2 Samuel 18:4
And the king said to them, What seems you best I will do. And the king stood by the gate side, and all the people came out by hundreds and by thousands.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) What seemeth you best.—David was nothing loth to avoid the personal encounter with his son, and readily yielded, He, however, encouraged the troops by reviewing them as they passed out, and improved the opportunity to give his generals special and public charge concerning Absalom. He speaks of him tenderly as “the young man” (2Samuel 18:5; comp. 2Samuel 18:29; 2Samuel 18:32), to imply that his sin was a youthful indiscretion.

18:1-8 How does David render good for evil! Absalom would have only David smitten; David would have only Absalom spared. This seems to be a resemblance of man's wickedness towards God, and God's mercy to man, of which it is hard to say which is most amazing. Now the Israelites see what it is to take counsel against the Lord and his anointed.Succour us out of the city - David, with a reserve, would hold the city, and either support the bands in case of need, or receive them within the walls should they be compelled to flee. CHAPTER 18

2Sa 18:1-4. David Reviewing the Armies.

1, 2. David numbered the people that were with him—The hardy mountaineers of Gilead came in great numbers at the call of their chieftains, so that, although without money to pay any troops, David soon found himself at the head of a considerable army. A pitched battle was now inevitable. But so much depending on the life of the king, he was not allowed to take the field in person; and he therefore divided his forces into three detachments under Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, the commander of the foreign guards.

By the gate side, i.e. between the two gates of the city, as it is expressed below, 2 Samuel 18:24. And the king said unto them, what seemeth you best I will do,.... Which was an instance of great condescension in him; and it was his wisdom and prudence to yield to them at such a time as this, and especially as their sentiments were founded on affection and loyalty to him:

and the king stood by the gate side; of the city of Mahanaim:

and all the people came out by hundreds, and by thousands; and passed by him, to whom no doubt he gave his blessing and best wishes; and, as Abarbinel thinks, now it was he composed and said the twentieth psalm, "The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble", &c. Psalm 20:1.

And the king said unto them, What seemeth you best I will do. And the king stood by the gate side, and all the people came out by hundreds and by thousands.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
When David came to Mahanaim, some of the wealthier citizens of the land to the east of the Jordan supplied the men who were with him with provisions. This is mentioned as the first sign that the people had not all fallen away from David, but that some of the more distinguished men were still firm in their adherence. Shobi, the son of Nahash or Rabbah, the capital of the Ammonites (see 2 Samuel 11:1), was possibly a son of Nahash the deceased king of the Ammonites, and brother of Hanun, who was defeated by David (2 Samuel 10:1-2), and one of those to whom David had shown favour and kindness when Rabbah was taken. At the same time, it is also quite possible that Shobi may have been an Israelite, who was merely living in the capital of the Ammonites, which had been incorporated into the kingdom of David, as it is evident from 2 Samuel 17:25 that Nahash was not an uncommon name among the Israelites. Machir the son of Ammiel of Lodebar (see at 2 Samuel 9:4), and Barsillai of Roglim the Gileadite. Roglim was a town in Gilead, which is only mentioned once again, viz., in 2 Samuel 19:32, and of which nothing further is known. They brought "bedding, basins, earthenware, and wheat, barley, meal, and parched grains, beans, lentils and parched." The position of the verb, which is not placed between the subject and the object of the sentence, but only at the close of the whole series of objects, is certainly unusual; but this does not warrant any alteration of the text. For if we were to supply a verb before משׁכּב, as having fallen out of the text, it would be necessary, since הגּישׁוּ follows without a copula, to divide the things enumerated into two classes, so as to connect one portion of the objects with הגּישׁוּ, which is obviously unnatural. The early translators who interpolate a verb before the objects have therefore also supplied the copula w before הגּישׁוּ. There is still less ground for supplying the number 10, as having dropped out before משׁכּב and ספּות, as the lxx have done, since none of the translators of the other ancient versions had any such reading. משׁכּב, couch or bed, is used here for bedding. ספּות, basins, probably field-kettles. The repetition of וקלי is very striking; nevertheless the second must not be struck out without further ground as a supposed copyist's error. As they not only ate parched ears or grains of wheat (see at Leviticus 2:14), but were also in the habit of drying pulse, pease, and lentils before eating them (vid., Harmar, Beobachtungen, i. pp. 255-6), the second קלי may be understood as referring to parched pulse. The ἁπ. λεγ. בּקר שׁפות signifies, according to the Chaldee and the Rabbins, cheese of oxen (i.e., of cows), and according to the conjecture of Roediger (Ges. Thes. p. 1462), a peculiar kind of cheese, such as the Aeneze in the province of Nedjid still make,

(Note: According to Burckhardt's account (Die Beduinen, p. 48), "after they have taken the butter from the butter-milk, they beat the latter again till it coagulates, and then dry it till it is quite hard. It is then rubbed to pieces, and in the spring every family stores up two or three lasts of it, which they eat mixed with butter.")

and for which the term σαφὼθ βοῶν retained by the lxx was probably the technical name. Theodotus, on the other hand, has γαλαθηνὰ μοσχάρια, milch-calves; and the Vulgate pingues vitulos, - both of them renderings which can certainly be sustained from the Arabic usage of speech, and would be more in accordance with the situation of the words, viz., after צאן. אמרוּ כּי, "for they said (or thought) the people have become hungry and faint and thirty in the desert," i.e., in their flight to Mahanaim.

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