2 Samuel 20:1
And there happened to be there a man of Belial, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite: and he blew a trumpet, and said, We have no part in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to his tents, O Israel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1) Sheba, the son of Bichri.—The English follows the ancient versions in taking Bichri as a proper name. Most recent commentators consider it as a patronymic, the Bichrite, i.e., of the family of Becher, the second son of Benjamin. He was, to this extent at least, of the same clan with Saul. He was there, at Gilgal, with the representatives of the ten tribes, and took advantage of the dispute just mentioned to renew the rebellion of Absalom.

Every man to his tents.—Comp. the cry of Jeroboam as he inaugurated his rebellion (1Kings 12:16). It was the signal of revolt.

2 Samuel 20:1. There happened to be there, &c. — His presence was casual in itself, though ordered by God’s providence. A man of Belial — A wicked and lawless person, one who attempted to shake off the yoke of civil authority. A Benjamite — And therefore grieved at the translation of the kingdom from Saul and that tribe, to David and the tribe of Judah. We have no part in David — The tribe of Judah have monopolized the king to themselves, and will not allow us any share in him; let them therefore enjoy him alone, and let us seek out a new king. The son of Jesse — An expression of contempt, implying that he was no more to be owned as their king, but as a private person, as the son of Jesse. To his tents — Let us all desist from that unthankful office, of bringing the king back, and go each to our homes, that we may consider, and then meet together to choose a new king.20:1-3 One trial arises after another for our good, till we reach the place where sin and sorrow are for ever done away. Angry disputers misunderstand or misconstrue one another's words; proud men will have every thing their own way, or wholly refuse their assistance. The favour of the many is not to be depended upon; and what have others to expect, when Hosanna to the Son of David was soon changed to Crucify him, crucify him?The son of Bichri ... - Rather, "a Bichrite," formed like the names "Ahohite," "Hachmonite," etc. 2 Samuel 23:8-9, and so called from Becher, the son of Benjamin Genesis 46:21; 1 Chronicles 7:6-8 Saul was also of this family. It is evident that the transfer of the royalty from their tribe to that of Judah still rankled in the hearts of many Benjamites (2 Samuel 16:8 note). CHAPTER 20

2Sa 20:1-9. Sheba Makes a Party in Israel.

1. Sheba … a Benjamite—Though nothing is known of this man, he must have been a person of considerable power and influence, before he could have raised so sudden and extensive a sedition. He belonged to the tribe of Benjamin, where the adherents of Saul's dynasty were still numerous; and perceiving the strong disgust of the other tribes with the part assumed by Judah in the restoration, his ill-designing heart resolved to turn it to the overthrow of David's authority in Israel.

every man to his tents—This proverbial expression may have had its foundation in the fact, that many of the Israelite peasantry adhered to the custom of the patriarchs who tilled land, and yet lived in tents, as Syrian peasants often do still. This was the usual watchword of national insurrection, and from the actual temper of the people, it was followed by effects beyond what he probably anticipated.By occasion of this quarrel Sheba stirreth up Israel to sedition, 2 Samuel 20:1,2. David’s ten concubines are shut up in perpetual prison, 2 Samuel 20:3. Amasa is slain by Joab, 2 Samuel 20:4-10. He and Abishai pursue Sheba unto Abel, 2 Samuel 20:11-15. The citizens, by the advice of a wise woman, cut off his head, and cast it over the wall to Joab, 2 Samuel 20:16-22. David’s officers, 2 Samuel 20:23-26.

There happened to be there; his presence was casual in itself, though certain, and ordered by God’s providence.

Man of Belial; a lawless person, one that attempted to shake off the yoke of civil authority. See Deu 13:13.

Benjamite; aggrieved at the translation of the kingdom from Saul and that tribe to David.

We have no part in David: the tribe of Judah have monopolized the king to themselves, and will not allow us any share in him; let them therefore enjoy him alone, and let us seek out a new king.

The son of Jesse; an expression of contempt, implying their rejection of him, that he was no more to be owned as their king, but as a private person, as the son of Jesse.

Every man to his tents; let us all desist from this unthankful office of bringing the king back, and go each to our homes, that we may consider, and then meet together to choose a new king.

