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Bible Commentaries

Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

2 Samuel 3

Verse 3

Chileab - In the duplicate passage (see the margin.) David’s second son is called Daniel (God is my judge), a name given to him in commemoration of the death of Nabal 1 Samuel 25:39. Chileab seems to be made up of the three first letters of the following Hebrew word, through an error of the transcriber, and intended to be erased.

Talmai king of Geshur - Talmai was the name of one of the sons of Anak at Hebron Numbers 13:22; this Talmai was perhaps of the same race.

Geshur - Where he reigned was in Bashan, and we know from Deuteronomy 3:11, that Og, king of Bashan, was of the “remnant of the giants.” See 1 Samuel 27:8 note.

Verse 4

Adonijah - The same who, when David was dying, aspired to the crown, and was put to death by Solomon.

Shephatiah - “God is judge.” This is the same name as Jehoshaphat, only with the two elements composing it placed in inverted order. Nothing more is known of him or of his brother Ithream.

Verse 6

Render, “And it came to pass, while the war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted, that Abner assisted the house of Saul.”

Verse 7

Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah - For the sequel of her history, see the marginal reference. Aiah, was an Edomite, or rather Horite name Genesis 36:24.

Verse 8

The words against Judah are very obscure. If the text be correct, the words would seem to be Ish-bosheth’s, who in his anger had charged Abner with being a vile partisan of Judah: Abner retorts, “Am I (as you say) a dog’s head which belongeth to Judah, or on Judah’s side! This day I show you kindness, etc., and this day thou chargest me with a fault, etc.”

Verse 12

Whose is the land? - Meaning, Is not the land thine by God’s promise?

Verse 13

David’s motive in requiring the restitution of Michal was partly his affection for her, and his memory of her love for him; partly the wish to wipe out the affront put upon him in taking away his wife, by obtaining her return; and partly, also, a politic consideration of the effect on Saul’s partisans of a daughter of Saul being David’s queen.

Verse 14

Sent messengers to Ish-bosheth - Not to Abner, for the league between David and Abner was a profound secret, but to Ish-bosheth who, David knew, must act, feeble as he was, at Abner’s dictation. Abner’s first act of overt allegiance to David was thus done at Ish-bosheth’s bidding; and the effect of the humiliation laid upon Ish-bosheth in exposing his weakness to his own subjects, and so shaking their allegiance to him, was such that Abner needed to use no more disguise.

Verse 16

Bahurim - Best known as the residence of Shimei, and as the place where Jonathan and Ahimaaz were concealed in a well on the occasion of David’s flight from Absalom 2 Samuel 16:5; 2 Samuel 17:18. It seems to have been situated in the southern border of the tribe of Benjamin, and on the route from Jerusalem to the Jordan fords, since Phaltiel came from Mahanaim 2 Samuel 2:8.

Verse 17

Ye sought for David ... - Compare 1 Samuel 18:5. It was only by Abner’s great influence that the elders of Israel had been restrained hitherto from declaring for David, and this accounts for Ish-bosheth’s helpless submission to his uncle’s dictation.

Verse 20

Twenty men - These were doubtless his official suite as Ish-bosheth’s envoy to conduct Michal to David, but privy and consenting to his intrigue with David. It is remarkable that not a word should be said about the meeting of David and Michal.

Verse 21

Abner repeats the offer 2 Samuel 3:12; and the condition of Michal’s return 2 Samuel 3:13 being now fulfilled, David accepts it, and the league between them was solemnly ratified at David’s board, amidst the rites of hospitality.

Verse 24

Joab saw that if Abner was reconciled to David, his own post as second in the state would be forfeited; and then with characteristic unscrupulosity he proceeded to take Abner’s life.

Verse 26

The well Sirah - Nowhere else mentioned; according to Josephus, about two and a half miles from Hebron.

Verse 29

The curse of David proves that Joab was not justified as blood-revenger or Goel 2 Samuel 3:27 in taking away Abner’s life.

That leaneth on a staff - Rather, a crutch. The phrase denotes one lame or infirm. For similar instances of hereditary disease and poverty as a punishment of great sin, see 1 Samuel 2:31-33, 1Sa 2:36; 2 Kings 5:27; John 9:2.

Verse 33

Lamented - i. e. composed and sang the funeral dirge which follows (compare 2 Samuel 1:17).

Died Abner ... - i. e. The great and noble and valiant Abner had died as ignobly and as helplessly as the meanest churl!

Verse 34

Thy hands were not bound ... - This thought prepares the way for the solution; Abner had been treacherously murdered by wicked men.

Verse 35

To eat meat ... - Fasting was a sign of the deepest mourning 2 Samuel 1:12. The fast lasted until the sun was set.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.