Matthew Poole's Commentary
Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh.The tribes come to Hebron to anoint David king over all Israel: the years of his reign at Hebron and Jerusalem: his age, 2 Samuel 5:1-5. He taketh the strong hold of Zion from the Jebusites, and dwelleth there, 2 Samuel 5:6-10. Hiram maketh a league with David, and sendeth wood and workmen to build a house, 2 Samuel 5:11,12. He taketh more wives, and eleven sons are born to him at Jerusalem, 2 Samuel 5:13-16. David, directed by God, smiteth the Philistines at Baal-perazin, 2 Samuel 5:17-21; and again at the mulberry trees, 2 Samuel 5:22-25.
To wit, by their ambassadors, Ish-bosheth and Abner being now dead, and that without David’s concurrence.
Thy bone and thy flesh, i.e. thy brethren, or kinsmen, of the same nation and parentage, though not of the same tribe; and therefore, as God’s law, Deu 17:15, permits us, so our own relation and affection incline us, to choose thee for our king; and we doubt not thou wilt receive us for thy subjects and people, and pardon our offences against thee.
Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel.Thou wast our chief commander in our expeditions against the Philistines, and therefore art most fit to be king over us.
The Lord said to thee, to wit, by Samuel, 1 Samuel 16:11-13; for though the words vary, yet the sense is the same.
Thou shalt feed my people Israel i.e. rule them, and take care of them, as a shepherd doth of his sheep, Psalm 78:70,71. This expression he useth to admonish David, that he was not made a king to advance his own glory and interest, but for the good and benefit of his people; and that he ought to rule them with all tenderness, and to watch over them with all diligence.
So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel.King David made a league with them; whereby he obliged himself to rule them according to God’s laws; and the people promised fidelity and obedience to him.
Before the Lord; either,
1. Before the ark, which might be here, though that be not mentioned in this place. Or,
2. Before the priest clothed with the ephod; whereby he was in a manner put into God’s presence. Or rather,
3. In the congregation of the mighty, or magistrates, where God used to be present, Psalm 82:1; in the public assembly now met together in God’s name and fear, and as in his presence, to call upon him, to appeal to him as the witness and judge of their transactions. Compare Judges 11:11 1 Samuel 23:18. They anointed David; either by a prophet, or the priest, to whom this office belonged. See 2 Samuel 2:4.
David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.And some odd months, as it follows.
In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.Having the advantage of so great a confluence of his people to make him king, he thought fit to begin his reign with some eminent action, and to lead them forth in this expedition; wherein doubtless he asked advice from God, and the consent of the elders now present.
To Jerusalem; as the place which God had designed for his worship; and in the centre and heart of his kingdom, and therefore fittest for his royal city.
The Jebusites continued to dwell there in spite of the Benjamites, to whose lot it fell. See Joshua 15:63 Judges 1:21 19:10,11.
Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither; or, Thou shalt not come in hither, but the blind and the lame shall remove or hinder thee. By the blind and the lame they understand, either,
1. Their own people; and so they imply that the place was so impregnable, that a few blind and lame men were able to defend it against all David’s assaults. And these may be called and were the hated of David’s soul, 2 Samuel 5:8, not because they were blind and lame, but because they were Jebusites, a people hated and accursed by God: and the Jebusites of this place were more hateful to him than the rest of that nation; partly, because they possessed this place, which David knew was designed for the one and only place of God’s solemn worship; and partly because they did so wickedly and insolently defy the armies of Israel, and consequently, the God of Israel. Or,
2. Their gods or images; which, after the manner of the heathens, they worshipped as their tutelary gods, and placed in their gates or walls. These they call blind and lame sarcastically, and with respect to David’s opinion; as if they said, These gods of ours, whom you Israelites reproach, as blind and lame, Psalm 115:5,6, and so unable to direct and protect us, they will defend us against you; and you will find they are neither blind nor lame, but have eyes to watch for us, and hands to fight against you; and you must conquer them before you can take our city. And these may well be called the hated of David’s soul. But I prefer the former sense, as being most easy, and natural, and proper; whereas the latter is metaphorical, and seems doubtful and forced.
David cannot come in hither; concluding their fort to be impregnable.
Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David.The strong hold of Zion; either,
1. A very strong fort which fitly had built upon Mount Zion; which being taken, the city quickly yielded. Or,
2. The city of Zion, which was very strongly fortified.
And David said on that day, Whosoever 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, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, i.e. whosoever scaleth the fort, or getteth up to the top of it, where the gutter was.
And the lame and the blind, or even, or especially (for the Hebrew particle vau signifies both ways) the lame and the blind; i.e. those of them who are set to defend that place; who, as they pretend, should be only the lame and the blind. Others understand it of their idols or images. But they could not properly be said to be smitten, i. e. killed; as that word is used here, and elsewhere.
That are hated of David’s soul: this belongs to the Jebusite, and the lame and the blind; and it is explained in 2 Samuel 5:6.
