Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, you were he that led out and brought in Israel: and the LORD said to you, You shall feed my people Israel, and you shall be a captain over Israel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)2 Samuel 5:2. The Lord said, Thou shalt feed my people Israel — The learned Bishop Patrick very justly observes here, that this is the first time we meet with any ruler, or governor of a people, characterized under the idea of a shepherd; and it cannot but be thought remarkable that the first man so characterized was at first in fact a shepherd; and when we find him, after his advancement to the throne, still characterized by God himself under the same idea, what can be a clearer inference, than that God’s raising him to be a king was but exalting him to a nobler office of the same nature with his first? How fine a document is this to princes, that they are not, in the intention of Providence, the tyrants, but the guardians of their people! that their business is the preservation and well-being of the flock, from the duty they owe to the great Lord and owner thereof! And how fully is this document confirmed to us, when we find bad princes set forth, in the prophetic style, under the characters of roaring lions, hungry bears, and devouring wolves. It was a truly noble and princely maxim of Cyrus, that “every man that aspired to the government of others should take care to be a better man than those he ruled.” — Delaney.2 Samuel 12:23-40 of the manner in which the various tribes from both sides of the Jordan came to Hebron to make David king, and of the joyful festivities on the occasion. The consummation to which events in God's Providence had been leading had now come. Saul and Jonathan, Abner and Ish-bosheth, were dead; David was already head of a very large portion of Israel; the Philistines, and perhaps the remnant of the Canaanites, were restless and threatening; and it was obviously the interest of the Israelite nation to unite themselves under the sovereignty of the valiant and virtuous son of Jesse, their former deliverer, and the man designated by the word of God as their Captain and Shepherd. Accordingly he was at once anointed king over all Israel (compare 2 Samuel 2:4 note).
2Sa 5:1-5. The Tribes Anoint David King over Israel.
1, 2. Then came all the tribes of Israel—a combined deputation of the leading authorities in every tribe. [See on 1Ch 11:1.] David possessed the first and indispensable qualification for the throne; namely, that of being an Israelite (De 17:15). Of his military talent he had furnished ample proof. And the people's desire for his assumption of the government of Israel was further increased by their knowledge of the will and purpose of God, as declared by Samuel (1Sa 16:11-13).
The Lord said to thee, to wit, by Samuel, 1 Samuel 16:11-13; for though the words vary, yet the sense is the same.
Thou shalt feed my people Israel i.e. rule them, and take care of them, as a shepherd doth of his sheep, Psalm 78:70,71. This expression he useth to admonish David, that he was not made a king to advance his own glory and interest, but for the good and benefit of his people; and that he ought to rule them with all tenderness, and to watch over them with all diligence.
thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel; that led out the armies of Israel against their enemies, fought their battles for them, obtained victories, and brought the troops under his command home in safety; and the remembrance of these valiant acts of his, which then endeared him to the people, was now another reason for their choosing him king: and another follows, the chiefest of them all:
and the Lord said to thee; when anointed by Samuel; for though what follows is not recorded in so many words, yet the sense of it is expressed in the anointing him to be king, whose office, as such, lay in doing the following things:
thou shalt feed my people Israel; as a shepherd feeds his flock; hence kings were frequently called shepherds, and David particularly, in which he was an eminent type of Christ, see Psalm 78:71,
and thou shalt be a captain over Israel; the Targum is,"and thou shalt be king over Israel;''which gives the true sense of the tribes, and which was the chief and prevailing reason with them to make him their king; and which they, at least many of them, would have done before, even immediately upon the death of Saul, but that they were persuaded by Abner to yield obedience to Ishbosheth he set up.Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2. thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel] David had won the good-will of the people as their leader in war. Cp. 1 Samuel 18:5; 1 Samuel 18:13; 1 Samuel 18:16.
the Lord said to thee] See note on ch. 2 Samuel 3:9.
Thou shalt feed] Lit. “thou shalt shepherd” (LXX. ποιμανεῖς): a natural metaphor to express the ruler’s care for his people. It is used by Greek poets, e.g. Homer, whose regular title for Agamemnon is ποιμὴν λαῶν, “shepherd of the peoples.” But it was especially appropriate in the case of David, who was taken from the sheepfolds of Bethlehem to be the shepherd of Israel (Psalm 78:70-72), as the fishers of the Galilean lake were called to become “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19), and (except perhaps in Genesis 49:24) it does not appear to be used in the O. T. before his time.
captain] The title given to Saul in 1 Samuel 9:16, &c., and to David in 1 Samuel 25:30 (E. V. ruler).Verse 2. - Thou shalt feed. In biblical language the pastoral office is that of the civil and not of the spiritual ruler. Captain; Hebrew, nagid, prince; so the Revised Version (and see note on 1 Samuel 9:16). The word refers not to military matters, but to the civil administration. David had proved himself a competent leader in war when Saul was king. What Jehovah now gives is the government of Israel in time of peace. The Authorized Version renders "captain" from not perceiving that the Divine promise ensured to David far more than a military chieftainship. 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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