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This chapter contains some of the last words of David, and as such cannot but be very interesting. To these words of David is added a list of David's worthies, his mighty men.
2 Samuel 23:1
(1) ¶ 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,
In remarking those last words of David I would beg the Reader to observe the titles by which David is spoken of in this verse. First, looking back to his humble and obscure birth, be takes the name of the son of Jesse. JESUS is uniformly spoken of as a root out of a dry ground, and though LORD of all, yet becoming the servant of all. Secondly; David is called the man who was raised up on high. The manhood of the LORD JESUS is exalted to the most sovereign and supreme honors. All power is given to him in heaven and in earth. Thirdly, David is said to be the anointed of the GOD of Jacob. CHRIST also was anointed to his commission, and did not take the office unappointed or uncalled. Lastly, David is called the sweet Psalmist of Israel. But why are the Psalms of David sweet, but because they sing of the redemption of JESUS. Oh! dearest JESUS, how delightful is it to trace thy shadows in all things, and thy salvation as the sum and substance of everything. By the last words of David, I understand not the very last words he ever spake, because frequently after this he spake to the people, and those about him. But by the last words I apprehend is meant the last important words which he spake by the Spirit of prophecy. David was a prophet, and an eminent one. So Peter described him, Acts 2:29-30 . And as the patriarchs, when dying, were blessed with a more than ordinary out-pouring of the SPIRIT, to deliver things concerning the church; so David seems to have been eminently under divine teaching when he spake these words. See Genesis 49:1 ; Deuteronomy 33:1
(2) The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. (3) 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.
If the Reader carefully attends to those three distinct titles, and yet all one and the same, by which David describes the LORD JEHOVAH, perhaps he will be inclined to think, as some learned men have done before him, that they imply the threefold, well known character, by which the LORD JEHOVAH is revealed in a Trinity of persons in the GOD-head. The GOD of Israel in the well known title of the FATHER. The Rock of Israel evidently refers, and in a peculiar manner, to GOD the SON. And the SPIRIT of the LORD is the common appellation by which GOD the HOLY GHOST is, for the most part, known in all the sacred writings. Reader! how delightful to behold this glorious foundation article of our holy faith cherished and lived upon by the early fathers in the church. And, before we enter upon the review of these last words of David, cannot but hope that the Reader will remark that, what David is about in the opening of this chapter to leave upon record to the church, is both what the SPIRIT of the LORD spoke by him; and also what the Rock of Israel spake to him. Do not overlook this distinction I beseech you, What the spirit spake by David, is what was designed for the instruction of others. What the Rock of Israel spake to David, no doubt is what the LORD JESUS spake for his own personal advantage. The former was in the teaching of the HOLY GHOST. The latter among the blessed manifestations of JESUS. What David delivered to others in his Psalms, or history, as intended for the benefit of the church, brings with it, therefore, all possible authority, for holy men of old spoke as they were moved by the HOLY GHOST . 2 Peter 1:21 . Blessed privilege! Highly distinguished honour! to have the communications of JESUS for our own felicity, and the teachings of the HOLY GHOST for the comfort of others.
(4) 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.
Who can this be but JESUS? Of whom, among the sons of men, could it ever be said that he was as a morning without clouds? Neither angels, nor men; nor ordinances, nor graces, nor all the moons of the night, nor the suns of the day, ever shone as a morning without clouds. What a sweet similitude to represent him, and his all-perfect salvation, with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning!
(5) 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.
How natural and proper was it for David, when speaking of JESUS, and his salvation, to make an immediate transition to his own personal interest in both; and to take comfort from this delightful assurance, amidst all the outward circumstances which had arisen through life to distress him. Reader! as this verse of David's hath afforded comfort to thousands, and will continue to do so until time shall be no more, I would wish you not to pass it over hastily, but look into its several properties, praying over it, that the LORD may grant you to adopt (if it be his blessed will) the same precious assurance on the same precious grounds. Do observe the confession David makes of his personal calamities. Although, (says he) my house be not so with GOD . Poor man! what a scene of sin and evil did the walls of his house furnish in his graceless children. To say nothing of the great miscarriages he had wrought himself; his day was a day of clouds, from morning even to the evening. How many of his children died in their sins! But what saith David under these trying circumstances? Although my house be not so with GOD; yet hath he made with me an everlasting covenant. As if he had said, JESUS is mine, though he be not my childrens'. GOD hath given me JESUS, and that is enough; for in him I have all things. He is better to me than a thousand sons. Sweet consolation, and a glorious relief, under all afflictions. But this is not all included in it. The covenant in JESUS's blood and righteousness is an everlasting covenant. It reaches into eternity. It is also ordered in all things, brings all blessings with it. And it is sure: nothing can break it down. It may well be called the sure mercies of David. And lastly; David sums up all in declaring, that it is not only all his salvation, but all his desire, although he make it not to grow. As if he had said, In JESUS my felicity is so complete, my redemption so perfect, and my desires so fully answered, that I find no room for anything more. It is all my salvation, for it leaves no room for anything to be added: It is all my desire, for I can want nothing beside. Here then I rest my soul with all its capacious cravings for happiness. In JESUS I have all. Reader! what say you to this blessed conclusion of David!
