2 Samuel 11:25
Then David said unto the messenger, Thus shalt thou say unto Joab, Let not this thing displease thee, for the sword devoureth one as well as another: make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it: and encourage thou him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) One as well as another.—While David’s reply to Joab is ostensibly to encourage him, on the ground that the mishap was a mere accident of war, it is yet couched in such language as to imply a special regret for the loss of Uriah. “One as well as another,” i.e., “though Uriah was a brave hero whom we could ill spare, yet in the fortune of war we cannot choose who shall fall. Notwithstanding this loss, let Joab go on with a good heart.”

2 Samuel 11:25. Let not this thing displease thee — Be not disheartened by this loss. David showed no sign of grief or displeasure at these tidings, as he heard the news, which he desired, of Uriah’s death. The sword devoureth one as well as another — Makes no distinction between good and bad. Make thy battle more strong, &c. — Assault the city with greater force, till thou art made master of it. And encourage thou him — Joab and his soldiery.

11:14-27 Adulteries often occasion murders, and one wickedness is sought to be covered by another. The beginnings of sin are much to be dreaded; for who knows where they will end? Can a real believer ever tread this path? Can such a person be indeed a child of God? Though grace be not lost in such an awful case, the assurance and consolation of it must be suspended. All David's life, spirituality, and comfort in religion, we may be sure were lost. No man in such a case can have evidence to be satisfied that he is a believer. The higher a man's confidence is, who has sunk in wickedness, the greater his presumption and hypocrisy. Let not any one who resembles David in nothing but his transgressions, bolster up his confidence with this example. Let him follow David in his humiliation, repentance, and his other eminent graces, before he thinks himself only a backslider, and not a hypocrite. Let no opposer of the truth say, These are the fruits of faith! No; they are the effects of corrupt nature. Let us all watch against the beginnings of self-indulgence, and keep at the utmost distance from all evil. But with the Lord there is mercy and plenteous redemption. He will cast out no humble, penitent believer; nor will he suffer Satan to pluck his sheep out of his hand. Yet the Lord will recover his people, in such a way as will mark his abhorrence of their crimes, to hinder all who regard his word from abusing the encouragements of his mercy.Who smote Abimelech ... - This reference indicates the existence in David's time of the national annals of that period in an accessible form, and the king's habit of reading, or having read to him, the history of his country. (Compare Esther 6:1.) 2Sa 11:14-27. Uriah Slain.

14, 15. David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah … Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle—The various arts and stratagems by which the king tried to cajole Uriah, till at last he resorted to the horrid crime of murder—the cold-blooded cruelty of despatching the letter by the hands of the gallant but much-wronged soldier himself, the enlistment of Joab to be a partaker of his sin, the heartless affectation of mourning, and the indecent haste of his marriage with Bath-sheba—have left an indelible stain upon the character of David, and exhibit a painfully humiliating proof of the awful lengths to which the best of men may go when they forfeit the restraining grace of God.

Let not this thing displease thee; be not dejected or discouraged by this sad occasion.

Encourage thou him, i.e. Joab, to proceed in the siege.

Then David said to the messenger,.... Whom he dispatched again to Joab upon the delivery of his message:

thus shall thou say to Joab; in the name of David:

let not this thing displease thee; be not grieved, and cast down, and intimidated at the repulse he had met with, and the loss of so many brave men, and especially Uriah:

for the sword devours one as well as another; officers as well as soldiers the strong as well as the weak, the valiant and courageous as well as the more timorous; the events of war are various and uncertain, and to be submitted to, and not repined at, and laid to heart. David's heart being hardened by sin, made light of the death of his brave soldiers, to which he himself was accessory; his conscience was very different now from what it was when he cut off the skirt of Saul's robe, and his heart in a different frame from that in which he composed the lamentation over Saul and Jonathan:

make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it; more closely besiege it, more vigorously attack it; assault it, endeavour to take it by storm, and utterly destroy it, razing the very foundations of it: and encourage thou him; which words are either said to the messenger to encourage and animate Joab in David's name, which is not so likely that a messenger should be employed to encourage the general; or rather the words of David to Joab continued, that he would "encourage it", the army under him, who might be disheartened with the rebuff and loss they had met with; and therefore Joab is bid to spirit them up, to carry on the siege with vigour.

Then David said unto the messenger, {k} Thus shalt thou say unto Joab, Let not this thing displease thee, for the sword devoureth one as well as another: make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it: and encourage thou him.

(k) He conceals the truth from the messenger, so that neither his cruel commandment, nor Joab's wicked obedience would be discovered.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
25. the sword devoureth] Cp. the phrase “the mouth (E. V. edge) of the sword” (1 Samuel 15:8).

encourage thou him] This is certainly the right rendering. That of the LXX., and take it, which follows a slightly different text, is contrary to the usage of the verb.

Verse 25. - Let not this thing displease thee. David professes to be satisfied with Joab's apology, and bids him, if the war is in the main going on prosperously, not to be too much distressed at a temporary reverse. As for Uriah's death, of course it is to be regretted, but such is the fortune of war, and the sword devours now one and now another. The last words, encourage thou him, have provoked comment, as though the messenger was to aid and abet Joab. They simply mean "Give him a message of encouragement from me," the exact form of which is left to the messenger, but of which his report would be that the king wished Joab to take courage. 2 Samuel 11:25David received with apparent composure the intelligence which he was naturally so anxious to hear, and sent this message back to Joab: "Let not this thing depress thee, for the sword devours thus and thus. Keep on with the battle against the city, and destroy it." The construction of אל־ירע with את obj. is analogous to the combination of a passive verb with את: "Do not look upon this affair as evil" (disastrous). David then sent the messenger away, saying, "Encourage thou him" (lit. strengthen him, put courage into him), to show his entire confidence in the bravery and stedfastness of Joab and the army, and their ultimate success in the capture of Rabbah. - In 2 Samuel 11:26 the account goes back to its starting-point. When Uriah's wife heard of her husband's death, she mourned for her husband. When her mourning was over, David took her home as his wife, after which she bore him a son (the one begotten in adultery). The ordinary mourning of the Israelites lasted seven days (Genesis 50:10; 1 Samuel 31:13). Whether widows mourned any longer we do not know. In the case before us Bathsheba would hardly prolong her mourning beyond the ordinary period, and David would certainly not delay taking her as his wife, in order that she might be married to the king as long as possible before the time of childbirth. The account of these two grievous sins on the part of David is then closed with the assurance that "the thing that David had done displeased the Lord," which prepares the way for the following chapter.
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