Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
The Restoration of David’s Royal Authority, which was now Endangered by Dissension between Judah and Israel and by the Insurrection of Sheba
I. The Way opened for the Restoration of David’s Kingdom by Joab’s Reproof of his Immoderate Grief for Absalom. 2 Samuel 19:1–8 [Heb. 2–9]
1AND it was told Joab, Behold, the king weepeth and mourneth for Absalom. 2And the victory [deliverance]1 that day was turned into mourning unto all the people; for the people heard say that day how [om. how, ins.:] The king was [is] grieved for his son. 3And the people gat them by stealth that day into the city, as 4people being ashamed steal away when they flee in battle. But [And] the king covered2 his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son! 5And Joab came into the house to the king, and said, Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants, which [who] this day have saved thy life, and the lives of thy sons and of thy daughters, and the lives of thy wives, and the lives of thy concubines, in that thou lovest thine enemies, and hatest 6thy friends. For thou hast declared this day that thou regardest neither [not] princes nor [and] servants; for this day I perceive that, if3 Absalom had lived 7and all we had died this day, then it had pleased thee well. Now, therefore [And now], arise, go forth, and speak comfortably unto thy servants; for I swear by the Lord [Jehovah], if4 thou go not forth, there will not tarry one with thee this night; and5 that will be worse unto thee than all the evil that befel [hath befallen] 8thee from thy youth until now. Then [And] the king arose, and sat in the gate. And they told unto all the people, saying, Behold, the king doth sit in the gate; and all the people came before the king. [Transfer the rest of this verse to the next verse.6]
II. David prepares for his Return by Negotiations with the Men of Judah. 2 Samuel 19:9–14 [Heb. 10–15]
For [And] Israel had fled, every man to his tent. 9And all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, The king saved us out of the hand of our enemies, and he delivered us out of the hand of the Philistines; and now he is fled out of the land for [from7] Absalom. 10And Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now, therefore [And now], why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back8?
11And king David sent to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, saying, Speak unto the elders of Judah, saying, Why are ye [will ye be] the last to bring the king back to his house? seeing the speech of all Israel is come to the king even [om. even] to his house.8 12Ye are my brethren, ye are my bones [bone] and my flesh; wherefore, then are ye [and why will ye be] the last to bring back the king? 13And say ye to Amasa, Art thou not of [om. of] my bone and of [om. of] my flesh? God do so to me and more also, if thou be not captain of the host before me continually in the room [instead] of Joab. 14And he bowed [inclined] the heart of all the men of Judah even [om. even] as the the heart of one man; so that [and] they sent this word unto the king, Return thou, and all thy servants.
III. David’s Passage over the Jordan under the Escort of the Men of Judah, with Three Incidents. 2 Samuel 19:15–40 a [Heb. 16–41 a]
1. Pardoning of Shimei. 2 Samuel 19:15–23 [Heb. 16–24]
15So [And] the king returned, and came to [ins. the] Jordan. And Judah came to Gilgal, to go9 to meet the king, to conduct the king over [ins. the] Jordan. 16And10 Shimei, the son of Gera, a [the] Benjamite [Benjaminite], which was of 17Bahurim, hasted and came down with the men of Judah to meet king David, And there were [om. there were] a thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they went over [ins. the] Jordan before the king. 18And there went over a ferry-boat [And the ferry-boat went over] to carry over the king’s household, and to do what he thought good. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king as he was come over [ins. the] Jordan; 19And said unto the king, Let not my lord impute iniquity unto me, neither do thou remember [and remember not] that which thy servant did perversely the day that my lord the king went out of Jerusalem, that the king should take it to his heart. 20For thy servant doth know that I have sinned; therefore [and] behold, I am come the first this day of all the 21house of Joseph to go [come] down to meet my lord the king. But [And] Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered, and said, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord’s [Jehovah’s] anointed? 22And David said. What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah [ins.?] that ye should [for ye will] this day be adversaries unto me? [om.?] shall there any man be put to death this day 23in Israel? for do I not know that I am this day king over Israel? Therefore [And] the king said unto Shimei, Thou shalt not die. And the king sware unto him.
2. Mephibosheth’s Apology. 2 Samuel 19:24–30 [Heb. 25–31]
24And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither dressed his feet,11 nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day king departed until the day he came again in peace. 25And it came to pass, when he was come to [better from] Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said unto him, Wherefore wentest thou not with me, Mephibosheth? 26And he answered [said], My lord, O king, my servant deceived me; for thy servant said, I will saddle me an [the] ass, that I may [and] ride thereon, and go to12 the king, because thy servant is lame. And he hath slandered thy servant unto my lord the king. 27But my lord the king is as an angel of God; do, therefore, what is good in thine 28eyes. For, all of my father’s house were but dead men before my lord the king; yet didst thou [and thou didst] set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table; what right, therefore, [and what right] have I yet to cry any more unto the king? 29And the king said unto him, Why speakest thou any more of thy matter? I have said [I say], Thou and Ziba divide the land. 30And Mephibosheth said unto the king, Yea, let him take all [Let him also take all] forasmuch as [after] my lord the king is come again [om. again] in peace unto his own house.
3. Barzillai’s Greeting and Blessing. 2 Samuel 19:31–40 a [Heb. 32–41 a]
31And Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim, and went over [ins. the] 32Jordan with the king, to conduct him over [ins. the] Jordan.13 Now [And] Barzillai was a very aged man, even [om. even] fourscore years old; and he had provided the king of sustenance while he lay14 at Mahanaim; for he was a very great man. 33And the king said unto Barzillai, Come thou over with me, and I will feed thee with me in Jerusalem. 34And Barzillai said unto the king, How long have I to live [How many are the days of the years of my life] that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? 35I am this day fourscore years old; and [om. and] can I discern between good and evil? can thy servant taste what I eat or [and] what I drink? can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? wherefore then [and why] should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king? 36Thy servant will go a little way over [ins. the] Jordan15 with the king; and why should the king recompense it me with such a reward [do me this favor16]? Let thy servant, I pray thee, turn back again [return], that I may die in mine own city and be buried [om. and be buried] by the grave of my father and of my mother.17 But behold thy servant Chimham, let him go over [37let thy servant Chimham go over] with my lord the king; and do to him what shall seem good unto thee. 38And the king answered [said], Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do to him that which shall seem good unto thee; and whatsoever thou shalt require of me, that will I do for thee. And all the people went over [ins. the] Jordan. 39And when the king was come over, the king kissed Barzillai, and blessed him; 40and he returned unto his own place. Then [And] the king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
I. 2 Samuel 19:1–8. David’s immoderate grief for Absalom stopped by Joab’s earnest representations.
2 Samuel 19:1. And it was told Joab, comp. 18:33. The purpose of the informant, it seems, was to explain to Joab and the army why the king did not come forth to greet his returning victorious warriors. [Joab had apparently just returned from the field of battle.—TR.].
2 Samuel 19:2, 3. Touching description of the impression made on the people by David’s violent grief, and their quiet and repressed behaviour. The deliverance that was achieved by the victory changed into mourning for the whole people.—The news spread everywhere (“the people heard that it was said”): “The king mourns for his son.” But these men’s hearty participation in the sorrow of the beloved king, for whom they had perilled their lives, soon changed to gloomy dissatisfaction at the fact that the king, absorbed in his private grief, did not deign to bestow a look on them. The description of the manner in which the troops, thus dissatisfied, returned to the city, is psychologically very fine. They stole away to enter the city, i.e., not: avoided entering the city (Vulgate, Luther, Mich., Niemeyer), but, instead of entering in military order as a victorious host, scattered and entered individually or in small groups, unobserved, as people steal in that have disgraced themselves by fleeing in battle, as disgraced fugitives. Mourning, therefore, instead of joy of victory, seeming shame instead of honor.
2 Samuel 19:4. Continued violent grief of David, who, overmastered by his feelings, forgets what he owes not only to the army, but also to his people and his royal position. “Certainly the army, which had perilled goods and life to win the fugitive king back his kingdom, is very much concerned at his immoderate affliction, and Joab, who was doubtless conscious of having acted with a proper apprehension of the public situation, takes the liberty by an earnest word to remind the king of his governmental duty” (Baumgarten). [The king covered his face, a sign of extreme grief or shame; comp. Isa. 53:3: “he was as one hiding his face from us.” He cried, with a loud voice, according to the open and violent mode of expressing grief common in the East (and so also the heroes of the Iliad); there are striking illustrations of this in the Arabian Nights.—TR.].
