2 Samuel 21:15
Moreover the Philistines had yet war again with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines: and David waxed faint.
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(15) Had yet war again.—This, like the preceding narrative, bears no note of time except that it occurred after some other wars with the Philistines; but this is only to say that it was after David ascended the throne. From the latter part of 2Samuel 21:17 it is plain that it must have been after David had become king of all Israel, and probably after he had become somewhat advanced in years. In 1Chronicles 20:4-8 much the same paragraph is placed immediately after the war with Ammon; but this seems to be a mere juxta-position rather than designed as a chronological sequence.

2 Samuel 21:15-16. The Philistines had yet war again with Israel — After, or besides the other wars with the Philistines mentioned in this book, they yet again disturbed David’s repose. David waxed faint — Being no longer in the vigour of youth, but probably in declining years, though not old in age. Ishbi-benob, of the sons of the giant — Either of Goliath, who, by way of eminence, is called the giant, or rather, as the Hebrew word, רפה, rapha, signifies, any giant. The words should rather be translated, Of the race of the giants, that is, of the Anakims, who fled into this country, particularly to Gath, when Joshua expelled them from Canaan, Joshua 11:22. Whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass — This is to be understood of the head of his spear, which weighed half as much as that of Goliath, 1 Samuel 17:7. He being girded with a new sword — One made on purpose for him, larger and heavier than those commonly used. Thought to have slain David — Thought he had a fair opportunity to do it.

2 Samuel 21:15-16. David longed, and said, O! &c. — Being hot and thirsty, he expresses how acceptable a draught of that water would be to him; but was far from desiring or expecting that any of his men should hazard their lives to procure it. He would not drink thereof — Lest, by gratifying himself upon such terms, he should seem either to set too high a price upon the satisfaction of his appetite, or too low a price upon the lives of his soldiers. He poured it out unto the Lord — As a kind of drink-offering, and acknowledgment of God’s goodness in preserving the lives of his captains in so dangerous an enterprise; and to show that he esteemed it as a sacred thing, which it was not fit for him to drink.

21:15-22 These events seem to have taken place towards the end of David's reign. David fainted, but he did not flee, and God sent help in the time of need. In spiritual conflicts, even strong saints sometimes wax faint; then Satan attacks them furiously; but those who stand their ground and resist him, shall be relieved and made more than conquerors. Death is a Christian's last enemy, and a son of Anak; but through Him that triumphed for us, believers shall be more than conquerors at last, even over that enemy.This, like the preceding paragraph 2 Samuel 21:1-14, is manifestly a detached and unconnected extract. It is probably taken from some history of David's wars, apparently the same as furnished the materials for 2 Samuel 5; 8; 23:8-39. There is no direct clue to the time when the events here related took place, but it was probably quite in the early part of David's reign, while he was still young and active, after the war described in 2 Samuel 5. The Book of Chronicles places these Philistine battles immediately after the taking of Rabbah of the Ammonites 1 Chronicles 20:4-8, but omits David's adventure 2 Samuel 21:15-17. 15-22. Moreover the Philistines had yet war again with Israel—Although the Philistines had completely succumbed to the army of David, yet the appearance of any gigantic champions among them revived their courage and stirred them up to renewed inroads on the Hebrew territory. Four successive contests they provoked during the latter period of David's reign, in the first of which the king ran so imminent a risk of his life that he was no longer allowed to encounter the perils of the battlefield. These wars, though here related, were transacted long before this time: of which See Poole "2 Samuel 21:1". For it is no way probable, either that the Philistines, being so fully and perfectly subdued by David, 2 Samuel 8:1, should in his days be in a capacity of waging war with the Israelites; or that David in his old age would undertake to fight with a giant, or that his people would permit him to do so.

