Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Berothite, the armor bearer of Joab the son of Zeruiah,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Zelek the Ammonite.—Many of David’s warriors were aliens. (Comp. “Uriah the Hittite;” “Ittai the Gittite;” and “Ithmah the Moabite,” 1Chronicles 11:46.
Berothite.—Of Beeroth in Benjamin (Joshua 18:25).2 Samuel 23:32, perhaps the most probable conjecture is that the "Beni-Hashem" of Chronicles and the "Beni Jashen" of Samuel alike conceal some single name of a man which cannot now be recovered. 1 Samuel 28:6 the Targum adds another reason of his death, because he killed the priests of Nob; but that is not in the text:
therefore he slew him; or suffered him to be slain:
and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse; translated the kingdom of Israel out of Saul's family, upon his death, into Jesse's, even unto David; for the sake of which observation this short account is given of the last end of Saul.Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Berothite, the armourbearer of Joab the son of Zeruiah,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)39. the Berothite] Spelt generally “Beerothite.” Beeroth was a Benjamite town; 2 Samuel 4:2.Verse 39. - Zelek the Ammonite,... the Berothite. Among David's great men were evidently numbered some foreigners, whose admiration and fidelity he must have won. Hence the mention (ver. 38) of Zobah, and here of the Ammonite (2 Samuel 8:12; 2 Samuel 12:26-31), the Beerothite (Beeroth, originally a Hivite city, Joshua 9:17, fell to the lot of Benjamin, Joshua 18:25; to it belonging Rimmon and his two sons, Reehab and Baanah, possibly native Canaanites, the murderers of Ishbosheth, as above), and (ver. 41) the Hittite. The armour-bearer. To be made armour-bearer was a sign of honour and attachment (1 Samuel 16:21; 2 Samuel 18:15). 1 Chronicles 11:21 should be translated: honoured before the three as two; i.e., doubly honoured-he became to them prince, leader. With regard to בשּׁנים, which, as meaningless, Bertheau would alter so as to make it correspond with הכי (Sam.), cf. Ew. Lehrb. 269, b. For Benaiah and his exploits, 1 Chronicles 11:22-25, see the commentary on 2 Samuel 23:20-23.
No special deeds of the heroes enumerated in vv. 26-47 are related, so that we may regard them as a third class, who are not equal to the first triad, and to the second pair, Abishai and Benaiah, and consequently occupied a subordinate place in the collective body of the royal body-guards. In 2 Samuel 23 thirty-two names are mentioned, which, with the above-mentioned three and two of the first and second classes, amount in all to thirty-seven men, as is expressly remarked in 2 Samuel 23:39 at the conclusion. In the text of the Chronicle no number is mentioned, and the register is increased by sixteen names (1 Chronicles 11:41-47), which have been added in the course of time to the earlier number. The words החילים וגבּורי, 1 Chronicles 11:26, are to be regarded as a superscription: And valiant heroes were, etc.; equivalent to, But besides there, there remain still the following valiant heroes. The words החילים גּבּורי are not synonymous with החילים שׂרי, leaders of the host, 1 Kings 15:20; Jeremiah 40:7, (Berth.), but signify heroes in warlike strength, i.e., heroic warriors, like חילים גּבּורי (1 Chronicles 7:5, 1 Chronicles 7:7,1 Chronicles 7:11, 1 Chronicles 7:40). That חילים has here the article, while it is not found in the passages quoted from the seventh chapter, does not make any difference in the meaning of the words. The article is used, here, as with הגּבּורים, 1 Chronicles 11:10, 1 Chronicles 11:11, because the heroes of David are spoken of, and לדויד אשׁר is to be mentally supplied from 1 Chronicles 11:10. As to the names in vv. 26-41, which are also found in the register in the book of Samuel, see the commentary to 2 Samuel 23:24-39. This list, which is common to both books, begins with Asahel, a brother of Joab, who was slain by Abner in the war which he waged against David (2 Samuel 2:19-23), and concludes in the book of Samuel with Uriah the Hittite, so well known from 2 Samuel 11:3. (1 Chronicles 11:41), with whose wife David committed adultery. But to the continuation of the register which is found in 1 Chronicles 11:41-47 of our text, there is no parallel in the other writings of the Old Testament by which we might form an idea as to the correctness of the names. The individual names are indeed to be met with, for the most part, in other parts of the Old Testament, but denote other men of an earlier or later time. The names ידיעאל, 1 Chronicles 11:45, and אליאל, 1 Chronicles 11:46., are found also in 1 Chronicles 12:20, 1 Chronicles 12:11, among those of the valiant men who before Saul's death went over to David, but we cannot with any certainty ascertain whether the persons meant were the same. The expression שׁלשׁים ועליו (1 Chronicles 11:42) is also obscure, - "and to him in addition," i.e., together with him, thirty, - since the thought that with Adina the chief of the Reubenites, or besides him, there were thirty (men), has no meaning in this register. The lxx and the Vulgate read עליו, while the Syriac, on the contrary, makes use of the periphrasis, "And even he was a ruler over thirty heroes;" and Bertheau accordingly recommends the emendation השּׁלשׁים על, and thence concludes that the tribe of Reuben had thirty leaders in its army-a conjecture as bold as it is improbable. Were השּׁלשׁים על to be read, we could not but refer the words to the thirty heroes of 1 Chronicles 11:11, and hold Adina to be their leader, which could not be easily reconciled with 1 Chronicles 11:11. See on 1 Chronicles 12:4.
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