1 Kings 11:15
For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom;
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(15) The war here described is briefly noted, with some differences of detail, in 2Samuel 8:12-14, 1Chronicles 18:11-13, and Psalms 60 (title and 1Kings 11:8). It is there closely connected with the great struggle with the Syrians, and the victory is ascribed in one record to Joab, in the other to Abishai. Here David himself is described as taking part in the war—perhaps completing the conquest, as in the war with Ammon, after it had been successfully begun by Joab (2Samuel 12:26-31). (Instead of “David was in Edom,” the LXX. and other versions read “David destroyed Edom,” by a slight variation of the Hebrew text.) The war was evidently one of ruthless extermination of “every male,” except those who fled the country, or found refuge in its rocky fastnesses, and was carried on by systematic ravage under the command of Joab. How it was provoked we do not know; for we have no previous notice of Edom since the time of the Exodus, except a reference to war against it in the days of Saul (1Samuel 14:47).

1 Kings 11:15-17. When David was in Edom — By his army to war against it; and Joab was gone up to bury the slain — The Israelites who were slain in the battle, (2 Samuel 8:13-14,) whom he honourably interred in some certain place, to which he is said to go up for that end. And this gave Hadad the opportunity of making his escape, while Joab and his men were all employed in the solemnity. After he had smitten, &c. — Or, and he smote, as it is in the Hebrew: which is here observed as the cause of Hadad’s flight; he understood what Joab had done in part, and intended further to do, even to kill all the males, and therefore fled for his life. With all Israel — That is, with all his army. Until he had cut off every male — That bore arms; for it is hardly to be thought that they cut off all the male children and youths. That Hadad fled — While Joab was busy in giving a solemn burial to the Israelites, certain Edomites took the opportunity to carry Hadad into Egypt.

11:14-25 While Solomon kept close to God and to his duty, there was no enemy to give him uneasiness; but here we have an account of two. If against us, he can make us fear even the least, and the very grasshopper shall be a burden. Though they were moved by principles of ambition or revenge, God used them to correct Solomon.The verse gives certain additional particulars of David's conquest of Edom (marginal references). Joab was left, or sent, to complete the subjugation of the country, with orders to exterminate all the grown male inhabitants. It was not very often that David acted with any extreme severity in his wars; but he may have considered himself justified by policy, as he certainly was by the letter of the Law Deuteronomy 20:13, in adopting this fierce course against Edom.

Was in Edom - Or, according to another reading, "smote" Edom.

The slain - Probably the Israelites who had fallen in the strnggle. Translate, "when ... Joab was gone up to bury the slain, and had smitten every male," etc.

1Ki 11:14-40. Solomon's Adversaries.

14-25. the Lord stirred up an adversary—that is, permitted him, through the impulse of his own ambition, or revenge, to attack Israel. During the war of extermination, which Joab carried on in Edom (2Sa 8:13), this Hadad, of the royal family, a mere boy when rescued from the sword of the ruthless conqueror, was carried into Egypt, hospitably entertained, and became allied with the house of the Egyptian king. In after years, the thought of his native land and his lost kingdom taking possession of his mind, he, on learning the death of David and Joab, renounced the ease, possessions, and glory of his Egyptian residence, to return to Edom and attempt the recovery of his ancestral throne. The movements of this prince seem to have given much annoyance to the Hebrew government; but as he was defeated by the numerous and strong garrisons planted throughout the Edomite territory, Hadad seems to have offered his services to Rezon, another of Solomon's adversaries (1Ki 11:23-25). This man, who had been general of Hadadezer and, on the defeat of that great king, had successfully withdrawn a large force, went into the wilderness, led a predatory life, like Jephthah, David, and others, on the borders of the Syrian and Arabian deserts. Then, having acquired great power, he at length became king in Damascus, threw off the yoke, and was "the adversary of Israel all the days of Solomon." He was succeeded by Hadad, whose successors took the official title of Ben-hadad from him, the illustrious founder of the powerful kingdom of Damascene-Syria. These hostile neighbors, who had been long kept in check by the traditional fame of David's victories, took courage; and breaking out towards the latter end of Solomon's reign, they must have not only disturbed his kingdom by their inroads, but greatly crippled his revenue by stopping his lucrative traffic with Tadmor and the Euphrates.

When David was in Edom, to wit, by his army, to war against it. See 1 Chronicles 18:12,13.

To bury the slain, to wit, the Israelites which were slain in the battle, 2 Samuel 8:13,14, whom he honourably inferred in some certain place, to which he is said to go up for that end. And this may be mentioned as that which gave Hadad the opportunity of making his escape, whilst Joab and his men were employed in that solemnity.

After he had smitten every male in Edom; or, and he smote, &c., as it is in the Hebrew; which is here noted as the cause of Hadad’s flight, he smote, &c. He understood what Joab had done in part, and intended further to do, even to kill all the males, and therefore fled for his life.

