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defended it, and slew the Philistines, drove them back with great 13 loss and the LORD wrought a great victory. And three of the thirty chief, or, the three captains over the thirty, went down, and came to David in the harvest time, when it was very hot, unto the cave of Adullam, (1 Sam. xxii. 21.) and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim, (2 Sam. v. 18.) 14 And David [was] then in an hold, and the garrison of the Phi15 listines [was] then [in] Bethlehem. 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! not with any intent that they should go for it, he only expressed how glad he should be of a draught of that water, of which he was used to drink when a boy. 16 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; this they did without saying any thing to him. Perhaps their boldness terrified the Philistines, who stood astonished to see them: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the 17 LORD, as a thank offering to God for delivering them. 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; he was sorry for his foolish wish, and that such brave men should be exposed to such imminent danger. These things did these three mighty men together. Then follows 18 their single exploits. 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 19 among three. Was he not most honourable of three? therefore he was their captain: howbeit he attained not unto the [first] 20 three for strength and valour. 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 21 a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow :* And he slew an Egyptian, a goodly man, of great strength, dexterity and stature : and the Egyptian had a spear in his hand like a weaver's beam (1 Chron. xi. 23.) but he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, and slew him 22 with his own spear. These [things] did Benaiah the son of 23 Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men. He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the 24 [first] three. And David set him over his guard. Asahel the 25 brother of Joab [was] one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of 26 Dodo of Bethlehem, Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Haro27 dite, Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite, Abi28 ezer the Anethothite, Mebunnai the Hushathite, Zalmon the 29 Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite, Heleb the son of Baanah, a Netophathite, Ittai the son of Ribai out of Gibeah of the chil
He probably retired into a cave to shelter himself in snowy weather, and there a lion attacked him, which, notwithstanding the disadvantage of the situation, and the fierceness of the beast, he slew.
30 dren of Benjamin, Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai of the brooks 31 of Gaash, Abialbon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite, 32 Eliahba the Shaalbonite; of the sons of Jashen, Jonathan, 33 Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite, 34 Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, 35 Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite, Hezrai the Carmel36 ite, Paarai the Arbite, Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani 37 the Gadite, Zelek the Ammonite, Nahari the Beerothite, ar38 mourbearer to Joab the son of Zeruiah, Ira an Ithrite, Gareb 39 an Ithrite, Uriah the Hittite: thirty and seven in all.†
E should rejoice in the character and office of the Messiah, as here pointed out, and that this prophecy is so far accomplished. God hath raised up a king, even this just one, who ruleth in the fear of God; the sun of righteousness hath risen upon us with healing under his wings; and we enjoy plenty of spiritual blessings in him. Let us rejoice that he hath extended his kingdom so wide, and shall reign till his enemies become his footstool.
2. Let us rejoice in the security of this everlasting covenant. It is our comfort in life and death; it is not only a covenant of royalty, but of grace, even the sure mercies of David. It is everlasting in its contrivance and continuance; admirably adapted to promote the glory of God, and the holiness and happiness of souls. It is firmly established by the promise of a faithful God, and Jesus is the surety of it. It is well ordered in all things, and sure; as it is all our salvation, let it be all our desire; let us seek a share in its blessings, and comply with its demands. Then will this God be our God for ever and ever, and our guide even until death.
3. Let the enemies of Christ and his kingdom dread the effects of his displeasure. Those sons of Belial who refuse his yoke, which is so easy, who oppose his interests, and will not submit to him, shall be entirely destroyed by that fire which shall never be quenched. Therefore kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way when his wrath is kindled but a little.
4. Whatever valour, resolution and success any possess, all should be ascribed to God. So were the noble exploits of these brave men, v. 10–12, and the Lord wrought a great victory, though these men were instruments in obtaining it. The hand of God should be acknowledged in all the strength, courage, and skill of men. Let not the strong man therefore, glory in his strength, but let him that glorieth, glory in the Lord.
5. Did the three men here mentioned venture so boldly to serve David and their country? How bold and resolute should we be in the cause of Christ! He is the Captain of our salvation; and we
There is some difference between this list and that in Chronicles. Some were then dead, or had misbehaved, and so lost their rank; which accounts for the disagreement between them. Others might be added who behaved well afterward, and distinguished themselves by some heroic actions.
should be resolute in opposing temptations, and attacking our spiritual enemies. How courageously should we appear on the Lord's side, in opposition to abounding vice and wickedness! endeavouring, by our example and influence, to stem the torrent, and prevent its increase. They observed the least hint of their prince's mind, and hazarded their lives to gratify it; so ambitious were they to please him. Let us thus attend to the orders of our Lord, and observe every imitation of his will; especially as he puts us upon no desperate services, requiring nothing but what is reasonable and fit to be done, what he will assist us in, and reward us for.
6. Good soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ should be had in everlasting remembrance. This catalogue is written for the honour of these worthies, and to excite the emulation of others. Those that enlist under Christ's banner, war a good warfare, and shall all be had in everlasting honour. Their names are written in the Lamb's book of life; and though different degrees of courage and zeal will have different degrees of honour, yet all shall be approved and rewarded, and their names mentioned with applause at the great deciding day. Having been faithful to death they shall receive a crown of life. Let us then seek this honour; fight the good fight of faith, that we may finish our course with joy, and be followers of them, who, through faith and patience, inherit the promises.
The sin of David in numbering the people; the judgment brought upon the kingdom; the plague is stayed upon David's repentance; and an altar is built to God in memory of the deliverance.
