David therefore did as God commanded him: and they smote the host of the Philistines from Gibeon even to Gazer.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)David therefore.—And David did. Samuel adds “so.”
And they smote the host (camp).—Samuel, “and he smote the Philistines.” (Comp. 1Chronicles 14:11.)
From Gibeon.—The present Hebrew text of Samuel has Geba. The LXX. agrees with Chronicles in reading Gibeon, but the Targum, Syriac, and Arabic read Geba. Gibeon lay about six miles north-west of Jerusalem, between the valley of Rephaim and Gezer. Isaiah 28:21 supports this reading.
Even to Gazer (or Gezer).—Gazer is the so-called pausal form. Comp. Pharez (Perez) and Japhet ( Yepheth). The text of Samuel has, “until thou come to Gezer;” the Chronicles, “even unto Gezer-ward.” (See Joshua 12:12; 1Kings 9:15-17.)David therefore did as God commanded him: and they smote the host of the Philistines from Gibeon even to Gazer.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 16. - Gibeon. The parallel reads Geba. As Geba and Gibeon were both situate very near to Jerusalem (on the north), as well as near to one another, both texts may be correct, and each mean what it says. But Isaiah 28:21 confirms the reading Gibeon. It is evident that Gibeon was no appropriate resting-place for the ark (1 Chronicles 13:3, 4; 2 Chronicles 1:3). The nearness of the Philistines' approach to the city of Jerusalem marks their daring on the one hand, and the loud call now for the merciful interposition of Jehovah on behalf of his people. Gazer. Hebrew גָּזְרָה, both here and in the parallel because of the accent. Else the name is Gezer (גֶּזר). It was about two hours distant from Gibeon, and to the north of it (Joshua 10:33; Joshua 12:12; Joshua 21:21; Judges 1:29; 1 Chronicles 20:4), or "four Roman miles northward from Nicopolis ('Onomasticon'); now the large ruin of Tell Jezar" (Conder's' Handbook to the Bible,' p. 412).
2 Samuel 5:12, in the Chronicle we read למעלה נשּׂאת כּי, that his kingdom had been lifted up on high. The unusual form נשּׂאת may be, according to the context, the third pers. fem. perf. Niph., nisaa't having first been changed into נשּׂאת, and thus contracted into נשּׂאת; cf. Ew. 194, b. In 2 Samuel 19:43 the same form is the infin. abs. Niph. למעלה is here, as frequently in the Chronicles, used to intensify the expression: cf. 1 Chronicles 22:5; 1 Chronicles 23:17; 1 Chronicles 29:3, 1 Chronicles 29:25; 2 Chronicles 1:1; 2 Chronicles 17:12. With regard to the sons of David, see on 1 Chronicles 3:5-8.
In the account of the victories over the Philistines, the statement (2 Samuel 5:17) that David went down to the mountain-hold, which has no important connection with the main fact, and would have been for the readers of the Chronicle somewhat obscure, is exchanged in 1 Chronicles 14:8 for the more general expression לפניהם ויּצא, "he went forth against them." In 1 Chronicles 14:14, the divine answer to David's question, whether he should march against the Philistines, runs thus: מעליהם הסב אחריהם תּעלה לא, Thou shalt not go up after them; turn away from them, and come upon them over against the baca-bushes; - while in 2 Samuel 5:23, on the contrary, we read: אל־אחריהם הסב תעלה הסב אל־א לע, Thou shalt not go up (i.e., advance against the enemy to attack them in front); turn thee behind them (i.e., to their rear), and come upon them over against the baca-bushes. Bertheau endeavours to get rid of the discrepancy, by supposing that into both texts corruptions have crept through transcribers' errors. He conjectures that the text of Samuel was originally אחריהם תּעלה לא, while in the Chronicle a transposition of the words עליהם and אחריהם was occasioned by a copyist's error, which in turn resulted in the alteration of עליהם into מעליהם. This supposition, however, stands or falls with the presumption that by תּעלה לא (Sam.) an attack is forbidden; but for that presumption no tenable grounds exist: it would rather involve a contradiction between the first part of the divine answer and the second. The last clause, "Come upon them from over against the baca-bushes," shows that the attack was not forbidden; all that was forbidden was the making of the attack by advancing straight forward: instead of that, they were to try to fall upon them in the rear, by making a circuit. The chronicler consequently gives us an explanation of the ambiguous words of 2 Samuel, which might easily be misunderstood. As David's question was doubtless expressed as it is in 1 Chronicles 14:10, הפל על האעלה, the answer תּעלה לא might be understood to mean, "Go not up against them, attack them not, but go away behind them;" but with that the following וגו להם וּבאת, "Come upon them from the baca-bushes," did not seem to harmonize. The chronicler consequently explains the first clauses of the answer thus: "Go not up straight behind them," i.e., advance not against them so as to attack them openly, "but turn thyself away from them," i.e., strike off in such a direction as to turn their flank, and come upon them from the front of the baca-bushes. In this way the apparently contradictory texts are reconciled without the alteration of a word. In 1 Chronicles 14:17, which is wanting in Samuel, the author concludes the account of these victories by the remark that they tended greatly to exalt the name of David among the nations. For similar reflections, cf. 2 Chronicles 17:10; 2 Chronicles 20:29; 2 Chronicles 14:13; and for שׁם ויּצא, 2 Chronicles 26:15.
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