2 Samuel 5:25
And David did so, as the LORD had commanded him; and smote the Philistines from Geba until you come to Gazer.
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(25) From Geba . . . to Gazer.—In the parallel passage (1Chronicles 14:16) it is “from Gibeon to Gazer.” One or the other is a slip of the scribe, and there can be little question that Gibeon is the true reading, since it lies about five and a half miles northwest of Jerusalem, while Geba (Gibeah) is about seven and a half miles north-east. The site of Gazer (or Gezer) has not been exactly identified, but it was certainly just on the edge of the Philistine plain. The distance of the pursuit from Gibeon was about twelve miles, and six miles more must already have been passed over before reaching Gibeon from the valley of Rephaim. The flight of the Philistines was determined in this north-westerly direction at first, from the fact that David had “fetched a compass,” and attacked them from the south. In 1Chronicles 14:8-17, these battles are placed between the unsuccessful (2Samuel 13:5-14) and the successful (2 Samuel 15) attempts to bring up the ark to Jerusalem. It is impossible now to determine the exact details of the chronology.

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.Geba - Better, as in marginal reference "Gibeon." Gazer should be "Gezer" (Joshua 10:33, etc.); it lay between the nether Bethhoron and the sea; on the direct route therefore which the Philistines, fleeing from Gibeon, would take. The exact site has now been identified (1 Kings 9:16). 24. the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees—now generally thought not to be mulberry trees, but some other tree, most probably the poplar, which delights in moist situations, and the leaves of which are rustled by the slightest movement of the air [Royle]. They followed their victory, and pursued them to their own borders, in which Gazer was, as Josephus relates. And David did so as the Lord commanded him,.... In all things he was obedient to the command of God; Saul was not: he got behind the army of the Philistines, as he was directed; and when he heard the sound in the mulberry trees, he arose and fell upon his enemies:

and smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer; or from Gibeon, as in 1 Chronicles 14:16; a city in the tribe of Benjamin, near to which this battle was fought, and where the pursuit began, which was carried as far as Gazer, a city that lay on the borders of the Philistines, as Josephus says (b); and so far they were pursued, and were smitten as they fled; and, according to Bunting (c), it was a space of eighteen miles.

(b) Antiqu. l. 7. c. 4. sect. 1.((c) Travels, &c. p. 138.

And David did so, as the LORD had commanded him; and smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to {h} Gazer.

(h) Which was in the tribe of Benjamin, but the Philistines possessed it.

25. from Geba] The Sept. and Chron., as well as Isaiah 28:21, which almost certainly refers to this miraculous defeat of the Philistines, all read Gibeon. This seems to be the true reading. Geba (see note on 1 Samuel 10:5) was too far to the east: Gibeon (see note on ch. 2 Samuel 2:12) was on the natural line of retreat northwards from the valley of Rephaim to Gezer.

Gazer] Rather, Gezer, a royal city of the Canaanites (Joshua 12:12), belonging to the tribe of Ephraim, and assigned to the Kohathite Levites (Joshua 21:21). Its Canaanite inhabitants retained possession of it until the time of Solomon, when Pharaoh took it and presented it to his daughter, Solomon’s queen (1 Kings 9:16). It lay between the lower Beth-horon and the sea (Joshua 16:3), and the name appears to survive in Tell Jezar, a hill about 10 miles W.S.W. of Beth-horon, and six miles E. of Akir (Ekron). M. Clermont Ganneau found there two inscriptions in Hebrew character, which he reads “Boundary of Gezer.” Conder’s Tent Work, I. 13. The Philistines were thus driven right back into their own lowland plain.

The Chronicler concludes the account of these victories with the words: “And the fame of David went out into all lands; and the Lord brought the fear of him upon all nations.”Verse 25. - From Geba until thou some to Gazer. In 1 Chronicles 14:16 "Gibson" is substituted for "Geba," and it is one of those corrections which a commentator is inclined to adopt, because it makes all things easy. For Gibeon lay directly on the road from the Rephaim valley towards Gazer, and the armies must have passed it in the fight. But if "Geba" be the right reading here, then the battle must have been most sternly contested. For it is the "Gibeah of Benjamin," Hebrew, "Geba of Benjamin," described in 1 Samuel 13:16. The Philistines had a garrison there in Saul's time (1 Samuel 13:3), and had probably again occupied it as a military post after their victory at Gilboa. To reach it the line of retreat would go nine miles northward over difficult ground; but this was not disadvantageous to a retreating army as long as it remained unbroken, and the Philistines would expect to be able to make a successful defense at a strong citadel like Geba, held by a garrison of their own troops. But when driven by David's "mighty men" from this fortified hill, being hemmed in by the defile of Michmash on the east, they would have no choice but to hurry down the valleys to the west, and, still passing by Gibson, so flee to Gazer. Thus the reading "Geba" implies a stout and long resistance ending in a most complete victory. And confessedly this was a decisive battle, fought with larger forces, and causing far larger loss to the Philistines than that at Baal-Perazim, where, attacked by only a few men, they were seized with panic, and saved themselves by a headlong flight. Gazer lay upon the border of Ephraim, and was one of the royal cities of the Canaanites, and so strong that it was left in the hands of its old possessors (Joshua 16:3, 10; Judges 1:19). Subsequently Solomon fortified it (1 Kings 9:17), as being the key of the defiles which led from Ekron and the plain of Philistia up to Jerusalem. We also find it mentioned as an important military post in the days of the Maccabees (1 Macc. 9:52). The pursuit would naturally stop here, as the fugitives would now be in their own country, and succour would be close at hand. Probably, too, the Canaanites who held the fortress were friendly to them, and gave them shelter.

David inquired of the Lord by the Urim whether he should go out against the foe, and whether God would give them into his hand;

(Note: Through the express statement that David inquired of Jehovah (viz., by the Urim) in both these conflicts with the Philistines (2 Samuel 5:19 and 2 Samuel 5:23), Diestel's assertion, that after the death of Saul we do not read any more about the use of the holy lot, is completely overthrown, as well as the conclusion which he draws from it, namely, that "David probably employed it for the purpose of giving a certain definiteness to his command over his followers, over whom he had naturally but little authority (1 Samuel 22:2?), rather than because he looked upon it himself with any peculiar reverence.")

and when he had received an answer in the affirmative to both these questions, he went to Baal-perazim (lit. into Baal-perazim), and smote them there, and said (2 Samuel 5:20), "Jehovah hath broken mine enemies before me like a water-breach," i.e., has smitten them before me, and broken their power as a flood breaks through and carries away whatever opposes it. From these words of David, the place where the battle was fought received the name of Baal-perazim, i.e., "possessor of breaches" (equivalent to Bruch-hausen or Brechendorf, Breach-ham or Break-thorpe). The only other passage in which the place is mentioned is Isaiah 28:21, where this event is alluded to, but it cannot have been far from the valley of Rephaim.

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