2Samuel 20

 

2Samuel 20:1–26

Sheba ben Bichri’s Revolution Against King David


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.


These exegetical studies are not designed for you to read each and every word. For instance, the Hebrew exegesis is put into greyish tables, so that if you want to skip over them, that is fine. If you question a translation, you can always refer back to the appropriate Hebrew tables to sort it all out.

 

The intent is to make this particular study the most complete and most accurate examination of 2Samuel 20 which is available in writing. The idea is to make every phrase, verse and passage understandable; and to make application of all that is studied.

 

Besides teaching you the doctrinal principles related to this chapter, this commentary is also to help bring this narrative to life, so that you can understand the various characters, their motivations, and the choices that they make. Ideally, you will be able to visualize the peoples and armies as they move across the landscape of the Land of Promise.


At this time, there a worthless man whose name was Sheba ben Bichri, who became well-known. He was from the tribe of Benjamin. He blew the trumpet and proclaimed, “My fellow Israelites, we have no portion in a land ruled by David; this son of Jesse does not provide for us our inheritance. Let us return to our homes in Israel, and consider our options there!” (2Sam. 20:1)

 

Amasa went to summon the army of Judah, but he did not complete this assignment within the 3 days that David gave him. David then said to Abishai, “Sheba the son of Bichri could do more evil to us than Absalom did. You must take my army and pursue after them, so that he does not find a city in which to take refuge and establish a permanent outpost.” (2Sam. 20:5–6)

 

They were at the great stone, which is in Gibeon; and Amasa had come before Joab’s armies. Joab was wearing his outer garment and his under garment, and upon him was a belt. There was a sword fastened on his hips in a sheath. When he came forth, the sword fell out. Joab greeted Amasa, saying, “Are you well, my brother?” Joab used his right hand to take a hold a Amasa’s beard to kiss him, but Amasa did not notice the sword [or, dagger] that was in Joab’s left hand. Joab then struck him in the abdomen and he poured out his bowels onto the ground and Amasa died. Afterward, Joab and Abishai resumed their pursuit of Sheba, the son of Bichri. (2Sam. 20:8–10)

 

Luke 22:47–48 While he was still speaking, suddenly a crowd appeared, and the man named Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He walked up to Jesus to kiss him. But Jesus said to him, "Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?" (The NET Bible)

 

Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend,

         but the kisses of an enemy are excessive. (The NET Bible)

 

Then [the wise woman of Abel] said [to Joab], “In ancient times, people would ask of the wise in Abel, and the answer would bring the matter to completion. I am a woman who wants peace and I am of the faithful in Israel. Yet you seem so willing to destroy the inheritance of Jehovah.” (2Sam. 20:18–19)

 

[Joab responds to the woman] “Such is not the case. The problem is, Sheba ben Bichri, a man from the hill country, has rebelled against David the king. If you are can deliver just this one man over to me, then I will depart from your city.”

 

The woman then said to Joab, “Listen, his head will be thrown over the wall to you.” (2Sam. 20:21)

 

J. Vernon McGee: Through all of these trials David is not crying aloud, nor is he whimpering. He knows that the Lord is dealing with him in the woodshed. Don't think that David got by with his sin, friend. He was severely punished. However, David loved God. Underneath the faith that failed was a faith that never failed. That's David, God's man, a man after God's own heart. Footnote


Outline of Chapter 20:

 

Introduction

 

         vv.     1–22         Sheba’s Revolution

         vv.     1–7                    Preparation for the Revolution

         vv.     8–13                  Joab Kills Amasa

         vv.    14–15                  Joab’s Assault of the City of Abel

         vv.    16–22                  Joab’s Encounter with the Wise Woman of Abel

         vv.    23–26         David’s Cabinet

 

Addendum


Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:

 

         Introduction         The Principals of 2Samuel 20

         Introduction         The Prequel of 2Samuel 20

         Introduction         The Expository Bible Summarizes the Events at the End of 2Samuel 19

         Introduction         The Abbreviated Davidic Timeline

         Introduction         A Synopsis of 2Samuel 20

         Introduction         Matthew Henry’s Alternative Outline to 2Samuel 20

 

         v.       1              The Grievances of the Declaration of Independence

         v.       1              The Massorah by Dr. E.W. Bullinger

         v.       2              A Summary of 2Samuel 20:1–2

         v.       3              David and his Mistresses

         v.       3              Why the Bible Covers the Topic of David’s 10 Mistresses

         v.       6              Abishai, Amasa or Joab?

         v.       7              God and Revolution

         v.      10              Joab killing Amasa (graphic)

         v.      10              Joab—the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

         v.      19              What do we know for certain about vv. 18–19?

         v.      19              Two Interpretations of 2Samuel 20:18–19

         v.      22              The Doctrine of Wisdom

         v.      22              Sheba’s head being thrown over the wall (graphic)

         v.      22              Hajime Murai on the Chiasmos of 2Samuel 20:1–22

         v.      22              Luther Seminary Chiasmos

         v.      24              The Jehoshaphat’s of Scripture

         v.      25              The Sheva’s of Scripture

         v.      25              Comparing David’s Cabinet Members

 

         Addendum          The Pulpit Commentary Looks Back at David’s Time as King

         Addendum          Why 2Samuel 20 is in the Word of God

         Addendum          What We Learn from 2Samuel 20

         Addendum          Josephus’ History of this Time Period

         Addendum          Edersheim Summarizes 2Samuel 20

         Addendum          A Complete Translation of 2Samuel 20

         Addendum          The Pulpit Commentary on What Lies Ahead in 2Samuel

         Addendum          Word Cloud from a Reasonably Literal Paraphrase of 2Samuel 20

         Addendum          Word Cloud from Exegesis of 2Samuel 20


Chapter Outline

 

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

Beginning of Document

Doctrines Covered and Alluded to

Chapters of the Bible Alluded To

Psalms Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

Other Chapters of the Bible Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

Definition of Terms

Introduction

 

Addendum

www.kukis.org

 

Exegetical Studies in Samuel


Pre-Introduction Links

Doctrines Covered and Alluded To

Chapters of the Bible Alluded To or Psalms Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

Definition of Terms


Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Chapters of the Bible Alluded To

 

2Samuel 17

2Samuel 19

 


Psalms Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

 

 

 

 


Other Chapters of the Bible Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

 

 

 

 



Many who read and study this chapter are 1st or 2nd generation students of R. B. Thieme, Jr., so that much of this vocabulary is second nature. One of Bob’s contributions to theology is a fresh vocabulary along with a number of concepts which are theologically new or reworked, yet still orthodox. Therefore, if you are unfamiliar with his work, the definitions below will help you to fully understand all that is being said. In addition to this, I will use a number of other more traditional technical theological terms which will be used and therefore defined as well.

Definition of Terms

Chiasmos

A chiasmos (also spelled chiasmus) is the way that some portions of the Bible are organized. It takes its name from the Greek letter chi (χ). The first section matches with the last, the second with the second-to-the-last, etc. It is called a chiasmos, because the inverted parallelism looks like a chi (actually, half a chi) when one looks at it from its organizational standpoint.

Emendations

An emendation is a correction by emending; a correction resulting from critical editing. It is the act of offering an improvement to replace a mistake; setting right. In relationship to the Bible, it is thought to be a place where the text of the Old Testament might be slightly different. Although Bulling speaks of the 18 emendations, this is not a set number.

Interlocking Systems of Arrogance

The interlocking systems of arrogance refers to many clusters of sins which have a tendency to interlock with one another. That is, a believer who goes into interlocking systems of arrogance through one gate (or entrance), is likely to interlock with another cluster of sins if he remains out of fellowship. We have simple examples of this in life. A person might begin to smoke marijuana, which is illegal. Some time later, he may take other drugs (this is why marijuana is often called a gateway drug). He may also become involved in anti-authority actions, extreme liberal philosophy and politics, and break more and greater laws. He may involve himself with a woman with the same weaknesses, and they become involved in sexual arrogance together (his norms and standards being wiped out by his changing mores). He enters in the gate of smoking marijuana which makes him vulnerable to a number of other clusters of sins.

Justice of God

The righteousness of God is the principle of God’s integrity; and the justice of God is the application or the function of God’s integrity. Our point of contact with God is not His love but His justice. We are justified before Him. We initially adjust to His justice by believing in Jesus Christ.

Massorah

The massorah is a varying number of lines of smaller writing, distributed between the upper and lower margins of the Biblical text. It contains information necessary to those who trust the Sacred Text was committed, so that they might transcribe it, and hand it down correctly.

Sexual arrogance; sexual addiction

This is the point where sexual desire overrides all else in a person’s psyche. It overrides reason, compassion, protocol. Just as the drug addict might be willing to do nearly anything for a fix; so the sexually addicted will be willing to do and even risk anything in order to fulfill their lusts. For the sexual addict, the object of his sexual lust is simply an object; his sexual lust does not indicate any sort of love is involved; not even like.

Some of these definitions are taken from

http://gracebiblechurchwichita.org/?page_id=1556

http://www.bibledoctrinechurch.org/?subpages/GLOSSARY.shtml

http://rickhughesministries.org/content/Biblical-Terms.pdf

http://www.gbible.org/index.php?proc=d4d

http://www.wordoftruthministries.org/termsanddefs.htm

http://www.realtime.net/~wdoud/topics.html

http://www.theopedia.com/


——————————


An Introduction to 2Samuel 20


I ntroduction: 2Sam. 20 is easily divided into two separate sections: the revolution of Sheba ben Bichri and a list of those in David’s cabinet after the revolutions. Since the latter list is so small, it is added on to this chapter rather than presented as a separate chapter.


Quite frankly, 2Sam. 20 is probably not going to be your favorite chapter in Scripture; it is probably no one’s favorite chapter in Scripture. God’s name, Yehowah, is mentioned one time, and there is precious little about the spiritual life, spiritual growth or God’s involvement in the history of Israel. History has produced very little artwork related to this chapter; and you will not see any verse from this chapter superimposed over some wondrous photo of nature. This chapter reminds me very much of many chapters from the book of the Judges.


If you will recall, a whole series of events was based upon David’s sexual arrogance, where he took the wife of a great soldier of his and then had that soldier killed. He used his authority over Joab, his lead general, to kill this man. We have seen what happened to David over the years, the pressures which God put upon him; but this chapter spends more time on Joab and how David’s venture into the interlocking systems of arrogance affected those closest to him.


David, primarily with the help of Joab, put down the revolution of Absalom in the previous few chapters. However, there came to be a rift between the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel, setting the stage for their eventual dissolution. This rift began on a misunderstanding Footnote in the previous chapter, and blossomed to a full-scale revolution.


One of the things which is important about a revolution is, it is never about the little people. A revolution is all about power, and in this case, it is about the power of Sheba ben Bichri. Generally speaking, life for the average person becomes quite horrible in a revolution (I write this in 2014, and we see this being played out all over the Middle East, sometimes foolishly called the Facebook revolution because many of the revolutionaries communicate via Facebook). Foolish people think that this is the prelude for democracies to break out all over the Middle East, but it is simply the prelude for a younger and more brutal administration to take over from those presently in power. Even the most controlled of the revolutions, the one taking place in Egypt, has involved a great deal of brutality and killing, and, at some point, the military, which has been holding it all together there, will have to step forward and end the revolting—and that may involve a great many more deaths.


The people of our country have been brainwashed into thinking that a righteous war is not; but that revolutions, in general, are good things. It is exactly the opposite; and this reveals just how much communist propaganda has infected our entire culture. Most of our righteous wars were against communism spreading; and most revolutions, until most recently, were all about overthrowing a non-communist government and replacing it with a communist government.


Sheba, in this chapter of 2Samuel, does not appear to have a real platform, which is typical of revolutionaries. They may spout a philosophy or align themselves with this or that political movement; but, when all is said and done, they want power. What they say, like most politicians, is merely a means to an end.


In this chapter, the hoi polloi strikes back. The common people decide to end the revolution themselves, and they do so by killing and beheading Sheba. Had they sided with and stayed with Sheba, it is likely that the entire city where he was staying would have been destroyed.


Revolution ends in three ways, essentially: (1) The establishment government soundly defeats the revolutionaries. (2) The new revolutionary leader places greater constraints upon the people under his control than did any previous leader. For most communist revolutions, there are far more people killed after the revolution than during the revolution. (3) The people themselves reject the revolutionary figure and all that he promises. The defeat of Absalom is an example of the first; the defeat of Sheba will be an example of the third.


There are a few difficulties in this and the previous chapter. Hopefully, the text here and the use of logic will lead us to the correct conclusions.


We need to know who the people are who populate this chapter.

The Principals of 2Samuel 20:1–22

Characters

Biographical Material

King David

King David is back in charge, and he has returned to Jerusalem.

Sheba ben Bichri

Sheba is a revolutionary who took advantage of a misunderstanding between north and south Israel which took place upon David’s return and re-coronation.

Amasa

Amasa was the lead general against David in the Absalom revolution. David promoted him to lead general in his own army—apparently over Joab. This will prove to be a lousy appointment.

Abishai

Abishai is the second general under Joab, and Joab’s brother.

Joab

Joab will kill Amasa and take over the lead of David’s troops to put down the revolutionary, Sheba.

The wise woman of Abel

Sheba goes to Abel and Joab begins to besiege this city. A wise woman speaks to Joab to arrange a different way of ending this revolution.

The end of this chapter lists those in David’s cabinet after the revolutions have been put down.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


It is important to understand what has gone before.

The Prequel of 2Samuel 20

We have come to the very end of the results of David’s entrance into the interlocking systems of arrogance through the arrogance gate. His own son, Absalom, had rebelled against him and David has been living east of the Jordan River, much like a fugitive.


In 2Sam. 19, Joab has put down the Absalom revolution and King David has returned to Jerusalem. However, during this celebration, there appears to have been a misunderstanding between north and south Israel, and revolutionary Sheba ben Bichri takes advantage of this split and tries to use this to his own advantage.

It appears as if all Israel might still be ready to engage in a revolution.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


This prepares us for the insurrection of Sheba.

The Expository Bible Summarizes the Events at the End of 2Samuel 19

DAVID was now virtually restored to his kingdom; but he had not even left Gilgal when fresh troubles began. The jealousy between Judah and Israel broke out in spite of him. The cause of complaint was on the part of the ten tribes; they were offended at not having been waited for to take part in escorting the king to Jerusalem. First, the men of Israel, in harsh language, accused the men of Judah of having stolen the king away, because they had transported him over the Jordan. To this the men of Judah replied that the king was of their kin; therefore they had taken the lead, but they had received no special reward or honour in consequence. The men of Israel, however, had an argument in reply to this: they were ten tribes, and therefore had so much more right to the king; and Judah had treated them with contempt in not consulting or co-operating with them in bringing him back. It is added that the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.


It is in a poor and paltry light that both sides appear in this inglorious dispute. There was no solid grievance whatever, nothing that might not have been easily settled if the soft answer that turneth away wrath had been resorted to instead of fierce and exasperating words. Alas I that miserable tendency of our nature to take offence when we think we have been overlooked, - what mischief and misery has it bred in the world! The men of Israel were foolish to take offence; but the men of Judah were neither magnanimous nor forbearing in dealing with their unreasonable humour. The noble spirit of clemency that David had shown awakened but little permanent response. The men of Judah, who were foremost in Absalom's rebellion, were like the man in the parable that had been forgiven ten thousand talents, but had not the generosity to forgive the trifling offence committed against them, as they thought, by their brethren of Israel. So they seized their fellow-servant by the throat and demanded that he should pay them the uttermost farthing. Judah played false to his national character; for he was not "he whom his brethren should praise."


What was the result? Any one acquainted with human nature might have foretold it with tolerable certainty. Given on one side a proneness to take offence, a readiness to think that one has been overlooked, and on the other a want of forbearance, a readiness to retaliate, - it is easy to see that the result will be a serious breach. It is just what we witness so often in children. One is apt to be dissatisfied, and complains of ill-treatment; another has no forbearance, and retorts angrily: the result is a quarrel, with this difference, that while the quarrels of children pass quickly away, the quarrels of nations or of factions last miserably long.


Much inflammable material being thus provided, a casual spark speedily set it on fire, Sheba, an artful Benjamite, raised the standard of revolt against David, and the excited ten tribes, smarting with the fierce words of the men of Judah, flocked to his standard. Most miserable proceeding! The quarrel had begun about a mere point of etiquette, and now they cast off God's anointed king, and that, too, after the most signal token of God's anger had fallen on Absalom and his rebellious crew. There are many wretched enough slaveries in this world, but the slavery of pride is perhaps the most mischievous and humiliating of all.


And here it cannot be amiss to call attention to the very great neglect of the rules and spirit of Christianity that is apt, even at the present day, to show itself among professing Christians in connection with their disputes. This is so very apparent that one is apt to think that the settlement of quarrels is the very last matter to which Christ's followers learn to apply the example and instructions of their Master. When men begin in earnest to follow Christ, they usually pay considerable attention to certain of His precepts; they turn away from scandalous sins, they observe prayer, they show some interest in Christian objects, and they abandon some of the more frivolous ways of the world. But alas! when they fall into differences, they are prone in dealing with them to leave all Christ's precepts behind them. See in what an unlovely and unloving spirit the controversies of Christians have usually been conducted; how much of bitterness and personal animosity they show, how little forbearance and generosity; how readily they seem to abandon themselves to the impulses of their own hearts. Controversy rouses temper, and temper creates a tempest through which you cannot see clearly. And how many are the quarrels in Churches or congregations that are carried on with all the heat and bitterness of unsanctified men! How much offence is taken at trifling neglects or mistakes! Who remembers, even in its spirit, the precept in the Sermon on the Mount, "If any man smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also"? Who remembers the beatitude, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God"? Who bears in mind the Apostle's horror at the unseemly spectacle of saints carrying their quarrels to heathen tribunals, instead of settling them as Christians quietly among themselves? Who weighs the earnest counsel, "Endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace"? Who prizes our gracious Lord's most blessed legacy, ''Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth give I unto you"? Do not all such texts show that it is incumbent on Christians to be most careful and watchful, when any difference arises, to guard against carnal feeling of every kind, and strive to the very utmost to manifest the spirit of Christ? Yet is it not at such times that they are most apt to leave all their Christianity behind them, and engage in unseemly wrangles with one another? Does not the devil very often get it all his own way, whoever may be in the right, and whoever in the wrong? And is not frequent occasion given thereby to the enemy to blaspheme, and, in the very circumstances that should bring out in clear and strong light the true spirit of Christianity, is there not often, in place of that, an exhibition of rudeness and bitterness that makes the world ask, What better are Christians than other men?


But let us return to King David and his people. The author of the insurrection was "a man of Belial, whose name was Sheba." He is called "the son of Bichri, a Benjamite." Benjamin had a son whose name was Becher, and the adjective formed from that would be Bichrite; some have thought that Bichri denotes not his father, but his family. Saul appears to have been of the same family (see Speaker's Commentary in loco). It is thus quite possible that Sheba was a relation of Saul, and that he had always cherished a grudge against David for taking the throne which he had filled. Here, we may remark in passing, would have been a real temptation to Mephibosheth to join an insurrection, for if this had succeeded he was the man who would naturally have become king. But there is no reason to believe that Mephibosheth favoured Sheba, and therefore no reason to doubt the truth of the account he gave of himself to David. The war-cry of Sheba was an artful one - "We have no part in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse." It was a scornful and exaggerated mockery of the claim that Judah had asserted as being of the same tribe with the king, whereas the other tribes stood in no such relation to him. "Very well," was virtually the cry of Sheba - "if we have no part in David, neither any inheritance in the son of Jesse, let us get home as fast as possible, and leave his friends, the tribe of Judah, to make of him what they can." It was not so much a setting up of a new rebellion as a scornful repudiation of all interest in the existing king. Instead of going with David from Gilgal to Jerusalem, they went up every man to his tent or to his home. It is not said that they intended actively to oppose David, and from this part of the narrative we should suppose that all that they intended was to make a public protest against the unworthy treatment which they held that they had received. It must have greatly disturbed the pleasure of David's return to Jerusalem that this unseemly secession occurred by the way. A chill must have fallen upon his heart just as it was beginning to recover its elasticity. And much anxiety must have haunted him as to the issue - whether or not the movement would go on to another insurrection like Absalom's; or whether, having discharged their dissatisfied feeling, the people of Israel would return sullenly to their allegiance.


Nor could the feelings of King David be much soothed when he re-entered his home. The greater part of his family had been with him in his exile, and when he returned his house was occupied by the ten women whom he had left to keep it, and with whom Absalom had behaved dishonourably. And here was another trouble resulting from the rebellion that could not be adjusted in a satisfactory way. The only way of disposing of them was to put them in ward, to shut them up in confinement, to wear out the rest of their lives in a dreary, joyless widowhood. All joy and brightness was thus taken out of their lives, and personal freedom was denied them. They were doomed, for no fault of theirs, to the weary lot of captives, cursing the day, probably, when their beauty had brought them to the palace, and wishing that they could exchange lots with the humblest of their sisters that breathed the air of freedom. Strange that, with all his spiritual instincts, David could not see that a system which led to such miserable results must lie under the curse of God!

From http://www.studylight.org/com/teb/view.cgi?bk=9&ch=19 accessed January 26, 2014.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


This timeline is simply a shortened version of the David Timeline (HTML) (PDF), with a few principle events of David’s life recorded, along with the events of this chapter. Bracketed dates are derived from the Scripture, based upon author’s original premises.

The Abbreviated David Timeline

Fenton-Farrar

(F. L. Smith)

Bible Truth 4U

Reese’s Chronology Bible

Scripture

Narrative

[1085 b.c.]

1040 b.c.

[1055 b.c.]

Ruth 4:22

David is born.

1062 b.c.

 

1029 b.c.

1Sam. 17

David defeats Goliath.

1055 b.c.

(c. 1010 b.c.)

1010 b.c.

1025 b.c.

2Sam. 2:1–4

David becomes king over Judah (the southern kingdom). David is 30. 2Sam. 5:4 David was 30 years old when he began to reign. He reigned 40 years.

1048 b.c.

(c. 1004 b.c.)

1003 b.c.

1018 b.c.

2Sam. 5:1–3

1Chron. 11:1–3

David becomes king over all Israel. He is still ruling from Hebron. David is approximately 37 years old, according to Bible Truth 4U.

1035 b.c.

 

1005 b.c.

c. 1016 b.c. (Klassen)

2Sam. 11:2–25

David’s sin with Bathsheba. He has her husband, Uriah the Hittite, killed in battle.

1024 b.c.

979–961 b.c. (?)

994–993 b.c.

2Sam. 15–17

Absalom rebels against David.

1023 b.c.

 

 

2Sam. 18:1–19:8

Absalom’s rebellion is put down and Absalom is killed.

1023 b.c.

 

 

2Sam. 19:9–20

David returns to Jerusalem.

 

 

 

2Sam. 20:1–3

David returns to Jerusalem; Sheba ben Bichri prepares to revolt against David.

1022 b.c.

 

 

2Sam. 20:4–13

Joab kills Amasa.

 

 

 

2Sam. 20:14–22

Joab puts down Sheba’s rebellion.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


 

A Synopsis of 2Samuel 20

 

 

 

 

 


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


How do the clouds return after the rain! No sooner is one of David's troubles over than another arises, as it were out of the ashes of the former, wherein the threatening is fulfilled, that the sword should never depart from his house.

Matthew Henry’s Alternative Outline to 2Samuel 20

I.       I. Before he reaches Jerusalem a new rebellion is raised by Sheba (2Sam. 20:1, 2Sam. 20:2).

II.      His first work, when he comes to Jerusalem, is to condemn his concubines to perpetual imprisonment (2Sam. 20:3).

III.     Amass, whom he entrusts to raise an army against Sheba, is too slow in his motions, which puts him into a fright (2Sam. 20:4–6).

IV.     One of his generals barbarously murders the other, when they are taking the field (2Sam. 20:7–13).

V.      Sheba is at length shut up in the city of Abel (2Sam. 20:14, 2Sam. 20:15), but the citizens deliver him up to Joab, and so his rebellion is crushed (2Sam. 20:16–22).

The chapter concludes with a short account of David's great officers (2Sam. 20:23–26).

From Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible; from e-Sword, 2Sam. 20 (chapter summary).


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Although the end of 2Sam. 19 leads directly into this chapter, the first part of this chapter is in itself a literary unit. It will begin with a trumpet call and end with a trumpet call. It was probably observed by and recounted by the same person from beginning to end. For this reason, it is clear to see why it stands on its own.


Joab’s military position is difficult to ascertain for several reasons: (1) It does appear as if David demoted Joab in the previous chapter; and there is evidence of that in this chapter. (2) However, the soldiers continue to recognize Joab’s authority as their general. (3) Furthermore, God appears to continue to recognize Joab as David’s lead general.


As an aside, R. B. Thieme, Jr. concluded his series on David prior to this chapter.


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Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


Sheba's Revolution

Preparation for the Revolution


Kukis slavishly literal:

 

Kukis moderately literal:

And there is named a man without value and his name [is] Sheba ben Bichri, a man of Benjamin. And so he blows in the trumpet and so he says, “[There is] not to us a portion in David; and [there is] no inheritance to us in a son of Jesse. A man to his tents [possibly, every man to his gods], Israel!”

2Samuel

20:1

[At this time] there is known [lit., named] a worthless man whose name is Sheba ben Bichri, a man [from the tribe] of Benjamin. He blew the trumpet and proclaimed, “[There is] no portion for us in David; and [there is] no inheritance for us in [this] son of Jesse. Every man to his tents [possibly, to his gods], O Israel!”