2 Samuel 19:5–7. Joab’s representations to David, and first, accusatory reproof (2 Samuel 19:5, 6), which is only partially just (2 Samuel 19:5). David had certainly, contrary to his duty as king and commander-in-chief of the army, done what Joab reproaches him with in the words: Thou hast to-day shamed the faces of all thy servants,= “Thou hast destroyed the hopes (thy army’s of praise, thy nearest friends’ of joy”) (Thenius). It behooved the king to give the victorious army a reception in keeping with the victory. Who have saved thy life and the life of all thine, for this they put their lives at stake. [If Absalom had conquered, David and his whole household would probably have been slain, such being the Oriental custom.—TR.].—But Joab’s reproof goes on to what is partially untrue, 2 Samuel 19:6: in that thou lovest them that hate thee, etc. This was true, certainly, for Absalom, who was his father’s enemy, was now the object of his father’s love; but it was a bitter untruth when Joab added: and hatest them that love thee; David had not deserved such a misapprehension of his heart and disposition, though his conduct had given occasion to it. That leaders and servants are not for thee, that is, not: that they are nothing (worth nothing) to thee (De Wette, Keil), but: are for thee as if they do not exist; Vulg.: “because thou carest not for thy leaders.” I perceive to day that, if18 Absalom lived, and we were all dead today, then.—As Absalom, if he had conquered, would certainly have slain with his father all his household also (2 Samuel 19:5), so, says Joab, if Absalom had lived (as David in his lamentation desired) and he himself (Joab) had been slain in his place, David’s whole army would have shared in his destruction. Joab dissects David’s words of lamentation with inexorable cruelty, and draws thence with his intellectual acuteness and the grim bitterness of his rude nature consequences that are seemingly logical, yet lay far from David’s nature, though his conduct looked like what he was reproached with.—Happily, Joab’s speech—which bears the stamp of military rudeness, disappointed ambition, cruel hard-heartedness and bitter resentment, and finds its justification only in the fact that it set aside David’s weak grief—softens in the following words (2 Samuel 19:7), wherein he earnestly presses good counsel on David, and thus deserves well of him and the people. Arise, go forth, tear thyself from the grief in which thou art lost. Speak to the heart of thy servants (Homer’s καταθύμια [comp. Eng. encourage]), in friendly fashion, satisfy and refresh their minds; so the Vulg. (comp. Gen. 34:3; 1:21 and many other passages). The meaning is not: “speak of their heart,” i.e., their courage = praise them for their bravery (Jos.), which is against the usual signification of the words. I swear, if thou go not forth … Joab does not threaten that he will lead the army away [Josephus], but he describes the indubitable result of the dissatisfaction in the army: it will not stay. Thus he points out what consequences David’s behaviour will have for his throne. Worse than all the evil, Joab rightly says, that would be; for by abandonment to grief he would give up the kingdom that God had a second time bestowed on him. Clericus: “He intimates that the troops would abandon David, who, from silly weakness and foolish love of Absalom, acted as if he were angry with the victorious army, and elect another king.”
2 Samuel 19:8. The effect of Joab’s sharp words was that David shook off his grief, and seated himself in the gate.19 The news goes quickly through the people. All the people came before the king, who, in accordance with Joab’s counsel, expressed to them his thanks and his kind feeling. Thus was the danger to David’s throne from the spirit of disintegration (which, as the succeeding history shows, continued after the victory) set aside by Joab’s sharp and bitter word, which David took patiently, because he was obliged to acknowledge its justness.
II. 2 Samuel 19:9–14. Negotiations for David’s return. The last part of 2 Samuel 19:8 must be combined with 2 Samuel 19:9 into one sentence: And when Israel had fled, every man to his tent (comp. 19:19) all the people strove together in all the tribes of Israel.—It is the other tribes, excepting Judah, that are meant. Among them, after their terrible defeat, the revolutionary excitement had soon passed away, and by this victory, whereby the land was saved from grievous misfortune, men’s minds were turned to David, as they recalled his heroic deeds at home and abroad. All the people strove together, reproaching one another with delay in bringing back the king. Why do ye keep quiet about bringing back the king?—The people are reassembled after their dispersion; their representatives consult together zealously about the restoration to the throne, to which they had raised the insurgent Absalom by the act of anointing. They reproach one another for doing nothing to restore the king. In their hearts, therefore, they feel the grievous wrong they have done an anointed of the Lord, as is shown indirectly by their words, in which David’s great deeds and the misfortunes of the terrible time just past are mentioned; and now they prepare for the deed of solemnly going to meet David, whereby they will declare that their hearts have returned to him in the old love and fidelity.—In 2 Samuel 19:9 after the word “land,” the Sept. adds: “and from his kingdom and,” meant doubtless as an explanatory statement.—At the end of 2 Samuel 19:10 [Heb. 11] the Sept., Vulg. (some MSS.) and Syriac have: “and the word of all Israel came to the king,” which occurs in the Heb. at the end of 2 Samuel 19:11 [Heb. 12], and is there repeated by the versions [except Syr.—TR.] only the “to his house” is not added in 2 Samuel 19:10. If these words belonged at the end of 2 Samuel 19:10, they would assign the motive of David’s message in 2 Samuel 19:11 (Then., Böttch., Ew.); but we must hold (with Keil) that the difficulty that was found in them in 2 Samuel 19:11 (as an explanatory sentence) occasioned their insertion in 2 Samuel 19:10 as the ground of David’s message in 2 Samuel 19:11.20
2 Samuel 19:11. David sent, not “the two high-priests Zadok and Abiathar to the elders” (Ewald), but a message to these two priests, who had remained in Jerusalem (15:27), to say to the elders: Why will ye be the last to bring the king back to his house? The rest of the verse declares that David’s message was occasioned by information of the procedures in the other tribes.*
Ver 12. My brethren are ye, my bone and my flesh are ye, that is, my nearest kindred, and the sharers of my name. The backwardness of Judah in the movement to restore David is explained by the fact that the insurrection started in Judah, and Absalom was first recognized as king in Jerusalem. Cornelius a Lapide: “Conscious that they had offended David, and fearing Absalom’s garrison in Zion, they did not dare to recall him.”
2 Samuel 19:13. David sends to Amasa, Absalom’s general (17:25), referring to their relationship (1 Chr. 2:16, 17), and promises him with solemn oath the chief command of the army in place of Joab. Ewald well says that this “was not only a wise and politic act, but strictly considered no injustice to Joab, who, long notorious by his military roughness, had now shown such disobedience to the royal command in the case of Absalom, as could not be pardoned without offence to the king’s dignity.”
2 Samuel 19:14. And he inclined, that is, David (who is the subject in the preceding verse), not Amasa or one of the priests. It is conjectured by Thenius, and regarded as certain by Böttcher, that a passage has fallen out before 2 Samuel 19:14, because otherwise there is no mention of the carrying out of David’s instructions and the effect of the promise to Amasa, whereby the change in Judah was produced; but such an insertion is not indicated in any of the ancient versions, and is not required by the connection.—After telling what David did in order to rouse his own tribe in consequence of the information received from the other tribes, the narrative states briefly that his wise procedure was crowned with complete success. He turned to him the heart of all the men of Judah as that of one man. With one accord they answered that they awaited his return, and made arrangements to bring him solemnly back. [“David was sagacious enough to see that to go back to his own people by force had its dangers, and that to wait long for a universal invitation had equal dangers. His own tribe ought to be foremost in welcoming him home, but they had rebelled with Absalom. He resolved at once to reassure them of his favor, and … even to make some concession to them ……This master-stroke of policy and of magnanimity was successful. The hearts of the people melted as one heart. It was the old David of Engedi and Ziklag. They sent a prompt invitation to him” (Knox, David, the King, pp. 377, 378).—Throughout this narrative the tribal feeling, which never wholly disappeared, is apparent; see 2 Samuel 19:12; 20:4; 16:8.—TR.]
III. 2 Samuel 19:15–40. David’s return over the Jordan under the escort of the men of Judah. 2 Samuel 19:15. The king returned, namely, from Mahanaim with his army and all his retinue, and came to the Jordan, comp. 16:22; what a contrast to his situation when he went over the Jordan as a fugitive! On the other side Judah came to Gilgal, which (lying west of the Jordan-valley, below Jericho) was the rendezvous for the men that were solemnly to conduct David across the river from his position on the eastern bank. Thus is clearly given the scene of the following three incidents of the transit.
1. 2 Samuel 19:16–24. Shimei’s meeting with David, and his pardon.
2 Samuel 19:16. Shimei—of Bahurim, comp. 16:5 sq., 1 Kings 2:8 sq.—“came down” from the mountainous table-land into the Jordan-valley, having joined the men of Judah as they advanced to Gilgal to meet the king.
2 Samuel 19:17. The thousand Benjaminites with him (who had, therefore, joined the procession of the Judahites) show the consideration he enjoyed in the tribe of Benjamin, and testified that a change had taken place in the former hostile feeling in this tribe towards David (comp. 2 Samuel 19:21). He brought this large band in order to do greater honor to the king (S. Schmid). Among the Benjaminites, Ziba (who, at David’s flight, had acted a part so injurious to Mephibosheth) is specially mentioned, because he, with Shimei, represented the former adherents of Saul’s house. He came with his fifteen sons and twenty servants probably with a bad conscience, in order to ward off betimes the effect of Mephibosheth’s counter-statements. For Shimei and Ziba, with their attendants, show themselves very quick and eager to come to the king, who was still on the eastern bank of the river; not: “they went over” (Then. [Eng. A. V.]), nor: “came prosperously to” (S. Schmid), but: “they went quickly (pressed)21 over the Jordan,” just as they had hastened down into the valley; and they did this in the presence of the king,22 who, they meant, should learn their zeal from their haste.
2 Samuel 19:18. Meantime, the ferry-boat, appointed to carry over the king’s household, was in motion. While this was going on, Shimei fell down before the king, as he (Shimei) was come over the Jordan; the prostration was synchronous23 with the completion of the transit. David cannot be the subject [of the verb “was come over”], as Keil and Bunsen suppose, for then, either it must read: “as he was purposing to go over,” which is grammatically inadmissible, or: “when he had gone over,” which would not be according to the fact, since the king was still on the left [eastern] bank, and did not cross till after these incidents, comp. 2 Samuel 19:40, 41.
2 Samuel 19:19. The iniquity for which Shimei asks pardon is his curse (16:5 sq.); he begs the king not to remember it, to forgive and forget, not to take it into his heart and keep it there (the translation of Keil and De Wette: “that the king should take note of it” is too weak); not to make it the object of memory and thought.
