Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said,1. David the son of Jesse said] The oracle of David the son of Jesse: a peculiar word, generally used of a direct message from God through a prophet in the phrase rendered, “saith the Lord,” and joined with the name of the human speaker only here and in Numbers 24:3-4; Numbers 24:15-16; Proverbs 30:1. It therefore marks these “last words” as an utterance delivered by special divine inspiration.
raised up on high] Raised by God from a low estate to be the king of Israel. Cp. ch. 2 Samuel 7:8-9; Psalm 78:70-71.
the God of Jacob] The use of the name Jacob, instead of the more familiar Israel, is chiefly poetical. It suggests more vividly the connexion of the nation with their great ancestor, and recalls more forcibly the covenant made with him by God. Cp. Psalm 20:1; Isaiah 2:3.
the sweet psalmist of Israel] Lit. pleasant in Israel’s songs of praise: a title deserving to stand by the side of “the anointed of the God of Jacob,” because he was God’s instrument for educating and developing his people’s religious life by means of his Psalms, not less than for governing them as king. See Introd. ch. V. § 6, c, p. 31.
Ch. 2 Samuel 23:1-7. The last words of David
The great hymn of triumph in ch. 22, composed when David was in the zenith of his prosperity, is followed by his “last words:” his last prophetic utterance, delivered not long before his death, a parting testimony to the world of his confidence in the fulfilment of the promise concerning the eternal dominion of his posterity.
A translation of the Targum or Aramaic paraphrase of David’s last words is given in Note IV., p. 237.
The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.2. the Spirit of the Lord] A direct claim of inspiration, to which Christ Himself bears witness (Matthew 22:43).
Observe the parallelisms, which constitute Hebrew poetry.
The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.3, 4. The oracular brevity of these verses hardly admits of translation, and makes the meaning of them obscure. They may be rendered:
A ruler over men, a righteous one!
a ruler in the fear of God!
and he shall be as the light of morning when the sun riseth;
a morning without clouds;
when from sunshine, from rain, grass springeth from earth.
The second half of 2 Samuel 23:3 draws, with a few strong strokes—there are but six words in the original—an outline portrait of an ideal king, ruling with perfect justice, controlled and guided by the fear of God. 2 Samuel 23:4 depicts in figurative language the blessings of his reign.
His appearance will be like the life-giving sunshine of a cloudless morning; blessings will follow him as verdure clothes the earth from the united influences of sunshine and rain.
In order to appreciate the force of the latter figure, it must be borne in mind that verdure is not perpetual in Palestine, as with us. There what in June is “a brown, hard-baked, gaping plain, with only here and there the withered stems of thistles and centaureas to tell that life had ever existed there” is clothed in spring after the rains with “a deep solid growth of clovers and grasses.” David had been familiar with the yearly transformation of the dry and dusty downs of Beth-lehem into a lovely garden of brilliant flowers; an apt emblem of the gracious influences of the perfect rule of an ideal king upon a hard and desert world. Cp. Isaiah 32:15; Isaiah 35:1-2. See Tristram’s Nat. Hist. of the Bible, p. 454.
This prophecy is the companion and complement of the prophecy in ch. 7 There the promise of an eternal dominion is given to the house of David, finding a partial fulfilment in his descendants, and a complete fulfilment only in Christ: here David himself is taught by inspiration to draw the portrait of a ruler, some features of which were partially realised in Solomon and the better kings of Judah, but which finds it perfect realisation only in Christ.
The features of the portrait are developed and the outlines filled in by subsequent prophets, with ever increasing clearness pointing forward to Him Who was to fulfil and more than fulfil all the anticipations of prophecy.
Thus for the ruler cp. Micah 5:2 : for the characteristic of righteousness cp. Psalm 72:1-3 (primarily referring to Solomon); Isaiah 11:1-5 : Zechariah 9:9 : and especially Jeremiah 23:5; Jeremiah 33:15 : for the fear of the Lord, cp. Isaiah 11:2. The figure of the fertilising rain is borrowed in Psalm 72:6 : cp. Isaiah 44:3-4 : that of the light is repeated in Proverbs 4:18 : and the closing words of the last prophet, “Unto you shall the Sun of righteousness arise” (Malachi 4:2), combine and re-echo these last words of David.
And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.
Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.5. For is not my house thus with God?
for an eternal covenant hath he made for me,
ordered in all and secured:
for all my salvation and all good pleasure
shall he not cause it to spring forth?
