2 Samuel 15:28
See, I will tarry in the plain of the wilderness, until there come word from you to certify me.
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(28) The plain of the wilderness.—This is the reading of the Hebrew margin here and at 2Samuel 17:16, and is followed by the ancient versions. It is used for the wide valley of the Jordan in which Jericho is situated; but in both places the Hebrew text is better, the fords, both as a more definite place where messengers would find David, and also as a place of strategic importance where a retreat across the Jordan was open at any moment.

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. No text from Poole on this verse.

See, I will tarry in the plain of the wilderness,.... Towards the way of which David and the people went when they came over Kidron, 2 Samuel 15:23,

until there come word from you to certify me; of the truth of the conspiracy, of the number of the conspirators, and who they are, what progress they have made, whether come to Jerusalem, and how they behave there, if come; or of anything relative hereunto he could get intelligence of.

See, I will tarry in the plain of the wilderness, until there come word from you to certify me.
28. in the plain of the wilderness] The level district of the Jordan valley near Jericho, called elsewhere “the plains of Jericho.” Cp. Joshua 5:10; 2 Kings 25:5; and note on ch. 2 Samuel 2:29. Instead however of plains which is the traditional reading (Qrî), the written text (Kthîbh) has fords. This certainly seems the more probable reading both here and in ch. 2 Samuel 17:16, where there is the same variation, for a definite place must have been named at which the messenger was to find David, and the ford, as a critical point, would be a most natural halting place.

to certify me] To tell me how matters are going in the city.

Verse 28. - In the plain of the wilderness. The Revised Version has "at the fords of the wilderness," that is, it rightly keeps to the written Hebrew text (the K'tib), while the Authorized Version adopts a conjecture of the Massorites (the K'ri). This conjecture is the substitution of arboth for abroth, and they have made the same alteration at 2 Samuel 17:16. But the substitution is uncalled for and mischievous; for David would not halt indefinitely in the plain, the Arabah (of which Arboth is the plural), but would press on to the fords, where some delay must take place, and where the king's presence would be important in giving instructions for what was by no means an easy operation (comp. 2 Samuel 19:18). At the river, moreover, David could be assailed only in front, where his "mighties" would make a strong defence, while in the Arabah they might be surrounded; and, encumbered as they were with women, their line must be so extended as to be weakened. We find, too, in Judges 3:28 that the fords of the Jordan formed a good military position. In 2 Samuel 17:22 it is expressly said that the fording of the river did not take place until Jonathan and Ahimaaz came with their reports; and their words there, in ver, 21, show that David was on the bank when they arrived, with his preparations so complete, that, in the next few hours, all his company were safely carried over to the other side. Ahimaaz was a famous runner (see 2 Samuel 18:27), and, if David was ready, the time gained by him upon any body of troops leaving Jerusalem at the same hour, would have enabled the king to get his people across; but if he had still some miles to march, with a number of women and children, Ahimaaz's fleetness would have been rendered useless. 2 Samuel 15:28He 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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