2 Samuel 19:20. The ground of his request, namely, the confession: I acknowledge my sin, and the substantial proof of his penitence: I am come the first of the house of Joseph. Böttcher and Thenius, from the reading of the Sept.: “of all Israel and of the house of Joseph,” adopt “of all the house of Israel” as the true text, regarding the “Joseph” as the insertion of a later hand, in the time of the divided kingdom, when Israel and Judah were distinguished from one another. But not only do we find (Keil) in Solomon’s time the “house of Joseph” used as equivalent to the “ten tribes” (1 Kings 11:28), but in Ps. 78:67, 68 (which belongs to David’s time) we have the contrast between the tent of Joseph and the tribe of Ephraim on the one side (as rejected by God), and the tribe of Judah on the other (as chosen by God). “The designation of the tribes opposed to Judah by the name of the principal tribe Joseph (Josh. 16:1) is as old as the jealousy of these tribes towards Judah, which did not begin with the division of the kingdom, but was only thereby permanently confirmed” (Keil). [As Shimei was a Benjaminite, it would seem that the “house of Joseph” here is equivalent to “Israel” (the ten tribes). It is commonly supposed that this designation points to the time of the divided kingdom, and thus so far fixes the date of authorship of this passage (unless Böttcher’s emendation of text, above-stated, be adopted). Erdmann’s examples do not show that the designation was in use earlier than the division of the kingdom; for the Book of Kings belongs to the time of the Exile, and Ps. 78 was probably written after Solomon’s time (comp. the tone of 2 Samuel 19:1). Still it is quite possible that, with the old tribal feeling coming down from the time of the Judges (when there was probably a double hegemony of Judah and Ephraim), Shimei may have used this phrase, which, therefore, cannot be held to be perfectly decisive of the date of authorship. Bible-Commentary suggests that he employed it in order to exculpate his own tribe by intimating that it was drawn away by the preponderating influence of the great house of Joseph. Tr.] Whether Shimei’s request for forgiveness was a sign of sincere repentance, must be left undetermined; it may be doubted, when one reflects on his precipitation in seeking to be the first to do homage to David, and on the fact that his somewhat passionate cry for mercy coincided exactly with the happy turn in David’s fortunes. Certainly he desired, now that David had regained power, to secure his forfeited life and avoid punishment.
2 Samuel 19:21. Abishai storms out against Shimei (as in 16:9), doubting the genuineness of his penitence, and demands his death.
2 Samuel 19:22. David refuses, as in 16:10 sq. Though Abishai (in Joab’s name also, for David addresses the “sons of Zeruiah”) rightly characterizes Shimei’s offence as cursing the “Lord’s Anointed,” for which he deserved death (Ex. 22:27; Lev. 24:14 sq.; 2 Kings 21:10), David will this day not employ the rigor of the law. “Ye will be to me an adversary,” literally, a satan (so Numb. 22:22, comp. Matt. 16:23), not a “peace-destroyer” (Bunsen), or “tempter” (Ewald). He says: “you will be a hindrance to me in the way of joy that I go to-day.” Clericus: “to injure me by your ill-timed severity.” He lays stress on the to-day. “Should any one be put to death to-day in Israel? for, do I not know that to-day I am become king over Israel?” David will show mercy, not because he is now become king and has the right to pardon, but because he sees in his restoration to his kingdom a proof of restoration to the divine favor, and by showing favor to Shimei as his right will fulfil the obligation of gratitude to the Lord.
2 Samuel 19:23. David’s oath to spare Shimei shows that his mercy was occasioned by his present experience of the divine mercy. But his injunction to Solomon (1 Kings 2:8 sq.) to punish Shimei for his reviling contradicts this promise. This contradiction is not removed by saying that Shimei was not promised immunity in the following reign (Hess), nor by the observation that he was a dangerous man capable of repeating under Solomon what he had done under David. David now pardoned Shimei, chiefly, no doubt, for political reasons, in order not to disturb the favorable feeling of the people, especially of Benjamin.24
2. 2 Samuel 19:24–30. Mephibosheth’s apology.
2 Samuel 19:24. Comp. 9:6. He “came down” from Jerusalem to the Jordan. His feet and his beard he had not made; the word make [= “dress”] (Deut. 21:12) is so used in German also [comp. similar use of do in English.—TR.]. The addition of the Sept.: “nor cut his nails,” is merely explanatory (Bunsen), and is not to be put into the text. He had not washed his feet or dressed his beard25—thus he had mourned for David; in these signs of deep grief comp. Ezek. 24:17. This was a sign of his sincere, faithful attachment to the house of David, not a sign (Buns., Ewald) that his hopes had not been fulfilled in connection with the new government [Absalom’s].
2 Samuel 19:25. As now Jerusalem came26 to meet the king.—Jerusalem here stands for its inhabitants or their representatives; this is often the case, and the expression here cannot be called “strange.” The rendering of the Arabic: “and when he came from Jerusalem” introduces a repetition, Mephibosheth’s coming having been already stated [2 Samuel 19:24]; it is therefore the less warrantable (with Thenius) to change the text on the sole authority of this version. The translation: “when Mephibosheth came to Jerusalem to meet the king” (Sept., Luther, Michaelis, Maur.) contradicts the “came down” of 2 Samuel 19:24, and the whole connection from which it appears that during this conversation David was still at the Jordan. [This rendering of Erdmann’s is improbable, 1) because it has already been stated that Judah had come to meet the king (2 Samuel 19:15), and 2) because it does not appear why the coming of the Jerusalemites should be the occasion of David’s addressing Mephibosheth.—The rendering “to Jerusalem” (as in Eng. A. V.) would change the scene abruptly and without connection. It is easier to read “from Jerusalem,” which makes good sense, and agrees with the context. It is not a mere repetition of the “came down” of 2 Samuel 19:24, since the fact is here added that he came from Jerusalem. It may be, however, that, while he set out and came down to meet the king, the meeting did not actually occur till the latter had advanced on his march as far as Jerusalem.—TR.]—David’s question: Why wentest thou not with me? presupposes the impression made on him by Ziba’s words (16:3), and also contains a reproof.
2 Samuel 19:26. Mephibosheth’s answer: my servant deceived me, injured me by lies, deceived me (Böttcher); this is the common meaning of the word (Gen. 29:25; Josh. 9:22; 1 Sam. 19:17; 28:12; 1 Chr. 12:17). The ground of this assertion: For thy servant (=I) said (not “thought,” as most expositors render, for it appears from what follows that Mephibosheth had given an order that Ziba did not execute), I will have the ass saddled and ride thereon and go to the king.—Certainly the lame prince could not have thought of going himself to saddle the ass, an objection that Thenius urges against the text as he renders it: “and I thought, I will saddle me the ass.” He then adopts the text of the ancient versions (except Chaldee): “Thy servant had said to him: saddle me the ass.” But this change of text is unnecessary; the renderings of the versions are merely explanations. How often in all languages the expression “to do a thing” = “to have it done” (this very verb is so used in Gen. 22:3)! To refuse to translate: “I will cause to be saddled” is merely to make a difficulty where none exists. The phrase: “I said: I will” characterizes the circumstantialness of the narrative. [According to Mephibosheth’s statement, then, Ziba, instead of obeying his master’s order, had carried off animals and provisions, and used them in his own interests.—TR.].
2 Samuel 19:27. And he slandered thy servant.—No sentence has fallen out before these words, explaining (Böttcher) how Mephibosheth was deceived by his servant. “It is already involved in the word ‘deceived’ that Ziba had not obeyed the order” (Thenius). Mephibosheth had heard of Ziba’s slander (16:3), and found it confirmed by the execution of David’s order that all the property should belong to Ziba. David’s reproachful question was a new confirmation of what he already knew. There is no trace here of “a confused way of defending himself” (Bunsen); his curt, summary mode of expression is explained by his excitement and by the situation of David who, occupied with his transit and the solemn escort of the people, had no time to listen to a long narrative. Mephibosheth’s statements were sufficient to establish his innocence, and to show how Ziba had deceived and slandered him.—My lord the king is as the angel of God (comp. 14:17) to know what is truth and right.
2 Samuel 19:28. Mephibosheth refers to David’s former kindness and commits to him his fate, remarking that, though innocent, he could not rightfully demand anything, since he was a member of Saul’s house, all of whom were “only dead men for the king,” that is, all, himself included, might have been slain; being thus without rights, he could not complain or ask for help against the wrong done him.
2 Samuel 19:29. And the king said to him: Why speakest thou further of thy affairs?—This means: there is no need of further excuse on thy part (Thenius), but also expresses displeasure at Ziba, whose deception David now saw through. Wrongly Bunsen: “David saw through the complainant [Mephibosheth], and, wishing him well, made no further investigation.” David is convinced of Mephibosheth’s innocence. But the words: I say (= I decide) thou and Ziba shall divide the land, are only a half-exculpation of the poor, innocent man. For they do not “in any case” (Buns.) contain the confirmation of his first arrangement (9:7–10) and the retraction of his hasty decision in 16:4, as if he meant to say: Everything remains as I ordered at first (Then.). The statement is simply: Divide the land between you, that is, Ziba and his sons (to whom David in 16:4 gives all) are now to possess a part of the property; neither is the decision of 2 Samuel 16:4 entirely set aside, nor that of 2 Samuel 9:7–10, whereby Mephibosheth was made sole possessor, re-established. Thenius thinks that the original arrangement (9:7–10) is here restored, “in so far, namely, as Ziba and his sons had of course lived on the produce of the estate;” but a servant’s being maintained from the produce of the estate is a different thing from his being part-owner. David now sees the error of his decision in 16:4, and wishes publicly to recognize Mephibosheth’s innocence, but not factually and expressly to acknowledge his own over-haste by completely revoking that decision; and so open wrong is done Mephibosheth, who gets only a part of the estate. David was herein probably controlled by political considerations, being unwilling to make the respectable and influential Ziba his enemy. That Ziba does not attempt to rebut Mephibosheth’s statements proves his own guilt and the innocence of the latter.
