HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY (Old Testament) Josue through Kings








This Book is called Josue, because it contains the history of what passed under him, and, according to the common opinion, was written by him.  The Greeks call him Jesus; for Josue and Jesus, in the Hebrew, are the same name, and have the same signification, viz. A Saviour.  And it was not without a mystery, that he who was to bring the people into the land of promise, should have his name changed from Osee (for so he was called before, Num. xiii. 17,) to Josue, or Jesus, to give us to understand, that Moses, by his law, could only bring the people within sight of the promised inheritance, but that our Saviour, Jesus, was to bring us into it.  Ch. The Hebrews who had been so rebellious under Moses, behaved with remarkable fidelity and respect towards his successor; who, by these means, more forcibly represented the Christian Church, (D.) which will be ever obedient to her divine head and observe his directions.  Josue had been trained up a long time under the hand of Moses, and God had given him the commission to govern his people, in so public a manner, that no one offered to claim that high and arduous office.  In effect, the whole conduct of Josue before and after his exaltation, shewed him to be most deserving of command.  H. Josue, says the Holy Ghost, (Eccli. xlvi. 1,) was successor of Moses among the prophets, or, according to the Greek, “in prophecies.”  Many explain this of the obligation incumbent on him, to continue the sacred history (C.) and revelations where Moses had left off.  The last chapter of this book informs us that he did so.  Perhaps some additions, by way of farther explication, have been made by subsequent inspired writers, though most of the passages which are adduced to prove this assertion, seem to be of little force.  Respecting the death of Josue, we may make the same observations as on that of Moses.  It may have been written by the author of the Book of Judges.  Theodoret seems to have thought that the work before us, was compiled out of the public registers, which are quoted C. x. under the name of the book of the Lord.  See Num. xxi. 14.  The Samaritans have a book or chronicle of Josue, which relates in 39 or 47 chapters, many facts of scriptural history, (H.) down to the reign of Adrian, intermingled with a variety of fables.  It seems to be of modern date.  Hottinger undertook to publish it in Latin, but was prevented by death.  C. The true history of Josue sets before us the passage of the Jordan, the conquest of Chanaan, and the distribution of the country.  After the pious general had performed all that could be expected from him, after he had twice ratified the covenant between God and his people, and exhorted the latter, with his last breath, to observe an inviolable fidelity to their only Lord, he departed this life in peace, in the 110th year of his age, and was buried at Thamnath Sare, which he had built for the place of his abode.  H. As the five books of Moses contain the law, intermixed with history, so this first of the historical books exhibits a variety of useful precepts and predictions.  The prophetical and sapiential books must be considered in the same light.  W. They all tend to promote true wisdom and the salvation of men, provided they be perused in the same spirit with which they were written.  H.







Ver. 1.  Now: lit. And.  Thus the sacred history is connected, the last chapter of Deuteronomy being, in the opinion of many, a part of the work of Josue.  H. Moses died on the 1st of the 12th month, Adar, and as soon as that month of mourning had expired, and the spies had returned on the 4th of Nisan, God ordered the people to prepare for their departure. Minister.  This was by no means degrading.  He was designed for the successor of Moses, as Eliseus was to succeed Elias.  The heroes at Troy had servants of the same high character as themselves, attached to their persons by the ties of friendship.  See Ex. xvii. 10.


Ver. 2.  Jordan, a river well known, which rises in Antilibanus, not from Panion, but from the lake Phiala, as Herod the Tetrarch discovered by throwing some straw into the latter, which passed by a subterraneous passage into Panion.  Thence it proceeds to the Semonite lake and to Daphne, where it begins to be called the Great Jordan.  Joseph. Bel. iii. 33.  Having traversed the land of Palestine in a southern direction, it loses itself in the lake of Sodom.  C. It is a very rapid river, and hence its appellation from irod, or jord, descendit, is very probably derived.  H. The Arabs call it Zacchar, “overflowing,” because the snows and rains cause it formerly to overflow about Easter.  Univ. Hist. When Maundrell travelled through this country, the stream was too rapid for a person to swim against it.  Parkhurst. Hence the miracle of the Hebrews passing through the Jordan on dry land, when its waters were the most copious and violent, would be the more observable.  H.


Ver. 3.  Moses.  Thus the preceding permission, which the Jews extend, as if God had authorized them to conquer the whole world, is limited.  H.  See Deut. xi. 24. Their right to the land of Chanaan depends on this grant of God, who is the Lord of all things, and who thus took away all the privileges of the former inhabitants.  But the warrant of destruction only regarded the people of Chanaan.  Those who lived towards the Euphrates, were obliged only to pay tribute by David and Solomon, though their country formed part of what had been promised to the Israelites.  They might have possessed all that region, if they had proved faithful.  The limits of the promised land vary, as they are considered under various lights.  C. The desert of Arabia Petrea and Antilibanus formed the boundaries on the south and on the north, the Euphrates and Mediterranean were on the east and west, when the territories of the Israelites were considered in their utmost extent.  H.


Ver. 4.  Hethites, the most formidable of the nations of Chanaan.  Masius.


Ver. 5.  Resist you.  They shall at last be overcome, and their resistance will prove detrimental to themselves.  C.


Ver. 6.  Lot.  Heb. “thou shalt give for an inheritance.”  H.


Ver. 7.  From it.  Heb. him, Moses.  But the Masorets order us to read it.  H. Understand, or “succeed.”  Chal.  Vat.


Ver. 10.  Princes.  Shoterim may denote both judges and heralds, such as those mentioned in Homer, the messengers of gods and men, whose persons were deemed sacred.  They bore a wand or sceptre, as a mark of their authority.


Ver. 11.  Victuals.  The manna still supplied the army after they had passed the Jordan.  C. v. 12.  But Josue might fear lest the people might not have liberty to gather it in the midst of the enemy’s country, or he might perhaps suppose that this miraculous food would be withdrawn, as soon as they had entered Chanaan.  He therefore takes all necessary precautions, and gets other sorts of provisions in the neighbourhood.  C. This might foreshew, that in the primitive Church the ceremonies and privileges of the old law would not be abrogated immediately, but they might be used for a time along with the rites of the gospel, till the old law should be buried with honour.  W. Third day, after their departure from Setim; or perhaps this order was only published when the Israelites were arrived on the banks of the Jordan.  C.


Ver. 14.  Armed before, in order of battle, at the head of the army, and not according to the disposition of the tribes, which was observed in the desert.  Only 40,000 men were selected out of 110,580, the rest were very prudently left to guard the new conquered country.  See Num. xxxii. 17. For them.  Heb. “help them.”


Ver. 15.  Beyond.  The same expression is translated on this side, v. 14.  Heb. beheber means also, “in the passage.”  If we have regard to Josue, when he spoke this, he was beyond, that is on the east side of the river, though perhaps (H.) he might be on the other side when he wrote the history.  Deut. i. 1.  C.


Ver. 17.  Moses.  Thus they express their ardent wish, that God would extend his protection to Josue.  M. They do not mean to insinuate, that they will obey him only as long as he complies with God’s law.  C.


Ver. 18.  Die, as guilty of high treason.  The person’s goods were confiscated, and became the property of the king.  Thus David disposed of the effects of Saul, (2 K. xvi. 4.) and Achab seized the vineyard of Naboth, 3 K. xxi. 15.  C.







Ver 1.  Sent, or as many translate, “had sent,” as if Josue had dismissed the spies immediately after the mourning of Moses was ended, (C.) on the 1st of Nisan.  On the second day they examined the city, and were obliged to flee in the night.  But they only returned to their brethren on the 6th.  On the following day Josue gave orders to make all necessary preparations for their departure, and crossed the Jordan on the 10th of the month.  Salien. B.C. 1469. Setim was about eight or nine miles from the river, “or sixty stadia.”  Joseph.  v. 1. Two men.  Sept. intimate that they were young.  See C. vi. 23.  H. The Rabbins assert, without reason, that Caleb and Phinees were chosen, and that they pretended that they were deaf, (eross) a word which the Vulg. translates, secretly.  C. Jericho.  Josue had himself examined the country some time before.  But there might have been many changes, and he might not know the present disposition of the people of Jericho.  H. This city was built in a delightful plain, surrounded by mountains, (C.) except on the east side.  C. iv. 13.  H. Harlot.  Heb. zona may also signify an “innkeeper,” as such places were under the direction of women, who were commonly of a very loose character.  Hence the Greeks deemed it a dishonour to enter into a public house.  Isocrates says, that “even an honest servant will not dare to enter into an ale-house, to eat or drink.”  Athen. Dipn. 13. Rahab might have been formerly addicted to pleasure, as the Scripture and the Fathers agree; (Heb. xi. 31.  Jam. ii. 25.  C.) though she might at this time be very discreet, being awakened by the account of the miracles which God had wrought in favour of his people, who, she knew, were approaching to take possession of the country.  The spies might, therefore, take shelter in her house with the least suspicion, and without danger of injuring their character.  H. The woman was not very old, as she was afterwards married to Salmon.  S. Mat. i. 5. With her.  They spent the first night in her house, entering the city in the dusk of the evening, so that they had not time to make any observations till the following day.  Salien. Others think that they were suspected by the people of the town almost immediately, and denounced to the king.  Hence they were forced to flee that same night, without having accomplished their design, and were only informed by Rahab of the dismay which had seized the inhabitants, v. 11.


Ver. 2.  By night.  Heb. “this night.”  C.


Ver. 3.  House.  She spoke to them through a window.  The messengers did not enter into her house; whence Serarius infers, that Rahab was a person consecrated to some impure deity, and therefore held in some estimation among the people of Jericho, as this was a city of the moon, in whose honour such consecrations were generally made.  But these arguments are not very convincing.  C.


Ver. 4.  Hid, or “had hidden,” as (v. 6,) she had made the men retire before she spoke to the messengers, and probably before they came to demand them.  As soon as she was informed of their design, she took all prudent precautions both for her own and their safety, as she could not have escaped death, if she had been discovered affording shelter to the enemies of her country.  She felt herself authorized by God on this occasion, to abandon those upon whom he had declared war, and who could have derived no benefit from the spies being betrayed to them.  H.


Ver. 5.  At the time, not precisely, as otherwise the men who shut the gates must have seen them, but about that time, (C.) Rahab pretends that the spies had left her house, and had directed their course  towards the gate, so that she made no doubt but they might easily overtake them.  H. Notwithstanding this officious lie, which is a venial sin, S. Paul and S. James testify that she was justified by her faith in God, and by good works towards these men.  See S. Aug. c. Mend. 17. and note on James ii. 25.  W. Rahab might suppose that an officious lie was not a sin, (M.) as many great and learned men seemed to have maintained this doctrine.  See Grotius Jur. iii. 1. 9.  Orig. c. Cels. iv. p. 171.  S. Chrys. hom. 53. Gen.  She was so far from intending to do an injury to any  one, that she consulted the welfare both of her guests and of her countrymen, who, if they had detected the spies and committed murder, would have thus brought greater destruction upon themselves, as they could not escape the wrath of God.  C.


Ver. 6.  There.  The roofs were flat in that country, and consequently very proper to dry flax, or “cotton,” as Masius understands.


Ver. 7.  Jordan, where they had probably come over, though perhaps in a boat, (M.) and where the messengers concluded they would have the best chance of finding them, as the Israelites were on the opposite side of the river.  H. As soon as they were gone out of the city, the guards shut the gate, that if the spies should still be lurking within, they might be hindered from making their escape.  M.


Ver. 8.  Asleep.  It seems as if the spies had been ignorant of the danger to which they had been just exposed, and had gone to the roof of the house with a design to pass the night in greater security.  Rahab perceives, however, that it would be extremely rash for them to continue with her any longer, and therefore she gives them the best advice, to secure their safety by fleeing in the dead of the night, and without further delay.  H.


Ver. 9.  Strength.  Heb. “they faint or melt away,” deprived both of strength and counsel.


Ver. 11.  Beneath.  This is the confession of a true convert, (C.) inspired by God.  H. For S. Paul commends her faith.  Heb. xi. 31.  M. The pagans confined the power of their idols to certain districts; the power of the true God is infinite.  C.


Ver. 12.  True token, such a one as, when I shew it to the Israelites, they may preserve me and mine.  She is not content with a verbal promise, she requires something permanent and sensible, as a mark of their mutual engagements, (C.) a token of their sincerity.  They afterwards appointed a piece of scarlet to be hung out of the house, where those were to be collected who should be entitled to protection.  Rahab was bound not to divulge their secret, nor to betray them.  If she had instructed others of her fellow-citizens to hang out the same mark, she would have forfeited all her privileges, v. 20.  H.


Ver. 14.  Death.  We are willing to die instead of you, if we do not fulfil our promises. Truth, a real and effectual mercy.


Ver. 16.  Days; the remainder of this night, and the day and night following.  It is probable that they would travel only in the night time.  C. If they had gone by the high road, they might easily have been discovered by the messengers, who would be on their return.  H. But retiring to the mountains south of Jericho, till they had re-entered the city, the spies made their escape.  C.


Ver. 18.  By which window or cord.  C. The cord was left as a signal.  M.


Ver. 24.  Fear, as Rahab had testified.  They might also have been witnesses of the people’s consternation, which gave them the most assured hopes of victory, as the Lord had given this sign, among others, that he would be with them.  Deut. xxviii. 10.  H.







Ver 1.  Days, in part, as they arrived on the 8th of Nisan, staid there the following day, and crossed the Jordan on the 10th, on Friday the 30th of our April.  Thus Christ is said to have remained three days in the tomb, (C.) though he was there only a small part of Friday and of Sunday, and the whole of Saturday.  Heb. “they lodged there before they passed over, (2) and it came to pass after three days that the,” &c.


Ver. 2.  Heralds.  Shoterim.  C. i. 10.  Prot. “the officers went through the host.”  H.


Ver. 3.  Levi.  Sigonius thinks that the Caathites performed this office on this as on other occasions.  But the Vulgate shews that the priests sometimes carried the ark, perhaps because it was uncovered.  C. vi. 6.  2 K. xv. 25.  At this period the number of priests was but small.  Some of the sons of Eleazar and of Ithamar might be old enough to assist their parents: only two would be necessary at a time, though the Rabbins assign four, (which is not improbable.  Theodoret) and pretend that the two who went first were obliged to go backwards, in order that their faces might be turned towards the ark, out of respect.  The ark now marked the way for the people, as the cloud had disappeared on the death of Moses.  S. Aug. q. 3.  Masius.  C. It had been carried at the head of the army in the desert.  H.


Ver. 4.  Space of.  Heb. adds, “about…by measure.”  It was not easy to observe the exact distance in the march.  This was prescribed both to keep the people at a respectful distance, and also to enable them to see which way they were to proceed.  When the priests stood in the bed of the river, the waters rose up like a firm wall on the north side, while those to the south flowed away into the lake of Sodom, leaving about 16 miles open for the army of Israel to pass on dry land.  The soldiers did not approach within 600 paces of the ark. Before.  This insinuated that they would pass over in a miraculous manner; though perhaps Josue did not know by what means God would enable them to cross (C.) the overflowing waters.  Josephus only seems to intimate that they abated suddenly, so that they might be forded, &c.  He also greatly diminishes or destroys the miracle performed at the passage of the Red Sea.  Yet here he acknowledges a sort of “prodigy in the waters being restrained,” and resuming their usual course as soon as the priests had left the channel of the river. And take, &c.  Heb. places these words at the beginning of the sentence, after cubits.  H.


Ver. 5.  Sanctified, as Moses had required at Mount Sinai, (Ex. xix. 10. 15,) ordering the people to wash their garments, and to abstain from their wives, that by this exterior purity, they might be reminded not to neglect that of the soul, without which they would derive but small benefit or instruction from the greatest miracles.


Ver. 6.  Commands.  Josue was only the organ of God, (C.) whose orders he announces to the sacred ministers; (v. 8.  M.) though as a civil magistrate, he was bound to hear and to obey them in matters of religion.  C. When he ordered circumcision to be administered, when he blessed the multitude, and ratified the covenant between God and the people, (C. v. and xxiv. &c.) he did nothing but what a virtuous governor ought to do; yet he did not these things by virtue of his civil jurisdiction, or in opposition to the spiritual authority of Eleazar.  Moses had been the supreme head, being both priest and king.  But only part of his glory was communicated to Josue, while Eleazar was directed to consult the Lord for him, (Num. xxvii. 21.  Theod. q. 48. in Num.)  Josue was to govern at his word, so that he was bound to consider the high priest as his superior.  What he therefore did, was in subordination and conformity to the will of Eleazar and of God, and not designed to shew that the priestly authority belonged to himself, as English Protestants would hence infer.  The best of princes, both in the Old and New Testament, have always looked upon it as a part of their duty to promote the true religion.  W. Isaias (xlix) foretold that kings and queens would esteem it their glory to guard and to advance the prosperity of the Church.  H. Hence they may enact laws for this purpose.  S. Aug. c. Crescon. iii. 51.  Constantine ratified the judgment passed already by the bishops in the cause of Cecilian, though he confessed at the same time that the determination did not belong to his tribunal; (W.) and he greatly disapproved of the conduct of the Donatists, who appealed to him, as the heathens might have done to an emperor, who was at the same time one of their high priests.  H. O rabida furoris audacia, said he, sicut in causis gentilium fieri solet, appellationem interposuerunt.  1. Optat. c. Parm. i.  S. Aug. ep. 166.  Other emperors and kings have acquired great fame, on account of their labours and zeal in defence of the Church.  Thus the kings of Spain and of France have obtained the titles of Catholic and Most Christian, and our Henry VIII. was honoured by Pope Leo X. with the title of Defender of the Faith, in 1521, (W.) on account of the book which he presented to that pontiff, while he was yet an obedient son of the Catholic Church, and undertook to defend her faith on the sacraments, against the objections of Luther.  Is this the faith which the kings of England defend at present?  Whatever the princes might do in the old law in spiritual matters, no inference can be drawn for the same right being now exercised by civil magistrates, how supreme soever in their own sphere.  Those princes, Josue, &c. might be considered not only in the light of civil governors, but also in that of prophets, who had a great share in the administration of affairs under the Jewish theocracy.  If God chose to make known his will by the mouth of a king, or by that of a shepherd, his mandates were to be put in execution with equal exactitude.  But now the distinctive limits of the ecclesiastical and of the civil power are more clearly ascertained.  Render therefore to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.  Mat. xxii. 21.  The kingdom of Christ is not of this world; neither did he appoint kings to be the pastors of his Church.  H.


Ver. 7.  Also.  Grotius remarks that God made known his choice of the governors of his people by miracles, till the days of Saul.  In effect, we hardly find any, before that time, whose public authority was not sanctioned by some prodigy.  C.


Ver. 8.  It.  Heb. “when you shall have come to the brink (or extremity) of the water of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan,” (H.) which some explain by saying that they were to stop on the eastern bank, as soon as they had wet their feet, (Serarius) while others say they crossed quite over, and stood at the other side.  Masius. But it is more probable, that as soon as they had touched the waters, the priests halted till the bed of the river was presently dried up, and then they placed themselves in the middle of it, close to the raging billows, which, rising up like mountains, were stopped in their career, (H.) and forced to retire backwards to their source, v. 15. 17.  C. iv. 9.  Bonfrere.  A. Lap. Some translate, “into the division,” instead of part, or extremity.  C.


Ver. 9.  Hither, probably to the door of the tabernacle, where the assemblies were held.


Ver. 10.  Living God, in opposition to the idols of the Gentiles, who were dead men, or at least incapable of affording any assistance to their votaries.  Josue gives the people two signs of the divine protection, the destruction of the devoted nations, and the miraculous division of the Jordan, or rather the latter prodigy would be an earnest of the former event; and all, both friends and enemies, might be convinced, that the Lord was with his people, and their present leader, as he had been with Moses.  No miracle could have been more suitable for the occasion, none more convincing or useful.  C. It would naturally inspire the Israelites with confidence, at the revival of the miracles wrought 40 years before, when their fathers and some of themselves had passed the Red Sea, in a similar manner.  At the same time, it would fill the Chanaanites with still greater dismay and teach them that all resistance would prove fruitless.  Some have wondered that they did not oppose the passage of the Israelites on this occasion.  But it is a greater matter of surprise that they should have ventured on the dangerous expedient of encountering them in war, after what they had seen and heard.  It can be attributed to nothing but their infatuation, and that blindness with which God punished them, that they might draw on a more speedy and merited destruction for their crimes.  H. Destroy.  Heb. “dispossess, or drive out before you the Chanaanite,” &c.  These seven nations comprised the ten which are mentioned, Gen. xv. 19.  The Chanaanite occupied the countries chiefly about Tyre, while the Hethite dwelt in the southern part of Palestine.  The Hevite possessed Mount Hermon, Garizim, &c.  The Pherezite were not perhaps a separate people, but employed in cultivating the country.  The Gergesite were fixed to the east of the lake of Genesareth, the Jebusite at Jerusalem, and the Amorrhite about the Dead Sea.  C. But they were often mixed with one another, so that their limits cannot be ascertained with any degree of precision.  H.


Ver. 12.  Prepare.  Heb. “take.”  But they must have been selected from the tribes, either to carry twelve stones out of the bed of the Jordan, and to place twelve others in their stead, as monuments of this stupendous miracle; (C.) or to accompany the priests and the ark, out of respect.  Cajetan.  M.


Ver. 13.  Heap.  Heb. “the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off:  the waters that come down from above, even they shall stand as upon a heap,” like mountains of ice.  The Vulg. informs us what became of the waters (H.) below this division.  Where it took place we do not find recorded, so that we cannot know exactly how large a space would be left dry.  Calmet allows, “near six leagues.”  v. 4. and 16.  But here, supposing that the Jordan was divided over-against Jericho, he says, that “the waters running off into the Dead Sea, would, in all probability, leave not less than two or three thousand paces of the channel dry.”

Interruptus aquis fluxit prior amnis in æquor;

            Ad molem stetit unda fluens.  Lucan, Phar. ii.


Ver. 15.  Water.  Thus they manifested the strength of their faith.  C. Immediately the obedient waters divided, and the gravel or sand was left dry.  v. 17.  H. Channel.  The barley harvest was ready about the 30th of April.  Lev. xxiii. 10.  On other occasions this overflowing of the Jordan is noticed, 1 Par. xii. 15.  Eccli. xxiv. 36.  Doubdan says that when he visited these parts, at the same season of the year, the Jordan was quite full, on account of the melted snow, and ready to leave its banks.  It was about a stone throw across, and very rapid.  See C. i. 2.  The rains which fall in spring, serve to increase the inundation, (Deut. xi. 14,) as well as the snow which melts at that time on Libanus, though a great part resists the violent heats.  Mirum dictu, says Tacitus v. tantos inter ardores opacum fidumque nivibus.  Jer. xviii. 14. and xlix. 19.


Ver. 16.  Mountain.  Heb. “heap or bottle.”  The billows were forced to roll back almost as far as the lake of Genesareth, where Sarthan stands, about twenty leagues above Jericho. Sarthan.  Heb. “rose up on a heap, very far from (or to) the city of Adom, that is beside Sarthan.”  The situation of Adom can only be ascertained by that of Sarthan, which was near Bethsan, or Scythopolis, (3 K. iv. 12,) in the vale of Jezrahel, on the Jordan.  Many copies of the Sept. read Cariathiarim, though it was six or seven leagues up the country, west of Jericho.  C. The swelling billows might perhaps be seen from this place.  H. But it could not properly determine how far the waters rolled back.  C. Failed.  Heb. “and those that came down towards the sea of the plain, (or of Araba, which means a desert, fit only for pasturage) the salt sea, failed, were cut off” from the waters above Jericho.  The Jordan after running three miles in the lake of Sodom, without mixing its waters, becomes at last reluctantly confounded with it.  Velut invitus…postremo ebibitur, aquasque laudatas perdit, pestilentibus mixtus.  Plin. v. 15.


Ver. 17.  Jericho, at Bethabara, which was five or six leagues from the Dead Sea, all which space was left dry.  Jericho was three leagues from the Jordan.  C. Girded.  Sept. “ready,” preparing the way for all the army.  Heb. “firm,” and undaunted.  H. A great part of the day must have been spent in crossing the river, and erecting the two monuments.  M.







Ver 1.  Over.  Heb. and Sept. “clean, or entirely;” perhaps two million people, with all their possessions, had crossed the river on that day, the 10th of Nisan, leaving many of their brethren to cultivate and defend the eastern parts of the Jordan.  H.


Ver. 2.  Choose.  Heb. “take,” as C. iii. 12.  Those twelve men were ordered to attend the ark, and to observe the miracle with care: these are chosen to carry the stones for the monuments.  Salien. Calmet supposes that they are the same people, and that the former verse might be translated, “the Lord had said.”  But this does not agree with the context.  Heb. “and it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over the Jordan, that the Lord spake.”  The former injunction was given before they entered the river.  Heb. “the ark passeth…Now therefore take,” &c.  H. One was selected from the tribe of Levi, and one from that of Joseph, so that all the twelve tribes were represented.  M.


Ver. 3.  Hard.  The Heb. term is referred by some to the priests, “from the station of the priests, prepared, or standing firm,” (C. iii. 17,) by others to the stones, which were to be prepared, hard, or exactly twelve.  C. The Sept. have taken it in the latter sense, “twelve stones ready,” or such as they might easily find, in the place where the priests had stood.  They were of a flinty nature, (H.) that they might perpetuate the memory of this event.  M.


Ver. 5.  Of Israel, who had twelve sons.  The same expression occurs Deut. xxxii. 8, and must be explained of the immediate sons of Jacob, without including those grandchildren who might be born before his death.  H.


Ver. 9.  Day.  Some hence infer that Josue did not write this book.  But surely if he wrote it towards the end of his life, he might well use this expression, (M.) as S. Matthew does to denote a shorter term.  The twelve stones at Galgal, and in the bed of the Jordan, at Bethabara, (H.) were probably each placed apart.  See Ex. xxiv. 4.  M. They were still to be seen in the days of S. Jerom.  Such monuments were formerly very common, and very useful, to make a lasting impression upon the minds of a gross people.  See Gen. xxviii. 18.  Lev. xxvi. 1.


Ver. 10.  To him.  Moses had been dead forty days.  But it seems this miraculous division of the Jordan had been revealed to him, and he had cautioned Josue to let slip no opportunity of attaching the people to God’s service, by erecting monuments of religion, as he did on this occasion.  C. Haste.  Though they were assured by the divine promise, they experienced a certain fear.  Salien. Even the most constant are liable to such impressions.  Mat. xiv. 30.


Ver. 11.  People, who passed over 2000 cubits lower down, and always kept the same distance, till they arrived at Galgal.  C.


Ver. 12.  Them.  C. i. 14.  Num. xxxii. 28.  Forty thousand were only chosen.  H.


Ver. 13.  Bands.  Heb. “prepared for war passed over, before the Lord, unto battle, to the plains of Jericho.”  H. These formed the van-guard. Plains.  Heb. harboth, which is translated desert.  Jer. lii. 8.  A large plain, fit for pasturage, extended from the city to the Jordan, on the east side.  C.


Ver. 14.  In, &c.  Josue recapitulates how this miracle established his authority, and how he was ordered to command the priests to come up from the midst of the Jordan, after the people had all got to the other side, and the stones were fixed, to denote where the ark had stood, like a wall, to hinder the waters from rushing down.  H.


Ver. 19.  Month of the ecclesiastical year.  They had left Egypt on the 15th of Nisan, so that they had spent forty years, within five days, on their journey.  C.


Ver. 20.  Galgal.  It received its name afterwards.  C. v. 9.  It lay in a direct line from Jericho to the Jordan eastwards, being ten stadia from the former, and fifty from the latter place.  Josue had his camp here while he subdued the kings of Chanaan, (C.) as it had plenty of water and wood in its environs; (M.) though perhaps at this time, there were no houses.  Saul was here recognized king of all Israel.  1 K. xi. 14.  Tertullian (c. Marc. iv.) supposes, that the twelve stones were placed on the ark, in arcam, which is not at all probable.  C. But they might be erected in its vicinity, and that may perhaps be the meaning of the author.  H. R. Levi says the stones were placed near the ark, that all Israel might see them thrice a year.  Josephus believes that an altar was formed of them.


Ver. 25.  Earth, particularly of Chanaan.  This miracle tends to inspire the enemy with fear and consternation, and to confirm the faith and hope of the Israelites.  The obstinacy of the former was thus rendered more inexcusable.  C.







Ver 1.  Chanaan.  These occupied the countries situated on the Mediterranean sea, as far as Egypt: the Amorrhites dwelt nearer to the lake of Sodom.  The whole country is divided between these two nations, including that territory which the Philistines had seized, and which belonged also to Israel.  Almost every city had its respective king, according to the ancient custom in the east, intra suam cuique patriam regna finiebantur.  Justin. i.  Strabo (xvi.) says this was particularly verified in the cities of Phœnicia.  C. Till they.  Heb. “we…their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel.”  They fainted as it were through fear, and could not take their breath, or according to the Sept. adopt any thing rational; “they had no prudence,” phronesis.  H.


Ver. 2.  Time.  While the enemy was rendered incapable of attacking the Israelites by excessive fear (C.) and consternation, Josue was commanded to renew the sign of the covenant, by which they were to take possession of the land, and it is supposed that he complied the day after he arrived at Galgal; (H.) so that the wound would be healing, when the feast of the Passover commenced four days later.  On the third day it is most painful.  Gen. xxxiv. 25. Of stone.  Heb. tsurim, which some translate, “sharp;” but the Sept. and the best interpreters agree, that the word indicates a stone.  Such a knife was used by Sephora.  Ex. iv. 25.  It was supposed that sharp stones would cause less inflammation or danger.  Samiâ testâ…amputabant, nec aliter citra perniciem.  Plin. xxv. 12.  Herodotus (ii. 86,) observes, that the Egyptian embalmers opened the body of the deceased with a “sharp Ethiopian stone.”  The people of Africa, and of America, have frequently used stone to cut wood, &c.  Some of the Fathers assert, that Christ was circumcised with a knife of stone.  But any other sharp instrument might be used for the purpose.  Any person might perform the operation.  Izates, king of the Adiabenians, received circumcision from the hand of a surgeon.  Joseph.  xx. 2.  C. Time.  Not that such as had been circumcised before were to be circumcised again: but that they were now to renew, and take up again the practice of circumcision; which had been omitted during their 40 years’ sojourning in the wilderness; by reason of their being always uncertain when they should be obliged to march.  Ch. S. Augustine (q. 6,) seems to think that the Israelites despised this ceremony in the desert.  Theodoret (q. 2,) supposes it was disused because it was not then necessary, to distinguish the Israelites from other nations.  Masius is of opinion that God would not allow them to employ it, after their revolt at Cades-barne, when they would not take possession of the land of Chanaan; and hence they could not resume that privilege, till God had authorized them again, v. 7.  Num. xiv. 33.  The covenant with God, of which circumcision was the seal, had been, in the mean time, suspended.  But as the Israelites are no where blamed, in Scripture, on account of this omission, it seems that God dispensed with them during the 38 years after they left Sinai, that the children might not be exposed to the evident danger of perishing, as the people knew not how soon the cloud would give notice for an immediate departure. C. Since they were now in the midst of the nations of Chanaan, this distinctive mark (M.) was to be henceforth diligently observed.  H.


Ver. 3.  Hill, at Galgal.  Josue took care to have this ceremony performed.  C. Perhaps he circumcised some himself, as Abraham did those of his own house.  Gen. xvii. 23.  M.


Ver. 4.  Second.  Heb. “this is the thing, (the cause why) Josue gave circumcision.”


Ver. 5.  Desert.  After the departure from Sinai, where the Passover was celebrated, and where, of course, the people must have been circumcised.  C.


Ver. 6.  Forty.  Some copies of the Sept. add, “two,” as if the 40 years’ wandering in the desert, were to be dated from the time that the spies discouraged the people, in the second year of their departure from Egypt.  But the Heb. and the best chronologers allow only 40 years in the whole.  C. Heb. “For the children of Israel walked 40 years in the wilderness, till all the men fit for war, who came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord, unto whom the Lord swore that he would not shew them the land, which the Lord swore unto their fathers that he would give us, a land flowing with milk and honey; (7) and their children he raised up in their stead, them Josue circumcised.”  H. The Sept. is also rather fuller than the Vulg. but gives the same sense.  These children who receive, what their rebellious fathers had been refused, are a sensible figure of the Christian Church; as that second circumcision under Josue, represents the spiritual cleansing of the heart, which Jesus Christ has enjoined.  Rom. ii. 28.  1 Cor. vii. 19.


Ver. 8.  Healed.  The Passover lasted eight days: after which they proceeded to attack Jericho.  Yet the people, unfit for war, remained at Galgal; where the camp continued a long time afterwards.


Ver. 9.  Egypt.  The people of that country adopted circumcision only after this period, (C.) and it never became general among them.  They were therefore held in abhorrence, like the rest of the uncircumcised nations, among the Jews.  Gen. xxxiv. 14.  1 K. xiv. 6.  Theodoret (q. 4,) looks upon circumcision as a symbol of the liberation from the servitude of Egypt, where, he says, history informs us, that many of the Hebrews had neglected this rite. Galgal is interpreted liberty, by Josephus; but moderns render it “a rolling away,” (C.) or revolution.  Heb. “I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you.”  H. Those Israelites who remained at the other side of the river, were ordered to be circumcised at the same time with their brethren.  But they could not partake in the solemnity of the Passover, as they were at a distance from the ark.  Salien.


Ver. 10.  Phase.  This was the third.  The first was celebrated in Egypt.  Ex. 12.  The second at Sinai.  Num. ix.  M. Afterwards it was disused till the Israelites took possession of Chanaan, as it was chiefly designed for that country.  Ex. xii. 25.


Ver. 11.  Corn.  Some pretend that the Heb. means “old corn.”  But the ancient interpreters take no notice of this restriction.  The offering of corn was probably omitted on this occasion, as the Israelites had not cultivated the land. Frumenty.  Sept. “new corn.”  Heb. “parched, on that same day.”  These last words are taken by the Sept. as a part of the next sentence.


Ver. 12.  Land.  The Sept. intimate on the 15th.  The Heb. seems to say the 16th, Nisan, “on the morrow after they had eaten of the (old) corn.”  C. Grabe’s Septuagint agrees with the Vulgate and Heb. and specifies that the Israelites “eat of the corn of the country on the day after the Passover, unleavened and new.  On that day, the morrow, manna ceased.”  All depends on the determination of the first day of the festival.  If we date from the eating of the paschal lamb on the 14th, or from the solemn day, which was the 15th, manna must have been withdrawn either on the 15th or 16th of the month; though Salien thinks that it ceased as soon as the Israelites had begun to eat of the fruit of the country, on the eastern side of the Jordan.  This miraculous food was withholden as soon as the Israelites entered the land of promise; and so the blessed Eucharist, of which it was a figure, and all the sacraments, will cease, when the Christian people shall have taken possession of their heavenly country.  H.


Ver. 13.  Adversaries?  Dost thou bear arms for or against us?  C.


Ver. 14.  Prince of the host of the Lord, &c.  S. Michael, who is called prince of the people of Israel.  Daniel x. 21.  Ch. Some of the Fathers explain it of the Son of God.  Orig. hom. 6.  But S. Aug. C. D. xi. 13.  S. Jerom in Gal. iii. and interpreters in general agree, that the person who here appeared to Josue, was the archangel Michael.  He came, in the name of God, to assure Josue of success, as the angel had appeared to Moses in the burning bush, as if to denote the distress of the Hebrews, and to encourage Moses to undertake their liberation.  C. Chal. “I am the angel sent by God.”  In that character he is called the Lord.  H.


Ver. 15.  Worshipping.  Not with divine honour, but with a religious veneration of an inferior kind, suitable to the dignity of his person.  Ch. He styles the angel Adonai, which is a title frequently given to men; and hence he does not seem to have designed to give him supreme worship.  C. If he did, (H.) it was referred to God.  C.  See Ex. xx.


Ver. 16.  Loose.  The angel did not only accept of the honour done to him, but also required more, shewing that the field near Jericho was rendered holy, by his presence.  W. Hence he ordered Josue to put off his shoes, as Moses had done at the bush.  Ex. iii. 5.  The Turks leave their shoes at the doors of their mosques, and do not dare to tread on the bare floor.  Formerly the pagans would not spit in their temples.  Arrian.  “If, says Porphyrius, in the sacrifices instituted by men, in honour of the gods, people be careful to have their shoes clean, with how much greater attention ought we to preserve our bodies, which are, as it were, the garments of the soul, free from every impurity and corruption!”  Abstin. 2.  C.







Ver. 2.  The Lord, in the person of the angel, who appeared to Josue, as he was praying in silent meditation, or reconnoitring the city of Jericho.  C. v. 13.  H. Men.  People of the different nations had come to defend the city.  C. xxiv. 11.


Ver. 3.  Men.  These went first.  Afterwards the priests bore the ark, which was followed by all the people.  C. The procession began on a Sunday.  Rabbins.


Ver. 4.  Jubilee.  Num. x. 2.  The number seven, is often used to express an indefinite number.  But here a particular stress is laid upon it.  See Masius.  As, on the 7th year the Hebrews regained the possessions which they had sold: so now they assert their rights to the land of Chanaan.  The sound of the trumpets announced joyful tidings to them.  M.


Ver. 5.  Tune, with certain modulations, continued for a long time.  Num. x. 5.  H. Ground.  The Rabbins say they sink in, so that the ruins might not impede the march of the army.  Some think only a large breach was made, opposite to the Israelites, as the house of Rahab upon the walls was preserved.  C.


Ver. 7.  He said.  Some MSS. and Heb. editions have, “they said,” though the points shew it must be singular, whatever Michaelis may object in favour of the Masora.  Leusden foolishly admits here a double literal sense.  Ken.  H.


Ver. 11.  There.  This singular procession served to exercise the obedience of the people, and to teach them to despise the enemy, who durst not come out to attack them, though many were unarmed.  C.


Ver. 15.  Seventh day.  The Jews say it was the sabbath; but of this there is no proof.  Marcion hence took occasion to accuse God of inconsistency, as he forbad all working, and yet ordered the people to go round Jericho on a sabbath day.  But Tertullian (iv. 12,) answers very well, that servile work is forbidden, and not the works of God or of religion, and God may change the ceremonial law as he thinks proper.  C. Sabbato opera humana prohibentur non divina.  D.


Ver. 16.  Said, or “had said,” when he gave the people the sound of the trumpet for a sign (H.) when they were to shout, v. 5.  He probably gave the regulations respecting the plunder of the city, before the army left the camp.  C.


Ver. 17.  An anathema.  That is, a thing accursed and devoted to utter destruction.  Ch. Only the metal that was found, was consecrated to the Lord, (v. 19,) and the family of Rahab saved.  In devoting things, the person who laid on the curse, might extend its operation as he pleased.  On some occasions, all was to be destroyed; on others, some things were preserved.  Deut. ii. 34.  Lev. xxvii. 21.  C. This first city, which the Israelites attacked, was treated with peculiar severity, to terrify the rest.


Ver. 18.  Forbidden, transgression, sin.  Heb. has always anathema.  H.


Ver. 19.  Treasures, probably in the tabernacle.  See Num. xxxi. 48.  God claims the first-fruits of the booty, as an acknowledgment that he granted the victory, (C.) and all the riches of the country, to his people.  H.


Ver. 23.  Men.  Heb. “boys;” a name given to people advanced in years. Camp.  A respect for the majesty of God, would not permit the Israelites to introduce unbelievers into the camp.  They were first instructed, and then the men were circumcised, and the women received baptism.  C.


Ver. 25.  Day.  Rahab prefigured the wild olive tree, which S. Paul says was engrafted on the good olive tree, (Rom. xi. 24,) and which will remain till the end of the world.  Theod. q. 8.  She married Salmon, of the tribe of Juda, and became the ancestor of David and of the Messias.  C.


Ver. 26.  Cursed, &c.  Jericho, in the mystical sense, signifies iniquity; the sounding of the trumpets by the priests, signifies the preaching of the word of God; by which the walls of Jericho are thrown down, when sinners are converted: and a dreadful curse will light on them who build them up again.  Ch. Gates.  Some copies of the Sept. insert here that the curse fell upon Azan (Hiel) of Bethel, 3 K. xvi. 34.  Before his time, there was a city of palm-trees, or Jericho, built in the neighbourhood.  Joseph. Bel. v. 4.  Though Hiel was so severely punished, no one made any scruple to live there.  Elias and Jesus Christ himself honoured the place with their presence.  The city is now almost in ruins, and the territory uncultivated.  Ancient history mentions similar imprecations against obnoxious cities.  Thus the Romans cursed the rebuilders of Carthage, and Agamemnon followed “the ancient custom,” says Strabo, (xiii.) laying a curse upon those who should rebuild the city of Troy.  The Ionians and Greeks forbad those temples to be re-established, which the Persians had destroyed, that they might remain eternal monuments of the impiety of the latter, and of the hatred which subsisted between the two nations.  Pausanias in Phoc.  C.







Ver. 1.  Children.  Achan was guilty of theft: some of the rest might have connived at his fault.  He had taken what was reserved for the Lord.  The offender was discovered, to inspire all with a horror for his conduct.  Some of his brethren were punished, (v. 5,) but they suffered for their own secret transgressions, or death might be no real punishment to them; while the Israelites were awakened to a sense of their own inability to conquer without the divine protection, and were forced to humble themselves.  H. Chastisements are the marks of God’s displeasure, though they frequently proceed also from his clemency. Achan is called Achar, 1 Par. ii. 7.  These five persons occupy the space of 265 years; so that they must have been 50 or 55 years old, when they had children.


Ver. 2.  Against Hai, to see the situation and strength of that city, which was about 10 miles west, or rather north, of Jericho.  It was afterwards rebuilt, 1 Esd. ii. 28. Bethaven and Bethel are the same place; (S. Jerom.  C.) though many distinguish them, with Cellarius.  The former name means “the house of iniquity,” because Jeroboam there set up a golden calf.  Bethel was its former appellation, in consequence of the vision of Jacob.  Gen. xxviii.


Ver. 3.  Few.  It appears, however, that the city contained 12,000 fighting men; so that these spies must have formed a false notion of its strength.  C. viii. 25.


Ver. 5.  Sabarim, which means people “broken and defeated.”  Sept. “they pursued them from the gate, till they had entirely broken them,” destroying 36, and putting the rest to flight.  C. This small disaster filled the whole camp with dismay, as the Lord generally caused the victories of his people to be complete, and without any loss, as long as they continued in his favour.  None were found wanting of those who attacked and destroyed so many of the Madianites.  Num. xxxi. 49.  H.


Ver. 6.  Heads.  These marks of grief were very common.  Achilles covered his head with ashes, tore his garments and face, when he received news of the death of his friend, Patroclus.  Homer and Virgil, (xii.) speaking of Latinus, the king, says, It scissa veste LatinusCanitiem immundo perfusam pulvere turpans.


Ver. 7.  Began.  Some had established themselves in the land of Galaad.  M. Heb. “would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan.”  Josue speaks in this animated manner, through zeal for the glory of God, (C.) more than for any personal inconvenience.  He was grieved that any one should have merited God’s displeasure.  He was afraid that the Chanaanites would blaspheme the great name of the Lord, v. 9.


Ver. 11.  Lied.  Each one, on delivering up what he had taken, made profession, at least by his behaviour, (H.) that he retained nothing.  Achan did like the rest, but he kept back of the plunder.  C. He lied, and did not comply with the promise made by all Israel, which he was bound to observe, as much as if he had made it with his own mouth.


Ver. 13.  Sanctified.  Prepared by washing, &c. to appear before the tabernacle, and to see the event.  Sept. “purify the people.”  Chal. “call an assembly.”


Ver. 14.  Find.  Heb. “it shall be the tribe which the Lord taketh.”  H. This was done by lots, as on similar occasions, 1 K. x. 20. and xiv. 41.  When God authorized this method, there could be no danger in it.  But to have recourse to lots without such authority, would be often tempting God.  The apostles chose an apostle by lot: but they had first taken every precaution (C.) to select two persons, both fit for the important charge.  H. To commit the choice of sacred ministers to chance would be extremely improper.  “We forbid the use of lots in the elections,” said Honorius.  C.


Ver. 18.  Juda.  The dignity of this tribe enhanced the fault of Achan.  M.


Ver. 19.  My son.  Clemency is the virtue of great souls. Give glory.  Confess candidly.  Jo. ix. 24.


Ver. 21.  Garment.  Heb. “a robe of Sannaar, or of Babylon.”  This city was famous for embroidered, or painted robes, such as were worn by kings.  Jonas iii. 6.  Plin. viii. 48. Rule, or linget.  No coin was yet used.  C.


Ver. 24.  His sons, &c.  Probably conscious to, or accomplices of the crime of their father, (Ch.) as he could hardly have concealed these things in the midst of his tent without their knowledge.  M. But granting, with S. Aug. (q. 8,) that they were innocent of this crime, God, who is the sovereign arbiter of life and death, might order them out of the world, on this occasion, without injustice.


Ver. 25.  Day.  Hence some have drawn a very weak argument, to prove the repentance of Achan, as if he had only to undergo a temporary punishment.  It is probable, however, that his sincere confession, proceeding from a penitent heart, might influence God to shew him mercy. Fire.  Children, as well as his other effects; though some have supposed that the former were spared, as they are not here specified.  Heb. seems to include them; “and burnt them with fire after they had stoned them with stones.”  Chaldee says they were stoned first.  C.


Ver. 26.  Achor.  That is, trouble; (Ch.) in allusion to the name of Achar, as he is called in the Sept. invariably, and in the Heb. and Vulg. in the Book of Chronicles.  H. This heap of stones was thrown upon the ashes of the deceased, or perhaps at his person, while he was burning at the stake, as it is the custom still among the Turks.  Roger. ii. 7.  The king of Hai was treated in this manner.  C. viii. 29.  See 2 K. xviii. 17.  The vale of Achor was on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho, where a small castle, at Adommim, was built to protect travellers from the insults of robbers, who infested that part.  Lu. x. 30.  C. xv. 7.







Ver. 1.  Men.  Masius and Salien (H.) suppose that Josue selected out of them 30,000; 5000 of whom were to be placed in ambush, and the rest were to pretend that they were terrified at the approach of the king of Hai, and to flee with Josue.  But the text seems to assert that all accompanied their general, (C.) excepting such as were left to guard the camp.  H.


Ver. 2.  King.  There was this difference, that the king of Hai was to be gibbeted, and his corpse stoned, while the city was to be plundered by the Israelites. It.  This mode of warfare is equally just, as if the enemy was attacked in the open field.  Dolus an virtus quis in hoste requirat?  Virg. God was pleased to authorize it on this occasion, that his people might be less exposed, being under some apprehensions on account of the former defeat.  Some nations have preferred to encounter the enemy openly.  Grot. Jur. iii. 1. 20.  But their example is no law for others.  “When the war is just, it matters not whether a person gain the victory by open fighting or by stratagem.”  S. Aug. q. 10.  “It is often prudent to conceal the truth.”  c. Mend. x.  People engaged in warfare, allow each other to take such advantages.  God could easily have routed these few men by means of the army of Israel, or by a miracle, as he did at Jericho.  H. But he is at liberty to act as he thinks proper.  The ambush was laid on the south-west side of Hai, so that those of Bethel might not perceive it, as they came out to the assistance of their countrymen, v. 17.  Five thousand were placed in one place, and 25,000 in another, while the main body of the army, under Josue, took a circuit by the east, and came to attack the city on the north side.  C.


Ver. 4.  Ready to enter the city, when its soldiers are all in pursuit of us.  H.


Ver. 5.  And turn, &c.  Josue had not fled before. C. Heb. “against us, as at the first, we will flee before them.”


Ver. 8.  Fire.  They were to set some houses on fire for a signal, but the whole city was not to be destroyed (C.) till the Israelites had collected the plunder.  H.


Ver. 10.  Ancients, who had a command in the army, and assisted Josue with their counsel.  They gave him an account of the state and numbers of the army.  C.


Ver. 12.  Five thousand.  These were part of the 30,000 mentioned above, v. 3.  Ch. Josue had given orders to have them placed in ambush apart; (C.) unless, perhaps, he places these himself in some secret place.  H.


Ver. 13.  Night.  He spent the forepart of it at Galgal, to prevent any suspicion, v. 9.  But setting out very early, (v. 10,) he arrived at Hai before sun-rise.


Ver. 14.  Desert of Bethel, fit only for pasturage.  C. xviii. 12.


Ver. 15.  Afraid.  Heb. “made as if they were beaten before them, and fled.”  Thus they drew on the king of Hai, so as to leave the ambush in his rear.  C.


Ver. 17.  Not one fit to bear arms.  W. Bethel.  As soon as the people of this city perceived the Israelites fleeing, they rushed out to assist the king of Hai in the pursuit.  But when they saw the former rally, before they had joined their friends, (C.) they very prudently retired, and left the unhappy citizens of Hai to their fate.  H. Hence all who were slain belonged to the latter city, v. 25.


Ver. 18.  Shield, as Moses lifted up his hands.  Ex. xvii. 11.  Some translate, “dart, spear,” or “sword.”  Sept. and Eccli. xvi. 3.  C. The buckler might be suspended on a spear, (M.) that it might be seen afar off (W.) by some appointed to keep watch on purpose.  H.


Ver. 23.  Josue.  This king was reserved for greater torments and ignominy.  It was the ancient custom to present kings and chief commanders to the victorious general, who rewarded those who brought them.  Grotius.


Ver. 28.  For ever, or for a long time.  It was rebuilt before the captivity.  2 Esd. vii. 31.


Ver. 29.  Gibbet.  Sept. “a cross.”  Some say that the king was first killed; but that assertion is destitute of proof.  The corpse was taken down before night.  Deut. xxi. 22.


Ver. 30.  Hebal.  The Sam. Chronicle says, on Mount Garizim.  No doubt Josue complied with the injunctions of Moses: but we have seen that there are reasons to doubt which mountain he pitched upon.  Deut. xxvii. 4.  H. It seems more probable that the altar would be upon Garizim, where the blessings were proclaimed, if the texts of Moses and of Josue did not formally assert the contrary.  C. But if they have been interpolated, nothing certain can be deduced from those passages.  Josephus (iv. 8,) says that the altar was between the two mountains, not far from Sichem, which was built at the foot of Garizim; and it is not probable that this historian, the mortal enemy of the Samaritans, would have hesitated to assert that the altar was upon Hebal, if the texts had been so positive, in his time.  It is undeniable that the tribes of Levi, and of Ephraim, were upon Garizim; and consequently Josue and the priests must have been there; and who would then officiate at the altar on Hebal?  See Kennicott, who ably refutes the insinuations of the infidel, Collins, against the character of the Samaritans.  When this altar was erected the learned are not agreed.  H. Some say, immediately after the passage of the Jordan, and that the 12 stones taken from the bed of the river, were used for that purpose.  Josephus says five years elapsed, and R. Ismael supposes that the altar was not built during the 14 years after the passage of the Jordan.  But it is most probable that Josue complied with the command of God as soon as he had procured a sort of peace, (H.) by the conquest of these two cities, and was thus enabled to penetrate into the heart of the country, where Garizim was situated, not in the plain of Jericho, as Eusebius imagined, but near Sichem, (C.) about 30 or 40 miles to the north-west of Jericho.  H.


Ver. 31.  Iron.  Spencer complains that the Prot. have not translated barzel, “iron tool,” as Deut. xxvii. 5.  This translation is found in their more ancient editions of 153749, &c.  Ken. But the difference is very unimportant.  The reason of this prohibition is given, Ex. xx. 25. He offered; so we read that he wrote, blessed and cursed, &c. because these things were done at least by his authority.  It is not necessary to suppose that he engraved the words of the law with his own hands, or that he passed from Garizim, where he had been pronouncing the blessings, to Hebal, in order to denounce the curses.  H. He probably commissioned some of the princes on Hebal to perform the office of cursing, after he had repeated the blessings himself from Garizim; and the select company of Levites before the ark, having answered or repeated the words, the whole multitude stationed at the foot of each mountain, testified their entire approbation by shouting Amen; the six tribes near Garizim thus ratifying the blessings; and the rest, at the foot of Hebal, giving their consent that the transgressors should be cursed.  Ken. Hence Josue must have sacrificed by the hands of the priests.  H. Various instances are produced, to shew that princes and prophets have, on extraordinary occasions, performed this office themselves, 1 K. vi. 15. and vii. 9.  3 K. xviii. 32.  C. But these must have either received a dispensation from God, or they must have employed the ministry of the legal priests; or, in fine, their actions, like that of Saul, (1 K. xiii. 9,) of Absalom, (ib. i. 9,) Herod, &c. may have been deserving of blame.  H. The Jews assert that in the desert no one was permitted to sacrifice, except in the tabernacle; but that this prohibition ceased at Galgal, as the ark had no fixed abode, and thus Josue might offer sacrifice himself.  Afterwards the law was enforced, while the ark was at Silo.  But upon its being removed to Nobe, Maspha, and Gabaon, people resumed their former liberty; and hence there was nothing to hinder Samuel, Saul, and David from offering sacrifice, till the temple was erected.  Outram de Sac. i. 2.  Grot. in Deut. xii. 8.  This sacred office was formerly exercised by kings, particularly at Athens, where, after the people became more numerous, Theseus appointed the king of sacrifices to keep up the memory of the ancient practice.  Demost. c. Neream.  C. The like was done at Rome under the republic.  H.


Ver. 32.  Stones, of which the altar was formed, (C.) or on a separate monument, (Masius) consisting of two stones of black marble, so as to leave the letters prominent, and to fill up the vacuities with white plaster, that they might be seen more plainly, and might, at the same time, be more durable than if they had been only written on the cement, whatever some may have said of the tenacity of the ancient plaster. Deuteronomy, &c. or copy of the Decalogue, which, by way of eminence, is called the law.  Act. vii. 53.  It is distinguished from the blessings and the curses; (v. 34,) and Moses referred to it, as already existing, (Deut. xxvii. 3. 8,) though the Book of Deuteronomy was not finished till afterwards.  He might point to the very tables contained in the ark.  “This law, consisting of only 16 verses, might easily be engraved on this solemn day; whereas to engrave the 80 verses of blessings and cursings, would be improbable; and engraving the Pentateuch, or indeed the Book of Deuteronomy, had been impossible.”  That the Decalogue was to be thus solemnly proclaimed is evident, from the Sam. text.  Ex. xx. 18.  Kennicott. This was the covenant which God had made with his people, (Deut. iv. 13,) and which Moses cautions the Israelites to observe; as upon their fidelity, their present and future happiness entirely depended.  It was on this title alone that they could hold the land of Chanaan; and therefore Josue takes care thus publicly to admonish them of their duty.  H. The Rabbins say that the whole Pentateuch was written on this occasion in 70 languages, that no nation might plead ignorance.  But we can hardly believe that even the Book of Deuteronomy could be written, and read, and explained to the people, as that would require many days.  C.


Ver. 33.  Hebal.  “Gerizim and Ebal, says Maundrell, p. 59, are separated by a narrow valley, not above a furlong broad; and Naplosa, (the ancient Sychem) consisting chiefly of two streets lying parallel, is built at the foot of, and under Gerizim.”  The princes, representing the different tribes, were stationed on these mountains, and the crowd at the foot of them, while a select company of Levites attended the ark in the midst, and repeated what the princes proclaimed, that the multitude might answer Amen, as they turned successively to them; (Kennicott) or the princes might answer Amen, from the top of the two hills.  C. And first.  Prot. “as Moses…had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel.”  But if Josue blessed them himself, (H.) all superiors might do so, as parents bless their children.  W.


Ver. 34.  Words.  Heb. “words of the law, the blessings,” &c.  H.


Ver. 35.  Repeated.  Coverdale’s Bible has “Josua caused it to be proclaimed.”  “It is very common in Scripture to represent a person as doing that which is done by another, in his name and by his authority.”  Kennicott. Josue might be in the midst to preside, (C.) or rather he would be along with the princes of the six tribes on Mount Garizim, v. 30.  H. Thus the covenant entered into between God and the Israelites, was solemnly ratified when the latter first entered the promised land.  The greatest part of those who had been present at Horeb had perished in the wilderness.  C.







Ver. 1.  These things.  The solemn covenant by which the Israelites took possession of Chanaan, (H.) and the destruction of the two cities of Jericho and Hai.  C. The kings on that side of the Jordan, and in all the neighbourhood, perceiving that, if the Israelites were suffered to attack them singly, in this manner, they would all presently lose their dominions and their lives.  They resolved, therefore, to form a general league, offensive and defensive.  H. Beyond.  Heb. “on the side of.” Mountains, on the south of Judea. Sea.  All the nations of Phœnicia, and the country of the Philistines, (C.) who had seized a part of the country, which belonged to the Israelites.  Josue divided their territory among the people, though he did not live to make the conquest of it.  H. Libanus.  Heb. “and in all the coasts of the great sea, over-against Libanus,” as if the Phœnicians were alone meant.  C.


Ver. 4.  Provisions. By the alteration of a single letter, Heb. means, “they feigned themselves to be ambassadors.”  But the Chal. Syr. and Sept. agree with the Vulgate. C. The Gabaonites were Hevites, though they are called by the more general name of Amorrhites, 2 K. xxi. 2.  S. Jerom says that their city stood in the tribe of Benjamin; according to Josephus, 40 or 50 stadia north of Jerusalem.  M. They alone had the prudence to submit, (C.) being terrified and converted by the miracles of God.  H. Again.  In the East, goat skins with the hair inwards, are used to carry wine.


Ver. 5.  Patches.  Heb. “spotted,” or of different colours, like shoes worn out and spoiled with dirt. Pieces.  Heb, is translated, “dry, burnt, eaten, mouldy,” &c.  But it means fine thin bread, or wafers, (3 K. xiv. 3,) full of holes.  The Israelites partook of this bread, which they would hardly have done if it had been mouldy.  C.


Ver. 7.  You.  The Gabaonites addressed themselves to the first whom they met in the camp; and these made this remark to them before they were brought into the presence of Josue.  The Israelites could make no league with the Chanaanites, as with equals, but only on condition that the latter should embrace the true religion, and acknowledge the dominion of the former.  Grot.  Ex. xxiii. 32.  Deut. vii. 2.


Ver. 8.  Servants.  They did not mean to submit to servitude, but to make a league; otherwise they would not have needed to have recourse to such artifices.  C. But finding that no other terms could be procured, they were willing, at any rate, to save their lives.  H.


Ver. 9.  God.  So the queen Saba came to Solomon, 3 K. x.  The people of Gabaon being convinced that the God of Israel was the only true God, came to join themselves to his people, and to worship him.  Serarius.


Ver. 10.  Astaroth.  They take care not to mention what had happened so recently at Jericho, lest they might be detected.  C.


Ver. 13.  And almost.  This is added by way of farther explanation of the Heb. “are become old.”  H.


Ver. 14.  Victuals, to examine whether they were as old as they pretended; or they eat of them in sign of friendship.  M. Thus we find a feast generally accompanied the making of a league.  Gen. xxvi. 30. and xxxi. 54.  To betray a guest was deemed a heinous injury.  Ps. liv. 15.  Euripides. Lord.  By the high priest, clothed with the Urim and Thummim.  C. This remark shews that the Israelites had been guilty of some negligence.  H. Hence they were so easily deceived, being perhaps overjoyed that their friendship should be courted by so distant a nation.  M. The high priest was ordered to consult the Lord for Josue, at the door of the tabernacle.  Ex. xxix. 42.  Num. xxvii. 21.  W.


Ver 15.  Them.  Were they bound to keep this promise?  Some maintain the negative, as it was obtained by fraud, and therefore the Gabaonites leave themselves to the mercy of Josue, (v. 25,) who condemns them to perpetual servitude in the house of the Lord.  He could not, however, have taken away their lives after what had passed.  The error was not essential, but the people might have obtained the same conditions, if they had frankly told the truth.  If we make a contract with a person who pretends to be of a nation to which he does not belong, the contract will hold good.  The deceit of the Gabaonites was punished as it deserved.  But God required that the conditions which were granted to them, should be diligently observed; and the family of Saul was severely punished, because he had slain some of them.  3 K. xxi.  If the rest of the Chanaanites had changed their religion, and submitted to the Israelites, they might have been preserved, as Rahab, and so many others were, with whom the pious kings scrupled not to form alliances.  C. xi. 19.  Deut. xx. 10, &c.  Masius.  Bonfrere.  C. They were, however, obliged to yield possession of the land to the Israelites, and to renounce idolatry.  The Gabaonites were willing to accede to these conditions, and therefore Josue might justly make a peace with them.  M.


Ver. 16.  Now.  The five kings coming to attack the Gabaonites, these were forced to confess the truth, and to implore the assistance of the Israelites; (C.) or perhaps Rahab had given information who they really were.  M. Josue flew to their assistance in the night, and arrived the day following.  C. x. 9.


Ver. 18.  Israel.  This is one reason why their lives were spared.  But we have seen that they could not, with justice, have treated them as enemies, on their submitting to the conditions required, even if they had not engaged themselves by oath.  The Gabaonites knew with what respect oaths were then kept by the Hebrews, even when they might have some specious pretext for dispensing themselves from their obligation.  “People had not yet begun to neglect God, as they do in the present age; nor did they allow themselves the liberty of interpreting an oath, and accommodating the laws to their own humour, but they rather regulated their morals by their prescription.”  Nondum hæc quæ nunc tenet sæculum, negligentia Dei venerat, &c.  Livy iii.


Ver. 21.  Multitude.  The common people, only considering their own private advantage, murmured at the conduct of their leaders, as they supposed that they were thus deprived of the plunder (C.) of many cities, and engaged in a dangerous war, with the five confederate kings.  But this war was in no degree detrimental to them, as they knew they had to subdue the whole country; and as for the Gabaonites, they eased the people of Israel of a great burden, by doing the drudgery of the tabernacle, which otherwise must have fallen upon them.  H. These people were dispersed through the country, particularly in the cities of the priests and Levites, whose servants they were forced to be.  Gabaon was allotted to the priests.  In latter ages, many of these poor people being slain by Saul, &c. David was obliged to select some others, called Nathineans, or “people given,” to supply their place, (C.) unless these were all the remnants of the Gabaonites.  M. Josephus (Bel. ii. 17,) speaks of the feast of Xylophoria, or “wood carrying,” for the uses of the temple; and we read, (2 Esd. x. 34,) that lots were cast among the priests and the Levites, and the people, for the offering of wood, &c. which seems to insinuate that the ancient institution was then altered.  Many authors speak of a fountain which furnished the temple with water, after the captivity, so that the service of the Gabaonites was not much wanted.  We find no mention of them after that time.


Ver. 23.  Curse.  Heb. “you are cursed, and there shall be none of you freed from being bondmen;” (H.) you are a part of those nations which are under an anathema, and you deserve to be severely punished.  C. But we shall fulfil our engagements with you, only in punishment for your craftiness: (H.) you must submit to change your religion, (C.) which will be your greatest blessing, (H.) and to perform the meanest offices, which may be considered as a sort of curse.  It is thought that some recompense was allowed the Gabaonites for their labour.  Serarius, q. 17. This sentence was probably pronounced at Galgal, (C.) though we might as well conclude that Josue would wait till he came to Gabaon, before he arraigned the people, as no doubt they would make the best of their way out of the camp, as soon as they had obtained their request.  H. Water.  Slaves of the meanest condition were employed in these offices.  Deut. xxix. 11.  Athen. x. 22.


Ver. 24.  Thereof.  It seems they know not that any conditions would be admitted; and many interpreters have supposed, that none could be offered by the Israelites.  See Deut. xx. 15.


Ver. 25.  Thee.  They acknowledge not only that Josue is too strong for them, but also that he has a right to punish them for their deceit.  They accept, therefore, of whatever terms he is pleased to allow them.  C.


Ver. 27.  Chosen in the tabernacle and temple.  M. In these Gabaonites, of the race of Chanaan, the prediction of Noe, that he should serve Sem, was fulfilled.  Gen. ix.  W.







Ver 1.  Adonisedec means, “Lord of justice,” as Melchisedec denotes “the king of justice;” perhaps Salem was originally styled Zedec.  Masius. This king had probably some control over the neighbouring cities.  M. He was also in the greatest danger; and not daring to attack the Israelites, he resolves to fall upon the Gabaonites unawares, that other cities might be deterred from following their example. Confederates.  Heb. “and were among them,” which may signify either that the Israelites were to dwell in the towns belonging to the Gabaonites, or that the latter should live along with them, as one and the same people, following the same religion, and bound together by the same interests.


Ver. 2.  Cities.  Yet we read not of its king.  C. ix. 11.  C. Sept. “It was like a royal metropolis.”  H. Valiant.  Prudence therefore, and not fear, had influenced them to take this step.


Ver. 3.   Hebron was about 24 miles south of Jerusalem, and Jerimoth 16.  Lachis was a very famous city, (4 K. xiv. and xviii. 14,) about nine miles south of Eleutheropolis, which was itself situated about 20,000 paces towards the south of Jerusalem; (Itin. Anton.) though some assert it was 22 or 32 miles distant.  Eusebius and S. Jerom generally fix the situation of places by this city.  Eglon was twelve miles to the eastward of it.  The Sept. read Odollam, (C.) which was either the same city, (Euseb.) or one probably near it.  C. xii. 12. 5. and v. 35. 9.


Ver. 5.  Amorrhites is a generical term, as well as Chanaanite, to denote the people of the country.  The other kings did not come to the assistance (C.) of these five, v. 40.  H. Yet the people of Gabaon might suspect the worst, or exaggerate, in order to make Josue come with greater expedition.  He was then at Galgal, above twenty miles distant, and set off the next night, coming unexpectedly upon the confederate kings early in the morning, v. 9.


Ver. 10.  Troubled them.  Sept. “filled them with consternation;” so that they knew not what to do.  Ex. xxiii. 17. Bethoron.  There were two cities of this name in the tribe of Ephraim, rebuilt by Sara.  1 Par. vii. 24.  The lower was twelve miles from Jerusalem.  Maceda was eight from Eleutheropolis to the east, as Azeca was about the same distance west of Jerusalem, and not far from Soco.  1 K. xvii. 1.  Thus Josue proceeded westward to Gabaon and Bethoron, where he defeated the confederates, and pursued them, as they fled to their respective cities in the south, on the road between Jerusalem and the country of the Philistines, as far as Maceda.  H.


Ver. 11.  Azeca, for the space of twelve miles. Hailstones, of an uncommon size, accompanied with thunder and lightning.  Hab. iii. 11.  Joseph.  v. 1.  C.  Eccli. xlvi. 6. Of the same nature was the seventh plague of Egypt.  Ex. ix. 23.  M. Real stones may very probably have been hurled against the enemy, by means of some hurricane or vulcano, which God directed against the Chanaanites.  Several instances of showers of stones are recorded in history.  C. Dissert. Even quantities of stone and earth, sufficient to form new islands, have been thus thrown up.  Montfaucon. The isle of Santorin, in the Archipelago, appeared in 1707.


