And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, We have ten parts in the king, and we have also more right in David than you: why then did you despise us, that our advice should not be first had in bringing back our king? And the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)More right in David than ye.—The LXX. adds “and I am the firstborn rather than thou,”—an unnecessary gloss, and certainly untrue as respects Benjamin, who was probably prominent in the discussion.
That our advice should not be first had.—Better, was not our word the first for bringing back the king? (Comp. 2Samuel 19:9-10.)2 Samuel 19:43. We have ten parts in the king — Or kingdom rather, and consequently there was the greater reason why we should be consulted upon a point of so much importance. They say but ten, though strictly there were eleven; either because they counted Joseph, which comprehended both Ephraim and Manasseh under it, for one tribe; or because Simeon, whose lot lay within the tribe of Judah, was joined with Judah in this action. And we have more right in David — As in general we have more right in the king and kingdom, so particularly we have more right in David than you, because you were the beginners, and the most zealous promoters of this rebellion: and if it had been otherwise, as he is king we justly claim a greater interest in him than you, inasmuch as we are the far greatest part of his subjects. This was a natural contest between greater power and nearer relation; both claim a preference, which both cannot have; and which those of nearer relation should have yielded, both in point of prudence and affection for their friend, which the men of Judah did not. In all disputes it is natural for the party injured to be more angry; and therefore they who are in the wrong often assume that character, by supplying from passion whatever is wanting to them in point of reason and argument, as the tribe of Judah did now; for the text informs us, that the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel — That is, more vehement: instead of mollifying the Israelites with gentle words they answered them with greater fierceness: or they had the advantage of the men of Israel in their argument. As David did not think fit to interpose, the Israelites judged that he was partial, and favoured Judah, and thence arose a new rebellion. 2 Samuel 19:15; 1 Samuel 11:14, and possibly made some solemn agreement there about the kingdom. But while they were there, "all the men of Israel," representatives from the tribes not included in "half the people of Israel" 2 Samuel 19:40, came up in great wrath at finding that the restoration had been accomplished without consulting them, and accused the men of Judah of unfair dealing. We have ten parts; they say but ten, though strictly there were eleven; either because they accounted Joseph (which comprehends both Ephraim and Manasseh under it) for one tribe, as it is sometimes reckoned; or because Simeon, whose lot lay within the tribe of Judah, were joined with them in this action.
In the king, i.e. in the kingdom, and the management of the affairs of it; the word king being put for kingdom, as it is 2 Chronicles 23:20 Isaiah 23:15 Daniel 7:17 Hosea 10:15. Or, in the king’s person, and the disposal thereof.
We have also more right in David than ye; as in the general we have more right in the king and kingdom, so particularly we have more right in David, than you, because you were the first beginners and the most zealous promoters of this rebellion; and as David is nearest of kin to you, so he hath been most injured by you; howsoever, as he is king, we justly claim a greater interest in him than you, inasmuch as we are the far greatest part of his subjects.
That our advice should not be first had in bringing back our king; that we being the far greater number, should not have the first and chiefest vote in this action. But the words are by some, and may well be, rendered interrogatively, And was not my word first about bringing the king back? Did not we make the first mention of it, before you could be drawn to it? For so indeed they did, 2 Samuel 19:11; and therefore the neglect of their advice herein might seem more inexcusable.
The words of the men of Judah were fiercer; instead of mollifying them with gentle words, they answered them with greater fierceness and insolency; so that David durst not interpose himself in the matter.
we have ten parts in the king; being ten tribes, reckoning Simeon in the tribe of Judah, within which it lay, Joshua 19:1,
and we have, also more right in David than ye; being more numerous than they; or, according to the Targum, they had more affection and good will towards David than the men of Judah, though he was of their tribe, and dwelt among them; since the rebellion was begun, and was cherished and carried on among them:
why then did ye despise us, that our advice should not be first had in bringing back our king? they were as ready and as desirous as they to fetch the king back; and since they were far the largest body of men, and the far greater part of the nation, they thought they ought to have been consulted in an affair of so much importance, and that doing it without them was slighting them, and casting contempt upon them, and insinuating as if they were enemies to the king; or, as the Targum expresses it,"was not my word first to bring back my king?''the first motion was from them, as appears from 2 Samuel 19:11; and therefore the thing should not have been done without them; they should have been apprized of it, that they might at least have joined them, and shared in the honour with them of bringing the king back:
and the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel; not those that are here recorded, but what followed, and are not written, being so very warm and indecent; and David being silent in this hot dispute between them, which was interpreted taking the part of Judah, the men of Israel were incensed at it; and hence arose a new rebellion, of which more in the next chapter how it began, and was crushed.And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, We have ten parts in the king, and we have also more right in David than ye: why then did ye despise us, that our advice should not be first had in bringing back our king? And the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)43. ten parts] The northern tribes claimed a share of the king in proportion to their number. Ephraim and Manasseh are counted as one in the reckoning of Israel as ten tribes. Cp. 1 Kings 11:31; 1 Kings 11:35.