2 Samuel 19:30. He said to the king: Let him take all also.—Cornelius a Lapide: “Mephibosheth seems to have said this, not from desire to insult David and murmur against God, but in the bitterness of his heart.” The words express, not necessarily indeed resentment, but still Mephibosheth’s feeling that wrong had been done him; at the same time he indicates that he is not concerned about property, but that his heart rather goes out to his king, who will show him again his former kindness. Let Ziba have all the land, I am only glad that my lord the king is come again in peace to his own house; as his guest, I do not need the land for my support. Mephibosheth could not more touchingly and unselfishly express his faithfulness to David. [David’s feeling and motive in this procedure are not clear. If he thought Mephibosheth innocent, he was unjust towards him; if he thought the whole affair too uncertain to permit an absolute decision, he can hardly be defended against the charge of carelessness and precipitancy in making a decision. Perhaps he suspected the prince’s fidelity, but thought it not worth while to push the investigation; he was tired of intrigues and conflicts. Opinions differ as to Mephibosheth’s innocence, but the tone of his defence, the silence of Ziba, and the absence in the narrative (15–18) of any hint of defection on his part, concur with his lameness in inclining us to absolve him from the charge of actual or intended rebellion.—TR.]
3. 2 Samuel 19:31–40. Barzillai’s greeting and blessing.
2 Samuel 19:31. Barzillai (see 17:27) “came down” from the high region in which Rogelim in Gilead lay. Went with David over the Jordan—anticipatory statement of what did not take place till 2 Samuel 19:39, after the following conversation. To conduct him defines the statement in 2 Samuel 19:39; he intended to go with him only to the other side of the river, and then return27
2 Samuel 19:32. And he provided (17:27–29) for the king during his long stay, abode28 in Mahanaim. He was a “very great” man, that is, rich, well thought of (Ex. 11:3; Lev. 19:15).
2 Samuel 19:33. The king said, Thou come over with me. The word “thou” is by its position emphatic, the king being chiefly concerned to take him along. That I may provide for thee.—The “provide” here answers to that in 2 Samuel 19:32. David wished to requite his kindness.
2 Samuel 19:34. With modest thanks Barzillai declines the king’s invitation: 1) referring to the shortness of his remaining life. “How many days have I to live?” my life is too short to go to court. 2) Referring to his senile weakness, which unfitted him for court-life. Eighty years old, he says, he is intellectually too dull to be useful as a counsellor in distinguishing between good and evil. (For similar constructions see Lev. 27:12; Jon. 4:11; 1 Ki. 3:9; Ezek. 44:23; Gen. 26:28; Isaiah 59:2).—But also his bodily senses, he says (taste and hearing), are too weak to enjoy the pleasures of court-life; 3) he objects that, being such a weak old man, he would be only a burden to the king.
2 Samuel 19:36. “For a short while,” for the present moment, will thy servant go over Jordan with the king; his purpose, he says, was merely to escort the king across the river, as appears from the context, 2 Samuel 19:32, 37. The “short while” does not refer to the time he would have had to spend at court. [The word may also be rendered, as in Eng. A. V., “a little way.”—TR.] “Why will the king requite me this requital or kindness?” namely, with reference to Barzillai’s maintenance of the king (2 Samuel 19:32).
2 Samuel 19:37. As the king might have commanded him to go with him, he requests permission to return home. He is done with life, and wishes to die by the grave of his father and mother. F. W. KRUMMACHER: “Can any thing be more amiable than these simple and sensible words? What a cheerful and peaceful spirit they breathe on us!”—But in his stead he offers the king his son Chimham (1 Kings 2:7), not to ask a favor for him, but to put him into his service. The Syr., Arab. and Josephus add “my son” after “Chimham,” which is a proper explanation, but not to be adopted into the text. In 2 Samuel 19:41 the name is written Chimhan—comp. Jer. 41:17. [Jer. 41:17 mentions a geruth or sojourning-place of Chemoham or or Chimham. Stanley (Jewish Church, II. 201) thinks that this was a caravanserai (it was on the south of Bethlehem) for travellers to Egypt, and the same in which Joseph and Mary found shelter (Luke 2:7). The connection between the names is, however, not certain.—TR.]
2 Samuel 19:38. David receives Chimham, and promises Barzillai further to do all that he desires. “I will do whatever thou shalt choose [require] of (literally, upon) me,” where the upon expresses David’s sense of obligation. He does not here regard Barzillai as a suppliant for a favor. So Clericus. Comp. Judg. 19:20.
2 Samuel 19:39. Not till after this conversation does the passage across the river take place; why it must have occurred during the conversation (Then., Keil) does not appear from the context; and the space of transit was not great enough for the length of the talk. It is not merely “almost” (Thenius), but, from the fresh and individual touches of the picture, quite certain that this is the account of one who himself heard the conversation. And when the king was come over, he kissed Barzillai.—That is, took leave of him, comp. Ruth 1:9. This shows that Barzillai merely intended to accompany the king over the Jordan, and not further.
2 Samuel 19:40. The king went on to Gilgal, a noted place in the history of Israel, and specially fitted by its position to be a rendezvous for large bodies of men; comp. Josh. 4:19; 5:1–12; 9:6; 10:6; 14:6; 1 Sam. 7:16; 10:3; 11:14, 15; 13:7–9.—And Chimhan went on with him.—Ewald’s remark that “this account of Barzillai is given at so great length obviously because his son Chimham and his family were afterwards renowned in Jerusalem,” impairs the inherent significance of this episode (taken in connection with 17:27–29) in David’s life, which displays in the most vivid and beautiful way the unchangeable fidelity of this noble and influential Gileadite land-owner, as a representative of the transjordanic region, and the grateful love and devotion of the hard-proved but now once more highly favored king, who in Barzillai’s love and faithfulness saw a proof of the divine grace and truth.
HISTORICAL AND THEOLOGICAL
1. Right and wrong are remarkably mingled in the conduct of David and Joab, and in the affair between them immediately after Absalom’s death. While the father’s grief for the lost son was altogether justifiable, the king by the immoderateness of his sorrow neglected his duty towards his people, through whom God had given him the victory; by his passionate grief, also, he disturbed the clearness of his mental view, and lamed his manly strength; and finally, absorbed in his loss, forgot to thank the Lord that He had avenged the honor of His name by the restoration of the theocratic kingdom to the well-being of the whole people; the whole kingdom of God in Israel, as the bearer and instrument of which he was chosen and called for the present and the future, disappears for him in the gloomy depth of grief, wherein he had buried himself with his feelings and thoughts.—F. W. Krummacher: “It is a reproach to him that he subordinated his kingly consciousness too much to his feelings as head of a family. In view of the general weal, he ought at least to have moderated his grief, given thanks to the Lord, and made acknowledgment of the faithful devotion of his brave soldiers.” Over against this wrong Joab is altogether right in reminding the king of the danger of such a course, and reproving him with severe words. But the savage and bitter manner in which he approaches the king (though it was God’s means of averting a great evil from David and the nation) is to be condemned. His undisciplined word became a means of discipline to David, and the king turned from the destructive path into which unbridled feeling had led him.
2. David’s situation after his splendid victory was, in spite of the change of popular feeling in Israel, a critical one, on account of the hesitation of Judah, the most powerful tribe, and the real historical foundation of the theocratic kingdom, as it was founded in David. For the sins of its bearer, God had before men’s eyes permitted this kingly structure, reared by His hand, to fall, in order to show that human sin must obstruct and ruin His cause, but to make manifest at the same time, that the maintenance of His kingdom is not dependent on human power and wisdom. The point now was the restoration of the ethical foundations of the theocratic kingdom, which were destroyed by the revolution first in the tribe of Judah, where the revolution began; this tribe must be brought back to its faithful obedience to David, its defection having been punished by the divine judgment on Absalom. Recognizing this, David showed discretion and wisdom in his negotiations with the elders, which had the desired result. He saw through the grounds of action of the other tribes, and perceived how dangerous it might be, if his own tribe Judah, his home and support, should be, as it were, conquered by the others, especially as the insurrection had found powerful aid among them. He therefore approached Judah with mildness. But he went beyond ordinary bounds in appointing the general of the insurrection, Amasa, his commander-in-chief in place of Joab, who had won him the victory. This act of political shrewdness, brought back Judah to him as one man. Peter Martyr: “I would not altogether defend David in this, but I regard it as an arrangement of divine providence, which purposed through Amasa to turn Judah to David.”
