2 Samuel 18:5
And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
2 Samuel 18:5. Deal gently for my sake, &c. — If you conquer, (which he expected they would, from God’s gracious answer to his prayer, in turning Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness,) take him prisoner, but do not kill him. Which desire proceeded from his great indulgence toward his children; from his consciousness that he himself was the meritorious cause of this rebellion, Absalom being given up to it for the punishment of David’s sins; from the consideration of Absalom’s youth, which commonly makes men foolish, and subject to ill counsels; and from David’s own piety, being loath that his son should be cut off in the act of his sin without any space for repentance. But “what means,” says Bishop Hall, “this ill-placed mercy? Deal gently with a traitor? Of all traitors, with a son? And all this for my sake, whose crown, whose blood he hunts after? Even in the holiest parents, nature may be guilty of an injurious tenderness. But was not this done in type of that unmeasurable mercy of the true King of Israel, who prayed for his murderers, Father, forgive them! Deal gently with them for my sake!” Yea, when God sends an affliction to correct his children, it is with this charge, Deal gently with them for my sake: for he knows our frame.18:1-8 How does David render good for evil! Absalom would have only David smitten; David would have only Absalom spared. This seems to be a resemblance of man's wickedness towards God, and God's mercy to man, of which it is hard to say which is most amazing. Now the Israelites see what it is to take counsel against the Lord and his anointed.Succour us out of the city - David, with a reserve, would hold the city, and either support the bands in case of need, or receive them within the walls should they be compelled to flee. 2Sa 18:5-13. Gives Them Charge of Absalom.

5. Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom—This affecting charge, which the king gave to his generals, proceeded not only from his overwhelming affection for his children, but from his consciousness that this rebellion was the chastisement of his own crimes, Absalom being merely an instrument in the hand of retributive Providence;—and also from his piety, lest the unhappy prince should die with his sins unrepented of.

Deal gently with Absalom; if you conquer, (which he presaged they would by God’s gracious answer to his prayer for the turning of Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness,) take him prisoner, but do not kill him. Which desire proceeded, partly, from his great indulgence towards his children; partly, from David’s consciousness that he himself was the meritorious and procuring cause of this rebellion, Absalom being given up to it for the punishment of David’s sins, and therefore did indeed deserve some pity from him; partly, from the consideration of his youth, which commonly makes men foolish, and heady, and violent, and subject to ill counsels; and partly, from his piety, being loth that he should be cut off in the act of his sin without any space or means for repentance, whereby both his soul and body would be in danger to perish for ever. All the people, to wit, the citizens and others who stood with the king in the gate when the army marched forth. And the king commanded Joab, and Abishai, and Ittai,.... His three generals, to whom he had committed his army divided into three parts:

saying, deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom; he does not call him his son, being in rebellion against him, but the young man, who was young, and rash, and foolish, and so to be pitied; his request is, that they would spare him, and not take away his life, when in their power; that they would not aim at him, and push him hard, and fall upon him with wrath and fury; but if he fell into their hands, to take him alive, and bring him away, and not put him to death. This flowed from a natural affection to him, and a concern for the welfare of his soul, that he might not die in this sin; and also from a consciousness that it was for his own sins that he was raised up to rebel against him; and he seems to speak as if he was certain that the battle would go for him, and against Absalom; and which he might conclude from the answer of prayer he had in defeating the counsel of Ahithophel:

and all the people heard when he gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom; not only the three generals, but all the captains of hundreds and thousands, and this was heard by the common soldiers as well as by the people of the city that were spectators on this occasion, see 2 Samuel 18:12.

And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. all the people heard] Cp. “in our hearing” in 2 Samuel 18:12.Verse 5. - All the people heard. The king spake so earnestly and strongly to the generals that the words ran from rank to rank as they marched forward. So in ver. 12 the man says to Joab, "In our hearing the king charged thee and Abishai," etc. It does not follow that each one heard the sound of the king's voice, but only that the command was given publicly again and again, and in the presence of the army. When David came to Mahanaim, some of the wealthier citizens of the land to the east of the Jordan supplied the men who were with him with provisions. This is mentioned as the first sign that the people had not all fallen away from David, but that some of the more distinguished men were still firm in their adherence. Shobi, the son of Nahash or Rabbah, the capital of the Ammonites (see 2 Samuel 11:1), was possibly a son of Nahash the deceased king of the Ammonites, and brother of Hanun, who was defeated by David (2 Samuel 10:1-2), and one of those to whom David had shown favour and kindness when Rabbah was taken. At the same time, it is also quite possible that Shobi may have been an Israelite, who was merely living in the capital of the Ammonites, which had been incorporated into the kingdom of David, as it is evident from 2 Samuel 17:25 that Nahash was not an uncommon name among the Israelites. Machir the son of Ammiel of Lodebar (see at 2 Samuel 9:4), and Barsillai of Roglim the Gileadite. Roglim was a town in Gilead, which is only mentioned once again, viz., in 2 Samuel 19:32, and of which nothing further is known. They brought "bedding, basins, earthenware, and wheat, barley, meal, and parched grains, beans, lentils and parched." The position of the verb, which is not placed between the subject and the object of the sentence, but only at the close of the whole series of objects, is certainly unusual; but this does not warrant any alteration of the text. For if we were to supply a verb before משׁכּב, as having fallen out of the text, it would be necessary, since הגּישׁוּ follows without a copula, to divide the things enumerated into two classes, so as to connect one portion of the objects with הגּישׁוּ, which is obviously unnatural. The early translators who interpolate a verb before the objects have therefore also supplied the copula w before הגּישׁוּ. There is still less ground for supplying the number 10, as having dropped out before משׁכּב and ספּות, as the lxx have done, since none of the translators of the other ancient versions had any such reading. משׁכּב, couch or bed, is used here for bedding. ספּות, basins, probably field-kettles. The repetition of וקלי is very striking; nevertheless the second must not be struck out without further ground as a supposed copyist's error. As they not only ate parched ears or grains of wheat (see at Leviticus 2:14), but were also in the habit of drying pulse, pease, and lentils before eating them (vid., Harmar, Beobachtungen, i. pp. 255-6), the second קלי may be understood as referring to parched pulse. The ἁπ. λεγ. בּקר שׁפות signifies, according to the Chaldee and the Rabbins, cheese of oxen (i.e., of cows), and according to the conjecture of Roediger (Ges. Thes. p. 1462), a peculiar kind of cheese, such as the Aeneze in the province of Nedjid still make,

(Note: According to Burckhardt's account (Die Beduinen, p. 48), "after they have taken the butter from the butter-milk, they beat the latter again till it coagulates, and then dry it till it is quite hard. It is then rubbed to pieces, and in the spring every family stores up two or three lasts of it, which they eat mixed with butter.")

and for which the term σαφὼθ βοῶν retained by the lxx was probably the technical name. Theodotus, on the other hand, has γαλαθηνὰ μοσχάρια, milch-calves; and the Vulgate pingues vitulos, - both of them renderings which can certainly be sustained from the Arabic usage of speech, and would be more in accordance with the situation of the words, viz., after צאן. אמרוּ כּי, "for they said (or thought) the people have become hungry and faint and thirty in the desert," i.e., in their flight to Mahanaim.

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