Ver. 12.  Them.  This may be considered as a canticle of victory, containing a fervent prayer, which was presently followed with the desired effect. Aialon.  Heb. “Sun, in Gabaon, be silent; (move not) and thou, moon, in the valley of Aialon,” or “of the wood,” which was probably not far from Gabaon.  Josue had pursued the enemy at mid-day, to the west of that city, when turning round, he addressed this wonderful command to the sun.  It is supposed that the moon appeared at the same time.  But the meaning may only be, that the sun and the course of the stars should be interrupted for a time.  C. The sun and the moon stood still in their habitation.  Heb. iii. 11.  M. Many have called in question this miracle, with Maimonides, or have devised various means to explain it away, by having recourse to a parhelion or reflection of the sun by a cloud, or to a light which was reverberated by the mountains, after the sun was set, &c.  Prœdam iv. 6.  Spinosa, Grotius, Le Clerc. But if these authors believe the Scriptures, they may spare themselves the trouble of devising such improbable explanations, as this fact is constantly represented as a most striking miracle.  If S. Paul (Heb. xi. 30,) make no mention of it, he did not engage to specify every miracle that had occurred.  He does not so much as mention Josue, nor the passage of the Jordan, &c. so that it is a matter of surprise that Grotius should adduce this negative argument, to disprove the reality of the miracle.  C. The pretended impossibility of it, or the inconvenience arising to the fatigued soldiers from the long continuance of the day, will make but small impression upon those who consider, that God was the chief agent; and that he who made all out of nothing, might easily stop the whole machinery of the world for a time, and afterwards put it in motion again, without causing any derangement in the different parts.  C. It is not material whether the sun turn round the earth, or the contrary.  H. The Hebrews generally supposed that the earth was immovable; and on this idea Josue addresses the sun.  Philosophers have devised various intricate systems: but the Scripture is expressed in words suitable to the conceptions of the people.  The exterior effect would be the same, whether the sun or the earth stood still.  Pagan authors have not mentioned this miracle, because none of the works of that age have come down to us.  We find, however, that they acknowledged a power in magic capable of effecting such a change.

Cessavere vices rerum dilataque longâ,

                        Hæsit nocte dies: legi non paruit æther,

                        Torpuit & præceps audito carmine mundus.

Lucan, Phars. vi.  See Odys. xii. 382. and xxiii. 242.

This miracle would not render Josue superior to Moses, as some have argued.  For all miracles are equally impossible to man, and equally easy to God: the greatness of a miracle is not a proof of greater sanctity.  C. Aialon lay to the south-west of Gabaon.  H. Josue ordered the moon to stop, as a necessary consequence of the sun’s standing still.  God condescended to grant his request.  W.


Ver. 13.  The book of the just.  In Hebrew Sepher hayashar; an ancient book long since lost.  Ch. It was probably of the same nature with that of the wars of the Lord, (Num. xxi. 4,) containing an account of the most memorable occurrences which concerned the people of Israel, the just, or Ischuron.  Deut. xxxiii. 5.  Josephus (v. 2,) says, such “records were kept in the archives of the temple.”  They were drawn up by people of character.  The quotations inserted are in a poetical style, as the book might contain various canticles, though the rest was written in prose.  See 2 K. i. 18.  It might appear unnecessary for Josue to appeal to this work, as the fact in question was known to all.  C. But too great precaution could not be taken to prevent the danger of people calling in question the reality of the miracle.  If the book of the just was a more detailed history of facts, out of which this work of Josue has been compiled, as Theodoret supposes, the author might very well remit the more inquisitive reader to that authentic source.  H. Midst.  It was then almost noon.  C. Josue was nevertheless afraid lest the day should not allow them time to destroy their fleeing enemies completely.  H. If the evening had been at hand, he would have said, return sun towards Gabaon, as it would have been on the west of his army.  The battle had begun early in the morning, and the pursuit had lasted perhaps four or five hours.  C. Day.  Heb. “about a whole day.”  Many think that a day here comprises 24 hours; and as the sun had been above the horizon six hours, and continued other six, it must have been visible for the space of 36 hours, as the Jews believe, and as it is specified in S. Justin. Dial.  The author of Eccli. xlvi. 5, says, Was not the sun stopped in his anger, and one day made as two? that is, 24 hour long, allowing 12 unequal ones to form a day, according to the reckoning of those times.  Others suppose that the day of Josue might consist of 18 (C.) or of 48 hours.  But how would the soldiers be able to support such a fatigue?  They had been marching all the preceding night from Galgal.  H. If they had stopped to take refreshment, their enemies would have escaped.  Hence some of the Fathers imagine, that God enabled his people to pursue them without taking any food.  S. Jer. c. Jov. ii.  They might, however, take some along with them, as it was then customary; and eat as they pursued, whenever they could find an opportunity.  Josue had given no prohibition; and Jonathan observed that his father, Saul, had troubled Israel, by following a different plan.  1 K. xiv. 24.  C.


Ver. 14.  Long.  This word is not found in Heb. “and there was no day like that, before it, or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto,” &c.  But God had often wrought miracles before, at the prayer of his servants.  The difference between this day and all others, must be therefore in the length, or in the stopping of the heavenly bodies.  H. The long day which the prayer of Ezechias procured, (4 K. xx. and Isai. xxxviii.) consisted of 32 hours; or, supposing that the retrograde motion of the sun was instantaneous on the dial, it might only be 22 hours in length.  C. But if the day of Ezechias had been even longer, the words of this text may be verified, that neither in times past, nor while the author lived, had any such day been known.  See Amama, p. 383.  H. Obeying.  God is ready to grant the requests of his servants.  Isai. lviii. 9.  “We remark something still stronger, in the power which he has given to priests, to consecrate the body and blood of Jesus Christ in the sacrament of the eucharist.”  C.


Ver. 15.  Galgal.  Masius supposes, that here the quotation from the book of the just terminates.  The Roman and Alex. Sept. place this verse at the end of the chapter.  C. Grabe has it in both places with a star, to shew that it is taken from Theodotion.  H. In effect, Josue did not return to his camp till he had completed the business of the day, by destroying the five kings.  After which, he proceeded to conquer that part of the country.  He might have designed to return, (C.) and even have begun his march, (D.) when he was diverted from proceeding, by the news that the kings had been discovered.  So we often say, that a person does what he is on the point of doing.  See Gen. xxxvii. 21.  Num. xxxiv. 25.


Ver. 17.  City, or territory.  C. The kings had sought their own safety in flight, leaving their people to make their escape as well as they could.  But their cowardly behaviour only brought upon them a more dishonourable death.  Josue and some of the forces stopped in the environs of Maceda, while the rest pursued after the fugitives, and slew all that had not strength to enter the fenced cities.  H. Then all the army assembled round their leader, took Maceda, and completed the victory of that most memorable day, by the ignominious death of the five kings.  C. God permitted some to escape, lest the land should be overrun with wild beasts; (Ex. xxiii. 29,) and to instruct us that his children must suffer tribulation, to prevent the growth of vice.  W.


Ver. 21.  No man, (nullus.)  Some supply canis, “dog,” alluding to the proverbial expression.  Ex. xi. 7.  Masius, &c. Sept. “not one of the Israelites moved his tongue.”  C. All was profound silence, in expectation of what would be determined respecting the unfortunate kings.  H.


Ver. 24.  Feet, as Moses had foretold.  Deut. xxxiii. 29.  The conduct of Josue would appear cruel, if we did not reflect that he was only the executioner of the divine justice, which was pleased thus to punish these proud and impious princes, that others might not imitate their example.


Ver. 27.  Down.  Deut. xxi.  The victorious army had returned some time before the evening, and had time to take the city of Maceda; though some, without reason, believe that this took place the day following.


Ver. 28.  Remains of inhabitants.  C. The king was gibbeted and stoned.  H.


Ver. 30.  Lebna, not far from Eleutheropolis.  From before this city Sennacherib dispatched his menacing order to Ezechias, 4 K. xix. 8.  C.


Ver. 32.  Lachis was still farther south.  Josue took it the second day of the siege.


Ver. 33.  Gazer, near Azotus, in the country of the Philistines.  It is not said that Josue took this city.  It was given long after to Solomon by the king of Egypt, 3 K. ix. 15.  Josue xvi. 10.  C.


Ver. 37.  The king, viz. the new king, who succeeded him that was slain, v. 26.  Ch. Caleb afterwards took Hebron, which, it seems, the Chanaanites had seized again and fortified, while Josue was conquering other parts of the country.  He could not leave garrisons in all the cities which he took, and hence he set many of them on fire.  After the strength of the country was broken, he knew that the Israelites might easily subdue the few isolated cities which he was forced to leave behind.  But they proved so negligent, that many places were left  in the possession of the Chanaanites, which proved a stumbling block to God’s people.


Ver. 38.  Dabir, which was formerly called Cariath sepher, “the city of the book,” (C. xv. 15,) or of Senna, (ib. 45,) near Hebron.  It was taken again by Othoniel and Caleb.


Ver. 40.  Hills of Judea. South of the promised land. Plain.  Heb. Sephela, a flat country near Eleutheropolis.  S. Jer. in Abd. i. 19.  1 Mac. xii. 38. Asedoth, “of the springs.” Remains.  God ordered these people to be utterly destroyed, in punishment of their manifold abominations; and that they might not draw the Israelites into the like sins.  Ch.


Ver. 41.  Gaza.  These cities were on the southern limits of the land of Chanaan, and of the Philistines. Gosen, or Gessen, where the Hebrews had formerly dwelt.  It was then very fertile.  C. xiii. 3.  The territory of Juda extended as far as the Nile; (C.) or this country may have resembled the country of Gessen.  Gen. xlvi.  M. It seems indeed rather wonderful, that if this was a part of the promised land, God should order his people to leave it, as it were, to the Egyptians; and after they had occupied another part of the country, should seize it again.  But he might have secret reasons for this order.  H.







Ver. 1.  Jabin, “the intelligent,” was perhaps the common name of the kings of Asor, the most powerful city in the northern parts of the country, (v. 10.  C.) not far from the Cæsarea, (M.) which was built by Philip, where Lais stood before.  H. Josue burnt Asor to the ground; but it was rebuilt by the Chanaanites, and a powerful king reigned here, and subjugated the Israelites, about 130 years after the death of Josue.  Judg. iv. 1.  C. Being the most interested in this warfare, Jabin assembled all the petty kings of the country as far as Dor, to resist the common enemy.  H. He was the generalissimo, (Grot.) and went to stop the progress of Josue, who had conquered the southern parts, and was making ready to march against the north.


Ver. 2.  Ceneroth, or having the lake Genesareth on the south.  They city of Cineroth, or of Tiberias, was situated on the southern borders of the lake.  S. Jerom. Side.  Dor lay on the Mediterranean, the last of the cities of Phœnicia.  All below was in a manner subdued.  The Philistines did not enter into this league, nor were they invited, as they bore a certain antipathy to the people of Chanaan.


Ver. 3.  Chanaanite.  Some lived near the Jordan, others upon the Mediterranean. Maspha.  Probably where Laban and Jacob had met.  Gen. xxxi. 48.  Hermon lay to the east of Libanus.  C. There was another Hermon near the torrent of Cisson.  M.


Ver. 4.  Shore.  The Scripture sometimes uses an hyperbole, as well as the other figures of speech.  S. Aug. C. D. xvi. 21.  Josephus says they had 300,000 foot, 10,000 horse, and 20,000 chariots.  These were frequently armed with scythes.  The ancient heroes often fought on chariots of a different kind.  C.


Ver. 5.  Merom, or the lake of Semechon, according to most interpreters; though it is more probable, that the confederates would advance to meet Josue near the lake of Cisson, to the important pass 12 miles north of Samaria, in the canton of Meron, or Merone.  Judg. iv. 10. and v. 18.  This place was famous for the victory of Barac, and for the defeat of king Josias.


Ver. 6.  Hamstring their horses, &c.  God so ordained, that his people might not trust in chariots and horses, but in him.  Ch. He mentions the very time, when the victory will be obtained, to inspire the Israelites with greater confidence.  Josue had proceeded from Galgal to Meron, about 90 miles; or if he had to go to the Semonite lake, 120 miles.  Josephus says he had marched five days.


Ver. 8.  Thereof.  Josue divided his forces, and sent some to pursue the fugitives to Sidon and Sarepta, and others he dispatched to the east side of the Jordan. Sihon was famous for its commerce, and for its glass works.  Plin. v. 19.


Ver. 10.  King.  Jabin had thrown himself into the city, or perhaps a new king had been appointed, according to the custom of Persia, &c. when the former went to battle.  Hence we find so many kings of Israel were chosen very young and while their fathers were living.


Ver. 12.  Him.  Deut. vii. 22.  All the Chanaanites in arms, are ordered to be slain.  C. Josue took the greatest part of the strong cities, and indeed all which he attacked.  M.


Ver. 13.  Fire.  Several towns built on eminences, were reserved to keep the country in subjection.  But it was thought proper to destroy Asor.  Heb. may be, “He burnt not the towns which remained standing, with their fortifications,” &c. or such as had opened their gates to the Israelites.  Chal. Sept. &c.


Ver. 14.  Spoil, excepting what was found on the idols, which was burnt.  Deut. vii. 25.  C.


Ver. 15.  Moses.  It is not to be doubted but that the lawgiver would communicate many instructions, by word of mouth, to his successor.  He would also tell him, in general, to observe whatever laws had been given to regulate the conduct of the leader, (C.) as they were given not only to Moses, but to all who should afterwards occupy his post.  H.


Ver. 16.  So.  Here follows a recapitulation of the victories of Josue. Israel, or of Ephraim, which was the chief tribe of the kingdom of Israel: after the commencement of which, this seems to have been inserted; (C.) or having designated the southern parts by the name of Juda, (v. 21,) the more northern countries are called the mountain of Israel, which refers particularly to Samaria, or Bethel, which might receive the appellation of Israel, among his descendants, from the vision of the ladder, with which that patriarch was favoured.  H.


Ver. 17.  And part.  Heb. “from Mount Halak, (H. or the bald mountain, destitute of wood) going up to Seir, (which is very shady; that is, from the southern parts of Chanaan, by Seir) as far as Baalgad,” on the east side of the Jordan, perhaps unto Cœlosyria.  C.


Ver. 18.  A long time.  Seven years, as appears from chap. xiv. 10. (Ch.) where Caleb informs us that he was 85 years old.  He was 40 when he went to explore the country, and 38 years were spent in the wilderness.  God was pleased to allow the Chanaanites time to repent, and he would not render the country desolate all at once, lest wild beasts should overrun it.  Ex. xxiii. 19.  Wisd. xii. 10.  C.


Ver. 20.  Hardened.  This hardening of their hearts, was their having no thought of yielding or submitting: which was a sentence or judgment of God upon them, in punishment of their enormous crimes.  Ch. God might indeed by his all-powerful grace have changed their hearts, but their crimes caused him to withhold that grace; and thus they were suffered to shut their eyes to their true interest.  C. They alone therefore were the cause of their own obduracy, which God only did not prevent.  Ex. vii.  W.


Ver. 21.  Time.  Among his other conquests, after the victory of Gabaon, Josue defeated the Enacim at Hebron, &c.  Many of them fled into the country of the Philistines, and afterwards seized an opportunity of re-establishing themselves, so that Caleb had to drive them out afresh.  C. xv. 14. Cities, or inhabitants.  We have seen that he did not demolish all the cities, which were built on a commanding situation, v. 13. Enacim.  Goliah is supposed to have been of this family, being six cubits and a span high, 1 K. xvii. 4.  C. The Phœnicians probably took their name from Enak, bene anak, “sons of Enak;” whence Phœnix might easily be formed.  Bochart. Carthage was founded by them, and styled Chadre-Anak, “the dwelling of Anak,” (Plautus) as they chose to pass for descendants of that giant, though they were not in reality.  Anak means “a chain;” and some have asserted that he wore one, as the kings of the Madianites did when they were vanquished by Gedeon, and the Torquati at Rome, as a mark of honour.  But this is uncertain.  C.


Ver. 22.  Gaza, the most southern city of the Philistines, was afterwards taken by the tribe of Juda, but lost again in a short time.  It was particularly addicted to the worship of Jupiter, Marnas, or “the Lord.” Geth was probably taken by David, who found a refuge with its king, 1 K. xxi.  After the reign of Solomon, it returned to its former masters. Azotus, or as the Heb. writes, Asdod, on the Mediterranean, was noted for the temple of Dagon, (1 K. v. 1,) which Jonathas destroyed.  Joseph. xxii. 8.  C. Wars, of a general nature.  The different tribes had only to take some cities.  C. xv. 1.  W.







Ver.  1.  Wilderness.  Heb. “all the plain country (Araba) on the east.”


Ver. 2.  Galaad.  Sehon occupied from the middle of the torrent Arnon, as far as half of the mountains of Galaad, and the torrent Jaboc.  C. Og possessed the other half of the mountains northward, while the Ammonites had the eastern parts.  H.


Ver. 3.  Bethsimoth is ten miles from Jericho, (Eus.) near the Dead Sea, in the plains of Moab.  C. Phasga. Asedoth lay at the foot of this mountain, being well supplied with water.  Subjacet Acedoth usque Phasga, the southern limits of Sehon’s dominions had “abundance of springs, as far as Phasga.”  H.


Ver. 4.  Og.  See Num. xxi. 33.  Deut. iii. 11.


Ver. 7.  Seir.  The same expression occurs, C. xi. 17.  Heb. “from Baalgad, in the vale of Libanus, even unto Mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir.”  H. Halak means, “bald or naked.”  It is not know what mountain it denotes.  Josue, (C.) or the Israelites, (H.) conquered “all the country beyond the Jordan, on the north from Baalgad, at the foot of Libanus, and from Hermon, where these mountains meet, as far as the mountains of separation,” which divide the country of Chanaan from that of Seir, on the south of Judea.  C. Baalgad was situated on the north western borders of this territory, not of the Jordan.  H.


Ver. 8.  Asedoth, or “in the springs,” or valleys, v. 3.


Ver. 14.  Herma, “a curse,” where the Israelites defeated king Arad.  Num. xiv. 45. and xxi. 3.


Ver. 15.  Odullam, ten miles east of Eleutheropolis, and famous for the retreat of David.  C.


Ver. 16.  Bethel.  Josue perhaps slew the king, but did not take the city.  Judg. i. 22.  M.


Ver. 18.  Aphec.  A place of this name was in the tribe of Aser, another in that of Juda. Saron.  Heb. “Lasharon;” probably Sarona, (Acts ix. 35,) or a canton near Joppe.  Euseb.


Ver. 19.  Madon, or Maron.  Sept. C. xi. 1.  This place is joined with Semeron, in Heb. (v. 20,) improperly.  Perhaps it may be the Meros, (Judg. v. 23,) or Maronia, a city of Phœnicia.


Ver. 21.  Thenac, a city of the Levites, but seized afterwards by the Chanaanites.  Judg. i. 27.  It was near the town of Legion, built by the Romans. Mageddo, where Josias was overcome, 2 Par. xxxv. 22.  C.


Ver. 22.  Jachanan was near Mount Carmel.  Sometimes Josue specifies both the city and the canton, where it was situated; at other times he only mentions the latter, as in the following verse.


Ver. 23.  Galgal, not where the Israelites had encamped, but that part which was afterwards called the Galilee of the Gentiles, in some corner of which the king in question had fixed his residence.  For we cannot suppose that he ruled over all that country, extending from Tyre to beyond the Jordan.  His people might probably be a mixed multitude of various nations, as Strabo (xvi.) observes, that many parts of Palestine were peopled by men of this description.


Ver. 24.  Thersa.  Here the kings of Israel kept their court, till Amri built Samaria, (C.) about nine miles more to the north.  Brocard. One.  The two kings slain by Moses (W.) are not included.  M.







Ver. 1.  Age.  Josue was now 100 years old.  He lived ten more, (C.) having governed the people in all 17.  H. During the first seven years, he had performed all that could be expected from an able general, and he probably designed to conquer the whole country before he divided it.  But God, who chose to leave some of the ancient inhabitants in the country, to try the fidelity of his people, &c. ordered him to proceed to the distribution, that the different tribes might take care to exterminate those idolaters, who might be found in their territory. Lot.  Heb. “to be possessed.”  Only the country east of the Jordan was yet divided.


Ver. 2.  Galilee.  As Josue had been making such conquests in that part lately, some would translate Geliloth, “the confines” of the Philistines, in which sense it seems to be taken.  C. xviii. 18, and xxii. 10.  C. Bonfrere suspects that S. Jerom wrote Galila. Gessuri, either near Mount Hermon, (M.) or bordering upon Arabia.  1 K. xv. and xxvii. 10.


Ver. 3.  Egypt.  Heb. “from the Shicor, (or Sichor) which is on the face, (or over-against) Egypt.”  Jeremias (ii. 18,) informs us that this river was in Egypt which is not true of the torrent of Rhinocorure; which the Sept. and many commentators, understand in this place to be the boundary fixed for the promised land.  Strabo, &c. attribute that torrent to Phœnicia; which they extend as far as Pelusium.  S. Jerom (in Amos vi.) seems dubious whether the branch of the Nile passes by that city, or the aforesaid torrent be meant.  David collected all his forces from the Sichor, or the torrent of Egypt, to the entrance of Emath, 1 Par. xiii. 5.  Epiphanes constituted Lysanias governor of all the countries between the Euphrates and the river of Egypt, (2 Mac. iii. 32,) and he undoubtedly had extended his conquests as far as the Nile.  Though the country beyond Gaza be now mostly barren, and therefore little inhabited or noticed, yet the Israelites were entitled to assert their right to it, as they seem to have done by taking possession of Gosen.  C. x. 41.  Some parts were formerly well peopled, 1 K. xxvii. 8.  It is not unusual for the Nile, and other great rivers, to be styled torrents.  The Heb. nél, is often applied to rivers.  Eccle. i. 7.  The troubled state in which the waters of the Nile generally appear, is very remarkable, as their taste is most excellent.  The natives have discovered a method of rendering them clear, by the mixture of almond powder.  The names of this river bear some relation to the Heb. term which is here used.  It was formerly called Siris; and the star, which rose when it overflowed, received the name of Sirius.  The Ethiopians style it Schichri.  Another name was Melas, or Egyptus, denoting “blackness.”  The people of the country idolized this river, because it supplied the want of rain.  Tibul. i. 8.  C. Accaron, the most  northern city of the Philistian principalities, (H.) attributed to Juda or Dan, though neither held it for any length of time.  Beelzebub was chiefly adored here, 4 K. i. 2. Lords, who seem to have been independent.  They are styled Sornim, as the next in dignity to the king of Persia was a Surena.  Marcellin. 24.  The Philistines took this country from the Chanaanites, or Eveans, (C.) who are a different people from the Hevites.  Bochart.


Ver. 4.  Chanaan.  From the south to Sidon was yet undivided, and thence eastward, (H.) to Apheca of Syria, where was the capital of the kings of that country, and a famous temple of Venus, 3 K. xx. 26.  Sozom. i. 58. Amorrhite, or perhaps Aramean, (C.) though we may understand that all the country of the Amorrhite on the south, as well as the northern parts of Chanaan, were to be divided, (H.) as far as Emesa. Will, &c. provided the Israelites observe their part of the covenant.  C.


Ver. 8.  With whom.  That is, with the other half of that same tribe.


Ver. 9.  Aroer, and part of the town of Dibon, belonged to Gad.  Num. xxxii. 34.


Ver. 13.  Day.  The Israelites were satisfied with what they had already conquered.  M. But herein they deserved blame, as they were ordered to reduce them entirely, and never suffer them to continue their idolatrous practices in the country which God had chosen for his people.  H.


Ver. 14.  Victims.  Heb. “the sacrifices of the Lord made by fire.”


Ver. 18.  Mephaath, near the desert, where the Romans afterwards kept a garrison.  It was given to the Levites, but was seized by the Moabites after the reign of David.  C.


Ver. 21.  The princes of Madian.  It appears from hence that these were subjects of king Sehon: they are said to have been slain with him, that is, about the same time, but not in the same battle.  Ch. After the death of their sovereign, they looked upon themselves as independent.  They had reigned before as viceroys of Sehon, being natives of the country, and not come from some other part, like the Amorrhites.  C.


Ver. 22.  Slain.  Sept. “they slew Balaam…with the sword in the moment.”  Num. xxii. 5. and xxxi. 8.  H.


Ver. 25.  Rabba, “the great,” being a title of Ar, the capital of the Moabites.  The Israelites thought themselves justified in keeping what had been taken from the children of Ammon, by Sehon, (Judg. xi. 13.  C.) and the Amorrhites.  W.


Ver. 27.  Betharan, which was enlarged by Herod, and called Livias, or Julias, as the Greeks called Livia, the wife of Augustus, Julia.  Joseph. Saphon, or “the northern part of,” &c.


Ver. 30.  Towns, which were conquered by Jair, of the tribe of Juda; though he belonged, in some degree, to that of Manasses, by his grandmother.  Num. xxxii. 41.







Ver. 1.  Princes, whose names are given.  Num. xxxiv. 17.  There were 12, including Josue and Eleazar.  The tribes of Ruben and Gad sent none of their princes, as they were not concerned in this distribution.


Ver. 2.  Tribe.  God regulated the lots, as he had authorized Jacob and Moses to foretell how the country should be divided.  By this method, he precluded every pretence of discontent among the tribes.  Each of them drew a ticket, on which a certain portion of land was described; or perhaps in one urn the names of the tribes, and in another the lands were specified, (C.) and the tickets were drawn by two persons of irreproachable character, probably by Eleazar and Josue.  H.  Num. xxvi. 54. Only the tribes of Juda and of Joseph received their portions at Galgal.  C. xviii.


Ver. 4.  Suburbs.  A certain quantity of ground, which the Levites were not allowed to till or plant with vines.  Grot.  Num. xxxv. 4. The tribe of Manasses, which was divided, fell heir to the portion which would have been allotted to Levi, who was also scattered among his brethren.  H. Thus Joseph obtained the birth-right of Ruben.  C. Twelve portions were made, as Jacob had adopted Ephraim and Manasses.  Gen. xlviii. W.


Ver. 5.  Land: or they were making all necessary preparations for the work, when Caleb came to remind Josue of what had been promised to him.  No doubt land-measurers would be sent through the country.


Ver. 6.  Jephone was the father of Caleb.  Esron and Cenez probably some of his ancestors, 1 Par. ii. 18.  Num. xxxiii. 12.  What Caleb here asserts, must have been delivered by word of mouth, in the hearing of the people.  Deut. i. 36.  Moses declared not that Caleb was to have the whole country but that he should enter into it, and possess the environs of Hebron.  C.


Ver. 11.  March.  Heb. “to enter and to go out.”  Sept. add, “to war.”


Ver. 12.  Me.  He trusts not in his own strength, but in the assistance of God, which he modestly acknowledges is not due to him.  C. God’s promises are indeed sure on his part; but being conditional, and the will of man being free, he adds perhaps.  W.


Ver. 13.  Blessed him, wishing him all success. Gave him.  Some think that Josue himself attacked the giants of that country with all the forces, as it is mentioned by anticipation.  C. x. 28.  But there seems to be no need of this, as Caleb might attack them a second time with his own family and the assistance of the tribe of Juda, after they had seized those places again, while Josue was in the north.  Hebron was granted to him without drawing lots.  When he was besieging Cariath Sepher, he promised his daughter to the person who should first enter; and Othoniel, his brother, or nephew, obtained her in marriage.  C. xv. 17.  Judg. i. 10.  It seems, therefore, that this family carried on this war, as the Fabii did at Rome, without the interference of the commonwealth, though Grotius asserts the contrary.  C.


Ver. 14.  Hebron belonged, &c.  All the country thereabouts, depending on Hebron, was given to Caleb; but the city itself, with the suburbs, was one of those that were given to the priests to dwell in.  Ch. Caleb might also dwell, (C.) and be lord of the city, (Salien) though the profits (H.) or the town belonged to the priests.  C. xxi. 11.  W.


Ver. 15.  Cariath Arbe, “the city of Arbe,” and ancient giant; or “of four,” which the Jews explain of four great patriarchs, who were buried there. Adam, &c.  S. Jerom seems to favour the opinion that Adam was one of these, whose tomb ennobled Hebron, though many of the Fathers think he was buried on Mount Calvary.  Others think that his body, or skull at least, was translated thither.  But we cannot depend on any of these traditions.  Most commentators explain the Heb. “The ancient name of Hebron with Cariath Arbe; (C.) he was a man great among the Enacim.”  H. Adam is often put for a man in general, 2 K. vii. 19.  Ose. xi. 4.  C.  Amama. Sept. “the city of Arbo.  This was the metropolis of the Enacim.”  H. Wars, for a time, particularly from such wars as engaged the attention of all Israel.  The different tribes had to encounter and drive out the Chanaanites who might be left in their respective districts.  C.







Ver. 1.  Sin, or Sina, (v. 3,) bordering upon Idumea, where the city of Cades-barne was situated.  Num. xiii. 22.  It is now impossible to ascertain the precise situation of all the place mentioned in Scripture, as the land of Chanaan has been subject to so many changes.  But this inconvenience attends all ancient geography.  If those who attempt to unravel such labyrinths in profane authors, deserve praise, much more do those who do their utmost to explain the difficulties of sacred history.  It was once very necessary to have the limits of the tribes marked out with precision, that, at the return from captivity, they might occupy their own.  Now we may be satisfied if we can point out some of the places of the greatest importance.  The limits of the tribe of Juda are specified with particular care, on account of the dignity and power of that tribe, which was to give kings to all the land, and a Messias to the world, as well as to preserve the true religion.  The greatest part of the southern regions of Chanaan fell to their share, from the Dead Sea, by Idumea, to the Nile, and as far north as Jerusalem and the torrent of Cedron. C.


Ver. 2.  Bay, (lingua,) tongue.  Chal. “a promontory,” or rather a gulph.  C.


Ver. 3.  Scorpion.  A mountain infested with those creatures, by which people travelled from Idumea into Chanaan, leaving Sina on the left.


Ver. 4.  Asemona, which lies nearest to the river of Egypt of all the cities of Juda.  Num. xxxiv. 4.  C. xiii. 3.


Ver. 5.  Jordan, where it discharges itself into the Dead Sea, or mixes its waters with the latter; which, as we observe, (C. v. 16,) does not take place for three miles.  H. the north-western part of this sea belonged to Benjamin.


Ver. 6.  Stone.  It is not certain that this was a city.


Ver. 7.  Galgal.  Heb. Gilgal, may designate “the limits.”  The valley of Achor lay south of Galgal. Sun.  Heb. “Hen-Shemesh.”  It was not “a city.” Rogel, “of the fuller.”  This fountain was in the king’s gardens, running eastward from Sion into the torrent of Cedron.  Joseph. vii. 11.  It was used to wash linen.  Rogel, signifies “to trample on,” as they formerly washed their linen with their feet.  Nausicrae is represented in Homer doing so, in holes or basins, prepared for the purpose.  Odys. S.


Ver. 8.  Ennom.  Heb. Ge-ben-Hinnom, or simply Ge-ennom, whence Gehenan has probably been formed.  In this vale, children were immolated to Moloc: the beating of drums, to hinder their lamentations from being heard, caused it perhaps to be called Tophet.  It was to the east of Jerusalem, (C.) inclining to the south.  H. Northward.  The valley extends south to Bethlehem.  Joseph. vii. 10.   Here David gained a great victory, 2 K. v. 23.  C. Woods.  This explanation is added by S. Jerom.  H. The ark remained at this city for some time, 1 K. xv. 6.  It was 10 miles north of Jerusalem.


Ver. 10.  Bethsames, “the house of the sun,” was at the same distance, westward.  Here the sight of the ark proved so fatal to 50,070 of the inhabitants, 1 K. vi. 19.  C.


Ver. 13.  Arbe, who was the father, and the greatest man of the race of Enac.  C. xiv. 15.  H.


Ver. 14.  Enac.  These three giants were at Hebron when the spies came thither.  Num. xiii.


Ver. 15.  Letters, as the Sept. render it.  S. Jerom adds this interpretation.  H. It means literally “the city of the book.”  Senna, may also mean “instruction,” v. 49.  Here probably a famous school was kept, before the arrival of the Israelites; or the archives of the nation might be deposited among these giants, as the Chal. Kiriat-arche, “the city of the library, or archives,” insinuates.  Bochart. Phaleg. ii. 17.


Ver. 16.  Wife.  Parents had full authority to do this.  Saul promised his daughter to the person who should overcome Goliah.  Something was required by way of dowry for the lady.  Grot.  1 K. xvii. 25.


Ver. 17.  Brother.  It is not clear in the original whether this relates to Cenez or to Othoniel, (H.) as younger is not found in Heb. but it is in the Syr. Sept. and Judg. i. 13.  Many think that Cenez was the brother of Caleb.  If Othoniel had been brother of the latter, they say he could not have legally married his niece.  C. But though Moses forbids a nephew to marry his aunt, it does not follow that uncles could not take their nieces to wife, as they would be still the head; (W.) whereas there would be a sort of indecency for a nephew to command his aunt.  The Jews allow these marriages, while the Samaritans condemn them.  Lev. xviii. 14.  In confirmation of the Vulg. we may remark, that Cenez is never (C.) clearly (H.) represented as the brother of Caleb; and there is no inconvenience in asserting that Othoniel was the brother of the latter, whether we take this word to denote a near relation, or strictly.  In the former supposition, Othoniel might marry his cousin, Axa, the daughter of Caleb, while he himself was descended from Cenez, the brother of Jephone.  C. But if we take the word strictly, as the remark of his being younger brother, both here and Judg. i. 13. may seem to imply, we must then allow that Othoniel followed the custom of his nation, (H.) in marrying his niece.  M. Sept. here make him “the younger son of Cenez, who was brother of Caleb;” and in the Book of Judges, they say, “Gothoniel, the son of Cenez, (and) the younger brother of Caleb, first made himself master of it, under him;” as if Othoniel and Caleb had been born of the same mother, but of a different father, unless we suppose that they were only nearly related, and the former much less advanced in years; so that he might well marry the daughter of Caleb and afterwards become a judge and deliverer of Israel.  Judg. iii. 9.  See Masius.  Bonf.  H.


Ver. 18.  Was moved; as the Syr. Arab. Junius, &c. represent the matter.  Others render the Heb. in a different sense: “she moved him to ask of her father a field, and she lighted off her ass, and Caleb said unto her,” &c. which seems very abrupt, as she herself is represented as soliciting for the favour in the next verse, instead of her husband.  The Chaldee supposes that she was restrained by natural modesty, from preferring the petition; but when Othoniel refused to do it, or was denied what he requested, she took courage and asked herself.  The sense of the Vulgate seems more natural, (C.) as the husband might easily suppose that she would have greater influence with her father.  H. Sighed.  The original term is found only in this history, and in that of the death of Sisara.  Judg. iv. 21.  Sept. “she cried out.”  Others translate, “she remained fixed,” (M.) or “she waited sitting on the ass,” till she had obtained her request.


Ver. 19.  Blessing, or “favour, present,” &c.  1 K. xxv. 27.  C. And dry.  This is a farther explanation of southern; as the lands in that situation being exposed to the sun-beams, in Palestine, are often destitute of sufficient moisture, which is the cause of the sterility of Mount Hebal, &c. Watery ground.  Heb. “springs of water, and he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.”  Aquila leaves springs untranslated.  H. Golgot.  Sept. “Golathmaim, and the upper Golath,” &c.  Sym. translates “possession on the high places.”  Judg. i.  C. Caleb had probably given his daughter a part of the mountain.  He now grants her also some field that lay lower down, and was better supplied with water on all sides (H.) by springs above, and cisterns below.


Ver. 25.  New Asor, to distinguish it from the capital of Jabin, in the north.  This was dependent on Ascalon.  Euseb. Heb. “and Hazor, Hadatta, and (or) Kerioth (“the towns”) of Hezron, which is Hazor.”  The Sept. only specify the same town of Asor by different names.  There was one towards Arabia.  Num. xi. 35.


Ver. 28.  Bersabee, noted for the residence of Abraham, &c.  It is attributed to Simeon, (C. xix. 2,) with some other of these towns, as the two tribes lived intermixed, and some changes might be made in the first regulation, to bring things to a greater equality, and as circumstances might require.


Ver. 31.  Siceleg.  The Philistines kept possession of it till king Achis gave it to David; and it continued afterwards the property of the kings of Juda.


Ver. 32.  Villages.  Twenty-nine of the former cities were of greater note; the six, or taking in the three belonging to Caleb, the nine others which are mentioned, (C.) were only villages.  M. Others think that these nine towns are not numbered here, because they were allotted to the tribe of Simeon.  C. xix. 2, &c.


Ver. 33.  Plains.  Heb. Schephela, near Eleutheropolis.  Chap. x. 40. Estaol was afterwards given to Dan.  Samson was buried near it and Sarea.  Judg. xvi.


Ver. 36.  Fourteen.  One of those mentioned above, may have been a village.  M. Others think that Enaim may be the name of a fountain, near which perhaps Juda met Thamar.  Gen. xxxviii. 14.


Ver. 44.  Ceila, which David took from the Philistines, and were he was nearly betrayed into the hands of Saul, 1 K. xxiii.  Habacuc was buried here, on the road between Eleutheropolis and Hebron.


Ver. 55.  Carmel.  Not where Elias dwelt, but a city and mountain 10 miles east of Eleutheropolis.  Nabal rendered it famous by his imprudence, (1 K. xxv.) and Saul by a triumphal arch, 1 K. xv. 12.


Ver. 58.  Bessur.  About 20 miles from Jerusalem, fortified by Simon, 1 Mac. xiv. 33.  It is there said to be only five stadia distant from that city.  But the Alex. copy reads five schœnus, or cords, each of which consisted of at least 30 stadia.  Cellarius.


Ver. 59.   Eltecon: given afterwards to the tribe of Dan, (C. xix. 44,) and then to the Levites.  C. xxi. 13.  The Alex. Sept. here add many cities, which are omitted in Heb.  C. “Theco and Ephrata, (this is Bethlehem) and Phagor, and Artam, and Koulon, and Tatami, and Sores, and Karem, and Gallim, and Baither, and Manocho, eleven cities and their villages.”  H.  See S. Jer. in Mic. v. 1.  C.  Deut. xxvii. 4. Dr. Wall says, “these cities were doubtless in the Heb. copy of the Sept.” and “they are of such a nature, that it is scarcely possible to think them an interpolation.”  The former critic thinks “the omission in the Heb. was occasioned by the word villages occurring immediately before, and at the end of the words thus omitted; and indeed the same word occurring in different places, has been the cause of many and great omissions in the Heb. MSS.  He thinks it less likely that the Jews should have designedly omitted Bethlehem here, because that place is mentioned as belonging to Juda, in several other parts of Scripture.”  But is Ephrata ever joined with it, except in this passage, and in the text of Micheas?  “And, therefore, though this remarkable omission was probably owing, at first, to some transcriber’s mistake, its not being reinserted might be owing to the reason specified by S. Jerom, out of malice to Christianity.”  Kennicott, 2 Diss. 56. Reland is astonished to find a place which was to be rendered so famous by the birth of the Messias, not enumerated in this place among the cities of Juda.  But he observes that it is found in the Alexandrian version, p. 643.  Palest. S. Jerom will not decide absolutely whether the Jews have erased these cities, or the Sept. have inserted them.  As he undertook to translate the Hebrew as he found it, he has not admitted these cities into his translation, though there seems to be abundant reason for supposing that they are genuine.  H.


Ver. 62.  Salt.  Bonfrere supposes it is Segor, which was preserved for Lot’s sake. Engaddi, which was famous for its balm and palm-trees, in the desert of Jericho.  Solin. xxxv. We may here remark that in the preceding catalogues, many towns are repeated like Zanoe, (v. 34. and 56,) and others are left out.  Some are also afterwards attributed to other tribes.  Hence some have inferred that alterations have been made in the original copies.  But we may rather believe that the reason of these variations is, because the cities were parcelled out among the 10 families of Juda, (1 Par. ii. 3,) as was the case in the distribution of land to Manasses; (C. xvii. 2,) and hence the same cities were sometimes given to two different families.  They are also attributed to different tribes, because many families of the respective tribes dwelt in them.  The priests, for example, lived along with their brethren of other tribes.  C.


Ver. 63.  Jerusalem.  The Benjamites claimed the northern part of this city; (H.) and they did not drive out the Jebusites, but lived with them.  Judg. i. 21.  The tribe of Juda had burnt a part of the city, ib. v. 8.  But it seems the Jebusites kept their hold, (C.) at least in the citadel, (H.) and frequently in the lower town, till they were entirely banished by David, 2 K. v. 7.  See Judg. xix. 11.  In latter times, the Jews considered this place as the common city of all the nation, to which none of the tribes had an exclusive right; and hence, in the last siege, there was no head, and all the Jews were admitted without examination.  Josephus. Bel. iv. 5, &c.  C. Day, and even till the reign of David.  The author of this observation must have lived before that period.  Josue might have made this and many other similar remarks, when he finished this work, towards the end of his life.  H.







Ver. 1.  Joseph.  The double portion is given to him, as Ruben forfeited his birth-right.  Chal.  W. Waters; or the celebrated fountain, which renders the territory so fruitful, and which was made sweet, by Eliseus casting salt into it, 4 K. ii. 19. Wilderness of Bethaven.  C. xviii. 12. and viii. 14.  C. Which, is not to be referred to wilderness, but to the word lot.  Masius.  M.


Ver. 2.  To Luza.  The Vulg. reads Bethel Luza, which may be supposed to be two names, (C. xviii. 13.  H.) for the same city.  M.  Gen. xxviii. 29. Bethel was probably the country, (C.) or mountain, (H.) to the east of Luza, on the frontiers of Benjamin and of Ephraim; for which reason it is sometimes attributed to both. To Atharoth.  This city, and Archi, are supposed by some to be the same city.  Archi seems, however, to have been a distinct place, where Chusai ws born, 2 K. xv. 32.  Atharoth is styled Addar, “the illustrious,” v. 5.  It was 15 miles from Jericho.


Ver. 3.  Nether.  See C. x. 11.  The upper Bethoron was of much less note, near the Jordan. Gazer was in the vicinity of Azotus, 1 Mac. xiv. 34.  C. x. 33.  C.


Ver. 4.  Possessed it, or divided the country between them.  The territories of Ephraim are henceforward described, to the end of the chapter.  M.


Ver. 6.  Looketh to the north, &c.  The meaning is, that the border went towards the north, by Machmethath; and then turned eastward to Thanathselo.  Ch. Borders.  It should be terminus.  “The border turneth eastward.”  Sept.  Bonfrere. Janoe, twelve miles east of Sichem.  Euseb.  4 K. xv. 29.


Ver. 8.  Reeds.  Sept. “of Cana.”  The vale belonged to Manasses, but the cities were ceded to Ephraim, v. 9.  C. xvii. 19.  The limits of these two tribes are very confused.  C. Most salt.  This is the title generally applied to the lake of Sodom.  But here the Mediterranean is meant, which, compared with many of the seas of Palestine, is certainly most salt.  M. The epithet is not, however, found in Heb. or Sept. (C.) and Serarius thinks it has crept in here by mistake.  M.


Ver. 10.  Gazer.  It is not certain when the Ephraimites rendered this city tributary, or when it threw off the yoke.  The king of Egypt afterwards conquered it, and gave it with his daughter to Solomon.  C. x. 33.  C.  See Judg. i. 29. The negligence of Ephraim was contrary to God’s order.  Ex. xx.  M. The Alex. Sept. here inserts after day, “till Pharao, king of Egypt, went up and took the city, and burnt it with fire, and the Chanaanites and Pherezites, and the inhabitants of Gazer, he slew; and Pharao gave it as a dowry to his daughter.”  Grabe adds what seems deficient, “and they became tributary slaves.”  H.







Ver. 1.  Born.  Machir was the only son of Manasses.  But the Scripture uses the word first-born for such, as it does for our Saviour.  Mat. i.  M. If Machir was living when Moses assigned the territory to the half tribe of Manasses, he must have been 180 years old.  C. But he probably received the inheritance only in his posterity.  H. Galaad did not give his name to the country, as it was called so in the days of Jacob.  Perhaps he took his name from the land, as many noblemen do, though he is styled Galaad before the war against Sehon commenced.  Num. xxvi. 29.  By giving Ephraim the preference before his elder brother, Jacob did not deprive the latter of his birth-right.  C. In effect, Manasses was partly (H.) provided for before Ephraim received any portion.  C. This, however, was a privilege, and not a right.  He had also two allotments, because his numbers required so much land.  H.


Ver. 2.  Children here comprises grandchildren, &c.  These who are specified sprang from Galaad or from Jair, as they all dwelt on the east side of the Jordan, 1 Par. v. 23. and vii. 14.  C.


Ver. 4.  Father, adjoining to Ephraim.  See Num. xxvii. and xxxvi.


Ver. 5.  Jordan.  Some of the families, which had possessions there already, were permitted to have a share on the west side also.  Here Manasses had ten portions, schœnus, or cords, which Herodotus (ii. 6,) reckons to contain each 60 stadia; so that he would have 600 stadia, (C.) or at least half of that quantity.  C. xv. 58.  Herod. ii.  H. There were six sons and five daughters to be provided for.  But the portion of Hepher, the father of Salphaad, being given to his granddaughters, he is not counted.  Masius. The Jews say the five daughters had only four portions, two for their grandfather, who, they say, was the eldest of the family; one for their father, and another for their uncle, who died without children.  Selden. But of this no proof is adduced.  C. The five daughters would only have the one portion, which would have been enjoyed by the father.  M.  See 1 Par. v. 23.


Ver. 7.  Aser was contiguous to Machmethath, 15 miles from Sichem, towards Scythopolis.  S. Jerom.  C. The limits of Manasses are described from the south, where he joins Ephraim.  C. xvi. 6.  C.


Ver. 8.  Taphua; which city, though situated in the territory of Manasses, belonged to Ephraim, (W.) as the Heb. intimates.


Ver. 10.  East.  These two tribes are contiguous to the tribe of Joseph, taken all together, v. 14.  M. Aser extended as far as Mount Carmel, which was not far from Dor, a city of Manasses, v. 11.  C. xix. 26.  The tribes of Issachar and of Zabulon seem, indeed, to come between Manasses and Aser; so that we might say, that the tribe of Joseph finding itself too much straitened, was forced to seek for more room in the cities of the other tribes, which we find it really inhabited, v. 11.  We might avoid all difficulties, by translating “they invaded (or made an irruption into) the tribe of Aser,” &c. as the Heb. will allow.  Thus Dan conquered Lais, which lies at so great a distance from his own portion, and the tribes of Juda and Simeon were frequently intermixed.  C. Aser and Manasses may, however, have been really united on the north-west, or Mediterranean point.  M.


Ver. 11.  In Aser.  The following towns were upon the frontiers of these two tribes, (M.) or they properly belonged to them respectively.  But the children of Manasses took possession of them, after conquering by degrees, the former inhabitants, who were suffered to live among them, as the Jebusites were for some time, at Jerusalem.  C. xv. 63.  H. Bethsan, or Scythopolis, as it was called by the Greeks, after the Scythians had invaded those countries, (Herod. 1. 105,) A.M. 3391, almost 100 years from the destruction of the kingdom of Israel.  Unless these Scythians may rather be the Cutheans, who were sent to people the kingdom of Samaria, most of whom embraced the Jewish religion, while those of Bethsan adhered to their ancient idolatry, and therefore retained their name.  Even in the days of Josephus, most of the inhabitants were heathens: the kings of Juda were not able to subdue them entirely.  Bethsan was situated to the south of the sea of Tiberias, 600 stadia from Jerusalem; (2 Mac. xii. 29,) that is, about 37 leagues, (C.) or 111 miles.  H. Dor, nine miles north of Cæsarea. Endor, “the fountain of Dor,” four miles south of Mount Thabor.  Euseb. Here Saul consulted the witch, 1 K. xxxviii. 7. Thenac, near Legion, and the torrent of Cisson, where Barac gained a victory.  Judg. v. Nopheth, means “a canton,” and thus Manasses may have had three portions of land round the three aforesaid cities, in which sense it is translated.  C. xi. 2.  C.  Masius. But Serarius takes Nopheth to mean a city, (M.) agreeably to the Sept. “the third part of Naphetha, and its villages.”  H. The other two parts of the city might be occupied by Zabulon.  Bonfrere. No mention is made of Nopheth.  Judg. i. 27.  H.


Ver. 12.  Could, because they would not.  Judg. i. 27.  The children of Manasses took these cities; but not putting the inhabitants to death, the latter got possession again, as was the case with respect to many other cities taken (C.) and destroyed (H.) by Josue.  Heb. “the Chanaanite consented to dwell,” &c.  The Israelites spared their lives on their paying tribute; and this prevarication was the cause of their being afterwards reduced to submit to the yoke of these nations.  C.  Judg. ii. 20.  Deut. xx. 16.  M. The Chanaaite dwelt with Manasses for a time; (W.) perhaps they were never wholly expelled.  H.


Ver. 14.  Spoke.  Sept. “contradicted Josue.”  In effect, they spoke with a good deal of emotion. Portion.  Heb. “cord.”  C. They addressed themselves to the general, before their territory was divided.  Masius. Or they insinuate that the portion allotted to them both, would scarcely suffice for one tribe, and there was but little room for them to enlarge their dominions by subduing the Chanaanites, as the rest might do.  Manasses was most concerned, as his numbers had increased 20,500 since he left Egypt, while his brother had diminished.  Num. xxvi. 34.  C. But then he had an extensive country on the other side of the Jordan.  H.


Ver. 16.  Thee.  Destroy the Pherezite, &c. (M.) take their cities, and destroy the inhabitants, like so many trees, or cut down the wood to build houses, and in order to cultivate the land for the production of corn and grass.


Ver. 17.  Iron, armed with scythes, who will obstruct our passage to the mountains, as we dare not encounter them in the open field.  H.  4 K. xx. 23. Heb. “the hill is not enough for us, (or it will not be found, or be attacked by us) and all the Chanaanites,” &c.  C.   Sept. “the mountain of Ephraim will not contain us; all the Chanaanites who dwell in the land of Emek, (or of the valley) in Bethsan, and its villages, and in the vale of Jezrael, have chosen cavalry and iron.”  H. They are invincible.  C. The slothful man saith there is a lion without.  Prov. xxii. 13.  Josue over-rules the cowardly objection, and argues, from their own boasting, that they were numerous enough to overcome all their opponents.  He was himself of the tribe of Ephraim.  H. Valley, extending about 10,000 paces from Bethsan to Legion.  Jezrael was in the middle of it, and is attributed to Issachar.  C. xix. 18.  But it was probably on the frontiers of Manasses, who seems to have spoken as if it would belong to the first who had driven out the Chanaanites.  The kings of Israel had a palace at Jezrael, and the vineyard of Naboth being contiguous to it, gave occasion to the sin of Jazabel, and to the destruction of Achab’s family, 3 K. xxi. 1.  In this vale, Gedeon routed the Madianites.  Judg. vi. 33.


Ver. 18.  Mountain, probably of Gelboe, as that of Ephraim was not sufficient, v. 15.  Gelboe extended almost as far as Bethsan, and it would afford a fine opportunity of attacking the nations below.  Josue persists in his first resolution; and though of the same tribe, he is so little actuated by partiality towards his brethren, that they alone seem to have been dissatisfied with their portion.  C.







Ver. 1.  Silo was delightfully situated, about the midst of the country, 12 miles south of Sichem.  Hither the Israelites removed with the ark from Galgal after having had their camp in the latter place seven years at least; the Jews say 14.  But Josue might reproach the Israelites for their indolence, (v. 3,) without waiting seven years after the country was divided. Tabernacle.  The Jews pretend that this was not the same as that set up by Moses; and others say that a house was built for the Lord at Silo, 1 K. i. 23.  But there seems to be no reason for these assertions.  David informs us that the ark of the Lord was covered with skins, 2 K. vii. 2.  If any repairs were found necessary for the tabernacle erected by Moses, they might be made.  The ark was certainly in it till the Israelites unfortunately sent it into the camp, where it was taken by the Philistines.  When they sent back the ark, it was deposited at Gabaa, and not in the tabernacle, which was at Silo.  Then it was sent to Nobe.  We find the tabernacle was at Gabaon some time after the ark was translated to Jerusalem.  C. Them.  They might, therefore, removed the ark into the interior, and measure the country without danger.  M. The greatest part of the country had submitted to Josue.  C.


Ver. 3.  Slack.  These seven tribes had been accustomed to live in indolence, having their food provided for them in a miraculous manner.  They were perhaps afraid lest, if the army of Israel should be divided, the different tribes would be too weak to make head against the enemy.  C. Josue had, however, made all things easy, and they might at their leisure conquer the few towns which yet remained in the hands of the Chanaanites, if they had not cherished this indolent disposition, which was so displeasing to God, and brought upon them so many evils.  H.


Ver. 4.  Tribe: it is not clear whether any but these seven were concerned. Out.  Josephus says, that people well skilled in geometry accompanied them.  C. They had to mark out seven portions of land, which might suffice for these remaining tribes, (H.) who would receive them by lot, to take away all cause of discontent.  They still received according to their numbers.  Num. xxvi. 54.  W.


Ver. 5.  North, with respect to Silo.  Juda had taken possession of his territory, as well as the tribes of Joseph.


Ver. 6.  The land in the midst, between these mark ye out into seven parts: that is to say the rest of the land, which is not already assigned to Juda or Joseph.  Ch. For we must not suppose that Joseph occupied the most northern parts of the country, so as, with Juda on the south, to enclose all the other tribes.  H. Heb. “As for you, you shall describe the land into seven parts.”  C. Only the tribe of Benjamin was between these two tribes, (v. 11,) so that Serarius thinks that mediam has been substituted for aliam, “the other.”  M. Lots.  The deputies divided the country into seven portions, equal in goodness, though not in extent.  After the lots were drawn, some alterations might be made by common consent, and those tribes which were too much straitened for room, received what was requisite among those who had too large a territory.  Hence we find Joseph occupying the cities of Issachar, &c.  C. xvii. 10.  It was equally inconvenient to have too much or too little.


Ver. 7.  Priesthood, and the rights attached to it, tithes, &c.  C. It was therefore necessary to make eight portions.  M.


Ver. 9.  Book.  Heb. “described it, according to the cities, into seven parts, in a volume,” (H.) or table, resembling a map.  The ancients commonly wrote on boards covered with wax, and engraved on stone, lead, &c.


Ver. 11.  First.  A person might proclaim that the tribe, whose name was drawn first out of the urn, should have the territory which was described in the book by the land surveyors; or the names of the seven tribes might be in one urn, and seven parcels of land in another.  C.


Ver. 12.  Bethaven, or Bethel.  Josephus says, (Ant. v. 3,) that the territory of Benjamin extended as far as the Mediterranean: but it only went to Ataroth, v. 13.  M.


Ver. 15.  Sea, on the west.  H. The northern limits of Juda form the southern ones of Benjamin, only here Josue proceeds in a contrary direction, from west to east.  M.  See C. xv. 5. 8.


Ver. 16.  Part.  Heb. “end, or summit.”  C. That is, &c. an explication added by S. Jerom.  Some say this dreadful vale (H.) was on the south of Jerusalem.  Button.


Ver. 18.  Hills.  Heb. Geliloth, “the limits,” (C.) or Galgal, on the road to Jerusalem from Jericho, and different from that where the Israelites encamped, C. xv. 7. Adommim is a narrow pass in the vicinity, much infested with robbers. Abenboen.  The explication is alone given.  C. xv. 6. Plain.  Sept. “and it shall pass by Betharaba, on the south from the north, and it shall descend.”  Grabe supplies “to Araba;” or the plain desert country.  H. Betharaba is, in effect, mentioned as one of the cities of Benjamin, (v. 22,) as it had before been assigned to Juda, (C.) being inhabited by both tribes.  H.


Ver. 19.  Towards, (contra linguam) ” the bay on the north,” &c.  H. There is another on the south.  C. xv. 2.


Ver. 21.  Vale of Casis, “incision,” so called, as some pretend, on account of the balm, which was extracted by cutting the bark with a stone, or with glass.  But this etymology seems too far fetched, and there is no proof that balm was cultivated there in the days of Josue.  C. Some of the cities of Benjamin have been here omitted, as two others are mentioned, C. xxi. 18.  M.


Ver. 24.  Ophni, the Gophna so celebrated in latter times, fifteen miles from Gabaa.  S. Jerom attributes it to Ephraim, as perhaps it was chiefly inhabited by people of that tribe. Gabee.  The wickedness of its citizens almost involved the whole tribe in destruction.  Judg. xix.  It was twenty mile north of Jerusalem.  Joseph. v. 2.


Ver. 26.  Mesphe, where Samuel assembled the people, 1 K. vii. 5.  It was regarded as a place of devotion, while the temple was in the hands of the profane, 1 Mac. iii. 46.


Ver. 28.  Jebus.  The city was called Salem in the days of Abraham.  Gen. xiv. 18.  Ps. lxxv. 3.  S. Jerom supposes that Melchisedec resided near Scythopolis, at Salem.  Gen. xxxiii. 17. ep. ad Evag.  Usher thinks he lived at Salim.  Jo. iii. 23. Gabaath.  There seems to have been two cities of this name; one famous for the tomb of Habacuc, (S. Jer.) and the other in the tribe of Ephraim.  C. xxiv. 33.  C.







Ver. 2.  Juda.  Thus was verified the prediction of Jacob, that Simeon and Levi, who had been too much united for the destruction of Sichem, should be scattered among their brethren.  Gen. xxxiv. and xlix. 6.  The tribe of Simeon was not very numerous.  Num. xxvi. 14.  Yet all his cities are not here enumerated, but only such as served to point out the limits.  The Jews suppose that this tribe occupied the cities of Juda only as long as the latter pleased, and that it was driven out of them in the days of David, (1 Par. iv. 31.  Rabbins ap. Mas.) or at least under the reign of Ezechias, when it was forced to seek fresh settlements in Gador and Seir, ib. v. 39.  It was, however, led into captivity by Salmanasar along with the other nine tribes, in the sixth year of Ezechias, 4 K. xvii. 6.  The lot of Simeon was not in the centre of Juda, but only within his limits, (C.) either on the south, (Cellarius) or on the west side, (C.) or on both.  H. And Sabee.  This is the same town with the preceding, otherwise there would be 14 instead of 13, v. 6.  M. If this be not the case, we may give the same solution as C. xv. 62.


Ver. 4.  Bethul.  We shall see elsewhere whether this be the Bethulia of Judith.  Some place a town of this name in Galilee, near Tiberias, (Brocard) of which, however, there is no proof.  Cellar. iii. 31.


Ver. 9.  Great.  The land measurers, it seems, had been under a mistake, (M.) which was corrected by the ancients.  Distributive justice was to be observed.


Ver. 11.  From the sea.  Heb. “towards the sea.”  Bonfrere asserts that Zabulon did not extend quite to the shore of the Mediterranean.  C. xvii. 10.  C. Torrent, near Sidon, which some call the river Belus or Papis.  Plin. v. 19.


Ver. 13.  Geth-hepher, the birth-place of Jonas, 4 K. xiv. 25.  See C. xii. 17.


Ver. 15.  Bethlehem, very different from that of Juda. Twelve.  Nineteen are mentioned, but some of them belong to other tribes, (C.) or were not properly cities.  M. All the towns of Zabulon are not specified.  C.


Ver. 17.  Issachar.  The reason why he has been placed after his younger brother, Zabulon, both here and in the blessing of Jacob, is not known.


Ver. 18.  Jezrael.  This was a city of the first note, (M.) situated in the vale between Mount Hermon and Gelboe, having Bethsan on the east. Sunem, where Eliseus raised the child to life, five miles south of Thabor.  S. Jerom. Here the Philistines were encamped the day before the battle, in which Saul was slain and Israel dispersed, 1 K. xxviii. 4.  C.


Ver. 20.  Rabbath.  These four cities formed the western boundary, though Serarius observes, this tribe extended as far as the Mediterranean, being in possession of Carmel, which lay close to the shore.  M.


Ver. 21.  Engannim, called Enam, 1 Par. vi. 73. Enhadda.  There was another town of this name, 10 miles from Eleutheropolis.  C. This and the four following towns lay on the north of Issachar.  M. Bethsames, “the house of the sun.”  Juda and Nephthali had also a Bethsames.


Ver. 26.  Carmel, so famous for the miracles of Elias, 3 K. xviii. 20.  Josephus (Bel. ii. 17,) places it 120 stadia south of Ptolemais.  This range of mountains extended northward through the tribes of Issachar and of Zabulon.  Pliny (v. 17,) speaks of a promontory and of a town of this name.  Here also the god Carmel was adored, having an altar, but no temple or image, as the ancients had decreed.  Nec simulacrum Deo aut templum, (sic tradidere majores) ara tantum et reverentia.  Tacit. Hist. ii. 78. Vespasian consulted the priest Basilides.  Carmel means “the vineyard of the Lord,” or the excellent vineyard, &c.  It was so rich and beautiful as to become proverbial.  The spouse compares the head of his beloved to Carmel.  C. vii. 5.  Isaias (xxxii. 15,) foretels that the deserts shall be equal to Carmel.  It was covered with wood and fruit.  S. Jerom in Isai. x. 18.  Jer. iv. 26.  The city, which was built upon this mountain, and which Pliny calls by the same name, was formerly styled Ecbatana.  The oracle had denounced to Cambyses that he should die at Ecbatana, and he concluded that the city of Media was meant; but it was “that of Syria,” says Herodotus, (iii. 64,) where he died. Labanath.  Heb. leaves out the conjunction. Sihor means a “troubled” river, (C. xiii. 3,) or brook, which probably ran near the white promontory mentioned by Pliny, (v. 19,) near Tyre.  Labanath signifies “white.”


Ver. 27.  Bethdagon.  “The temple of Dagon, or of the fish,” different from the town of Juda.  C. xv. 41. Zabulon, a city which took its name from the tribe, and separated Ptolemais from Judea.  Joseph. Bel. ii. 37. Left; that is, the north side of Cabul, which means either the canton where the 20 cities of Hiram were situated, or a village which Josephus (Vita) calls Chabolo, which lies near the sea, and Ptolemais.


Ver. 28.  Rohob, on the northern extremity of the land.  Num. xiii. 22.  It was assigned to the Levites.  But the tribe of Aser never drove out the Chanaanites.  Judg. i. 31. Cana, where Christ wrought his first miracle, about 23 miles west of Tiberias, as we may gather from Josephus.  (Vita)  Cellarius. Some would admit another Cana nearer Sidon.


Ver. 29.  Horma.  Heb. Sept. &c. Rama, “a height.” Of Tyre.  When this city was founded, is wrapped up in obscurity.  The Tyrian priests claim a very high antiquity; whereas Josephus (Ant. viii. 2,) allows that the city was founded only 200 years after Josue, on which supposition this name must have been added by a subsequent writer.  The matter, however, is so uncertain, that nothing can be concluded.  It was a colony of Sidon.  Isai. xxiii. 12.  Old Tyre was on the continent; the new city was built in an island, where the temple of Jupiter Olympius formerly stood.  Alexander made a road between the two cities, when he besieged New Tyre: which, on that account, may be considered either as an island, or as part of the continent.  He used for this purpose the ruins of the old city, which he threw into the sea.  Hiram had formed a similar road to the temple of Jupiter.  Dius. ap. Joseph. c. Ap. 1.  Whether Nebuchodonosor besieged the Old or the New Tyre, soon after he had taken Jerusalem, authors are not agreed.  S. Jerom (in Ezec. xxviii.  Amos i. &c.) seems to think that he attacked the new city; whereas Marsham believes that it was built only after the other had fallen a prey to the arms of the Chaldees.  It was only five or 700 paces from the continent.  Tyrus quondam insula præalto mari septingentis passibus divisa, nunc vero Alexandri oppugnantis operibus continens.  Plin. v. 19. Portion.  Heb. “from the coast of Achzib,” which is the same town as Ecdippe, south of Tyre, and nine miles from Ptolemais.  C.


Ver. 30.  Amma; perhaps on mount Amana, a part of Libanus.  Cant. iv. 8.  For though the Israelites had possession of these parts only a short time, they had a right to them, and to the countries as far as the Euphrates and Pelusium.  Sept. read, “Akom or Archob,” (C.) in some copies, though the Alexandrian agrees with the Vul.  H. Perhaps Acco, the ancient name of Ptolemais, may be meant, as it is hardly probable that so famous a city should be omitted. Aphec, beyond Antilibanus, from which city the Israelites could not drive the Chanaanites.  Judg. i. 31.  Here the kings of Syria assembled their forces to attack the people of God, 1 K. xx. 26.  Profane authors speak of the temple of Venus Aphachitis, who appeared in the eyes of the superstitious to shed tears.  The city lay between Biblus and Heliopolis.  Zozimus, i. 58.  Euseb. (laud. Const.)  Macrob. i. 21. Twenty-two.  More are mentioned above, but some might belong to other tribes.


Ver. 33.  Heleph seems to have been on the north-eastern limits of Nephthali.  The cities on the Jordan southwards, as far as Genesareth, are specified.  H.


Ver. 34.  Juda was in possession of the southern parts of the Jordan, as Nephthali had the northern, so that by means of navigation they might enjoy the riches (C.) of each other, and of the other tribes.  H.  Deut. xxxiii. 23. Sept. do not read Juda, which forms all the difficulty, as five tribes lay between these two.  They have “and the Jordan is towards the rising sun.”  C. Grabe inserts, with a star, “to Juda, the Jordan,” &c. intimating that to Juda, was not a part of the Sept. version.


Ver. 35.  Ser.  The Sept. seem to have read rather differently.  “And the fortified, or walled cities of the Tyrians, Tyre and Emath, (and) Bekkath,” &c.  H. Assedim may be the name of a people.  The situation of Ser is also unknown. Emath is the famous Emesa.  Num. xiii. 22.  C. Tyre, &c. belong to Aser, and not to Nephthali, as the Sept. might insinuate.  But Emesa would be within the borders of the latter.  H. Cenereth, the lake of that name, as S. Jerom says that the city of Cenereth was Tiberias, on the southern extremity of the lake whereas Nephthali possessed only the northern part.  C. Bonfrere supposes that Caphernaum, or some adjacent city, is meant; and indeed the first words of the verse indicate that a list is given of the strong cities, unless that should be restricted to those of the Assedim, which are not specified.  H.


Ver. 36.  Arama.  Heb. “Rama.” Asor, the capital of Jabin.  C. xi. 1.


Ver. 37.  Enhasor, “the fountain of Asor,” or Daphne, a delightful spot resembling the famous suburbs of Antioch.  Josep. Bel. iv. init.


Ver. 38.  Bethanath, “the house of poverty,” is Betanea, 15 miles from Cæsarea.  Eus. Nineteen.  Twenty-three places are mentioned.  But some might only be villages, &c.  C. xv. 62.


Ver. 41.  Sun.  Some suppose that it is the same with Bethsames of Juda, which was ceded to the Levites.  C. Dan lay on the west of Juda.  H. Selebin, where the Amorrhites maintained themselves.  Judg. i. 35.


Ver. 43.  Themna; the Thamna of the tribe of Juda.  C. xv. 10. Acron, or Accaron.


Ver. 44.  Elthece, or Elthecon of Juda, given to the Levites.  All the three tribes might dwell in it.


Ver. 45.  Barach.  Heb. “Bene-barac,” or “Jud, of the sons of Barac.”


Ver. 46.  Mejarcon, “the waters of Jarcon” and Arecon, were near Joppe.  C.


Ver. 47.  There.  Heb. “and the limits of Dan went out from them.  They were not able to keep the cities in subjection; so that, finding themselves too much confined, they sought for fresh settlements at Lessem; or, their borders were known by these cities, through which they passed, (C.) though most of them had been already assigned to the tribe of Juda.  M. Dan.  This city was not Peneas, or Cæsarea, but the utmost boundary of Palestine on the north, as Bersabee was on the south.  This history is given more at large.  Judg. xviii. 1.  The Sept. vary from the Heb. in the 46. 7. and 8. verses, (C.) and add that “the children of Dan did not destroy the Amorrhites, who afflicted them in the mountain, and would not suffer them to descend into the plain…But the hand of Ephraim lay heavy upon them, and they became tributary to them.  (See C. xvii. 13.)  49.  And they went to take possession of their limits, and the children of Israel,” &c.  H.