3. When Shimei meets David with confession of his fault, Abishai is the same hot-blooded zealot for David’s royal honor as in 16:9, and is repulsed now, as then. He (with Joab, who was like him in character) is a type of fleshly zeal, as it is seen in the “Sons of Thunder,” who would call down fire from heaven on the Samaritans. But, in contrast with the law which, regarding reviling the king as reviling God, punishes it with death, David, by sparing the reviler passes out of the sphere of the Old Testament into that of the New Testament. The decision as to Shimei’s sincerity he leaves to God, but, in view of the Lord’s pardoning mercy and goodness to himself, is led by the Spirit of the Lord to accept Shimei’s actual confession, and pardon him. Thus he is the type of the merciful love of the New Testament kingdom of heaven in Christ, which blots out all guilt of sin on condition of true repentance; and he is also the type of forgiving love of enemies. He who has himself received forgiveness of sin from God, and can only praise God’s mercy as the source of all that he is and has, will also forgive his neighbor his sins. The antitype of the forgiving David is the king of the New Testament kingdom of God. Matt. 18:23–25. David had accorded Shimei mercy by an oath, without reservation and without limitation to his own reign, as some hold against the sense of his words. His command to Solomon shortly before his death, to execute Shimei, is a falling back to the strictly legal standpoint, above which he had lifted himself here on the Jordan, and can be explained only from the fact that David distinguished between his own personal interest and motive, which led him to pardon Shimei, without taking the theocratic-legal standpoint, and the theocratic interests of the kingdom, of which Solomon was the representative, and so held himself bound on theocratic-political grounds, to commit to his successor the execution of the legal prescription, which he himself had passed over.
4. Half-way reparation of a hastily committed, and afterwards recognized wrong (as in David’s conduct to Ziba and Mephibosheth) is as great an injustice as complete neglect. While he pardons the criminal Shimei, he gives the innocent Mephibosheth only half his rights, and the other half he gives to the unrepentant slanderer Ziba, without a word of reproof, evidently in order to avoid making enemies of Ziba’s not uninfluential family in Benjamin. Peter Martyr: “David’s acts are not only unjust, but self-contradictory; there he pardons a wicked man, here he oppresses a good man. Yet, though he sins so often, he does not abandon his faith; he is a weak man, but holds on to God’s word.”—Mephibosheth is an illustration of humility patiently bearing wrong. Peter Martyr: “Mephibosheth thought perhaps, of the word of the law, that God visits sins on children to the third and fourth generation.”
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
2 Samuel 19:1–8. The sinfulness of unmeasured grief. I. Wherein it consists and manifests itself. 1) As regards the Lord, in ignoring the gracious gifts which He sends us along with and amid our sufferings, and in frustrating His gracious design to purify us by suffering from all selfishness; 2) As regards our neighbor, in slighting and violating the duties of love that we owe him; 3) As regards our own heart and conscience, in reckoning the powers of spirit and will by exhausting emotion and enervating inactivity. II. How it must be overcome: 1) Through the word of earnest admonition, which gives pain; 2) By energetically rising up to new life and faithful discharge of the duties of our calling; 3) By accepting the consolation and strength which come from above through the Spirit of God.
2 Samuel 19:9–15. What wins for a king his people’s heart? 1) Risking his life for their welfare in fighting against external foes; 2) Deeds of deliverance in the overthrow of internal foes; 3) Timely words of hearty, reconciling love, which anticipates and makes advances.
2 Samuel 19:16–40. The righteousness of love, showing itself in the fact that after the divine ordinance and after the example of divine righteousness it gives to every one his own: 1) As forgiving love, pardon to the enemy who confesses his wrong and begs forgiveness, 2 Samuel 19:16 sqq.; 2) As rebuking love, earnest admonition to the unloving zealot, 2 Samuel 19:21 sq.; 3) As self-denying love, which makes good the wrong done to our neighbor, and unreservedly restores him what belongs to him, 2 Samuel 19:24 sqq.; 4) As thankful love, ready every moment to requite to our neighbor by word and deed the benefits he has done us, 2 Samuel 19:31 sqq.
Barzillai the picture and example of a venerable and pious old age: 1) Blessed of God, it devotes the temporal goods it has received to the service of compassionate brotherly love, far from all avarice; 2) Honored by men, it desires not the vain honor of this world, far from all ambition; 3) Near the grave, it longs only for home, far from all disposition to find blessedness in this life; 4) But as long as God grants life, even with failing powers it still serves the Lord and His kingdom, and in this service honors him by the devotion even of its dearest—far from all self-seeking.—[SAURIN has a good sermon on Barzillai and Chimham, as suggesting and illustrating the fact that court life is in certain respects proper for the young and improper for the aged.—TR.]
FR. ARNDT: 2 Samuel 19:9–40. How David crowns his triumph, and prepares for himself a new and delightful future. 1) By forgiveness of the evil that has been shown him, and 2) By thankfulness for the good that he had likewise received.
2 Samuel 19:1–8. When once a man has overcome his feelings of grief and gives himself up to fresh activity, then the struggle is soon over, the evil is wholly conquered, the fountain of suffering is thoroughly stopped, the sting of suffering broken; reconciled with past and present, there arises to us for the future a new life.—OSIANDER: God often so mingles joy and sorrow together, that the pious have in this world no complete joy, in order that they may the more earnestly long after things eternal. Psa. 42:3 .—SCHLIER: Let us never forget modesty, but always with genuine respect say what is necessary. Yet when we do that, let us also freely utter the truth, and never keep back through fear of men or men-pleasing.—WUERT. B.: When men do wrong and are overhasty, we should indeed reprove them, but not unseasonably, nor with bitterness, envy, reviling, and too great violence. Psa. 141:5.—S. SCHMID: A man of sense must bear a slight evil in order that a greater may be averted.—SCHLIER: How many sore and bitter experiences we might spare ourselves, if we always made it our first wisdom to let ourselves be advised.
2 Samuel 19:9–14. [TAYLOR: David had been called to the throne at first by the choice of the people, as well as by the designation of Jehovah, and he would not move in the direction of resuming his regal dignity until, in some form or other, the desire of the tribes had been indicated to him.—TR.]—WUERT. BIBLE: Men do not commonly recognize the good while they possess it, but only afterwards, when they have lost it and would like to have it again.—[HENRY: Good services done to the public, though they may be forgotten for a while, yet will be remembered again when men come to their right minds.—TR.]—It is always better to be too gentle than too sharp; for a good word finds a good place, and gentleness wins hearts. Judg. 8:3; 12:3.—SCHLIER: Let us also remember our sins and more and more humble ourselves, then we shall also be mild and gentle toward friend and foe, and so receive the blessing promised to all the merciful.—BERL. B.: For such a God, whose goodness is as infinite as His power, it is not so hard to win hearts; He knows the true secret of winning them in the right way; because He knows how to touch them inwardly. Thus hast Thou, O love, inclined the heart of all believers as if it were only one man.
2 Samuel 19:15–23. [TAYLOR: In all this procedure David was not actuated by his usual sagacity; and the result of his apparent preference of Judah over the other tribes not only provoked another rebellion after his return to Jerusalem, but also prepared the way for the division of the kingdom, which took place in the days of his grandson, Rehoboam.—TR].—There is no true forgiveness till the thought of the offences is wholly effaced from the heart. Psa. 25:7.—STARKE: By honest confession and earnest repentance one may obtain mercy and forgiveness from men, how much more from the merciful God. James 4:9, 19.—SCHLIER: God’s mercy should open our hearts, should make us gentle and mild toward others; for the Lord’s sake who has forgiven us, we should also forgive others.—BERL. B.: God cannot suffer such men as under the appearance of righteousness oppose His mercy.—[HENRY: David had severely revenged the abuses done to his ambassadors by the Ammonites (12:31), but easily passes by the abuse done to himself by an Israelite. That was an affront to Israel in general, and touched the honor of his crown and kingdom; this was purely personal, and therefore (according to the usual disposition of good men) he could the more easily forgive it.—SCOTT: Our best friends must be considered as adversaries, when they would persuade us to act contrary to our conscience and our duty. Matt. 16:21–23.—TR.]
2 Samuel 19:24–30. STARKE: For reviling and slander the first and chief occasion is given by selfishness and envy.—God does not let the truth remain always defeated, but causes it at the proper time to come to light.—SCHLIER: When a man does us good, we should remember him for it, and if sometimes wrong is done us, we will quickly forget the wrong, but the good that has befallen us we will not forget. A thankful man is sure to come to honor, even if in the meanwhile evil times do occasionally intervene; while ingratitude always comes to shame.—[2 Samuel 19:29. TAYLOR: Every one knows that when he has been entrapped into the doing of an ungenerous or unjust thing, there springs up in him an irritation at himself, which is apt to betray itself in hastiness of speech and manner quite similar to that here manifested by David. But both the temper and the decision were unworthy of David.—TR.]
2 Samuel 19:31–40. STARKE: Our gratitude to our neighbor should be shown not only by words, but also by the most devoted affection of the heart, and by actions themselves.—BERL. B.: That is an honorable old age, which dies to the lusts and vanities of the world, seeks peace and quiet, earnestly thinks of the end and prepares for death.—OSIANDER: If we cannot requite our benefactors in their life-time for their good deeds, we should at any rate make their posterity enjoy it.
[2 Samuel 19:7, 8. In a time of overwhelming calamity the necessity for exertion is often a great blessing.
2 Samuel 19:9, 10. The safety of popular institutions is in reaction.
2 Samuel 19:16, 17. Among the sore trials of high station is the necessity of bearing with men who are grossly unworthy, but manage to command influence.—TR.]
IV. Strife between Judah and Israel over bringing David back. 2 Samuel 19:40 b–43 [Heb. 41 b–44.]
40AND all the people of Judah conducted29 the king [ins. over] and also half the 41people of Israel; And behold, all the men of Israel came to the king, and said unto the king, Why have our brethren the men of Judah stolen thee away, and have brought the king, and his household, and all David’s men with him, over Jordan? 42And all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, Because the king is near of kin to us [is near to me]; wherefore then be ye [and why art thou] angry for this matter? have we eaten at all of the king’s cost? or hath he given us any gift?30 43And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, We [I] have ten parts in the king, and we have also more right in David than ye [and also in David31 I have more than thou]; why then did ye despise us [and why hast thou despised me], that our [my] advice should not be [was not] first had in bringing back our [my] king? And the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.
