2 Samuel 23:14
And David was then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.In an hold - In "the hold" 1 Chronicles 11:16 close to the cave of Adullam (marginal reference note). It shows the power and daring of the Philistines that they should hold a post so far in the country as Bethlehem. 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.

No text from Poole on this verse. And David was then in an hold,.... In a strong hold; the strong hold of Zion, as Josephus (x), or one on a rock near the cave of Adullam, see 1 Chronicles 11:15,

and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem; which was about six miles from Jerusalem; the valley of Rephaim lay between that and Bethlehem; so far had they got into the land of Judea, and such footing in it, as to have a garrison so near its metropolis.

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

And David was then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. in a hold] In the strong-hold, probably the same as that mentioned in ch. 2 Samuel 5:17, where see note. The ruins bearing the name Aid el Ma, which is supposed to be a corruption of Adullam, lie at the foot of a high rounded hill almost isolated by subordinate valleys. This forms a natural fortress, and may have been “the rock” which was the site of David’s stronghold; while numerous caves, still used for habitations, are found in the neighbouring valleys.

the garrison of the Philistines] The same term is used of the military posts of the Philistines in Israelite territory in 1 Samuel 13:23; 1 Samuel 14:1 ff; and a similar word in 1 Samuel 10:5; 1 Samuel 13:3.Verse 14. - An hold; Hebrew, the hold. The definite article here and in ch. 5:17, and the mention of the Philistines as being in the valley of Rephaim, seem to indicate that David had abandoned Jerusalem upon the invasion of the Philistines, and sought refuge at Adullam (see note on 2 Samuel 5:17). In its neighbourhood is an isolated hill, on which, probably, was a frontier fortress, in which David prepared to defend himself. The following list of David's heroes we also find in 1 Chronicles 11:10-47, and expanded at the end by sixteen names (1 Chronicles 11:41-47), and attached in 1 Chronicles 11:10 to the account of the conquest of the fortress of Zion by the introduction of a special heading. According to this heading, the heroes named assisted David greatly in his kingdom, along with all Israel, to make him king, from which it is evident that the chronicler intended by this heading to justify his appending the list to the account of the election of David as king over all the tribes of Israel (1 Chronicles 11:1), and of the conquest of Zion, which followed immediately afterwards. In every other respect the two lists agree with one another, except that there are a considerable number of errors of the text, more especially in the names, which are frequently corrupt in both texts, to that the true reading cannot be determined with certainty. The heroes enumerated are divided into three classes. The first class consists of three, viz., Jashobeam, Eleazar, and Shammah, of whom certain brave deeds are related, by which they reached the first rank among David's heroes (2 Samuel 23:8-12). They were followed by Abishai and Benaiah, who were in the second class, and who had also distinguished themselves above the rest by their brave deeds, though they did not come up to the first three (2 Samuel 23:18-23). The others all belonged to the third class, which consisted of thirty-two men, of whom no particular heroic deeds are mentioned (vv. 24-39). Twelve of these, viz., the five belonging to the first two classes and seven of the third, were appointed by David commanders of the twelve detachments into which he divided the army, each detachment to serve for one month in the year (1 Chronicles 27). These heroes, among whom we do not find Joab the commander-in-chief of the whole of the forces, were the king's aides-de-camp, and are called in this respect השּׁלשׁי (2 Samuel 23:8), though the term השּׁלשׁים (the thirty, 2 Samuel 23:13, 2 Samuel 23:23, 2 Samuel 23:24) was also a very customary one, as their number amounted to thirty in a round sum. It is possible that at first they may have numbered exactly thirty; for, from the very nature of the case, we may be sure than in the many wars in which David was engaged, other heroes must have arisen at different times, who would be received into the corps already formed. This will explain the addition of sixteen names in the Chronicles, whether the chronicler made us of a different list from that employed by the author of the books before us, and one belonging to a later age, or whether the author of our books merely restricted himself to a description of the corps in its earlier condition.

