2 Samuel Chapter 23
Verses 1-7: This song portrays David as a prophet and psalmist (Matt. 22:43; Acts 1:16).
This is David’s final literary legacy to Israel, not his final oral speech (see 1 Kings 2:1-10).
2 Samuel 23:1 “Now these [be] the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man [who was] raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said,”
“The son of Jesse said”: As an oracle (Num. 24:3, 15; 1 Sam. 2:30; Prov. 30:1). David realized that the psalms he wrote, as directed by the Holy spirit, were the very Word of God.
In the last lesson, we saw the sweet song of David in his youth before he sinned against God. In this song, we see David at a much later date. David penned many of the Psalms to be used in public worship, so it is correct for him to be called “sweet psalmist” here.
2 Samuel 23:2 ‘The spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word [was] in my tongue.”
“Spirit”: God’s Holy Spirit is the divine instrument of revelation and inspiration (Zech. 7:12; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21).
David attests to the divine inspiration of his psalm. Verses 2-7 contain a lovely testimony in song of David’s abiding trust in God and the unconditional covenant of God with the house of David.
David is saying here, that he spoke as an oracle of God. His tongue was submitted to the LORD. The Spirit of the LORD would come upon David and he would speak as the Spirit moved him.
Verses 3-4: “He that ruleth”: These words begin the record of direct speech from God, whose ideal king must exercise His authority with justice, in complete submission to divine sovereignty. Such a king is like the helpful rays of sun at dawn and the life-giving showers which nourish the earth. Their ideal king was identified in the Old testament as the coming Messiah (Isa. 9:6-7).
The just ruler brings health and life. This prophecy is ultimately fulfilled in Christ (Isa. 11:1-10; Matt. 4:14-16); Luke 24:25-27).
2 Samuel 23:3 “The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men [must be] just, ruling in the fear of God.”
For “Rock” (see the note on 1 Sam. 2:2).
Ruling the people is a great honor bestowed upon man by God, but it carries with it a great responsibility. God had revealed to David, that in the end, the LORD is judge of all. The Lord judges the kings of this earth. They should remember, when they are judging, that someday they will stand before the LORD to be judged themselves. They will be judged in the same manner they judged others.
2 Samuel 23:4 “And [he shall be] as the light of the morning, [when] the sun riseth, [even] a morning without clouds; [as] the tender grass [springing] out of the earth by clear shining after rain.”
These words are a further description of the king’s duty, which is not only to rule with justice and piety, but also with sweetness, and gentleness, and superiority to the infirmities of his people. To render his government as acceptable to them as is the sunshine in a clear morning, or the tender grass which springs out of the earth by the warm beams of the sun after the rain.
“A morning without clouds”: This description of the blessings of the ideally perfect government is closely connected with the Divine promise made through Nathan (2 Sam. 7). David recognizes that the ruler of God’s people must be just, and here (as in Psalms 72), the highest blessings are depicted as flowing from such a government. David knew far too much of the evil of his own heart and of the troubles in his household to suppose that his ideal could be perfectly realized in any other of his descendants than in Him who should “crush the serpent’s head “and win the victory over the powers of evil. The sense of the verse will be made clearer by the following translation: “And as the light of the morning when the sun ariseth, a morning without clouds; as by means of sunlight and by means of rain the tender grass grows from the earth: is not my house so with God?”
When a king judges justly, it is like the light of the morning that drives away the darkness of the night before. Physical or spiritual, is darkness that cannot remain, when the Light of the LORD is shined forth. Light does away with the darkness. Light causes things to grow, not darkness. This is true of the growth of a believer as well. The more Light that is applied in the life of a believer, the more he grows.
2 Samuel 23:5 “Although my house [be] not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all [things], and sure: for [this is] all my salvation, and all [my] desire, although he make [it] not to grow.”
The opening line may also be translated “Is not my house so with God?”
In response to God’s standard for His ideal king, David confessed that his house had not always ruled over God’s people in righteousness and in the fear of God, and thus were not the fulfillment of (7:12-16). Further, none of the kings of David’s line (according to 1 and 2 Kings), met God’s standard of righteous obedience.
