2 Samuel 18:24
And David sat between the two gates: and the watchman went up to the roof over the gate to the wall, and lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold a man running alone.
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2 Samuel 18:24. David sat between the two gates — It is probable the gates of cities then were, as they now generally are, large and thick, and that, for greater security, they had two gates, one more outward, and the other inward. Here the king sat, that he might hear tidings as soon as they came to the city.18:19-33 By directing David to give God thanks for his victory, Ahimaaz prepared him for the news of his son's death. The more our hearts are fixed and enlarged, in thanksgiving to God for our mercies, the better disposed we shall be to bear with patience the afflictions mixed with them. Some think David's wish arose from concern about Absalom's everlasting state; but he rather seems to have spoken without due thought. He is to be blamed for showing so great fondness for a graceless son. Also for quarrelling with Divine justice. And for opposing the justice of the nation, which, as king, he had to administer, and which ought to be preferred before natural affection. The best men are not always in a good frame; we are apt to over-grieve for what we over-loved. But while we learn from this example to watch and pray against sinful indulgence, or neglect of our children, may we not, in David, perceive a shadow of the Saviour's love, who wept over, prayed for, and even suffered death for mankind, though vile rebels and enemies.The plain - The floor of the valley through which the Jordan runs. The Cushite did not run by that road, but took the road over the hills, which may well have been the shorter but also the more difficult road. The two roads would probably meet a short distance from Mahanaim. These words, which have been thought to prove that the battle took place on the west of Jordan, are a clear proof that it took place on the east, because if the runners had had to cross the Jordan, they must both have come by the same road, which it is clear they did not. 24-32. David sat between the two gates—that is, in the tower-house on the wall that overhung the gate of Mahanaim. Near it was a watchtower, on which a sentinel was posted, as in times of war, to notify every occurrence. The delicacy of Ahimaaz' communication was made up by the unmistakable plainness of Cushi's. The death of Absalom was a heavy trial, and it is impossible not to sympathize with the outburst of feeling by which David showed that all thoughts of the victory he had won as a king were completely sunk in the painful loss he had sustained as a father. The extraordinary ardor and strength of his affection for this worthless son break out in the redundancy and vehemence of his mournful ejaculations. Between the two gates; for the gates of the cities then were, as now they are, large and thick; and, for the greater security, had two gates, one more outward, the other inward. Here he sat, that he might hear tidings when any came into the city.

Unto the wall; unto the top of the wall or tower upon the gate, where watchmen used to watch. Compare 2 Kings 9:17 Ezekiel 33:2. And David sat between the two gates,.... Of the city of Mahanaim; which being a fortified place had two walls, one within another, and in each wall a gate; and between these David sat, waiting for news of the battle:

and the watchman went up to the roof over the gate unto the wall; the gate to the outward wall, over which was a tower, and on that a flat roof; to which the watchman went to observe if he could see an express coming; no doubt by David's orders:

and lifted up his eyes and looked; that is, very diligently and wistfully:

and, behold, a man running alone: which made him the more observable, and was the more likely to be a messenger.

And David sat between the two {h} gates: and the watchman went up to the roof over the gate unto the wall, and lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold a man running alone.

(h) He sat in the gate of the city of Mahanaim.

24. between the two gates] In the space between the inner and outer gates of the city gateway.

to the roof over the gate unto the wall] To that side of the flat roof of the gateway which was in the outer wall of the city.Verse 24. - David sat between the two gates. The gateway was in a tower in the city walls, and David was sitting in the space between the inner and outer gates. Over this space was a chamber, mentioned in ver. 33, while the sentinel was posted upon the front wall over the outer gate. Absalom had erected a monument to himself in the king's valley during his lifetime; "for he said, I have no son to preserve the remembrance of my name, and he called the monument by his own name; and so it was called hand (memorial) of Absalom unto this day." The לקח before ויּצּב is apparently pleonastic; but it belongs to the diffuse and circumstantial character of the antiquated Hebrew diction (as in Numbers 16:1). מצּבת, a memorial of stone; whether in the form of a column, or an obelisk, or a monolith, cannot be determined (vid., Genesis 28:22; Genesis 31:52). The king's valley, which received its name from the event narrated in Genesis 14:17, was two stadia from Jerusalem according to Josephus (Ant. vii. 10, 3), and therefore not "close to the Dead Sea," or in regione transjordanensi (Ges. Thes. pp. 1045, 1377), or "in the Jordan valley in Ephraim" (Tuch and Winer). It was on the eastern side of Jerusalem, in the Kidron valley; though Absalom's pillar, which ecclesiastical tradition has transferred thither, a monument about forty feet in height and pointed like a pyramid, is not of early Hebrew, but of Grecian origin. On the words "I have no son," see at 2 Samuel 14:27.
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