2 Samuel 23
Pulpit Commentary
Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said,
Verse 1. - Now these be the last words of David. A long interval separates this psalm from the preceding. The one was written when David had just reached the zenith of his power, and, when still unstained by foul crime, he could claim God's favour as due to his innocence. These last words were David's latest inspired utterance, written, probably, towards the end of the calm period which followed upon his restoration to his throne, and when time and the sense of God's renewed favour had healed the wounds of his soul. David the son of Jesse said. It was probably this account of the author, and its personal character, which caused the exclusion of this hymn from the Book of Psalms. It seemed to belong rather to David's private history than to a collection made for use in the public services of the temple. Said. The word is one usually applied to a message coming directly from God. It is used, however, four times in Numbers 24. of the words of Balaam, and in Proverbs 30. of those of Agur. The solemnity of the word indicates the fatness of its inspiration. The sweet psalmist; literally, he who is pleasant in the psalms of Israel. David might well claim this title, as, under God, we owe the Psalter to him.
The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.
The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.
Verses 3, 4. - He that ruleth, etc. This rendering of the Hebrew is very beautiful, and fit to be graven on the hearts of rulers. There is often almost an inspiration in the renderings of the Authorized Version. Grammatically, nevertheless, the psalm declares the blessedness of the king who is just, and may be translated as follows: -

"He that ruleth over men righteously,
That ruleth in the fear of God -
And as the morning light shall he be,
when the sun riseth,
A morning without clouds;
Yea, as the tender grass from the earth,
from sunshine, from rain."
A king who rules his people justly is as glorious as the sun rising in its strength to drive away the works of darkness, and give men, by precept and example, the light of clear knowledge of their duty. But the last metaphor is especially beautiful. In the summer, vegetation dries up under the burning heat of the sun; all is bare and brown, and a few withered stalks of the coarser plants alone remain. But when the rains come, followed by bright sunshine, nature at one burst flashes into beauty, and the hillsides and plains are covered with the soft green of the reviving grass, through which myriads of flowers soon push their way, and clothe the landscape with bright colours. So a just and upright government calls into being countless forms of human activity, and fosters all that is morally beautiful, while it checks the blighting influences of unregulated passion and selfish greed.
And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.
Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.
Verse 5. - Although my house, etc. The rendering of the Authorized Version is that of the ancient versions, and is to be retained. David could not but feel that his house was too stained with sin upon sin for him to be able to lay claim to have been in fact that which the theocratic king was in theory, and which David ought to have been as the representative of Christ, and himself the christ, or anointed of Israel's God. But most modern commentators take the negatives as interrogative, and, therefore, as strong assertions.

"For is not my house so with God?
For he had made with me an eternal covenant,
Ordered in all things, and secure:
For all my salvation and all my desire,
Shall he not make it to grow?"
But surely David had failed in realizing the better purposes of his heart, and it was of God's good pleasure that the covenant, in spite of personal failure, remained firm and secure.
But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands:
Verses 6, 7. - The sons of Belial; Hebrew, belial; not a proper name, but a word signifying "worthlessness," and especially vicious worthlessness (see note on 1 Samuel 1:16). It is from this worthlessness that opposition arises to the just king, and he recognizes it as that which thwarts his efforts. The words may be rendered ?

"But the ungodly are as thorns, to be all of them thrust away;
For they may not be taken hold of with the hand.
And the man that would touch them
Must arm himself with iron and the staff of a spear;
And they shall be utterly burned with fire unto nothingness."
The vicious worthlessness which opposes righteous government must be treated like thorns, too prickly and sharp pointed for gentle dealing. They must be torn up by an iron hook fixed to the end of a spear-handle, and then burnt. The word translated in the same place in the Authorized Version is rendered by Jerome "even to nothing;" and it is just the sort of phrase for which his authority is greatest; for he went to Palestine, and remained there several years, to study the language under Hebrew teachers on the spot. The Septuagint must have had a different reading, as it translates "their shame."
But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place.
These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.