“Everlasting covenant”: The promise given by the Lord to David recorded in (7:12-16), is here referred to as a “covenant,” a binding agreement from the Lord that He will fulfill. In spite of the fact that David and his own household had failed (Chapters 9-20), David rightly believed that the Lord would not fail, but would be faithful to His promise of hope for the future in the descendant of David, the Eternal King, the anointed one (see note on 7:12). Who would establish a kingdom of righteousness and peace forever.
David is feeling the pain that his sin had brought to his own personal household here. In spite of the sins of David, God had forgiven him, and made an everlasting covenant with him. This covenant would be fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Samuel 23:6 “But [the sons] of Belial [shall be] all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands:”
“Sons of Belial”: The wicked enemies of God will be cast aside in judgment when the Messiah, the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant, establishes His rule upon the earth (Isa. 63:1-6).
For the “sons of Belial” (see the note on Judges 19:22).
“Belial” means worthlessness. David is saying that just as you would gather up thorny bushes and burn them to keep them from ruining the crop, the worthless people should be dealt with harshly. He cannot judge them kindly, they have to be destroyed.
2 Samuel 23:7 “But the man [that] shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the [same] place.”
To remove these thorns, or sons of Belial, out of the way, or to defend himself against them; or weapons of war must be made use of to conquer and destroy them, according to the sense of Ben Gersom, and which De Dieu follows. A man that meddles with them must expect to be as much hurt and wounded by them, all over the body, as if not only the point or iron head of a spear, but the wood or handle of the spear, were thrust up in him. But the former sense seems best.
“And they shall be utterly burnt with fire in the same place”: Where the thorns grew, or whither they are removed, or are sitting. Where persons are sitting to warm themselves by them: and this may be understood of the destruction of wicked rulers, when their kingdom is taken from them, and they are consumed root and branch. This was true not only of Saul, and his posterity, as some apply it, and of Jeroboam, and those like to him, as the above Jewish writer; but of the wicked Jews, and their rulers, those sons of Belial, who rejected the yoke of Christ, and would not have him to rule over them. To whom the Lord sent the Roman armies fenced with swords and spears, and burnt their city, and destroyed them in the same place. And may take in antichrist, and antichristian states; those sons of Belial, of the wicked and lawless one, the son of perdition, whose city, Rome, shall be burnt with fire. And even all wicked men, at the great day of judgment, to which the Targum refers these words. When they, whose end, like thorns, is to be burnt, will be cast into the lake which burns with fire and brimstone.
It is such a shame, but the worthless mixing with God’s people affect them negatively. They become worthless too. This is saying again, not to mingle with this sort of person.
Verses 8-39: This fifth inset recalls David’s mighty men. David’s mighty men consisted of three leaders and 30 others. Thirty-four names are listed, so it could be that when some men died they were replaced. The parallel list (in 1 Chron. 11:10-47), seems to support this theory with 16 additional names.
2 Samuel 23:8 “These [be] the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same [was] Adino the Eznite: [he lift up his spear] against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.”
For a parallel listing of David’s “mighty men” (see 1 Chronicles 11:11-47). Apparently three groups of mighty men made up the roster of David’s special forces, who also served as a body of special assistants. The first three and their heroic deeds are recorded (in verses 8-17).
(Verses 18-23), detail two other notable men: Abishai, who though not one of the “big three” became, because of his mighty exploits, their commander, and Benaiah, whose brave deeds earned for him the post of chief of the bodyguards. (Verses 24-39), list the names of the “thirty.” Although 32 others subsequently were added without changing the official designation of the group. According to (1 Chron. 27:1-15), the first five men, together with seven others; served as commanders of the 12 army companies that were on duty on a monthly rotation.
The words “that sat in the seat” should be read as a man’s name: Josheb-basshebeth, rendered Jashobeam (in 1 Chron. 27:2). Other members of the “big three” included Eleazar (verse 9), and Shammah (verse 11). According to (1 Chronicles 11:11), Jashobeam slew only three hundred of the enemy at one time. The figure here is probably the correct one (see the note on 1 Chron. 11:11).
