Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Mourning, as is commonly the case in civil wars. The king being oppressed with grief, a triumph was out of season. (Menochius)
Shunned. Hebrew, "stole away," fearing to enter; though they did at last, in a clandestine manner, (Calmet) by another gate. (Menochius)
Head, continuing to mourn. See chap. xv. 30. --- Absalom. The name is often repeated, as is usual on such occasions. (Virgil, Eclogues v.) --- Thus Bion says, "I bewail Adonis. The beautiful Adonis is no more," &c.
Shamed; deceived the expectations. See Joel ii. 12. Joab was one of those who spoil all their services by ostentation and rudeness. Like the first Anthony, Immodicus lingua, obsequii insolens, nimius commemorandis quæ meruisset. (Tacitus, Hist. iv.) --- He speaks to David, his king, as one friend would not do to another. "That sort of men is truly odious, who upbraid with their kindness; which those who have experienced, rather than the authors, ought to remember." (Cicero, Amicit.)
Thee. What insolence! Kings are often forced to brook the affronts of their higher servants, as well as other masters. There is a gradation in human affairs, which make the next in dignity and power think himself equal to the highest. Similis ero altissimo, Isaias xiv. 14. (Haydock) --- David sincerely desired the welfare of all his people, as well as of Absalom. (Menochius)
To. (satisfac). Hebrew, "speak to the heart," &c., with a cheerful countenance, to testify that their services will be rewarded. (Calmet)
Israel, the rebels, as distinguished form Juda, or those who adhered to David; though many of all the tribes sided with Absalom, ver. 11. (Haydock)
Silent; inactive and indifferent, as this word often denotes, Josue x. 12. (Calmet)
Priests, whose influence was very great. (Haydock) --- Last. David, like an able politician, shews the men of his own tribe, how dishonourable it will be for them to be outdone by the rest. (Calmet) --- Talk: reported by a solemn ceremony. (St. Jerome, Trad.) (Menochius) --- Septuagint Greek: logos, "the word, (Haydock) council," &c. (Salien)
Flesh? Amasa was his nephew, and as he had been appointed general by Absalom, his influence would be the greatest to bring back those who had given into the delusion. A sense of his misconduct would also render him more humble, and easier to manage than Joab, whose insolence caused him to be insupportable to the king. David designed to transfer the authority of the latter, (Calmet) which he had now enjoyed 23 years, since the taking of Sion. David's promise did not oblige him to keep Joab in that office for life, if his conduct should prove unsatisfactory. Hence he appointed Amasa to pursue the rebels, and afterwards Abisai, setting Joab aside. But the haughty warrior supplanted both, and retained the command, as it were in spite of his sovereign, chap. xx. 4, 15., &c. (Haydock)
And he; God, David, or rather Amasa. (Calmet) --- All contributed, in different degrees, to bring about his happy union. (Haydock)
Galgal, and thence proceeded across the Jordan, (Calmet) an hour and a half's walk. (Menochius)
Semei, who had cursed David in his adversity, is now ready to fawn upon him, when he sees him restored to his throne. He was chief of a thousand, in Benjamin.
Over, or "into:" (irrumpentes.; Haydock) probably on horseback. (Menochius)
Fords. Hebrew also, "they took over the ferry-boat;" (Calmet) or, "there went across a ferry-boat to carry over the," &c.
Joseph. Semei was a Benjamite: but Joseph designates all the Israelites, except those of Juda, (Worthington) as these two possessed the birth-right of Ruben, 1 Paralipomenon v. 1. (Menochius) See Psalm lxxix. 1., and Zacharias x. 6. --- But we may translate with the Septuagint, "before all the house of Joseph." (Chaldean, Syriac, &c.) (Calmet)
Sons. He refers to the preceding opposition of Joab, whom Abisai was beginning to imitate. (Haydock) --- Satan; adversary, Matthew xvi. 23. --- This day. Formerly, no one was to be put to death on days of rejoicing, and the prisoners were liberated when the king ascended the throne. A malefactor continued for a long time to be set free on the day of the passover, Matthew xxvii. 15. (Calmet) --- The Romans would never punish any one with death, on the days "whenever (Augustus) entered the city." (Suetonius lvii.) --- David considers this memorable day as a new epoch of his sovereignty, and will not suffer it to be rendered sorrowful. See 1 Kings xi. 13. (Haydock) --- The punishment of Semei might have had the most pernicious consequences, as the rest of Israel would have feared a similar treatment. (Menochius) --- (Salien, the year of the world 3010.)