Ver. 50.  Lord, by the mouth of Eleazar.  Josue was content with one of the most barren parts of the country.  He waits till all are provided for, shewing throughout his life a pattern of moderation and disinterestedness, which render him worthy to be considered as a figure of Jesus Christ, who reduced himself to the lowest state of abjection for our sakes.  C.  See C. xiv. 6.  M. Ephraim.  It was before called Gaas; and the city, which Josue enlarged, lay on the north side of it.  C. xxiv. 30.  Judg. ii. 9.







Ver. 3.  Of blood, and authorized to kill the manslayer, (M.) if he find him out of one of these cities.  See Num. xxxv. 6.  Deut. xix. 4.  Revenge was never lawful: but to prosecute offenders in the courts of justice, (C.) or agreeably to the law of God, can never deserve blame.  H. If some of the saints of the old law seem to have taken delight in revenge, their expressions must be explained in a favourable sense.  David, who is accused of this crime, (C.) repels the charge with horror.  Ps. vii. 5.  The evils which he denounces to his adversaries, were predictions of what they had reason to expect.  Ps. lvii. 11.  Jer. xi. 20.  H. If some of the Jews looked upon vengeance as lawful, it cannot be a matter of surprise, when we reflect that even some, who have been taught the mild law of the gospel, think themselves bound, in some cases, to revenge an affront.  C. So far have the maxims of the world supplanted Christianity in their breasts!  How severely does Jacob rebuke his children for what they had done to the Sichemites, though they falsely thought that the affront offered to their sister, would justify them!  Gen. xxxiv.  H.


Ver. 4.  Gate, where justice was administered.  M. Here the ancients heard what the manslayer had to say in his own defence; and if they thought his account plausible, they gave him a retreat till he might be safely brought to answer the charges of the avenger, who might endeavour to prove that the murder was wilful.


Ver. 5.  Before.  This is generally taken literally.  But if sufficient proof could be brought that the contending parties were at variance, or reconciled some time before the accident happened, the person who had taken refuge, would be judged accordingly.  It might lawfully be presumed that they were enemies, if, after being at variance, they had given no signs of reconciliation.  C.


Ver. 6.  Fact.  Sept. “before the synagogue for judgment.”  H. Whether this took place in the same city, or where the murder was committed, (see Num. xxxv. 12. and v. 25.) the reasons are given why the manslayer was released at the death of the high priest.  C. By the death of Christ, the greatest criminals are redeemed.  M.


Ver. 7.  Cedes and Gaulon lay on the north, Sichem and Ramoth in the middle, Hebron and Bosor on the south of the country.  H.


Ver. 9.  Strangers.  The limitations of the Jews in favour of their own nation are rejected.  The civil and criminal law should affect all alike, except God order it otherwise. Stand.  This was the posture of the people accused, while the judges sat.  Drusius.  C.







Ver. 1.  The priest, who seems to have presided, as he is always placed first.  A select number of the tribe of Levi came to represent the priests, and those of an inferior order; and to obtain what God had promised them.  Num. xxxv. 2.  There was one family of priests who sprang from Aaron, the son of Caath.  The rest of Caath’s family, with the children of Gerson and Merari, were simply Levites, constituting three other families.  God was pleased that they should be dispersed through Israel, that they might instruct the people both by word and by example, 1 Par. xxvi. 29.  C. Josue would not have neglected them.  M. But they were naturally solicitous to know where they were to live, as the tribes had now all received their portions.  H.


Ver. 3.  Gave, by lot, v. 4, &c.  M. Whether any changes were afterwards made, to grant more or less, in proportion to the numbers of the four families, (as seems to have been done with regard to the other tribes) or the cities were specified in four parcels, and the priests received the first lot, the text does not explain.  C. It is also uncertain what right the Levites had to these 48 cities.  Some say that they had only the use of them, while others maintain that the cities were their property entirely, so that no other could live there without their consent.  They could sell the houses, which returned to them in the year of the jubilee, if not redeemed before; but the suburbs were a common property of all the Levites, and could not be sold by any.  Lev. xxv.  The cities, therefore, belonged to God, and he abandoned the property to his ministers.  Other people might live among them, as they were not debarred from choosing their habitation in places which were not originally allotted to them.  Thus we find that Gabaa was chiefly peopled by the tribe of Benjamin, when the outrage was offered to the Levite’s wife, and no blame attached to the latter.  Judg. xix.  Saul and his family were of the same town, though it belonged to the Levites, and David kept his court at Hebron, a sacerdotal city, for the first seven years of his reign.  C. Here also Caleb had probably resided.  C. xiv. 14.  The priests and Levites were not indeed at this time sufficiently numerous to people all these cities; and Calmet supposes that they only received as many houses as they might occupy, being supplied with more by the magistrates as their numbers increased.  But might not they let the houses, which they did not want to occupy, and receive the profits, so as to take possession of them when they had occasion?  Were these 48 cities, which were the only part of the land to which the Levites had any claim, too many or too rich to compensate the labours of this most deserving tribe?  It seems, therefore, unnecessary to call in the aid or interference of the magistrate, except any person were so bold as to refuse to give up what the law had so positively assigned to the Levites.  Their rights were as well defined as those of any of the other tribes.  H. The land beyond the suburbs, was cultivated by the proprietors, who might either live in the town or country.  Many of the priests and Levites chose to reside near the tabernacle, as Moses had encouraged them to do.  Deut. xviii. 6.  Thus Nobe became a sacerdotal city; (1 K. xxi. 1,) and after the temple was built, Jerusalem and its environs were the places of abode for most of the priests.  C.


Ver. 4.  Thirteen.  These three tribes give more cities than any of the others, because their territories were the largest.  Num. xxxv. 8.  Juda in particular, had a most extensive portion allotted to him at first; so that a part was afterwards taken away to accommodate Simeon and Dan, and now so many cities are appointed for the priests, (C.) who would thus have their residence near the temple, when it should be built.  H. God ordered the lots according to the designs of his providence; and gave the priests, though so few in number, more than what fell to the share of all the rest of the family of Caath.  C. This family had in all twenty-three cities, lying south of Dor and Bethsan, and leaving the tribe of Issachar on the north.  Gerson had thirteen cities among the three other northern tribes, and that of Manasses on the east side of the Jordan; while Merari had twelve, more southward on the same side, in the tribes of Gad and of Ruben, and on the west of the Jordan, in the tribe of Zabulon.  Thus these two families were more intermixed.  H.


Ver. 12.  Possession.  Only the houses which the priests occupied, were taken from him.  C. Caleb enjoyed all the dependencies of Hebron, and took the city, as he would not have been secure while the Chanaanites dwelt there.  Magalian. Serarius thinks that he abandoned the city to the priests, in which he follows Tostat, who supposes that they had to pay tribute to the tribes among whom they lived; and that mines, &c. belonged to the latter.  M.


Ver. 16.  Ain and Jeta.  Sept. of Grabe agrees with the Vulg.  But the Vatican copy (H.) has, “Asa…and Tanu.”  In 1 Par. vi. 59, only Asan and Bethsemes are mentioned.  Several other variations may also be observed, which may be attributed either to the changes which were afterwards made when the Chanaanites kept their hold, (Rabbins) or to the different places having two names, or to the mistakes of transcribers, &c.  See C. xv. 62.  Only eleven cities are specified in the Book of Paralipomenon, though it observes that there were thirteen.  C. As hath, &c. words added by S. Jerom, or rather expressing more fully the Heb. “those” two tribes.  H.


Ver. 21.  One of, (urbes confugii Sichem…and Gazer.)  Lit. ” cities of refuge, Sichem,…Gazer,” &c. as if all the Levitical cities had enjoyed this privilege, which we have seen (Num. xxxv. 6,) is the opinion of some.  But the Heb. Sept. and Chal. read in the singular, “Sichem, a city of refuge;” and interpreters generally allow only six cities of this description.  C. Without extending this privilege to all the rest, we may observe that all the cities of refuge were given to the Levites, v. 11. 21-7-32-6-7.  Prot. “For they give them Shechem, with her suburbs in Mount Ephraim, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Gazer,” &c.  By inserting to be, they seem to countenance the opinion that all the subsequent towns were of the same nature as Sichem.  The text would be clearer without the addition, to prove the contrary sentiment.  H. See Bonfrere how the Vulg. may be vindicated.  M.


Ver 22.  Beth-horon.  Grabe’s Sept. adds, “the upper,” which is the received opinion.  C.


Ver. 23.  And of, &c.  This verse is omitted in Paralipomenon, (H.) whence we find Helon and Gethremmon (probably the same as Aialon and Beth-remmon, v. 24, assigned to Ephraim. Eltheco.  See C. xv. 59. and  xix. 44. Gabathon continued a long time in the hands of the Philistines.  3 K. xv. 27.


Ver. 25.  Cities.  Instead of these, Aner and Balaam are mentioned in Paralipomenon.  C.


Ver. 26.  Degree, who were not priests.  Caath is placed before his eldest brother Gerson, on account of the honour of the priesthood and of Moses.  M.


Ver. 27.  Refuge.  Lit. “the cities of refuge, Gaulon…and Bosra.”  See v. 21.  H. The latter gives place to Asteroth, in Paral.


Ver. 29.  Cities.  These are called Cedes and Daboreth, Ramoth and Anem, in Paralipomenon.


Ver. 35.  Suburbs.  Paralipomenon only mentions two, Remmono and Thabor.


Ver. 36.  Four cities.  There are no more, though there be five names: for Misor is the same city as Bosor, which is to be observed in some other places, where the number of names exceeds the number of cities.  Ch. With regard to the 36th and 37th verses, there seems to have been great confusion in the Hebrew MSS. both ancient and modern.  In some they have been totally omitted, in others only a part.  H. The famous MS. of Hillel, and the Masorets, reject them, (C.) because they had reckoned only 656 verses in Josue, and these two verses would destroy their authority.  Hence they erased them wherever they might be found; and Kimchi assures us, that he never could meet with them “in any MS. (thus) corrected.”  Yet the Paralipomena universally acknowledge them, (Ken.) as the context of Josue must also do, otherwise there will be only eight cities instead of twelve, and four will be wanting to complete the number of forty-eight.  The Prot. version therefore is forced to admit them, (H.) as they are found in the Eng. Polyglot, on the authority of some ancient MSS.  They do not, however, express them so fully as the Sept. have done.  Ken. These read, “And beyond the Jordan, over-against Jericho, out of the tribe of Ruben, the city of refuge for the slayer, Bosor, in the wilderness, (Misor) and her suburbs, and Jazer and her suburbs, (37) and Gedson and her suburbs, and Mapha (Alex. copy reads Maspha) and her suburbs, four cities.”  Grabe. Prot. only admit, “And out of the tribe of Ruben, Bezer with her suburbs, and Jahazah…Kedemoth…and Mephaath with her suburbs, four cities.”  Kennicott finds in some Heb. MSS. “the city of refuge for the slayer, Bosor;” one MS. has, “in the wilderness,” &c.  H. These verses were not in the Heb. text of the Hexapla, as they are obelized in the Sept. and in the Syriac MS. of Masius; and yet, as they are found in the old Greek and Syriac versions, and in the Chal. paraphrase, they were probably omitted between the year 100 and 200.  They are left out in several printed editions of the Heb. Bible, and even in that of Jablonski, (1699) though in opposition to his better judgment and all the MSS. which he had consulted: legunt omnia nostra MSS.  Michaelis (1720) reprinted this text, with some few emendations, particularly with these two verse very laudably inserted.  Kennicott, 2 Diss. In the Bened. Edit. of S. Jerom, Martianay observes, that the Heb. MSS. of S. Jerom seem to have been mutilated, for if they had admitted this 36th verse, S. Jerom would have translated it, and it would have been found in the more ancient MSS. of the Latin edition, where it is wanting.  Hence this editor leaves it out.  He also remarks that other Heb. MSS. omit “a city of refuge for the slayer, in the desert.”  The last word, he says, occurs in several copies of the best note; and Houbigant inserts it on the authority of the oratorian MS. 54.  H. In some editions of the Vulg. this verse is transposed, and placed after the cities of Gad.  Louvain, R. Steph. &c. It is therefore, probable that S. Jerom found it not in Heb. but, if he inserted it, he borrowed it from the Sept.  The Syriac version places these verses before the 34th and 35th.  All this shews that the Heb. MSS. have not been kept with great care in this place.  Some have surmised that the Sept. have inserted this necessary supplement from Paral.  But they do not entirely agree with that book, so that it seems that they found these verses in their Heb. copies.  C. We have already given the Hebrew and Sept. as it is found in the common editions.  In Paral. (vi. 78,) it is thus expressed: Beyond the Jordan also, over-against Jericho, on the east side of the Jordan, out of the tribe of Ruben, Bosor in the wilderness, with its suburbs, and Jassa…79. Cademoth also…and Mephaath with its suburbs.  The word Misor, which Grabe’s Sept. and the Vulg. leave untranslated, is the Heb. word which denotes a plain, (H.) as Aquila and Sym. agree, and as appears C. xx. 8.  Deut. iv. 43, where Bosor is said to have been upon the plain of the wilderness.  This city was the famous Bosra, in the desert Arabia, between Philadelphia and Jazer, towards the east.  C. We might translate, “the cities of refuge, Bosor in the wilderness, which is also the plain” of Moab, v. 21.  H. Jaser, or Jassa, (C. xiii. 18,) different from that v. 37, which lay on the river of the same name in the tribe of Gad.  C.


Ver. 40.  Families, the four great ones, which parcelled out the cities among the several branches.  H. The Levites were only 23,000, (Num. xxvi. 62,) yet they receive more cities than what are specified for any other tribe.  It must be observed, however, that all the cities of the different tribes are not mentioned, and the Israelites might live along with those of the tribe of Levi, v. 3.  Moreover, these had only the cities, with 2000 cubits of land round them.  The Sept. here insert that Josue divided the land, and received the city of Thamnasachar; (Grabe substitutes Thamnasarach) where he deposited the knives of stone with which he had circumcised those who were born in the desert.  H. They farther remark, that they were buried in his tomb.  C. xxiv. 30.


Ver. 43.  Pass.  How then did the Chanaanites keep possession of so many places?  S. Augustine (q. 21,) answers, that they were suffered to do it for the “utility and trial” of the Israelites.  For the latter were not sufficiently numerous at first to cultivate all the land.  God had therefore promised that the nations should not be driven out all at once, lest the country should fall a prey to wild beasts.  Ex. xxiii. 29.  Masius. During the life-time of Josue, none of them durst make head against him; and if many of the tribes did not take possession of all their cities, it was owing to their own negligence.  After this hero was no more, the natives took courage, and greatly harassed the Israelites; but it is plain that the latter were not straitened for room, while Josue lived, since they invited the other tribes east of the Jordan to come and reside with them on the west, if they thought proper.  C. xvii. 19.  C.







Ver. 1.  Time; before the assembly broke up.  The 40,000 had continued to fight along with their brethren, (C.) as long as there was occasion.  Now peace being obtained, they are permitted to return to their families.  H.


Ver. 4.  And peace.  This is a farther explication of rest, (H.) which alone occurs in Heb.  It may denote a fixed and permanent abode.  Deut. iii. 20.  Ruth i. 9.


Ver. 6.  Blessed them, like a good magistrate, having given them a solemn admonition not to forget God, the source of all blessings.  H. This expression may also intimate that he loaded them with praises and with presents, and wished them all prosperity. Dwellings.  Lit. “tents,” in which they had been accustomed to live, in the desert.  Hence they gave the name to houses, temples, &c.


Ver. 8.  Riches.  Heb. Sept. &c. “cattle.” Brethren.  Grotius pretends that they were to keep what they had gotten.  But his proofs rather shew that they were to follow the ancient custom and law, which prescribed that those who had remained at home to guard the country, should share the booty with those who had gone to battle, 1 K. xxx. 24.  Num. xxxi. 27.  Some suppose that the booty was divided into equal parts, and the 40,000 would retain as much as all the rest of their brethren, who had been less exposed.  The Israelites, however, made all alike, as other nations seem to have been.  Ex. xv. 9. &c.


Ver. 9.  Galaad here denotes all that country, (C.) as Chanaan does that on the west of the Jordan (H.) and Ephraim, the ten tribes.  C.


Ver. 10.  Banks.  Heb. Goliluth, which is (C. xiii. 2, &c.) rendered Galilee, Galgal, “limits,” &c.  H. Chanaan, consequently on the western banks.  Vatable, however, says that the eastern country went sometimes by this name, on account of the Amorrhites having dwelt in it.  Josephus (v. 1.) and the Jews affirm, that the altar was built on that side; and it seems natural that these tribes would erect it in their own territories, for the benefit of their children.  C. The effect would nevertheless have been equal, on which side soever it appeared, as the Jordan was not so broad but they might see over.  H. Immensely.  Heb. “a great altar to be seen,” like those heaps which Bacchus and Alexander raised to perpetuate the memory of their victories.  Plin. vi. 16.


Ver. 12.  In Silo, without being called, as they were all fired with a holy zeal, (M.) to prevent the growth of idolatry among their brethren.  H. They knew that one altar was to be allowed (M.) in the place which the Lord should appoint.  Lev. xvii. 8.  Deut. xii. 5. &c.  H. God had ordered such cities as embraced idolatry among them, to be exterminated.  Deut. xiii. 12.  C.


Ver. 14.  Tribe.  Another of the tribe of Levi, and deputies from the other nine tribes, accompanied Phinees on this important occasion.  The Levites were most of all concerned, as their rights seemed to be particularly invaded.  H. The princes of the tribes did not (C.) perhaps (H.) go, but only men of high rank.  Kimchi says, men set over a thousand.  Heb. “ten princes with him of each chief house, a prince of all the tribes of Israel, and each one head of the house of his fathers, among the thousands of Israel.”  C. These were commissioned by Eleazar, Josue, and all the congregation, to endeavour to bring back their brethren to a sense of their duty, if they had so soon forgotten God, (H.) or if they should persist in their rebellion, to denounce an eternal war against them.  M.


Ver. 16.  Lord.  Thus Phinees shews that he speaks in the name of those who still continued faithful to the Lord.  He imputes the crime of apostacy to Ruben, &c. that they may declare more openly for what reason they had built this altar.  M.


Ver. 17.  Beelphegor.  As they lived in the country, where this idol had been adored, Phinees was afraid lest they might have built the altar in his honour.  He reminds them what destruction that worship had brought upon all Israel.  He had been particularly zealous in appeasing the wrath of God, and therefore speaks with more authority.  Heb. “is not the crime of Phegor enough for us, that we should not wish to expiate it until this day?” (C.) or Prot. “is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we are not cleansed until this day? (although there was a plague in the congregation of the Lord).”  The stain of this impiety still remained upon Israel.  They ought, therefore, to endeavour by sincere repentance, to obliterate it entirely, and not, by fresh provocations, enkindle the dreadful wrath of God.  H. There was reason to fear lest the Lord should punish this sin still more, as he is accustomed to do, when people relapse.  C. All must therefore shew their zeal to prevent such crimes, as the multitude sometimes suffers for the offence of one, when they do not take all possible care to prevent it, v. 20.  H.


Ver. 19.  Unclean, as being destitute of the ark, &c.  The Israelites had the greatest veneration for the land which God had chosen for their habitation.  Naaman loaded two mules with some of the earth.  We cannot help admiring the zeal and the disinterestedness of Phinees.  He proposes to abandon some of the possessions on the other side of the Jordan, rather than that his brethren should forsake God, or offend him.


Ver. 20.  Wickedness.  Heb. “he did not expire in his sin,” (C.) but repented; (H.) or, Did he not? &c.  The Sept. “he did not alone die in his sin.”  Chal. “but this man alone did not die in his transgression.”  C. All Israel was in consternation, and 36 were slain.  If this secret offence was so severely punished, what judgments will not the public apostacy of so many thousands draw down upon our heads!


Ver. 21.  Israel.  Sept. “answered the Chiliarchs of Israel,” who had spoken by the mouth of their president.  They repel the charge with earnestness.  H.


Ver. 22.  God.  In Heb. there are three terms, (C.) El, Elohim, Yehova, “the strong, the judge, the self-existent Being.”  To him they make their appeal.  Him they acknowledge in the first place, as the only true God, as they had been accused of departing from him, v. 19.  H. They are willing to undergo any punishment, if they had any evil intention.  M.


Ver. 23.  Sacrifice.  Heb. intimates particularly “of flour or libations.”  C.


Ver. 24.  To-morrow.  At any future period.  H. Israel.  The same idea is expressed, v. 27.  You have no part in the Lord.  You are not his peculiar people.  Of this title the Israelites were always very jealous, even when they neglected the worship and covenant of the Lord.  C. Hence these tribes take these precautions, that they may not be excluded from the society and privileges of their brethren on the other side of the Jordan.  They profess openly that they do not esteem it lawful to offer sacrifice in any other place, besides that which God had chosen.  H.


Ver. 31.  Lord, who would not have failed to punish Israel for such a crime.  C. They rejoice, therefore, not only at the fidelity of their brethren, but also on their own account, because they may now confidently look up for protection to God, instead of being in continual apprehensions of feeling his avenging arm.  H.


Ver. 32.  Into, &c.  (finium Chanaan) “of the confines of Chanaan,” which is ambiguous.  H. But the Heb. removes the difficulty in this manner.


Ver. 34.  God.  Heb. seems rather defective; (C.) “called the altar, (Syriac supplies the altar of witness) for it shall be a witness between us, that the Lord he is the God.  Ed, “witness,” is placed in the margin of Plantin’s edit. (Kennic.) and the Prot. have inserted it in the text, though in a different character, (H.) as “it is confirmed by the Syr. Arab. and Vulg. versions.”  Kimchi quotes the Chal. paraphrase, as having the word seid, “witness,” twice, which, if read in two places formerly, has been lately omitted in one, as many other alterations have perhaps been made in it, in conformity to the later copies of the Hebrew text.  It is still found in one Chal. MS. and in that of Masius.  Between the two last words of this verse, some Heb. MSS. read eva, “He.”  “The Lord, He is the God;” which not only gives an emphasis, but is expressly confirmed by the Chal.; and indeed this seems to have been a common form of confessing the belief of the one true God, 3 K. xviii. 39.  Kennic. Diss. i. Masius would translate, “They made an inscription upon the altar, declaring that it should be an eternal witness of their attachment to the Lord.”  Cora, in effect, sometimes means to write, as Alcoran, in the Arabic tongue, signifies “the scripture” (C.) of the Mahometans, which they hold in the utmost veneration, as containing the life and doctrine of their great prophet.  The Sept. (Grabe) insinuate that Josue approved of what had been done, “and Jesus gave a name to the altar,…and said, it is a witness in the midst of them, that the Lord God is their God.”  Thus, instead of war and destruction, which seemed to threaten Israel on all sides, all ended in peace and harmony.  If Christians would imitate the conduct of the Israelites, they would not so rashly condemn their neighbours on every idle report; and, if our adversaries would condescend to examine seriously into the grounds of charging idolatry upon us, and on that account waging an eternal war against us, it is to be hoped they would pronounce our doctrine innocent, and reform their own iniquitous proceedings.  H.







Ver. 1.  Long time.  Josue governed only ten years after the distribution of the land.  Towards the close of his life, perceiving that the Israelites were too indolent in subduing the people of the country, and fearing lest they should by degrees begin to imitate their corrupt manners, he called a general assembly either at his own city, or at Silo, or more probably at Sichem, (as it is mentioned C. xxiv. 1, which seems to give farther particulars of this assembly) and laid before his people, in the strongest terms, the dangers to which they would be exposed, by entertaining a friendship for the enemies of God, and by abandoning him.  C. He called together all the heads of the people.  M.


Ver. 3.  For you.  God fought for his people three ways: 1. By destroying their enemies himself in a miraculous manner, as he did the Egyptians; 2. By assisting their endeavours, as at Jericho, and in the victory of Gabaon, when he caused the walls of the former town to fall down, and hurled stones upon the fleeing enemy near the latter; (C. x.) 3. By giving courage and strength to Israel, while he filled their opponents with dismay, and this was most frequently the case.  He continues to assist his servants  in their spiritual warfare against the world, the flesh, and the devil, in all these different ways.  W.


Ver. 4.  And now.  Heb. “Behold, I have divided unto you by lot these nations, which remain to be subdued, to be an inheritance for your tribes from the Jordan, (these two words are transposed, and should come after, C.) with all the nations that I have cut offeven unto the great sea westward.”  He mildly expostulates with them for not following up his victories, by reducing the few scattered nations whom he had abandoned to them as a prey.  H. They ought to be considered not only as the enemies of God, but also as unjust detainers of another’s right, and Josue promises that nothing will be wanting on the part of God to render their reduction easy, if they will but do their duty to Him and to themselves.  H.


Ver. 7.  Come in, an expression which may denote any familiarity, or marriage.  M. Heb. is in the form of a prohibition, “Come not among (have no connections with) these nations…Neither mention their gods, nor swear (or cause to swear by them.”)  The psalmist (xv. 4,) says, speaking either of idols, (H.) or of sinners, Nor will I be mindful of their names by my lips.  Osee (ii. 16,) says, She shall call me no more Baali, (“my lord,” a term applied by wives to their husbands) on account of its reminding one of the idol Baal.  Hence David calls Jerobaal, or Gedeon, Jeroboschot, 2 K. xi. 21.  S. Paul would not have Christians so much as to name the sins of impurity.  Ephes. v. 3.  The more religious Jews will not even mention an idol, or an unclean animal; and they beg pardon before they speak of a heretic.  Drusius. Some understand that the worship of idols is meant by naming them, as those who invoked the name of Jesus Christ, were his disciples.  Acts ix. 14.  1 Tim. ii. 19.  Ex. xx. 24.  To swear by idols is always sinful, (Ex. xxiii. 13,) while it is an act of religion to swear on proper occasions, by the name of God.  Theophrastus (ap. Joseph. c. Ap. i.) observes, that the laws of the Tyrians prohibit the using of foreign oaths, such as that of the Corban, which was peculiar to the Jews.  C.


Ver. 8.  Day.  Those who had formerly given way to idolatry were all cut off, and all Israel had lately given a proof of their attachment unto the Lord.  H.


Ver. 10.  Thousand.  This Moses had repeatedly foretold.  Lev. xxvi. 13.  Deut. xxviii. 7.


Ver. 13.  Side.  Heb. “snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your side.”  Children and slaves were formerly beaten on this part.  Eccli. xxx. 12. and xlii. 5.  Horace (epod. iv.) says, Ibericis peruste funibus latus.  The first word S. Jerom seems to have read with th at the end, as peth, means a hole, (C.) by which means it was customary to take wild beasts, and to annoy the enemy.  H. Sept. render side, “they shall be nails in your heels.”


Ver. 14.  This day: shortly I must die.  C. Metam properamus ad unam.  (Hor.)  “We hasten to one common goal.”  H. The pagans called death, or the grave, the common place; and Plautus says, in the same sense, Quin prius me ad plures penetravi.  (C.)  “Before I penetrate the receptacle of the many.”  H. Mind.  Heb. “you know in your hearts, and in all your souls;” you are convinced, you cannot be ignorant that God has fulfilled his engagements.  C. The Sept. read, “you shall know,” &c.  The experience of future ages will only establish this truth more fully.  H.


Ver. 16.  And speedily.  This word is added to express the force of the Heb. term.  M. “Punishment is seldom lame in overtaking the wicked.  H. This.  He emphatically sets before them what labours they had sustained in making the acquisition, and what ingratitude they will be guilty of, if they ever forfeit so great a blessing.  M. The threat or prediction was verified during the captivity, and still more after the destruction of Jerusalem.  C.







Ver. 1.  Of Israel.  There seems no reason for restricting this to the ancients, &c.  On this solemn occasion, when all Israel was probably assembled at one of the great festivals, Josue concluded his exhortation, by renewing the covenant (C.) in the place where he had formerly complied with the injunction of Moses.  C. viii. 31.  H. In Sichem, in the field which Jacob had purchased, and where a great oak (v. 26,) was growing, that had been honoured, it is thought, with the presence of the patriarchs.  It was near the two famous mountains of Garizim and Hebal.  C. Sichem was at the foot of the former mountain of blessings; and Josephus informs us, the altar was erected in its vicinity.  No fitter place could therefore have been selected by the aged chief, to conclude the actions of his life, and to attach the people to the religion which they had once received, in the most signal manner.  The Vat. and Alex. copies (H.) of the Sept. followed by S. Aug. (q. 30,) read Silo, where the tabernacle was fixed: but all the rest agree with the original, and with the ancient versions, in retaining Sichem, to which place the ark was removed on this occasion, (C.) the distance of ten (S. Jer.) or twelve miles.  Eus. It is not probable that an oak would be growing in the sanctuary, near the altar, contrary to the express prohibition of the Lord, v. 26.  Deut. xvi. 21.  C. Many interpreters suppose that the assembly might be held at Silo, in the territory of Sichem.  T.  M.  Serarius. But the distance seems too great; and Bonfrere rather thinks that the copies of the Sept. have been altered.  H. Salien remarks, that they might go in solemn procession from Sichem to Silo.  A. 2600.


Ver. 2.  Of the river.  The Euphrates.  Ch. Gods.  Some think that Abraham himself was in his youth engaged in the worship of idols, (though this is denied by S. Aug. C. D. xvi. 13.  Theod. q. 18, &c.  W.) as well as his father, &c. v. 14.  Gen. xi. 31.  Thare was the father of both Abraham and Nachor, (Gen. xi. 26,) unless (H.) the grandfather (M.) of Abraham be meant, who was also called Nachor, (H.) as well as Rebecca’s grandfather.  Gen. xxiv.  W.


Ver. 3.  From the.  Heb. and Sept. “other side of the flood or river,” where Mesopotamia commences.  H.


Ver. 4.  Isaac, the promised seed and heir of the blessings, (C.) after Ismael was born.  H.


Ver. 6.  You.  Many still survived, and had seen these wonders, as God had only exterminated those who had murmured.


Ver. 9. Fought, not perhaps with the sword, but by endeavouring to get Israel cursed, that so he might be unable to make any resistance.  He had the will to fight, and in this sense princes are said to be at war, though they never come to an engagement.  3 K. xiv. 38.  C. Balac shut his gates against Israel.  S. Aug. q. 26.


Ver. 11.  Men.  Heb. “the masters of Jericho,” which may denote either the king or the inhabitants.  It is thought that people of the different nations were come to defend the city, or the text may signify that not only Jericho, but these different people, (C.) fought successively against the people of God, but all in vain.  H. The fighting of the inhabitants of Jericho was only intentional; a miracle rendered all their efforts abortive.  Yet this is called fighting in scripture (v. 9,) as well as in other authors.  “We judge of actions by the intention, says S. Isidore: (Pelus. ii. ep. 289,) the person who intended to murder is punished, though he only inflicted a wound; and on the other hand, he who dills undesignedly receives a pardon.”  So Orion was said to have violated Diana, because he wished to do it; and Virgil, (viii.) speaking of some who already thought they were in possession of the capital, says, Galli per dumos aderant, arcemque tenebant, “they seized the citadel,” though they never entered it.  C. Yet it is probable that the inhabitants of Jericho would defend themselves.  M.


Ver. 12.  Hornets.  S. Aug. explains this of the rumours, or devils, which terrified the people of the country.  But it is generally understood literally.  Wisd. xii. 8.  M.  Ex. xxiii. 28.  C. The two, &c. not only the nations on the west, but also those on the east side of the Jordan, who fell, not so much by the valour of the Israelites, as by the terror and judgments of God.  H. The resistance which they made was hardly worth mentioning.


Ver. 14.  The gods.  Some still retained in their hearts an affection for these idols, though privately; (C.) so that Josue could not convict them, or bring them to condign punishment; as no doubt he, and Moses before him, would have done, if they had been apprized of any overt act of idolatry.  Amos (v. 26,) says, You carried a tabernacle for your Moloch and the image of your idols, &c. which is confirmed by Ezec. xxiii. 3. 8. and Acts vii. 42.  For these acts many of the people were punished, (Num. xxv. 3. 9,) and the rest were either sincerely converted, or took care to hide their impiety till after the death of Josue.  Yet the secret inclination of many was still corrupt; and these no sooner found a proper opportunity than they relapsed repeatedly into the worship of idols, for which reason the prophets represent their disposition as criminal from their youth.  H. S. Augustine (q. 29,) cannot think that the people, who are so often praised for their fidelity during the administration of Josue and of the ancients, (C. xxii. 2. and xxiii. 3. 8. and xxiv. 31,) and who had testified such zeal against every appearance of idolatry in Ruben, (C. xxii.) should be themselves infected with this deadly poison.  He therefore supposes that Josue exhorts them to repent, if any of them should have retained a predilection for the worship of their ancestors in Mesopotamia, and in Egypt, (C.) which, by the prophetic light he saw, was secretly the case.  W. Yet, though the great majority was clear of this crime, it seems many concealed from their leaders their secret attachment to it, v. 23; (C.) or if they were sincere, for a time, their former bad habits soon gained the ascendancy, and involved them in perdition.  H. Fathers.  He does not exempt Abraham, and the Jews acknowledge that he was once an idolater, which is the opinion of S. Ephrem, of the author of the Recognitions, B. i., and of many moderns; some of whom think that S. Paul gives him the epithet of impious, or ungodly, on that account.  Rom. iv. 5.  The idolatry of the Hebrews in Egypt, is no less certain than that of their ancestors in Mesopotamia.  Ezec. xxiii. 2. 8. 27.  C.


Ver. 15.  Choice.  Josue was persuaded that no restraint could bind the will; (H.) and that, if the Israelites did not freely adhere to the Lord, they would not serve him long, nor would their adoration have any merit.  C. Hence he endeavours by all means to draw from them a free and candid acknowledgment of his divinity; and he leads the way, by declaring that all his house will adhere to the true and only God.  They answer his fullest expectations, and profess in the most cordial manner, that every tie of gratitude must bind them for ever to the service of the same Lord.  H. Elias makes a similar proposition; (3 K. xviii. 21.  See Eccli. xv. 18.  M.) not that it can be ever lawful to choose evil and to reject the sovereign good.  But by this method the minds and hearts of the audience are stimulated to make the free and decided election of what alone can ensure their eternal happiness.  H. Thus we often set before the people hell or heaven for their choice.  M.


Ver. 19.  You will not be able to serve the Lord, &c.  This was not said by way of discouraging them; but rather to make them more earnest and resolute, by setting before them the greatness of the undertaking, and the courage and constancy necessary to go through with it.  Ch. Josue knew the fickle temper of his subjects.  He insinuates, therefore, that if they do not lay that aside, they will not stand to their engagements, (C.) and will irritate God the more, if they enter into a covenant with him, and afterwards prove inconsistent.  Heb. La thuclu, “you cannot,” may perhaps have the first u redundant; (Ken.) as that is a letter which is often inserted or omitted at the transcriber’s pleasure.  Aben Ezra.  Simon. Hallet suggests that we ought to read lo thucelu, “you shall not cease,” which would obviate the apparent difficulty of Josue’s attempting, as it were, to cool the fervour of the people, by insinuating that they will not be able to stick to their resolutions, and that at a time when he is exerting every nerve to make them sensible of their duty, and to engage them to swear an inviolable fidelity to the Lord.  “Cease not to serve the Lord, for he is a holy God, he is a jealous God, he will not forgive your rebellion, (Copssácos. Job xxxiv. 27,) nor your sins; if you forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and consume you.”  Ken. Dis. 2. If we were to read with an interrogation, “Will you not be able? &c. it might answer the same end.  Josue may be considered as starting an objection, which is but too common in the mouth of the slothful, and of many of the pretended reformers, Luther, &c. who endeavour to persuade the world that they are not able to comply with the rigour of God’s law, and even make his severity an encouragement for their despair.  Josue replies that these pretexts are groundless, and that God, who has already done so much for them, (v. 20,) will not abandon them in their wants, if they cry unto him; and that, instead of being dejected by the thought of his judgments, they ought to strive, with the utmost fervour, to comply with his divine will.  H. A general sometimes withholds the ardour of his soldiers, telling them that they are not a match for the enemy, in order to inflame their courage the more.  M. A torrent which has been long repressed, rushes forward with greater fury when the dam is broken down.  H.


Ver. 20.  Turn, and alter his conduct in your regard, instead of being your protector, he will destroy you.


Ver. 21.  Lord.  We shall not experience the chastisements with which thou hast threatened us, because we will adhere inviolably to the Lord.  C.


Ver. 25.  Covenant.  He renewed the one that had been formerly made, stipulating, on the part of God, that the people should serve Him alone, v. 23.  After which he probably read some of the most striking passages of Deuteronomy, (C.) particularly the Decalogue, or ten commandments, with the blessings and curses which enforced the observance of them.  C. v. and xxvii. and xxviii. and xxix. and xxx.  H. Then the people swore that they would observe the law, the customary sacrifices were offered, and a record of the whole was subjoined by Josue to that of Moses, in order that it might be deposited in or near the ark.  Deut. xxxi. 26.  C. This renewal of the covenant prefigured the law of grace.  S. Aug. q. 30.  W.


Ver. 26.  Lord, particularly what related to the ratification of the covenant, which was the last public act of this great man.  He placed it in its proper order in the continuation of the sacred history, which Moses had commenced.  H. Stone unpolished, except where there was an inscription, relating what had taken place.  M. This monument of religion was not forbidden.  Deut. xvi. 22.  C. Oak.  Heb. alla, is translated a turpentine tree, Gen. xxxv. 4. (H.) and by the Sept. here.  But most people translate the oak.  Chal. Aquila, &c.  Under it Jacob buried the idols of Laban, and Abimelech was chosen king; (Judg. ix. 6,) as Abraham had entertained the angels under the same tree, Gen. xviii. 1, (C.) and had sat under it when he first came into Sichem.  Gen. xii. 6.  On which supposition it must have subsisted about 500 years.  M. It was even shewn some ages after Christ.  But it is hardly credible that the same tree should have continued for such a length of time. Sanctuary, or tent, where the ark was placed on this occasion under the oak.  C.  Bonfrere. Some think it was at Silo.  M.  v. 1. Kennicott denies that the ark was present, and supposes that they offered sacrifice upon the very altar which Josue had erected on Garizim, between 20 and 30 years before; and that this mountain is here called the sanctuary or “holy place.”  Upon it the oak might very well grow, and Josue might “with great propriety take some large stone, and set it up for a witness, making at the same time this striking remark, that this stone had heard all the words of the Lord, or had been present when his law was inscribed and read to the people at their former solemn convention.”  Hence he infers against Collins, “that the Jews had thoughts of worshipping, and did worship at Gerizim long before the separation of Israel from Juda;” and it was probably for fear of the Israelites returning to a sense of their duty, by the sight of these monuments of the old religion, that Jeroboam refrained from setting up his golden calves in the vicinity.  Diss. ii. p. 119.  H.


Ver. 27.  It hath heard.  This is a figure of speech, by which sensation is attributed to inanimate things; and they are called upon, as it were, to bear witness in favour of the great Creator, whom they on their part constantly obey, (Ch). which is the best manner of hearing.  They rise up to our confusion.  Theod. q. 19.  W. The oriental writers delight in these strong figurative expressions, which are not confined to poetry.  Jesus Christ says, that if the children were silent, the stones would cry out.  Luc. xix. 40.  See Num. xiii. 33.  Gen. iv. 10.  C. Lest.  Heb. “it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest you deny your God;” or lit. “lie unto your Elohim.”  H. The expression often means to revolt and prove faithless.  Deut. xxxiii. 29. &c.


Ver. 29.  And after, &c.  If Josue wrote this book, as is commonly believed, these last verses were added by Samuel, or some other prophet.  Ch. Scholastic Hist.  W. Josue had governed Israel 17 years with the greatest prudence and fidelity.  C. Some extend his administration to a longer period.  H. He paid the debt of nature probably not long after the ratification of the covenant.  It does not appear that he was ever married.  S. Jerom, c. Jov. 1.  S. Chrys. The Scripture does not mention that the people mourned for him, as they had done for Moses, &c.  Yet we cannot doubt but they would shew this mark of respect to his memory, on account of the many benefits which they had received from him.  The Holy Ghost has vouchsafed to be his panegyrist.  Num. xxvii. 12.  Eccli. xlvi. 1. &c.  Josephus (v. 1,) represents him as a most universal character, equally perfect in every thing that he took in hand.  His greatest honour is to have been so striking a figure of Jesus, whose name he bore, (C.) and whose sacred office in administering a second circumcision after he had caused the people to cross the Jordan, he so well described.  Like him he introduces the faithful into the land of promise, overthrows their enemies, and establishes them in peace, taking care both at the beginning and at the end of his administration, to set before their eyes the will of the heavenly Father, the God who is both holy and jealous, v. 19.  Under Josue the Israelites are invincible, only as long as they continue faithful.  C. vii.  But Jesus secures his Church both from infidelity and from the attacks of all her enemies, by his all-powerful grace.  H. The Jews have attributed to Josue ten regulations, which are too trifling to have been made by him.  Seld. Jur. vi. 2. The Samaritan chronicle embellishes the account of this great man with many surprising and puerile fictions, as if the true history were not sufficient to excite our attention.  See Basnage and Serarius.  C. The Jews say Josue died on the 26th of Nisan, unmarried.  The Roman martyrology honours his memory on the 1st of Sept.  Salien, A.C. 1453.  It is probable that the Egyptian or Tyrean Hercules, who encountered so many giants and difficulties, was no other than Josue, whose history the pagans have obscured with fables.  Vossius.  H.


Ver. 30.  Thamnathsare.  Judg. ii. 9.  The last word is written hares (eros) the first and last letters being transposed in one of these places.  It may probably be in this verse, as we read of Mount Hares, Jud. i. 35.  Kennicott rather thinks that Sare is the proper reading, as it is found in the Syr. Arab. and Vulg. versions of the Book of Judges.  He observes, that if we were to read in an English historian that the renowned Marlborough was buried at Blenheim, near Woodstock, and a few pages after that his remains were interred “at Blenmeih, &c. we should naturally conclude that two letters had exchanged their places.  And may we not allow the same in this part of the sacred history, as it is universally printed” in Hebrew?  Dis. i.  Some, however, maintain that Thamnath hares was so called, on account of “the image of the sun” being placed in the tomb of Josue, along with the knives of stone used by him in circumcision, which last the Sept. and S. Aug. (q. 30,) admit.  But these must be reckoned among the Jewish or Oriental fables, (C.) though it is not improbable but the circumcising knives might be thus preserved, as a monument of the covenant made with the Israelites.  H. Gaas.  This was another name for Mount Sare, or Hares, a part of Mount Ephraim; where S. Jerom tells us S. Paula visited the tomb of Josue.  It was shewn near Thamna in the days of Eusebius.  C. No mention is made of mourning, as for Moses, &c. to insinuate that under the law the saints descended into limbo, but are admitted into paradise under the gospel.  S. Jer. mans. 34.  W.


Ver. 31.  Long time; perhaps fifteen years.  These ancients kept the people in order by their authority (C.) and good example, so great an influence have the manners of superiors upon those of the subjects.  M. Regis ad exemplar totus componitur orbis.  See 2 Par. xxiv. 2. 16.  After the death of these virtuous rulers, who had been formed in the school of Moses and of Josue, and had beheld the wonders of God, (H.) the people began to embrace the worship of Baalim.  Judg. ii. 11.


Ver. 32.  Sichem.  Joseph had charged his brethren to take his bones with them.  Gen. l. 24.  Ex. xiii. 19.  Masius supposes that they were solemnly interred after the altar was erected near Sichem, and the covenant ratified, when all the people were together.  Others think that they deferred doing this till the country was conquered and divided.  Josue would lose no time unnecessarily in performing these last rites to the revered patriarch. Field.  Jacob had given this field to his son.  He had first purchased it; (Gen. xxxiii. 19,) and when the Amorrhite had taken possession again, after the unhappy affair at Sichem, he recovered it by the sword.  Gen. xlviii. 22. Ewes.  Heb. Kesita may denote also some species of money, though not perhaps marked with any figure of a lamb, &c.  C. Prot. “pieces of silver.”  H. The mausoleum of Joseph at Sichem, was to be seen in S. Jerom’s time.  q. Heb. in Gen.  W.


Ver. 33.  Eleazar, the second high priest, was succeeded by his son Phinees.  They were both of a very unexceptionable character.  The Holy Ghost says, (Eccli. xlv. 28,) Phinees, the son of Eleazar, is the third in glory, by imitating him (his father or grandfather) in the fear of the Lord, &c.  The Jews seem to have adopted the doctrine of Pythagoras, with respect to Phinees, (H.) as they say that he was the man of God, (3 K. ii. 27,) who appeared to Heli, (Trad. Heb. in Reg.) and that he was consulted by Jephte, and gave him advice to fulfil his vow; that he was the same person with Elias, and with one Phinees, who returned from the captivity with Esdras.  1 Par. ix. 20.  They will even have him to be an incarnate angel.  Ap. Munster, &c.  But without dwelling any longer on these fabulous accounts, (C.) he was surely a man of the greatest zeal and piety.  H. In consideration of his extraordinary merit, the city of Gabaath was given to him, though it was not properly a sacerdotal city, and priests could not regularly possess any land as their inheritance.  Grotius supposes that he obtained this city along with his wife, as she was an heiress of the tribe of Ephraim.  But if that had been the case, must she not have married some of the same tribe?  Num. xxxvi. 8.  C. Sept. (Grabe) add, “In that day the children of Israel taking the ark of the covenant of God, carried it about among themselves, and Phinees was priest instead of his father, till he died, and he was buried in Gabaath, his own city.  But the Israelites went each to his own place and city; and the children of Israel worshipped Astarte and Asteroth, and the gods of the surrounding nations, and the Lord delivered them into the hands of Eglon, the king of Moab, and he held them in subjection 18 years.”  See Judg. iii. 12. 14.  Why this is recorded in this place does not appear, unless it be to insinuate that the servitude under Eglon did not commence till after the death of Phinees, who had been high priest 40 years.  Abisue, his son, entered upon the pontificate in the first year of the administration of Aod.  1 Par. vi. 4. 50.  Salien, A.M. 2641, A.C. 1412.  Josue and Eleazar had reigned nearly during the same period of time, and finished their course together.  They had assisted each other in keeping the people of God under due restraint.  Their successors in office acted with the like zeal and concord, though they were not quite so successful.  It is probable that Phinees would have the chief sway in “the aristocracy” of the ancients, which Josephus says took place between Josue and Othoniel.  Their government is acknowledged by most authors, though Salien supposes that their authority, as distinct from the Sanhedrim, consisted in giving good example.  Many assert that Phinees ruled the people twenty-three years.  H.








This Book is called Judges, because it contains the history of what passed under the government of the judges, who ruled Israel before they had kings.  The writer of it, according to the more general opinion, was the prophet Samuel.  Ch. Some are of opinion, that the judges might have each left records of their respective administrations, (M.) which might be put in order by Samuel.  The author of this book seems to have lived under the reign of Saul, before David had expelled the Jebusites.  C. xviii. 31.  D. The captivity, which is mentioned v. 30, must be understood of that when the ark of God, as well as the idol Micha, and many of the people were taken by the Philistines.  Huet. Many passages of the Psalms, &c. are taken from this book, which shew its antiquity.  Ps. lxvii. 8.  2 K. xi. 21.  The divine Providence is here displayed in a very striking manner.  D. The theocracy still subsisted and God generally chose these judges to be his ministers, and to deliver the people, on their repentance, from some dreadful calamity.  H. They exercised a supreme power, yet without bearing the insignia of regal authority, or imposing taxes, or making any alteration in the established laws.  The Suffetes, who were Carthaginian magistrates, seem to have taken their name from these Ssuptim.  D. When God did not raise up judges, in an extraordinary manner, a kind of anarchy prevailed.  H. Each of the tribes regarded only their own affairs, and the republic was dissolved.  Grotius. Prosperous and unfortunate days succeeded each other, in proportion as the people gave themselves up to repentance or to dissolution.  Sicut se habebant peccata populi & misericordia Dei, alternaverunt prospera & adversa bellorum.  S. Aug. C. D. xviii. 23.  S. Jerom (ep. ad Eust. & ad Paulin.) exhorts us to penetrate the spiritual sense of the historical books, and he regards “the judges as so many figures” of the apostles, who established the church of Christ.  Though some of them had been noted for their misconduct, they were reclaimed by the grace of God.  Then all the judges, every one by name, whose heart was not corrupted, who turned not away from the Lord, that their memory might be blessed, &c.  Eccli. xlvi. 13. 14.  W. S. Paul mentions four of them, though the conduct of Jephte and of Samson might have been regarded as more exceptionable than that of Othoniel, who is said to have been filled with the spirit of the Lord.  C. iii. 10.  Serarius doubts not but they are all in heaven.  Salien (A. 2640,) supposes that the transactions recorded in the five last chapters, took place before this 40th year from the death of Josue, which was the last of Othoniel.  With respect to the chronology of these times, there are many opinions.  Houbigant endeavours to shew that the system of Usher is inadmissible, as well as that of Petau.  Marsham maintains that many of the captivities, and of the Judges, related only to some tribes, so that the different years which are specified, must be referred to the same period of time.  Thus while Jephte ruled over those on the east side of the Jordan, and fought against the Ammonites, other judges endeavoured to repel the armies of the Philistines on the west.  See 3 K. vi. 1.  Judg. xi. 16.  By this expedient, he finds no difficulty in shewing that 480 years elapsed from the departure out of Egypt till the building of the temple, and that the Israelites had occupied the country of the Ammonites during the space of 300 years.  H. Houbigant seems to adopt this system in some respects, and he thinks that errors have crept into some of the numbers, so that Aod procured a peace of only 20 instead of 80 years, &c.  He observes that the name of judge here designates, 1. A warrior, like Samson; 2. a person who passes sentence according to the law, which was the office of Heli; 3. one divinely commissioned to exercise the sovereign authority, as Samuel did, even after Saul had been elected king.  Proleg. Chronol.  Others have compared the power of these judges with that of the Roman Dictators, or the Archontes of Athens.  Serarius. They were properly God’s lieutenants.  Their revenue seems to have been very precarious, and their exterior deportment modest and unassuming.  They were guided by the declarations of the high priests, when arrayed with the Urim and Thummim; and their business was to promote the observance of the true religion, and to defend the people of God.  This book concludes with the history of Samson, describing the transactions of 317 years, (C.) according to the calculation of Usher, which has met with the approbation of many of the learned, and is therefore chiefly inserted in this edition, as it was in that which was published in 1791, at Dublin, by the care of the Rev. B. Mac Mahon, who seems to have made some alterations.  It is not indeed free from many serious difficulties.  But we have not leisure to examine them at present.  See C. iii. 11. 30.  We shall only subjoin the chronological table of Houbigant, which is not very common, that the reader may perceive where they are chiefly at variance.  Moses governed 40 years, Josue 20, the Ancients 20, king of Mesopotamia 8, Othoniel 40, Moabites 18, Aod 20, Samgar 0, the Chanaanites 20, Debora and Barac 40, Madianites 7, Gedeon 40, Abimelech 3, Thola 23, Ammonites 0, Jair 22, Jephte 6, Abesan 7, Ahialon 10, Abdon 8, Philistines 0, Samson 20, and with Heli 20, Heli and Samuel 25, Samuel and Saul 20, David 40, Solomon 3.  In the 4th year of his reign the temple was begun, 480 years after the liberation from Egypt.  Those to whom no years are assigned, lived at the same time with others whose years enter into the calculation.  Thus Samgar gained a victory over the Philistines, while the Chanaanites held the Israelites in subjection.  C. iii. 31.  For other particulars we must refer to the author.  Chron. sacra.  H.







Ver. 1.  After.  Heb. “And after,” as if this consultation had taken place immediately after the decease of their late victorious general, who had not pointed out his successor.  But it is probable that the ancients who governed in their respective tribes, (C.) were only roused to this act of vigour some time after, on seeing the preparations of the Chanaanites, particularly of Adonibezec, whose power became very alarming.  H. Indeed it is wonderful how he had escaped the vigilance of Josue, if he had been king during the lifetime (C.) of that enterprising leader.  It is therefore more likely that he took advantage of the lethargy of the Israelites after his death, and rose to a degree of eminence, which made the people of God consult the high priest, how they were to resist his efforts, (H.) who was to be their generalissimo, (C.) or which of the tribes was to make head against him.  M. God only gave answer to the last question, and it does not appear that all Israel was engaged in this war.  After the defeat of the king, the different tribes might easily have subdued the enemies who held possession of part of their territory, if they had been vigorous.


Ver. 2.  Said, by the mouth of Phinees, (Josephus v. 2,) who had succeeded Eleazar in the pontificate.  The latter survived Josue some time, so that this must have happened some time later.  Le Clerc offers violence to the text, when he asserts that the war against Adonibezec took place under the government of Josue. Juda.  Some suppose that this is the name of the leader: but most people conclude from the sequel, that it designated the tribe.  C. This first judge was of this tribe, but not all of them.  The manner of consulting the Lord was by the high priest praying before the tabernacle.  Ex. xxix.  W.


Ver. 3.  Brother.  They had the same mother, Lia, and were intermixed in the same country.  The two tribes unite both for the public and their own private advantage.  The king whom they attacked first, did not dwell in the territory of Juda, as the others did, whom they defeated in this chapter.


Ver. 4.  Pherezite.  This name denotes “a countryman,” as the former does “a merchant.”  None of the children of Chanaan were of this appellation.  Gen. x. 15.  The people of the country assembled therefore at Bezec, where Saul called a rendezvous when he was going to attack Jabes, and which seems to have been near the Jordan, 17 miles from Sichem.  Eus.  S. Jer. It signifies “lightning.”  A place of this name lies to the west of Bethlehem.  M.


Ver. 5.  Adonibezec, “Lord of Bezec.”  The cruelty of this tyrant, and the oppression which he probably made some of the Israelites suffer, roused their attention, and they treated him as he had treated others.  He had perhaps recourse to such a cruel expedient, to disable his enemies from ever entering the lists against him afterwards, as the Athenians, who cut off the fingers of the inhabitants of Egina, that these islanders might not dispute with them the empire of the sea.  Cic. Offic. 3.  Some have thus maimed themselves that they might be exempted from going to war, a practice not unusual among the Romans; and the Italian word poltron, signifies one whose fingers are cut off, as it was supposed, out of cowardice.  David ordered the hands and the feet of the murderers of Isboseth to be cut off, and this sort of punishment is common in the eastern countries.  Eight hundred Greeks who had been treated in this manner by the Persians, presented themselves to Alexander, at Persepolis, to implore his protection.  Curt. &c.


Ver. 7.  Table, at different times.  H. These were probably princes of some cities of Chanaan, who had been conquered by the tyrant.  He obliged them to feed, like dogs, of what he threw down from his splendid table.  Thus Sesostris made the kings whom he had overcome, drag his chariot.  Sapor forced the Emperor Valerian to serve as a footstool, when he got on horseback.  Tamberlane fed Bajazet in a cage, like a wild beast.  Jovius, &c.  C. Me.  So true is that Wisdom (xi. 17,) by what things a man sinneth, by the same also he is tormented.  M.


Ver. 8.  Jerusalem.  This city was divided into two; one part was called Jebus, the other Salem; the one was in the tribe of Juda, the other in the tribe of Benjamin.  After it was taken and burnt by the men of Juda, it was quickly rebuilt again by the Jebusites, as we may gather from v. 21, and continued in their possession till it was taken by king David.  Ch. Fire.  They treated it with such severity, because it seems to have revolted, (Serarius) though the text of Josue (x. 25,) only says that the king was slain.  But (C. xv. 63. and here) v. 21. it is said, that the children of Juda and of Benjamin dwelt along with the Jebusites.


Ver. 9.  Plains, towards the west, which were very fruitful.  They did not expel all the inhabitants from this part, as they had done from the mountains, which lay on the south of the promised land, v. 19.  C.


Ver. 10.  Hebron.  This expedition against Hebron, &c. is the same as is related Jos. xv. 24.  It is here repeated, to give the reader at once a short sketch of all the achievements of the tribe of Juda against the Chanaanites.  Ch. Josue had taken Hebron before; (Jos. x. 37,) and Caleb retakes it.  C.


Ver. 11.  The city of letters.  Perhaps so called, from some famous school or library kept there.  Ch. The explanation, that is, &c. is added by the Vulg.  H. Madrid, in Arabic, means “the mother of sciences.”  M.


Ver. 13.  Brother, or near relation, but  much younger.  See Jos. xv. 17.  C.


Ver. 16.  The Cinite.  Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, was called Cinæus, or the Cinite: and his children, who came along with the children of Israel, settled themselves among them in the land of Chanaan, embracing their worship and religion.  From these the Rechabites sprang, of whom see Jerem. xxxv. The city of palms.  Jericho, so called from the abundance of palm-trees, (Ch). or rather Engaddi, which is sometimes called Hazazon-Thamar, on that account.  It lies nearer to the Dead Sea.  Jericho was not rebuilt till the reign of Achab.  See Jos. vi. 26. Arad was one of the most southern towns of Juda, near the country of the Amalecites.  Saul ordered the descendants of Jethro to depart from among them.  1 K. xv. 6.  The Israelites had defeated the king of Arad long before.  Num. xxi. 1.  C. With him.  Heb. “the people” of Israel, (M.) or of Arad.  C.


Ver. 17.  Sephaath, near Maresa, where Asa defeated the king of Arabia.  2 Par. xiv. 9.  It was also called Sephata, and afterwards Horma.  C. Sept. “they anathematized it, and utterly destroyed it, and they called the city Exolethreusis, “utter ruin.”  H. Whether they had engaged themselves by vow to do so, or they treated the city in this manner in thanksgiving for the victory, is uncertain.  M.


Ver. 18.  Gaza, &c.  These were three of the principal cities of the Philistines, famous both in sacred and profane history.  They were taken at this time by the Israelites; but as they took no care to put garrisons in them, the Philistines soon recovered them again, (Ch). or perhaps the villages and territory were only seized by Juda; the cities being too well defended.  Josue had not attacked them.  Jos. xii. 3.  Josephus says that only Ascalon and Azotus, in the plain, fell into the hands of the Israelites; and the Roman Sept. reads with a negation, (C.) which is inserted by Grabe in his edition as an interpolation, or as a peculiarity of the Alex. MSS. “and Juda did (not) possess Gaza with its dependencies, and Ascalon…and Accaron…and Azotus, with its fields around.”  H. The situation of Gaza, Ascalon and Accaron in the plain, would seem to secure them from being captured, v. 19.  S. Aug. and Procopius admit the negation.  But the original and all the versions reject it, so that the children of Juda must  have had possession of these cities at least for a short time.  C.  See C. xv. and xvi.  1 K. vi. 17.  M.


Ver. 19.  Was not able, &c.  Through a cowardly fear of their chariots armed with hooks and scythes, and for want of confidence in God.  Ch. Heb. does not sy expressly that Juda could not: quia non ad expellendum, &c.  He had not the courage or the will.  With God’s assistance, what had he to fear?  Were these Philistines with their chariots, more terrible than the giants in their fortresses? Scythes.  Heb. receb barzel, “chariots of iron.”  C. The Rom. and Alex. Sept. have “Rechab was opposed to them.”  H. The edit. of Basil adds, “and they had chariots of iron,” as S. Aug. (q. 5,) reads.  A double translation is thus given.  C. These chariots were calculated to cut down all that came in contact with them.  Curt. iv.  W.


Ver. 20.  Enac, mentioned v. 10.  Sept. add, that “he took the three cities…and destroyed,” &c.  See Jos. xv. 14.  H.


Ver. 21.  Day, before the reign of David.  See Jos. xv. 63.  The Jebusites occupied the citadel, &c.  C.


Ver. 22.  Of Joseph, on the west side of the Jordan, attacked Bethel, which it does not appear that Josue molested.  H. Instead of house, some Heb. MSS. and the Arab. and Sept. read, “the sons,” which seems to be the better reading.  Kennicott.


Ver. 23.  Besieging.  Heb. “sent to descry,” or they came upon it like spies.


Ver. 24.  Mercy.  The city belonged of right to them, so that they might use this means, as they were not bound to enquire by what motives the man was actuated thus to betray his country.  He might be convinced, like Rahab, that God had granted it to the Israelites, and these might justly requite his good dispositions and suffer him to depart in peace.  Bonf.  Grot.  C.


Ver. 26.  Hetthim.  The Hethite lived towards the south of Chanaan.  The man probably retired into the stony Arabia, where we find the city of Lusa or Elysa.  Ptolemy v. 16. He gave it this name in memory of his native city, (C.) which was called Luza, or “of nuts.”  M.


Ver. 27.  Bethsan, &c.  See Jos. xvii. 11. Began.  Heb. “would dwell.”  H. The Israelites sinfully acquiesced, partly through slothfulness and the dislike of war, and partly that they might receive tribute from the Chanaanites.  M.


Ver. 28.  Them.  We shall see the punishment of their prevarication during the greatest part of this book.  C.


Ver. 31.  Accho.  Heb. haco.  The Greeks not knowing the derivation of this word, supposed that the city was so called from ake, “a remedy,” as they pretend that Hercules was cured in this place.  It was also called Ptolemais, after the king of Egypt.  The little river Belus, and the famous bed of sand so proper for making glass, were in the neighbourhood.  Plin. v. 19. Ahalab.  The situation is unknown, unless it be Aleppo.  They say it is the famous city of Berea.  C.


Ver. 35.  He dwelt.  That is, the Amorrhite.  Ch. Heb. “But the Amorrhites would dwell in Mount Hares, in Aialon, and in Salebim.”  Some copies of the Sept. seem to give the meaning of these proper names, though inaccurately.  H. Solomon had one of his twelve officers at Salebim, in the tribe of Dan.  3 K. iv. 9.


Ver. 36.  Rock, Petra, the capital of Arabia, which Josephus (iii. 2,) assigns to Amalec.  The Amorrhites dwelt in many parts of the land of promise, (C.) particularly in the higher places about the Dead Sea.  H.







Ver. 1.  An angel.  Taking the shape of a man, (Ch). such as had appeared to Josue, (C. v. 13.  M.) the guardian angel of Israel.  H. The Jews commonly suppose that it was Phinees, the high priest.  Mal. ii. 8.  Drusius.  But he might be dead with the rest of the ancients when this took place, as the Israelites seem to have experienced many difficulties in consequence of their repeated prevarications, before this messenger was sent to them.  He might very probably be some prophet, who speaks in the name of God, (Agg. i. 13,) as he is said to come not from heaven, but from Galgal to the place of weepers.  Heb. at Habbocim, “the mulberry trees.”  Sept. Klauthmon.  This place, the valley of tears, (Ps. lxxxiii. 7,) perhaps received his name afterwards, from what happened, v. 4.  Some suppose it designates Silo, where the people might be assembled on some great festival, and where sacrifice was offered, v. 5.  Bonfrere collects from the Sept. and Josephus, (vii. 4,) that it lay beyond the vale of the Raphaim, on the south side of Jerusalem, (M.) where this messenger might summon the people together, and authorize them to offer sacrifice, as was frequently done (C.) by dispensation (H.) at a distance from the tabernacle.  C. vi. 20. and xiii. 19. I made.  If he was an angel, his authority could not be called in question; and if he was the high priest, or a prophet known to the people, they would hear him with attention and respect.  C. He appeared at least in human form, and spoke in the name of God.  W.  Jos. v.


Ver. 2.  League.  None of a public nature had been perhaps made by the whole nation, to sanction the idolatry of the Chanaanites.  But so many individuals had entered into marriages with them and imitated their perverse manners, so  many tribes had spared the cities, &c. that the Israelites in general merited the reprimand.  Whether these leagues, made in contradiction to God’s command, where to be observed or broken, in a matter of dispute.  We may steer a middle course, and assert that such agreements as stipulated the protection of the idolatrous worship and altars, were null, and never to be observed; whereas those which secured to the inhabitants their lives and property, could not be lawfully broken, though the contractors did wrong in making such leagues.  See 1 Esd. ix.  C.


Ver. 3.  Ruin.  Sept. “stumbling block,” the occasion of ruin.  M. Thus by a false compassion (C.) and negligence, the Israelites brought upon themselves the most serious difficulties, while those whom they had spared, turned against them by a just judgment of God, and proved the ruin both of their souls and bodies, by drawing them into idolatry and then putting them to the sword.  H.


Ver. 5.  Lord: holocausts to acknowledge his dominion, and sacrifices of expiation for the transgressions of the people.  Only the tabernacle and temple were appointed for such sacrifices, though they might be offered elsewhere by dispensation.  S. Aug. q. 36.  W.


Ver. 6.  And Josue, &c.  This is here inserted out of Josue, (xxiv.) by way of recapitulation of what had happened before, and by way of an introduction to that which follows.  Ch. The sacred penman gives a short description of the general conduct of the Israelites, shewing how they abandoned their former fidelity, after Josue and the elders were no more, and in consequence were severely punished.  Upon their repentance, God shewed them mercy again and again, as will be explained more at large (H.) in the subsequent chapters.  Salien and some others have hence inferred, that Josue was living when the angel made this reproach.  C. But that is contradicted by many passages in the Book of Josue, where the fidelity of the people is commended, as well as here, v. 7; and C. i. we read of the death of Josue, so that S. Aug. (q. 14,) says, “there can be no doubt but this is a recapitulation.”  M. As little had been said before, to enable us to see the grounds of the accusation, these few remarks are subjoined to justify the words of the angel, who appeared while the people was groaning under the afflictions which their sins deserved.  C.


Ver. 10.  Fathers.  These expressions prove the immortality of the soul.  Job xxxiv. 4. &c.  Knew not, or did not approve or cordially serve the Lord.  His tabernacle was still at Silo.  But many joined the worship of idols with that of the true God, (C.) and light and darkness can never agree.  H.


Ver. 12.  They followed strange gods.  What is here said of the children of Israel, as to their falling so often into idolatry, is to be understood of a great part of them; but not so universally, as if the true worship of God was ever quite abolished among them: for the succession of the true church and religion was kept up all this time by the priest and Levites, at least in the house of God in Silo.  Ch. At different times God raised up deliverers, who were taken from among his people, and no doubt abhorred the impiety of the multitude.


Ver. 13.  Baal, “Lord,” a title given to many of the idols, (H.) both male and female.  M. They are often distinguished by some additional name, as Beelzebub, “fly,” and berith, “covenant,” gods adored at Accaron and Sichem.  Under this name the pagans adored heaven or the sun, (C.) as Astaroth denoted some female deity, the moon, Venus, &c.  M.


Ver. 14.  Who took.  Heb. “that spoiled them, and he sold” or abandoned them, &c.  C.


Ver. 16.  Them, for any long time.  Their inconstancy was astonishing.  H. These judges raised up by God, or chose by the people under his direction, often rescued Israel from servitude; and during the remainder of their lives, watched to see the laws put in execution, being assisted by the counsels of the senators (M.) and magistrates of the nation.  H. They were commissioned to rescue the penitent and suffering Israelites.  W.


Ver. 17.  Quickly.  They had persevered in virtue under the government of Josue and of the elders, for the space of forty years, according to Marsham and Houbigant.  The former places the first state of anarchy and of idolatry 34 years after Josue, allowing 15 years for the administration of the surviving ancients, and the remainder to bring the nation to such a pitch of wickedness as to force God to abandon it to the dominion of Chusan, for eight years. Walked.  Heb. and Sept. “walked, obeying the commands of the Lord: they did not so.”


