2 Samuel 5
Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh.
And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither.


2 SAMUEL 5:6–14:25


David’s reign at its culmination and greatest splendor

CHAPTER 5:6–10:19


CHAPTER 5:6–6:23


I. The victory over the Jebusites and the conquest of the citadel of Zion. 2 Samuel 5:6–16.

6AND the king2 and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land. Which [And they] spake unto David, saying, Except3 thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither; thinking [saying], David 7cannot [shall not] come in hither. Nevertheless [And] David took the stronghold of Zion; the same is the city of David. 8And David said on that day, Whosoever4 getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind that are hated of David’s soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said [say], 9The blind and the lame shall not come into the house. So [And] David dwelt in the fort [stronghold], and called it the city of David. And David built5 round about from Millo and inward. 10And David went on and grew great [David kept growing greater and greater], and the Lord God [Jehovah the God] of hosts was with him.

11And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees and carpenters and masons; and they built David an house. 12And David perceived that the Lord [Jehovah] had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted6 his kingdom for his people Israel’s sake.

13And David took him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he was come from Hebron; and there were yet sons and daughters born to David. 14And these be [are] the names of those that were born unto him in Jerusalem: Shammuah 15[Shammua] and Shobab and Nathan and Solomon, Ibhar also [And Ibhar] and 16Elishua and Nepheg and Japhia, And Elishama and Eliada and Eliphalet.

2. David’s two victories over the Philistines. 2 Samuel 5:17–25

17But when [And] the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, [ins. and] all the Philistines came up to seek David; and David heard of it, and went down7 to the hold. 18The Philistines also [And the Philistines] came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. 19And David enquired of the Lord [Jehovah], saying, Shall I go up to the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the Lord [Jehovah] said unto David, Go up; for I will doubtless 20[certainly] deliver the Philistines into thine hand. And David came to Baal-pera-zim,8 and David smote them there, and said, The Lord [Jehovah] hath broken forth upon [broken asunder] mine enemies before me as the breach of waters. Therefore he called the name of that place Baal-perazim. 21And there they left [they left there] their images,9 and David and his men burned them [took them away].

22And the Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of 23Rephaim. And when [om. when] David enquired of the Lord [Jehovah], [ins. and] he said, Thou shalt not go up; but [om. but] fetch a compass behind10 them, and come upon them over against the mulberry-trees [baca-trees]. 24And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry-trees [baca-trees], that then thou shalt bestir thyself; for then shall [will] the Lord [Jehovah] go out before thee to smite the host of the Philistines. 25And David did so, as the Lord [Jehovah] had commanded him, and smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer [Gezer].


I. 2 Samuel 5:6–16. Victory over the Jebusites, conquest of the citadel of Zion, and fixing of Jerusalem as the capital.—In keeping with the reminder of the elders that he had before led the people out and in to battle and victory, David now proceeds without delay to fulfil the warlike duties that devolved on him as king of Israel against the external enemies of the kingdom; for a principal condition of the establishment of internal unity and of the vigorous theocratic development of the national life was the purging of the land from the still powerful remains of the Canaanitish peoples.

2 Samuel 5:6–10. See the parallel 1 Chron. 11:4–9. The two accounts agree substantially; being taken from a common source, they complement and confirm one another in particular statements, of which each has some peculiar to itself. [In respect to these differences it is important to remember that in general “Samuel” is more biographical and annalistic, “Chronicles” more historiographical.—TR.]-2 Samuel 5:6. And the king and his men went—that is, according to the Chronicler, the Israelitish warriors who gathered around him from “all Israel,” and were now united with his former soldiers—to Jerusalem against the Jebusites.—This undertaking followed immediately on the anointing in Hebron, as is evident from the statement (2 Samuel 5:5) that David’s reign in Jerusalem was co-extensive with his reign over all Israel (Keil). After the word “Jerusalem,” instead of “unto the Jebusites… saying,” “Chronicles” has: “that is Jebus, and there (are) the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, and the inhabitants of Jebus said to David.” Which of the two forms is nearer to the original account in the common source must remain undetermined. [Well-hausen remarks that “the original author would not have written ‘Jerusalem, that is, Jebus,’ but more naturally ‘Jebus, that is, Jerusalem;’ the Chron. inserts this statement in order to explain the transition from Jerusalem to the Jebusites—and this leads to the further remark that the Jebusites were dwelling in the land” According to this, the author of Chronicles (who wrote after the Exile) introduces this historical explanation as necessary for his time.—TR.] The Jebusites11 belonged to the great Canaanitish race (Gen. 10:6), who dwelt, when the Israelites took possession of Palestine, in the mountain-district of Judah by the Hittites and Amorites (comp. Numb. 13:30; Josh. 11:3), especially at the place afterwards called Jerusalem, and under kings, Josh. 10:1, 23. Neither Joshua (Josh. 15:8, 63; 18:28), who conquered the Jebusites along with other Canaanitish tribes in a battle (Josh. 11:3 sq.), nor the children of Judah, who only got possession of the lower city (Judg. 1:8; comp. Jos. Ant. V. 2, 2), nor the Benjaminites, to whom the city had been assigned (Josh. 18:28), could conquer the strong citadel of Jebus on Mount Zion, which was the centre of their dwellings spread out “in the land,” that is, around Jerusalem (Judg. 1:21; 19:11 sq.). In the time of the Judges Jebus is still called “a strange city, in which are some of the children of Israel” (Judg. 19:12). But as long as this point was unconquered, the possession of southern and middle Palestine was unassured; and so David’s first act was the siege and capture of the citadel. Relying on its hitherto invincible strength, they declared that David could not get into it; but the blind and the lame repel thee—that is, if only blind and lame defend it, thou canst not take the citadel,12 “saying” (=namely, the Jebusites meant to say), “David will not come in hither.” Some have supposed (after Josephus) that the Jebusites had really in derision of David put lame and blind men on the wall, trusting to the strength of their citadel; an expression that is by no means so strange (Then.) as that which regards the blind and lame as the idol-images of the Jebusites, which they had placed on their walls for protection, and had so called in order to scoff at the Israelites, who (Psalm 115:4 sq. et al.) described heathen idols as “blind and lame” (Cler., Luth., Wasse [de cœcis et claudis Jebusœorum, Witt., 1721]). Would the Jebusites have used such expressions of their gods?13 This saying of the Jebusites is not found in “Chronicles.” [Omitted in Chron. perhaps as being obscure, or else as unnecessary to the general sense, “Chronicles” avoiding details that do not bear on its main aim, the history of the development of the theocratic cultus.—TR.]

2 Samuel 5:7 it is briefly remarked that in spite of this braggart reliance of the Jebusites on the impregnability of their fortress, David took it. This old Jebusite city and fortress lay on the highest of the hills or mountains that surrounded Jerusalem, “Mount” Zion (2 Ki. 19:31; Isaiah 4:5; 29:8; Ps. 48:3), which stretched out in the south and south-west of the city, mount Ophel and Moriah on the east (more precisely north-east) lying opposite, separated from it by a precipitous ravine. See more in Winer s. v. [and in the Bible Dictionaries and books of travel; Philippson has a good description of Jerusalem in his Comm. on this passage. It is not yet possible however to restore with precision the Jerusalem of David’s time.—TR.] The name “Zion” probably=“the dry mountain” (from צָיָה “to be dry”). [See Ps. 78. 17; 105:41; Isa. 25:5, where the root occurs. Some take the name to mean “sunny” (Ges.), others “lofty” (Abarb. in Philippson). The rock-formation on which the city stands is limestone.—TR.] The explanatory addition, “city of David,” anticipates what is narrated in 2 Samuel 5:9. From this mountain, where David built (whence arose the city of David, that is, the Upper City) and resided, the city extended itself northward and eastward. [The name “City of David” was sometimes given afterwards to Jerusalem, Isa. 29:1; and see 1 Ki. 11:43; 15:8 for its use as burial-place of the kings.—TR.]