Die, during my life, (Menochius) or by my hand, without some farther transgression. Hence the oath is worded, I will not kill thee with the sword, 3 Kings ii. 8. (Haydock) --- Solomon was charged not to let his crime pass unpunished. But he did not kill him till he had shewed his disobedience. (Calmet) --- The oaths of parents do not always (Haydock) pertain to their heirs. (Grotius)
Feet, which was very requisite in those countries, to prevent a disagreeable smell, for which the Jews were noted. (Martial iv. 4.) --- Ammianus (2) speaking of the emperor Marcus says, Cum Palestinam transiret, fœtentium Juædorum et tumultuantium sæpe tædio percitur. Some have thought that this odour was removed by baptism. (Basnage, T. iii. p. 194.) Roman Septuagint adds, "neither had he cut his nails, nor (made or) dressed his mustaches," or upper lip. The chin, as far as the ears, was not shaved by the Jews. To cut all the hair was a mark of sorrow, no less than to neglect dressing it. See Leviticus xxi. 5. (Calmet) --- By the external appearance of Miphiboseth, David might be convinced that he had indulged his grief for a long time; (Menochius) which might serve to remove the ill impressions which he had received against the helpless son of his friend Jonathan.
Met. Protestants, "was come to Jerusalem, to meet the king." (Haydock) --- But his usual residence was in the city, where Siba had left him, chap. xvi. 3. We should therefore translate, "And coming to meet the king at his arrival in Jerusalem." (Calmet)
Despised. Hebrew and Chaldean, "acted treacherously against me." (Menochius)
God. It is not necessary for me to say any more in my defence. Thou art convinced of my innocence; and the accusation was in itself improbable, as I could never expect to be better treated by another king. I am resigned to abide by thy decision. (Haydock) --- I cannot complain. (Calmet)
Death, on account of Saul's persecution, and his sons assuming the purple; so that all his adherents might have been justly slain. (Calmet) --- Cry, as if I had been wronged. (Menochius)
More. Hebrew adds, "concerning thy affairs. I have said, Thou and Siba divide the inheritance." (Haydock) --- Thou as the owner, Siba as the administrator, or steward, as he was before. (Jun. Malv.[Junius?; Malvenda?]) --- Sanchez thinks that David made a compensation to Miphiboseth, for what he left in the hands of his servant, as he did not wish to disturb the harmony of the day, nor to inflict any punishment on offenders. (Menochius) --- But most interpreters accuse David of injustice, in suffering Siba to reap the fruits of his perfidy, &c. (Salien) (Calmet, &c.) --- It is not probable, however, that he would deviate from his wonted generosity, nor suffer Miphiboseth to be injured, if he were convinced of his innocence. Perhaps he might judge it expedient that Siba should have a separate establishment, as he was now unfit to act in his former capacity, and had shewn some sort of affection towards his sovereign, when his own son, and most of his subjects, had revolted against him. (Haydock)
House. He is all to me. (Menochius)
Camp; Mahanaim, chap. xvii. 28.
Secure. Septuagint, "I will continually nourish thy old age." (Haydock)
Burden, as I am unfit for any service. (Menochius)
With thee. He did not proceed as far as Galgal; (Haydock) but took his leave of the king, intimating, what we never witness at the present day, that he was too old to enjoy the pleasures of a court! (Calmet)
Chamaam, is supposed to have been the son of the good old man. (Calmet)
There; coming up, for the most part, after the king had crossed the river. They had intended to have escorted him from Mahanaim. (Haydock)
Stolen; as if the king were not the common father of all. (Salien)
Nearer related. (Haydock) --- Us. What advantage have we gained? or, what have you lost? (Calmet)
Ten parts. They might have said they were twelve tribes for one; and though the tribe of Juda was more numerous than many others, it was not equal to them all. (Calmet) --- But the disproportion was by no means so great as ten to one; so that the Israelites unjustly pretended, that they had so much greater pretensions to the honour of bringing the king to his capital, in a sort of triumph. David might perhaps have waited a little longer, (Haydock) and shewed less predilection for his own tribe. (Calmet) (Salien) --- But what obligation was there for either? He had been long enough from Jerusalem, and eager to return, as soon as Amasa brought to him the tribe of Juda, and several of Benjamin, ver. 16. What hindered the rest from coming in time? They seem to have pretended more loyalty than they really possessed; otherwise they would not have joined in every rebellion. (Haydock) --- First. Hebrew may be, "did not I first propose the bringing back the king?" ver. 11. (Calmet) --- Israel. Tostat says, it is probable Juda asserted that the king did not, at all, belong to Israel; and hence Seba repeated the words with indignation, chap. xx. 1. It is wonderful that David did not repress this altercation. Abulensis supposes that he leaned too much towards his own tribe; for which, if true, we behold he was soon chastised; as God is always ready to reward or punish his servants. (Salien) --- But all that David said is not recorded. He could hardly have continued silent. All his endeavours to appease the sedition were, however, rendered abortive, by the evil dispositions of his subjects. (Haydock)