2Samuel 2

 

2Samuel 2:1–32

 


These studies are designed for believers in Jesus Christ only. If you have exercised faith in Christ, then you are in the right place. If you have not, then you need to heed the words of our Lord, Who said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten [or, uniquely-born] Son, so that every [one] believing [or, trusting] in Him shall not perish, but shall be have eternal life! For God did not send His Son into the world so that He should judge the world, but so that the world shall be saved through Him. The one believing [or, trusting] in Him is not judged, but the one not believing has already been judged, because he has not believed in the Name of the only-begotten [or, uniquely-born] Son of God.” (John 3:16–18). “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life! No one comes to the Father except through [or, by means of] Me!” (John 14:6).


Every study of the Word of God ought to be preceded by a naming of your sins to God. This restores you to fellowship with God (1John 1:8–10). If there are people around, you would name these sins silently. If there is no one around, then it does not matter if you name them silently or whether you speak aloud.


Outline of Chapter 2:

 

         Introduction         Matthew Henry Summarizes 2Samuel 2

         vv.     1–4b         David Rules Over Judah from Hebron

         vv.     4c–7          David honors the men of Jabesh-Gilead

         vv.     8–11         Ishbosheth Reigns over Northern and Eastern Israel

         vv.    12–17         Civil War between Abner and David’s Nephews

         vv.    18–23         Abner Kills Asahel, David’s Nephew

         vv.    24–29         A Temporary Truce is Called

         vv.    30–33         The Casualty Report to David


Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:

 

         Introduction         Matthew Henry Summarizes 2Samuel 2

         v.       1              A Brief Summary of the Doctrine of Hebron

         v.       1              The Commentators Remark about Hebron

         v.       6              Genocides and Political Killings of the 20th Century

         v.       7              Various Commentators on David’s Message to the Men of Jabesh Gilead

         v.       8              Summarizing What We Know About Abner

         v.       8              Why Abner is Motivated to Set up Ishbosheth as King Over Israel

         v.       8              Smith Summarizes the Doctrine of the City of Mahanaim

         v.       8              Why Mahanaim is Chosen as the New Capitol City

         v.       9              Ashurite, Geshurite or Asherite?

         v.       9              The Area over which Ishbosheth Ruled

         v.       9              The Reasons You Need a Pastor Teacher

         v.       9              Pastor Teachers You Should Avoid

         v.      10              How the Age of Ishbosheth Impacts other Numbers in Scripture

         v.      11              A Time-Line for the Divided Kingdom

         v.      11              Other Theories Dealing with the Length of Ishbosheth’s Reign

         v.      12              Why Abner Goes to Gibeon

         v.      16              Commentators Explain the Meaning of Helkath-Hazzurim

         v.      17              Abner’s Strategy

         v.      27              Commentators Interpret Joab’s Oath

         v.      29              Where is Bithron?

         v.      31              Gill on the Disparity of the Losses

         v.      32              The Mistakes of Joab


Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To

Abner

 

Hebron

 

 

Mahanaim

 

 


I ntroduction: This and the next chapter are easy to sum up in a couple of sentences. God sets up David as king over Judah (and, presumably, Simeon) in the capitol city Hebron. Abner (probably under Saul’s direction) sets up Ishbosheth as king over northern and central Israel. A civil war will ensue. Footnote


2Sam. 2 is fairly straightforward narrative, with a handful of minor difficulties in translation and interpretation. After it is clear that Saul is dead, David inquires of God as to where he should go and God guides him to go to Hebron to set up his headquarters to rule over Judah. Abner, Saul’s cousin and the commander of Saul’s army, is setting up Saul’s son, Ishbosheth to rule from Mahanaim in eastern Israel. Since Israel had been one entity and now was split, it is inevitable that the armies of both sides should meet, which is what occurs here.


You may recall that David was outside of Israel and probably outside of God’s geographical will. However, when he returned to Ziklag and found that his camp had been raided by Amalekites, David pulled himself together and turned toward God for guidance. In this chapter, David continues in that vein—he asks God for guidance, and God guides him to Hebron in Judah, where he is made king over Judah. You may wonder, why isn’t all Israel behind David at this time? Israel has just been beaten down by the Philistine army, which served to split all Israel right down the middle; above the Philistine victory is northern Israel and below it is Judah. With the Philistines living in some of the cities in central Israel, there is no united Israel. 2Sam. 2:1–4a


After being proclaimed king, David is told about the men of Jabesh-Gilead and how they risked their lives in order to honor Saul, whose body had been hung on a wall in Bethshan, and David sends them greetings and encouragement. David’s purpose here is to indicate to them that he sees this as heroic and he does not feel threatened that they supported their lord Saul. 2Sam. 2:4b–7


However, Abner took Saul’s son Ishbosheth east of the Jordan (Saul’s army was soundly defeated by the Philistines west of the Jordan), and he sets him up as king (probably at Saul’s request the morning that he died). Abner then took his army and he met David’s nephews and their army in Gibeon, which is in central Israel. We do not know the intervening events; we do not know where the Philistines are who are occupying this territory or the impact that these two mobile armies had on them. In this meeting between Abner and Joab (one of David’s nephews), it will be clear the Abner always has the upper hand; his experience is always evident. He will call the shots in this meeting. However, the meeting will end in a civil war between the two armies, and Abner will flee with Asahel, another of David’s nephews, close behind him. With Asahel gaining on Abner, Abner finally turns and deftly kills Asahel. Abner and Joab talk again, and Abner tells Joab that all that can be expected is more and more warfare between these civil factions. Joab, taken aback by the death of his brother, agrees to a temporary truce, and they return to their respective leaders. At the end of this chapter, we are told the body count. 2Sam. 2:12–32


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Just so you are exposed to another perspective, let me offer Matthew Henry’s summary of this chapter.

Matthew Henry Summarizes 2Samuel 2

David had paid due respect to the memory of Saul his prince and Jonathan his friend, and what he did was as much his praise as theirs; he is now considering what is to be done next. Saul is dead, now therefore David arise.

I. By direction from God he went up to Hebron, and was there anointed king (2Sam. 2:1–4).

II. He returned thanks to the men of Jabesh–Gilead for burying Saul (2Sam. 2:5–7).

III. Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, is set up in opposition to him (2Sam. 2:8–11).

IV. A warm encounter happens between David's party and Ishbosheth's, in which,

1. Twelve of each side engaged hand to hand and were all slain (2Sam. 2:12–16).

2. Saul's party was beaten (2Sam. 2:17).

3. Asahel, on David's side, was slain by Abner (2Sam. 2:18–23).

4. Joab, at Abner's request, sounds a retreat, (2Sam. 2:24–28).

5. Abner makes the best of his way (2Sam. 2:29), and the loss on both sides is computed (2Sam. 2:30–32). So that here we have an account of a civil war in Israel, which, in process of time, ended in the complete settlement of David on the throne.

 


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David Rules Over Judah from Hebron


Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

And so he is after so, and so inquires David in Yehowah to say, “Should I go up into one of [the] cities of Judah?”


And so says Yehowah to him, “Go up.”


And so says David “Where do I go up?”


And so He says, “Hebron-ward.”

2Samuel

2:1

And it is afterwards that David inquires of Yehowah, saying, “Should I go up into one of the cities of Judah?”


And Yehowah answers him, “Go up.”


And David then says, “Where should I go up?”


And He says, “To Hebron.”

After these things, David inquired of Jehovah, “Should I go up into one of the cities of Judah?”


And Jehovah answered him, “Yes, you should go up.”


Then David asked, “To which city should I go?”


And Jehovah answered, “Go to Hebron.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:

 

Ancient texts:                       Note: I compare the Hebrew text to English translations of the Latin, Syriac and Greek texts (using the Douay-Rheims translation; George Lamsa’s translation, and Sir Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton’s translation, respectively). When there are serious disparities between my translation and Brenton’s, I look at the Greek text of the Septuagint (the LXX) to see if a substantive difference actually exists (and I reflect these changes in the English rendering of the Greek text). Now and again, I update these texts with non-substantive changes (e.g., you for thou, etc.).

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he is after so, and so inquires David in Yehowah to say, “Should I go up into one of [the] cities of Judah?”

And so says Yehowah to him, “Go up.”

And so says David “Where do I go up?”

And so He says, “Hebron-ward.”

Septuagint                              And it came to pass after this that David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up into one of the cities of Juda?” And the Lord said to him, “Go up.” And David said, “Where shall I go up?” And He said, “To Chebron.”

 

Significant differences:           None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Later, David asked the LORD, "Should I go back to one of the towns of Judah?" The LORD answered, "Yes." David asked, "Which town should I go to?" "Go to Hebron," the LORD replied.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         After this, David asked the LORD, "Should I go to one of the cities of Judah?" "Go," the LORD answered him. "Where should I go?" David asked. "To Hebron," the LORD replied.

HCSB                                     Some time later, David inquired of the LORD: "Should I go to one of the towns of Judah?" The LORD answered him, "Go." Then David asked, "Where should I go?" "To Hebron," the LORD replied.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

LTHB                                     And it happened after this, David asked of Jehovah, saying, Shall I go up to one of the cities of Judah? And Jehovah said to him, Go up. And David said, Where shall I go up? And He said, To Hebron.

Young’s Updated LT             And it comes to pass afterwards, that David asks at Jehovah, saying, “Do I go up into one of the cities of Judah?” And Jehovah says unto him, “Go up.” And David says, “Whither do I go up?” And He says, “To Hebron.”

 

The gist of this verse?         David asks of God if he should go up into Judah and to which city. God tells David to go up to Hebron.


2Samuel 2:1a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

achărêy (י̤רֲח ַא) [pronounced ah-kuh-RAY]

hinder parts; behind, after; following; after that, afterwards

preposition; plural form

Strong’s #310 BDB #29

kên (ן ֵ) [pronounced kane]

so, thus; upright, honest; rightly, well; [it is] so, such, so constituted;

properly, an active participle; used primarily as an adverb

Strong's #3651 BDB #485

Together, achar and kên mean after so (literally) or afterward, afterwards.


Translation: And it is afterwards... Recall that David is living in Philistine-controlled territory on the southwest border of Judah and Philistia. When Saul was pursuing David, David finally gave up staying in Judah and went up to Gath. The Philistine king of Gath gave David an area where he could stay (Ziklag), which was near southern Judah, but controlled by the Philistines. We have just witnessed David coming back into fellowship after his camp had been struck by the Amalekites (1Sam. 30:6). He and his men go after and they soundly defeat the Amalekites, recovering all of their personal possessions, their wives and children (1Sam. 30). At the same time, Saul was about to go into his last battle. In fact, simultaneous to David going after the Amalekites, Saul contacted a dead Samuel through a human medium, hoping to get a reprieve or some sort of guidance. Samuel did appear to Saul (if you don’t know why God allowed this, you need to go back to 1Sam. 28 and find out); and told him that he was about to die in battle. Saul did die in battle and an Amalekite comes to tell David about it, claiming to have taken Saul’s life, and hoping to be rewarded for doing so. David has this man executed, based upon his own testimony. Then David writes an ode to Saul and Jonathan, mourning their deaths. That takes us to where we begin this chapter. It is after these things that we find David calling upon God. Recall that Hebrews do not often think chronologically, so that when we have the words which we find here, we can assume that we are looking chronologically at a particular set of events.


2Samuel 2:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâal (לַאָש) [pronounced shaw-AHL]

to ask [petition, request, inquire]; to demand; to question, to interrogate; to ask [for a loan]; to consult; to salute

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7592 BDB #981

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; among, in the midst of; at, by, near, on, before, in the presence of, upon; with; to, unto, upon, up to; in respect to, on account of; by means of, about, concerning

primarily a preposition of proximity; however, it has a multitude of functions

No Strong’s # BDB #88

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #559 BDB #55


Translation: ...that David inquires of Yehowah, saying,... You will recall that David had the means by which he could speak to Jehovah God. The last living priest, the very young man Abiathar, came to David, after Saul had slaughtered the priests at Nob. This man brought with him the Ephod of God, by which one could know the will of God. You will recall that, even though David had access to this Ephod, when he went into the Philistine-held territory, he did not consult with God. As we examined carefully during that time, it was clear that David was out of fellowship, and we covered that in points (1Sam. 27). However, David is now clearly back in fellowship, which means he wants to know what God wants him to do.


2Samuel 2:1c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hă ( ֲה) [pronounced heh]

interrogative particle which acts almost like a piece of punctuation, like the upside-down question mark which begins a Spanish sentence. The verb to be may be implied.

Strong’s #none BDB #209

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to go up, to ascend, to come up, to rise, to climb

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

echâd (ד ָח א) [pronounced eh-KHAWD]

one, first, certain, only; but it can also mean a composite unity; possibly particular

feminine singular numeral adjective construct

Strong's #259 BDB #25

׳îyr (רי ̣ע) [pronounced ģeer]

encampment, city, town

feminine plural construct

Strong's #5892 BDB #746

Yehûwdâh (הָדהי) [pronounced yehoo-DAW]

possibly means to praise, to be praised; and is transliterated Judah

masculine proper noun/location

Strong’s #3063 BDB #397


Translation:...“Should I go up into one of the cities of Judah?” God has named David as the next king of Israel. David is now just outside of Judah, hiding in a Philistine-controlled territory. Now that Saul is dead, David needs to know what to do next. It seems reasonable that he should return to Judah, but he will inquire of God whether or not he should do this.


2Samuel 2:1d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to go up, to ascend, to come up, to rise, to climb

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong's #5927 BDB #748


Translation: And Yehowah answers him, “Go up.” God makes it clear that David should go up into Judah, into one of the cities of Judah. This quotation is interesting—instead of having the simple yes or no response, which is how we might view the responses to David’s questions, God tells David to, “Go up.” Because of what has occurred previously, I would assume that David is asking questions of God using the ephod and the young priest, Abiathar. We do not have any recorded incident where God speaks to David in a dream; God never speaks directly to David, at least up until this point in time. So, although I cannot unequivocally rule out the idea that God is speaking to David in a dream, there is no evidence of that, apart from God’s answers, which are very specific, rather than general yes or no answers. As we have discussed earlier, it is possible that there were ways to get a more detailed answer from the Ephod of God, although we have no idea as to how exactly that is done.


2Samuel 2:1e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

ân (ןָא) [pronounced awn]

where, whither

adverb with the hê local

Strong’s #575 BDB #33

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to go up, to ascend, to come up, to rise, to climb

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5927 BDB #748


Translation: And David then says, “Where should I go up?” As discussed above, we are guessing that David is inquiring of God via the Ephod of God. This is based only upon what has occurred in the past; and based upon the fact that, at no time, has God spoken to David in a dream.


To me, this suggests that God somehow communicated information to Abiathar, more than simply yes or no from the ephod. There is no indication that David laid out before God a few dozen cities and asked God, should I go to this city? Yes or no? Although that is a possibility, that God says to David, “Go Up” and “Hebron” simply indicates that somehow, God is communicating a certain amount of limited information to David, and I would assume that would be through Abiathar, although he is not mentioned here.


2Samuel 2:1f

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Cheberôwn (ןר׃ב∵ח) [pronounced khebv-ROHN]

association, league, joined; transliterated Hebron

proper noun; location; with the directional hê

Strong’s #2275 BDB #289


Translation: And He says, “To Hebron.” In some manner which we cannot conclusively point to, God is able to clearly indicate to David just exactly where David should go—God tells David to go to Hebron. We covered the Doctrine of Hebron back in Joshua 14:15; however, let us briefly summarize it below.


Just in case you don’t want to look up the doctrine, I have a brief summary of the Doctrine of Hebron below.

A Brief Summary of the Doctrine of Hebron

Hebron means association, league, joined. McGee suggests that it means fellowship, communion; as Hebron was a place of fellowship with God.

Like many of the ancient cities which Israel captures, Hebron had a variety of names. It was previously know as Kiriath-arba (Gen. 23:2 35:27 Joshua 14:15 15:54 20:7 Judges 1:10 Neh. 11:25); the oaks of Mamre or simply Mamre (Gen. 13:18 14:13 18:1 23:17, 19 25:9 35:27 49:30 50:13); the city of Arba (Joshua 14:15 15:13 21:11) and the city of Arbah (Gen. 35:27).

Hebron is about 20 miles west from the midpoint of the Dead Sea in the hill country of Judah, 25 miles south-southwest of Jerusalem. Mamre is traditionally located 2 miles north of Hebron, making them so close as to be interchangeable.

Hebron has an elevation of approximately 2800 ft. It is situated in a valley between two ridges. Hebron is an area which would certainly be populated. It has several natural springs and wells and there are two large pools with cut stone walls within the city limits today. There are apple, plum, fig, pomegranate, apricot and nut trees; and grapes, melons and other produce are grown in the rich soil of the valley and terrace. Footnote

Hebron is where most of the Patriarchs lived and where most of them were buried.

We first hear about Hebron immediately after the separation of Abram and Lot somewhere in the early the mid 20th century b.c. Lot settles in around Sodom, a particularly horrid city and God takes Abram up to a hill and has him look in all directions and tells him that this land would belong to his descendants forever. God tells Abram to walk through the land to get a feel for it (it is like you have just gotten your son this great Christmas gift and you want to show him how to play with it). Then Abram moved his tent and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and there he built an altar to Jehovah (Gen. 13:18). Abram and Sarai apparently lived there for awhile (Gen. 14:13).

It was here that God appeared to Abram and promised him a son through Sarai (Gen. 18:1ff). Several decades after the birth of Isaac, Sarah dies at the age of 127 and is buried in Hebron, also called Kiriath-arba (Gen. 23:2). Abraham is also buried there by Isaac at age 175 (Gen. 25:7–10).

Jacob also chose to live in Hebron (Gen. 37:1). Jacob later Jacob asked his sons to bury him with Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah and Leah (Gen. 49:29–33 50:13), which would have been Hebron.

In Joshua 9, the Gibeonites use deceit in order to attain an alliance with Joshua and then five kings allied themselves and attacked the Gibeonites. These five kings were from the hill country, one of them being the king of Hebron (Joshua 10:3, 5, 23). Joshua destroyed the armies of those kings and executed the kings as well (Joshua 10:22–26).

Joshua went through a half dozen cities and destroyed the people in the cities. One of the last ones was Hebron and he left no survivors (Joshua 10:36–39). They took no prisoners.

Hebron proper will actually go to the tribe of Aaron as a Levitical city and as a city of refuge. The surrounding area and villages will go the Caleb and his family (Joshua 21:11–13 1Chron. 5:55–56). In Joshua 14:12 and in great detail in Judges 1:10, we will discuss in more detail the chronological sequence involved.

The actual doctrine goes into much greater detail than we find here. I will cover the history of Hebron after the time of Joshua at another time.

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Most commentators have something to say about Hebron:

The Commentators Remark about Hebron

Commentator

Quotation

Barnes

Hebron was well suited for the temporary capital of David’s kingdom, being situated in a strong position in the mountains of Judah, amidst David’s friends, and withal having especially sacred associations. Footnote

Clarke

[Hebron is] the metropolis of the tribe of Judah, one of the richest regions in Judea. The mountains of Hebron were famed for fruits, herbage, and honey; and many parts were well adapted for vines, olives, and different kinds of grain, abounding in springs of excellent water, as the most accurate travelers have asserted. Footnote

Gill

Hebron [is a] a city of the priests, a city of refuge (Joshua 21:13), twenty miles from Jerusalem, or more, which is not directed to, because it was then chiefly in the hands of the Jebusites, and because, as Procopius Gazaeus says, Hebron was now the metropolis of Judah. Footnote

It is interesting that each of these commentators gives his own unique perspective of the city of Hebron.


