And David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabeshgilead, which had stolen them from the street of Bethshan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Took the bones of Saul.—Moved by the story of Rizpah’s tender care, and wishing to show that he cherished no enmity against the house of Saul, David buried honourably the remains of Saul and of his descendants. In 1Samuel 31:10 it is said that the Philistines fastened the body of Saul “to the wall of Beth-shan;” here, that the men of Jabesh-gilead took them secretly from the street. The two statements are quite consistent, for the exact place where the Philistines hung up to public view the body of the slain and defeated monarch was the broad space or square, just inside the gate, where the people were wont to gather; and it was from the same place that they were taken. Most MSS. of the LXX. add to the previous verse: “And they were taken down, and Dan the son of Joa, of the descendants of the giant, took them down.”2 Samuel 21:12. He defended it — So that the Philistines could neither burn the corn, nor carry it away, nor tread it down. The Lord wrought a great victory — By his hand. How great soever the bravery of the instruments is, the praise of the achievement is to be given to God. These fought, but God wrought the victory. It must be observed that this Shammah, although one of the three most mighty men, is not particularly named in the book of Chronicles; it being the manner of the Scriptures, as the Jews observe, to notice that briefly in one place, which hath been explained at large in another; as this action of Shammah is here in this book.
12. David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son, &c.—Before long, the descent of copious showers, or perhaps an order of the king, gave Rizpah the satisfaction of releasing the corpses from their ignominious exposure; and, incited by her pious example, David ordered the remains of Saul and his sons to be transferred from their obscure grave in Jabesh-gilead to an honorable interment in the family vault at Zelah or Zelzah (1Sa 10:2), now Beit-jala.2 Samuel 21:14,
which had stolen them from the street of Bethshan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa; the history of all which see in 1 Samuel 31:8.And David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabeshgilead, which had stolen them from the street of Bethshan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)12. David went] Touched by Rizpah’s maternal devotion, and wishing to shew that he had no personal enmity to the house of Saul.
the men of Jabesh-gilead] The citizens, lit. lords or possessors of Jabesh-Gilead; a term peculiar to the books of Joshua, Judges, and Samuel (Joshua 24:11; Jdg 9:2 ff; Jdg 20:5; 1 Samuel 23:11-12). For their bold rescue of the bodies see 1 Samuel 31:11-13. Cp. 2 Samuel 2:4.
the street] The bodies were hung on the wall (1 Samuel 31:10) in the square or open place just inside the gate, the public meeting-place of all the citizens. Cp. 2 Chronicles 32:6; Nehemiah 8:1; Nehemiah 8:3; Nehemiah 8:16.
Beth-shan] Now Beisân, four miles west of the Jordan in the Wady Jâlûd. See note on 1 Samuel 31:10.Verse 12. - The street of Beth-shan; Hebrew, the broad place, or square, just inside the gate, where the citizens met for business. It was upon the wall of this square that the Philistines had hanged the bodies of Saul and of his sons (1 Samuel 31:12). The men of Jabesh-Gilead; Hebrew, the lords or owners of Jabesh-Gilead. The phrase occurs also in 1 Samuel 23:11, 12 of the citizens of Keilah, and is found also in the Books of Joshua and Judges. (For the brave exploit of these men in rescuing the bodies of their king and his sons, see 1 Samuel 31:11-13; and for David's generous approval, 2 Samuel 2:5.) Numbers 35:33, blood-guiltiness when resting upon the land could only be expiated by the blood of the criminal; but in delivering up the members of Saul's house for whom they asked, he spared Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan and grandson of Saul, for the sake of the bond of friendship which he had formed with Jonathan on oath (1 Samuel 18:3; 1 Samuel 20:8, 1 Samuel 20:16), and gave up to the Gibeonites two sons of Rizpah, a concubine of Saul (vid., 2 Samuel 21:11 and 2 Samuel 3:7), and five sons of Merab the daughter of Saul, whom she had borne to Adriel of Meholah. The name of Michal, which stands in the text, is founded upon an error of memory or a copyist's mistake; for it was not Michal, but Merab, Saul's eldest daughter, who was given to Adriel the Meholathite as his wife (1 Samuel 18:19). The Gibeonites crucified those who were delivered up to them upon the mountain at Gibeah before Jehovah (see the remarks on 2 Samuel 21:6). "Thus fell seven at once." The Chethib שׁבעתים, at which the Masoretes took such offence that they wanted to change it into שׁבעתּם, is defended by Bttcher very properly, on the ground that the dual of the numeral denotes what is uniformly repeated as if by pairing; so that here it expresses what was extraordinary in the even tin a more pictorial manner than the Keri: "They fell sevenfold at once," i.e., seven in the same way. The further remark, "they were slain in the first days of harvest, at the beginning of the barley harvest," belongs to what follows, for which it prepares the way. The two Keris, והמּה for והם, and בּתחלּת for תּחלּת, are needless emendations. תּחלּת is an adverbial accusative (vid., Ges. 118, 2). The harvest began with the barley harvest, about the middle of Nisan, our April.
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