2 Samuel 5:8. “David had said,” the sense requiring the Plup. (Then.)—an appended incident of the capture in connection with the derisive words of the Jebusites. We must undoubtedly assume a reference to those words in the treatment of the following difficult and variously explained saying of David. The “blind and lame” are the Jebusites themselves, so called by David in answer to their scornful words. We must further suppose that the assailants had a difficult task before them, and were all the more embittered by the derisive remarks of the Jebusites, as David’s words indicate. In the attempt to explain this obscure passage, the principal point is the meaning of the expression ba-zinnor, בַּצִּנּוֹר [Eng. A.V.: “to the gutter”]. Zinnor occurs elsewhere only Ps. 42:8, where the meaning assigned by several expositors (mostly with regard to our passage), “conduit, canal,” does not suit at all, but the connection (in which the Psalmist speaks of the roaring of violently swelling and plunging waves) indicates the signification to be that adopted (after Sept. καταῤῥαικταί) by Keil, Moll, Delitzsch, and others, “cataract, waterfall.” Ewald accordingly translates: “Every one who conquers the Jebusites, let him cast down the precipice both the lame,” etc.; and this of all the attempts at explanation is the simplest in sense and construction, suiting the locality also, since Mount Zion had steep declivities on the east, south and west, which, with the opposite-lying heights, formed deep gorges. Yet it is better with Keil to keep more strictly to the signification of the word according to Ps. 42:8, and to take it as meaning not with Ewald the precipitous declivity of the rock that produces the waterfall, but the waterfall itself. We are therefore not to think of an aqueduct, by cutting off which the capture of the citadel was decided (Stähelin), nor water pipes for carrying off the rain from the height (Vatab., Cler.), nor gutters (Luther), nor a subterranean passage (Joseph.). But there is nothing opposed to the supposition of a waterfall on one of the declivities. At present the south-east part of the ridge, which slopes somewhat toward the northwest (the ridge running from south to north) is still the point where appear the only springs in Jerusalem, at the foot of the declivity (comp. E. Hoffmann, Das gelobte land, 1871, p. 116 sq.). There is the pool of Siloah in the valley Tyropœon [cheesemongers’ valley], on the border of Zion and Moriah, which receives its water from a lofty-lying basin hewn out of the rocky side of Zion,14 into which it flows from springs that break forth higher up. Might not this be conjecturally the precipice spoken of in our passage, if the question of locality (a precise answer to which is impossible) is to be raised? But in another place also, for example, on the west, where is found the lower pool under the highest part of the northwestern corner of Zion, there might be waterfalls which in the precipitous descent of the rocky declivity plunged into a gorge. According to this view, David gives strict orders that when the Jebusites are overcome in the fortress, where the space was relatively limited, their slain should be thrown into the waterfall. He calls them “the lame and the blind,” taking up their own words, with reference, perhaps, at the same time, to the expression “every one that smiteth,” etc; the fallen and slain in the battle (regarded as a victory) are to be cast down15 the precipice, that the citadel may be free and habitable for the Israelites. The next clause may be rendered “they hate,” or “who hate,” pointing the verb as 3 plu. Perf.; the absence of the Eel. Pron. (Keil) is not a decisive objection to this rendering; comp. Ges. § 123, 3; Ew. § 332, 333 b. But the connection and warlike tone make the marginal pointing (Pass. Partcp.) also appropriate: “who are hated of David’s soul,” that is, hated by David in his “soul.” Both of these admissible renderings point to the fact that the Israelites had to maintain a furious, embittered combat with this enemy who so confidently and scornfully boasted of his strong fortress, and they were directed to make short work of it with the “blind and lame” in the assault, and clear the ground of the enemy straightway. Therefore they say: Blind and lame will not come into the house.—That is, one holds no intercourse with disagreeable, hateful people like the Jebusites; or, with reference to the crippled condition of lame and blind persons, the sense is: “will not get home,” like those blind and lame plunged into the precipice and unable to get back.16 “Into the house.” Some (Buns., Then.) understand by this the temple, and assume (with reference to Acts 3:2; John 9:1; 8:59) an old law, forbidding the blind and the lame to enter the temple, which law the narrator derives from this incident; but this view is wholly without support. This explanation [Erdmann’s explanation of the whole passage] avoids the difficulty that ensues when David’s address is taken as protasis merely, and the apodosis supplied [as in Eng. A. V., Philippson]. Against Thenius’ rendering: “he who smites the Jebusites (paves the way to the capture of the city, in that he first) reaches the battlements and the lame and the blind—him David’s soul envies” apart from its unwarranted changes of text17—it is rightly remarked by Böttcher that its tone is too modern: one cannot well think of David as showing envy at such a military exploit (unfortunately not open to him), in order to inflame the ardor of his warriors. Böttcher translates: “he who smites the Jebusites shall attain the staff,” that is, become captain; against which it is to be remarked with Thenius that he has not succeeded in showing (Zeitschr. d. morgenl. Gesellschaft, 1857, p. 541 sq.) that zinnor means “captain’s staff,” and that, according to the unrestricting phrase “every one that smites,” David would have had a good many staffs of the sort to bestow; and for the same reason the remark of the Chronicler (1 Chr. 11:6, which omits our 2 Samuel 5:8) that “David announced that whoever first smote the Jebusites should be chief and captain, and Joab won this prize,” is not to be taken as an exhibition of the sense of our passage (against Böttcher). Maurer changes the text18 and translates: “He who has smitten the Jebusites and reached the canal, let him slay those blind and lame,” to which the objection is the tautology in protasis and apodosis. Maurer’s other rendering:19 “whoever shall slay the Jebusites and reach with the sword either the lame or the blind, him will David’s soul hate” [that is, as Maurer explains, David forbids his men to slay the Jebusites with the sword, in order that these boasters might die a shameful death.—TR.], contains, as Thenius rightly remarks, a contradictio in adjecto, “and David would, according to this, have desired something impossible.” Joab, having led the stormers in the attack, was named by David “head and prince,” that is, elevated to the rank of general-in-chief of the whole army of Israel, which, according to 2:13, he could not yet have been. [The decisive objection to Erdmann’s rendering: “let him cast into the waterfall the blind,” etc., is that the verb (נגע) whether in Qal or in Hiphil, cannot be so translated. In Qal it means only “to reach, touch, strike,” the object reached being usually introduced by בְּ; in Hiph it means “to cause to touch, to join, to raze,” usually followed by עַד ,עַל ,אֵל or לְ. In the passages most favorable to Erdmann’s rendering, such as Ezek. 13:14; Isaiah 26:5, the object introduced by the Prep, is that to which something is brought (corresponding to the signification “touch” of the verb), not that into which it is cast. Similarly, for reasons derived from the construction of the verb, we must reject the interpretation of Bib. Com.: “whosoever will smite the Jebusites, let him reach both the lame and the blind, who are the hated of David’s soul, by the water-course, and he shall be chief,” which, moreover, hardly renders the וְ in the first וְאֶת) (it must here= “and,” though it might as an emendation of text be omitted). The natural conception of the passage would lead us to take zinnor as the object reached (so Eng. A. V., Philippson, Cahen), but it is very difficult in that case to find a satisfactory meaning for this word, or to construe the following words. Wellhausen would take it to mean some part of the body, a blow on which or violent grasping of which produces death, and Hitzig suggested the ear, others the throat (zinnor being supposed to mean a “tube”); but the absolute form of the word (“let him seize the throat”) is opposed to this rendering, and the construction of the following words presents a difficulty, even if we suppose the אֵת to be used as equivalent to בְּ. Taking zinnor (as seems safest) to mean “channel, canal,” the whole context and tone suggests that “the blind and the lame” is the object of the verb “smite,” or some similar verb, and it is not unlikely that the inversion of the Eng. A. V. (though an impossible translation of the present text) gives the general sense. The supplying of an apodosis is harsh, but we have here only a choice of difficulties. No defensible translation of the passage has yet been proposed, and it is natural to conjecture that the text is corrupt, though its restoration is now perhaps impossible.—TR.]