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As you might speculate, that God tells David to go to Hebron is quite spiritually significant—of all the cities of Israel, this one, in David’s time, would be seen as the city of the greatest spiritual significance. We, of course, from our point of view in history, see Jerusalem as being the holy city (if there is such a thing); however, Jerusalem was just another city at this time, primarily occupied by Jebusites.


And so goes up David and also two of his wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail, wife of Nabal, the Carmelite;...

2Samuel

2:2

Then David went up, along with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail, the wife of Nabal, the Carmelite;...

Then David went up to Hebron, taking with him his two wives—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal, from Carmel.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so goes up David and also two of his wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail, wife of Nabal, the Carmelite;...

Septuagint                              And David went up there to Chebron, he and both his wives, Achinaam the Jezraelitess, and Abigaia the wife of Nabal the Carmelite,...

 

Significant differences:           Hebron is mentioned by name in the LXX, but not in the Hebrew. Context indicates that we are obviously speaking about going to Hebron.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       David went to Hebron with his two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail. Ahinoam was from Jezreel, and Abigail was the widow of Nabal from Carmel.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         David went there with his two wives, Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail (who had been Nabal's wife) from Carmel.

HCSB                                      So David went there with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelite and Abigail, the widow of Nabal the Carmelite.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

LTHB                                     And David went up there, and also his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail the former wife of Nabal of Carmel.

Young’s Updated LT             And David goes up there, and also his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail wife of Nabal the Carmelite;...

 

The gist of this verse?          David goes up to Hebron, taking with him, his two wives.


2Samuel 2:2a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to go up, to ascend, to come up, to rise, to climb

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

gam (ם ַ) [pronounced gahm]

also, furthermore, in addition to, even, moreover

adverb

Strong’s #1571 BDB #168

Together, the wâw conjunction and the gam particle might mean together with, along with, joined with, and, furthermore, and furthermore.

shenayim (ם̣י-נש) [pronounced sheNAH-yim]

two (the cardinal number);

both, double, twice; second; (the ordinal number); [and with other numbers]: both

masculine dual numeral construct

Strong’s #8147 BDB #1040

nâshîym (םי.שָנ) [pronounced naw-SHEEM]

women, wives

feminine plural noun; irregular plural of Strong’s #802; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #802 BDB #61


Translation: Then David went up, along with his two wives,... In the book of Chronicles, we are told that David will have two sons in Hebron by these two wives: And these were the sons of David, who were born to him in Hebron. The first-born, Amnon, of Ahinoam of Jezreel. The second, Daniel, of Abigail of Carmel (1Chron. 3:1).


We have discussed having multiple wives in Deut. 17:17 21:15 Judges 8:30 1Sam. 1:2. To summarize, just because men in the past have had multiple wives does not mean that God approves of polygamy or that polygamy is as valid a life choice as monogamy. God made Eve for Adam; God did not make Eve, Sally, Jessie, and Molly. Throughout Scripture, principles of marriage are applied to one man and one woman; and some categories of men, e.g., kings, are prohibited from having multiple wives. Furthermore, despite what we men might see as advantages in having more than one wife, is clearly outweighed by the disadvantages. You may recall the wives of Elkanah. First of all, he had a favorite wife. Because of this, his second favorite wife gave his favorite a hard time—she found the one area in which she excelled and the favorite did not, and she rubbed that in. That caused continual tension in the household and the favorite wife was generally unhappy. When Elkanah’s favorite wife was unhappy, Elkanah was also unhappy. These circumstances did result to the birth of Samuel, but it was not the circumstances of having two wives which actually led to this birth—that was God’s will based upon a prayer of Hannah’s. As we will see later on in David’s life, his having several wives did not cure him of having a roving eye; and he got himself in serious trouble over a woman, despite the fact that he had several wives.


2Samuel 2:2b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

Ăchîynô׳am (ם -עֹני.ח ֲא) [pronounced uh-khee-NOH-ģam]

my brother is delight, and is transliterated Ahinoam

proper noun

Strong’s #293 BDB #27

Yizere׳êlîyth (תי.ל̤ערז̣י) [pronounced yize-re-ģay-LEETH]

God will sow; that which God planted; it is transliterated Jezreelitess

gentilic adjective; feminine form; with the definite article

Strong’s #3159 BDB #283


Translation: ...Ahinoam the Jezreelitess... We have Ahinoam named several times in Scripture, but with very little information. Jezreel will bear a son for David—Amnon—in Hebron (1Chron. 3:1). There are two cities named Jezreel: one up in Issachar and one in Judah (Joshua 15:56). Ahinoam would be from the one in Judah.


2Samuel 2:2c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

Ăbîygayil (ל̣י-גי.בֲא) [pronounced ab-vee-GAH-yil]

my father is joy (or, joyous); or my father’s joy; and is transliterated Abigail

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #26 BDB #4

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular construct

Strong's #802 BDB #61

Nâbâl (לָבָנ) [pronounced naw-BAWL]

foolish, stupid; impious, wicked; and is transliterated Nabal

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #5037 BDB #615

karemelîy (תי.למר-) [pronounced kare-mel-EE]

garden, plantation and is transliterated Carmelite

gentilic adjective; masculine form; with the definite article

Strong’s #3761 BDB #502


Translation: ...and Abigail, the wife of Nabal, the Carmelite;... Abigail is the wife we know a little about. David did some work for her husband, but he refused to settle accounts with David. David got extremely mad and was ready to kill Nabal; however, Abigail interceded, making sure that David got paid a reasonable amount, and apologizing profusely for her husband. When the husband finds out that this happened, and that he was nearly killed, he dies of heart failure (or some similar problem). Free of Nabal, Abigail marries David. We studied this back in 1Sam. 25.

 

Gill has an interesting take on this verse: [David brought with him] his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail, Nabal's wife, the Carmelite; who were beloved by him, and who had shared with him in his troubles, and which he took with him to partake of his honour and grandeur, wealth and riches; in which he was now a type of Christ. See Rom. 8:17. Footnote In fact, it is Gill’s interpretation here which lends great meaning to the verse before us. Henry adds, they endured tribulation along side of David and now would enjoy with him the fruits of the kingdom. Footnote I must admit that, I find it amazing that even a verse as innocuous as this can be fraught with great meaning.


...and his men who [are] with him brought up David; and a man and his house. And so they dwell in cities of Hebron.

2Samuel

2:3

...and David [also] brought up his men who [are] with him—each one and his household. Then they lived in the towns of Hebron.

David also brought with him his soldiers and their families. They took residence around the suburbs of Hebron.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       ...and his men who [are] with him brought up David; and a man and his house. And so they dwell in cities of Hebron.

Septuagint                              ...and the men that were with him, every one and his family; and they dwelt in the cities of Chebron.

 

Significant differences:           In the Hebrew, we repeat the phrase and David brought up; this is understood in the Greek. As usual, the actual impact to the context is minimal.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       David also had his men and their families come and live in the villages near Hebron.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         David took his men and their families with him, and they settled in the towns around Hebron.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

LTHB                                     And David brought up his men of those who were with him, each man and his household. And they lived in the cities of Hebron..

Young’s Updated LT             ...and his men who are with him has David brought up—a man and his household—and they dwell in the cities of Hebron.

 

The gist of this verse?          Also the ex-patriots who were with David came with him to Hebron and they lived in Hebron.


2Samuel 2:3a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ănâsîym (םי.שָנֲא) [pronounced uh-NAW-seem]; also spelled îyshîym (םי.שי ̣א) [pronounced ee-SHEEM]

men; inhabitants, citizens; companions; soldiers, followers

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #376 BDB #35

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

׳îm (ם̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near

preposition of nearness and vicinity; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to cause to go up, to lead up, to take up, to bring up

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil perfect

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

The Greek does not repeat David brought up in this verse.


Translation: ...and David [also] brought up his men who [are] with him... David was now safe from being attacked by Saul. He will not retire; he will not find a job and settle down. David will make Hebron his headquarters and he will operate out of Hebron as the king of Judah, as we will see in this chapter.


2Samuel 2:3b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #1004 BDB #108


Translation: ...—each one and his household. You will recall that the Amalekites had taken the wives and children of David and his army—and these wives and children were recovered. This tells us that, despite the fact that these men supported David and despite the fact that they were on the run much of the time, they still had wives and children who traveled with them.


2Samuel 2:3c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yâshab (בַשָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV]

to remain, to stay; to dwell, to live, to inhabit; to sit

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3427 BDB #442

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

׳îyr (רי ̣ע) [pronounced ģeer]

encampment, city, town

feminine plural construct

Strong's #5892 BDB #746

Cheberôwn (ןר׃ב∵ח) [pronounced khebv-ROHN]

association, league, joined; transliterated Hebron

proper noun; location

Strong’s #2275 BDB #289


Translation: Then they lived in the towns of Hebron. You will recall that David was living in a Philistine-controlled area. He was given permission to dwell there by Achish king of Gath. David stayed there because Saul would continually come after him. However, now that the threat of Saul was past, David takes his men and they move to Hebron in Judah. They make their semi-permanent headquarters in Hebron and David will operate out of this city.


This verse tells us that these men lived in the towns of Hebron. Prior to this, they apparently had camped together as a military unit, ready to move at a moment’s notice. However, at this point, they essentially move into Hebron and into its outlying areas with the intent of staying there semi-permanently. This will be Judah’s capital city for awhile.


Again, this is a verse which may seem innocuous at first, but it parallels the sentiment found in Titus 2:12: If we suffer with Christ, we shall reign with him. Or Luke 22:29–30: “I bestow on you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one on Me, so that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom. And you will sit on thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel.”


And so come men of Judah and so they anoint there David to king over a house of Judah.


And so they make known to David, to say, “Men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul.”

2Samuel

2:4

Then men from Judah came and they anointed David there as [lit., to] king [or, to reign] over the house of Judah.


They also told David, saying, “[It was] the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul.”

Then elders from Judah came and anointed David to reign over Judah. They also told David that it was the men of Jabesh-gilead who retrieved Saul’s body and buried him.


I must admit to being conflicted with how to deal with this verse. The first half of it tells what happened to David after he came to Hebron—all of Judah recognized him as king over Judah. In the second half, we don’t really have a completely new topic, as these elders also tell David about the men of Jabesh-Gilead. However, for a few verses, we will deal with David and the heroes of Jabesh. I almost split the verse into two parts, but then I would have to figure out, if I further exegete portions of each part of the verse, then how do I number them? So, doing that seemed just a pain, unless I exegeted v. 4a as one whole, and v. 4b as one whole. Since I did not want to do that, I kept v. 4 together, but the New section heading will occur in the middle of v. 4.


Don’t be confused—there is nothing wrong with the verse, there are no contradictions that I am trying to iron out, and there is nothing difficult about the actual exegesis. My only difficulty is, topically separating this chapter, which is, certainly, a man-made separation (which is also true about verse separation and the chapter divisions).


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so come men of Judah and so they anoint there David to king over a house of Judah. And so they make known to David, to say, “Men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul.”

Septuagint                              And the men of Judea come, and anoint David there to reign over the house of Juda; and they reported to David, saying, The men of Jabis of the country of Galaad have buried Saul.

 

Significant differences: In the LXX, we have the verb reign; in the Hebrew, it is the noun king; which is almost identical to the verb to reign. There is the additional phrase in the country of which is found in the Greek. As usual, the differences are pretty insignificant.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              The people of Judah met with David at Hebron and poured olive oil on his head to show that he was their new king. Then they told David, "The people from Jabesh in Gilead buried Saul."


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

HCSB                                     Then the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. They told David: "It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul."


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

LTHB                                     And the men of Judah came and anointed David king over the house of Judah there. And they told David, saying, It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul.

Young’s Updated LT             And the men of Judah come, and anoint there David for king over the house of Judah; and they declare to David, saying, “The men of Jabesh-Gilead are they who buried Saul.”

 

The gist of this verse?          Men from Judah come to David and anoint him as king over the house of Judah. They also tell him about what the men of Jabesh did on behalf of Saul.


2Samuel 2:4a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

ănâsîym (םי.שָנֲא) [pronounced uh-NAW-seem]; also spelled îyshîym (םי.שי ̣א) [pronounced ee-SHEEM]

men; inhabitants, citizens; companions; soldiers, followers

masculine plural construct

Strong's #376 BDB #35

Yehûwdâh (הָדהי) [pronounced yehoo-DAW]

possibly means to praise, to be praised; and is transliterated Judah

masculine proper noun/location

Strong’s #3063 BDB #397


Translation: Then men from Judah came... The Philistines had come and driven a wedge between northern and southern Israel. Judah was southern Israel, and Judah was where David was from. When David destroyed the Amalekites who invaded his camp, he sent much of their spoil to a dozen or so cities in Judah. Here we have a delegation of Judæan elders and officials who come to David in Hebron. They can speak for Judah (and, to some degree, for Simeon, which is in Judah).


2Samuel 2:4b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

mâshach (ח  ָמ) [pronounced maw-SHAHKH]

to smear, to anoint

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #4886 BDB #602

shâm (ם ָש) [pronounced shawm]

there; at that time, then; therein, in that thing

adverb

Strong’s #8033 BDB #1027

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

This is a verb in the Greek. The difference between the verb to reign (which is the lâmed preposition and the Qal infinitive construct of to reign) and what we find here to king is a matter of vowel points, and these vowel points were added a millennium or more after the text was written. Why the Masorites chose to render this as a noun as opposed to being a verb is a mystery to me. In terms of the overall meaning, there is none. However, the verb makes for a much smoother Hebrew.

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular construct

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

Yehûwdâh (הָדהי) [pronounced yehoo-DAW]

possibly means to praise, to be praised; and is transliterated Judah

masculine proper noun/location

Strong’s #3063 BDB #397


Translation: ...and they anointed David there as [lit., to] king [or, to reign] over the house of Judah. You will recall that David was anointed by Samuel king over Israel; however, that was a private ceremony. Word eventually got around, and Saul’s continual attacks on David made it fairly clear that David was more than just an insurrectionist. Jonathan recognized that David would be king; Saul feared that David would replace him; so, throughout much of Israel, David becoming king must have been known, to some degree. By this second anointing, David actually becomes king, albeit, only over the house of Judah.


Because there is a Philistine wedge driven between northern and southern Israel, these men can only speak for the territory of Judah, which would include the territory of Simeon and possibly portions or all of Benjamin (it is in the general area of Benjamin where the Philistines drove a wedge between northern and southern Israel).


Some of these elders probably knew that rulership of Israel belonged in the hands of Judah, from Jacob’s blessing hundreds of years previous: Gen. 49:10 reads: “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until He comes to whom it belongs [or, until Shiloh comes]. The obedience of the peoples will be to Him.” That Saul, from the tribe of Benjamin, had become king, was probably confusing to them. As long as Judah is an independent nation (or as long as United Israel is independent), a man from the tribe of Judah would rule. Jesus Christ, from the tribe of Judah, is Shiloh, and it is to Him the ruler’s scepter belongs.


Throughout this chapter, there have been parallels between seemingly innocuous statements and things which will come to pass. So it is with the first half of v. 4: David had been anointed king over Israel by Samuel many years previous—perhaps as many as 10 or 20 years previous to our narrative. However, it is not until this time that David actually assumes authority over a portion of Israel (Judah). It is the same with our Lord Jesus Christ—He was anointed as the Christ of God, the Messiah of God; however, He did not assume His position of authority until after the cross, and at that point, He did not assume complete authority over all the earth—that will come with the Millennium (Heb. 2:7–8 reads: You made Him for a little while lower than the angels; You have crowned Him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under His feet." Now in putting everything in subjection to Him, He left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to Him). We have the same situation here: David is anointed king over Israel decades before he assumes that position; when he takes a position of authority, it is not complete and entire authority; and 7 years will pass (7 being a divine number representing perfection) until David takes control of all of Israel.

 

Matthew Henry makes a few comments about the tribe of Judah: The tribe of Judah had often stood by itself more than any other of the tribes. In Saul's time it was numbered by itself as a distinct body (1Sam. 15:4) and those of this tribe had been accustomed to act separately. They did so now; yet they did it for themselves only; they did not pretend to anoint him king over all Israel (as Judges 9:22), but only over the house of Judah. The rest of the tribes might do as they pleased, but, as for them and their house, they would be ruled by him whom God had chosen. Footnote These men chose not to presume that they spoke for all Israel; yet, at the same time, they were not willing to wait for the consensus of all the tribes. Recall the first chapter of Judges? After Joshua conquered the land, the tribes were then to conquer their individual territories. All of the tribes, save Judah and Simeon, seemed content to co-exist with Canaanites and Amalekites. Judges initiated the taking of their territory, asking Simeon to join them. This is how a tribe in a leadership role would act. Their anointing of David as king is a further act of leadership.


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David honors the men of Jabesh-Gilead


This is something that I rarely do—make a sub-chapter division in the middle of a verse. However, even though this next portion of v. 4 is reasonably tied to what has come before, it still introduces a new subject: David showing respect to the men of Jabesh-Gilead for their retrieval of Saul’s body.


2Samuel 2:4c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâgad (ד ַג ָנ) [pronounced naw-GAHD]

to make conspicuous, to make known, to expound, to explain, to declare, to inform, to confess, to make it pitifully obvious that

3rd person masculine plural, Hiphil imperfect

Strong's #5046 BDB #616

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

ănâsîym (םי.שָנֲא) [pronounced uh-NAW-seem]; also spelled îyshîym (םי.שי ̣א) [pronounced ee-SHEEM]

men; inhabitants, citizens; companions; soldiers, followers

masculine plural construct

Strong's #376 BDB #35

Yâbêsh (שֵבָי) [pronounced yawB-VEYSH]

to be dry, dried up, withered; transliterated Jabesh

cognate of verb (Strong’s #3001); acts as a proper noun

Strong’s #3003 BDB #386

Gale׳êd (ד̤על-) [pronounced gahle-ĢAYD]

witness-pile, hill of witness; and is transliterated Gilead

proper noun; location

Strong’s #1567 BDB #165

Although some exegetes treat this as one noun, Jabesh-gilead; I think the idea is that this is the city Jabesh in Gildean (sort of like Boston, Massachusetts).

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

qâbar (רַבָק) [pronounced kaw-BAHR]

to bury, to heap up a mound

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #6912 BDB #868

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982


Translation: They also told David, saying, “[It was] the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul.” We do not get the entire conversation here. That is, these men did not show up, say, “Dave, you’re king now; oh, by the way the men from Jabesh-gilead buried Saul.” First of all, knowing of the riff between Saul and David, it is likely that no one initiated this conversation with David. Many probably figured that Saul was a topic which was off-limits. However, David had recently executed a man blamed for the death of Saul and, David’s first act as king, would be to honor Saul and to give him a proper burial, if this had not been done yet (recall that the Philistines had defeated Israel’s army, so it is reasonable for David to assume that Saul had not been properly buried or eulogized). So, as his first news conference as king, Footnote David himself probably inquired what happened to Saul’s body and asked for more details. It is possible that David, at this time, finds out that the Amalekite who claimed to kill Saul actually did not kill him. Footnote


In any case, it is certain David that is told about how Saul’s head was removed and taken to Philistia and how the Philistines hung up Saul’s body in Beth-shan as an insult to Saul. When Saul’s body was hung on the wall of Beth-shan, very likely a Philistine orator stood before it and read an historical accounting of Saul’s death, which account may have been posted as well. By the time that the news of the disposition of Saul’s body reached Jabesh Gilead, everyone in Beth-shan knew what had happened to Saul in battle. Footnote By this time, men in Judah knew the details of Saul’s death; and David, living outside of Judah and having been given a bogus story about Saul’s death, would not have known all of the details or the actual historical account.


