And there they left their images, and David and his men burned them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.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. 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.And there they left their images, and David and his men burned them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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. 1 Chronicles 3:6 as Elishama, because Elishama follows afterwards. There are two names after Elishua in 1 Chronicles 3:6-7, and 1 Chronicles 14:6-7, viz., Eliphalet and Nogah, which have not crept into the text from oversight or from a wrong spelling of other names, because the number of the names is given as nine in 1 Chronicles 3:8, and the two names must be included in order to bring out that number. And, on the other hand, it is not by the mistake of a copyist that they have been omitted from the text before us, but it has evidently been done deliberately on account of their having died in infancy, or at a very early age. This also furnishes a very simple explanation of the fact, that the name Eliphalet occurs again at the end of the list, namely, because a son who was born later received the name of his brother who had died young. Eliada, the last but one, is called Beeliada in 1 Chronicles 14:7, another form of the name, compounded with Baal instead of El. David had therefore nineteen sons, six of whom were born in Hebron (2 Samuel 3:2.), and thirteen at Jerusalem. Daughters are not mentioned in the genealogical accounts, because as a rule only heiresses or women who acquired renown from special causes were included in them. There is a daughter named Thamar mentioned afterwards in 2 Samuel 13:1.
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