2 Samuel 5:9. Two things are here said: 1) David took up his abode in the conquered Jebusite citadel, which with its buildings formed the Upper City, and called it the City of David. Chron.: “therefore it is called the city of David.” He made it the royal residence (which was equivalent to making Jerusalem the capital), on account of its remarkable strength, through which alone the Jebusites had been able to hold it so long, and on account of its very favorable position on the border between Judah and Benjamin, almost in the centre of the land. 2) The building up of this city. And David built round about from the Millo and inward.—The Def. Art. before “Millo” shows that this work was already in existence at the time of the capture, having been founded by the Jebusites. From the connection the Millo must have belonged to the citadel on Zion and have formed a part of the fortification. This alone would set aside the explanation of the word (founded on the etymology = “a filling out”) as = “outfilling embankment,” an earthwall, which ran aslant through the Wady and connected Mount Zion with the opposite-lying temple-mountain (Kraft’s Topog., p. 94, Schultz, Jerus. 80, Ewald and others)—apart from the fact that that connection is shown by the latest investigations to have been not an earthwall, but a bridge resting on arches (Tobler, Dritte Wande-rung, p. 223 sq.). But a comparison of Judg. 9:6, 20, 46–49, puts it beyond doubt that Millo is the castle proper of the citadel or fortification=Bastion, a strong fortified tower or separate fortification which is called “house” in Judg. 9:6, 20; 2 Kings 12:21. The fort designed to protect the citadel and Upper City on Zion, lay no doubt at the point most exposed to hostile attack, that is, the northwest end of Zion, where the castle still stands. “From the Millo out” David built “around and inward,” that is, while Millo formed the most advanced fortification, he built in connection with it and out from it on Zion, 1) “roundabout” the city and citadel for further fortification, as was necessary especially on the north towards the Lower City, where an attack could be most easily made, and 2) “inward,” so that the Upper City (City of David or of Zion) was extended by houses and defensive edifices, and more and more covered the mountain. The Chronicler (1 Chr. 11:8) expresses substantially the same thing: “from one surrounding to the other,” that is, the whole space between the fortifications which were built around. As it is here clearly only buildings designed to fortify and extend the city on Zion that are spoken of, Josephus has misunderstood this passage when he relates (Ant. 7, 3, 2) that David surrounded the Lower City and the citadel with a wall, and united them into one. Comp. “Winer. s. v. and Arnold in Herzog, s. v. “Zion” (XVIII. 623 sq.). On the extension of the Millo and the other fortifications by Solomon see 1 Kings 9:15, 24; 11:27. [See also 2 Chr. 32:5.—Bib. Com. refers to Lewin’s “Siege of Jerusalem.” p. 256 sq., where it is argued from the etymology and the mentions in the Bible that the great platform, called the Haram esh-Sherif (1500 by 900 feet) was itself Millo, and Mr. Lewin thinks that Solomon’s Palace (Beth-Millo, so called from abutting on Millo) was built on a terrace immediately below, and to the south of the Temple-area.—Patrick: “Some take Millo to be the low place between the fort and the city, which was now “filled’ with people.”—On the “Palace of Solomon” see “Recovery of Jerusalem” (Am. Ed.) pp. 84, 91, 222, 249, and see also the remarks on the Haram esh-Sherif.—TR.]. According to 1 Chr. 11:9, “Joab renewed the rest of the city,” that is, he restored at David’s command what was destroyed in the capture. He thus seems as “chief and captain” to have been charged also with other than military affairs.

2 Samuel 5:10. General statement of the continuous advance and growth of David in power and consideration. Observe, 1) how this is referred to the highest source, not merely to God’s assistance, but to the fact that God was with him, and 2) how God is in this connection called the God of Hosts.

2 Samuel 5:11–16. David’s house. Building of a royal residence, and extension of his family. Comp. 1 Chr. 14:1–7.—And Hiram, king of Tyre, sent messengers unto David.—This name is written variously, Heb. Hiram or Huram (חוּרָם 2 Chr. 2:2), Phœnician Hirom (1 Kings 5:24, 32), Sept. Χειράμ (Cheiram), Joseph., Eiram and Eirom. That this king Hiram, who was in friendly connection with David, is the same Hiram that was Solomon’s friend and ally, and his helper in building the Temple and palace, is clear not only from 2 Chron. 2:2: “as thou hast done to David my father, (so do to me also”), but also from 1 Kings 5:15: “Hiram had always been David’s friend.” We can neither suppose therefore, with Ewald, that this king Hiram is the grandfather of Solomon’s friend of the same name, nor with Thenius that his (our Hiram’s) father is here meant, whose name according to Menander of Ephesus (in Joseph, cont. Ap. I. 18) was Abibaal, whether this be considered a surname to the proper name Hiram, or it be held that the two persons are here confounded. The occasion to this hypothesis has been given by the difference that exists between the Biblical chronological statements and those of Josephus after Menander. The latter relates (Jos. ubi sup.) that Hiram succeeded his father Abibaal, and that he died in the thirty-fourth year of his reign and the fifty-third of his life. With this is to be connected the statement of Josephus (ubi sup. and Ant. 8, 3, 1) that Solomon began the temple in the twelfth year of Hiram. Now, according to 1 Kings 9:10 sq., Hiram was still living after twenty years of Solomon’s reign, counting from the beginning of the Temple-building (and therefore twenty-four years of his reign in all) had elapsed, namely seven years for the building of the Temple (1 Kings 6:38, and thirteen years for the building of the palace (7:1). On comparing these statements of the Bible and Josephus, it appears that Hiram reigned at the most eight years contemporaneously with David, and that therefore David began his palace in about the seventh year before his death, that is, in the sixty-third year of his life, and that his determination to build a temple to the Lord (which was after the completion of his palace, 2 Sam. 7:2) was not made till the last years of his life. Both these conclusions, however, are incompatible with our passage and with 2 Samuel 7.; for the position of these two narratives in the connection of the history leaves no doubt that both things belonged to David’s prime of manhood. It has indeed been declared, in order to set aside the discrepancy, that the Books of Samuel narrate events not so much in chronological order as in the connection of things, and that here the building of the palace, which occurred much later, is related in connection with other buildings (Movers, Phöniz. ΙΙ. 1, 147 sq., Rütschi in Herzog. s. v. Hiram, Stähelin, spez. Einl. 107). And in fact it must be admitted that David’s palace-building, which must have taken time, and supposes a corresponding period of rest and peace, probably did not (as might appear from the narrative) follow immediately on the conquest of Zion, before the Philistine war (2 Samuel 5:17) which broke out as soon as the Philistines heard of David’s anointment as king over Israel, but after this war. “The historian has rather attached to the conquest of Zion and its choice as David’s residence not only what David gradually did to strengthen and beautify the new capital, but also the account of his wives and the children that were born to him in Jerusalem.” (Keil). But though in detached instances a topical rather than a chronological arrangement of the material is to be recognized, it is nevertheless not probable in itself that David would have deferred the building of a royal palace till the last part of his life; and further, this, as Winer rightly observes, would not accord with 2 Samuel 11:2, where the palace whence David sees Bathsheba is called the “king’s palace,” which is to be understood, not of the simple house that David took as his dwelling-place on Mount Zion immediately after its capture, but of the place that he had had built for himself there. Comp. 7:1, 2. And if the affair with Bathsheba occurred when David was an old man, which is in itself highly improbable, Solomon, who was born a couple of years later, would have been a little child when he ascended the throne. If David had not resolved on the building of the Temple till in advanced life, or towards the close of his life, we could not harmonize this fact with 1 Sam. 7:12, and 1 Chr. 22:9, according to which Solomon was not yet born when David received the divine promise there mentioned. If therefore the account of the palace-building is in this place chronologically anticipatory, the building is nevertheless not to be put towards the end of David’s reign. We are therefore forced to assume a longer reign for king Hiram, and to suppose inaccuracies in the chronological statements of Josephus, as has been shown to be true in the periods of reign of the succeeding Tyrian kings, even when he refers to Menander. See more in Movers (ubi supra) and Keil on this verse.—[On Tyre see Movers and Arts, in Bib. Dict.—TR.]

