2 Samuel 20:3
And David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in ward, and fed them, but went not in to them. So they were shut up to the day of their death, living in widowhood.
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(3) Living in widowhood.—This was the necessary result, under the system of polygamy, of what had happened. The clause may be understood as “in widowhood of life,” as in our version, or “in widowhood of the living,” i.e., while their husband was living, as in the Chaldee.

2 Samuel 20:3. But went not in unto them — He looked upon them as become impure to him, having been defiled by his son. They were shut up to the day of their death, living in widowhood — Being royal wives, it was not proper they should be married to any one else, and therefore David did not give them a bill of divorce, but shut them up close, that no man might have converse with them. And indeed it would not have been prudent to have let them be so much as seen abroad, as that would have renewed the remembrance of Absalom’s crime. 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?From Jordan ... - The men of Israel only escorted David from Jordan to Gilgal, and there left him; but the men of Judah in a body went with him all the way to Jerusalem. 3. the king took the ten women his concubines—Jewish writers say that the widowed queens of Hebrew monarchs were not allowed to marry again but were obliged to pass the rest of their lives in strict seclusion. David treated his concubines in the same manner after the outrage committed on them by Absalom. They were not divorced, for they were guiltless; but they were no longer publicly recognized as his wives; nor was their confinement to a sequestered life a very heavy doom, in a region where women have never been accustomed to go much abroad. Put them in ward; partly, because they had not vigorously opposed Absalom’s lustful desire, as they should have done, even with the hazard of their lives; and partly, lest the sight of them should renew the memory of Absalom’s filthiness, and of their own and David’s reproach, which it was fit to bury in-perpetual oblivion; and partly, because it might appear incestuous to have to do with those who had been defiled by his own son; and partly, because as David would not, so it was not now convenient that any other man should have any conjugal conversation with them. And David came to his house at Jerusalem,.... His palace there, which was in that part of the city called the fort of Zion, and city of David:

and the king took the ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house; when he fled from Jerusalem because of Absalom, 2 Samuel 15:16,

and put them in ward; partly as a punishment for easily yielding to the lust of Absalom, and partly that they might not be seen, which would bring to remembrance his sin:

and fed them; he did not put them to death, nor put them away, but kept them thus confined, and made a proper provision for them, not suffering them to marry any other, and be maintained by them:

but went not in unto them: into their apartments to lie with them, having been defiled by his son, 2 Samuel 16:22,

so they were shut up unto the day of their death; kept in the ward till they died:

living in widowhood; neither used by the king as his concubines, as they had been before, nor suffered to many any other; or "in the widowhood of life" (o), which is so expressed, to distinguish it from widowhood made by death; this was such sort of widowhood as obtained while their husband was living; so the Targum,"widows of their husband alive,''

or remaining.

(o) "in viduitate vitae", Pagninus, Montanus.

And David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in ward, and fed them, but went not in unto them. So they were shut up unto the day of their death, living in widowhood.
3. David’s return to Jerusalem

3. living in widowhood] Either in widowhood for life, or as the Targum explains it, in widowhood while their husband was still alive. Since they had been appropriated by Absalom, they could no longer be regarded as members of the royal harem, nor could they be set at liberty.Verse 3. - They were shut up. We are not to conclude that all widows had to live in seclusion, but only that those women who belonged to the royal harem, but had been taken by another, were not allowed to return to it, but condemned to a sort of imprisonment. Living in widowhood. This is explained by the Chaldee as lasting only during David's life, its rendering being, "in widowhood while their husband was alive." Quarrel between Israel and Judah about the restoration of the king. - 2 Samuel 19:40. David went across to Gilgal (in the plain of the Jordan: Joshua 4:19), and Chimham (Chimhan is a modified form for Chimham: 2 Samuel 19:37) had gone over with him, and all the people of Judah had brought the king over (the Keri העבירוּ is an easier reading than the Chethib ויּעבירוּ, "and as for the people, they had," etc.), and also "half the people of Israel," namely, beside the thousand Benjaminites who came with Shimei (2 Samuel 19:17), other Israelites who dwelt in the neighbourhood.
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