Ver. 18.  Moved, &c.  Heb. and Sept. “and the Lord was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge, (for it repented the Lord (Sept. he was moved to compassion) on account of their groans, &c.)  H. The repentance of God denotes a change of conduct in our regard.  C. Delivered.  Hence the judges have the title of Saviour.  C. iii. 9.  2 Esd. ix. 27.  M.


Ver. 19.  And did.  Heb. “and corrupted themselves.”  Sept. “were more depraved than,” &c. By which, &c. is put instead of the Heb. “their stubborn (or hard) (H.) Chal. ‘corrupt’ way.”  This hard and rough path denotes the labours which the wicked have to encounter, in the pursuit of pleasure, as they themselves confess.  We wearied ourselves in the way of iniquity…and have walked through hard ways.  Wisd. v. 7.  C. Though the life of the libertine seem delightful, it draws on the most serious evils and provokes the anger of God.  M.


Ver. 21.  Nations.  Heb. “any.”  Sept. “a man of those nations,” which must be understood, unless the Israelites return to a proper sense of their duty.  For then he destroyed not only individuals, but whole armies, by the hand of the judges.  Yet we do not find that such havoc was made among the infidels afterwards, as had been made in the days of Josue.  They frequently rose up and harassed the Israelites; and God suffered them to do so, that the latter might learn to know themselves, and might perceive how dreadful a thing it is not to comply, at first, with his injunctions.  H.


Ver. 22.  Or not.  The secrets of hearts cannot be hidden from the omniscience of God.  C. But he would have an experimental knowledge of the fidelity of his people, by leaving these nations in the midst of them.  It was partly on this account that he withdrew the sword of Josue, who would otherwise have easily followed up his victories, and exterminated all the inhabitants.  The cowardice and secret indispositions of the people was another obstacle.  H. God acted like a person who distrusted the fidelity of his servant, and left something in his way to see if we would steal it.  C.







Ver. 1.  Instruct.  The original is translated try, v. 4, and C. ii. 22. And all.  Heb. “as many of Israel as had not,” &c.  H. Those who had served under Josue, were so strongly impressed with a sense of the divine power and severity, that they never forgot them: but there was a danger lest their children should grow careless, if they were suffered to enjoy a constant state of prosperity.  Virtue or power is made perfect in infirmity.  2 Cor. xii. 9.  C. He that hath been experienced in many things, multiplieth prudence.  Eccli. xxxiv. 10.


Ver. 2.  And be.  Heb. “at least, such as before knew nothing thereof.”  Though war be in itself an evil, the passions of men render it necessary, and God makes use of it as a scourge, to punish the wicked, and at the same time to keep all under due restraint.  H. Too long a peace has proved sometimes fatal to states and to the virtue of individuals.  In adversity we call upon God, and adhere to him with greater fervour and constancy.  The Jews were so prone to evil, that, if they were permitted to enjoy tranquility for a few years, they presently forgot themselves and the author of all their good, and even turned their backs upon the only true God.  Their enemies forced them to have recourse to Him.  C.


Ver. 3.  Princes, (satrapas) a Persian word.  M. These heads of the five great cities of the Philistines, are called Seranim, (H.) but never kings, whether they were governors of so many petty states, united in the same form of republican or aristocratical government, or independent of each other.  See Jos. xiii.  Three of these cities are said to have been take by Juda, (C. i. 18,) unless the Sept. be more accurate, as this passage would seem to insinuate.  C. They might have thrown off the yoke in a short time, as we before observed.  These five cities were Gaza, Geth, Ascalon, Azotus, and Accaron.  H. All but Geth were on the Mediterranean sea.  C. All the Chanaanites, &c. who dwelt in Libanus, with some others, who were dispersed though the country, v. 5.  H. These chiefly inhabited the environs of Sidon. Baal Hermon.  The idol of Baal might probably be adored on this mountain.  M. We find Baal-gad in the same neighbourhood, and both may mean the same city.  C.


Ver. 4.  Not.  Various reasons are assigned, on the part of God, for not exterminating these nations at once.  But their being spared so long, must be imputed to the disobedience of the Israelites, otherwise they would surely never have been tolerated with their idol-worship in the land of promise, to contaminate, by their wicked example, the manners of God’s people.  If they would have redeemed their lives, they must at least have given up the land and their idols.  As the Israelites proved so little zealous in destroying the latter, they were justly punished by God, in being deprived of what would have contributed to make them richer and more comfortable in this world.  H.


Ver. 6.  Gods.  This was the fatal consequence which God had foretold.  Deut. vii. 4.  H.


Ver. 7.  Astaroth.  Heb. Asheroth, Sept. “the groves,” (M.) of which Astaroth was the goddess, (C.) like Diana.  C. ii. 11.  Various trees were sacred to idols.  M.


Ver. 8.  Chusan.  This name leads us to conclude that this prince was of Scythian extraction, a descendant of Chus: (C.) it signifies “black,” or an Ethiopian.”  M. Rasathaim was perhaps the place of his nativity.  As it means “of two sorts of malice,” Arias thinks that the Syrian kings took this title to shew that they would punish or repress all crimes against the civil or criminal law, (M.) those which affected the property as well as the lives of their subjects.  H. Mesopotamia.  In Hebrew Aram naharayim.  Syria of the two rivers; so called because it lies between the Euphrates and the Tigris.  It is absolutely called Syria, v. 10.  Ch. Eight years, by manual labour and presents, testifying their submission to their oppressor, who might not perhaps live among them.  C. Moir’s edition, by mistake, reads eighty years.  The Hebrews were equally fallible.  C. iii. 30.  H.


Ver. 9.  Saviour.  “We must remark, that the man by whom God grants us safety, is styled a saviour,” (S. Aug. q. 18,) though Christ is the proper and principal Saviour.  W. Caleb.  Sept. “the younger son of Cenez, who was the brother of Caleb.”  H. Othoniel was one of the ancients.  If he could not prevent the people from falling into idolatry, he rescued them from it.  C.


Ver. 10.  In him, to instruct and enable him both to rout the enemy, and to govern the people with prudence.  H. Chal. “the spirit of prophecy.”  The oracle excited him to attack Chusan.  Joseph. v. 3.  He was entrusted with an extraordinary authority, in a wonderful manner, and God gave him all those virtues which were requisite for his exalted station.  C. Him.  Heb. “his hand was strong upon Chusan Rasathaim.”  He gained a complete victory over him, (H.) the particulars of which are not mentioned, though they must have been very interesting and extraordinary, as the power of Chusan was so extensive.  C.


Ver. 11.  Died, “forty years after Josue, according to the chronology of Usher, which we follow,” (C.) or rather Usher translates the land began to rest “in the fortieth year” from the peace of Josue.  He places the death to that leader A. 2570, and the end of Chusan’s dominion 2599; so that, if we deduct 40 years from this last date, we shall come to the year 2559, the sixth of Josue’s administration, when he began to divide the conquered lands.  He supposes that the peace of Othoniel lasted about 62 years, when Eglon disturbed it for eighteen years.  “Aod delivered Israel.  After him Samgar appeared, and the land rested till the 80th year from the peace of Othoniel.”  Houbigant censures this indiscriminate use of cardinal and of ordinal numbers, and the blending times of servitude with those of peace; (H.) and “surely this method of reckoning is very harsh, and contrary to the usual acceptation of words.”  C. Yet it is adopted by many.  W. It may suit to form a system, but can have no solid foundation.  H. The epoch from which Usher dates is no where so distinctly specified, as that we should suppose that the author of the Book of Judges had it in view.  Moreover, by this  method, we are left to guess how long each of the judges reigned, or how long the peace which they had procured, subsisted.  Usher admits that they years of servitude are specified; and, why not also the years of peace, since they are expressed exactly in the same manner?  If the ordinal numbers 40th, 80th, &c. were intended, b would be prefixed, as Deut. i. 3.; and this grammatical observation along, suffices to overturn the calculation of Usher.  Houbig. Proleg. Salien dates from the death of Josue in 2600, and allows that 40 years elapsed from that period till the decease of Othoniel; including the years which some attribute to the ancients, and to the anarchy; (C. xvii. &c. to the end,) and also the eight years of servitude; so that instead of a rest of 40 years, we shall find that all was in confusion the greatest part of the time.  The idolatry of Israel, which shortly brought on the servitude under Eglon, commenced  immediately after the conclusion of these 40 years, when Salien begins to enumerate the years of Aod’s government.  Thus he does from one judge to another.  This system does not  indeed make the text bend to uphold it, but it supposes that the sacred writer includes anarchy and servitude under the name of rest.  In these matters much is to be supplied by conjecture, and hence the chronological difficulties which infidels propose, to invalidate the authority of the Scripture, can have but little weight, till the learned shall have discovered the exact disposition of former times.  The first judge of Israel was of the tribe of Juda.  The second was chosen from the almost ruined tribe of Benjamin, as the learned commonly place the dreadful catastrophe which befel that tribe during the anarchy which ensued, and the death of Josue and of the ancients.  Aod had no share in the crime.  H.


Ver. 12.  Eglon, signifies “a calf.”  C. God made use of this prince to scourge his people, with the assistance of the neighbouring nations.  He took Engaddi, in the plains of Jericho, and was thus enabled to keep an eye both upon his own subjects and the conquered Israelites.  C. Here he probably met with his untimely end.  H.


Ver. 15.  Aod, signifies “praise,” whence perhaps Josephus calls him Judes which has the same import.  M. He was a descendant of Jemini or Benjamin, by his son Gera.  Gen. xlvi. 1. Right.  Sept. and many interpreters agree, that Aod was “Ambidexter,” a quality which Plato exhorted those who were designed for war, to strive to acquire.  Several of the heroes before Troy are praised on this account; and the Scripture takes particular notice of 700 citizens of Gabaa, who could use both hands alike, and could hit even a hair with a stone.  C. xx. 16.  The Jews explain itter, very absurdly; Aod “had his right hand maimed or tied:” (C.) and Prot. render “a man left-handed.”  H. This would be a very awkward recommendation for a warrior, though it is pretended that such are more resolute, and more difficult to encounter than others.  The number of the men at Gabaa who are praised for their skill, as well as the brave men of David, (1 Par. xii. 2,) shews sufficiently that the term does not mean left-handed.  But the Scripture here takes notice that Aod could use his left hand so well, because he placed his dagger, contrary to custom, on his right side, and the motions of his left hand would not be so narrowly watched.  Rufin does not agree with the present text of Josephus, which indeed seems very confused saying, “that all the strength of Aod lay in his left hand.”  Gelenius also translates, utraque manu ex æquo promptus; (Ant. v. 5,) so that perhaps the Greek of Josephus may have been altered. Presents; that is, tribute; an odious expression, instead of which the Scripture often puts presents, 1 K. x. 27.  1 Par. xviii. 2.  No tribute was imposed in Persia till the reign of Darius Hystaspes; the subject had to make presents to the king.  Herod. iii. 89.  C.


Ver. 16.  He made, or procured, though it was formerly honourable for a person to do such things himself.  C. Hand. Heb. gomed, is translated by the Prot. “of a cubit length,” (H.) though the term is never used elsewhere for that measure.  Sept. have spithamé, measure of 12 fingers. Garment.  The sagum, as well as the Sept. mandua, from the Heb. mad, denote a military garment.  But such a dress might have rendered Aod suspected, (C.) unless an uniform might then be deemed a suitable dress for an ambassador.  H. Thigh.  The Jews wore the sword there; (Ps. xliv. 4,) and it would be more convenient on the left thigh, as the nations of Gaul and Germany had it, while the Roman cavalry wore the sword on the right; and the infantry had two swords, the long one on the left, and a shorter, about an hand’s length, on the right.  Joseph. Bel. iii. 3.  Lipsius.


Ver. 17.  Fat.  The ancient version used by S. Aug. had , “lean,” which he justly took in an ironical sense.  Sept. asteios, signifies “beautiful and genteel.”  C. Serarius explains it in the same sense as the Vulgate.  M.


Ver. 18.  Him; or according to the Heb. Sept. and Chal. “he sent away the men who had brought the presents.”  C. But is seems he followed after them as far as Galgal, (H.) whence he returned, as if he had been consulting the oracle, and had orders to communicate something of importance to the king, unless we translate, “He dismissed, &c. (19.) and as he was returned from the idols at Galgal, he said,” &c. at the same interview.  C. He would not expose his companions to danger.  M.


Ver. 19.  Idols.  Heb. pesilim.  Some take these to be only heaps of stones.  Prot. “quarries.”  H. But the Sept. &c. represent them as “carved” idols.  The same expression is used Ex. xx. 4, &c.  The Moabites had probably placed idols here, to profane that sacred place, which was resorted to out of devotion by the Israelites.  Osee iv. 14.  Amos iv. 5.  Here also the prophets inform us that the ten tribes adored and consulted idols; resembling perhaps that of Michas, C. xvii. 4. Silence to Aod, (C.) that none of the people might be able to divulge the secret.  Heb. “be thou silent.”  M.


Ver. 20.  Alone.  Heb. “Aod approached unto him, and he was sitting in a summer parlour, which he had for himself, alone.”  It seems to have been a private closet, to which he retired for greater secrecy, as his officers concluded that he was there only to ease nature.  H. It might be rendered, “a hall of audience.”  C. But the place where Aod presented the tribute, was more probably of this description, and Eglon retired thence into a back parlour, and was followed by Aod, alone, v. 24.  H. A word.  What Aod, who was judge and chief magistrate of Israel, did on this occasion, was by a special inspiration of God: but such things are not to be imitated by private men.  Ch.  S. Aug. q. 20.  Num. xxv.  W. Heb. “a thing (message, &c.) from God, (Aleim) or the gods.”  Probably the king would imagine that he was speaking of the idols at Galgal, and being full of awe for them, would be off his guard, and rise up out of respect.  See Num. xxiii. 18.  Ex. iii. 5.  C. But as the word Elohim was only abusively applied to idols and to great men, Aod might say with truth, that he had a word or an errand from Elohim to the king, without minding  in what sense Eglon would take the expression.  See S. Aug. q. 20.  Orig. hom. 4.  Though God permitted this king to attack his people, and to scourge them for a time, he did not approve of his injustice, and now authorized the chief magistrate of Israel to revenge their wrongs.  H. God is the arbiter of our lives, and  may order whatsoever he pleases to put us to death.  But the doctrine of J. Huss, who preached, “It is lawful for every subject to kill any tyrant,” was condemned in the C. of Constance.  David severely punished the man wo pretended that he had slain Saul.  The first Christians never entered into any revolt against those cruel and impious emperors who oppressed them, and whose title to the throne was evidently unjust.  See Rom. xiii. 1.  Under what government are all satisfied, or of the same religion with the sovereign?  Even if any should pretend that they have an order from God to kill a tyrant, they must give proof of their commission to the lawful superiors, or them must expect to be treated as fanatical impostors.  C. Throne; or Heb. “seat.”  The throne of state would not probably be placed in a retired chamber.  H. The king rose up out of respect to the deity; (M.) and at the same moment, Aod plunged the dagger into his bowels.  H.


Ver. 22.  With, &c.  Heb. Prot. “And the haft also went in after the blade, and the fat closed upon the blade, so that he could not draw the dagger out of his belly, and the dirt came out.”  By the word belly, the Jews mean all the vital parts.  C. The wound was so deep, that Aod did not think proper to strive long to extract his sword; and indeed, being all bloody, it would have only tended to excite suspicion.  H. The Chal. agrees with the Vulg. in rendering parshedona “excrements,” though it seem to be rather irregularly in construction with a masc. [], &c.  If we should read peristana, “a porch,” the difficulty would be avoided.  C. Sept. “(23) and Aod went out into the porch, (prostada) and he shut the doors of the upper chamber…(24) and he himself went out.”  H.


Ver. 24.  Door.  Lyranus would prefer porticum, “the porch,” as the Chal. explains the Heb. by exedra, a portico highly ornamented with pillars and seats, where the princes formerly used to administer justice.  Homer give a grand description of the portico of Alcinous.  Odys.  H. See that of Solomon described, 3 K. vii. 6.  C. The Rom. Sept. adds after prostada, what may perhaps be a second version, “and he went through those who were drawn up,” of the guards.  He shewed no signs of fear.  H. It was not necessary for him to take the key with him, as a common one was used for several chambers, and was necessary only to unloose some bands, with which the doors were fastened.  The keys in the East are very large, and of a very different construction from ours.  C. Nature.  Heb. “he covereth his feet.”  The ancients did not wear breeches: they covered themselves with great care.  C.  See Deut. xxiii. 13.  H. Parlour.  Heb. “chamber.”  Sept. “bed-chamber.”


Ver. 25.  Ashamed, perceiving that their hopes had been vain, (C.) and not knowing what to do, (M.) they began to fear the worst.  H.


Ver. 26.  Confusion.  Heb. “tarrying,” as they waited a long time before they ventured to open the door.


Ver. 27.  Seirath seems to have been on the road from Galgal to Mount Ephraim.  Some conjecture that Josephus speaks of it under the name of Syriad, (C). where he saw the inscriptions, which he asserts were left by the children of Seth before the deluge.  H. They might perhaps be the idols which are mentioned here.


Ver. 28.  Fords.  That none, from the other side, might come to the assistance of the Moabites, (M.) who were at their prince’s court, in the territory of Jericho, and that none of these might make their escape.  H.


Ver. 29.  Strong.  Heb. lit. “the fatness,” denoting what is most excellent.  Ps. xxi. 30. and lxxvii. 31.  C. Eglon would have his chief nobility and most valiant soldiers round his person.  H.


Ver. 30.  Eighty.  The Hebrews use the letter p to express this number; and, as it is very like their c, which stands for 20, Houbigant suspects that he first number is a mistake of the transcribers.  Usher confesses that it is “extremely improbable” that Aod should have governed so long, after he had slain Eglon, as he must have been at that time, about 40 years old; and the Israelites were not often so constant for such a length of time.  Houbig. Proleg. But this difficulty does not affect Usher, as he brings Aod forward only in the 80th year from the peace of Othoniel; and instead of allowing him 80 years of peaceful sway, he says Samgar appeared after him; but, it seems, both together did not reign a year, since in that 80th year, he commences the servitude, which Jabin brought upon Israel, from A. 2679 till 2699, and peace was not restored by Barac for about 20 years!  H.


Ver. 31.  Samgar.  His reign seems to have been short, and only perhaps extended over the tribes of Juda, Simeon, and Dan, while Debbora governed in another part.  Some exclude him from the list of judges.  But Josephus, Origen, &c. allow his title, with most of the moderns.  C. The Alex. Chronicle gives his reign of 24 years, which Salien would understand, as if he had acted under the orders of Aod, when the latter was grown too old, if the author had not said that “after the death of Aod, Samgar, his son, judged Israel 24 years,” which he subtracts from the 80 years allotted to Aod.  He makes Bocci succeed Abisue in the pontificate, at the same time, which Salien admits, A. 2696. Hundred.  Sept. “as far as 600,” which might be at different times, when the Philistines were dispersed through the country in order to plunder. Plough-share.  Sept. aratropodi.  H. Some translate the Heb. “an ox-goad.”  Maundrell describes those, which are used in Palestine, as eight feet long; and, at the thick end, 10 inches round, with a kind of spade, to clean the plough, while the other end is very sharp.  Samgar might probably use such an instrument.  From its being mentioned, we may gather that he did not engage the enemy in a pitched battle, (C.) but as he could find an opportunity.  Thus Samson slew 1000 of the same nation with the jaw-bone of an ass.  C. xv.  H. Defended.  Heb. and Sept. “saved,” which shews that he was a proper judge.  M. It is true, he did not rescue the Israelites entirely, but he stood up in their defence.  C. The duration of his government is not specified, nor is it said that the land rested, because he ruled for a short time only: Josephus says not quite a year; and the roads were continually infested with the incursions of the Philistines on the south, and of the Chanaanites on the North.  C. v. 6.  Samgar seems to have been a ploughman, and he seized the first weapon that came to hand.  The Hungarians and Spaniards formerly defended themselves against the attacks of the Turks and Moors with their plough-shares, in memory of which the Spaniards long after went armed to plough.  The most valiant Roman generals, Camillus, Curius, Cincinnatus, and Fabricius, were called from the plough to the Dictatorship; and Pliny (xviii.) observes, that “countrymen make the best soldiers.”







Ver. 1.  Aod.  Samgar is passed over, either because he was only a private man, who performed a feat of valour like Jahel, (C. v. 6.  Salien) or because his government was so short and  limited.  Hence we need not wonder that he could not put a stop to the ravages of the Chanaanites, nor to the disorders of the people.


Ver. 2.  Asor.  Josue defeated the king of this country.  Jos. xi. 8.  But some of his successors had contrived to raise themselves again to power.  His dominion probably extended only over the tribes of Nephthali, Zabulon, and Issachar, while Debbora judged in Mount Ephraim, and Samgar in Juda. He dwelt.  It is not clear whether Jabin or Sisara dwelt in Haroseth, but most probably it was the latter, v. 13.  This city was on the northern banks of the Semechonite lake, (C.) surrounded with “woods,” as the Heb. word signifies; (Vatab.) though Bonfrere explains it “a shop, foundry, or arsenal,” as if the arms and chariots were made and kept here.  A mixture of different idolatrous nations dwelt in it.


Ver. 3.  Scythes.  Heb. “chariots of iron.”  C.


Ver. 4.  Lapidoth, signifies “lamps,” and Barac, “thunder;” which has given rise to various conjectures, as if they were the same person.  S. Ambrose thinks that Debbora was a widow at this time, and the mother of Barac.  But S. Jerom says there is no proof of either.  Others suppose that the excellence of the gift of prophecy would not permit her to cohabit with her husband.  It is not unusual for women to possess this gift.  Mary, the sister of Moses, Holda, the blessed Virgin, the daughter of S. Philip, &c. were prophetesses.  The devil most commonly chose women to explain his oracles. Judged.  Many deny that this word is taken in the same latitude here, as when it is applied to men.  The Jews exclude women from government, and Athalia was only a tyrant.  The Roman laws will not admit women to exercise the right of judicature.  But the text, as it is explained by the Fathers in general, will not permit us to refuse the prerogatives of a judge to Debbora.  Her authority was not merely voluntary, in consequence of the people’s high opinion of her, as many would believe, with Salien, (W.) &c. (H.) but she gave decisions which were binding on the Israelites; and she seems to have continued in the exercise of her functions along with Barac, after the victory which they gained over Sisara.  The government of the latter was perhaps limited to the tribes which he had rescued from slavery.  C. He is guided by her counsel, as Christian princes ought to be by their spiritual superiors.  Orig.  W.


Ver. 5.  Name.  Heb. “she dwelt (or sat to judge) under the palm-tree of Debbora.”  “The oak of weeping,” allon Bachuth, under which Debbora, the nurse of Rebecca, was interred, was also near Bethel.  Gen. xxxv. 8.  H. This city was on the confines of the tribes of Ephraim and of Benjamin, over which Debbora chiefly exercised her authority; and here she was consulted by the people.  C.


Ver. 6.  Cedes.  There was another city of this name in Juda.  H. Barac was of the tribe of Nephthali.  C. The Lord, &c.  Prot. translate, “hath not the Lord?” &c. as if the will of God had been notified to him before.  We find that he make some demur, v. 8.  H. Thabor.  A city of this name was also built at the foot or on the top of the mountain, and belonged to Zabulon.  In it attributed to the Levites, 1 Par. vi. 77.  The mountain rises in the midst of a vast plain, to the height of 30 stadia, (Joseph. Bel. iv. 2.  S. Jer. in Ose. v. 1,) or above 3000 paces, “which make a league, or an hour’s walk.”  It is inaccessible on the northern side.  There was a platform two-thirds as broad, at the top, where Polybius says a fortified city stood.  Antiochus took possession of this strong-place, and Josephus repaired the fortifications, to keep the country in subjection.  It is commonly supposed the Jesus Christ was transfigured on this once delightful mountain, which is now a desert.  During the crusades, there was an episcopal city and a Benedictine monastery here.  C.


Ver. 7.  Hand.  Cison flows through a luxuriant vale or champaign country, on the south of Mount Thabor, whence Barac came rushing down the rocks and precipices upon the army of Sisara.  C. v. 15.  C. This general was delivered into the hand of Barac, to be routed, though he was afterwards slain by the hand of Jahel, v. 9. and 21.  H.


Ver. 8.  Not go.  Sept. and S. Aug. (q. 26,) add, “because I know not when the Lord will send his angel to grant me success.”  S. Paul (Heb. xi. 32,) praises the faith of Barac, so that he spoke thus out of prudence, that the people, seeing (C.) their revered prophetess in his company, (H.) might not condemn the undertaking as too rash and perilous.  He therefore entreats her, in this earnest manner, to come with him, and point out the time when he must attack the enemy.


Ver. 9.  Thee.  Prot. “the journey that thou takest, shall not be for thine honour, for the Lord shall sell Sisara,” &c.  It is certain, however, that Barac acquired great commendations on this occasion: but if he had not been accompanied by Debbora, he would not have shared the glory of the victory with her and another woman.  H. Some suppose that Debbora speaks of herself; others explain her words of Jahel.  They may both be right.  M. Cedes.  Here the Israelites took the generous resolution to throw off the yoke, and marched to seize the fort of Thabor.  This motion gave the alarm to Jabin, who sent his general to besiege them, and to occupy the passages of the Cison.  C. v. 18.


Ver. 11.  Valley.  Heb. elon, may denote also, (Sept.) “a wood of oaks,” (C.) or a plain.  H. Haber probably left the first settlement of the Cinites near Engaddi, when his brethren went (C.) into the southern parts of the tribe of Juda.  C. i. 16.  This is mentioned, that we might know how his wife came to be in those parts, v. 17, &c.  Whether he had given information to Jabin of these movements, as he was at peace with him, we cannot assert; but his being mentioned in this place, might seem to insinuate as much.  Heb. v. 12, “they told or shewed Sisara,” &c.  His wife, at least, did not prove unfaithful to Israel.  H.


Ver. 13.  Cison.  Part of this torrent falls into the Mediterranean, and part into the sea of Tiberias.  It rises from Mount Thabor, (which is about two hour’s walk, south-west of Nazareth) and from Gelboa, &c.  M. Here Sisara displayed his immense army, if we may credit Josephus, Jonathan, &c.  But the Scripture only specifies 900 chariots of iron.  C. Whence, however, we may conclude that his horse and foot would be very formidable.  Yet all were presently routed by the small company of Barac, who had God for his leader, v. 14.  H.


Ver. 15.  Terror.  The most dreadful storms of thunder, lightning, &c. (C. v. 20,) discomfited the enemy, while the sword of Barac (C.) dealt death around, so that Sisara and all his army presently turned their backs, (H.) and the general himself being stricken with a panic, leapt from his chariot, as if he thought his horses did not run fast enough.  Thus Homer represents two Trojans abandoning their chariots, to escape the fury of Diomed and of Achilles.  Iliad v. and xx.


Ver. 16.  Multitude.  Josephus allots Sisara the same number of horse and foot as he did to Jabin, whom Josue defeated and slew.  C. xi. 4.  But instead of 20,000 chariots, he only gives Sisara 3000, which number appears to be far too great, and unauthorized by the Scripture.  H.


Ver. 17.  Tent.  The women had separate tents from their husbands.  Haber, it seems, was from home, and was not molested by the Chanaanites.  He continued neuter during this war.  What then must we think of the conduct of his wife?   Commentators generally justify her, as the Scripture gives her great commendations, and as the family of the Cinites enjoyed the religion and privileges of the Israelites.  Hence this portion of it could not make a league with the enemy of God’s people, to the detriment of the latter; and if they did, they were bound to break it as soon, at least, as God manifested his will, that the enemy should be destroyed.  Jahel might however deserve the praise of fortitude, which the Scripture gives her, and yet mingle some human imperfection in her manner of acting.  She seems to speak with fraud, and to betray the sacred rights of hospitality; and it is doubtful whether Haber himself could renounce the alliance with Jabin, (particularly if they had taken mutual oaths to observe it, as was then customary) without informing him of his resolution.  Fides, quando promititur, etiam hosti servanda est.  S. Aug. ep. i. ad Bonif.  See Grot. Jur. iii. 19.  C. Yet, if she told a lie, it was only an officious one, (M.) such as Sisara desired should be told for his safety, v. 20.  H. It is lawful to use stratagems against an enemy.  Salien, A. 2741.  See Jos. ii. and viii. 4.  Debbora pronounces the name of Jahel to be most blessed, (C. v. 24,) which shews that she was inspired by God to kill Sisara.  If we consider her action in any other light, it will certainly appear very shocking, as Rahab could not escape the accusation of treason towards her country by any other means.  Aod, Judith, &c. who washed their hands in the blood of sinners, (Ps. lvii. 11,) would undoubtedly have been condemned at any merely human tribunal, which would not admit the plea of inspiration.  H. Besides this secret impulse, Jahel might be acquainted with the prediction of Debbora, (v. 9,) and with the miraculous victory which encouraged her to destroy the common enemy, (Abulensis, Josephus, &c.  T.) the only remnant of an immense army.  H. The peace which subsisted between her family and the Chanaanites, was a forced one, (T.) and perhaps consisted only in the former being allowed to live quietly (D.) in the midst of these idolaters, whose manners they abhorred; (H.) while the Israelites, though at a greater distance, were so severely treated even when they were so weak as to adore the idols (T.) of their oppressors.  Thus the divine Providence was pleased to reward virtue, and to punish infidelity.  H. The Fathers consider Debbora as a figure of the Synagogue, which begins the attack against the empire of the devil, while the victory is reserved for the Christian Church, represented by Jahel, a woman living among the Israelites, though of a different nation, and engrafted, as it were, like the wild olive on the good olive tree.  She gains strength in the midst of persecutions, and, armed with the cross of Christ, destroys the captain of the worldly empire.  Orig. hom v.  S. Aug. c. Faust. xii. 31, &c.  C. Jahel was also a figure of the blessed Virgin, who crushed the serpent’s head.  W.


Ver. 18.  Cloak, or rough hairy bed coverlet.  Heb. Semica, occurs no where else.  C.


Ver. 19.  Milk, out of a shew of greater civility.  The Rabbins say the milk was sour, which is conformable to the manners of the oriental nations.  Valle remarks, that the Arabs still give the preference to it.  The bottle is which it was kept was made of leather, (utrem) and the milk was like cream.  C. v. 25.  Some think that wine was not then used in this family, as the Rechabites, descendants of the Cinites, always refrained from it.  Jer. xxv.  But it is not certain that they did at this time, nor that they sprang from this branch of the family.


Ver. 21.  Tent.  Such nails were used to fasten down the skins, of which the tent was composed.  C. This resembled a stake, though Josephus says it was made of iron.  M. And died.  Thus he met a more ignoble fate, which would be more hateful to a warrior.  Abimelech ordered his armour-bearer to kill him, that it might not be said that he had fallen by the hand of a woman.  C. ix. 54.  Extreme fatigue, and the will of Providence, caused Sisara to fall asleep so soon.  How many, like him, like down in health, and rise no more!  H.


Ver. 23.  Humbled Jabin, though he was not present in this battle.  The Israelites followed up the victory, and presently brought their late oppressor to ruin, that all might confess, none could resist their power, when God was propitious to them; as, on the other hand, the most feeble state was able to reduce them to servitude, when they proved rebellious.  H.







Ver. 1.  Debbora probably composed this most flowery and animated canticle, v. 3, 7.  C.


Ver. 2.  Lord.  Heb. may have different senses: “bless the Lord for having avenged Israel, the people willingly exposing themselves, or shewing their concurrence.”  Roman Sept. “What was hidden has been disclosed in Israel, when the people shewed their good will, bless the Lord.”  Pora, which the Vulg. has not expressed, commonly means to disclose, liberate, &c.; ethondob signifies to give freely, to expose one’s self, &c.  Sept. and Theodotion together, (C.) and the Alex. copy have, “bless the Lord, for that leaders have risen up in Israel, and the people have shewn their good will.”  These two things were to be greatly desired, as a general can do but little without an obedient army, and the latter is, in a manner, useless, without a head.  Both had been wanting in Israel for some time, and even still, some of the tribes seem to be blamed for not co-operating with zeal, v. 15, &c.  This verse is repeated as a kind of chorus, v. 9.  The zeal and concord of the little troop, which had met the formidable army of Sisara, deserved the highest applause.  H. Men bless God when they give him thanks; superiors bless by imparting some spiritual benefit.  W.


Ver. 3.  Kings.  She invites all who have authority, whether in or out of Israel, to attend unto the dispensations of Providence.  God alternatively cherishes and corrects his people.  David makes a similar appeal to all kings and judges, Ps. ii. 10. It is I.  She dwells with a degree of rapture on the thought that God had shewn his power so wonderfully, and had effected his gracious purpose by the hand of a woman!  H. She directed Barac.  W.


Ver. 4.  Edom.  Sinai, where God gave his law amid thunder and lightning, was situated in Idumea.  C. God displayed his glory on this mountain, and also on Mount Seir.  Deut. xxxiii. 2.  Some believe that Debbora compares the wonders which attended the late victory, with those which God wrought when he led his victorious bands though the desert, and conquered the countries of Sehon, &c.  H. He provided for the wants of his people, even in the most desolate regions, giving them water out of the hard (C.) rock of Horeb or Sinai, (H.) and causing all nature to change her appearance at his approach.  Ps. lxvii. 8.  Ex. xix. 18.  C.


Ver. 6.  The paths rested.  The ways to the sanctuary of God were unfrequented; and men walked in the bye-ways of error and sin.  Ch. Though Samgar and Jehel were so remarkable for their valour, as they had manifested on a late occasion, yet they did not prevent the incursions of the enemy both on the south and north.  H. The merchants durst not travel, as usual, through the country.  Drusius. God had threatened the faithless Israel with this punishment, Lev. xxvi. 22.  Lament. i. 4.  Isai. xxiii. 8.  C. They that went by them formerly without apprehension, are now forced to seek out bye-ways.  H. Thus was justly punished the negligence of those who observed not the festivals of the Lord, nor frequented his tabernacle.  M.


Ver. 7.  Valiant.  Heb. is also translated, “the villages ceased,” as no one thought himself in safety out of the strong cities. Until.  Heb. “until I, Debbora, arose, that I arose, a mother,” &c.  The Holy Ghost obliges her to declare her own praises.  She deserved the glorious title of “mother of her country.” Mother denotes an authority, mixed with sweetness: such had been exercised by Debbora, in deciding the controversies of the people, (C.) and in directing them to follow the right path.  H.


Ver. 8.  Israel.  What could be more astonishing and new, than this method of warfare, in which a few unarmed Israelites gain the victory over an immense army, and oblige the general, to leap from his chariot, that he may escape observation?  A woman calls to battle.  Heb. is rather different, “They chose new gods:” some copies of the Sept. have “vain gods, (C.) as barley bread.”  Others agree with the Heb. “Then war was in the gates.”  Jabin would not allow any arms in the country, and hence Samgar was forced to use the implements of husbandry.  So the Philistines afterwards would not suffer the Hebrews to have a smith among them, lest they should make arms, 1 K. xiii. 19. 22.


Ver. 9.  Princes.  Heb. “legislators,” governors, judges.  I cannot refuse them due praise, and I invite them earnestly to bless the Lord, v. 2.


Ver. 10.  Fair asses.  Heb. “shining, white, or of divers colours, particularly red and white, with which the people were accustomed to paint their asses.  Bochart. The rich Arabians paint the back part red.  Tavernier iii. 5. The Persians also give a yellowish hue to their horses as well as to themselves, with henna.  Chardin. Asses and mules were formerly much more in use than horses.  Num. xxii. 21.  Mat. xi. 25.  3 K. i. 33.  C. Way.  You who can now proceed on your journey without molestation, join the judges of the land in sounding forth God’s praises, v. 6.  H. Those who bring the flesh into subjection to the spirit, ride upon fair asses, (Orig. hom. vi.  W.) and they may preach to others with more authority.  H.


Ver. 11.  Choaked in the waters of the Cison, and of Mageddo, v. 19. 21.  Heb. is very obscure: “from the noise of archers, in the places of drawing water, there shall they relate the justices of the Lord, the righteous acts of his villages, (or brave men) then shall the people of the Lord go down to the gates,” where the courts of judicature are held.  The peaceful inhabitants shall be no more disturbed with the shouts of archers, but rehearsing what obligations they are under to the Lord, the warriors of Barac, they shall pursue their usual employments without fear.  H. Sept.  You shall make your voices heard, playing on instruments, C. (anacrouomenon, pulsantium.) Among those who rejoice, there shall they give righteous deeds to the Lord: they have wrought justice in Israel, &c.  H. If we neglect the points, we may render the Heb. more agreeably to the Vulgate.  “At the voice of those who are pierced with arrows in the midst of those who draw water (or are drowned) there they shall publish,” &c.  C. And obtained.  This is not in Hebrew expressly; but it is added to shew that the people could now act as a free nation, having cleared their country of its enemies.  H.


Ver. 12.  Captives.  Heb. “Take thy captivity prisoner.”  Hold those in subjection who so lately domineered over you.  C.


Ver. 13.  Remnants.  Many of the Israelites had been slain by Jabin, but the Lord enabled the valiant Barac to requite him.  Heb. “Then he made him that remaineth have dominion over the nobles among the people.  The Lord made me rule over the mighty.”  Barac and Debbora were raised from an humble state to govern Israel; while the nobles were passed over.  H. The people of God, which was reduced to such abjection and misery, is now become formidable to the greatest princes, who look upon themselves as something great, and are called beneficent.  Luc. xxii. 25.  Sept. “Then his (Barac’s) force was magnified: Lord, humble before me those who exceed me in strength.”  Chal. “Then one of the army of Israel (Barac) crushed the power of these mighty nations,” &c.  C.


Ver. 14.  Out of Ephraim, &c.  The enemies struggling in their flight, were destroyed, as they were running through the land of Ephraim, and of Benjamin, which lies after, that is, beyond Ephraim; and so on the very confines of Amalec.  Or, it alludes to former victories of the people of God, particularly that which was freshest in memory, when the men of Ephraim and Benjamin, with Aod at their head, overthrew their enemies, the Moabites, with the Amalecites their allies.  See C. iii.  Ch. Fight.  Debbora insinuates that the late victory had rendered Nephthali and Issachar as famous as these tribes, which had formerly sent forth the greatest generals; Josue, who conquered Amalec, (Ex. xvii. 10,) and Aod, of the tribe of Benjamin, (C.) who had so greatly signalized himself, and sounded the alarm in Mount Ephraim with success.  C. iii. 13. 27.  H. Heb. “out of Ephraim he has torn them (Prot. was there a root of them against, or) into Amalec, and after thee Benjamin among thy people.”  There was a mountain called Amalec, in the tribe of Ephraim, (C. xii. 15,) where some victory may have been obtained, though we know not the particulars of it.  C. They and the neighbouring tribes might have encountered Amalec, coming to assist Jabin.  D. It is hardly probable that the army of Sisara would flee in that direction, as t hey would have had to encounter all the multitudes of Israel, and could have no prospect of saving themselves.  Benjamin, who was farther off Debbora than Ephraim, is praised for expelling the king of Moab out of their city of Engaddi; (H.) or else the victories which this tribe obtained over the joint forces of the people of Israel are meant, (C.) as they shewed the valour of this tribe, though in so bad a cause.  H. It is thought that the Moabites fell upon their territory only after most of the inhabitants were cut off.  C. xix. and xx.  The Sept. and Theodotion take no notice of Amalec, as they have read, Amok, a valley: “the people of Ephraim chastised them in the valley, and thy brother Benjamin, in his people.”  The Chaldee understands the whole verse, of the wars against Amalec, who had been routed by Josue, and would fall a prey to the arms of Saul, who was of the tribe of Benjamin.  Many commentators follow this explanation.  It does not appear that Barac received any aid from these tribes, nor from Machir, or any of those who lived at a distance.  C. As for Zabulon, the Vulgate intimates that great generals were found among them but the Hebrew rather gives them the praise of learning: “They that handle the pen of the writer.”  H. Yet sopher is applied not only to writers, and to those who are learned in the law, as the scribes, Esdras, Baruch, &c. were, but also to commissaries, secretaries of state, and officers who were employed both in peace and war.  2 Par. xxvi. 11.  Hence the Sept. translate, “out of Zabulon, the powerful in the sceptre of learning;” (C.) (Grabe) “of instruction.”  H. Some, without any proof, attribute the institution of these officers to Moses, others to David.  We read of many who possessed this title under his reign; and ever after, the kings of Juda had scribes, as some great men had also.  The kings of Persia kept secretaries to write their edicts, and some they sent, with greater authority, into the provinces.  See 1 Esd. iv. 8.  Eccli. (x. 5,) says, upon the person of the scribe God shall lay his honour.  The scribes, or sopherim, seem therefore to have enjoyed an extensive authority, and the tribe of Zabulon used it on this occasion for the common good, (v. 18.  C.) while many of the other tribes seem to be accused of backwardness in the cause of God.


Ver. 15.  Exposed.  Heb. “he was sent on foot into the vale,” to contend with the 900 chariots of Sisara.  Issachar boldly followed him in battle.  They came down with such fury and speed, as if they were falling headlong down a precipice.  H. Sisara presently turned his back, being affrighted with the apparition of angels, who probably fought at the head of Barac’s troop.  Salien. Only three tribes exposed themselves to danger, while the rest were either engaged in civil broils, or in their usual employments.  C. Divided.  By this it seems that the valiant men of the tribe of Ruben were divided in their sentiments, with relation to this war; which division kept them at home within their own borders, to hear the bleating of their flocks.  Ch. Heb. may have different explanations, “In the divisions (families) of Ruben, there are princes of a great heart,” renowned for their prudence and valour: or “Ruben dwelt in his division, (or territory) there are chiefs,” &c.  C. Prot. “for the divisions of Ruben, there were great thoughts of heart.”  Bonfrere supposes that these disputes excited the surprise and observations of all.  H.


Ver. 16.  Borders, trusting in the strength of thy situation.  Ruben was protected on all sides by the rivers Jordan, Arnon, and Jaboc.


Ver. 17.  Galaad was inhabited by the tribes of Gad and Manasses; and took no part in this war.  C. Dan.  Heb. “Why did not Dan remain  in ships?”  Debbora now rebukes those who lived on the west side of the Jordan, as well as those on the east.  Dan might think himself remote enough from the kingdom of Jabin.  But Aser dwelt very near, yet durst not make any attempt to throw off the yoke. Havens.  Heb. “Breaches.”  He had, perhaps, suffered much already, (H.) and preferred to remain quiet, even in his half-ruined cities, before engaging in the perilous attempt of his brethren.  C. He was too much taken up with commerce, to pay any attention to the oracles of the Lord.  Grabe’s Sept. “Aser…pitched his tents upon his cavities, or the broken ground of it,” the sea shore, which is commonly intersected with a variety of rivulets amid the cliffs.  H.


Ver. 18.  Merone.  Heb. “In the heights of the field, or of Merome.”  Some take this place to be the lake Semechon, but we have endeavoured to shew that it was in the vicinity of Thanac, Jos. xi. 5.  C. Thabor was in the midst of a great field or plain.  D. Barac seems to have been at the head of 10,000 men, of the tribe of Issachar, attacking Sisara, at the foot of Thabor, while 40,000 of the tribes of Nephthali and Zabulon, almost without arms, fell upon the kings of Chanaan, who had posted themselves near the waters of Mageddo, to intercept any recruits that might be sent from the southern tribes, v. 8. 15. 19.  C.


Ver. 19.  Spoils.  So far from it, they even lost their lives.  M. Heb. “they took no piece (or gain) of money.”  If we understand this of the Israelites , we nay say that they stopped not to plunder the slain, nor would they suffer any to redeem their life by the promise of a great ransom.  Whatever riches they found afterwards, they consecrated to the Lord, in testimony of their gratitude.  C.  Num. xxxi. 54.


Ver. 20.  Stars, or angels, who are compared to the stars, and often fought for Israel.  2 Mac. x. 29.  Vales, Philos. c. xxxi.  C. The favourable and malignant influences of the stars, which the Rabbins talk of, would here be nugatory, (H.) unless they might contribute to bring on rain.  Cajet. Josephus (v. 6.) informs us that a furious tempest of hail, &c. met the enemy in the face, and rendered all their efforts useless.  C. A similar instance of the divine protection was  obtained by the prayers of the thundering legion, in the army of M. Aurelius; (Tert.  Euseb. Hist. v. 5.) and again, when Theodosius attacked the tyrant Eugenius, of which Claudian speaks, (in 3 Cons. Honor.)  “Te propter gelidis Aquilo de monte procellisObruit adversas acies, revolutaque telaVertit in Auctores et trubine repulit hastasO nimium dilecte Deo, cui fundit ab antrisÆolus armatas hiemes, cui militat ætherEt conjurati veniunt ad classica venti.”  H. Courses.  This miracle was of a different kind from that which proved so fatal to the enemies of Josue.  Lyran. Sept. Alex. “They fought with (meta) Israel,” for which Grabe puts, against Sisara.  H.


Ver. 21.  Dragged.  Prot. “swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon.” Cadumim, which the Prot. translate ancient, (H.) means also eastern.  The former epithet seems very insignificant.  Some assert, that the Cison divided its streams about Mount Thabor, and one part ran towards the east into the lake of Genesareth, which is here designated, while the other empties itself above Carmel into the great sea.  But there is no proof of this assertion in the Scripture, nor in Josephus.  We read (Judith vii. 3,) of a place, which the Syriac properly calls Cadmon, and the Vulg. Chelmon, in this neighbourhood.  Instead of Kedumin, Sym. and Theodotion read Kodssim, which the former translates, “the holy vale.”  Many of the army (C.) of the kings, and perhaps of Sisara also, (H.) endeavouring to make their escape, were drowned in the Cison.  C.


Ver 22.  Broken (ceciderunt) “fell off,” the hoofs being fractured by the hard road, while the riders galloped full speed.  H. Some translate the Heb. “the hoofs of the horses made a sound like that of a hammer beating an anvil, on account of the hurry of the strong ones who push them forward.”  Quadrupedante putrem sonitu quatit ungula campum, as Virgil attempts to imitate the sound in verse.  Others, “the hoof…was broken by the precipitation (C.) (Prot. prancings, the prancings of the mighty ones.  H.) of those who fled.”  Formerly, Xenophon observes, the horses were not usually shod with iron.  The feet of Bucephalus were consequently much worn.  Yet some took the precaution to defend the feet of their horses with brass, (Homer) or iron, in the shape of crescents.  Eustathius. Nero shod his mules with silver; (Sueton.) and Popea, his wife, had shoes of gold for her more delicate beasts.  Soleas ex auro quoque induere solebat.  Plin. xxxiii. 11. Yet many excellent horses in Arabia and Tartary are never shod.  Tavern. T. i. B. ii. 5.


Ver. 23.  Meroz.  Where this land of Meroz was, which is here laid under a curse, we cannot find: nor is there mention of it any where else in holy writ.  In the spiritual sense, they are cursed who refuse to assist the people of God in their warfare against their spiritual enemies.  Ch. Eusebius seems to have thought that Merom, a body of water, and the village of Meroz (H.) were the same place, 12 miles from Sebaste.  The inhabitants were surely under an obligation of assisting their brethren; and these, it appears, lived in the vicinity, and neglected their duty.  Sept. Alex. reads Mazor.  Some stars are styled Mazzaroth.  Job xxxviii. 32. Angel, Michael; or the high priest, or Barac, Debbora, &c.  See C. ii. 1.  C. Prot. “Curse ye Meroz, (said the angel of the Lord) course ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof.” To help.  Prot. “to the help of the Lord against the mighty.”  Sept. “our helper is the Lord in the mighty warriors.”  He assists their endeavours, which would otherwise prove unsuccessful.  H. The Jews thin that Barac cursed Meroz, the star or the angel of the Chanaanites, who protected Sisara.  Chal.  See Serar. q. 15.  Others say that he was an ally of the general, who was excommunicated by Barac, at the sound of 400 trumpets.  But these opinions only deserve contempt.  C.


Ver. 24.  Among.  Heb. “above.”  After cursing those who befriended the enemy, Debbora pronounces a blessing upon Jahel.  H. The blessed Virgin is surely still more entitled to praise.  W. Tent.  It was esteemed a mark of virtue for a woman to keep at home.  Drusius.


Ver. 25.  Dish.  Heb. sephel; whence the symplue of the Lydians, Tuscans, and Romans, was probably derived, denoting a bowl or jug with a handle, designed for libations.  They were formerly made of potter’s ware, fictilibus prolibatur sympuciis, or sympulis.  Plin. xxxv. 13.  “Aut quisSympuvium ridere Numæ, nigrumve catinumAut vaticanas fragiles de monte patellasAusus erat.”  Juv. Sat. vi.  C.


Ver. 26.  Sisara.  Hebrew says with the hammer; (Prot.) “she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken (the nail) through his temples.”  But we may rather translate, (H.) “she pierced his head, she struck it, and pierced through this temples.”  C. For we cannot suppose that she severed his head from his body with the hammer; but she fastened it to the ground with the nail.  C. iv. 21.


Ver. 27.  Wretched.  Heb. “he expired where he fell down.”  H. Debbora represents Jahel as ready to tread the unhappy Sisara under her feet, if he should offer to stir.  She thrice repeats his death.


Ver. 28.  His mother, &c.  This poetical imagination is very natural. Room.  Heb. “through the lattices,” eshnab, of which the windows then consisted.  Prov. vii. 6.  C. Horses.  Prot. “why tarry the wheels of his chariots?”  H.


Ver. 29.  Wives.  This is not expressed in Heb. “his wise ladies answered her,” or joined in her lamentations.  Then the mother comforted herself with the hope that they might possibly be employed in dividing the spoils.  C. Heb. “yea she answered herself, Have they not gained the victory? have they divided the prey? to every man a damsel, yea two? to Sisara a booty of divers colours,” &c.  H. Perhaps instead of damsel, lit. “a belly or two,” which occurs no where else, the Heb. should be, “to the general a most beautiful embroidery work.”  C.


Ver. 30.  Necks.  Heb. “the spoils of various colours, the embroidery of divers colours,  on both sides, for the necks (of the captors) of the spoil.”  H. Or more simply, “for the neck (general) of the army;” (Vatab.) or “the necks of the soldiers,” who will be laden with the abundance of spoils.  C. The ladies dwell with great delight on the thought of possessing rich embroidery or needle work.   How dreadfully would their hopes be blasted, when a few hours after they saw Barac at their gates, and their city in flames!  H.


Ver. 31.  Rising.  Heb. “when he goeth forth in his might.”  Let the just advance in virtue, and glory, as the sun becomes more beautiful and hot as he leaves the horizon, on a clear summer day.  This comparison is often applied to the servants of God.  Eccli. xvi. 16.  2 K. xxiii. 5.  Mat. xiii. 45.  C.


Ver. 32.  Forty.  Usher says only 20 from the victory of Barac.  Potau and other able chronologers allow the full term of 40 years, after that event.  See C. iii. 11.  H. Barac was buried at Cedes, where Benjamin (Itin.) saw his tomb.  C. Ozi, the high priest for the last 40 years, was succeeded by Zaraias, A. 2760, who reigned an equal length of time, and died with Gedeon.  Maraioth took his place, A. 2801, at the commencement of Abimelech’s usurpation, and died A. 2841.  Salien.







Ver. 1.  Madian.  This nation had formerly been almost extirpated by Moses.  Num. xxxi. 7, &c.  H. But they had re-established themselves, and dwelt in the neighbourhood of the Moabites, whom they had assisted.  They new made a league with Amalec, and other eastern nations, (C.) in order to revenge themselves upon the Israelites.  H. Madian was a descendant of Abraham by Cetura.  Gen. xxv. 2.  The shortness of the servitude, which the Israelites had to suffer from them, was compensated by its severity.  M.


Ver. 2.  Resist is not expressed in Heb. neither did Israel dare to encounter the enemy.  They retreated into the strongest holds, to rescue their goods and persons from the depredations of the Madianites.  H.


Ver. 3.  Amalec was formerly widely dispersed through Arabia.  Some dwelt to the south of the promised land.  Ex. xvii.  Num. xiii. 3.  1 K. xv. 6. and xxxi. 1.  But these inhabited the eastern countries, concerning whom Balaam spoke, Num. xxiv. 20.  The Amalecites were scattered from Hevila upon the Euphrates, as far as the Red Sea and Sur, which is near Egypt.  1 K. xv. 7. and xxvii. 8.  The other eastern nations denote those who inhabited the desert Arabia, the Moabites, Ammonites, Idumeans, Cedarenians, &c.  Isai. xi. 14.  Jer. xlix. 28.  Ezec. viii. 7.


Ver. 4.  Blade.  Heb. “the increase of the earth.”  They waited till the corn was almost ripe, and what they could not carry off they destroyed.  C. It seems they had allowed Gedeon time to gather in some corn, (v. 11.) and other Israelites would seize their opportunity, and perhaps cut the corn before it was perfectly ripe, which the Vulg. may insinuate by mentioning the blade. Gaza.  They ravaged the whole country from east to west.  H. This method of warfare is, in effect, more cruel than any other. Asses.  They left no cattle, nor animals that they could take, wherewith the Isrealites might cultivate the earth.  C. In the extremity of famine, the flesh of asses would have been used to sustain life, as the text insinuates.  H.


Ver. 5.  Locusts.  This comparison shews the rapacity and devastation of the enemy.  Locusts in those countries often obscure the air with their numbers, and presently eat up every green thing.  They proceed in regular order like a great battalion, and it is reported that they send some before to explore the country.  S. Jer. Joel ii.  Bochart.  C.  Gen. x. 4.


Ver. 8.  A prophet.  The people no sooner repent, than God shews them mercy.  H. The name of this prophet is unknown.  The Jews say it was Phinees; others think it was an angel in human shape: but he might be one divinely commissioned on this occasion, to make an exhortation to the people, assembled on some of the great festivals, (see C. ii. 1.  C.) though he might continue to exercise his authority afterwards.  M. S. Aug. (q. 31,) thinks that the angel (v. 11,) is here called a prophet, because he appeared in human form.  W.


Ver. 10.  Fear not.  Idols can do you no hurt, if you continue faithful to me.  H. Shew them no respect or worship.  The fear of Isaac means the God (C.) whom Isaac worshipped, Gen. xxxi. 42.  Idolatry owed its rise to a groundless fear: primos in orbe deos fecit timor.  Lucret.  The pagans offered sacrifice to Paventia, to fear and paleness, &c. that they might be secure from them.  Lactan.  H.


Ver. 11.  Angel; Michael.  M. Some think it was the prophet who had addressed the people, or Phinees, according to the Rabbins.  See S. Aug. q. 31.  Others believe it was the Son of God, who takes the name of Jehovah.  Broughton and other Protest. But the most natural opinion is, that a real angel was sent, in the name of God, like that which appeared to Moses, and assumed the incommunicable name, as the ambassador of God.  Gedeon took him for a man, and presented him a noble feast, without designing to offer sacrifice to him.  Maimonides and Grotius seem to suppose that all this passed in a dream; but the sequal refutes this opinion. Ephra, a city of the half tribe of Manasses, on the west side of the Jordan, of which Joas was the richest citizen.  He was of the family of Ezri, and a descendant of Abiezer.  1 Par. viii. 18.  Heb. might be rendered, “Joas, the Abiezerite.”  C. viii. 32. and xiii. 2. Madian.  Not having the convenience of cleansing the wheat in the open field, Gedeon was doing it privately, with a design to carry it off, at the approach of the enemy, and to support himself and family in some cavern.  Heb. takes no notice of cleaning: “Gedeon threshed wheat, by the wine press, to hide it, or to flee,” &c.  He probably used a flail, or some smaller sticks, such as were employed to beat out olives.  Isai. xxviii. 27.  Ruth ii. 17.  C. The wheat harvest was about Pentecost, that of barley was at Easter.  It seems the Madianites had been later than usual this year, in making their incursions, v. 33.  H.


Ver. 12.  Is.  We should naturally translate, be with thee, if the answer of Gedeon did not shew (C.) that it is to be taken as an assertion, that the Lord was already reconciled to Israel, and had made choice of this valiant man to rescue his people from slavery, though he was not of the first nobility, v. 15.


Ver. 13.   My lord.  This he says out of respect, supposing that he was addressing a prophet, (H.) or some virtuous person, of whom he desires to know what reasons could be given for the assurance of divine favour, which he held out.  He speaks not out of distrust.  M.


Ver. 14.  Lord, Jehova.  H. The Chal. and Sept. have, “the angel of the Lord,” as the best interpreters understand it.  C. Upon him, with benevolence and an air of authority, that he might know that he was speaking to some one more than man.  H. Strength, with which I have endued thee.  M. Though Gedeon was naturally brave, he was no more disposed to attack the Madianites than the rest of his dispirited countrymen; and, even after he was strengthened from above, he was so conscious of his own inability to effect so great a deliverance, that he stood in need of the most convincing miracles, to make him act as the judge of Israel.  H.


Ver. 15.  The meanest in Manasses, &c.  Mark how the Lord chooses the humble (who are mean and little in their own eyes) for the greatest enterprises.  Ch. Heb. and Sept. lit. “My millenary is poor, or lowly,” &c.  This term means a great family, from which many others spring, or a city inhabited by such.  Bethlehem was of this description in Juda.  Mic. v. 2.  Ephra and the family of Abiezer were not the first in Manasses.  Grotius observes, that Gedeon and Cincinnatus were called to the highest offices, when they least expected it.


Ver. 17.  Thou, the Lord, or his angel, capable of fulfilling these great promises; or be pleased, by some sign, to manifest thyself to me.  C. He began to perceive that he was talking with some person of authority: (H.) yet still he did not suspect that it was a spirit, otherwise he would not have offered food, nor would he have been so such surprised and afraid, only when the angel disappeared so suddenly, v. 22.


Ver. 18.  A sacrifice, or some provisions to present unto thee.  Heb. mincha, is taken for a present, particularly of flour and wine.  It is used to denote those presents which were made by Jacob to Esau, and Joseph, and by Aod to the king of Moab.  C. iii. 15.  Gen. xliii. 14.  C. To sacrifice, often means to kill things for a feast, Mat. xxii. 4.  What Gedeon brought, was afterwards turned into a sacrifice by the angel, v. 21.  M. Gedeon was not a priest, nor was there any altar prepared for a sacrifice.  If Gedeon had intended to offer one, he would not have boiled nor baked the food, which he presented before his guest.  C.


Ver. 19.  Measure.  Heb. “epha,” containing ten gomors, each of which was sufficient for the daily maintenance of a man; so that Gedeon brought as much as would have sufficed for ten men.  Abraham presented no more before the three angels, Gen. xviiii. 6.  The magnificence of the ancients consisted rather in producing great abundance, than in multiplying dishes. Broth.  Syr. and Arab. translate, “a good (old) wine.”


Ver. 20.  Thereon.  Thus he would shew Gedeon that he had no need of food.  He would exercise his obedience, and manifest a greater miracle, as the flesh and bread would be less apt to take fire, when the angel touched them, even though some might imagine that he caused a spark to come from the rock.  For the like purpose, Elias ordered thrice four buckets of water to be poured on the bullock, which fire from heaven would miraculously consume.  3 K. xviii. 34.  H. This broth might serve to anoint the altar, (Ex. xl. 10.  M.) or answer instead of the usual libations.  A. Montan.


Ver. 22.  Alas.  He makes this exclamation, concluding that he should soon die.  Ex. xxxiii. 20.  Callimachus says that “it was a law of Saturn, that the man who saw an immortal, unless the god himself chose to shew him that favour, should pay dearly for it.”  Grot. This opinion was groundless; and it is wonderful that it should prevail among the Israelites, (H.) since so many had seen angels without receiving any harm.  M.


Ver. 23.   Said to him, as he was ascending into heaven, (M.) or the following night.  C. It seems that Gedeon heard the angel’s proclamation of peace, and shewed his gratitude by forming the rock, or stone, into a kind of rough altar, which he entitled Yehova shalom, “God’s peace,” (H.) for doing which he received an order, v. 26.  M. Others erect altars, in various places; but they must be authorized by God.  C. Ezri.  Prot. “unto this day it is yet in Ophra, of the Abiezrites.”  Sept. is ambiguous.  “He, or it, being yet in Ephra,” &c.  H.


Ver. 25.  And another, or “the second.”  Only one seems to have been sacrificed; (v. 28.  Cajetan) though others think that the second bullock was designed for a peace-offering.  Bonfrere.  Some infer that it had been fattened for Baal.  Sept. observe, that the first bullock or “calf was fattened:” but it does not appear for what purpose.  C. Seven years, in memory of the duration of the slavery.  M. Before that age, bulls were not deemed so fit for yoking.  Hesiod would have them to be nine years old. Altar.  We may render the Heb. “Cut down the idol which is upon the altar; or, Break in pieces the ashera,” &c.  This is the title of the idol of the grove, Astare or Asteroth.  Syr. and Arab.  The Sept. is  favourable to this explanation.  C. But the groves themselves were to be cut down, where an altar of God was to be erected.  It seems this altar and the grove belonged to Joas, who is hence supposed to have joined in the worship of Baal.  If he did formerly, his eyes were now opened, and he boldly approved of the conduct of his son, (v. 31.  H.) who had probably never been infected.  M.


Ver. 26.  Top.  Heb. “on the to of this fortress, (Mawz.  Dan. xi. 38. Sept.) on the platform, (C.) or place appointed.”  H. Offer.  Though Gedeon was not a priest, he was authorized to offer sacrifice.  M. God can dispense with his own laws.  H.


Ver. 27.  House, his relations and fellow-citizens, (C.) who were addicted to idolatry.  Prudence dictated that he should do this privately, lest he might be prevented by them.  They would soon perceive the weakness of their idols.  Yet some of the servants, or others who had been on the watch, disclosed to the idolaters that Gedeon had done the daring deed, unless perhaps they accused him on suspicion, as his enmity to that worship could not be concealed.  H.


Ver. 30.  Bring.  Parents took cognizance of the evil actions done in their family.  The citizens require Joas to punish his son, or to deliver him up to them.  On the same principle, the Israelites insisted that the tribes of Benjamin should not neglect to punish the citizens of Gabaa; and the Philistines demand Samson.  C. xv. 12. and xx. 13.  Cato advised that Cæsar should be given up to the Germans, whom he had unjustly invaded; and the Gauls would not be satisfied, unless the Fabii should be abandoned unto them.  Grot. Jur. ii. 21. 4.   H.


Ver. 31.  His,  Baal’s, or rather my son’s adversary; (C.) let him die before this morning be spent, as the Heb. insinuates.  Joas represents to the men of the city, who looked upon him with a degree of respect, (H.) as the first in power and riches among them, (C.) how ill it became the Israelites to vindicate an idol.  If Baal were truly so powerful, as they seemed to imagine, (H.) and so eager to revenge himself, he could never be restrained from bringing his adversary to condign punishment.  “Let the gods punish those who injure them,” said Tacitus, Ann. i.  “They would take care that their sacred things were not abused.”  Livy x.  This argumentation would suit the idolaters, who supposed that their gods were animated with the same sentiments and eagerness for revenge as themselves.  But the true God, who can feel no such impressions, bears for a long time with the impiety of men, though he requires that those who are in power should punish notorious offenders.  The magistrate is the instrument of God’s justice, and must stop, as much as possible, the growth of vice and irreligion.  C. It seems the citizens of Ephra acquiesced to the reason or authority of Joas, and even enlisted under the banners of Gedeon.  H.


Ver. 32.  Altar.  Prot. “Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.”  Sept. Alex. says that he then styled it (auto, the altar,) “the judgment-seat of Baal,” Dikasterion Baal.  But the Vat. copy leaves Terobaal; and this title rather belonged to Gedeon.  H. David, out of horror for the name of Baal, calls him Jeruboseth, 2 K. xi. 21.  “Let confusion plead,” &c.  For the same reason, Esbaal and Meribaal are called Isboseth and Miphiboseth in Scripture.  We read that Sanconiathon consulted “Jerombaal, priest of the god Jao,” concerning the antiquities of Phœnicia, which has led some to conclude that he had seen Jerobaal.  The work, however, of that author is generally supposed to be a fabrication of Porphyrius, and was unknown to Josephus.  It contains a multitude of fabulous accounts, intermixed with some truths, which might be taken from the Bible.  Gedeon was no priest, and we may suppose little concerned about the Phœnician affairs or antiquities.  C.


Ver. 33.  Jezrael.  The crossed the Jordan, probably at Bethsan, expecting to find rich booty in this most fertile vale, where it is reported that grass, or the plants, grow to such a size, that a man on horseback can scarcely be seen!  They met with a defeat near Endor and Mount Thabor.  C. viii. 18.  Ps. lxxxii. 11.  C.


Ver. 34.  Him.  He first calls his relations, and then the neighbouring tribes, to march against the enemy.  He had before declared God’s orders, and was recognized as judge and deliverer of Israel; so that no one objects to his exercising this act of sovereignty.


Ver. 35.  Him.  Heb. “them.”  M. The people readily obey the summons, though many of them had not got the better of their fears.  C. vii. 3.  H.


Ver. 38.  So.  Gedeon besought the Lord to confirm his mission, in order to raise the drooping spirits of his soldiers.  If he had not believed that he was chosen for the purpose of rescuing Israel, he would never have exposed himself, by destroying the idol and grove of Baal, and by calling the people to arms.  Yet he might fear at present, lest he might be destitute of some of the necessary qualifications, and might entertain some apprehensions, lest the promises of God might by only conditional.  The readiness with which God grants his requests, shews that he was inspired to act as he did, and his faith is greatly commended, Hebrews xi. 32.  Other great saints have asked for a miraculous confirmation of what was promised.  Ex. iv. 1.  Jos. v. 13.  Luc. i. 34.  C. Vessels.  Heb. sephel, Sept. lecane, “a dish.”  Syr. “a basin.”  The dew in Chanaan is very copious, resembling a shower of rain, insomuch that the roads are rendered extremely slippery.  Roger. i. 2.  C.


Ver. 40.  Ground.  In these two miracles the Fathers observe, that the fleece represented the Jewish nation, favoured with so many graces, while the rest of the world was dry and barren; and that, when the latter was watered with dew from heaven, by the coming of Jesus Christ, the Synagogue was deprived of those favours.  Orig. hom. viii.  Theod. q. 14.  S. Jer. ad Paulin.  S. Aug. &c. In the first miracle we may also contemplate, the incarnation of our Saviour in the womb of the most pure Virgin.  Ps. lxxi. 6.  S. Bern. serm.  S. Jer. epist. Paul.  C.







Ver. 1.  Fountain.  The same also called Areth, as the copies of the Sept. and of S. Jerom vary.  Bonf. Harad, or “of trouble,” either because the Madianites were filled with terror at the approach of Gedeon, or because so many of his soldiers returned home through fear.  M. Perhaps it may be the same which is called the fountain of Jezrael, near which Saul encamped, 1 K. xxix. 1.  C. Adrichomius places it on the south of Gelboe, which is called the high hill.  M. Heb. “on the north side of them, by the hill of More, in the vale.”  H. Jezrael was between Gelboe to the south, and Hermon to the north.  C.


