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David goes up to Hebron and is crowned there, ver. 1 - 4.
Thanks the men of Jabesh - gilead, ver. 5 - 7.
Ishbosheth is set up in opposition to him, ver. 8 - 11.
An encounter between David's men and Ishbosheth's, in which
the latter are beaten, ver. 12 - 17.
Asahel is killed by Abner, ver. 18 - 23.
Joah sounds retreat by the advice of Abner, who retires to
Mahanaim, ver. 24 - 29.
The loss on each side, ver. 30 - 31.
Asahel buried, ver. 32
1: Enquired - By Urim. Thus David begins at the right end,
and lays his foundation in God's counsel and assistance. Shall I go - He
asked not whether he should take the kingdom; for that was appointed before;
and he would not offend God, nor dishonour his ordinance with unnecessary
enquiries; but only where he should enter upon it; whether in Judah, as
he supposed, because of his relation to that tribe, and his interest in it;
or in some other tribe: for he doth not limit God, but resolves exactly to
follow his counsels. Hebron - Which was next to Jerusalem (part
whereof the Jebusites now possessed) the chief city of that tribe, and
a city of the priests, and in the very center of that tribe, to which the
whole tribe might speedily resort, when need required. And the sepulchres
of the patriarchs adjoining to Hebron, would remind him of the ancient
3: Dwelt in - That is, the cities or towns belonging to Hebron,
which was the Metropolis. For in Hebron itself there was not space
for them all, because it was filled with priests, and with David's court.
4: Anointed - This they did upon just grounds, because not only the
kingdom was promised to that tribe, but David was designed and anointed
by God, whose will both they and all Israel were obliged to obey.
And they resolved not to neglect their duty, though they saw the other
tribes would. Yet their modesty is observable, they make him king of
Judah only, and not of all Israel. And therefore there was need of
a third anointing to the kingdom over all Israel, which he had(2Sa 5:3), that first anointing; (1Sa 16:13), was only a
designation of the person who should be king, but not an actual
inauguration of him to the kingdom.
5: Kindness - This respect and affection. For as it is, an act of
inhumanity to deny burial to the dead; so it is an act of mercy and kindness
to bury them.
6: Kindness and truth - That is, true and real kindness; not
in words only, but also in actions, as you have done to your king.
I will requite - So far am I from being offended with you for this
kindness to my late enemy.
7: Be valiant - Be not afraid lest the Philistines should punish
you for this fact, but take good courage, I will defend you.
For, &c. - Or, though your master Saul be dead, and so your hearts may
faint, as if you were now sheep without a shepherd.
8: Abner - Tho' ambition and desire of rule, because he knew that
Ishbosheth would have only the name of king, whilst he had the power.
9: Gilead - Largely so taken, for all the land of Israel beyond
Jordan. Ashurites - That is, the tribe of Asher, as the
Chaldee paraphrast and others understand it.
Jezreel - A large and rich valley situate in the borders of the tribes
of Zebulun, Issachar and Naphtali, and so put for them all.
All Israel - Except Judah.
10: Two years - Namely, before the following war broke out, which
continued five years.
12: Went out - To fight with David's army, and to bring back the
rest of the kingdom to Saul's house.
13: Met - That is, met the opposite army, and put themselves in a
posture for battle.
14: And play - That is, shew their prowess and dexterity in fighting
together. He speaks like a vain - glorious and cruel man, and a soldier of
fortune, that esteemed it a sport to see men wounding and killing one
another. So this he designed, partly for their mutual recreation and trial
of skill; and partly, that by this occasion they might be engaged in a
battle. But he is unworthy the name of a man, who is thus prodigal of human
16: By the head - By the hair of the head, which after their manner
was of a considerable length. Helkath - kazzurim - Or, the field of
rock; that is, of men who stood like rocks unmovable, each one dying
upon the spot where he fought.
21: And take, &c. - If thou art ambitious to get a trophy or mark of
thy valour, desist from me who am an old and experienced captain, and go to
some young and raw soldier; try thy skill upon him, and take away his arms
23: And died - So Asahel's swiftness, which he presumed on so
much, only forwarded his fate! With it he ran upon his death, instead of
running from it.
26: Bitterness - It will produce dreadful effects. Brethren - By
nation and religion: whom therefore they should not pursue with so fierce a
rage, as if they were pursuing the Philistines.
27: Unless, &c. - Unless thou hadst made the motion that they should
fight, ver.(14). It was thou, not I, that gave the first occasion of
this fight. Abner was the sole cause of this war; otherwise all things
had been ended by an amicable agreement: which might have been made that
very morning, if he had so pleased.
32: In Bethlehem - The rest they buried in the field of battle, but
Asahel in the sepulchre of his father. Thus are distinctions made upon
earth, even between the dust of some and of others! But in the resurrection
no difference will be made but between good and bad; which will remain for