Also the valiant men of the armies were, Asahel the brother of Joab, Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(26) Also the valiant men of the armies.—The Heb. phrase has this meaning (1Chronicles 12:8); but elsewhere it denotes “valiant heroes” (1Chronicles 7:5; 1Chronicles 7:7, &c). and so here. 2Samuel 23:24 has “Asahel brother of Joab was among the thirty.” It thus appears that the warriors of this list are none other than the famous baud of thirty warriors already spoken of (1Chronicles 11:15; 1Chronicles 11:25). From having been the original number, thirty may have become the conventional name of the corps even when its limits had been enlarged. It is notice. able that so far as to 1Chronicles 11:41 the heroes are arranged in pairs, and that the gentilic or cantonal name is usually added to that of the hero. They mostly belong to Judah and Benjamin; whereas the sixteen additional names, so far as known, belong to the transjordanic tribes, and the northern tribes are not represented at all.
Elhanan.—Dodo is very much like David. Is this a third alias of the slayer of Goliath? See Note on 1Chronicles 20:5.2 Samuel 23:24-39, but presents several remarkable differences.
(1) the number in Chronicles is 47; the number in Samuel is 31.
(2) Four names in the list of Chronicles are not in Samuel.
(3) five names in Samuel are not in Chronicles.
(4) many of the other names, both personal and local, vary in the two lists.
It is quite possible that the two lists varied to some extent originally. The writer of Chronicles distinctly states that he gives the list as it stood at the time of David's becoming king over all Israel 1 Chronicles 11:10. The writer of Samuel does not assign his list to any definite period of David's reign, but probably delivers it to us as it was constituted at a later date. It is quite possible therefore that the names which occur only in Chronicles are those of persons who had died or quitted the army before the other list was made out, and that the new names in Samuel are the names of those who had taken their places. See the 2 Samuel 23:39 note.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.Also the valiant men of the armies were, Asahel the brother of Joab, Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)26. Also the valiant men of the armies were, Asahel] Render, And the valiant men of might; Asahel. Cp. 1 Chronicles 2:16; 2 Samuel 2:18 ff; 2 Samuel 3:27.
Elhanan] Called here (= 2 Samuel 23:14) “son of Dodo,” but probably to be identified with “Elhanan the son of Jair” of 1 Chronicles 20:5 (= 2 Samuel 21:19) “son of Jaare-oregim,” for “Jaare-oregim” is not to be taken as his father’s name, and the “Jair” of Chron. appears to be a corruption of “Jaare.” Elhanan was son of Dodo and belonged to a place the name of which was something like Jaare-oregim.Verses 26-41. - These verses correspond with vers. 24-39 in 2 Samuel 23, and with them the subject ends there, though not here. The list announced here as comprising "the valiant men of the armies," is unannounced there, but, beginning with the same name, Asahel, it calls him "one of the thirty," and suggests the inference that those who follow will make up the rest. The number that follows (coinciding in this respect strictly with our list here) is itself thirty, which, though one too many, may be considered satisfactorily accounted for in the fact of the untimely death of Asahel, already recorded (2 Samuel 2:23). Considering the exact crisis at which he died, it is very likely that his place should be compensated for, although his name were unremoved from the honourable list. Amid the difficulties that develop themselves in the contents of these lists, when compared, the comparison of them aids the conviction that, so far as they go together, they do stand for "the thirty" spoken of in both places, and that a sentence or two here and there, now lost or corrupted beyond recognition, would clear up the whole subject. The comparison also seems to make it clear that the compiler of Chronicles, meaning to go beyond an enumeration of the thirty, nowhere speaks of thirty after ver. 25. On the other hand, the writer of the account in Samuel carefully sums up all (ver. 39) in the words, "thirty and seven in all " - an addition which means either the actual thirty-one given and the two sets of three each; or the thirty, with the two sets of three each and Joab ever all. Our present chapter, however, goes on to the number forty-eight in all, vers. 41-47, adding sixteen to the thirty-two which precede. Beside some minor differences, it must be said that at fewest three names, Hepher, Ahijah, and Mibhar, in Chronicles, resist identification with those that should (from position) correspond with them in the list of Samuel and with any others. And the same thing may be said of the same number in the list of Samuel (Elika, Eliam, Bani) when compared with the list now before us. The points of contact and clearest identification are, therefore, in so great a majority and are so uniformly distributed that, although it is left hard to decide the causes of them, these differences cannot throw any discredit upon the list as a whole. Perhaps the most probable suggestion to be offered is that the knowledge of the writer of the Book of Samuel enabled him to supersede the names of such as were soon lost to their brave career by death by other names; or, resting on the same fundamental reason, there may have been two different editions of the list, to one of which the writer of Samuel was indebted, and to the other the compiler of Chronicles. 