Ver. 2.  Lest Israel, &c.  by this we see that God will not choose for his instruments in great achievements, which depend purely on his grace, such as, through pride and self-conceit, will take the glory to themselves.  Ch. Yet Gedeon had only 32,000 to encounter 135,000 fighting men; so that if all had remained with him, they would each had to engage above four men, v. 3.  C. viii. 10.  M.


Ver. 3.  Return, agreeably to the law of Moses.  Deut. xx. 8.  If God had not enforced this order, it would perhaps have been neglected in the  hurry, particularly as all seemed to have joined the army with such alacrity.  M. Scipio going to destroy Carthage, was informed that some Sicilian knights went on this expedition with extreme reluctance and fear; whereupon he gave 300 leave to depart.  Livy xxix. Galaad perhaps may have been substituted for Gelboe, as there seems to have been none from the Galaad, on the other side of the Jordan, in the army of Gedeon.  C. Abulensis thinks that some little mountain of this name might be in the vicinity of Jezrael. Home.  They were terrified at the sight of the enemy’s camp.  M.


Ver. 5.  Tongues.  Some Latin copies add, “and hand,” as it is expressed in Heb. &c. in the following verse.  They resembled dogs more in the hurry than in the method of taking water.  An old proverb says, “the dog drinks and flees away,” (C.) alluding to the dogs of Egypt, who, through fear of the crocodiles which infest the banks of the Nile, lap the water with all expedition, “like a dog from the Nile.”  Erasmus.  H.  Macrob. ii. 2. Hence we might infer, that these 300 men were the most cowardly in the army, as Joseph. (v. 8,) Theod. (q. 15,) have done; (C.) and thus the glory of the victory would belong more incontrovertibly to God.  H. But as these 300, on this supposition, ought to have been disbanded, as well as the rest, we may rather conclude that they shewed greater courage and temperance by their posture, and were therefore retained (C.) to accompany their heroic leader in his perilous expedition.  We must, nevertheless remark, that only those who preferred to acknowledge their fear, were disbanded according to the law; and as, among those who were not quite so cowardly, (H.) there would be some less courageous than others, (Amama) these might be selected by God, that no flesh should glory in  his sight, 1 Cor. i. 29.  H.


Ver. 7.  That lapped water.  These were preferred that took the water up in their hands, and so lapped it, before them who laid themselves quite down to the waters to drink; which argued a more eager and sensual disposition.  Ch. It is thought that the former would be more capable of supporting the fatigues of war.  M. The Jews suppose that those who knelt, had been accustomed to do so in honour of Baal.  Lyranus concludes that they were extremely fatigued and thirsty, while the 300 underwent the labours of war with less inconvenience.  Josephus observes that this experiment was made in the heat of the day; yet, if Providence had not interfered, it seems very improbable that 10,000 men should all be so eager for water.  H.


Ver. 8.  Victuals.  It appears that they did not take sufficient, (C.) not expecting that they would have to pursue the enemy so far.  C. viii. 5. 8.


Ver. 11.  Servant.  Thus he confessed that he was not entirely free from fear himself, v. 5. 10.  H. The most courageous feel less alarm, when they have a companion, (M.) as Diomede observed, when he desired that one or two might accompany him in the attempt to explore the enemy’s camp.  Iliad x. Arms.  The greatest part of this immense crowd of people, who came to plunder, neglected the laws of war; as the Israelites had not dared, for a long time, to oppose them.  A select number of 135,000 men in arms was destined to keep them in order, and to protect them.  Among these Gedeon insinuated himself, to know how they were encamped, and what sentiments they entertained.  C.


Ver. 13.  A dream.  Observation of dreams is commonly superstitious, and as such is condemned by the word of God; but in some extraordinary cases, as we here see, God is pleased by dreams to foretel what he is about to do.  Ch. See Gen. xl.  Lev. xix. 26.  Deut. xviii. 10.  W. The small company of Gedeon stood in need of every sort of encouragement.  H.


Ver. 14.  Sword and loaf are both derived from the same Heb. word, which signifies “to make war.”  See Num. xiv. 9.  But if there had been no connection or reason in the discourse of the soldier, (which was not the case, as Providence put it into his mouth,) the end would be equally obtained, which was to encourage Gedeon, and to inform him that the enemy was not without some apprehensions.  C. Gedeon was not of the richest family, but came with great expedition, as the rolling of the barley-loaf might designate.  M. He was also encamped upon an eminence, and presently threw the affairs of Madian into confusion.  H. He understands the language of the Madianites, as it was not very different from the Hebrew.


Ver. 15.  Interpretation.  Heb. “the breaking,” in allusion to a loaf or nut which must be broken.  C. Adored God, in thanksgiving.  M.


Ver. 16.  Lamps, or flambeaux, (C.) made of wood, full of turpentine.  H. The soldiers held one end in their hand, and when they had thrown down their pitchers, the sudden light, the sound of trumpets and of men on three sides of the camp, threw the various nations into the utmost consternation, as they very naturally supposed that they were surrounded with a great army.  God also sent among them the spirit of confusion, so that they knew not one another.  An ancient author, under the name of Tertullian, asserts that the 300 men were on horseback, and conquered by virtue of the cross, as the letter T, in Greek, stands for 300; (C.) and S. Aug. (q. 37,) follows up this idea, saying that, as the Greeks are put by the apostle for all the Gentiles, this letter was to insinuate, that the Gentiles chiefly would believe in Christ.  Some of the Fathers have given a like mysterious explanation of the 318 servants of Abraham, as the two first letter of the name of Jesus denote 18.  Eucher.  Gen. xiv. 14.  S. Amb. de Abr. i. 3. We can never conquer our spiritual enemies, without a lively faith in our crucified Saviour.  If Amama, and other enemies of the cross of Christ, ridicule these pious meditations of the Fathers, we need not wonder.  See Apoc. xiii. 18.  H.


Ver. 17.  Camp.  The three divisions stopt at the entrance, v. 21.  C.


Ver. 18.  Camp, and shout together to the Lord and to Gedeon: or rather “the sword of, &c. v. 20.  The war is the Lord’s, victory to or by the hand of Gedeon.”  Chald.  He is the minister of God’s justice to punish Madian.  M. It is not derogation to God (C.) that honour is given to his servants.  W. Prot. supply the word which seems to be wanting.  The sword of the Lord, &c.  H.


Ver. 19.  Watch.  This was the second of the three watches known to the ancient Hebrews: in the New Testament, they followed the Roman discipline, and admitted four.  Mat. xiv. 25.  C. Menochius thinks they did the same at this time.  H. Alarmed.  They were not asleep.  M. We read of similar stratagems in the Roman history.  The Falisci threw the Romans into consternation, by appearing among them in mourning weeds; (C.) others read in priestly attire, (H.) with flambeaux and serpents; as those of Veii did by means of burning torches.  Grot. Frontin. Strat. ii. 4, &c.  C. Trumpets.  In a mystical sense, the preachers of the gospel, in order, to spiritual conquests, must not only sound with the trumpet of the word of God, but must also break the earthen pitchers, by the mortification of the flesh and its passions, and carry lamps in their hands by the light of their virtues.  Ch. These lamps denote the virtues and miracles of the martyrs.  V. Bede, c. 5.  The things which would seem ridiculous, fill the enemy with terror and dismay.  ibid.  W.


Ver. 21.  Camp.  Hence the Madianites made no doubt but a great army was in the midst of the camp, and began to cut in pieces all whom they met.  C.


Ver. 23.  Bethsetta.  These cities seem to have been near Bethsan. And the border.  Heb. “in Zererath,” (H.) which Junius takes to be Sarthan. Abelmehula gave birth to Eliseus, and was 12 miles from Scythopolis.  S. Jer. Tebbath occurs no where else.  But we read of Thebes, three miles from the last mentioned city, famous for the death of Abimelech.  C. xi. 50. Men.  Probably those who had been sent home the preceding night.  Upon hearing of the success which attended Gedeon, all the tribes began to be in motion.


Ver. 24.  Bethbera, “the house of corn.”  Serarius. Many take it to be Bethabera, “the house of passage,” or the ford of the Jordan.  The river was fordable on camels at any time.  But in summer, people might cross the Jordan in many places on foot.  C.


Ver. 25.  Two men.  That is, two of their chiefs.  Ch. Press.  Heb. yekeb, denotes a cistern fit to contain wine.  Isai. v. 2.  Prov. iii. 10. Zeb had concealed himself in it. Jordan.  They afterwards took occasion from this exploit to extol their own valour, and to quarrel with Gedeon.  C.







Ver. 1.  Ephraim.  The valour and insolence of these men are placed together.  Afterwards we have an account of the transactions of Gedeon in the pursuit, v. 4.  H. The tribe of Ephraim seems to have had some grounds for being displeased at not being summoned at first, as well as the tribes of Aser, &c. which were farther off; particularly as they sprang from Joseph, no less than Manasses, and had their portion in common.  The general answers them with great respect, as otherwise their displeasure might have had very pernicious consequences.  C.


Ver. 2.  What could I, &c.  A meek and humble answer appeased them; who otherwise might have come to extremities.  So great is the power of humility both with God and man.  Ch.  Prov. xv. 1. Could.  Heb. and Sept. “What have I yet done like you? M. Is not the gleaning?” &c.  I only commenced the war; you have brought it to a happy termination, by killing the princes of the enemy.  Debrio adag. 157.  At the first siege of Troy, Telamon having entered the city before Hercules, the latter was on the point of killing him, when Telamon, collecting a heap of stones, which he said he intended for an altar in honour of “the victorious Hercules,” the hero’s fury was appeased.  Apol. Bib. ii. 6.


Ver. 4.  Jordan.  Notwithstanding the precautions of Gedeon, some had got over the river, whom he resolves to follow at Bethsan.  This city was about 15 miles from Mount Thabor.  His men had been in motion a great part of the night, and had not taken provisions (C.) for so long a journey; so that he was obliged to apply for some when he had crossed the Jordan.  H.


Ver. 5.  Soccoth.  “The tents,” where Jacob had encamped.  Gen. xxxiii.  It belonged to the tribe of Dan.  M. The people of this town, as well as the ancients of Phanuel, returned an insolent reply to the just request of Gedeon.  In cases of such extremity, all are bound to assist the defenders of their country; and the refusal is punished as a sort of rebellion, 2 K. xxv. 10.  C.


Ver. 6.  Hand.  Perhaps thou makest sure of taking these kings.  H. We apprehend that they will return with greater forces, and punish our compliance.  M.


Ver. 7.  Desert.  An usual mode of punishment, (2 K. xii.  1 Par. xx. 3.  C.) which the cruel irrision of Gedeon and his army, who were fighting in the cause of God and of the nation, richly called for.


Ver. 9.  Tower; on the strength of which they ventured to treat him with insolence.  Phanuel, “the face of God,” (Gen. xxxii. 33,) was near the Jaboc.  M.


Ver. 10.  Resting, as the Heb. word Korkor, signifies.  Bochart. Prot. have, in Karor,” as if it were the name of a place.  H.


Ver. 11.  Tents.  The Scenitæ, (M.) who inhabited part of the desert Arabia.  C. Hurt.  They had probably been mounted on camels, &c. (H.) and did not suspect that Gedeon would be so soon after them across the Jordan.  M.


Ver. 13.  Sun-rising.  It would seem as if all these exploits had been performed between midnight and sun-rising, in the month of May, which is quite incredible; and hence many translate, “the sun being up.”  Sept. and Theodotion, “from the height or ascent of Hares,” (the situation of which we know not,) or “of the mountains,” (Aquila) or “woods,” (Symmachus) or perhaps “from the eastward.”  C. The Scripture does not, however, specify that all this took place in the space of six or seven hours, or of one night, but only that Gedeon came to Soccoth so early, as to take the magistrates unawares, being informed by a young man where they lived.  This might probably happen on the second morning, after he had surprised the camp of the Madianites, at Jezrael.  Prot. and Chal. agree with the Vulg. “before the sun was up.”  The other translations explain chares, as if it denoted the place or situation from which Gedeon was returning.  H. Described.  The text may signify either that the boy marked them out, or that Gedeon took down a memorandum of their names.  C. He would not punish the innocent with the guilty.  M.


Ver. 16.  Tore.  Heb. seems to be corrupted in this place.  “And he shewed (instructed or chastised) with these thorns.”  The Sept. and Vulg. read the same word as v. 7.  He crushed the people with such instruments as are used to beat out corn.  It is probable that he only treated the magistrates of Soccoth and of Phanuel in this manner.  C.


Ver. 18.  Thabor.  Some of the relations or brothers of Gedeon had retired thither, as to a place of safety; and the latter wished to know what was become of them, that he might redeem them, if alive.  C. King.  They answer with flattery, insinuating that Gedeon had the air of a king.  M.


Ver. 19.  Kill you.  They were not included in the number of the seven devoted nations, (W.) and the precept for destroying the Madianites no longer subsisted.  Num. xxxi. 17.   M. The laws of war permitted the Hebrews to kill their prisoners, if they thought proper.  No public executioner was necessary.  Samuel killed Agag, 1 K. xv. 32.  See 3 K. ii. 25.  2 K. i. 15.  C. Gedeon had a mind to make his son partake in the victory, and punish these kings for an unjust murder of his relations.  He would also inure him to fight against the enemies of God, &c.  M.


Ver. 21.  Age.  They beg that they may die in a more speedy and noble manner.  Tacitus (Hist. iv.) observes, “it was reported that Civilis exposed some of the Roman captives to his little son, in order that he might fix his arrows and javelins in their bodies.” Ornaments.  Most interpreters understand “crescents.”  The veneration of the Arabs for the moon, the celestial Venus, or Alilat, is well known.  The Turks still make use of this sign, as Christians employ the cross on their standards, temples, &c.  Men and women anciently wore on their necks or forehead ornaments of the same nature, as these camels did.  Isai. iii. 18.  Latinus adorned his horses in the most splendid manner.  Virg. Æn. vii: Aurea pectoribus demissa monilia pendent.  Caligula decorated with extravagance his famous horse Incitatus, on which he designed to confer the consulate.  Sueton. In Egypt the camels are sometimes painted yellow, and hung with a variety of little bells.  Vaneb.


Ver. 22.  Israel, who were in his army, and of whom he receives the earlets for his share of the spoil.  C. But as those who staid at home received a share of the booty, and no doubt would come to congratulate Gedeon on his victory, it seems equally probable that this offer of the regal dignity was made to him in a full assembly of the people, (H.) which is greatly to the honour of this valiant man.  M. Rule them.  They wished to confer upon him a dignity which he did not now possess, and which he absolutely refused, being, as he thought, incompatible with the theocracy.  This shews that it was not the dignity of judge, which he retained till his death, but that of king, which was so displeasing to God, when the Israelites resolved to establish it among them.  1 K. viii. 7.  M.  T.  Grot.  C. Josephus (v. 8.) thinks that Gedeon wished to resign the former dignity, but was forced to retain it forty years.  The judges were chosen by God, and acted as his lieutenants, so that the people having no part in their election, the Lord alone was considered as the king of Israel.  Some are of opinion that the people wished, on this occasion, to make the dignity hereditary.  C. Serarius thinks that they made an offer of the regal power to Gedeon, to his son, and grandson, only.  But it seems rather that they meant to make the sovereign authority over entirely to his family, (M.) so great a sense had they of his courage, moderation, and just severity, of which he had given such striking proofs.  H.


Ver. 24.  Request.  It was not then thought dishonourable to ask nor to receive presents.  The most precious part of the booty had been already presented to the general, according to the custom of the heroic times.  But, as the people wished to make Gedeon king, he consents to receive the earlets, as a memorial of their affection. Earlets.  Heb. and Sept. (M.) may also signify, “each an earlet,” as if he would only accept one from each soldier.  The original signifies also, the rings which women put under their noses; but, as men never did, it has not that meaning here, (C.) though there might be women in the camp of the Madianites.  H. Ismaelites.  By this title various nations are designated.  It seems almost as general as the word Arab among us.  These nations were no more distinguished by these ornaments than the Hebrews themselves.  Ex. xxxii. 2. and xxxv. 12.  The Persians, Africans, Lybians, &c. wore ear-rings.  C.


Ver. 26.  And jewels.  Some translate, “crescents (Sept. “little moons,”) and boxes” (netiphoth, M.) of perfumes, such as Alexander found among the spoils of Darius, and reserved to put his Homer in.  These ornaments were also used by women.  Isai. iii. 18.  C. The eastern nations delight in perfumes.  M. The ear-rings alone would amount to 3102l. 10s. sterling.  H.


Ver. 27.  An ephod.  A priestly garment; which Gedeon made with a good design: but the Israelites, after his death, abused it by making it an instrument of their idolatrous worship, (Ch.) and perhaps consulting their idols with it.  No law forbad the making of such a garment.  M. It was not peculiar to the high priest, since we find that Samuel and David occasionally wore the ephod, (2 K. vi. 14,) and probably Gedeon would, on public occasions, do the like with this most costly one, which would serve to remind the people of the victory which they had gained over Madian.  The chief judge in Egypt wore a great golden chain and collar, adorned with curious figures, as a mark of his dignity.  Diod. ii. 3.  This monument of the victory, and of the dignity of Gedeon, became, after his death, an occasion of superstition to the people, who foolishly imagined that they might consult the Lord, wherever an ephod was found.  See C. xvii. 5.  Ex. xxv. 7.  The began to neglect the tabernacle, and to form a religion of their own choice.  Many think that Gedeon was guilty of indiscretion in making it.  S. Aug. q. xli.  Lyran.  E. But the thing was in itself indifferent.  He did not intend to arrogate to himself the privileges of the Levitical tribe.  The Scripture nowhere condemns him, but speaks of his faith and of his death with honour, v. 32.  Heb. xi. 3. With it.  Heb. “after it or him,” which may either signify that this superstition took place after the death of Gedeon, (Sept.  Pagnin.  M.) or in consequence of the making of the ephod.  Jonath.  Drus.  Prot. &c. versions.  C. And to.  This explains how it affected Gedeon, who was probably dead.  He suffered in the ruin of his family, (H.) as it is explained in the following chapter.  M.


Ver. 31.  His concubine.  She was his servant, but not his harlot; and is called his concubine, as wives of an inferior degree are commonly called in the Old Testament, though otherwise lawfully married.  Ch. They had not all the privileges of wives; (Gen. xxv. 6,) and their children could not claim the inheritance.  C. Abimelech means, “my (H.) father king;” alluding to the dignity of Gedeon; or perhaps the mother imposed this name, hoping that her son would obtain the highest honours.  Josephus calls her Druma.  She dwelt at Sichem, to which place the judge of Israel often resorted, though his usual residence was at Ephra.  This son of theirs is included among the 70.


Ver. 32.  Good.  He left an excellent reputation, and died in God’s friendship.  M.


Ver. 33.  After.  This is the most solid proof of Gedeon’s piety, since he kept the people in awe, and faithful to the Lord during his life. God.  Heb. “and appointed Baal Berith their god,” or goddess; for Berith, “of the covenant,” is feminine.  In the temple of this idol, the citizens of Sichem kept money.  C. ix. 4.  The pagans had many gods who presided over treaties; and the parties were, it seems, at liberty to choose whom they thought proper.  They commonly pitched upon Jupiter, who is, therefore, styled Zeus orkios, or Dius fidius, or Fistius Jupiter.  Laert. in Pythag.  Halicar. iv.  A statue “of Jupiter for oaths,” was seen at Olympus, holding the thunderbolts in his hands, ready to hurl against those who proved faithless.  Pausan. Eliac.  Philo of Byblos speaks of the Phœnician god Eliun, “the High,” and (C.) of the goddess “Beruth,” which last has a visible connection with Berith.  The former title is sometimes given to the true God in Scripture.  The city of Berytus was so called, probably in honour of the latter.  Nonnus seems to have styled her Beroe.  Bochart.  Chanaan ii. 17. Pliny (xxxi. 1.) mentions the god Briaze, at the foot of whose temple runs the river Olachas, the waters of which are said to burn those who are guilty of perjury.  The Chaldee reads, “they chose Beel-kiam for their error.”  Amos (v. 26.) speaks of the images of Chiun.  May he not be the same as Berith or Kiam?  Spencer says, that Chiun was Saturn: but Vossius thinks it was the moon.  Idol. ii. 23.  C.


Ver. 35.  Mercy is here put for many virtues: gratitude, justice, kindness, &c.  M. The Israelites did not take care to provide for (C.) the family of one who had rendered them such essential services.  H.







Ver. 1.  Abimelech was encouraged to contend with his brethren as he saw the indifference which the people shewed for them, and as he was of a bold enterprising temper.  C.


Ver. 2.  Men, particularly to those who have the greatest influence.  Heb. Bahalim.  M. The argumentation of Abimelech tended to prove that monarchy was the most perfect and eligible form of government, and that it would be hard upon the people, and greatly weaken the state, if seventy princes were to be supported in al the dignity of kings.  But it was easy to discern the fallacy of his reasons.  The dignity of judge was not hereditary, and it does not appear that the sons of Gedeon claimed it.  If it had belonged to his family, the eldest would have been entitled to it, or any of the children, in preference to this son of the servant, v. 18.  He was, indeed, born at Sichem; but the others were by no means strangers: (C.) and what right had the men of this town to give a ruler to Israel?  H. Flesh, an usual expression in Scripture to denote kindred.  v. 3.  Gen. ii. 23.  2 K. xix. 13.  C.


Ver. 4.  Weight.  Heb. Chal. and Sept. do not express what quantity of silver was given.  M. But sicle on such occasions is generally supplied.  C. Hence this sum would amount to little more than 8l. sterling.  H. As this appears too insignificant a sum to maintain an army, (C.) some would  supply pounds, each consisting of 24 sicles, or talents, which were equivalent to 3000 sicles.  M. But this is without example, and the army of Abimelech was, probably, a company of banditti, or villains, who went with him to Ephra, to murder his brethren, and afterwards kept near his person.  When he had got possession of his father’s estate, and of the sovereign power, he found means to supply his wants.  C. Baalberith.  That is, Baal of the covenant, so called from the covenant they had made with Baal, c. viii. 33.  Ch. The custom of keeping money in temples was formerly very common.  Almost all the cities of Greece sent money to the temple of Apollo, at Delphos, (Marsham, sæc. xvii.) where the people of Rome and of Marseilles had also some.  The different cities had likewise holes cut in the rock of Olympia, in Elis, for the same purpose.  The public treasury was, almost universally, some temple.  That of Rome was the temple of Saturn. Vagabonds.  Heb. “empty and inconstant” (C.) people who had nothing to lose, and who would not embrace any proper method of getting a livelihood.  H. Chal. “seekers.”  Sept. “stupid.”  Sym. “idle and of desperate fortunes, or frantic.”  C. Such people are generally at the head of every revolution, or, at least, are ready to follow the directions of some powerful and designing man; as but too many instances, both in ancient and modern times evince; which ought to be a caution for all to watch their motions.  H.


Ver. 5.  Stone where criminals were, perhaps, commonly executed, that he might seem to act with justice, (Tostat) or he might slaughter his brethren on the very altar, which had been erected to God by Gedeon, after he had thrown down that of Baal.  By doing so, he would seem to vindicate the idol, and gratify the people of Sichem, who were zealous idolaters, v. 46.  Joatham escaped his fury, yet he, also, uses a round number, 70, when he says you have killed 70 men, v. 18.  C. Abimelech himself must also be deducted from the number.  Thus we say the seventy interpreters, (M.) though the Greek interpreters of the Bible are supposed (H.) to have been 72.  M. The history of nations is full of similar instances of cruelty.  Ochus, king of Persia, killed his uncle, and 80 or 100 of his sons.  Phraartees, son of Herod, king of the Parthians, by a concubine, slew his father and his 30 children.  Justin. x. and xlii. The Turkish emperors have shewn equal barbarity on many occasions, and they still murder or confine all their brothers.  Serar. q. 6.


Ver. 6.  Mello.  We know of no such city in the vicinity of Sichem.  Heb. “all the house of Millo:” which some take to be the town-house of Sichem, full of the chief citizens, as Mello signifies “filled up;” (Vatable) or it might designate some part of the city which had been levelled, like the deep valley at Jerusalem, (3 K. ix. 15.  H.) and where some powerful family, probably the father of Abimelech’s mother, might dwell.  C. This family would interest itself the most in the advancement of the tyrant, v. 3.  H. Oak.  Heb. “the plain, or oak of the statue,” (alluding to the monument which was left here by Josue, v. 37.  Josue xxiv. 26) or Sept. “of the station,” as those of Sichem might assemble here to deliberate on public affairs, (C.) in memory of the solemn covenant between God and the people.  H.


Ver. 7.  Stood on.  As Abimelech was a figure of Antichrist, who will reign for a time, so Joatham denotes the pastors of the church, who shall stand up for the truth.  W. Garizim.  At the foot of this mountain Sichem was built.  Joatham addressed the people of the city, probably during the absence of Abimelech, (C.) when, Josephus (v. 9.) says, a great festival was celebrated.


Ver. 8.  Us.  By this parable, Joatham expostulates with the men of Sichem, who had so basely requited the labours of Gedeon, and had given the preference to the son of a servant, who was of the most savage temper.  H. In a spiritual sense, which the Fathers chiefly regard, heretics and schismatics act in this manner, and choose rather to be governed by those who will allow them to follow their passions, than by such governors as God has appointed, though the latter be endued with the grace of the Holy Ghost, and with all virtues, signified by the olive and other fruit trees.  They prefer the bramble, or the worst dispositions, like Nemrod, Mahomet, Antichrist, &c. who, after persecuting the virtuous, and Catholics for a time, 2 Thess. ii.) will, in the end, prove their ruin, though they themselves be involved in the common destruction.  “Fire shall rise (says V. Bede, q. 6.) against this bramble, Antichrist, and shall devour him, and all his together.”  W. The use of parables has been very general.  M. Agrippa brought the Roman plebeians, who had retired to the sacred mount, to a sense of their duty, and to a love of mutual harmony with the nobles, by observing that the members once refused to supply the wants  of the belly, because it did not labour like the rest.  Livy ii. In the application of these parables, Maimonides justly remarks, that we must consider their general scope, and not pretend to explain every circumstance; (More. Neboc.) a remark which Origen had already made.  Many things are only added for the sake of ornament.  H. Thus we need not imagine that the people of Sichem offered the sovereign authority to many, who refused to accept of it, and at last only prevailed upon Abimelech.  Gedeon had, indeed, rejected a similar offer, (C. viii. 22.) and his other sons not endeavouring to retain the authority of their father, the Sichemites acceded to the petition of Abimelech, to anoint him king.  This expression does not always imply a material unction, though such was used among the Jews.  It signifies the granting of all the power of a king; in which sense it is applied to foreign princes, (Isa. lxv. 1.) and to Jesus Christ, (Dan. ix. 24.) who received the reality of that sovereign dominion, of which this unction was only a figure.  C.


Ver. 9.  Leave.  But, would this advancement prove any disadvantage?  The king is bound to give himself up wholly for the good of the public, so that he must frequently be full of anxiety and care.  C. Use of.  The olive-tree is introduced, speaking in this manner, because oil was used, both in the worship of the true God, and in that of the false gods, whom the Sichemites served.  Ch. The pagans burnt lamps in honour of their idols, and anointed their statues: unguentoque lares humescere nigro.  Prud. c. Sym. 1. They also anointed their military standards at Rome.  Plin. xiii. 3. The same author observes, that “two sorts of liquor are very delightful to the bodies of men: wine to drink and oil for the outside: intus vini, foris olei.  B. xiv. 22. Men use oil to strengthen and foment their bodies, as well as to give them light.  C. It spiritually denotes the grace of God, which establishes the peace of the soul, as the fig-tree signifies the sweetness of God’s law, producing good works, and the vine shews forth those noble actions, which are performed without the affection of outward show; and which are therefore, most agreeable both to God and to men.  W. Promoted.  Some translate the Heb. “to put myself in motion for.”  Syr. &c.  We might also render, “which honoureth the gods, (or the judges) and men to come to be promoted among (or disquieted on account of) the trees.”


Ver. 11.  Sweetness.  The fig is the sweetest of fruits, and is regarded as the symbol of sweetness.  Aristop.  Bonfrere.


Ver. 13.  Cheereth God and men.  Wine is here represented as agreeable to God, because he had appointed it to be offered up with his sacrifices.  But we are not obliged to take these words, spoken by the trees in Joatham’s parable, according to the strict rigour of divinity; but only in a sense accommodated to the design of the parable expressed in the conclusion of it.  Ch. The same word, Elohim, which is translated God may also signify any powerful man, as in v. 9.  H. Yet wine may be said to cheer God, in the same figurative sense, as the odour of victims is sweet and delightful to him.  C. He is pleased with the devotion of men, and requires these things as a testimony of their love and fidelity.  H. Joatham might speak according to the notions of the idolaters, who thought that their gods really fed on ambrosia and nectar, and were pleased with the smell of victims and of perfumes.  That wine cheereth the heart of man needs no proof.  Ps. ciii. 15. Tunc veniunt risus, tunc pauper cornua sumit.Tunc dolor et curæ rugaque frontis abit.  Ovid.


Ver. 14.  Bramble.  Sept. rhamnos, “the white, or hawthorn.”  Some suppose that atad means “a wild rose, (Vatab.) thistle,” &c.  C. It is here put for any base and ambitious man.  W.


Ver. 15.  Shadow or protection, Ps. xvi. 8.  Baruc. i. 12.  C. Joatham hints at the insolence of Abimelech, (H.) and foretels that he and his foolish subjects will soon be at variance, and destroy each other.  Fire is often put for war.  The people of Sichem began soon to despise their new king, and he made war upon them, and destroyed their city; though the people afterwards took ample revenge, v. 20.  C. Tyrants promise much, but their rage soon falls upon the more wealthy and powerful citizens, (H.) here signified by the cedars.  M.


Ver. 18.  You are.  People are answerable for the injuries which they do not prevent, when they have it in their power.  C. Many of the citizens of Sichem had assisted Abimelech, v. 4. Brother.  The ties of kindred could not hide their ingratitude and cruelty.  H.


Ver. 20.  Town of.  Heb. “the house of Mello,” v. 6.  C. the imprecation of Joatham was prophetical.  He had not the smallest doubt but the people had done wrong; (H.) and the three different fruit-trees, which rejected the offer of promotion, represented all the virtuous Israelites, who knew that they could not lawfully assume the regal or judicial authority, without the divine call.  Ezechiel (xvii. 24,) attributes knowledge to trees by the same figure of speech, as Joatham does here.  M.


Ver. 21.  Bera.  Heb. Bar or Beera, “the well.”  There was a place of this name in the tribe of Ruben, where the Israelites encamped.  Num. xxi. 16.  Bersabee, in the tribe of Juda, was another famous well, and it is probable that Joatham would retire to some distant place.  H. S. Jerom mentions a Bera, eight miles north of Eleutheropolis; and Maundrell speaks of another, about 21 miles from Sichem, on the road to Jerusalem.  The dominion of Abimelech did not extend far.  C.


Ver. 23.  Spirit.  God permitted the spirit of discord to arise, like an executioner, (C.) to punish the sins both of the ruler and of his subjects.  H. S. Aug. (q. 45.) observes, that God caused the people to be sorry for what they had done: but they afterwards proceeded to acts of violence and enmity, at the instigation of the devil, to whose advice they gave ear, in consequence of their former transgression.  W. The common people began to open their eyes, and beheld the cruelty of Abimelech, and of some of the principal citizens, who had espoused his cause, with abhorrence.  M. They reflected on the justice of Joatham’s parable, which tended to rouse them not to suffer the tyrant to remain unpunished any longer.  H. Detest him.  Heb. “revolted against (or dealt treacherously with) Abimelech, (24) that the crime (or punishment of the murder) of the, &c. might come, and their blood be laid upon,” &c.  H. God permitted that Abimelech should be punished by those very men who had been the occasion of his sin.  To obtain the sceptre over them, he had committed the most horrible cruelty.  C.


Ver. 25.  Coming.  Abimelech resided at Ephra, having appointed Zebul governor of Sichem, from whom he received information of what was doing.  The malcontents began to plunder his adherents; (C.) and as it was the time of vintage, they gave way to all the sallies which fury, heated by wine, can suggest; particularly after Gaal, a powerful man of the neighbourhood, came to put himself at their head, v. 28.  H.


Ver. 27.  Cups.  Such revellings were common in the days of vintage; (Isai. xvi. 10.  Jer. xlviii. 33,) and they generally accompanied the heathenish sacrifices.  C. xvi. 24.  They went to give thanks to their god, for having delivered them, (C.) as they thought, from the power of Abimelech.  H.


Ver. 28.  Sichem.  Why should this ancient city be thus degraded?  This son of Jerobaal deigns not to reside among us, but sets one of his servants over us!  H. He mentions Jerobaal instead of Gedeon, to remind the people of the indignity formerly offered to their great idol, by the father of their present ruler.  M. Heb. may have another sense.  “Who is Abimelech?…Is he not the son of Jerobaal, and Zebul his officer?  Serve the men of Hemor,” &c.  It seems that Gaal was of the race of Chanaan, by the manner in which he speaks of Hemor, whose history is given, Gen. xxxiv.  Many of the same nations might still inhabit Sichem, (C.) which made the people so bold and zealous in the adoration of Baal.  H. The insidious Gaal hence takes occasion to propose to his countrymen, that they had better acknowledge the authority of their ancient magistrates, who occupied the place of Hemor.  C. But he immediately insinuates, that the most effectual method to expel the tyrant, would be to vest him with the sovereign authority.  H.  v. 29. The party of Abimelech was now the weaker.  C.


Ver. 31.  Thee.  Heb. “they besiege (C.) or fortify the city.”  H. The partizans of Gaal attacked those who were still favourable to Abimelech, and fortified themselves as much as possible, in those parts which they had already seized.  Vat.  Drusius. Or as tsarim means “enemies,” we may as well translate, “lo, the enemies are in (or with) the city against thee.”  C.


Ver. 34.  Places.  Heb. “companies, (H.) or heads.”  He divided his army into four parts, over each of which he appointed a commander.  C.


Ver. 36.  To Zebul.  It seems the latter had acted with such dissimulation, that Gaal supposed he had come over to his party.  Zebul laughs at him, as if he were disturbed with groundless fears, (H.) in order that Abimelech may take him unawares.  M.


Ver. 37.  Midst.  Heb. Tabur, here signifies “a little hill, or the navel,” which title is given to places which are elevated and in the centre of the country.  Ezec. xxxviii. 12.  Joseph. Bel. iii. 2.  Varro mentions the lake of Cutilia, as the navel of Italy.  The wood of Enna and Etolia are styled the navel of Sicily and of Greece, by Cicero and Livy.  Bonfrere.  C. Oak, which is probably mentioned, v. 6.  M. Heb. “another company comes by the oak or plain of Mehonenim,” which may signify, “of the augurs.”  Sept. “of those who make observations,” apobleponton.  C.


Ver. 41.  Ruma may be the same place as Arimathea, between Joppe and Lidda.  S. Jer.  M. But this seems to be too remote from Sichem, (H.  Bonfrere) in the neighbourhood of which Abimelech halted, to give the citizens time to enter into themselves, (C.) and to open their gates to him without farther resistance.  Gaal entered the city after his defeat: but was forced the next day to leave it by Zebul.  Whereupon he was met by two divisions of Abimelech’s army, which routed him, and pursued the fugitives, while the king marched straight to the city; and though he had a party within the walls, headed by Zebul, (H.) unless he was slain, (C.) the rest of the inhabitants made such a stout resistance, that the tyrant resolved to demolish the city, when he took it, at night.  H.


Ver. 45.  Sowed salt.  To make the ground barren, and fit for nothing; (Ch.) and to testify his eternal hatred towards the place, as salt is the symbol of duration.  See Deut. xxix. 23.  Sophon. ii. 9.  Jer. xvii. 6. Salsa autem tellus & quæ perhibetur amaraFrugibus infelix.  Virg. Geor. ii.  Notwithstanding the fury of Abimelech, Sichem was afterwards rebuilt, and became as fertile as before.  The city of Milan was destroyed and sowed with salt in 1162.  Sigon. The houses of traitors were formerly treated in this manner in France, (Brantome) as was that of the admiral ed Chatillon.  C. See on this custom Bochart, animal. iii. 16. Some think it denoted that the ground might henceforth be cultivated, and grow corn where houses had stood.  Salt is the source of fertility, if there be not too much of it.  H.


Ver. 46.  Tower.  Serarius thinks it was the house of Mello, out of the city, v. 6.  M. It was the citadel, large enough to contain 1000 soldiers.  They durst not, however, stop here to encounter Abimelech, but retired to the temple, either because it was still stronger and higher, or in hopes that they would be secure, on account of the veneration (C.) to which the place was entitled among the idolaters. Berith.  Prot. “they entered into an hold of the house of the god Berith.”  Sept. “of the covenant.”  H. Where, &c. is added by way of explanation, (C.) except the word strong, which the Sept. render ochuroma, “a fortress.”  The tower and temple seem to have been contiguous, since Abimelech, by setting fire to the tower, destroyed these people at the same time, v. 49.  H.


Ver. 48.  Selmon.  This mountain lay towards the Jordan, and was covered with trees and snow.  Ps. lxvii. 16.  M. Bough.  Sept. “a burden or faggot of sticks.”  Josephus observes that they were dry.  C.


Ver. 49.  And so.  Heb. and Sept. “upon them, so that all the men of the tower of Sichem died also, about a thousand men and women.”  The sanctity of the place where they had taken refuge, made no impression upon the tyrant’s mind, who was equally devoid of religion as of humanity.  H.


Ver. 50.  Thebes, about 13 miles from Sichem, towards Scythopolis.  Euseb. Besieged.  Heb. &c. “took,” as the sequel shews, (v. 52,) since Abimelech was killed, as he was attacking the tower or citadel, in the midst of the city.  C.


Ver. 51.  Battlements, or roof of the tower, which was flat.  Hence the defendants hurled down stones, &c. upon the enemy.


Ver. 53.  Above, or “of the upper millstone,” according to the Heb. and Sept.  Pyrrhus met with a similar fate at Argos.  Plutarch observes, (in Scylla) that the Lacedemonians did not like to attack walls, because the bravest men are there often slain by the greatest cowards.  C. Hence Joab puts this advice in the mouth of David, that it is imprudent to come too near the walls, 2 K. xi. 21. Skull, (cerebrum) “brain.”  Yet the tyrant’s understanding was not perhaps so much impaired, as to excuse him for commanding his armour-bearer to kill him.  M.


Ver. 54.  Slew him.  The ancient heroes were always attended by their armour-bearers.  C. Marius ordered his servant to run him through, that he might not be exposed to the insults of his enemies; and V. Maximus (vi. 8,) greatly commends the servant for doing so.  Nihil eorum pietati cedit, a quibus salus Dominorum protecta est.  David was not of the same opinion, since he punished the Amalecite who pretended that he had rendered this service to Saul, 2 K. i. 16.  The Christian religion condemns both those who engage others to take away their life, and those who comply with the impious request.  Hercules was affected in the same manner as Abimelech, when he found that he was to die by the malice of a woman.  O turpe fatum!  femina Herculeæ necisAuctor feratur.  Seneca. The Lacedemonians were not eager to besiege Argos, when they saw that the women were engaged in its defence.  Pausan. ii.  C. Notwithstanding the wicked precaution of Abimelech, what he so much feared took place; for Joab said, Did not a woman cast a piece of a millstone upon him from the wall, and slay him in Thebes?  2 K. xi. 21.  His skull was so much fractured, that he had received a mortal wound: the sword only hastened his death.  Thus was he justly punished with a stone, who had slaughtered 68 or 69 of his brethren upon one stone.  H. He can only be considered as an usurper or tyrant, since he was neither chosen by God nor by the Israelites in general.  Hence he is only said to have reigned at Sichem.  A. Lapide. He was going to extend his conquests over other cities and tribes, when he was slain at Thebes.  Josephus.  H.







Ver. 1.  Uncle of Abimelech, i.e. Half-brother to Gedeon, as being born of the same mother, but by a different father, and of a different tribe.  Ch. The wife of Joas might have been married to a person of the tribe of Issachar, by whom she had Phua, who was half-brother  of Gedeon.  H. Thola was cousin-german of Abimelech.  S. Aug. q. xlvii. &c.   The Israelites elected Thola for their judge, (Abulensis) out of respect to Gedeon, (A. Lapide) that he might put an end to the commotions which had been excited by the tyrant.  M. Joatham might be passed over on account of his youth.  The Sept. and Chal. have “Thola, the son of Phua, the son of his uncle by the father’s side,” which may be true, if the brother of Gedeon adopted him; or this uncle might refer to Abimelech.  The uncertainty arises from the Heb. Dodo, which may be taken as a proper name.  “Phua, the son of Dodo;” (Pagnin.  Prot. &c.  H.) or as denoting a relation, the paternal uncle of Abimelech, or of Thola, (Bonf. &c.  C.) or simply “his kinsman.”  The Heb. Sept. &c. assert that Thola “arose to defend or to save Israel.”  He seems to have kept all quiet during the 23 years of his administration. Samir.  Sept. Alex. reads “Samaria;” but the city was not built till the reign of Amri.  There was a city on a mountain, (H.) called Samir, in the tribe of Juda, (Jos. xv. 48,) different from this.  M. People were at liberty to dwell where they pleased, out of their own tribe.  C. This judge was buried among the Ephraimites.  H. But we know not the exact place where Samir stood.  C. There seems, however, to be no inconvenience in allowing that there was a town in the vicinity of Sichem, long before Amri made Samaria the capital of his kingdom; (see 3 K. xiii. 22. and xvi. 24,) and here Thola might reside.  He was probably the eldest, or of the second branch, of Issachar, (Num. xxvi. 23, ) of great nobility and virtue, and the 10th judge of Israel.


Ver. 2.  Years.  S. Severus says 22, making the reign of Jair of equal length.  Cum æque viginti & duos annos principatum obtinuisset.  But this is contrary to all the best chronologers.  The fidelity of the Israelites seems to have been of no longer continuance at this period than usual, as we find that they relapsed into idolatry again, at least after the death of Jair, within 45 years after they had been scourged by the tyrant Abimelech, v. 6.  H.


Ver. 4.  Havoth Jair.  This name was now confirmed to these towns, which they had formerly received from another Jair.  Num. xxxii. 41.  Ch. Sixty are there specified, and only 30 here, which might either be the same, or different from those villages to which the former Jair had left his name.  Grotius thinks that judge Jair was the son of Segub, who left 23 cities to him.  These, with seven belonging to his grandfather, Hesron, make up the number here specified.  1 Par. ii. 22. The Heb. does not say that these 30 cities were called after the judge: “they had 30 cities, which are called Havoth Jair,” &c.  C. Some copies of the Sept. add “two” to the number of sons, asses, and cities, as if there had been 32 of each.  In other respects they agree with the original.  It was formerly a mark of distinction to ride on fair asses.  C. v. 10.  H. S. Jerom thinks that horses were prohibited, as they were in Egypt, without the king’s leave.  But we nowhere find this law recorded , (C.) and it is not universally true that it existed.  M.  Hieropolit. iii. 15. Some have inferred from Jair’s children having 30 cities, that he exercised a sovereign authority over Israel: but he might only give his children the authority of magistrates in them, as Samuel did.  1 K. viii.  E. We know not by what means Jair was raised to the chief command, nor what he did for the benefit of the people.  He is supposed to be the same who is called Bedan.  1 K. xii. 11.  Serar.  Usher, &c.; though others think that Bedan is a title of Samson.  He was of the tribe of Manasses in Galaad.  Having kept the people under due restraint during his administration, they burst forth, like a torrent, at his death, and, on all sides, abandoned themselves to a multiplicity of idols, so that God made some difficulty in restoring them again to favour.  H. A. Lapide thinks that they had begun to relapse 18 years before the death of Jair, and were, consequently, chastised by the Ammonites.   Serarius is of a contrary opinion, though Houbigant rather inclines to the former sentiment, as it is not said that Jair gave rest to the land, nor more than Samgar.  H.


Ver. 5.  Camon is placed in Galaad by Adrichomius, though S. Jerom mentions another, six miles from Legion, where he supposes that Jair was buried.  It seems more natural to say that he was interred in his own country, on the east side of the Jordan.  Bonfrere. It is, probably the same city as Hamon (1 Par. vi. 16,) and Hammothdor.  Jos. xxxi. 32.  C.


Ver. 6.  Gods.  The sun and moon were principally adored among these nations, under different names.


Ver. 7.  Ammon.  While these infested the eastern parts, the Philistines made incursions into the territories of their neighbours.  H. This servitude resembled that of Madian.  Jephte attacked the Ammonites, and Abesan, with other judges, made head against the Philistines (C.) in the west.  H.


Ver. 8.  Years by the Ammonites, whose dominion was suppressed by the victory of Jephte.  When the servitude commenced is uncertain, v. 4.  Heb. “and that year they vexed,” &c.  C. Roman Sept. “at that time.”  Grabe’s copy has “in that year;” and though the former expression appear to be more indefinite, yet it must refer to some period, (H.) either prior to the death of Jair, (Salien) or subsequent to that event.  Euseb.  Genebrard. The text will not decide with certainty.  How long the Philistines harassed Israel is specified, C. xiii. 1.


Ver. 9.  Exceedingly.  Not only those who lived in Galaad, but also three tribes on the west of the Jordan, were treated as the half tribe of Manasses had been, (C.) when Gedeon delivered them.  H.


Ver. 11.  Said by the mouth of an angel, or of some prophet.  M.


Ver. 12.  Chanaan.  Heb. “Maon.”  Sept. Rom. and Alex. “Madian.”  The Maonites are styled Mineans by the Sept. (1 Par. iv. 40,) and these inhabited Arabia, (Diod. iii. 42,) and might join themselves to Madian and Amalec, in their attacks upon the Israelites.  As for Chanaan, which other editions of the Sept. retain, we know that they were domestic enemies, like thorns in the sides of Israel.  Jos. xxiii. 13.  All the persecutions, which the Hebrews had to undergo, are not particularized in this book.  C. They were grievously tormented in Egypt, they had to contend with the Amorrhites at their first entrance into the land.  H. The Ammonites and Amalecites had assisted Eglon before, and the Philistines had attacked Samgar.  The Sidonians, it seems, had also greatly molested those who lived near them, and probably were the auxiliaries of Jabin.  C. But the Chanaanites were ready to fall upon every weak spot, living in various parts of the country, (H.) and continually tempted the people of Israel to abandon the service of God.  C.


Ver. 13.  No more, so readily as I have done formerly.  I will make you feel the rod of your oppressors.  H. Unless you change your conduct, I will never deliver you.  C.


Ver. 14.  Go.  This is not a command, but an ironical expression, as Deut. xxxii. 38.


Ver. 15.  Time.  They are willing to suffer from the hand of God, (2 K. xxiv. 14,) if they prove inconstant any more.  M.


Ver. 16.  Touched.  Lit. “grieved.”  Heb. “his soul was straitened,” as in joy it is said to be enlarged.  He speaks of God in a human manner.  C.  Gen. vi. 6.  M.


Ver. 17.  Together, as people sure of victory. Galaad, the capital of the country of the same name.  It belonged to Gad. Maspha, near the springs of the Jaboc.  Jos. xi. 3. and xiii. 26.  C. It signifies “a watch-tower.”  M.


Ver. 18.  Galaad.  It seems non of them durst accept the offer, as the first onset was the most hazardous.  Hence they invited Jephte to take upon him the command.  The Israelites consulted the Lord on a former occasion, who should begin the attack upon the Chanaanites.  C. i. 1.  In these wars much depended on one battle. The wars were seldom protracted to such a length as they have been since.  C.







Ver. 1.  Harlot.  Heb. Zona.  Jos. ii. 1.  It is uncertain whether she was properly a concubine, or a wife of inferior dignity.  She lived with her son in the house of Galaad; (C.) at least the latter was in his father’s house.  H. Hence Jephte complains that he had been expelled, not that he was debarred from enjoying his father’s inheritance, and consequently the law was not observed in his regard.  Moses makes no provision for illegitimate children, but he excludes the son of a mamzer from the church of God.  Deut. xxiii. 2.  Some think that the mother of Jephte was of a nation with whom it was not lawful to marry.  Josephus,  v. 9.  Said.  Grot. Serarius believes that his father was already married, when he had to do with this harlot.  M. But he might have first taken her to wife, without the usual formalities.  Drus.  A. Lapide. It is equally uncertain whether Jephte was of the tribe of Gad or of Manasses, as both occupied the country of Galaad.  Interpreters generally conclude that he was of one of these tribes, and most probably of the latter; his father also was called Galaad.  H.


Ver. 2.  Sons.  Grabe’s Sept. determines the number to be “two.”  H. They caused the magistrates to declare that Jephte should not partake in the inheritance, v. 7.  M.


Ver. 3.  Tob, to the north of Galaad, of which it is a part.  Joseph. It is called Tubim, 1 Mac. v. 13.  See 2 K. x. 6. And robbers.  This is a farther explication of rekim, poor vain fellows.  C. ix. 4.  They did not infest the Israelites, but made war on their enemies around; latro, in Latin, often signifies a soldier, particularly such as lived  on plunder, as wer reat in Plautus.  Mil. glorios.  Latrocinatus annos decm, mercedem accipio.  Some have imagined that Jephte was at the head of some banditti, q. 43. inter. op. S. Aug. But David’s followers were of the same description (1 K. xxii. 2,) as those of Jephte, men of determined resolution and valour.  C. Such a man as Jephte, was therefore a valuable acquisition to the dispirited Israelites; and Providence had inured him to labour, and endued him with  extraordinary prudence, notwithstanding his want of education, v. 12.  Necessity has often supplied every deficiency, and produced the most consummate generals.  Prince.  Heb. and Sept. “and there were gathered unto Jephte vain men, and they went out with him.”  H.


Ver. 5.  Hard.  Heb. “and when the Ammonites made war.”  As both armies were encamped near Maspha, they could hardly avoid having some skirmishes.  But the Israelites durst not come to a pitched battle till they had Jephte at their head.  H. The Ammonites infested them every year with similar incursions, v. 12.  C.


Ver. 7.  House.  Perhaps he saw some of his brothers among them: though he might speak thus to the magistrates, because they had not prevented this injustice, (C.) as it was their duty to do.  H.


Ver. 8.  Cause to make some reparation for our offence, though we must acknowledge that our present distress caused us to think of doing so.  H. Heb. “therefore we turn again to thee,” &c.  C. Galaad.  they only engage that the tribes of Gad and Manasses, who inhabited that country, should submit to his authority.  M. But as they were the most in danger, they first make head against the enemy, not doubting but their brethren in other parts would come to their assistance.  C. xii. 1.  God ratified their choice, v. 11. 29; (H.) and he was acknowledged, after his victory, judge of all Israel.  M.


Ver. 11.  Prince.  Heb. “head or captain,” (H.) to carry on the war, with a promise that he should be the judge of all the people, if he succeeded.  C. Words.  Plans, explaining how he would first send a message to the king of Ammon, and if he would not accede to reasonable terms, he would collect all the forces of Galaad, and invites all their brethren on the other side of the river to make a joint attack upon him.  H. The Lord was considered as present in their public assemblies.  Deut. vi. and xx.  M. He had also been taken by the people to witness their engagement; and Jephte promises, in like manner, to perform his part with fidelity.  H. They promise on oath to be constant to each other.  C.


Ver. 12.  Land.  Jephte acts with a prudence and moderation which could not have been expected from one who had been brought up amid the noise of arms.  C. He gives notice that he has been recognized by the lawful proprietors of the land for their head; and therefore begs that that Ammonites would desist from their unjust warfare.  If words prove ineffectual, he must then try the fortune of a battle.  H.


Ver. 13.  To me.  The king falsely asserts, that all the country between the Arnon and the Jaboc belonged to him when Moses took it.  The Ammonites had possession when the Israelites arrived, and it had formerly been occupied by Moab, and not by Ammon, Deut. ii. 19. and 37; (M.) unless both might claim different parts.  C.


Ver. 15.  Moab.  After the death of Eglon, the Ammonites had probably seized upon his dominion, (v. 25,) as we find no farther mention of the Moabites among the enemies of Israel, nor any king of that nation till the reign of David.  Hence, as the king of Ammon laid claim to all the country, and had many of the Moabites in his army, Jephte answers at once, that the land under dispute belonged to neither of these nations.  C. They had entirely lost it when Israel attacked Sehon, and took it from him, as was plain from the history of Moses and of the Amorrhites.  Num. xxi. 27.  H. Jephte refers to facts universally known.  C.


Ver. 16.  Red Sea, as Asiongaber, many years after they left Egypt.


Ver. 17.  Moab.  This is not specified by Moses, but he sufficiently insinuates that he had done it.  Deut. ii. 8. 9.  C.


Ver. 23.  His land, which the Amorrhite had first conquered, and which God took from him to give to Israel.  It was clear that this country was not then considered as the property of the sons of Lot, since God expressly forbad his people to molest them.  H. Jephte produces the right of conquest, the grant of God, and the possession of 300 years, to prove that the country belonged to the Israelites.  All acknowledge that the right of conquest, in a just war, give a good title.  Grot. Jur. iii. 6. 7. The children of Lot had lost all hopes of recovering what Sehon had taken from them.  C. He could not be proved to be a thief or an usurper, but was in peaceable possession when the war with Israel commenced, in which he lost all his dominions.  H. By the same right, David kept what he had taken from the Amalecite plunderers, (1 K. xxx. 20,) and Abraham might have retained the spoils which had been carried off from Sodom.  Gen. xiv. 21.  The Roman and Grecian histories are full of such examples; and this right was admitted by all as the law of nations, Quæ ex hostibus, jure gentium, statim capientium fiunt.  Caius. J.C. The second argument of Jepthe is unanswerable, since God may undoubtedly transfer the property of one to another.  But as the Ammonites might reply that they did not admit the God of Israel, he observes that the latter might at least have the same privilege as their Chamos, v. 24.  Prescription of so long a time, with good faith, was the third argument, as the Amorrhites being destroyed, and the Moabites disheartened, could not pretend to reclaim the conquered country.  There would never be an end of disputes among men, if the undisturbed possession of a country for such a length of time did not confirm their right to it.  These principles establish the tranquillity of families and of states.  C.  Grot. Jur. ii. 4.


Ver. 24.  Chamos.  The idol of the Moabites and Ammonites.  He argues from their opinion, who thought they had a just title to the countries which they imagined they had conquered by the help of their gods: how much more then had Israel an indisputable title to the countries which God, by visible miracles, had conquered for them.  Ch. Heb. “And shall not we possess those (counties occupied by the people whom) the Lord our God has driven out from before us?”  H. The Emim had been expelled by the people.  Deut. ii. 10.  Chamos was the peculiar deity of Moab, (Num. xxi. 29.  Jer. xlviii. 46. &c.  C.) and signifies “as taking away.”  It is commonly supposed to be the sun.  H.


Ver. 25.  Him.  Josue (xxiv. 9,) says that Balac fought against Israel.  But it was not in a pitched battle, (C.) at least of which we have the particulars, (H.) nor to recover the territory which the Israelites had taken from Sehon, but only to defend his own dominions.  He collected an army, and called the soothsayer to curse Israel.  Num. xxii. 4, &c.  C.


Ver. 26.  He.  Heb. “While Israel,” &c. Years.  He makes use of a round number.  H. Chronologists generally suppose that either more or fewer years had elapsed; (M.) and the Scripture only relates what Jephte said.  Sa. The Jews reckon 394.  Some date from the coming out of Egypt 305.  C. Petau has 365.  But as Jephte only speaks of the time during which the Israelites had occupied the land, the 40 years’ sojournment must be deducted, and still Petau will have 25 years too many; (H.) whereas “those who adduce the title of prescription, are accustomed rather to increase than to diminish the length of time.”  Usher, p. 74. Hence this author allows only 263 years.  Houbigant comes rather nearer to the number of Jephte, and reckons 281, which the ambassadors might represent, in a round number as 300.  Proleg. Salien almost agrees with Usher dating 306 years from the exit, and 266 from the victory over Sehon.  He observes, with Eusebius, that Hercules instituted the Olympic games in the first year of Jephte, A. 2849.  But they were restored, and became a famous epoch only 400 years after.  He place the first rape of Helen by Theseus at the same time, when she was about 12 years ole.  In her 24th, she was stolen again by Paris, and gave occasion to the famous siege of Troy.  H.


Ver. 27.  And decide.  Lit. “the arbiter of this day.”  Jephte is so well convinced of the justice of his cause, that he is willing to abide by God’s decision, (H.) to be manifested by the issue of the battle.  M. At the same time, he threatens the Ammonites with God’s judgments, if by their fault blood be shed unjustly, as he, like a good prince, had tried every means to prevent that misfortune, and to bring things to an amicable conclusion.  C.


Ver. 29.  Therefore.  Heb. “then.”  Sept. “and.”  The refusal of the king of Ammon was not precisely the reason why God endued Jephte with shuch wisdom and courage, though we may say that it was the occasion.  H. Jephte summoned the troops in Galaad, and in the two tribes of Manasses, to attend his standard.  He also invited Ephraim, (C. xii. 2.  C.) and we may reasonably suppose the other tribes also, who were near enough to be ready for  the day of battle.  Having collected what force he could in so short a time, he returned to Maspha, and thence proceeded to attack the enemy.  H.


Ver. 30.  He.  Heb. and Sept. “And he vowed.”  A new sentence commences; (Cajet.) so that it is not clear that Jephte was moved to make this vow by the spirit of the Lord; else it could not be blamed.  H.


Ver. 31.  Whosoever, &c.  Some are of opinion, that the meaning of this vow of Jephte, was to consecrate to God whatsoever should first meet him, according to the condition of the thing; so as to offer it up as a holocaust, if it were such a thing as might be so offered by the law; or to devote it otherwise to God, if it were not such as the law allowed to be offered in sacrifice.  And therefore they think the daughter of Jephte was not slain by her father, but only consecrated to perpetual virginity.  But the common opinion followed by the generality of the holy fathers and divines is, that she was offered as a holocaust, in consequence of her father’s vow: and that Jephte did not sin, at least not mortally, neither in making nor in keeping his vow; since he is no ways blamed for it in scripture; and was even inspired by God himself to make the vow, (as appears from ver. 29, 30.) in consequence of which he obtained the victory; and therefore he reasonably concluded that God, who is the master of life and death, was pleased, on this occasion, to dispense with his own law; and that it was the divine will he should fulfil his vow.  Ch. S. Thomas (2. 2. q. 88. a. 2.) acknowledges that  Jephte was inspired to make a vow, and his devotion herein is praised by the apostle.  Heb. xi. 32.  But he afterwards followed his own spirit, in delivering himself, without mature deliberation, and in executing what he had so ill engaged himself, to perform.  This decision seems to be the most agreeable to the Scripture, and to the holy fathers.  S. Jerom (in Jer. vii.) says, non sacrificium placet, sed animus offerentis.  “If Jephte offered his virgin daughter, it was not the sacrifice, but the good will of the offerer which deserves applause.”  Almost all the ancients seem to agree that the virgin was really burnt to death; and the versions have whosoever, which intimates that Jephte intended to offer a human victim; particularly as he could not expect a beast fit for such a purpose, would come out of the doors of his house to meet him.  C. Yet many of the moderns, considering how much such things are forbidden by God, cannot persuade themselves that Jephte should be so ignorant of the law, or that the priests and people of Israel should suffer him to transgress it.  The original may be rendered as well, “whatsoever proceedeth…shall surely be the Lord’s, and (Prot.) or I will offer it up for a holocaust.”  Pagnin. &c. The version of Houbigant is very favourable to this opinion.  See Hook’s Principia. It is supposed that the sacrifice of Iphigenia, which took place about this time, (Aulis. v. 26,) was only in imitation of this of Jephte’s daughter.  But the poets say, that Diana saved her life, and substituted a doe in her place; (Ovid Met. xii.) which, if true, would make the conformity more striking, if we admit that the sacrifice of Jephte’s daughter was not carried into effect. Iphigenia was made a priestess of Dians, to whom human victims were immolated.  The daughter of Jephte, whom the false Philo calls Seila, was consecrated to the Lord, and shut up (H.) to lead a kind of monastic life; as the wives of David, (2 K. xx. 3.  Grotius) after they had been dishonoured, were obliged to live in a state of continency.  Although (H.) forced chastity be not a virtue, (C.) yet Jephte had no reason to believe that his daughter would not enter into the spirit of his vow, and embrace that state for God’s honour and service.  We know that she gave her entire consent to whatever might be the nature of his vow; and surely she would be as ready to refrain from marriage, however desirable at that time, as to be burnt alive, which would effectually prevent her from becoming a mother, v. 37.  To require this of her, was not, at least, more cruel in her father than to offer her in sacrifice.  Then Chaldee paraphrast says, “Jephte did not consult Phinees, the priest, or he might have redeemed her;” and Kimchi gives us a very mean idea, both of Jephte and of the high priest, the great Phinees, whom the Rabbins foolishly suppose was still living, and of course above 300 years old, v. 26. “Phinees said, He wants me, let him come to me.  But Jephte, the head of the princes of Israel, shall I go to him?  During this contest the girl perished.”  To such straits are those reduced who wish to account for the neglect of Jephte in redeeming his daughter, as the Targum observes, was lawful for a sum of money.  Lev. xxvii. 2. 3. 28. But H. his vow was of the nature of the cherom, which allowed of no redemption, and required death.  C. On this point, however, interpreters are not agreed, and this manner of devoting to death, probably, regarded only the enemies of God, or such things as were under a person’s absolute dominion.  H. If a dog had first come out to meet Jephte, could he have offered it up for a holocaust?  Certainly not, (Grot.) because it was prohibited, (Deut. xxiii. 18,) to offer even its price, (H.) and only oxen, sheep, goats, turtles and doves, were the proper victims.  If, therefore, a person made a vow, of a man, he was to be consecrated to the Lord, (Grot.) like Samuel, and he might marry.  But a woman could not, as she was already declared the servant of the Lord, and was not at liberty to follow her husband.  Amama. We need not herein labour to defend the conduct of Jephte.  The Scripture does not canonize him on this account.  If he did wrong, his repentance, and other heroic acts of virtue, might justly entitle him to be ranked among the saints of the old law.  S. Aug. q. 49. “Shew me the man who has not fallen into sin…Jephte returned victorious from the enemy, but in the midst of his triumph, he was overcome by his own vow, so that he thought it proper to requite the piety of his daughter, who came out to meet him, by parricide.  In the first place, what need was there of making a vow so hastily, to promise things uncertain, the event of which he knew not, instead of what was certain?  Then why did he perform so sorrowful a vow to the Lord God, by shedding blood?”  S. Amb. Apol. Dav. i. 4. This saint adopts the common opinion that Jephte really  immolated his daughter.  But he is far from thinking that he was influenced by the holy spirit to make the vow, otherwise he would never represent it in such odious colours.  If God had required the life of Jephte’s daughter, as he did formerly command Abraham to sacrifice his son, the obedience and faith of the former would have been equally applauded, as the good will of the latter.  But most of those who embrace the opinion that Jephte sacrificed his daughter, are forced to excuse or to condemn the action.  They suppose that he was permitted to fulfil his vow, that others might be deterred from making similar promises, without the divine authority.  S. Chrys. hom. xiv. ad pop. Ant.  S. Jer. c. Jov. i.  “I shall never, says S. Amb. (Off. iii. 12,) be induced to believe that Jephte, the prince, did not promise incautiously that he would immolate whatever should meet him “at the door of  his own house;” whence he seems to take whosoever in the same latitude as we have given in the Hebrew.  He concludes, “I cannot accuse the man who was obliged to fulfil his vow,” &c.  We may imitate his moderation, (H.) rather than adopt the bold language of one who has written notes on the Prot. Bible, (1603) who says, without scruple, that by this rash vow and wicked performance, his victory was defaced; and again, that he was overcome with blind zeal, not considering whether the vow was lawful or not.  W. If Jephte was under the immediate influence of the Holy Ghost in what he did, as Salien believes, and the context by no means disproves, we ought to admire the faith of this victorious judge, though he gave way to the feelings of human nature, v. 35.  We should praise his fidelity either in sacrificing or in consecrating his daughter to God’s service in perpetual virginity: but if he followed his own spirit, we cannot think that he was so ill-informed or so barbarous as to murder his daughter, nor that she would consent to an impiety which so often disgraced the pagan superstition, though she might very well agree to embrace that better part, which her father and God himself, by a glorious victory, seems to have marked out for her.  Amid the variety of opinions which have divided the learned on this subject, infidels can derive no advantage or solid proof against the divine authority of the Scripture, and of our holy religion.  The fact is simply recorded.  People are at liberty to form what judgment of it they think most rational.  If they decide that Jepthe was guilty of an oversight, or of a downright impiety, it will in the first place be difficult for them to prove it to the general satisfaction; and when they have done so, they will only evince that he was once a sinner, and under this idea the word of God gives him no praise.  But if he did wrong in promising, as many of the Fathers believe, he might be justified in fulfilling his vow, as God might intimate to him both interiorly, and by granting him the victory, that he dispensed  with his own law, and required this sort of victim in order to foreshew the bloody sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins, (Serarius and Salien, A. 2850) or the state of virginity which his blessed Mother and so many nuns and others in the Christian Church embrace with fervour. Peace, with victory. Same.  Heb. “it shall be the Lord’s, and (or) I will make it ascend a whole burnt offering.”  H. The particle ve often signifies or as well as and, and it is explained in this sense here by the two Kimchis, by Junius, &c.  See Ex. xxi. 17.  Piscator says, the first part of the sentence determines that whatever the thing was it should be consecrated to the Lord, with the privilege of being redeemed, (Lev. xxvii. 11,) and the second shews that it should be immolated, if it were a suitable victim.  Amama.


Ver. 33.  Aroer, upon the Arnon, belonged to the tribe of Gad.  Menith was four miles from Hesebon, towards Rabbath. Abel was noted for its vineyards, 12 miles east of Gadara, so that Jephte pursued the enemy, as they fled towards the north for about 60 miles, and during the course of the war destroyed 20 of their cities, (C.) to punish them for their unjust revenges and usurpation of another’s property.  H.


Ver. 34.  Daughter.  It seems the vow had been kept secret, as no precautions were taken to prevent the affliction of the general; (C.) and indeed to  have done so, would have been injurious to God’s providence, and childish in Jephte, as he meant to offer whatever should come to meet him.  It would have been very mean, and contrary to the meaning of the vow, for him to procure something for which he had no great value, to present itself.  H. Dances, as it was customary on such occasions.  1 K. xviii. 6.


Ver. 35.  Alas.  These indications of grief are the effects of nature.  Salien. S. Amb. considerst them as the marks of repentance; (v. 31,) and we might hence infer that the vow was not dictated by the holy spirit, who would have endued Jepthe with fortitude, as he did Abraham, though all may not possess the virtue of that great father of believers.  Gen. xxii.  H. Deceived.  We mutually expected comfort, from each other’s presence: but we must both experience the reverse.  Heb. may signify, “depressed, terrified,” &c. Thing.  Heb. “I cannot recede.”  H. It appears that he could not redeem what he had promised, (C.) as the condition had been fulfilled on the part of God.  He might consider that he as no longer at liberty to use the privilege which the law allowed, when no condition had been specified.  Lev. xxvii. 4.  H.


Ver. 37.  Bewail my virginity.  The bearing of children was much coveted under the Old Testament, when women might hope that from some child of theirs the Saviour of the world might one day spring.  But under the New Testament virginity is preferred.  1 Cor. vii. 35.


