2 Samuel 4

CHAPTER IV

Some account of Rechab and Baanah, two of Ish-bosheth's

captains, and of Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, 1-4.

Rechab and Baanah murder Ish-bosheth, and escape; and bring

his head to David, 5-8.

David is greatly irritated, and commands them to be slain,

9-12.

NOTES ON CHAP. IV

Verse 1. All the Israelites were troubled] Abner was their great

support; and on him they depended; for it appears that Ish-bosheth

was a feeble prince, and had few of those qualities requisite for

a sovereign.

Verse 2. Captains of bands] Principes latronum, captains of

banditti, says the Vulgate; the Syriac is the same. Whether

Ish-bosheth kept bands of marauders, whose business it was to make

sudden incursions into the country places, and carry off grain,

provisions, cattle, &c., we know not; but such persons would be

well qualified for the bloody work in which these two men were

afterwards employed.

Verse 3. The Beerothites fled to Gittaim] Probably the same as

Gath; as Ramathaim is the same as Ramah.

Verse 4. He fell, and became lame] Dislocated his ankle, knee,

or thigh; which was never after reduced; and thus he became lame.

Lovely Jonathan! unfortunate in thy life, and in thy progeny.

Verse 5. Lay on a bed at noon.] It is a custom in all hot

countries to travel or work very early and very late, and rest at

noonday, in which the heat chiefly prevails.

Verse 6. As though they would have fetched wheat] The king's

stores were probably near his own dwelling; and these men were

accustomed to go thither for provisions for themselves, their

cattle, and their men. This supposition which is natural, renders

unnecessary all the emendations of Houbigant and others.

As these men were accustomed to bring wheat from these stores,

from which it appears there was an easy passage to the king's

chamber, (especially if we consider this a summer-house, as it

most probably was,) no man would suspect their present errand, as

they were in the habit of going frequently to that place.

Verse 8. They brought the head-unto David] They thought, as did

the poor lying Amalekite, to ingratiate themselves with David by

this abominable act.

Verse 9. Who hath redeemed my soul out of all adversity] This

was, in David's case, a very proper view of the goodness and

watchful providence of God towards him. His life was frequently in

danger; murderers had often laid wait for it: but God, the living

God, had always redeemed that life from all adversity; and called

on him now to punish such evil-minded and blood-thirsty men.

Verse 10. A reward for his tidings] ωεδειμεδουναιευαγγελια,

Septuagint. Here is a proof that ευαγγελιον, evangelium or

gospel, signifies the reward which the bringer of good tidings

is entitled to receive. See my preface to St. Matthew's Gospel.

See Clarke on Mt 1:1.

Verse 11. How much more] Here are several things which

aggravated the guilt of those wicked men. 1. Ish-bosheth was an

innocent man, and therefore none could have any ground of

quarrel against him. 2. He was in his own house, which was his

sanctuary, and none but the worst of men would disturb him there.

3. He was upon his bed, resting in the heat of the day, and so

free from suspicion that he was not even attended by his guards,

nor had he his doors secured. To take away the life of such a man,

in such circumstances, whom also they professed to hold as their

sovereign, was the most abandoned treachery.

Verse 12. And they slew them] None ever more richly deserved

death; and by this act of justice, David showed to all Israel that

he was a decided enemy to the destruction of Saul's family; and

that none could lift up their hands against any of them without

meeting with condign punishment. In all these cases I know not

that it was possible for David to show more sincerity, or a

stricter regard for justice.

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