He shall be chief and captain: these words are fitly supplied out of 1 Chronicles 11:6, where they are expressed; and they must needs be understood to make the sense complete. And such ellipses or defects of a part of the sentence are usual in promises, and oaths, and conditional offers, such as this was.
Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house, i.e. whence it became a proverb, or a common saying, used by David and others upon this occasion. Or otherwise, The blind and the lame Jebusites were set to keep the house, i.e. the fort of Zion; and to keep others from coming into it; but now they are shut out of it, and none of them, to wit, either,
1. Of the Jebusites; or,
2. Of blind and lame persons, shall be admitted to come into it again; which David might resolve, and ordain, to keep up the memory of this great exploit, and of the insolent carriage of the Jebusites, and their unhappy success. Or, The blind and the lame shall not come into my house, to wit, into the king’s palace. And although this might be a general rule and decree of David’s, yet he might dispense with it in some special cases, as in that of Mephibosheth. But it is not necessary that this should be a proverb; for the words may be thus rendered, as it is in the margin of our Bible, Because they had said, even the blind and the lame, He (i. e. David) shall not come into the house; or, Because they (i. e. the Jebusites) had said, The blind and the lame shall hinder him; (which words are easily supplied out of 2 Samuel 5:6, where having spoken of this more largely, it was sufficient here to mention the most emphatical words, as is usual in such cases;) he shall not come into the house, or hither, as they say, 2 Samuel 5:6. i. e. into the fort; for the word house is used very largely and generally in the Hebrew language, for any place, as Judges 16:21.
So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward.Millo seems to have been some large and well fortified building, Judges 9:6 2 Chronicles 32:5, adjoining or near to the wall of the city of Zion.
And David went on, and grew great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him.Grew great in reputation and power.
And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons: and they built David an house.For Lebanon, which was famous for its cedars, was a great part of it in his dominion. For the Tyrians were excellent artists and workmen, as both sacred and profane writers agree.
And David perceived that the LORD had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel's sake.By reflecting upon the promises which God had made. him, and the constant course of God’s providence favouring him.
And 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.This may well be reckoned amongst David’s miscarriages, the multiplication of wives being expressly forbidden to the king, Deu 17:17. The use of it seems to have been his policy, that hereby he might enlarge his family, and strengthen his interest by alliances with so many considerable families. And the number of wives being not limited, Deu 17, he might conceive this was no transgression of that law.
And these be the names of those that were born unto him in Jerusalem; Shammua, and Shobab, and Nathan, and Solomon,No text from Poole on this verse.
Ibhar also, and Elishua, and Nepheg, and Japhia,No text from Poole on this verse.
And Elishama, and Eliada, and Eliphalet.No text from Poole on this verse.
But when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines came up to seek David; and David heard of it, and went down to the hold.Whilst the civil war lasted between the houses of Saul and David, they wisely forbore all hostilities, and left them to tear out one another’s bowels, that afterwards they might make a more easy conquest of both; but that being ended, and all united under David, they bestir themselves.
To seek David; to find him out, and fight against him, and cut him off now in the infancy of his kingdom; whereby they give David a just occasion to fight against them for his own necessary defence, and acquit him from any note of ingratitude, in opposing them who had formerly exercised kindness and hospitality to him; though indeed David’s obligations were in a manner wholly to Achish, who seems to be dead at this time, there being no mention of him.
To the hold; to some fortified place to which his people might conveniently resort from all places, and where he might intrench his army, and which lay towards the Philistines.
The Philistines also came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim.Or, of the giants; which lay westward from Jerusalem, and so was the ready way to Jerusalem, which it seems they designed to take.
And David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up to the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the LORD said unto David, Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand.No text from Poole on this verse.
And David came to Baalperazim, and David smote them there, and said, The LORD hath broken forth upon mine enemies before me, as the breach of waters. Therefore he called the name of that place Baalperazim.Baal-perazim; whither the Philistines were come from the valley of Rephaim, 1 Chronicles 14:11.
As the breach of waters; as floods or rivers of waters, which break the banks, and overflow a land, and overturn all that stands in their way.
And there they left their images, and David and his men burned them.Their images they seem to have brought into the field to fight for them, as the Israelites had formerly done the ark.
David burned them, as God had commanded, Deu 7:5.
And the Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim.The Philistines came up again, doubtless with greater force, as those that saw their all lay at stake.
And when David inquired of the LORD, he said, Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees.Thou shalt not go up, to wit, directly against them, as the following words explain it.
Over against the mulberry trees, where they least expect thee. God’s purposes and promises do not exclude men’s just endeavours, but require them.
And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the LORD go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines.The sound of a going; a noise as it were of persons walking upon the tops of them, which I shall cause; and by this sign, both thou shalt be assured that I am coming to help thee, and the Philistines shall be affrighted and amused, and not perceive the noise of thy army until thou art upon them.
Then thou shalt bestir thyself; do thou fall upon them.
And David did so, as the LORD had commanded him; and smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer.They followed their victory, and pursued them to their own borders, in which Gazer was, as Josephus relates.