Kukis not so literal:

At this time, there a worthless man whose name was Sheba ben Bichri, who became well-known. He was from the tribe of Benjamin. He blew the trumpet and proclaimed, “My fellow Israelites, we have no portion in a land ruled by David; this son of Jesse does not provide for us our inheritance. Let us return to our homes in Israel, and consider our options there!”


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 Footnote ; George Lamsa’s translation, and Sir Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton’s translation as revised and edited by Paul W. Esposito, respectively. I often update these texts with non-substantive changes (e.g., you for thou, etc.). I often use the text of the Complete Apostles’ Bible instead of Brenton’s translation, because it updates the English text.

 

The Septuagint was the earliest known translation of a book (circa 200 b.c.). Since this translation was made before the textual criticism had been developed into a science and because different books appear to be translated by different men, the Greek translation can sometimes be very uneven.

 

When there are serious disparities between my translation and Brenton’s (or the text of the Complete Apostles’ Bible), 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). I use the Greek LXX with Strong’s numbers and morphology available for e-sword. The only problem with this resource (which is a problem for similar resources) is, there is no way to further explore Greek verbs which are not found in the New Testament. Although I usually quote the Complete Apostles’ Bible here, I have begun to make changes in the translation when their translation conflicts with the Greek and note what those changes are.

 

The Masoretic text is the Hebrew text with all of the vowels (vowel points) inserted (the original Hebrew text lacked vowels). We take the Masoretic text to be the text closest to the original. However, differences between the Masoretic text and the Greek, Latin and Syriac are worth noting and, once in a great while, represent a more accurate text possessed by those other ancient translators.

 

In general, the Latin text is an outstanding translation from the Hebrew text into Latin and very trustworthy (I say this as a non-Catholic). Unfortunately, I do not read Latin—apart from some very obvious words—so I am dependent upon the English translation of the Latin (principally, the Douay-Rheims translation).

 

Underlined words indicate differences in the text.

 

Bracketed portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls are words, letters and phrases lost in the scroll due to various types of damage. Underlined words or phrases are those in the Dead Sea Scrolls but not in the Masoretic text.

 

I will only list the translation from the Dead Sea Scrolls if it exists and if it is different from the Masoretic text.


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And there happened to be there a man of Belial, whose name was Seba, the son of Bochri, a man of Jemini: and he sounded the trumpet, and said: We have no part in David, nor inheritance in the son of Isai: return to thy dwellings, O Israel.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And there is named a man without value and his name [is] Sheba ben Bichri, a man of Benjamin. And so he blows in the trumpet and so he says, “[There is] not to us a portion in David; and [there is] no inheritance to us in a son of Jesse. A man to his tents, Israel!”

Peshitta (Syriac)                    AND there happened to be there a wicked man, whose name was Shamoa, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite; and he blew a trumpet and said, We have no portion in David, neither have we an inheritance with the son of Jesse; every man to his tents, O Israel!

Septuagint (Greek)                And there was a transgressor there, and his name was Sheba, a Benjamite, the son of Bichri: and he blew the trumpet, and said, We have no portion in David, neither have we any inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel!

 

Significant differences:           No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           Sheba's rebellion

Now a despicable man named Sheba, Bichri's son, from Benjamin, was also there. He sounded the trumpet and said:

"We don't care about David!

We have no stake in Jesse's son!

Go back to your homes, Israel!"

Contemporary English V.       A troublemaker from the tribe of Benjamin was there. His name was Sheba the son of Bichri, and he blew a trumpet to get everyone's attention. Then he said, "People of Israel, David the son of Jesse doesn't belong to us! Let's go home."

Easy English                          Sheba opposes David

Sheba, the son of Bicri, happened to be there. He came from the *tribe of Benjamin. He was a wicked man. He blew a *trumpet and he shouted,

`We will not join with David.

We do not want to associate with the son of Jesse!

People of *Israel, prepare to fight!'

Easy-to-Read Version            At that place, there was a man named Sheba son of Bicri. Sheba was a good-for-nothing troublemaker from the family group of Benjamin. Sheba blew a trumpet {to gather the people together}. Then he said,... My e-sword version just stops right there.

Good News Bible (TEV)         There happened to be in Gilgal a worthless character named Sheba son of Bikri, of the tribe of Benjamin. He blew the trumpet and called out, "Down with David! We won't follow him! Men of Israel, let's go home!"

The Message                         Just then a good-for-nothing named Sheba son of Bicri the Benjaminite blew a blast on the ram's horn trumpet, calling out, We've got nothing to do with David, there's no future for us with the son of Jesse! Let's get out of here, Israel--head for your tents!

New Berkeley Version           About 979 b.c.

Now there happened to be there a worthless fellow named Sheba the son of Bichri, of Benjamin, who blew the trumpet, saying, “In David we’ll have no more part; in Jesse’s last son, nor a share! Depart, Israel’s men, to your tents [Meaning, each man independent in his own home.]!”

New Century Version             Sheba Leads Israel Away from David

It happened that a troublemaker named Sheba son of Bicri from the tribe of Benjamin was there. He blew the trumpet and said:

"We have no share in David!

We have no part in the son of Jesse!

People of Israel, let's go home!"

New Living Translation           The Revolt of Sheba

There happened to be a troublemaker there named Sheba son of Bicri, a man from the tribe of Benjamin. Sheba blew a ram's horn and began to chant:

"Down with the dynasty of David!

We have no interest in the son of Jesse.

Come on, you men of Israel,

back to your homes!"

The Voice                               A worthless troublemaker, Sheba the Benjaminite, the son of Bichri, blasted a trumpet and silenced everyone.

Sheba: We don't have any share in David, no interest in the son of Jesse! Israel, let's go back to our tents and show loyalty to only our own tribes!


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Well, there was a man who was referred to as the Son of a Lawbreaker. His name was SabeE, and he was the son of BoChori, a BenJaminite. He then blew his horn and shouted: 'David [doesn't have any respect] for us, nor does the son of Jesse have an inheritance for us. So men of IsraEl; let's return to our tents!'

Beck’s American Translation There happened to be a scoundrel by the name of Sheba, Bichri’s son, a Benjamite. He blew a horn and announced, “We have nothing to do with David. There’s nothing for us in Jesse’s son. Everybody in Israel, go home!”

Christian Community Bible     Sheba rebels against David

There happened to be there a base fellow named Sheba, son of Bichri, a Benjaminite, who sounded the trumpet and said, “We have nothing to do with David. What can we expect from the son of Jesse? Go back, O Israelites, each man to his home!” 1K 12:16

God’s Word                         A good-for-nothing man by the name of Sheba, Bichri's son, from the tribe of Benjamin happened to be at Gilgal. He blew a ram's horn to announce, "We have no share in David's kingdom. We won't receive an inheritance from Jesse's son. Everyone to his own tent, Israel!"

New Advent (Knox)Bible        It chanced that there was a turbulent fellow there, called Seba, son of Bochri, from Benjamin, who now sounded his trumpet and raised the cry: David, then, is none of ours; not for us the son of Jesse; go back, men of Israel, to your homes!

New American Bible (2011) Footnote    Sheba's Rebellion.

Now a scoundrel named Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjaminite, happened to be there. He sounded the horn and cried out,

"We have no share in David,

nor any heritage in the son of Jesse.

Everyone to your tents, O Israel!" 1 Kgs 12:16.

NIRV                                      Sheba Tells Israel Not to Follow David

An evil man who always stirred up trouble happened to be in Gilgal. His name was Sheba, the son of Bicri. Sheba was from the tribe of Benjamin. He blew his trumpet. Then he shouted,

"We don't have any share in David's kingdom!

Jesse's son is not our king!

Men of Israel, every one of you go back home!"

New Jerusalem Bible             Now there happened to be a scoundrel there called Sheba son of Bichri, a Benjaminite, who sounded the trumpet and shouted: We have no share in David, we have no heritage in the son of Jesse. Every man to his tents, O Israel!

New Simplified Bible              A worthless character named Sheba son of Bikri lived at Gilgal. He was of the tribe of Benjamin. He blew the trumpet and called out: »Down with David! We will not follow him! Men of Israel, let us go home!«

Today’s NIV                          Sheba Rebels Against David

Now a troublemaker named Sheba son of Bikri, a Benjamite, happened to be there. He sounded the trumpet and shouted, "We have no share in David, no part in Jesse's son! Everyone to your tents, Israel!"


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      A worthless man named Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Ben jamite visited there. He blew a shofar and said, "We have no portion in David, no inheritance in the son of Jesse. A man to his tents, Israel!"

Bible in Basic English             Now by chance there was present a good-for-nothing person named Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite: and he, sounding the horn, said, We have no part in David, or any interest in the son of Jesse: let every man go to his tent, O Israel.

The Expanded Bible              Sheba Leads Israel Away from David

It happened that a ·troublemaker [scoundrel; worthless fellow] named Sheba son of Bicri from the tribe of Benjamin was there. He blew the ·trumpet [ram's horn] and said:

"We have no ·share [interest; portion] in David!

We have no ·part [inheritance; heritage] in the son of Jesse!

People of Israel, ·let's go home [Leveryone to your tents]!"

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 Second Revolt of the Ten Tribes (b.c. 1022)

But the words of the men of Judah were more bitter than the words of the men of Israel, so Sheba-ben-Bikri, a. man of Benjamin, cried out, and sounded a trumpet and exclaimed, “We have no part in David, and no share in the son of Jessai,— Israel, everyone to your tents." A portions of the previous verse is included for context.

HCSB                                     Now a wicked man, a Benjaminite named Sheba son of Bichri, happened to be there. He blew the ram's horn and shouted: We have no portion in David, no inheritance in Jesse's son. Each man to his tent, Israel!

NET Bible®                             Sheba's Rebellion

Now a wicked man [Heb "a man of worthlessness."] named Sheba son of Bicri, a Benjaminite [The expression used here יְמִינִי (yemini) is a short form of the more common "Benjamin." It appears elsewhere in 1Sam. 9:4 and Est. 2:5. Cf. 1Sam. 9:1.], happened to be there. He blew the trumpet [Heb "the shofar" (the ram's horn trumpet). So also 2Sam. 20:22.] and said,

"We have no share in David;

we have no inheritance in this son of Jesse!

Every man go home [The Masoretic Text (MT) reads לְאֹהָלָיו (le'ohalav, "to his tents"). For a similar idiom, see 2Sa_19:9. An ancient scribal tradition understands the reading to be לְאלֹהָיו (le'lohav, "to his gods"). The word is a tiqqun sopherim, and the scribes indicate that they changed the word from "gods" to "tents" so as to soften its theological implications. In a consonantal Hebrew text the change involved only the metathesis of two letters.], O Israel!" When it comes to making an actual material change to the text, the NET Bible® is pretty good about indicating this. Since most of these corrections will be clear in the more literal translations below and within the Hebrew exegesis itself, I will not continue to list every NET Bible® footnote.

NIV, ©2011                             Sheba rebels against David

Now a troublemaker named Sheba son of Bikri, a Benjaminite, happened to be there. He sounded the trumpet and shouted,

“We have no share [S Ge 31:14] in David [S Ge 29:14; 1Ki 12:16],

no part in Jesse's son! [1Sa 22:7-8]

Every man to his tent, Israel!”


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           There happened to be there a scoundrel whose name was Sheva the son of Bikhri, a Binyamini. He sounded the shofar and said, "We have no share in David, no inheritance in the son of Yishai; so, Isra'el, every man to his tent!"

exeGeses companion Bible   SHEBA REBELS

And so be a man,

called of Beli Yaal, his name is Sheba

the son of Bichria a Ben Yaminiy:

and he blasts a shophar and says,

We have neither allotment in David

nor inheritance in the son of Yishay:

every man to his tents, O Yisra El.

Orthodox Jewish Bible           And there happened to be there an ish Beliyaal [rebel], shmo Sheva Ben Bichri an ish from Binyamin; and he blew a shofar, and said, We have no chelek in Dovid, neither have we nachalah in Ben Yishai; every ish to his ohal, O Yisroel.

The Scriptures 1998              And there came to be a man of Beliyaʽal, whose name was Shea son of Biri, a Binyamite. And he blew a ramʼs horn, and said, “We have no part in Dawi, nor do we have inheritance in the son of Yishai – each one to his tents, O Yisraʼĕl!”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                There happened to be there a base and contemptible fellow named Sheba son of Bichri, a Benjamite. He blew a trumpet and said, We have no portion in David and no inheritance in the son of Jesse! Every man to his tents, O Israel!

Emphasized Bible                  Now, in that place, there happened to be an abandoned man, whose name, was Sheba son of Bichri, a man of Benjamin,—so he blew a horn, and said—We have no share in David, Nor inheritance have we in the son of Jesse, Every man to his home, O Israel!

English Standard Version      Now there happened to be there a worthless man, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjaminite. And he blew the trumpet and said, "We have no portion in David, and we have no inheritance in the son of Jesse; every man to his tents, O Israel!"

English Standard V. – UK       The Rebellion of Sheba

Now there happened to be there a worthless man [See Deut. 13:13], whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjaminite. And he blew the trumpet and said,

"We have no portion in David [2Sam. 19:43],

and we have no inheritance in the son of Jesse;

every man to his tents [ver. 22; 1 Kgs. 12:16; 2 Chr. 10:16], O Israel!"

The Geneva Bible                  And there happened to be [Where the ten tribes contended against Judah.] there a man of Belial, whose name [was] Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite: and he blew a trumpet, and said, We have no part in David [As they of Judah say.], neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse [He thought by speaking contemptuously of the king, to stir the people farther to sedition, or else by causing Israel to depart, thought that they of Judah would have esteemed him less.]: every man to his tents, O Israel.

Green’s Literal Translation    And a man of worthlessness happened to be there, and his name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a man of Benjamin. And he blew the ram's horn and said, We have no part in David, and we have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. Each man to his tents, O Israel.

Kretzmann’s Commentary    The Murder of Amasa

And there happened to be there a man of Belial, a vain and worthless scoundrel, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite, evidently one of the rabid party of Saul; and he blew a trumpet, as a call to all those who thought as he did on account of the strained relations between Judah and Israel, and said, we have no part in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse, the northern tribes had nothing in common with him, nothing to do with him; every man to his tents, O Israel! It was a call to rebellion.

NASB                                     Sheba's Revolt

Now a worthless fellow [2 Sam 16:7] happened to be there whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri [Gen 46:21], a Benjamite; and he blew the trumpet and said,

"We have no portion [2 Sam 19:43; 1 Kin 12:16] in David,

Nor do we have inheritance in the son of Jesse [1 Sam 22:7-9];

Every man to his tents [1 Sam 13:2; 2 Sam 18:17; 2 Chr 10:16], O Israel!"

New King James Version       The Rebellion of Sheba

And there happened to be there a rebel,[a] whose name was Sheba the son of Bichri, a Benjamite. And he blew a trumpet, and said:

"We have no share in David,

Nor do we have inheritance in the son of Jesse;

Every man to his tents, O Israel!"

New RSV                               Now a scoundrel named Sheba son of Bichri, a Benjaminite, happened to be there. He sounded the trumpet and cried out,

`We have no portion in David,

no share in the son of Jesse!

Everyone to your tents, O Israel!'

Young’s Updated LT             And there has been called there a man of worthlessness, and his name is Sheba, son of Bichri, a Benjamite, and he blows with a trumpet, and says, “We have no portion in David, and we have no inheritance in the son of Jesse; each to his tents, O Israel.”

 

The gist of this verse:          Another rebellion quickly arises, led by Sheba the son of Bichri. He complains that they have no inheritance in David.


2Samuel 20:1a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

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

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shâm (שָם) [pronounced shawm]

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

adverb of place

Strong’s #8033 BDB #1027

qârâʾ (קָרָא) [pronounced kaw-RAW]

to meet; to meet unexpectedly; to have been met, to have encountered

3rd person masculine singular, Niphal perfect

Strong’s #7122 & #7125 BDB #896

The homonym for this word is found below:

qârâʾ (קָרָא) [pronounced kaw-RAW]

to be named; to be called, to be proclaimed; to be called together [assembled, [summoned]; to be read aloud, to be recited

3rd person masculine singular, Niphal perfect

Strong's #7121 BDB #894

ʾîysh (אִיש) [pronounced eesh]

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

masculine singular construct (sometimes found where we would use a plural)

Strong's #376 BDB #35

The next word is actually a combination of two words:

belîy (בְּלִי) [pronounced beLEE]

not, without

negative particle/substantive

Strong’s #1097 BDB #115

yâʿal (יָעַל) [pronounced yaw-ĢAHL]

to profit, to benefit, to avail

Hiphil verb

Strong’s #3276 BDB #418

Together, belîy + yâʿal form belîyyaʾal (בְּלִיַּעַל) [pronounced belee-YAH-ģahl], which means without value, no profit; and it is transliterated Belial. It is separately identified as Strong’s #1100 BDB #116.

belîyyaʾal (בְּלִיַּעַל) [pronounced belee-YAH-ģahl]

without value, lacking character, worthless, ruin, good-for-nothing, useless, without fruit; wicked or ungodly [men]; transliterated Belial

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #1100 BDB #116


Translation: [At this time] there is known [lit., named] a worthless man... There are a variety of ways that this phrase is translated; and there are two verbs which are spelled the same, either of which may be used here. The idea is, this man breaks out onto the scene; this man becomes known. Just as Absalom had be talked about by many people in the past, so this man is talked about.


However, this is a good-for-nothing, anti-authoritarian, power-hungry jerk. In many ways, this describes perhaps half of the politicians in Washington and Austin. Footnote


It is fascinating that, in many cases, there are moral judgments made in the Bible, and sometimes they are withheld. God’s opinion of this man is quite clear: he is worthless, lacking in character, wicked, valueless. This often describes the revolutionary. However, later on in this chapter, Joab will kill Amasa; and there we would expect God to weigh in on the rightness or wrongness of that act, but He does not. It is just stated very matter-of-factly, without commentary.

 

J. Vernon McGee: Sheba is called "a man of Belial," which means he is a rabble-rouser. Footnote


2Samuel 20:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

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

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shêm (שֵם) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character; fame, glory; celebrated; renown; possibly memorial, monument

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027

These two words can be reasonably translated whose name is, and whose name is. The verb to be is implied.

Shebaʿ (שֶבַע) [pronounced SHEH-bahģ]

seven; swearing an oath; transliterated Sheba

proper singular noun/location

Strong’s #7652 BDB #989

bên (בֵּן) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Bikerîy (בִּכְרִי) [pronounced bihk-REE]

youthful; transliterated Bichri, Bikri

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #1075 BDB #114

ʾîysh (אִיש) [pronounced eesh]

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

masculine singular construct (sometimes found where we would use a plural)

Strong's #376 BDB #35

Ben yemîynîy (בֶּן־יְמִינִי) [pronounced ben-yemee-NEE]

son of [my] right hand and is rendered Benjamite

gentilic adjective

Strong’s #1145 BDB #122

This is actually spelled here yemîynîy (יְמִינִי) [pronounced yemee-NEE]. There are several ways that this tribe is referred to, and this is one of them.

The NET Bible footnote: The expression used here יְמִינִי (yemini) is a short form of the more common "Benjamin." It appears elsewhere in 1Sam. 9:4 and Est. 2:5. Cf. 1Sam. 9:1. Footnote


Translation: ...whose name [is] Sheba ben Bichri, a man [from the tribe] of Benjamin. The name of this revolutionary is Sheba the son of Bichri, and he comes from the tribe of Benjamin.


Benjamin, for about 40 years, was the ruling tribe of Israel. David has only ruled for about 25 years over northern Israel. There are some who never quite got over that. King Saul may be dead and gone; and Absalom’s revolt over, but there are still some men who see David’s weakness and they hope to exploit it to their own advantage.


It is possible the ben Bichri could mean that he is a descendant of Becher, one of the sons of Benjamin. Footnote This opens up an interesting can of worms, as Becher is clearly one of Benjamin’s sons (Gen. 46:21); but this line is not spoken of later on (Num. 26:38 1Chron. 8:1). Did this line nearly die out? Did they distinguish themselves as particularly heinous?


Furthermore, as has been noted in the introduction, there was a serious rift between northern and southern Israel, those in the north feeling that they were slighted by the people of Judah. So the right revolutionary is able to lead some of these people away from their allegiance to King David.


The Bible states this man’s full name and lineage right up front. He has no plan to better protect Israel. His plan is all about himself. The fact that he is a Benjamite is something which he can used to his advantage, among a people who have become soured toward Judah—but bear in mind, the key to all of this is power lust.

 

From Jamieson, Fausset and Brown: Though nothing is known of this man, he must have been a person of considerable power and influence, before he could have raised so sudden and extensive a sedition. He belonged to the tribe of Benjamin, where the adherents of Saul`s dynasty were still numerous; and perceiving the strong disgust of the other tribes with the part assumed by Judah in the restoration, his ill-designing heart resolved to turn it to the overthrow of David`s authority in Israel. Footnote


Application: Today, politicians are much more astute than this. Today, they want you to think of them as just a man of the people, someone you might have a beer with. They want you to think they are on your side; that they are thinking about you and your needs; but what they really want is the power and the adulation. If you, Joe Blow, happen to fall by the wayside as he takes power, so be it. If their policies destroy your business, as they pursue their own legacy, so be it.


2Samuel 20:1c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

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

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

tâqaʿ (תָּקַע) [pronounced taw-KAHĢ]

to fasten, to thrust; to drive, to clap [or strike] [hands], to give a blow, to give a blast

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #8628 BDB #1075

The key to the meaning of this verb is context and the direct object.

be (בְּ) [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

shôwphâr (שוֹפָר) (also שֹפָר) [pronounced shoh-FAWR]

horn, trumpet; transliterated shophar

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #7782 BDB #1051


Translation: He blew the trumpet... This blowing of the trumpet suggests that Sheba has been cultivating a guerilla army, and he is calling them now to action.


2Samuel 20:1d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

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

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think; to command; to promise; to explain; to intend; to decide; to answer

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

ʾêyn (אֵין) [pronounced ān]

nothing, not, [is] not; not present, not ready; expresses non-existence, absence or non-possession; [there is] no [none, not one, no one, not]

particle of negation; substantive of negation

Strong’s #369 BDB #34

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 1st person masculine plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

chêleq (חֵלֶק) [pronounced KHAY-lek]

portion, tract, territory, share, allotment; smoothness

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #2506 (and #2511) BDB #324

be (בְּ) [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

Dâvid (דָּוִד); also Dâvîyd (דָּוִיד) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: ...and proclaimed, “[There is] no portion for us in David;... Every movement has to have a theme, and often this theme speaks of being disenfranchised by the powers that be. Sheba is saying, “We have no place in the kingdom of David. He does not consider us.”

 

Or, as Poole expressed it: the tribe of Judah have monopolized the king to themselves, and will not allow us any share in him; let them therefore enjoy him alone, and let us seek out a new king. Footnote


You may recall that there was a celebration in the previous chapter, sort of a re-ordination of King David; but only half of those from northern Israel were able to attend. Apparently, the festivities all began too quickly for them to all get down there and take part. It is this snub—although likely unintentional—which Sheba plays upon.


Application: This is common, and we saw this in the 2008 presidential election. Dozens of people were paraded before the American people by the Democratic party, people who were victims of system. The Democratic party was offering a new way, to lead away from such victimhood. There would be free or reduced-cost healthcare, provided by the government. There would be a more compassionate president. This is exactly what Sheba was selling. The people he spoke to were disenfranchised; they had no place in David’s America. Sheba was offering them a new way.


2Samuel 20:1e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

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

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lôʾ (לֹא or לוֹא) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

nachălâh (נַחֲלָה) [pronounced nah-khuh-LAW]

inheritance, possession, property, heritage

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #5159 BDB #635

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 1st person masculine plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

be (בְּ) [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

bên (בֵּן) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yîshay (יִשַי) [pronounced yee-SHAH-ee]

I possess; transliterated Jesse

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3448 BDB #445

Also spelled ʾÎyshay (אִישַי) [pronounced ee-SHAH-ee].


Translation: ...and [there is] no inheritance for us in [this] son of Jesse. “Does this king make you feel like you do not belong? We are a people without a country!” is what he is saying.


Sheba’s entire rationalization for revolution is stated here: “[There is] no portion for us in David; and [there is] no inheritance for us in [this] son of Jesse.” The key is, he wanted power for himself. All he needed to do was to gather people together who were also aggrieved. He did not need to have actual grievances and his approach to solving these problems.


My guess is, there is no actual set of problems directly caused by David which existed, which could be enumerated by Sheba (unlike, for instance, our Declaration of Independence, which listed the grievances of the colonists).


He, in every sentence, refers to King George of England.

The Grievances of the Declaration of Independence

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In the next paragraph, they write: In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

I list this for two reasons: (1) so that you can see what a real list of grievances looks like and (2) every person in America ought to have read their constitution and declaration of independence on many occasions and at many ages.

Unfortunately, many of our schools have boiled this down to taxation without representation, which is on the list, but it is certainly not #1 on this list.

From http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html accessed February 3, 2014.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Application: It ought to be clear that, the colonists had a list of specific grievances; what Sheba ben Bichri has is a slogan. For our thought-challenged society today, both parties have a list of items which they support or offer to repeal; but both parties also come up with a slogan, which drives the election every bit as much as an enumeration of their tenets.


Application: I recall questioning a college-educated friend of mine why she had voted for Barack Obama back in 2008. When it came to specifics, she told me that he stood for hope and change. Really; she said that. College-educated. And she told me that she had studied the candidates. If you were to drill down on the voters in any election, my guess is about half of them would give a similar response, from either party. So we today have much more in common with Sheba ben Bichri than we do with our founding fathers. We are motivated by slogans today; just as Sheba motivated the revolutionaries in his day.

