2 Samuel 23:6
But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) The sons of Belial.—According to the Masoretic punctuation, Belial is not here in the common form, but in the stronger abstract form=worthlessness. The coming in of Divine righteousness leads not only to the assimilation of that which is holy, but also to the rejection of that which is evil, by a law as necessary and immutable as that of action and reaction in the material world. The figures used are to show that, although the wicked injure whatever touches them, means will yet be found by which they may safely be put out of the way.

2 Samuel 23:6-7. But the sons of Belial — Having in the foregoing verses described the nature and stability of that kingdom which God had, by a sure covenant, settled upon him and his seed; and especially upon the Messiah, who was to be one of his posterity; he now describes the nature and miserable condition of all the enemies of this holy and blessed kingdom. Shall be all as thorns — Which men do not use to handle, but thrust them away. And so will God thrust away from himself, and from his people and kingdom, all those who shall either secretly or openly set themselves against it. That shall touch them must be fenced — He must arm himself with some iron weapon, whereby he may cut them down; or, with the staff of a spear, or some such thing, whereby he may thrust them away from himself, that they do him no hurt. They shall be utterly burned — Or, if men do not cut them down or thrust them away, they will burn and consume them. The place — Or, in their place, where they grow or stand.23:1-7 These words of David are very worthy of regard. Let those who have had long experience of God's goodness, and the pleasantness of heavenly wisdom, when they come to finish their course, bear their testimony to the truth of the promise. David avows his Divine inspiration, that the Spirit of God spake by him. He, and other holy men, spake and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. In many things he had his own neglect and wrong conduct to blame. But David comforted himself that the Lord had made with him an everlasting covenant. By this he principally intended the covenant of mercy and peace, which the Lord made with him as a sinner, who believed in the promised Saviour, who embraced the promised blessing, who yielded up himself to the Lord, to be his redeemed servant. Believers shall for ever enjoy covenant blessings; and God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, shall be for ever glorified in their salvation. Thus pardon, righteousness, grace, and eternal life, are secured as the gift of God through Jesus Christ. There is an infinite fulness of grace and all blessings treasured up in Christ, for those who seek his salvation. This covenant was all David's salvation, he so well knew the holy law of God and the extent of his own sinfulness, that he perceived what was needful for his own case in this salvation. It was therefore all his desire. In comparison, all earthly objects lost their attractions; he was willing to give them up, or to die and leave them, that he might enjoy full happiness, Ps 73:24-28. Still the power of evil, and the weakness of his faith, hope, and love, were his grief and burden. Doubtless he would have allowed that his own slackness and want of care were the cause; but the hope that he should soon be made perfect in glory, encouraged him in his dying moments.Although my house ... - The sense of this clause (according to the the King James Version) will be that David comparing the actual state of his family and kingdom during the later years of trouble and disaster with the prophetic description of the prosperity of the righteous king, and seeing how far it falls short, comforts himself by the terms of God's covenant 2 Samuel 7:12-16 and looks forward to Messiah's kingdom. The latter clause, "although he make it not to grow," must then mean that, although at the present time the glory of his house was not made to grow, yet all his salvation and all his desire was made sure in the covenant which would be fulfilled in due time. But most modern commentators understand both clauses as follows: "Is not my house so with God that He has made with me an everlasting covenant," etc.? "For all my salvation and all my desire, will He not cause it to spring up?" namely, in the kingdom of Solomon, and still more fully in the kingdom of Christ. 6. But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns—that is, the wicked enemies and persecutors of this kingdom of righteousness. They resemble those prickly, thorny plants which are twisted together, whose spires point in every direction, and which are so sharp and strong that they cannot be touched or approached without danger; but hard instruments and violent means must be taken to destroy or uproot them. So God will remove or destroy all who are opposed to this kingdom. The sons of Belial, or, the men of Belial, as it is expressed 2 Samuel 16:7, and elsewhere. Having in the foregoing verses described the nature, and felicity, and stability of that kingdom which God himself had by a sure and everlasting covenant settled upon him and his seed; and especially, upon the Messiah, who was to be one of his posterity; he now describes the quality, the mischievous nature, the hazardous and miserable condition, of all the enemies of this holy and blessed kingdom, whom he justly calleth sons of Belial, because they rebelled against God’s appointment, and against that king whom God had set over them; for which reason others are so called, 1 Samuel 10:27 2 Chronicles 13:7.