All that we are told is, the men of Jabesh-gilead, loyal to Saul, and grateful to Saul, went and retrieved his body, at great risk to themselves, and gave him a proper burial. In fact, actually, all we are told here is that these men buried Saul’s body (greater details of Saul’s death and the treatment of his body are found in 1Sam. 30 and in 1Chron. 10—which does have some additional information in it—which details are probably told to David at this time). David is given more details about the men of Jabesh Gilead and their bravery in retrieving Saul’s body. In fact, it is reasonable to suppose that the details were slow in coming in this conference, the men of Judah being probably reticent to discuss Saul with David. In the previous chapter, David eulogized Saul and Jonathan in an ode which he wrote; and at this point in time, David is looking to give Saul a royal burial, if that had not been done yet.


And so sends David messengers unto men of Jabesh-gilead; and so he says unto them, “Blessed [are] you to Yehowah whom you made the grace this with your adonai with Saul. And so you bury with him.

2Samuel

2:5

So David then sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and he said to them, “You [are] blessed with reference to Yehowah because you made [or, who made] this grace with your lord—with Saul; and you buried him.

So David then sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them, “You are blessed by Jehovah, because you have manufactured this grace with Saul, your lord, as you buried him.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so sends David messengers unto men of Jabesh-gilead; and so he says unto them, “Blessed [are] you to Yehowah whom you made the grace this with your adonai with Saul. And so you bury with him.

Septuagint                              And David sent messengers to the rulers of Jabis of the country of Galaad, and David said to them, “Blessed are you of the Lord, because you have wrought this mercy toward your lord, even toward Saul the anointed of the Lord, and you have buried him and Jonathan his son.

 

Significant differences: The first difference is, we have the men of Jabesh-gilead in the Hebrew and the rulers of Jabesh-gilead in the Greek. We have the relative pronoun in the Hebrew; however, it can be translated because, as we find in the Greek. The Latin applies the relative pronoun to the men who showed grace to Saul, which is quite reasonable and in complete agreement with the Hebrew. This really requires some additional discussion, which we will give in the Hebrew exegesis.

 

In the Hebrew, we have the preposition with, which can be rendered that way 90% of the time. However, in this case, rendering it toward as we find in the Greek is not too much of a stretch (it may have to do with the verb which is used).

 

Saul is given the title anointed of the Lord in the Greek, but not in the Hebrew. Jonathan is mentioned in the Greek, but not in the Hebrew. As we would expect, the Latin is in agreement with the Hebrew with regards to the additional text (that is, we do not find this additional text in the Hebrew or in the Latin).

 

There are an abnormal number of significant differences between the Greek and Hebrew texts here; however, note that this has little or no effect upon the actual overall meaning of this verse in context; and it has absolutely no effect upon any major or minor doctrine.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              David sent messengers to tell them: The LORD bless you! You were kind enough to bury Saul your ruler,...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         So David sent messengers to the people of Jabesh Gilead. He said to them, "May the LORD bless you because you showed kindness to your master Saul by burying him.

HCSB                                     David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them, "The LORD bless you, because you have shown this special kindness to Saul your lord when you buried him.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them, "May you be blessed by the LORD, because you showed this loyalty to Saul your lord and buried him.

Young’s Updated LT             And David sends messengers unto the men of Jabesh-Gilead, and says unto them, “Blessed are you of Jehovah, in that you have done this kindness with your lord, with Saul, that you bury him.

 

The gist of this verse?          David sends a message to the men of Jabesh, blessing them in the name of Jehovah because of their kindness toward Saul and his family, and because they honorably buried him.


2Samuel 2:5a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâlach (ח ַל ָש) [pronounced shaw-LAKH]

to send, to send for [forth, away], to dismiss, to deploy, to put forth, to stretch out

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7971 BDB #1018

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

maleâke (ָא׃לַמ) [pronounced mahle-AWKe]

messenger or angel; this word has been used for a prophet (Isa. 42:19) and priest (Mal. 2:7)

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #4397 BDB #521

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

ănâsîym (םי.שָנֲא) [pronounced uh-NAW-seem]; also spelled îyshîym (םי.שי ̣א) [pronounced ee-SHEEM]

men; inhabitants, citizens; companions; soldiers, followers

masculine plural construct

Strong's #376 BDB #35

Yâbêsh (שֵבָי) [pronounced yawB-VEYSH]

to be dry, dried up, withered; transliterated Jabesh

cognate of verb (Strong’s #3001); acts as a proper noun

Strong’s #3003 BDB #386

Gale׳êd (ד̤על-) [pronounced gahle-ĢAYD]

witness-pile, hill of witness; and is transliterated Gilead

proper noun; location

Strong’s #1567 BDB #165

Although some exegetes treat this as one noun, Jabesh-gilead; I think the idea is that this is the city Jabesh in Gildean (sort of like Boston, Massachusetts).


Translation: So David then sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead... People react different when it comes to their competition, whether present, past or future. I recently saw the 2006 state of the union speech by President George W. Bush wherein he made a humorous remark concerning himself and President Clinton. The cameras flashed immediately to Hilary Clinton, who could be seen as Bush’s opposition in the Senate, and may be the next presidential candidate. She did not drop her guard for even a moment; she did not smile; she could not be seen appreciating or approving of anything which Bush said or did. David may be painted in opposition to Saul, and Saul saw David as his greatest threat. However, there were times when Saul acknowledged the truth—that David was a faithful servant and an honorable man. David could have ignored what was done to Saul—“That son of a bitch made my life miserable; I could not even carve out a place in southern Judah without Saul coming down with his whole damned army and threatening my life—and without provocation. He is a bastard, and whether his body rots in the ground or on some wall somewhere, I could give a flying frog.” A lesser man might even charge into Jabesh-gilead and round up those who took Saul’s body and kill them, as they might still be too loyal to Saul’s regime. However, David is not only gracious toward these men, but he honors them.


Let me give you another illustration from this day and time. I have seen current President Bush make mention of the relief efforts and the giving to southeast Asia because of the deadly tsunami of a couple years back; he always speaks of his father and President Clinton graciously—Bush never speaks respectfully of his father without mentioning President Clinton and speaking respectfully of him as well. I have seen the current President Bush making overtures to Senator Edward Kennedy as well, speaking of his illustrious career and contributions to the United States. This is a gracious attitude. Even though these men—President Clinton and Senator Kennedy—may be perceived by some as Bush’s enemies, and that Bush could take an adversarial position with them at every turn, he has chosen not to do so. Whatever your politics are, you should be able to recognize that Bush has been gracious to his political enemies and that this graciousness has rarely been returned. In the case of David, he does not even view Saul has his enemy, despite the fact that Saul had relentlessly pursued him year after year seeking his life. Insofar as I know, even in the current political climate, neither Republicans nor Democrats are seeking the lives of their opponents. However, to any impartial observer, all politics aside, it should be clear who is gracious and who is not.


Application: In your life, if you are a normal, growing believer, you will have a boat-load of detractors and enemies. It comes with the territory; it cannot be helped. You can choose how you deal with these enemies, but realize that Jesus Christ died for them just as He died for you. They might be lying sons-of-bitches, but you have an old sin nature as well. Jesus Christ forgave their sins, just as he has forgiven your sins. Whatever their personal opinion is of you is not an issue; whether they like your or hate you is not an issue—they are people for whom Jesus Christ died. You can choose to be ungracious to them and impolite, but realize that even the men who crucified Jesus and even the men who pulled out his hair and beard and beat His face to a bloody pulp—even those men He died for, and even those men, He prayed to God, “Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” It is not your place to be indignant, retaliatory, underhanded, vengeful, or anything else of the sort—and I don’t care how vicious your enemies are. Jesus Christ has forgiven them all; and if you cannot forgive them, then at very least, you can keep your mouth shut. You don’t need to run them down or talk behind their backs. Realize that you are in a spiritual conflict; that your enemies may not realize that, or may not fully appreciate how they are involved in this conflict. If you have a little doctrine, then you know that this conflict is going on and you know that unseen forces are going to turn others against you. Do not take it personally. Do not retaliate. Do not speak ill of your enemies. Do not become angry. Do not assault them with mental, verbal or physical sins.


Application: I don’t want you to think that I am able to deal with all of my adversarial relationships perfectly. These things are a struggle for me too. In the same situation, I don’t know if I would sit stone-faced like Hilary Clinton, taking every opportunity to run down my opponent; or whether I would be more gracious, as Bush has been. I know that in this area, at times, I have been a complete failure. However, what I do know, from the study of the Word of God, is that there is a right way and a wrong way to deal with your enemies. Retaliation, inordinate competition and mental attitude sins are not the ways to deal with those who are against you.


2Samuel 2:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

bârake (ַרָ) [pronounced baw-RAHKe]

blessed, blessed be [is], blessings to; happiness to [for], happiness [is]

masculine plural, Qal passive participle

Strong’s #1288 BDB #138

attem (ם∵-א) [pronounced aht-TEM]

you all, you guys, you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine plural, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

The meanings of the lâmed preposition broken down into groups: ➊ to, towards, unto; it is used both to turn one’s heart toward someone as well as to sin against someone; ➋ to, even to;  in this sense, it can be used with a number to indicate the upper limit which a multitude might approach (nearly). ➌ Lâmed can be equivalent to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς), meaning into, as in transforming into something else, changing into something else (Gen. 2:7). This use of lâmed after the verb hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW] (Strong’s #1961 BDB #224) is one thing becoming another (Gen. 2:7). ➍  Its fourth use is the mark of a dative, after verbs of giving, granting, delivering, pardoning, consulting, sending, etc. This type of dative is broken down into several categories, but one includes the translation by, which would be apropos here. ➎ With regards to, as to. Similar to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς) plus the dative. [Numbering from Gesenius]. ➏ On account of, because, propter, used of cause and reason (propter means because; Gesenius used it). ➐ Concerning, about, used of a person or thing made the object of discourse, after verbs of saying. ➑ On behalf of anyone, for anyone. ➒ As applied to a rule or standard, according to, according as, as though, as if. ➓ When associated with time, it refers to the point of time at which or in which anything is done; or it can refer to the space of time during which something is done (or occurs); at the time of.

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: ...and he said to them, “You [are] blessed with reference to Yehowah... I would have expected to find that they are blessed by Jehovah; however, these men who retrieved Saul’s body are blessed with reference to Jehovah. Whatever the exact meaning, it is clear that these men are blessed because they showed respect to the person of Saul and the office of king. David is also making it clear that he harbors no resentment against them for being faithful to Saul, their lord.


2Samuel 2:5c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, so that, in that; for that, since; which; when, at what time; who, whom; where, wherever; the fact that = how; because that, because; as, like as; yea, even, yea even; until that; then, so [in an apodosis]

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

׳âsâh (הָָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare

2nd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

cheçed (דסח) [pronounced KHEH-sed]

grace, benevolence, mercy, kindness

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #2617 BDB #338

zeh (הז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, this one; thus; possibly another

masculine singular demonstrative adjective

Strong’s #2088, 2090 (& 2063) BDB #260

׳îm (ם̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near; like; from

preposition of nearness and vicinity

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767

ădônây (יָנֹדֱא) [pronounced uh-doh-NAY]

lord, master, owner, superior, sovereign; can refer to the trinity or to an intensification of the noun; transliterated Adonai

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #113 BDB #10

׳îm (ם̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near; like; from

preposition of nearness and vicinity

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982


Translation: ...because you made [or, who made] this grace with your lord—with Saul;... This is a difficult portion of Scripture to translate. The relative pronoun can be used like an explanatory conjunction; therefore, it is legitimate to render this because. If translating this simply as a relative pronoun, then I would not expect the 2nd person masculine plural verb, but the 3rd person masculine singular (or plural) verb (however, for all I know, maybe the 2nd person masculine plural is reasonable here, even though it follows the relative pronoun, which actually has no number, gender or person. We may want to loosely render this: ...you who manufactured this grace to your lord—even to Saul;... We have a repetition of the preposition, affixed to both Saul and to your lord; this allows for the rendering even to Saul.


Obviously, the entire town did not show up to retrieve Saul’s body, but certain men from Jabesh did. David is specifically addressing this message to those who were brave enough to risk their lives by going to Beth-shan. This message is to these men who are blessed by God. Perhaps this is the actual meaning of the Hebrew here.


2Samuel 2:5d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qâbar (רַבָק) [pronounced kaw-BAHR]

to bury, to heap up a mound

2nd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #6912 BDB #868

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object; occasionally to, toward

affixed to a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Owen lists this as the prepositional use instead.

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85

The problem is the vowel point, which corresponds to the preposition, but not to the direct object. Again, the vowel points were added a long while after the original manuscript was penned.

The Greek adds and Jonathan his son at this point.


Translation: ...and you buried him. The men of Jabesh-gildea showed great grace to Saul. They risked their lives in order to retrieve his body; and then they gave him a proper and formal burial (one would assume).

 

Clarke writes: This was a generous and noble act, highly indicative of the grandeur of David’s mind. He respected Saul as his once legitimate sovereign; he loved Jonathan as his most intimate friend. The former had greatly injured him, and sought his destruction; but even this did not cancel his respect for him, as the anointed of God, and as the king of Israel. Footnote


I should add that burial of the dead, although not mandated in Scripture, is respectful. Not only did God say, “You are dust, and to dust you will return” (Gen. 3:19b), but God Himself buried Moses when Moses died (Deut. 34:5–6).


And now [may] make Yehowah with you [all] grace and faithfulness and also I—I do with you the good the this who have done the word the this.

2Samuel

2:6

And now may Yehowah manufacture grace and faithfulness to [lit., with] you [all] and I will also manufacture this good [to those] who have done this thing [for Saul].

And now may Jehovah manufacture grace and faithfulness to you who have done this gracious thing for Saul and his family; furthermore, I will also do good toward you as well.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And now [may] make Yehowah with you [all] grace and faithfulness and also I—I do with you the good the this who have done the word the this.

Septuagint                              And now may the Lord deal in mercy and truth towards you; and I also will requite towards you this good deed, because you have done this.

 

Significant differences: The only difference is the relative pronoun in the Hebrew is translated as an explanatory particle, which is legitimate, according to BDB.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              ...and I pray that the LORD will be kind and faithful to you. I will be your friend because of what you have done.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

HCSB                                     Now, may the LORD show special kindness and faithfulness to you, and I will also show the same goodness to you because you have done this deed.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       Now may the LORD show steadfast love and faithfulness to you. And I will do good to you because you have done this thing.

WEB                             Now Yahweh show loving kindness and truth to you: and I also will reward you for this kindness, because you have done this thing.

Young’s Updated LT             And, now, Jehovah does with you kindness and truth, and also, I do with you this good because you have done this thing.

 

The gist of this verse?          David asks that Jehovah God show these men grace and faithfulness, and that he will treat them in grace as well, because they have done this thing (the retrieval of Saul’s body).


2Samuel 2:6a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳attâh (ה ָ ַע) [pronounced ģaht-TAWH]

now, at this time, already

adverb of time

Strong’s #6258 BDB #773

When followed by an imperative or an interrogative, we + the adverb ׳attâh mean and so, thus, things being so, therefore, now therefore. Sometimes, the concept of time is lost when this combination is used to incite another.

׳âsâh (הָָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect; apocopated form

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

׳îm (ם̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near; like; from

preposition of nearness and vicinity; with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767

cheçed (דסח) [pronounced KHEH-sed]

grace, benevolence, mercy, kindness

masculine singular noun

Strong's #2617 BDB #338

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ěmeth (ת מ ֱא) [pronounced EH-meth]

firmness, faithfulness, truth, certainty, stability, perpetuity, fidelity, reliable, stable, dependable

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #571 BDB #54


Translation: And now may Yehowah manufacture grace and faithfulness to [lit., with] you [all]... The apocopated form means that David is asking for God to be gracious and faithful to these men. David recognizes that what these men did required bravery and self-sacrifice, and that their motives were noble; and he calls for God to give them grace and to be faithful to them for this act.


2Samuel 2:6b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

gam (ם ַ) [pronounced gahm]

also, furthermore, in addition to, even, moreover

adverb

Strong’s #1571 BDB #168

Together, the wâw conjunction and the gam particle might mean together with, along with, joined with, and, furthermore, and furthermore.

ânôkîy (י.כֹנָא) [pronounced awn-oh-KEE]

I, me; (sometimes a verb is implied)

1st person singular personal pronoun

Strong’s #595 BDB #59

׳âsâh (הָָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

׳îm (ם̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near; like; from

preposition of nearness and vicinity; with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767

ţôwbâh (הָבט) [pronounced TOHB-vaw]

welfare, benefit, good, good things

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #2896 BDB #375

zeh (הז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, this one; thus; possibly another

masculine singular demonstrative adjective with the definite article

Strong’s #2088, 2090 (& 2063) BDB #260


Translation: ...and I will also manufacture this good... David is also going to be gracious and faithful towards those who have done this thing to Saul. God is asked to bless these men, and David said that he would as well.


David is making is clear to these men that, their loyalty and devotion to Saul is not perceived by him as a threat or as disloyalty to him in any way. Despots often gather up those they do not trust, those who supported their political rivals, and imprison or execute them. Even in modern history, in the 20th century, we have examples of mass executions, some to solidify political power, and others simply out of hate.


In most cases, these are simply reasonable estimates, and they take into consideration that some are killed not directly, but through intentional starvation or privation by the despot/government over them.

Genocides and Political Killings of the 20th Century

Political Leader (Country, Time Period)

Number Killed

Comments

Mao Ze-Dong (China, 1958-61 and 1966-69)

49,000,000

“The great leap forward” and “cultural revolution”

Jozef Stalin (USSR, 1934-39)

13,000,000

The “purges”

Adolf Hitler (Germany, 1939-1945)

12,000,000

Concentration camps and civilians in World War II.

Hideki Tojo (Japan, 1941-44)

5,000,000

Civilians in World War II

Pol Pot (Cambodia, 1975-79)

1,700,000

 

Kim Il Sung (North Korea, 1948-94)

1,600,000

Purges and concentration camps.

Menghitsu (Ethiopia, 1975-78)

1,500,000

 

Ismail Enver (Turkey, 1915)

1,200,000

Armenians

Yakubu Gowon (Biafra, 1967-1970)

1,000,000

 

Leonid Brezhnev (Afghanistan, 1979-1982)

900,000

 

Jean Kambanda (Rwanda, 1994)

800,000

 

Suharto (East Timor, 1976-98)

600,000

 

Saddam Hussein (Iran 1980-1990 and Kurdistan 1987-88)

600,000

 

(Note: the crimes committed by right-wing dictators have always been easier to track down than the crimes against humanity committed by communist leaders, so the figures for communist leaders like Stalin and Mao increase almost yearly as new secret documents become available. To this day, the Chinese government has not yet disclosed how many people were executed by Mao's red guards during the Cultural Revolution and how many people were killed in Tibet during the Chinese invasion of 1950. We also don't know how many dissidents have been killed by order of Kim Il Sung in North Korea, although presumably many thousands).

