2 Samuel 4:7
For when they came into the house, he lay on his bed in his bedchamber, and they smote him, and slew him, and beheaded him, and took his head, and gat them away through the plain all night.
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(7) Took his head.—There is no difficulty with the repetition in 2Samuel 4:7 of what has been already mentioned inverse 6, for it is common in the Scripture narratives to repeat statements when any additional fact (as here, the carrying off of the head) is to be mentioned. (See, e.g., 2Samuel 3:22-23, where Joab’s arrival is twice mentioned, and 2Samuel 5:1-3, where the mention of the assembly at Hebron is repeated.)

Through the plain.—As in 2Samuel 2:29, the Arabah, or valley of the Jordan, the natural way from Mahanaim to Hebron.

2 Samuel 4:7-8. They smote him, and slew him, &c. — The privacy of the place gave them opportunity to do all this, without discovery. And gat them away through the plain, from Mahanaim to Hebron — It being for the most part a flat country, till they came to ascend the mountain, on the side of which Hebron stood. Hath avenged the king of Saul and of his seed — For they were all now extinguished except his grandson Mephibosheth, who was of no account because of his lameness.

4:1-7 See how Ishbosheth was murdered! When those difficulties dispirit us, which should sharpen our endeavours, we betray both our heavenly crowns and our earthly lives. Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty and ruin. The idle soul is an easy prey to the destroyer. We know not when and where death will meet us. When we lie down to sleep, we are not sure that we may not sleep the sleep of death before we awake; nor do we know from what hand the death-blow may come.As though they would have fetched wheat - This is a very obscure passage, and the double repetition in 2 Samuel 4:6-7 of the murder of the king and of the escape of the assassin, is hard to account for. Rechab and Baanah came into the house under the pretence of getting grain, probably for the band which they commanded out of the king's storehouse, and so contrived to get access into the king's chamber; or, they found the wheat-carriers (the persons whose business it was to carry in grain for the king's household) just going into the king's house, and by joining them got into the midst of the house unnoticed. If the latter be the sense, the literal translation of the words would be: "And behold (or, and there) there came into the midst of the house the carriers of wheat, and they (i. e. Rechab and Baanah) smote him, etc." 7. when they came into the house, he lay on his bed—Rechab and Baanah came in the heat of the day, when they knew that Ish-bosheth, their master, would be resting on his divan; and as it was necessary, for the reason just given, to have the corn the day before it was needed, their coming at that time, though it might be a little earlier than usual, created no suspicion, and attracted no notice [Harmer].

gat them away through the plain—that is, the valley of the Jordan, through which their way lay from Mahanaim to Hebron.

Through the plain, i.e. in the way from Mahanaim to Hebron; which for the most part was a plain country.

For when they came into the house, he lay on his bed in his bedchamber,.... This is repeated to give a more particular account of the murder; though Abarbinel thinks they went in twice; when they went in first they smote him under the fifth rib, and made their escape; but fearing they had not left him dead, they returned, and did as follows:

and they smote him, and slew him; so that it was out of all doubt with them that he was dead:

and beheaded him; to make sure work of it:

and took his head; along with them, perhaps in one of the sacks they had to fetch wheat in, and so passed undiscovered, to carry to David, to curry favour with him:

and gat them away through the plain all night; through the plain of Jordan; all the way from Mahanaim to Hebron being for the most part a plain country till they came to Hebron, which was mountainous; the way from Mahanaim to Hebron was a space of sixty eight miles, according to Bunting (z).

(z) Travels, p. 145, 148.

For when they came into the house, he lay on his bed in his bedchamber, and they smote him, and slew him, and beheaded him, and took his head, and gat them away through the plain all night.
7. through the plain] By the way of the Arabah. See note on ch. 2 Samuel 2:29. From Mahanaim to Hebron was a distance of about 80 or 90 miles.

2 Samuel 4:7Punishment of the murderers by David. - 2 Samuel 4:7. As the thread of the narrative was broken by the explanatory remarks in 2 Samuel 4:6, it is resumed here by the repetition of the words וגו ויּבאוּ: "They came into the house, as he lay upon his bed in his bed-chamber, and smote him, and slew him," for the purpose of attaching the account of the further progress of the affair, viz., that they cut off his head, took it and went by the way of the Arabah (the valley of the Jordan: see 2 Samuel 2:29) the whole night, and brought the head of Ishbosheth unto David to Hebron with these words: "Behold ( equals there thou hast) the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul thine enemy, who sought thy life; and thus hath Jehovah avenged my lord the king this day upon Saul and his seed." No motive is assigned for this action. But there can be little doubt that it was no other than the hope of obtaining a great reward from David. Thus they presumed "to spread the name of God and His providence as a cloak and covering over their villany, as the wicked are accustomed to do" (Berleb. Bible).
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