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. 2 Samuel 23:14To this deed there is appended a similar heroic feat performed by three of the thirty heroes whose names are not given. The Chethib שׁלשׁים is evidently a slip of the pen for שׁלשׁה (Keri and Chronicles). The thirty chiefs are the heroes named afterwards. As שׁלשׁה has no article either in our text or the Chronicles, the three intended are not the three already mentioned (Jashobeam, Eleazar, and Shammah), but three others out of the number mentioned in 2 Samuel 23:24. These three came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam (see at 1 Samuel 22:1), when a troop of the Philistines was encamped in the valley of Rephaim, and David was on the mountain fortress, and a Philistian post was then in Bethlehem. And David longed for water, and said, "Oh that one would bring me water to drink out of the well of Bethlehem at the gate!" The encampment of the Philistines in the valley of Rephaim, and the position of David on the mountain fortress (בּמּצוּדה), render it probable that the feat mentioned here took place in the war with the Philistines described in 2 Samuel 5:17. Robinson could not discover any well in Bethlehem, "especially none 'by the gate,' except one connected with the aqueduct on the south" (Palestine, vol. ii. p. 158). בּשּׁער need not be understood, however, as signifying that the well was in or under the gate; but the well referred to may have been at the gate outside the city. The well to which tradition has given the name of "David's well" (cisterna David), is about a quarter of an hour's walk to the north-east of Bethlehem, and, according to Robinson's description, is "merely a deep and wide cistern or cavern now dry, with three or four narrow openings cut in the rock." But Ritter (Erdk. xvi. p. 286) describes it as "deep with clear cool water, into which there are three openings from above, which Tobler speaks of as bored;" and again as a cistern "built with peculiar beauty, from seventeen to twenty-one feet deep, whilst a house close by is pointed out to pilgrims as Jesse's house."
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