I list these deaths so that you can contrast what has happened during our more enlightened 20th century with what David did with those who supported the one man who could have been seen by him as his chief political rival.

This list was taken from and is continued on the website http://www.scaruffi.com/politics/dictat.html which was compiled by Piero Scaruffi (the note in the previous paragraph was taken verbatim from that web page. On that page is accompanying documentation and links to similar statistics.


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2Samuel 2:6c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, so that, in that; for that, since; which; when, at what time; who, whom; where, wherever; the fact that = how; because that, because; as, like as; yea, even, yea even; until that; then, so [in an apodosis]

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

׳âsâh (הָָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare

2nd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

dâbâr (רָבָ) [pronounced dawb-VAWR]

word, saying, doctrine, thing, matter, command

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #1697 BDB #182

zeh (הז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, this one; thus; possibly another

masculine singular demonstrative adjective with the definite article

Strong’s #2088, 2090 (& 2063) BDB #260


Translation:...[to those] who have done this thing [for Saul]. David is going to direct gracious treatment toward those who were brave enough to retrieve Saul’s body. These men are seen as heroes and they are portrayed I this way. At no time is there even a hint that David views these men as potential enemies of his, even though another, less gracious person, would have portrayed them as such.


We like to think of ourselves as evolved, that, at one time, we were just monkeys swinging in the trees, and now we walk upright on the ground and are civilized. Footnote However, between the time of David and the 20th century, some 3000 years have passed. We see how David deals with those who are potentially his political resistance and how political leaders of the 20th century dealt with their real and potential political enemies. In terms of mercy, there is no evolution of humanity; it really comes down to individual character. There is no evolutionary difference between David and, for instance, Pol Pot; however, there is a great difference in their character and integrity.


And now are strong your hands and be to sons of strength for has died your adonai Saul and also me has anointed a house of Judah to king over them.”

2Samuel

2:7

Therefore, [let] your hands be strong and be men of courage [lit., sons of courage] for your lord Saul has died. Furthermore, the house of Judah anointed me to [be] king over them.”

Therefore, let your hands be strong and remain men of courage, even though your lord Saul has died. Furthermore, the men of Judah anointed me as king over them.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          Let your hands be strengthened, and be ye men of valour: for although your master Saul be dead, yet the house of Juda hath anointed me to be their king.

Masoretic Text                       And now are strong your hands and be to sons of strength for has died your adonai Saul and also me has anointed a house of Judah to king over them.”

Septuagint                              And now let your hands be made strong, and be mighty sons; for your master Saul is dead, and moreover the house of Juda have anointed me to be king over them.

 

Significant differences: None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              Saul is dead, but the tribe of Judah has made me their king. So be strong and have courage.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Now, be strong and courageous. Because your master Saul is dead, the tribe of Judah has anointed me to be their king."


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And now let your hands be strengthened, and be brave. For your master Saul is dead, and also the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.

Young’s Updated LT             And now, are your hands strong, and be you for sons of valour, for your lord Saul. is dead, and also—me have the house of Judah anointed for king over them.”

 

The gist of this verse?          David comforts the men of Jabesh-gilead and also tells them that the men of Judah have anointed him king over them.


2Samuel 2:7a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳attâh (ה ָ ַע) [pronounced ģaht-TAWH]

now, at this time, already

adverb of time

Strong’s #6258 BDB #773

When followed by an imperative or an interrogative, we + the adverb ׳attâh mean and so, thus, things being so, therefore, now therefore. Sometimes, the concept of time is lost when this combination is used to incite another.

châzaq (ק ַז ָח) [pronounced khaw-ZAHK]

to tie up, to bind; to hold fast, to adhere to, to be stuck to; to be strong, to be firm, to increase in prosperity, to strengthen

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #2388 BDB #304

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #3027 BDB #388


Translation: Therefore, [let] your hands be strengthened... I am not sure how to take this portion of v. 7. Do we understand this as David saying, “Your hands are strong” or “Let your hands be strong”? In any case, David is recognizing their courage and comforting them. Let me re-emphasize that, these men are potentially David’s enemies, as they have shown such devotion toward Saul; yet his message to them is one of praise; and here he asks that they be given even greater strength.


2Samuel 2:7b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

2nd person masculine plural, Qal imperative

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

chayil (ל̣יַח) [pronounced CHAH-yil]

army, force; strength, courage, power, might; efficiency; and that which is gotten through strength—wealth, substance

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #2428 BDB #298


Translation: ...and be men of courage [lit., sons of courage]... David encourages them to be strong. This is his way of comforting them. Obviously, some of the men of Jabesh-gilead are very strong, as they took down Saul’s body from the wall in Beth-shan even though being found out would mean their lives. What David is asking for, is for these men to be strong, even though the army of Saul was defeated and Saul and his sons killed. Given these events, Israel could face a myriad of changes and difficulties in the near future. If what these men did became known to the Philistines, Jabesh Gilead could find itself under attack. David asks these men to face their future with the same strength and bravery that they have shown so far.


2Samuel 2:7c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

mûwth (תמ) [pronounced mooth]

to die; to perish, to be destroyed

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #4191 BDB #559

ădônây (יָנֹדֱא) [pronounced uh-doh-NAY]

lord, master, owner, superior, sovereign; can refer to the trinity or to an intensification of the noun; transliterated Adonai

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #113 BDB #10

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982


Translation: ...for your lord Saul has died. This is David stating the obvious; these men know that Saul has died, as they were the ones who carried his body into Jabesh-gilead for a proper burial. The reason that David emphasizes this is, to make it clear that they are without a king. They are now sheep without a shepherd. David phrases this as, “Be strong, even though your master Saul is dead.” As you may recall, Israel's primary reason for desiring a king was to be able to defend itself against hostile aggressions and outside invaders.


David also states this possibly hoping to gain their same loyalty; however, I don't see that as the primary reason for his saying that. Just because something can be politically advantageous or politically canny, does not mean that the person who did it had that in mind, or that was the primary consideration. If we have learned nothing about David, it is that he is patient and willing to wait on God before acting.


2Samuel 2:7d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

gam (ם ַ) [pronounced gahm]

also, furthermore, in addition to, even, moreover

adverb

Strong’s #1571 BDB #168

Together, the wâw conjunction and the gam particle might mean together with, along with, joined with, and, furthermore, and furthermore.

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object; occasionally to, toward

affixed to a 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84

mâshach (ח  ָמ) [pronounced maw-SHAHKH]

to smear, to anoint

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #4886 BDB #602

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular construct

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

Yehûwdâh (הָדהי) [pronounced yehoo-DAW]

possibly means to praise, to be praised; and is transliterated Judah

masculine proper noun/location

Strong’s #3063 BDB #397

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

The meanings of the lâmed preposition broken down into groups: ➊ to, towards, unto; it is used both to turn one’s heart toward someone as well as to sin against someone; ➋ to, even to;  in this sense, it can be used with a number to indicate the upper limit which a multitude might approach (nearly). ➌ Lâmed can be equivalent to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς), meaning into, as in transforming into something else, changing into something else (Gen. 2:7). This use of lâmed after the verb hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW] (Strong’s #1961 BDB #224) is one thing becoming another (Gen. 2:7). ➍  Its fourth use is the mark of a dative, after verbs of giving, granting, delivering, pardoning, consulting, sending, etc. This type of dative is broken down into several categories, but one includes the translation by, which would be apropos here. ➎ With regards to, as to. Similar to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς) plus the dative. [Numbering from Gesenius]. ➏ On account of, because, propter, used of cause and reason (propter means because; Gesenius used it). ➐ Concerning, about, used of a person or thing made the object of discourse, after verbs of saying. ➑ On behalf of anyone, for anyone. ➒ As applied to a rule or standard, according to, according as, as though, as if. ➓ When associated with time, it refers to the point of time at which or in which anything is done; or it can refer to the space of time during which something is done (or occurs); at the time of.

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

This time, this is a masculine singular noun in the Greek. The difference between the verb to reign (which is the lâmed preposition and the Qal infinitive construct of to reign) and what we find here to king is a matter of vowel points, and these vowel points were added a millennium or more after the text was written. Why the Masorites chose to render this as a noun as opposed to being a verb is a mystery to me. In terms of the overall meaning, there is none. However, the verb makes for a much smoother Hebrew.

Now, when this occurred in v. 4, given that the Greek was a verb and given that there is little difference between the noun and verb, I was ready to pronounce the word there a verb. However, in this verse, the Greek renders this as a noun and, apart from that, everything else is the same. That would suggest to us that this is a noun in the Hebrew in both cases.

Do not become concerned over this; the overall meaning is essentially the same.

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752


Translation: Furthermore, the house of Judah anointed me to [be] king over them.” David is speaking to the men of Jabesh-gilead, which is the other side of the Jordan river from the territory of Benjamin. David is looking, in part, to consolidate his power. This is not a power grab; David is not a man who desires great power, as we have seen him twice before refuse to kill Saul, even though Saul stood between him and the throne. David is a man of doctrine and it is important for Israel to remain united under one man. Each of the 12 tribes has its own territory and they often operated independently (e.g., in the early period of the Judges, some of the tribes acted to take the land given them by God and some did not).


What David is doing here is extending the olive branch of peace. Their faithfulness to Saul and their loyalty to Saul is not seen by him as a negative. David functions as though Saul's continual pursuit of him never happened. He realizes that this might be on the minds of some who support Saul; but it is not on David's mind. David is trying to convey that he sees their support of Saul and the rescue of his body as a noble act. David is not threatened by this, but rather encouraged. Therefore, David is both comforting them in their loss and extending his hand to them as king over Judah. Note that David does not arrogantly tell them, “And I am your king as well, like it or not.”


What is interesting is that David's primary focus in this message to them is commendation to them for their bravery and God's blessings to them. Any political aspirations David has (of, for instance, asking them to support him as king over the rest of Israel) are, at most, implied, but not outright stated and definitely not the focus or the objective of his message to them. Allow me to paraphrase his message: “God's blessings and my highest regards to you for your bravery and heroism. Be strong, even though your king has died in battle. I respectfully send this message to you as king of Judah.” If David made any clear political overtures—e.g., “If you guys are interested, then I'll be your king as well”—they have not been recorded herein. If there are any implications to be read into this letter, it would just as likely be that, “If the Philistines ever take action against you, I will come to your rescue.”


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Commentators make several points with regards to David sending this message to the men of Jabesh Gilead.

Various Commentators on David’s Message to the Men of Jabesh Gilead

Commentator

Observation/Additional Comments

Adam Clarke

David certainly wished to attach the men of Jabesh to his interest; he saw that they were generous and valiant, and must be of great service to him whose part they espoused; and he was no doubt afraid that they would attach themselves to the house of Saul, in consideration of the eminent services Saul had rendered them in rescuing them from Nahash, king of the Ammonites. Footnote Although I agree that David recognized that these men were generous and valiant, I don’t think he is crassly attempting to garner political strength here. When informed of Saul’s death, before leaving Ziklag, he composes an ode to Saul and Jonathan. When living in Judah, David could have killed Saul twice, but he chose not to. David is not a man who is driven to have political power; power and authority were given to David by God and David accepts his lot in life; however, this power is not something that he craves.

Robert Gordon

Gordon calls this a shrew attempt...to establish a bridgehead in Transjordan, which was to remain loyal to the house of Saul for some time yet. Footnote I think that, for some individuals, that is what this message would have been—simply an attempt to consolidate political power. However, you must always look back on David’s relationship to Saul and the fact that David did nothing to remove Saul from his throne, although he could have killed Saul on two occasions. This, combined with the fact that David is in fellowship, indicate to me that David’s greetings are sincere and they mean exactly what they say.

Matthew Henry

The respectful message he sent to the men of Jabesh–Gilead, to return them thanks for their kindness to Saul. Still he studies to honour the memory of his predecessor, and thereby to show that he was far from aiming at the crown from any principle of ambition or enmity to Saul, but purely because he was called of God to it. It was told him that the men of Jabesh–Gilead buried Saul, perhaps by some that thought he would be displeased at them as over–officious. But he was far from that. 1. He commends them for it, 2Sam. 2:5. According as our obligations were to love and honour any while they lived, we ought to show respect to their remains (that is, their bodies, names, and families) when they are dead. “Saul was your lord,” says David, “and therefore you did well to show him this kindness and do him this honour.” 2. He prays to God to bless them for it, and to recompense it to them: Blessed are you, and blessed may you be of the Lord, who will deal kindly with those in a particular manner that dealt kindly with the dead, as it is in Ruth 1:8. Due respect and affection shown to the bodies, names, and families of those that are dead, in conscience towards God, is a piece of charity which shall in no wise lose its reward: The Lord show kindness and truth to you (2Sam. 2:6), that is, kindness according to the promise. What kindness God shows is in truth, what one may trust to. 3. He promises to make them amends for it: I also will requite you. He does not turn them over to God for a recompense that he may excuse himself from rewarding them. Good wishes are good things, and instances of gratitude, but they are too cheap to be rested in where there is an ability to do more. 4. He prudently takes this opportunity to gain them to his interest, 2Sam. 2:7. They had paid their last respects to Saul, and he would have them to be the last: “The house of Judah have anointed me king, and it will be your wisdom to concur with them and in that to be valiant.” We must not so dote on the dead, how much soever we have valued them, as to neglect or despise the blessings we have in those that survive, whom God has raised up to us in their stead. Footnote

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown

There can be no doubt that this message of thanks for their bold and dangerous enterprise in rescuing the bodies of Saul and his sons was an expression of David's personal and genuine feeling of satisfaction. At the same time, it was a stroke of sound and timely policy. In this view the announcement of his royal power in Judah, accompanied by the pledge of his protection of the men of Jabesh-gilead, should they be exposed to danger for their adventure at Beth-shan, would bear an important significance in all parts of the country and hold out an assurance that he would render them the same timely and energetic succor that Saul had done at the beginning of his reign. Footnote

Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge

This was a generous and noble act, highly indicative of the grandeur of David’s mind. He respected Saul, though he had been greatly injured by him, as the anointed king of Israel, and once his legitimate sovereign; and he loved Jonathan as his most intimate friend. Footnote

I should add that, just because this was sound political policy, this does not mean that was David’s primary objective for sending this message. David acted in grace and with respect, which is always sound policy, political or otherwise. We may try to impugn petty political motivation to David, but please recall that, on two occasions, David could have killed Saul, but he chose not to. For this reason, we know that David’s motivation was not political gain.

Allow me to present an analogous situation: I try to treat my mother with love and respect because I love her, because she put up with me as a child, and, of course, because she is my mother. I do not do any of this in order to obtain her adoration or approbation, or to somehow improve my inheritance share. Yes, people do act with evil motivations; however, this does not mean that everything which is done has an ulterior motive.


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Ishbosheth Reigns over Northern and Eastern Israel


And Abner, son of Ner, a commander of an army which [is] to Saul had taken Ishbosheth, a son of Saul, and so he brings him over [to] Mahanaim.

2Samuel

2:8

But Abner, the son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, and brought him over to Mahanaim.

However, Abner, the son of Ner, and the commander of Saul’s army, took Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, and brought him to Mahanaim.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          But Abner the son of Ner, general of Saul's army, took Isboseth the son of Saul, and led him about through the camp,...

Masoretic Text                       And Abner, son of Ner, a commander of an army which [is] to Saul had taken Ishbosheth, a son of Saul, and so he brings him over [to] Mahanaim.

Septuagint                              But Abenner, the son of Ner, the commander–in–chief of Saul’s army, took Jebosthe son of Saul, and brought him up from the camp to Manaem...

 

Significant differences:           The Greek adds the words from the camp. In the Latin, Abner is taking Ishbosheth through the camp.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Abner the son of Ner had been the general of Saul's army. He took Saul's son Ishbosheth across the Jordan River to Mahanaim...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

HCSB                                     Abner son of Ner, commander of Saul's army, took Saul's son Ish-bosheth and moved him to Mahanaim.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     But Abner the son of Ner, commander of Saul's army, took Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim.

Young’s Updated LT             And Abner, son of Ner, head of the army which Saul has, has taken Ish-Bosheth, son of Saul, and causes him to pass over to Mahanaim.

 

The gist of this verse?         At Saul’s death, Abner, the commander of Saul’s army, attempts to set up Ishbosheth as king in Mahanaim (perhaps a capital of eastern Israel).


2Samuel 2:8a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Ăbenêr ר̤נבֲא) [pronounced ubve-NAYR]

my father is Ner or my father is a lamp, and is transliterated Abner

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #74 BDB #4

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Nêr (ר̤נ) [pronounced nair]

lamp and is transliterated Ner

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #5369 BDB #633


Translation: But Abner, the son of Ner,... We have run into Abner on several occasions thus far, but we are not quite ready for the Doctrine of Abner yet (which will probably be covered in 1Kings 2), as he will play a key role in the next few chapters.


However, it may be good to summarize what we know about Abner so far.

Summarizing What We Know About Abner

1.      Abner is Saul’s uncle; however, they are probably very close in age (it is even possible that Abner is younger than Saul). This is a point at which commentators disagree, and both sides of the issue (whether Abner is Saul’s uncle or cousin) are given back in 1Sam. 14:51.

2.      In any case, Abner was the commander of Saul’s army, making him the second most powerful man in Israel. 1Sam. 14:50 20:25

3.      Although we are never made privy to any interaction between Abner and David, after David killed Goliath and after David became a part of Saul’s army as one of Saul’s generals, David and Abner must have developed some sort of relationship. We know that David had to have developed some respect for Abner, as will be made clear in 2Sam. 3.

4.      David twice had the opportunity to kill Saul, but he chose not to. However, the second time, he gave Abner a hard time for not properly guarding his king. 1Sam. 26:7–16

5.      As we have studied, many men from Saul’s army went over to David; however, Abner never chose to do this. We are never told what Abner’s thinking is, but we might suppose that he liked his position of power, and that he was perhaps a little pissed off at David for showing him up in 1Sam. 26.

6.      In 2Sam. 2, we next find Abner and Saul’s presumably youngest son, Ishbosheth, setting up a rulership east of the Jordan. The scenario here I think is that, Saul, knowing he would die in combat (as per 1Sam. 28), told Abner to take his son Ishbosheth (who was probably not in Saul’s army, but in a safe place) and retreat to the east of the Jordan to set up a dynasty in the event of Saul’s death. This would explain why Abner and Ishbosheth are both alive after Israel has been soundly defeated by the Philistine army. This will be discussed further down below under Abner’s Motivations.

7.      Although a desire for power could have certainly played a part in Abner’s choices, one must admire, if nothing else, his loyalty to Saul. A lesser man might have killed Ishbosheth and then tried to take power.

Since Abner will play a major part in what is to come, I will save the rest for later.


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2Samuel 2:8b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

sar (ר ַ) [pronounced sar]

chieftain, chief, ruler, official, captain, prince, leader, commander

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #8269 BDB #978

tsâbâ (א ָב ָצ) [pronounced tsawb-VAW]

army, war, or warfare

masculine singular noun

Strong's #6635 BDB #838

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982


Translation: ...the commander of Saul’s army,... There are an interesting group of cronies who surrounded Saul. There are a large number of men who essentially went along with what Saul asked them to do. At some point in time, when Saul said, “Let’s saddle up and go after David,” his men would saddle up and go after David. When he went to Nob and said, “Kill the priests,” although only one man stood up to do this, the rest of his men restrained the priests so that he could kill them. One might say they fell further and further into Saul’s darkness, one step at a time.