There were thirty mighties chosen of the men who followed David. They had stood beside David and helped him in his struggle to become king of all Israel. He was possibly, at Hebron serving as the head of Judah, when this particular list of mighties was given. Some scholars believe the person intended in the Scripture above is Jashobeam the Hachmonite. We do know that whoever he was, this is speaking of a very brave man who lifts up his spear against 800 of David’s enemies.
2 Samuel 23:9 “And after him [was] Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, [one] of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines [that] were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away:”
Or the son of Ahohite, perhaps the same with Ahoah, a descendant of Benjamin (1 Chron. 8:4); this Eleazar was the next to the Tachmonite, the second worthy of the first class.
“One of the three mighty men with David”: The second of the three valiant men that were with David in his wars, and fought with him, and for him.
“When they defied the Philistines”: Clapped their hands at them, gloried over them, daring them to come and light them; so did David and his mighty men, as Goliath had defied them before.
“That were there gathered together to battle”: At Pasdammim, as appears from (1 Chron. 11:13).
“And the men of Israel were gone away”: Fled when they saw the Philistines gather together to fight them, notwithstanding they had defied them; and so David, and his three mighty men, were left alone to fight the Philistines.
Dodo, or Dodai, as he is called in other Scriptures, was the commander of the second division of the royal troops of David. The fact that he was an Ahohite shows that he was of the tribe of Benjamin. They were known for their strong warriors. This was when just Judah came against the Philistines. Eleazar fought until his hand would not come off the sword. Sometimes they had to pour hot water on the soldier’s hand before the muscles would relax, and let him drop the sword.
2 Samuel 23:10 “He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.”
Instances are rare, but well authenticated, of a sort of cramp following excessive exertion, so that the hand could only be released from the sword by external appliances.
“Returned after him”: Does not imply that they had at any time deserted him, but only that they returned wherever he went to gather the spoil of the men he slew.
It appears that he actually led the battle, and in fact, did much of the destroying of the enemy himself. The LORD was with him in battle, and he won a great victory. His men came in and picked up the spoil that was left.
2 Samuel 23:11 “And after him [was] Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines.”
One who was of the mountainous country, as the Targum, the hill country of Judea, of Hebron, or the parts adjacent; this was the third of the first three; there was one of this name among the thirty (2 Sam. 23:33).
“And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop”: But so they were no doubt at first; R. Isaiah takes it to be the name of a place called Chiyah; as the Targum, Chayatha; and which Kimchi says was a village, an unwalled town. Ben Melech observes, that it is said in the Arabic language, a collection of houses is called Alchai: it may be the same with Lehi, where Samson slew a thousand with the jawbone of an ass (Judges 15:17), whence it had its name; and Josephus says, the place where the Philistines were gathered together was called “the Jawbone”. But perhaps the sense of Ben Gersom may be best of all, that they gathered together in this place for provision, for food and forage, to support the life of them and their cattle: since it follows.
“Where was a piece of ground full of lentiles”: A sort of pulse, which was eaten in those countries, and the pottage of which was delicious food (see Gen. 25:30).
“And the people fled from the Philistines”: As they did before under Eleazar (2 Sam. 23:9).
2 Samuel 23:12 “But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.”
The field of lentiles.
“And defended it”: The field, so that the Philistines could not ravage it, and get food and forage from it.
“And slew the Philistines”: Made a great slaughter among them, entirely routed them, so that they that escaped his sword were obliged to flee.
“And the Lord wrought a great victory”: To whom the glory of it belonged; a similar fact is ascribed to Eleazar before mentioned (in 1 Chron. 11:13); and, indeed, it seems to be the same, and in which they were both concerned. For it is plain from the account that there were more than one engaged in this action, since it is there said, “And they set themselves in the midst of that parcel”. And though that parcel of ground is said there to be full of barley, it may easily be reconciled by observing, that one part of it might be sowed with barley, and the other part with lentiles (so the Targum in 1 Chron. 11:13); for it was half lentiles and half barley. And Eleazar might be placed to defend the one, and Shammah the other; from whence it appears it was about March when this action was, at the latter end of which barley harvest began.
