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 got them away through the plain all night.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.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."
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.
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).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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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 4:1. When the son of Saul heard of the death of Abner, "his hands slackened," i.e., he lost the power and courage to act as king, since Abner had been the only support of his throne. "And all Israel was confounded;" i.e., not merely alarmed on account of Abner's death, but utterly at a loss what to do to escape the vengeance of David, to which Abner had apparently fallen a victim.
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