 

G. Campbell Morgan on the phrase "We have no share in David, nor do we have an inheritance in the son of Jesse" as Sheba’s slogan: The story should teach us that popular and plausible catchwords ought to be received and acted upon with great caution. Footnote In other words, when you hear a politician offer hope and change, don’t be so easily taken in.


It should be added that, when you think that you are studying the internet or newspapers or newscasts for information, upon which you will make a decision, bear in mind that most of these arenas—particularly newscasts—are mere advocacy groups doctored to appear as if they are purveyors of news.


2Samuel 20:1f

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ʾîysh (אִיש) [pronounced eesh]

a man; a husband; one of virile age; an inhabitant of, a citizen of [when followed by a genitive of a place]; companion of, solider of, follower of [when followed by a genitive of king, leader, etc.]; anyone, someone, a certain one, each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun (sometimes found where we would use a plural)

Strong's #376 BDB #35

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʾohel (אֹהֶל) [pronounced OH-hel]

tent, tabernacle, house, temporary dwelling

masculine plural noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #168 BDB #13

The NET Bible note here: The Masoretic Text (MT) reads לְאֹהָלָיו (le'ohalav, "to his tents"). For a similar idiom, see 2Sam. 19:9. An ancient scribal tradition understands the reading to be לְאלֹהָיו (le'lohav, "to his gods"). The word is a tiqqun sopherim, and the scribes indicate that they changed the word from "gods" to "tents" so as to soften its theological implications. In a consonantal Hebrew text the change involved only the metathesis of two letters. Footnote

Bullinger claims Footnote this has occurred on several occasions: 2Sam. 20:1 1Kings 12:16 2Chron. 10:16; and that the change is brought about by simply transposing two letters in the Hebrew. So, Bullinger asserts that to his gods is the primitive text.

Yiserâʾêl (יִשְׂרַאֵל) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

God prevails; contender; soldier of God; transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 & #3479 BDB #975


Translation: Every man to his tents [possibly, to his gods], O Israel!” Sheba has gotten the troops sufficiently worked up, so that they are ready to go to war against King David, at Sheba’s call. Why are they being sent to their tents? My guess would be to get their weapons; or that they would rest before they went on a march throughout Israel. We have a similar statement in 1Kings 12:16 When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, the people answered the king thus: What share have we in David? -No heritage in the son of Jesse! Away to your tents, Israel! Now look after your own House, David! So Israel went home again. (NJB)

 

From Jamieson, Fausset and Brown: This proverbial expression may have had its foundation in the fact, that many of the Israelite peasantry adhered to the custom of the patriarchs who tilled land, and yet lived in tents, as Syrian peasants often do still. This was the usual watchword of national insurrection, and from the actual temper of the people, it was followed by effects beyond what he probably anticipated. Footnote


I think that what is happening here is, Sheba is right there, amongst the Israelites, while they are escorting David over from east of the Jordan. There is this argument which breaks out between the north and the south. Recall this from 2Sam. 19:41–44 The king went on to Gilgal and Chimham went with him. All the people of Judah accompanied the king, and also half the people of Israel. All the men of Israel then came to the king. 'Why', they asked the king, 'have our brothers, the men of Judah, carried you off and brought the king and his family across the Jordan, and all David's men with him?' All the men of Judah retorted to the men of Israel, 'Because the king is more closely related to us. Why do you take offence at this? Have we been eating at the king's expense? Have we taken any position for ourselves?' The men of Israel replied to the men of Judah, 'We have ten shares in the king and, what is more, we are your elder brothers, so why have you slighted us? Were we not the first to suggest bringing back our king?' The men of Judah's words were even more intemperate than those of the men of Israel. (NJB) Sheba picks up on all of the negative vibes, so he stands up and says, “What share do we have in David? Every man to his own tent!” In other words, “This is a load of crap; I am upset about it like you are. Let’s just return to Israel.” Once they get out of the earshot of David and his men, the Sheba will begin to talk revolution.


On first and second glance, I was fine with the reading of sending everyone to their own tents. As a part of their rebellion, they rebel against the God of Israel as well. But they are simply being ordered to return home.


As you read in the Hebrew exegesis, he may be saying, “Every man to his own gods.” This is known as one of the eighteen emendations of the Sopherim.

The Massorah by Dr. E.W. Bullinger

Al the oldest and best manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible contain on every page, beside the Text (which is arranged in two or more columns), a varying number of lines of smaller writing, distributed between the upper and lower margins. This smaller writing is called the Massorah Magna or Great Massorah, while that in the side margins between the columns is called the Massorah Parva or Small Massorah.


The illustration given on p. 32 is a reduced facsimile of a Hebrew MS. (16 1/4 inches x 12 3/8), written in a German hand, about the year A.D. 1120. The small writing in the margins in this particular MS. is seen to occupy seven lines in the lower margin, and four lines in the upper; while in the outer margins and between the three columns is the Massorah Parva.


The word Massorah is from the root masar, to deliver something into the hand of another, so as to commit it to his trust. Hence the name is given to the small writing referred to, because it contains information necessary to those who trust the Sacred Text was committed, so that they might transcribe it, and hand it down correctly.


The Text itself had been fixed before the Massorites were put in charge of it. This had been the work of the Sopherim (from saphar, to count, or number). Their work, under Ezra and Nehemiah, was to set the Text in order after the return from Babylon; and we read of it in Neh. 8:8 (*1) (cp. Ezra 7:6, 11). The men of "the Great Synagogue" completed the work. This work lasted about 110 years, from Nehemiah to Simon the first, 410 - 300 B.C.

massorah.gif

 

The Sopherim were the authorized revisers of the Sacred Text; and, their work being completed, the Massorites were the authorized custodians of it. Their work was to preserve it. The Massorah is called "A Fence to the Scriptures," because it locked all words and letters in their places. It does not contain notes or comments as such, but facts and phenomena. It records the number of times the several letters occur in the various books of the Bible; the number of words, and the middle word; the number of verses, and the middle verse; the number of expressions and combinations of words, &c. All this, not from a perverted ingenuity, but for the set purpose of safeguarding the Sacred Text, and preventing the loss of misplacement of a single letter or word.


This Massorah is not contained in the margins of any one MS. No MS. contains the whole, or even the same part. It is spread over many MSS., and Dr. C. D. Ginsburg has been the first and only scholar who has set himself to collect and collate the whole, copying it from every available MS. in the libraries of many countries. He has published it in three large folio volumes, and only a small number of copies has been printed. These are obtainable only by the original subscribers.


When the Hebrew Text was printed, only the large type in the columns was regarded, and the small type of the Massorah was left, unheeded, in the MSS. from which the Text was taken. When translators came to the printed Hebrew Text, they were necessarily destitute of the information contained in the Massorah; so that the Revisers as well as the Translators of the Authorized Version carried out their work without any idea of the treasures contained in the Massorah; and therefore, without giving a hint of it to their readers.


This is the first time that an edition of the A.V. has been given containing any of these treasures of the Massorah, that affect so seriously the understanding of the Text. A vast number of the Massoretic notes concern only the orthography, and matters that pertain to the Concordance. But many of those which affect the sense, or throw any additional light on the Sacred Text, are noted in the margin of The Companion Bible.


Some of the important lists of words which are contained in the Massorah are also given, viz. those that have the "extraordinary points" (Ap. 31); the "eighteen emendations" of the Sopherim (see Ap. 33); the 134 passages where they substituted Adonai for Jehovah (see Ap. 32); and the Various Readings called Severin (see Ap. 34). These are given in separate Appendixes; but other words of any importance are preserved in our marginal notes.


Readers of The Companion Bible are put in possession of information denied to former generations of translators, commentators, critics, and general Bible students. For further information on the Massorah see Dr. Ginsburg's Introduction the the Hebrew Bible, of which only a limited edition was printed; also a small pamphlet on The Massorah published by the King's Printers.

So, we do not have one or two manuscripts with all of these changes noted. These are spread across many different manuscripts, and we are assuming that they reveal the accuracy of the original text.

This may help you to appreciate how difficult the job is putting together a manuscript which accurately reflects what the original Hebrew text originally was.

Text and picture from http://www.hcn1.net/bible/ap/30.html accessed February 16, 2014.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


So, if this does read, every man to his own gods, this would represent a rejection of the God of David; so that every man is free to worship the God of his choice in the manner of his choosing. So, not only was David’s authority being rejected, but the authority of David’s God as well.


All of v. 1 reads: At this time, there a worthless man whose name was Sheba ben Bichri, who became well-known. He was from the tribe of Benjamin. He blew the trumpet and proclaimed, “My fellow Israelites, we have no portion in a land ruled by David; this son of Jesse does not provide for us our inheritance. Let us return to our homes [possibly, to our own gods] in Israel, and consider our options there!” Sheba cannot talk revolution right there, at Gilgal; not where David and Joab and Abishai are together with their troops. Sheba appears to be leading the men of Israel away in a huff; but he is going to exploit their discontent for his own benefit.

 

L. M. Grant: Satan is always ready to take advantage of such occasions among God's people, and he had a man there of worthless, ambitious character, Sheba, the son of Bichri was actually a Benjamite, not from any of the other ten tribes, but he saw an opportunity to exalt himself. Blowing a trumpet, he made the bold declaration, "We have no part in David, nor do we have inheritance in the son of Jesse; every man to his tents, 0 Israel!"  Footnote


R. B. Thieme, Jr., in his 1972 David series, explained revolution in terms that I had never heard before, even after 12 years of public education and 7 or 8 years of college. There are the hard-core revolutionaries—these are the ones who want power. Now, you cannot have too many of these, because there is only so much power to be spread around. So, there needs to be the dupes, those who believe strongly in the cause, even though there is no cause. They must be unhappy with the present state of affairs and have faith in the new leadership and their new direction. These people make up the bulk of the revolution. They are the true believers. Absalom, for all of his faults and failures, spent a great deal of time cultivating true believers, those who trusted him and would support him.


One of the things I did learn in college was, there is an ideology which is used in order to sell this or that person. It might be communism, socialism, fascism—even Democrat or Republican—however, it is not unusual for the person in power or the person desiring power to have no true affiliation with that philosophy. That is, a socialist may run as one in favor of democratic rule, if he believed that is his best chance. A person may be at the top of the communist revolution, but it is not necessarily that they subscribe to the communist manifesto—they simply see it as the best route to power. Here is where this dovetails with what R. B. Thieme, Jr. taught—the criminals who want power adhere to whatever philosophy or political point of view that gets them that power. There have been several politicians who have changed parties: Charlie Crist or Arlen Specter (who has changed parties at least 2 times). However, they must be adept at selling the ideology, because that is what attracts the true believers. A revolution cannot happen without true believers.


——————————


And so goes up every man of Israel from following David following Sheba ben Bichri; and a man of Judah clung in their king from the Jordan and as far as Jerusalem.

2Samuel

20:2

Every man of Israel [who was previously] following David went up following Sheba ben Bichri; but the men of Judah clung to David, from the Jordan to [down] as far as Jerusalem.

The men of Israel who previously followed David, went up with Sheba ben Bichri; but the men of Judah remained faithful to David, from the Jordan River down to Jerusalem.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And all Israel departed from David, and followed Seba the son of Bochri: but the men of Juda stuck to their king from the Jordan unto Jerusalem.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so goes up every man of Israel from following David following Sheba ben Bichri; and a man of Judah clung in their king from the Jordan and as far as Jerusalem.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    So all the men of Israel ceased from following David, and followed Shamoa, the son of Bichri; but the men of Judah remained loyal to the king from the Jordan to Jerusalem.

Septuagint (Greek)                And all the men of Israel went up from following David after Sheba the son of Bichri; but the men of Judah adhered to their king, from Jordan even to Jerusalem.

 

Significant differences:           Nothing significant.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       So they stopped following David and went off with Sheba. But the people of Judah stayed close to David all the way from the Jordan to Jerusalem.

Easy English                          So all the *Israelites left David. They followed Sheba, the son of Bicri. But the men of *Judah stayed with the king as he travelled from the river Jordan to Jerusalem.

Easy-to-Read Version            So all the Israelites [Here this means the family groups not united with Judah.] left David and followed Sheba son of Bicri. But the people of Judah stayed with their king all the way from the Jordan River to Jerusalem.

The Message                         So all the men of Israel deserted David and followed Sheba son of Bicri. But the men of Judah stayed committed, sticking with their king all the way from the Jordan to Jerusalem.

New Berkeley Version           As a result all the men of Israel withdrew from David to follow Sheba the son of Bichri; but the men of Judah kept following their king, from the Jordan all the way to Jerusalem.

New Life Bible                        So all the men of Israel stopped following David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri. But the men of Judah were not moved from following their king, from the Jordan to Jerusalem.

The Voice                               So the people of Israel stopped following David and followed Sheba, son of Bichri; but the people of Judah faithfully accompanied David back from the Jordan to Jerusalem.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          And then all the men of IsraEl who were following David turned and started following the son of BoChori. However, the men of Judah stuck by their king [and followed him] from the JorDan to JeruSalem.

New Advent (Knox) Bible       Thereupon all the Israelites parted from David's company, and marched away with Seba, son of Bochri; it was only the men of Juda that escorted David all the way from Jordan to Jerusalem.

New American Bible (2011)   So all the Israelites left David to follow Sheba, son of Bichri. But the Judahites, from the Jordan to Jerusalem, remained loyal to their king.

New Jerusalem Bible             At this all the men of Israel deserted David and followed Sheba son of Bichri. But the men of Judah stuck close to their king, from the Jordan all the way to Jerusalem.

Revised English Bible            All the men of Israel deserted David to follow Sheba son of Bichri, but the men of Judah stood by their king and followed him from the Jordan to Jerusalem.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      All the men of Israel ascended from after David to after Sheba the son of Bichri. But the men of Judah joined their king from Jordan unto Jerusalem.

Bible in Basic English             So all the men of Israel, turning away from David, went after Sheba, the son of Bichri: but the men of Judah were true to their king, going with him from Jordan as far as Jerusalem.

The Expanded Bible              So all the Israelites ·left [deserted; withdrew from] David and followed Sheba son of Bicri. But the people of Judah ·stayed with [faithfully followed; clung to] their king all the way from the Jordan River to Jerusalem.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 So all the Officers of Israel went from following David to follow after Sheba-ben-Bikri; but the Officers of Judah continued with the king and went to Jerusalem.

NET Bible®                             So all the men of Israel deserted [Heb "went up from after."] David and followed Sheba son of Bicri. But the men of Judah stuck by their king all the way from the Jordan River [The word "River" is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation for clarity.] to Jerusalem.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           All the men of Isra'el left off following David and went after Sheva the son of Bikhri. But the men of Y'hudah stuck with their king, from the Yarden to Yerushalayim.

exeGeses companion Bible   And every man of Yisra El ascends from after David

and goes after Sheba the son of Bichri:

and the men of Yah Hudah adhere to their sovereign

- from Yarden even to Yeru Shalem.

Hebrew Names Version         So all the men of Yisra'el went up from following David, and followed Sheva the son of Bikhri; but the men of Yehudah joined with their king, from the Yarden even to Yerushalayim.

Orthodox Jewish Bible           So kol Ish Yisroel went up from after Dovid, and followed Sheva Ben Bichri; but the Ish Yehudah had deveykus unto their Melech, from Yarden even to Yerushalayim.

The Scriptures 1998              Then all the men of Yisraʼĕl deserted Dawi, to follow Shea the son of Biri. But the men of Yehuah, from the Yardĕn as far as Yerushalayim, clung to their sovereign.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                So all the men of Israel withdrew from David and followed Sheba son of Bichri; but the men of Judah stayed faithfully with their king, from the Jordan to Jerusalem.

English Standard Version      So all the men of Israel withdrew from David and followed Sheba the son of Bichri. But the men of Judah followed their king steadfastly from the Jordan to Jerusalem.

The Geneva Bible                  So every man of Israel went up from after David, [and] followed Sheba the son of Bichri: but the men of Judah clave unto their king, from Jordan [From Gilgal which was near Jordan.] even to Jerusalem.

Green’s Literal Translation    And every man of Israel went up from following David, going after Sheba the son of Bichri. But the men of Judah clung to their king, from the Jordan even to Jerusalem.

Kretzmann’s Commentary    So every man of Israel, of the ten northern tribes, went up from after David, renouncing his allegiance to the king, and followed Sheba, the son of Bichri; but the men of Judah clave unto their king, from Jordan even to Jerusalem. They remained loyal, they did not permit their faithfulness to be shaken.

New King James Version       So every man of Israel deserted David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri. But the men of Judah, from the Jordan as far as Jerusalem, remained loyal to their king.

A Voice in the Wilderness      So every man of Israel withdrew from David, and followed after Sheba the son of Bichri. But the men of Judah, from the Jordan as far as Jerusalem, stayed close to their king.

Webster’s Bible Translation  So every man of Israel, withdrawing from David, followed Sheba the son of Bichri: but the men of Judah adhered to their king, from Jordan even to Jerusalem.

World English Bible                So all the men of Israel went up from following David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri; but the men of Judah joined with their king, from the Jordan even to Jerusalem.

Young’s Updated LT             And every man of Israel goes up from after David, after Sheba son of Bichri, and the men of Judah have cleaved to their king, from the Jordan even unto Jerusalem.

 

The gist of this verse:          The civil war this time split mostly on geographical lines. The north went with Sheba and the south with David.


2Samuel 20:2a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

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

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʿâlâh (עָלָה) [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

There appears to be a military component in the use of this verb in some contexts. That is, it sometimes does not mean to go up [in elevation] or to go up [in a northerly direction], but to go up against an enemy in battle or to go to a specific place in order to position oneself ready for war.

kôl (כֹּל) [pronounced kohl]

every, each, all of, all; any of, any

masculine singular construct not followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

ʾîysh (אִיש) [pronounced eesh]

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

masculine singular construct (sometimes found where we would use a plural)

Strong's #376 BDB #35

Yiserâʾêl (יִשְׂרַאֵל) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

God prevails; contender; soldier of God; transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 & #3479 BDB #975

mêʾachar (מֵאַחַר) [pronounced may-ah-KHAHR]

from, from after, from (being) after, from behind, from following after

compounded prepositions

Strong’s #4480 BDB #577 and Strong’s #310 BDB #29

This is especially used when one leaves what one has been following.

Dâvid (דָּוִד); also Dâvîyd (דָּוִיד) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

ʾachărêy (אַחֲרֵי) [pronounced ah-kuh-RAY]

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

preposition; plural form

Strong’s #310 BDB #29

Shebaʿ (שֶבַע) [pronounced SHEH-bahģ]

seven; swearing an oath; transliterated Sheba

proper singular noun/location

Strong’s #7652 BDB #989

bên (בֵּן) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Bikerîy (בִּכְרִי) [pronounced bihk-REE]

youthful; transliterated Bichri, Bikri

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #1075 BDB #114


Translation: Every man of Israel [who was previously] following David went up following Sheba ben Bichri;... If you will recall from 2Samuel 19 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD), David alienated some of his men in two ways. First, when they had defeated Absalom, David did not go out immediately to hobnob with the troops and to express his gratitude. He did do this eventually, and won most of their hearts back by doing this.

 

Whedon: So this second insurrection began before the king had returned to Jerusalem. The elders of the ten tribes, embittered by the fierce words of the Judahites, and emboldened by the sound of Sheba's trumpet, utterly forsook the king in the plains of Jericho, and left the men of Judah to escort him home alone. Footnote

 

L. M. Grant writes: Since the Israelites were already incensed against Judah, Sheba's loud voice and confident tone swayed all Israel to follow him without any consideration of the character of their leader. Footnote How easy it is to sway the hearts of men filled with mental attitude sins. How easy it is to play upon the mental attitude sins of discontent, lust, and sloth.

 

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary reads: It is in a poor and paltry light that both sides appear in this inglorious dispute. There was no solid grievance whatever, nothing that might not have been easily settled if the soft answer that turns away wrath had been resorted to instead of fierce and exasperating words. Alas I that miserable tendency of our nature to take offence when we think we have been overlooked, - what mischief and misery has it bred in the world! The men of Israel were foolish to take offence; but the men of Judah were neither magnanimous nor forbearing in dealing with their unreasonable humour. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary continues: What was the result? Any one acquainted with human nature might have foretold it with tolerable certainty. Given on one side a proneness to take offence, a readiness to think that one has been overlooked, and on the other a want of forbearance, a readiness to retaliate, - it is easy to see that the result will be a serious breach. It is just what we witness so often in children. One is apt to be dissatisfied, and complains of ill-treatment; another has no forbearance, and retorts angrily: the result is a quarrel, with this difference, that while the quarrels of children pass quickly away, the quarrels of nations or of factions last miserably long. Much inflammable material being thus provided, a casual spark speedily set it on fire, Sheba, an artful Benjamite, raised the standard of revolt against David, and the excited ten tribes, smarting with the fierce words of the men of Judah, flocked to his standard. Most miserable proceeding! The quarrel had begun about a mere point of etiquette, and now they cast off God's anointed king, and that, too, after the most signal token of God's anger had fallen on Absalom and his rebellious crew. There are many wretched enough slaveries in this world, but the slavery of pride is perhaps the most mischievous and humiliating of all. Footnote


However, then there was a mistaken notion that the men of Judah stole David away from the men of Israel, so that when there was a celebration and re-coronation of David, all of Judah attended, but it was started and ended before half of (northern) Israel could get there.


In the previous chapter, I explained that this may have been caused innocently by Shimei. He met up with the people of Judah at Gilgal, and he has 1000 men with him, and he decides that he needs to speak with David right away and to apologize for his inexcusable behavior from before.


Shimei, may have said, “Listen, I need to go speak to the king immediately;” and all Judah, who had already gathered, just went with him. So everyone from Judah was there; only half of Israel had gathered there to greet King David because they were coming from an area that is further away. Benjamin is about the closest tribe, and that is the tribe that Shimei brings with him (he is a Benjamite); so that fits with my suggested scenario. This is just one possibility—a series of events which I have suggested. The Bible is not completely clear as to why all of Judah celebrated David’s return when only half of Israel could get there. This explanation suggests that this could have occurred innocently, without evil intent by either northern or southern Israel.


So, there were a great many soldiers and supporters of David who believed that they had been slighted—perhaps they were and perhaps they were not—and this man Sheba ben Bichri was able to steal away their affections. So they decided that they ought to follow him instead of David. But the psalmist tells us: It is better to depend on the LORD than to trust mortals. It is better to depend on the LORD than to trust influential people. All the nations surrounded me, but armed with the name of the LORD, I defeated them. (Psalm 118:8–10; God’s Word™)


2Samuel 20:2b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

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

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʾîysh (אִיש) [pronounced eesh]

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

masculine singular construct (sometimes found where we would use a plural)

Strong's #376 BDB #35

Yehûwdâh (יְהוּדָה) [pronounced yehoo-DAW]

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

masculine proper noun/location

Strong’s #3063 BDB #397

dâbaq (דָּבַק) [pronounced dawb-VAHK]

to cling, to cleave, to hold close, to keep close, to adhere

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #1692 BDB #179

be (בְּ) [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

meleke (מֶלֶ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

min (מִן) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, of, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

Yâredên (יָרְדֵן) [pronounced yare-DAYN]

descender; flowing downward; the watering place; transliterated Jordan

proper noun with the definite article

Strong’s #3383 BDB #434

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

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

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʿad (עַד) [pronounced ģahd]

as far as, even to, up to, until

preposition

Strong’s #5704 BDB #723

Together, min...wa ʿad (וְעַד ... מִן) mean from...to or both...and; as in from soup to nuts or both young and old.

Yerûwshâlayim (יְרוּשָלַיִם) [pronounced yʾroo-shaw-LAH-yim]

possibly means founded upon peace or city of the Jebusites (or both); it is transliterated Jerusalem

proper singular noun, location

Strong’s #3389 BDB #436


Translation: ...but the men of Judah clung to David, from the Jordan to [down] as far as Jerusalem. Those in southern Israel (that is, Judah), remained loyal to David. This time, the rebellion is much more regional.


All of this rebellion goes back to, Absalom revolting against David, setting up an atmosphere of rebellion; and then this perceived slight which occurs when David’s return is celebrated without all of Israel being there.


Vv. 1–2: At this time, there a worthless man whose name was Sheba ben Bichri, who became well-known. He was from the tribe of Benjamin. He blew the trumpet and proclaimed, “My fellow Israelites, we have no portion in a land ruled by David; this son of Jesse does not provide for us our inheritance. Let us return to our homes in Israel, and consider our options there!” The men of Israel who previously followed David, went up with Sheba ben Bichri; but the men of Judah remained faithful to David, from the Jordan River down to Jerusalem. So half of Israel and all of Judah is celebrating David returning to Jerusalem. However, those of Israel feel slighted because the festivities were not held back in order for all northern Israel to attend. Sheba ben Bichri understands this, and makes use of it. He blows a trumpet, says, “We have no part of David; let’s go back home;” and those of northern Israel follow him back up north. However, those from Judah simply stayed with David.


The chapter division where it is, is somewhat confusing. All of this takes place perhaps a few minutes or an hour after the end of 2Sam. 19.

A Summary of 2Samuel 20:1–2

1.      There was a civil war which had been brewing over many chapters, led by Absalom, the son of David. In the previous chapter, that revolution was put down.

2.      Since David had been forced out of Jerusalem, it seemed necessary for the people to reaffirm their commitment to him, so the people of Judah and northern Israel came to escort David over the Jordan River and back to Jerusalem.

3.      Unfortunately, the ceremonies began before all of the people of northern Israel were able to gather. This may have happened on the most innocent of circumstances.

4.      So, during these festivities, a man known to many in Israel—Sheba ben Bichri—blew a trumpet to gather his people and to say, “We have been screwed by the Davidic administration; let’s get out of here and leave this farce. Every man, return to your homes.”