It is not said that the object of this embassy, as in Solomon’s case (1 Kings 9:15), was to congratulate David on his accession to the throne (Then.), and this is improbable from the length of time (presupposed in his purpose to build) that must have elapsed since his accession. We should rather infer from the sending of cedar wood and workmen along with the messengers, that David had previously put himself in connection with Hiram, partly to maintain a good understanding with a powerful neighbor, partly and especially to obtain the help of this king (who was renowned for his magnificent edifices, Mov. ΙΙ. 1, 190 sq.) in his building plans.—The eastern part of Lebanon (Antilibanus), which belonged to Israel, produced only firs, pines and cypresses (Rob. Pal. ΙΙΙ. 723)20; the northwestern part, which alone was covered with cedar-forests, and furnished the best cedar for building, belonged to Phœnicia. On account of its strength, durability, beauty and fragrance, the cedar-wood was much used for costly building and wainscoting.—Through Tyrian workmen David began the splendid structures of cedar in Jerusalem, which had so increased in Jeremiah’s time that he could exclaim to the city: “Thou dwellest on Lebanon and makest thy nest in the cedars” [ Jer. 22:23].

2 Samuel 5:12. And David perceived, namely, from his success externally against Israel’s enemies and in the connection with the friendly king of Tyre, and internally in the establishment of unity in Israel and in the execution of his plans, that the Lord had established him King over Israel; the “established” (in contrast with the previous divine choice of David as king and the fate of Saul’s kingdom) refers to the divine providences, through Which, as David clearly saw, all doubt as to the permanence of his kingdom was ended, and it immovably established. And that he had exalted his kingdom (Chron: “and that his kingdom was exalted on high” [I. 14:2]) for his people Israel’s sake, that is, not for the sake of the blessing that rested on his people Israel (Bunsen), nor simply because he had chosen them (Then.), but because he wished to rule them as his (chosen) people through David’s kingdom, glorify himself in them and make them a great and mighty people according to his covenant-faithfulness.

2 Samuel 5:13–16. Account of the growth of David’s house and family, appended to the summary statement concerning the establishment of his kingdom and his palace-building. Concubines and wives.—David follows the custom of eastern princes, and gathers a numerous harem. See the law against this, Deut. 17:17. The “concubines” are mentioned first in order to bring out prominently the extension of the harem, as an essential part of oriental court-state, and as a symbol of royal power. The omission of the “concubines” in 1 Chr. 14:3 is not to be regarded as intentional (against Then.), for David’s concubines are mentioned in 1 Chr. 3:9.—“From Jerusalem” (מִן) is not = “elsewhere than in Jerusalem,” which view (Keil) cannot be based on the following words, “after he came from Hebron,” but (because of this very chronological statement) = “from, that is, out of Jerusalem,” substantially agreeing with Chron.: “in Jerusalem.” After changing his residence from Hebron to Jerusalem, David took concubines and wives in the latter place also.—The statement: sons and daughters were born to him shows clearly that, in all these summary accounts concerning family and building, a greater space of time than at the beginning of his reign is assumed; and this statement is here put proleptically not only before the following notice of the Philistine wars, but also before the narrative concerning Bathsheba. For among the sons of David (given in 1 Chr. 14:5–7, and also in 3:5–8) occur here first the names of the four sons of Bathsheba: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan and Solomon. For Shammua Chron. (I. 3:5) has Shimea, and for Elishua it has (2 Samuel 5:6) Elishama, a clerical error from the following Elishama. After Elishua, 1 Chr. 3:6, and 14:6 sq. have the two names Eliphalet (or Elpalet) and Nogah. This last is not to be taken as miswriting of Nepheg (Mov.). Thenius supposes that the latter (Nogah) has fallen out of our text by oversight, and that the former (Eliphalet) got into the text of Chron. by mistake from the following verse (2 Samuel 5:16), that David had, therefore, only eight sons, not nine (as in 1 Chr. 3:8) born in Jerusalem.—Keil thinks that the names of these two sons are omitted in our passage because they died early, and the late-born Eliphalet (whose name stands last) received the name of his dead brother; but the question is involved in doubt. According to the former view David had in all eighteen sons, according to the latter nineteen, of whom six were born in Hebron (2 Sam. 3:2 sq.). Instead of Eliada 1 Chron. 14:7 has Beeliada, another form of the name, with Baal [= lord] instead of El [= God]. No daughter is named (see 2 Samuel 5:13), because daughters are in general not considered in genealogical lists. The only daughter that appears by name in the following history is Tamar, 2 Samuel 13:1. [Patrick: Kimchi says that Sam. gives the sons of the wives only, Chron., those of wives and concubines, which does not agree with 1 Chron. 3:9.—It was looked on as a piece of political wisdom in princes to endeavor to have many children, that by matching them into many potent families they might strengthen their interest and authority.—TR.]