2 Samuel 23:8-12

Heroes of the first class. - The short heading to our text, with which the list in the Chronicles also beings (1 Chronicles 11:11), simply gives the name of these heroes. But instead of "the names of the mighty men," we have in the Chronicles "the number of the mighty men." This variation is all the more striking, from the fact that in the Chronicles the total number is not given at the close of the list as it is in our text. At the same time, it can hardly be a copyist's error for מבחר (selection), as Bertheau supposes, but must be attributable to the fact that, according to 2 Samuel 23:13, 2 Samuel 23:23, and 2 Samuel 23:24, these heroes constituted a corps which was named from the number of which it originally consisted. The first, Jashobeam, is called "the chief of the thirty" in the Chronicles. Instead of ישׁבעם (Jashobeam), the reading in the Chronicles, we have here בּשּׁבת ישׁב (Josheb-basshebeth), unquestionably a spurious reading, which probably arose, according to Kennicott's conjecture, from the circumstance that the last two letters of ישׁבעם were written in one MS under בּשּׁבת in the line above (2 Samuel 23:7), and a copyist took בשׁבת from that line by mistake for עם. The correctness of the reading Jashobeam is established by 1 Chronicles 27:2. The word תּחכּמני is also faulty, and should be corrected, according to the Chronicles, into בּן־חכמוני (Ben-hachmoni); for the statement that Jashobeam was a son (or descendant) of the family of Hachmon (1 Chronicles 27:32) can easily be reconciled with that in 1 Chronicles 27:2, to the effect that he was a son of Zabdiel. Instead of השּׁלשׁים ראשׁ (head of the thirty), the reading in the Chronicles, we have here השּׁלשׁי ראשׁ (head of the three). Bertheau would alter our text in accordance with the Chronicles, whilst Thenius proposes to bring the text of the Chronicles into accordance with ours. But although the many unquestionable corruptions in the verse before us may appear to favour Bertheau's assumption, we cannot regard either of the emendations as necessary, or even warrantable. The proposed alteration of השּׁלשׁי is decidedly precluded by the recurrence of השּׁלשׁי ראשׁ in 2 Samuel 23:18, and the alteration of השּׁלשׁים in the Chronicles by the repeated allusion to the שׁלשׁים, not only in 2 Samuel 23:15, 42; 2 Samuel 12:4, and 1 Chronicles 27:6 of the Chronicles, but also in 2 Samuel 23:13, 2 Samuel 23:23, and 2 Samuel 23:24 of the chapter before us. The explanation given of שׁלשׁי and שׁלשׁים, as signifying chariot-warriors, is decidedly erroneous;

(Note: This explanation, which we find in Gesenius (Thes. and Lex.) and Bertheau, rests upon no other authority than the testimony of Origen, to the effect that an obscure writer gives this interpretation of τριστάτης, the rendering of שׁלישׁ, an authority which is completely overthrown by the writer of the gloss in Octateuch. (Schleussner, Lex. in lxx t. v. p. 338), who gives this explanation of τριστάτας: τοὺς παρὰ χεῖρα τοῦ βασιλέως ἀριστερὰν τρίτης μοίρας ἄρχοντας. Suidas and Hesychius give the same explanation (s. v. τριστάται). Jerome also observes (ad Ezekiel 23): "It is the name of the second rank next to the king.")

for the singular השּׁלישׁ is used in all the passages in which the word occurs to signify the royal aide-de-camp (2 Kings 7:2, 2 Kings 7:17, 2 Kings 7:19; 2 Kings 9:25; 2 Kings 15:25), and the plural שׁלישׁים the royal body-guard, not only in 2 Kings 15:25, but even in 1 Kings 9:22, and Exodus 14:7; Exodus 15:4, from which the meaning chariot-warriors has been derived. Consequently השּׁלשׁי ראשׁ is the head of the king's aides-de-camp, and the interchange of השּׁלשׁי with the השּׁלשׁים of the Chronicles may be explained on the simple ground that David's thirty heroes formed his whole body of adjutants. The singular שׁלשׁי is to be explained in the same manner as הכּרתי (see at 2 Samuel 8:18). Luther expresses the following opinion in his marginal gloss with regard to the words which follow (העצנו עדינו הוּא עדינו): "We believe the text to have been corrupted by a writer, probably from some book in an unknown character and bad writing, so that orer should be substituted for adino, and ha-eznib for eth hanitho:" that is to say, the reading in the Chronicles, "he swung his spear," should be adopted (cf. 2 Samuel 23:18). This supposition is certainly to be preferred to the attempt made by Gesenius (Lex.) and v. Dietrich (s. v. עדין) to find some sense in the words by assuming the existence of a verb עדּן and a noun עצן, a spear, since these words do not occur anywhere else in Hebrew; and in order to obtain any appropriate sense, it is still necessary to resort to alterations of the text. "He swung his spear over eight hundred slain at once." This is not to be understood as signifying that he killed eight hundred men at one blow, but that in a battle he threw his spear again and again at the foe, until eight hundred men had been slain. The Chronicles give three hundred instead of eight hundred; and as that number occurs again in 2 Samuel 23:18, in the case of Abishai, it probably found its way from that verse into this in the book of Chronicles.

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