This is a detail of one of the battles that Shammah fought with the Philistines. “Lintles” was similar to a field of barley. The people got away but Shammah defeated the Philistines here. The Lord was with him and brought this great victory by him.
Verses 13-17: This episode may have taken place while David was fleeing from Saul. David remembers with fondness the taste of the “water” he grew up drinking in “Beth-lehem,” not expecting that anyone would consider this a request for someone to bring him that water. But his men loved him so deeply that they risked their lives to do exactly this. David “poured” it out as a drink offering (Gen. 35:14; Num. 15:7-10; 28:7-15), to express his unworthiness of the gesture.
2 Samuel 23:13 “And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim.”
Three of the soldiers mentioned (in verses 34-39).
“Cave of Adullam” (see note on 1 Sam. 22:1).
“Valley of Rephaim” (see note on 5:18).
2 Samuel 23:14 “And David [was] then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines [was] then [in] Beth-lehem.”
In a strong hold; the strong hold of Zion, as Josephus, or one on a rock near the cave of Adullam (see 1 Chron. 11:15).
“And the garrison of the Philistines was then in Beth-lehem”: Which was about six miles from Jerusalem; the valley of Rephaim lay between that and Beth-lehem; so far had they got into the land of Judea, and such footing in it, as to have a garrison so near its metropolis.
This is speaking of a time when David had left out of Beth-lehem and was hiding in Adullam. This was a place that David had a fortress in the frontier. He had gone there several times for safety from oncoming enemy forces. These are three more men other than the ones we have just read about above. Two of them are Abishai and Benaiah. The Philistines lay between them and Beth-lehem in the valley of Rephaim. It is thought to be a valley 3 miles in length lying southwest of Jerusalem.
2 Samuel 23:15 “And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Beth-lehem, which [is] by the gate!”
Beth-lehem is now supplied with water by an aqueduct, and the wells close to the town have ceased to exist. The cistern of “deep, clear, cool water,” described by Ritter, in his ‘Geography of Palestine,’ and now called David’s Well, is three quarters of a mile to the north of Beth-lehem, and too distant to be that which David meant.
2 Samuel 23:16 “And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Beth-lehem, that [was] by the gate, and took [it], and brought [it] to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.”
“Poured it out unto the Lord”: because David’s men brought him water from Beth-lehem’s well at the risk of their own lives, he considered it a “blood” and refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out on the ground as a sacrifice to the Lord (Gen. 35:14; Exodus 30:9; Lev. 23:13, 18, 37).
2 Samuel 23:17 “And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: [is not this] the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men.”
Drink of the water these men had brought him.
“Is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives?” Who risked the shedding of their blood, and went in danger of their lives to get it.
“Therefore he would not drink it”: Some compare with this the story of Alexander to whom a vessel of water was offered when in extreme thirst, which he refused, because he could not bear to drink it alone, and so small a quantity could not be divided among all about him; but the reasons are not the same.
“These things did these three mighty men”: Which made them very famous.
David longs for the water of Beth-lehem. He is truly longing to be restored to live in Beth-lehem. This is saying that these three mighty men wanted to please their king, so at risk of their lives, they snuck through the Philistines and brought water to their king. Instead of David drinking the water, he poured it out as a drink offering before the LORD. This established these three men as part of the thirty mighty men. David refused to drink of this water because it represented their blood they had offered. Their bravery, in acquiring this water for David, could have cost them their lives.
2 Samuel 23:18 “And Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief among three. And he lifted up his spear against three hundred, [and] slew [them], and had the name among three.”
Another triumvirate (a group of three men holding power), of which he was the head.
“And he lifted up his spear against three hundred, and slew them”: Josephus says six hundred; this seems to confirm the reading of (2 Sam. 23:8), that the number eight hundred is right, for if it was only three hundred, Abishai would have been equal to one, even the first, of the former three; which yet is denied him (in 2 Samuel 23:19).
“And had the name among three; of which he was one; and he had the chief name among them, or was the most famous of them.
“Abishai” (see note on 2:18).
2 Samuel 23:19 “Was he not most honorable of three? therefore he was their captain: howbeit he attained not unto the [first] three.”