V. Sheba’s insurrection and Israel’s defection occasioned by this strife between Judah and Israel. Both quelled by Joab after his murder of Amasa. 2 Samuel 20:1–22
1AND there happened to be there a man of Belial [a wicked man], whose [and his] name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite [Benjaminite]. And he blew a [the] trumpet, and said, We have no part in David, neither have we [and we have] no inheritance in the son of Jesse; every man to his tents,32 O Israel. 2So every man [And all the men] of Israel went up from after David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri; but the men of Judah clave unto their king, from Jordan even [om. even] to Jerusalem. 3And David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in ward, and fed [maintained] them, but went not in unto them; so [and] they were shut up unto the day of their death, living in widowhood [in lifelong widowhood33].
4Then said the king [And the king said] to Amasa, Assemble me the men of Judah 5within three days,34 and be thou here present. So [And] Amasa went to assemble the men of [om. the men of] Judah; but he tarried longer than the set time which he35 had appointed him. 6And David said to Abishai, Now shall [will] Sheba the son of Bichri do us more harm than did Absalom; take thou36 thy lord’s servants, and pursue after him, lest he get him fenced cities, and escape us. 7And there went out after him Joab’s men, and the Cherethites and the Pelethites and all the mighty men; and they went out of Jerusalem, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri. 8When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa went before them [came towards them]. And Joab’s garment that he had put on was girded unto him [And37 Joab was girded with his military dress as his garment], and upon it a girdle with [of] a sword fastened upon his loins in the sheath thereof 9[its sheath], and as he38 went forth, it fell out. And Joab said to Amasa, Art thou in health, my brother? And Joab took Amasa by the beard with the right hand 10to kiss him. But [And] Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab’s hand; so [and] he smote him therewith in the fifth rib [into the belly], and shed out his bowels to the ground, and struck him not again; and he died. So [And] Joab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the son of Bichri. 11And one of Joab’s men [young men] stood by him, and said, He that favoureth Joab, and he that is for David, let him go after Joab. And Amasa wallowed in blood in the midst of 12the highway. And when [om. when] the man saw that all the people stood still, [ins. and] he removed Amasa out of the highway into the field, and cast a cloth upon him, when he saw that every one that came by him stood still [or, because every one that came on him saw and stood still]. 13When he was removed out of the highway, all the people [every man] went on after Joab to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri. 14And he went through all the tribes of Israel unto Abel and to Beth-maachah and all the Berites;39 and they were gathered together, and went also after him.
15And they came and besieged him in Abel of Beth-maachah [Abel-beth-maachah], and they cast up a bank against the city, and it stood in the trench [at the outer wall]; and all the people that were with Joab battered40 the wall to throw it down. 16Then cried a wise woman out of the city, Hear, hear; say, I pray you, unto Joab, Come near hither, that I may speak with thee. 17And when he was come [And he came] near unto her, [ins. and] the woman said, Art thou Joab? And he answered [said] I am he. Then [And] she said unto him, Hear the words of thine handmaid. And41 he answered [said], I do hear. 18Then she spake [And she said], saying, They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely [Let 19them] ask counsel at Abel; and so they ended the matter. I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful in Israel; thou seekest to destroy a city and a mother 20[a mother-city] in Israel; why wilt thou swallow up the inheritance of the Lord [Jehovah]? And Joab answered and said, Far be it, far be it, from me, that I should swallow up or destroy. 21The matter is not so; but a man of Mount Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, hath lifted up his hand against the king, even [om. even] against David; deliver him only, and I will depart from the city. And the woman said unto Joab, Behold, his head shall be thrown to thee over 22[through] the wall. Then [And] the woman went unto all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and cast it out to Joab. And he blew a [the] trumpet, and they retired [dispersed] from the city, every man to his tent [tents]. And Joab returned to Jerusalem unto the king.
VI. David’s chief officers after the restoration of Ms royal authority. 2 Samuel 19:23–26
23Now [And] Joab was over all the host of Israel; and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and over the Pelethites; 24And Adoram was over the tribute; and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder; 25And Sheva was scribe; and Zadok and Abiathar were the [om. the] priests; 26And Ira also the Jairite was a chief ruler42 about [to] David.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
2 Samuel 19:41–43. Strife between Judah and Israel about bringing David back.
2 Samuel 19:41 [40 b, Heb. 41 b]. The text (וי׳) would be rendered: “and as to the whole people of Judah, they had conducted,” etc. (Keil). But this would be a strange and heavy construction, and the Qeri or margin is preferable [“and … Judah conducted,” as in Eng. A. V.]. This last clause is to be connected with the following verse (Thenius): “and when all the people of Judah had conducted the king, and also half the people of Israel, behold, then came all the men of Israel,” etc. Besides Judah, half the people of Israel also acted as David’s escort over the Jordan. This part of Israel consisted first of the thousand Benjaminites that had come with Shimei, and then of others living near by, especially, it is probable, from the east-jordanic district (S. Schmid). The passage over the Jordan was completed, and David (as appears from the connection) with his escort had reached Gilgal (Bunsen), when there, not “at the Jordan” (Then., Ew.), “all the men of Israel,” that is, the body of deputized representatives of the other tribes (Clericus) arrived and made their complaint to David: Why have our brethren the men of Judah stolen thee away? escorted thee over so secretly, without informing us of their purpose? By directing this question to David, they at the same time reproached him, for “very probably it had been learned that he had a hand in the movement, see 2 Samuel 19:11, 12” (Then.). “All David’s men” are the faithful followers that had fled with him from Jerusalem (15:17 sqq.). In all this we see, on the one hand, the discord between the main divisions of the nation, Judah and Israel, and on the other the eager rivalry in the exhibition of devotion to the king, which, however, contained in itself the seeds of further disorder. Grotius: “an honorable contest—but, heated by bitter words, it afforded opportunity to those that desired revolution. ‘Honorable indeed,’ says Tacitus, ‘but the source of the worst things’ (Annal. I.).”
2 Samuel 19:42. Not David, but the representatives of the tribe of Judah answered the reproach. Literally: “the men of Judah answered against (Böttcher) the men of Israel,” they met them with an answer.—There is no need to insert (Thenius, after Sept., Syr., Arab.) “and said” after the word “Israel,” as in 2 Samuel 19:43; Böttcher remarks that the “and said” is omitted also in 1 Sam. 9:17; 20:28.—Because the king is nearer to me (not: “the king is near to me”); the “because” is the answer to the “why?” of 2 Samuel 19:41. Near = near of kin, comp. v. 1. Why art thou angry? there is no ground for it. [The Singular Pronoun here used (Eng. A. V. substitutes the Plural) perhaps refers to the individual speaker, who represented the nation or tribe, or the nation or tribe may be regarded as a unit.—TR.]—Have we eaten of the king? To eat of the king = to be fed by the royal bounty (Clericus). Have we enjoyed advantages from him? Have you reason to be envious of us because we have enjoyed advantages that you were deprived of? Whether this is also a side-hit at the Benjaminites (Mich., Then., Buns., Keil), who enjoyed many favors from Saul (comp. 1 Sam. 22:7), must be left undecided; nothing of this sort is indicated in the words or the connection. “Or, has anything been taken by us?” not: “has he given us any gift?”43 [so Eng. A. V., whose rendering is defended in “Text. and Gram.”—TR.].
2 Samuel 19:43. The men of Israel’s answer to this hot discourse of the Judahites is still hotter. Over against the latter’s qualitative relation to David (“he is nearer to us”) they set the numerical quantitative: Ten parts have I in the king, and also in David more than thou.—The “ten parts” are the ten tribes as against the two, “Judah and Benjamin” (Theodoret); “the tribe of Benjamin might already after the removal of the royal residence to Jerusalem have attached itself more to Judah, as indeed it now came a thousand strong with Judah, and afterwards with this tribe formed the Judah-kingdom, 1 Kings 12:21” (Thenius). Add to this that Jerusalem was within the tribe of Benjamin just on the border of Judah. The king belonged to the whole nation, and therefore Israel, with its ten tribes, had a ten-fold part in and claim on the king.—And also in David more than thou.—The above general statement is here specialized and individualized in respect to the person of David. The men of Israel had indeed “deserved very ill of him.” But this cannot be urged against the genuineness of the reading: “in David” (Then.), for the men of Judah had behaved still worse, since the insurrection originated among them. But Israel’s claim to superiority to Judah in having ten parts “also in David” “does not refer to the fact that the insurrection began in Judah” (O. v. Gerlach), for they (Israel) had straightway joined the rebellion. The words are to be taken simply in closest connection with the previous numerical statement in reference to the king. The sense is: in the kingdom of Israel you have no claim to a nearer relation to the king, who is put there for all the tribes, and to whom as king all the tribes stand equally near, so that we, with our ten, have a ten-fold claim on him. As this is true of every king, so also of David. Seb. Schmid: “David is here considered not as of the tribe of Judah, but as king. But now we have ten parts in the king, therefore also in David as king, and so your argument from consanguinity is worthless.” This hair-splitting calculation and passionate assertion of the mere numerical relation to David is psychologically quite characteristic of the ill feeling towards Judah that prevailed in Israel. Instead of “and also in David more than thou,” Böttcher and Thenius adopt the reading of the Sept.: “and I am first-born44 (more) than thou.” But this reading is suspicious at the outset, because the Sept. has also the reading of the Heb. text. Then Thenius’ explanation of the term “firstborn” from the tribes of Reuben and Simeon, whose ancestors were born before Judah, does not apply to the other tribes, whose stem-fathers were born after Judah; and to understand the term as meaning at the same time (Thenius) that “Israel after Saul’s death had held to his dynasty and continued the national name,” seems very farfetched.—Why hast thou despised me?—The men of Israel felt that they had been made little of in that they had not been informed of the restoration and permitted to take part in it. In contrast with the solidarity of the revolutionary movement, which had united both sections, they here emphasize the jointness of the desire for and return to the old fealty.—And was not my word the first to bring back my king? Literally: “and was not my word first to me to bring back my king?” On Israel’s “word,” comp. 19:10, 11. The “to me” is not to be attached (Keil) against the accents (and against the order of the words) to “bring back” [= “bring back to me”], but is apposition to “my word,” to emphasize the possessive pronoun “my” (Ges., § 121, 3), and to bring out strongly the thought that Israel had first spoken of and counselled the king’s restoration.—Judah’s reply to Israel’s words was still harder, more violent, than they. A violent war of words flamed up, wherein Israel, as feeling itself the aggrieved party, was led to a new, evil purpose, which shaped itself into a repetition of the rebellion just crushed. Comp. a Lapide: “This scene paved the way to Sheba’s war. Learn from this proud quarrel of Judah and Israel how true is the proverb in Prov. 15:1.”