5.      The people of northern Israel had worked themselves up in anger, so the first man who expresses some leadership and empathy, they follow. This included men who were soldiers in David’s army.

6.      However, despite previously being divided by Absalom, the men of Judah were solidly behind King David.

So, at the celebration of the victory and re-coronation of King David, the seeds of another revolution begin to grow.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


This rebellion begun by Sheba would be ended; but the same split between the north and the south would occur again, 45 years from now, under Jeroboam.


——————————


And so comes David unto his house Jerusalem; and so takes the king ten women concubines whom he had let remain to keep the house. And so he gives them a house of guard [ing] and so he provides them and unto them he has not gone in. And so they are restricted as far as a day of their death—a widowhood life.

2Samuel

20:3

When David came to his house [in] Jerusalem, he [lit., the king] took his ten female mistresses whom he let remain to keep the house, and he gave them a guarded home. He provided for them, but he did not go in [to them]. Therefore, they remained restricted to the day of their deaths—a life of widowhood.

When David came to his home in Jerusalem, to took his ten mistresses—the ones he left behind to take care of the house—and he put them into a guarded home. He provided for them but he no longer had relations with them. They remained there until they day that they died, restricted to a life of widowhood.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And when the king was come into his house at Jerusalem, he took the ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them inward, allowing them provisions: and he went not in unto them, but they were shut up unto the day of their death living in widowhood.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so comes David unto his house Jerusalem; and so takes the king ten women concubines whom he had let remain to keep the house. And so he gives them a house of guard [ing] and so he provides them and unto them he has not gone in. And so they are restricted as far as a day of their death—a widowhood life.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten women his concubines whom he had left to keep his house and put them in custody and fed them, but did not go in unto them. So they were shut up to the day of their death, and were like widows.

Septuagint (Greek)                And David went into his house at Jerusalem. And the king took the ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and he put them in a place of custody, and maintained them, and went not in to them; and they were kept living as widows, till the day of their death.

 

Significant differences:           None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           When David arrived at his palace in Jerusalem, the king took the ten secondary wives he had left to take care of the palace and put them in a house under guard. He provided for them, but he didn't have sex with them. They were confined until the day they died, and lived like widows.

Contemporary English V.       David had left ten of his wives in Jerusalem to take care of his palace. But when he came back, he had them taken to another house, and he placed soldiers there to guard them. He gave them whatever they needed, but he never slept with any of them again. They had to live there for the rest of their lives as if they were widows.

Easy English                          David returned to his palace in Jerusalem. He had left 10 *concubines there to look after his palace. He put them in a house and someone guarded them. He provided all that they needed. But David did not have sex with them. They lived there like widows until they died.

Good News Bible (TEV)         When David arrived at his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to take care of the palace, and put them under guard. He provided for their needs, but did not have intercourse with them. They were kept confined for the rest of their lives, living like widows.

The Message                         When David arrived home in Jerusalem, the king took the ten concubines he had left to watch the palace and placed them in seclusion, under guard. He provided for their needs but didn't visit them. They were virtual prisoners until they died, widows as long as they lived.

New Berkeley Version           When David entered his Jerusalem palace, the king took the ten concubines whom he had left behind to keep the palace and placed them in a house of confinement. He maintained them but did not go in to them; they were kept separated until the day of their death as in life-long widowhood.

New Century Version             David came back to his palace in Jerusalem. He had left ten of his slave women there to take care of the palace. Now he put them in a locked house. He gave them food, but he did not have sexual relations with them. So they lived like widows until they died.

New Life Bible                        Then David came to his house at Jerusalem. The king took his ten women whom he had left to take care of the house, and had a prison soldier watch them. David gave them food, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up until the day of their death, living as women whose husbands had died.

New Living Translation           When David came to his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to look after the palace and placed them in seclusion. Their needs were provided for, but he no longer slept with them. So each of them lived like a widow until she died.

The Voice                               David came back to his palace at Jerusalem, and he took the 10 members of his harem he had left behind to look after things—the concubines whom Absalom had used sexually—and put them away in a house, under guard. He took care of them, but he never slept with them again as long as they lived. They lived shut away as if they were widows.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Then, when David arrived at his palace in JeruSalem, he took the ten concubines who he had left to guard the house, and had them put under guard. He took care of them, but he never went to bed with them again. So, they lived in custody as widows until the day they died.

Christian Community Bible     When David reached his house at Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines whom he had left to keep the palace and put them under guard. He provided for them but had no relations with them. So they were secluded until the day of their death and lived like widows.

God’s Word                         When David came to his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to look after the palace and put them in a house under guard. He provided for them but no longer slept with them. So they lived like widows in confinement until they died.

New Advent (Knox) Bible       So the king came home. As for the ten concubines he had left in charge of the palace, he shut these away, giving them their allowance of food still, but never again having commerce with them; they remained shut away in their widowhood as long as they lived.

New American Bible (2002)   When King David came to his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines whom he had left behind to take care of the palace and placed them in confinement. He provided for them, but had no further relations with them. And so they remained in confinement to the day of their death, lifelong widows.

New American Bible (2011)   David came to his house in Jerusalem, and the king took the ten concubines whom he had left behind to care for the palace and placed them under guard. He provided for them, but never again saw them. And so they remained shut away to the day of their death, lifelong widows. 2 Sm 15:16; 16:20-22.

NIRV                                      David returned to his palace in Jerusalem. He had left ten concubines there to take care of the palace. He put them in a house and kept them under guard. He gave them what they needed. But he didn't make love to them. They were kept under guard until the day they died. They lived as if they were widows.

New Jerusalem Bible             David returned to his palace in Jerusalem. The king took the ten concubines, whom he had left to look after the palace, and put them under guard. He provided for their upkeep but never went near them again; they were shut away until the day they died, widows, as it were, of a living man.

New Simplified Bible              David left ten of his concubines in Jerusalem to take care of his palace. When he returned, he had them taken to another house. He placed soldiers there to guard them. He gave them what they needed. He never slept with any of them again. They had to live there for the rest of their lives as if they were widows.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      David came into his house in Jerusalem. The king took the ten women concubines that he left to keep the house, and gave them a house for safekeeping, and sustained them, but never came to them. They were persecuted to the day of their dying and lived as widows.

Bible in Basic English             And David came to his house at Jerusalem: and the king took the ten women to whom he had given the care of the house, and had them shut up, and gave them the necessaries of life, but did not go near them. So they were shut up till the day of their death, living as widows.

The Expanded Bible              David came back to his ·palace [Lhouse] in Jerusalem. He had left ten of his ·slave women [Lconcubines; Csecondary wives; 3:7] there to take care of the ·palace [Lhouse; 16:21-22]. Now he put them in a ·locked [guarded] house. He ·gave them food [provided for them], but he did not ·have sexual relations with [Lgo in to] them. So they [Lwere shut up/confined and] lived like widows until they died.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 Jerusalem, the king took the ten slave-wives whom he had appointed to take care of the palace, and placed them in a house apart, and provided for them, but he went not to them, and they were in confinement to the day of their death. They lived as widows.

HCSB                                     When David came to his palace in Jerusalem, he took the 10 concubines he had left to take care of the palace and placed them under guard. He provided for them, but he was not intimate with them. They were confined until the day of their death, living as widows.

NET Bible®                             Then David went to his palace [Heb "house."] in Jerusalem. The king took the ten concubines he had left to care for the palace and placed them under confinement [Heb "and he placed them in a guarded house."]. Though he provided for their needs, he did not have sexual relations with them [Heb "he did not come to them"; NAB "has no further relations with them"; NIV "did not lie with them"; TEV "did not have intercourse with them"; NLT "would no longer sleep with them."]. They remained in confinement until the day they died, living out the rest of their lives as widows.

NIV – UK                                When David returned to his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to take care of the palace and put them in a house under guard. He provided for them but had no sexual relations with them. They were kept in confinement till the day of their death, living as widows.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           When David arrived at his palace in Yerushalayim, the king took the ten women who were his concubines, whom he had left to care for the palace, and put them under guard. He provided for their needs but never slept with them again. They were kept in confinement until the day of their death, living like widows with their husband still alive.

exeGeses companion Bible   And David comes to his house at Yeru Shalem;

and the sovereign takes the ten women concubines

whom he allowed to guard the house;

and gives them in a house of guard and sustains them;

but goes not in to them.

Thus they are bound to the day they die

- living in widowhood.

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               David went to his palace in jer, and the king took the ten concubines he had left to mind the palace and put them in a guarded place; he provided for them, but he did not cohabit with them. They remained in seclusion until the day they died, in living widowhood.

Judaica Press Complete T.    And David came to his house in Jerusalem, and the king took the ten women who were his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and he put them in a guard-house where he sustained them, but he came not upon them. And they remained bound as widows with husband yet alive until the day of their death.

Orthodox Jewish Bible           And Dovid came to his Bais (palace) at Yerushalayim; and HaMelech took the ten nashim, his pilagshim, whom he had left to be shomer over the Bais, and put them in Bais Mishmeret (seclusion), and provided for them, but went not in unto them. So they were shut up unto their yom mot, living in almenut (widowhood).

The Scriptures 1998              And Dawi came to his house at Yerushalayim. And the sovereign took the ten women, his concubines whom he had left to look after the house, and put them in a protected house and supported them, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up to the day of their death, living in widowhood.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    And David comes in unto his house at Jerusalem, and the king takes the ten women-concubines--whom he had left to keep the house, and puts them in a house of ward, and sustains them, and unto them he has not gone in, and they are shut up unto the day of their death, in widowhood living.

A Conservative Version         And David came to his house at Jerusalem. And the king took the ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in ward, and provided them with sustenance, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up.

Context Group Version          And David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in custody, and provided them with sustenance, but didn't go in to them. So they were shut up to the day of their death, living in widowhood.

Darby Translation                  And David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten women, concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in a house of confinement and maintained them, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up unto the day of their death, living in widowhood.

Emphasized Bible                  And David entered into his own house, in Jerusalem, and the king took the ten women, the concubines whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in ward, and sustained them, but, unto them, went he not in,—so they were shut up until the day of their death, in lifelong widowhood.

English Standard Version      And David came to his house at Jerusalem. And the king took the ten concubines whom he had left to care for the house and put them in a house under guard and provided for them, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up until the day of their death, living as if in widowhood.

Green’s Literal Translation    And David came into his house at Jerusalem. And the king took the ten women, the concubines whom he had left to guard the house, and fed them. But he did not go in to them, and they were shut up to the day of their death in widowhood.

Kretzmann’s Commentary    And David came to his house at Jerusalem, after the outbreak of this rebellion; and the king took the ten women, his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, 2Sam. 15:16; 2Sam. 16:21-22, and put them in ward, in a house by themselves, and fed, maintained, them, but went not in unto them, for they were impure to him, having been approached by Absalom. So they were shut up unto the day of their death, living in widowhood, in perpetual widowhood.

NASB                                     Then David came to his house at Jerusalem, and the king took the ten women [2Sam 15:16; 16:21, 22], the concubines whom he had left to keep the house, and placed them under guard and provided them with sustenance, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up until the day of their death, living as widows.

New King James Version       Now David came to his house at Jerusalem. And the king took the ten women, his concubines whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in seclusion and supported them, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up to the day of their death, living in widowhood.

World English Bible                David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in custody, and provided them with sustenance, but didn't go in to them. So they were shut up to the day of their death, living in widowhood.

Young’s Updated LT             And David comes in unto his house at Jerusalem, and the king takes the ten women-concubines—whom he had left to keep the house, and puts them in a house of ward, and sustains them, and unto them he has not gone in, and they are shut up unto the day of their death, in widowhood living.

 

The gist of this verse:          David, upon his return to Israel, set up a home for his concubines who had been violated by Absalom; and they remained separated from him until his death.


2Samuel 20:3a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

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

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

bôwʾ (בּוֹא) [pronounced boh]

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

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

Dâvid (דָּוִד); also Dâvîyd (דָּוִיד) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

ʾel (אֶל) [pronounced ehl]

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

bayith (בַּיִת) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, residence; household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

Yerûwshâlayim (יְרוּשָלַיִם) [pronounced yʾroo-shaw-LAH-yim]

possibly means founded upon peace or city of the Jebusites (or both); it is transliterated Jerusalem

proper singular noun, location

Strong’s #3389 BDB #436


Translation: When David came to his house [in] Jerusalem,... All the while that this revolution is brewing in the north, David is just settling in back to his job as king. Here, in this verse, we have what we did not find much of in the previous chapter—a series of wâw consecutives followed by imperfect verbs. This is typical for a narrative where the action is presented in chronological and logical order, one thing occurring after another.


David appears to be unaware of the revolution which is brewing, and he attends to his mistresses first.


2Samuel 20:3b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

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

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

lâqach (לָקַח) [pronounced law-KAHKH]

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

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542

meleke (מֶלֶ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated generally; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ʿeser (עֶשֶׂר) [pronounced ĢEH-ser]

ten

masculine numeral

Strong’s #6235 BDB #796

nâshîym (נָשִים) [pronounced naw-SHEEM]

women, wives

feminine plural noun; irregular plural of Strong’s #802

Strong’s #802 BDB #61

pîylegesh (פִּילֶגֶש) [pronounced pee-LEH-gesh]

mistress, paramour, illicit lover, live-in lover, concubine

feminine plural noun

Strong’s #6370 BDB #811

ʾăsher (אֲֹשֶר) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun; sometimes the verb to be is implied

Strong's #834 BDB #81

nûwach (נוּחַ) [pronounced NOO-ahkh]

to deposit, to set down; to cause to rest [to set down]; to let remain, to leave; to depart from; to abandon; to permit

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil perfect

Strong’s #5117 (and #3240) BDB #628

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

shâmar (שָמַר) [pronounced shaw-MAR]

to keep, to guard, to protect, to watch, to preserve

Qal infinitive construct

Strong's #8104 BDB #1036

bayith (בַּיִת) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, residence; household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #1004 BDB #108


Translation: ...he [lit., the king] took his ten female mistresses whom he let remain to keep the house,... King David left 10 mistresses behind to watch over his house. It never occurred to him that they would be attacked or harmed. However, Absalom raped all ten mistresses, probably over a period of a few days, nearly in plain sight in front of all Jerusalem. He had set up a tent on the elevated wall and he raped them one right after the other. They could not be seen, but their screams and whatever noises he made could be heard. Obviously, this showed great disrespect towards King David, his father, and well as great callousness toward these women.


David needs to determine how to deal with these women. Now, in that culture, most of the time, when a woman had sex—even when it was rape—this ruined her forever. This was particularly true of women who were well-known. We already studied Tamar and how, after she was raped, her life as a woman in marriage would no longer come to pass.


In this culture, such a view seems ridiculous and archaic, because we have become so numbed to rape and the concept of lifetime fidelity. The serial criminal rapist is the exception to the rule. They do exist, but there are very few of them. Most cases of rape occur between people who know each other. In the culture of Israel, women were protected. Women did not go out on “dates” as we think of them today. If there was going to be alone time between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman, this needed to be well planned out and surreptitious. In this way, because unmarried women were so well protected, rapes were a rarity in that culture. They understood the hormones of young people far better than we do. We deal with it by giving kids sex education in school—often years before they are even thinking about it—and they dealt with it in that culture by protecting their young women from young men. In that culture, whatever hormone raging that occurred was channeled into marriage; but young men and women simply did not get out together alone until they were married.


2Samuel 20:3c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

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

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâthan (נָתַן) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set; to make

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

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

All of the BDB meanings for the Qal stem of nâthan are as follows: 1) to give, put, set; 1a) (Qal); 1a1) to give, bestow, grant, permit, ascribe, employ, devote, consecrate, dedicate, pay wages, sell, exchange, lend, commit, entrust, give over, deliver up, yield produce, occasion, produce, requite to, report, mention, utter, stretch out, extend; 1a2) to put, set, put on, put upon, set, appoint, assign, designate; 1a3) to make, constitute.

Why is a masculine plural suffix found here?

bayith (בַּיִת) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, residence; household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular construct

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

mishemereth (מִשְמֶרֶת) [pronounced mishe-MEH-reth]

custody, guard, watch; a charge, a responsibility; an obligation; a service; a keeping; an observance; that which is observed [a rite, a law]

feminine singular noun

Strong's #4931 BDB #1038


Translation: ...and he gave them a guarded home. No doubt, these women were psychologically harmed, and possibly even easily frightened now. They had just experienced the unthinkable, where they were mortified before all Jerusalem. We have no idea exactly how all of this took place, but no doubt each woman was paraded out in full view of everyone, before she was taken into the tent and raped. And every single woman had experienced the exact same thing. Rape and public humiliation.


What happened to these women was quite rare—because of how the culture was, there were few if any rapes which occurred. But not only were these women violated sexually by Absalom, but this was done in public, so everyone knew what had happened.


David gave them a home where they would be guarded and protected. He put them in a place where they would feel safe. For months and possibly years, these women would be suffering from a post-traumatic stress disorder.


2Samuel 20:3d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

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

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

kûwl (כּוּל) [pronounced kewl]

to sustain [support, nourish], provide for; to maintain; to contain, to hold [in]; to restrain; to endure; to protect

3rd person masculine singular, Pilpel imperfect with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #3557 BDB #465


Translation: He provided for them,... David also continued to provide for them, making certain that all of the needs were met. Had they just been cut loose, they would have faced a life of poverty and suffering.


2Samuel 20:3e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and; even; in particular, namely; when, while; since, seeing, though; so, then, therefore; or; but, but yet; who, which; or; that, in that; with; also, in addition to, at the same time

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʾel (אֶל) [pronounced ehl]

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

lôʾ (לֹא or לוֹא) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

bôwʾ (בּוֹא) [pronounced boh]

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

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97


Translation: ...but he did not go in [to them]. However, given what had happened, and given the norms and standards of that day, David would never again have sex with any of these mistresses.


What happened to these mistresses of David was an anomaly. They were all raped by his son, Absalom. So David had to figure out what to do with these women. Because of the rape, he would not longer have sex with them. We may not understand this, but this was a part of the culture.


When a man and a woman married in that era, they would be the only ones to have sex with one another. In a polygamous marriage, these women would have sex with no one other than their one husband.


Although this has been discussed previously, the Bible explicitly warns a king not to multiply wives to himself (Deut. 17:17). King David’s great problem was that he did this. He did multiply wives to himself, and this caused him to enter into sexual arrogance where he went so far as to take the wife of one of his soldiers. This may have ended with David’s complete and total downfall, if God had not intervened and placed prolonged suffering on David, so that he turned away from his evil.


So, having these mistresses—clearly wrong by God’s standards. Now David has to figure out what to do with them. He places them in a protected home and provides for them.

 

Deffinbaugh: The first thing David does after arriving in Jerusalem is deal with the ten wives (or concubines) he left behind to keep the house. Absalom has slept with these women in public; there is no way David can go back to the way things were. He will never sleep with any of these women again. He appoints a place for them to stay and provides generously (I am sure) for them, but he does not sleep with them again. They have been defiled by Absalom. Footnote


2Samuel 20:3f

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

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

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

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

3rd person feminine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

tsârar (צָרַר) [pronounced tsaw-AHR]

are bound, are tied up, are restricted, are laid a hold of, are shut up; are shown hostility toward, are treated as an enemy

feminine plural, Qal passive participle

Strong’s #6887 & #3334 BDB #865

ʿad (עַד) [pronounced ģahd]

as far as, even to, up to, until

preposition

Strong’s #5704 BDB #723

yôwm (יוֹם) [pronounced yohm]

day; time; today or this day (with a definite article); possibly immediately

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

mûwth (מוּת) [pronounced mooth]

to die; to perish, to be destroyed; to be put to death; to die prematurely [by neglect of wise moral conduct]

Qal infinitive construct with the 3rd person feminine plural suffix

Strong's #4191 BDB #559

ʾalemânûwth (אַלְמָנוּת) [pronounced ahl-maw-NOOTH]

widow, widowhood

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #491 BDB #48

chayûwth (חַיוּת) [pronounced khah-YOUTH]

life, living

feminine singular noun abstract

Strong’s #2424 BDB #313

This abstract noun occurs only here in 2Sam. 20:3.


Translation: Therefore, they remained restricted to the day of their deaths—a life of widowhood. All of these widows remained at this house until the day that they died.

 

Clarke: He could not well divorce them; he could not punish them, as they were not in the transgression; he could no more be familiar with them, because they had been defiled by his son;...therefore he shut them up and fed them - made them quite comfortable, and they continued as widows to their death. Footnote

 

From the Luther Seminary: Serving as a hinge in the center of the passage is the obscure notice of David's concubines (v. 3). Actually, this little slice of life symbolizes much of importance. The ten concubines were the women David had left in Jerusalem when he fled before Absalom (2 Samuel 15:16). Absalom's rape of these women (2 Samuel 16:20-23) was a claim to be king, as well as a fulfillment of Nathan's prophecy (2 Samuel 12:12). David's provision for these women in a guarded house testifies to his compassion. His refusal to have sexual relations with them, however, was a political statement: the kingdom needed to be reestablished. Footnote


No doubt that many of them outlived David; and we do not know who recorded all of the book of Samuel. David is a common factor in most chapters, and my guess is, he would have kept an official record. Whether his was the last hand to write this material or not, we do not know. Even his authorship is disputed. The sense of this verse could be that this was where these women were expected to remain until the day that they died, living as widows.


Application: Some of us may view this as cruel; as though they are being penalized. This was the culture of the day. We have, in fact, a very similar custom here in the United States. Many women who are not married but have children are given money by the state to live. This continues as long as they remain unmarried. As a result, there are millions of women in the United States who will not get married, who like the security of receiving a bevy of welfare benefits to keep care of them. This practice parallels the practice of v. 3, but with a different set of social values attached (they may have lovers, affairs, or even common-law marriages, not revealed to the state).


It is unclear whether any of these women had born sons to David. An hypothesis just occurred to me—it is possible that one of the distinguishing factors between a wife and a mistress might be children. I am fully aware of Abraham and Hagar, but this is 1000 years later and it involves a king. Another result which is not followed up on is, what about any of them having a child by Absalom? We have no idea about this or whether he sired any children by any of them posthumously. .


It is too easy to misinterpret what is going on here.

David and his Mistresses

1.      David had about 10 wives and 10 mistresses. The one area where he went afoul of God’s mandates is by his collection of women. This is what led David into the interlocking systems of arrogance through the sexual arrogance gate.

2.      This would be an occupational hazard for any king, because a woman is naturally attracted to power and authority. Furthermore, marriage to the king meant financial security and status; and possibly a son by him could end up being the next king.

3.      How does a man attack a woman? By being someone that she looks up to and someone that she respects. If a woman does not respect a man, there is no chance for any sort of relationship. David, by virtue of his position as king, brought these things to the table.

4.      Although we are aware as to how David acquired some of his wives, we know nothing about his mistresses. What we do know is, when David’s troops were at war, David went a prowling for women.

5.      So, through the course of time, David acquired ten mistresses.

6.      When the Absalom revolution broke out, David left these mistresses behind to keep his palace. He did this on the full expectation of returning to the palace. 2Sam. 15:16

7.      It never occurred to David that Absalom would be so vile as to rape his mistresses.

8.      Absalom raped David’s mistresses in full view of all Jerusalem. They could not see the rapes, but they could hear them take place, as Absalom did this publically in a tent. 2Sam. 16:21–22

9.      According to the norms of that culture, these women were ruined for life. No man would want them to marry and David would not want them for intimacies. It was common in that culture for a man to marry only a virgin; and men who married women who were not virgins had recourse to annul the marriage.

10.    Therefore, David put them up at the expense of the state—which is very similar to what we do today, but on a much wider scale. We have a much different culture today with different sexual norms, but we essentially deal with unmarried mothers the same way that David dealt with his raped wives.

11.    David provided them both protection and sustenance. Had David not done this, it is likely that some of these women would have starved or been unable to live a normal life.

12.    Given the culture of that day, what David is doing is not cruel; it is thoughtful and considerate.

And, as has been pointed out, we do the same thing in our culture by subsidizing the lives of unmarried mothers, which encourages that life.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


There are 3 passages which deal with this particular topic. It is reasonable to ask, why?

Why the Bible Covers the Topic of David’s 10 Mistresses

1.      The Bible, in 3 passages, deals with David’s mistresses: David leaving them behind, their being raped, and what David does upon his return to Jerusalem.

2.      There are so many things which occurred during this revolution—most of which we know nothing about—why does the Bible engage us on this particular topic?

3.      This tells us about David. David was a great king, but his weakness was women; he collected both wives and mistresses. David’s 10 years under pressure from God is based upon his weakness for women.

4.      This is a cautionary tale, not because you will be tempted to have 10 mistresses, but because men will be tempted to have intimacies with more than one women—particularly in today’s society.

5.      We saw that David’s sexual arrogance took him to the point of taking the wife of a brave soldier of his. In this, David broke 3 of God’s commandments. He lusted after a woman that was not his, he committed adultery and he murdered.

6.      David’s son, Absalom, is the result of David’s sexual arrogance. David had satisfied his personal lusts, but he did not take responsibility for his children. Therefore, David’s first set of children were raised entirely by their mothers. This is not a good thing. For all intents and purposes, David’s wives were very similar to today’s unmarried mothers who are living on the dole.

7.      David’s greatness and his memory could have potentially been destroyed by his lust for women. As it is, David lost about 10 years time, which time could have been spent in spiritual growth and the production of divine good.

8.      This is a cautionary tale for all men. Not all men have the temptation like David to be able to marry nearly any woman he chooses; but most men are tempted by various sexual sins: whether it be pornography, multi-partners, sexual activity before marriage; unrealistic expectations; same-sex attraction or whatever. Because of the way a man is built, we all face one or more of these temptations and many which I did not name. You may suddenly find yourself with 10 or 20 wasted years.

