2 Samuel 5

CHAPTER V

The elders of ad the tribes of Israel come and anoint David

king over all Israel, 1-5.

He goes against the Jebusites, and takes the strong hold of

Zion, and afterwards the city itself; which is called the

city of David, 6-9.

David's prosperity, and friendship with Hiram, king of Tyre,

10-12.

He takes more concubines, and begets several sons and daughters,

13-16.

The Philistines gather together against him in the valley of

Rephaim; he defeats them; they abandon their idols, and David

and his men burn them, 17-21.

They assemble once more in the valley of Rephaim, and David

smites them from Geba to Gazer, 22-25.

NOTES ON CHAP. V

Verse 1. Then came all the tribes of Israel] Ish-bosheth the

king, and Abner the general, being dead, they had no hope of

maintaining a separate kingdom, and therefore thought it better to

submit to David's authority. And they founded their resolution on

three good arguments: 1. David was their own countryman; We are

thy bone and thy flesh. 2. Even in Saul's time David had been

their general, and had always led them to victory; Thou wast he

that leddest out and broughtest in Israel. 3. God had appointed

him to the kingdom, to govern and protect the people; The Lord

said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people and be a captain over

Israel.

Verse 3. They anointed David king] This was the third time that

David was anointed, having now taken possession of the whole

kingdom.

Verse 6. The king and his men went to Jerusalem] This city was

now in the hands of the Jebusites; but how they got possession of

it is not known, probably they took it during the wars between

Ish-bosheth and David. After Joshua's death, what is called the

lower city was taken by the Israelites; and it is evident that

the whole city was in their possession in the time of Saul, for

David brought the head of Goliath thither, 1Sa 17:54. It appears

to have been a very strong fortress, and, from what follows,

deemed impregnable by the Jebusites. It was right that the

Israelites should repossess it; and David very properly began his

reign over the whole country by the siege of this city.

Except thou take away the blind and the lame] Scarcely a passage

in the sacred oracles has puzzled commentators more than this. For

my own part, I do not think that it is worth the labour spent upon

it, nor shall I encumber these pages with the discordant opinions

of learned men. From the general face of the text it appears that

the Jebusites, vainly confiding in the strength of their fortress,

placed lame and blind men upon the walls, and thus endeavoured to

turn into ridicule David's attempt to take the place: Thou shalt

not come in hither, except thou take away the blind and the lame;

nothing could be more cutting to a warrior.

Dr. Kennicott has taken great pains to correct this passage, as

may be seen in his First Dissertation on the Hebrew Text, pages 27

to 47. I shall insert our present version with his amended text

line for line, his translation being distinguished by italics; and

for farther information refer to Dr. K.'s work.

Ver. 6. And the king and his men went to

K. And the king and his men went to

Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants

K. Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of

of the land: who spake unto David, saying,

K. the land; who spake unto David, saying;

Except thou take away the blind and the

K. Thou shalt not come in hither; for the blind

lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking,

K. and the lame shall drive thee away by saying,

David cannot come in hither.

K. "David shall not come in hither."

Ver. 8. And David said-Whosoever getteth

K. And David said-Whosoever smiteth the

up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites,

K. Jebusites, and through the subterranean passage

and the lame and the blind, that are hated

K. reacheth the lame and the blind who

of David's soul-Wherefore they said, The

K. hate the life of David (because the blind and

blind and the lame shall not come into the

K. the lame said, "He shall not come into the

house. * * * * * * * *

K. house,") shall be chief and captain. So

* * * * * * * * *

K. Joab the son of Zeruiah went up first, and

* * * * * * * * *

K. was chief.

Verse 11. Hiram king of Tyre] He was a very friendly man, and no

doubt a believer in the true God. He was not only a friend to

David, but also of his son Solomon, to whom, in building the

temple, he afforded the most important assistance.

Verse 13. David took him more concubines] He had, in all

conscience, enough before; he had, in the whole, eight wives and

ten concubines. That dispensation permitted polygamy, but from

the beginning it was not so; and as upon an average there are

about fourteen males born to thirteen females, polygamy is

unnatural, and could never have entered into the original design

of God.

Verse 14. These be the names] Eleven children are here

enumerated in the Hebrew text; but the Septuagint has no less than

twenty-four. I shall insert their names, and the reader if he

please may collate them with the text: Sammus, Sobab, Nathan,

Solomon, Ebear, Elisue, Naphek, Jephies, Elisama, Elidae,

Eliphalath, Samae, Jessibath, Nathan, Galimaan, Jebaar, Theesus,

Eliphalat, Naged, Naphek, Jonathan, Leasamus, Baalimath, and

Eliphaath. There is no doubt some corruption in these names;

there are two of the name of Nathan, two of Eliphalath, and two of

Naphek; and probably Sammus and Samae are the same.