As thorns thrust away which men do not use to handle, as they do other trees, but thrust them away from themselves, by some instrument chosen for that purpose. And so will God remove or thrust away from himself, and from his people and kingdom, all those who shall either secretly or openly set themselves against it. And this may be here added, either,

1. By way of prescription to rulers, whom, as before he admonished to be just and kind to their people, 2 Samuel 23:3,4; so here he requires them to be severe in punishing and purging away wicked and incorrigible men from about his throne, and from among his people; the encouraging of the good, and the punishing of the bad, being the two chief works of every good magistrate, and the two pillars of all government. Or,

2. By way of caution; to show, that notwithstanding the holiness, and happiness, and sureness of this kingdom, yet there would be sons of Belial in it, who would endeavour to disturb and overthrow it, but to no purpose; for all their projects against it should be vain, and fall upon their own heads. But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away,.... Not like the tender grass that springs up, and flourishes after rain, and the sunshine upon that; but like thorns, useless, hurtful, and pernicious, and fit only for burning: this is true of wicked men in general, that cast off the yoke of the Lord, and become unprofitable, as Belial signifies; and of wicked governors in particular, who, instead of being helpful, are harmful to a commonwealth; and instead of being the joy and comfort of their subjects, and of giving pleasure to them, and making them cheerful and prosperous, give pain and trouble, and cause grief and sorrow; and are, if possible, to be thrust away, and deposed from government:

because they cannot be taken with hands; thorns cannot be handled and gently dealt with, but some instrument must be used to put them away with force; so wicked men, and especially wicked rulers, are untractable, and not to be managed in a gentle way, and therefore violent ones must be taken.

But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. But the sons of Belial] But the wicked, &c. All ungodly men and evil things are described as worthlessness or wickedness. Their judgment and destruction is the necessary consequence of the perfect rule of the righteous king. Cp. Matthew 13:41.Verses 6, 7. - The sons of Belial; Hebrew, belial; not a proper name, but a word signifying "worthlessness," and especially vicious worthlessness (see note on 1 Samuel 1:16). It is from this worthlessness that opposition arises to the just king, and he recognizes it as that which thwarts his efforts. The words may be rendered ?

"But the ungodly are as thorns, to be all of them thrust away;
For they may not be taken hold of with the hand.
And the man that would touch them
Must arm himself with iron and the staff of a spear;
And they shall be utterly burned with fire unto nothingness."
The vicious worthlessness which opposes righteous government must be treated like thorns, too prickly and sharp pointed for gentle dealing. They must be torn up by an iron hook fixed to the end of a spear-handle, and then burnt. The word translated in the same place in the Authorized Version is rendered by Jerome "even to nothing;" and it is just the sort of phrase for which his authority is greatest; for he went to Palestine, and remained there several years, to study the language under Hebrew teachers on the spot. The Septuagint must have had a different reading, as it translates "their shame." 50 Therefore will I praise Thee, O Jehovah, among the nations,

And sing praise to Thy name.

51 As He who magnifies the salvation of His king,

And showeth grace to His anointed,

To David, and his seed for ever.

The grace which the Lord had shown to David was so great, that the praise thereof could not be restricted to the narrow limits of Israel. With the dominion of David over the nations, there spread also the knowledge, and with this the praise, of the Lord who had given him the victory. Paul was therefore perfectly justified in quoting the verse before us (2 Samuel 22:50) in Romans 16:9, along with Deuteronomy 32:43 and Psalm 117:1, as a proof that the salvation of God was intended for the Gentiles also. The king whose salvation the Lord had magnified, was not David as an individual, but David and his seed for ever-that is to say, the royal family of David which culminated in Christ. David could thus sing praises upon the ground of the promise which he had received (2 Samuel 7:12-16), and which is repeated almost verbatim in the last clause of 2 Samuel 22:51. The Chethib מגדיל is the Hiphil participle מגדּיל, according to Psalm 18:51; and the Keri מגדּול, "tower of the fulness of salvation," is a singular conjecture.

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