9.      Guzik adds: The sad fate of David's ten concubines is an example of how our sin often has horrible effects on others. They suffered because of Absalom's sin - and David's sin.1 Furthermore, there is no fix for this sin. There is nothing that David can do at this point to undo the harm that has been done.

10.    As an aside, these women have done nothing wrong. Some commentators2 actually suggested that they should have resisted more than they did. That is simply wrong. A strong enough resistence would have resulted in their deaths. They bear no responsibility for having been raped by Absalom. Could one blame them for becoming David’s mistress in the first place? A case could be made for that, given the book of the Song of Solomon, where a woman resists Solomon’s advances, and remains chaste for her shepherd lover.

David does not ultimately solve this problem. Because of him, there are 10 women who will never have the chance at a normal life. However, this began when they hooked up with David as his mistress. Sin creates problems that the sinner himself often cannot solve.

1 David Guzik’s Commentary on the Old Testament; courtesy of e-sword; ©2006;  2Sam. 20:3.

2 Matthew Poole, English Annotations on the Holy Bible; Ⓟ1685; from e-Sword, 2Sam. 20:3.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


——————————


And says the king unto Amasa, “Assemble for me a man of Judah three of days and you in this place stand.”

2Samuel

20:4

The king said to Amasa, “Assemble the men of Judah for me [in] 3 days and you stand [right] here.”

The king said to Amasa, “Assemble the men of Judah here for me in 3 days; and take your stand in front of them (in order to receive your orders from me and then lead them into battle).”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And the king said to Amasa: Assemble to me all the men of Juda against the third day, and be thou here present.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And says the king unto Amasa, “Assemble for me a man of Judah three of days and you in this place stand.”

Peshitta (Syriac)                    Then said the king to Amasa, Assemble me the men of Judah within three days, and you yourself be present.

Septuagint (Greek)                And the king said to Amasa, Call to me the men of Judah for three days, and be present here yourself.

 

Significant differences:           None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           Then the king said to Amasa, "Call everyone in Judah here to me three days from now. You should be here too."

Contemporary English V.       David said to Amasa, "Three days from now I want you and all of Judah's army to be here!"

Easy English                          Then the king said to Amasa, `Tell the men of *Judah to come to me in three days. You must be here too.'

Good News Bible (TEV)         The king said to Amasa, "Call the men of Judah together and be back here with them by the day after tomorrow."

The Message                         The king ordered Amasa, "Muster the men of Judah for me in three days; then report in."

New Living Translation           Then the king told Amasa, "Mobilize the army of Judah within three days, and report back at that time."

The Voice                               David (to Amasa): Go and tell the men of Judah they have three days to get here, and you come with them.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Well, the king then said to Amasa (the one who had served as the commander-in-chief of AbSalom's army): 'Call the army of Judah to assemble here in three days. and then you must come back here!'

Christian Community Bible     The king said to Amasa, “Assemble all the men of Judah within three days; then come here to me.”

New Advent (Knox) Bible       And now the king said to Amasa, Muster all the warriors of Juda, three days from now, and present thyself here with them.

New American Bible (2011)   Amasa's Death.

Then the king said to Amasa: "Summon the Judahites for me within three days. Then present yourself here." 2 Sm 17:25; 19:14.

New Simplified Bible              David said to Amasa: »Three days from now I want you and all of Judah’s army to be here!«

Revised English Bible            The king said to Amasa, ‘Call up the men of Judah and appear before me again in three days’ time.’


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      The king said to Amasa, "Cry for the men of Judah to stand here with you in three days."

The Expanded Bible              The king said to Amasa, "·Tell the men [Mobilize the army] of Judah to meet with me ·in [within] three days, and you must also be here."

NET Bible®                             Then the king said to Amasa, "Call the men of Judah together for me in three days [The present translation follows the Masoretic accentuation, with the major mark of disjunction (i.e., the atnach) placed at the word “days.” However, some scholars have suggested moving the atnach to “Judah” a couple of words earlier. This would yield the following sense: “Three days, and you be present here with them.” The difference in meaning is slight, and the MT is acceptable as it stands.], and you be present here with them too."


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           The king said to 'Amasa, "Summon the men of Y'hudah to come to me within three days; and you, be here too."

exeGeses companion Bible   Then the sovereign says to Amasa,

Cry out to me the men of Yah Hudah in three days;

and you stand here.

Hebrew Names Version         Then said the king to `Amasa, Call me the men of Yehudah together within three days, and be here present.

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               The king said to Amasa, “Call up the men of Judah to my standard, and report here three days from ow.”

Orthodox Jewish Bible           Then said HaMelech to Amasa, Assemble the Ish Yehudah within shloshet yamim; be thou here present.

The Scriptures 1998              And the sovereign said to Amasa, “Call the men of Yehuah for me within three days, and be present here yourself.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

English Standard Version      Then the king said to Amasa, "Call the men of Judah together to me within three days, and be here yourself."

The Geneva Bible                  Then said the king to Amasa [Who was his chief captain in Joabs place, ( 2 Samuel 19:13 ).], Assemble me the men of Judah within three days, and be thou here present.

Green’s Literal Translation    And the king said to Amasa, Call for me the men of Judah within three days; and you stand here.

Kretzmann’s Commentary    Then said the king to Amasa, Assemble me the men of Judah within three days, he was given orders to mobilize them for the purpose of punishing the rebel Sheba, and be thou here present, for David intended formally to appoint him commander-in-chief, 2Sam. 19:13.

World English Bible                Then said the king to Amasa, Call me the men of Judah together within three days, and be here present.

Young’s Updated LT             And the king says unto Amasa, “Call for me the men of Judah in three days, and you, stand here.”

 

The gist of this verse:          David tells Amasa to gather the men of Judah within 3 days.


2Samuel 20:4a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

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

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think; to command; to promise; to explain; to intend; to decide; to answer

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

meleke (מֶלֶ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

ʾel (אֶל) [pronounced ehl]

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

ʿĂmâsâʾ (עֲמָשָׂא) [pronounced ģum-aw-SAW],

burden; the people of Jesse; transliterated Amasa

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #6021 BDB #771

zâʿaq (זָעַק) [pronounced zaw-ĢAHK]

cry out; proclaim; call [out, upon; together], assemble

2nd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperative

Strong’s #2199 BDB #277

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated generally; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ʾîysh (אִיש) [pronounced eesh]

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

masculine singular construct (sometimes found where we would use a plural)

Strong's #376 BDB #35

Yehûwdâh (יְהוּדָה) [pronounced yehoo-DAW]

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

masculine proper noun/location

Strong’s #3063 BDB #397

shelôwshâh (שְלוֹשָה) [pronounced shiloh-SHAW]

a three, a trio, a triad, a threesome

feminine numeral construct

Strong’s #7969 BDB #1025

yâmîym (יָמִים) [pronounced yaw-MEEM]

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

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398


Translation: The king said to Amasa, “Assemble the men of Judah for me [in] 3 days... David has given Amasa an advanced position. You will recall that Amasa is the bastard nephew of David, who had no place in David’s military. However, when Absalom opposed David, he called upon Amasa to lead his soldiers. This was a stupid idea, given Amasa’s lack of experience, but it was done all for show. Amasa had the family ties, which was seen as enough.

 

J. Vernon McGee: Amasa, you may recall, was the captain of the rebel forces under Absalom. According to 2Samuel 17:25 and 1Chronicles 2:17 , Amasa is the son of Abigail, a sister of David. This would make him a cousin of Absalom. After the defeat of the rebels under Amasa and the death of Absalom, David made Amasa captain of his army in the place of Joab. Footnote


Absalom lost the war and was killed, but Amasa—the second most visible traitor—is known. David, when contacting the men of Judah, said that he would take Amasa in as a military commander, to show that he was willing to forgive and to move forward, without taking vengeance against those who opposed him (2Sam. 19:13).


David kept with his word—he did put Amasa on as a general, either instead of or right under Joab, Footnote and he now gives Amasa something to do. David wants to assemble his army in Judah, so he calls upon Amasa to make this happen.


David did not give Amasa a cushy job and he did not give Amasa a no-show job. Footnote


One thing the armed forces is not designed for is social experimentation or for social engineering. David, when he returned to Jerusalem, did not want those who rebelled against him to be fearful for their lives. He sought to show this publically by making Amasa his lead general. This was a mistake. Amasa was not up to the job; David should have known this; and yet he still promoted Amasa far over his own ability level. This was clearly a mistake on David’s part, and a mistake he should have recognized from the beginning.


Application: The purpose of the military is to wage war and to win wars. It is not designed for social experimentation or for no-show jobs or for social promotion. When a military works well, then you do not mess with it. To his credit, President Barack Obama retained Bob Gates as Secretary of Defense and David Petraeus as general in the Middle East when he became president. However, President Obama later began experimentation in the armed forces with more women in the miliary and the allowance of openly gay soldiers. The best approach to homosexual acts and the military was under President Clinton’s don’t ask, don’t tell policy. This policy was, essentially, in effect before the Clinton presidency, and was merely officially recognized by President Clinton.


2Samuel 20:4b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

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

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʾattâh (אַתָּה) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

pôh (פֹּה) [pronounced poe]

here, in this place

adverb

Strong’s #6311 BDB #805

ʿâmad (עָמַד) [pronounced ģaw-MAHD]

take a stand, stand, remain, endure, withstand; stop

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong's #5975 BDB #763


Translation: ...and you stand [right] here.” So Amasa is supposed to assemble these soldiers and he is to take a stand right there with them. This suggests that the soldiers will be standing behind him.


This is not simply a test for Amasa. This is real. David has a good intelligence system, even now, at his return to Jerusalem. Someone has come and told David that Sheba did more than simply lead away the people of norther Israel. There is a revolution afoot and David needs to quell it immediately. He cannot afford to have slip-shod help at this point.


Now, can Amasa follow a simple order? There is revolution in the air, and David needs to put it down. In order for Amasa to show what he is worth, and to show that he can lead a command.


This could be done by sending out subordinates and calling for the assembly of the people’s army, using trumpets. The people understood what the call to battle was like. 3 days is a fairly long time, in fact, but this is the first time that Amasa has done this. However, this should not have taken even 3 days—and, who knows, perhaps Amasa himself was ready for some R&R?


The soldiers of Judah would be surprised at being called up so quickly, as they had just returned home with David, but they would respond.


V. 4 reads: The king said to Amasa, “Assemble the men of Judah here for me in 3 days; and take your stand in front of them (in order to receive your orders from me and then lead them into battle).” Normally, this would have been Joab’s responsibility. David appears to be trying out something new here. It is possible that Amasa has replaced Joab, something which I argued against in the previous chapter. However, it will be clear in this chapter that Abishai and Joab still have high-level responsibilities. In other words, Joab has not been fired or busted down to associate private status.


This decision that David made, to put Amasa into a high position, was with the intent of unifying the fractured nation. If David had a problem with Joab, it is not stated. This is the wrong decision, which will become clear in the next verse. However, it should be clear that, a person can be a growing or mature believer, and still not make perfect decisions 100% of the time. David has made some excellent decisions upon his return to Judah; but Amasa was not one of them. Do not be concerned if all your decisions are not perfect.

 

As the Pulpit Commentary says: This was a most unwise step, however guilty Joab may have been in slaying Absalom. With all his faults, Joab had always been faithful to David, and it was chiefly his skill in war and statesmanlike qualities which had raised the kingdom to a position of great power. Just now, too, he had crushed with smaller forces a rebellion in which Amasa had taken the lead. Footnote In other words, you don’t mess with what works.


As an aside, it is never made clear whether David knew that Joab initiated the killing of Absalom; but, no doubt, David held Joab ultimately responsible as lead commander. How directly involved that Joab was, was probably unknown to David.


——————————

 

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown: [This] appointment [of Amasa to head the armies] was a blunder, and the king soon perceived his error. The specified time passed, but Amasa could not muster the men. Footnote


And so goes Amasa to summon Judah and so he delays from the set time which he appointed him.

2Samuel

20:5

Amasa went to summon [the army of] Judah, but he delayed [completing this assignment] beyond the set time which David [lit., he] appointed him.

Amasa went to summon the army of Judah, but he did not complete this assignment within the 3 days that David gave him.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          So Amasa went to assemble the men of Juda, but he tarried beyond the set time which the king had appointed him.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so goes Amasa to summon Judah and so he delays from the set time which he appointed him.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    So Amasa went to assemble the men of Judah; but he tarried longer than the set time which had been appointed.

Septuagint (Greek)                And Amasa went to call Judah, and delayed beyond the time which David appointed him.

 

Significant differences:           No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           So Amasa went to call Judah together, but he took longer than the allotted time.

Contemporary English V.       Amasa started bringing the army together, but it was taking him more than three days.

The Message                         Amasa went to carry out his orders, but he was late reporting back.

New Century Version             So Amasa went to call the men of Judah together, but he took more time than the king had said.

New Living Translation           So Amasa went out to notify Judah, but it took him longer than the time he had been given.

The Voice                               So Amasa went out to call Judah together, but he was delayed beyond his deadline.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          So, Amasa went and called [the army of] Judah, but he stayed away longer than David told him.

Beck’s American Translation Amasa went to call Judah, but he took longer than the time David gave him.

Christian Community Bible     So Amasa left to summon the men of Judah but he failed to show up at the appointed time.

New Advent (Knox) Bible       Amasa went to muster them, but dallied beyond the time which the king had named;...

New Jerusalem Bible             Amasa went off to summon Judah, but he took longer than the time fixed by David.

New Simplified Bible              Amasa assembled the army of Judah. It took longer than three days.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      Amasa went to cry in Judah, but he delayed from meeting him for the meeting.

Bible in Basic English             So Amasa went to get all the men of Judah together, but he took longer than the time David had given him.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 Arnasa accordingly went and convoked Judah, but was delayed beyond the time appointe.

NET Bible®                             So Amasa went out to call Judah together. But in doing so he took longer than the time that the king had allotted him.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           'Amasa went to summon the men of Y'hudah but took longer than the time he had been given.

exeGeses companion Bible   So Amasa cries out to Yah Hudah:

but he lingers beyond the season to congregate.

Orthodox Jewish Bible           So Amasa went to assemble Yehudah; but he tarried longer than the mo'ed which he had appointed him.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Context Group Version          So Amasa went to call [ the men of ] Judah together; but he remained longer than the set time which he had appointed him.

Green’s Literal Translation    And Amasa went to call Judah, but delayed beyond the set time which he had set for him.

Kretzmann’s Commentary    So Amasa went to assemble the men of Judah; but he tarried longer than the set time which he had appointed him, he delayed beyond the three days given him, the reason for this state of affairs not being mentioned.

New RSV                               So Amasa went to summon Judah; but he delayed beyond the set time that had been appointed him.

World English Bible                So Amasa went to call the men of Judah together; but he stayed longer than the set time which he had appointed him.

Young’s Updated LT             And Amasa goes to call Judah, and tarries beyond the appointed time that he had appointed him.

 

The gist of this verse:          Amasa is unable to fulfill the request of David; he is unable to rally the men of Judah within 3 days.


2Samuel 20:5a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

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

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâlake (הָלַךְ) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

ʿĂmâsâʾ (עֲמָשָׂא) [pronounced ģum-aw-SAW],

burden; the people of Jesse; transliterated Amasa

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #6021 BDB #771

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

zâʿaq (זָעַק) [pronounced zaw-ĢAHK]

to cry out; to occasion a cry, to proclaim; to call, to call upon; to call together, to assemble

Hiphil infinitive construct

Strong’s #2199 BDB #277

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated generally; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Yehûwdâh (יְהוּדָה) [pronounced yehoo-DAW]

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

masculine proper noun/location

Strong’s #3063 BDB #397


Translation: Amasa went to summon [the army of] Judah,... Amasa attempted to do what he had been assigned; he did go to Judah to summon the army, but, for whatever reason, he failed. Did he stop off for some R&R? We do not know what slowed him down. It could have been his person incompetence and lack of leadership skills; and it could have been him goofing off for part of this time.


2Samuel 20:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

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

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yâchar (יָחַר) [pronounced yaw-KHAHR]

 to delay, to tarry, to defer

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3186 BDB #405

This word is found only here. It may be equivalent to or a form of Strong’s #310 BDB #29.

min (מִן) [pronounced mihn]

from, off, away from, out from, out of, from off; on account of, since, above, than, so that not, beyond, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

môwʿêd (מוֹעֵד) [pronounced moh-ĢADE]

a specific (set, pre-determined, appointed) time; a point in time; a sacred season, a set feast; an appointed meeting; an appointed place [where people meet; of an assembly]; a specific sign or signal; an assembly

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #4150 BDB #417

ʾăsher (אֲֹשֶר) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun; sometimes the verb to be is implied

Strong's #834 BDB #81

yâʿad (יָעַד) [pronounced yaw-ĢAHD]

to appoint, to assign, to designate; to point out; to define; to espouse

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #3259 BDB #416


Translation: ...but he delayed [completing this assignment] beyond the set time which David [lit., he] appointed him. The verb here suggests that he delayed completing this assignment. This suggests that, the assignment could have been done in the time allotted, but that he did not follow up on it. He was given 3 days, and he did not complete the assignment within 3 days. This was a war situation; David could not let Amasa do whatever. When David gave an order, he expected it to be followed.

 

Guzik: Amasa wasn't up to the job David gave him. He was not a completely competent military man, and Joab (the former commander of David's army) defeated Amasa soundly when they fought together. Footnote

 

The Pulpit Commentary suggests that Amasa could not be seen as a leader by those loyal to David: For the appointment was so surprising that everybody must have been agape with astonishment. They would naturally have expected that Amasa would he punished. Instead of this, he is commissioned to gather the militia in David"s name. And men would hesitate about joining such a leader. Was he really loyal? or would he embark them in a new rebellion? And what would Joab do? He was not a man likely to bear such a slight tamely, and David ought to have foreseen that he was sowing for himself a crop of discord and enmity. Footnote

 

Peter Pett: Amasa, David's close relative and new commander-in-chief, was now called on by David to gather together the men of Judah `within three days' so as to deal rapidly with the threat being caused by Sheba, so that they would be able to act before he could become a real danger. Amasa was, however, clearly either inefficient or careless for he failed to achieve David's target, or to report back at the proper time, possibly partly because men were reluctant to follow the general who led them to defeat when fighting for Absalom, but also partly because he did not treat his position seriously enough. There is no doubt that he unquestionably and completely failed in his duty. Footnote Pett continues: So Amasa set about mustering the army of Judah. But he did not do it with sufficient urgency. Thus when the time limit arrived the forces were nowhere to be seen, and nor was Amasa, who was supposed to have reported back. He was seemingly not astute enough as a general to recognise, as David himself had, the need for all speed before the rebellion could be established. It must therefore be appreciated that his failure to report back by the time allotted was gross dereliction of duty. It was indeed to treat the king with unforgivable casualness. Amasa was thus gravely at fault and liable for severe punishment however we look at it. Footnote


However, it appears by the text, where Amasa is said to delay or tarry, that the blame may be primarily laid upon him for not getting the troops together in time.


——————————


And so says David unto Abishai, “Now does evil to us Sheba ben Bichri more than Absalom. You take servants of your adonai and pursue after him, lest he has found for him cities walled and he has snatched away our eye.”

2Samuel

20:6

David then said to Abishai, “Sheba ben Bichri could do more evil to us than Absalom. You take the servants of your adonai and pursue after him, lest he finds walled cities and he has preserved himself [lit., he has snatched away our eye].”

David then said to Abishai, “Sheba the son of Bichri could do more evil to us than Absalom did. You must take my army and pursue after them, so that he does not find a city in which to take refuge and establish a permanent outpost.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And David said to Abisai: Now will Seba the son of Bochri do us more harm than did Absalom: take thou therefore the servants of thy lord, and pursue after him, lest he find fenced cities, and escape us.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so says David unto Abishai, “Now does evil to us Sheba ben Bichri more than Absalom. You take servants of your adonai and pursue after him, lest he has found for him cities walled and he has snatched away our eye.”

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And David said to Joab, Now Shamoa the son of Bichri will do us more harm than did Absalom; take your lord’s servants and pursue him, lest he find him fortified cities, and stay in them and incite a revolt against us.

Septuagint (Greek)                And David said to Amasa, Now shall Sheba the son of Bichri do us more harm than Absalom: now then take with you the servants of your lord, and follow after him, lest he find for himself strong cities, so will he blind our eyes.

 

Significant differences:           The Syriac has David giving this order to Joab rather than to Abishai. The Greek has him giving the order to Amasa. The final phrase might be understood in several ways.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       So David said to Abishai, "Sheba will hurt us more than Absalom ever did. Take my best soldiers and go after him. We don't want him to take over any walled cities and get away from us."

Easy English                          David said to Abishai, `Sheba, the son the Bicri, will cause us more trouble than Absalom did. Take my soldiers and chase him. Otherwise, he might find strong cities and escape from us.'

Easy-to-Read Version            David said to Abishai, “Sheba son of Bicri is more dangerous to us than Absalom was. So take my officers and chase Sheba. Hurry before Sheba gets into cities with walls. If Sheba gets into the well protected cities, we won’t be able to get him.”

Good News Bible (TEV)         So the king said to Abishai, "Sheba will give us more trouble than Absalom. Take my men and go after him, or else he may occupy some fortified towns and escape from us."

The Message                         So David told Abishai, "Sheba son of Bicri is going to hurt us even worse than Absalom did. Take your master's servants and hunt him down before he gets holed up in some fortress city where we can't get to him."

New Berkeley Version           David therefore told Abishai, “Sheba, son of Bichri is becoming more dangerous to us now than was Absalom. You take your master’s men and pursue the man before he will have occupied fortified cities and eludes our observation!”

New Century Version             David said to Abishai, "Sheba son of Bicri is more dangerous to us than Absalom was. Take my men and chase him before he finds walled cities and escapes from us."

New Life Bible                        David said to Abishai, "Now Bichri's son Sheba will bring us more trouble than Absalom. Take your lord's servants and go after him. Or he might find strong cities for himself, and get away from us."

New Living Translation           Then David said to Abishai, "Sheba son of Bicri is going to hurt us more than Absalom did. Quick, take my troops and chase after him before he gets into a fortified town where we can't reach him."

The Voice                               David (to Abishai): Sheba, Bichri's son, will do more damage to us than Absalom if he's left untouched. Take my men and pursue him. If we're not careful, he'll escape into a fortified city and continue to cause trouble.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          For, David had told Amasa: 'Now we're going to do something worse to the son of BoChori than we did to AbSalom. Get my servants and chase after him before he finds a fortified city and gives us a black eye.'

Beck’s American Translation “Now Sheba will do must more harm than Absalom,” David told Abishai. “Take your master’s men and go after him, or he will find fortified cities for himself and strike a vital blow at us.”

Christian Community Bible     David then said to Abishai, “Sheba son of Bichri, will do us more harm than Absalom. Take my guards and pursue him lest he flee to any fortified city and escape from us.”

God’s Word                         David then told Abishai, "Sheba, son of Bichri, will do us more harm than Absalom. Take my men and go after him, or he will find some fortified cities and take the best ones for himself."

New Advent (Knox) Bible       ...and David said to Abisai, This Seba, son of Bochri, will do us more harm than ever Absalom did. Take the royal troops with thee, and go in pursuit of him; or he will find refuge within city walls and escape us.

New American Bible (2011)   Then David said to Abishai: "Sheba, son of Bichri, may now do us more harm than Absalom did. Take your lord's servants and pursue him, lest he find fortified cities and take shelter while we look on."

NIRV                                      David said to Abishai, "Sheba, the son of Bicri, will do more harm to us than Absalom ever did. Take my men and go after him. If you don't, he'll find cities that have high walls around them. He'll go into one of them and escape from us."

New Jerusalem Bible             David then said to Abishai, 'Sheba son of Bichri is now in a position to do us more damage even than Absalom. Take your master's retainers and be after him, before he can reach any fortified towns and elude us.'

New Simplified Bible              David said to Abishai: »Sheba will hurt us more than Absalom ever did. Take my best soldiers and go after him. We do not want him to take over any walled cities and get away from us.«

Revised English Bible            David said to Abishai, ‘Sheba son of Bichri will give us more trouble than Absalom; take the royal bodyguard and follow him closely in case h occupies some fortified cities and escapes us.’


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      David said to Abishai, "Now Sheba the son of Bichri also offends as Absalom. Take your lord's servants, and pursue after him, otherwise he will find the protected cities and be delivered from our eyes."

Bible in Basic English             And David said to Abishai, Sheba, the son of Bichri, will do us more damage than Absalom did; so take some of your lord's servants and go after him, before he makes himself safe in the walled towns, and gets away before our eyes.

The Expanded Bible              David said to Abishai, "Sheba son of Bicri ·is more dangerous to us than Absalom was [Lwill do us more harm than Absalom]. Take ·my men [Lthe servants of your master] and chase him before he finds ·walled [fortified] cities and escapes from ·us [Lour sight]."

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 Then David addressed Amasa, “You know that Sheba·ben-Bikri may injure us more than Absalom, therefore take the soldiers of your Prince and- follow after him, for fear he should find some fortined towns and escape from our control.” V. 6. The name should evidently be Amasa who was Commander, and not “Abishai.” See vv. 7 and 9. lt is clear that David was faced by mutiny in his army led by Joab and Abishai his brother, —the result of the King's grief at the killing of Absalom. The history of that mutiny probably followed and has been accidentally omitted by a very ancient transcriber, whose blunder has been continued to our day, until I corrected it, by restoring at least "Amasa's” name, although I am not able to reproduce narrative of Joab and Abishai's mutiny.