This seems to be the most probable rendering of an obscure passage. The meaning then will be: Is not my house in such a relation to God, because He has made an eternal covenant with me, that I may look for the righteous ruler to arise out of it, bringing with him all these attendant blessings?
“The eternal covenant” is the promise in ch. 2 Samuel 7:12 ff., to which David refers as the ground of his confidence in the fulfilment of this prophecy in and through his house. The epithets “ordered in all and secured” compare the covenant to a carefully drawn and properly attested legal document.
Finally he expresses his confidence that God will in due time cause the salvation promised to him and his house, and all His own good pleasure, to grow and prosper, using a metaphor suggested by that in 2 Samuel 23:4. Cp. Psalm 132:17; Jeremiah 33:15; and for God’s “good pleasure,” cp. Isaiah 53:10.
But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands:6. But the sons of Belial] But the wicked, &c. All ungodly men and evil things are described as worthlessness or wickedness. Their judgment and destruction is the necessary consequence of the perfect rule of the righteous king. Cp. Matthew 13:41.
But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place.7. But the man, &c.] But the man who toucheth them must arm himself with iron and a spear shaft. The thorns cannot be touched by hand, but must be torn up with an iron hook fastened to a long handle. The expression is chosen so as to be applicable to the enemies who are figured, as well as to the thorns which figure them.
burnt with fire] Cp. Matthew 3:10; Matthew 13:30; Luke 19:27; Hebrews 6:8.
in the same place] Or perhaps, until they are consumed. But the word is probably not part of the true text, and should be omitted altogether.
These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.8–12. The first Three
8. the mighty men] Used here in a narrower sense, not of the whole body-guard of six hundred. See note on ch. 2 Samuel 15:18.
The Tachmonite that sat in the seat] The text is corrupt, and we must follow 1 Chronicles 11:11 in reading Jashobeam the Hachmonite. He joined David at Ziklag (1 Chronicles 12:6), and was afterwards made general of the first division of the army (1 Chronicles 27:2). Jehiel, the tutor of the king’s sons, belonged to the same family (1 Chronicles 27:32).
chief among the captains] The word translated captains probably means aides-de-camp, or personal attendants on the king. See 1 Kings 9:22 (E. V. captains); 2 Kings 7:2; 2 Kings 7:17; 2 Kings 7:19 (E. V. lord), 2 Kings 9:25, 2 Kings 10:25, 2 Kings 15:25. But it is possible that we should alter the text slightly, and read chief of the three (Vulg., E. V., marg.). Cp. 2 Samuel 23:23. In fact all through this section there is a constant confusion between the words for captain or aide-de-camp, three, and thirty, which are all closely similar in the Heb.
the same was Adino the Eznite] These words are probably a corruption of some words equivalent to those in 1 Chronicles 11:11, which are needed to complete the sense here: he brandished his spear. The Sept. reads “Adinon the Asonæan, he drew his sword.”
eight hundred] Chr. reads three hundred, perhaps by confusion with 2 Samuel 23:18. There is no ground for supposing that two different occasions are referred to.
slew at one time] With the help perhaps of some of his men. Yet cp. Jdg 3:31; Jdg 15:15.
8–39. David’s Heroes and their exploits
= 1 Chronicles 11:11-41This section is placed in Chronicles after the account of David’s election as King of Israel and his capture of Zion, and is prefaced by the heading: “These also are the chief of the mighty men whom David had, who shewed themselves strong with him in his kingdom with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the Lord concerning Israel.” The list therefore belongs, at any rate in substance, to the earlier part of David’s reign.
And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away:9. Dodo] The Kthîbh may be read Dodai, as the name is given in 1 Chronicles 27:4, where we learn that Dodai, as next in rank to Jashobeam, was general of the second division of the army.
the Ahohite] A patronymic derived from Ahoah, the son of Benjamin’s eldest son Bela (1 Chronicles 8:4). Perhaps Dodo, like Jashobeam, was one of the Benjamites who joined David at Ziklag (1 Chronicles 12:1-2).
that were there gathered together] There implies the previous mention of the name of some place, and certain anomalies of construction also indicate that the text is defective. 1 Chronicles 11:13 reads: “Eleazar … one of the three mighty men. He was with David at Pas-dammim, and there the Philistines were gathered together to battle.” Pas-dammim, or Ephesdammim, where David slew Goliath, was in the valley of Elah, between Shochoh and Azekah. The name, signifying “boundary of blood,” was probably due to its being the scene of frequent skirmishes with the Philistines. See 1 Samuel 17:1.
were gone away] Rather, went up to battle. The words “and the people fled from before the Philistines,” which appear to correspond to this in 1 Chronicles 11:13, really belong to Shammah’s exploit (2 Samuel 23:11). Several lines have been lost from the text there.
