2 Samuel 20:11
And one of Joab's men stood by him, and said, He that favors Joab, and he that is for David, let him go after Joab.
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(11) One of Joab’s man.—Com. 2Samuel 20:7. Time was too precious for Joab himself to wait. He must put down the rebellion of Sheba by rapid action, and thereby render himself impregnable in the high office which had been his, and which he had now again usurped. He left one of his trusty men, however, by the body of Amasa, with a battle cry which should suggest that he had rightly been put to death for his doubtful loyalty, and that all who were attached to Joab and loyal to David should follow Joab. Joab’s real motive for murdering Amasa, as for murdering Abner (2Samuel 3:27), was personal jealousy and ambition.

2 Samuel 20:11-13. One of Joab’s men stood by him — By the command of his master, who knew that this would occasion disorder among Amasa’s soldiers, and therefore left a man there on purpose to deliver the following message: He that favoureth Joab — He that would have Joab to be general, rather than such a perfidious rebel as Amasa. And he that is for David — He that wisheth David good success against Sheba, and against all rebels. He cunningly joins David and Joab together, as if their interests were inseparable. When the man saw that all the people stood still — Wondering at the spectacle, and inquiring into the occasion of it. He removed Amasa out of the highway — Perceiving that it both incensed them against Joab, and hindered the king’s service. And cast a cloth upon him — But the covering of blood with a cloth cannot stop its cry to God for vengeance. All the people went on after Joab — They that were behind did not know that Amasa was killed, and so marched on without any scruple.20:4-13 Joab barbarously murdered Amasa. The more plot there is in a sin, the worse it is. Joab contentedly sacrificed the interest both of the king and the kingdom to his personal revenge. But one would wonder with what face a murderer could pursue a traitor; and how, under such a load of guilt, he had courage to enter upon danger: his conscience was seared.He that favoreth Joab ... - This speech, addressed to Amasa's followers as well as Joab's, shows very distinctly that the rivalry between Joab and Amasa, and David's purpose to make Amasa captain in Joab's room, were well known; and shows also the real reason why Joab killed Amasa. What is added, "and he that is for David," was intended to identify Joab's cause with David's, and also to insinuate that Amasa had not been loyal to David (2 Samuel 20:5 note). 11-13. He that favoureth Joab, and he that is for David, let him go after Joab—It is a striking proof of Joab's unrivalled influence over the army, that with this villainous murder perpetrated before their eyes they unanimously followed him as their leader in pursuit of Sheba. A soldier conjoined his name with David's, and such a magic spell was in the word "Joab," that all the people "went on"—Amasa's men as well as the rest. The conjunction of these two names is very significant. It shows that the one could not afford to do without the other—neither Joab to rebel against David, nor David to get rid of Joab, though hating him. One of Joab’s men, left there on purpose to deliver the following message.

He that favoureth Joab; he that would have Joab to be general, rather than such a perfidious rebel and traitor as Amasa.

He that is for David; he that wisheth David good success against Sheba, and against all rebels; whereby he implies that though this fact of his was done against the king’s command, yet it was for his interest and defence. And one of Joab's men stood by him,.... By the body of Amasa; no doubt by the order of Joab, to satisfy the people as they came up, and reconcile them to this fact, and to exhort them not to stop, but to follow after Joab; for though Amasa their general was dead, Joab had taken the command of the army, and the pursuit was carried on with as much rigour as ever:

and said, he that favoureth Joab, and he that is for David, let him go after Joab: he that likes Joab should be general, and is in the interest of David, let him make no stay here, but follow after Joab; Joab and David are put together, as if their interests were the same; though there seems to be an indecency in placing Joab first.

And one of Joab's men {h} stood by him, and said, He that favoureth Joab, and he that is for David, let him go after Joab.

(h) He stood by Amasa at Joab's appointment.

11. one of Joab’s men] One of Joab’s young men, perhaps one of his armour-bearers (ch. 2 Samuel 18:15), remained by the corpse at Joab’s command in order to invite Amasa’s followers to join Joab. Time was too precious for Joab himself to lose a moment.

He that favoureth Joab, &c.] Lit. He that delighteth (ch. 2 Samuel 15:26) in Joab. He appeals to their personal attachment to himself as general, and to their loyalty to David; insinuating that Amasa was not faithful to the king, and had met his death justly for his treachery. Joab’s real motive in murdering Amasa, as before in the case of Abner, was jealousy.Verse 11. - One of Joab's men. Joab left one of his personal followers to prevent any halt of the people round Amasa's body, and to suggest that he was a traitor. For he was to say to them as they came up, not only that "whosoever had pleasure in Joab," but also that "all who were for David, were to go after Joab." All loyal men were to regard him as captain of the host, and to disobey him would be rebellion. Naturally they would conclude from this that Amasa had not really been true to David, and that his death was the punishment inflicted on him for his past guilt. But when Amasa stayed out beyond the time fixed for the execution of the royal commission (the Chethib וייחר is the Piel וייחר, whilst the Keri is either the Hiphil ויּוחר, or the imperfect Kal of יחר equals אחר, cf. תּחז, 2 Samuel 20:9, and is quite unnecessary), probably because the men of Judah distrusted him, and were not very ready to respond to his summons, David said to Abishai, "Now will Sheba the son of Bichri be more injurious (more dangerous) to us than Absalom. Take thou the servants (soldiers) of thy lord and pursue after him, lest he reach fortified cities, and tear out our eye," i.e., do us a serious injury. This is the correct explanation given by Bttcher, who refers to Deuteronomy 32:10 and Zechariah 2:12, where the apple of the eye is the figure used to signify the most valuable possession; for the general explanation, "and withdraw from our eye," cannot be grammatically sustained.
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