Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Day. It was distant from Aphec about 90 miles. --- Smitten, yet without killing any. (Calmet) --- We may adore a merciful Providence, which prevented these barbarians from treating David's men as he had treated theirs, chap. xxvii. 11. (Salien, the year before Christ 1074.) --- He would allow them to burn the city, &c., that David might be roused to execute the divine vengeance upon them. (Theodoret)
Tears. Hebrew, "till they had no more power to weep." (Menochius) --- See Lamentations ii. 11. Cicero exclaims, Hei mihi! consumptis enim lachrymis, infixus tamen hæret in corde dolor. (Phil. ii.)
Stone him, as the author of all their losses, because he had not left a sufficient garrison at Siceleg, and had irritated the Amalecites. Inconstant people! they thought that he we indebted to them for all that he possessed! (Calmet) --- David, without being too much dejected, sought out for an immediate remedy, and led them on to battle. Their ancestors had once threatened to stone Moses, Exodus xvii., &c. (Tirinus)
To David. Some think that David put on the ephod; but this was the function of the high priest, who, according to Grotius, turned towards David, that he might see the brightness of the precious stones. See Exodus xxviii. 30. By means of the priest David was enlightened. (Worthington)
Besor is formed by the water falling from the mountains of Idumea, and discharges itself into the Mediterranean, below Gaza. (Calmet) --- Some take it to be the torrent of the desert, or the river of Egypt. Adrichomius makes it run from the mountains of Juda, so as to form the southern boundary of the tribe of Simeon. (Haydock)
Weary. Hebrew pigru, denotes those who are "lazy and dead." Septuagint, "some sat down on the other side of the torrent." Syriac and Arabic insinuate, to defend the passage. But why then do the rest complain? (Calmet) --- They acted irrationally, as David shewed afterwards. Some of the 600 might well be more exhausted than others, and these were selected to guard the baggage, ver. 24. This was only the third day since they left Aphec, ver. 1. (Haydock)
Raisins. Hebrew tsimmukim. See chap. xxv. 18. (Calmet) --- The soldiers very prudently took some provisions with them, as they were going into a desert country. (Menochius)
Ago. His master's inhumanity was justly punished, and God provided for the safety of his poor slave, while he sent a guide for David. (Haydock)
Cerethi, denotes the Philistines, (R. David. See ver. 16.; Haydock) who came originally from Crete, 2 Kings xv. 18., and Ezechiel xxv. 16. (Calmet) --- They might be natives of some province of the Philistines, (Vatable) belonging to Gaza, (Menochius) or Geth. (Haydock) --- Caleb. Hebron and Cariath-sepher fell to his share. The enemy had a good opportunity to ravage all those places, as most of the soldiers were absent (Calmet) at Jezrahel. (Haydock)
Him. David did not require this slave to betray his master, for the latter had lost all his claim, and David had acquired it by relieving the distressed. Si herus negaverit servo suo alimenta, & alius suppeditet, sit occupantis. See Martyr. and the Roman laws. The Amalecites dwelt in tents, and the slave knew where they commonly lodged. (Calmet) --- Perhaps his master had told him where to meet him, in case he recovered.
Drinking. Hebrew adds, "and dancing," (Salien) in honour of their gods. (Menochius)
Evening. Hebrew, "twilight," in the morning (Calmet) or evening. (Haydock) --- Some think that the pursuit lasted three days; others only from three till five in the evening. But David more probably slaughtered the intoxicated people, during the space of a whole day, from morning till evening. (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "from the morning or evening star rising, Greek: aro eosphorou, till the afternoon, and on the following day," (Haydock) which commenced at sun-set. (Calmet) --- It was no battle, but flight and carnage. (Menochius)
All, excepting what had been eaten, or consumed with fire. (Menochius)
And made. Hebrew, "which they drove before those things (or cattle," taken from the Amalecites. Haydock) "which were separated from those which David had recovered." Each one reclaimed what he had lost. Perhaps David's portion was placed by itself. (Calmet) --- Grotius thinks that, as the things taken in war cannot be reclaimed by the former proprietors, all was equally divided. See Selden, Jur. vi. 16.
Unjust. Hebrew Belial. See Deuteronomy xiii. 13. (Calmet) --- David saluted those who had remained at Besor, to shew that he approved of their conduct, unless we may attribute it to his great clemency. (Menochius)
Alike. Nothing could be more just and prudent; as this decision prevents continual murmurs and inconveniences. Those who are left behind, are bound to defend the baggage at the hazard of their lives, and each man must obey the orders of the general. Hence all nations seem to have adopted similar regulations, though Achilles declaims against it. (Homer, Iliad i.) --- Coriolanus observes, that formerly the Romans brought all the spoil into the public treasury. (Halicar. vii.) --- The soldiers promised on oath to bring all they should take, and an equal division was made to the whole army. (Polybius x.) --- The sick and absent also partook of the plunder. (Calmet) --- The same was observed by the Machabees, 2 Machabees viii. 28. (Haydock)
A law. Custom, (Calmet) and a particular injunction, had long before made way for it, Numbers xxxi. 27, (Haydock) and Josue xxii. 8. --- We might translate the Hebrew, "And this law had been observed in Israel from that day and before." David restored to its full vigour this ancient regulation. The Hebrews have no compound verbs, such as re-establish, re-build, &c., instead of which, they say, to establish, (Calmet) and build again. Thus, by the addition of adverbs, they can explain the same things. Protestants, "from that day forward he made it a statute," &c. (Haydock) --- It is not, therefore, unlawful to make new laws, provided they be conformable to those of God, Deuteronomy iv., and xii. (Worthington)
Neighbours. Hebrew, "friends;" some were at a distance, ver. 28. (Haydock) --- The number of presents shews the quantity of the spoil, and the generosity of David towards those who had formerly assisted him. (Calmet)
Bethel, "the house of God," as the priests had afforded him protection. (Haydock) --- It is not certain whether he speaks of a town of Ephraim, or of the cities where the ark and the tabernacle were now fixed. --- Ramoth, in the tribe of Simeon: (Calmet) there was another in the tribe of Gad. (Menochius) --- Jether, or "Jethira," (Eusebius) a priests' town, called Ether, Josue xv. 42.
Aroer, on the Arnon. David had sojourned among the Moabites. --- Sephamoth: perhaps Sephama, (Numbers xxxiv. 10,) though it was a great way beyond the Jordan. (Calmet) --- Abulensis assigns Sephamoth to Juda. (Menochius) --- Esthamo was in the same tribe, belonging to the priests, Josue xxi. 14.
Rachel; perhaps the same with Hachila, chap. xxiii. 19., and xxvi. 1. --- Jerameel. See chap. xxvii. 10. --- Ceni, a canton to the south of the Dead Sea.
Arama, or Horma. Numbers xxi. 3. --- Lake. Hebrew, "at Chor Aschan." It is called Asan, Josue xv. 42., and xix. 7. --- Athach, or Athar, Josue xix. 7.
Hebron, twenty miles south of Jerusalem. --- Rest. David remunerated all his old friends, which was the sure way to procure more. (Haydock) --- He was still uncertain what would be the event of the war between Saul and the Philistines; and desirous to make friends, who might smooth his way to the throne, according to God's appointment. (Salien)