1 Chronicles 11:20-25 the second class of heroes, to which Abshai (Abishai) and Benaiah belonged, cf. 2 Samuel 23:18-23, is spoken of. They were not equal to the preceding three in heroic deeds, but yet stood higher than the list of heroes which follows in 1 Chronicles 11:26 and onwards. אבשׁי, as 1 Chronicles 2:16 and 2 Samuel 10:10, while in 2 Samuel 23:18 and elsewhere he is called אבישׁי, was one of the three sons of Zeruiah (1 Chronicles 2:16). It is difficult to explain השׁלושׁה ראשׁ, "he was the chief of the three," instead of which we find in 2 Samuel 23:23 השׁלשׁי, i.e., השּׁלשׁי, "chief of the body-guard" (knights). But owing to the succeeding שׁם (ולו) בּשּׁלושׁה ולא, where Samuel also has בּשּׁלשׁה, and to the recurrence of השׁלושׁה on two occasions in 1 Chronicles 11:21 (cf. 2 2 Samuel 23:19), it does not seem possible to alter the text with Thenius. Bertheau proposes to get rid of the difficulty by taking the word שׁלושׁה in two different significations-on the one hand as denoting the numeral three, and on the other as being an abstract substantive, "the totality of the thirty." He justifies the latter signification by comparison of 1 Chronicles 11:21 with 1 Chronicles 11:25, and of 2 Samuel 23:19 with 1 Chronicles 11:23, from which he deduces that שׁלושׁה and שׁלושׁים denote a larger company, in which both Abishai and Benaiah held a prominent place. But this signification cannot be made good from these passages. In both clauses of 1 Chronicles 11:25 (and 2 Samuel 23:23) השּׁלשׁים and השּׁלשׁה are contrasted, which would rather go to prove the contrary of Bertheau's proposition, viz., that השּׁלשׁה, the three, cannot at the same time denote the whole of the thirty, השּׁלשׁים. The truth of the matter may be gathered from a comparison of 1 Chronicles 11:18 with 1 Chronicles 11:15. In 1 Chronicles 11:18 השּׁלשׁה is synonymous with השּׁלושׁים מן השׁלושׁה, 1 Chronicles 11:15; i.e., the three in 1 Chronicles 11:18 are the same men who in 1 Chronicles 11:15, where they are first met with, are called three of the thirty; and consequently השּׁלשׁה, the three (triad), 1 Chronicles 11:21 and 1 Chronicles 11:25, can only denote the triad of heroes previously named. This is placed beyond doubt by a comparison of 1 Chronicles 11:24 with 1 Chronicles 11:25, since the הגּבּרים שׁלושׁה, the triad of heroes, 1 Chronicles 11:24, corresponds to the simple השּׁלשׁה of 1 Chronicles 11:25. The only remaining question is, whether by this triad of heroes we are to understand those spoken of in 1 Chronicles 11:11-14, - Jashobeam, Eleazar, and Shammah, - or the three whose names are not given, but whose exploit is narrated in 1 Chronicles 11:15-19. But the circumstance that the names of the three latter are not mentioned goes decidedly to show that השּׁלשׁה in 1 Chronicles 11:20-25 does not denote that nameless triad, whose exploit is manifestly adduced incidentally only as a similar case, but the three most valiant, who held the first rank among David's heroes. Bertheau's opinion, that in 1 Chronicles 11:20-25 one triad of heroes is distinguished from another, cannot be regarded as well-founded, for the three of whom Abishai was chief are not distinguished, and are not different from the three to whom, according to 1 Chronicles 11:21, he did not attain. Nor is there greater reason to believe that the triad of 1 Chronicles 11:20 and 1 Chronicles 11:21 is different from that in 1 Chronicles 11:24 and 1 Chronicles 11:25, among whom Benaiah made himself a name, and to whom he did not attain. The fact of being chief or prince over the three is not irreconcilably contradictory to the statement that he did not attain to them, i.e., did not come up to them in heroic strength, as is shown by the two classes being connected in 1 Chronicles 11:21. As to the rank which the triad held in the regular forces of David, we know nothing further than that Jashobeam was, according to 1 Chronicles 27:2, leader of that part of the army which was on duty during the first month. Eleazar the son of Dodo, and the Hararite Shammah the son of Aga, are not mentioned anywhere but in our list. Abishai, on the contrary, who had already distinguished himself by his audacious courage in David's struggle with Saul (1 Samuel 26:6.), conducted together with Joab the war against Abner (2 Samuel 2:24-3:30). Afterwards, in David's war with the Ammonites, he was under Joab in command of the second half of the host (2 Samuel 10:10.); in the war against Absalom he commanded a third part of the host (1 Chronicles 18:2.); and in the struggle with the rebel Sheba he commanded the vanguard of the royal troops sent against the rebel (1 Chronicles 20:6.); and in general held, along with Joab the commander-in-chief, the first place among David's captains. In this position he was chief of the three heroes before mentioned, and their leader (שׂר), and among them had made himself a name. ולא, 1 Chronicles 11:20, is an orthographical error for ולו, as in fifteen other passages, according to the Masora. See on Exodus 21:10 and Isaiah 63:9.
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