2 Samuel 23:10
He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand stuck to the sword: and the LORD worked a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) Clave unto the sword.—Instances are rare, but well authenticated, of a sort of cramp following excessive exertion, so that the hand could only be released from the sword by external appliances.

Returned after him.—Does not imply that they had at any time deserted him, but only that they turned wherever he went to gather the spoil of the men he slew.

23:8-39 David once earnestly longed for the water at the well of Bethlehem. It seems to be an instance of weakness. He was thirsty; with the water of that well he had often refreshed himself when a youth, and it was without due thought that he desired it. Were his valiant men so forward to expose themselves, upon the least hint of their prince's mind, and so eager to please him, and shall not we long to approve ourselves to our Lord Jesus, by ready compliance with his will, as shown us by his word, Spirit, and providence? But David poured out the water as a drink-offering to the Lord. Thus he would cross his own foolish fancy, and punish himself for indulging it, and show that he had sober thoughts to correct his rash ones, and knew how to deny himself. Did David look upon that water as very precious which was got at the hazard of these men's blood, and shall not we much more value those benefits for purchasing which our blessed Saviour shed his blood? Let all beware of neglecting so great salvation.Gone away - Rather, went up to battle (2 Samuel 5:19; 2 Kings 3:21, etc.) against them. These words and what follows as far as "troop" 2 Samuel 23:11 have fallen out of the text in Chronicles. The effect of this is to omit EIeazar's feat, as here described, to attribute to him Shammah's victory, to misplace the flight of the Israelites, and to omit Shammah altogether from the list of David's mighty men. 2Sa 23:8-39. A Catalogue of His Mighty Men.

8. These be the names of the mighty men whom David had—This verse should be translated thus: He who sits in the seat of the Tachmonite (that is, of Jashobeam the Hachmonite), who was chief among the captains, the same is Adino the Eznite; he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time. The text is corrupt in this passage; the number eight hundred should be three hundred [Davidson, Hermeneutics]. Under Joab he was chief or president of the council of war. The first or highest order was composed of him and his two colleagues, Eleazar and Shammah. Eleazar seems to have been left to fight the Philistines alone; and on his achieving the victory, they returned to the spoil. In like manner Shammah was left to stand alone in his glory, when the Lord, by him, wrought a great victory. It is not very easy to determine whether the exploits that are afterwards described were performed by the first or the second three.

He arose, i. e. he undertook the work, as that word sometimes is used. Or, he stood (as it sometimes signifies) when the rest fled.

His hand clave unto the sword; either through sweat or blood, or by a contraction of the sinews. Or thus, yet did his hand cleave to his sword, i.e. though he was weary, he did not desist, but continued fighting.

Only to spoil i.e. to pursue the enemy, whom he had discomfited, and to take their spoil. He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary,.... He rose up when the Israelites fled, and stood his ground alone, and fought with the Philistines, and smote them with his sword, until his hand was weary with smiting:

and his hand clave unto the sword; which was contracted by holding it so long, and grasping it so hard, that it could not easily be got out of it; or through the quantity of blood which ran upon his hand, as it was shed, so Josephus (t); and which being congealed, and dried, caused his hand to stick to the hilt of his sword, so that they were, as it were, glued together by it; or the sense may be only, that though weary, he did not drop his sword, but held it fast till he had destroyed the enemy:

and the Lord wrought a great victory that day; for to him it must be ascribed, and not to the strength and valour of the man:

and the people returned after him only to spoil; they that fled, when they saw what a victory was obtained by him, returned and came after him; not to help him in smiting, but to spoil those that were slain, and strip them of what they had.

(t) Antiqu. l. 7. c. 12. sect. 4.

He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his {g} hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.