For the HISTORICAL AND THEOLOGICAL and HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL sections, see 1 Samuel 20:1 ff.
1[2 Samuel 19:1. This verse is one of those cited among the “Corrections of the Scribes.” The exact nature of the correction is not stated, but Tanchum states that in Chron. instead of לְאֹהָלָיו “to his tents” is written לֵאלֹהָיו “to his gods” (Buxtorf). Geiger (Urschrift, pp. 290, 315) adopts this latter reading, and sees in it a trace of ancient Israelitish idolatry, to conceal which, he thinks, our text has been changed. But, as our reading is fully supported externally and internally, there is as little ground for this as for most other changes proposed by Geiger.—TR.]
2[2 Samuel 19:2. תְּשֻׁעָה, properly “salvation, deliverance,” not the idea of a conquering of enemies, but of being saved from them.—TR.]
3[2 Samuel 19:4. Instead of לָאַט, Wellhausen would write לָאט as if from לוּט (1 Sam. 21:10).—TR.]
4[2 Samuel 19:6. Conditional sentence, in which condition and consequence are represented as non-existent; the protasis with לֻא (= לוּ) and Adjective (or Participle), the apodosis with the Perfect. The action is stated in the simplest form: “if Absalom is living, it is right,” it being otherwise understood that Absalom is not living.—TR.]
5[2 Samuel 19:7. Conditional sentence, in which both members are undetermined, put as mere possibilities. The protasis is in the form of simple assertion (אִם אֵינְךָ), the apodosis has the Imperf. (יָלִין) with future sense.—TR.]
6[2 Samuel 19:7. Sept.: “and know thou that,” etc., reading probably דְּעָה לְךָ for רָעָה לְךָ; but it had the latter reading also.—Instead of עַד־עַתָּה some VSS., EDD. and MSS. have וְעַד־עֶתָּה, which would not, however, alter the translation. The ו in this case merely carries on the sequence of time up to the limit, and is not to be rendered “even” (as if emphatic), as Eng. A. V. often does.—TR.]
7[2 Samuel 19:8. So Thenius, Wellhausen, Bib.-Com., Erdmann.—TR.]
8[2 Samuel 19:9. מֵעַל is rendered by Gesenius: “from on,” as conveying the notion that David had been a burden on Absalom; but it also sometimes = “from the presence of,” as in Gen. 17:22. There is not sufficient ground, therefore, for Böttcher’s remark that the phrase is not Hebrew, and should at least be מִפְּנֵי, or for regarding the מֵעַל as the remnant of an original וּמִמַּמְלַכְתּוֹ, “and from his kingdom” (Sept.), which may be merely a marginal explanation. Syr.: “come now, let us flee from the land from after Absalom,” reading נִבְרַח.—TR.]
9[2 Samuel 19:10, 11. The expression: “to his house,” at the end of 2 Samuel 19:11 is here inappropriate; for the talk among the people had certainly not come to the king’s house (i. e. dwelling, as the context shows); it was perhaps repeated from the previous clause after the הַמֶּלֶךְ. Moreover this last clause seems to be better put at the end of 2 Samuel 19:10; it sounds more like the statement of the narrator than like a part of the king’s speech to Judah. In 2 Samuel 19:10; it may have fallen out by similar ending, two successive clauses there ending in הַמֶּלֶךְ. See Erdmann’s remarks in the Exposition.—TR.]
10[2 Samuel 19:15. Instead of לָלֶכֶת some ancient EDD. and MSS. have לָרֶדֶת, “to descend;” but the weight of authority is on the side of the text.—The Hiph. Inf. with Prep. is in this verse written לְהַעֲבִיר, in 2 Samuel 19:18 (Heb. 19) לַעֲבִיר.—TR.]
11[2 Samuel 19:16 sqq. Wellhausen regards the statement about Ziba as a sort of parenthesis (2 Samuel 19:18 b being connected with 2 Samuel 19:16), and makes some changes in the text: he omits the וְ before צָלְחוּ, and at the beginning of 2 Samuel 19:18 (Heb. 19) reads עָבְרוּ (so Vulg.; Syr. עברו), instead of עָבְרָה. The account would then read: “And Shimei, etc., came to meet David, and one thousand Benjaminites with him. And Ziba, etc., pressed (צָלְחוּ) to the Jordan before the king, and crossed (עָבְרוּ) the ford, etc. And Shimei fell down,” etc. The reading of Vulg. at beginning of 2 Samuel 19:18: “and they crossed the ford,” commends itself as appropriate, for we should not expect the statement about the ferry-boat to be inserted in the middle of the account of Sheba. But there seems to be no good ground for omitting the וְ before צָלְחוּ and thus confining this action to Ziba and his party. Shimei (with whom Ziba was) may have managed the arrangements for the transportation of the king’s household. Ziba may have assisted; but it is not necessary to suppose that it was out of gratitude for this service that David made the decision in 2 Samuel 19:29 (Heb. 30).—TR.]
12[2 Samuel 19:24. The two verbs in the Sept. ἐθεράπευσε and ὠνυχίσατο may be two renderings of the same Heb. word (Wellh.). As Wellhausen remarks, to express both verbs, the Heb. would use the expression: “he did not dress the nails (צִפָּרְנֵי) of his hands and of his feet,” which hardly stood in our text.—Other points in the account of Mephibosheth are referred to by Erdmann in the Exposition.—TR.]
13[2 Samuel 19:26. Instead of אֶת some very good EDD. and MSS. have אֶל, which is a more natural reading, but is unsupported by ancient versions.—TR.]
14[2 Samuel 19:31. The אֶת is omitted in some EDD. and MSS.; others have the Qeri.—TR.]
15[2 Samuel 19:32. בְּשִׁיבָתוֹ. The ancient versions and a few Heb. MSS. have the Infin. בְּשִׁבְתּוֹ, which is the usual construction. Another reading given by De Rossi from some MSS. is בְּשֵׁיבָתוֹ, “in his old age,” which he thinks gives a good sense, but which will hardly commend itself.—TR.]
16[2 Samuel 19:36. Wellhausen unnecessarily regards the words “the Jordan” as an addition to the text, on the ground that the expression: “I will go a little way over the Jordan.” is inappropriate, and that it was clearly not Barzillai’s purpose to cross the river. But he may well have desired to do the king the honor of escorting him across the boundary-line, the river, while he would not attach himself to the court by entering Jerusalem.—TR.]
17[2 Samuel 19:36. The verb גָּמַל means in general: “to perform an act towards one,” whether of good or of evil. The context here indicates that it is a favor that is done: but the idea of reward, which is not properly contained in the word, is here better omitted in the courtly speech of Barzillai.—TR.]
18[2 Samuel 19:40. The Heb. has “Chimhan,” which Böttch (though with scarcely any ground) regards as a Judaized form of the native name “Chimham.” There may have been different pronunciations of proper names (there are signs of this elsewhere in the Old Testament), or this different writing may be a scribal inadvertence (the difference is not retained in the ancient versions), proper names being especially liable to corruption.—TR.]
19Instead of לֹא read לוּ = לֻא.
20[The gate was the place of assembly and business. See Ruth 4:1, 2; 2 Kings 7:2; Job 29:7.—TR.]
21[See “Text, and Gram.” In any case the words: “to his house” at the end of 2 Samuel 19:11 (Heb. 12) seem out of place.—TR.]
22 צָלַח, “to go over a thing,” with אֵל ,עַל and Acc.; Sept.: κατεύθυναν ἐπὶ τὸν Ἰορδάνην; Vulg.: et irrumpentes Jordanem transierunt.
23[Others render: “to meet the king;” more exactly: “into the presence of the king.”—TR.]
24This is shown by the בְּ in בְּעָבְרוֹ.—[The phrase: “in his crossing over” means “during the general fact of crossing,” and may very well here apply to David. While the crossing was going on (the statements of time are quite general and loose) Shimei fell down, etc. For remarks on the arrangement of these verses (15–19) see “Text. and Gram.”—TR.]