Moreover the Philistines had yet war again with Israel,.... Besides what is before recorded in this and the preceding book; being animated to it partly by the number of giants among them, and partly by the decline of David's life, and it may be chiefly by the insurrections and rebellions in Israel; though some think that these battles were not after the rebellions of Absalom and Sheba, and the affair of the Gibeonites, though here recorded; but before, and quickly after the war with the Ammonites, next to which they are placed in 1 Chronicles 20:1; but they seem to be placed here in their proper order:

and David went down, and his servants with him; to the borders of the Philistines, perceiving they were preparing to make war against him:

and fought against the Philistines; engaged in a battle with them:

and David waxed faint; in the battle, not able to bear the fatigues of war, and wield his armour as he had used, being in the decline of life; after he had been engaged a while, his spirits began to fail, not through fear, but through feebleness; but, according to Josephus, it was through weariness in pursuing the enemy put to flight, which the following person perceived, and turned upon him (y).

(y) Antiqu. l. 7. c. 12. sect. 1.

Moreover the Philistines had yet war again with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines: and David waxed faint.
15. had yet war again] “Again” refers to earlier wars, the account of which preceded this narrative in the document from which it was taken.

went down] From the high lands of Judah to the low country of Philistia—the Shephêlah or maritime plain.

15–22. Heroic exploits in the Philistine wars

This section is quite unconnected with the preceding narrative. It is perhaps a fragment from some “book of golden deeds” recording the exploits of David and his warriors. From such a chronicle may also be derived ch. 2 Samuel 23:8-39, possibly ch. 2 Samuel 5:17-25, and some other sections of the book.

2 Samuel 21:18-22 are also preserved in Chronicles, where they are placed immediately after the capture of Rabbah (1 Chronicles 20:4-8).

Verse 15. - Moreover. A new narrative begins here, and the heroic acts related in it are taken probably from some record of the martial deeds of David and his mighties. We have already seen that the Book of Jasher (2 Samuel 1:18) was a national anthology, full of ballads and songs in praise of glorious exploits of Israel's worthies. The source of the narratives recorded here apparently was a history in prose, and commenced, perhaps, with David's own achievement in slaying Goliath - a deed which celled forth the heroism of the nation, and was emulated by other brave men. These extracts were probably given for their own sake, and are repeated in 1 Chronicles 20:4-8, where they are placed immediately after the capture of Rabbah; but they here form an appropriate introduction to the psalm of thanksgiving in ch. 22. It was usual in Hebrew, in making quotations, to leave them without any attempt at adapting them to their new place; and thus the "moreover" and "yet again," which referred to some previous narrative in the history, are left unchanged. 2 Samuel 21:15Heroic Acts Performed in the Wars with the Philistines. - The brief accounts contained in these verses of different heroic feats were probably taken from a history of David's wars drawn up in the form of chronicles, and are introduced here as practical proofs of the gracious deliverance of David out of the hand of all his foes, for which he praises the Lord his God in the psalm of thanksgiving which follows, so that the enumeration of these feats is to be regarded as supplying a historical basis for the psalm.

2 Samuel 21:15-16

The Philistines had war with Israel again. עוד (again) refers generally to earlier wars with the Philistines, and has probably been taken without alteration from the chronicles employed by our author, where the account which follows was attached to notices of other wars. This may be gathered from the books of the Chronicles, where three of the heroic feats mentioned here are attached to the general survey of David's wars (vid., 1 Chronicles 20:4). David was exhausted in this fight, and a Philistian giant thought to slay him; but Abishai came to his help and slew the giant. He was called Yishbo benob (Keri, Yishbi), i.e., not Yishbo at Nob, but Yishbobenob, a proper name, the meaning of which is probably "his dwelling is on the height," and which may have been given to him because of his inaccessible castle. He was one of the descendants of Raphah, i.e., one of the gigantic race of Rephaim. Raphah was the tribe-father of the Rephaim, an ancient tribe of gigantic stature, of whom only a few families were left even in Moses' time (vid., Deuteronomy 2:11; Deuteronomy 3:11, Deuteronomy 3:13, and the commentary on Genesis 14:5). The weight of his lance, i.e., of the metal point to his lance, was three hundred shekels, or eight pounds, of brass, half as much as the spear of Goliath (1 Samuel 17:7); "and he was girded with new armour." Bttcher has no doubt given the correct explanation of the word חדשׁה; he supposes the feminine to be used in a collective sense, so that the noun ("armour," כּליו) could be dispensed with. (For parallels both to the words and facts, vid., Judges 18:11 and Deuteronomy 1:41.) ויּאמר, he said (sc., to himself), i.e., he thought.

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