(6) But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands: (7) 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.
What a contrast is here drawn! And in what an awful state he describes the sons of Belial! are these not similar expressions to denote children of the evil one. It is an awful subject, but seems, to be accurately drawn by the pencil of GOD, that the children of the kingdom of grace are not more plainly defined throughout the Bible, than the children of the wicked one. See some of these scriptures in point. Joh 8:44 ; 1 John 3:10; 1 John 3:10 .
(8) ¶ 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. (9) 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: (10) 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. (11) 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. (12) But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory. (13) 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. (14) And David was then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. (15) 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! (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: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD. (17) 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. (18) 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. (19) Was he not most honourable of three? therefore he was their captain: howbeit he attained not unto the first three. (20) 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: (21) 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. (22) These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men. (23) He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the first three. And David set him over his guard. (24) Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem, (25) Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite, (26) Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite, (27) Abiezer the Anethothite, Mebunnai the Hushathite, (28) Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite, (29) Heleb the son of Baanah, a Netophathite, Ittai the son of Ribai out of Gibeah of the children of Benjamin, (30) Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash, (31) 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, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite, (35) Hezrai the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite, (36) Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite, (37) Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Beerothite, armourbearer to Joab the son of Zeruiah, (38) Ira an Ithrite, Gareb an Ithrite, (39) Uriah the Hittite: thirty and seven in all.
I do not think it needful to swell the Commentary unnecessarily; and therefore include all these verses in one reading, and shall not detain the Reader with long observations upon them. As the HOLY GHOST hath thought proper to record the names of David's worthies in this manner, I beg the Reader will remember, that if I pass them by without particular observation, it is not because they merit it not, but because I aim to compress, as much as possible, all my notes and observations within the narrowest compass. They may serve to remind us, that if the worthies of David were meriting of so much honour as to have their names recorded in the book of GOD; how much more shall the worthies of JESUS, David's LORD, have their names written in the book of life. The water of Bethlehem, which David longed for, seems to have had a gospel signification. By the spirit of prophecy David knew that CHRIST, the well of life to his people, should be born in Bethlehem. In this sense the passage is very sweet and instructive: and serves to teach us how the souls of thirsty sinners are made to long for this blessed water, and how very sure it is that the LORD JESUS will be to them a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. John 4:14 ; Revelation 21:1; Revelation 21:1 .
How sweet are the last words of dying saints. And how doubly so when they are sanctified to lead to JESUS. Reader! amidst all the trying dispensations in the life of the patriarch David; yet observe what confidence in covenant engagements can do, to give a soul comfort and holy joy. David's troubles were so many, so grievous, and so complicated, that it is quite proverbial when we speak of the man, to speak also of his sorrows; LORD remember David and all his troubles. But oh! how enviable the trouble that is sanctified! How coveted the situation which JESUS blesses. He saw the day of CHRIST, like another Abraham, afar off; as a morning without a cloud. He comforted himself in the assurance of the covenant, which was ordered in all things and sure. And he could, and did, take all the consolation of it as the whole of his salvation, and the whole of his desire, whatever outer circumstances in his life arose to exercise his mind.
Blessed JESUS! give my soul, like David, to see thee to be the whole of the covenant; and in thee, and thy finished redemption-work, fix the whole of my desire. Let a throne of grace witness for me, that I would seek life with all its dependencies; life temporal, and life eternal; wholly as David did upon the ground of the Covenant, the everlasting Covenant, through thy blood and righteousness. In all the actions of my life, and with my dying breath, I would say as David; It is all my Salvation and all my desire. And oh! thou dear Redeemer! As all my hopes, my expectations, are from thee in thy covenant righteousness, without an atom of anything of mine to add to it; LORD give me grace to live as I hope to die, in making these my constant study and delight, my songs of rejoicing in the house of my pilgrimage. To JESUS would I daily, hourly come; in him be found. To him would I cleave. With him would I walk; venturing upon CHRIST, resting in him, and hanging upon him. And as it is said, they shall hang upon him all the glory of his Father's house, so would I the whole of my salvation. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 23". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent