Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Ch. 14 (= 2 Samuel 5:11-25). David at Jerusalem. Two Philistine Attacks repulsed
The Chronicler derives this ch. from Samuel but gives it in a setting of his own. To agree with Samuel it should immediately follow 1 Chronicles 11:9 and should immediately precede 1 Chronicles 13:1. In Samuel the two attempts to remove the ark to the city of David, the first unsuccessful, the second successful, are related in immediate succession; the Chronicler interposes between them the double repulse of the Philistines.
Now Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and timber of cedars, with masons and carpenters, to build him an house.1. Hiram] Other forms of this name are Huram and (1 Kings 5:10; 1 Kings 5:18) Hirom.
1, 2. Hiram’s [first] Embassy to David
The dislocation of the narrative mentioned in the last note has concealed the occasion of Hiram’s embassy. The narrative of 2 Samuel 5:9-11 suggests that Hiram heard of the building works which David was carrying on at Jerusalem and so sent materials and workmen to assist. David accepted the welcome offer (which ultimately led to an alliance) as a sign of Divine favour.
And David perceived that the LORD had confirmed him king over Israel, for his kingdom was lifted up on high, because of his people Israel.2. confirmed him king … was lift up … because of his people Israel] R.V. established him king … was exalted … for his people Israel’s sake (cp. 2 Samuel 5:12).
And David took more wives at Jerusalem: and David begat more sons and daughters.3–7 (= 1 Chronicles 3:5-8 and 2 Samuel 5:13-16). David’s Family in Jerusalem
3. moe wives] In 2 Samuel 5:13 more concubines and wives. The Chronicler is inclined to omit or modify statements which tend to David’s discredit. moe = more.
Now these are the names of his children which he had in Jerusalem; Shammua, and Shobab, Nathan, and Solomon,4. these are the names] The names seem better preserved here than in either of the parallel passages; cp. notes on 1 Chronicles 3:5-8.
Shammua … Solomon] All these four are attributed to Bathshua (= Bath-sheba) in 1 Chronicles 3:5.
And Ibhar, and Elishua, and Elpalet,
And Nogah, and Nepheg, and Japhia,
And Elishama, and Beeliada, and Eliphalet.
And when the Philistines heard that David was anointed king over all Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek David. And David heard of it, and went out against them.8–17 (= 2 Samuel 5:17-25). The Double Repulse of the Philistines
8. over all Israel] in 2 Samuel 5:17, over Israel. In both passages the reference is no doubt to the later anointing by the whole people (2 Samuel 5:3).
all the Philistines] The Philistines were thoroughly alarmed at finding all Israel reunited under a king of David’s prowess, and so invaded Judah in force.
went up] i.e. from their own low-lying territory by the sea into the hill-country of Judah.
went out against them] R.V. mg. went out before them, i.e. anticipated them, did not wait for them to attack him. In 2 Samuel 5:17 a different expression is used, went dawn to the hold, i.e. into some part of the difficult hill-country of Judah in which he had long defied Saul.
And the Philistines came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim.9. spread themselves] R.V. made a raid. In fact both renderings are right; the Philistines scattered themselves in search of spoil.
the valley of Rephaim] to be identified probably with the shallow valley, now called Beḳâ‘a, across which runs the road from Jerusalem to Beth-lehem (Bädeker, p. 120).
And David inquired of God, saying, Shall I go up against the Philistines? and wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the LORD said unto him, Go up; for I will deliver them into thine hand.10. inquired of God] probably by means of Urim and Thummim. Cp. Kirkpatrick’s notes on 1 Samuel 10:22; 1 Samuel 23:6.
So they came up to Baalperazim; and David smote them there. Then David said, God hath broken in upon mine enemies by mine hand like the breaking forth of waters: therefore they called the name of that place Baalperazim.11. Baal-perazim] probably to be identified with the Mount Perazim of Isaiah 28:21, but the situation is unknown.
like the breaking forth of waters] R.V. like the breach of waters, i.e. like the breach made by waters. Probably the scene of the victory was a hill deeply scarred with water-courses. The force with which God broke through the army of the Philistines is compared with that of a torrent breaking its way through all obstacles. Baal-perazim = the place of breakings forth (R.V. mg.).
And when they had left their gods there, David gave a commandment, and they were burned with fire.12. And when they had left their gods there, David etc.] R.V. And they left their gods there; and David etc.
David gave a commandment, and they were burnt] In 2 Samuel 5:21 (R.V.) David and his men took them away. The Law (Deuteronomy 7:5; Deuteronomy 7:25) enjoined that graven images were to be burnt with fire.
And the Philistines yet again spread themselves abroad in the valley.13. yet again] This invasion of “all the Philistines” (1 Chronicles 14:8) was too serious to be repelled by a single defeat.
spread themselves abroad] R.V. made a raid (as 1 Chronicles 14:9).
in the valley] in 2 Samuel 5:22, in the valley of Rephaim.
Therefore David inquired again of God; and God said unto him, Go not up after them; turn away from them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees.14. Therefore David] R.V. And David.
Go not up] R.V. Thou shalt not go up.
Go not up after them] In 2 Samuel 5:23 the words after them are connected with the following verb: Thou shalt not go up: make a circuit behind them. In Samuel the command is to assail the rear of the enemy, in Chronicles to avoid the rear (which was perhaps protected by a rearguard) and to attack (presumably) the flank. The reading in Chronicles is to be preferred as a harder reading, which yields good sense on examination.
from them] The Heb. word suggests that David occupied a commanding position from which he would be tempted to attack.
over against the balsam trees] Render, along, parallel to. The line of David’s attack is to be parallel to a line of balsam trees (or to a ridge on which balsam trees stood) situate probably at right angles to the line of the Philistine march. Thus David’s advance would be concealed from the Philistines until the very moment of the attack, which would fall on the flank of the Philistine march.
mulberry trees] R.V. mg. balsam trees. Some kind of tree or shrub from which gum exudes seems to be meant.
And it shall be, when thou shalt hear a sound of going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt go out to battle: for God is gone forth before thee to smite the host of the Philistines.15. a sound of going] R.V. the sound of marching. Targ. the sound of angels coming to thy help. LXX. the sound of shaking.
thou shalt go out to battle] Samuel has a more vivid phrase, thou shalt bestir thyself.
smote the host of the Philistines from Gibeon even to Gazer] This victory was decisive; the main army of the Philistines was routed.
Gazer] R.V. Gezer. Cp. 1 Chronicles 6:67, note.
David therefore did as God commanded him: and they smote the host of the Philistines from Gibeon even to Gazer.
And the fame of David went out into all lands; and the LORD brought the fear of him upon all nations.