25[David’s charge to Solomon (1 Kings 2:8, 9) is defended as the act of a prudent ruler, or as that of a righteous theocratic judge; but on neither ground can it be seen why he should break his promise. Perhaps, if we knew the circumstances more fully, there would be some explanation; at present we can only say that David’s conduct was wrong, like many other acts of his.—TR.]
26[Literally his “lip heard,” moustache (and perhaps the beard at the lower lip), Sept. μύστακα, Chald. “lip-beard.”—TR.]
27 בָּא, masc., referring to the inhabitants. On this gender ad sensum see Ew. § 318 a.
28This is the meaning of אֶת־בַּיַּרְדֵּן. If this Kethib be retained, אֵת is to be taken as sign of Acc. of space with an exacter definition by בְּ. So Ges. (Thes.): “that he might accompany him in crossing the river; the words אֶת־בַּיַּרְדֵּן designate the bed of the Jordan, and אֵת denotes the Acc. of place or space after a verb of going.” So Maurer: “that he might accompany him τὸ (i. e., τὴν ὁδὸν = τὰς διαβάσεις) ἐν τᾠ Ἰορδάνῃ,” and Böttcher: אֶת־ = “id quod, to conduct him what (the piece of way) was in the Jordan (but not farther).” It does not appear how this explanation leads to the absurd statement (Then.) that the octogenarian Barzillai “went in the Jordan alongside of the ferry-boat,” for the אֶת־בּה֞ = “the in the Jordan,” denotes the space that, makes the breadth of the Jordan. The Qeri אֶת־ה֞ is adopted by Thenius, who appeals to the Sept, Chald. and Arabic (holding that the Keth. comes from miswriting כ for ה), and renders: “to escort him the Jordan” [Acc.]; this gives the same sense, but is an attempt to lighten the certainly difficult Kethib.
29 שִׁיבָה for יְשִֹׁיבָה (Maur., Böttch., Ew. § 153, 2 b).
30[2 Samuel 19:40. Eng. A. V. here adopts the Qeri, so Erdmann, Vulg. This reading is supported by Sept., Syr., Arab., Chald., and by a number of Heb. MSS. and printed editions.—TR.]
31[2 Samuel 19:42. Böttcher and Erdmann: “has anything been taken by us?” The rendering of Eng. A. V. is that of the ancient versions, Gesen., Philippson, Cahen. In defence of it may be said that נִשָּא occurs elsewhere as Piel (1 Kings 9:11), and that the parallelism does not absolutely demand the Infin. Absol. in the second member. On the other hand, Böttcher’s rendering of לְ as introducing the agent is strange.—TR.]
32[2 Samuel 19:43. The masoretic text is here supported by all the ancient versions except Sept., which gives בְּכוֹר, πρωτότοκος, but this word would hardly be followed in Heb. by the comparative מִן = “I am first-born over thee;” it would be simply “I am the first-born” or, “I am older (זָקֵן) than thou.” The material argument against the Sept. reading is given by Erdmann.—After מַדּועַ Böttcher inserts זֶה from the Sept. τοῦτο; but (as he says) this expression is not found elsewhere, and the frequency of the Sept. ἱνατί τοῦτο would account for it here without the supposition of a זֶה in the Hebrew.—TR.]
33[2 Samuel 19:3. Böttcher and Erdmann (retaining the masoretic pointing): “in a widowhood during lifetime,” that is, during the lifetime of the husband, which while it avoids a repetition is somewhat violent. The same sense is gotten by Wellhausen, who for חיִוּת (which he thinks a doubtful form) writes חַיוֹת, and renders: “living widows” = widows of a living husband, which is also hard. The phrase “widowhood of life” (as in the masoretic pointing) naturally means “lifelong widowhood,” and so Ewald (Gesch. III. 262) understands it: “widows that could never be married again.”—TR.]
34[2 Samuel 19:4. Before “three days” Wellh. thinks ו (“and”) necessary, since the עמד is defined by this term of days. But as Amasa is ordered to present himself immediately after assembling the troops, the time assigned to this assembling will of course apply also to his coming, so that the insertion of “and” is unnecessary.—TR.]
35[2 Samuel 19:5. As subject of the verb Sept. supplies “David,” Vulg. “the king,” and Syr. “king David,” which seem to be explanatory insertions, and do not call for correction of the simpler Heb. text (against Böttcher).—TR.]
36[2 Samuel 19:6. Instead of אתה some MSS. and printed editions have עַתָּה “now” (Vulg. igitur), and the ancient versions (except Chald.) add the Dat. commodi לִי “me.”—Instead of the Sing. עֵינֵנוּ some MSS. and EDD. Have the Plural “eyes.” Eng. A. V. follows the Vulg. in rendering: “escape us.” This phrase and the reading “Joab” instead of “Abishai” are discussed in the Exposition.—TR.]
37[2 Samuel 19:8. This is the only possible translation of the Heb. text; but the whole sentence is difficult. The word לְבוּשׁ “garment,” occurs only in poetical passages (so 2 Kings 10:22 perhaps) and in late prose (Esth.), and the מד—“garment” (especially, military dress) is construed with the verb לבשׁ, not with חגר, see 1 Sam. 17:38, 39: Lev. 6:3. It would be simpler to read: מִדוֹ (or, מַדָּיְו) וְיוֹאָב לְבוּשׁ “and Joab was dressed in his military dress,” the rest of the verse following as in the Heb., except that instead of the substantive הֲגוֹר “girdle” we should read the adjective חגור (or the fem.) “girded:” “and on it was girded a sword, etc.” The first חגור may have been repeated from the second. Wellhausen quotes the Itala: “et Joab indutus est mandyam indutoriam suam super se et qladiwm rudentem in vagina sua cinctus erat ad lumbos suos” and gets a Heb. text that reads: “and Joab was clothed in his military dress on him, and with a sword fastened in his sheath he was girded upon his loins,” where the reference of the עליו to לבוּש is not good, and the change of order in the latter part of the verse is unnecessary—TR.]
38[2 Samuel 19:8. Erdmann “and it ((i. e., the sheath) came out, and it (the sword) fell.” But this change of subject is harsh, and it is better to read הִיא יָצְאָה: “it (the sword) came out (of the sheath) and fell.” The Eng. A. V., referring the coming out to Joab, makes no sense. We may see also how appropriately the word בְּתַעֲרָהּ “in its sheath” stands at the end of the sentence, just before the statement that the sword fell out of the sheath—TR.]
39[2 Samuel 19:14. Or, “all Berim” (Philippson), as the name of a region. Sept. ἐη χαῤῥί, Syr. קרין “cities” (misreading), Chald. Berim (a region) Vulg. electi, from בָּרָה “to choose” (Philippson), or = בחוּרים (Böttcher, Thenius, Wellh., Erdmann). Bib.-Com. suggests that בֵּרִים means “fortresses” (from בִּירָה), but no such form occurs. It is better to read: “and all the choice young men were gathered together, etc.” The rendering “gathered” is of the Qeri, which is supported by the versions, and by many MSS. and EDD. Chandler adopts as Kethib יִקָלְהוּ “they were ardently excited,” pursued ardently after him.”—TR.]
40[2 Samuel 19:15. Literally: “were razing (or, easting down) to make the wall fall,” a strange expression. Hence Ewald, Böttcher, Thenius and Erdmann make the participle a denominative from שַׁחַת “a pit,” and render: “were digging ditches to throw down the wall.” But the form is elsewhere unknown (and none of the ancient versions suggest it here), and the military practice thus described is doubtful. As the text stands the word hardly yields a fair sense. But Chald. renders מִתְעַשְׁתִין “were thinking, purposing,” which agrees with the Sept. ἐνοοῦσαν, and perhaps represents the Heb. מְחַשְּׁבִים (Wellh.); “the people were devising to throw down the wall.”—TR.]
41[2 Samuel 19:18. The Sept. is the only ancient version that offers material for alteration of the text of the woman’s speech, and this is discussed by Erdmann. Chald. paraphrases: “And she said, saying, Remember now what is written in the book of the law to ask of the peace of a city (Walton’s Polygl.: to ask of a city) in the beginning, saying, was it in this wise thy duty to ask of Abel, whether they are peaceable? We are peaceable, in fidelity with Israel, etc.;” on this interpretation see further in notes to the Exposition. Syr.: “The woman said, They used to say of old time that they asked the prophets, and then they destroyed; am I to make satisfaction for the sins of Israel, that thou desirest to slay the child and his mother in Israel?” where the misreadings (נְבִיאִים for אבל and נַעַר for עיר) are obvious. These versions (and the Vulg.) confirm the Heb. text, which, with all its difficulties, seems preferable to the Sept. variation adopted by Ewald and Wellhausen.—TR.]
42[2 Samuel 19:26. כהֵן the word ordinarily rendered “priest.” See on 8:18.—TR.]
43 נִשָּׂא is not Piel, and נִשֵּאת Pi. Particip. (“hath he given us a gift?”), for the Pi. is elsewhere נִשֵּׂא, and this construction would require חוּא. And though נִשֵּא פּ׳ בְּ = “to help one with gifts” (1 Kings 9:11), our phrase does not therefore mean “to give to one” (Böttcher). Rather we have here the Pert. Niph. with Absol. Infin. (fem., as verbs לֹח, Ewald § 240 d), corresponding to אָכֹל, literally: “has anything been as to taking taken by us?”—has any thing at all been taken by us?
44 בְּכוֹר Instead of בְּדָוִד.
And it was told Joab, Behold, the king weepeth and mourneth for Absalom.