ND again the anger of the LORD was kindled against
2 number Israel and Judah.* For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which [was] with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan in the north, even to Beersheba in the south, and number ye the people, that I may know the number S of the people. And Joab said unto the king, Now the LORD thy God add unto the people how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see [it] but why doth my lord the king delight in this thing, for 4 it will be chargeable, troublesome, and dangerous? Notwithstanding the king's word prevailed against Joab, and against the captains of the host, who joined with him in the remonstrance. And Joab and the captains of the host went out from the presence of the king, to number the people of Israel, not being willing to hazard his favour, by disputing or disobeying his orders.
And they passed over Jordan, and pitched in Aroer, on the right side of the city that [lieth] in the midst of the river of Gad,
* We read in 1 Chron. xxi. 1. that Satan suggested this, and God permitted it, because his anger was kindled against Israel for their rebellion, their luxury, and their confidence in their umbers and strength; a thing too common in prosperous and peaceful kingdoms.
6 and toward Jazer: Then they came to Gilead, and to the land of Tahtimhodshi; and they came to Danjaan, and about to 7 Zidon, And came to the strong hold of Tyre, and to all the cities of the Hivites, and of the Canaanites: and they went out 8 to the south of Judah [even] to Beersheba. So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of 9 nine months and twenty days. And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah [were] five hundred thousand men.†
And David's heart smote him, after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O LORD, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very 11 foolishly. For when David was up in the morning, the word of the LORD came unto the prophet Gad, David's seer, his 12 domestic prophet, who advised him in difficult cases, saying, Go and say unto David, Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three [things;] choose thee one of them, that I may [do it] unto thee. This was an instance of the divine clemency, and designed to humble him the more, by showing him how unbecoming his vanity and conceit were, when he was so entirely under the divine power. 13. So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine* come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days' pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me. 14 And David made an heroic and religious reply, and said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the LORD; for his mercies [are] great; and let me not fall into the hand of man.t
15 So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel, from the morning even to the time appointed : and there died of the people
They went southeast, then by the east to the north, so on to the west, and then to the south: but they did not number all the people, Benjamin and the Levites were omitted.
The difference between this account and that in 1 Chron. xxi. 5. is easily reconciled, by supposing that in one account the militia was reckoned, and not in the other, which makes their numbers nearly equal. The whole was a prodigious multitude for so small a tract of land To support.
Perhaps David's sin lay in doing this without divine direction, or any important design. but from pride and vanity, and confidence in his numbers and strength. This may be the reasort why the action is imputed to Satan the father of pride. The people were also guilty in not paying half a shekel ransom for their lives, according to the law, Exodus xxx. 12.
This should be rendered And, for this was not the reason why David repented.
Ia Chronicles it is three years' famine; and that perhaps is the true reading according to the ancient version, as it corresponds to three months' flight and three days' pestilence. They were three great and sore judgments.
+ Famine and pestilence were both immediately from God's hand; but as famine was from a natural cause, he seems to refer to pestilence. He desires not to fall into the hand of men; they were cruel, and would make no distinction between the good and bad; this would be more to the dishonour of God, and stain the glory of Israel. There was great charity, wisdom and goodness in David's answer. If he had chosen famine, or the sword, he would have chosen ill for his people, but well for himself. He was rich, and might have had relief in famine, while his subjects were starving. He might have had some strong hold or fortification, while they were exposed to all the horrors of war. He chose what an ancient writer calls an evil incident to kings and governors, as well as subjects; no riches nor forces could secure against it. The word properly significs, ax assembly, or sacred time; probably the time of evening
16 from Dan even to Beersheba seventy thousand men. And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD, observing David and the people assembled for worship, and penitent before him, repented him of the evil, changed his way, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough; stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD was by the threshing place of Araunah the Jebusite. The angel appeared like a man, with a drawn sword in his hand, to show that it was not a natural calamity, but an extraordinary judgment. He stood before a threshing place on mount Moriah, where Abraham stood to sacrifice Isaac, and where the temple was afterwards built, 17 And David spake unto the LORD when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, (not to the angel, but to the Lord,) Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, What have they done? Let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father's house. He reflects like a good man on his own sin, and not on the people and their rebellion. His language expresses the greatest affection for them. He prays that the sin might rather be charged to him and his father's house, that is, his kindred, who probably, instead of dissuading him, encouraged him to do it.
And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him, Go up, rear an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Araunab the Jebusite. He was afraid to go to Gibeon, where the tabernacle was, because of the plague, and of the angel destroying Jerusalem in the mean time; and God, in condescension to his fears, 19 orders the sacrifice to be on the spot. And David, according to 20 the saying of Gad, went up as the LORD commanded. And
Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him and Araunah, went out, and bowed himself before 21 the king on his face upon the ground. And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the 22 LORD, that the plague may be stayed from the people. And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what [seemeth] good unto him; behold, [here be] oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and [other] instruments of the oxen for wood; dry wood, yokes, and threshing in23 struments to make the fire with. All these [things] did Araunah, [as] a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The LORD thy God accept thee; I shall think myself suf24 ficiently paid if God will accept the sacrifice. And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy [it] of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing; that would be dishonourable to God, as if he was not worthy of the expense, and a disparagement to himself, as if he was unwilling. So David bought the thresh
By this it appears that the plague continued only about nine hours, such quick work do Judgments make; while Joab was nine months in going through the land, the angel's sword in nine hours did such terrible execution.