II. 2 Samuel 5:17–25. David’s victories over the Philistines, 1 Chr. 14:8–17.

2 Samuel 5:17. And when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel—this was the occasion of the war. From David’s elevation to the throne of all Israel and the consequent unification of the people, the Philistines feared (and did their best to prevent) such increase in his power as would endanger their power and foot-hold not only in Palestine [Israel], but also in their own land. Hence, according to the narrative, their attack followed on the receipt of intelligence of his anointment, which must have come on them as a surprise. Ewald conjectures (but it is a mere conjecture, and unnecessary) that the occasion of the war was David’s withholding the tribute that he had paid the Philistines while he was in Hebron.—And all the Philistines marched up, namely, from the lowlands of Judah which they held, or from their own land against the Israelitish army (with which David had attacked the Jebusites) which was on the mountain-plateau of Judah. As this Jebusite war followed immediately on David’s anointment (comp. 2 Samuel 5:3, 6), and the gathering of all the Philistines was not the affair of a moment, it is for this reason alone an untenable view that these two victories “probably belonged in the interval between the second anointment at Hebron and the capture of Zion” (Keil). But the following words: And when David heard of it, he marched down to the hold, are decisive, for the reference (as the context shows) is here to Mount Zion, which is mentioned just before (2 Samuel 5:7, 9); and this is proved also by the Def. Art., which (from the context) cannot refer to some other stronghold in Judah resorted to by David in Saul’s time (so Keil, who cites 23:14), but points to the citadel of Zion which is here twice named with emphasis as the centre of David’s position. The expression “he went down to the hold” is not against this view; for, though the citadel of Zion was so high that one ascended to it from all sides, yet its plateau was by no means a horizontal plain, but was made up of higher and lower parts, and David of course made his residence on the highest and safest part, the most favorable position for a military outlook, while the fortifications most protective against the enemy (enlarged by him, 2 Samuel 5:9) must certainly have lain on the relatively lower north-western side (in accordance with their design), and with this agrees the fact that the Philistines advanced to the attack from the west. David, accordingly, on hearing of the approach of the Philistines, went down from his residence to the fortifications on Zion, in order to make at this rendezvous and sally-point of his army the necessary preparations whether for defence (Maur.) or for attack. Maurer: “David was not yet certain whether to defend himself at the walls, or to advance to meet the enemy,” comp. 2 Samuel 5:19. There is no need, therefore, to change the text21 (Syr., Mich., Dathe) to “siege” (besiegers), the narrative giving no hint of a siege. It is by no means sure (Then.) from 23:13, 14, that the hold here referred to is the cave of Adullam; for, even if the incident here related was an episode in this Philistine war, it may very well have occurred after David had left the citadel to march against the Philistines, while they were encamped in the valley of Rephaim. [Still, the impression made on us is that David went down into the plain against the Philistines; thus in 2 Samuel 5:20 he does not go down, but comes to Baal-perazim, as if he were already in the plain. Perhaps the editor has here inserted a separate narrative of this war, so that the “hold” here may be different from the “hold” in 2 Samuel 5:9. Adullam was a strong place, and was fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chron. 11:7). If we take the narrative in 23:13–17 to belong to the time of this war, it would show that David was at one time hard pressed; but this cannot be determined with certainty.—TR.]—The phrase: “to seek David,” cannot prove that David had at this time not yet taken up his residence on Zion (Keil), but only that the aim of the Philistines was to get possession of the person of David so dangerous to them.

2 Samuel 5:18. The strategical position of the Philistines. Instead of our text-word “spread themselves,” 1 Chron. 14:9 has “made an inroad” (פשׁט). The valley of Rephaim, according to Josh. 15:8, was a fruitful plain,22 nearly three miles long by two wide, separated from the valley of Ben-hinnom (south and southwest of Jerusalem) by a ridge, and large enough to hold a large army in camp; it was named after the old Canaanitish giant-tribe, the Rephaim (Gen. 14:5). Comp. Rob. I. 365 [Am. Ed. I. 219, 469], Tobl., Top. Jerus. II. 401 sq., and 3 Wand. 202, Winer II. 322, Thenius in Käuffer’s Stud. II. 137 sq. [For various opinions see Kitto, Porter, Bonar, Fürst.—TR.] The Philistines had probably advanced from the west by way of Bethshemesh (comp. 1 Sam. 6:9).

2 Samuel 5:19. David inquires of the Lord (comp. 2:1; 1 Sam. 23:2), 1) whether he shall march out against the Philistines, and 2) whether he shall get the victory over them. The expression “shall I go up?” is explained by the fact that David has led his army down from Mount Zion, the defence of which he had first to keep in view. He now advances to the attack from his position in the plain, which lay lower than the Philistines, perhaps near the cave of Adullam (Then.), after having inquired of the Lord and received an affirmative answer. He no doubt made a sudden impetuous attack, as is clear from the meaning of the name “Baal-perazim,” the place where he “smote” the Philistines. He said, namely (referring the victory to the Lord according to the Lord’s answer, 2 Samuel 5:19): “The Lord hath broken asunder (or through) my enemies before me as the breach of waters,” that is, as a violent torrent makes a rift or breach. All other explanations, that make the point of comparison the division of the water-mass itself, depart from the conception of the expression, and weaken the force of the image. The place where the battle was fought was thus called, from the way that David won it, Water breach, “Bruch-hausen, Brechendorf” (Keil) [Breach-ham, Break-thorpe—the Heb. name = “possessor of breaches.”23TR.]. It cannot have been far from the Valley of Rephaim. In Isa. 28:21 it is called (with allusion to this battle) “mount” Perazim. This fills out the topographical description of the place, and in exact accordance with the name “water-breach.” As a torrent plunging from the mountain rends asunder everything before it, so David rushed with his army suddenly and unexpectedly on the Philistines, from a gorge opening into the valley of Rephaim, burst through and scattered them with impetuous and irresistible power. Perhaps he marched northward around the position of the Philistines, and attacked them from the rocky height (the border of the valley of Hinnom), that bounds the valley of Rephaim on the north, comp. Josh. 15:8.

2 Samuel 5:21. And there they left their images behind, which they were doubtless accustomed to carry with them to war, in order to make the victory more certain.24 Clericus: “as if they would feel the help of the gods more present, if they had their statues along. Perhaps they imitated the Hebrews, who sometimes carried the ark of God into camp.” Their abandonment of their sacred images confirms the supposition (founded on the name of the scene of battle) that David made a sudden attack. Chron. has (by way of explanation) “gods” instead of “images.” According to our passage David took them away as spoil; according to Chron., they were at David’s command burned with fire. It cannot be determined whether this text of Chron. is an addition from another source (Movers), or taken from the same source as our text (Keil), or an explanatory remark of the Chronicler himself according to Deut. 7:5, 25, where the burning of heathen idols is prescribed. Thus the disgrace of the Philistine capture of the Ark was wiped out.

2 Samuel 5:22–25. Second invasion by the Philistines and victory over them.

2 Samuel 5:22. Their approach is described (as 2 Samuel 5:17) by the phrase: came up. They had therefore fled as far as the lowland on the west, but, as David had not pursued them, soon assembled again. They advance (as 2 Samuel 5:18) to the valley of Rephaim. Chron. (2 Samuel 5:13) has simply: “in the valley,” Rephaim being understood from the context, and in fact supplied by Sept., Syr. and Arab. [Joseph., Ant. 12, 7, 14) and Gadaris (Strabo XVI. 759)—an old Canaanitish royal city (Josh. 12:12), belonging to the tribe of Ephraim, who did not drive the Canaanites out of it (Josh. 16:9, 10; Judg. 1:29), in the south of Ephraim (whose border passed from Lower Beth-horon over Gezer to the sea north of Joppa), north-west of Beth-horon on the western declivity of Mount Ephraim, where the latter sank into the Philistine plain (Plain of Sharon). Solomon fortified it, along with other important military positions (1 Kings 9:15–17), inasmuch as it formed a strong defence towards the south against the Philistines; for “from this point an army might penetrate into the country and reach the capital far more easily than over the mountains of Judah” (see Then. and Bähr in loco). It is noteworthy that this place plays an important part as fortress in the Maccabean time also, and that the route taken by Judas Maccabæus from Emmaus to Gazer (1 Mac. 4:15) and from Adasa to Gazer (1 Mac. 7:45) is the same as this, namely, the north-westerly. Comp. v. Raumer, p. 191, and his map. For the Geba, from which David pursued the Philistines, is not = Gibeon (according to the inexact reading of Chron., which constantly changes the Gibeah of First Samuel into Gibeon, Stähelin, Leben Davids 38), which is adopted by Movers, Then., Keil, Dächsel—nor = Gibeah, whether Gibeah in Judah (Josh. 15:57), 8–10 miles south-west of Jerusalem (Bertheau, Stähelin), or Gibeah of Samuel (Cler., Budd., O. v. Gerlach), neither of which could here come into consideration as a military position—but it is the place known from 1 Sam. 13:15–23 as the camping-ground of Saul and Jonathan, on the southern border of the Wady-es-Suweinit, opposite Michmash (now Mukhmas) which is on the northern border of the Wady, where Rob. found a place Jeba (with ruins) still existing. Comp. Isa. 10:29. See Rob., Bibliotheca Sacra, 1844, p. 598, and v. Raumer, 196, Furrer, Wanderungen, 212–217, Fay [in Lange’s Biblework] on Josh. 18.24. The battle therefore passed from the valley of Rephaim on the west of Jerusalem about nine miles northward to the plateau of Geba, where the Philistines vainly tried to make a stand, and, having the deep gorge of Michmash before them, took a north-westerly direction towards Bethhoron and Gezer. Here the pursuit ceased, because the Philistines were driven into the plain, and no danger could be apprehended from them. According to Joseph. (Ant. 7, 4. 1) Gazer was then their extreme northern limit. On the great extension of their power northward comp. Stark, Gaza, 170.—[Gibeon (instead of Geba) is here preferred by many critics, because Gibeon lies more nearly on the road from Rephaim to Gezer; but the pursuit may easily have gone first north to Geba and then west to Gezer, as Erdmann points out. It is not to be expected, however, that we can settle with absolute certainty these minute geographical points.—The phrase: “till thou come to Gezer,” does not necessarily mean: “up to Gezer,” but, like the similar expression: “as thou goest,” may = “on the way to.” See on 1 Sam. 27:8.—TR.]