Application: Sin is like this. You get your foot wet, and then you think you might want to go in wading; and soon you are swimming in it. Most people who smoke their first marijuana cigarette don’t necessarily see themselves as drug addicts or as those who will become addicted to drugs. They might even know others who are pretty far gone, yet they do not see themselves as going down that road. However, in some cases, this is the beginning of a long spiral downward. Those who do not see themselves as alcoholics take that first drink, and, as time proceeds, they develop an addiction, one which eventually takes over their lives. Now, quite obviously, this does not occur in every case, or even in a majority of the cases (it would be an interesting study to see which drugs, when used for the first time, result in a 1% addiction rate; a 5% addiction rate, etc.). There is an interaction of the drug, the soul, the body and the age at which this activity is undertaken. A 12 year old who chooses to get drunk has a much greater chance of becoming an alcoholic than a 30 year old who decides to get drunk for the first time. The earlier, it appears, that a person becomes involved with some sins (generally those which invoke a pleasure response), the more likely that person will become addicted, to some degree, to that sin. A child who has just reached puberty who engages in homosexual activity—particularly when such activity is not seen as an aberration—is much more likely to continue with this activity than an older person, say a man of 30, who has felt some temptation in this respect, but previously avoided acting on this temptation as he sees homosexual activity as an aberration.


Application: You may think that when there is a political push by homosexual to establish unions which includes the unhindered ability to adopt children as men who are simply born this way, who, just like a heterosexual couple would desire a family; however, you would be wrong. Whether those in the movement itself have nefarious intentions is debatable; whether the creature behind these movements, Satan, has such intentions is certain. A young man raised by homosexual males is much more likely to engage in homosexual activity than a young man raised by a heterosexual couple; and there is the increased likelihood of homosexual abuse by one of the parents (although this is not by any means a certainty in a homosexual union, the chances of a child being sexually abused is much greater with a homosexual couple than with a heterosexual couple). Those who politically push this agenda may or may not be aware and may or may not have nefarious intentions. Don’t misunderstand me—it is very possible for a man who engages in homosexual activity to have a normal affection for an adopted or a natural son; and it is very possible that such a man may desire the chance to father a child inside of a homosexual union. However, this agenda is ultimately pushed by Satan.


Application: One of the approaches which Satan takes is to immerse a person so totally in a sin or in a pantheon of sins so that that person will resist believing in Jesus Christ because his sins have become a part of his lifestyle. This is apart from the fact that, Jesus Christ died for his sins and that he does not have to renounce or turn away from his sins in order to be saved. Salvation comes from simply believing in Jesus Christ. However, simply because what they do regularly is sinful, they will resist salvation. For this reason, Satan wants homosexuality to be seen as mandated by birth, rather than a complex interaction of one’s old sin nature and one’s environment. For this reason, Satan wants to start children as early as possible taking drugs and drinking—he wants this to become second nature to the child.


Obviously, I have gone far afield here—but, this was all started by the fact that there were men who followed Saul and went along with what Saul said—they did not necessarily subscribe to Saul’s entire agenda from the beginning, but they became further and further immersed in Saul’s evil. Saul himself progressed in his illness; that is, he was not suddenly a raving psycho. His illness was progressive. At various points in time, Saul could be reasoned with. At other points, he had lost his mind and his way. Finally, God took Saul out of this world.


Logically, we should examine who is this Ishbosheth and what do we know about him. However, Ishbosheth is found only here in this and the following 2 chapters. He has been mentioned in 1Chron. 8 under a different name (Eshbaal). The reason for the names being different is covered in 1Chron. 8:33, but the short explanation is that some writers found the word Baal to be repugnant, so they used the term shame instead (bosheth). This occurs several times in Scripture and here does not give us any more information about Ishbosheth (that is, 1Chron. 8:33 simply gives us his bloodline, but nothing else).


It is interesting that we meet Abner here. Abner acted as Saul’s primary general (along with Jonathan) for some time. Whether Abner realized that David was inevitably going to rule over Israel is unknown (although this seemed to become a widely known fact). Abner may also have seen no possible way of becoming a part of David’s army, as he had probably been involved in several search and destroy David missions. His thinking may be that, David views him as a national criminal, a threat, and that David will look to execute Abner. Footnote Abner may be simply devoted to Saul and his family, and he sets up Saul’s son Ishbosheth as king as a natural consequence to the death of Saul.


Abner will attempt to set up Ishbosheth as the king over Israel (at least over eastern Israel). We might want to speculate on Abner’s motivations:

Why Abner is Motivated to Set up Ishbosheth as King Over Israel

1.      It is unclear whether Abner saw David’s rulership of Israel as inevitable. Many people apparently knew that David was anointed as king over Israel by Samuel, and David was quite popular because of his military exploits. However, whether that translated in many minds to David being king over Israel is unknown.

2.      Abner, because he stood by Saul as Saul’s primary general, possibly assumed that there was no possible way that he could have a good relationship with David. In fact, he might even assume that his relationship with David is automatically adversarial.

3.      Abner could have been so devoted to Saul (after all, they are related), that setting up a family member as king over Israel was a natural response to the death of Saul.

4.      There is the possibility that Abner was unaware of David assuming the responsibility conferred upon him by Samuel, and that he was simply doing what he felt was in the best interest of Israel—setting up a king so that there is an uninterrupted dynasty to provide stability for Israel. One could argue that Abner purposely set this rulership up in the far east so as test the waters and gather strength, given David establishing headquarters in Hebron; one could also argue that, with the Philistine invasion and defeat of Israel, that going east would be prudent and be unrelated to what David is doing. What Abner is doing here is probably simultaneous to what David is doing.

5.      Abner may have had a desire for power and he may have set up Ishbosheth as a man that he could rule through. Ishbosheth would be popular and have the support of those who supported Saul. Abner may have felt that his influence over Ishbosheth would give him great power to function behind the scenes.

6.      As we have discussed earlier, Israel is divided—even at this time, there is the northern and southern kingdoms (as well as eastern Israel). The tribes saw themselves much as the early states in the United States saw themselves. Our early states for at least a century saw themselves as being individually sovereign within an overall union. As long as the federal government did not tread on their own personal peculiarities, they were happy. When state’s rights became an issue, then they would rebel (as in the Civil War). Abner might have conceded the southern portion of Israel to David, at least temporarily; but he saw eastern and northern Israel as loyal to Saul.

Sometimes Scripture tells us outright what the motivation is of this or that person; and, at other times, we are left to guess. I personally find this an area of interest, although my speculation has no real doctrinal impact (unless there is a clear conclusion which comes from the speculation).

Some take a very dim view of Abner’s motivation. Clarke says that Abner was jealous of David’s power. Footnote Gill calls Abner blind and obstinate, saying that his own personal ambition was his motivation. Footnote Matthew Henry says that Abner was motivated by pride and ambition, seeing that the only way to maintain his position of honor was to set up Ishbosheth as king. Footnote Henry further points out that Abner chose the city of Mahanaim because it would be far from David and out of his periphery of interest. However, I personally think that the occupation of the Philistine had just as much to do with that choice.

In any case, God made David king and Abner made Ishbosheth king. Footnote


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2Samuel 2:8c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâqach (חַקָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH]

to take, to take away, to take in marriage; to seize

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Īysh-Bôsheth (ת∵שֹבשי.א) [pronounced eesh-BOH-sheath]

man of Baal; transliterated Ishbosheth

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #378 BDB #36

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982


Translation: ...had taken Ishbosheth, Saul’s son,... All of you have heard of David, and a few of you have heard of Ishbosheth. You may rightfully assume that Ishbosheth is going to be a footnote in the history of David. This apparently is Saul’s youngest son, one probably not involved in the war against the Philistines, and who is also called Eshbaal in 1Chron. 8:33 9:39. Either because this boy was too young, or because Saul did not want him in the war, Ishbosheth is never named as one of Saul’s generals. When Saul realized that he was going to die, he probably told Abner to leave, find his son, and move to a more remote city, with the intent of setting him up as king there. Very few others take this point of view. Many suggest that, as the battle went against Israel, that Abner escaped with Ishbosheth. Footnote


When I first read through this, I thought that Ishbosheth was a youth, being guided by Abner. However, it turns out that Ishbosheth is 40 years old (2Sam. 2:10), which makes the wording of this verse a little strange. It sounds as though Abner is pulling all the strings, making all of the decisions, and that Ishbosheth is going along with it. Even though this was probably Saul’s idea in the first place, one made prior to his death, the verbiage here seems to indicate that Abner is doing the leading, which does not say much for Ishbosheth as a king.


2Samuel 2:8d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âbar (ר ַב ָע) [pronounced ģawb-VAHR]

to cause to pass over, to cause to pass through, to bring [over, to]; to transmit, to send over; to pass by sin, to remit, to forgive

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5674 BDB #716

Machănayim (ם ̣י-נֲח-מ) [pronounced mahkh-uh-AH-yim]

two camps; transliterated Mahanaim

proper singular noun; location

Strong’s #4266 BDB #334


Translation: ...and brought him over to Mahanaim. At this point in time, it might be a good idea to take a look at the Doctrine of the City of Mahanaim.


Smith’s Bible Dictionary covers this topic in short order (this is only a portion of the entire doctrine):

Smith Summarizes the Doctrine of the City of Mahanaim

Mahana'im. A town on the east of the Jordan. The name signifies two hosts or two camps, and was given to it by Jacob, because he there met "the angels of God" (Gen. 32:1–2).

We next meet with it, in the records of the conquest (Joshua 13:26, 30). It was within the territory of Gad (Joshua 21:38–39), and therefore, on the south side of the torrent Jabbok (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown place it on the north bank Footnote ).

The town with its "suburbs" was allotted to the service of the Merarite Levites (Joshua 21:39 1Chron. 6:80).

 Mahanaim had become in the time of the monarchy a place of mark (2Sam. 2:8, 12). Interestingly enough, David will take refuge there when driven out of the western part of his kingdom by his son Absalom (2Sam. 17:24 1Kings 2:8).

Mahanaim was the seat of one of Solomon's commissariat officers (1Kings 4:14), and it is alluded to in the song which bears his name (SOS. 6:13). There is a place called Mahneh among the villages of the part of Jordan, through its exact position is not certain.

You may want to note the contrast between this city and Hebron. Hebron is a city with a great spiritual history; Mahanaim does have some spiritual history but it is limited (actually, this would be true of any city east of the Jordan).

This summary was taken from Dr. William Smith, Smith’s Bible Dictionary; 1894; from e-Sword, topic: Mahanaim. I did a small amount of editing.


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However, there is one point which is ignored by the sources I checked, and that is the issue of the meaning of the name of Mahanaim and the circumstances as to why it was given that name. From this doctrine: As Jacob was leaving his Uncle Laban’s ranch in Padan Aram, taking with him Laban’s two daughters as his wives, Jacob traveled along the Jabbok River, which is perpendicular to the Jordan River, intersecting it about midway between the seas. His eventual destination was the land of Canaan. Along this way, Jacob met with angels of God and called the place where he was, the camp of God; and he gave it the name Mahanaim, which means two camps. It is unclear whether the name refers to two angels, to the two camps that Jacob divided his company into, or to his two wives. Fausset suggests that Jacob divided his company into two camps and that there were two groups of angels, one guarding each camp. Footnote One might suggest that the key to the name is a conflict between two things: the human and the divine; the visible and the invisible agencies involved in Jacob’s life. There would always be that constant conflict between Jacob’s two wives. There might even be a connection here with Jacob about to meet his twin brother Esau. In any case, throughout the Biblical history of this city, again and again, we see a conflict between two things, often one good and one evil.


There are several reasons why Mahanaim is chosen is the new capitol city.

Why Mahanaim is Chosen as the New Capitol City

1.      Mahanaim is a major city with a rich religious history. It would have been almost meaningless to try to set up a capitol city in a small town, or in a place dominated by any heathen group.

2.      The Philistines had defeated Israel in central Israel, essentially dividing Israel in half (which is what the Philistines did). However, there are only so many Philistine soldiers and so many Philistine outposts which could be established and secured. Mahanaim was across the river in Transjordan, far enough away from Philistine domination.

3.      David was apparently a very popular hero overall, and particularly in Judah. Therefore, going south to establish a kingship would have put Ishbosheth in opposition to David, where David’s popularity would probably win out.

4.      Saul had a clear loyal following in Jabesh Gildead, which would have been nearby and potentially acted as a buffer city between the Philistines and Ishbosheth.

5.      It is my contention that Saul set all of this in motion to begin with, and the city was very possibly his choice.

Although this is primarily conjecture, it is logical conjecture nonetheless.


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And so he caused him to reign unto the Gilead and unto the Ashurite [Asherite, Geshurite?] and unto Jezreel and upon Ephraim and upon Benjamin and upon Israel, all him.

2Samuel

2:9

And Abner [lit., he] made him reign even to Gilead, to the Ashurite [or, Asherite; possibly Geshurite], and to Jezreel; and over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel.

And Abner made Ishbosheth king as far as Gilead, Asher and Jezreel; over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And made him king over Galaad, and over Gessuri, and over Jezrahel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel.

Masoretic Text                       And so he caused him to reign unto the Gilead and unto the Ashurite and unto Jezreel and upon Ephraim and upon Benjamin and upon Israel, all him.

Peshitta                                  And made him king over Gilead and over Geshur and over Jezreel and over Ephraim and over Benjamin and over all Israel.

Septuagint                              ...and made [Observe the active use of ebasileusen (ἐβασιλευσεν), common in the LXX] him king over the land of Galaad, and over Thasiri, and over Jezrael, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel.

 

Significant differences:           Instead of Ashurite, as we find in the MT, we find Geshur in the Syriac and Latin; and enigmatic Thasiri in the Greek.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       ...and made him king of Israel, including the areas of Gilead, Asher, Jezreel, Ephraim, and Benjamin.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Abner made him king of Gilead, Asher, Jezreel, Ephraim, and Benjamin, that is, all Israel.

HCSB                                     He made him king over Gilead, Asher, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin--over all Israel.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       ...and he made him king over Gilead and the Ashurites and Jezreel and Ephraim and Benjamin and all Israel.

Young’s Updated LT             ...and causes him to reign over Gilead, and over the Ashurite, and over Jezreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over Israel—all of it.


Once and awhile there is a problem with the most literal of texts, and we have such a problem here. In almost every literal translation, it appears as though we have the same preposition (over) found 6 times. Even though a majority of the good translations do this (possibly all of them?), they are wrong, and they confuse the issue. We have 3 boundaries named and then 3 groups of people over whom Ishbosheth has authority.

 

The gist of this verse?          Abner sets up Ishbosheth as the ruler of eastern and central Israel.


2Samuel 2:9a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

mâlake ( ַל ָמ) [pronounced maw-LAHKe]

to make king, to cause to reign, to cause to rule over

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #4427 BDB #573

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to, in respect to; because of; according to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); expanded meanings given

Strong's #413 BDB #39

There are two basic sets of meanings for el:

(1) el acts as a preposition which signifies, in general, to tend to anything, to verge to or towards any place, whether it is reached and even entered or not, whether it be by motion or turning and direction of the body or of the mind, turning to anything in thought. Footnote Under this general heading, we have nine uses: ➊ Of motion to a place, or to, towards. Under this heading, el is also used as a particle of giving or selling. ➋ El is used for the turning or the direction to anything, and can be used of the mind as well as the body. ➌ The motion or turning can be hostile, and mean against. ➍ El is used when one reaches a terminus or a mark; even to. Under this heading, we have two additional applications (a) the use of el in measure, e.g. even to the length of a cubit; (b) even out of, as being removed out of something like a thorn hedges which go around a field (Job 5:5). ➎ This preposition is used when the limit is entered into, and is rendered in. When it is used of a number or multitude into which one enters, it may be rendered among. ➏ El is used in adding or super-adding, and rendered besides, together with, besides these. ➐ El is used regarding anything, having respect or regard to anything, hence (a) as to, in respect to, because of; and (b) concerning (after verbs of speaking, narrating or telling). ➑ Metaphorically, el can be used as expressive of rule or standard and be rendered according to. Finally, ➒ when el is prefixed to prepositions which denote rest in a place, it give them the signification of motion or direction to or towards a place.

What is ignored in many translations is, we find this particular preposition 3 times, and then we find another preposition 3 times. They are not identical or interchangeable prepositions.

Gile׳âd (דָע ל ̣) [pronounced gil-ĢAWD].

transliterated Gilead

masculine proper noun with the definite article

Strong’s #1568 BDB #166


Translation: And Abner [lit., he] made him reign even to Gilead,... Gilead is in the east. You will recall the several references to Jabesh-gilead; this is the city which Saul liberated and which owed Saul and his family for this. Gilead is the general territory where Jabesh-gilead is located. Generally speaking, this is the area which is east of the Jordan and falls between the two seas which connect the Jordan River.


The time frame here is not really discussed. Since we find this in 2Sam. 2, and since that is where we find David going into Hebron and becoming king over Judah, it is easy to assume that these are simultaneous events, both taking place during the same month, for instance. However, that does not appear to be the case, as when these two events are matched in time, David will have been king over Hebron for 7½ years (2Sam. 5:5), whereas Ishbosheth will reign in eastern and northern Israel for a period of 2 years (2Sam. 2:10). This means that it must have taken Abner and Ishbosheth about 5 years to set everything in motion. First of all, the Philistines controlled that general area, and would have made it difficult for any autonomy in Israel. Whereas, David lived in an area not immediately threatened by the Philistines; this is not the case for Abner and Ishbosheth. Although they are living in a city not yet conquered by the Philistines, the Philistines live nearby and probably exert a great deal of influence. Therefore, Ishbosheth’s grab for power cannot be overt; messengers might have to be sent throughout Israel surreptitiously in order to garner support. This is a process which takes quite a lot more time than it does for David.


Now, if David was recording this history, then it would be logical that he would tell about the circumstances leading to his move to Hebron, and including that move; and then to mention what is happening in the east, which would have been roughly coterminous (these events occurring within a few years of one another).


2Samuel 2:9b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

See the sets of meanings for el above.

Ăshûwrîy (י .רשֲא) [pronounced uhsh-oo-REE]

possibly happy; transliterated Ashurite

gentilic singular adjective

Strong’s #805 BDB #79

Possibly equivalent to Strong’s #843 BDB #81 (Judges 1:32).

There are two possible alternate readings here:

Geshûwrîy (י .רש) [pronounced geh-shoo-REE]

bridges, land of bridges; is transliterated Geshurite

gentilic adjective

Strong’s #1651 BDB #177

The Arabic, Syriac, and Vulgate versions have the Geshurites here instead; or...

Âshêrîy (י .ר̤שָא) [pronounced aw-shay-REE]

happy; transliterated Asherite

gentilic adjective with the definite article

Strong’s #843 BDB #81

This reading would indicate a scribal error.


Translation: ...to the Ashurite [or, Asherite; possibly Geshurite],... We have problems here with the text. As mentioned above, we are one letter away from this reading Asherite instead (a tribe in the far northwest); and this could read Geshurite as well (which could be seen more as a territory over which Israel ruled). Geshurite is found in the Arabic, Syriac and Vulgate.


Given that there are 3 possible readings here, we may want to discuss each one. However, so that there is no confusion, the Hebrew text here does read Ashurite.

Ashurite, Geshurite or Asherite?