He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.10. his hand clave unto the sword] At the close of the massacre of the Christians of Mount Lebanon by the Druses, in 1860, Sheikh Ali Amad’s hand so clave to the handle of his sword that he could not open it until the muscles were relaxed by fomentation of hot water. Van Lennep’s Bible Lands, II. p. 679.
wrought a great victory] Lit. wrought a great deliverance or salvation. Cp. 1 Samuel 11:13; 1 Samuel 19:5.
returned after him] Were turning after him, were following him: not necessarily implying that they had fled previously.
And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines.11. into a troop] Probably the consonants should be read with different vowels to Lehi, the scene of Samson’s victory over the Philistines (Jdg 15:9; Jdg 15:14; Jdg 15:19).
lentiles] Chr. reads barley. The two words might easily be confused in Hebrew. The Philistines came up to carry off the ripe crops. Cp. 1 Samuel 23:1.
But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.
And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim.13. three of the thirty chief] Not the three mentioned before, but in all probability Abishai, Benaiah, and a third not named, who were promoted from the “Thirty” to form a second triad as a reward for this feat of valour.
in the harvest time] The preposition does not mean in, and the reading of 1 Chronicles 11:15 to the rock is perhaps the true one.
the cave of Adullam] David’s old haunt in the valley of Elah. See note on 1 Samuel 22:1.
the valley of Rephaim] See note on ch. 2 Samuel 5:18. The mention of the “hold” and this valley together in both narratives makes it not improbable that the exploit of the three heroes occurred in the invasion related in ch. 2 Samuel 5:17 ff.
13–17. The water of the well at Beth-lehem
And David was then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem.14. in a hold] In the strong-hold, probably the same as that mentioned in ch. 2 Samuel 5:17, where see note. The ruins bearing the name Aid el Ma, which is supposed to be a corruption of Adullam, lie at the foot of a high rounded hill almost isolated by subordinate valleys. This forms a natural fortress, and may have been “the rock” which was the site of David’s stronghold; while numerous caves, still used for habitations, are found in the neighbouring valleys.
the garrison of the Philistines] The same term is used of the military posts of the Philistines in Israelite territory in 1 Samuel 13:23; 1 Samuel 14:1 ff; and a similar word in 1 Samuel 10:5; 1 Samuel 13:3.
And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!15. the well of Beth-lehem] The traditional “David’s well” is half a mile N.N.E. of Beth-lehem. Ritter (Geogr. of Pal. III. 340) speaks of its “deep shaft and clear cool water;” but it is too far from the town to be described as “at the gate.”
And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.16. brake through the host of the Philistines] A striking proof of the enthusiasm which David inspired in his followers, and a noble instance of the true spirit of chivalry, which fears no danger and shrinks from no self-sacrifice, in order to do the smallest service for the object of its devotion; the spirit which is perfected in the highest example of love (John 15:13).
poured it out unto the Lord] The sacrificial term for pouring out a drink-offering or libation (Genesis 35:14, &c.). “That which had been won by the lives of those three gallant chiefs was too sacred for him to drink, but it was on that very account deemed by him as worthy to be consecrated in sacrifice to God, as any of the prescribed offerings of the Levitical ritual. Pure Chivalry and pure Religion there formed an absolute union.” Stanley’s Lect. II. 54.
And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men.17. is not this the blood] As the text stands, the sentence is simply an interrogative exclamation: The blood of the men …? But Sept., Vulg. and Chron. read: Shall I drink the blood …? The water fetched at the risk of his comrades’ lives seemed to him the very blood in which the life resides (Leviticus 17:10-11).
And Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief among three. And he lifted up his spear against three hundred, and slew them, and had the name among three.18–23. Exploits of Abishai and Benaiah
18. Abishai] David’s valiant but hard-hearted nephew, who shared the command of the army with his brother Joab in the Ammonite war and in Absalom’s rebellion (ch. 2 Samuel 10:10; 2 Samuel 10:14, 2 Samuel 18:2). The characteristic trait of his nature was a blunt impetuous ferocity. See 1 Samuel 26:8; 2 Samuel 16:9; 2 Samuel 19:21.
chief among three] The Qrî reads chief of the three; those namely who were mentioned in 2 Samuel 23:17. But the Kthîbh has chief of the aides-de-camp, as in 2 Samuel 23:8.
among three] As before, among the three.
