2 Samuel 23:17
And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men.
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(17) Is not this the blood . . .?—The Hebrew here is simply an interrogative exclamation, “the blood of the men?” but in 1Chronicles 11:19 the text reads, “Shall I drink the blood of these men?” &c., and so the LXX. and Vulg. translate here. To David the water gained only at the risk of life, “seemed the very blood in which the life resides” (Leviticus 17:10-11).

These three.—Rather, the three.

2 Samuel 23:17. He said, Far be it from me — He looked upon it no longer as water, but as the blood of those men who fetched it with the peril of their lives; and the blood of every thing belonged to the Lord, and therefore he poured it out before him. If the generosity of David’s worthies was great, David’s generosity was no less so. Such actions as these dignify human nature, and manifest an excellence and grandeur which one should not otherwise think it capable of. These things did these three — They all joined in this hazardous exploit. But now follows what they did singly.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.Better as in 1 Chronicles 11:19. 15, 16. the well of Beth-lehem—An ancient cistern, with four or five holes in the solid rock, at about ten minutes distance to the north of the eastern corner of the hill of Beth-lehem, is pointed out by the natives as Bir-Daoud; that is, David's well. Dr. Robinson doubts the identity of the well; but others think that there are no good grounds for doing so. Certainly, considering this to be the ancient well, Beth-lehem must have once extended ten minutes further to the north, and must have lain in times of old, not as now, on the summit, but on the northern rise of the hill; for the well is by or (1Ch 11:7) at the gate. I find in the description of travellers, that the common opinion is, that David's captains had come from the southeast, in order to obtain, at the risk of their lives, the so-much-longed-for water; while it is supposed that David himself was then in the great cave that is not far to the southeast of Beth-lehem; which cave is generally held to have been that of Adullam. But (Jos 15:35) Adullam lay "in the valley"; that is, in the undulating plain at the western base of the mountains of Judea and consequently to the southwest of Beth-lehem. Be this as it may, David's men had in any case to break through the host of the Philistines, in order to reach the well; and the position of Bir-Daoud agrees well with this [Van De Velde]. Is not this the blood of the men, i.e. the price of their blood or lives, which they rashly exposed to manifest hazard?

These things did these three mighty men; either one of these three are here omitted, as one of the first three is not named, 1Ch 11; or Abishai, who follows next, was one of these three. And he said, be it far from me, O Lord, that one should do this,.... Drink of the water these men had brought him:

is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? who risked the shedding of their blood, and went in danger of their lives to get it:

therefore he would not drink it: some compare with this the story of Alexander (d) to whom a vessel of water was offered when in extreme thirst, which he refused, because he could not bear to drink it alone, and so small a quantity could not be divided among all about him; but the reasons are not the same:

these things did these three mighty men; which made them very famous.

(d) Curt. Hist. l. 7. c. 5.

And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men.
17. is not this the blood] As the text stands, the sentence is simply an interrogative exclamation: The blood of the men …? But Sept., Vulg. and Chron. read: Shall I drink the blood …? The water fetched at the risk of his comrades’ lives seemed to him the very blood in which the life resides (Leviticus 17:10-11).The third leading hero was Shammah, the son of Age the Hararite (הררי is probably contracted from ההררי, 2 Samuel 23:33). He also made himself renowned by a great victory over the Philistines. The enemy had gathered together לחיּה, "as a troop," or in a crowd. This meaning of היּה (here and 2 Samuel 23:13, and possibly also in Psalm 68:11) is thoroughly established by the Arabic (see Ges. Thes. p. 470). But it seems to have fallen into disuse afterwards, and in the Chronicles it is explained in 2 Samuel 23:13 by מלחמה, and in 2 Samuel 23:15 by מחנה. "On a portion of a field of lentils there," sc., where the Philistines had gathered together, the people (of Israel) were smitten. Then Shammah stationed himself in the midst of the field, and יצּילה, "wrested it," from the foe, and smote the Philistines. Instead of עדשׁים, lentils, we find in the Chronicles שׁלעורים, barley, a very inconsiderable difference.
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