He was; who, besides the exploit here mentioned, did many other things. He went down with David into Saul’s camp, and took away his spear and cruse, which were at his bolster (1 Sam. 26:6); he relieved David when in danger from Ishbi-benob the giant (2 Sam. 21:16); he beat the Edomites, and slew eighteen thousand of them in the valley of salt (1 Chron. 18:12).
“Therefore he was their captain”: Of the other two, or was head over them, took rank before them.
“Howbeit he attained not unto the first three”: For fortitude, courage, and warlike exploits, namely, to the Tachmonite, Eleazar, and Shammah.
We see that of the three that went to Beth-lehem for water for David, Abishai was the bravest and became their captain. He killed 300 men, but that was less than what we had read about that the first three of the thirty had done.
2 Samuel 23:20 “And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow:”
A place in Judah (Joshua 15:21).
“Who had done many acts”: This may belong either to Benaiah, or to his father, to note that Benaiah was a son becoming such a father.
“Two lionlike men”: For courage and strength. Or lions of God; i.e. great and strong lions. Or, two gigantic persons; and therefore both so called, as being either equal in might, or brethren by birth.
“In the midst of a pit”: Where he put himself under a necessity, either of killing, or being killed.
“In time of snow; when lions are most fierce, both from the sharpness of their appetite in cold seasons, and from want of provisions, cattle being then shut up, and fed at home.
“Benaiah” (see note on 8:18).
2 Samuel 23:21 “And he slew an Egyptian, a goodly man: and the Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and slew him with his own spear.”
A person of great stature (1 Chron. 11:23).
“He plucked the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand”: This shows him to have been both fearless, and a person of great skill and dexterity in managing a combat, either with man or beast. And had the name among three mighty men. That is, among the three in the second rank, for it is said in the following verse that he did not attain or come up to the first three. Who the third was of this second rank of mighty men is not mentioned.
2 Samuel 23:22 “These [things] did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men.”
Slew a lion, and two lion-like men of Moab, and an Egyptian of a gigantic stature (2 Sam. 23:20).
“And had the name among three mighty men”: Of which he was one, and Abishai another, the third Asahel, one of the thirty; or was over them (2 Sam. 23:24), since thirty are reckoned without him. Abarbinel thinks that the third was Adina, the son of Shiza, the Reubenite (1 Chron. 11:42); since thirty were with him, and he at the head of them.
2 Samuel 23:23 “He was more honorable than the thirty, but he attained not to the [first] three. And David set him over his guard.”
Whose names are after recorded.
“But he attained not to the first three”: The first triumvirate (a group of three men holding power), Jashobeam, Eleazar, and Shammah; Benaiah was not equal to them for fortitude, courage, and military exploits.
“And David set him over his guard”: His bodyguard, the Cherethites and Pelethites (2 Sam. 8:18). Who are called in the Hebrew text “his hearing”, because they hearkened to his orders and commands, and obeyed them.
Benaiah was very powerful throughout the reign of David. He was made captain of the guard. In the army of 24,000 that went out by three groups, David put him over the third group. Jehoiada was a priest. The 2 lionlike men that he killed were sons of Ariel. Lions were enemies of men then and this was quite a feat. It appears that he fought the Egyptian without a weapon. He just took the Egyptian’s weapon and killed him with his own weapon. Again, he was not the most prominent, but he was above most of the mighty 30.
Verses 24-39: The number 30 (23:24), is not meant to be taken literally but is a round number (as evidenced by the tally of 37 in 23:39). It is not altogether clear how the tally of 37 at the end of this list is reached. At any rate, the difficulty here is not with the list’s accuracy, but with our ability to understand it.
“Thirty”: A technical term for a small military contingent, named “the thirty” since it usually consisted of around 30 men, whereas 32 men are listed here, counting Joab.
2 Samuel 23:24 “Asahel the brother of Joab [was] one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Beth-lehem,”
Or rather over the thirty, who are next mentioned; since there are thirty reckoned besides him, and the Arabic version calls him the prince of the thirty. Joab is not named at all, because he was general of the whole army, and so not to be reckoned in any of the three classes.
“Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem”: A townsman of David.
“Asahel” (see note on 2:18).
These thirty were over groups of David’s men. There were three above this thirty and one over all of them. Asahel was David’s nephew. Elhanan was best known for killing the brother of Goliath.
The following is a list of the men who made up the mighties of David.
2 Samuel 23:25 “Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite,”
Called Shammah the Harorite (in 1 Chronicles 11:27); by a change of the letters “R” and “D”, which is frequent.
“Elika the Harodite”: Or who was of Harod, as the Targum; these both were from one place: mention is made of the well of Harod (Judges 7:1).
2 Samuel 23:26 “Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite,”
Who was of a place called Pater, as the Targum (in 1 Chronicles 11:27), he is called the Pelonite.
“Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite”: Who was of the city of Tekoah, the native place of Amos the prophet, famous for oil, about twelve miles from Jerusalem (see Amos 1:1).
2 Samuel 23:27 “Abi-ezer the Anethothite, Mebunnai the Hushathite,”
He was general for the ninth month (1Chron. 27:12). He was of Anathoth, a priestly city of Benjamin, the home of Jeremiah.
“Mebunnai”: According to (2 Sam. 21:18); Sibbechai. And to (1 Chron.11:29) Sibbecai. These being the same in the Hebrew. The two names are much alike in the original and might be easily confused. He slew the giant Saph (2 Sam. 21:18), and was the general for the eighth month (1 Chron. 27:11).
2 Samuel 23:28 “Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite,”
The same with Ilai (1 Chron. 11:29); a descendant of Ahoah, a grandson of Benjamin (1 Chron. 8:4).
“Maharai the Netophathite”: Who was of Netophah, a city of the tribe of Judah, mentioned along with Beth-lehem (Neh. 7:26). A place of this name is spoken of in the Misnah (an authoritative collection of exegetical material embodying the oral tradition of Jewish law and forming the first part of the Talmud), famous for artichokes and olives.
2 Samuel 23:29 “Heleb the son of Baanah, a Netophathite, Ittai the son of Ribai out of Gibeah of the children of Benjamin,”
Called Heled (1 Chronicles 11:30).
“Ittai the son of Ribai out of Gibeah of the children of Benjamin”: Sometimes called Gibeah of Benjamin (Judges 20:10), and Gibeah of Saul (1 Sam. 11:4), being a city in the tribe of Benjamin, and the birth place of Saul king of Israel. And this man is distinguished hereby from Ittai the Gittite (2 Sam. 15:19).
2 Samuel 23:30 “Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash,”
Who was of Pirathon, a city in the tribe of Ephraim (Judges 12:15).
“Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash”: Which perhaps ran by the hill Gaash and was also in the tribe of Ephraim (Joshua 24:30). This man is called Hurai (1 Chron. 11:32).
2 Samuel 23:31 “Abi-albon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite,”
A native of Beth-arabah, either in the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:6), or in the tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 18:18). He is called Abiel (in 1 Chron. 11:32).
“Azmaveth the Barhumite”: Or Bachurimite, the letters transposed, an inhabitant of Bachurim or Bahurim, a city in the tribe of Benjamin (2 Sam. 16:5).
2 Samuel 23:32 “Eliahba the Shaalbonite, of the sons of Jashen, Jonathan,”
The preposition “of” is not in the Hebrew, and should be omitted. For the rest (1 Chron. 11:34), reads “the sons of Hashem the Gizonite. In both the words the sons of may be an accidental repetition of the last three letters of the preceding word; if not, they should be read as part of the proper name, Jashen (Chronicles Hashem), or Bnejashen (Chronicles Bnehashem) the Gizonite. Jonathan is then a separate name.
2 Samuel 23:33 “Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite,”
From the mountainous country, as the Targum; the Arabic and Syriac versions say, from the Mount of Olives.
“Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite”: From the high mountain, as the Targum; in (1 Chron. 11:35), he is called the son of Sacar.
2 Samuel 23:34 “Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,”
In (1 Chronicles 11:35), he is called Eliphal the son of Ur.
“Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite”: David’s counsellor, that went off to Absalom (2 Sam. 15:12); Eliam his son is supposed, by the Jews, to be the father of Bath-sheba, the wife of Uriah (2 Sam. 11:3); according to Hillerus, he is the same with Ahijah the Pelonite (1 Chron. 11:36).
2 Samuel 23:35 “Hezrai the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite,”
Of Mount Carmel; or from Carmela, as the Targum (see 1 Sam. 25:2). He is called Hezro (1 Chron. 11:37).
“Paarai the Arbite”: Or from Arab, as the Targum, a city in the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:52); according to Hillerus, the same with “Naarai the son of Ezbai” (in 1 Chronicles 11:37).
2 Samuel 23:36 “Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite,”
Kingdom in Syria (2 Sam. 8:3). According to Hillerus and the same with Joel (1 Chron. 11:38).
“Bani the Gadite; who was of the tribe of Gad, as the Targum; in the room of this stands “Mibhar, the son of Haggeri” (in 1 Chronicles 11:38).
2 Samuel 23:37 “Zelek the Ammonite, Nahari the Beerothite, armor-bearer to Joab the son of Zeruiah,”
Who was so either by birth, and became a proselyte; so the Targum says, he was of the children of Ammon; or is so called, because he had sojourned some time in their land, or had done some exploits against them. Unless he was of Chephar-haammonai, a city of the tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 18:24).
“Nahari the Beerothite”: Native of Beeroth, a city in the same tribe (Joshua 18:25).
“Armor-bearer to Joab the son of Zeruiah”: Joab had ten of them, this perhaps was the chief of them (2 Sam. 18:15); who was advanced to be a captain, and therefore has a name and place among the thirty, very likely for some military exploits performed by him. He is in the list of David’s worthies, though not Joab his master, as before observed; the reason of Joab being left out is either because he was over them all, as before noted. According to Josephus, Uriah the Hittite, after mentioned, was an armor-bearer to Joab.
2 Samuel 23:38 “Ira an Ithrite, Gareb an Ithrite,”
These were of Jether (as the Targum), a descendant of Caleb, of the tribe of Judah (1 Chron. 2:50; 1 Chron. 4:15).
2 Samuel 23:39 “Uriah the Hittite: thirty and seven in all.”
“Uriah”: Here is inserted a mention of one of David’s great soldiers, a reminder of David’s great sin (11:1-27), and a preparation for David’s further failure recorded (in 24:1-10).
“Thirty and seven”: The three (verses 8-12), with Abishai (verses 18-19), and Benaiah (verses 20-23), plus the 32 men of the “the thirty” (verses 24-39).
The thirty valiant men were sometimes, a few over, as we see here. There were additions made from time to time as someone performed an extraordinary feat. These were all leaders of a certain group of men in David’s army.
2 Samuel Chapter 23 Questions
1. David was the son of ________.
2. _________ was the psalmist.
3. For what purpose were many of the psalms penned?
4. David is saying, that he spoke as an ___________ of God.
5. Who is God called in verse 3?
6. He that ruleth over men must be ________.
7. In the end, the _________ is Judge of all.
8. Light does away with _____________.
9. What causes a believer to grow?
10. What had brought pain to David’s household?
11. What does “Belial” mean?
12. What is verse 7 saying, we should not do?
13. Who were the mighty men of David?
14. Which of the mighty killed 800?
15. Who was Eleazar?
16. Who was Dodo?
17. What did they have to do sometime, before they could release their swords after a long battle?
18. Who was the third leader of the mighties?
19. Where was his battle fought?
20. When is verse 13 and 14 speaking of?
21. Who are two of the three men mentioned in verse 13?
22. Where were the Philistines?
23. Where is the valley of Rephaim?
24. What did David long for?
25. Who goes for water for David?
26. What does David do with the water, when he gets it?
27. Abishai is the brother of ________.
28. How many Philistines did he kill?
29. Who was the bravest of the three, who went to Bethlehem for water for David?
30. Benaiah was made captain of the _________.
31. Jehoiada was a __________.
32. All of the men, listed in the verses 25 through 39, were who?