(g) By a cramp which came from weariness and fighting.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. his hand clave unto the sword] At the close of the massacre of the Christians of Mount Lebanon by the Druses, in 1860, Sheikh Ali Amad’s hand so clave to the handle of his sword that he could not open it until the muscles were relaxed by fomentation of hot water. Van Lennep’s Bible Lands, II. p. 679.

wrought a great victory] Lit. wrought a great deliverance or salvation. Cp. 1 Samuel 11:13; 1 Samuel 19:5.

returned after him] Were turning after him, were following him: not necessarily implying that they had fled previously.Verse 10. - Victory; Hebrew, salvation; and so also in ver. 12 and 1 Samuel 11:13; 1 Samuel 19:5. Returned after him. This does not imply that they had fled, but simply that they turned in whichever way he turned, and followed him. Battles in old time depended very much upon the prowess of the leaders. 2 Samuel 23:4 describes the blessing that will proceed from this ruler. The idea that 2 Samuel 23:4 should be connected with 2 Samuel 23:3 so as to form one period, in the sense of "when one rules justly over men (as I do), it is as when a morning becomes clear," must be rejected, for the simple reason that it overlooks Nathan's promise (2 Samuel 7) altogether, and weakens the force of the saying so solemnly introduced as the word of God. The ruler over men whom David sees in spirit, is not any one who rules righteously over men; nor is the seed of David to be regarded as a collective expression indicating a merely ideal personality, but, according to the Chaldee rendering, the Messiah himself, the righteous Shoot whom the Lord would raise up to David (Jeremiah 23:5), and who would execute righteousness and judgment upon earth (Jeremiah 33:15). 2 Samuel 23:4 is to be taken by itself as containing an independent thought, and the connection between it and 2 Samuel 23:3 must be gathered from the words themselves: the appearance (the rise) of this Ruler will be "as light of the morning, when the sun rises." At the same time, the Messiah is not to be regarded as the subject to בּקר אור (the light of the morning), as though the ruler over men were compared with the morning light; but the subject compared to the morning light is intentionally left indefinite, according to the view adopted by Luther in his exposition, "In the time of the Messiah it will be like the light of the morning." We are precluded from regarding the Messiah as the subject, by the fact that the comparison is instituted not with the sun, but with the morning dawn at the rising of the sun, whose vivifying effects upon nature are described in the second clause of the verse. The words שׁמשׁ יזרח are to be taken relatively, as a more distinct definition of the morning light. The clause which follows, "morning without clouds," is parallel to the foregoing, and describes more fully the nature of the morning. The light of the rising sun on a cloudless morning is an image of the coming salvation. The rising sun awakens the germs of life in the bosom of nature, which had been slumbering through the darkness of the night. "The state of things before the coming of the ruler resembles the darkness of the night" (Hengstenberg). The verb is also wanting in the second hemistich. "From the shining from rain (is, comes) fresh green out of the earth." נגהּ signifies the brightness of the rising sun; but, so far as the actual meaning is concerned, it relates to the salvation which attends the coming of the righteous ruler. ממּטר is either subordinate to מנּגהּ, or co-ordinate with it. In the former case, we should have to render the passage, "from the shining of the sun which proceeds out of rain," or "from the shining after rain;" and the allusion would be to a cloudless morning, when the shining of the sun after a night's rain stimulates the growth of the plants. In the latter case, we should have to render it "from the shining (and) from the rain;" and the reference would be to a cloudless morning, on which the vegetation springs up from the ground through sunshine followed by rain. Grammatically considered, the first view (? the second) is the easier of the two; nevertheless we regard the other (? the first) as the only admissible one, inasmuch as rain is not to be expected when the sun has risen with a cloudless sky. The rays of the sun, as it rises after a night of rain, strengthen the fresh green of the plants. The rain is therefore a figurative representation of blessing generally (cf. Isaiah 44:3), and the green grass which springs up from the earth after the rain is an image of the blessings of the Messianic salvation (Isaiah 44:4; Isaiah 45:8).

In Psalm 72:6, Solomon takes these words of David as the basis of his comparison of the effects resulting from the government of the true Prince of peace to the coming down of the rain upon the mown grass.

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