In reference to the chronological relation of the account here, 2 Samuel 5:17–25, and that in 1 Chr. 14:8–17 it is to be remarked that the two differ, in that the former puts these victories without further statement in the beginning of David’s government over all Israel, the latter in the interval between the unsuccessful and the successful attempts to remove the Ark. “Whether this exacter statement of time is correct cannot be determined with certainty” (Stähelin, ubi sup., p. 37).


1. In his first royal deed of arms David, by a victory over the last Canaanites of any power that were left, completed the conquest of the land for the Lord’s covenant-people, and thus concluded the military work that was first entrusted by divine command to Joshua (Josh. 1:1–9), but had been completed neither by him, nor by the Judges, nor by Saul. The result of this first exploit against the Jebusites was the firm establishment of the royal rule in the strongest position and in the centre of the land.

2. In David’s person and government the Covenant-God, the King of His people, takes His royal seat on Mount Zion, and the city that David builds there is (with old Jerusalem under Zion) called, as being the theocratic dwelling-place and holy city of God, the “city of the great King” (Matt. 5:35). In the historical books the “City of David” (2 Samuel 5:9) always has the narrower signification of the old Upper City or David’s city, being used only in poetry of the whole city (Isa. 22:9; comp. 31:1) while according to 1 Kings 8:2; 2 Chronicles 6:2; 1 Chronicles 15:1, 29; it is distinctly differenced from Jerusalem as a whole. So “Zion” in the historical books means originally only Mount Zion, on which the city of David lay, but is used by Poets and Prophets for Jerusalem in general, in allusion to its character as God’s royal dwelling-place and throne (see Arnold, “Zion” in Herzog XVIII., Hupfeld in Zeitschr. d. deutsch. morgenl. ges. XV., p. 224, Rem. 67). From the time of David’s making his residence on Mount Zion dates in the theocratic language of the Old Covenant the terminology of God’s royal dwelling and enthronement in the midst of His people on His regnal seat, “Mount Zion.” See Ps. 3:5 [4]: “He hears me from His holy mountain.” Ps. 9:12 [11]: “Sing ye to the Lord, who is enthroned on Zion.” Ps. 15:1; 24:3; Isa. 8:18; Joel 4:16, 21, and other passages. “Zion” is the royal seat of the future Anointed of the Lord, of whom David with his theocratical kingdom is the type, and concerning whom the promise in 2 Samuel 7 comes to him, the fulfillment of which is the matter of the prophetic declaration in Ps. 2, 89, 110. Mount Zion is the geographical-historical symbol of the dominion of the Messiah to be sent by God to His people, and of the extension of the Messianic kingdom of God from this as centre. Hengstenberg on Ps. 2:6: “Zion, the holy mountain of the Lord, is the fitting seat for His king; for as after David’s time it was the centre of Israel, so is it destined to become some day the centre of the world, for from Zion goes forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isa. 2:3).

3. The military stamp of the first part of David’s reign is the pre-indication of the military character of the whole of it. That the theocracy in Israel may be developed, he purges the land of the remains of the heathen, extends the borders of Israel, and secures for the people the possession of the land and the maintenance of their boundaries by mighty victories over all their enemies. In the Psalms of David we hear the echo of this warlike and victorious theocracy. They are mostly songs of conflict and victory in praise of the God who saved His people from their enemies. Ps. 9. may serve as an example of them all, much of it corresponding with David’s experiences in these first wars and victories, though it cannot be said that it was composed with special reference thereto.

4. Several prominent features characteristic of the prophetical-theocratical historiography appear in this section (which embraces the elevation of David to the throne of Israel, his wars against internal and external enemies): 1) the relation between king and people is described as essentially a covenant before the Lord (2 Samuel 5:3); 2) it is declared to be the task and calling of the theocratic king to be shepherd and captain of the people (2 Samuel 5:2); 3) the reference of all the king’s successes to the highest and last source, the God of Sabaoth, who was with him, whereby all his own human merit is excluded (2 Samuel 5:10); 4) the conception of all these events whereby David’s kingdom was confirmed and recognized even by the powerful heathen king of Tyre, through whose friendly relations with David it was exalted and honored at home and abroad, as ordinations of God, the object of which was to establish David’s kingdom as a divine institution, and give him the assurance that he was confirmed by the Lord immediately as king over Israel (2 Samuel 5:12); 5) the repeated exhibition of David’s humble subjection of his will to the will of God, which he seeks and asks after, that he may have a sure path in what he is to do, which path the divine answer shows him (2 Samuel 5:19, 23); and 6) the express declaration of David’s unconditional active obedience to the Lord’s will, which is revealed to him in a definite Yes and No (2 Samuel 5:25).

5. All the powers and goods of the world which have their origin in the might and goodness of God, are employed by Him also for the ends of His wisdom in the government of His kingdom of grace (which is founded on His positive self-revelation) and of His people. The help of the heathen king in David’s Zion-buildings (and so in Solomon’s Temple) sets forth the great truth that all the art and treasures of the lower, natural world are to be subservient to the higher world, which has entered humanity through the kingdom of God, and to contribute to the glorification of the name of God. Bähr on 1 Kings 5:15–32: “Israel was destined not to foster the arts, but to be the bearer of divine revelation, and to secure for all nations the knowledge of the one living and holy God; thereto had God chosen this people out of all peoples, and therewith is closely connected its manner of life and occupation, yea, its whole development and history. To the attainment of this its destiny the other nations had to contribute with the special gifts and powers which had been lent them. Israel, in spite of faults and errors, stood as high above the Phœnicians in the knowledge of the truth, as they above Israel in technic and artistic performances (comp. Duncker, Gesch. u. Alterth., p. 317–320); distinguished as was Phœnicia for arts and industries, its religion was nevertheless the most perverted and its cultus the rudest (Duncker, ubi sup., 155 sq.).”


2 Samuel 5:6–9. The stronghold25 on Mount Zion: 1) How it is gained: a) by holy war against the enemies of God’s kingdom; b) by holy victory, which God vouchsafes. 2) How it is maintained: a) in defiance of God’s enemies, and b) as a reliance for God’s friends.

2 Samuel 5:10–12. The true kingdom by the grace of God: 1) It is firmly founded through the Lord’s power; 2) It grows and prospers under the Lord’s blessing; 3) It renders subservient to itself the Lord’s enemies; 4) It serves the Lord in the Lord’s people.

2 Samuel 5:12. The true salutary relation between government and people rests on two things: 1) That the people recognize the authorities as set over them by God’s grace, and honor them. 2) That the authorities regard themselves as constituted by God only for the people’s welfare, and fulfil their calling to that end.