HCSB                                     So David said to Abishai, "Sheba son of Bichri will do more harm to us than Absalom. Take your lord's soldiers and pursue him, or he will find fortified cities and elude us."

NET Bible®                             Then David said to Abishai, "Now Sheba son of Bicri will cause greater disaster for us than Absalom did! Take your lord's servants and pursue him. Otherwise he will secure [Heb “find.” The perfect verbal form is unexpected with the preceding word “otherwise.” We should probably read instead the imperfect. Although it is possible to understand the perfect here as indicating that the feared result is thought of as already having taken place (cf. BDB 814 s.v. פֶּן 2), it is more likely that the perfect is simply the result of scribal error. In this context the imperfect would be more consistent with the following verb וְהִצִּיל (vÿhitsil, “and he will get away”).] fortified cities for himself and get away from us."


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           David said to Avishai, "Sheva the son of Bikhri is going to do us more harm than Avshalom. Take your lord's servants and pursue him, so that he won't take over fortified cities and escape us."

exeGeses companion Bible   And David says to Abi Shai,

Now Sheba the son of Bichri

does us more evil than Abi Shalom:

take the servants of your your adoni and pursue him;

lest he find cities of protection

and delivers himself from our eyes.

Orthodox Jewish Bible           And Dovid said to Avishai, Now shall Sheva Ben Bichri do us more harm than did Avshalom; take thou the avadim of adoneicha, pursue after him, lest he get him fortified cities, and escape us.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                And David said to Abishai, Now will Sheba son of Bichri do us more harm than Absalom did. Take your lord's servants and pursue him, lest he get for himself fenced cities and snatch away our very eyes.

Concordant Literal Version    ...and David said unto Abishai, `Now does Sheba son of Bichri do evil to us more than Absalom; you, take the servants of your lord, and pursue after him, lest he have found for himself fenced cities, and delivered himself [from] our eye.

Context Group Version          And David said to Abishai, Now Sheba the son of Bichri will do us more harm than did Absalom: you take your lord's slaves, and pursue after him, in case he found himself fortified cities, and tears out our eye.

English Standard Version      And David said to Abishai, "Now Sheba the son of Bichri will do us more harm than Absalom. Take your lord's servants and pursue him, lest he get himself to fortified cities and escape from us."

The Geneva Bible                  And David said to Abishai, Now shall Sheba the son of Bichri do us more harm than [did] Absalom: take thou thy lords servants [Either those who had been under Joab or Davids men.], and pursue after him, lest he get him fenced cities, and escape us.

Green’s Literal Translation    And David said to Abishai, Now Sheba the son of Bichri will do more evil to us than Absalom. You take the servants of your lord and pursue him, that he not find fortified cities for himself, and deliver himself from our eye.

Kretzmann’s Commentary    And David said to Abishai, one of his commanders, Now shall Sheba, the son of Bichri, do us more harm than did Absalom, on account of the delay in calling him to account; take thou thy lord's servants, the part of the standing army stationed at Jerusalem, and pursue after him, lest he get him fenced cities and escape us, literally, "and deliver himself from our eyes," or, "darken not our eight," by hiding himself and eventually harming the cause of David.

New RSV                               David said to Abishai, `Now Sheba son of Bichri will do us more harm than Absalom; take your lord's servants and pursue him, or he will find fortified cities for himself, and escape from us.'

Updated Bible Version 2.11   And David said to Abishai, Now Sheba the son of Bichri will do us more harm than did Absalom: you take your lord's slaves, and pursue after him, in case he found himself fortified cities, and tears out our eye.

World English Bible                David said to Abishai, Now will Sheba the son of Bichri do us more harm than did Absalom: take your lord's servants, and pursue after him, lest he get him fortified cities, and escape out of our sight.

Young’s Updated LT             And David says unto Abishai, “Now does Sheba son of Bichri do evil to us more than Absalom; take the servants of your lord, and pursue after him, lest he have found for himself fenced cities, and delivered himself from our eye.”

 

The gist of this verse:          David then spoke to Abishai, to get together a scratch unit to go after Sheba.


2Samuel 20:6a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

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

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think; to command; to promise; to explain; to intend; to decide; to answer

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Dâvid (דָּוִד); also Dâvîyd (דָּוִיד) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

ʾel (אֶל) [pronounced ehl]

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

ʾĂbîyshay (אֲבִישַי) [pronounced ub-vee-SHAH-ee]

my father is Jesse and is transliterated Abishai

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #52 BDB #5

The Syriac has Joab here instead; the Greek has Amasa. The historian Josephus has Joab as well. Keil and Delitzsch devote over a page of discussion to this. Footnote I will not summarize what they wrote; but simply note, the text you see before you is probably the accurate text.

ʿattâh (עַתָּה) [pronounced ģaht-TAWH]

now, at this time, already

adverb of time

Strong’s #6258 BDB #773

râʿaʿ (רָעַע) [pronounced raw-ĢAHĢ]

to make a loud noise; to be evil [from the idea of raging or being tumultuous]; to be bad, to displease; possibly to be unpleasant and embittering; to break, to shatter; to be worse

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7489 BDB #949

The KJV+ version in e-sword has this word instead:

yâraʿ (יָרַע) [pronounced yaw-RAHĢ]

to grieve, to displease; to tremble, to quiver

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3415 BDB #438

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 1st person plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Shebaʿ (שֶבַע) [pronounced SHEH-bahģ]

seven; swearing an oath; transliterated Sheba

proper singular noun/location

Strong’s #7652 BDB #989

bên (בֵּן) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Bikerîy (בִּכְרִי) [pronounced bihk-REE]

youthful; transliterated Bichri, Bikri

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #1075 BDB #114

min (מִן) [pronounced mihn]

from, off, away from, out from, out of, from off; on account of, since, above, than, so that not, beyond, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

ʾĂbîyshâlôwm (אֲבִישָלוֹם) [pronounced ub-ee-shaw-LOHM]

my father is peace and is transliterated Absalom

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #53 BDB #5


Translation: David then said to Abishai, “Sheba ben Bichri could do more evil to us than Absalom. David recognizes what is going on—that Amasa is not up to the job—and he knows that he needs to act fast. He gave this assignment to Amasa, but he has not come through, so he needs to turn to Abishai, one of his nephews, to direct him to act. David recognizes that, the country being in its fractured state right now could suffer irreparable harm in this revolt headed by Sheba ben Bichri.


There is a question as to the reading of v. 6.

Abishai, Amasa or Joab?

1.      As noted in the Hebrew exegesis, the Hebrew and Latin have Abishai; the Greek text has Amasa; and the Syriac and Josephus have Joab. The Dead Sea Scrolls are unreadable here.

2.      First of all, this is never decided by majority rules.

3.      Secondly, the inspired text was originally written in Hebrew.

4.      For this reason, we always lean toward the Hebrew text unless there is some strong reason indicating otherwise.

5.      However, we must always bear in mind that there are errors in the Hebrew text which we have and that the translations made into Greek and Latin were made from Hebrew texts which predate the Hebrew texts which we use.

6.      There is really no reason to require a change of text here. The Hebrew text as it has come down to us reads Abishai; he would have been the top general of the land under Joab (Amasa’s relative authority next to them is yet to be determined).

7.      Therefore, the Hebrew reading is most likely correct.

I don’t know how much difference this really makes; but the intent is to begin with the most accurate text first and work from there.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


We might have expected David to speak to Joab to do this, but we do not know where Joab is at this moment. It could be that, when David realized that Amasa was not going to do what David told him to do, he spoke to the nearest military man with authority. There is also the possibility that Joab is on the outs with David, to a limited degree. As discussed, whereas David may not know that Joab actually initiated the killed of Absalom, Joab was in charge when Absalom was killed. So David may hold him responsible just for that. It will be clear that Joab has a high military position in this chapter (he will apparently take over leading the troops). However, this may have been more the response of his men, more than David’s positioning. It appears as though David gave Joab a diminished military role (David first calls upon Amasa to gather the troops; now he goes to Abishai). But Joab will, part way through this chapter, simply assume the role of the lead general. These men have followed Joab into dozens of battles; and they clearly trust him in this arena.


Although the text nowhere states this, many commentators understand David to be working only with generals other than Joab, if at all possible. However, the natural leader of David’s army is Joab and his authority will be implied in the next portion of v. 6.


Speaking of Joab, I always have questions which precede my examination of any chapter, and one of those is always, why does God the Holy Spirit include this chapter in the Word of God? I think that part of what we are studying sheds light on the never-explored topic of how did David’s sin impact Joab? When it came to the battlefield, Joab began exercising more and more personal discretion, even to the point of ignoring David’s directives. He could no longer trust David to make the ultimate decisions of what went down on the ground when Israel was at war. Add to this that David, as commander-in-chief, has made some boneheaded decisions. And the problem with sin is, this is not a solo project. When you commit a sin, this affects far more than just you. When David told Joab to see to it that Uriah the Hittite was killed in battle, Joab obeyed, but he did not like it. After that point, it appears that Joab would operate semi-independently of David on the battlefield.


So far, this verse reads: David then said to Abishai, “Sheba ben Bichri could do more evil to us than Absalom. Interestingly enough, King David recognizes—and this is almost immediately upon his return—that what Absalom did was evil. He has gotten that into his head, despite his misgivings about Absalom’s death. This is a fairly big step for David to refer to his own son as doing evil.


David also makes the judgment that Sheba could cause even more evil than Absalom. This is interesting, because Absalom had plotted out his overthrow for at least a year; and maybe over several years. We do not know much about Sheba. However, there is revolution in the air, and that is a dangerous time. The country, as is, is fractured and divided. Another full-scale revolution could destroy Israel. This is likely David’s take on the matter.


Revolution is anti-God, as we will study in the next verse.


2Samuel 20:6b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ʾattâh (אַתָּה) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

lâqach (לָקַח) [pronounced law-KAHKH]

take, seize, take away, take in marriage; send for, fetch, bring, receive

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated generally; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ʿebed (עֶבֶד) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant; underling; subject; this can mean military men, soldiers in the plural

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

ʾădônây (אֲדֹנָי) [pronounced uh-doh-NAY]

Lord (s), Master (s), my Lord (s), Sovereign; my lord [master]; can refer to the Trinity or to an intensification of the noun; transliterated Adonai, adonai

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #113 & #136 BDB #10

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

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

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

râdaph (רָדַף) [pronounced raw-DAHF]

pursue, follow after; chase with hostile intent, persecute

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong’s #7291 BDB #922

ʾachărêy (אַחֲרֵי) [pronounced ah-kuh-RAY]

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

preposition; plural form; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #310 BDB #29


Translation: You take the servants of your adonai and pursue after him,... The servants here are the army of David, and it could refer to his personal army—those who primarily protect David under all circumstances. David employed foreigners to do this, so that they did not get caught up in the politics of his day.


David’s language here is fairly open to interpretation. By your adonai, is David referring to God, to himself or to Amasa? This is a term of respect which is primarily applied to men of authority (Gen. 18:12 19:18 23:6, 11 2Sam. 19:19–20, 26–28, 30, 35). This narrows the choice down to David or to Amasa (which would assume that Amasa now outranks Abishai). We saw in the previous chapter, the language which David used concerning Amasa and Joab—and their relative positions was left unclear. Here, again, Abishai can take this either way—that he is gathering up David’s army or he is gathering up the army which should be under Amasa.


However, in the next verse, Abishai’s lord is named: Therefore, the soldiers of Joab went out after him, along with the Cherethites and the Pelethites and all the mighty men—they [all] go out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba ben Bichri. Therefore, I would interpret this as referring to Joab, and that Abishai is under Joab. The servants of your adonai are the soldiers of Joab; that tells us who your adonai is. I am not sure if this is a major point in the exegesis of this passage; and I certainly would not spend much time arguing with someone who believes this to refer to David instead (speaking of himself in the 3rd person).


In any case, Sheba must be immediately found and confronted and killed, and his revolution ended.


Application: It is up to the establishment government in power to destroy revolutionary movements. Now, I am not talking about those who are freely expressing a different set of ideas; I am speaking of those who are inciting revolution or those who are ready to revolt. Let me state something which is very difficult for me to say (I am writing this in 2014). Our current president is Barack Obama, the worst president of my lifetime. However, if TEA party groups suddenly turned militant and took up arms against President Obama, every believer with doctrine should be on the side of Barack Obama. Despite President Obama’s shortcomings—and they are legion—he is the head of the executive branch of the United States. He does not lose our allegiance in a revolution. A revolution, where you seek to remove someone in power, is wrong. For believers who are conservative (which ought to be every believer), this is tough to swallow. However, revolutions are simply power grabs. The rationale for a revolution may be framed in terms of the people, but those guiding the revolution are just as power hungry and just as corrupt as those they would like to depose. Remember, it is just as easy for a power-hungry despot to claim that values of conservativism as it is to claim the values of socialism or populism. The despot does not have to believe in what he claims to be for; he simply needs to know the rhetoric to spout. He needs you, the true believer, to run interference for him and clear a pathway to power. Without the hoi polloi acting on behalf of a despot, the despot is a nobody.

 

Peter Pett: The result [of Amasa’s inability to follow David’s order] was that David then turned to the faithful Abishai, who had previously led one of David's three units against Israel, and was standing by him, and called on him to gather David's troops and pursue Sheba before he could establish himself. We must undoubtedly see his command to Abishai as arising because Abishai was close at hand, and immediately available, and therefore also as including his brother when he could be contacted. It was thus a request that he go with his brother (when he could make contact with him) so that they might both go and pursue Sheba. This is evident from what follows. Footnote


2Samuel 20:6c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

pen (פֶּן) [pronounced pen]

lest, peradventure, or else, in order to prevent, or, so that [plus a negative]

conjunction

Strong's #6435 BDB #814

mâtsâʾ (מָצָא) [pronounced maw-TSAW]

to attain to, to find, to detect, to happen upon, to come upon, to find unexpectedly, to discover; to meet (encounter)

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #4672 BDB #592

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

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

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʿîyr (עִיר) [pronounced ģeer]

encampment, city, town

feminine plural noun

Strong's #5892 BDB #746

bâtsar (בָּצַר) [pronounced baw-TZAR]

walled-up, fenced, fortified

feminine plural, Qal passive participle

Strong's #1219 BDB #130

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

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

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nâtsal (נָצַל) [pronounced naw-TSAHL]

to snatch away, to deliver, to rescue, to snatch out of danger, to preserve, to recover

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil perfect

Strong’s #5337 BDB #664

ʿayin (עַיִן) [pronounced ĢAH-yin]

 spring, fountain; eye, spiritual eyes

feminine singular noun with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #5869 (and #5871) BDB #744

All BDB definitions: eye; of physical eye; as showing mental qualities; of mental and spiritual faculties (figuratively); spring, fountain. Gesenius adds the meaning face. Neither source offers well as a translation (and there are words for well in the Hebrew).

This could be an ancient phrase which was more understandable in that era. Here are how other translations rendered this final phrase:

The Amplified Bible...and snatch away our very eyes.

English Standard Version...and escape from us."

Updated Bible Version 2.11...and tears out our eye.

World English Bible...and escape out of our sight.

Young’s Updated LT...and delivered himself from our eye.”

The only problem with these translations is, the subject appear to act upon itself, which is not typical of the Hiphil stem, which is the causative stem. This could suggest that there is a problem with the text itself.

The Pulpit Commentary comments: The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain. It may signify, "and withdraw himself from our eyes," which gives the sense of the Authorized Version, and is supported by the Vulgate. The Septuagint renders, "and overshadow our eyes," which might have the same meaning, but, as others think, may signify, "and cause us anxiety." Many modern commentators render, "and pluck out our eye;" that is, do us painful damage. Either this or the Authorized Version gives a good sense, and, anyhow, rapid action was necessary, or Sheba’s revolt might become dangerous. Footnote


Translation: ...lest he finds walled cities and he has preserved himself [lit., he has snatched away our eye].” The gist of the sentence is easy—Sheba needs to be found before he can find a city to make his home base, and to build from that. The second half ot the phrase is rather difficult, and my translation above takes a great many liberties, to the point of ignoring the final word. Not enough text from the Dead Sea Scrolls remains of this verse to suggest that there are textual problems. So this may be a legitimate phrase in the Hebrew, but one that is difficult to translate. The Hebrew exegesis within the gray boxes may provide more information on this topic.


——————————


And so go out after him men of Joab and the Cherethites and the Pelethites and all the mighty men. And so they go out from Jerusalem to pursue after Sheba ben Bichri.

2Samuel

20:7

Therefore, the soldiers of Joab went out after him, along with the Cherethites and the Pelethites and all the mighty men—they [all] go out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba ben Bichri.

Therefore, the soldiers of Joab went out after him, along with the Cherethites, the Pelethtites and all the mighty men of war—they all went out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba, son of Bichri.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          So Joab's men went out with him, and the Cerethi and the Phelethi: and all the valiant men went out of Jerusalem to pursue after Seba the son of Bochri.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so go out after him men of Joab and the Cherethites and the Pelethites and all the mighty men. And so they go out from Jerusalem to pursue after Sheba ben Bichri.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And there went out after him Joab’s men, the noblemen and the army and all the mighty men; and they went out from Jerusalem to pursue Shamoa, the son of Bichri.

Septuagint (Greek)                And there went out after him Amasa and the men of Joab, and the Cherethites and the Pelethites, and all the mighty men; and they went out from Jerusalem to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.

 

Significant differences:           No serious discrepancies.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       Abishai left Jerusalem to try and capture Sheba. He took along Joab and his soldiers, as well as David's bodyguard and best troops.

Easy English                          So Abishai led all Joab's men, the men from Kereth and Peleth, and all the brave soldiers. They left Jerusalem to chase Sheba, the son of Bicri.

Easy-to-Read Version            So Joab left Jerusalem to chase after Sheba son of Bicri. Joab brought his own men and the Kerethites and Pelethites [David’s special group of fighting men.] and the other soldiers with him.

The Message                         So under Abishai's command, all the best men--Joab's men and the Kerethites and Pelethites--left Jerusalem to hunt down Sheba son of Bicri.

New Berkeley Version           So out with him marched the troops of Joab, the Cherethites and the Pelethites, and all the mighty men, advancing from Jerusalem in pursuit of Sheba the son of Bichri.

New Century Version             So Joab's men, the Kerethites and the Pelethites [These were probably special units of the army that were responsible for the king's safety, a kind of palace guard.], and all the soldiers went with Abishai. They went out from Jerusalem to chase Sheba son of Bicri.

New Living Translation           So Abishai and Joab [Hebrew So Joab's men.], together with the king's bodyguard [Hebrew the Kerethites and Pelethites; also in 20:23.] and all the mighty warriors, set out from Jerusalem to go after Sheba.

The Voice                               So Joab took his troops with the mercenary corps of Cherethites and Pelethites, and all these warriors went from Jerusalem in pursuit of Sheba, Bichri's son.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Then JoAb's men (the Cherethites, the Phelethites, and all the mightiest warriors) went after him. they left JeruSalem to chase down the son of BoChori.

New Advent (Knox) Bible       So in pursuit of Seba they went, under Abisai's command, Joab's men, and the Cerethites and Phelethites, and all the picked warriors in Jerusalem;...

New American Bible (2011)   So Joab and the Cherethites and Pelethites and all the warriors marched out behind Abishai from Jerusalem to campaign in pursuit of Sheba, son of Bichri. 2 Sm 8:18.

NIRV                                      So Joab's men marched out with the Kerethites and Pelethites. They went out with all of the mighty soldiers. All of them were under Abishai's command. They marched out from Jerusalem and went after Sheba, the son of Bicri.

New Jerusalem Bible             Joab, the Cherethites, the Pelethites and all the champions took the field under Abishai, setting off from Jerusalem in pursuit of Sheba son of Bichri.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      Joab's men proceeded after him with Chereth, Peleth, and all the mighty. They proceeded from Jerusalem to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.

Bible in Basic English             So there went after Abishai, Joab and the Cherethites and the Pelethites and all the fighting-men; they went out of Jerusalem to overtake Sheba, the son of Bichri.

The Expanded Bible              So Joab's men, the Kerethites and the Pelethites [Cforeign mercenaries who served as the king's bodyguards], and all the ·soldiers [mighty warriors] went with Abishai. They went out from Jerusalem to ·chase [pursue] Sheba son of Bicri.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 (The men of J'oab, however, had followed him-.)—

So the Guards, and the Light Infantry, and all the Heavy, also proceeded from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba·ben-Bikri, as far as the Great Stone that is near Gibaon,... A portion of v. 8 is included for context.

HCSB                                     So Joab's men, the Cherethites, the Pelethites, and all the warriors marched out under Abishai's command; they left Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bichri.

NET Bible®                             So Joab's men, accompanied by the Kerethites, the Pelethites, and all the warriors, left Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bicri.

NIV – UK                                So Joab's men and the Kerethites [S 1Sa 30:14; S 2Sa 15:18] and Pelethites and all the mighty warriors went out under the command of Abishai. They marched out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bikri.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           With him went Yo'av's men, the K'reti, the P'leti and all the experienced soldiers; they left Yerushalayim in pursuit of Sheva the son of Bikhri.

exeGeses companion Bible   And the men of Yah Ab go after him

- the executioners and the couriers

and all the mighty;

and they go from Yeru Shalem

to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri:...

Hebrew Names Version         There went out after him Yo'av's men, and the Kereti and the Peleti, and all the mighty men; and they went out of Yerushalayim, to pursue after Sheva the son of Bikhri.

Judaica Press Complete T.    And Joab's men went after him with the archers and the slingers and all the warriors; and they went out of Jerusalem to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri.

Orthodox Jewish Bible           And there went out after him anshei Yoav, and the Kereti, and the Peleti, and kol Gibborim; and they went out of Yerushalayim, to pursue after Sheva Ben Bichri.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                And there went after him Joab's men and [David's bodyguards] the Cherethites and Pelethites and all the mighty men; they went out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bichri.

Green’s Literal Translation    And the men of Joab went out after him, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and all the mighty men. And they went out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri.

Kretzmann’s Commentary    And there went out after him Joab's men, for as such the standing army was known, and the Cherethites and the Pelethites, 2Sam. 8:18, and all the mighty men; and they went out of Jerusalem to pursue after Sheba, the son of Bichri.

New RSV                               Joab's men went out after him, along with the Cherethites, the Pelethites, and all the warriors; they went out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bichri.

Young’s Updated LT             And the men of Joab go out after him, and the Cherethite, and the Pelethite, and all the mighty men, and they go out from Jerusalem to pursue after Sheba son of Bichri.

 

The gist of this verse:          Joab’s army goes out after Abishai, along with the Cherethites and the Pelethites. They all leave Jerusalem in pursuit of Sheba.


2Samuel 20:7a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

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

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yâtsâʾ (יָצָא) [pronounced yaw-TZAWH]

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

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3318 BDB #422

ʾachărêy (אַחֲרֵי) [pronounced ah-kuh-RAY]

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

preposition; plural form; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #310 BDB #29

ʾănâshîym (אֲנָשִים) [pronounced uh-NAW-sheem]; also spelled ʾîyshîym (אִישִים) [pronounced ee-SHEEM]

men; inhabitants, citizens; companions; soldiers, followers

masculine plural construct

Strong's #376 BDB #35

Yôwʾâb (יוֹאָב) [pronounced YOH-awbv]

Yah is father and is transliterated Joab

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #3097 BDB #222


Translation: Therefore, the soldiers of Joab went out after him,... The plan of waiting on Amasa to gather up an army was scrapped. David went to Abishai, Joab’s brother, and asked him to rouse up some troops. He of course goes to his brother, and his brother comes with a number of soldiers. Although it is not clear whether his brother is here at this point; it will become clear that his brother joins them all at some point.


You may recall that in the previous chapter, it was unclear whether Amasa replaced Joab or whether he took a position under Joab. This passage does not really clear it up. The fact that Abishai is called upon to gather up the soldiers does not mean that Joab had been demoted and even Abishai was over him. It may have meant, it is the 3rd day, Amasa has not yet reported to David with the necessary soldiers, and Abishai may have been right there, so that David goes to him to gather up the troops. He of course gathers up his brother Joab, knowing where he is, along with whatever soldiers Joab is commanding at this time.


This could also mean that Joab is in charge of a group of soldiers himself, under Amasa—perhaps even some elite troops. So, as you see, this could be taken either way still. Amasa has supplanted Joab or Joab still has his old job. The text here allows for it to go either way (although this text would cause me to lean more toward Joab being reassigned).


2Samuel 20:7b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

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

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Kerêthîy (כְּרֵתִי) [pronounced keray-THEE]

a collective noun which means executioners; life guardsmen (which could be its primary meanings); and is transliterated Cherethite, Cherethites

gentilic adjective used as a proper noun; possibly a singular collective noun; with the definite article

Strong’s #3774 BDB #504

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

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

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Pelêthîy (פְּלֵתִי) [pronounced pe-lay-THEE]

a collective noun which means couriers; messengers (which could be its primary meanings); transliterated Pelethites

masculine singular noun; possibly a gentilic adjective used as a proper noun; with the definite article

Strong’s #6432 BDB #814

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

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

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

kôl (כֹּל) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all of, the entirety of, all; can also be rendered any of

masculine singular construct followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

gibbôwr (גִּבּוֹר) [pronounced gib-BOAR]

strong men, mighty men, soldiers

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #1368 BDB #150


Translation: ...along with [lit., and] the Cherethites and the Pelethites and all the mighty men—... The Cherethites and the Pelethites are David’s personal bodyguard. Normally, David is going to keep these troops close at hand. However, under these circumstances, there is no time to be lost. These would be reserve troops kept in reserve, but Amasa screwed up his job, and troops have to be raised up immediately. Amasa is supposed to be there with the soldiers of Judah, but he is not.


