2 Samuel 5:8
And David said on that day, Whoever gets up to the gutter, and smites the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind that are hated of David's soul, he shall be chief and captain. Why they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) Getteth up to the gutter.—The sense of this passage is obscure, partly from the difficulty of the Hebrew construction, partly from the uncertainty of the meaning of the word translated gutter. This word occurs elsewhere only in Psalm 42:7, where it is translated waterspouts. The ancient versions differ in their interpretations, but the most probable sense is watercourses, such as were connected with the precipices around Mount Zion. The two clauses also are unnecessarily transposed in our version, and the word getteth, by a very slight change in the Masoretic vowels, becomes cast or hurl. The whole clause will then read, “Whosoever smites the Jebusites, let him hurl into the watercourses (i.e., down the precipice) the lame and the blind.” David thus applies to all the Jebusites the expression they had just used of those who would suffice to resist his attack. The clause “that are hated of David’s soul,” shows that in this siege no quarter was to be given; the Jebusites were under the old ban resting upon all the Canaanites, and were to be destroyed. The English version inserts the clause, “he shall be chief and captain,” which is not in the original, and is here obscure. In 1Chronicles 11:6, however, the same statement is made more fully and is important: “David said, Whosoever smiteth the Jebusites first shall be chief and captain. So Joab the son of Zeruiah went first up and was chief.” It thus appears that David promised the command of his army to the man who should successfully lead the forlorn hope; Joab did this, and won the place in the armies of all Israel which he had hitherto filled in that of Judah. This fact helps to explain the sense of obligation and restraint which David afterwards felt towards Joab.

Wherefore they said.—Rather, they say. This became a proverbial expression: no intercourse is to be had with such people as the Jebusites, here again called “the blind and the lame.”

2 Samuel 5:8. David said on that day — When the assault was made; Whosoever getteth up into the gutter — That is, whosoever scaleth the fort, or getteth up to the top of it, where the gutter was. Or, as some understand it, cuts off their pipes of water, or their cisterns into which the water fell. Dr. Kennicott observes that “the Hebrew, צנור, zenur, gutter, occurs but once more in the Bible, and does not seem commonly understood in this place. The English version calls it, the gutter; the Vulgate, fistulas, pipes; Vatablus, canales; Junius and Tremellius, emissarium, a common sewer; Poole, tubus aquæ, a pipe for water; and Bochart, alveus, a bed or channel of a river. Most interpreters agree in making the word signify something hollow, and in applying it to water.” It may mean, he thinks, “a subterraneous passage, or great hollow, through which men could pass and repass for water. That this zenur, in the text, was such an under-ground passage, might be strongly presumed from the text itself; but it is proved to have been so by Josephus. For, speaking of this very transaction, he says, ‘The citadel being as yet in the possession of the enemy, the king promised that he would make any one general of all his forces who should ascend into the citadel, δια υποκειμενων φαραγγων, through the subterraneous cavities.’ Here then we have subterraneous cavities most remarkably answering to zenur, and putting this interpretation upon a very solid footing.” Kenn. Dissert., vol. 1. p. 42. And the lame and the blind, that are hated of David’s soul — This, some think, plainly shows, that by the lame and the blind must be meant the idols of the Jebusites; because David certainly abhorred idolatry, but could never detest men for mere unblameable infirmities. But two things may be said in answer to this: 1st, That the lame and the blind Jebusites had probably themselves insulted David, and blasphemed God, and David might hate them in the same sense in which he often speaks of hating the wicked in his Psalms; that is, he might hate their ways, their dispositions, and actions. But, 2d, The original words may, and certainly should be rendered, as they are by the Seventy, who hate David’s soul. He shall be chief and captain — These words are not in the Hebrew here, but are fifty supplied from 1 Chronicles 11:6, where they are expressed. Wherefore they said — That is, it became a proverb, or common saying, used by David and others: The blind and the lame shall not come into the house — Or, into this house; that is, into the fort of Zion. The blind and lame Jebusites were set to keep that fort, and to keep others from coming into it; but now they themselves are shut out of it, and none of them was to be admitted to come into it again; which David might resolve to ordain, to keep up the memory of this great exploit, and of the insolent carriage of the Jebusites, and their unhappy success. Or, the blind and the lame shall not come into my house; namely, into the king’s palace; which, though a general rule and decree of David, yet might be dispensed with in some special cases, as in that of Mephibosheth. But it is not necessary to understand this as a proverb; for the words may be rendered, as they are in the margin of our Bibles, Because they had said, Even the blind and the lame, he (that is, David) shall not come into the house; or, because they (the Jebusites) had said, The blind and the lame shall hinder him. They who understand, by the blind and the lame, the idols of the Jebusites, consider this clause as meaning, that from this time it became a proverb, Let not the blind and lame come into the house; that is, do not trust in idols, who have eyes and see not, &c.; and who are not able to do more for you than the lame and the blind.5:6-10 The enemies of God's people are often very confident of their own strength, and most secure when their day to fall draws nigh. But the pride and insolence of the Jebusites animated David, and the Lord God of hosts was with him. Thus in the day of God's power, Satan's strong-hold, the human heart, is changed into a habitation of God through the Spirit, and into a throne on which the Son of David rules, and brings every thought into obedience to himself. May He thus come, and claim, and cleanse, each of our hearts; and, destroying every idol, may he reign there for ever!i. e. "Whosoever will smite the Jebusites, let him reach both the lame and the blind, who are the hated of David's soul, by the gutter or water-course, and he shall be chief." The only access to the citadel was where the water had worn a channel (some understand a subterranean channel), and where there was, in consequence, some vegetation in the rock. Joab (see the marginal reference) took the hint, and with all the activity that had distinguished his brother Anabel 2 Samuel 2:18, climbed up first. The blind and the lame are either literally such, placed there in derision by the Jebusites who thought the stronghold impregnable, or they are the Jebusite garrison, so called in derision by David.