Possible Reading

Commentary

Ashurite

The Ashurites are the Assyrians, who live in Assyria, which is essentially the place that Abraham left (this is now modern Iraq). Although there could possibly be a small contingent of Assyrians living in eastern Israel over whom Ishbosheth might rule, this does seem unlikely. However, this is the word that we find in the Hebrew. There are some Arabic sons of Abraham (see Gen. 25:1–3) who have this name. This could be the people that we are talking about as well, who just happen to have the same name as the Assyrians (which is not generally found as a gentilic adjective).

Geshurite

Geshur is a small principality of Syrian, northeast of Bashan. This does place us in the correct general area, and that Ishbosheth reigned over this area is a reasonable possibility. The Geshurites are a tribe of people which are not necessarily sympathetic to Israel, so, even though they are in a reasonable geographical area, these people tend to be listed as heathen that Israel had not quite yet expelled (Deut. 3:14 Joshua 13:13). Textually, this is the second most likely reading; but historically, it does not really seem to fit.

Asherite

There is more than a vowel point difference here, although not much more. It is very possible that these two gentilic adjectives are homonyms (or very nearly so), so that a scribe could legitimately say this word to himself, and write down Ashurite rather than Asherite. Asher is the tribe of Israel on the northern coast of the Mediterranean. They are far away enough from the war between the Philistines and the Israelites to remain unconquered. There is a fair amount of land in between where Ishbosheth is and the tribe of Asher; that does not mean that his rulership could not be recognized in Asher.

The latter two readings geographically fit. Furthermore, given the preposition unto, this is not a list of those over whom Ishbosheth reigned, but how far his kingdom extended. Therefore, saying that his reign extended as far as Asher, this makes perfect sense, as this takes us as far northwest as we can go.

Understanding Geshurite as not a people over whom Ishbosheth reigned, but that his kingdom extended up to the border of the Geshurites, is also a very reasonable understanding (however, we would have really expected to read unto the border of the Geshurite). The first 3 areas named are more like districts or areas, rather than over a specific people.

The primary argument against this reading Geshurite is this was a people that Israel had not conquered yet (see Joshua 13:13 2Sam. 3:3). However, this does not mean that Ishbosheth conquered this people; it simply means that this is how far his boundaries went. They went as far as the Geshurite but did not necessarily include the Geshurites.

A little further down, and we will see a map of this general area, and look at the boundaries that way.


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2Samuel 2:9c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

See the sets of meanings for el above.

Yizere׳êl (ל̤ערז̣י) [pronounced yize-re-ĢAIL]

God will sow; that which God planted; it is transliterated Jezreel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3157 BDB #283


Translation: ...and to Jezreel;... Jezreel is up in Issachar. The particular preposition used here indicates that his authority would extend as far as Jezreel. It is interesting that Jezreel is mentioned here. Recall that this is the general area of the battle between Saul’s Israeli forces and the Philistines (1Sam. 29:1). We have earlier talked about a time frame. The Philistines conquered central Israel, that area in particular, and then began to live in the cities in that general area. This means that, Ishbosheth did not assume rule over that area a few months later—that would have been inconsistent with the history that we have so far. However, there are just so many Philistines to go around; and what happened in 5 years time is unknown to us. Did the Philistines withdraw? Did their occupation become more amicable? Did Ishbosheth gain some control over the Jews in this area surreptitiously? That Ishbosheth could claim any sort of control over this area a few months after the Philistine victory makes little or no sense. That he had some kind of control or authority 5 years later makes a lot more sense.


Jezreel is a the great plain which goes along the borders of Zebulun, Issachar, and Naphtali, and included these tribes. The territory over which Ishbosheth ruled included this area to some extent (recall that since the Philistines fought Israel here, that many of the cities would be under Philistine control at this time).


Unfortunately, many translations pretty much ignore the prepositions found in this verse, and they are viewed as interchangeable or equivalent. The first three prepositions are unto and probably refer to the boundaries of the territory over which Ishbosheth ruled. The next three prepositions indicate the tribes over which Ishbosheth ruled.

There are three possible options for the second proper noun in this list of three, so let’s explore that further on a map:

The Area over which Ishbosheth Ruled

The first option is the least likely—that Ishbosheth rules as far as Ashur (Assyria). This is far, far to the east and would include a huge expanse of land over which Israel has never had control.

2sam_02.gif

 

The second possibility is that this is Geshurite. As you can see, if the border is Geshur (in the north), Gilead (toward the east) and Jezreel (toward the west), we have a moderate sized, contiguous area. This seems to be the most reasonable of the 3 options.

Our other option is going as far west as Jezreel and northwest as Asher (which is below Phœnicia along the Mediterranean Sea). This makes a little less sense, as we are listing, essentially, two western borders (although one could be seen as a southwestern border and the other as norther western).

This map came from http://www.anova.org/sev/atlas/htm/038.htm


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What almost every translator and commentator does is ignore the different sets of prepositions here, and, for that reason, they struggle with Ishbosheth ruling over Jezreel and Asher (Geshur?). Gordon, for instance, says Footnote that Jezreel was under Philistine control (1Sam. 31:7), so he suggests that this might be an area over which Ishbosheth claimed authority, but, in reality, had none. Whether we speak of Asher or Geshur, there are problems with Ishbosheth ruling over those areas as well (Geshur had its own king at this time—2Sam. 3:3). However, we are not really dealing here with what Ishbosheth claims to rule over; this is stated as an unequivocal fact. On the other hand, if this is the extent of Ishbosheth’s kingdom—it goes out as far as Jezreel and Geshur—then the problems disappear. Furthermore, this is the sense of the preposition used; and changed to a different preposition for the remainder of this verse stands out in the Hebrew, but is not even referenced in most English translations. So, if you look to the English and try to interpret this verse, you will run into problems. If you interpret this verse as per the Hebrew, then the problems disappear. So that you can see what I am talking about, as I have exegeted this verse in pieces throughout, it looks like this: And Abner [lit., he] made him reign even to Gilead, to the Ashurite [or, Asherite; possibly Geshurite], and to Jezreel; and over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel. Abner makes Ishbosheth rule unto (or, as far as] Gilead, Geshur and Jezreel; Abner makes Ishbosheth rule over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel. By simply rendering these 2 prepositions as they should be rendered, all of the problems cited by Gordon and others are no longer problems.


Most of the time, you can go to certain translations of Scripture (NASB, NKJV) and rest assured that you are getting a very accurate rendering of the text. However, in this case, the English raises false issues, which the original Hebrew solves. There are many reasons that you need a good pastor teacher in order to grow; this is just one of many. Therefore, let me list just some of...

The Reasons You Need a Pastor Teacher

1.      People don’t like to be under the authority of someone else, and resent having a pastor teacher over them. However, every believer in Jesus Christ needs to be authority-oriented. There is not one verse in the Bible which tells you to go out and grow spiritually and then execute the spiritual life on your own.

2.      God has given the gift of pastor teacher to certain men. If God has given certain men this gift, then who are we to say, “No, God; thanks anyway, but I have a much better system for my own spiritual maturity.” That is complete and total arrogance, and shows a complete lack of authority-orientation.

3.      A pastor is going to know the original languages (ideally speaking) and can give you a better understanding of God’s Word through these languages, as well as clear up many problem passages (e.g., this one).

4.      A pastor generally has a working knowledge of ancient history, and can give us a great many details which help to explain this or that passage.

5.      A pastor has an overall view of theology, and can present Scripture from this organized approach. As believers, we often find things which some believers do, and, if these things seem to be spiritual, then we copy them. We may violate every mandate that we have ever read, but then we attempt to copy this or that action, no matter what the dispensation. An easy example here is polygamy—many of the Old Testament had several wives—this does not make polygamy Biblical, spiritual or advisable. In fact, in most places, polygamy is illegal. Therefore, when you have more than one wife, you are breaking the law of the land, which puts you into direct conflict with much of Scripture. A good pastor can distinguish for you, what is a mandate; and which ones we are subject to. Now, there are pastors who go overboard on this or that approach in Scripture; these are pastors to be avoided.

6.      Despite the fact that so many pastor teachers tell you to engage in your own Bible study and to set up home Bible studies, and to read your Bible every night on your own—this simply tells you that this guy is not your pastor teacher and that he expects you to so his job for him. Find another pastor.

 

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Related to these points is...

Pastor Teachers You Should Avoid

1.      Any pastor who expects you to grow spiritually by reading your Bible.

2.      Any pastor teacher who tries to run your life. You do not grow spiritually by having someone stand over you and tell you what to do. In fact, any church where you are made to do the right thing through social pressure is wrong. You do the right thing by being filled with the Holy Spirit and believing in God’s Word, which sets the standards.

3.      If a pastor teacher does not teach how to get in and out of fellowship, then you need to find another church; this is one of the most fundamental concepts of the spiritual life.

4.      Any pastor who teaches that salvation requires something more than faith in Jesus Christ.

5.      Any pastor who teaches that you can lose your salvation.

6.      Any person who was saved one day, and, a month or a year later, starts preaching the Word. A year is not near enough time for a pastor to develop any sort of spiritual growth, and certainly not enough time to accumulate enough doctrine to teach a congregation. Now, if such a person stands up and gives a testimony after a month or a year—that is fine, as long as it is not overdone.

7.      A pastor who over-emphasizes minor things in Scripture: e.g., the virgin Mary, healings, tongues, exorcisms, Sabbath observance, giving, the wrongness of other faiths, door to door evangelism, or even the Holy Spirit. Recall that, when He, the Holy Spirit, comes, He will not speak of Himself. There are some things mentioned often in Scripture, and a pastor should concentrate on those things as well. However, there are a lot of minor things mentioned in Scripture which too many pastors emphasize. By the way, the list of things I gave here does not mean that the pastor will never touch on these subjects; however, for instance, if people regularly speak in tongues in your church, then you are in the wrong church.

There are a few basics we should expect in a church: Jesus Christ should be extolled as the only Savior, our only way to God; fellowship is restored not by feelings or by works, but by naming your personal sins to God; and that God left us His Word so that we could grow spiritually by it.

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Now I realize that I have gone pretty far off on a tangent here; however this tangent was inspired by the fact that, if you simply read this in your Bible, you would never have figured out that there are two sets of different prepositions here, and that in each set, we have something different being said. A pastor who knows Hebrew would point this out; a pastor who is speaking from his heart would miss this (in fact, he probably would not even teach this passage). The second set of prepositions comes up next:


2Samuel 2:9d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

Note the change in the preposition.

Epherayim (ם̣י -רפ ∵א) [pronounced ef-RAH-yim]

to bear fruit, to be fruitful; transliterated Ephraim

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #669 BDB #68


Translation: ...and over Ephraim,... The Philistines struck a bit south of Ephraim; Ephraim would be the beginning of the northern kingdom. Note that the preposition changed here. We no longer have the preposition unto but over. Too many translations treat this as though we have a listing here of 6 different areas over which Ishbosheth exerted his authority (e.g., ESV, LTHB, NASB, NKJV, WEB, Young’s LT). However, what we actually have here are 3 boundaries which describe the extent of Ishbosheth’s reign and 3 groups of people over whom Ishbosheth ruled. The prepositions used are not the same, as the English translations would have you think.


2Samuel 2:9e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

Bineyâmîyn (ןי.מָינ  ̣) [pronounced bin-yaw-MEEN]

transliterated Benjamin, it means son of [my] right hand

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1144 BDB #122

Spelled here Bineyâmîn (ן  ̣מָינ  ̣) [pronounced bin-yaw-MIN].


Translation: ...Benjamin... The Philistines struck primarily in the territory of Benjamin and soundly defeated Israel. However, this does not mean that they completely destroyed the population of Israel or that they completely controlled that particular area. The Philistines had decimated Saul’s army; however, there were still Israeli settlements and cities throughout the territory of Benjamin, which was, essentially the border between northern and southern Israel.


2Samuel 2:9f

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]; also kol (לָ) [pronounced kol]

all, all things, the whole, totality, the entirety, everything

masculine singular noun without the definite article; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481


Translation: ...and all Israel. When we have previously seen the term Israel, it referred to the northern and southern kingdoms; however, in this situation, Israel refers to the northern (and eastern) portion of Israel. As mentioned previously, the Philistines had a tendency to attack Israel from the center and work out from there, which encouraged a split in Israel.


Several commentators (e.g., Barnes and Gill Footnote ) seem to think that there was some kind of a military campaign by Abner in order to take control of these areas and these tribes; however, there is nothing in this context to indicate this. Given how eager Israel was to have a king prior to Saul, it is not much of a stretch to think that these tribes would want to have Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, over them. They have been invaded by the Philistines; there is no reason to assume that there would be any reticence on their part in this regard. The freewill actions of all the tribes when they recognize David as their king supports the point I am making here. On the other hand, there may have been some fighting between Abner and the Philistines; it is not recorded, and I don’t think that occurred, but I don’t want to rule out that possibility.


A son of 40 years Ishbosheth, a son of Saul, in his reign over Israel and two years he reigned; but a house of Judah were after David.

2Samuel

2:10

Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, [was] 40 years old [lit., a son of 40 years] when he reigned over Israel—and he reigned two years; but the house of Judah followed [lit., were after] David.

Saul’s son, Ishbosheth, was 40 years old when he began to rule over Israel; he ruled for 2 years; however, the house of Judah followed David.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          Isboseth the son of Saul was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years; and only the house of Juda followed David.

Masoretic Text                       A son of 40 years Ishbosheth, a son of Saul, in his reign over Israel and two years he reigned; but a house of Judah were after David.

Septuagint                              Jebosthe, Saul’s son was forty years old, when he reigned over Israel; and he reigned two years, but not over the house of Juda, who followed David.

 

Significant differences: No significant differences; the Greek translation appears to do some very minor paraphrasing. The Latin adds the adverb only.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              Ishbosheth was forty years old at the time, and he ruled for two years. But the tribe of Judah made David their king...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

HCSB                                     Saul's son Ish-bosheth was 40 years old when he began his reign over Israel; he ruled for two years. The house of Judah, however, followed David.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

WEB                             Ishbosheth, Saul's son, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David.

Young’s Updated LT             A son of forty years, is Ish-Boshes son of Saul, in his reigning over Israel, and two years he has reigned, only the house of Judah have been after David.

 

The gist of this verse?          Ishbosheth is 40 when he begins to rule in northern and eastern Israel; he maintains this position for approximately 2 years. .


2Samuel 2:10a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

arebâ׳îym (םי.עָר-א) [pronounced are-BAW-ĢEEM]

forty

undeclinable plural noun

 

Strong’s #705 BDB #917

shânâh (הָנָש) [pronounced shaw-NAW]

year

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #8141 BDB #1040.

Īysh-Bôsheth (ת∵שֹבשי.א) [pronounced eesh-BOH-sheath]

man of Baal; transliterated Ishbosheth

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #378 BDB #36

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

When verbs in the infinitive construct are preceded by the bêyth preposition, be acts as a temporal conjunction; that is, in their being created = when they were created (Gen. 2:4); in their being in the field = when they were in the field (Gen. 4:8). Footnote

mâlake ( ַל ָמ) [pronounced maw-LAHKe]

to reign, to become king or queen

Qal infinitive construct with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #4427 BDB #573

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975


Translation: Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, [was] 40 years old [lit., a son of 40 years] when he reigned over Israel... We have previously discussed the issue of Ishbosheth and Abner both being alive at this time after a war where Saul and 3 of his sons died. One explanation is, this was on Saul’s orders. Saul returned from Endor, knowing he was going to die, and he told Abner to take Ishbosheth and to cross over the Jordan into safer territory before the battle broke out. You may object, this is against God’s will; God told Saul that he and his dynasty was finished!  However, just because God makes His will known, does not mean that we are going to go along with it. Believers every day, including myself, know God’s will, and yet go against it. There is nothing unusual about that. Saul, on the one hand, may have been convinced that he was going to die; on the other hand, it is not out of the question for him to try to maintain his dynasty with his youngest son as the next king. Bear in mind, this is pure conjecture on my part—I am just offering some back story which could help to explain the events which transpire here.


Ishbosheth’s age is interesting. He is approximately David’s age. However, Jonathan and David became close friends; he and David did not. We know nothing about the interactions between Ishbosheth and David as young men. Although we may reasonably assume that they served together in Saul’s army (and this is assuming that Ishbosheth served under his father), we know nothing more than that.


2Samuel 2:10b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shetayîm (ם ̣י ַ ׃ש) [pronounced sheTAH-yim]

two, a second [time]; a repetition, a repeating

feminine numeral substantive

Strong’s #8147 BDB #1040

Although there are a number of Kennicott and Derossi manuscripts which read differently here, all ancient manuscripts read two. That Ishbosheth reigns for 2 years and David for 7½, many have sought to smooth this out in a number of ways. It is not inconceivable that some later manuscripts reflect this.

shânâh (הָנָש) [pronounced shaw-NAW]

year

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #8141 BDB #1040

mâlake ( ַל ָמ) [pronounced maw-LAHKe]

to reign, to become king or queen

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect; pausal form

Strong’s #4427 BDB #573


Translation: ...—and he reigned two years;... This is interesting that Ishbosheth only reigned for 2 years over northern and eastern Israel, but that David will be king over Judah for 7½ years (v. 11). We will discuss that further when we come to v. 11.


When Saul’s age and length of rule was given before (1Sam. 13:1), you may recall that there were some serious problems with the text. However, here we have a number, and we can sort some things out.

How the Age of Ishbosheth Impacts other Numbers in Scripture

Person (s)

Their Relative Ages and Logical Conjectures

Ishbosheth:

His father, King Saul, had died 5½ years previous to Ishbosheth ruling over northern and eastern Israel. Ishbosheth was 40 years old when he begins to rule and he rules for 2 years (2Sam. 2:10).

King Saul

Reigned over Israel for about 40 years (Acts 13:21).

David

David is 30 years old when he begins to rule and he will reign for 40 years (2Sam. 5:4). He reigns for 7½ years from Hebron over Judah and then for 33 years from Jerusalem over all Israel (2Sam. 2:11 5:5).

David and Ishbosheth

Therefore, from Saul’s death to the time when Ishbosheth actually ascends to the throne, approximately 5 years transpire. Ishbosheth is therefore 35 when David begins to rule in Jerusalem, and David is 5 years younger than he.

David and Jonathan

Given that Jonathan is the eldest of 4 children, he is at least 5 years older than David (that would be a reasonable low end figure). Jonathan is roughly 40 years old at his death; possibly older.

Saul and his children

Since Saul rules for approximately 40 years, this means that Ishbosheth was born to him after he had ruled for 5 years. We do not know about Saul’s other children. His youngest child, Ishbosheth, is 35 at Saul’s death. He is obviously not too young to serve under Saul in the military; however, he and Abner both escape to eastern Israel, even though Saul and his other sons are killed. My theory is, this involved some pre-planning; and possibly planning which took place the morning that the Philistines and Israel began their battle.

Saul and Jonathan

A portion of Saul’s kingship is never covered historically (it would fall between 1Sam. 13:1 and 13:2). There is a brief overview given in 1Sam. 14:47. Jonathan may have been as young as, say, 15 or 16, when he is mentioned as a military commander in 1Sam. 13:2. His younger brothers are not mentioned in connection with the military at this time, making them, perhaps, too young to be associated with the military (this is conjecture, mind you). In 1Sam. 12, Saul is confirmed as king; in 1Sam. 13, we have Saul’s (first?) great failure. We may reasonably suppose that some time had passed between chapters 12 and 13, the amount of time we could only guess at—say, 10–20 years.