Ver. 38.  Mountains.  Such places were frequented in times of mourning.  Jer. xxxi. 15.  Is. xv. 2.  C. Jepthe allowed his daughter this short respite, without any offence, (Deut. xxiii. 21,) before he immolated her, (M.) or before he debarred her from the society of men.  Grot. &c.


Ver. 39.  Father.  Her fortitude is commended by S. Ambrose (Off. iii. 12,) as more worthy of admiration than that of the two Pythagorean friends, one of whom, being sentenced to die, procured the other to stand bond for his return; and, at the time appointed, came freely to deliver himself up; an instance of generosity which made the tyrant who had sentenced him to die, beg that they would admit him into the society of their friendship.  H. Whatever we may think of Jephte, “we cannot sufficiently admire the dutiful behaviour, and amiable simplicity of the daughter, who voluntarily submitted to her parent’s will, and exhorted him to do as he had vowed.  To die to sin, to resign the pomps of a licentious world, to renounce those pleasures and incentives to vice, which are inconsistent with a clean heart, is a sacrifice truly meritorious, and acceptable to God; it is a sacrifice which was solemnly begun at the font of baptism.”  Reeves, A. 2817. No man.  It is remarked by those who believe that she was not slain, that this observation would be very unnecessary in the contrary opinion.  No mention of death is made.  The virgin only deplores, with pious resignation, that she cannot be the happy mother of the Messias.


Ver. 40.  Lament.  Heb. Lethanoth.  On this term the solution of this question greatly depends.  H. Kimchi translates, “to talk with,” or “to comfort the daughter of Jephte” as he supposes that the custom subsisted during her life, while she was shut up either near the tabernacle, or in her father’s house.  C. Montanus renders “to speak to.”  Junius and the Tigurin version, “to discourse with.” Thanan certainly is used for “he related,” &c.  Judg. v. 11.  yethannu narrentur, or rather narrent; and the construction here seems to require this sense.  Amama. If this be admitted, the bloody sacrifice is at an end, since the daughters of Israel could not meet to comfort the virgin every year, if she was immolated at the expiration of two months.  But if we follow the translation of the Vulg. Sept. and Chal. as the Protestants have done, the lamentation might still be viewed in the same light, as tending to condole with the lady, rather than bewail her untimely death, (H.) as, for the latter purpose, it would not have been necessary for them to assemble together.  Amama. They might well enter into her sentiments, when she mourned her virginity, (v. 38,) and strive to yield her some comfort in her secluded state, by coming in such numbers, and with the permission of the priests of God, continuing with her four days.  H. Some translate “to publish,” or sound forth the praises (C.) of this heroic virgin, which may be true, whether she was slain, or only consecrated to the Lord.  H. S. Epiphanius (hær. 55. and 78,) informs us that “at Sichem an annual sacrifice was still offered up in the name of the virgin, and that she was revered as a goddess by the people in the vicinity.”  The vow of Jephte seems to have given rise to what we read in profane authors, of that which Idomeneus, king of Crete, made in the midst of a storm at sea: “He vowed that he would sacrifice to the gods whatever met him first.  It happened that his son was the person, whom, when he had immolated, or, as others say, had wished to do it, and afterwards a pestilence had ensued, his subjects drove him from his kingdom.”  Servius in Æn. iii. and xi.  C. Aldrovandus (in Asino) relates a similar vow of Alexander the Great.  Even the more sober pagans could not, it seems, approve of the unwarranted vows of parents to destroy the lives of their children.  But of people consecrated to the Lord, by their parents, without first requiring their consent, we have many examples, in Samuel.  S. Bonaventure, July 14, &c. If we explain the vow of Jephte in the same sense, every difficulty will be removed, and infidels will not allege this example to prove that human victims are pleasing to God.  H.







Ver. 1.  Sedition.  Heb. “the men of Ephraim shouted together” to arms. North.  Sept. “Sephena.”  The Heb. may either signify north, or some city.  Mont. It is probable that Ephraim went to quarrel with Jepthe at Abel, before he had returned to Maspha.  C. House. Heb. and Sept. add, “with or upon thee.”  M.


Ver. 2.  Strife, to defend our property. I called.  Drusius doubts whether he sent an express invitation to Ephraim, otherwise how durst they assert that they had not been summoned?  C. But we may rather give credit to Jephte.  The condition of the nation was a sufficient invitation, as they knew that the greatest preparations were making for war on both sides, and it was their duty to come forward.  H.


Ver. 3.  Hands exposed to all sorts of danger.  I resolved to defend myself to the utmost, 1 K. xix. 6.  Eccles. x. 2.  C.


Ver. 4.  Fugitive.  Vile and timid, so that his brethren around him might destroy him at any time.  M. Galaad dwelt in the midst of the descendants of Joseph.  H. But Ephraim, in despite, had represented him as an outcast.  Their envy deserved to be severely punished.  C. The same passion had nearly excited them to make war upon Gedeon.  C. viii.  M.


Ver. 6.  Letter.  Prot. “Say now Shibboleth, and he said Sibboleth, for he could not frame to pronounce it right.”  The interpretation of the first word is added by S. Jerom, (H.) and denotes also “a running water;” (M.) whereas the Ephraimites pronounced a word which signifies “a burden,” not being able to utter properly sh, or schin, for which the substituted s, or samec, sobloth.  H. In the same natioin, a variety of pronunciation frequently distinguishes the inhabitants of the different provinces.  The Galileans were thus known from the rest of the Jews.  Mat. xxvi. 23.


Ver. 7.  His city.  Maspha, in the country of Galaad.  C. xi. 34.  C. Heb. “in the cities;” whence the Rabbins have idly conjectured, that parts of his body were interred in different cities out of respect, or that they rotted off, in punishment of the sacrifice of his daughter.  Munster. Grotius compares Jepthe with the renowned Viriatus.  His character, both in peace and war, deserves the highest commendations; and in many respects, he was a striking figure of Jesus Christ.  C. The uncertainty of his birth, and the subsequent persecution which he endured from his brethren, foreshewed the deformity of the synagogues, and the conduct of the Jews (H.) towards their Messias, from whom alone they could expect salvation.  Hence they are forced to have recourse to him, as the Israelites found themselves under a necessity of recalling Jepthe to lead them on to victory.  Those who refused obedience to him, were deservedly exterminated, as the faithless Jews were by the arms of the Romans.  Whether the daughter of Jepthe was immolated, or only consecrated to God, we may discover in her person a figure of the death and of the resurrection of our Saviour, who voluntarily made a sacrifice of his human nature to the justice of his father.  See S. Aug. q. 49.  Serar. q. 26.  C.


Ver. 8.  Bethlehem of Juda, where Booz also was born.  C. The Rabbins make him the same person with Abesan.  Serar. q. 5. Maldonat (in Mat. ii. 1,) believes that this judge was of a city in Zabulon.  Jos. xix. 15.  M. In the 6th year of Abesan, the Philistines compelled the Israelites to pay tribute, (C. xiii. 1,) and Samson was born A. 2860.  Salien.


Ver. 9.  House, or family, though perhaps not under the same roof.  M.


Ver. 11.  Ahialon.  Eusebius calls him Adon, and his successor Labdon.  C. Salien says that he entirely omits the 10 years of Ahialon’s administration, though his name occurs in the body of the Chronicle, as being in the Heb. and not in the Sept.  H.


Ver. 13.  Illel.  Josephus reads “the son or servant of Helon,” whom some have confounded with Ahialon, though contrary to the Hebrew.  C. The author supposes that Abdon reigned in peace.  But it seems that he and the two others preceding him in the government of the people, were forced to purchase rest by paying tribute.  Salien, A.C. Christ 1193.


Ver. 14.  Forty sons.  At this we need not be surprised, in a country where polygamy prevailed.  Priam had 50 sons, and the Turks have often as many. Colts.  This was as great a distinction as to keep one’s coach among us.  C. x. 4.  C. This judge succeeded Ahialon, A. 2872, A.C. 1182, the year after Troy was taken, having endured a ten years’ siege, by the treachery of Antenor, and of Æneas, Dictys, &c.  Dares says the Greeks lost 886,000, and the Trojans 676,000, before the city was taken.  Salien.


Ver. 15.  Amalec.  The situation of this mountain, as well as of the town of Pharathon, is unknown.  Some have supposed that Amalec had formerly had possession of this country.  C. v. 14.  Sept. Alex. reads “Mount Lanak.”  But this place occurs no where else, and other copies agree with the Vulgate.  H. Amarias, who entered upon the pontificate the same year that Heli was born, died after a reign of 39 years, A. 2879, and left the care of the people to Achitob and Samson for 20 years.  Salien.







Ver. 1.  Years.  It is not clear whence this sixth and longest servitude is to be dated.  If it terminated at the death of Samson, when the Philistines lost their chief nobility, &c. we must allow that the Israelites began to be obliged to pay tribute in the 6th year of Abesan.  A.C. 1193.  Salien.  C. xii. 8.  H. Marsham dates from the third month after the death of Jair, to the third year of Samuel, during which period Heli governed in one part, and Jephte, Abesan, Ahialon, and Abdon in other provinces of Palestine.  It is not very material which of these systems be adopted, as they do not contradict the text.  All Israel was not reduced under the power of the Philistines; but the neighbouring tribes were infested with their incursions, and were obliged to pay tribute.  Juda complains at their invading his territory, and they allege that it was because Samson had been the aggressor, which shews that the Israelites retained some little liberty.  C. xv. 9.  C. The servitude had scarcely commenced, when God provided Samson a deliverer for his people.  Salien, A. 2860.  H.


Ver. 2.  Saraa, in the confines of Juda and of Dan, ten miles north of Eleutheropolis.  Euseb. Manue seems to have resided in the country, near this town, v. 25.  M.


Ver. 3.  Angel, in human form.  Some Protestants pretend that he was “the Son of God,” and yet (v. 16) they say, “he sought not his own honour, but God’s, whose messenger he was,” (Bible, 1603) in which they plainly contradict themselves, or else teach Arianism, as if the Son were not true God, and equal to his Father.  W. The title of God, (Jehova) which is given to this angel, (v. 15, 21) is no proof that he was the Supreme Being.  C. vi. 11.


Ver. 4.  Thing.  Exhortations to observe the law are not unnecessary.  S. Aug. q. 50.  Besides the things which common people might take, such as wine, grapes, &c. were unclean for the Nazarites.  The mother of Samson was required to abstain from every species of uncleanness as much as possible, at least while she bore and nursed her child.  C. Abulensis says, she was unquestionably under peculiar restrictions till her delivery.  M. This was a preparation for the child who should abstain from all unclean things, not only for a time, (Num. vi.) but during his whole life, that he might be a more perfect figure of Christ.  W. His dignity was not of choice, nor could he forfeit it by touching any thing unclean, nor by the violent cutting off his hair.  As the deliverer of the people, he must often have been obliged to touch dead bodies.  C. Begin.  The power of the Philistines was greatly broken by Samson.  C. xvi. 13.  M. But Samuel, Saul, and David had still to contend with them.  1 K. vii. 13.  H.


Ver. 6.  And when, &c.  Heb. Chal. Syr. Arab. and the Vatican Sept. read a negation, “And I did not ask him whence he came; neither did he tell me his name.”  The other copies of the Sept. S. Aug. (q. 51.) &c. agree with the Vulg. though S. Aug. suspected that the negation was wanting.  C.


Ver. 8.  Born.  Josephus (v. 10.) insinuates that Manue was touched with a sort of jealousy, as his wife had mentioned the comeliness of the stranger.  H. But S. Ambrose (ep. 70) has undertaken his defence; and surely God would not have wrought a miracle to gratify his request, if it had not proceeded from a virtuous motive, desiring to enjoy the same happiness as his wife, and to know precisely how they were to educate their son.  C. Procopius thinks that the wife of Manue was of more eminent virtue than her husband, and was therefore honoured with the first vision.  She had been more afflicted at her sterility, and had prayed more earnestly for the people’s safety.  M.


Ver. 12.  Himself.  Heb. and Sept. “What shall be the judgment (education.  C.) of the boy, and what his works? (or Prot.) how shall we do unto him?”  H.


Ver. 13.  Let her refrain, &c.  By the Latin text, it is not clear whether this abstinence was prescribed to the mother or to the child; but the Heb. (in which the verbs relating thereto are of the feminine gender) determines it to the mother.  But then the child also was to refrain from the like things, because he was to be from his infancy a Nazarite of God, (v. 5) that is, one set aside in a particular manner, and consecrated to God; now the Nazarites, by the law, were to abstain from all these things.


Ver. 15.  Dress.  Heb. and Sept. “let us make.”  Vulg. faciamus, is used either for a common feast or for a sacrifice.  Ex. xxix. 36.  Virg. (eclog. iii.) Cras faciam vitula.  Manue did not yet know who the angel was.  He only designed to give him something to eat.  A kid was then esteemed the most delicious food, and physicians esteem it very wholesome.  The taste of people has since altered.  Bochart, Anim. p. i. b. ii. 52.  C.


Ver. 16.  Bread is put for all sorts of food.  Angels eat none.  Toby xii. 19.  M.


Ver. 17.  Honour thee with a suitable reward.  1 Tim. v. 17.


Ver. 18.  Wonderful.  Heb. Peli.  Some have concluded that this was the proper name of the angel, as it is one of the titles of the Messias.  Isai. ix. 6.  But it is more probable that the angel did not reveal his name.  Chal.  Others divide this sentence thus, “and he (the angel, or rather God) was wonderful.”  He was the author of all miracles, to whom sacrifice was immediately offered.  It is doubtful whether the angels have distinctive names.  But we read of Michael, &c. and there is no reason why they should not have names denoting their peculiar dignity and offices.  C. Michael, the guardian of the church, perhaps appeared on this occasion.  M.


Ver. 19.  On.  Manue was convinced that the person who had authorized him to offer sacrifice, had power to dispense with him.  W. The angel “did wonderful things,” as the Heb. may be explained, causing a flame to proceed from the rock and to consume the victim, as Josephus assures us, (C.) and as the angel who had appeared to Gedeon had done.  C. vi. 21.  M.


Ver. 22.  Seen God: not in his own person, but in the person of his messenger.  The Israelites, in those days imagined they should die if they saw an angel, taking occasion perhaps from those words spoken by the Lord to Moses, (Ex. xxxiii. 20.) No man shall see me and live.  But the event demonstrated that it was but a groundless imagination.  Ch. Elohim is applied to angels and men, as well as to God.  C.


Ver. 23.  Come.  The wife of Manue allays his fears with great prudence, as she observes that God had just promised them a son.  H.


Ver. 24.  Samson signifies, “His sun, or joy;” or Syr. “service.”  C. “His, or a little sun.”  M. Blessed him with graces and strength, suitable for his office.   C.


Ver. 25.  To be.  Sept. “to walk along.”  Jonathan, “to sanctify.”  Samson began to manifest an eager desire to deliver his brethren.  C. Dan, as it was called from those 600 men who encamped here, when they were going to take Lais.  C. xviii. 12.  H. God inspired him to commence the liberation of his country, when he was about 17 years old, (Usher) or 20 according to Salien.  Then he entered upon his judicial authority, and punished the wrongs which the Philistines did him in person, as well as his countrymen.  The seven years wandering of Æneas had terminated in his death just before, at the river Numicus.  Halicar. 1.  Salien, A.C. 1176.  H.







Ver. 1.  Thamnatha, in the confines of the tribes of Juda and Gad, and of the Philistines, who often took it from the latter.  It is called Thamna, Gen. xxxviii. 12, (Bonfrere) and lies near Lidda.  Euseb.


Ver. 3.  Eyes.  He probably informed his parents (H.) that he was inspired by the Lord, v. 4.  W. The Jews say that he had first converted this woman; and interpreters generally excuse his conduct.  But S. Ambrose thinks that he forfeited God’s grace; (ep. 19) and Theodoret also supposes that he transgressed the law, (Ex. xxxiv. 12.) and God only permitted him to fall in love with women, without approving his conduct, q. 21.  The Scripture often says, that he does and wills what he only permits.  Ex. iv. 21.  Jos. xi. 20.  C. If the conversion of this woman were well attested, there would be no difficulty about his marrying her, as Salmon did Rahab.  S. Mat. i. 5.  We have only conjecture that the women whom these and other holy personages espoused, embraced the true faith.  But these may suffice in a matter of this nature.  We cannot condemn Samson on this occasion, without involving his parents in the same censure, as they were charged to keep him from any contamination.  S. Ambrose justly observes that a woman was the occasion of his fall, but he might allude to Dalilia.  C. xvi. 4.  It seems hard to pass sentence on this judge of Israel, on his first appearance, without the most cogent reasons.  See Lyran, A. Lapide, &c.  H. Heb. “She is right in my eyes.”  His parents were at length convinced that he was directed by God.  T.


Ver. 4.  He sought.  This may be understood either of the Lord, or rather of Samson.  C. Sept. “because he himself sought to retaliate upon the Philistines.”  Heb. “that it was of the Lord that, or because he sought an occasion to take,” &c.  H.


Ver. 5.  Young lion, not quite so strong as an old one, but in its vigour.  Rabbins.  C. Met him.  Heb. “roared against him.”  H. His parents were at some distance.  M. S. Aug. (in Ps. lxxxviii.) shews the application of this history to Christ’s establishing and adorning the church of the Gentiles with sweet and wholesome laws.  D.


Ver. 6.  Spirit, increasing his courage and strength.  M. This shews that the strength of Samson was miraculous, attached to the keeping of his hair, and the observance of the duties of the Nazarites.  C.  C. xvi. 19. Mother.  The modesty which he displays is more wonderful than the feat of valour.  H. Brave men are never boasters.  M. He kept what he had done secret, designing to propose a riddle.  Salien.


Ver. 7.  Spoke.  Sept. “they spoke;” both Samson and his parents (M.) asked the young woman in marriage.  Gen. xxiv. 57.  Cant. viii. 8.  C. That had.  Prot. “and she pleased Samson well,” as at first, v. 3.  H.


Ver. 8.  A honeycomb.  There was a very remarkable providence in this particular of the history of Samson.  From which also in the mystical sense we may learn what spiritual sweetness and nourishment our souls will acquire from slaying the lions of our passions and vices.  Ch. Samson waited some time before he went to celebrate his marriage.  The Rabbins say a full year was the usual term after the espousals; (Est. ii. 12,) and many have translated “after a year.”  Chal. Arab. &c.  During this space the flesh of the lion would be consumed, and bees might make honey in its skeleton.  Herodotus (v. 114,) informs us that a swarm lodged in the skull of Onesylus, the tyrant of Cyprus, which had been suspended for a long time.  They keep at a distance from carrion and every fetid smell.  Some say that they were produced from the corrupted flesh of the lion, in the same manner as Virgil (iv.) describes the proceeding from a young ox beaten to death, and covered with boughs, in a place closely shut up.  The bees might have laid their eggs upon these boughs, and the grass upon which an ox feeds, &c.  But none of these precautions were taken with the lion which Samson tore in pieces.  C.


Ver. 10.  Father.  Before the nuptial, the young man was not accustomed to go to the house of his future bride.  Montanus. Samson’s mother also accompanied him.  Abul. Do.  Sept. “Samson made there a feast for seven days, because young men do so.”  H.


Ver. 11.  With him.  Some imagine that these were placed to watch his motions.  But he had surely invited them, v. 15.  During the time that the nuptials were celebrated, these men (who are called the friends of the bridegroom, Mat. ix. 15,) are said to have been exempted from all public charges.  Mont.  C.


Ver. 12.  Riddle.  Such obscure and ingenious questions were much liked in the East.  3 K. x. 1.  The Egyptians concealed the mysteries of their religion, and Pythagoras his choicest maxims under them.  S. Clem. strom. 5.  The Greeks proposed these grifouV at feasts, determining some reward or punishment to those who succeeded or failed to explain them.  Athenæus (x. 22,) relates that Simonides proposed this to his companions, after he had seen a blacksmith asleep, with a skin of win and a craw-fish beside him.  “The father of the kid, which eateth all sorts of herbs, and the miserable fish knocked their heads against each other, and he who has received upon his eye-lids the son of the night, would not feed the minister, who kills the oxen of king Bacchus.”  He could not get his ax mended.  The ancients kept their wine in skins of kids, &c. whence he alludes to the bottle of wine, near the miserable craw-fish or lobster. Shirts.  Heb. sedinim, “sindons,” the garment which was worn next the skin.  Mar. xiv. 51.  It was used also by women, (Isai. iii. 23,) and is probably the same which is called a tunic.  C. Coats.  Heb. “change of garments.”  Some understand new and splendid garments.  But Samson complied with his promise, by giving such as he found upon the 30 men, whom he slew, v. 19.  H. The custom of making presents of garments has long prevailed in the East.  The Turkish emperor still receives and makes such presents to ambassadors.  C. Their long robes may easily be made to fit any person.  H.


Ver. 14.  Sweetness.  The explication of the ancient riddles frequently depended on the knowledge of something that had taken place.  Our riddle-makers follow other rules.  In a spiritual sense, the Philistines might be considered as those strong ones who had domineered over Israel, but would shortly afford them the spoils of a glorious victory.  Jesus rises triumphant from the grave, and, after he has been persecuted and torn in pieces, becomes the food of Christians.  S. Aug. &c.  C.


Ver. 15.  Seventh day of the week, (Salien) which was the fourth of the feast; and the Syr. Arab. and some editions of the Sept. read, “the fourth.”  The young men tried their skill for three days; when, despairing of success, they solicited Samson’s wife to draw the secret from him.  She tried; but the seventh day being come, or at hand, (M.) the men began to threaten her, so that she became more importunate, and obtained her request.  She had been weeping during a great part of the seven days, (v. 17.  C.) or perhaps she had begun to tease him from the beginning.  M. Strip us.  Sept. “to impoverish us.”  Homer (Odys. Z.) insinuates, that it was customary for the bride to furnish her attendants with white linen garments.  These companions of Samson fear that they are going to be losers, by the honour which they do him.  C. The compel his wife by threats to betray his secret, and still destroy her afterwards: thus persecutors frequently treat those who comply with they demands, and deny the faith.  W.


Ver. 18.  Down, at which time the day ended among the Jews. Heifer.  This proverbial expression means, that another’s property had been used against himself; (Delrio adag.162) or it may intimate, that improper liberties had been taken with Samson’s wife, (C.) as her so readily taking one of them for her husband, (v. 20) might lead us to suspect.  H. The Greek and Latin authors speak of a faithless wife in similar terms.  Theognis. lviii. &c.


Ver. 19.  Riddle.  Samson must no longer be considered as a private man.  He was authorized by the Spirit of the Lord, thus to punish the oppressors of Israel.  C. Though these 30 men had done him no injury in person, (H.) they had sinned against God, and deserved to die.  Salien. He slew them publicly in the city (M.) though others believe that he did it in the neighbouring country, as it does not appear that the people knew of their death.  C.


Ver. 20.  Companions, the chief friends of the bridegroom, (Jo. iii. 29,) the paranymph.  S. Amb.  C. Prot. “But Samson’s wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his friend.”  It seems her father had supposed, from Samson’s keeping away for a long time, that he had abandoned her.  H. But, though he offered some sort of recompense, (M.) he justly fell a victim to the people’s rage, who abhorred adultery, (C.) and were irritated at the persecution which he had brought upon them.  C. xv. 2. 6.  H.







Ver. 1.  After.  The same term is used in the original as C. xiv. 8, which may be rendered “a year after,” as it is not probable that the wife of Samson should be married to another, nor that he should lay aside his resentment much sooner.  C.


Ver. 2.  Sister.  Jacob married two sisters, and such marriages were not uncommon among the eastern nations.  C. Samson does not accept the offer, as it was now contrary to the law.  Lev. xviii. 18.  M.


Ver. 3.  Evils.  This is a declaration of war, made by Samson in person, against a whole nation.  H. He does not wish to engage his countrymen in the quarrel, that they may not be more oppressed.  God chose that he should weaken the Philistines by degrees.  They had been apprised of the injustice done to Samson, and did not strive to hinder it, so that they all deserved to suffer.  Grot.  E.  C.


Ver. 4.  Foxes.  Being judge of the people, he might have many to assist him to catch with nets or otherwise a  number of these animals; of which there were great numbers in that country, (Ch.) as we may gather from Cant. ii. 15.  Lament. v. 15.  M. Hence many places received the name of Sual.  Jos. xv. 28. and xix. 42.  Pompey exhibited 600 lions at Rome, and the Emp. Probus 5000 ostriches, and as many wild boars, &. in the theatre.  Vopisc.  Plin. viii. 16.  A. Lap. Is it more incredible that Samson should collect 300 foxes?  By this means he cleared his country of a pernicious animal, the most proper for carrying flambeaux, and spreading fire far and wide among the fields of the enemy.  By tying the foxes together, he hindered them from retiring into their holes, and gave the fire time to take hold of the corn and vineyards.  C. Ovid mentions a Roman custom of burning foxes in the theatre, with torches tied upon their backs, in the month of April; which some have imagined was in memorial of this transaction.  Serar, q. 7.

“Factum abiit, monumenta manent, nam vivere captam

Nunc quoque lex vulpem Carseolana vetat.

Utque luat pænas genus hoc cerealibus ardet,

Quoque modo segetes perdidit, illa perit.”  Fast. iv.

Torches.  Heb. and Sept. “a torch or firebrand,” (H.) made of resinous wood, such as the pine, olive, &c. which easily catch fire, and are extinguished with difficulty.  C. Qua fugit incendit vestitos messibus agrosDamnosis vires ignibus aura dabat.  Ovid.

“Where’er he flees, corn-fields in flames appear,

The fanning breeze brings devastation near.”

A hundred and fifty firebrands, in different parts of the country, destroy the farmer’s hopes.  H. And olive.  The conjunction in now wanting in Heb. and some translate, “the vineyards of olive-trees.”  Kimchi. But who ever heard of such an expression?  It is better therefore to supply and, with the Sept. (C.) as the Prot. also have done.  H. “The foxes signify the deceitful ensnares, and chiefly heretics.”  S. Aug. in Ps. viii.  D.


Ver. 6.  Father.  Thus they met with the fate which the woman had endeavoured to avoid, by an infidelity to her husband.  Salien. The princes of the Philistines acknowledged the wrong which had been done to Samson, and thus testify their abhorrence of adultery.  C. Some Heb. MSS. confirm the Sept. Ar. and Syr. versions; and instead of “her father with her,” read, “and her father’s house,” (Kennicott) or all his family.


Ver. 7.  Of you.  He intimates that they should answer for the injustice which they ought to have prevented, or punished sooner.  H. Heb. “If you had done like this,” and slain the father and daughter, I should be quiet.  D.


Ver. 8.  Thigh.  Striking this part is often mentioned as a mark of consternation.  Jer. xxxi. 19.  M. Heb. “and he smote them thigh and leg, with a great slaughter.”  H. Vatable supposes this means an entire destruction.  Chaldee, “he smote both horse and foot.”  He rendered them incapable of fleeing, or of making resistance.  Nah. ii. 5.  C. Cavern.  Heb. sahiph, signifies, “the top, branch, &c.  The rock might be covered with wood, (C.) and was situated in the confines of the tribes of Simeon, Juda, and Dan.  1 Par. iv. 32.  M.


Ver. 9.  Spread.  Heb. “encamped in Juda, and spread themselves in Lechi.”  H.


Ver. 12.  Kill me, in a treacherous manner.  He was not afraid of them.  C.


Ver. 13.  Cords.  Heb. habothim, Sept. KalwdioiV, denote strong ropes or cables.  M. Etam is not in Heb. or the Sept.  H.


Ver. 14.  Bone.  Heb. “Lechi,” as it was called after the slaughter made by Samson, v. 15.  It is about 20 miles to the east of Ascalon.  C. Approach: lit. “the smell.”  This expression is often used to denote burning.  Sept.  C. xvi. 9.  Dan. iii. 94.


Ver. 15.  There.  The Sept. Josephus, and the Vulg. agree, reading Heb. truth, instead of the present teriya, “fresh,” or raw, which seems an useless remark in this place.  C. Asses are very large in Palestine.  M.


Ver. 16.  Asses.  He insists on this particular, as such an unusual weapon rendering his victory more astonishing, and he would not leave any room for doubt.  Heb. is variously translated, “with the jaw-bone of an ass, I have made a heap, yea two heaps; with the jaw-bone of an ass, I have defeated a thousand men.”  Syr. &c.  Castalion and Bonfrere defend the Vulg.  The Sept. have, “with the jaw-bone of an ass I have entirely taken them off, (H.  defending them) with,” &c.  They have explained chamorathayim, as the first person of emor, rubefecit, or Chal. destruxit, “I have covered them with blood;” and indeed to understand it of “two she asses,” is impossible.  C. This verse formed the chorus of Samson’s song.  H. He did not take the glory to himself, as Josephus (v. 10,) would insinuate, but attributed  the victory to God, v. 18.  Salien, A.C. 1172.  This miracle of strength can no more be accounted for by reason, than many others.  W.


Ver. 17.  Which is, &c.  This is added by the Vulg. being the interpretation of the Sept. AnairhsiV; (C.) though it also signify, “the slaughter.”  S. Amb. ep. 19.  H. The Syr. and Arab. have read domoth, “the blood,” instead of ramath Lechi, “the lifting up;” or as others would have it, “the throwing down of the jaw-bone.”  C. Samson had snatched it from the ground, slew the thousand Philistines, and left it a a monument of his victory.  H.


Ver. 18.  Thirsty.  S. Ambrose (ep. 19 or 70) follows Josephus, (M.) is supposing that the arrogance of Samson, in attributing the victory to his own strength, was thus punished.  But others are more favourable to the hero, (C.) and suppose that his thirst was occasioned by the extraordinary fatigue.  He sufficiently testifies that he had received all from God, (M.) and he is immediately favoured with another miracle.  H. God is able to grant victory by the most feeble instruments, and he is never wanting when his presence is requisite.  S. Aug. Doct. iv. 15.  T.


Ver. 19.  Then.  Heb. “And God clave the Mactesh (H.  hollow place, great tooth;” or the name of a rock, as Josephus and others understand it, perhaps on account of its resemblance with a tooth) which was at Lechi; and…he called it the fountain of him who cries out, (C.  En-hakkore.  Prot.) which is in the Lechi, until this day.”  The translating of some proper names has given occasion to various difficulties.  See 2 K. vi. 3.  1 Par. iv. 22.  H. Sophonias (i. 11,) mentions a place called (Mactesh, or) Machtes, in Hebrew, which seems to have been built where the fountain of Samson was.  C. It is a greater miracle to draw water out of a dry bone, than out of the earth or stones.  But all things are possible to God.  W.


Ver. 20.  Years.  Salien gathers from this remark being made here, that the Philistines still asserted their dominion over Israel, but with greater moderation than they had done before: and both nations acknowledged the judicial authority of Samson, who had now been giving them such proofs of his valour for two years, soon after he performed the feat at Gaza, A.C. 1169, being on some business.  H.







Ver. 1.  A harlot, or an innkeeper; for the Heb. word signifies either.  Ch. We have already noticed the ambiguity of the word zona, which occurs Josue ii. 1, and is applied to Rahab.  This woman seems to have been of the same profession.  Gaza was one of the strongest towns of the Philistines, on the south of the country.  Some have erroneously supposed, (C.) that it was so called from a Persian word, which signifies a treasury, as Cambyses there deposited his most valuable effects.  Mela. i. 11.


Ver. 2.  Setting.  Heb. “they laid wait for him all night in the gate,…and were quiet all night, saying, in the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him.”  They hoped to seize him unawares, (H.) as they were afraid to rouse this lion, and hence probably refrained from setting fire to the house: (C.) though they might be deterred from doing this, by the fear of the conflagration spreading to other parts of the city, (H.) and by an over-ruling Providence.  Salien.


Ver. 3.  Bolt, (sera) which may translate, “lock.”  H. The doors of the Hebrews were fastened with bars tied in a curious manner, so as to require a sort of a key, and not to be opened but on the inside.  Hebron was above thirty miles distant: but travellers mention a small hill, where they say the doors were left in the vicinity of Gaza; (C.) and the text does not assert that Samson carried them as far as Hebron.  H. He went out by that gate, contrary to the expectation of the Philistines, who supposed that he would go towards Thamnatha.  If any saw him, none durst encounter the hero, as they had not yet forgotten the thousand slain with the jaw-bone.  Salien. The pagans confound their Hercules with Samson; (S. Aug. C. D. xviii. 19.) but the former durst not attack two at a time, whereas the latter engaged and slew many.  W.


Ver. 4.  After this.  The lamentable fall of Samson took place in the last year of his administration, when Heli, of the house of Thamar, succeeded Achitob I. in the high priesthood.  A.C. 1154.  Salien. Sorec was not far from Saraa, where Samson was born.  It probably belonged to the Philistines, as Dalila is generally supposed to have been of that nation, and most people believe a harlot.  C. Adrichomius says the eunuch was here baptized.  T. Dalila.  Some are of opinion she was married to Samson; others that she was his harlot.  If the latter opinion be true, we cannot wonder that, in punishment of his lust, the Lord delivered him up by her means into the hands of his enemies. However, if he was guilty, it is not to be doubted, but that under his afflictions, he heartily repented and returned to God, and so obtained forgiveness of his sins.  Ch. Dolol means, “to be impoverished or weakened,” as Samson was in all respects by this wicked woman.


Ver. 5.  Princes, (seranim;) the five satraps, who had the chief sway in the nation, either came in person or sent messengers to Cephar-Sorec.  They were convinced that the strength of Samson was supernatural; but they wished to learn whether it depended on some magical charm, or on some religious observation, or whether he was vulnerable only in some particular part, like Achilles, who could only be slain by a wound in the heel, according to the pagans.  C. If Dalila would learn, and endeavour to remove the obstacle, these princes engaged to give her each 1100 pieces (or sicles, C.) of silver.  Salien.


Ver. 7.  Her, in jest.  H. Sinews; such were frequently used for strength.  Vegetius iv. 9.  Ps.x. 2.  Cato often speaks of loreos funes, (C.) or “leathern thongs.”  H. Moist.  Heb. “seven bands, green and moist;” as if he were speaking of willow twigs, or bands made of the rind of trees, &c.  But we need not abandon the Sept. and Vulg. to follow the moderns in this place, as yetharim unquestionably means cords of sinews, and the epithet, green, is applied to the eyes of Moses, (Deut. xxiv. 7.) to denote their shining vigour and strength; so here it may signify, that the sinews were to be fresh and in full perfection.  C. Dalila might easily think that such bands would make Samson her prisoner.  She had people to assist her, in case she proved successful.  But Samson probably broke the bands before they made their appearance; otherwise he would have resented the woman’s infidelity, and not exposed himself again.  He supposed she only made these exclamations to see what he would do, v. 9. &c.


Ver. 9.  Fire.  Prot. “and he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire.”  H. Thus he played with her, never suspecting that the enemy was concealed so near.  C.


Ver. 13.  Lace, (licio;) “the woof about the beam,” &c.  Heb. “the web, (14) and she fastened it,” &c.  The original text is here imperfect.  H. The Sept. have preserved eighteen words, which have been omitted in Heb. “the web, [and fastened them with a pin unto the wall, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.  (14) An it came to pass, when he slept, that Dalilia took seven locks of his head, and wove them with a web] and fastened them with a pin, [unto the wall] and said,” &c.  Kennicott, Diss. ii. The Vulg. expresses the whole idea in fewer words: but the Heb. leaves the proposal of Samson imperfect.  It is observable that Grabe’s edition of the Alex. Sept. has no mark of any thing being redundant; whence we might suppose, that in the days of Origen, (whose marks he endeavours to exhibit) the Hebrew agreed with the Greek version: but the 14th verse is rather different from the Vatican copy, which has been given above. “And Dalila (so the Sept. always style her)  lulled him asleep; (ekoimisen, as v. 19, (H.) perhaps by giving him some potion, with which people of her character are frequently provided; Salien) and she wove the seven curls of his head with the woof, (ektasewV) and she fastened them with the pins of wood into the wall,” &c.  H. The Heb. text is liable to many difficulties, says Calmet; “If thou shalt make a tissue of seven locks of my head with the veil, which thou weavest, and shalt fasten it to a nail, I shall become weak as another man: or, If thou weave together my hair and my thread,” &c.  The ancients were accustomed to weave standing.  Samson was probably lying on the ground, while Dalila was acting this farce.  C.


Ver. 16.  Death.  Heb. “and pressed him so, that his soul was straitened unto death.”  It would be well if Christians would always make as stout a resistance against manifest temptations to sin, as Samson did on this occasion, when he might consider the revealing of the truth rather as an indiscretion than as a crime.  It is difficult to determine in what precisely the fault consisted, which was followed by so severe a punishment.  Perhaps he may have been placed as a pattern of patience, like holy Job, without incurring the divine displeasure.  Yet most people suppose, that he fell by the love of women, and by disclosing the secret of his strength.  But where do we read that he had received a precept from god, not to mention it even to his wife?  For in this light SS. Ephrem and Chrys. Sulp Severus, Pererius, and others, represent Dalila, which removes the greatest objection to his character.  We have seen (v. 1) that the harlot of Gaza might be only an innkeeper; and the first object of his love, was proposed to him by the holy spirit.  C. xiv. 4.  But even allowing that Dalila was a harlot, though the Scripture does not assert it, what harm was there in Samson’s endeavouring to reclaim her, and to make her his wife, as Osee (i. 2.) was commanded to do?  It is only said, (v. 4) the he loved a woman; and his subsequent conduct with her, might be nothing more than what is lawful among lovers, or even commendable between married people.  Isaac’s playing with Rebecca, his wife, (Gen. xxvi. 8.) was a proof of his conjugal love for her, as S. Francis de Sales observes.  Generous souls are frequently prone to love, and delight to unbend their minds in the company of the fair sex, with whom they can fear no rivalship in strength.  Samson, in particular, seemed unable to deny their importunate requests.  He yielded at last to explain his riddle to his first wife, and though he was justly offended at her infidelity, he took occasion from it to begin the work for which he was sent by God, the destruction of the enemy.  Perhaps he thought that his compliance with the repeated solicitations of Dalila would be attended with the like effect, as in reality it was, and he destroyed more in death than during the whole course of his life.  Without the strongest proofs, it seems unjust to pass sentence of condemnation upon a great character, the number of the perfect being already too small.  Our Saviour, laden with the sins of mankind, as with the treacherous Dalila, exclaimed, my soul is sorrowful unto death.  Mat. xxvi. 38.  Yet (H.) the weakness of Samson’s heart throughout this history, is still more surprising than the strength of his body.  C. Tirin asserts that God had granted him such strength, with an order not to disclose the secret, that it was attached to the not wilfully having his hair cut.


Ver. 17.  Thing.  Heb. and Sept. “He told her all his heart.” That is to say, consecrated, is added by the Vulg.  H. Men.  Was the hair the physical, or only the moral, cause of his wonderful strength?  It is generally believed that it was only a moral cause, or a token appointed by God, that as long as Samson retained his hair he should be endued with such force.  The pagans relate, that the kingdom of Nisus and of Pterelaus depended on a fatal lock of hair, which their daughters cut off.  Crinis inhœrebat, magni fiducia regni.  Ovid, Met. viii.  Apoll. 2.  C.


Ver. 18.  To me.  Heb. “to her.”  Lah instead of li, perhaps in all the printed editions except the Complutensian, which has corrected the mistake, and is authorized by some MSS.  Kennicott.


Ver. 19.  Knees, by some soporiferous draught, as on the other occasions.  M. Barber.  He only produced the razor, or rather a pair of scissors, such as were used to shear sheep.  Barbers were unknown at Rome for 454 years; and the ancient Greeks looked with indignation upon those who introduced the custom of shaving among them.  Plin. vii. 59.  The Hebrews did not cut all their beard, and generally let the hair of their head grow long.  Samson wore his curled, which is still the fashion among some people. And began.  Sept. “he began to be humbled, (C.) or rendered abject, and his strength,” &c.  Heb. “she began to render him contemptible”  H.


“But what is strength without a double share

Of wisdom? vast, unwieldy, burdensome.” Milton’s Samson.


Ver. 20.  Myself.  This might insinuate that he was bound, though it may only mean that he will extricate himself from the hands of the Philistines.  C. We read of no bands on this occasion.  But the loss of the sign of his being a Nazarite was Samson’s greatest misfortune, and rendered him less formidable than if he had been bound with chains of adamant.  He was not sensible of his loss at first; or he himself was uninformed that his strength depended on the preservation of his hair.  The cutting it off was wholly involuntary, so that, if he sinned by losing it, we must conclude that he was guilty in putting himself in the power of a woman, by revealing a secret which he ought to have kept to himself.  Other Nazarites were surely under no such obligation.  If a barbarous ruffian or infidel had, by violence, deprived them of their sacred ornament, or touched them with something unclean, they would have been obliged to submit to the legal purifications, but no blame could have attached to them.  H. From him, as to the gratuitous and supernatural degree of strength.  M.


Ver. 21.  Chains.  Heb. and Sept. add, “of brass,” which were more ancient than those of iron or of steel.  Brass was generally used instead of the latter, for knives, &c.  C. Gaza, the place where he had lately given such an instance of strength, v. 3.  H. Grind.  Before the invention of wind or of water mills, the ancients forced their meanest slaves to grind with a hand-mill, consisting of two large stones.  Many such are made in the isle of Milo.  The mill was the common place for slaves, who had given an offence not deserving of death.  Isai. xlvii. 2.  Lament. v. 13.  Cod. Theod. de pœnit.  Apuleius describes their condition as most pitiful; half naked, with their hair half cut, their feet chained, disfigured with scourges, &c.  Metam. ix.  Herodotus (iv. 2.) says, that the Scythians put out the eyes of their slaves, that they may not become dizzy with turning round vessels of milk, upon which these people feed.  Such was the condition of Samson.  S. Jerom (in Isaias xlvii.) mentions a foolish interpretation of the Rabbins, as if the Philistines obliged this strong man to have children by their women.  See Thalmud, sutah 1, fol. 10.  C.  Job xxxi. 10.  H. Samson “laboured hard, that he might not eat his bread for nothing.”  Lyra.


Ver. 22.  Again.  Heb. adds, “as when he was shaven.”  H. He was in prison three or four months.  M. As his hair grew his strength returned, because he entered into himself and did penance, so that he was restored to the rank and privileges of a Nazarite.  C.  M.


Ver. 23.  Dagon.  Probably the derceto, whom Diodorus (3,) represents with the head of a woman, and the rest of the body like a fish, the chief object of adoration at Ascalon.  C. Dagon may signify “wheat;” and hence Eusebius (præp. 1,) styles him “the ploughing Jupiter,” or “a fish.” Hands.  For this purpose they were offering sacrifices of thanksgiving, (M.) which they did not only when they first took Samson, but probably on all their great festivals, till the hero’s death.  They could not but excite the indignation and zeal of this great judge, and God resented the indignity offered to himself.  They cursed Samson, (H.) as the Sichemites had done Abimelec on a similar occasion.  C. ix. 27.  M.

God “will not connive or linger, thus provoked,

but will arise and his great name assert.”Milton, v. 466.


Ver. 25.  Played.  Dancing in a ridiculous manner, (Montanus) running against the walls, or falling down, so as to make the people laugh, (Lyran) or rather (H.) Serarius gathers from the Sept. that “they buffetted him,” and made a sport of him.  M. It is not at all probable that Samson would act the ape before the Philistines; but, in attempting to keep off the rabble with many a fruitless blow, against his will he might make them merry.  C. He appeared before them in the garb of a slave, covered with the dust of the mill, (Salien) like our Saviour in a fool’s garment.  H. Two pillars.  The temples of Hercules, at Tyre and in Africa, had the same number.  Porphyr. Abst. 2. The temple of Dagon was supported on wooden pillars standing near each other.  People might see down from the roof.  Serarius. We read that the theatre of Rome rested on one pivot, and the amphitheatre on two. Ecce populus Romanus universus, says Pliny, (xxxvi. 15,) binis cardinibus sustinetur.  C. The roofs of the Philistine temples were flat, and galleries all around them, so that an immense crowd might be collected, (M.) to gaze on this terror of their country, now their prey.  They had forgotten how he had formerly carried off their gates, or they concluded that his amazing strength was gone for ever.  H.


Ver. 27.  Play.  It is not clear from the text, whether the 3000 were distinct from those who were below.  It seems this is the number of all the slain, (C.) as Josephus asserts.  But the Protestants insert, “the lords of the Philistines were there: and there were upon the roof,” &c. which shews that they understand it in the same sense as the Vulg. and the Sept. which distinguish these outside spectators from those who filled the house, and were in company with the princes.  H.


Ver. 28.  Revenge myself.  This desire of revenge was out of zeal for justice against the enemies of God and his people; and not out of private rancour and malice of heart.  Ch. He was judge of his people, and concerned for their wrongs: God, by miracle, testified that he approved of his sentiments.  C. Sept. insinuates that the cry of Samson was accompanied with tears, (eklause.)  It was the cry of the heart, which is most eloquent with God.  Heb. and Sept. “strengthen me yet this once, O God, and I will repay,” &c.  H.


Ver. 29.  Both the.  Heb. adds, “middle” pillars, so that their fall occasioned that the whole temple, (C.) excepting perhaps some of the ruins, which are still shewn at Gaza.  Button.

“He tugged, he shook till down they came, and drew

The whole roof after them with bursts of thunder.”  Milton.  H.


Ver. 30.  Let me die.  Literally, let my soul die.  Samson did not sin on this occasion, though  he was indirectly the cause of his own death.  Because he was moved to what he did, by a particular inspiration of God, who also concurred with him by a miracle, in restoring his strength upon the spot, in consequence of his prayer.  Samson, by dying in this manner, was a figure of Christ, who by his death overcame all his enemies.  Ch.  W. S. Aug. says, “he was not under a human delusion, but divinely inspired…Who will accuse his obedience?”  De C. i. 21. and 26. &c.  And S. Bern. (de præc. 3.) observes that he would have sinned, if he had not received a particular inspiration.  But many think that he might have acted as he did, without it, in quality of judge, as he might intend primarily to avenge his people and the glory of God.  He was willing to sacrifice his life for this purpose, though he would have preserved it, if it had been in his power.  Cajet.  Lessius, &c. The Church honours many virgin martyrs, (C.) who have thrown themselves into fire or water, in similar dispositions.  S. Amb. says, “it is to be presumed that their zeal came from God.”  De Virg. iii. 7.  He mentions S. Pelagia, and her mother and sisters, and S. Soteris, a relation of his, whose memory is honoured on the 10th of February.  S. Apollonia’s feast occurs the day before.  “She leapt into the fire, having her breast enkindled with a stronger flame of the holy spirit.  Brev. Rom.  See the fact of Razas, 2 Mac. xiv. 37.  H. So that the revelation of S. Mathildes doubting of his, Solomon’s, Origen’s, and Trajan’s salvation, as if God would thus keep mankind in fear, seems to be a fabrication.  Baronius.  A.D. 604.  S. Paul ranks Samson among the saints.  Heb. xi. 32. Life.  Express mention is made of 1000 slain by Samson, besides the great numbers, which excited the astonishment of the Philistines.  C. xv. 8.  But on this occasion he destroyed 3000 at once, and the death of all the princes made the slaughter more terrible, (C.) insomuch that the people being without a head, were glad to let Samson’s brethren take away his body without molestation, as they have every reason to fear that the Israelites would now fall upon them.  Salien. If 3000 perished on the outside of the temple, (H.) Serarius concludes that not less than 20,000 were destroyed in all.


Ver. 31.  Twenty.  “Why then, says the Thalmud of Jerusalem, does the Scripture allow him 40?  That thou mightest understand the Philistines were kept in awe, by the fear of him, for 20 years after his decease.”  The Hebrew copies seems to have varied.  Drusius. Some refuse the Samson the title of judge, (Masius) as they suppose (H.) that Heli filled that office at the same time.  But there might be several in different parts of the country, and Heli might administer sacred things, while Samson acted in the character of a warrior.  C. Salien believes that Heli only commenced high priest and judge at the death of Samson, and continued for 40 years, though he was 58 years old when he entered upon office, A. 2900, A.C. 1153.  Samson prefigured the Messias, not only in death, but also in his annunciation, birth, name, and in many particulars of his life.  He was a Nazarite: Jesus receives that title even from his enemies.  Samson marries a foreign woman; is delivered by his brethren of Juda into the hands of his enemies; judges and delivers his people.  Christ, the sun of justice, calls the Gentiles; is betrayed by Judas, and abandoned to the fury of the Romans; is appointed Judge and Saviour of all.  He embraces the cross, as Samson did the pillars, and by his humiliations redeemed the world.  The pagan temple falls and crushes the idolaters.  The Jews are overwhelmed in the ruins of their temple and city; and the earth trembles at the death of Christ.  He is buried with honour, notwithstanding the malice of his enemies, (C.) as the body of Samson was taken from the midst of the raging inhabitants of Gaza, and interred peaceably in his father’s tomb.  The fabulous account of the Phœnician, or of another (H.) Hercules, who lived about this time, seems  to have been chiefly taken from the history of Samson.  Both encountered many difficulties, and perished by a woman’s malice.  Hercules never used a sword, and we do not read that Samson had any.  C. “He was possessed of an incomparable strength both of mind and body, says Josephus, (v. 10,) which he employed for the destruction of the enemy even to the last breath.  His being deceived by a woman, we ought to attribute to human weakness, which is prone to such faults.  In all other respects, his virtue entitles him to eternal praise.”  H.

“Tax not divine disposal; wisest men

Have err’d, and by bad women been deceived;

And shall again, pretend they ne’er so wise.  Sams. Agon. v. 210.







Ver. 1.  At that time, is not in the Heb. or Sept.  It only means that the event which is recorded took place at some time, which the sacred writer does not determine.  We should conclude, that the histories which fill up the remainder of this book, ought to be placed after the death of Samson, (Serarius, &c.) if some passages did not determine us to allow that their proper order must be soon after the death of Josue and of the ancients.  The grandson of Moses must, on the former supposition, have been extremely old, whereas he is said to have been a young man, v. 7.  The tribe of Dan was still straitened for room.  C. xviii. 1, &c.  C. Josephus, (v. 2,) who passed over the history of Michas.  Salien, A. 2622, the 22d year of Othoniel and Phinees.  H. Anarchy at that time prevailed, (v. 6,) so that we need not wonder to behold such confusion among the Israelites.  M. Ephraim.  The country was mountainous for nine miles.  Adrichomius.


Ver. 2.  Mother.  A rich (C.) old widow, since she had grandchildren, one of whom was appointed to serve her domestic chapel.  M. She had lost a sum of money, and was venting imprecations against the thief, when her son came and informed her that he had it safe, upon which she changed her curses into blessings. Swear, may have another meaning, as if she had made a vow of this money.  C.  M. Lord.  Hebrew Yehova, the title of God, which she gives to idols, (M.) or perhaps she preposterously adored both the true and false gods at the same time.  C. Many Protestants assert that her intention was good, in what she did.  Monceius, Grot. &c. So willing are they to excuse all from idolatry but Catholics!  H. Almost all interpreters condemn Michas and his mother of superstition, and of acting contrary to the express orders of God, in appointing a priest who was not of the family of Aaron, &c.  C. Their graven image was an idol.  But this is no proof against the sacred images of Catholics.  W.


Ver. 3.  God.  Hebrew pesel umaseca.  The word thing, would perhaps be as well substituted, as (H.) all are not convinced that the woman was guilty of idolatry.  Cajetan. The same figure might be both graven and molten.  The image was first carved, and then covered with plates of gold, &c. in the more ancient times.  C. There might be two figures made by Michas.  Salien. The Theraphim denote “images which foretel what is to happen.”  Rabbins.  T. But this is not always the case.  H.


Ver. 5.  That…idols is added by the Vulg.  S. Jerom supposes that the ephod denotes all the sacerdotal vestments, and the theraphim whatever else was requisite for priestly functions, ep. ad Marcel.  Grotius is of opinion that these theraphim, or cherubim, are styled elohim, gods, (v. 5) and that the altar, candlesticks, &c. are designated above by whatever was to be graven or molten.  Michas had a  mind to represent the tabernacle, with its ornaments, in  miniature.  By the theraphim he might imitate the urim, &c. at the expense of 200 sicles, while 900 might be set apart for the other ornaments.  C. Many think that he wished to have domestic gods, like the Lares or Penates. Hand.  That is, appointed and consecrated him to the priestly office.  Ch. He put in his hand the offerings which he had to make, as was customary.  Ex. xxviii. 41.  C. Priest, contrary to all order.  M.  Num. iii. 10.  Heb. v. 4.  C. The anointing of his hands with oil, prescribed, (Lev. viii.) could give him no authority.  W.


Ver. 6.  Himself.  Serarius thinks this took place before Heli was appointed to succeed Samson.  But the opinion of Salien (M.) is more probable.  For, though he places this history in the 22d year of Othoniel, yet we must remember that he attributes to him all the years of anarchy, so that this liberty was taken by an individual, when none had power or zeal enough to restrain it.  How much would Phinees be mortified at this prevarication if he were still alive!  H. The title of king may be applied to the judges.  But this book was probably written after the appointment of Saul.  C.


Ver. 7.  Another, is not in Heb. or the Sept. but it refers to the former young priest, the son of Michas, whose place he took. Thereof.  It is uncertain whether this be spoken of the city or of the man.  Some think that this Levite’s mother was of Juda, though his father was the son of Moses.  C. xviii. 30.  C. He was poor, as the people neglected to pay tithes, and he imitated their irreligion, being of a fickle temper.  He was yet single, (v. 10) though he married among the Danites.  C. xviii. 30.  M. Being a Levite, he is esteemed fitter for the priesthood; so Protestants receive with joy an apostate Catholic priest.  W.


Ver. 10.  A father.  So he styles him out of respect, as we do our directors.  H. It is a title of dignity.  Est. xvi. 11.  2 Mac. xiv. 37.  2 Par. ii. 13.  C. Pieces, sicles. Double suit, one for summer and another for winter, (M.) or such as might be worn on common, or on sacred occasions, unless it rather mean a cloak and a tunic; (C.) a change of dress.  C. xiv. 13.


Ver. 13.  Good.  He was in hopes that the people would come and make their offerings with more zeal, so that he would derive greater advantage: the true character of superstitious misers.  1 Tim. vi. 5.  C. He foolishly flattered himself that God would be pleased with his devotion; though he had done so many things contrary to the law.  M. Thus many form a religion to themselves, and would still claim the title of Christians.  But the judge will drive them away with, I never knew you.  Mat. vii. 23.  They think that if they believe some things (which they are pleased to call fundamental, though the cannot agree what they are) they may form a “true Catholic church” out of all the contradictory heresies which have made such havoc in the world!  Perhaps Michas thus deluded himself with the idea that his innovations were not fundamental.  It is rather ridiculous to hear J. Wesley, and a late very weak defendant of his, (Mr. Slack,) refusing the title of Christian to Roman Catholics, while they prostitute it to almost every sectary.  But heretics have, indeed, no just pretensions to it.  See S. Athanas. &c.







Ver. 1.  Days, after the death of Josue and the ancients.  Debbora speaks of the tribe of Dan, as addicted to navigation.  C. v. 17.  C. It had now conquered most of the enemies who had formerly forced some to seek fresh settlements, (H.) as it is hinted at, Jos. xix.  The particulars are here given in detail.  C. Received, &c.  They had their portions assigned them, Josue xix. 40.  But through their own sloth, possessed as yet but a small part of it.  See Judges i. 34.  Ch.  W. Prot. supply, “all their inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel.”  H.


Ver. 2.  Family.  Heb. “From their extremity.”  Which may denote such as came to hand, (C.) or princes, (De Dieu) or people of mean appearance, (Castalion) unless we explain it “from their coasts,” with Montanus, Prot. &c.  H.


Ver. 4.  Voice.  His pronunciation was different from that of the Ephraimites.  C. xii. 6.


Ver. 5.  Lord (Elohim.)  A title sometimes given to false gods.  The Levite answered in the name of Jehova; whence it is inferred that they all adored the true God, though their worship was not clear of superstition.  C.


Ver. 6.  Looketh with approbation.  H. It is uncertain whether this prediction proceeded from God, from the devil, or from the crafty Levite, (C.) who might answer as he thought the messengers wished him to do.  M. Their undertaking proved successful.  But the devil, who knew the valour of the Danites, and the security of the citizens of Lais, or even a man of moderate prudence and sagacity, might have told what would be the probable event of an attack in such circumstances.  C. Whether God approved or condemned the Levite’s worship, he might speak by his mouth, as he did by that of Balaam.  H. But it is generally supposed that Jonathan was the organ of the devil, (C.) who answered with a degree of obscurity, as he was accustomed, (W.) that, in any case, his credit might subsist.  H.


Ver. 7.  Lais, four miles from Paneas, towards Tyre.  It is called Lesem Dan; (Jos. xix 47.) both the ancient and the new name being joined together. Rich, Heb. has almost as many different meanings as interpreters.  De Dieu, “There was no one to put them to shame, no chief magistrate.”  C. Prot. “and there was no magistrate in the land that might put them to shame in any thing.”  H. The citizens of Lais were perhaps a colony, and followed the manners and religion of Sidon, but were at a day’s journey from their territory; (Josephus) so that the latter could not come to their assistance at a very short warning.  The Danites were therefore encouraged to make the attack, (C.) particularly as this city was confident in its own strength and riches, and made no alliance with any other.  H. Sept. Alex. &c. read, Aram instead of Adam.  “They had no commerce with Syria.”  But the Roman edition (C.) has, “they are far off from the Sidonians, and have no (word or) commerce with man.”  The edition of Grabe repeats a great part of this verse again; v. 9, with an obelus.


Ver. 9.  There will, &c. is added to signify, that it will be necessary only to go to take possession.  H.


Ver. 10.  Secure.  “No one is sooner overcome than the man who has no fear; and security is generally the forerunner of ruin.”  Velleius 2. initium est calamitatis securitas.


Ver. 11.  War, besides their wives, &c. v. 21.


Ver. 12.  Behind, on the west.  C.


Ver. 14.  To do.  Whether we must take them by force or by craft.  H. It seems they had a premeditated design to seize them.  C.


Ver. 17.  They.  Heb. and Sept. “and the five men that went to spy out the land.”  H. Off.  The Levite’s attention was drawn off for a while by the 600 men, till the five, who had formerly become acquainted with him, had ransacked his little temple.  C. Perceiving them as they came out, he began to complain, but was soon persuaded to follow the Danites, and to abandon his former protector.  So little dependence can be had on those who are faithless to their God!  H.


Ver. 19.  Mouth; to signify that silence must be observed.  Job xxix. 9.  Eccli. v. 12.  Angerona, among the Romans, and Harpocrates, in Egypt, were represented in this posture; digitoque silentia suadet.  Ovid, Met. ix.


Ver. 22.  Houses.  Heb. “near the house of Michas.”  The poor fellow called his neighbours, and pursued the Danites, (H.) despising as it were all his other effects, in comparison with his god.  M.


Ver. 25.  House.  The violence and injustice of the Danites cannot be excused, particularly as they were stealing what they deemed sacred.  C.


Ver. 27.  And, &c.  Heb. “and they took what Michas had made, and the priest,…and came.”  H. Fire, as they could not make themselves masters of it otherwise.  They were forced afterwards to rebuild it.  Some Rabbins have supposed, that Sidon and its colonies were not given by God to Israel: but their proofs are unsatisfactory.  Lais was inhabited by the Chanaanites; and though it was in the territory of Aser, as the people of Dan had made the conquest, they were suffered to keep quiet possession of it.  See Jos. xvii. 10.


Ver. 28.  Rohob, which stood at the foot of Libanus.  The vale belonging to this city, extended for about twenty miles.


Ver. 29.  Lais.  Heb. Ulam Layish, as the Sept. express it.  C. But the former term is explained by the Alex. and other copies in the sense of the Vulgate, before.  H. Dan is often placed for the  northern boundary of Palestine.  C.


Ver. 30.  Idol.  Heb. pasel.  W. Grabe’s Sept. “the graven thing of Michas, and Jonathan the son of Gersam, of the son of Manasses.”  The Roman copy omits “of Michas,” but retains Manasses, as the present Hebrew reads, instead of Moses.  H. It is suspected that the Jews have inserted an n over the word Mose, that it might not be known that a grandson of their lawgiver had been guilty of such impiety.  They have not dared, however, to place the letter in the same rank as the others, but have suspended it, (C.) as if it were suspected, says Michaelis.  Abendana relates, that by (or on) the authority of the ancients, this nun was added from the honour of Moses, lest his granson might appear to be the first little sacrificing priest of an idol.  The Latin Vulgate reads the name of Moses; and I am convinced that Moses, and not Manasses, ought to be understood: for how could a Levite have Manasses for his ancestor?  Got. Comm. 1753.  The Jews pretend that this relationship to the idolatrous king of Juda was not real, but figurative, in as much as Jonathan acted like him.  But thus the reproach would fall on Gersam, who is said to be the son of Manasses, while the idolatrous priest is only placed as the son of Gersam.  It is surely very absurd to say that he was the son of Manasses, because Manasses acted like him 800 years afterwards; and Sol. Jarchi honestly confesses that, “for the honour of Moses nun was written, on purpose to change the name, and it was written suspended, to indicate that it was not Manasses, but Moses.”  See Talmud Bava. fol. 109.  The letter has, however, sometimes been suspended half way, and sometimes uniformly inserted, so that it has at last supplanted the genuine word.  Some copies of the Sept. agree with the Vulg.  Brug. Theodoret reads, “Jonathan, the son of Manasses, of the son (uiou) of Gersam, of the son of Moses,” retaining both words, in order to be sure the right one, as the copies varied.  Kennicott, Dis. 2. see Deut. xxvii. 4.  Here we have a plain proof of the liberties which the Jews have taken with their text.  But the providence of God has left us means to detect their fraud, by the Vulg. &c.  In other difficulties of a like nature, the collation of ancient MSS. and versions will generally remove the uncertainty, and we may pronounce that the word of God has not been adulterated, though perhaps no one copy may now represent it in all its genuine beauty and integrity.  See Prœlog. in SS. Mariana, C. xxiii. T. iii.  Menoch. &c.  Prot. here follow the corrupted Heb. “Manasseh.”  H. Captivity, under the Philistines, when many of their brethren were taken prisoners, (Ps. lxxvii. 61.  T.) and when Samuel obliged all Israel to renounce idolatry.  1 K. vii. 4.  E. Serarius, (q. 7.) or the sacred penman, speaks of a captivity, the particulars of which are not recorded.  Salien understands it of the captivity of Nephthali, 35 years before the rest of the kingdom of Israel was destroyed: (4 K. xv. 29.  H.) though Lyran and Bonfrere explain it of the latter event, under Salmanaser.  ib.  C. xvii.  M. We may allow that some interruptions took place under Samuel, David, &c.  Salien. In effect, Jonathan and his posterity might serve the idol of Michas till it was destroyed, at the same time as the ark was removed from Silo; (v. 31.) and afterwards they might relapse into their wonted impiety, and act in the character of priests to the golden calves of Jeroboam; who, no doubt, would prefer such of the tribe of Levi as would come over to him, (Ezec. xliv. 10.) though he was generally forced to select his priests from the dregs of the people.  3 K. xii.  In this sense they might be priests in Dan, till Salmanaser led them captives.  But substituting galoth or geloth, we might translate, “till the deliverance of the land,” which was effected by Samuel; (C.) who not only repressed the Philistines, (1 K. vii. 13.) but also persuaded all Israel to renounce the service of idols.  ib. v. 4.  H.


Ver. 31.  In Silo.  The ark was taken by the Philistines, (1 K. iv.) after remaining at Silo 349 years, and 217 from the idolatry of Michas and of Dan.  Salien.  H. In those.  The Heb. here commences the following chapter, which contains an account of another instance of licentiousness, which probably took place after the two former.  Phinees was high priest; but there was no civil head.  C.







Ver. 1.  Ephraim.  Some think at Silo, to which place, he says, he was going, (v. 18,) though it might be only out of devotion.  C. A wife.  Heb. “a concubine.”  Sept. joins both together, “he took a harlot to wife.”  H.


Ver. 2.  Left him.  Heb. thozne.  Now tizne, (D.) “his concubine, fell into fornication against (Junius improperly translates with) him.”  Chal. “She despised went from him.”  Sept. “She was vexed at or she left him.”  C. Josephus, “as he was deeply in love with her on account of her beauty, he was displeased that she did not correspond with his love.  Hence a quarrel ensuing, the woman would not bear his continual expostulations, and leaving her husband, after four months, returns to her parents.  Hither, overcome by his love for her, he follows, and, by the mediation of her parents, he is reconciled to his wife, both agreeing to lay aside all complaints.”  Ant. v. 2. It is clear that the Sept. Vulg. &c. have read the text in a different manner from what we do at present, and their explanation seems more rational than the Hebrew.  For, is it probable that a Levite should go to be reconciled to an adulteress, contrary to the intention of the law (Deut. xxiv. 2.  Jer. iii. 1.  Prov. xviii. 22.) and the custom of the Jews, as well as of pagan nations, who looked upon those with contempt, who kept a woman of this character?  The word concubine, we have often remarked, signifies a wife without a dowry, &c. (C.) such as the Mahometans still maintain as lawful wives.  Busbec. ii. Months.  Josephus explain this of the time she had remained with her husband.


Ver. 3.  With him.  Heb. “her husband arose and followed her to speak to her heart, to bring her back.”  Gen. xxxiv. 3.  He shewed great condescension and love, (H.) and she received him with suitable sentiments of regard, and did not become more haughty, as women, who perceive themselves to be courted, frequently do.  If she had been married to another, she could not have been received by her former husband.


Ver. 7.  With him.  A beautiful instance of hospitality, like that of the disciples at Emaus.  Luc. xxiv. 29.  M.


Ver. 8.  Advanced.  Heb. “and they tarried until the evening.”  Sept. “rest till the day decline.”  H. He wishes them to wait till the hear of the day be over.  C. When he had obtained this request, he made the late hour an excuse for detaining them longer.  But unhappily, the Levite was too resolute and desirous of returning home.


Ver. 9.  Depart.  Heb. and Sept. add, “early,” before the sun was up to render travelling incommodious.  H.


Ver. 10.  Jebus was about six short miles from Bethlehem, and as many from Gabaa.  It had not yet fallen into the hands of Juda (C.) and Benjamin, (H.) or they had been expelled again, so that the old inhabitants held possession of it at this time, (C.) as they did of the citadel till the reign of David.  See C. i. 6. 21.  H. Concubine.  She was his lawful wife: but even lawful wives are frequently in Scripture called concubines.  See above, chap. viii. ver. 31.  Ch. ver. 2.


Ver. 13.  Rama was not so far as Gabaa; so that, if they could not travel to the latter place, they might turn to the former, and lodge all night.  They held on their journey, however, till they came not very late, to Gabaa.


Ver. 15.  Lodge.  No one invited them in.  How much had these people degenerated from the manners of Abraham and of Lot, to imitate those of the men of Sodom!  H. There was no inn it seems at Gabaa, though we read of some at Jericho, Gaza, &c.  C. xvi. 1.  Jos. ii. 1. Gen. xlii. 27.  C.


Ver. 16.  Jemini.  That is, Benjamin.  Ch. C. iii. 15.


Ver. 17.  Bundles.  Heb. “saw a traveller in,” &c.


Ver. 18.  Of God.  Sept. “to my house I return in haste; and no one brings me into his house.”  The tabernacle was fixed at Silo in Ephraim.  H. Chal. “the house of the sanctuary of God.”  M.  ver. 1.


Ver. 19.  Straw.  It used to be cut small, as  hay was very scarce.  S. Jerom in Isai. xxv.  Heb. “straw and provender.”