Was he not most honourable of three? therefore he was their captain: howbeit he attained not unto the first three.
And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow:20. Benaiah the son of Jehoiada] Commander of the body-guard (ch. 2 Samuel 8:18, 2 Samuel 20:23), and general of the third division of the army (1 Chronicles 27:5-6). He was an active supporter of Solomon against Adonijah, and was rewarded by being made commander-in-chief in place of Joab. See 1 Kings 1:8; 1 Kings 1:26; 1 Kings 1:32 ff., 1 Kings 2:25-35; 1 Kings 2:46; 1 Kings 4:4. His father Jehoiada was “the chief priest” (1 Chronicles 27:5), that is, probably, the high priest’s deputy, and leader of the “Aaronites,” i.e. priests, who joined David at Hebron (1 Chronicles 12:27).
the son of a valiant man] Better, a valiant man.
Kabzeel] A town in the extreme south of Judah towards the border of Edom (Joshua 15:21), reoccupied after the Captivity and called Jekabzeel. Its exact site is unknown.
two lion-like men of Moab] Ariel, translated lion-like man, means lion of God, a title applied by the Arabs and Persians to celebrated warriors. The Sept. reads “the two sons of Ariel,” and it has been conjectured that Ariel was a title of the Moabite king; but 1 Chronicles 11:22 supports the reading of the Heb. text. The exploit may have been an incident in the Moabite war recorded in ch. 2 Samuel 8:2.
a lion, &c.] The lion had probably been driven by the severity of the winter into the neighbourhood of some village, to the terror of the inhabitants.
And he slew an Egyptian, a goodly man: and the Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, and slew him with his own spear.21. a goodly man] Lit. a man of appearance, a notable man; which is explained in 1 Chronicles 11:23 to mean “a man of great stature,” with the addition, “five cubits high.”
a spear] The Sept. adds, like the beam of a bridge (or, of a ladder): Chron. like a weaver’s beam, as in ch. 2 Samuel 21:19.
with a staff] Cp. (though the word is different) 1 Samuel 17:40; 1 Samuel 17:43.
These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men.22. among three mighty men] Among the three mighty men of the second rank.
He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the first three. And David set him over his guard.23. set him over his guard] Made him a member of his privy council: lit. appointed him to his audience. Cp. 1 Samuel 22:14 (note). If, as seems not improbable, Jehoiada the son of Benaiah in 1 Chronicles 27:34 is a textual error for Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, we have another reference to his tenure of this office, which was distinct from that of commander of the body guard (ch. 2 Samuel 8:18, 2 Samuel 20:23).
Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem,24. The list in Chron. is headed “And the mighty men of valour were Asahel,” &c.
Asahel] David’s nephew. See note on ch. 2 Samuel 2:18.
Elhanan] Apparently not the same as Elhanan the son of Jair of Beth-lehem (ch. 2 Samuel 21:19), if the text is sound.
24–39. The Thirty Heroes
The names in this list vary considerably from those in the corresponding list in 1 Chronicles 11:26-41. In all probability both lists have suffered considerably from textual corruption, by which names are especially liable to be affected, and many of the differences can clearly be traced to this source. But it cannot be assumed as absolutely certain that the lists were originally identical. This catalogue may possibly have been revised at a later period of David’s reign, when the body was to some extent differently constituted.
The heroes are for the most part distinguished by the names of their native places or residences; and these are in some cases identical with clan or family names, because the head of the clan gave his name to the place where his family settled.
Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite,25. Shammah the Harodite] Of Harod, perhaps the place mentioned in Jdg 7:1, which may be either Ain Jâlûd near Jezreel, or Ain el Jemmaîn near Beth-shan. He is probably to be identified with Shamhuth the Izrahite, general of the fifth division of the army (1 Chronicles 27:8), Izrahite being his family name.
Elika] Omitted in Chr., probably by accident, owing to the repetition of Harodite.
Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite,26. Helez the Paltite] Generally explained to mean of Beth-pelet, an unid entified town in the extreme south of Judah, named in the same group with Beer-sheba (Joshua 15:27). But this seems questionable, as he is called an Ephraimite in 1 Chronicles 27:10. 1 Chron. twice reads Pelonite (1 Chronicles 11:27, 1 Chronicles 27:10), but there is no known place or family from which such a name could be formed, and it is either a corruption, or the Hebrew word meaning of so and so, inserted by a scribe who could not read the original word in the text which he was copying. Helez was general of the seventh division of the army (1 Chronicles 27:10).
Ira … the Tekoite] Of Tekoa, see note on ch. 2 Samuel 14:2. He was general of the sixth division of the army (1 Chronicles 27:9), and a different person from David’s minister (ch. 2 Samuel 20:26).
Abiezer the Anethothite, Mebunnai the Hushathite,27. Abiezer the Anethothite] Of Anathoth in Benjamin. The modern village of Anâta, three miles N.N.E. of Jerusalem, preserves the name and marks the site. It was a priests city (Joshua 21:18); the home of Abiathar (1 Kings 2:26); and the birth-place of the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:1). Antothite (1 Chronicles 11:28), and Anetothite (1 Chronicles 27:12), are merely different transliterations of the same Heb. word. In the latter passage Abiezer is named as the general of the ninth division of the army.
Mebunnai the Hushathite] Mebunnai (מבני) is doubtless a textual error for Sibbechai (מבכי), the consonants being very similar and easily confused in the original text, which had no vowels. Sibbechai won renown by slaying the giant Saph (ch. 2 Samuel 21:18), and commanded the eighth division of the army (1 Chronicles 27:11). His native place Hushah must have been in Judah, as it is mentioned among the places occupied by the descendants of Judah (1 Chronicles 4:4), but nothing further is known about it. He belonged to the important clan of the Zarhites, descended from Zerah the son of Judah (1 Chronicles 2:4).
Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite,28. Zalmon the Ahohite] Chron. has Ilai. Whether the difference is original, or due to corruption of the text, it is impossible to decide. On Ahohite see 2 Samuel 23:9.
Maharai the Netophathite] Of Netophah, perhaps the modern Umm Toba, three miles N.E. of Beth-lehem, a place inhabited by Levites (1 Chronicles 9:16), and mentioned in the accounts of the Return from the Captivity (Ezra 2:22; Nehemiah 7:26). Maharai commanded the tenth division of the army, and, like Sibbechai, was a Zarhite.
Heleb the son of Baanah, a Netophathite, Ittai the son of Ribai out of Gibeah of the children of Benjamin,29. Heleb] Or Heled (1 Chronicles 11:30), or Heldai (1 Chronicles 27:15), of the house of Othniel, commander of the twelfth division.
Ittai] Ithai in Chron. is merely a different way of pronouncing the same name. He must of course be distinguished from Ittai the Gittite.
Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash,30. Benaiah the Pirathonite] Of Pirathon in Ephraim (Jdg 12:13; Jdg 12:15), perhaps the modern Ferâta, six miles W.S.W. of Shechem. Benaiah was general of the eleventh division (1 Chronicles 27:14).
Hiddai] In 1 Chronicles 11:32 Hurai, owing to the common confusion of d and r.
the brooks of Gaash] Or Nahale-Gaash, a proper name meaning the ravines of the earthquake. “The hill of Gaash” was on the south of Joshua’s property at Timnath-serah in Mount Ephraim (Joshua 19:50; Joshua 24:30; Jdg 2:9), the traditional site of which is Kefr Hâris, nine miles S.W. of Shechem. But no trace of the name Gaash has yet been discovered.
Abialbon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite,31. Abi-albon the Arbathite] Called in 1 Chronicles 11:32 Abiel, which is probably the true reading, as Abi-albon is an unknown name, and may easily have arisen from confusion with Shaalbonite in the line below. For a similar confusion cp. ch. 2 Samuel 21:19. He was a native of Arabah or Beth-arabah, a town in the wilderness of Judah, on the border between Judah and Benjamin (Joshua 15:6; Joshua 15:61; Joshua 18:18; Joshua 18:22).
the Barhumite] Of Bahurim: see note on ch. 2 Samuel 3:16 : a corruption or transposition for Baharumite, which is found in 1 Chronicles 11:33.