2 Samuel 5:17–25. The war-counsel from on high: 1) How it is inquired after—by looking above. 2) How it is imparted—by the voice from above. 3) How it is carried out—by help from above.—Victory comes from the Lord: 1) When it is beforehand humbly asked for according to the Lord’s will and word; 2) When the battle is undertaken in the Lord’s name and for His cause; 3) When it is fought with obedient observation of the Lord’s directions and guidance.

The Lord will go out before thee (2 Samuel 5:24): 1) A word of consolation in sore distress; 2) A word of encouragement amid inward conflict; 3) A word of exhortation to unconditional obedience of faith; 4) A word of assurance of the victory which the Lord gives.

The rustling of the Lord’s approaching help in the tops of the trees (2 Samuel 5:24): 1) Dost thou wait for it at His bidding? 2) Dost thou hear it with the right heed? 3) Dost thou understand it in the right sense? 4) Dost thou follow it without delay?

2 Samuel 5:6–9. KRUMMACHER: David dwells now in Mount Zion, the crown of the land, and from here on begins the history of Jerusalem, which as the history of a city has not its like in grandeur, in change of fortunes, and in importance for the whole world.—Now exalted to heaven, now cast down to hell, thrice destroyed to the foundations and always rising again from the ruins, now given up to the heathen, plundered, covered with shame, and then again crowned with the highest honors, the city stands on its seven hills amid the cities of the earth as a high seven-branched candlestick, from which shines forth into the world both the consuming flame of God’s holiness and justice, and the mild and blessed light of the divine long-suffering, love, compassion and covenant-faithfulness.

2 Samuel 5:6 sq. S. SCHMID: In that which God has commanded, we must not look to what others have done before us, but to God’s command (1 Sam. 15:22, 23).—SCHLIER: The Lord, who delivered Jerusalem’s stronghold into David’s hand, still lives to-day, and will, so far as it is good for us, always help us still in every time of need, and well is it for all them that trust in Him.

2 Samuel 5:10. [HENRY: Those that have the Lord of hosts for them need not fear what hosts of men or devils can do against them. Those who grow I great must ascribe it to the presence of God with them, and give Him the glory of it.—TR.]—BERL. BIBLE: The world thinks little of it when it is said, God be with a man. But it is assuredly no trifle, it is the greatest of all things, for one to have with him the God of all the hosts of heaven and earth.—KRUMMACHER: O blessed is the man on whose heart nothing so presses as this, that in all his doings he may be with God and God with him.

2 Samuel 5:11. CRAMER: A glorious testimony that even the heathen will serve Christ.—STARKE: God knows how to incline towards pious rulers the minds of neighboring princes and kings, so that they may show them all friendly good-will (Prov. 21:1)

2 Samuel 5:12. J. LANGE: Great lords exist for the sake of their subjects, not these for their sake: O that the fact might be recognized!—[2 Samuel 5:13–16. SCOTT: Alas! even good men are apt to grow secure and self-indulgent in prosperity, and to sanction by their example those abuses which they should oppose or repress; and all our returns for the Lord’s mercies are deeply tinged with ingratitude.—TR.

2 Samuel 5:17. SCHLIER: Then might David clearly enough see that there is appointed to man no true resting-time upon earth. David’s life was a warfare, and from one strife it went on into another, and when he thought to have found rest, then battle and strife began anew. Our life upon earth is not yet the resting-time; what awaits us is strife and warfare.—CRAMER: The pious never cease to encounter opposition; therefore whoever wishes to be pious, let him prepare for this (Luke 14:28).—KRUMMACHER: The old enemy of Israel stood again in arms upon the plain. God the Lord knows how to mingie always with the encouragements which He gives His friends so much also of the humbling as suffices to secure them against the danger of losing their equilibrium.

2 Samuel 5:19 sqq. SCHLIER: Whatever we undertake then, we must look to the Lord in beginning it, and it should be to us a matter of earnest concern that we may really have the Lord’s word and will on our side.—So long as we have a good cause, we too may comfort ourselves with the help of the Lord; but what does it help if we pray and have a bad cause, or use God’s word, and yet do not walk in the Lord’s ways! God’s word and prayer make no bad cause good, but help only when we undertake a good, God-pleasing work. And there is one more thing we must not overlook if we wish really to have the Lord’s help, namely, that we must be acting only and entirely for the Lord’s cause and honor. How did it stand, properly speaking, between Israel and the Philistines? On the one side was the Lord, and on the other the idols; there was the Lord’s people, and here an idolatrous or heathen people. So the conflict was the cause of the Lord; the Lord’s name and kingdom was in question; David’s defeat would have been the Lord’s defeat; a victory for David was the Lord’s victory.

2 Samuel 5:20. BERL. BIBLE: David will not agree that the honor of the victory which he has gained by the help of God’s goodness shall be ascribed to him, but rather to God.—CRAMER: Believers when they have been rescued from distress should heartily thank God for it, and recognize that the victory comes from Him; for He fights for His Church (Ps. 50:15; 115:1).

2 Samuel 5:21. BERL. BIB.: Men do not commonly let their idols go until they have been smitten by God, and do not quite let them go even then.

2 Samuel 5:23–25. KRUMMACHER: It rustles in the tops of the baca-trees, as if an invisible host were passing over them. We know what this meant for him. Nothing less than what was once meant for Jacob by his dream of the heavenly ladder, for Moses by the burning bush that was not consumed, for Elijah by the still, small voice on Horeb, and for Saul by the light which shone round him from heaven. The Lord was near and would go out for him.—BERL. BIBLE: God Himself gives to those who tranquilly trust in Him to know His will, and also places them in a position to be able to carry it out.—KRUMMACHER: The word of the Lord: “As soon as thou shalt hear the rustling in the tops … bestir thyself,” applies figuratively to us also in our spiritual conflict with the children of unbelief in the world. There too it comes to nothing that one should make war with his own prowess and merely in the human equipment of reason and science. Success can only be reckoned on when the conflict is waged amid the blowing of the Holy Spirit’s breath and with the immediate gracious presence of the Lord and of the truth of His word.—[HENRY: But observe, though God promised to go before them and smite the Philistines, yet David, when he heard the sound of this going, must bestir himself, and be ready to pursue the victory. God’s grace must quicken our endeavors. Phil. 2:12, 13.—TR.]

[2 Samuel 5:6, 7. Men are prone to rely on strong fortifications, so as to feel no fear of successful attack, and no need of help from God. So at a later period the men of the southern kingdom were at ease in this same Zion, and those of the northern kingdom trusted in the mountain of Samaria, which was also a very strong place, and neither Judah nor Israel felt that their help came from Jehovah (Amos 6:1–8). The same principle applies as to all reliance on mere human agencies, without recognizing our dependence on God; for example, on religious societies and boards, eloquent preachers, active pastors, famous revivalists, beautiful houses of worship, etc.TR.]

[2 Samuel 5:12. A good man in great prosperity. 1) He ascribes it all to the Lord. 2) He regards it as given him for the benefit of his fellow-men. (This is the text of Maurice’s Sermon on “David the King,” see “Prophets and Kings of the Old Testament.”—TR.]

[2 Samuel 5:17 sqq. The Philistines could conquer Saul, who had been forsaken by God for his disobedience; but they only stimulate David to fulfil his divine calling (3:18), and to seek divine guidance (2 Samuel 5:19).—TR.]

[2 Samuel 5:24. In like manner, when we perceive signs of the Spirit’s special presence among us, we should bestir ourselves to secure the blessed results.—TR.]

