2 Samuel 23:23
He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the first three. And David set him over his guard.
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(23) Set him over his guard.—The word translated guard means rather private audience. David either made him a member of, or set him over his council. If in 1Chronicles 27:34 “Jehoiada son of Benaiah” is an error for “Benaiah son of Jehoiada,” his holding of this office is also mentioned there.

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.David set him over his guard - "Made him of his privy council," would be a better rendering. See 1 Samuel 22:14 note. This position, distinct from his office as captain of the Cherethites and Pelethites, is clearly indicated 1 Chronicles 27:34. 19-39. the first three—The mighty men or champions in David's military staff were divided into three classes—the highest, Jashobeam, Eleazar, and Shammah; the second class, Abishai, Benaiah, and Asahel; and the third class, the thirty, of which Asahel was the chief. There are thirty-one mentioned in the list, including Asahel; and these added to the two superior orders make thirty-seven. Two of them, we know, were already dead; namely, Asahel [2Sa 3:30] and Uriah [2Sa 11:17]; and if the dead, at the drawing up of the list, amounted to seven, then we might suppose a legion of honor, consisting of the definite number thirty, where the vacancies, when they occurred, were replaced by fresh appointments. Heb. over (for el is sometimes put for al) the men (which is oft understood, as hath been noted before) of his command. So his guard is called, because they were always at the king’s hand, ready to hear and receive the king’s commands, and to put them in execution. Over the Cherethites and Pelethites, as appears by comparing 2 Samuel 8:18 20:23, who were faithful and obedient to him, when others revolted from him, 2 Samuel 15:18.

He was more honourable than the thirty,.... Whose names are after recorded:

but he attained not to the first three; the first triumvirate, Jashobeam, Eleazar, and Shammah; he was not equal to them for fortitude, courage, and military exploits:

and David set him over his guard; his bodyguard, the Cherethites and Pelethites, 2 Samuel 8:18; who are called in the Hebrew text "his hearing" (m), because they hearkened to his orders and commands, and obeyed them.

(m) "ad auditum suum", Pagninus, Montanus.

He was more honourable than the {m} thirty, but he attained not to the first three. And David set him over his guard.

(m) He was more valiant than the thirty that follow and not so valiant as the six before.

23. set him over his guard] Made him a member of his privy council: lit. appointed him to his audience. Cp. 1 Samuel 22:14 (note). If, as seems not improbable, Jehoiada the son of Benaiah in 1 Chronicles 27:34 is a textual error for Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, we have another reference to his tenure of this office, which was distinct from that of commander of the body guard (ch. 2 Samuel 8:18, 2 Samuel 20:23).

Verse 23. - David set him over his guard. We have already seen (upon 1 Samuel 22:14) that the words mean that David made him a member of his privy council. Literally the words are, and David appointed him to his audience. In 1 Chronicles 27:34 mention is made of "Jehoiada the son of Benaiah" as being next in the council to Ahithophel, and many commentators think that the names have been transposed, and that we ought to read, "Benaiah the son of Jehoiada." 2 Samuel 23:23Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, "Jehoiada the priest" according to 1 Chronicles 27:5, possibly the one who was "prince for Aaron," i.e., of the family of Aaron, according to 1 Chronicles 12:27, was captain of the Crethi and Plethi according to 2 Samuel 8:18 and 2 Samuel 20:23. He was the son of a brave man, rich in deeds (חי is evidently an error for חיל in the Chronicles), of Kabzeel in the south of Judah (Joshua 15:21). "He smote the two Ariels of Moab." The Arabs and Persians call every remarkably brave man Ariel, or lion of God (vid., Bochart, Hieroz. ii. pp. 7, 63). They were therefore two celebrated Moabitish heroes. The supposition that they were sons of the king of the Moabites is merely founded upon the conjecture of Thenius and Bertheau, that the word בּני (sons of) has dropped out before Ariel. "He also slew the lion in the well on the day of the snow," i.e., a lion which had been driven into the neighbourhood of human habitations by a heavy fall of snow, and had taken refuge in a cistern. The Chethib האריה and בּאר are the earlier forms for the Keris substituted by the Masoretes הארי and הבּור, and consequently are not to be altered. He also slew an Egyptian of distinguished size. According to the Keri we should read מראה אישׁ (instead of מראה fo daetsni( א אשׁר), "a man of appearance," i.e., a distinguished man, or a man of great size, ἄνδρα ὀρατόν (lxx); in the Chronicles it is simplified as מדּה אישׁ, a man of measure, i.e., of great height. This man was armed with a spear or javelin, whereas Benaiah was only armed with a stick; nevertheless the latter smote him, took away his spear, and slew him with his own weapon. According to the Chronicles the Egyptian was five cubits high, and his spear like a weaver's beam. Through these feats Benaiah acquired a name among the three, though he did not equal them (2 Samuel 23:22, 2 Samuel 23:23, as in 2 Samuel 23:18, 2 Samuel 23:19); and David made him a member of his privy council (see at 1 Samuel 22:14).
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