2 Samuel 20:20
And Joab answered and said, Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) Far be it from me.—Joab strongly disclaims the idea of any further harm to any one than the necessary destruction of the rebel Sheba. Joab’s character “is strongly brought out in the transaction. Politic, decided, bold, and unscrupulous, but never needlessly cruel or impulsive, or even revengeful. No life is safe that stands in his way, but from policy he never sacrifices the most insignificant life without a purpose.”—Speaker’s Commentary.

20:14-22 Justly is that place attacked, which dares to harbour a traitor; nor will the heart fare better which indulges rebellious lusts, that will not have Christ to reign over them. A discreet woman, by her prudent management, satisfied Joab, and yet saved the city. Wisdom is not confined to rank or sex; it consists not in deep knowledge; but in understanding how to act as matters arise, that troubles may be turned away and benefits secured. A great deal of mischief would be prevented, if contending parties would understand one another. Let both sides be undeceived. The single condition of peace is, the surrender of the traitor. It is so in God's dealing with the soul, when besieged by conviction and distress; sin is the traitor; the beloved lust is the rebel: part with that, cast away the transgression, and all shall be well. There is no peace on any other terms.Joab's character is strongly brought out in the transaction. Politic, decided, bold, and unscrupulous, but never needlessly cruel or impulsive, or even revengeful. No life is safe that stands in his way, but from policy he never sacrifices the most insignificant life without a purpose. (Compare 2 Samuel 2:27-30.) 18-20. They were wont to speak in old time—The translation of the Margin gives a better meaning, which is to this effect: When the people saw thee lay siege to Abel, they said, Surely he will ask if we will have peace, for the law (De 20:10) prescribes that he should offer peace to strangers, much more then to Israelitish cities; and if he do this, we shall soon bring things to an amicable agreement, for we are a peaceable people. The answer of Joab brings out the character of that ruthless veteran as a patriot at heart, who, on securing the author of this insurrection, was ready to put a stop to further bloodshed and release the peaceable inhabitants from all molestation. A man of Mount Ephraim.

Quest. How can this be so when he is called a Benjamite, 2 Samuel 20:1?

Answ, Either he was a Benjamite by birth, but dwelt in the tribe of Ephraim, as many did upon several occasions dwell out of their own tribes; or Mount Ephraim was a place in Benjamin, which might be so called, either because it was upon the borders of Ephraim, and looked towards it; or from some notable action or event of the Ephraimites in that place. Compare 2 Samuel 18:6. Hath lift up his hand, i.e. taken up arms, or raised rebellion. His head shall be thrown, to thee over the wall; which she undertook, because she knew the present temper and great fears of the citizens, and soldiers too; and that considering their evident and extreme danger, they were generally desirous of peace, from which they were restrained only by Sheba’s authority and interest; and therefore did not doubt by God’s blessing upon her wise counsel to effect it, as indeed she did. And it is not unlikely that this woman might be a governess in that city for though this office was commonly performed by men, yet were not the women wholly excluded, but sometimes employed in the government; as we see in Deborah, who judged Israel, Judges 4:4; and queen Athaliah, 2Ki 11. And Joab answered and said, far be it from me, far be it from me,.... He repeats these words, to show how detestable it was to him to do what she suggested:

that I should swallow up or destroy; any in a violent and unrighteous manner, and especially a city of which she had given such a character for its greatness and worth, and for the peaceableness and fidelity of its inhabitants.

And Joab answered and said, Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
But Joab "went through all the tribes of Israel to Abela, and Beth-maacah, and all Berim." Abela (2 Samuel 20:15), or Abel (2 Samuel 20:18), has been preserved in the large Christian village of Abil, a place with ruins, and called Abil-el-Kamh on account of its excellent wheat (Kamh), which lies to the north-west of Lake Huleh, upon a Tell on the eastern side of the river Derdra; not in Ibl-el-Hawa, a place to the north of this, upon the ridge between Merj Ayun and Wady et Teim (vid., Ritter, Erdk. xv. pp. 240, 241; Robinson, Bibl. Researches, pp. 372-3; and v. de Velde, Mem. p. 280). Beth-maacah was quite close to Abela; so that the names of the two places are connected together in 2 Samuel 20:15, and afterwards, as Abel-beth-maacah (vid., 1 Kings 15:20, and 2 Kings 15:29), also called Abel-maim in 2 Chronicles 16:4. Berim is the name of a district which is unknown to us; and even the early translators did not know how to render it. There is nothing, however, either in the πάντες ἐν χαῤῥί is the lxx or the omnes viri electi of the Vulgate, to warrant an alteration of the text. The latter, in fact, rests upon a mere conjecture, which is altogether unsuitable; for the subject to ויּקּהלוּ cannot be כּל־הבּרים on account of the vav consec., but must be obtained from ישׂראל בּכל־שׁבטי. The Chethib ויקלהו is evidently a slip of the pen for ויּקּהלוּ.
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