and we have also more right in David than ye] And even in David we have more right than ye: lit. I … than thou. They claim a share of the king, as king, in proportion to their number, and maintain this to be their right even in the case of David, whom the men of Judah might assert to belong specially to them as being their kinsman. But the Sept. preserves (in addition to a rendering of the present Heb. text), a different and very remarkable reading, which is perhaps the true one: and I am the firstborn rather than thou. Reuben, the natural firstborn, forfeited his birthright, and it was transferred to Joseph, the eldest son of Jacob’s second wife. In virtue of the birthright Joseph inherited a double portion (Deuteronomy 21:17) by Jacob’s adoption of his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh. See 1 Chronicles 5:1-2; Genesis 48:22; Joshua 16:4. It was most natural for Ephraim, speaking on behalf of the northern tribes, “the house of Joseph” (2 Samuel 19:20), to assert such a claim at the present crisis.
why then, &c.] Better: why then hast thou despised me? was not my word the first for bringing back my king? a reference to the movement described in 2 Samuel 19:9-10.Verse 43. - I have ten parts in the king. One tribe disappears, which certainly was not Benjamin; nor was this warlike state thus early awed into obedience to Judah. In 1 Kings 11:31, 35, again, we have ten tribes given to Jeroboam, and here, also, not only must Benjamin be counted, but be included in the tribes rent from the house of David. The tribe that had disappeared was that of Simeon, partly lost among the desert races south of the Negeb, and partly absorbed by Judah. Its position always made it unimportant, and no trace can be found of its taking any part in the political life of Israel. Some strangers from Simeon are mentioned in 2 Chronicles 15:9 as coming to the great gathering of Judah and Benjamin at Jerusalem after Asa had defeated Zerah the Ethiopian; and Josiah carried out his reformation in Simeon as well as in Manasseh, Ephraim, and Naphtali (2 Chronicles 34:6). But it never seems to have emerged from a state of semi-barbarism, and no town can be found within its territories. We must, therefore, omit Simeon, and of course the Levites, who took no part in politics, and thus we have Judah standing alone, and all the rest determined to resist any attempt on its part to establish a hegemony, and restless even at having to endure the more ancient claims of Ephraim to be the leading tribe. By the ten parts which they claim in the king, they meant that, as king, he belonged equally to all, and not to his own tribe only. In this they were expressing a sound view of the royal position. The next words, literally, are, "And also in David I am more than thou;" to which the Septuagint adds, "And I am the firstborn rather than thou." This is in accordance with 1 Chronicles 5:1, and states an important claim always made by Ephraim; whereas the Hebrew, "I in David am more than thou," is unintelligible. Except upon the score of numbers already stated, the right of each tribe in David was equal. Why then, etc.? rather, Why hast thou despised me? Was not my word the first for bringing back the king? (see ver. 9, and note on ver. 40). Were fiercer. While the Israelites debated the matter calmly, the men of Judah met their complaint with harsh and bitter rejoinders. This explains the feud which followed.
2 Samuel 19:34.), "How many days are there of the years of my life (i.e., how long shall I have yet to live), that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? I am now eighty years old; can I((still) distinguish good and evil, or will thy servant taste what I eat and drink, or listen again to the voice of the singing men and singing women? and why should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king? Thy servant would go over the Jordan with the king for a short time (i.e., could not remain long with him), and why does the king wish to repay me this favour?" ישׁב־נא: "Let thy servant return, that I may die in my city (my home), at the grave of my parents; and behold thy servant Chimham (i.e., according to the explanation given by Josephus, Barzillai's son, who had come down with his father, as we may infer from 1 Kings 2:7) may go over with my lord the king; and do to him what seemeth good to thee," i.e., show him favours at thy pleasure.
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