Ver. 20.  I will.  Heb. “all thy wants be upon me.”  I will furnish all that may be requisite.  In this wicked city, there was at least, one generous soul, like Lot in Sodom.  Gen. xviii. and xix.


Ver. 22.  That is, &c.  An interpretation of the Vulg.  Belial is sometimes rendered “devilish, apostate,” &c.  Sept. “lawless, or transgressors.”  M. Aquila, “rebels.”  Sym. “libertines,” without education or restraint.  C. Josephus lays the blame on some young men, who had been captivated with the charms of the Levite’s wife, whom they had seen in the street.  But they seem to have had designs still more criminal, though they were prevailed upon to desist, when she was abandoned to them.  H. The demanded the Levite himself.  C.


Ver. 24.  I have, &c.  A similar proposal was made by Lot; (Gen. xix. 8,) and hence the old man, who was brought up to hard labour, and the young Levite might, through ignorance, suppose it lawful for them to do the like.  M. IT is lawful to advise a man, who is about to commit two crimes, to be satisfied with the less: but we cannot persuade any one to do even the smallest offence, that good may ensue.  Rom. iii. 8.  The ignorance or good intention of these people might extenuate, but could hardly excuse their conduct, as it was unjust to the woman, whom the people of Gabaa did not ask for; and they ought rather to have encountered the utmost fury of the populace.  Had the latter even come to the extremity proposed, if the Levite had made all possible resistance, his virtue could not have been injured.  C. His crown would have been doubled, as S. Lucy observed when the judge threatened to have her prostituted.  Castitas mihi duplicabitur ad coronam.  Dec. xiii.  H. Perhaps in the agitation of mind, caused by such a brutal proposal, the old man might have been so disturbed, as scarcely to know what he was saying, and he did not afterwards expose his daughter.  C. But the Levite, seeing him in such a dilemma, on his account (H.) took this wife by force.  Heb. &c.  See Tostat.  Bonfrere. E.  C. Against nature.  Heb. “unto this man do not so vile a thing.”


Ver. 25.  And abandoned.  Heb. “and they knew her and abused her.”  H. Interpreters say in the most unnatural manner.  C.


Ver. 26.  Lord.  So wives styled their husbands.  1 Peter iii. 5. Down dead through fatigue, (M.) shame, and grief.  Joseph. She had not power to knock.  C. Though the former misconduct of this unhappy woman might call for punishment, yet, after she was reconciled to her husband, we cannot but think he used her ill, though he acted through a sort of constraint and ignorance.  H. Instances of women dying under a similar treatment, may be found in Herodotus, and in the Russian and Turkish historians.  C.


Ver. 29.  Israel.  One part, like an epistle, written with blood, to every tribe.  Salien. Some, without reason, think that Benjamin was neglected: but they were to be summoned, to bring their guilty brethren (C.) to condign punishment, or to share in their fate, as accomplices of the crime.  H. The state of the republic authorized the Levite to take this extraordinary method of rousing all to a sense of horror for what had been done.  C. His brethren, dispersed through the country, would no doubt take part in his grief.


Ver. 30.  Egypt, that is for the space of eighty years.  Salien. Indeed the annals of all past ages could hardly furnish an instance of such barbarous lust. Done.  In every city, people gathered together to consult how the crime was to be expiated; (H.) and all agreed to assemble before the Lord.  C. Grabe’s Sept. observes, that the Levite “gave order to the men, to whom he sent, saying, these things shall you speak to every Israelite.  If such a word (or thing) has come to pass, from the day of the coming up of the sons of Israel out of Egypt, till the present day?  Take ye advice concerning it, and speak.”  H.







Ver. 1.  Bersabee, from the northern to the southern extremity of the land, (C.) west of the Jordan, as Galaad denotes that on the east, belonging to Israel.  Only the Benjamites and the town of Jabes declined attending.  H. Maspha, on the confines of the tribes of Juda and Benjamin.  Here the people frequently assembled; and it was a place of prayer, 1 Mac. iii. 46.  It is thought that an altar of the Lord had been erected.  C. Maspha denotes, “a height or watch-tower,” (H.) in Silo.  Mas. in Josue xviii. 26.


Ver. 2.  Chiefs.  Lit. “angles and corner-stones,” whose business it was to keep the people in order; or, all the different ranks of men might be designated.  C. Sept. “the climate,” or country.  H. Syr. and Arab. “the families of all the people.”  1 K. xiv. 38.  C.


Ver. 3.  Levite.  Heb. and Sept. do not say that the discourse was addressed to him; but he was the most interested, and capable of giving a true account.  Heb. “The said the children of Israel, Relate (Sept. ye) how this wickedness happened, (4) And the Levite,” &c. answered.


Ver. 5.  Kill me.  He expressed an abominable crime by another less horrible.  Salien. But he does not say that he brought out his wife.  He might conclude, that if he had been exposed to their fury, he would have experienced a similar fate.  H. So determined was he to resist to the last extremity.  The outrage would have been more hateful to him than death.  C. We may reasonably conclude that his wife had the same sentiments, and that she died a martyr to her conjugal fidelity, resisting even unto death, and thus making some atonement for her past misconduct.


Ver. 6.  Because, &c.  Heb. and Sept. “for they have wrought (zimma, a word which the Sept. (Alex. and Vat.) leave untranslated, others render dishonesty) lewdness and folly,” or a most impious act of lust.  H. They do not compare this crime with every other that had been committed, as idolatry, and other sins, which directly attack God, are greater.  But this was the  most atrocious injustice which could be done to a fellow creature.  Salien.


Ver. 9.  In common.  Heb. “by lot.”  C. They chose one man out of ten to procure provisions, selecting 40,000 for that purpose, or the 10th part of the forces.  H.


Ver. 11.  With, &c.  This is added to explain.  C. Heb. “united as one man.”  H.


Ver. 12.  Sent.  The law of nations requires that satisfaction be demanded, (C.) before a war commence.  M. The former resolution (v. 9,) was only conditional, if the Benjamites should prefer defending their brethren of Gabaa, before punishing them, as they deserved.  C. Indeed their absenting themselves from this general assembly, implied as much, and the Israelites were determined, at any rate, to see that the guilty were duly punished.  H. Tribe.  Heb. “tribes,” denoting the great families of Benjamin.  Gen. xlvi. 21.  Num. xxvi. 38.


Ver. 15.  Men.  This number is verified, v. 35.  The Benjamites had 25,700 in all, of whom they lost 25,100; so that 600 remained.  Heb. reads here 26,000; and some pretend (C.) that 1000 fell in the two victories which they obtained.  Grot. &c. But this is without proof, and the Vulg. is confirmed by Josephus, and by most of the copies of the Sept. though the Vat. copy has only 23,000.  C. Gabaa.  Heb. and Sept. add, “which were numbered 700 chosen men.”  Grabe repeats in the following verse with the Heb. “Among all this people, 700 chosen men,” which seems to insinuate that these expert archers were selected out of all the army.  H. But the other copies of the Sept. agree with the Vulg. that they were all of Gabaa, (C.) as if they were trained at this city with more particular care, to hit a mark how small soever.


Ver. 16.  Right.  Sept. “ambidextrous.”  Moderns generally translate the Heb. “left-handed.”  But we have seen that such a meaning is  improbable.  C. iii. 15. Side.  The inhabitants of Palestine formerly applied themselves very much to this exercise, and by them it was propagated over other parts of the world.  Plin. vii. 56.  Strabo (iii.) observes that eh people of the Balearic islands became famous for slinging, only after the Phœnicians had taken possession of their country, which is the present Majorca and Minorca.  They could hit the mark without failing, and penetrate every sort of armour.  Florus iii.  Their bullets of lead were sent with such violence, as sometimes to melt in the air, according to Ovid and Seneca, q. 2. 56.  The slingers commonly stood 600 paces from the mark of white, which they seldom missed.  Veget. ii. 23.  The stones which they used weighted a pound among the Romans.  The sling would frequently carry farther than a bow.  Xenophon, Anab. v.  Yet the exploits of bowmen are not less extraordinary than what is here recorded.  Philostorgius (ii. 12,) assures us that the Indians, after they have been drinking, will shoot at a child, and only touch the ends of his hair.  Domitian would shoot from a great distance, and make the arrow pass between the extended fingers of a child, and at other times would divest himself with piercing an animal with two arrows, so that they would stick out like horns.  Sueton.  Soranus could send an arrow into the air, and pierce it with another as it fell.  The emperor Hadrian writes of him,

“Emissumque arcu dum pendet in aere telum,

Ac redit ex alto, fixi fregique sagitta.”  C.


Ver. 17.  Thousand.  Their numbers had decreased since they came out fo Egypt, (Num. i. and xxvi.) when they were 600,000 fighting men.  M. But we must reflect, that some would be left to garrison the cities, &c.  The Benjamites must surely have been infatuated to encounter so great a force in such a cause.  H.


Ver. 18.  Silo.  Heb. simply “to Bethel,” which the Sept. Syr. Josephus, and others, explain of the city: but others generally understand “the house of God,” at Silo, for which Bethel is placed.  C. xxi. 2. 9. and 12.  Phinees resided near the tabernacle, and was desired to consult. Juda is not the name of a man, but of the tribe; (C.) and probably Othoniel would have the chief command.  Salien. The Israelites do not ask whether they ought to make war on their brethren, &c. but only desire to know which tribe shall begin the attack.  C. i. 1. and x. 18.  They manifest a degree of presumption, which God soon chastised, (C.) as well as the idolatry of Dan, &c. which they had neglected to punish, though they had an express command to do it.  Deut. xiii. 12.  Salien. They were full of pride, and only concerned to revenge their own wrongs.  H.


Ver. 22.  Trusting in their strength.  The Lord suffered them to be overthrown, and many of them to be slain, though their cause was just; partly in punishment of the idolatry which they exercised or tolerated in the tribe of Dan, and elsewhere: and partly because they trusted in their own strength: and therefore, though he bid them fight, he would not give them the victory, till they were thoroughly humbled, and had learned to trust in him alone.  Ch. God’s thoughts are often different from ours; and he frequently delays to crown with success the most holy enterprises, that man may learn to be more humble, and to trust wholly in his mercy.  C.


Ver. 23.  And join battle.  This is an explanation of Heb. “against him.” H. The Israelites still neglected to sue for the divine protection, trusting in their numbers.  God sends them again to battle, and suffers them to be routed.  Did he deceive them?  By no means.  He wished them to learn the important lesson of self-diffidence, and he had not promised them the victory.  H. But after they had humbled themselves, He acts like a master.  I will deliver, &c. v. 28.  C.


Ver. 25.  Sword.  In each battle the Benjamites kill almost as many as their whole army, in all 40,000 Israelites, without losing a man, v. 15.  H.


Ver. 26.  Evening.  Till then the Jews never eat on fasting days.  The Turks still do the like: but they only change day into night, as they sleep till sunset, and then begin to feast and to make merry.  C.


Ver. 28.  Was over.  Heb. “stood before it at that time,” (H.) in the camp, (C.) or perhaps at Silo, which was not so remote; but some, if not the whole army, might go thither to weep, and to consult the Lord.  Phinees had formerly displayed his zeal against the impiety of Beelphegor.  Num. xxv. 7.  He was contemporary with Jonathan, the priest of Michas.  Kennicott. Hence it appears that this took place not long after the death of Eleazar.  Jos. xxiv.  W.


Ver. 31.  To Gabaa, from some other city.  H. This body of men consisted of 10,000, who were designed to draw off the Benjamites from the city into the midst of the forces of Israel, at Baalthamar; while another division, in ambush, on the west of Gabaa, had to enter the city, and having set it on fire, were to prevent the inhabitants from re-entering.  C. They use a similar stratagem to that which Josue (C. viii.) had employed against Hai.  (Salien.


Ver. 33.  Baalthamar, the plain of Jericho; (Chal.) or rather a village in the vicinity of Gabaa, which Eusebius calls Besthamar.


Ver. 34.  West side.  Heb. mare, “a cavern,” (C.) “a plain,” (Chal.) “the thickets.”  Vat. &c.  But the Sept. have read marbe, “the west,” with the Vulge.  C. The Vat. copy leave Maraagabe.  M. Gabaa was situated on a hill, and the ambuscade might be concealed in a cavern, some of which in Palestine are very spacious.  C.


Ver. 35.  The sword.  It seems the slingers also used the sword, v. 16.


Ver. 36.  Flee; some towards the city, others to the wilderness, and to Remmon, v. 45.  H. That.  Heb. “because they confided in those whom they had place din ambush, near Gabaa.”  Hence they were not so eager to prevent their flight, by surrounding them.


Ver. 37.  Arose.  Heb. “drew along (advanced or sounded the trumpet a long time,”) perhaps for a signal, (C.) though the firing of the city seems to have been designed for this purpose, v. 40.  H.


Ver. 39.  Saw.  Heb. “retired in the battle, Benjamin began to smite and to kill…about thirty men; for they said, surely they are destroyed before us, (or flee) as in the first battle.”  It is wonderful that they should thus so easily fall into the very snare laid formerly for the men of Hai.  Jos. viii. 5.


Ver. 42.  Them.  Heb. “and those who came out of the cities, (of Benjamin) they (destroyed, (H.) or the other Israelites) destroyed them who fled in the midst of them.”


Ver. 43.  Rest.  Heb. “with ease, or at leisure they crushed them,” &c.  Others translate, (C.) Monvee, from Nucha, Noua, (Sept. Rom.  H.) Menucha,” &c.  We read of a place in the tribe of Juda, called Menuchta, 1 Par. ii. 52.  C. The same word may be taken as a proper name, or may signify rest.  M.


Ver. 45.  In that.  Heb. “and they gleaned of them in the highways 5000 men, and pursued them close to Giddom,” of which the Vulg. takes no notice.  The Roman Sept. reads “Gedan;” the rest have “Galaad.”


Ver. 46.  War.  The Scripture, and other authors of the greatest exactitude, sometimes use round numbers.  C. An odd hundred (v. 35, and 15.  H.) is here neglected.  C.


Ver. 47.  Escape.  Mercy was shewn to these, as the tribe had been already treated with sufficient severity.  S. Jerom says, they were “reserved for the sake of the apostle Paul,” (epit. Paul.  M.) who was descended from some of them.  H. Remmon, near Gabaa.  Zac. xiv. 10.  Eusebius places it fourteen miles north of Jerusalem.  C.


Ver. 48.  And villages, is not expressed in Heb. &c.  But as both cities, and all the inhabitants were destroyed, the villages would share the same fate, (H.) as being under a curse.  The Israelites concluded, from the exemplary vengeance which had been taken of Sodom and Gomorra, that they were authorized to treat their brethren in guilt with the utmost severity.  C.







Ver. 1.  Sworn, (juraverunt.)  The mention of Maspha, seems to determine that this oath was taken before the battle; though it would otherwise appear, that the Israelites engaged themselves to extirpate the tribe in the hear of their fury, and after they destroyed the women of Benjamin.  If they could lawfully slay their brethren indiscriminately, as connected in the same wicked cause, (H.) they might surely refuse their daughters to any of those (M.) who might chance to make their escape.  H. But they ought first to have consulted the Lord, as this was a matter of as great consequence as to know who was first to go to battle.  They seem to have discovered the rashness of their proceedings, and to have repented when it was too late; and they ridiculously attempt to elude the obligation of the oath, which lay heavy on their consciences.  Salien. They think it sufficient to adhere to the letter, while they neglect the spirit of their oath.  H. The ancients had a scrupulous regard for oaths, and did not allow themselves the liberty of interpreting them away.  Gen. xxiv. 5.  Jos.  ix. 15.  1 K. xiv. 24.  C. But here the Israelites wish to keep and to evade the oath at the same time.  H. Serarius, &c. declare that their oath was lawful, as they did not consider the inconveniences which would attend its execution.  As soon as they perceived them, the obligation ceased; though, if their erroneous conscience dictated the contrary to them, they were obliged to follow it, (T.) if they could not receive a more certain information.  H. Tostat and others maintain that the oath was null, as being illegal, and consequently of no force.  Grotius (Jur. ii. 2, 21,) lays it down as the right of nature, for people to marry with their neighbours, (C.) though an individual may refuse such connexions; (H.) and S. Aug. (de C. ii. 17.) allows, that he Romans had “a right, perhaps, to seize the Sabine women, in a war declared on account of the unjust refusal.”  We can excuse the Benjamites for taking the women of Silo, by force, on no other plea, (C.) unless the consent of the parents and of the virgins intervened.  H.  v. 22. If, therefore, the Israelites could not lawfully deny their daughters in marriage to the Benjamites, their oath was unjust, and nowise obligatory.  C. They had not right to punish the innocent with the guilty, as they had received no order from God; (Salien) and therefore they ought not to have slain the unoffending females of Benjamin, or of Jabes, v. 11.  It is not necessary for us to defend the rash oaths or conduct of the Israelites in exterminating their fellow creatures, who were innocent; nor in the rape, &c.


Ver. 2.  Silo.  Heb. simply, “to Bethel,” as C. xx. 18.  Sept. Alex. “to Maspha and Bethel.”  H.


Ver. 3.  Evil.  Thus they style their own cruelty, in destroying the women and children, and in taking an oath to prevent the remaining Benjamites from having any posterity, unless they married with strangers, which the law forbade, (C.) though it would hardly bind in cases of such necessity.  H. Hence the sons of Noemi are excused from entering  into such marriages.  Ruth i. 4.  T. Heb. and Sept. do not mention, so great an evil, but only this.  The context however shews, that the people considered the extermination of a whole tribe, as a dreadful misfortune; and, as it was going to take place in consequence of their oath, unless some expedient could be discovered to prevent it, without the guilt of perjury, they were moved with repentance, and endeavoured to appease God’s wrath by a multiplicity of victims.  How much better would it have been not to have made a vow, than after making it, to strive to render it ineffectual!  Eccle. v. 3. 4.  It does not appear that God gave them any answer in all this affair; and the concluding verse seems to indicate, that their conduct was displeasing to him.  Perhaps he punished this, as well as the other faults of his people, by delivering them over to Chusan for eight years, as Salien and Usher place the first year of servitude immediately after the close of this unfortunate war, which would enable the Chanaanites to gain fresh strength, and to rejoice at the civil broils of Israel.  C. iii. 8.  Aod, who slew Eglon, about 94 years afterwards, was not yet born.  H.


Ver. 4.  Altar, within the tabernacle, to suffice for the number of victims as Solomon did; (3 K. viii. 64.  T.) or out of the court, by God’s dispensation, as they were defiled with blood; (Num. xxxi. 24.  C.) though this is not certain, as four months elapsed between the battle and the reconciliation of the remaining Israelites with their brethren: (C. xx. 47.) so that during that interval, they might have committed the massacres in the different cities, and still have had time to be purified seven days, as the law required, before they could be allowed to enter the camp or the tabernacle.  H. Some think that one altar was prescribed only during the sojournment in the desert.  See Serar.  M.


Ver. 5.  Slain.  Why then did they deem it lawful to reserve the virgins? or if they meant only those who were fit for war, why were the married women, &c. involved in the common ruin?  The people of Jabes deserved chastisement, for seeming to connive at the wickedness of Gabaa, and by separating themselves from the religious sacrifice of the rest.  But it does not appear that they were legally summoned, nor had the majority of the people a right to execute such summary justice upon a few, who perhaps might not have been acquainted with their vows and new made laws.  H.


Ver. 6.  Say.  Governors should use great discretion, and correct with justice and mercy.  S. Greg. 1. ep. 24.  W.


Ver. 7.  In general.  Heb. “by the Lord,” with an imprecation, v. 18.  M.


Ver. 8.  Jabes was between Pella and Gerasa, upon a  mountain, east of the Jordan.  It was after its destruction rebuilt, (C.) and became very famous, (1 K. xi.  M.) if it was indeed ever demolished.  We know not what prevented the inhabitants from joining in common cause.  H.


Ver. 10.  Ten.  Heb. Chal. Sept. and Josephus read, twelve.  The refusal to serve in the national army was punished like a sort of rebellion, with death, no less than to desert.  Debora cursed the inhabitants of Meros, on this account.  C. v. 23.


Ver. 11.  But, &c.  This is not expressed in the Heb. or the Sept. though it be sufficiently implied, (C.) as the males and married women only are ordered to be slain.  H. It is doubted whether the virgins, who were not fit for marriage, were reserved or butchered.  But probably all the younger children were saved (C.) of that sex, though the order was to kill the wives and children; and the reason for sparing any was, that the Benjamites might be supplied with wives immediately.  H. Heb. and Sept. insinuate, that the citizens were to be treated as those who were under an anathema: “ye shall utterly destroy;” anathematize.  Yet the house and cattle were spared.  M.


Ver. 13.  Them, the messengers to, &c.  Heb. “and to make unto them a proclamation of peace.”  H.


Ver. 15.  Sorry, and.  Heb. “for Benjamin, because the Lord had made a breach in Israel.”  C.


Ver. 17.  And we, &c.  Heb. “and they said: an inheritance for those Benjamites who have escaped, that a tribe,” &c.  They wished to repair the breach as fast as possible, so that each of the 600 may have a wife.


Ver. 19.  Counsel, among themselves.  H. Solemnity.  It is not known which is meant, as all the three great festivals occurred during the time that the vines were covered with leaves; (v. 20) or this feast might be one peculiar to the city of Silo, in memory of the ark being transported thither.  Vatable thinks that the description here given, regards the place where the dance was to be, as all must have known the situation of the city.  Silo rather lies to the west than to the east, (C.) if we draw a line from Bethel to Sichem, but the road might be circuitous.  H. S. Jerom places Silo ten miles west of Sichem. Lebona may be Chan Lebna, four miles to the south of it.  C.


Ver. 21.  To dance; not in a lascivious manner, as a certain heretical interpreter would have it, but out of a religious motive.  M. Such dances were formerly very common among all nations.  The Therapeuts, who are supposed to have been the first Jewish converts to the Christian faith, in Egypt, and were remarkable for their modesty and serious deportment, danced nevertheless in their religious assemblies, first in two separate bands, and afterwards men and women together.  Philo. contemplat.  The women still dance round the tombs of their relatives, in Palestine, with solemn lamentations.  Roger, and Le Brun’s Voyages. Come.  Josephus insinuates, that the women were to be seized as they came from different parts to the solemnity.  But it hance appears that they were coming out to the city; (C.) though it is very probable that the virgins did not all belong to it, but came from all Israel: for why should the people of Silo be forced to supply wives for these surviving Benjamites, against whose character they might reasonably entertain such strong objections?  But, if all the assembly agreed that the Benjamites should select from among their daughters whomsoever they could lay their hands on, they could not complain that they were treated with peculiar severity.  H. But did not the Israelites offend by giving this counsel, so contrary to the import of their vow?  And were not the Benjamites equally guilty in following such advice?  It is answered that, in odious matters words must be taken in all their rigour, and the person who vows not to give, does not engage himself to reclaim if the thing be taken.  Those who gave the advice are not perhaps deserving of excuse, on account of the artifice which they employ to get rid of their oath; but the rest, who were not apprised of it till after the execution, were surely without blame; and the Benjamites, who followed the counsel of respectable men, in such circumstances, cannot be considered as guilty of a rape, &c.  Grot. Jur. ii. 13.  A. Lapide.  C. S. Ambrose (ep. 6,) seems to be of this opinion.  Tostat and others cannot, however, approve of these arguments.  “As they erroneously supposed that they were bound by their oath, they prudently turned aside to advise the rape.”  T. So Liran. &c. But this was only a human prudence.  H. The ancients gave counsel to the Benjamites, to ask the people of Silo to give them their daughters in marriage, knowing they would not grant the request, that they might afterwards have recourse to the expedient of taking them by force.  “No doubt they were not without blame.  For as they believed that their oath was binding, they ought neither to have done nor to have advised any thing, by which it might be violated.”  Salien, A. 2622. The rape at Silo preceded that of the Sabines, at Rome, about 700 years, and both  probably happened in September.  T.


Ver. 22.  Part.  Heb. is variously translated; but the Sept. and Arab. agree with the Vulg.  By your refusal, and by your oath, you have constrained them to take what you would not, (C.) or could not grant.  Prot. “Be favourable to them for our sakes, because we reserved not to each man his wife, in the war; for ye did not give unto them, at that time, that ye should be guilty.”  H. You have not to answer for the infraction of the oath, since you did not give your daughters.  C. They had not objections to the Benjamites on any other head, and the young women were not very reluctant.  T. It is wonderful that the high priest, Phinees, appears so little on this occasion.  If he had spoken in the name of God, the rest would have been under no perplexity.


Ver. 24.  Himself.  This remark has been made twice before, respecting the conduct of Michas and of Dan, both which deserved reprehension.  It seems to be added here for the same purpose, that we might not be so much startled at the relation of such strange proceedings.  Soon after this event, the angel came to upbraid the Israelites.  C. ii. 1.  H. There was not judge perhaps, but anarchy then prevailed.   D. At least the people were under more restraint when they had kings, (W.) or judges divinely appointed at their head.  H.







This Book is called Ruth, from the name of the person whose history is here recorded; who, being a Gentile, became a convert to the true faith, and marrying Booz, the great-grandfather of David, was one of those from whom Christ sprang according to the flesh, and an illustrious figure of the Gentile church.  It is thought this book was written by the prophet Samuel.  Ch. The Holy Ghost chose that the genealogy of David, and of the Messias, should be thus more clearly ascertained.  Theodoret. Christ proceeded from the Gentiles, as well as from the Jews, and his grace is given to both.  W. Send forth, 0 Lord, the lamb, the ruler of the earth, from Petra.  Isai. xvi.  This was the capital city of Arabia Petrea, where Ruth is supposed to have lived, (Tostat) being, according to the Chal. &c. the daughter of Eglon, king of Moab.  The Jews also pretend that Booz was the same person as Abesan, the judge.  But it is by no means certain to what period this history belongs.  Usher places it under Samgar, about 120 years after Josue.  C. Salien believes that the famine, which obliged Elimelech to leave Bethlehem, happened under Abimelech, and that Noemi returned in the 7th year of Thola, A.C. 1243. This event certainly took place under some of the judges; so that we may consider this book as an appendix to the preceding, like the last chapters, (Judg. xvii. &c.  H.) and a preface to the history of the kings.  C.







Ver. 1.  Of one.  Heb. “And it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled.”  H. The and shews the connection with the former book.  C. Land.  Chal. adds, “of Israel,” (M.) while the less fertile country of Moab had abundance.  God thus punished the idolatry of his people.  Some say the famine lasted ten years; but this is uncertain, though Noemi continued so long out of the country, v. 4.  Salien.


Ver. 2.  Elimelech.  Josephus and others read erroneously, Abimelech.  He was probably called also Jokim.  1 Par. iv. 22. Ephrathites.  This title often designates people of the tribe of Ephraim; (Judg. xii. 5.  1 K. i. 2,) but here it means those of Ephrata, which is also called Bethlehem of Juda, about five or six miles south of Jerusalem.  Gen. xxxv. 19.  Mic. v. 2.  C.


Ver. 4.  Ruth was the wife of Mahalon; (C. iv. 10,) and signifies one “well watered, (M.) or inebriated,” &c.  H. The sons of Noemi were excused by necessity in marrying idolaters, though they ought to have done their best to convert them.  The Chaldee greatly condemns their marriage, and thinks that their death was in punishment of their prevarication.  Deut. vii. 3. and xx. 11.  C. Salien is of the same opinion.  So various have always been the sentiments of people on this head!  H.  See Serarius, q. 11.


Ver. 8.  Mothers, who had separate apartments from the men.  C. Me.  They had behaved with great respect and love towards their husbands, and towards Noemi, whom they even wish to accompany.  M. The pronouns in this, and verses 9, 11, 13, and 19, are surprisingly corrupted in Heb. being masculine or feminine, where we should expect the contrary.  Kennicott.


Ver. 9.  Take.  She proposes marriage to them, as a state more suitable to their years, (H.) and wishes that they may experience none of its solicitudes, (1 Cor. vii. 28,) but be constantly protected by their husbands.  Widows are exposed to many difficulties.  M.


Ver. 11.  Of me.  Hence it appears that the Rabbins are under a mistake, when they say that those children who are born after the death of their brothers, are not obliged to take their widows.


Ver. 13.  Marry.  Heb. “would you stay for them from having husbands!”


Ver. 14.  And returned, is not expressed in Heb.  But the Sept. have, “and she returned to her people.”  H..


Ver. 15.  To her gods, &c.  Noemi did not mean to persuade Ruth to return to the false gods she had formerly worshipped; but by this manner of speech, insinuated to her, that if she would go with her, she must renounce her false gods, and turn to the Lord, the God of Israel.  Ch. She wished to try her constancy.  Salien. Most infer from this passage, that Orpha was never converted, or that she relapsed. Her gods, may indeed be rendered in the singular, “god.”  But what god was peculiar to her and the Moabites, but Chamos!  C. Noemi might well fear that Orpha would give way to the superstition of her countrymen, to which she had been addicted, even though she might have made profession of serving the true God, while she lived with her.  H.


Ver. 17.  The Lord do so and so, &c.  A form of swearing usual in the history of the Old Testament, by which the person wished such and such evils to fall upon them, if they did not do what they said.  Ch.  It is not certain that they expressed what particular evils.  C. They might be willing to undergo any punishment, if they should transgress.  H. The pagans used a similar form of imprecation.  3 K. xix.  4 K.  xx. 10.  C.


Ver. 19.  That Noemi.  This exclamation might proceed either from surprise, or from contempt.  M.


Ver. 20.  That is. The explanations are added by S. Jerom.  H. Noemi had formerly a husband and two sons, with great riches, of which she was now deprived. W.


Ver. 21.  Almighty.  Heb. Sadai, (“the self-sufficient) hath afflicted.”


Ver. 22.  Harvest.  About the month of Nisan, or our March (C.) and April.  M.







Ver. 1.  Booz.  The Scripture does not specify how nearly they were related.  R. Josue says Elimelech, Salmon, and Tob (C. iii. 13,) were brothers, and Booz was the son of Salmon, which cannot be refuted, (Serar. q. 1.  M.) though the authority and proofs be very weak.  It is not, however, more probable that Booz was the brother of Elimelech.  Some think that he was not the immediate son of Salmon, as four persons seem too few to fill up the space of 366 years, from the marriage of Rahab till the birth of David.  But this is not impossible.  C.  See C. iv. 20.


Ver. 2.  To me.  It was the privilege of the poor and of strangers to glean.  Deut. xxiv. 19.  Lev. xix. 9.  Yet Ruth asks leave, through civility.  C. This law is no longer in force, but it would be inhuman for the rich to deny this liberty to those who are in distress, and willing rather to work than to beg.  T.


Ver. 4.  With you.  This blessing the Church still adopts in her service.  W. It was customary to bless one another during harvest.  Ps. cxxviii. 5. 8.  C. Booz did, as Cato advises, Ne opera parcas visere; “See what is going forward.”  The master’s eye makes the servants diligent.  H.


Ver. 5.  Man.  Heb. nahar, a man in the prime of life.  He had the care of all in the field, during the absence of his master; whence Josephus styles him agrocomos, or agronomos.  M. Homer mentions an officer or king, standing with his sceptre in the midst of the reapers, and silently rejoicing at the rich profusion of the field.  Iliad. Thus we see the taste of the ancients, while agriculture was honourable.


Ver. 7.  Moment.  Heb. “her tarrying in the house is but small, or till now, that she remains a little in the house.”  She entered the house with the reapers, during the excessive heat of the day, and to avoid the suspicion of taking more than was allowed, during their absence.  C. Sept. “she hath not discontinued to work in the field even a little.”  Her diligence and modesty attracted the notice of Booz.  H.


Ver. 9.  Thee.  The men tied the corn after the female reapers, (C.) and Ruth was authorized to follow, close at their heels, without fear.  H. The waters.  This is not expressed in Heb. but it is in the Sept. and the Chal.  C. The privilege of having water in those countries was very considerable.  M.


Ver. 10.  Country.  S. Elizabeth was impressed with similar sentiments, when she was visited by the blessed Virgin; (H.) and so was David, when he considered the wonderful condescension of God.  Ps. viii. 5. cxliii. 3.  Job vii. 17.  C. Frequent instances occur in Scripture of people worshipping, or shewing their gratitude to their fellow creatures, by this posture of the body.  M. Yet no suspicion of idolatry attaches to them.  Gen. xxiii. 7. &c.  H.


Ver. 11.  Heretofore, to embrace the same religion.  M.


Ver. 12.  Work.  Booz doubted not but a full and eternal reward was due to good works. W. Fled.  This similitude frequently occurs, (Ps. xxxv. 8.  Mat. xxiii. 37,) to denote protection.  C. Chal. “Thou art come to be a proselyte, and to hide thyself under the shade of the majesty of his glory.”  M.


Ver. 13.  Heart.  This has the same meaning as the former part of the sentence.  C.  See Ose. ii. 14.  H. Maids, but more lowly and mean.  M.


Ver. 14.  Vinegar, or small wine, made on purpose for working people.  Some think that such was presented to our Saviour.  Yet vinegar was very frequently mixed with other things, and was esteemed particularly refreshing.  Plin. xxiii. 1.  C. Side.  Not in front, that they might not stare at her.  M. And she, &c.  Heb. “and he gave her frumenty, or parched corn.”  A little oil might be poured upon it.  See Lev. ii. 14.  2 K. xxvi. 28.  H. Travellers in Ethiopia only take parched barley with them.  C. The leavings, to Noemi.  “Learn, says Seneca, (ep. 110,) to be content with a little.”  Sept. “and Booz heaped up food before her, and she ate and was filled, and left a part.”  H. But it appears that she afterwards took it home, v. 18.  M. The vinegar and corn which were given to Ruth were very refreshing.  The Spaniards still drink posca, or water and vinegar.  T.


Ver. 15.  Reap.  Heb. “if she will glean, even among the sheaves, do not cover her with confusion,” (H.) or hinder her.  Ps. xliii. 10.  C.


Ver. 17.  Rod, as Gedeon had done.  Judg. vi. 11. That is, &c. an explanation of the Vulg.  C. The ephi contained three pecks and three pints.  Arbuthnot. Alcazar and A. Lapide say 960 ounces.  M.


Ver. 20.  Dead.  He hath not forgotten Elimelech, his friend, for whose sake he treats his daughter-in-law with kindness.  H. Kinsman.  Heb. adds, “one of our redeemers, (C.) or next kinsmen.”  H. To such the right of avenging the slain, of marrying the widow of the deceased, and entering upon his property, belonged.  The best interpreters suppose that Booz was the nephew of Elimelech.  C.  Lev. xxv. 25.  Deut. xxv. 5.  M.


Ver. 23.  And the wheat.  Heb. Syr. and Arab. “It is good that thou keep close to the maidens of Booz, and continue to glean with them till,” &c.  This was the advice of Noemi: but Providence ordered that Ruth should be married to Booz before the commencement of the wheat harvest.  C. The Prot. agree with the Vulg. and Sept. “So she kept fast by, &c. unto the end of the barley harvest, and of the wheat harvest, and dwelt with her mother-in-law.”  These last words are expressed by the Vulg in the following chapter.  H..







Ver. 1.  I will.  Heb. and Sept. may be read with an interrogation in the same sense.  “Shall I not seek rest?”  H. By this expression she means a husband.  C. i. 9.  Marriage fixes the unsettled condition of women.  C. Noemi being apprised of the law, entertained hopes that she could engage Booz to marry Ruth.  H. Thus her penury would cease, and she would perhaps have children, as she earnestly desired.  M.


Ver. 2.  Night.  In Palestine, and other maritime countries, a breeze generally arises from the sea in the evening.  It was then that Booz seized the opportunity of winnowing his barley; so that, at an early hour, he gave Ruth six measures, and retired to rest, beside some of the remaining sheaves (C.) in an adjoining apartment, erected for the protection of the reapers during the great heats, and to contain the corn in case of a shower.  Columella, i. 7. and ii. 51.  This shade was probably in the same field where Ruth had been gleaning.  C. She might lawfully seize this opportunity (H.) to obtain an honest marriage.  D.


Ver. 3.  Garments.  External cleanliness has many attractions.  Judith x. 3.  Many editions of the Heb. are very confused, by the improper insertion of i: “I will put the garments on thee, and get me down,” &c.  Ken.


Ver. 4.  Sleepeth.  People of fortune did not disdain to sleep among the corn.

Non pudor in stipula placidam cepisse quietem,

                                     Nec fœnum capiti supposuisse suo.  Ovid, Fast. i.  M.

Feet.  It is said that women in the East, enter their husbands’ bed at the feet, to shew their submission.  C. Ruth was conducted on this occasion by a superior Being, who gave success to her undertaking, and disposed the mind of Booz (Theodoret) to grant her just claim.  It was according to the law of Moses, that a widow might demand in marriage the next kinsman of her deceased husband, if she had no children by him.  Ruth considered Booz in this light.   H. She was not actuated by a love of pleasure, as the latter was convinced, otherwise she would have desired to marry some young man, (C.) in her own country, v. 10.  Both parties would probably have their clothes on among the straw, so that there would be less danger; though, if their virtue had not been very constant, (H.) the situation was no doubt sufficiently perilous, and in other circumstances could not have been tolerated.  C. We must also remember, that clandestine marriages were not then forbidden.  Salien. That same night they might have married, had not another’s being nearer akin proved an obstacle; (T.) so that Booz could not have claimed the inheritance of Elimelech, though he might have taken Ruth to wife.  By deferring another day he obtained both.  H. Lyranus thinks Ruth could be excused only by ignorance, in thus exposing herself to danger, and that Noemi was guilty of a grievous sin, in giving her such advice.  But they both had the purest views, seeking only an honest marriage, by arts which were not blamable.  See S. Tho. 2. 2. q. 154. and 169. and Cajet.  T. Noemi was well assured of the virtue of both parties, and followed the directions of the Holy Spirit, (C.) as the event shewed.  W. Dr. Watson justly reproves the censure of Paine, who calls Ruth, “a strolling country girl, creeping slily to bed to her cousin,” and exclaims, “pretty stuff indeed to be called the word of God!”  But in correcting this impertinent remark, he seems to allow that some things have been inserted in the Scriptures by human authority, so as not to be the word of God.  This concession is more dangerous than the censure of Paine, and the quotation from S. Aug. by no means countenances it, as it barely insinuates that an express revelation was not requisite to insert some things, which the authors might know by other means.  The holy father never doubted but every part of Scripture was equally inspired, and to be received without the smallest hesitation.  What Dr. Law, and other such “good Christians,” might think, does not regard us.  H. “As a person imploring protection, Ruth laid herself down at the foot of an aged kinsman’s bed, and she rose up with as much innocence as she laid herself down.  She was afterwards married to Booz, and reputed by all her neighbours as a virtuous woman; and they were more likely to know her character than you are.  Whoever reads the Book of Ruth, bearing in mind the simplicity of ancient manners, will find it an interesting story of a poor young woman,” &c.  Watson, let. 4. Must do.  She trusted to the superior wisdom of Booz, knowing perhaps that he was not absolutely the nearest relation, but being convinced, as the event proved, that the other would not consent to marry Ruth on the conditions specified by the law.  Salien, A. 2810.


Ver. 7.   Merry.   Heb. “good,” yet by no means intoxicated.  D.  M. It was formerly the custom, as it is still in many places, (H.) to conclude the harvest with a feast; (C.) on which day Cato observes, that the men and oxen did not work.  De re Rust. c. 131.  Hence the vacuna of Ovid.  Fast. vi.  T. The pagans did this in honour of Jupiter and Ceres.  But the true God had enjoined his people (H.) to offer the first-fruits to him, and to feast in his presence.  Lev. xxiii. 10.  Deut. xxvi. 21. Sheaves, either of corn or of straw.  Sept. The Arabs and neighbouring nations still delight to rest upon the ground, with some clothes thrown over them.  C.


Ver. 8.  Troubled.  Heb. may be rendered, “and turned himself, or felt,” &c.  C. He perceived something at his feet, when he awoke, and was in consternation, particularly when he perceived, through the glimmering light, a woman at his feet.  H..


Ver. 9.  Kinsman.  Heb. “a redeemer;” (C.) one bound to defend and to espouse a brother’s widow, if others more nearly akin refuse.  H. Ruth modestly admonishes him of this duty, and begs that he would take her to wife, (C.) as he might then have done without any other formality.  Serar. q. vii. We find a similar expression, Ezec. xvi. 8.  Deut. xxii. 80.  Some think that she only asked for protection.  The custom of the husband, stretching a part of his garment over his bride, was perhaps already established among the Hebrews.  C. Heb. and Sept. “stretch thy wing over,” &c.  Chal. “Let thy name be invoked upon thy handmaid, to take me to wife.”  M.  Is. iv. 1.


Ver. 10.  Thy latter kindness; viz. to thy husband deceased, in seeking to keep up his name and family, by marrying his relation according to the law, and not following after young men: for Booz, it seems, was then in years.  Ch. Salien supposes about seventy years old.  H. The affection which Ruth had all along displayed towards her husband, deserved applause.  C. Much more did her present endeavours to comply with God’s law.  W.


Ver. 11.  Woman.  Virtuous here may denote, “strong, generous,” &c.  Prov. xxxi. 10.  C. But it includes the assemblage of all virtues.  H.


Ver. 12.  Than  I.  The Jews think that he was brother of Elimelech, while Booz was only his nephew.  But they might be in the same degree; the other being only older.  C.


Ver. 13.  Well.  Heb. tob.  H. Hence the Jews would translate, “If  Tob will redeem thee, let him.”  They say that Tob was the paternal uncle of Mahalon: but it is not probable that his proper name should be only here mentioned, and not C. iv.  The Sept. and Chaldee are conformable to the Vulg. and the opinion of the Jews is abandoned by most interpreters; (C.) and by the Prot. “well, let him do the kinsman’s part.”  H. Liveth.  Chal. “Bound by an oath, before the Lord, I say that I will fulfil my promise unto thee.”


Ver. 14.  Hither. The next kinsman might otherwise allege this as a pretext for not marrying her, (Salien) as people are but too apt to suspect the worst, though nothing amiss had passed between them.  H. Booz consulted his own as well as Ruth’s reputation: for the apostle admonishes us to abstain from every appearance of evil.  1 Thess. v. 22.  M.


Ver. 15.  Mantle.  The Syrian and Arab. ladies cover themselves all over with a large white veil, or piece of cloth, which has no hole”, so that Ruth might conveniently carry the barley in it. Measures is not in Heb. or Sept.  Most people supply ephi.  S. Jerom, who has translated six bushels, (allowing three to the ephi; C. ii. 17,) has understood that Booz gave Ruth two ephi.  If we explain it of six ephi, the burden would be great enough, consisting of 180 pints or pounds of barley.  Bonfrere would supply six gomers, each of which consisted of only the tenth part of the ephi, or three pints, in all 18.  But such a present seems too inconsiderable.  We may therefore stick to S. Jerom, whose six measures (C. modios, bushels; H.) make about 60 pints; (C.) or, according to others, 160 pounds, which, though heavy, a woman might carry.  The Sept. insinuate, that Ruth carried the barley in her apron.  M. And.  Heb. “he went.”  But the text is probably corrupted.  C.


Ver. 16.  What, &c.  Heb. “Who art thou?”  It was yet so dark that she did not know her.  C.







Ver. 1.  Gate, where justice was administered. Calling.  Heb. Ploni Almoni.  C. Prot. ” Ho! such a one.”  H. This form of speech is used concerning a person whose name we know not, or will not mention.  1 K. xxi. 2.  C. The name of this man is buried in eternal oblivion, perhaps because he was so much concerned about the splendour of his family, that he would not marry the widow of his deceased relation.  T.


Ver. 2.  Here, as witnesses, not as judges, v. 9.  C. This number was requisite in matters of consequence.  Grotius.


Ver. 3.  Will sell.  Some Latin copies read, “sells, or has sold.”  But the sequel shews that she was only now disposed to do it.  But what right had Noemi or Ruth to the land, since women could not inherit?  The latter might indeed retain her title, as long as she continued unmarried.  But Noemi only acted in her behalf.  Selden thinks that their respective husbands had made them a present of some land.   Josephus (v. 11) asserts, that the person whom Booz addressed had already possession, and that he resigned his claim, as he would not take au other wife.  C. Our brother.  He was his nephew, and calls him brother, as Abraham did Lot.  W.


Ver. 4.  This.  Heb. “I thought to uncover thy ear,” or to admonish thee.  Virgil (frag.) uses a similar expression, Mors aurem vellens, vivite, ait, venio: “Death pulls the ear; live now, he says, I come.” Not.  Heb. printed erroneously, “But if he will not redeem it.”  Ken.


Ver. 5.  When.  Heb. again corruptly, “On the day thou buyest the land of the hand of Noemi, I will also buy it of Ruth,” &c.  It ought to be, conformably to some MSS. and the ancient versions, “thou must also take Ruth,” v. 10.  Capel, p. 144, and 362.  Kennicott.  H. We see here the observance of two laws, the one preserving the inheritance in the same family, and the other obliging the next of kin to marry the widow of the deceased, if he would enjoy his land.  Lev. xxv. 10.  Deut. xxv. 5.  C. Such widows as designed to comply with this condition, took possession of the land on the death of their husband, and conveyed it to those whom they married, till their eldest son became entitled to it.  Abulensis, q. 30 to 61. Inheritance.  The son to be born, would be esteemed the heir of his legal parent.  M.


Ver. 6.  Family.  Heb. “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I spoil my own inheritance.”  He was afraid of having too many children, and sensible that the first son that should be born of the proposed marriage, would not be counted as his.  H. The miserable Onan had the same pretext.  Gen. xxxviii. 9.  Chal. “Since I cannot make use of this privilege, having already a wife, and not being allowed to take another, as that might cause dissensions in my family, and spoil my inheritance, do thou redeem it,….as thou art unmarried.”


Ver. 7.  Israel.  Heb. “and this was the testimony in Israel.”  The ceremony here specified is very different from that which the law prescribed.  Deut. xxv. 7.  But Josephus says, that they complied with all the regulations of the law, and that Ruth was present on this occasion.  C. Perhaps the law was not executed in all its rigour, when another was found to marry the widow, (W.) and when no real brother was living.  T.


Ver. 9.  Chelion.  As Orpha, his widow, took no care to comply with the law, all his possessions devolved on his brother’s posterity.  M. It was presumed that she would marry some Moabite.  C.


Ver. 10.  Moabitess.  The sons of Elimelech were excused in taking such women to wife, on account of necessity, and to avoid the danger of incontinence, which is a greater evil.  Booz was under another sort of necessity, and was bound to comply with the law; (C.) so that he was guilty of no sin, as Beza would pretend.  T. Some also remark, that the exclusion of the people of Moab from the Church of God, regarded not the females, (S. Aug. q. 35, in Deut.  Serar.  T. &c.) particularly if they embraced the true religion.  According to the Rabbins, Obed should have been accounted a Moabite, as they say children follow the condition of their mothers: but we need not here adopt their decisions. People.  Heb. “and from the gate of his place.”  In the assemblies, the legal son of Mahalon would represent him, though he was also considered as the son of Booz, at least if the latter had no other, as was probably the case.


Ver. 11.  Israel, by a numerous posterity. That she.  Heb. “mayst thou acquire riches,” &c.  C. Prot. “do thou (Booz) worthily in,” &c.  H. Ephrata: another name of Bethlehem.  Ch.


Ver. 12.  Phares.  His family was chief among the five, descended from Juda.  M.


Ver. 14.  Successor.  Heb. “redeemer, that his (Booz, or the Lord’s) name,” &c.  C.


Ver. 15.  Comfort.  Heb. “to make thy soul revive.”


Ver. 17.  Obed; “serving,” to comfort the old age of Noemi, (v. 15,) who gave him this’ name.  (Serar. q. 14,) at the suggestion of her neighbours.  M.


Ver. 18.  These.  Hence the design of the sacred writer becomes evident, (C.) to shew the genealogy of David, from whom Christ sprang, as it had been foretold.  See Gen. xlix.  Mat. i. &c.  W.


Ver. 19.  Aram.  He is called Ram in Heb. and 1 Par. ii. 9.


Ver. 20. Salmon.  Heb. and Chal. Salma, (H.) though we read Salmon in the following verse.  C. This is one argument adduced by Houbigant, to shew that this genealogy is now imperfect.  He concludes that Salma ought to be admitted, as well as Salmon; and, as the reason for calling the first son of Ruth, Obed, “serving or ploughing,” seems rather harsh, as we should naturally expect some more glorious title.  He thinks that the immediate son of Ruth was called Jachin, “he shall establish;” and that Solomon called one of the pillars before the temple by his name, as he did the other Booz, “in strength,” in honour of his ancestors.  Baz icin means, “In strength (or solidity) it (he) shall (stand or) establish.”  As the son of Booz established his father’s house, (v. 10. 11,) so these pillars denoted the stability of the temple.  We must thus allow that the hand of time has mutilated the genealogy of David, and that two ought to be admitted among his ancestors, who have been here omitted, as S. Matthew likewise passes them over as well as three others, who were the descendants of Joram.  The same omission of Jachin occurs 1 Paral. ii. 11, where we find Salma instead of Salmon.  Houbigant supposes that the sacred writers, Esdras and S. Matthew, gave the genealogies as they found them, without correcting the mistakes of transcribers.  Chronolog. sacra, p. 81.  But there might be some reason for the omission which we do not know; and Nahasson, Booz, and Joram might be said to beget Salmon, Obed, and Jechonias, though they were not their immediate children.  Salien and many others assert, that there were three of the name of Booz, succeeding each other, so that six persons instead of four fill up the space of 440 years, from the taking of Jericho till the building of the temple.  Salien, A. 2741, in which year he places the birth of the third Booz, who married Ruth, seventy years afterwards.  Petau allows 520 years from the coming out of Egypt till the fourth year of Solomon, so that he leaves above 420 years to the three generations of Booz, Obed, and Isai.  But he prudently passes over this chronological difficulty.  Usher supposes that each of these people were almost 100 years old when they had children; and he produces many examples of people who lived beyond that age, but he does not mention any, since the days of Moses, who had children at such an advanced age, much less that many in the same family, and in succession, were remarkable for such a thing. Moreover, according to Houbigant’s chronology, Booz and Obed must have had children when they were almost 120, and Isai in his 107th year.  But by admitting Salma and Jachin, the five persons might each have sons when they were about seventy, and thus would complete 347 years.  See C. ii. 1.  H.



Ver. 22.  David, the king, whom Samuel crowned, though he did not live to see him in the full enjoyment of his power, (H.) as he died before Saul.  C. Thus the greatest personages have people of mean condition among their ancestors, that none may be too much elated on account of their high birth.  Ruth, notwithstanding her poverty, was a striking figure of the Christian Church.  H. The Gentiles were strangers to Christ, on account of their errors, but related to him in as much as they were his creatures.  Their miserable condition pleaded hard for them, that Jesus would receive them under his protection, espouse and give them rest and peace.  Booz would, not marry Ruth till the nearer relation had refused, and thus brought dishonour on himself; (Deut. xxv.) so Jesus was principally sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and did not send his apostles to the Gentiles till the Jews had rejected their ministry.  C. See S. Amb. de fide, iii. 5.  D. Ruth was also a pattern of the most perfect virtues.  See Louis de Puente.  T.






otherwise called,





This and the following Book are called by the Hebrews, the Books of Samuel, because they contain the history of Samuel, and of the two kings, Saul and David, whom he anointed.  They are more commonly named by the Fathers, the First and Second Book of Kings.  As to the writer of them, it is the common opinion that Samuel composed the first book, as far as the twenty-fifth chapter; and that the prophets Nathan and Gad finished the first and wrote the second book.  See 1 Par. alias 1 Chronicles, xxix. 19.  Ch. The authors of the Third and Fourth Books of Kings were also prophets, but we know not exactly their names.  These works have nevertheless been always esteemed authentic (H.) and canonical.  W. V. Bede takes occasion to observe, from the Books of Kings (or as the Sept. read, “of kingdoms;” H.) being placed after that of Judges, that the everlasting kingdom of Christ will succeed the general judgment.  The translation of the priesthood and of the regal dignity, recorded in these books, denote also that Christ would united both in his own person; as the two wives of Eleana intimated, that both Jews and Gentiles would acknowledge the same Lord.  S. Jerom, S. Aug. &c. The transactions of Heli, Samuel and Saul, and the persecutions which David sustained from the latter, form the subject of the first book, (H.) during the space of 100 years.  All the four books carry down the sacred history near 600 years, from A. 2849 till the transmigration of Juda, A. 3420.  C.  Usher.







Ver. 1.  There.  Heb. Sept. &c. “And there,” &c.  The books of Scripture are thus frequently connected.  The authors present us with a series of events, without prefixing any title, or their own names, that our attention may be wholly fixed on what we read.  The birth of Samuel being so miraculous, deserves to be recorded, as he was the last judge of Israel, and had so much to do under the first of their kings, whose election and misconduct brought a great change into the state of the commonwealth.  C. Ramathaimsophim.  Rama, or Ramatha, “a height,” and the environs were occupied by the family of Suph, a descendant of Core; (1 Par. vi. 29.) though the place did not properly belong to the Levites.  It lay probably between Gabaa and Bethel, where Samuel spent much of his time, while he was judge, and obliged to be frequently absent from the tabernacle.  C. Ragusinus and Prince Radzivil think it was afterwards called Arimathea, the birth-place of Joseph, and now Ramula.  T.  C. ii. 11. Ephraimite.  He was of the tribe of Levi, (1 Par. vi. 34.) but is called an Ephraimites from dwelling in Mount Ephraim.  Ch. So we read of Cretan Jews.  Acts ii. 11.  T.


Ver. 2.  Phenenna.  She was only of inferior dignity.  At that time polygamy was lawful, (M.) as Moses insinuates, if he do not expressly allow it.


Ver. 3.  Days, the three great festivals.  His family accompanied him, though the law only lays an express injunction upon the males to attend.  We find, however, that females did not neglect to come.  C. Hosts.  Heb. (Tsebaoth) of “armies,” both of angels and of Israel.  God is attended by myriads of angels, and decides the fate of armies.  H. This title has not appeared in the former books.  The pagans took occasion from it to form their Jupiter Sabazius.  C. Elcana might go up from the height of Ramatha to Silo, which was the highest mountain round Jerusalem of all in the holy land.  Adrichom.  T.


Ver. 4.  Sacrificed, by the hand of the priests, (M.) who had the breast and right shoulder; the rest was given back to the person who had presented the fattened victim, that he might feast with his friends.  C.


Ver. 5.  With sorrow.  Hebrew apayim, “of faces, indignation, (C.) sorrow;” (M.) or that was presented before him.  Chal. and many others translate, “a chosen:” (C.) Prot. “a worthy portion.”  H. The shew-bread is called, “the bread of the face,” because it stood before the Lord.  Joseph sent to each of his brethren, “a portion of his faces,” as the Heb. expresses it; (Gen. xliii. 33.) or of such meat as was placed upon his table.  In the East, the master of a family has all set before him, and he sends to each his portion, to the place where he is sitting.  Chardin, Perse. Thus Elcana sent some more excellent, or “double,” part to his beloved Anna, (C.) grieving inwardly that she had no children, to whom he might also send.  H. By this distinction, he wished to alleviate the sorrow of his wife.  M. Womb. Sterility was deemed a curse, and a mark of God’s displeasure, with which women were often reproached.  Hence Anna prays so earnestly that God would be mindful of her.  v. 1119.  The power of the Almighty, in giving children to the barren, is frequently mentioned.  Gen. xxviii. 13.  Ps. cxii. 9.  C. Luke i. 25. &c.  H.


Ver. 6.  Insomuch.  Heb. “to make her fret, or rage; because the Lord,” &c.  C.


Ver. 7.  Lord.  Then they could hardly avoid being together on the road, and Anna was accustomed to pray earnestly (M.) to be delivered from her reproach.  H.


Ver. 9.  Silo; either in some private house, or in the porch before the tabernacle.  She complied with the entreaty of her husband.  M. Stool.  Heb. “Heli was sitting upon a throne, near the steps, leading to the palace of the Lord.”  It is also called the temple, or the house of God, though it was only a tent.  Mat. xii. 4. &c.  Perhaps women were not allowed to go beyond the porch.


Ver. 11.  A vow; rightly trusting that her husband would give his consent.  Num. xxx. 7. Razor.  Heb. mora, “scissors.”  Sept. “iron.”  Some copies add, “he shall not drink wine, nor any intoxicating drink.”  In quality of Levite, Samuel was bound to serve the tabernacle from 25 or 30 years of age till he was 50.  Num. iv. 2.  Anna consecrates him to the Lord for life, and promises that he shall be a Nazarite, like Samson, and S. John Baptist.  The law prescribes no rules for these perpetual Nazarites.  Num. vi. 3.  Many of the ancients believe that Samuel always observed the prescriptions of Moses, and abstained from intoxicating liquors; though the Heb. and Vulg. are silent on this head.  We find that during his administration as Judge, he was not able to continue always near the tabernacle.  C. When he came to years of discretion, he might depart if he thought proper, like other Levites.  Had he been of another tribe, he must have been redeemed.  W. Esther, Elcana, or Samuel, might have annulled this vow.  Salien, A. 2900.


Ver. 12.  Prayers, out of fervour; not through vain superstition and ostentation, as the Pharisees and pagans did.  Mat. xxiii. 14.  Christ does not condemn many, or long prayers, since he prayed whole nights for our instruction.  Luc. xxi. 43. and vi. 12.  1 Thes. v. 17. Mouth.  He tried, but could not hear what she said.  C.


Ver. 14.  Much.  Heli’s “son or servant,” (paidarion, according to the Sept.) addressed these words to Anna.  Her going to pray immediately after a feast, instead of taking recreation, increased the suspicion.  S. Chrys. hom. 1. Salien (A.C. 1153) observes the many instances of patience which Anna exhibits on this occasion.  H. She teaches us not to answer the unjust reproaches of our superiors with haughtiness.  D.


Ver. 15.  My lord.  She gives him this title, though he had called her a drunken woman.  H. Unhappy.  Heb. “of a hard (or afflicted) spirit.”  See Cant. viii. 6.  C.


Ver. 16.  Belial; “without restraint;” abandoned.  H. Sept. “pestiferous.” Sorrow.  Heb. “meditation;” (C.) what preys upon my spirits.  H.


Ver. 17.  Peace, with all blessings.  M.


Ver. 18.  Eyes: that thou wouldst lay aside thy suspicions against my character, and pray (C.) that I may obtain so great a happiness. Changed.  Heb. “no more,” as it had been sad, and defaced with tears.  H. She was now full of hope and  joy.  M. Sept. “her countenance fell not.”  She was not moved with anger or with jealousy.  Gen. iv. 6.  C.


Ver. 20.  About, at the expiration of the year, which term the ancients frequently allowed between the conception and the nativity.  Gen. xviii. 10. Samuel.  This name imports, asked of God.  Ch. Some letters are omitted for the easier pronunciation, as the Hebrews would now write it, Saul-meel; (C.) or it may signigy, “God placed him,” sum-hal.  T. Shaal means, “to ask.”  But Vatable thinks that Anna retained only the first letter.  M.


Ver. 21.  Vow, in consequence of his son’s nativity.  The sacrifice might be of precept, such as the paschal lamb, or for his wife’s purification and the redemption of his first-born, as they could not attend in person.  C. Heb. “the victim of days and his vow,” which he had probably made in conjunction with Anna.  M.


Ver. 22.  Weaned.  The mother of the Machabees weaned her children when they were three years old; (2 Mac. vii. 27.) which Gallien asserts as the proper time, though Avicenna fixes upon two years.  See Gen. xxi. 8.  Iremellius translates, “till the child be grown up.”  But we must not allow any long term, since he was very young when he was presented to the Lord.  v. 24.


Ver. 23.  Word, by preserving the life of the child, (C.) and enabling him to serve according to our engagement.  H. Word is often put for “a thing,”  in Heb.  May God perfect his own work.  M.


Ver. 24.  Three calves.  Sept. “a calf three years old,” such as Abraham sacrificed, Gen. xv. 9.  We only find one offered up, v. 25. Bushels.  Heb. epha, (C.) each of which contained three bushes or measures.  Ruth ii. 17.  H. Bottle.  Heb. nebel, a large measure containing above 87 pints.  C. The sacrifices seem to have been for thanksgiving, accompanied with an ephi for each calf, and with wine.  Num. xv.  Ezec. xlvi. 7.


Ver. 26.  Liveth: a strong attestation.  M. As sure as you live; or, may you enjoy a long and happy life.  See C. xvii. 55. and xx. 3.  Dan. iii. 9.  2 Esd. ii. 3.


Ver. 28.  Lent.  This is equivalent to giving entirely.  Anna presents her son to the Lord, to serve in his tabernacle as long as God shall think proper.  He dispensed with his personal attendance, when he appointed him judge.  C. vii. 15.  C. As much as depended on Samuel’s mother, he was consecrated for ever.  But he was at liberty to ratify the vow if he pleased.  M. The expression, lent, seems to reserve the dominion of the thing, which Anna had entirely given up, so that we might translate the Heb. “Therefore I have him simply as one lent…he is a thing lent, which belongs to the Lord.”  C. They.  Heb. “he worshipped the Lord there.”  Grabe found not these words in the Alex. copy, which by comparison of this chapter with the the Vatican edition, appears, to be more accurate.  Both omit this sentence: but it is found in the Aldine edition of the Sept.  Proleg. C. iv.  The Targum adds, “and she prayed in the spirit of prophecy, and said.”  H.







Ver. 1.  Rejoiced.  Sept. and Chal. “been strengthened.”  Anna composed this canticle at the nativity of her son; or rather at his presentation in the tabernacle.  She foretells the reign and glory of the Messias, and of his church.  S. Aug. de C. xvii. 4. Horn.  The horn in the Scripture signifies strength, power, and glory: so the horn is said to be exalted, when a person receives an increase of strength or glory.  Ch. So Horace (3 Ode, 21.) says, addis cornua pauperi. Enlarged.  Chal. “I have opened my mouth, to speak great things against my enemies.”  She has Phenenna principally in view, and compares her present glory with her former distress.  C. I may boast more on account of Samuel, than my rival can of her numerous offspring.  M.


Ver. 2.  Holy.  This is frequently a title of God, the holy one of Israel.  Isai. i. 4. and v. 19.  He is essentially holy. Strong.  Heb. “no rock like,” &c.  The rocks of Palestine were the common fortresses of the nation, having caverns to which the people fled for refuge.  Hence God is often called a rock, (C.) as non can afford such protection.  H.  Ps. xvii. 2.  Deut. xxxii. 15.


Ver. 3.  Old.  Heb. hathak means also, “hard things.”  D. “Let arrogance come out of your mouth,” to return no more.  Yet most people supply the negation from the former member; “Let not arrogance or hard things.”  Chal. “blasphemy,” &c.  C. Cease to praise idols, as you have done.  W. Use not the malevolent language to which you have been accustomed. Knowledge.  The secrets of hearts are open to him. And to him.  Heb. “and by him actions are weighed,” as in scales; (H.) or, “thoughts (and actions) are not established.”  Sym.  The Syr. and Arab. also read the negation, “there are not pretexts before him;” or, “are not actions founded upon him?”  Will he not execute what he has wisely designed, in spite of opposition?  H. Sept. “and God prepares his thought;” C. (epithdeumata autou) or, “what is convenient for him.”  H. They have read lu, “of him,” instead of la, “not,” as they are authorized to do by the Keri, (or various readings in the margin) and by several Heb. MSS.  The Prot. think rightly, and suppose that la, “not,” has been omitted, “Let not arrogancy;” because we find it in Chal. Sept. Syr. and Arab. versions.  Lu is substituted for la, v. 16.  When some have been pressed with the argument of variations, called Keri, they have said that they were rather explanations of obscure words in the text: but is there any obscurity in lu, “to him,” and la, “not;” or can they explain each other?  Leusden answers in the affirmative, v. 16!  Kennicott.


Ver. 4.  Overcome.  Heb. “broken.”  Sept. “he has weakened the bow,” having deprived it of its elasticity.


Ver. 5.  Many.  Heb. “seven,” which is often used in the same sense.  Anna had never more than six children; (C.) whereas Phenenna had perhaps ten.  C. i. 8. and iii. 21.  H. The Rabbins pretend that she lost one every time that Anna brought forth.  But the text says nothing of the kind.  It only insinuates at most, that she had  no more.  This admirably represents the state of the Synagogue, compared to the Christian Church.  S. Aug. sup.  C.  W. The blessed Virgin conveys the same idea in other words.  Luke i.  M.


Ver. 6.  Hell, (infernos,) “the lower regions.”  God calls us out of this world, or restores the dead to  life, as he thinks proper.  H. He easily makes the greatest prosperity succeed extreme distress, which is often denoted by death, hell, &c.  So Seneca says, Mortis habet vicesLentis cum trahitur vita gemitibus.  The prodigal son is said to have come to life again, when his father received him, contrary to his expectations.  Luke xv. 24.  Ps. xxix. 4. &c.  C.


Ver. 7.  Exalteth.  The same instances of God’s power and providence are related, Ps. cxii. 7.  Luke i. 52.  M. Hesiod (op.) says, “Jupiter easily gives or takes away power,” &c.


Ver. 8.  World.  The Hebrews represented the earth as resting on a firm basis, or on pillars, or turning on poles.  Ps. ciii. 5.  Prov. viii. 25. &c.  The magistrates of the earth may be also thus designated, as the world is entrusted to their care.  God compares Jeremias to an iron pillar.  Jer. i. 18.  Apoc. iii. 12.  C. The last sentence is omitted in the Sept..


Ver. 9.  Saints.  Heb. “kind, merciful, pious ones;” (C.) those to whom he shews mercy, and who comply with his will in assisting others.  Sept. “Granting their petition to those who ask him, and he has blessed the years of the just, because man is not strong by his own strength.”  H. Silent: condemned to death.  Mox etiam Lemures animas dixere silentes.  Ovid, Fast. v.  Loca nocte silentia late.  Virg. vi.  Unable to act as they had done, and ashamed of themselves, (C.) they seek for the most obscure retreat, where they may not behold the glory of those whom they have despised.  They will pray that the hills would fall upon them, and hide them from the indignation of the Lamb.  H.


Ver. 10.  Him.  Sept. “The Lord will render his adversary weak.  The holy Lord.  Let not the prudent boast of his prudence,” &c. (H. which seems to be added from Jer. ix. 23.  C.) “The Lord has mounted the heavens, and thundered.  He judges the ends of the earth, and gives power to those who rule, as kings, over us,” &c.  H. Heavens.  This prediction against the Philistines was exactly verified.  C. vii. 10.  It denotes the protection which God grants to his servants.  Ps. xvii. 8. 14. Christ.  Chaldee, and the best interpreters, understand this of the Messias: “He will multiply the kingdom of his Messias.”  Jonathan. Anna might also have David in view, who was one of his most express figures.  C. But neither he, nor Solomon, ever ruled over all the earth, as Christ will.  Ps. ii. 18.  W. Zachary seems to allude to this text.  Luke i. 69.  C. The empire of Christ rose from the smallest beginnings.  M.


Ver. 11.  Ramatha.  Heb. Rama.  Sept. Alex. “and they left him there before the Lord, and went away to Armathaim.”  H.


Ver. 12.  The Lord, whom they denied by their works.  Tit. i. 16.