Verse 8. - These be the names. A similar list is given in 1 Chronicles 11:10-47, with several variations, and sixteen more names. It is given there in connection with David's elevation to the throne of all Israel, and the conquest of Jerusalem. Such catalogues might possibly be revised from time to time, and new names inserted as there were vacancies caused by death. And this seems to have been the case with the list in Chronicles, which contains the names of all who were admitted during David's reign into the order of the mighties. The present is the actual list of the order as it existed on the day when David, at Hebron, was anointed king over all the twelve tribes. And we can well conceive that, on so grand an occasion, David founded this, the first order of chivalry, and gave his thirty knights, as they would be now called, their special rank and high privileges. The Tachmonite. This verse is extremely corrupt. A man could not be a Tachmonite and an Eznite at the same time. In the Revised Version the corruption is confessed in the mildest terms, but there is something painfully ludicrous in giving Josheb-basshebeth as the man's name. The reading "Jashobeam the son of a Hachmonite," in 1 Chronicles 11:11, is confirmed by 1 Chronicles 12:6, where Jashobeam is mentioned among those who joined David at Ziklag, and by 1 Chronicles 27:2, where we find him appointed commander of the first brigade of twenty-four thousand men. The error in the present text arose from the scribe's eye being misled by catching sight of basshebeth in the line above, it being the word translated "in the same place" in the Authorized Version. He Adino the Eznite. These unmeaning words are a corruption of the right reading preserved in Chronicles, "he lifted up his spear." The number of men whom he slew at one time is there stated as having been three hundred; but, as Abishai accomplished this feat, and yet held only inferior rank, eight hundred is probably right. And possibly it is not meant that he slew them all with his own hand, though that is quite possible. He was chief of the captains. The word for "captain," shalish, is derived from the numeral "three;" and probably it was the title of the three who formed the first rank of the mighties. But in course of time it seems to have been applied to the commanders of the body guard (2 Kings 10:25); and we find Bidcar so styled when in personal attendance upon Jehu (2 Kings 9:25); and Pekah used the opportunities afforded by this office for the murder of Pekahiah (2 Kings 15:25). It is not used of military officers generally. Those admitted to the list were evidently the outlaws . who had been with David in his wanderings and at Ziklag. They now received their reward, and became, moreover, the stay of David's throne. It is their past history which accounts for the strange composition of the list. A large number came from Judah, and especially from Bethlehem. Several are David's own relatives. Seven towns or families furnish sixteen out of the whole list. We find a father and his son, and pairs of brothers. There are, moreover, numerous foreigners - Hittites, Ammonites, Moabites, a Syrian from Zobah, and Gideonites, descended from the aboriginal inhabitants of the land. Such a list would have been sorely resented had it not been formed out of men who had earned it by their past services and their fidelity to David.
And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away:
Verse 9. - Dodo. The Hebrew has Dodai, and "Dodo" is a mere correction of the Massorites to bring the name into verbal agreement with 1 Chronicles 11:12; but in 1 Chronicles 27:4 he is called Dodai, and we there find him in command of the second division of the army. For "Dodai," however, we ought to read there "Eleazar the son of Dodai." Ahohite; Hebrew, the son of an Ahohite, and probably a member of the family descended from Ahoah, a son of Benjamin (1 Chronicles 8:4). He would thus belong to the most warlike tribe of Israel, though not mentioned among the Benjamites who joined David at Ziklag (1 Chronicles 12:1-7). He joined him, apparently, at an earlier date. That were there gathered together. The word "there" implies the previous mention of some place, and though the text in the parallel passage in Chronicles is more corrupt than that before us, it has, nevertheless, preserved the name of the spot where the encounter took place. In Chronicles the name of Shammah is omitted, and his achievement is mixed up in a strange fashion with that of Eleazar. Here the two heroes have each his separate record, and it is only on minor matters that the text there is more correct. Restored from the readings in Chronicles, the narrative is as follows: "He was with David at Pas-dammim, and the Philistines were gathered there to battle, and the men of Israel were gone up: and he stood (that is, made a stand) and smote," etc. Pas-dammim is called Ephes-dammim in 1 Samuel 17:1. It was situated in the valley of Elah, and, as being upon the border, was the scene of numerous conflicts, whence its name, "the boundary of blood." It was there that David slew Goliath. Were gone away; Hebrew, went up; that is, to battle. The idea that the Israelites had fled is taken from the parallel place in Chronicles, where, however, it refers to Shammah's exploit. In vers. 9 and 11 there, the phrase, "the Philistines were gathered together," occurs twice, and the scribe, having accidentally omitted the intervening words, has confused together the exploits of Eleazar and Shammah. In this battle Eleazar withstood the Philistine onset, and smote them till his hand clave to his sword hilt. Many such instances of cramp are recorded, and Mr. Kirkpatrick, in his commentary, quotes one in which the muscles of a warrior's hand could be relaxed, after hard fighting, only by fomentations of hot water.
