2 Samuel 20:9
And Joab said to Amasa, Are you in health, my brother? And Joab took Amasa by the beard with the right hand to kiss him.
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2 Samuel 20:9. Joab took Amasa by the beard — As the manner of ancient times was when they saluted one another, and, it appears, is still a custom among some of the eastern people, who take one another by the chin or the beard when they would give a hearty salute. Thevenot says it is often done among the Turks, although at the same time he assures us it is a great affront to take one by the beard on any other account than to kiss him.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.Amasa went before them - Rather, "advanced to meet them." Amasa was no doubt returning to Jerusalem, according to his orders 2 Samuel 20:4, and was probably much surprised to meet the army in march. Joab's resolution was quickly taken.

And Joab's garment ... - Render, "And Joab was girded with his military garment, as his clothing, and upon it" - i. e., the military garment - (or "him"), "the girdle of a sword fastened on his loins in its sheath, and as he went forth" (to meet Amasa) "it fell" out of the sheath. What appears to have happened is that, by accident or design, Joab's sword fell out of the scabbard on the ground as he was going to meet Amasa, and that he picked it up with his left hand so as to have his right hand free for the customary salutation 2 Samuel 20:9. This awakened no suspicion in Amasa's mind. Compare the case of Ehud, Judges 3:21.

9. took Amasa by the beard with the right hand to kiss him—This act, common with two friends on meeting when one of them returns from a journey, indicates respect as well as kindliness, and the performance of it evinced the deep hypocrisy of Joab, who thereby put Amasa off his guard. No wonder, then, that while this act of friendly gratulation after long absence occupied Amasa's attention, he did not perceive the sword that was in Joab's left hand. The action of Joab was indeed a high compliment, but neither suspicious nor unusual and to this compliment, Amasa paying attention and no doubt returning it with suitable politeness, he could little expect the fatal event that Joab's perfidy produced. As the manner of ancient times was, when they kissed and saluted one another. And Joab said to Amasa,.... In a friendly manner, with all the air of pleasantry and good humour:

art thou in health, my brother? this looked like a friendly salutation to ask of his health, and wish him it, and a loving appellation to call him brother; though they were near of kin, sisters' children, and so own cousins; thus he addressed him, to cover his design:

and Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him: as was usual for the eastern people to do when they addressed and saluted one another in an affectionate way, and as the Turks and Arabs do to this day, as travellers relate. Barthius (t) has collected passages from the Greek poets, which show it to be a custom, that when a man asked a favour of another, he caught hold of his beard with the right hand, and of his knee with the left; and in such a posture Joab might easily do what follows.

(t) Animadv. ad Claudian. de Raptu Proserp. l. 1. ver. 50. vid. Homer. Iliad. ver. 500, 501. Iliad. 8. ver. 371. & Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 2. c. 19.

And Joab said to Amasa, Art thou in health, my brother? And Joab took Amasa by the beard with the right hand to kiss him.
9. took Amasa by the beard] It is said to be still customary among the Arabs and Turks to lay hold of a person’s beard in giving him the kiss of welcome.As soon as David returned to his palace at Jerusalem, he brought the ten concubines whom he had left behind, and with whom Absalom had lain, into a place of safety, and took care of them, without going in unto them any more. The masculine suffixes attached to יתּגם, יכלכּלם, and אליהם are used, as they frequently are, as being the more general and indefinite, instead of the feminine, which is the more definite form. Thus were they shut up in lifelong widowhood until the day of their death. אלמנוּת is an adverbial accusative, and חיּוּת signifies "condition in life;" literally, in widowhood of life.
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