Benaiah is in charge of the Cherethites and the Pelethites (2Sam. 8:18 20:23), and we will discuss him in greater detail in the future.


There is another set of men here called the mighty men. This could read either: ...even the mighty men or ...and the mighty men. I would understand it that these are whatever miscellaneous soldiers could be raised up immediately by Abishai and those under him, apart from the Cherethites and the Pelethites.

 

Peter Pett: Accordingly Abishai swiftly gathered together Joab's men (presumably the standing army always held at the ready), together with David's bodyguard and mighty men, and set off in pursuit of Sheba, and was at some point joined by Joab. And when they reached the great stone at Gibeon they came across Amasa who, seemingly unconcernedly, came to meet them. This put them under a huge dilemma. Their mission was now extremely urgent and there was no time for negotiating with or arguing with the official commander-in-chief who had already proved so negligent and inefficient. Nor did they want to have to do battle with any men who were with him. So Joab made a swift decision, and presumably on the grounds of treason and failure to observe the king's commands, summarily executed him. He would no doubt argue afterwards that it had been necessary because of the urgency of the situation. He had proved himself unfit to command and had actually been subordinate in that he had not reported back to David. Thus Joab and Abishai, entrusted with the king's urgent command, had had no alternative. Footnote

 

L. M. Grant writes: David therefore told Abishai (not Joab) to take soldiers with him and pursue Sheba the son of Bichri before he was able to establish himself in fortified cities and present a formidable opposition to Judah. Of course Abishai, the brother of Joab, was also an experienced man of war. But verse 7 tells us it was Joab's men, with the Cherethites and the Pelethites (David's bodyguard) who went with him. Joab himself was not going to be left out, whatever David's orders were. They started on their way to pursue Sheba. Footnote


These troops which Abishai gathered together were not the usual troops gathered for war. The Cherethites and the Pelethites were normally David’s personal bodyguard. However, this rebellion by Sheba was too serious to allow to continue without a clear and quick response from King David. So what David is doing now is out of the ordinary, but necessary. The Sheba rebellion must be nipped in the bud.


2Samuel 20:7c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

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

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yâtsâʾ (יָצָא) [pronounced yaw-TZAWH]

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

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3318 BDB #422

min (מִן) [pronounced mihn]

from, off, away from, out from, out of, from off; on account of, since, above, than, so that not, beyond, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

Yerûwshâlayim (יְרוּשָלַיִם) [pronounced yʾroo-shaw-LAH-yim]

possibly means founded upon peace or city of the Jebusites (or both); it is transliterated Jerusalem

proper singular noun, location

Strong’s #3389 BDB #436

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

râdaph (רָדַף) [pronounced raw-DAHF]

to pursue, to follow after; to chase with hostile intent, to persecute

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #7291 BDB #922

ʾachărêy (אַחֲרֵי) [pronounced ah-kuh-RAY]

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

preposition; plural form

Strong’s #310 BDB #29

Shebaʿ (שֶבַע) [pronounced SHEH-bahģ]

seven; swearing an oath; transliterated Sheba

proper singular noun/location

Strong’s #7652 BDB #989

bên (בֵּן) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Bikerîy (בִּכְרִי) [pronounced bihk-REE]

youthful; transliterated Bichri, Bikri

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #1075 BDB #114


Translation: ...they [all] go out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba ben Bichri. Sheba has made himself known as a revolutionary; and his revolution must be put down. So these soldiers hastily put together go out after him.


This doctrine was first given in 2Samuel 17 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).

Language can be a tricky thing, and embedded in our culture is the idea that revolution is a good thing. After all, our country was found by the American Revolution, was it not? The American Revolution is a misnomer. We fought a war for independence; not a war to depose the authority of England. When the war was over, King George III (if my memory is accurate here on his name) remained the king in England. The United States merely severed its ties to England as our controlling country—which is a war for independence, not a revolution.

God and Revolution

1.      Revolution is anti-God.

2.      Even though David has done great wrong, and God is still dealing with David to get him out of sexual arrogance, Absalom is wrong to revolt against David.

3.      Therefore, God will be on David’s side. Yehowah had ordained that Ahithophel's good advice be defeated in order to ruin Absalom (2Sam. 17:14b).

4.      David has certainly sinned against God and he did a lousy job of raising his children, who were essentially wards of the state, not unlike welfare babies today.

5.      David was also unable to treat his children justly under the law; so he ignored the rape committed by Amnon.

6.      However, apart from the, David was a great king, and God not only approved his kingship, but protected David during this revolution.

7.      A revolution involves the breakdown of law and order, which can make evangelization and Bible teaching more difficult. Law and order must be restored for evangelization and Bible teaching to resume normal teaching patterns.

8.      Revolution means that a portion of the country will engage in unlawful acts to depose their king.

9.      We mistakenly teach that revolution in a country which overthrows some despot is a good thing, and many liberals were quietly hoping that the revolutions throughout the Middle East would result in more enlightened governments. That will not be the case. The result will eventually be a more despotic ruler, albeit younger, and probably one, in the example given, who leans toward radical Islam.

10.    We have a similar problem here with Absalom. He has not said or done anything to suggest that he believes in the Revealed God. So, there is no reason to think that his government is going to be more favorable to Yehowah worship.

11.    David has always been favorable to Yehowah worship, and greatly celebrated bringing the Ark of God to Jerusalem.

12.    People came to Israel many times to be evangelized (although they may not have realized that); under Absalom, there would be less evangelism because he was not well-disposed toward the God of his father.

13.    Therefore, specifically in this case, revolution is wrong and anti-God; and in general, revolution is wrong and anti-God.

The complete Doctrine of Revolution (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


We need to understand that, just because there is authoritarian power in charge and just because there are some abuses of power, this does not give the believer the right to revolt; nor does this make revolution a good thing. Satan is the first revolutionary, and all revolutions follow his inspiration. There are always abuses of power. People have old sin natures. There is no such thing as a person in power without a sin nature (apart from Jesus in the Millennium—and men will revolt against Him). There is no such thing as a king having under him men without sin natures. So, there will be abuses of power in every administration.


David has shown an abuse of power; Joab has shown an abuse of power. However, this is not good enough reason for them to removed from power. When they are to be removed, God is to remove them.


Application: Here is a simple current example. Let’s say that President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in November of 2016, and shut down the election and the voting altogether. Then he declares martial law with him in charge—what do we do as believers in Jesus Christ? We obey the law of the land. President Obama will have made himself the law of the land. Now, could we say that this is an abuse of power? Of course it is. However, that does not give us a right of revolution. There is no right of revolution for the believer in Jesus Christ.


The end game of revolution is for a particular person or a particular group to seize power. That is always the end game. It is always a power struggle. It is never about the people. It is never about human rights of any kind. Because, after there has been a division so great as to require a revolution, then the new person in power has to exert a great deal of authority in order to stop the chaos. That means, he will have to exert greater power than did the previous person in power.


The laws of divine establishment are designed to allow Bible teaching to take place. They are designed to allow evangelism to take place. It does not matter that you and I have this idealized form of government, even if it matches exactly with the government of our founders. We do not get to revolt in the streets in order to restore that.


Application: One of the things which could change in my lifetime or soon thereafter, are church tax exemptions. There is a some strong leftist element in our society which would love to see the tax exemption for churches go away, because their notion of churches is a huge organization which fleeces the poor, and then sets up child predators in authority. Even if the church exemption disappeared and half of the churches in America went dark; that would still not give you the right to revolt against your country.


——————————


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


Joab Kills Amasa


They with the stone the great which [is] in Gibeon and Amasa had come to their faces. And Joab was belted his outer garment, his garment and upon him a belt. A sword fastened upon his [two] loins in a sheath. And he came forth and so she falls out.

2Samuel

20:8

They [were] at the great stone, which [is] in Gibeon and Amasa had come before them. Joab was wearing his outer garment [and] his [under] garment, and upon him [was] a belt. [There was] a sword fastened on his hips in a sheath. When he came forth, the sword [lit., she] fell out.

They were at the great stone, which is in Gibeon; and Amasa had come before Joab’s armies. Joab was wearing his outer garment and his under garment, and upon him was a belt. There was a sword fastened on his hips in a sheath. When he came forth, the sword fell out.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And when they were at the great stone which is in Gabaon, Amasa coming met them. And Joab had on a close coat of equal length with his habit, and over it was girded with a sword hanging down to his flank, in a scabbard, made in such manner as to come out with the least motion and strike.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        They with the stone the great which [is] in Gibeon and Amasa had come to their faces. And Joab was belted his outer garment, his garment and upon him a belt. A sword fastened upon his [two] loins in a sheath. And he came forth and so she falls out.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa came before them. And Joab was wearing armor, and upon it was a girdle with a sword fastened upon his loins in its sheath; and as Amasa appeared, Joab placed his hand upon his sword.

Septuagint (Greek)                And they were by the great stone that is in Gibeon. And Amasa went in before them. And Joab had upon him a military cloak over his apparel, and over it he was girded with a dagger fastened upon his loins in its sheath; and the dagger came out, and fell to the ground.

 

Significant differences:           It is difficult to determine exactly what Joab is wearing, so there is some imagination used in the Greek, Latin and Syriac.

 

The final phrase is difficult. The Greeks perhaps adds another phrase, as does the Syriac and Latin (all of which are different). The Hebrew pretty clearly has the sword falling out.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           When they got to the great stone in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was dressed in his soldier's uniform. Over the tunic at his waist he wore a sword in its sheath. As Joab went forward it slipped out.

Contemporary English V.       They had gone as far as the big rock at Gibeon when Amasa caught up with them. Joab had a dagger strapped around his waist over his military uniform, but it fell out as he started toward Amasa.

Easy English                          They arrived at the large rock in Gibeon. Amasa came to meet them. Joab was wearing his army uniform. He had a belt round the middle of his body. On his belt, he had a sword that was in its case. As he walked forwards, the sword fell out of its case.

Easy-to-Read Version            When Joab and the army came to Big Rock at Gibeon, Amasa came out to meet them. Joab was wearing his uniform. Joab had on a belt, and his sword was in its sheath [A leather or metal case for carrying a sword or knife.]. As Joab was walking {to meet Amasa}, Joab’s sword fell out of its sheath. {Joab picked up the sword and was holding it in his hand.}

The Message                         They were near the boulder at Gibeon when Amasa came their way. Joab was wearing a tunic with a sheathed sword strapped on his waist, but the sword slipped out and fell to the ground.

New Century Version             When Joab and the army came to the great rock at Gibeon, Amasa came out to meet them. Joab was wearing his uniform, and at his waist he wore a belt that held his sword in its case. As Joab stepped forward, his sword fell out of its case.

New Life Bible                        Amasa came to meet them at the large stone in Gibeon. Now Joab was dressed in soldier's clothing. Over his clothing was a belt with a sword in its holder tied at his side. As he walked, the sword fell out.

New Living Translation           As they arrived at the great stone in Gibeon, Amasa met them. Joab was wearing his military tunic with a dagger strapped to his belt. As he stepped forward to greet Amasa, he slipped the dagger from its sheath [Hebrew As he stepped forward, it fell out.].

The Voice                               When they reached the great boulder at Gibeon, Amasa met them. Joab was dressed for battle, with his sword strapped on at the waist; and as he went forward to meet Amasa, Joab's sword slipped out of its sheath.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Well, when they reached Great Stone in GibeOn, they found Amasa standing there before them. And JoAb, who was dressed in full uniform and carrying a sword in its sheath, drew his sword 9 and said to Amasa:... A portion of v. 9 is included for context.

Beck’s American Translation When they were at the great stone in Gibeo, Amasa had come and was there before them. Joab wore a military garment, held by a belt, and a sword in the scabbard was fastened by the belt to his hips. As he stepped forward, the sword fell out.

Christian Community Bible     When they reached the big stone in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Now Joab was wearing over his tunic a belt with a sheathed sword. The sword slipped out.

God’s Word                         When they were at the large rock in Gibeon, Amasa met them there. Joab wore a military uniform, and strapped over it at his hip was a sword in a scabbard. As he stepped forward, the sword dropped into his hand.

New Advent (Knox) Bible       ...and when they reached the great stone of Gabaon, they fell in with Amasa. Joab was there, clad in a tight-fitting cloak of the same length as his coat, and girt with a dagger whose sheath only reached to his loins, such that he could draw it easily and strike. The sense here is uncertain; the Hebrew text seems to say (at the end of the verse) that Joab's dagger fell out. If, as seems probable, it is corrupt, it may perhaps be conjectured that the dagger hung so as to be used with the left hand.

New American Bible (2002)   They were at the great stone in Gibeon when Amasa met them. Now Joab had a belt over his tunic, from which was slung, in its sheath near his thigh, a sword that could be drawn with a downward movement. The text of this verse is quite uncertain.

New American Bible (2011)   They were at the great stone in Gibeon when Amasa met them. Now Joab had a belt over his tunic, from which was slung a sword in its sheath at his thigh; the sword would slide out downwards. 2 Sm 2:13. The text of this verse is quite uncertain.

NIRV                                      They arrived at the great rock in Gibeon. Amasa went there to welcome them. Joab was wearing his military clothes. Over them at his waist he strapped on a belt that held a dagger. As he stepped forward, the dagger fell out.

New Jerusalem Bible             They were near the great stone at Gibeon when Amasa met them, coming the other way. Joab was wearing his uniform, over which he had buckled on a sword hanging from his waist in its scabbard; the sword came out and fell.

New Simplified Bible              Amasa met them at the large rock in Gibeon. Joab wore a military uniform. He strapped a sword in a scabbard at his hip. He stepped forward and the sword dropped into his hand.

Revised English Bible            When they reached the great stone in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was wearing his tunic and over it a belt supporting a sword in its scabbard. He came forward concealing his treachery, and said to Amasa... A portion of the next verse is included for context.

Today’s NIV                          While they were at the great rock in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was wearing his military tunic, and strapped over it at his waist was a belt with a dagger in its sheath. As he stepped forward, it dropped out of its sheath.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      Amasa came to face them by the great stone of Gibeon. Joab's belted a belt over his attire and clothed in a sword teamed with the scabbard over his waist. As he proceeded it fell.

Bible in Basic English             When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa came face to face with them. Now Joab had on his war-dress, and round him a band from which his sword was hanging in its cover; and while he was walking, it came out, falling to the earth.

The Expanded Bible              When Joab and the army came to the great rock at Gibeon, Amasa came out to meet them. Joab was wearing his ·uniform [military tunic], and at his waist he wore a belt that held his ·sword [dagger] in its ·case [sheath]. As Joab stepped forward, his ·sword [dagger] fell out of its ·case [sheath].

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 ...also proceeded from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba·ben-Bikri, as far as the Great Stone that is near Gibaon, and Amasa marched before them,—where he met J'oab with his belt over his armour, and a sword on the belt braced up to his waist,—and he bowed... A portion of the previous and following verses is given for context.

NET Bible®                             When they were near the big rock that is in Gibeon, Amasa came to them. Now Joab was dressed in military attire and had a dagger in its sheath belted to his waist. When he advanced, it fell out. The significance of the statement it fell out here is unclear. If the dagger fell out of its sheath before Joab got to Amasa, how then did he kill him? Josephus, Ant. 7.11.7 (7.284), suggested that as Joab approached Amasa he deliberately caused the dagger to fall to the ground at an opportune moment as though by accident. When he bent over and picked it up, he then stabbed Amasa with it. Others have tried to make a case for thinking that two swords are referred to - the one that fell out and another that Joab kept concealed until the last moment. But nothing in the text clearly supports this view. Perhaps Josephus' understanding is best, but it is by no means obvious in the text either.

New Heart English Bible        When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was clothed in his apparel of war that he had put on, and on it was a sash with a sword fastened on his waist in its sheath; and as he went forth it fell out.

NIV, ©2011                             While they were at the great rock in Gibeon [S Jos 9:3], Amasa came to meet them. Joab [S 2Sa 2:18] was wearing his military tunic, and strapped over it at his waist was a belt with a dagger in its sheath. As he stepped forward, it dropped out of its sheath.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           On arrival at the big rock in Giv'on, 'Amasa came to meet them. Yo'av was wearing his battle clothes, over which he had girded a belt with a sheathed sword; but as he came forward it fell out.

exeGeses companion Bible   ...and they are at the great stone in Gibon;

and Amasa goes at their face:

and the tailoring Yah Ab enrobes

is girt to him with a girdle

and a sword joins his loins in the sheath:

and as he goes it falls out.

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               They were near the great stone in Gibeon where Amasa appeared before them. Joab was wearing his military dress, with his sword girded over it and fastened around his waist at its sheath; and as he stepped forward, it fell out [Hebrew uncertain for this entire sentence].

Orthodox Jewish Bible           When they were at the Even Hagedolah (Great Stone) which is in Giveon, Amasa went before them. And Yoav's military garment that he had put on was girded unto him, and upon it a khagor with a cherev fastened upon his waist in the sheath thereof; and as he went forth it fell out.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                When they were at the great stone in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was wearing a soldier's garment, and over it was a sheathed sword fastened around his hips; and as he went forward, it fell out.

Concordant Literal Version    ...they [are] near the great stone that [is] in Gibeon, and Amasa has gone before them, and Joab [is] girded; his long robe he has put on him, and upon it a girdle--a sword [is] fastened upon his loins in its sheath; and he has gone out, and it falls.

Context Group Version          When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. And Joab was girded with his apparel of war that he had put on, and on it was a sash with a sword fastened on his loins in the sheath of it; and as he went out it fell out.

Emphasized Bible                  When, they, were by the great stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa, had arrived before them. Now, Joab, was girded about with his war-coat as his upper garment, and, over it, a girdle with a sword, fastened upon his loins, in the sheath thereof, and, it, came out and fell.

English Standard Version      When they were at the great stone that is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Now Joab was wearing a soldier's garment, and over it was a belt with a sword in its sheath fastened on his thigh, and as he went forward it fell out.

The Geneva Bible                  When they [were] at the great stone which [is] in Gibeon, Amasa went before them. And Joab’s garment [Which was his coat, that he used to wear in the wars.] that he had put on was girded unto him, and upon it a girdle [with] a sword fastened upon his loins in the sheath thereof; and as he went forth it fell out.

Green’s Literal Translation    They were near the great stone in Gibeon, and Amasa had gone before them. And Joab was girded with his war coat as his clothing; and over it was a belt with a sword fastened on his loins in its sheath. And as he went out, it fell out.

Kretzmann’s Commentary    When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, northwest of Jerusalem, Amasa went before them, coming towards them with the levy of troops which he had raised. And Joab's garment that he had put on was girded unto him, his military garment being held close to his body by the girdle, and upon it a girdle with a sword fastened upon his loins in the sheath thereof; and as he went forth, rather, the sheath slipped out, it fell out, that is, the sword fell to the ground. This apparent accident happened just before Amasa came up to Joab, and the fact that the latter picked up and held the sword in his left hand would arouse no suspicions.

New King James Version       When they were at the large stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa came before them. Now Joab was dressed in battle armor; on it was a belt with a sword fastened in its sheath at his hips; and as he was going forward, it fell out.

New RSV                               When they were at the large stone that is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Now Joab was wearing a soldier's garment and over it was a belt with a sword in its sheath fastened at his waist; as he went forward it fell out.

World English Bible                When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was girded with his apparel of war that he had put on, and thereon was a sash with a sword fastened on his loins in the sheath of it; and as he went forth it fell out.

Young’s Updated LT             They are near the great stone that is in Gibeon, and Amasa has gone before them, and Joab is girded; his long robe he has put on him, and upon it a girdle—a sword is fastened upon his loins in its sheath; and he has gone out, and it falls.

 

The gist of this verse:          Amasa and Joab meet at the great stone in Gibeon, and Joab approaches Amasa, his sword falling out of its sheath as Joab steps forward.


2Samuel 20:8a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hêm (הֵם) [pronounced haym]

they, those; themselves; these [with the definite article]

3rd person masculine plural personal pronoun; sometimes the verb to be is implied

Strong’s #1992 BDB #241

ʿîm (עִם) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near; like; from

preposition of nearness and vicinity

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767

ʾeben (אֶבֶן) [pronounced EHB-ven]

a stone [large or small] [in its natural state, as a building material]; stone ore; used of tablets, marble, cut stone; used of a tool or weapon; a precious stone, gem; rock; a weight of the balance

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #68 BDB #6

gâdôwl (גָּדוֹל) [pronounced gaw-DOHL]

large, great or mighty [in power, nobility, wealth; in number, or magnitude and extent], loud, older, important, distinguished; vast, unyielding, immutable, significant, astonishing

masculine singular adjective with a definite article

Strong’s #1419 BDB #152

ʾăsher (אֲֹשֶר) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun; sometimes the verb to be is implied

Strong's #834 BDB #81

be (בְּ) [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

Gibeʿôwn (גִבְעוֹן) [pronounced gibve-ĢOHN]

hill, hill-city; transliterated Gibeon

proper noun, masculine singular

Strong’s #1391 BDB #149


Translation: They [were] at the great stone, which [is] in Gibeon... Amasa eventually did get it all together. Joab and the other armies had advanced to a large boulder in Gibeon.


Something like this would be standard. Amasa was supposed to raise an army some time ago, but he was late on pulling it all together. So David puts Abishai in charge of raising an army. However, they have to be cognizant that Amasa is on the job, but running a day or two behind schedule. Therefore, David (or someone else) would have told Abishai, “If Amasa puts together the army by tomorrow, I will have him meet you here, at the big stone in Gibeon. If he puts together the army two days hence, then you both will meet here.” The idea would be that, Abishai has to be advancing against Sheba. He cannot just stay in one place and wait on Amasa. But if Amasa raises an army, then it is certainly best that all of the troops be utilized. So, very likely, there were a couple of places suggested for them to meet, depending upon how soon Amasa got his act together.


Even though I have made the assumption of David setting up a pre-arranged meeting place, there are several reasons for making that assumption: (1) David is a man of war; he knows that there will be contingencies in any war. (2) The great stone at Gibeon suggests a place known to both Abishai and Amasa both; it is a well-known landmark, so a place that is easy for two armies to rally to. (3) Abishai’s army has to stay on the move to get to Sheba in order to keep him from building up too great of a resistence. Hence the idea that, there may have been several meeting places set up as Abishai moved closer and closer to Sheba the revolutionary.


Gibeon is in Benjamin and it is associated with the former king, Saul.

 

Gill tells us about the location and the stove: Which, [location] according to Josephus (r), was forty furlongs, or five miles from Jerusalem: what this great stone was, whether an obelisk, or what, is not certain; one of the greatest stones we read of was that which Semiramis cut out of the mountains of Armenia, which was an hundred thirty feet long, and twenty five broad and thick. Footnote


2Samuel 20:8b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

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

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʿĂmâsâʾ (עֲמָשָׂא) [pronounced ģum-aw-SAW],

burden; the people of Jesse; transliterated Amasa

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #6021 BDB #771

bôwʾ (בּוֹא) [pronounced boh]

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

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pânîym (פָּנִים) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces countenance; presence

masculine plural noun (plural acts like English singular); with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean before them, before their faces, in their presence, in their sight, in front of them.


Translation: ...and Amasa had come before them. Amasa did get an army together, but apparently Joab and Abishai acted more quickly and they had already arrived in Gibeon. But Amasa got his soldiers together and they came to where Joab and Abishai were. The picture is, Abishai and Joab are there by the great stone with their armies, and Amasa brings in his army before them.


2Samuel 20:8c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

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

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Yôwʾâb (יוֹאָב) [pronounced YOH-awbv]

Yah is father and is transliterated Joab

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #3097 BDB #222

châgar (חָגַר) [pronounced khaw-GAHR]

was belted [cinched, girded] [to someone], encircled, being bound; [something] being tied [or, roped], being fasten around [onself], wearing

Qal passive participle

Strong’s #2296 BDB #291

mad (מַד) [pronounced mahd]

measure, cloth garment, outer garment

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #4055 BDB #551

lebûsh (שלְב) (שלְבֻ) [pronounced leb-OOSH]

garment, clothing, rainment

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #3830 BDB #528

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

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

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʿal (עַל) [pronounced ģahl]

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

preposition of relative proximity with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

chăgôwr (חֲגוֹר) [pronounced khuh-GOHR]

a binding; girdle, belt; loin covering, loin cloth; armor

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #2289 & #2290 BDB #292


Translation: Joab was wearing his outer garment [and] his [under] garment, and upon him [was] a belt. I do not know why all the discussion about what Joab is wearing. Some commentaries suggest that the sword is semi-hidden under what he is wearing.


Perhaps Joab is wearing a new kind of uniform, and things are not really working out with the whole set up. You will recall that in the revolution of Absalom, Joab has armor bearers, suggesting that he may not have had to even carry a sword. He was more like a golfer with a caddy. “Give me a #6" and one of his sword bearers would bring forth that sword. So, his new uniform may have been problematic—or, at least, it would seem problematic to Amasa.


Gill suggests Footnote that part of what is going on is, Joab is not wearing any armor. He is not going to battle quite yet, so there is no reason for him to be in armor. This in itself would be disarming to Amasa.


Now, remember back to 2Sam. 19—what did Joab have with him? Armor bearers. But here, he appears to have trouble with the uniform which he is wearing. This, probably more than anything else, tells us the David really did demote Joab and put Amasa in his place.


