David Professes His Faith in God's
1. Now these be the last words of
David—Various opinions are entertained as to the precise
meaning of this statement, which, it is obvious, proceeded from the
compiler or collector of the sacred canon. Some think that, as there is
no division of chapters in the Hebrew Scriptures, this introduction was
intended to show that what follows is no part of the preceding song.
Others regard this as the last of the king's poetical compositions;
while still others consider it the last of his utterances as an
raised up on high—from an obscure
family and condition to a throne.
the anointed of the God of
Jacob—chosen to be king by the special appointment of that
God, to whom, by virtue of an ancient covenant, the people of Israel
owed all their peculiar destiny and distinguished privileges.
the sweet psalmist of Israel—that is,
delightful, highly esteemed.
2. The Spirit of the Lord spake by
me—Nothing can more clearly show that all that is excellent
in spirit, beautiful in language, or grand in prophetic imagery, which
the Psalms of David contain, were owing, not to his superiority in
natural talents or acquired knowledge, but to the suggestion and
dictates of God's Spirit.
3. the Rock of Israel—This metaphor,
which is commonly applied by the sacred writers to the Almighty, was
very expressive to the minds of the Hebrew people. Their national
fortresses, in which they sought security in war, were built on high
and inaccessible rocks.
spake to me—either preceptively,
giving the following counsels respecting the character of an upright
ruler in Israel, or prophetically, concerning David and his royal
dynasty, and the great Messiah, of whom many think this is a prophecy,
rendering the words, "he that ruleth"—"there shall be a ruler
4. as the tender grass springing out of the earth
by clear shining after rain—Little patches of grass are seen
rapidly springing up in Palestine after rain; and even where the ground
has been long parched and bare, within a few days or hours after the
enriching showers begin to fall, the face of the earth is so renewed
that it is covered over with a pure fresh mantle of green.
5. Although my house be not so with God; yet he
hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and
sure—"the light of the morning," that is, the beginning of
David's kingdom, was unlike the clear brilliant dawn of an Eastern day
but was overcast by many black and threatening clouds; neither he nor
his family had been like the tender grass springing up from the ground
and flourishing by the united influences of the sun and rain; but
rather like the grass that withereth and is prematurely cut down. The
meaning is: although David's house had not flourished in an
uninterrupted course of worldly prosperity and greatness, according to
his hopes; although great crimes and calamities had beclouded his
family history; some of the most promising branches of the royal tree
had been cut down in his lifetime and many of his successors should
suffer in like manner for their personal sins; although many reverses
and revolutions may overtake his race and his kingdom, yet it was to
him a subject of the highest joy and thankfulness that God will
inviolably maintain His covenant with his family, until the advent of
his greatest Son, the Messiah, who was the special object of his
desire, and the author of his salvation.
6. But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as
thorns—that is, the wicked enemies and persecutors of this
kingdom of righteousness. They resemble those prickly, thorny plants
which are twisted together, whose spires point in every direction, and
which are so sharp and strong that they cannot be touched or approached
without danger; but hard instruments and violent means must be taken to
destroy or uproot them. So God will remove or destroy all who are
opposed to this kingdom.
2Sa 23:8-39. A Catalogue of
His Mighty Men.
8. These be the names of the mighty men whom David
had—This verse should be translated thus: He who sits in the
seat of the Tachmonite (that is, of Jashobeam the Hachmonite), who was
chief among the captains, the same is Adino the Eznite; he lift up his
spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time. The text is
corrupt in this passage; the number eight hundred should be three
hundred [Davidson, Hermeneutics].
Under Joab he was chief or president of the council of war. The first
or highest order was composed of him and his two colleagues, Eleazar
and Shammah. Eleazar seems to have been left to fight the Philistines
alone; and on his achieving the victory, they returned to the spoil. In
like manner Shammah was left to stand alone in his glory, when the
Lord, by him, wrought a great victory. It is not very easy to determine
whether the exploits that are afterwards described were performed by
the first or the second three.
15, 16. the well of Beth-lehem—An
ancient cistern, with four or five holes in the solid rock, at about
ten minutes distance to the north of the eastern corner of the hill of
Beth-lehem, is pointed out by the natives as Bir-Daoud; that is,
David's well. Dr. Robinson doubts the
identity of the well; but others think that there are no good grounds
for doing so. Certainly, considering this to be the ancient well,
Beth-lehem must have once extended ten minutes further to the north,
and must have lain in times of old, not as now, on the summit, but on
the northern rise of the hill; for the well is by or (1Ch 11:7) at the gate. I find in the
description of travellers, that the common opinion is, that David's
captains had come from the southeast, in order to obtain, at the risk
of their lives, the so-much-longed-for water; while it is supposed that
David himself was then in the great cave that is not far to the
southeast of Beth-lehem; which cave is generally held to have been that
of Adullam. But (Jos 15:35)
Adullam lay "in the valley"; that is, in the undulating plain at the
western base of the mountains of Judea and consequently to the
southwest of Beth-lehem. Be this as it may, David's men had in
any case to break through the host of the Philistines, in order to
reach the well; and the position of Bir-Daoud agrees well with this
[Van De Velde].
19-39. the first three—The mighty men or
champions in David's military staff were divided into three
classes—the highest, Jashobeam, Eleazar, and Shammah; the second
class, Abishai, Benaiah, and Asahel; and the third class, the thirty,
of which Asahel was the chief. There are thirty-one mentioned in the
list, including Asahel; and these added to the two superior orders make
thirty-seven. Two of them, we know, were already dead; namely, Asahel
3:30] and Uriah [2Sa 11:17]; and if the dead, at the drawing up of
the list, amounted to seven, then we might suppose a legion of honor,
consisting of the definite number thirty, where the vacancies, when
they occurred, were replaced by fresh appointments.