For it came to pass, when David was in Edom,.... Fighting with the Edomites, and subduing them, and putting garrisons in the land, 2 Samuel 8:14.

and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain: the Israelites that fell in battle, or whom the Edomites afterwards, through stratagem and surprise, fell upon in their garrisons and destroyed, and which caused Joab to go thither to bury them, and take vengeance on the Edomites for it; or these were the Edomites slain by David and Joab; and it has been always reckoned a piece of humanity to bury the dead of an enemy, and is to the honour of the conqueror, see Ezekiel 39:12 or to suffer the enemy to bury them themselves: it is said (o), that Hercules was the first that brought up this practice, and that before they were left on the field, to be devoured by dogs; so they were in the times of the Trojan war, as appears by the writings of Homer; but burying them, in later times, was used by the Romans (p) and Greeks; and Josephus (q) delivers it as a law of Moses to bury enemies, and not suffer any dead to lie without partaking of the earth, nor to pass by or overlook any unburied; but from whence he took it, or grounds it upon, is not very evident; this is the first mention of it; though the Targum is,

"to strip the slain:''

after he had smitten every male in Edom; as he thought, intending to root out the name of them; being enraged at their falling upon the garrisons, if that was the case.

(o) Aelian. Var. Hist. l. 12. c. 27. (p) Liv. Hist. l. 39. c. 21. Vid. Kirchman. Append. ad. lib. de Funer. Roman. c. 3, 4, & 5. (q) Antiqu. l. 4. c. 8. sect. 24. contr. Apion. l. 2. c. 29.

For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the {i} slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom;

(i) Of the Edomites.

15. when David was in Edom] The time alluded to is the period of David’s conquests (2 Samuel 8:14), when it is said that all Edom became his servants. The LXX. says ‘when David destroyed Edom,’ which was perhaps the fact, as this verse shews, but is not stated in the earlier history. He conquered the land, and put garrisons of his own men throughout it.

and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain] On Joab, see 1 Kings 1:7. The slain were the Israelites who had fallen in David’s war with Edom. To bury these the captain of the host was appointed, and he abode after that work was over, till all were cut off, or driven away, from whom there could be any fear of resistance.

after he had smitten every male in Edom] This can only mean, as just stated, those persons who were likely to rebel against Israel. The narrative in 2 Samuel 8:14 implies that those who submitted were left, and put under tribute to Israel.

Verse 15. - For it came to pass, when David was in Edom [2 Samuel 8:14. But the text is peculiar. Instead of "in Edom" we have "with Edom," את־אדם, unless we take את to be the mark of the accusative, which, however, there is no verb to govern. Keil interprets, "When David had to do with Edom." Bahr refers to 1 Chronicles 20:5, and Genesis 19:4, but they are not strictly parallel, and it is possible that the text is slightly corrupt, as the LXX., Syr., and Arab. must have had בהכות instead of בהיות before them "when David smote Edom." The LXX., e.g., reads ἐν τῷ ἐξολοθρεῦσαι κ.τ.λ. It was only vicariously, however, that David smote Edom, or was in Edom. According to 1 Chronicles 18:12, Abishai slew 18,000 Edomites, while Psalm 60. (title) represents Joab as having slain 12,000 at the same time and place. The two brothers were both in high command, or Abishal may have been detailed by Joab to this service], and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain [The commentators generally are agreed that these are the Israelites slain by the Edomites during an invasion of Israel, and not either the Edomites or Israelites slain in the valley of Salt], after he had smitten [rather, that he smote. This is the apodosis] every male in Edom. [This is, of course, hyperbolical (cf. "all Israel" below). It is clear that the whole Edomite nation did not perish. The words point to a terrible slaughter (cf. 1 Chronicles 18:13) among the men of war. Possibly the cruelties of the Edomites (compare Psalm 137:7; Obadiah 1:10-14) had provoked this act of retribution, as to which see Deuteronomy 20:13.] 1 Kings 11:15When David had to do with the Edomites, ... Hadad fled. את היה is analogous to עם היה, to have to do with any one, though in a hostile sense, as in the phrase to go to war with (את) a person, whereas עם היה generally means to be upon the side of any one. The correctness of the reading בּהיוה is confirmed by all the ancient versions, which have simply paraphrased the meaning in different ways. For Bttcher has already shown that the lxx did not read בּהכּות, as Thenius supposes. The words from בּעלות to the end of 1 Kings 11:16 form explanatory circumstantial clauses. On the circumstance itself, compare 2 Samuel 8:13-14, with the explanation given there. "The slain," whom Joab went to bury, were probably not the Israelites who had fallen in the battle in the Salt valley (2 Samuel 8:13), but those who had been slain on the invasion of the land by the Edomites, and still remained unburied. After their burial Joab defeated the Edomites in the valley of Salt, and remained six months in Edom till he had cut off every male. "All Israel" is the whole of the Israelitish army. "Every male" is of course only the men capable of bearing arms, who fell into the hands of the Israelites; for "Hadad and others fled, and the whole of the Idumaean race was not extinct" (Clericus). Then Hadad fled, while yet a little boy, with some of his father's Edomitish servants, to go to Egypt, going first of all to Midian and thence to Paran. The country of Midian cannot be more precisely defined, inasmuch as we meet with Midianites sometimes in the peninsula of Sinai on the eastern side of the Elanitic Gulf, where Edrisi and Abulfeda mention a city of Madian (see at Exodus 2:15), and sometimes on the east of the Moabitish territory (see at Numbers 22:4 and Judges 6:1). Here, at any rate, we must think of the neighbourhood of the Elanitic Gulf, though not necessarily of the city of Madian, five days' journey to the south of Aela; and probably of the country to which Moses fled from Egypt. Paran is the desert of that name between the mountains of Sinai and the south of Canaan (see at Numbers 10:12), through which the Haj route from Egypt by Elath to Mecca still runs. Hadad would be obliged to take the road by Elath in order to go to Egypt, even if he had taken refuge with the Midianites on the east of Moab and Edom.
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