2 Samuel 5:21
And there they left their images, and David and his men burned them.
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(21) Their images.—The Philistines took their idols with them to battle, as the Israelites had formerly taken the ark, and the suddenness and completeness of their defeat is shown by their leaving them on the field. The statement that David “burned” them is taken from 1Chronicles 14:12, the Hebrew here being simply “took them away.” (See Deuteronomy 7:5.)

2 Samuel 5:21. And there they left their images — Their gods, which they had brought into the field with them to be carried before their host. Such was the consternation into which they were thrown. Thus we read, 2 Chronicles 25:14, that the Edomites had their gods along with them when they fought with Amaziah. And perhaps they learned this from the Israelites, who carried the ark (the symbol of God’s presence) in their army when they went to fight with the Philistines; who saw it, and took it, as the Israelites now did their images, 1 Samuel 4:4-5, &c. But behold here the difference between the ark and these images! When the ark fell into the hands of the Philistines it consumed them; but when these images fell into the hands of the Israelites, they could neither hurt them, nor save themselves from being consumed.

5:17-25 The Philistines considered not that David had the presence of God with him, which Saul had forfeited and lost. The kingdom of the Messiah, as soon as it was set up in the world, was thus attacked by the powers of darkness. The heathen raged, and the kings of the earth set themselves to oppose it; but all in vain, Ps 2:1, &c. The destruction will turn, as this did, upon Satan's own kingdom. David owns dependence on God for victory; and refers himself to the good pleasure of God, Wilt thou do it? The assurance God has given us of victory over our spiritual enemies, should encourage us in our spiritual conflicts. David waited till God moved; he stirred then, but not till then. He was trained up in dependence on God and his providence. God performed his promise, and David failed not to improve his advantages. When the kingdom of the Messiah was to be set up, the apostles, who were to beat down the devil's kingdom, must not attempt any thing till they received the promise of the Spirit; who came with a sound from heaven, as of a rushing, mighty wind, Ac 2:2.And there they left their images - An indication of the precipitancy of their flight, and the suddenness with which the Israelites burst upon them like a "breach of waters." The King James Version rendering "Burned them," does not give a translation (compare the margin), but a gloss, warranted by the explanation given in marginal references 21. there they left their images—probably their "lares" or household deities, which they had brought into the field to fight for them. They were burnt as ordained by law (De 7:5). Their images they seem to have brought into the field to fight for them, as the Israelites had formerly done the ark.

David burned them, as God had commanded, Deu 7:5.

And they left their images,.... Their idol gods, which they brought with them to protect and defend them, and give them success; perhaps in imitation of the Israelites, who formerly brought the ark of God into their camp against the Philistines, 1 Samuel 4:3; and it appears to have been the custom of other countries, in later times, to bring their gods with them to battle (x):

and David and his men burnt them: that is, his men burnt them at his command, 1 Chronicles 14:12; agreeably to the law of God, that so no profit might be made of them, Deuteronomy 7:5; the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions, and others, render it, "and took them", or "carried them away" (y); as they might do, and, after they had exposed them in triumph, then burnt them.

(x) "Omnigenumque Deum", &c. Virgil. Aeneid. l. 8. (y) , Sept. "tulit", V. L. Tigurine version, Montanus; "sustulit", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

And there they left their images, and David and his men burned them.
21. their images] Cp. 1 Samuel 31:9 (E. V. idols). They brought them into the field to ensure victory, as the Edomites appear to have done (2 Chronicles 25:14), and as the Israelites brought out the Ark (1 Samuel 4:3).

burnt them] Render, took them away, as spoil, perhaps to display in his triumphal procession. According to 1 Chronicles 14:12 he afterwards burnt them, in compliance with the law of Deuteronomy 7:5; Deuteronomy 7:25. The E. V. here “burned them” is a gloss, adopted from the Targum and the passage in 1 Chr. Thus the old disgrace of the capture of the Ark by the Philistines was avenged.

Verse 21. - They left their images. This is a further proof of the suddenness of the attack, and the completeness of the Philistine discomfiture. For images we find "gods" in the parallel place in 1 Chronicles 14:12, and the word used here is rendered "idols" in 1 Samuel 31:9. As the Philistines supposed that these images of their deities would ensure their victory, they would set great store by them, as the Israelites did by the ark (1 Samuel 4:4), and the French by the oriflamme. Their capture, therefore, was a feat as great as the winning of the eagle of a Roman legion. David and his men burned them; Hebrew, took them away. This translation of the Authorized Version, made to force the words into verbal agreement with 1 Chronicles 14:12, is utterly indefensible; and, like most wrong things, it is absurd. The Bible cannot be improved by frauds, and really the two narratives complete one another. David and his men carried off these images as trophies, just as the Philistines carried off the ark (1 Samuel 4:11). But the ark proved mightier than the Philistine gods, and in terror the people restored it to Israel. But no avenging hand interfered to rescue these gods, and, after being paraded in triumph, they were made into a bonfire. 2 Samuel 5:21The Philistines left their idols behind them there. They had probably brought them to the war, as the Israelites once did their ark, as an auxiliary force. "And David took them away." The Chronicles have "their gods" instead of "their idols," and "they were burned with fire" instead of ישּׂאם, "he took them away,"

(Note: This is the marginal reading in the English version, though the text has "he burned them." - Tr.)

took them as booty. The reading in the Chronicles gives the true explanation of the fact, as David would certainly dispose of the idols in the manner prescribed in the law (Deuteronomy 7:5, Deuteronomy 7:25). The same reading was also most probably to be found in the sources employed by our author, who omitted it merely as being self-evident. In this way David fully avenged the disgrace brought upon Israel by the Philistines, when they carried away the ark in the time of Eli.

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