Wherefore they said ... - i. e. it became a proverb (as in 1 Samuel 19:24). The proverb seems merely to have arisen from the blind and the lame being the hated of David's soul, and hence, to have been used proverbially of any that were hated, or unwelcome, or disagreeable.

8. Whosoever getteth up to the gutter—This is thought by some to mean a subterranean passage; by others a spout through which water was poured upon the fire which the besiegers often applied to the woodwork at the gateways, and by the projections of which a skilful climber might make his ascent good; a third class render the words, "whosoever dasheth them against the precipice" (1Ch 11:6). Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, i.e. whosoever scaleth the fort, or getteth up to the top of it, where the gutter was.

And the lame and the blind, or even, or especially (for the Hebrew particle vau signifies both ways) the lame and the blind; i.e. those of them who are set to defend that place; who, as they pretend, should be only the lame and the blind. Others understand it of their idols or images. But they could not properly be said to be smitten, i. e. killed; as that word is used here, and elsewhere.

That are hated of David’s soul: this belongs to the Jebusite, and the lame and the blind; and it is explained in 2 Samuel 5:6.

He shall be chief and captain: these words are fitly supplied out of 1 Chronicles 11:6, where they are expressed; and they must needs be understood to make the sense complete. And such ellipses or defects of a part of the sentence are usual in promises, and oaths, and conditional offers, such as this was.

Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house, i.e. whence it became a proverb, or a common saying, used by David and others upon this occasion. Or otherwise, The blind and the lame Jebusites were set to keep the house, i.e. the fort of Zion; and to keep others from coming into it; but now they are shut out of it, and none of them, to wit, either,

1. Of the Jebusites; or,

2. Of blind and lame persons, shall be admitted to come into it again; which David might resolve, and ordain, to keep up the memory of this great exploit, and of the insolent carriage of the Jebusites, and their unhappy success. Or, The blind and the lame shall not come into my house, to wit, into the king’s palace. And although this might be a general rule and decree of David’s, yet he might dispense with it in some special cases, as in that of Mephibosheth. But it is not necessary that this should be a proverb; for the words may be thus rendered, as it is in the margin of our Bible, Because they had said, even the blind and the lame, He (i. e. David) shall not come into the house; or, Because they (i. e. the Jebusites) had said, The blind and the lame shall hinder him; (which words are easily supplied out of 2 Samuel 5:6, where having spoken of this more largely, it was sufficient here to mention the most emphatical words, as is usual in such cases;) he shall not come into the house, or hither, as they say, 2 Samuel 5:6. i. e. into the fort; for the word house is used very largely and generally in the Hebrew language, for any place, as Judges 16:21. And David said on that day,.... On which he took the strong hold of Zion:

whosoever getteth up to the gutter; where it is generally supposed the blind and lame were, whether images or real men: but what is meant by "Tzinnur", we render "gutter", is not easy to say; we follow some of the Jewish writers, who take it to be a canal, or water spout, used to carry off the water from roofs of houses into cisterns, as the word is rendered in Psalm 42:7; which is the only place besides this in which it is used in Scripture; but R. Isaiah takes it to be the bar or bolt of the gate, and the sense to be, whoever got up to the gate, and got in at that, unbolting it, or breaking through it; the Targum interprets it of the tower of the city, or strong fortress, and so Abarbinel; but Jarchi says it was a ditch, agreeably to which Bochart (h) translates the words, and indeed more agreeably to the order of them;"whosoever smites the Jebusites, let him cast into the ditch (next the wall) both the blind and the lame, extremely hated by David.''But a learned modern writer (i) gives a more ingenious and probable interpretation of these words thus;"whosoever (first) smiteth the Jebusites, and through the subterraneous passages reaches the lame and the blind, &c.''and which seems to be favoured by Josephus, as he observes; who says (k), the king promised the command of the whole army to him who should , "through the subterraneous cavities", go up to the citadel, and take it: to which I would add that the word is used in the Chaldee paraphrase of Ecclesiastes 1:7, of the several subterraneous passages, through which the rivers flow out of and reflow into the ocean: remarkable is the note of Theodoret,

"a certain Hebrew says, Aquila renders it "through a pipe"; on which, he observes, David being willing to spare the walls of the city, ordered the citizens should enter into the city by an aqueduct;''according to the Jews, there, was a cave underground, which reached from the king's house in Jerusalem to Jericho, when it was taken by Nebuchadnezzar; See Gill on Jeremiah 39:4; in which story there may be a mixture of fable; yet it is not improbable that there was such a subterraneous passage; since Dio Cassius (l) speaks of several such, through which the Jews made their escape in the last siege of the city:

and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind; or even the lame and the blind men the Jebusites had placed to mock David; and therefore it follows:

that are hated of David's soul: because he was despised and jeered at by them, and through them: if these could be understood of their idols and images, the phrase would be easily accounted for, nothing being more abominable to David than idolatry:

he shall be chief and captain; these words are not in the original text here, but are supplied from 1 Chronicles 11:6; that is, he shall be chief commander of the army, as Joab became, who was the first that went up and smote them:

wherefore they said, the blind and the lame shall not come into the house; that is, either the Jebusites said this, that their images, called in derision by David the blind and the lame, if these did not keep David out, they should never be intrusted with the safety of their fort any more (m); or rather because the blind and the lame men said this of David, he shall not come into the house, the fort, or citadel, therefore David hated them; which is the sense of the above learned writer (n).

(h) Phaleg. l. 4. c. 36. col. 304. (i) Dr. Kennicott's Dissert. 1. p. 35. (k) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 7. c. 3. sect. 1.) (l) Hist. l. 66. (m) Gregory, ut supra. (Notes and Observations, &c. ch. 7.) (n) Dr. Kennicott, ut supra. (Dissert. 1. p. 35.)

And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, that are hated of David's soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not {d} come into the house.

(d) The idols should no longer enter into that place.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. Whosoever, &c.] An obscure and probably corrupt passage. The E. V., which transposes the first two clauses and introduces an apodosis from Chronicles, cannot be defended. The most probable explanations, neither of them however free from serious objections, are:

(1)  Whosoever smiteth the Jebusite,

let him hurl down the precipice

both the lame and the blind,

hated of David’s soul.

David bids his men give no quarter, taking up the words of the Jebusites, and in derision calling their garrison “blind and lame.”

(2)  Whosoever smiteth the Jebusite,

let him reach the watercourse,

[and smite] both the lame and the blind,

hated of David’s soul.

According to this rendering there is a reference to the way in which the citadel, supposed by its defenders to be inaccessible, was to be scaled, either by some waterworn gully in the rock, or through a subterranean channel which had been constructed to supply the fortress with water.

The author of the book of Chronicles either had a different text in his original authority, or, more probably, omitted an expression which was already obscure. He gives the passage thus: “Whosoever smiteth the Jebusites first shall be chief and captain. So Joab the son of Zeruiah went first up, and was chief.”

The Sept. reads; “Whosoever smiteth the Jebusite, let him slay with the sword both the lame and the blind who hate David’s soul.” The Vulg. gives a mere paraphrase: “For David had offered a reward on that day to the man who should smite the Jebusite, and reach the water-pipes of the houses, and remove the blind and lame who hated David’s soul.”

Wherefore they said] Wherefore they are wont to say: the regular phrase for introducing a proverb. Cp. 1 Samuel 19:24.

