And they took up Asahel, and buried him in the sepulcher of his father, which was in Bethlehem. And Joab and his men went all night, and they came to Hebron at break of day.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)They took up Asahel.—The bodies of the ordinary soldiers were probably buried on the spot, but on account of Asahel’s position and near relationship to David, his body was carried to Bethlehem, for burial “in the sepulchre of his father.” It thus appears that Zeruiah’s husband (of whom there is no other mention) was also of Bethlehem. The burial must have taken place on the next day (see Note on 2Samuel 2:30), and, with the previous march of ten miles, would have filled up that day. It was, therefore, twenty-four hours after the close of the battle before they were ready to start from Bethlehem. The night may have been chosen for the march to avoid the heat; and the distance from Bethlehem to Hebron was about thirteen miles.2 Samuel 2:32. They took up Asahel, and buried him in the sepulchre of his father — The rest they buried in the field of battle. Thus are distinctions made on earth, even between the dust of some and of others! But in the resurrection no difference will be made, except between good and bad, which will remain for ever. Joab and his men went all night — Having carried Asahel to Beth-lehem and buried him there, they marched all the next night toward Hebron, Joab hastening home to give an account of his conduct to David.
19-32. Asahel pursued after Abner—To gain the general's armor was deemed the grandest trophy. Asahel, ambitious of securing Abner's, had outstripped all other pursuers, and was fast gaining on the retreating commander. Abner, conscious of possessing more physical power, and unwilling that there should be "blood" between himself and Joab, Asahel's brother, twice urged him to desist. The impetuous young soldier being deaf to the generous remonstrance, the veteran raised the pointed butt of his lance, as the modern Arabs do when pursued, and, with a sudden back thrust, transfixed him on the spot, so that he fell, and lay weltering in his blood. But Joab and Abishai continued the pursuit by another route till sunset. On reaching a rising ground, and receiving a fresh reinforcement of some Benjamites, Abner rallied his scattered troops and earnestly appealed to Joab's better feelings to stop the further effusion of blood, which, if continued, would lead to more serious consequences—a destructive civil war. Joab, while upbraiding his opponent as the sole cause of the fray, felt the force of the appeal and led off his men; while Abner probably dreading a renewal of the attack when Joab should learn his brother's fate, and vow fierce revenge, endeavored, by a forced march, to cross the Jordan that night. On David's side the loss was only nineteen men, besides Asahel. But of Ish-bosheth's party there fell three hundred and sixty. This skirmish is exactly similar to the battles of the Homeric warriors, among whom, in the flight of one, the pursuit by another, and the dialogue held between them, there is vividly represented the style of ancient warfare.
and buried him in the sepulchre of his father, which was in Bethlehem: not in the city of Bethlehem, but without it, on the south side of it; so says Fuller (x),"southward, i.e. of Bethlehem, we find Asahel's sepulchre, who was buried in the grave of his father.''What was his father's name is not known, only his mother's name, Zeruiah, is mentioned in Scripture, a sister of David, and daughter of Jesse the Bethlehemite. Bethlehem was sixteen miles from Gibeon, according to Bunting (y).
And Joab and his men went all night; not the night following the battle, but the night following the next day, after he had been to Bethlehem, and buried his brother there; wherefore, lest David should think it long before he came, he travelled all night:
and they came to Hebron at break of day; where David was, which, according to the same writer (z), was twenty miles from Bethlehem.And they took up Asahel, and buried him in the sepulchre of his father, which was in Bethlehem. And Joab and his men went all night, and they came to Hebron at break of day.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)32. in the sepulchre of his father … in Beth-lehem] The only reference to Zeruiah’s husband, who appears from this notice to have been a Bethlehemite. Josephus calls him Suri (Σουρί).
went all night] Clearly the night after Asahel’s burial, not the night after the battle. The fighting was not over till after sunset (2 Samuel 2:24), and it would have been impossible to collect the army, make necessary arrangements, and march a distance of at least 26 miles from Gibeon to Hebron, burying Asahel on the way. Joab no doubt spent the night at Gibeon, marched to Bethlehem the next day, and after burying his brother, hastened on to report himself to David at Hebron.Verse 32. - The sepulchre of his father, which was in Bethlehem. The Name of Zeruiah's husband is never mentioned, but he was evidently of the same town as his wife, and at his death, when probably still young, he had received honourable sepulture. As Bethlehem is about eleven miles distant from Gideon, Joab probably marched thither straight from the battlefield, and spent the next day in paying the last tribute of respect to his brother, and in refreshing his men. At nightfall he resumed his march to Hebron, which was fifteen miles further to the south, and where he would arrive on the morning following that on which Abner reached Mahanaim.
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