And there were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they went over Jordan before the king.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Before the king.—Comp. the same phrase in 2Samuel 20:8. In both cases “before” is, literally, before the face of, and is equivalent to saying “they went over Jordan to meet the king.” In their eagerness to prove their very doubtful allegiance, they dashed through the waters of the ford, and met the king on the eastern side of the Jordan.2 Samuel 20:8. The king was on the east bank, and they crossed over (by the ford) from the west bank to go to him. A thousand men of Benjamin with him; whom he brought, partly to show his power and interest in the people, whereby he was able to do David either great service or great disservice; and partly as intercessors on his behalf, and as witnesses of David’s clemency or severity, that in him they might see what the rest of them might expect.
And Ziba; who, being conscious of his former abuse of David, and of his master Mephibosheth, which he knew the king would understand, designed to sweeten David’s spirit towards him, by his great officiousness and forwardness in meeting him, and congratulating his return.
They went over Jordan before the king; they did not tarry on this side Jordan, waiting till the king came over, as the most of the men of Judah did; but went over Jordan to pay their respects and duty to the king there, to express their eager and impatient desire to see the king.
and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul; who had imposed upon David, and got his master's inheritance from him, knowing that David would be undeceived by Mephibosheth his master, when he came to Jerusalem; and therefore that he might be more tenderly dealt with, and come off the better, he was thus forward to meet the king, and pay his respects to him:
and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him: which made a considerable appearance; see 2 Samuel 9:10,And there were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they went over Jordan before the king.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)17. And there were a thousand men of Benjamin with him] Omit there were, and join this clause to 2 Samuel 19:16.
they went over Jordan before the king] Ziba and his retinue dashed into the river and crossed it—the word for went over is a peculiar one, expressing impetuous movement—to shew their zeal by meeting the king on the eastern bank.Verse 17. - They went over Jordan before the king. This might mean that, in bringing the king across, Shimei and the Benjamites led the way. But, first, the verb, which is a rare one, means that they dashed through the river impetuously; and secondly, before the king, means "in the king's presence." While the tribe of Judah remained on the left bank to receive the king on his landing, Shimei and Ziba sought favour by a show of excessive zeal, and forded the Jordan, so as to be the first to welcome him (see ver. 20). 2 Samuel 19:11, "the speech of all Israel is come to the king, even to his house," is a circumstantial clause inserted in the midst of David's words, to explain the appeal to the men of Judah not to be the last. In the lxx, and some Codices of the Vulgate, this sentence occurs twice, viz., at the end of 2 Samuel 19:10, and also of 2 Samuel 19:11; and Thenius, Ewald, and Bttcher regard the clause at the end of 2 Samuel 19:10 as the original one, and the repetition of it at the close of 2 Samuel 19:11 as a gloss. But this is certainly a mistake: for if the clause, "and the speech of all Israel came to the king to his house (at Mahanaim)," ought to stand at the close of 2 Samuel 19:10, and assigns the reason for David's sending to Zadok and Abiathar, 2 Samuel 19:11 would certainly, or rather necessarily, commence with המּלך ויּשׁלח: "The word of all Israel came to the king, and then king David sent," etc. But instead of this, it commences with שׁלח דּיד והמּלך, "But king David sent." This construction of the sentence decidedly favour the correctness of the Hebrew text; whereas the text of the Septuagint, apart altogether from the tautological repetition of the whole of the sentence in question, shows obviously enough that it is nothing more than a conjecture, by which the attempt was made to remove the difficulty occasioned by the striking position in which the circumstantial clause occurred.
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