The blind, &c.] This is understood by the Sept., which reads “into the house of the Lord,” and by the Vulgate, which renders “into the Temple,” to mean that the blind and lame were excluded from the Temple. But this does not seem to have been the case, although they were forbidden to minister (Leviticus 21:18). The explanation that it was a proverb applied to obnoxious persons, meaning “We will not have disagreeable persons in the house,” does not take account of the origin of the saying. Probably it should be rendered as a kind of exclamation: “Blind and lame! he cannot come into the house!” i.e. the blind and the lame are sufficient to defend the fortress: he (the assailant) cannot enter into it.Verse 8. - Whosoever getteth up to the gutter. The word rendered "gutter" occurs elsewhere only in Psalm 42:7, where it is translated "waterspout." Josephus thinks that it was an underground passage or drain. Ewald argues that it was a precipice, and others that it was a dent or hollow in the rocky face of the ravine, which David had noticed and thought practicable. The view of Josephus, suggested to him probably by his knowledge of the way in which the site of Jerusalem is honeycombed by tunnels, has been wonderfully confirmed by the discoveries made by Sir C. Warren ('Recovery of Jerusalem,' pp. 240, sqq.). At the northern end of the Pool of Siloam he found an arched passage gradually narrowing down from a considerable height, till finally there was a passage of only fourteen inches, and as there was a depth of ten inches of water, there were left but four inches of space for breathing. But through this his men struggled, and, at the end of four hours' labour, they reached the light of day at the spring called the Virgin's Fount. Beginning here on a subsequent day, they went along a passage sixty-seven feet in length, and came to a perpendicular shaft leading up through the solid stone of the hill; and, having scaled this, they next came upon a sloping passage, which finally conducted them to a spot on the hill of Ophel within the fortifications. Now, there are reasons for believing that this passage is older than the wall built by Solomon, and through it, or some such tunnel, Joab and a few men may have worked their way, and so have effected an entrance into the city, which otherwise was impregnable. It was probably the entrance near the Virgin's Fountain which they had observed, and David's words mean, "Whoever will undertake this dangerous enterprise, let him try this underground passage, and when he has entered the fortifications by its means, let him smite the lame and the blind, that are hated of David's soul," because of the boast of the Jebusites, that their cripples were a match for his heroes. It must be noticed, however, that the K'tib, or written text, has "who hate David's soul;" and as this is what the Jewish Massorites found in the manuscripts, it has more authority than their correction. These Jebusites had probably, in their boastful insult, spoken of David with contempt, and even said, like Goliath, that they would give his flesh to the vultures (1 Samuel 17:44). We learn from 1 Chronicles 11:6 that David promised the office of commander of the host to the man who undertook this exploit; and when Joab had volunteered and succeeded, he regained thereby the post which he had forfeited by the murder of Abner. The blind and the lame shall not some into the house. The proverb is one of contempt for these poor cripples, and forbids the exercise of hospitality to them. Such people, if they took to mendicancy, were to meet with refusal, though at their own homes they were fit objects of charity. This way of describing tramps as "the blind and lame" arose, we are here told, from this Jebusite taunt. David Anointed King over all Israel. - 2 Samuel 5:1-3 (compare with this the parallel passages in 1 Chronicles 11:1-3). After the death of Ishbosheth, all the tribes of Israel (except Judah) came to Hebron in the persons of their representatives the elders (vid., 2 Samuel 5:3), in response to the summons of Abner (2 Samuel 3:17-19), to do homage to David as their king. They assigned three reasons for their coming: (1.) "Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh," i.e., thy blood-relations, inasmuch as all the tribes of Israel were lineal descendants of Jacob (vid., Genesis 29:14; Judges 9:2). (2.) "In time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast the leader of Israel (thou leddest out and broughtest in Israel)," i.e., thou didst superintend the affairs of Israel (see at Numbers 27:17; and for the fact itself, 1 Samuel 18:5). מוציא הייתה is an error in writing for המּוציא היית, and מבי for מביא, with the א dropped, as in 1 Kings 21:21, etc. (vid., Olshausen, Gr. p. 69). (3.) They ended by asserting that Jehovah had called him to be the shepherd and prince over His people. The remarks which we have already made at 2 Samuel 3:18 respecting Abner's appeal to a similar utterance on the part of Jehovah, are equally applicable to the words of Jehovah to David which are quoted here: "Thou shalt feed my people Israel," etc. On the Piska, see the note to Joshua 4:1.
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