2Samuel 20:8d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

chereb (חֶרֶב) [pronounced khe-REBV]

sword, knife, dagger; any sharp tool

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #2719 BDB #352

tsâmad (צָנַד) [pronounced tzaw-MAHD]

bound, joined, fastened

Pual participle

Strong’s #6775 BDB #855

ʿal (עַל) [pronounced ģahl]

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

preposition of relative proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

mâthenayim (מָתְנַיִם) [pronounced mohth-nah-YIHM]

loins, hips, lower part of the back, back; metaphorically, strength, bearing up

masculine dual noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #4975 BDB #608

be (בְּ) [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

taʿar (תַּעַר) [pronounced TAH-ģahr]

razor; sheath, case; sword

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #8593 BDB #789


Translation: [There was] a sword fastened on his hips in a sheath. Like any soldier, Joab would have a sword that he wore. This should not be seen as unusual. In the past, Joab had armor bearers that he would call to; now he appears to be carrying some of his own weapons.

 

Gill gives his impression: the sword in the belt was not on his thigh, but on his loins, on the outside of his clothes, and was put into a sheath too large, and placed in such a position, that with the least motion, when he pleased, it would easily drop out of it, without drawing it, and so give no suspicion of his design. Footnote


2Samuel 20:8e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

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

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hûwʾ (הוּא) [pronounced hoo]

he, it; himself as a demonstrative pronoun: that, this (one); same

3rd person masculine singular, personal pronoun; sometimes the verb to be, is implied

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

yâtsâʾ (יָצָא) [pronounced yaw-TZAWH]

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

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #3318 BDB #422

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

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

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâphal (נָפַל) [pronounced naw-FAHL]

to fall, to lie, to die a violent death, to be brought down, to settle, to sleep deeply; to desert

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5307 BDB #656


Translation: When he came forth, the sword [lit., she] fell out. The sword is a feminine singular noun, the only one which is nearby. So it is the sword that has to fall. This is not necessarily a word that means to fall out, but it does mean to fall.


Just exactly how does Amasa view this? Joab is coming toward him and he sees himself now as an ally of Joab. However, it may strike Amasa as a little comical that this sword falls out of Joab’s sheath. It is sort of like Barney Fife has arrived, and his gun fell out of his holster and goes off.


If I had to guess and read something into this, Joab either has a look of slight bemusement at his new uniform and what he is getting used to; or he has a big smile of relief to see Amasa. Whatever it is, what Amasa sees causes him to be disarmed (not of his weapons, but of his guard).


All of this is taking place in front of Amasa, who has arrived with the troops which he has gathered together. Amasa apparently thinks that he is a part of this team, and here he is with the troops David sent him to gather up, albeit a day or two late (it would have taken Abishai some time to muster up troops, by which time Amasa would have gathered his troops).


So all of the troops are rallying at this point. Amasa gets his troops together, goes to the palace, and David says, “Abishai is gathering up his troops and he should be about at the great rock in Gibeon by 4 pm this afternoon.” And so Amasa leads his troops to that spot, to meet his fellow generals.


Kretzmann’s Commentary appears to give the best sense of this: When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, northwest of Jerusalem, Amasa went before them, coming towards them with the levy of troops which he had raised. And Joab's garment that he had put on was girded unto him, his military garment being held close to his body by the girdle, and upon it a girdle with a sword fastened upon his loins in the sheath thereof; and as he went forth, rather, the sheath slipped out, it fell out, that is, the sword fell to the ground. This apparent accident happened just before Amasa came up to Joab, and the fact that the latter picked up and held the sword in his left hand would arouse no suspicions. Footnote


So, Joab comes up to meet Amasa; Joab is dressed for battle, and, for whatever reason, his sword falls out, which Joab picks up with his left hand and carries, so that it does not keep falling out. Amasa’s suspicions are not aroused. He simply sees Joab as being a little simple, not quite with it yet, but someone with whom he has to work. He knows that Joab is not used to carrying all his own weaponry.


There are two suggestions here. One, Joab reaches down and picks up his sword in his left hand, because he dropped it; and this makes him look rather non-threatening. Why worry about a man who cannot keep his own sword in a sheath? Or, he leaves it there temporarily, as he goes up to greet Amasa, but he has another dagger hidden away which he will use.

 

Matthew Henry describes this first approach: [Joab planned the murder of Amasa] subtlety, and with contrivance, and not upon a sudden provocation. He girded his coat about him, that it might not hang in his way, and girded his belt upon his coat, that his sword might be the readier to his hand; he also put his sword in a sheath too big for it, that, whenever he pleased, it might, upon a little shake, fall out, as if it fell by accident, and so he might take it into his hand, unsuspected, as if he were going to return it into the scabbard, when he designed to sheath it in the bowels of Amasa. Footnote

 

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown describe it similarly: According to Josephus, he let it drop on purpose as he was accosting Amasa, that stooping, as it were accidentally, to pick it up, he might salute the new general with the naked sword in his hand, without exciting any suspicion of his design. Footnote Poole similarly writes: [the falling out of the sword had] been so contrived by Joab, that upon the least motion of his body his sword should drop out, and he might take it up without raising Amasa’s suspicion. Footnote


The other opinion, offered by Guzik Footnote is, the sword fell out, and Joab was close enough to Amasa that he just let is lay on the ground when he greeted Amasa. Amasa, in the second case, believes Joab to be both unarmed and not quite having it all together. He comes close to him, his sword drops out; he does not pick it up, but will go back for it later. Altogether a disarming series of events, which Joab clearly had planned out. So he apparently has another dagger, which could not be seen. Footnote


To Amasa, who is arrogant—he is arrogant because he is a revolutionary—he sees Joab drop his sword, and he himself is mentally disarmed. Perhaps he thinks to himself, rube, as if Joab can’t quite keep it altogether. He may have even flashed a brief mocking smile, which he quickly covered up, not wanting to rub in the reversal of fortune which has gone down between them.


Absalom attracted other arrogant men to his side. Therefore when he proposed that Amasa lead his army, Amasa did not say, “Look, I’ve never had this kind of authority before. I don’t think that I am up to it.” Instead, Amasa stepped right up, and took over, and was a part of the reason that Absalom was defeated. But he does not admit this to himself. We know this because David says, “Look, Amasa, I am giving you a high position among my troops, to lead them;” and Amasa says, “Okay, I can do that.” At no time does he appear to self-evaluate; to recognize that, maybe I can’t do that. This is arrogance. People do not see a position above them which they cannot fill.


Application: We had this with candidate Barack Obama, who beat down George W. Bush every chance that he had, ridiculing his presidency and all that he did; running against Bush as if he were on the ticket. However, all that Obama had going for him is (1) he can make himself likeable; (2) he looks good and his family looks good; and (3) he is a terrific public speaker. However, candidate Obama had never run a thing in his life. He did not have the slightest clue how to run anything; nor did most of those who followed him into office. He is an arrogant man, and believed himself to be better and smarter than George W. Bush.


This is how Amasa viewed Joab. Not altogether a good leader; sort of a Barney Fife type; and kind of clumsy and goofy. And watching Joab saunter forward towards him, his own sword falling out of its sheath—Joab just did not look very professional to Amasa. He completely and totally underestimated Joab, and did not recognize that he ought to respect and possibly fear Joab.


——————————


And so says Joab to Amasa, “Well, you, my brother?” And so takes a hold a hand of the right of Joab in a beard of Amasa, to kiss to him. Amasa did not take heed in a sword which [is] in a hand of Joab. And so he strikes him with her unto the abdomen and so he pours our his bowels earth-ward, and he did not have to do a second time to him; and so he dies. And Joab and Abishai, his brother, pursued after Sheba ben Bichri.

2Samuel

20:9–10

Joab greeted Amasa, “[Are] you well, my brother?’ Then Joab’s right hand took a hold of the beard of Amasa to kiss him. However, Amasa did not notice the sword [or, dagger] which [was] in Joab’s [left] hand. Then Joab [lit., he] struck him with it in the abdomen, and he poured out his bowels on the ground, so [that] he did not have to [stab] him a second time. Consequently, Amasa [lit., he] died. Afterward, Joab and Abishai, his brother, pursued Sheba ben Bichri.

Joab greeted Amasa, saying, “Are you well, my brother?” Joab used his right hand to take a hold a Amasa’s beard to kiss him, but Amasa did not notice the sword [or, dagger] that was in Joab’s left hand. Joab then struck him in the abdomen and he poured out his bowels onto the ground and Amasa died. Afterward, Joab and Abishai resumed their pursuit of Sheba, the son of Bichri.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          And Joab said to Amasa: God save you, my brother. And he took Amasa by the chin with his right hand to kiss him. But Amasa did not take notice of the sword, which Joab had, and he struck him in the side, and shed out his bowels to the ground, and gave him not a second wound, and he died. And Joab, and Abisai his brother pursued after Seba the son of Bochri.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so says Joab to Amasa, “Well, you, my brother?” And so takes a hold a hand of the right of Joab in a beard of Amasa, to kiss to him. Amasa did not take heed in a sword which [is] in a hand of Joab. And so he strikes him with her unto the abdomen and so he pours our his bowels earth-ward, and he did not have to do a second time to him; and so he dies. And Joab and Abishai, his brother, pursued after Sheba ben Bichri.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And Joab said to Amasa, Peace be with you, my brother. And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his hand to kiss him. But Amasa took no notice of the sword that was in Joabs hand; so Joab smote him with it in the middle of his body, and let out his bowels to the ground, and struck him not again; and he died. So Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Shamoa, the son of Bichri.

Septuagint (Greek)                And Joab said to Amasa, Are you in health, my brother? And the right hand of Joab took hold of the beard of Amasa to kiss him. And Amasa observed not the dagger that was in the hand of Joab. And Joab struck him with it on the loins, and his bowels were shed out upon the ground, and he did not repeat the blow, and he died. And Joab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the son of Bichri.

 

Significant differences:           The first few words said by Joab are a greeting, so there is some variance from language to language. The Latin does not appear to have the sword (or, dagger) in Joab’s hand. The versions are roughly similar as to where Joab strikes Amasa.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           "How are you, my brother?" Joab asked Amasa, and with his right hand he took hold of Amasa's beard as if to kiss him. But Amasa didn't notice the sword in Joab's hand. Joab struck him in the stomach with it so that Amasa's intestines spilled out on the ground. He died without Joab striking him a second time. Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba, Bichri's son.

Contemporary English V.       Joab said, "Amasa, my cousin, how are you?" Then Joab took hold of Amasa's beard with his right hand, so that he could greet him with a kiss. Amasa did not see the dagger in Joab's other hand. Joab stuck it in Amasa's stomach, and his insides spilled out on the ground. Joab only struck him once, but Amasa was dying. Joab and his brother Abishai went off to chase Sheba.

Easy English                          Joab said to Amasa, `Hello my brother, are you well?' Then Joab held Amasa's beard with his right hand. Joab pretended that he was going to kiss Amasa. Amasa was not watching the sword in Joab's hand. Joab pushed the sword into Amasa's stomach. The inside of Amasa's body fell out onto the ground. Joab did not have to push his sword into Amasa again because Amasa was already dead.

Then Joab and his brother Abishai chased Sheba, the son of Bicri.

Easy-to-Read Version            Joab asked Amasa, “How are you doing, brother?” Amasa didn’t pay any attention to the sword that was in Joab’s {left} hand. But then Joab stabbed Amasa in the belly with his sword. Amasa’s inside parts spilled out on the ground. Joab didn’t have to stab Amasa again—he was already dead.

Good News Bible (TEV)         Joab said to Amasa, "How are you, my friend?" and took hold of his beard with his right hand in order to kiss him. Amasa was not on guard against the sword that Joab was holding in his other hand, and Joab stabbed him in the belly, and his insides spilled out on the ground. He died immediately, and Joab did not have to strike again. Then Joab and his brother Abishai went on after Sheba.

The Message                         Joab greeted Amasa, "How are you, brother?" and took Amasa's beard in his right hand as if to kiss him. Amasa didn't notice the sword in Joab's other hand. Joab stuck him in the belly and his guts spilled to the ground. A second blow wasn't needed; he was dead. Then Joab and his brother Abishai continued to chase Sheba son of Bicri.

New Century Version             Joab asked Amasa, "Brother, is everything all right with you?" Then with his right hand he took Amasa by the beard to kiss him. Amasa was not watching the sword in Joab's hand. So Joab pushed the sword into Amasa's stomach, causing Amasa's insides to spill onto the ground. Joab did not have to stab Amasa again; he was already dead. Then Joab and his brother Abishai continued to chase Sheba son of Bicri.

New Life Bible                        Joab said to Amasa, "Is it well with you, my brother?" And he took Amasa by the hair of his face with his right hand to kiss him. But Amasa did not see the sword which was in Joab's hand. So Joab hit him in the stomach with it, and poured his inside parts out on the ground. He did not hit him again, and Amasa died.

Then Joab and his brother Abishai went after Sheba the son of Bichri.

New Living Translation           "How are you, my cousin?" Joab said and took him by the beard with his right hand as though to kiss him. Amasa didn't notice the dagger in his left hand, and Joab stabbed him in the stomach with it so that his insides gushed out onto the ground. Joab did not need to strike again, and Amasa soon died. Joab and his brother Abishai left him lying there and continued after Sheba.

The Voice                               Joab: How are you, my brother?

With his right hand, Joab held Amasa's face to kiss him, but Amasa did not see the sword in Joab's left hand. With one motion, Joab ripped open Amasa's belly; his intestines spilled onto the ground, and he died. Then Joab and his brother Abishai went off in pursuit of Sheba, Bichri's son.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          ...and said to Amasa: 'Are you in good health, O brother?'

Then he grabbed Amasa's beard with his right hand as if to kiss him 10 (for Amasa didn't notice the sword in JoAb's other hand), and JoAb stuck the sword into his belly, pouring his guts out on the ground. Then he stabbed him a second time, killing him. And with that, JoAb and his brother AbiShai were ready to go after the son of BoChori.

Christian Community Bible     Joab said to Amasa, “How are you, my brother?” And he held Amasa’s beard with his right hand as if to embrace him. Amasa did not notice the sword which he held until Joab stabbed him, shedding his entrails to the ground. Amasa died on the spot without need of a second thrust.

Then Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba, son of Bichri.

God’s Word                         "How are you, my brother?" Joab asked Amasa. He took hold of Amasa's beard with his right hand to kiss him. Amasa wasn't on his guard against the sword in Joab's left hand. Joab stabbed him in the stomach, and his intestines poured out on the ground. (He died without being stabbed again.) Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba, son of Bichri.

New Advent (Knox) Bible       Greetings to thee, brother, said Joab, and with that he clapped his right hand under Amasa's chin, as if he would kiss him; then, with the dagger that had gone unmarked, he struck him in the side, and spilt his entrails on the ground, so that he died without a second blow. After this, Joab and his brother Abisai continued their pursuit of Seba, son of Bochri.

New American Bible (2011)   Joab asked Amasa, "Is everything all right, my brother?" and with his right hand held Amasa's beard as if to kiss him. And since Amasa was not on his guard against the sword in Joab's other hand, Joab stabbed him in the abdomen with it, so that his entrails burst forth to the ground, and he died; there was no second thrust. Then Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba, son of Bichri. 1 Kgs 2:5.

NIRV                                      Joab said to Amasa, "How are you, my friend?" Then Joab reached out his right hand. He took hold of Amasa's beard to kiss him. Amasa didn't pay any attention to the dagger that was in Joab's left hand. Joab stuck it into his stomach. His insides spilled out on the ground. Joab didn't have to stab him again. Amasa was already dead. Then Joab and his brother Abishai went after Sheba, the son of Bicri.

New Jerusalem Bible             Joab said to Amasa, 'Are you well, brother?' and, with his right hand, took Amasa by the beard to kiss him. Amasa paid no attention to the sword, which Joab had now picked up, and Joab struck him with it in the belly, spilling his entrails all over the ground. He did not need to strike a second blow; and Amasa died, while Joab and Abishai hurried on in pursuit of Sheba son of Bichri.

Revised English Bible            ...and said to Amasa, ‘I hope you are well, my brother,’ and with his right hand he grasped Amasa’s beard to kiss him. Amasa was not on his guard against the sword in Joab’s hand. Joab struck him with it in the belly and his entrails poured out to the ground. He did not have to strike a second blow, for Amasa was dead. Joab with his brother Abishai went on in pursuit of Sheba son of Bichri.

Today’s NIV                          Joab said to Amasa, "How are you, my brother?" Then Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. Amasa was not on his guard against the dagger in Joab's hand, and Joab plunged it into his belly, and his intestines spilled out on the ground. Without being stabbed again, Amasa died. Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba son of Bikri.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      Joab said to Amasa, "Peace, my brother!" And Joab held Amasa by the beard with the right hand to assault him. But Amasa never kept a sword. Joab's hand smote him in the torso but never repeated. His bowels spilled to the ground and he died. Joab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the son of Bichri.

Bible in Basic English             And Joab said to Amasa, Is it well, my brother? And with his right hand he took him by the hair of his chin to give him a kiss. But Amasa did not see danger from the sword which was now in Joab's left hand, and Joab put it through his stomach so that his inside came out on to the earth, and he did not give him another blow. So Joab and his brother Abishai went on after Sheba, the son of Bichri.

The Expanded Bible              Joab asked Amasa, "·Brother [Cterm of endearment, but Amasa is also his cousin], is everything all right with you?" Then with his right hand he took Amasa by the beard to kiss him. Amasa ·was not watching [did not notice; wasn't on guard against] the ·sword [dagger] in Joab's hand. So Joab ·pushed the sword into Amasa's [Lstruck him in the] stomach, causing Amasa's insides to ·spill [pour; gush] onto the ground. Joab did not have to stab Amasa again; he was already dead. Then Joab and his brother Abishai continued to ·chase [pursue] Sheba son of Bicri.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 Then J'oab asked, "Are you well, and J'oab took the beard of Amasa in his right hand, as if to kiss him, but Amasa did not notice the sword that J'oab had in his hand, so he struck him with it in the belly, and his bowels fell out on the earth, for he could not resist him, but died. (J'oab and Abishai his brother, were pursuing Sheba-hem Bikri.).

NET Bible®                             Joab said to Amasa, "How are you, my brother?" With his right hand Joab took hold of Amasa's beard as if to greet him with a kiss. Amasa did not protect himself from the knife in Joab's other hand, and Joab [Heb "he"; the referent (Joab) has been specified in the translation for clarity.] stabbed him in the abdomen, causing Amasa's [Heb "his"; the referent (Amasa) has been specified in the translation for clarity.] intestines to spill out on the ground. There was no need to stab him again; the first blow was fatal [Heb "and he did not repeat concerning him, and he died."]. Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba son of Bicri.

NIV, ©2011                             Joab said to Amasa, "How are you, my brother?" Then Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. Amasa was not on his guard against the dagger [S Jdg 3:21] in Joab's [1Ki 2:5] hand, and Joab plunged it into his belly, and his intestines spilled out on the ground. Without being stabbed again, Amasa died. Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba son of Bikri.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           Yo'av said to 'Amasa, "Is it going well with you, my brother? Then, with his right hand, Yo'av took 'Amasa by the beard to kiss him. 'Amasa took no notice of the sword in Yo'av's hand, so Yo'av stabbed him in the groin. His insides poured out on the ground, and he died without being stabbed a second time. Yo'av and Avishai his brother continued in pursuit of Sheva the son of Bikhri.

exeGeses companion Bible   And Yah Ab says to Amasa,

Are you in shalom, my brother?

- and Yah Ab holds Amasa by the beard

with his right to kiss him.

And Amasa regards not the sword

in the hand of Yah Ab:

and he smites him therewith in the fifth

and pours his inwards to the earth

and repeats it not;

and he dies:

and Yah Ab and Abi Shai his brother

pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.

Judaica Press Complete T.    And Joab said to Amasa, "Is all well with you, my brother?" And Joab's right hand took hold of Amasa's beard as if to kiss him. And Amasa took no heed of the sword that was in Joab's hand; and he struck him with it to the fifth rib and he spilled out his bowels to the ground, and though he did not repeat, he nevertheless died. And Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba the son of Bichri.

Orthodox Jewish Bible           Yoav said to Amasa, Art thou in shalom, my brother? And Yoav took Amasa by the zaken (beard) with the right hand to kiss him. But Amasa took no heed to the cherev that was in the yad Yoav; so he stabbed him therewith in the fifth rib, and shed out his bowels to the ground, and struck him not again; and he died. So Yoav and Avishai achiv pursued after Sheva Ben Bichri.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                Joab said to Amasa, Are you well, my brother? And Joab took Amasa by the beard with the right hand [as if] to kiss him. But Amasa did not notice the sword in Joab's hand. So [Joab] struck him [who was to have been his successor] with it in the body, shedding his bowels to the ground without another blow; and [soon] he died. So Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba son of Bichri.

Concordant Literal Version    And Joab said to Amasa, `Are you [in] peace, my brother?' and the right hand of Joab lays hold on the beard of Amasa to give a kiss to him;" and Amasa has not been watchful of the sword that [is] in the hand of Joab, and he smites him with it unto the fifth [rib], and sheds out his bowels to the earth, and he has not repeated [it] to him, and he dies; and Joab and Abishai his brother have pursued after Sheba son of Bichri.

Context Group Version          And Joab said to Amasa, Is it well with you, my brother? And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab's hand: so he struck him with it in the body, and shed out his insides to the ground, and struck him not again; and he died. And Joab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the son of Bichri.

English Standard V. – UK       And Joab said to Amasa, "Is it well with you, my brother?" And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him [Matt. 26:49; Mark 14:45; Luke 22:47]. But Amasa did not observe the sword that was in Joab's hand. So Joab struck him [1 Kgs. 2:5] with it in the stomach [See ch. 2:23] and spilled his entrails to the ground without striking a second blow, and he died.

Then Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba the son of Bichri.

Kretzmann’s Commentary    And Joab, apparently with sincere friendliness, said to Amasa, Art thou in health, my brother? And Joab took Amasa by the beard with the right hand to kiss him, drawing down his face with a caressing gesture. But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab's hand, namely, in his left, with which he had just picked it up; so he, Joab, smote him therewith in the fifth rib, in the abdomen, and shed out his bowels to the ground, and struck him not again, for there was no need for repeating the blow; and he died. It was a cold-blooded murder, an act of malice, the product of jealousy and the desire for revenge. So Joab and Abishai, after the murder of Amasa, pursued after Sheba, the son of Bichri.

NASB                                     Joab said to Amasa, "Is it well with you, my brother?" And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him [Matt 26:49].

Amasa Murdered

But Amasa was not on guard against the sword which was in Joab's hand so he struck him in the belly [2 Sam 2:23; 3:27; 1 Kin 2:5] with it and poured out his inward parts on the ground, and did not strike him again, and he died. Then Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba the son of Bichri.

New RSV                               Joab said to Amasa, `Is it well with you, my brother?' And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. But Amasa did not notice the sword in Joab's hand; Joab struck him in the belly so that his entrails poured out on the ground, and he died. He did not strike a second blow.

Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba son of Bichri.

A Voice in the Wilderness      Then Joab said to Amasa, Are you in health, my brother? And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. But Amasa was not aware of the sword that was in Joab's hand. And he struck him with it in the stomach, and his entrails poured out on the ground; and he did not strike him again. Thus he died. Then Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba the son of Bichri.

Webster’s Bible Translation  And Joab said to Amasa, [Art] thou in health, my brother? And Joab took Amasa by the beard with the right hand to kiss him. But Amasa took no heed to the sword that [was] in Joab's hand: so he smote him in the fifth [rib], and shed out his bowels to the ground, and struck him not again; and he died. So Joab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the son of Bichri.

Young’s Updated LT             And Joab says to Amasa, “Are you in peace, my brother?” and the right hand of Joab lays hold on the beard of Amasa to give a kiss to him; and Amasa has not been watchful of the sword that is in the hand of Joab, and he strikes him with it unto the fifth rib , and sheds out his bowels to the earth, and he has not repeated it to him, and he dies; and Joab and Abishai his brother have pursued after Sheba son of Bichri.

 

The gist of this verse:          Joab kills Amasa.


2Samuel 20:9a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

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

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think; to command; to promise; to explain; to intend; to decide; to answer

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Yôwʾâb (יוֹאָב) [pronounced YOH-awbv]

Yah is father and is transliterated Joab

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #3097 BDB #222

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʿĂmâsâʾ (עֲמָשָׂא) [pronounced ģum-aw-SAW],

burden; the people of Jesse; transliterated Amasa

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #6021 BDB #771

hă (הֲ) [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. This can be used in an indirect interrogation and translated whether.

Strong’s #none BDB #209

shâlôwm (שָלוֹם) or shâlôm (שָלֹם) [pronounced shaw-LOHM]

completeness, soundness, health and welfare, peace, prosperity, safe, secure, tranquil, undisturbed, unagitated

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #7965 BDB #1022

ʾattâh (אַתָּה) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

ʾâch (אָח) [pronounced awhk]

brother, half-brother; kinsman or close relative; one who resembles

masculine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #251 BDB #26


Translation: Joab greeted Amasa, “[Are] you well, my brother?’ Although I lean toward Amasa being under Joab, as I have argued for in this and the previous chapter, here, they appear to meet as allies and as equals. That is the appearance that Joab appears to give this meeting.


Furthermore, the whole sword falling out thing gives Joab sort of a Barney-Fife vibe, when I believe that Joab’s intent is to move in close to Amasa and kill him before he knows what is happening. The dropping of the sword suggests to Amasa that Joab is a little clumsy and not yet used to his new outfit. This mentally disarms Amasa. He is off his guard. Privately, he may find this even a bit humorous.


2Samuel 20:9b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

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

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʾâchaz (אָחַז) [pronounced aw-KHAHZ]

to grasp, to take hold of, to seize; to take [by hunting, fishing]; to hold [something taken]; to take possession of

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #270 BDB #28

yâd (יָד) [pronounced yawd]

hand; figuratively for strength, power, control

feminine singular construct

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

yâmîyn (יָמִין) [pronounced yaw-MEEN]

the right hand, the right side, on the right, at the right; the south

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #3225 BDB #411

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