And there happened to be a man of Belial,.... A wicked man, as the Targum, a lawless, yokeless man, that had cast off the yoke of the law, and was without it, as Belial is by some interpreted; or one unprofitable and useless, yea, noxious and pernicious: this man, though, with respect to second causes, may be said to be there by chance, yet it was so ordered by the providence of God that he should be present at this time for the further fulfilment of the threatening to David, that the sword should not depart from his house:

whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite; one perhaps that had been in the rebellion of Absalom, and had a grudge against David for the removal of the kingdom out of that tribe:

and he blew a trumpet; which was done to draw off the Israelites from David, and gather a party to himself:

and said, we have no part in David; so he interpreted what the men of Judah said, because they claimed kindred to David, the rest of the Israelites had no interest in him; thus they, who just before said they had ten parts in him, now had none at all:

neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse; so he calls David by way of contempt, as if he was no king, but a private person, and a descendant from a mean family:

every man to his tent, O Israel; there to consider what to do, and whom to choose to be their king, and let Judah take David for their king, and enjoy him alone, since they had so slighted, and dealt so injuriously and roughly with the rest of the tribes.

And there happened to be {a} there a man of Belial, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite: and he blew a trumpet, and said, We have no part in {b} David, neither have we inheritance in the son {c} of Jesse: every man to his tents, O Israel.

(a) Where the ten tribes contended against Judah.

(b) As they of Judah say.

(c) He thought by speaking contemptuously of the king, to stir the people farther to sedition, or else by causing Israel to depart, thought that they of Judah would have esteemed him less.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ch. 20. Sheba’s Rebellion

1, 2. Fresh outbreak of rebellion, headed by Sheba

1. there] At Gilgal. The dispute offered an immediate opening to a bold and ambitious leader, who hoped to restore the sovereignty to the tribe of Benjamin.

a man of Belial] A worthless or wicked man. Cp. 1 Samuel 10:27, and note on 1 Samuel 1:16.

the son of Bichri] Rather, a Bichrite, or member of the clan tracing its descent from Becher the second son of Benjamin (Genesis 46:21).

part] Better, portion, a different word from that in ch. 2 Samuel 19:43, and the same as that in 1 Kings 12:16.

the son of Jesse] There is a touch of contempt in this name for David. Cp. 1 Samuel 20:27; 1 Samuel 20:30-31; 1 Samuel 22:7-9; 1 Samuel 22:13; 1 Samuel 25:10.

every man to his tents] Nominally a call to disperse and return to their homes (1 Samuel 13:2; 2 Samuel 18:17); really an invitation to join him in rebellion. The same words served as the signal for the revolt from Rehoboam (1 Kings 12:16).Verse 1. - There happened to be there a man of Belial. The fierce words of the men of Judah led to evil results. It was a time when all wise and thoughtful persons would have laboured for peace, and tried to soothe and appease the angry passions fomented by the late war. Instead of this, the men of Judah irritated the Israelites with insult and contumely, and the day, intended as one of rejoicing and of the restoration of David to his throne by common consent, saw the rebellion break forth afresh. Among those who had taken part in the discussion with Judah was Sheba, a man of Belial, that is, a worthless fellow, but possibly possessed of rank and influence; for, according to many commentators, ben-Bichri does not mean the son of Bichri, but "a descendant of Becher," the second son of Benjamin (Genesis 46:21), and possibly the representative of the mishpachah descended from him. But it is remarkable that this son of Benjamin disappears from the genealogies, and that no mishpachah of Bichrites is mentioned either in Numbers 26:38 or in 1 Chronicles 8:1. In both places Ashbel, who is enumerated as the third son in Genesis 46:21, takes the second place. We must be content, therefore, to leave this matter in uncertainty; but evidently Sheba had come with Shimei and Ziba to welcome David back, and, with the rest of the thousand Benjamites, had rushed with loud cries of welcome across the Jordan, and, but for this altercation, would have remained faithful. But tribal jealousies were always ready to break forth, and were a permanent source of weakness; and now, stung by some jibe at Benjamin, Sheba gave orders to a trumpeter to give the signal for the breaking up of the meeting, and, as is commonly the case in large and excited gatherings, the crowd obeyed the unauthorized dictation of one man. His words are contemptuous enough. David is no king, but a private person, and the son, not of a great chief, but of Jesse merely, a yeoman of Bethlehem. Every man to his tents. "To his tent" meant "to his home" (see 2 Samuel 18:17). But this withdrawal home signified the rejection of David's government. Almost the same words are used in 1 Kings 12:16. David consented to this, and said, "All that thou desirest of me I will do to him." בּחר with על is a pregnant construction, signifying to choose and impose, "choose upon me," i.e., the thing for me to grant thee.
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