Samuel and David

Samuel anoints David king over Israel when David is so young, his father Jesse does not even consider him as someone that he should even introduce to Samuel. There is reason to suppose that David is the runt of the litter and he may be as young as 8 or 9, and probably no older than 13 or 14 at this time (this is an educated guess).

David and Saul

David came to Saul as a musician and singer to soothe Saul’s attacks—I would make David out to be about 12–16 at this time.

David and Goliath

David’s 3 oldest brothers were in Saul’s army when they faced Goliath in 1Sam. 17. This suggests that David and the 3 or 4 intervening brothers are possibly too young to go to war (which suggests that they are anywhere between 10–20). However, this is an assumption that they are too young to go to war, as David, when he faces Goliath, is young; but he had fought a lion and a bear successfully by that time (1Sam. 17:33–37). Given that Saul calls David a youth, I would have to guess that David is between 14–16.

David and Jonathan

David and Jonathan are probably 10–20 years apart in age. However, what knits them together is Bible doctrine in their souls. Both David and Jonathan show themselves to be men of God, oriented to God’s workings in our lives (see 1Sam. 14:6 17:45–47).

It is surprising that a few numbers pulls everything together for us. In this case, the ages of Ishbosheth and David.

I have made the assumption that, 5 years pass between the time of Saul’s death and the installation of Ishbosheth as king over Israel. The other assumption, that Ishbosheth dies, 5 years pass, and then David becomes king over all Israel, is less likely, but a possibility. The truth may actually be somewhere in the middle, where 3 or 4 years pass after Saul dies and Ishbosheth is named king; and 2 or 3 years pass after the death of Ishbosheth before David assumes control over all Israel. This means that David and Ishbosheth could very nearly be the same age. Footnote

Clarke Footnote offers an even less likely theory that, Ishbosheth reigns for 2 years, and then Abner rules for 5 years after that (i.e., Ishbosheth was king in name only during those final 5 years).

There are even other theories, but much weirder and less likely than those presented so far. Some may be found in Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament; from e-Sword; 2Sam. 2:10–11. I will list some of these theories in 2Sam. 2:11.


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2Samuel 2:10c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ake ( ַא) [pronounced ahke]

surely, certainly, no doubt, only, but; only now, just now, only this once; nothing but

adverb of restriction, contrast, time, limitation, and exception. Also used as an affirmative particle

Strong’s #389 BDB #36

The Latin inserts the adverb only at this point.

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular construct

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

Yehûwdâh (הָדהי) [pronounced yehoo-DAW]

possibly means to praise, to be praised; and is transliterated Judah

masculine proper noun/location

Strong’s #3063 BDB #397

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

achărêy (י̤רֲח ַא) [pronounced ah-kuh-RAY]

hinder parts; behind, after; following; after that, afterwards

preposition; plural form

Strong’s #310 BDB #29

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: ...but the house of Judah followed [lit., were after] David. For many years while under pursuit, David functioned in southern Canaan, in the land of Judah. Despite the difficult circumstances that David found himself in, he was observed often by the people of Judah. They learned to trust him and recognized that he was an honorable man. Although David had a military career throughout Israel, and even though there were songs extolling his exploits, there was apparently an extended period of time when David was first in Judah and then just outside of Judah in Philistine controlled territory. In other words, the time frame where Saul was actively pursuing David was relatively long—possibly up to 10 years. Therefore, the northern kingdom would have had little or no contact with David over that period of time—while he was on the run from Saul, and they would be less inclined to suddenly accept him as their king. On the other hand, Saul has ruled over all Israel for about 40 years and, for the most part, has been valiant and protective of Israel. Therefore, we would expect that northern and eastern Israel would be more disposed to follow someone in Saul’s line.


And so he is a number of the days when was David king in Hebron over a house of Judah: seven years and six months.

2Samuel

2:11

And so it was [that] the number of days that David was the king in Hebron over the house of Judah [for] seven years and six months.

David ruled over the house of Judah from Hebron for 7½ years.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he is a number of the days when was David king in Hebron over a house of Judah: seven years and six months.

Septuagint                              And the days which David reigned in Chebron over the house of Juda were seven years and six months.

 

Significant differences: No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              ...and he ruled from Hebron for seven and a half year.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

HCSB                                     The length of time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.

Young’s Updated LT             And the number of the days that David has been king in Hebron, over the house of Judah, is seven years and six months.

 

The gist of this verse?          The time that David ruled in Hebron over Judah was 7½ years.


2Samuel 2:11

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

miçephâr (רָ ׃ס ̣מ) [pronounced mise-FAWR

number, counted, numerical total; a recounting, a narration

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4557 BDB #708

yâmîym (םי.מָי) [pronounced yaw-MEEM]

days, a set of days; time of life, lifetime; a specific time period, a year

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Cheberôwn (ןר׃ב∵ח) [pronounced khebv-ROHN]

association, league, joined; transliterated Hebron

proper noun; location

Strong’s #2275 BDB #289

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular construct

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

Yehûwdâh (הָדהי) [pronounced yehoo-DAW]

possibly means to praise, to be praised; and is transliterated Judah

masculine proper noun/location

Strong’s #3063 BDB #397

sheba׳ (ע ַב ש) [pronounced sheb-VAHĢ]

seven

numeral masculine noun

Strong's #7651 BDB #987

shânâh (הָנָש) [pronounced shaw-NAW]

year

feminine plural noun

Strong’s #8141 BDB #1040

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shishshâh (הָ̣ש) [pronounced shish-SHAW]

six

feminine form of numeral

Strong’s #8337 BDB #995

chôdesh (ש∵דֹח) [pronounced KHOH-desh]

new moon, month

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #2320 BDB #294


Translation: And so it was [that] the number of days that David was the king in Hebron over the house of Judah [for] seven years and six months. As was mentioned previously, Saul’s son, Ishbosheth, ruled for only two years over northern and eastern Israel; however, we are told here that David ruled for 7½ years over southern Israel. What we do not have is the amount of time which was devoted to Abner setting up Ishbosheth as king over northern Israel. I don’t’ think that he necessarily spent all of 5 years laying the groundwork for the rule of Ishbosheth, but he apparently spent some time negotiated with and talking to the various elders throughout northern and eastern Israel. In v. 9, we have the territory over which Ishbosheth ruled given in great detail. Even though it is never so stated, it is very likely that the places mentioned here are the places to where Abner went and spoke to the elders of those various territories and cities. Even prior to this, there is going to be a year or two after Israel was soundly defeated before Abner and Ishbosheth feel that they can move about freely.


You may wonder, why aren’t there Philistines everywhere throughout Israel ruling? The Philistines and Israel have been at war with one another for well over a century or two. If you think the Palestinians and the Israelis during our time have problems seeing eye-to-eye, this is nothing compared to the Philistines and Israelis during the time of the judges, Samuel, Saul and David. We are not looking at decades of war, but centuries of war. This constant war took a toll on the manpower of both sides. Even after a complete and total victory, neither side really had the manpower to go into the other territory and rule over them with an iron fist—at least, not for very long. So, no doubt, the Philistines exploited their victory over Israel as much as they could; but, after a few years, at best, they simply collected tribute and partially occupied a few cities, if even that.


When it comes to the peoples of the ancient world, each group and each leader is significantly different. You may recall Nahash the Ammonite who would have let the men of Jabesh Gilead live under the condition that he gouge out the right eye of each and every man in that city. God ordered Saul through Samuel to wipe out every single Amalekite; David, when he was living in Ziklag, killed every person of each group that he attacked. However, there is nothing to indicate that the Philistines did likewise. We have no words which indicate that they were are brutal as Nahash or that they looked to completely destroy the Jews (if they were collecting tribute, then this would be killing the goose that lays the golden egg). Given that the Philistines had outposts in various Jewish cities (alluded to several times in 1Samuel), we may reasonably assume that, at least during the time of Eli, Saul and David, the Philistines did not look to maim or completely wipe out the Jews; such an approach would be in keeping with the collecting of tribute (spoken of several times in the book of Judges, but not mentioned in connection with the Philistines and Jews, making it a matter of logical conjecture on my part).


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In almost every commentary I read, the different time periods of rule for David and for Ishbosheth are said to be difficult to understand. Personally, I saw no reason for this difference in numbers to be perplexing. Let me give you a suggested time line:

A Time-Line for the Divided Kingdom

Time

Ishbosheth

David

3 years

The Philistines control northern Israel. They occupy some cities and exact tribute.

David rules over Judah from Hebron. Although the Philistines are fairly powerful in northern and eastern Israel, they do not move into Judah. Very likely, they lack the manpower, they fear David, and the ruler of Gath does not want to attack David.

2 years

As the foothold of the Philistines weakens, Abner goes about northern and eastern Israel speaking to the elders about Ishbosheth ruling them. There may have even been a military campaign run by Abner against the occupying Philistines (that is the reasonable suggestion of some, but there is no documentation for this in Scripture).

2 years

Ishbosheth rules over northern and eastern Israel; during this time, there is a civil war between northern and southern Israel (Judah) wherein David is victorious.

6 months

There is a time frame during which northern and eastern Israel do not have a Jewish ruler.

Elders from northern Israel come to David and ask him to rule over them.

There is nothing magic about the numbers found in this time line, apart from Ishbosheth ruling for 2 years and David for 7½. This is simply conjecture as to why these time periods are different and what happened during those other 5½ years.

There’s no contradiction here; and, although Scripture does not give us a complete explanation as to why the times that these two men ruled is different. However, it does appear that one or two men, in later manuscripts, did change the text to make it nice and neat (11 of Kennicott’s manuscripts and 9 of DeRossi’s manuscripts read differently when it comes to the time that these men ruled).

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It never occurred to me that there was a serious problem here, but almost every commentator is concerned that Ishbosheth rules for 2 years (2Sam. 2:10) and David ruled over Judah alone for 7.5 years (2Sam. 5:5). The simple explanation is, David took control of Judah almost immediately after the death of Saul; Ishbosheth, over an area partially controlled by the Philistines, did not take control right away, and needed time to drum up support from the other tribes of Israel. The time frame I offered above is merely conjecture, but it is reasonable. The number of years given is not carved in stone (apart from the 2 years and 7.5 years), and are only given by way of illustration.

Other Theories Dealing with the Length of Ishbosheth’s Reign

Commentator

Theory and Comments

Barnes, Geisler and Howe, Gill, Kimchi, Kukis, Tidwell

Ishbosheth did not begin ruling over eastern and northern Israel immediately upon Saul’s death. Footnote This is the simplest and least complicated explanation, for which I have given an illustration above.

Clarke

It is well observed that Ish-bosheth reigned all the time that David reigned in Hebron, which was seven years and six months. Perhaps the meaning of the writer is this: Ish-bosheth reigned two years before any but the tribe of Judah had attached themselves to the interest of David. Some think that Abner in effect reigned the last five years of Ish-bosheth, who had only the name of king after the first two years. Footnote Clarke also goes off into some weird explanation as to how there is textual corruption here (it is true that later manuscripts are in agreement, but that probably is the textual corruption).

Freedman

David was acknowledged to be the ruler of Judah during that final 5.5 years of Saul’s reign. Footnote However, David fled Judah for the final year and a half, as he was afraid of Saul. This does not sound like the actions of someone ruling over Judah. Furthermore, there is no capitol city established during this time and no proclamations ever sent out (compare this to 2Sam. 2:3–7).

Gordon

David ruled both Judah and Israel from Hebron for 5½ years. Footnote Quite simply, this is not what 2Sam. 5:5 says (At Hebron, David reigned over Judah 7½ years and in Jerusalem he reigned 33 years over all Israel and Judah).

Keil and Delitzsch

The short duration of Ishbosheth's reign can only be explained, therefore, on the supposition that he was not made king, as David was, immediately after the death of Saul, but after the recovery by Abner of the land which the Philistines had taken on this side the Jordan, which may have occupied five years. Footnote

The Open Bible

Ishbosheth rules in Mahanaim for 5.5 years over Gilead, the Ashurties, Jezreel, Benjamin and Ephraim, but he only rules over all Israel for the final two years before being assassinated. Footnote

By the way, the only significance of Abner’s age and length of reign being mentioned first, and then David’s, is not a matter of chronological order (the length of their reigns and their ages are mentioned in 2Sam. 2:10–11 and 5:5). Abner’s length of reign is mentioned in v. 10 and David’s in v. 11. Keil and Delitzsch suggest that the inferior line is followed first, as we find throughout the book of Genesis. Footnote However, that David is reigning from Hebron has already been mentioned in 2Sam. 2:1–7 (we just studied it); and now Ishbosheth’s reign is mentioned. Therefore, there is really not even a problem with chronology here (and why Keil and Delitzsch think to bring this up confuses me, since it is not an issue in any way). The author of Samuel is simply proceding in an essentially chronological narrative, and, once David begins his reign over all Israel, then his age and the length of his rule are given. Footnote

To be quite frank with you, I have no idea if this represents all of the various theories or not. However, this gives you enough of a taste to hopefully recognize that the explanation for this verse and 2Sam. 5:5 is the one which I have been giving you up until this time.


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Civil War between Abner and David's Nephews


And so goes out Abner, son of Ner and servants of Ishbosheth, son of Saul, from Mahanaim Gibeon-ward.

2Samuel

2:12

Then Abner ben Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth ben Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.

Then Abner, the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text              And so goes out Abner, son of Ner and servants of Ishbosheth, son of Saul, from Mahanaim Gibeon-ward.

Septuagint                    And Abenner the son of Ner went forth, and the servants of Jebosthe the son of Saul, from Manaem to Gabaon.

 

Significant differences: None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              One day, Abner and the soldiers of Ishbosheth left Mahanaim and went to Gibeon.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                Ner's son Abner and the officers of Saul's son Ishbosheth went from Mahanaim to Gibeon.

HCSB                           Abner son of Ner and soldiers of Ish-bosheth son of Saul marched out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

WEB                             Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.

Young’s Updated LT    And Abner son of Ner goes out, and servants of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, from Mahanaim to Gibeon.

 

The gist of this verse?          There are two options at this point: David and Ishbosheth could rule over their respective territories, or they could war with each other for complete control. Abner takes an army from Mahanaim to Gibeon in order to face off David.


2Samuel 2:12

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yâtsâ (אָצָי) [pronounced yaw-TZAWH]

to go out, to come out, to come forth; to rise; to flow, to gush up [out]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3318 BDB #422

Ăbenêr ר̤נבֲא) [pronounced ubve-NAYR]

my father is Ner or my father is a lamp, and is transliterated Abner

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #74 BDB #4

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Nêr (ר̤נ) [pronounced nair]

lamp and is transliterated Ner

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #5369 BDB #633

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

Īysh-Bôsheth (ת∵שֹבשי.א) [pronounced eesh-BOH-sheath]

man of Baal; transliterated Ishbosheth

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #378 BDB #36

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

Machănayim (ם ̣י-נֲח-מ) [pronounced mahkh-uh-AH-yim]

two camps; transliterated Mahanaim

proper singular noun; location

Strong’s #4266 BDB #334

Gibe׳ôn (ןע׃ב ̣) [pronounced gibve-ĢOHN]

hill, hill-city; transliterated Gibeon

proper noun, masculine singular; with the directional hê

Strong’s #1391 BDB #149


Translation: Then Abner ben Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth ben Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. Mahanaim is the new capital of eastern and northern Israel, from which Ishbosheth reigns. Gibeon is in Benjamin, south of the Philistine-Israeli war zone of perhaps a few years back, and not too far from the southern kingdom of Judah. If Abner goes to Gibeon with an army, this is an act of aggression against David. Gibeon would be a border town between the territory controlled by Ishbosheth and the territory controlled by David (and territory conquered by the Philistines).


This is also a strategic move; Abner does not bring his army of crack troops to Gibeon without reason.

Why Abner Goes to Gibeon

1.      The Philistine hold over this general area has probably relaxed. They moved in as aggressors, but, now, over 5 years later, there is going to be less animosity between the occupying Philistines and Israelis.

2.      The Benjamites, if only by virtue that Saul, Abner and Ishbosheth are Benjamites, would be naturally more open to Ishbosheth’s leadership. Therefore, we would expect additional help from local Benjamites if needed (which appears to be what happens near the end of this chapter).

3.      David’s control is primarily over Judah. If he intends to rule over a greater portion of land, then we would expect him to begin exerting his influence further and further north, which would begin in the territory of Benjamin. This would be a way of nipping any northward movement in the bud.

4.      Abner knows this area well, as he is a Benjamite. He knows the roads and the hills and he will set up troops strategically to back him up if necessary.

5.      Even though it is claimed here that Ishbosheth was king over northern Israel, we do not find the popular support for him in northern Israel as we will for David (as found in the latter half of 1Chron. 12). Therefore, taking a stand in any other territory is not going to necessarily result in an overwhelming support of all the residents, particularly when going up against David’s army.

There are a number of things which help your memory. If you have a general idea of the layout of Israel and its principle cities, and know roughly which cities and what land is involved in this or that piece of history, the history itself is more likely to remain in your mind. The mind is a very complex thing, and being able to visualize a map causes the history of Israel to stick with you, more than it would if these cities are just names and nothing else to you. Dates are the same way, by the way. If you have a time line in your mind of approximately when Moses brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, when the judges controlled Israel, when David was king, when Isaiah functioned as a prophet, when the northern and then the southern kingdoms were overrun and disperse, etc., then when you hear about an historical incident, it is much easier to recall because you can drop it into the slot of this or that time frame.


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The verb found here, to go out, is often used for an army mobilizing for war and going to a particular place to battle (Num. 21:23, 33 1Sam. 18:30). However, this is one usage of many.


Barnes suggests Footnote that part of what Abner has on his mind is establishing a capital city closer to where Saul ruled from, which is Gibeah (Gibeon and Gibeah are very near to one another). This could also be seen as an act of aggression from Abner against David.


It is possible that Ishbosheth and Abner, having been given power over all northern and eastern Israel, decided to explore the option of taking Judah. Despite the fact that the Philistines continually attacked central Israel, Israel still perceived itself as one whole nation; and it would have seemed reasonable to Ishbosheth and Abner that they should rule over all Israel. After all, at no time had there been any formal separation between these two areas.


It is interesting that there is more thought given to David and his control of Judah, rather than to the Philistines. At this point, we are about 5 years after the Philistine army fought Saul’s army and they now occupy many Israeli cities in central Israel (which is where these troops are). Furthermore, it does not sound as though we are dealing with a full-sized army here, and the statistics which will follow will bear this out.


And Joab son of Zeruiah and servants of David go out and they meet them by a pool of Gibeon together. And so they remain, these by the pool from here and these by the pool from there.

2Samuel

2:13

Also, Joab ben Zeruiah and the servants of David went out, and they all [lit., together] met by the pool of Gibeon. They remained there, these on this side of the pool and those [lit., these] on that side.

Joab ben Zeruiah and David’s army also went out, and they all met by the pool of Gibeon. They remained there for a time, with one army on one side and the other on the other side.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And Joab son of Zeruiah and servants of David go out and they meet them by a pool of Gibeon together. And so they remain, these by the pool from here and these by the pool from there.

Septuagint                              And Joab the son of Saruia, and the servants of David, went forth from Chebron, and met them at the fountain of Gabaon, at the same place; and these sat down by the fountain on this side, and those by the fountain on that side.