[Chap. 5. King David’s first years of sunshine. After struggling through so many years of darkness, he now gains 1) a new crown, 2sam 5:1–3; 2) a new capital, 2sam 5:6–9; 3) a new palace, 2sam 5:11; 4) new victories over the old enemy, 2sam 5:17–25; and in them all, 5) new proofs of Jehovah’s favor, 2sam 5:2, 10, 22, 19, 24.—TR.]


22 Samuel 5:6. Instead of “king” we find “David” in several MSS., in Sept., and in 1 Chr. 11.4, and “king David” in Syr., Ar.; we can feel the differences that these readings make in the tone of the narrative, but it is hardly possible to decide which of them is original.—TR.]

3[2 Samuel 5:6. Eng. A. V. has here unnecessarily inverted the clauses; read: “thou shalt not come in hither except, etc.;” so Sym., Chald., Syr., Vulg., pointing הֱםִירְךָ as Inf. But others point it Perf. plu. הֱםִירֻךָ and render: “thou shalt not come in hither, but (כּי אִם) the blind and the lame will keep thee away” (Sept., Then., Böttch., Wellh., Bib. Com., Erdmann and others), which rendering (making “the blind and the lame” the subject of the sentence) Philippson declares to be unnecessary and ungrammatical. The sentence presents serious grammatical difficulties: on the one hand the כִּי אִם requires a finite verb after it (when a noun follows it, it is always as object of a preceding verb, which the Inf. cannot here be), on the other hand the verb should here be Impf. (Philippson’s difficulty is not serious). The difficulty might be removed by prefixing בּ to the Infin. (so Symm., Chald.), or by reading Perf. 2 sing. masc. הֱםִירֹתָ (so Syr., Vulg. perhaps).—Wellhausen thinks the subjoined explanation (“saying, David shall not, etc.”) unnecessary (the meaning being clear enough), and therefore hardly original, perhaps a marginal gloss; but it is not merely a repetition, since it puts absolutely what was before put as conditional.—TR.]

4[2 Samuel 5:8. In this sentence there are three points of difficulty: 1) the construction of וְיִגַּע, whether it is to be joined to the preceding protasis, or regarded as beginning the apodosis, that is, whether the whole sentence is to be taken as protasis, the apodosis being omitted (so Then., Philippson, Cohen, Eng. A. V., which supplies the apodosis from 1 Chr. 11:6), or as containing protasis and apodosis (so Böttch., Ew., Erdmann). 2) The pointing and construction of שנאו, and 3) the meaning of צִנּוֹר. For the discussion see the Exposition.—TR.]

5[2 Samuel 5:9. Read after Sept. וַיִּבְנֶהָ “built it” (so Wellh.).-From “Millo” Aq. has ἀπὸ πληρώματος , Sym. ἀπὸ προθἐματος (Jerome says that Sym. and Theod. had adimpletionem), Sept. ἀπὸ τῆς ἄκρας.—TR.]

6[2 Samuel 5:12. נִשֵא Piel 3 sing. masc.; 1 Chr. 14:2 נִשֵּׂאת, Niph. 3 sing. fem. According to Wellh. the final ת in Chr. represents the first מ in the following word in Sam. Which reading is original can hardly be determined.—TR.]

7[2 Samuel 5:17. 1 Chr. 14:8: “And went out before them (= against them.).” The Chr. omits the details of the movement, but this does not show that he could not reconcile the “went down” of Sam. with the preceding (against Wellh.). Nor is there any good reason why the same narrator should not apply the same word (מְעוּדָת “hold”) to two different places in consecutive paragraphs. It is a common noun, and moreover the use in 2 Samuel 5:9 is defined in 2 Samuel 5:7 by the phrase “of Zion.”—TR.]

8[2 Samuel 5:20. Baal perazim = “possessor (= place, margin of Eng. A. V. plain) of breaches.” Sept. ἐκ τῶν ἐπάνωδιακοπῶν = מִמּעל, etc. Aq. ἔχων διακοπάς. The point of the comparison seems to be not the dividing of waters (Sept. ὡς διακόπτεται ὕδατα. Vulg., sicut dividuntur aquœ), but the violent rending asunder by a torrent of water—TR.]

9[2 Samuel 5:21. Aq. τὰ διαποδήματα. Sym. τὰ γλυπτά, Sept. τούς θεούς.—Instead of “took them away,” Eng. A. V. has taken the text of 1 Chr. 14:12 “burned them,” supposing perhaps that this was the true explanation of our text. The meaning here rather is that David carried off the images, either to destroy them, or to bear them in triumph. The margin of Eng. A. V. has “took them away.”—TR.]

10[2 Samuel 5:23. Instead of אֶל־אַחֲרֵיהֶם some MSS. and EDD. and Syr., Ar. have מֵאַחֲרֵיהֶם, which does not change the sense. In a few MSS. the Prep. is omitted, as in 1 Chr. 14:14. The difference between the texts in Sam. and Chr. is obvious, perhaps in the latter an attempt at greater clearness; the meaning is the same in both. It is not necessary to supply anything here after “go up” (תַעֲלֶה), since the word implies “going to meet.”—TR.]

11Heb. “Jebusite” (יְבֻסִי), poetically individualizing Sing. for Plu. “Inhabitant” (יושׁב), the proper, aboriginal people. [The Sing, is not poetic, but collective; see its use in Gen. 10:16; 15:21; Numb. 13:29: Judg. 19.1 [—the name of the tribe as an individual.—TR.] So the verb וַיּאמֶר is Sing.

12 כִּי אִם after a negation = “but,” Ew. §356 a. The הֱסִירְךָ is not Inf., but Perf., expressing a complete action. The Sing, is used because it precedes the subject (Keil, Ew. §119 a). But we may with Then, point it as Plu. הֱסִירֻךָ (comp. Gen. 1:28; Isa. 53:3, 4, where also וּ has fallen out). אֵאמרֹ = “namely.” [On the grammatical difficulties here see “Text, and Gramm.” The sense, however, is tolerably plain.—TR.]

13[According to the Midrash (Targ. and Pirke Eleazar 36) the images of the blind Isaac and the lame Jacob are here meant, Abraham having agreed with the Jebusites (Gen. 23.) not to lay claim to their city. See Patr. and Philipps.—TR.]

14[Instead of “Zion” we should here read “Moriah.” See Art. Siloam in Smith’s Bib. Dict.—TR.]

15The verb is to be pointed as Hiph. יגּע “cast down.”

16[Or because they are poor defenders (Philippson).—TR.]

17He changes בַצִנּוֹר into בַּפִּנוֹת, and שׂנאו into קנְּאוֹ = “envies him.”

18He reads יַכֶּה instead of וְאֶת.

19Following Sept. ἐν παραξιφίδι (Hesych.—ἐν μαχαίρᾳ) he reads בַּצּוּר for בַּצִּנּוֹר, referring to Psalm 89:44 צוּר חֶרֶב.

20[See Am. Ed. of Rob. III. 441, 485, 489, 491, 547, 548 and 420; also II. 437, 438, and for the cedars II. 493, III. 588–593; see also Articles in the Bible Dictionaries and later books of travel, as Thomson’s Land and Book, 1. p. 292–297.—TR.]

21 מְצוּרָה instead of מְצוּרָה.

22 עֵמֶק, comp. Isa. 17:5. [See Stanley’s “Sinai and Pal.,” App. § 1.—TR.

23[Or, possibly “lord (= God) of breaches.” Comp. Gen. 22:14 and 16:13 (El-roi).—TR.]

24[So the Edomites, 2 Chron. 25:14. The heathen idols were carried off with impunity—not so the Ark of God (Pat.).—TR.]

25[There is here an allusion to Luther’s famous hymn, Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott.—TR.]

Lange, John Peter - Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical

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