2 Samuel 8

David Subjugates Nearby Nations

1Later David defeated the Philistines and subdued them. David took Metheg Ammah
Heb “the bridle of one cubit.” Many English versions treat this as a place name because the parallel text in 1 Chr 18:1 reads “Gath” (which is used by NLT here). It is possible that “the bridle of one cubit” is to be understood as “the token of surrender,” referring to the Philistine’s defeat rather than a specific place (cf. TEV, CEV).
from the Philistines.
Heb “from the hand [i.e., control] of the Philistines.”
2He defeated the Moabites. He made them lie on the ground and then used a rope to measure them off. He put two-thirds of them to death and spared the other third.
Heb “and he measured [with] two [lengths] of rope to put to death and [with] the fullness of the rope to keep alive.”
The Moabites became David’s subjects and brought tribute.
Heb “and the Moabites were servants of David, carriers of tribute.”
3David defeated King Hadadezer son of Rehob of Zobah when he came to reestablish
The LXX has ἐπιστῆσαι (epistēsai, “cause to stand”). See the parallel text in 1 Chr 18:3.
his authority
Heb “hand.”
over the Euphrates
The MT does not have the name “Euphrates” in the text. It is supplied in the margin (Qere) as one of ten places where the Masoretes believed that something was “to be read although it was not written” in the text as they had received it. The ancient versions (LXX, Syriac Peshitta, Vulgate) include the word. See also the parallel text in 1 Chr 18:3.
4David seized from him 1,700 charioteers
The LXX has “one thousand chariots and seven thousand charioteers,” a reading adopted in the text of the NIV. See the parallel text in 1 Chr 18:4.
and 20,000 infantrymen. David cut the hamstrings of all but a hundred of the chariot horses.
Heb “and David cut the hamstrings of all the chariot horses, and he left from them a hundred chariot horses.”
5The Arameans of Damascus came to help King Hadadezer of Zobah, but David killed 22,000 of the Arameans. 6David placed garrisons in the territory of the Arameans of Damascus; the Arameans became David’s subjects and brought tribute. The Lord protected
Or “delivered.”
David wherever he campaigned.
Or “wherever he went.”
7David took the golden shields that belonged to Hadadezer’s servants and brought them to Jerusalem.
The LXX includes seventeen words (in Greek) at the end of v. 7 that are not found in the MT. The LXX addition is as follows: “And Sousakim king of Egypt took them when he came up to Jerusalem in the days of Rehoboam the son of Solomon.” This Greek reading now finds Hebrew support in 4QSama. For a reconstruction of this poorly preserved Qumran text see E. C. Ulrich, Jr., The Qumran Text of Samuel and Josephus (HSM), 45–48.
8From Tebah
Heb “Betah” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV), but the name should probably be corrected to “Tebah.” See the parallel text in 1 Chr 18:8.
and Berothai, Hadadezer’s cities, King David took a great deal of bronze.

9 When King Toi
The name is spelled “Tou” in the parallel text in 1 Chr 18:9. NIV adopts the spelling “Tou” here.
of Hamath heard that David had defeated the entire army of Hadadezer,
Heb “Toi.” The proper name has been replaced by the pronoun in the translation for stylistic reasons.
sent his son Joram
The name appears as “Hadoram” in the parallel text in 1 Chr 18:10.
to King David to extend his best wishes
Heb “to ask concerning him for peace.”
and to pronounce a blessing on him for his victory over Hadadezer, for Toi had been at war with Hadadezer.
Heb “and to bless him because he fought with Hadadezer and defeated him, for Hadadezer was a man of battles with Toi.”
He brought with him various items made of silver, gold, and bronze.
Heb “and in his hand were items of silver and items of gold and items of bronze.”
11King David dedicated these things to the Lord,
Heb “also them King David made holy to the Lord.”
along with the dedicated silver and gold that he had taken from
Heb “with the silver and the gold that he had dedicated from.”
all the nations that he had subdued,
Heb “from.”
The present translation follows the MT; a few Hebrew mss along with the LXX and Syriac read “Edom” (cf. 2 Sam 8:14 and 1 Chr 18:11). Many modern English versions read “Edom” here (e.g., NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).
Moab, the Ammonites, the Philistines, and Amelek. This also included some of the plunder taken from
Heb “and from the plunder of.”
King Hadadezer son of Rehob of Zobah.

13 David became famous
Heb “made a name.”
when he returned from defeating the Arameans
So NASB, NCV; NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT “Edomites” (see the note on “Aram” in v. 12).
in the Valley of Salt, he defeated
The words “he defeated” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
18,000 in all.
14He placed garrisons throughout Edom,
The MT is repetitious here: “He placed in Edom garrisons; in all Edom he placed garrisons.” The Vulgate lacks “in all Edom”; most of the Greek tradition (with the exception of the Lucianic recension and the recension of Origen) and the Syriac Peshitta lack “he placed garrisons.” The MT reading appears here to be the result of a conflation of variant readings.
and all the Edomites became David’s subjects. The Lord protected David wherever he campaigned.
15David reigned over all Israel; he guaranteed justice for all his people.
Heb “and David was doing what is just and fair for all his people.”

David’s Cabinet

16 Joab son of Zeruiah was general in command of
Heb “was over.”
the army; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was secretary;
17Zadok son of Ahitub and Ahimelech son of Abiathar
Here Ahimelech is called “the son of Abiathar,” but NCV, CEV, and REB reverse this to conform with 1 Sam 22:20. Most recent English versions (e.g., NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT) retain the order found in the MT.
were priests; Seraiah was scribe;
18Benaiah son of Jehoida supervised
The translation follows the Syriac Peshitta, Targum, and Vulgate in reading “over,” rather than the simple conjunction that appears in MT. See also the parallel passage in 1 Chr 18:17.
the Kerithites and Pelethites; and David’s sons were priests.
That David’s sons could have been priests, in light of the fact that they were not of the priestly lineage, is strange. One must assume either (1) that the word “priest” (כֹּהֵן, kohen) during this period of time could be used in a broader sense of “chief ruler” (KJV); “chief minister” (ASV, NASB), or “royal adviser” (NIV), perhaps based on the parallel passage in 1 Chr 18:17 which has “the king’s leading officials”, or (2) that in David’s day members of the king’s family could function as a special category of “priests” (cf. NLT “priestly leaders”). The latter option seems to be the more straightforward way of understanding the word in 2 Sam 8:18.

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