2 Samuel 11:25
Then David said to the messenger, Thus shall you say to Joab, Let not this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another: make your battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it: and encourage you him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) One as well as another.—While David’s reply to Joab is ostensibly to encourage him, on the ground that the mishap was a mere accident of war, it is yet couched in such language as to imply a special regret for the loss of Uriah. “One as well as another,” i.e., “though Uriah was a brave hero whom we could ill spare, yet in the fortune of war we cannot choose who shall fall. Notwithstanding this loss, let Joab go on with a good heart.”

2 Samuel 11:25. Let not this thing displease thee — Be not disheartened by this loss. David showed no sign of grief or displeasure at these tidings, as he heard the news, which he desired, of Uriah’s death. The sword devoureth one as well as another — Makes no distinction between good and bad. Make thy battle more strong, &c. — Assault the city with greater force, till thou art made master of it. And encourage thou him — Joab and his soldiery.11:14-27 Adulteries often occasion murders, and one wickedness is sought to be covered by another. The beginnings of sin are much to be dreaded; for who knows where they will end? Can a real believer ever tread this path? Can such a person be indeed a child of God? Though grace be not lost in such an awful case, the assurance and consolation of it must be suspended. All David's life, spirituality, and comfort in religion, we may be sure were lost. No man in such a case can have evidence to be satisfied that he is a believer. The higher a man's confidence is, who has sunk in wickedness, the greater his presumption and hypocrisy. Let not any one who resembles David in nothing but his transgressions, bolster up his confidence with this example. Let him follow David in his humiliation, repentance, and his other eminent graces, before he thinks himself only a backslider, and not a hypocrite. Let no opposer of the truth say, These are the fruits of faith! No; they are the effects of corrupt nature. Let us all watch against the beginnings of self-indulgence, and keep at the utmost distance from all evil. But with the Lord there is mercy and plenteous redemption. He will cast out no humble, penitent believer; nor will he suffer Satan to pluck his sheep out of his hand. Yet the Lord will recover his people, in such a way as will mark his abhorrence of their crimes, to hinder all who regard his word from abusing the encouragements of his mercy.Who smote Abimelech ... - This reference indicates the existence in David's time of the national annals of that period in an accessible form, and the king's habit of reading, or having read to him, the history of his country. (Compare Esther 6:1.) 2Sa 11:14-27. Uriah Slain.

14, 15. David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah … Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle—The various arts and stratagems by which the king tried to cajole Uriah, till at last he resorted to the horrid crime of murder—the cold-blooded cruelty of despatching the letter by the hands of the gallant but much-wronged soldier himself, the enlistment of Joab to be a partaker of his sin, the heartless affectation of mourning, and the indecent haste of his marriage with Bath-sheba—have left an indelible stain upon the character of David, and exhibit a painfully humiliating proof of the awful lengths to which the best of men may go when they forfeit the restraining grace of God.

Let not this thing displease thee; be not dejected or discouraged by this sad occasion.

Encourage thou him, i.e. Joab, to proceed in the siege. Then David said to the messenger,.... Whom he dispatched again to Joab upon the delivery of his message:

thus shall thou say to Joab; in the name of David:

let not this thing displease thee; be not grieved, and cast down, and intimidated at the repulse he had met with, and the loss of so many brave men, and especially Uriah:

for the sword devours one as well as another; officers as well as soldiers the strong as well as the weak, the valiant and courageous as well as the more timorous; the events of war are various and uncertain, and to be submitted to, and not repined at, and laid to heart. David's heart being hardened by sin, made light of the death of his brave soldiers, to which he himself was accessory; his conscience was very different now from what it was when he cut off the skirt of Saul's robe, and his heart in a different frame from that in which he composed the lamentation over Saul and Jonathan:

make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it; more closely besiege it, more vigorously attack it; assault it, endeavour to take it by storm, and utterly destroy it, razing the very foundations of it: and encourage thou him; which words are either said to the messenger to encourage and animate Joab in David's name, which is not so likely that a messenger should be employed to encourage the general; or rather the words of David to Joab continued, that he would "encourage it", the army under him, who might be disheartened with the rebuff and loss they had met with; and therefore Joab is bid to spirit them up, to carry on the siege with vigour.

Then David said unto the messenger, {k} Thus shalt thou say unto Joab, Let not this thing displease thee, for the sword devoureth one as well as another: make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it: and encourage thou him.

(k) He conceals the truth from the messenger, so that neither his cruel commandment, nor Joab's wicked obedience would be discovered.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
25. the sword devoureth] Cp. the phrase “the mouth (E. V. edge) of the sword” (1 Samuel 15:8).

encourage thou him] This is certainly the right rendering. That of the LXX., and take it, which follows a slightly different text, is contrary to the usage of the verb.Verse 25. - Let not this thing displease thee. David professes to be satisfied with Joab's apology, and bids him, if the war is in the main going on prosperously, not to be too much distressed at a temporary reverse. As for Uriah's death, of course it is to be regretted, but such is the fortune of war, and the sword devours now one and now another. The last words, encourage thou him, have provoked comment, as though the messenger was to aid and abet Joab. They simply mean "Give him a message of encouragement from me," the exact form of which is left to the messenger, but of which his report would be that the king wished Joab to take courage. Joab immediately despatched a messenger to the king, to give him a report of the events of the war, and with these instructions: "When thou hast told all the things of the war to the king to the end, in case the anger of the king should be excited (תּעלה, ascend), and he should say to thee, Why did ye advance so near to the city to fight? knew ye not that they would shoot from the wall? Who smote Abimelech the son of Jerubbosheth (i.e., Gideon, see at Judges 6:32)? did not a woman throw down a millstone from the wall, that he died in Thebez (Judges 9:53)? why went ye so nigh to the wall? then only say, Thy servant Uriah the Hethite has perished." Joab assumed that David might possibly be angry at what had occurred, or at any rate that he might express his displeasure at the fact that Joab had sacrificed a number of warriors by imprudently approaching close to the wall: he therefore instructed the messenger, if such should be the case, to announce Uriah's death to the king, for the purpose of mitigating his wrath. The messenger seems to have known that Uriah was in disgrace with the king. At the same time, the words "thy servant Uriah is dead also" might be understood or interpreted as meaning that it was without, or even in opposition to, Joab's command, that Uriah went so far with his men, and that he was therefore chargeable with his own death and that of the other warriors who had fallen.
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