Then there arose and went over by number twelve of Benjamin, which pertained to Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)2 Samuel 2:15-17. There went over twelve of Benjamin — Ish-bosheth’s men were still most forward to begin hostilities. They caught, &c. — That is, each of the servants of David last mentioned, or every one of both sides caught the man that was his opposite; by the head — That is, by the hair of the head, which they wore very long in those days. And thrust his sword into his fellow’s side — Killed his opponent. So they fell down together — Either all the twelve men of Benjamin, slain by the servants of David, or else the whole four and twenty fell down dead together. That place was called Hel-kath-hazzurim — Or, The field of rocks, that is, of men who stood like rocks, immoveable, each one dying on the spot where he fought. There was a sore battle that day — The men of Israel, it seems, enraged at the loss of their valiant men, began a general battle.Judges 16:25; 1 Samuel 18:7). Here, the word is applied to the serious game of war, to be played by twelve combatants on each side, with the two armies for spectators.
which pertained to Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, passed over the pool of Gibeon unto Joab's men; so forward were they to engage in this duel, and it makes it still more appear that they were the aggressors:Then there arose and went over by number twelve of Benjamin, which pertained to Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15. there arose and went over by number] A fixed number from either side met on neutral ground between the two armies.
of Benjamin] Saul’s own tribe provided the champions for his cause. Cp. 2 Samuel 2:25.1 Samuel 14:50), had taken Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and led him over to Mahanaim." Ishbosheth had probably been in the battle at Gilboa, and fled with Abner across the Jordan after the battle had been lost. Ishbosheth (i.e., man of shame) was the fourth son of Saul (according to 1 Chronicles 8:33; 1 Chronicles 9:39): his proper name was Esh-baal (i.e., fire of Baal, probably equivalent to destroyer of Baal). This name was afterwards changed into Ishbosheth, just as the name of the god Baal was also translated into Bosheth ("shame," Hosea 9:10; Jeremiah 3:24, etc.), and Jerubbaal changed into Jerubbosheth (see at Judges 8:35). Ewald's supposition, that bosheth was originally employed in a good sense as well, like αἰδως and פּחד (Genesis 31:53), cannot be sustained. Mahanaim was on the eastern side of the Jordan, not far from the ford of Jabbok, and was an important place for the execution of Abner's plans, partly from its historical associations (Genesis 32:2-3), and partly also from its situation. There he made Ishbosheth king "for Gilead," i.e., the whole of the land to the east of the Jordan (as in Numbers 32:29; Joshua 22:9, etc.). "For the Ashurites:" this reading is decidedly faulty, since we can no more suppose it to refer to Assyria (Asshur) than to the Arabian tribe of the Assurim (Genesis 25:3); but the true name cannot be discovered.
(Note: In the Septuagint we find Θασιρὶ or Θασούρ, an equally mistaken form. The Chaldee has "over the tribe of Asher," which is also unsuitable, unless we include the whole of the northern portion of Canaan, including the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali. But there is no proof that the name Asher was ever extended to the territory of the three northern tribes. We should be rather disposed to agree with Bachienne, who supposes it to refer to the city of Asher (Joshua 17:7) and its territory, as this city was in the south-east of Jezreel, and Abner may possibly have conquered this district for Ishbosheth with Gilead as a base, before he ventured to dispute the government of Israel with the Philistines, if only we could discover any reason why the inhabitants ("the Ashurites") should be mentioned instead of the city Asher, or if it were at all likely that one city should be introduced in the midst of a number of large districts. The Syriac and Vulgate have Geshuri, and therefore seem to have read or conjectured הגּשׁוּרי; and Thenius decides in favour of this, understanding the name Geshur to refer to the most northerly portion of the land on both sides of the Jordan, from Mount Hermon to the Lake of Gennesareth (as in Deuteronomy 3:14; Joshua 12:5; Joshua 13:13; 1 Chronicles 2:23). But no such usage of speech can be deduced from any of these passages, as Geshuri is used there to denote the land of the Geshurites, on the north-east of Bashan, which had a king of its own in the time of David (see at 2 Samuel 3:3), and which Abner would certainly never have thought of conquering.)
"And for Jezreel," i.e., not merely the city of that name, but the plain that was named after it (as in 1 Samuel 29:1). "And for Ephraim, and Benjamin, and all (the rest of) Israel," of course not including Judah, where David had already been acknowledged as king.
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