2 Samuel 15:27
The king said also unto Zadok the priest, Art not thou a seer? return into the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz thy son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.
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(27) Art not thou a seer?—The Hebrew is difficult, and must be translated either. Art thou a seer? or, with a very slight change in a vowel, as an address, Thou seer. Zadok is so called because he was now in some sort to fulfil the office of a prophet in guiding David’s course, and also in making known to him the events taking place in Jerusalem which would show God’s will concerning him. Nothing is said in any part of this narrative of Nathan and Gad, both of whom were certainly still living (2Samuel 24:11; 2Samuel 24:13-14; 1Kings 1:11).

Your two sons with you.—Zadok only has been mentioned, and probably Abiathar was not present at the moment, but David shows by this way of speaking that he means to address them both.

2 Samuel 15:27. Art thou not a seer? Return into the city in peace — “It should seem from hence,” says Delaney, “that Zadok was a prophet: however, as a priest, he was a teacher; and as such, bound to stay with his people in the greatest exigencies, and instruct them in their duty: besides that, by staying to do his duty to his people, he might also do good offices to his prince.” Indeed, the word ראה, roeh, here rendered seer, means also a seeing, discerning and observing man: an interpretation which suits well with the present state of David’s mind and affairs. As if he had said, Thou art a wise man, fit to make observations on what is passing in Jerusalem, and to give me information thereof. Accordingly David concerted a plan, both with Zadok and Abiathar, of corresponding with him, and sending him intelligence of all his enemies’ measures by their sons, Ahimaaz and Jonathan.

15:24-30 David is very careful for the safety of the ark. It is right to be more concerned for the church's prosperity than our own; to prefer the success of the gospel above our own wealth, credit, ease, and safety. Observe with what satisfaction and submission David speaks of the Divine disposal. It is our interest, as well as our duty, cheerfully to acquiesce in the will of God, whatever befalls us. Let us see God's hand in all events; and that we may not be afraid of what shall be, let us see all events in God's hand. David's sin was ever before him, Ps 51:3; but never so plain, nor ever appearing so black as now. He never wept thus when Saul hunted him, but a wounded conscience makes troubles lie heavy, Ps 38:4.Art not those a seer? - If the text be correct, the sense would be, "Art thou not a seer? therefore go back to the city, and observe, and certify me of what thou seest" 2 Samuel 15:28. Others, by a slight alteration of the original text, read "Art not thou a chief" (priest), etc. 24, 25. Zadok also, and all the Levites …, bearing the ark—Knowing the strong religious feelings of the aged king, they brought it to accompany him in his distress. But as he could not doubt that both the ark and their sacred office would exempt them from the attacks of the rebels, he sent them back with it—not only that they might not be exposed to the perils of uncertain wandering, for he seems to place more confidence in the symbol of the divine presence than in God Himself—but that, by remaining in Jerusalem, they might render him greater service by watching the enemy's movements. The king said also unto Zadok; either because Abiathar was gone from him, 2 Samuel 15:24, and not yet returned; or because David put more confidence in Zadok.

A seer, i.e. either,

1. A prophet, for such were called seers, 1 Samuel 9:9 2 Samuel 24:11 Amos 7:12. And such he may be called, either because he really had the gift of prophecy or because as the name of prophets is sometimes given to those who had not prophetical gifts, but were only officers and minsters devoted to and employed in God’s worship and service, as 1 Samuel 10:5, &c.; 1 Kings 18:4,13; compare 1 Chronicles 25:1-3; so it is reasonable that the name of seers be extended to the same latitude; and therefore he may properly and fitly be called a

seer, as he was with and under Abiathar the chief governor of the house and worship of God; who, by his office, was to instruct and direct the people in those matters, whereby he had many opportunities both of sifting out Absalom’s counsels, and of minding the people of their duty to David, as he saw opportunity: which sense suits well with David’s scope and design. Or,

2. A seeing, or discerning, or observing man; for so the Hebrew verb raah is oft used. And this suits well with David’s mind: Thou art a wise man, and therefore fit to manage this great business, which requires prudence and secrecy.

In peace; as men of peace, giving over all thoughts of war, and devoting yourselves entirely to God’s service.

And the king said unto Zadok the priest, art not thou a seer?.... A prophet, as well as a priest; see 1 Samuel 9:9; or a seeing, knowing, man; one that can penetrate into men and things, and so might be of more service to David at Jerusalem than with him: wherefore he said to him:

return into the city in peace; to the city of Jerusalem with peace, quietness, and satisfaction of mind; where he doubted not, at least hoped and wished, he would be in safety and prosperity, being one of the Lord's priests:

and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz thy son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar; the one was of the line of Eleazar, and the other of the line of Ithamar.

The king said also unto Zadok the priest, Art not thou a seer? return into the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz thy son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.
27. Art not thou a seer] An obscure expression variously explained. (1) Art thou a seer? The high-priest is supposed to be called a seer, because he received divine revelations by means of the Urim and Thummim; but there is no trace of such a use of the term elsewhere. (2) Dost thou see? i.e. understand: an untenable rendering. (3) The Vulg. gives different vowels to the consonants, and renders, O seer, return, &c. (4) The Sept. reads, See! thou shalt return, which requires but a small change in the Heb. text, and is probably the best solution of the difficulty.

Verse 27. - Art thou (not) a seer? Both the Authorized Version and the Revised Version evade the difficulty of this passage by inserting the word "not." It is one of the merits of the Revised Version that usually it does not take these liberties. But "Art thou a seer?" is meaningless; and the attempts, moreover, to show that Zadok was a seer fail entirely in proof. The receiving revelations by Urim and Thummim was a priestly, and not a prophetic, function. Without altering the text, the words may be correctly translated, "Seest thou?" This was probably a colloquial phrase, of which the Septuagint gives the sense by rendering it in the imperative, "See;" while the Syriac, regarding it as an expletive, boldly omits it. 2 Samuel 15:27He also said still further to Zadok, "Thou seer! return into the city in peace." אתּה הרואה, with ה interrog., does not yield any appropriate sense, as ה cannot stand for הלוא here, simply because it does not relate to a thing which the person addressed could not deny. Consequently the word must be pointed thus, הראה (with the article), and rendered as a vocative, as it has been by Jerome and Luther. ראה, seer, is equivalent to prophet. He applies this epithet to Zadok, as the high priest who received divine revelations by means of the Urim. The meaning is, Thou Zadok art equal to a prophet; therefore thy proper place is in Jerusalem (O. v. Gerlach). Zadok was to stand as it were upon the watch there with Abiathar, and the sons of both to observe the events that occurred, and send him word through their sons into the plain of the Jordan. "Behold, I will tarry by the ferries of the desert, till a word comes from you to show me," sc., what has taken place, or how the things shape themselves in Jerusalem. Instead of בּעברות, the earlier translators as well as the Masoretes adopted the reading בּערבות, "in the steppes of the desert." The allusion in this case would be to the steppes of Jericho (2 Kings 25:5). But Bttcher has very properly defended the Chethib on the strength of 2 Samuel 17:16, where the Keri has ערבות again, though עברות is the true reading (cf. 2 Samuel 19:19). The "ferries of the desert" are the places where the Jordan could be crossed, the fords of the Jordan (Joshua 2:7; Judges 3:28).
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