated, but possibly the words may mark the second set of three. In 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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