Verse 17. The Philistines came up to seek David] Ever since the

defeat of the Israelites and the fall of Saul and his sons, the

Philistines seem to have been in undisturbed possession of the

principal places in the land of Israel; now, finding that David

was chosen king by the whole nation, they thought best to attack

him before his army got too numerous, and the affairs of the

kingdom were properly settled.

Verse 19. David inquired of the Lord] He considered himself only

the captain of the Lord's host, and therefore would not strike a

stroke without the command of his Superior.

Verse 20. The Lord hath broken forth] He very properly

attributes the victory of Jehovah, without whose strength and

counsel he could have done nothing.

Baal-perazim] The plain or chief of breaches, because of the

breach which God made in the Philistine army; and thus he

commemorated the interference of the Lord.

Verse 21. They left their images] It was the custom of most

nations to carry their gods with them to battle: in imitation of

this custom the Israelites once took the ark and lost it in the

field; see 1Sa 4:10, 11.

Verse 23. Fetch a compass behind them] When they may be had, God

will not work without using human means. By this he taught David

caution, prudence, and dependence on the Divine strength.

Verse 24. When thou hearest the sound of a going] If there had

not been an evident supernatural interference, David might have

thought that the sleight or ruse de guerre which he had used was

the cause of his victory. By the going in the tops of the mulberry

trees probably only a rustling among the leaves is intended. The

Targum says, a noise; the Arabic has it, the noise of horses'

hoofs.

Verse 25. And David did so] He punctually obeyed the directions

of the Lord, and then every thing succeeded to his wish.

How is it that such supernatural directions and assistances are

not communicated now? Because they are not asked for; and they are

not asked for because they are not expected; and they are not

expected because men have not faith; and they have not faith

because they are under a refined spirit of atheism, and have no

spiritual intercourse with their Maker. Who believes that God sees

all things and is everywhere? Who supposes that he concerns

himself with the affairs of his creatures? Who acknowledges him in

all his ways? Who puts not his own wisdom, prudence, and strength,

in the place of God Almighty? Reader, hast thou faith in God? Then

exercise it, cultivate it, and thou mayest remove mountains.

It is worthy of remark that David was, by the appointment of

God, to feed the people. As he had formerly the care of a flock of

sheep, which he was to watch over, defend, lead in and out, and

for which he was to find pasture; now he is to watch over, defend,

lead in and out, feed, and protect, the Israelites. He is to be

the shepherd of the people, not the tyrant or oppressor.

In ancient times, among the Greeks, kings were denominated

ποιμενεςλαου, shepherds of the people; and all good kings were

really such: but, in process of time, this pleasing title was

changed for βασιλευς and τυραννος, sovereign and tyrant; in

neither of which names does any thing of the original title exist.

And such are the different political constitutions of the kingdoms

of the earth, that it is impossible that in any of them, the

British excepted, the king can be the shepherd and father of his

people. All the other regal constitutions under the sun permit the

sovereign to be despotic, and consequently oppressive and

tyrannical if he please. The British alone gives no power of

this kind to the prince; by the constitution he is a patriotic

king, and by the influence of those maxims of state which are

continually presented to his view, and according to which all acts

of government are formed, he becomes habitually the father of his

people, and in this light alone do the British people behold the

British king.

David, by his own authority, without any form of law, could slay

the Amalekite who said he had killed Saul; and could cut off the

heads of Rechab and Baanah, who murdered Ish-bosheth; but, in the

government of Britain, the culprit is to be heard in his

vindication, witnesses are to be examined, the facts viewed by an

upright judge in the light of the law; and then the alleged

criminality is left to the decision of twelve honest men, the

equals of the accused, who are bound by a solemn oath to decide

according to the evidence brought before them. The Israelitish

constitution was radically good, but the British constitution is

much better. In the former, while the king ruled according to the

spirit of the constitution, he could do no wrong, because he was

only the vicegerent of the Almighty; in the latter, the king can

do no wrong, because he is bound both by the spirit and letter of

the law, to do nothing but what is according to the rules of

eternal justice and equity laid down in that law; nothing is left

to mere regal power or authority, and nothing trusted to human

fickleness or caprice. In all his acts he is directed by his

nobles and commons; who, being the representatives of all classes

of the people, are always supposed to speak their mind. Well may

it be said, Blessed are the people who are in such a case!

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