Eliahba the Shaalbonite, of the sons of Jashen, Jonathan,32. the Shaalbonite] of Shaalabbin in the tribe of Dan (Joshua 19:42; Jdg 1:35; 1 Kings 4:9); perhaps the modern Selbît, 3 miles N. W. of Yâlo (Aijalon), and about 15 miles W. N. W. of Jerusalem.
of the sons of Jashen, Jonathan, Shammah the Hararite] Of is not in the Heb. text; Chron. reads “the sons of Hashem the Gizonite, Jonathan the son of Shage the Hararite.” The word bnê (=sons) seems quite out of place, and must either be omitted as an erroneous repetition of the last three letters of the preceding word, or regarded as a part of the hero’s name. The name of his native place must also be inserted from Chron. Thus we get Jashen (Chron. Hashem), or Bnejashen (Chron. Bnehashem) the Gizonite as the probable reading.
Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite,33. Shammah the Hararite] Shammah has already been mentioned in 2 Samuel 23:11 as one of the first Three, so that his name is evidently out of place among the Thirty. A comparison of the text of 1 Chronicles 11:34 makes it tolerably certain that we should read either Jonathan the son of Agee the Hararite, or Jonathan the son of Shammah the Hararite, making Jonathan either brother or son of the hero mentioned in 2 Samuel 23:11.
Sharar] In Chron. Sacar, a name found also in 1 Chronicles 26:4.
Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,34. Here the text of 1 Chronicles 11:35-36 diverges widely, and in place of the names in this verse reads “Eliphal the son of Ur, Hepher the Mecherathite, Ahijah the Pelonite.”
the son of the Maachathite] Better, the Maachathite, a member of the clan or family of Maachah, settled at Abel-beth-Maachah (ch. 2 Samuel 20:14 ff.); or possibly a native of the Syrian kingdom of Maachah (ch. 2 Samuel 10:6).
Eliam] Son of David’s clever but treacherous counsellor (ch. 2 Samuel 15:12); supposed by some to be the father of Bath-sheba. But the identification is doubtful: see note on ch. 2 Samuel 11:3.
Hezrai the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite,35. Hezrai the Carmelite] The Kthîbh agrees with 1 Chronicles 11:37 in reading Hezro. He belonged to Carmel in the mountainous country of Judah, now Kurmul, about seven miles S. S. E. of Hebron. Cp. 1 Samuel 25:2.
Paarai the Arbite] Of Arab, a city also in the neighbourhood of Hebron (Joshua 15:52), perhaps er-Rabîyeh, about five miles S. of Hebron. Chron. reads “Naarai the son of Ezbai.”
Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite,36. Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah] In Chron. “Joel the brother of Nathan.” The consonants of Igal (ינאל) and Joel (יואל) are so similar that one or other of the names is probably corrupt. Igal occurs in Numbers 13:7; 1 Chronicles 3:22. If the text is correct he was a Syrian of Zobah. See note on ch. 2 Samuel 8:3.
Bani the Gadite] This is probably the true reading, and Mibhar the son of Haggeri in 1 Chronicles 11:38 is a corruption of the words here of Zobah Bani the Gadite.
Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Beerothite, armourbearer to Joab the son of Zeruiah,37. Zelek the Ammonite] Like Igal the Syrian, and Ittai the Philistine, a foreigner who rose to distinction in David’s service.
Naharai the Beerothite] Of Beeroth (see note on ch. 2 Samuel 4:2), and therefore perhaps a Gibeonite by race.
armourbearer] The Kthîbh has the plural armourbearers, but the singular is supported by the Sept. and Chron., and is probably the correct reading. Joab had ten armourbearers or attendant squires (ch. 2 Samuel 18:15).
Ira an Ithrite, Gareb an Ithrite,38. Ithrite] Belonging to the family of Jether, which settled at Kirjath-jearim (1 Chronicles 2:53).
Uriah the Hittite: thirty and seven in all.39. Uriah] See on ch. 2 Samuel 11:3.
thirty and seven in all] This total is obtained either (a) by reckoning three in the first class (2 Samuel 23:8-12), two in the second (2 Samuel 23:18-23), and thirty-two in the third (2 Samuel 23:24-39), emending 2 Samuel 23:34 by the help of Chron. so as to contain three names: or (b) if the text of 2 Samuel 23:34 is retained, by counting three in the second class, though only two are mentioned by name. Joab, as commander-in-chief, is not reckoned in the total.
In 1 Chronicles 11:41-47 sixteen additional names are given, possibly either of those who became members of the body when its number was not rigidly limited to thirty, or of those who took the places vacated by death.