Your hands were not bound, nor your feet put into fetters: as a man falls before wicked men, so fell you. And all the people wept again over him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Thy hands were not bound.—The people were moved greatly by the sight of David’s sorrow, but still more by this brief elegy over Abner. The whole circumstances are summed up in a few pregnant words: Abner, so valiant in war, with his hands free for defence, with his feet unfettered, unsuspicious of evil, fell by the treacherous act of a wicked man.Thy hands were not bound, nor thy feet put into fetters; thou didst not tamely yield up thyself to Joab, as his prisoner, to be bound hand and foot, at his pleasure. Joab did not overcome thee generously and honourably in an equal combat, nor durst he attempt thee in that way, as a general or soldier of any worth would have done.
Before wicked men; or, before, i. e. in the presence or by the hands of froward, or perverse, or crooked men, by hypocrisy and perfidiousness, whereby the vilest coward may kill the most valiant person. Thus he reproached Joab to his very face, before all the people; which was a great evidence of his own innocency herein; because otherwise Joab, being so powerful, and proud, and petulant to his sovereign, would never have taken the shame and blame of it wholly to himself, as he did.
as a man falleth before wicked men, so fellest thou; as a man being before bloodthirsty and deceitful men, falls before them, through treachery and deceit, privately and unawares, so fell Abner before Joab and Abishai; this David said in the presence of Joab, and before all the people, to declare the plain fact how it was, to express his detestation of it, and to show he had no hand in it; and Joab must be an hardened creature to stand at the grave of Abner, and hear all this, and not be affected with it:
and all the people wept again over him; over Abner, being laid in his grave; they had wept before, but hearing this funeral oration delivered by the king in such moving language, and in such a mournful tone, it drew tears afresh from them.Thy hands were not bound, nor thy feet put into fetters: as a man falleth before wicked men, so fellest thou. And all the people wept again over him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)34. Thy hands, &c.] Two explanations of these words seem possible; either (1) Thou hadst not committed any crime to deserve a malefactor’s punishment, but wast causelessly murdered by treacherous enemies: or (2) How was it that thou wast slain while thy hands were at liberty to defend thyself, thy feet free to escape by flight? It was because thou wast attacked unsuspectingly by treacherous enemies. In the first case “fool” in 2 Samuel 3:33 is equivalent to “miscreant.” It is a term which frequently in the O.T. implies moral worthlessness, wickedness. Cp. Psalm 14:1. The Targum here renders it “the wicked.” In the second case it means “an ignoble churl who cannot defend himself.”Verse 34. - Thy hands were not bound. Abner had been put to death by Joab for killing Asahel. But there had been no legal process. He had not been brought in fetters before a judge to be tried for the crime alleged, but murdered for private ends. And thus, "As a man falleth before the children of iniquity, so had he fallen," that is, by crime, and not by law. These words s re probably the refrain of the dirge, like those in 2 Samuel 1:19, 25, 27, and were followed by the celebration of Abner's bravery, but they alone are recorded, because they contain the main point. Abner's death was not, like the sentence upon Baanah and Rechab, an act of justice, but one of lawless revenge; and by this poem David proclaimed, not only his innocence, but also his abhorrence of the crime. Joshua 9:23) in the house of Joab one that hath an issue (vid., Leviticus 15:2), and a leper, and one who leans upon a stick (i.e., a lame person or cripple; פּלך, according to the lxx σκυτάλη, a thick round staff), and who falls by the sword, and who is in want of bread," The meaning is: May God avenge the murder of Abner upon Joab and his family, by punishing them continually with terrible diseases, violent death, and poverty. To make the reason for this fearful curse perfectly clear, the historian observes in 2 Samuel 3:30, that Joab and his brother Abishai had murdered Abner, "because he had slain their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle" (2 Samuel 2:23). This act of Joab, in which Abishai must have been in some way concerned, was a treacherous act of assassination, which could not even be defended as blood-revenge, since Abner had slain Asahel in battle after repeated warnings, and only for the purpose of saving his own life. The principal motive for Joab's act was the most contemptible jealousy, or the fear lest Abner's reconciliation to David should diminish his own influence with the king, as was the case again at a later period with the murder of Amasa (2 Samuel 20:10).
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