He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.
Verse 10. - Victory; Hebrew, salvation; and so also in ver. 12 and 1 Samuel 11:13; 1 Samuel 19:5. Returned after him. This does not imply that they had fled, but simply that they turned in whichever way he turned, and followed him. Battles in old time depended very much upon the prowess of the leaders.
And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines.
Verse 11. - Into a troop. Josephus renders it "to Lehi," the scene of Samson's exploit. The word is rare, but occurs again in ver. 13, where, however, we find in Chronicles the ordinary name for a host substituted for it. The Revisers have retained in the margin, "or, for foraging:" but its occurrence in Psalm 68:10, where it is tendered "thy congregation," and in the margin of the Revised Version," troop" makes it probable that" troop" is the right rendering here. Lentiles. In 1 Chronicles 11:13, "barley." The difference is probably caused by a transposition of letters. The Philistines seem to have made this incursion in order to carry off or destroy the crops of the Israelites.
But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.
And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim.
Verse 13. - And three. The Hebrew text has "thirty," for which both the Authorized Version and the Revised Version silently substitute "three," as is correctly given in Chronicles. The absence of the article shows that these three were not Jashobeam, Eleazar, and Shammah, but probably Abishai, Be-naiah, and another whose name and exploits have been purposely omitted both here and in Chronicles. Apparently this narrative, so interesting as showing the fascination which David exercised over his men, is given as having led to the institution of this second order of three in the brotherhood of the mighties. In the harvest time. The Hebrew is "to harvest," but in 1 Chronicles 11:15 "to the rock." As the preposition used here cannot mean "in," this is probably the right reading. In this case, also, it is the similarity of the words that has led to the con. fusion. Is it possible that these lists were taken from very old and worn catalogues, which it was very difficult to decipher?
And David was then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem.
Verse 14. - An hold; Hebrew, the hold. The definite article here and in ch. 5:17, and the mention of the Philistines as being in the valley of Rephaim, seem to indicate that David had abandoned Jerusalem upon the invasion of the Philistines, and sought refuge at Adullam (see note on 2 Samuel 5:17). In its neighbourhood is an isolated hill, on which, probably, was a frontier fortress, in which David prepared to defend himself.
And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!
Verse 15. - The well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate. Bethlehem is now supplied with water by an aqueduct, and the wells close to the town have ceased to exist. The cistern of "deep, clear, cool water," descsribed by Ritter, in his 'Geography of Palestine,' and now called David's Well, is three quarters of a mile to the north of Bethlehem, and too distant to be that which David meant.
And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.
Verses 16, 17. - Brake through the host (or, camp) of the Philistines. The Philistine camp was pitched in the valley of Rephaim, and to reach Bethlehem, which was more than twenty or twenty-five miles distant, these three heroes must pass close to the ground occupied by the enemy. The valley of Rephaim, in fact, extended from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, and, to guard their position, the Philistines held Bethlehem with a strong garrison. Of course the heroes would use every precaution; for to be discovered would be certain death. The story of their perils and presence of mind in danger, and hairbreadth escape, would be full of interest; but we are told only that they succeeded, and returned in safety, bearing their precious burden; but David would not drink, and poured it out unto Jehovah. The word is that used of a sacrificial libation; for David regarded it as holy, and consecrated to God, because it had been bought with blood - at the risk, that is, of the lives of these gallant men. Nothing is recorded in the romances of the Middle Ages, when knightly chivalry was at its height, more gallant and noble than the exploit of these men. And the very essence of its devotion lay in the fact that it was done to gratify a mere sick longing, and therefore out of pure love. Sick, no doubt, David was, and burning with fever; and even more depressed by the apparent hopelessness of his position. The exploit changed the course of his thoughts. What could he not do with such heroes! Though racked during their absence with anxiety and self-reproach, yet on their return he would be dispirited no longer, but filled with confidence. The words, "Shall I drink?" inserted in the Revised Version, have apparently dropped out of the text by accident. They are found in the parallel place in Chronicles, and in the Septuagint and Vulgate here. The Syriac has, "At the peril of their life's blood these men went."
And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men.
And Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief among three. And he lifted up his spear against three hundred, and slew them, and had the name among three.
Verse 18. - Abishai... was chief among three. The sense is obscured in the Authorized Version by the translators having failed to notice the presence of the definite article. Abishai, by reason of this exploit, became "chief of the three;" that is, of the second order of three established in the fraternity of the mighties. At the end of the verse, and in ver. 19, the Authorized Version strangely puts the article where it is absent in the Hebrew, and omits it where it is present. The right rendering and meaning is, "He had a name, that is, rank, reputation, among the three. Was he not the most honourable of the three? For this he was made their captain: yet he attained not to equal dignity with the first three."
Was he not most honourable of three? therefore he was their captain: howbeit he attained not unto the first three.
And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow:
Verse 20. - Benaiah the son of Jehoiada. He was a very important person throughout David's reign, being the commander of the body guard' (2 Samuel 8:18), and general of the third brigade of twenty-four thousand men (1 Chronicles 27:5). The meaning of the description given of him there is disputed; but probably it should be translated, "Benaiah the son of Jehoiada the priest, as head," that is, of the brigade. He was thus the son of the Jehoiada who was leader of the house of Aaron, and whose coming to Hebron with three thousand seven hundred martial priests did so much to make David king of all Israel (1 Chronicles 12:27). Subsequently he took the side of Solomon against Adonijah, and was rewarded by being made commander-in-chief, in place of Joab (1 Kings 2:35). Kabzeel. An unidentified place in the south of Judah, on the Edomite border (Joshua 15:21), called Jekabzeel in Nehemiah 11:25. Two lionlike men of Moab. The Septuagint reads, "the two sons of Ariel of Moab." which the Revised Version adopts. "Ariel" means "lion of God," and is a name given to Jerusalem in Isaiah 29:1, 2. The Syriac supports the Authorized Version in understanding by the term "heroes," or "champions;" but the use of poetical language in a prosaic catalogue is so strange that the Septuagint is probably right. If so, Ariel is the proper name of the King of Moab and the achievement took place in the war recorded in 2 Samuel 8:2. A lion. This achievement would be as gratefully remembered as the killing of a man eating tiger by the natives in India. A lion, driven by the cold from the forests, had made its lair in a dry tank near some town, and thence preyed upon the inhabitants as they went in and out of the city. And Benaiah had pity upon them, and came to the rescue, and went down into the pit, and, at the risk of his life, slew the lion.
And he slew an Egyptian, a goodly man: and the Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, and slew him with his own spear.
Verse 21. - A goodly man. The Hebrew text has "who a sight," for which the Massorites read, "a man of sight," that is, handsome, and worth looking at. In 1 Chronicles 11:23 we find what, no doubt, is the right reading, "a man of measure [equivalent to 'a tall man'], five cubits high." The height of Goliath was six cubits and a span (1 Samuel 17:4).
These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men.
He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the first three. And David set him over his guard.
Verse 23. - David set him over his guard. We have already seen (upon 1 Samuel 22:14) that the words mean that David made him a member of his privy council. Literally the words are, and David appointed him to his audience. In 1 Chronicles 27:34 mention is made of "Jehoiada the son of Benaiah" as being next in the council to Ahithophel, and many commentators think that the names have been transposed, and that we ought to read, "Benaiah the son of Jehoiada."
Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem,
Verse 24. - The thirty. This order of knighthood consisted originally of thirty-three men, of whom three were of higher rank, and presided, probably, each over ten, while Joab was chief over them all. This arrangement of men in tens, with an officer over them. was, in fact, the normal rule among the Hebrews. The second triad is unusual, but is explained by the history. In honour of the exploit of bringing the water from the well of Bethlehem, this second order of three was instituted, lower than the three chiefs, but higher than the rest. The third of these is not mentioned, and the disappearance of the name is not the result of accident, but of purpose. Had it been a scribe's error, there would have been some trace of it in the versions. But if the name was erased, it must have been blotted out for treason, and we thus have two candidates for the vacant niche: one is Amasa, and the other Ahithophel. The name of Joab we cannot for one moment admit. He never was a traitor to David, nor would the latter, though king, have ventured to degrade one so powerful, and who continued to be commander-in-chief until David's death. Now, if Amasa is the same as the Amasai in 1 Chronicles 12:18, who was chief of the captains who came from Judah and Benjamin to David when he was in the hold, it is difficult to account for the absence of his name from the list of the thirty. Plainly, however, David did not regard his treason with strong displeasure, but was prepared, after Absalom's death, to make him commander-in-chief. But we must remember that a place in this second triad was gained by one exploit. The three were those who broke through the Philistine host, and fetched the water from Bethlehem. Such a deed would account for the close attachment between David and Ahithophel. He was the king's companion, and his familiar friend. It would account also for his suicide. His love to David had, for some unknown reason, turned to bitter hatred. He sought, not only David's life, but his dishonour. His feelings must have been highly excited before he could have worked himself up to such a pitch; and the reaction and disappointment would be equally extreme. He never could have faced David again, remembering the warmth of former love, and the shamelessness with which he had sought, not only his life, but to bring upon him public shame and ignominy. And his name would have been totally erased, and gone down into silence. Of Ahithophel's personal accomplishments as a brave warrior, we cannot doubt (see 2 Samuel 17:1), and his son Eliam was one of the mighties. (On a son and father both belonging to the order, see note on ver. 33.) Elhanan (see note on 2 Samuel 21:19).
Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite,
Verse 25. - Shammah the Harodite. The town Harod was in the plains of Jezreel, near Mount Gilboa. In 1 Chronicles 11:27 he is called "Shammoth the Harorite," the latter word being an easy corruption of Harodite; and in 1 Chronicles 27:8 he appears as "Shammuth the Izrahite," and has the command of the fifth brigade. "Izrahite" is by some regarded as an error for "the Zarhite," that is, a member of the clan descended from Zerah the son of Judah. But if so, how did he get to Hared? Elika. Omitted in Chronicles, probably through the repetition of the word "Harodite."
Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite,
Verse 26. - Helez. He is twice called a Pelonite in Chronicles, and was general of the seventh brigade (1 Chronicles 27:10), where he is said to have belonged to the tribe of Ephraim. Whether Paltite or Pelon-ite is right, no one knows; but Beth-Palet was a town in the tribe of Judah, and not in Ephraim. Ira. Ira had the command of the sixth brigade (1 Chronicles 27:9). Tekoah (see note on 2 Samuel 14:2). This Ira is a distinct person from his namesake, David's confidential minister (2 Samuel 20:26).
Abiezer the Anethothite, Mebunnai the Hushathite,
Verse 27. - Abiezer. He had the command of the ninth brigade (1 Chronicles 27:12). Anathoth, now Mata, was a priestly city in Benjamin (Joshua 21:18), the home of Abiathar (1 Kings 2:26), and the birthplace of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:1). Anethothite and Antothite, in the parallel places in Chronicles, are merely different ways of pronouncing the same Hebrew consonants. Mebunnai. Written Sibbechai in 2 Samuel 21:18, and, as the name is so written in both the parallel places in Chronicles, Mebunnai is probably a mistake. In 1 Chronicles 27:11 he is said to have been commander of the eighth brigade, and to have been a Zarhite of the town of Hushah, in the tribe of Judah (see 1 Chronicles 4:4).
Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite,
Verse 28. - Zalmon. He is called Ilai in 1 Chronicles 11:29. Ahohite (see note on ver. 9). Maharai the Netophathite. Netophah, in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem (Ezra 2:22), was chiefly inhabited, after the exile, by the singers (Nehemiah 12:28). Robinson identifies it with Beit-Netif, to the south of Jerusalem; but probably erroneously, as Beit-Netif is too far from Bethlehem. Maharai was commander of the tenth brigade, and was a Zarhite, and therefore belonged to the tribe of Judah.
Heleb the son of Baanah, a Netophathite, Ittai the son of Ribai out of Gibeah of the children of Benjamin,
Verse 29. - Heleb. He is called Heled and Heldai in the parallel places in Chronicles, where we are told that he was a descendant of Othniel, and commander of the twelfth brigade. Ittai. He is called Ithai, by a very slight change, in Chronicles. Gibeah is the Geba so closely connected with the history of Saul (see 1 Samuel 13:3, 15, etc.). (For Ittai the Philistine, a distinct person, see 2 Samuel 15:19.)
Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash,
Verse 30. - Benaiah. He was an Ephraimite, and had the command of the eleventh brigade. Pirathon was a town in Ephraim (Judges 12:15). Hiddai. Called Hurai in 1 Chronicles 11:32, by the common confusion of d and r. The brooks of Gaash. "Nahale-Gaash," the ravines of Gaash, was probably the name of some village, of which nothing is now known.
