1 Chronicles 11:25
Behold, he was honorable among the thirty, but attained not to the first three: and David set him over his guard.
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(25) Behold, he was honourable among the thirty.—Rather, above the thirty behold he was honoured.

But attained not to the first three.—For he was a member of the second triad of heroes. The third member is omitted here, as in the case of the first triad.

Over his guard.—Literally, over his obedience; an abstract for concrete, as in Isaiah 11:14 (= vassals). The Cherethites and Pelethites, a small corps probably of foreigners, who constituted David’s body-guard, and were under his direct orders, appear to be meant here. (See 2Samuel 8:18; 2Samuel 20:23.) The word has this precise sense only in this place and its parallel.

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.Five cubits high - About 7 ft. 6 in. high. The height is not so great as that recorded of other giants. 25. David set him over his guard—the Cherethites and Pelethites that composed the small bodyguard in immediate attendance on the king. Heb. his hearing, or obedience, i.e. those that were always ready to hear and obey or execute his commands, to wit, the guards of his body. 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.

Behold, he was honourable among the thirty, but attained not to the {f} first three: and David set him over his guard.

(f) Meaning, those three who brought the water to David.

25. he was honourable among the thirty] R.V. (cp. 1 Chronicles 11:21), he was more honourable than the thirty. The verse probably comes from some poem written in praise of Benaiah. Cp. 1 Chronicles 27:6.

but attained not to the first three] Cp. note on 1 Chronicles 11:21.

guard] The same Heb. word, mishma‘ath, is translated “council” in 1 Samuel 22:14. The literal meaning of the word is “obedience”; it seems both here and in Sam. (l.c.) to designate those who executed the king’s commands, i.e. his ministers. (Minister = “servant”.)Verse 25. - Over his guard. If the reference is not as above (see ver. 22), the margin of the parallel (2 Samuel 23:23) may be followed, which would translate "guard" as council. This Gesenius adopts, and translates "privy council." There seems, however, no necessity for this, with the references before us above given (2 Samuel 8:18, etc., to which may be added ch. 27:6, which shows Benaiah to be captain of the third division). 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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