 

Significant differences:           The Greek adds that Joab and his men went out from Hebron. The Greek phrase at the same place seems to correspond with together in the Hebrew. The word in the Hebrew which I translated remain could also be rendered sit, so there is no real difference here. The verbiage on this side...on that side in the Greek is also a reasonable way to render the Hebrew. So, even though these verses may look as though there are several differences, there is really one primary difference: the addition of the words from Hebron in the Greek (missing from the Hebrew, Latin and Syriac). The addition or lack of that word really does not change anything; we would assume that they would be coming from Hebron, where David has his capital city.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Meanwhile, Joab the son of Zeruiah was leading David's soldiers, and the two groups met at the pool in Gibeon. Abner and his men sat down on one side of the pool, while Joab and his men sat on the other side.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Zeruiah's son Joab and David's officers also left Hebron. Both groups met at the pool of Gibeon. They sat down there, one group on one side of the pool and the other group on the other side of the pool.

HCSB                                     So Joab son of Zeruiah and David's soldiers marched out and met them by the pool of Gibeon. The two groups took up positions on opposite sides of the pool.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And Joab the son of Zeruiah, and the servants of David, went out and met by the pool of Gibeon and sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool.

Young's Literal Translation     And Joab son of Zeruiah, and servants of David, have gone out, and they meet by the pool of Gibeon together, and sit down, these by the pool on this side, and these by the pool on that.

 

The gist of this verse?          David’s army goes to the same place, with Joab leading them. They stand on opposite sides of the pool of Gibeon.


2Samuel 2:13a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Yôwâb (בָאי) [pronounced YOH-awbv]

Yah is father and is transliterated Joab

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #3097 BDB #221

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Tserûwyâh (הָירצ) [pronounced tzeroo-YAW]

transliterated Zeruiah

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #6870 BDB #863

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

yâtsâ (אָצָי) [pronounced yaw-TZAWH]

to go out, to come out, to come forth; to rise; to flow, to gush up [out]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3318 BDB #422

The Greek adds from Hebron.


Translation: Also, Joab ben Zeruiah and the servants of David went out,... We have seen Joab only once before in 1Chron. 2:13–15 and 1Sam. 26:6. David had several brothers and two sisters, one of them being Zeruiah; Zeruiah had several sons, including Abishai and Joab. Abishai was one of David’s most trusted soldiers, as we saw in 1Sam. 26:6–12; and obviously, Joab is as well, as Joab commands one of David’s battalions. You may find this interesting, that, even though David’s brothers never thought much of David, his nephews by one sister thought very highly of him, and they became trusted high-ranking soldiers in David’s army.


This march from Hebron to Gibeon is approximately 24 miles. Footnote


2Samuel 2:13b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

pâga׳ (עַג ָ) [pronounced paw-GAHĢ]

to fall upon, to meet, to encounter, to reach

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect; with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #6293 BDB #803

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

berêkâh (הָכ̤ר) [pronounced be-ray-KAW]

pool, pond

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #1295 BDB #140

Gibe׳ôn (ןע׃ב ̣) [pronounced gibve-ĢOHN]

hill, hill-city; transliterated Gibeon

proper noun, masculine singular; with the directional hê

Strong’s #1391 BDB #149

yachad (דַחַי) [pronounced YAH-khahd]

together, alike, all together; union, junction, mutually, with one another; equally

adverb

Strong’s #3162 BDB #403

There are several slightly different spellings of this adverb.


Translation: ...and they all [lit., together] met by the pool of Gibeon. This is another one of the interesting situations (to me at least); they undoubtedly did not both end up there by accident. However, we have no explanation as to how they gathered here together. Did Abner begin a march on Judah, and did Abner know this was occurring, and sent a force to meet them? Were there communications between the two armies and they decided to meet in Gibeon? Another question which we cannot answer and feel comfortable with.


There are, apparently, several reservoirs in Gibeon, Footnote and we have the mention of this one (or another one) in Jer. 41:12b (they found him by the great waters that are in Gibeon).


What is also interesting here is, we do not see to have a Philistine involvement here. Abner marches over the Jordan and into central Israel, where the Philistines are living (they have not supplanted the Israelites, but are living side-by-side the Israelites); and we do not see a Philistine response; but there does appear to be a response by David.


2Samuel 2:13c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yâshab (בַשָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV]

to remain, to stay; to dwell, to live, to inhabit; to sit

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3427 BDB #442

êlleh (ה  ֵא) [pronounced ALE-leh]

these, these things

demonstrative plural adjective

Strong's #428 BDB #41

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

berêkâh (הָכ̤ר) [pronounced be-ray-KAW]

pool, pond

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #1295 BDB #140

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

zeh (הז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, this one; thus; possibly another

masculine singular demonstrative adjective

Strong’s #2088, 2090 (& 2063) BDB #260

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êlleh (ה  ֵא) [pronounced ALE-leh]

these, these things

demonstrative plural adjective

Strong's #428 BDB #41

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

berêkâh (הָכ̤ר) [pronounced be-ray-KAW]

pool, pond

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #1295 BDB #140

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

zeh (הז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, this one; thus; possibly another

masculine singular demonstrative adjective

Strong’s #2088, 2090 (& 2063) BDB #260

The combination ה∵ז  ̣מ preceded by ה∵ז  ̣מ means hence and hence; on this side...and on that side, on either side.


Translation: They remained there, these on this side of the pool and those [lit., these] on that side. This was an awkward situation. Although there had been some civil disputes in Israel, including one which almost destroyed the tribe of Benjamin, this could be the most serious stand off to date. Both Abner and Joab and their respective armies stood on opposite sides of the pool of Gibeon, sizing up the situation and each other. It was a difficult situation. They knew that splitting up Israel was not the right move; so the two kingdoms should not remain separated. However, neither side was willing to give into the other side. Furthermore, given that the Philistines had beaten down Israel’s army, what Joab had and what Abner had by way of manpower was probably pretty equal. A full out civil war could wipe out a huge number of men from both sides.


The men in both armies know that the result of a civil war could be devastating to both sides; they know that this is almost unprecedented. As Abner examines the situation, he comes up with a plan.


And so says Abner unto Joab, “Will arise, please, the young men and make sport to our faces.”


And so says Joab, “They arise.”

2Samuel

2:14

Then Abner said to Joab, “[Let] the young men arise and compete [lit., make sport, play] before us.”


And Joab said, “[Let] them arise.”

Then Abner suggested to Joab, “Let these young men get up and compete before us.”


And Joab agreed to this.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text              And so says Abner unto Joab, “Will arise, please, the young men and make sport to our faces.”

 

And so says Joab, “They arise.”

Septuagint                    And Abenner said to Joab, “Let now the young men arise, and play before us.” And Joab said, “Let them arise.”

 

Significant differences: No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                              Abner yelled to Joab, "Let's have some of our best soldiers get up and fight each other!" Joab agreed,...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                Abner said to Joab, "Let's have the young men hold a contest." Joab agreed.

HCSB                           Then Abner said to Joab, "Let's have the young men get up and compete in front of us." "Let them get up," Joab replied.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                              And Abner said to Joab, "Let the young men arise and compete before us." And Joab said, "Let them arise."

Young’s Updated LT    And Abner says unto Joab, “Let the youths rise up, I pray you, and they play before us.” And Joab says, “Let them rise.”

 

The gist of this verse?          Abner suggests to Joab that their young men square off in some sort of competition, as opposed to an all-out conflict; and Joab agrees to this.


2Samuel 2:14a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Ăbenêr ר̤נבֲא) [pronounced ubve-NAYR]

my father is Ner or my father is a lamp, and is transliterated Abner

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #74 BDB #4

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Yôwâb (בָאי) [pronounced YOH-awbv]

Yah is father and is transliterated Joab

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #3097 BDB #222


Translation: Then Abner said to Joab,... We do not know Abner’s age; however, he is probably Saul’s uncle (discussed in great detail in 1Sam. 26:5); however, an uncle is not necessarily older than his nephew (although that is usually the case). Joab, on the other hand, is one of David’s nephews, and—as I have just stated—not necessarily younger than David. However, it is likely that Abner is considerably older than Joab—we have the old general facing the young general. For that reason, Abner speaks first and makes the suggestion that we will find.


There are a couple of possible scenarios—Abner could be yelling across the pool to Joab; or they could have met along side the pool by mutual agreement.


2Samuel 2:14b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

qûwm (םק) [pronounced koom]

to stand, to rise up, to get up; to establish, to establish a vow, to cause a vow to stand, to confirm or to fulfill a vow

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #6965 BDB #877

nâ (אָנ) [pronounced naw]

now; please, I pray you, I respectfully implore (ask, or request of) you, I urge you

particle of entreaty

Strong's #4994 BDB #609

na׳ar (ר-ע-נ) [pronounced NAH-ģahr]

boy, youth, young man, personal attendant

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5288 & #5289 BDB #654

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

sâchaq (קַחָ) [pronounced saw-KHAHK]

to joke, to jest, to laugh repeatedly, to play, to amuse, to dance

3rd person masculine plural, Piel imperfect

Strong’s #7832 BDB #965

Possibly used here to mean to compete.

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pânîym (םי̣נָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces countenance; presence

masculine plural noun (plural acts like English singular); with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean before us, before our faces, in our presence, in our sight, in front of us.


Translation:...“[Let] the young men arise and compete [lit., make sport, play] before us.” The verb that we find here is not what we would expect. This is a verb which is used for children playing or women dancing or men joking. Abner suggests this as though it is a friendly competition; however, it is anything but. This will be a battle to the death.

 

Barnes notes the passages Judges 16:25 and 1Sam. 18:7, and comments: Here, the word is applied to the serious game of war, to be played by twelve combatants on each side, with the two armies for spectators. Footnote


2Samuel 2:14c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Yôwâb (בָאי) [pronounced YOH-awbv]

Yah is father and is transliterated Joab

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #3097 BDB #222

qûwm (םק) [pronounced koom]

to stand, to rise up, to get up; to establish, to establish a vow, to cause a vow to stand, to confirm or to fulfill a vow

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #6965 BDB #877


Translation: And Joab said, “[Let] them arise.” What Abner suggests, on the surface, seems reasonable. There will be less bloodshed as a result. However, it is questionable whether the loser in either case would be willing to simply let things go.


Gill reasonably suggests Footnote that David ordered Joab to be on the defensive, and to avoid bloodshed if possible. Therefore, his responses might be that of a younger, less experienced general; or his responses may have been tempered by David’s likely instructions.


And so they arise and so they pass over in a number two-teen to Benjamin and to Ishbosheth son of Saul and two-teen from servants of David.

2Samuel

2:15

So then they arose and crossed over by number: 12 for Benjamin and for Ishbosheth ben Saul and 12 from the servants of David.

Then 12 young men of Benjamin belonging to Ishbosheth son of Saul, arise and cross over to meet 12 young men from the servants of David.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so they arise and so they pass over in a number two-teen to Benjamin and to Ishbosheth son of Saul and two-teen from servants of David.

Septuagint                              And there arose and passed over by number twelve of the children of Benjamin, belonging to Jebosthe the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David.

 

Significant differences:           Although the sense is clearly the same, in the Hebrew, it is the men who are arising and crossing over. Also, there seems to be a different sense of the men of Ishbosheth, in the Greek and Syriac as versus the Hebrew. In the Greek and Syriac, 12 men arise who are Benjamites that belong to Ishbosheth. Had I not mentioned this, you may have read over the Hebrew and Greek translation and not noticed the subtle difference.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       ...and twelve of Ishbosheth's men from the tribe of Benjamin got up to fight twelve of David's men.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         The men got up and were counted as they passed by. Twelve were from the tribe of Benjamin (representing Saul's son Ishbosheth), and twelve were from David's officers.

HCSB                                     So they got up and were counted off—12 for Benjamin and Ish-bosheth son of Saul, and 12 from David's soldiers.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Updated Emphasized Bible    Then there arose and went over by number, 12 [men] of Benjamin, pertaining to Ishbosheth, son of Saul, and 12 of the servants of David.

WEB                                      Then they arose and went over by number: twelve for Benjamin, and for Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David.

Young's Updated LT              And they rise and pass over, in number twelve of Benjamin, even of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David.

 

The gist of this verse?          12 of Joab’s men and 12 of Abner’s men arise and go over to meet one another.


2Samuel 2:15a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qûwm (םק) [pronounced koom]

to stand, to rise up, to get up; to establish, to establish a vow, to cause a vow to stand, to confirm or to fulfill a vow

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #6965 BDB #877

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âbar (ר ַב ָע) [pronounced ģawb-VAHR]

to pass over, to pass through, to pass on, to pass, to go over, to cross, to cross over

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #5674 BDB #716

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

miçephâr (רָ ׃ס ̣מ) [pronounced mise-FAWR

number, counted, numerical total; a recounting, a narration

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #4557 BDB #708

shetayîm (ם ̣י ַ ׃ש) [pronounced sheTAH-yim]

two, a second [time]; a repetition, a repeating

feminine numeral substantive

Strong’s #8147 BDB #1040

׳âsâr (רָָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWR]

ten; –teen [resulting in numbers 11–19]

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #6240 BDB #797

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Bineyâmîyn (ןי.מָינ  ̣) [pronounced bin-yaw-MEEN]

transliterated Benjamin, it means son of [my] right hand

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1144 BDB #122

Spelled here Bineyâmîn (ן  ̣מָינ  ̣) [pronounced bin-yaw-MIN].

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Īysh-Bôsheth (ת∵שֹבשי.א) [pronounced eesh-BOH-sheath]

man of Baal; transliterated Ishbosheth

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #378 BDB #36

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982


Translation: So then they arose and crossed over by number: 12 for Benjamin and for Ishbosheth ben Saul... It is not completely clear to me whether this verb applies to all 24 men; however, the general sense is clear: these 24 men all met up together.


2Samuel 2:15b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shetayîm (ם ̣י ַ ׃ש) [pronounced sheTAH-yim]

two, a second [time]; a repetition, a repeating

feminine numeral substantive

Strong’s #8147 BDB #1040

׳âsâr (רָָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWR]

ten; –teen [resulting in numbers 11–19]

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #6240 BDB #797

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

Dâvid (ד ̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: ...and 12 from the servants of David. These men are continually spoken of as the servants of David.


In the mind of Joab, Abner’s suggestion makes sense—instead of both armies going to war right then and there, for 12 of the best from each side to compete to the death. Such an approach could possibly save the lives of many. I think that Abner has several scenarios in his mind, as to what he will do if this or that happens; I think that Joab is playing this by ear, trying to determine what he can do to prevent civil war, but without backing down.


And so takes a man in a head of his associate and his sword in a side of his associate and so they fall together. And so he calls to the place the that Helkath-Hazzurim, which [is] in Gibeon.

2Samuel

2:16

So each man grabbed the head of his associated and [thrust] his sword into the side and they both fell. Therefore, that place, which [is] in Gibeon, is called Helkath-Hazzurim.

So each man grabbed the head of his associated and thrust his sword into the side and the both fell. Therefore, that place is called Helkath-Hazzurim.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so takes a man in a head of his associate and his sword in a side of his associate and so they fall together. And so he calls to the place the that Helkath-Hazzurim, which [is] in Gibeon.

Septuagint                              And they seized every one the head of his neighbor with his hand, and his sword was thrust into the side of his neighbor, and they fall down together: and the name of that place was called The portion of the treacherous ones, which is in Gabaon.

 

Significant differences: In the Greek, the head is grabbed with one’s hand.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       They grabbed each other by the hair and stabbed each other in the side with their daggers. They all died right there! That's why the place in Gibeon is called "Field of Daggers."

The Message                         The men from each side grabbed their opponents' heads and stabbed them with their daggers. They all fell dead--the whole bunch together. So, they called the place Slaughter Park. It's right there at Gibeon.

NJB                                        Each caught his opponent by the head and drove his sword into his side; and thus they all fell together. Hence the place was called the Field of Sides; it is at Gibeon.

NLT                                        Each one grabbed his opponent by the hair and thrust his sword into the other’s side so that all of them died. The place has been known ever since as the Field of Swords [Hebrew Helkath-hazzurim].


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Each one grabbed his opponent by the head, stuck his sword into his opponent's side, and they fell down together. Therefore, that place in Gibeon is called the Field of Enemies.

HCSB                                     Then each man grabbed his opponent by the head and thrust his sword into his opponent's side so that they all died together. So this place, which is in Gibeon, is named Field of Blades.

JPS (Tanakh)                         Each one grasped his opponent’s head [Septuagint adds “with his hand”] [and thrust] his dagger into his opponent’s side; thus they fell together. That place, which is in Gibeon, was called Helkath-Hazzurim [Meaning perhaps “the Field of the Flints (or Blades)”].


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

LTHB                                     And each one lay hold on the head of his companion, and thrust his sword into the side of his companion. And they fell together. And one called that place The Field of Rocks, which is in Gibeon.

WEB                                      They caught everyone his fellow by the head, and thrust his sword in his fellow's side; so they fell down together: therefore that place was called Helkath Hazzurim, which is in Gibeon.

Young’s Updated LT             And they lay hold, each on the head of his companion, and his sword is in the side of his companion, and they fall together, and one calls that place Helkath-Hazzurim, which is in Gibeon.

 

The gist of this verse?          The 24 soldiers all kill one another. Where this takes place is named Helkath-Hazzurim, which means the field of blades


2Samuel 2:16a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

châzaq (ק ַז ָח) [pronounced khaw-ZAHK]

to take, to strengthen, to repair, to hold fast, to grab

3rd person masculine plural, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #2388 BDB #304

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

rôsh (שאֹר) [pronounced rohsh]

head, top, chief, front, choicest

masculine singular construct

Strong's #7218 BDB #910

rêa׳ ( ַע ֵר) [pronounced RAY-ahģ]

associate, neighbor, colleague, fellow, acquaintance

masculine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #7453 BDB #945

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

chereb (ברח) [pronounced khe-REBV]

sword, knife, dagger; any sharp tool

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #2719 BDB #352

be () [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

tsad (דַצ) [pronounced tzahd]

side

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #6654 BDB #841

rêa׳ ( ַע ֵר) [pronounced RAY-ahģ]

associate, neighbor, colleague, fellow, acquaintance

masculine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #7453 BDB #945


Translation: So each man grabbed the head of his associated and [thrust] his sword into the side... I think that what Abner had in mind was, his older and more experienced soldiers would quickly dispatch David’s men, and that he might be able to call this a victory, and prevent further bloodshed. The idea would be that, if his 12 best defeated David’s 12 best, then the best David could hope for is for all of his soldiers to die eventually. I am sure that Abner had an alternative plan as well; in the unlikely event that he lost, he could suggest a truce and suggest that he would return to confer with his king. However, what happened instead of this is, these 12 pairs of men killed one another, meaning that the armies of Abner and David were quite evenly matched.


It does seem quite unlikely that anyone has a hand large enough to grab the head of another man; however, some probably grabbed the beards of their adversary, and others may have grabbed the hair of their heads (saying that each man grabbed the head of his adversary allows for either understanding). You may have wondered why the US military requires all men to shave their heads and beards upon entering boot camp.

 

From the Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge: Plutarch, in his Apophthegms, informs us, that all things being ready for a battle, that Alexander’s captains asked him whether he had anything else to command them. “Nothing, but that the Macedonians shave their beards.” Parmenio, when he asked why they should do so, was told, “Don’t you know that in a fight, there is no better hold than the beard?”  Footnote


2Samuel 2:16b

Hebrew/P