Abialbon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite,
Verse 31. - Abi-albon. He is called Abiel in 1 Chronicles 11:32. He belonged to the town of Beth-Arabah (Joshua 15:61; Joshua 18:22), called also Arabah (Joshua 18:18), in the wilderness of Judah. Azmaveth the Barhumite. He was of Bahurim, for which see note on 2 Samuel 3:16.
Eliahba the Shaalbonite, of the sons of Jashen, Jonathan,
Verse 32. - Eliahba. He was of Shaalabbin, in the tribe of Dan (Joshua 19:42). St. Jerome calls the place Selebi, the modern Sebbit. Of the sons of Jashen, Jonathan, Shammah the Hararite. In 1 Chronicles 11:34, "The sons of Hashem the Gizonite, Jonathan the son of Shage the Hararite." The word "of" is not in the Hebrew, and is inserted in the Authorized Version to make sense. Really, b'ne, sons, is a careless repetition of the three last letters of the name "Shaalbonite," and should be omitted. The text in Chronicles then goes on regularly, "Hashem the Gizonite, Jonathan the son of Shage the Hararite;" but see note on next verse.
Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite,
Verse 33. - Shammah the Hararite. He was really one of the first three (see ver. 11). (For the reading in Chronicles, see above.) A very probable correction would be "Jonathan the son of Shammah, the son of Agee the Hararite." Thus both father and son would be in the number of the thirty, Ahiam. He is called "the son of Sacar" in 1 Chronicles 11:35.
Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,
Verse 34. - Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite. In Chronicles this becomes "Elipha the son of Ur, Hepher the Mecherathite." If the text here is correct, Eliphelet must be a native of Beth-Maachah, a town in Naphtali (2 Samuel 20:14). Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite. Instead of this, we find "Ahijah the Pelonite" in 1 Chronicles 11:36. Eliam is supposed by many to have been Bathsheba's father (see note on 2 Samuel 11:3; and for Ahithophel the Gilonite, note on ch. 15:12).
Hezrai the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite,
Verse 35. - Hezrai. The Hebrew text has Hezro, as in 1 Chronicles 11:37. His native place was Carmel, for which see note on 1 Samuel 15:12. Paarai the Arbite. A native of Arab, in Judah. In Chronicles he is called "Naarai the son of Ezbai."
Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite,
Verse 36. - Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah. In Chronicles, "Joel the brother of Nathan," Igal and Joel in Hebrew being almost the same. If the text here is correct, he was by birth a Syrian of Zobah, for which see note on 2 Samuel 10:6. Bani the Gadite. In Chronicles, "Mibhar the son of Haggeri," "Mibhar" taking the place of "from Zobah;" "the son," ben, that of "Bani;" and Haggadi, "the Gadite," becoming "Haggeri."
Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Beerothite, armourbearer to Joab the son of Zeruiah,
Verse 37. - Zelek the Ammonite. The presence of an Ammonite among the thirty reminds us of the fidelity of Shobi, the son of Nahash the Ammonite king, to David (see 2 Samuel 17:27). Armourbearer. The written text has the plural, "armourbearers," for which the K'ri has substituted the singular. The plural is probably right, and if so, both Joab's chief armourbearers, or squires, were foreigners, Zelek being an Ammonite, and Nahari a Gibeonite (see note on 2 Samuel 4:2). In actual warfare we find Joab attended by ten esquires (2 Samuel 18:15).
Ira an Ithrite, Gareb an Ithrite,
Verse 38. - Ithrite. Of the family of Jether, of Kirjath-jearim (1 Chronicles 2:53). unless Ira and Gareb were two brothers of Amasa, and sons of Jether the husband of Abigail, David's sister (2 Samuel 17:25).
Uriah the Hittite: thirty and seven in all.
Verse 39. - Uriah the Hittite (see note on 2 Samuel 11:3). Thirty and seven in all. "The thirty" became a technical name, and might receive additional members. But if we suppose Asahel's place to have been filled up, the number is exact, there being thirty ordinary members, three chiefs of the first class, and three of the second, of whom, however, one name is omitted. In Chronicles sixteen additional names are given, who were probably men admitted to the order to fill up vacancies.

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