Ver. 13.  Nor the office.  The Vulg. repeats the negation from the preceding sentence.  Others translate, “The priests’ custom with the people was,” &c. or, “the pretended right of the priests,” &c.  They neither performed their duty towards God, (C.) nor were they content with what the law authorized them to receive from the people.  H. Servant, or son; perhaps Ophni or Phinees. Boiling.  In the heroic times, the meat was never boiled, but roasted.  Athen. i. 10. and Servius; though Hesiod asserts the contrary, v. 748.  C. Abulensis (q. 8.) observes that the person who offered the victim, boiled the parts which belonged to himself, as well as the priest’s share.  But, whereas in the peace-offerings, only the breast and the right shoulder fell to the priest, these rapacious men took whatever they pleased.  M.


Ver. 14.  Pan.  Heb. has also four terms, but their precise meaning cannot be determined.  The vessels were of different forms, or intended for various uses.


Ver. 15.  Raw.  Here are two other abuses.  The fat ought first to have been burnt, in honour of the Lord; and the meat should have been boiled, in order that the priest might not be taken off from his sacred functions; as custom, it seems, had determined, though the law be silent on this head.


Ver. 16.  Desireth.  The Laic gives an example of moderation and zeal, to which the priest might well have paid some deference.  The former is willing to abandon his goods, provided the honour of God be not neglected.  H.


Ver. 17.  Lord.  People, seeing that the law was not observed, refrained from presenting victims.  M. They are but too apt to follow the bad example of their teachers.  H. Hence God punishes the smallest faults of his ministers, with great severity, since they withdraw people from his service, by their scandalous behaviour, and are guilty of a more horrid sacrilege than those who laid violent hands on the Lord of majesty.  S. Bern. ser. i.  Nothing brings a greater discredit on religion.  C.


Ver. 18.  Ephod.  It was not, therefore, peculiar to priests, 2 K. vi. 14.


Ver. 19.  Coat.  Heb. mehil, the outer garment.  Hence it appears that the parents of the people consecrated to the Lord, furnished them with clothes, till they were able to serve the tabernacle, otherwise they would have been a burden to it.  C.


Ver. 20.  Lent.  This was in reply to what Anna had said.  C. i. 28.  H. God always gives back with interest.  M.


Ver. 21.  Lord.  He behaved well in the tabernacle, (C.) notwithstanding the ill example of Heli’s own sons.  H.


Ver. 22.  Waited, like an army of guards.  Ex. xxxvii. 8.  The Rabbins pretend that these priests only sent away these women who came to be purified, and allowed them to return to their husbands before the appointed time, and thus caused the latter to offend.  These authors are generally very fertile in discoveries.  C. The virgins or widows gave themselves up to work for the tabernacle.  M. The sons of Heli found an opportunity  in the sacred practices of religion to gratify their passions.  Perhaps some false pastors in the Church of Christ may have imitated their perversity.  A man of the character of Mr. Crowley, a late deserter of the Catholic faith, judging of others by the corruption of his own heart, would hence insinuate that they all take these liberties, or at least that it is “a miracle,” if they can admit females to confession, without yielding to such base temptations.  If this be a miracle, we may confidently hope that wonders have not ceased, otherwise among his other malicious remarks, he would surely have adduced some proofs of his assertion, from the records of past ages.  But in reality he seems to be little acquainted (though he pretends to have been converted by it, &c. and falsely asserts it is kept from laymen) either with history or with the Bible, having read perhaps little more than what his Catechism set before him; and this he boldly contradicts, as if he supposed that this “Thoughts” would have more weight than the decisions of the Fathers and of the whole Church.  If he can find a professor of Maynooth, and another or two Irish priests, disposed to follow his example, (which we need not believe on his assertion) what would this prove?  Yet Mr. Slack lays great stress on this man’s authority, in his late defence of Wesley.  Letters to R. Campion, Esq. Whitby, 1811.  So ready are the enemies of the Catholic faith to scrape together every idle remark that may tend to defame the mother Church!  So eager are infidels to reject the faith, on account of the misconduct of some of its degenerate professors!  H. The best of fathers have often very profligate children, as the latter take pride in the honours of their family, and expect to obtain the same without trouble.  Grot.


Ver. 23.  People.  They could not refrain from complaining of the iniquity of his children, how much soever they might revere him.  Though he was not a witness himself of their abominations, such an uproar must have convinced him that they were guilty.  H. The Fathers in general blame the lenity of the high priest, who ought not only to have rebuked, but also to have put a stop to the crying sins of his sons, by the utmost severity.  C.


Ver. 25.  Who shall pray for him.  By these words Heli would have his sons understand, that by their wicked abuse of sacred things, and of the very sacrifices which were appointed to appease the Lord, they deprived themselves of the ordinary means of reconciliation with God; which was by sacrifices.  The more, because as they were the chief priests, whose business it was to intercede for all others, they had no other to offer sacrifice and make atonement for them.  Ch. We need not, however, consider the words of Heli as an oracle of God.  Sanchez. In human transactions, a person would find more difficulty in obtaining pardon, when the judge himself had received the injury.  Sept. instead of appeased, have “and they shall pray for him.”  M. Some may be found to plead his cause, but if he offend the judge, who will undertake to be his advocate?  What medicines shall be used, when those, which God has appointed, are trodden under foot?  H. By persevering in such wickedness, no redress can be expected: and indeed, the infinite distance between God and man, would place an insuperable obstacle to a reconciliation, if Jesus Christ had not undertaken the cause even of the most desperate sinner.  C. Because the Lord would slay them.  In consequence of their manifold sacrileges, he would not soften their hearts with his efficacious grace, but was determined to destroy them.  Ch. They had filled up the measure of their crimes; and, though God wills not the death of a sinner, they had treasured up to themselves wrath, which he will now display.  We might also translate ci, “therefore,” (Noldius.  Ose. ix. 15, &c.) or “that.”  They would not be convinced that the threat of their father would be executed.  Schmid.  C. Sins directly against God, and which hinder his service, are remitted with greater difficulty, though to all true penitents pardon is promised.  Ezec. xxxiii.  God did not take away the free will of Ophni and Phinees, but left them to their own obstinacy, and justly punished them.  See S. Aug. c. Jul. v. 3.  W. They had already rendered themselves unworthy of extraordinary graces.  T.  S. Tho. 1 p. q. 23, n. 3.


Ver. 26.  And men.  Thus he is, in some degree, compared with our Saviour.  Luke ii. 52.  When one minister prevaricates, God presently raises up another, so that he never abandons his Church.  H.


Ver. 27.  A man.  His name is unknown.  Some say it was Elcana, Samuel or an angel, &c.  The Rabbins suppose that Phinees performed this office.  But he was long ago dead, (C.) or he would still have enjoyed the high priesthood instead of Heli. Father’s.  Aaron was the chief both of the house of Eleazar and of Ithamar, and was selected by God to be his ambassador and priest.  H. His posterity held the high priesthood till after the reign of Herod.  T.


Ver. 28.  Ephod, and all the pontifical attire.  H. The high priest wore a different sort of ephod from that of other people.  C. All the, &c.  Even of the holocausts, the priests received the skin.  M.


Ver. 29.  Away, by scandalizing the people, and causing them to neglect offering the appointed victims.  H. To eat.  Heli seems to have refrained from divesting his sons of their high office, that the riches of his family might not be impaired.  C. Avarice is the root of many evils, and those who seek to become rich fall into many snares.  Poverty soon overtook the descendants of Heli, while the immediate perpetrators of the wickedness were punished with death.  H.


Ver. 30.  Ever.  God had promised the priesthood to Aaron’s seed (C.) as long as the Jewish religion should subsist.  H. He had also selected the branch of Eleazar, to recompense the zeal of Phinees; (Num. xxv. 13,) and yet we find that the house of Ithamar had possession for a time of the high priesthood.  We know not when or by what means by obtained it.  The promises of God to them were surely only conditional; and some think that they only meant, that as He had permitted them to acquire this high dignity, so it was an earnest that he would not deprive them of it, unless they proved unworthy.  But it is generally supposed that God had expressed his determination of this head.  Heli, Achitob, Achias, Achimelech, and Abiathar, (C.) were the only pontiffs of the family of Ithamar.  The last was obliged to resign to (H.) Sadoc, under the reign of Solomon, 3 K. ii. 27.  Some suppose that Heli usurped this dignity, (Capel) when he entered upon the civil administration, as the people thought none more fit for the office, in a time of trouble.  Bertram. Others think that the descendants of Eleazar forfeited this honour by their crimes or  indolence, or because they were not of sufficient age.  But this reason would not have excluded them for ever.  The Scripture, therefore, insinuates that Heli was appointed by God, and that his descendants would have enjoyed his office, if they had not offended.  C. These promises were of a conditional nature both to Phinees and to Heli, and Sadoc, v. 35.  See Num. xxv. &c.  H. God never changes.  M.


Ver. 31.  Arm, strength or children.  I will slay some; others I will reduce to extreme want.  Some explain it of the ark, which was the protection of Israel.  C. Old man, to govern.  D. It is often a title of dignity.  But the four succeeding pontiffs did not live long.  In the course of little more than 100 years, the last was deposed.  C.


Ver. 32.  Thy rival.  A priest of another race.  This was partly filled when Abiathar, of the race of Heli, was removed from the priesthood, and Sadoc, who was of another line, was substituted in his place.  But it was more fully accomplished in the New Testament, when the priesthood of Aaron gave place to that of Christ.  Ch. Some suppose that this rival was Samuel, in whom this prediction was partly fulfilled, though more completely in Christ.  Bede, q.  M. Heli saw not in person the exaltation of Eleazar’s family.  Heb. and other version are very much embarrassed here.  C. Prot. “and thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel.”  H.


Ver. 33.  Spent.  Hence we may learn to adore the depth of God’s judgments, who knows how to punish both in life and death. Part.  Sept. “the most exalted of thy house shall fall by the sword of men.”


Ver. 35.  Faithful often denotes what shall continue a long time.  Isai. xxxiii. 16. and lv. 3.  C. But in the conduct of Sadoc, we find nothing reprehensible.  M. This faithful priest pointed out the Christian priesthood, as the sequel shews.  C. All days.  He shall perform his office.  H. Anointed, king Solomon.  M. The priests of the new law ought always to have Christ in view.  C.


Ver. 36.  Bread; like the poorest sort of people.  M. Being degraded, they shall ask the other priests to offer sacrifice for them.  Heb. “shall bend before him for a piece of silver, and for a morsel of bread.”  He shall humbly intreat to be employed as a priest, in order to get a  livelihood. The piece of silver.  Heb. agorath, probably denotes the gerah, the smallest coin, or what was given for a day’s wages.  Agor means to hire, in Chal. Syr. &c.  Hence the Greek, agorazw, “I purchase.” Office.  The priests served in their turns; (1 Par. xxiv.) so that the descendants of Heli must have been entitled to a subsistence.  But whether God punished them, by requiring that they should ask the high priest for this, as for a favour, or this was required of all the inferior priests before they could be employed, or whether, in fine, the descendants of Abiathar were reduced to the condition of Levites, or wholly degraded, we know not.  See 4 K. xxiii. 9.  Ezec. xliv. 10.  C. They may petition for a part of the victims which fell to the share of the priests, (M.) and might be eaten by any that was not defiled.  H.







Ver. 1.  Before.  Chal. “in the days of Heli.”  The young Levite slept in an adjoining chamber, to wait on the high priest, not far from the sanctuary. Precious; that is, rare: (Ch). as such things are generally more esteemed, (H.) which are granted to few.  W. Some prophets had appeared under the former judges: but they were not so common as they were from the days of Samuel, till a little after the captivity.  S. Peter ranks Samuel in the first place.  Act. iii. 24.  C. Vision.  No prophet was publicly recognized, to whom the people might have recourse.  M.


Ver. 3.  Out, towards morning, (C.  Ex. xxvii. 20.) when some of the lamps were to be extinguished.  W. Samuel slept.  Some would transpose these words to the end of the verse, as they think it improbable that Samuel should be in the place where the high priest himself could enter only once a year.  Vatab. &c. But this change seems harsh and unnecessary, as Heli and Samuel might be in apartments contiguous to the holy place.  Sanctius.  M.  C. During the night none of the priests would be in the sanctuary, so that Heli might form a judgment that not of them had called Samuel.  T.


Ver. 7.  Him.  He had not before an experimental knowledge of the manner in which God revealed his will to men.  C.


Ver. 9.  Heareth; ready to comply with whatever may be required.  H.


Ver. 10.  Times, (secundo:) a second time, or repeatedly, or mentioning the name twice, (M.) as God does sometimes in urgent cases.  Gen. xxii. 11.  H.


Ver. 11.  Tingle, through astonishment and fright.  Jer. xix. 3.  4 K. xxi. 12.


Ver. 12.  House, by the prophet.  C. ii. 27.


Ver. 13.  Wickedly.  Sept. “were cursing God.”  This is one of the places which the Jews have corrected.  D. Judge; or condemn and punish.  Prov. xix. 29.  C. Chastise them, not in words only, or in a soft manner, as he had done.  Heb. “because his sons made themselves despicable, and he did not frown upon them.”  H. Ciha denotes, to correct with a wrinkled face.  M. Aquila, “he did not look black at them,” nor avert his eyes with horror.  All this iniquity was done publicly, and in his presence; (C.) and he suffered his children to proceed without any restraint.  It is not sufficient to reprove, when a father can correct.  H.


Ver. 14.  Sworn.  We read not of an express oath; (C.) but the denunciation of God was equivalent.  H. Iniquity, or punishment.  Nothing could withhold the indignation of the Lord, in correcting the sinner, though he would shew mercy eternally to the penitent.  But he saw the obstinacy of these priests, and their unhappy end.  The sacrifices of the old law always presupposed suitable internal sentiments, to grant the remission of sin; and even for the avoiding of the legal punishments, they must have been offered in a true spirit of religion, which these abandoned wretches despised and neglected.  C. God threatens that he will punish their crimes for ever, as he abominates the contempt of priest.  T.


Ver. 15.  Slept.  Heb. and Sept. “laid himself down to sleep.”  For how could he take any rest after such terrible threats? (C.) particularly as light was beginning to appear, when he was called by God, v. 3. Doors.  Some walls had probably been built, to enclose the curtains of the tabernacle.  A priest would have been employed to open the sanctuary.  C.


Ver. 17.  And so.  Lit. “May God do these things to thee, and add these also.”  It is not certain that he mentioned the particular punishment, (H.) though it is most probable.  The Scripture refrains from repeating them.  Grot. Ruth i. 17.  C.


Ver. 18.  Sight.  Some of the Fathers think that these words proceeded from an habitual indifference, as he was not disposed to molest his sons any farther, let the consequences be what they might.  S. Greg.  S. Ephrem, &c. But others believe, that Heli was actuated by the spirit of humanity and resignation, and saved his soul.  C.  See C. iv. 18. Years.  The author of the Concord. between the Books of Kings and of Chronicles, thinks Samuel was then 39.  D.


Ver. 19.  Ground, unfulfilled.  This may be understood of the words of the Lord, (C.) which Samuel had announced.  His other predictions were constantly verified, so that he was justly regarded as a true prophet.  H.


Ver. 20.  Faithful.  Hebrew Neeman, may be a title of dignity, or may signify that Samuel was confirmed and continued to be a prophet.  C. According to, or by.  God revealed his will to him by word, and not by visions.  Sanchez. Israel.  The whole people suffered along with their leaders.  H. They were concerned in the prediction which was denounced against the house of Heli.  M. Sept. “and Samuel was entrusted to the prophet of the Lord, to all Israel, from the ends of the earth to the ends: And Heli was very old, and his sons going went forward, and their way was wicked before the Lord.”  Thus they usher in the following catastrophe.  H.







Ver. 1.  And.  Heb. inserts here the conclusion of the last verse, whence some would infer that Samuel told the Israelites to make war upon the Philistines.  But as it turned out so ill, this would have tended to discredit him; and we find that the  Philistines were the aggressors. Days.  this war took place immediately after the threats denounced to Heli; (Sararius) or according to Usher, and the best chronologists, about 27 years after that event.  C. The addition of the Sept. seems to insinuate, that the sons of Heli persevered for a long time in their wicked course.  C. iii. 20.  H. Josephus says that Phinees was his father’s coadjutor. Salien observes that this must be considered as a fresh blot in the character of the latter, since he ought to have delivered the delinquents up to execution.  Deut. xxi. 21.  Tirin, on the contrary, adduces the power of his sons, and the debilitated state of Heli, to excuse his neglect.  H. Help.  In Heb. Eben-ezer; so called, from the help which the Lord was pleased afterwards to give to his people, Israel, in that place, by the prayers of Samuel, C. vii. 12. (Ch.) about 21 years afterwards. Aphec, in the tribe of Juda, not far from Maspha.


Ver. 2.  Here, &c.  Heb. “in the field” of battle.  C. Sept. “in the ranks, in the field.”  H.


Ver. 3.  Ancients; the commanders of the respective tribes. Heli was not able to lead on the people to battle, on account of his blindness and great age. Enemies.  All nations attribute much to the exterior marks of religion.  The Israelites had witnessed the victories which had been obtained while the ark was present.  Jos. vi. 4.  See Num. xiv. 45.  But they ought to have considered, that their infidelity rendered them unworthy of the divine protection; and that God was more displeased at their profanations, than at the indignity to which the sacred vessels would be exposed.  He would know how to vindicate his own honour and glory.  The symbols of religion were thus carried in the army, by the Persians, &c.   Herod. vii. The Romans regarded their standards as so many deities.  Halicar. vi.  See 2 K. vi. 21.  2 Par. xiii. 8.  C. The confidence which the Israelites placed in the ark was commendable, but their sins deserved to be punished.  W.  Num. x. 35.


Ver. 4.  Ark.  On this extraordinary emergency they thought it lawful.  Abulensis, q. 6. They easily obtained the consent of Heli; and his sons went to take it down, and to attend it to the army, as he was incapable of doing duty.  We know not what ceremonies were used, nor whether the brothers acted as high priests alternately.  C. Cherubim.  The Scripture often represents God in this manner.  Ex. xxv. 22.  Ps. xvii. 10.  Ezec. x. 1.  The commonality of the Jews attributed bodies to the angels, but to denote that they were not like those with which we are acquainted, they called them cherubim, or complex and unusual figures.  C.


Ver. 7.  God: “Elohim.”  Sept. “these gods.”  They speak of the true God according to their false ideas.  C. Sighing.  Sept. “deliver us, O Lord, this day.”


Ver. 8.  Joy.  A few days ago the Hebrews were dismayed, now they shout for joy, as they did at the taking of Jericho.  Heb. and Sept. “it was not so heretofore.”  H. Gods.  Heb. may be rendered in the singular, with the Chal. and Arab.  But the Sept. and most commentators, explain it in the sense of the Vulg.  The title of high, (adirim) or magnificent, was given by the Philistines to Dagon, whom they styled Atergatis.  C. Sept. sterewn, means, “stable, perfect,” &c.  H. Plagues, till they were overwhelmed in the Red Sea, which is surrounded with deserts.  Some supply, “and (his people) in the desert.”  Sept. Syr. &c.  C.


Ver. 9.  Fight.  To serve those whom they had lately oppressed, would be doubly afflicting.  Salien. If these people had seriously attended to the instructions, which they might have derived from the fall of others, they would surely never have exposed themselves to fight against the high God.  But they looked upon him in no other light than their own contemptible idols.  Homer often represents them as wounded, and conquered by  mortal men.


Ver. 10.  Footmen.  They had no cavalry, (C.) as God seemed to discourage any.  H. Even after Solomon’s time, they had not many horsemen.  C. The Israelites had before lost 4,000: now when they were full of confidence, and fought with valour, they behold 30,000 fall.  The ark proved thus fatal to them.  H.


Ver. 11.  Slain.  Abulensis (q. 17,) thinks they were fighting in defence of the ark, when they might have saved themselves by flight; so that he does not despair of their salvation.  God permitted them to lose their lives in the exercise of a holy ministry, which they had so scandalously profaned.  C.


Ver. 12.  Man.  The Jews say that Saul carried these melancholy tidings, and that Goliah slew the sons of Heli.  H.


Ver. 13.  Stool.  Heb. cisse; “a throne or tribunal,” where Heli sat to decide any controversies, and where he had blessed the mother of Samuel.  C. God.  He had great reason to fear that this was the day when his sons would perish, and he apprehended that the ark would be in danger.  H.


Ver. 17.  Taken.  Every sentence expresses something more distressing to the aged judge and father; the flight and slaughter of his people, the ruin of his children, and the loss of the ark, which must have filled all Israel with a mortal gloom and terror, lest God should have abandoned them.  So many dismal circumstances oppressing the heart of Heli, he fainted away, and falling backwards, expired.  H. The Scripture takes notice of his great age, that we might not think that he killed himself in despair.  Salien.


Ver. 18.  Named the ark, &c.  There is great reason, by all these circumstances, to hope that Heli died in the state of grace; and by his temporal punishments, escaped the eternal.  Ch. But many of the Fathers condemn him, and the Scripture says nothing of his conversion, or of that of his children, so that the matter is doubtful.  C. Years.  Heb. “and heavy.” Forty.  Sept. “twenty,” in which they are followed by many Fathers.  Euseb.  Sulpit. &c. Some reconcile the two texts by saying, that Heli and Samson judged together for twenty years.  But the Sept. is probably corrupted, as the other versions agree with the original.  C.


Ver. 19.  Sudden, through extreme affliction.  M. Josephus says the child was only in his seventh month, but alive.  Abulensis thinks he did not long survive his mother.


Ver. 21.  Ichabod.  That is, Where is the glory? or, there is no glory.  We see how much the Israelites lamented the loss of the ark, which was but the symbol of God’s presence amongst them.  How much more ought Christians lament the loss of God himself, when by sin they have drove him out of their souls?  Ch. The ark is often called the glory of Israel.  Isai. lxiv. 21.  Ps. xxv. 8.  Ichabod might remind the people that the greatest loss had been sustained by them, as well as by his family.  His mother had both in view the ark, Heli, and Phinees, her husband, (H.) when she exclaimed, ichabod, “Woe! or, Alas! the glory.”  Mendoza. The Scripture does not mention Ophni’s posterity.  But besides this posthumous son, Phinees had one elder, who now succeeded Heli in the pontificate, (C. xiv. 3.  Josephus.  Salien, A. 2940, A.C. 1113,) while Samuel took possession of the civil administration, and almost totally eclipsed the glory of Achitob.  Many of the Fathers have even looked upon him as the high priest.  But he was only a Levite, though, by dispensation, he acted sometimes as an extraordinary priest.  S. Jerom c. Jov. i. and in 1 Cor.  He reduced the people to a sense of their duty, and taught them to trust in the true God alone, and they would be protected, though deprived of the ark.  This was also presently restored to them.  H.







Ver. 1.  Azotus, one of the principal cities of the Philistines.  It is astonishing that God permits these infidels to touch the ark, He who resented the conduct of Oza, and of the Bethsamites, with such severity.  But the law regarded the Israelites, and the pagans were ignorant of it.  C. The servant, who knows his master will, and does not obey, shall suffer many stripes; and those who have the happiness of professing the true religion, and dishonour it by their immorality, must expect to feel the heavy hand of the judge, much more than ignorant unbelievers.  H. The Philistines could not suppose that they had gained a victory over God, since they knew he might be displeased with the conduct of his people; and they soon began to perceive that they had brought the greatest misfortunes upon themselves.


Ver. 2.  Dagon is the same as Derceto, Atergatis, Venus, and the moon, (C.) and was represented like a woman, (T.) as far as the waist, and a fish below.  H.  Judg. xvi. 23. The ark was placed near the idol, out of respect; (C.) or as a trophy of the victory, which they attributed to Dagon.  M. Thus they hung up the arms of Saul in the temple of Asteroth; (C. xxxi. 10,) and David placed the sword of Goliah in the tabernacle.


Ver. 3.  Lord, as if to acknowledge his superiority.  C. No sooner was the gospel preached, than the power of the idols began to decrease.  Bede.  W.


Ver. 4.  Threshold.  The idol is treated worse the second time.  M.


Ver. 5.  The stump of, seems to be wanting in Heb.  H. Only the lower part, which resembled a fish, (Dag) was left on its pedestal. Day.  The Philistines themselves established this custom, which was a tacit confession of the imbecility of the idol, which they nevertheless continued to adore.  The prophet Sophonias, (i. 9,) is supposed to accuse the Jews of imitating this superstition.  The ancient Christians, out of respect, kissed the thresholds of the churches of the apostles and martyrs.  Prudentius in S. Romano. The Persians still refrain from treading on those of certain mosques, which are covered with silver.  Tavernier i. 5.


Ver. 6.  Emerods.  The particular disorder which attacked them, (Ps. lxxvii. 66,) is very uncertain.  Some say it was the dysentery, or the fistula, or the venereal disease, &c.  Eusebius believes that it was in punishment of their incontinency.  It was very painful, and sometimes proved mortal, v. 12.  Aristophanes assures us that the Athenians were punished with a shameful disorder, because they had not received the mysteries of Bacchus with due respect; and they were ordered, by the oracle, to make and carry aloft some obscene figures, before they could obtain a cure.  Acharn. ii. 6. And in, &c.  The remainder of this verse is not found in Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, Arabic, &c. nor in many Greek and Latin copies.  But it is conformable to the truth of history, since we read that figures of these animals were placed beside the ark, in memory of this event.  C. vi. 6. Mice, or rats.  Such vermin have often obliged people to abandon their country.  Plin. viii. 28. Bellon. (ii. 78,) testifies that he saw, near Gaza, such multitudes, as to depopulate whole fields; and, if Providence had not caused the birds, called boudres, to destroy them, the people could nav had no harvest.


Ver. 7.  God.  The ark was terrible to this idol, as the relics of S. Babylas were to Apollo.  W.


Ver. 8.  Lords, next in dignity to a king, like the Persian surena.  Judg. iii. 3. and xvi. 5. About.  Heb. “and they answered, let the ark…be carried unto Geth,” in which sense the Sept. seem to have taken it.  But the Vulg. is more natural.  Theodoret (q. 10,) concludes, that the people imagined the mortality proceeded from some natural cause; (C.) otherwise it would have been very absurd to give such advice, as the ark would spread the contagion throughout the country, by being removed.  From Geth it was sent to Accaron, when the magistrates of the city objected to its being admitted, v. 10.  Jospehus says, however, that it visited all the five principal cities, as if to punish them for their impiety.  H.


Ver. 9.  Came upon, to punish, as on other occasions, to protect.  Ezec. i. 3. and xiii. 9.  M. Parts.  Lit. “Their lower intestines coming out, rotted,” as v. 6.  H. Heb. “their malady was concealed.”  Grot. The emerods attacked them inwardly, with the most excruciating pains, for which they could find no remedy. Skins.  The ancients knew no greater luxury.  Homer, Odys. i. and iii.  The Heb. &c. take no notice of this particular; and there are many other omissions in the Books of Kings, which have been supplied from the Sept.  C. The skins were used instead of breeches, and to hold up the plaster and other medicines.  T.


Ver. 12.  Die, at the sight of the ark, as the Bethsamites did afterwards.  M.







Ver. 2.  Diviners.  The priests generally pretended to a knowledge of magic, among the pagans.  C.


Ver. 3.  If, &c.  The lords were already determined to send back the ark.  But the priests knew that some still would not believe that it was the cause of their affliction.  To convince all, they try an experiment, which would decide the matter; and in case the ark went back, some suitable presents must accompany it, as a propitiation (H.) for the sin which they would not (M.) then doubt had been incurred.  H. Though God stands in need of nothing, all must acknowledge their dependence on him.  The pagans always made some present, when they appeared before their idols or monarchs, and God requires the like testimony of submission.  Ex. xxiii. 15.


Ver. 5.  Provinces.  Heb. seranim, “lords.” Emerods.  Theodoret observes, that the tombs of the martyrs were adorned with figures of eyes, &c. in gratitude for their having procured redress for the afflicted. Israel, whose ark you have treated in an improper manner.  C. You shall thus confess that He chastises, and grants health.  M. Gods.  Not only Dagon, but the other idols, were humbled, (H.) though the Heb. word denotes also one god, or princes, &c.


Ver. 6.  Hearts.  Even these confess that obduracy proceeds from men; (W.) though Calvin would make God the author of it.  H.


Ver. 7.  New cart.  It would have been deemed irreverent to use one that had been employed for other profane purposes, 2 K. vi. 3. Home.  All these circumstances tended to prevent the ark from being conveyed home, (C.) unless Providence interfered.


Ver. 8.  Box.  Heb. argaz, (which the Sept. retain.  H.) means also “a purse or basket.”  C. Josephus (vi. 1,) says, “the box was placed upon the ark.”  H. We do not read what became of these presents afterwards: but it is supposed that they were kept in the sanctuary till the time of the captivity.  C.


Ver. 9.  Way.  Josephus observes, that they stationed the kine at three lane ends; (H.) and, as we may infer from the Heb. (v. 12,) rather with their heads turned from Bethsames.  But, by this conduct, did they not tempt God?  Some believe that He inspired them on this occasion, (E.) that even his enemies might be convinced, (H.) the grace of prophecy being frequently granted to wicked men, like Balaam: others believe that He gave success to their plan, though it was dictated by superstition.  Even the devil sometimes speaks the truth.  Mendoza.  C. People frequently use to pitch upon signs, to which God often assented.  Prov. xvi. 33.  M.  Gen. xxiv. 14.  H.


Ver. 13.  Wheat, about Pentecost, in May; so that the ark must have been taken in November.  M.


Ver. 14.  Bethsamite, not the renowned general.  C. Stone, which served instead of an altar.  M. Lord.  Some pretend that the lords of the Philistines followed so far, and offered this holocaust, as the cart belonged to them: but the Bethsamites might suppose that they had abandoned their property, as well as the golden figures; and, as the city belonged to the priests, it is most probable that they would perform this office.  Males indeed were to be offered in the tabernacle.  But this was an extraordinary case; so that, if there were no priests, the sacrifice might be lawful (C.) by dispensation, as we see Samuel and Elias did the like.  H. The kine and cart being consecrated to God, it was thought that they could not be turned to a more suitable purpose.  C. The ark was also present, on account of which, sacrifices were offered in the tabernacle.  The arguments of Abulensis, (q. 19,) who accuses the Bethsamites of sin on this account, are not therefore satisfactory.  M.


Ver. 15.  Vessels.  Prot. less properly, “jewels of gold.”  H.


Ver. 16.  Day.  It was distant about 18 miles.  C. Provinces.  Heb. “lords.”  Some think that only five images of each sort were inclosed in the box: others suppose that the people of each village presented a golden mouse, to satisfy their own devotion, and that they might not be infested with such vermin.  Clarius thinks they also sent an equal number of the other images of the anus.  C. v.  H.


Ver. 18.  Abel.  A stone or rock, on which the Jews say Abraham had offered sacrifice; (S. Jer. Trad.  T.) Heb. “or mourning,” was so called afterwards, on account of so many being slain; (M.) so the place, to which the Egyptians accompanied the remains of Jacob, was styled “Abol,” the mourning of Egypt.  Gen. l. 11.  H. The Sept. read Abon, “the stone.”  All the towns belonging to the Philistines, as far as this place, sent each their golden images, or contributed towards those which were presented by the five lords. Which, ark, according to the Vulg. though some would explain it of the stone.  The ark might remain here for some time, and would probably have continued longer, if the people had not been so much afflicted.  In the mean time, this record may have been written, as it was afterwards inserted in this book.  C. Which, though of the feminine gender, is referred to stone, because Abol is of that description, (M.) and we find several such allusions to the Heb. in our version.  Prot. “unto the great stone of Abel, whereon they set down the ark of the Lord, which stone remaineth unto this day,” &c.  H.  Vatab. &c. Others think that the ark remained there till it was removed to Cariathiarim.  C. vii. 1.  Malvenda says, the memory of the transaction was fresh till the author wrote; while others maintain, that the golden figures continued with the ark till that time.  C. The Roman Sept. omits the words till this day; and reads, “where they placed upon it (the stone) the ark…upon the stone in the field,” &c.  Then with the Alex. copy, and Procopius, &c. it subjoins 19.  “And the sons of Jechonias did not approve, among the men of Bethsames, that they saw the ark of the Lord, and he slew of them 70 men, and 50,000 of the people.”   Theodoret suspects that they were more impious than the rest.  But we might as well say that they shewed more (C.) reverence, as we may explain slew them, to denote the two curious citizens, (H.) if any dependence could be had on this addition.  C.


Ver. 19.  Seen; and curiously looked into.  It is likely this plague reached to all the neighbouring country, as well as the city of Bethsames.  Ch. For we need not suppose that all these deaths took place in one day.  The ark seems to have continued there for some time, v. 18.  Heb. “because they had looked into, or at the ark.”  H. It was unlawful, even for the Levites, to touch or to look at the ark uncovered; (T.  Num. iv. 15. 20,) and the Heb. expression into, is often taken in this sense.  Prov. vii. 15. and xi. 4. Men of rank.  S. Greg. &c.  “Ancients.”  Chal.  Some would suppose that only these 70 perished, and were of as much value as 50,000 of the common people: for they will not allow that he latter number was slain.  Out of that number, 70 were made victims of the divine justice.  T.  Sa. Bochart translates, “he slew 70 out of 50,000.”  The Syr. and Arab. read, “5070 men.”  Josephus only admits 70 who were slain, “because they dared to touch the ark with their profane hands, as they were not priests.”  Heb. “and he slew of the people 70 men, 50,000 men.  C. Kennicott seems to suspect that a cipher has been added in the Heb. at the end.  Prot. “50,000, and threescore and ten men.”  H. Some would insert aderant in the Vulg. and 50,000 “were present.”  D. The Chal. Sept. &c. constantly retain these numbers, and we must not judge of God severity by our feeble reason.  C. This decision is the most common.  M. The people had indulged their curiosity, to see whether the Philistines had taken the tables of the law out of the ark, &c.  Serarius. As the ark was terrible to the infidels, so it was also to those true believers, who treated it with disrespect.  W.


Ver. 20.  Us.  These words may denote that they thought God too severe, or else, that they judged themselves unworthy of his presence.  There is no proportion between an offence of God, and what the creature can do to make him satisfaction.  C.


Ver. 21.  Up.  This is the import of the Heb.  The Vulg. reducite, “bring it back,” insinuates, that the Bethsamites desired the people of Cariathiarim to convey the ark to their city, on the road to Silo, where they probably thought it ought to be placed, in the tabernacle.  But it seems God ordered it otherwise, and the ark was never restored to its former splendid station, surrounded with all the vessels and ornaments of the tabernacle.  David made something similar, and place an altar before it, while the Mosaic tabernacle and altar were removed from Silo to Nobe, (C. xxi. 1.) and afterwards to Gabaon.  2 Par. i. 5.  Salien (A. 3030) doubts not but they were thence translated to Solomon’s temple, during the octave of the dedication, along with those of David, from Mount Sion.  2 Par. v. 2. and viii. 3.  Why the ark was not placed in this most magnificent abode, but removed from the stone of Abel to the houses of Abinadab, of Obededom, of David in Sion, till all the original ornaments, prescribed by God to Moses, with a still more splendid apparatus, met to adorn the temple of Solomon, we cannot easily explain.  Perhaps it might be to render that event more glorious, and to represent the troubled state of the Jewish Synagogue,  immediately preceding the appearance of the great Redeemer, who would establish a church without spot or wrinkle, shining brighter than the sun, and replenished with all heavenly graces.  H. Cariathiarim is the same place as Cariathbaal, and Baala, (Jos. xv. 9. 60.) Baalim Juda, (2 K. vi. 2.) and Sedeiarim, about ten miles from Jerusalem.  Gabaa was “a hill,” (C.) belonging to the same city, where the house of Abinadab stood; (H.) and Nobe was also in the vicinity, while Silo was much farther north.  C. The priests still remained, and offered sacrifice in the tabernacle, though occasionally some of them might come to offer extraordinary victims before the ark, in those private houses which were thus converted, as it were, into the holy of holies.  Salien, A. 2941, were he observes from S. Jerom, that the tabernacle was removed to Nobe about the same time as the ark was deposited at Cariathiarim; and no doubt both the translations were in consequence of the divine command, signified by the mouth of his prophet Samuel.  H.







Ver. 1.  In Gabaa.  That is, on the hill, for Gabaa signifieth a hill.  Ch.  1 Par. xiii. 6. It was perhaps the citadel, (H.) or an elevated situation, such as were generally chosen for the temples both of the true and of false gods.  C. Abinadab was a Levite of renowned virtue.  M. The people of this city knew that the ark was a source of blessings to those who received it with respect; and, that the Bethsamites had been punished only for their irreverence.  W. Samuel was first consulted before the people, in a body, undertook to remove the ark; and here he was probably recognized for the judge of Israel, in which character he henceforward appears, exhorting all to obey the Lord with sincerity. He appoints a general assembly at Masphath, to enter into a solemn covenant with the Lord, and to adopt means for recovering their liberty.  We have only a very concise account of these important transactions, owing to the modesty of the author, which the Holy Spirit would teach us to imitate.  C. Sanctified.  Chal. “set over,” (M.) prepared by suitable purifications, &c.  C. Some think, that Eleazar received the priestly or the Levitical consecration, Num. viii. 7.  We have no proof that he was of the family of Aaron, nor does his name occur in the genealogies of the Levites, as they are perhaps too short.  Josephus (vi. 2.) asserts that he was a Levite.  C. But even a laic, like Obededon of Geth, might have been the guardian of the ark, as he would not have to touch it.  Salien, A.C. 1112. Eleazar had two brothers, who acted in the same capacity when David intended to remove the ark to Sion.  At that time he was perhaps dead, or decrepit, as his father might be on this occasion.  H. It is not improbable but they were of the race of Aaron.  T.


Ver. 2.  Year.  Some would date all the subsequent events from this period.  But is it credible that Samuel should neglect for twenty years to make this exhortation to the people? and how will it be true, that God humbled the Philistines during the whole time (C.) of his administration, which perhaps (H.) only lasted so many years? (v. 13.)  C. It is more probable, therefore, that the power of the enemy was broken by the destruction caused by the presence of the ark, which kept them under due restraint for along time; and when they attempted, once more, to molest the Israelites, they were entirely discomfited by a miraculous storm, at the prayer of Samuel, v. 10.  Salien (A. 2960) allows, that this took place in the twentieth year since the ark came to Cariathiarim, in which year Samuel appointed his children judges at Bersabee, though he continued to act, and was judge for twenty-three years, (some say thirty-eight) and even under the reign of Saul had almost an absolute sway, as the prophet of the Lord.  H. Rested: continued steadfast, (Sanctius) “cried unto,” (Pagnin) “Looked (H.) or returned,” Sept.  “Lamented after the Lord.”  Heb.  M. They were not soon induced to break this solemn covenant.  Isai. vii. 2.  T.


Ver. 3.  Saying.  When the ark was translated, (C.) and on many other occasions, this was the theme of his discourse to the Israelites, pressing them to cease from doing evil, and to perform good works.  H. Thus he preached every year in the different cities.  v. 16.  Lyran. Astaroth.  These were the principal idols of the country, (Salien, Judg. ii. 11.) under which all the others were included.  M. Prepare.  God lays this injunction upon us, to remind us of our liberty, and we beg that he would convert us, acknowledging the necessity of his grace.  C. “God does not require impossibilities, but by his command, admonishes thee to do what thou canst, and to pray for what thou art not able to perform, and he assists thee, that thou mayst be able to perform it.”  C. Trid. vi. 11.  S. Aug. &c.


Ver. 5.  Masphath lay south of Jerusalem, (C.) and was a convenient place for all to meet at.  M.  They came armed, and the Philistines (C.) suspecting their designs, proceeded to attack them.  H.


Ver. 6.  Lord, having purified themselves with it.  Ex. xix 24.  Others think that it was a kind of a protestation, that they were willing to perish if they proved faithless; (Sa.) or a symbol that they rejected every vestige of idolatry, and every sin, with true repentance.  Sanctius.  T. Water was also the most ancient species of libation, before honey, and afterwards wine were adopted.  Porphyrius. Though the law did not prescribe it, there was not prohibition.  On the last day of the feast of tabernacles, the people went to the pool of Silo to fetch water, and to pour it out in the temple, as a libation to the Lord; and it is thought that Jesus Christ alludes to this custom, Jo. vii. 24.  Lamy. Introd.  See 2 K. xxiii. 16.  C. Fasted.  They confess their sins and do penance, while Samuel sits as judge, (Salien) an had been endeavouring for twenty years to excite them to repentance, and to adhere to the one true religion.  T.


Ver. 8.  Philistines.  Those who distrust their own strength, and join true repentance with prayer, striving to interest the friends of God in their cause, may confidently hope for victory.  H.


Ver. 9.  Suckling lamb.  Any might be used, when eight days old, except for the paschal lamb, which must be older; a yearling.  Ex. xxiii. 9.  Lev. xxii. 27. Offered it, either by the hands of the priests, or by dispensation, which authorized him to sacrifice out of the tabernacle. Whole, without blemish; (Eccli. xlvi. 19.) or, not having time to divide it, according to the ritual.  Lev. i. 12.  He consumed even the skin.  Salien. Sept. “with all the people.”


Ver. 10.  Israel.  The princes of the Tyrians had come to the assistance of the enemy; (Eccli. xlvi. 21.  C.) but all in vain.  The greatness of the army only increased the greatness of the carnage, when the Lord enters the lists.  H. the sacred penman speaks with great modesty of this victory, which is nevertheless one of the most important recorded in Scripture.  The Philistines could not recover themselves for 20 years; they found it necessary to restore the cities which they had taken, (C.) to relinquish the tribute, and to come to such conditions as Samuel imposed upon them.  He suffered them, however, to keep possession of some strong holds, such as Gabaa, from which they were expelled by Jonathan. Salien says in the 22d year of Samuel, and the last of Achitob, the high priest, A. 2961.


Ver. 11.  Bethchar, “the house of the penetrator.”  Cor denotes the celestial fluid, which the Philistines probably supposed was discharged by the heavens, independently of the great Creator.  Hence their punishment was very appropriate.  Parkhurst. The latter heathens always represented their Jupiter armed with thunder and lightning

“The thunder roared aloud

Th’ affrighted hills from their foundation nod,

And blaze beneath the lightning of the God;

At one regard of his all-seeing eye,

The vanquish’d triumph, and the victors fly.”

Pope, Iliad xvii. 596.


Ver. 12.  Sen, “the tooth,” a craggy rock of that appearance.  Syr. Beth Jasan.  C. some take it to be the same with Bethchar.  Malvenda. It was before ignoble, (Salien) and the situation not known, till this monument was erected, with the inscription, Thus far, &c. Help; “Aben-ezer,” mentioned before, C. iv. 1.  The religious monuments were not prohibited by the law.  Lev. xxvi. 1.  Samuel would take every precaution that they should not become objects of idolatry, as he was under the immediate influence of the Holy Spirit.  C.


Ver. 13.  Any more, for a long time, (M.) during Samuel’s administration; for we find them again attacking Saul.  C. xiii.  This expression is often used to denote a cessation of some continuance.  Isai. xxiii. 12. 15.  2 K. vii. 10.


Ver. 14.  Geth, which two cities still continued in their possession.  Others, which had fallen to the share of Dan, they gave up, which explains Judg. xviii. 1. 31. Philistines.  Here ended the forty years’ servitude.  C. Salien (A. 2860) rather thinks that it terminated in the death of Samson, when it was judged expedient to entrust the reins of government into the hands of an ole man, Heli, the high priest, as there was no need of an expert general, the heads of the Philistines being all destroyed.  Judg. xiii. 1.  H. Amorrhites: the dispersed nations of Chanaan were all dept under.  C.


Ver. 15.  Life; as sole judge for twenty years, (Gordon.  D.) and conjointly with Saul till he died, almost 100 years old, a year or two before the unfortunate king.  Saul put him on a level with himself; (C. xi. 7.) and he continued to be regarded as the oracle of Israel ever since he was about forty years old; (C.) or he did not long survive the election of the new king, (M.) as Tirin, Sanctius, &c. reduce his reign to two years, allowing thirty-eight to Samuel, so that both filled up the space of forty years.  Act. xiii. 20.  The life of Samuel, on this supposition, will not much exceed sixty, and he must have come into power in early life.  C. xii. 2.  H. This verse is no proof that the present book was written long after Samuel’s time.  D.


Ver. 16.  Places.  Sept. “in all these holy places.”  Some take Bethel to mean the city, where the ark was, (C.) or the holy of holies, in the tabernacle, at Silo, &c.  H. The northern tribes might meet him at Bethel; those on the east of the Jordan, at Galgala, of Benjamin; and the tribes of Juda, Simeon, and Dan, might have an opportunity of hearing the holy prophet, and decide their controversies, at Masphath.  C. Thus Samuel gave an excellent instruction to pastors and governors, to watch over their people.  H.


Ver. 17.  Ramatha; his native place.  His high office would not allow him to remain always near the tabernacle.  C. i. 11. and 28.  C. Lord, by his direction, (M.) both to satisfy his own devotion, and that he might consult the Lord when the people wanted advice.  C.







Ver. 1.  Old.  Houbigant would translate, “when he ws growing old,” senesceret, as he supposes he was  now nearly sixty, having judged about twenty-five years, and living another twenty as partner with Saul.  Prol. lxii.  See C. vii. 15.  H. Judges, as his delegates in the southern parts of the country.  C. Josephus says one of them was stationed at Bethel.  Ant. vi. 3.


Ver. 2.  In, or “as far as” Bersabee, from Dan, that is, throughout Palestine.  C.


Ver. 3.  Judgment.  Samuel was not to blame, and hence he was not punished like Heli.  M. However, the misconduct of the children of these two judges, in succession, (H.) gave occasion to the people to demand a king, who might not be tempted by bribes.  W. It is surprising that most of the great men who are mentioned in history, had degenerate children.  C. Such were some of David’s sons, as well as Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, &c.  H. Was it because their fathers were too much taken up with the affairs of state, to watch over the education of their children? or rather, because these young men confided too much on the merits of their family, and took no pains to tread in the footsteps of their parents?  C. “We have here, says Josephus, a manifest proof that children do not always resemble their parents, but sometimes good men spring from the wicked; and on the contrary, the virtuous have an evil progeny.”


Ver. 5.  Judge us, in a different manner from what had been hitherto done.  H. By a crying ingratitude, they reject the government of a wise old man, who had rendered them the most signal services.  Perhaps the power of Naas, king of the Ammonites, might afford them some pretext for acting as they did.  C. As all, &c.  They seem to prefer the dominion of kings, who ruled over the surrounding barbarous nations as they thought proper, (H.) before one who should be tied down to observe the laws, prescribed by God, (M.) in case the Israelites should wish to have a king.  Deut. xvii.  H. In the East, monarchy was the most ancient form of government.  Tacit. Hist. iv.  Just. i.  “Principio, imperium penes Reges erat.”


Ver. 6.  Samuel.  Nothing could be more disrespectful to him, nor more ungrateful to God, who had distinguished them from all other nations, and had taken the government upon himself, and appointed the judges as his lieutenants.  The foolish Israelites wished to throw off this sweet yoke, and to be ruled in an arbitrary manner, like the infidels, as if God could not otherwise protect them from their enemies. Lord.  Josephus says that he passed the night without food or sleep, and the Lord appeared to him.  The will or petition “of the people, filled Samuel with great uneasiness, who on account of his innate justice, did not like the regal power, as being to exorbitant.  He rather approved of an aristocracy, as more conducive to the welfare of the people.”  Ant. vi. 4.  He means such an aristocracy as the Israelites had been accustomed to, under the guidance of men divinely commissioned, whence he elsewhere very properly styles it a theocracy, or “the government of God.”  H.


Ver. 7.  Thee.  “God, in anger, grants a person what he desires wrongfully.”  S. Aug. He permits the people to follow their own plans; and the Hebrews believe, that he gave them Saul to punish them, being well apprised of his proud and cruel nature.  Cuneus Rep.  C. Rejected, &c.  The government of Israel hitherto had been a theocracy: in which God himself immediately ruled, by laws which he had enacted, and by judges extraordinarily raised up by himself: and therefore he complains that his people rejected him, in desiring a change of government, (Ch). and wishing to appoint their own magistrates.  The priests and judges had been commissioned by God.  Ex. xix.  Deut. xvii.  W.


Ver. 8.  Thee.  He comforts Samuel, by observing that it was not so much any fault of his, as the people’s habitual fickle temper, which made them seek for this change.  M.


Ver. 9.  The right.  That is, the manner (mishpat) after which he shall proceed, having no one to control him, when he has the power in his hands.  Ch. He intimates that the kings will frequently act in a tyrannical manner, v. 11.  M. But the holy Fathers observe, that herein they do what is unjust, and contrary to God’s law. S. Gregory remarks, that Achab is punished for taking the vineyard of Naboth, (3 K. xxi.) while David will not take a piece of ground belonging to Ornan, even for an altar, without first paying a just price for it.  1 Par. xxi. 25.  Some of these rights or customs are prohibited to the king.  Deut. xvii. 16.  It is true, kings enjoy great prerogatives above judges, but never contrary to the law.  They cannot take their subjects’ goods: but the latter are bound to contribute to the maintenance of government; and, if they refuse, may be compelled.  If kings should be guilty of excesses, “yet them are not to be deposed by the people,…but must be tolerated with patience, peace, and meekness, till God, by his sovereign authority, left in his Church, dispose of them, which his divine wisdom and goodness often deferred to do, as here he expressly forewarneth, (v. 18) because he will punish the sins of the people by suffering evil princes to reign.”  Job xxxiv. 30.  Conc. Later. c. iii. de hœret.  W.  See S. Thomas, 2. 2. q. 12. a. 2. We may here also remark, that the people petitioned for a king, yet God made the choice; and, when he proved rebellious, selected another by the hand of Samuel, though he permitted the former to enjoy his dignity till death.  C. xiii. and xxxi.  H. Grotius (Jur. i. 1. and 4.) maintains that Samuel here proposes the just rights of the king, and that the prince has a greater right to any one’s personal property, for the public good, than he has himself.  In effect, the eastern kings regarded their subjects as slaves.  But those who governed the Hebrews were to follow a different conduct; and Samuel is so far from approving of what some of them would do, that he mentions their tyranny, in order to dissuade the people from what they so inconsiderately requested.  C. The misconduct of rulers, is one of the most trying inconveniences to which a nation can be exposed.  In such circumstances, “bear, say a pagan historian, (H.) with the luxury and avarice of those who hold dominion, as with other natural evils.  There will be vices as long as men subsist, but neither will these continue for ever, and they are compensated by the intervention of better things or men.”  Meliorum interventu pensantur.  Tacit. Grotius at last seems to conclude, (Sup. c. iv. p. 97) that the right of the king here specified is only apparent, in as much as it includes “the obligation of making no resistance.”  H.


Ver. 11.  Chariots; to be drivers, (M.) or will make them fight from them. Footmen, or guards.  Xenophon places 4000 armed with bucklers before, and 2000 with lances all round the chariot of Cyrus.  See C. xxii. 17.


Ver. 12.  Centurions, or body-guards.  M. These offices might be honourable, but at the same time disagreeable, when people were forced to accept of them, and to neglect their more pleasing agricultural employment.  The multitude of officers increases the expenses of the prince, and falls heavy upon the people.  C.


Ver. 14.  Vineyards, as Achab did, though he first proposed to buy it.


Ver. 15.  Tenth.  God had already claimed one tithe, which he had abandoned to his sacred ministers.  We do not read that the kings of the Hebrews ever claimed (C.) a second tithe precisely, (H.) though they might have done it b the example of other kings.  Lev. xxvii. 30.  Joseph had asserted the fifth part of the revenues of Egypt for its monarchs.  Gen. xlvii. 26. Eunuchs.  Heb. saris, denotes an officer of the court.  It was not lawful for the Israelites to make any eunuchs, but they might employ foreigners.


Ver. 16.  Goodliest, in strength (C.) and beauty.  M. Solomon made his people work at his buildings, and David employed an officer in the fields, 1 Par. xxvii. 26.  Sept. have read in a different manner, “He will tithe…your excellent droves of oxen.”  C. They also specify, “the tithe of asses for his work.”  H.


Ver. 17.  Servants, or slaves.  The Hebrews enjoyed greater liberty than any of the nations in the East, yet they are styled slaves.  C. xvii. 8.  They were nearly on the same footing as the ancient Germans.  “Each governed in his own place of abode.  The Lord requires of them a quantity of corn, cattle, or clothing, and so far the slave obeys;” servus hactenus paret.  Tacit. Germ.  The Hebrews were also bound to follow the king to battle.  The Egyptians, Persians, &c. were under greater oppression.  Herodotus (iii. 31,) informs us, that when Cambyses designed to marry his own sister, his counsellors replied, that they found no express law to this effect; but there was another, “that the king of Persia may do whatever he please.”  The highest officers, and even his brothers, were styled, “slaves, Douloi, of the great king.”  Arist. Mund.


Ver. 18.  The face, privately; for even groans will not be free.  M. The event justified this prediction, as  most of the kings of the Hebrews ruled like tyrants, and what was worse, engaged their subjects in idolatry, and drew down the heaviest judgments upon them.  C. Hear you, so as to deliver you from oppression, though he is always willing to hear those who truly repent.  W.


Ver. 19.  Over us.  The populace is generally inconstant, and fond of changes.  M.


Ver. 20.  Nations.  We are neither better nor worse than the rest.  What extravagance! for a people to abandon a state of happiness, and the dominion of God, and to prefer the service of a man!  C. For us.  This was the pretext, as Naas threatened them with war.  C. xii. 12.  M.







Ver. 1.  Abiel, who is also called Ner.  1 Par. viii. 33.  Cajetan. Strong.  Heb. “a mighty man of power,” either of body, or of riches.


Ver. 2.  Goodlier, better proportioned, more handsome, (H.) as the daughters of men are styled good, or fair.  Gen. vi. 1.  People seek for corporal advantages in those who command.  The poets always represent their deities and heroes as taller than the rest of men.  A king of Sparta was fined for marrying a little woman.  Arist. Polit. iv.  The Ethiopians give their highest offices to those who have the most engaging appearance.  Herod. iii. 20.  C. Little people may be elegant, but never majestic or perfectly beautiful.  Arist. Ethic. iv. 3.  M. Choice, is taken in the same sense as goodly, and does not intimate that Saul was one of the elect.  Carthus.


Ver. 3.  Asses.  The greatest noblemen rode upon such.  Judges v. 10.  A prince of Esau fed asses.  Gen. xxx. 24.  Agriculture, and keeping sheep, were the employment of men of the first eminence in the heroic ages, as hunting and other equally laborious exercises are now in fashion.  C.


Ver. 4.  Salisa, the ancient Segor, (M.) or rather a place 15 miles from Diospolis.  Euseb. Salim, or Sual, not far from Galgal.  C. xiii. 17.


Ver. 5.  Suph, where Ramatha, the birth-place of Samuel, was situated.  C. i. 1.  C.


Ver. 6.  Famous.  Chal. “honourable.”  Sept. “covered with glory.”  The observations of a servant may often claim attention.  Saul seemed to be less acquainted with this extraordinary personage than his servant.   H.


Ver. 7.  What.  Were they uninformed of the disinterestedness of Samuel? or did they think that he would sell his oracles?  By no means.  But the manners of the ancients were very different from ours, and people chose to shew their respect for God, the king, prophets, &c. by making them some presents.  People still never go to visit one another in Syria without something of the kind, as it would be deemed uncivil or cruel to act otherwise.  See 3 K. xiv. 1.  Mic. iii. 11. Bread.  They would have made a present of some.  Saul received two loaves.  C. x. 4.  See C. xvi. 20.  Hence we may form some idea of the beautiful simplicity of those ages.  People were then forced to carry their own provisions, as there were no inns which supplied any.  C. Present.  Sportula means a little basket.  H. But here it is taken for a present, as meat was commonly given.  M. Cyrus sent his friends geese half eaten, from his own table, for greater distinction.  Xenop.  H. Heb. “what have we?”  Syr. “we have none of our provisions left.”  C.


Ver. 8.  Silver.  About seven-pence English. Stater, (H.) is put instead of Heb. “sicle.”  M.


Ver. 9.  A seer.  Because of his seeing, by divine light, hidden things, and things to come, (Ch). by inspiration.  W. They had the things which they foretold so clearly in view.  The Sybil cries out,

Bella, horrida bella.

            Et Tiberim multo spumantem sanguine cerno.  Virg.

The Egyptians had their “seers of the gods.”  Manetho. Balaam styles himself “the man seeing visions.”  Num. xxiv. 4. 16.  Some suppose that Samuel wrote this towards the close of his life, when the title of prophet was become more common, though the former was in use many years afterwards.  1 Par. xxi. 9.  2 Par. xvi. 10.  Others think that this verse was added by Esdras, &c.


Ver. 11.  Water, perhaps for the sacrifice.  Thus Fab. Victor says, “Rhea, according to the established custom, by which young women went to draw water for the sacrifices, proceeded to the fountain in the grove of Mars.”  C.


Ver. 12.  A sacrifice.  The law did not allow of sacrifices in any other place, but at the tabernacle, or temple, in which the ark of the covenant was kept; but Samuel, by divine dispensation, offered sacrifices in other places.  For which dispensation this reason may be alleged, that the house of God in Silo, having lost the ark, was now cast off; as a figure of the reprobation of the Jews.  Psal. lxxvii. 60. 67.  And in Cariathiarim, where the ark was, there was neither tabernacle, nor altar.  Ch. At least that of Moses was in the tabernacle.  See C. vi. 21.  H. Samuel was just come up to the city, from a place called Naiot, where he instructed some of the prophets. , C. xix. 19.  The maids point him out to Saul; and God, at the same time, reveals to his prophet, that the person who addressed him should be king.  C. The high place.  Excelsum.  The excelsa, or high places, so often mentioned in Scripture, were places of worship, in which were altars for sacrifice.  These were sometimes employed in the service of the true God, as in the present case: but more frequently in the service of idols, and were called Excelsa, which is commonly (though perhaps not so accurately) rendered high places; not because they were always upon hills, for the very worst of all, which was that of Topheth, or Geennom, (Jer. xix.) was in a valley; but because of the high altars, and pillars, or monuments erected there, on which were set up the idols, or images of their deities; (Ch). so that they might be called “the high things.”  H. Before Solomon built the temple, from the time that the tabernacle was deprived of the honour of having the ark, people immolated on such heights, 3 K. iii. 2.  M. On one of these, at Ramatha, Samuel was going to offer a peace-offering, and to feast with the heads of the city, (C.) or perhaps of the nation, who were expecting the result of his consultation of the Lord, respecting their petition of a king.  H.


Ver. 13.  The victim, begging the blessing, which was the office of the most honourable person at table, as he also gave thanks for all.  C.


Ver. 14.  Midst.  That is, simply in the city, or entering the gate, where Samuel met them, v. 18.


Ver. 15.  Ear, privately.  C. Thus Jonathan promised to give David private information.  C. xx. 13.  H.


Ver. 16.  Ruler.  Heb. Nagid, “Leader.”  Sept. “Archon.”  Chal. “King.”  The Israelites demanded a king, to lead them, and to fight for them; and Homer (Iliad iii.) gives this idea of the chief magistrate, “a good king and stout warrior,” which Alexander so much admired. Philistines.  They had been repressed by Samuel; but they had begun to gain the ascendancy, so as not to suffer the Israelites to have a blacksmith among them, &c.  Saul gained some victories over them, and over the other enemies of his people, towards the beginning of his reign.  C. xiii. and xiv.  C. To me.  God threatened that he would not hear them, when they should grow weary (H.) of their king.  C. viii. 18.  But he protects his people against the efforts of their foreign enemies.  M. Oppression of the innocent cries to heaven for vengeance.  W.


Ver. 18.  Gate.  Sept. “city.”  Chal. “within the gate,” where business was transacted.


Ver. 19.  Place, while Samuel retired, for a while, to his own house.  He sends Saul to the assembly, (C.) where he would meet him to dine.  H. Heart, or desirest to know.  M.


Ver. 20.  Best.  The regal power, which all desired.  Heb. “to or on whom is all the desire of Israel?”  Any great felicity is called a desire, as the Messias, the spouse in the Canticle, v. 16.  Ag. ii. 8.  Sept. “to whom the beautiful things of Israel?”


Ver. 21.  Jemini, or Benjamin, which was always one of the smallest tribes, and, since the unfortunate war, still more reduced; so that none of the other tribes could well take umbrage, or be filled with jealousy, when they saw a king selected from it. Last.  Though all were equally noble, yet some families were more numerous, possessed greater riches, or had filled the posts of honour more frequently than others.  Nothing can be more charming than the modesty of Saul on this occasion.  C. Happy would he have been, had he continued always to cherish the like sentiments.  H. He and his posterity might then have long enjoyed the regal dignity.  C. xiii. 13.  M.


Ver. 22.  At the head.  Sept. “among the first of those…seventy men,” which number Josephus also has instead of 30.  Saul’s servant was probably an Israelite, who had hired himself for a time.  The first place, at the head of the table, was the most honourable.  Luke xiv. 8.  The king of Persia placed his most trusty friend at his left hand, and those of the highest dignity, in order at his right.  Cyropæd. vii. &c.  C.


Ver. 24.  Shoulder.  It was the left, (M.) as the right shoulder belonged to the priest, and laymen were not allowed to taste of it after it had been offered in sacrifice.  Lev. vii. 32.  Some suppose that Samuel had this right shoulder for his portion.  But he was not a priest.  C. This part was assigned to the most eminent man at table; and Josephus calls it “the royal portion.”  M. Heb. “the shoulder, and what was upon it, (or he held it up) and set it (the whole quarter) before Saul.”  Aquila, &c. translate “the thigh,” left or reserved.  Sept. “laid by.”  It was then the fashion to place large pieces of meat before those who were to be most honoured.  Gen. xviii. 6.  Homer, &c. People.  Heb. “till now it has been ket for thee, I said, I have invited the people.”  He insinuates that he knew of his coming, though it seemed so accidental, even when he invited the company.  Sept. “eat, for it is placed before thee, as a memorial, by the people, cut it in pieces.”  H. As the shoulder supports a burden, so the king was reminded to maintain the interests of the commonwealth.  M.


Ver. 25.  House, probably giving him some instructions respecting his future dignity. As he, &c.  This seems to be a second translation of the former sentence, taken from the Sept.  It is omitted in several Latin MSS.  C. Sept. “and he went down from the Bama (perhaps “the steps” or high places, where the sacrifice and feast had been celebrated) into the city; and they made a bed for Saul, on the house top; and he lay down, (26) and when the day dawned, Samuel,” &c.  The roofs are flat in those countries, and such an airy situation would be most agreeable in such hot climates.  H. The common people, generally, only spread a mat on the ground, and covered themselves with a sheet; to take their rest, either under a gallery, or in the open air.  Homer places his strangers, with their upon the ground under the gallery, which was erected before the house.  Aristophanes (in Vespis) mentions the custom of sleeping on the house top.  See 2 K. xvi. 22.  C. Saul had not been educated with the greatest delicacy.  M.


Ver. 27.  Before us, and.  Heb. (“and he passed on,”) agreeably to his master’s order.  H.



1 KINGS 10




Ver. 1.  Vial, in the form of a lentil.  Plin. xviii. 12. Oil.  This anointing seems to have been peculiar to the kings, priests, and prophets of the Hebrews, who prefigured Jesus, the great anointed of God.  S. Aug. in Ps. xliv.  The custom was very ancient.  Judg. ix. 8.  It is thought that those kings, who succeeded their fathers by their birth-right, and without opposition, did not receive any unction.  C. But the silence of Scripture is no proof on this head; and the Fathers seem to be convinced that the custom subsisted till Christ appeared.  S. Just. dial. &c.  H. The Rabbins pretend that the sacred ointment was used for the kings of Juda, but not for those of Israel.  It is not probable that it was used for either.  Ex. xxx. 32.  3 K. i. 39.  We read that Jehu was anointed king of Israel; (4 K. ix. 6,) and we may suppose that common oil was used, in his regard, as well as for the other kings.  The perfume or balm of Judea, does not spot the garments on which it may fall.  Plin. xii. 25.  It was poured  on the head; the Rabbins say in the from of a crown, (C.) or cross.  H. But this is uncertain.  The ceremony has been preserved, with respect to Christian kings, who, according to Innocent I, should be anointed on the shoulders and arms, while prelates receive the unction on the head. Kissed him, out of respect.  Ps. ii. 12.  C. Behold.  Heb. “Is it not because?” &c.  H. And thou…prince.  All this is wanting in the Heb. &c.  But it is conformable to the Vat. Sept.; (C.) the Alex. has “to be prince over his people, over Israel? and thou shalt rule over the people of the Lord, and shalt save it from its enemies around;” as we have explained.  C. ix. 16.  H. Saul was anointed with a small vessel, to signify that his kingdom should not subsist long; and with oil, to remind him of mercy, light, and health to his people.  S. Greg.  W.


Ver. 2.  Rachel, near Bethlehem.  Gen. xxxv. 16. South.  Sept. or “mid-day.”  Heb. Tseltsach, is very obscure.  Some take it for a proper name.  C. Prot. “at Zelzah.”  Others for some musical instrument, as if these travellers were “dancing,” as the Sept. insinuate, and playing on musical instruments, like the prophets, v. 5.  It does not appear how Saul would come near Bethlehem, in his journey from Ramatha to Gabaa, unless Ramatha lay more to the south that it is represented, which is could not do, being in the tribe of Ephraim; so that we might translate the Heb. “Thou wilt find two men of Zelzelach, a place near the tomb of Rachel, on the borders of Benjamin, and they,” &c.


Ver. 3.  Thabor, very distant from the famous mountain (C.) in Zabulon.  M. Bethel.  Where there was at that time an altar of God; it being one of the places where Samuel judged Israel, (Ch.) and which had always been considered as a place of devotion, since Jacob had his vision.  Gen. xxviii. 19.  It lay to the east of Gabaa, so that Saul might easily meet these pilgrims.  C. Wine, for libations, as the other things were for a sacrifice and feast, as well as for presents to the officiating priests.


Ver. 4.  Hand.  They would be very acceptable to Saul, who had none.  The strangers might suppose that they could purchase more at Bethel.  C.


Ver. 5.  The hill of God.  Gabaa, in which there was also at that time, a high place or altar.  Ch. The prophets were not molested by the infidels, in performing their devotions, as people consecrated to the Lord, who do not meddle with war, are privileged by the consent of nations.  Grot. Jur. iii. 11. 10.  C. Prophets.  These were men whose office it was to sing hymns and praises to God; for such in holy writ are called prophets, and their singing praises to God is called prophesying.  See 1 Par. alias 1 Chron. xv. 22. and xxv. 1.  Now there were in those days colleges, or schools for training up these prophets; and it seems there was one of these schools at this hill of God; and another at Naioth in Ramatha.  See 1 Samuel xix 20. 21. &c.  Ch. The Jews say there were in every city of Judea congregations of this nature.  They lived like monks, abstaining, for the most part, from marriage, though some had children, 4 K. iv. 1.  They had a superior at their head, to whom God frequently revealed future things.  The rest were instructed how to explain the prophecies, to compose and sing canticles.  Some of them were inspired, like Saul, only for a time.  It is supposed that Samuel instituted these colleges, and this is the first time we find them mentioned.  C. They were of infinite service in preserving the true religion.  H.


Ver. 6.  Spirit of piety.  M. Man.  Thou shalt act, and entertain sentiments worthy of a great prince, (C.) and be no longer employed in rustic works.  M. Cape regis animum et in istam fortunam, qua dignus es, istam continentiam profer.  “Adopt the sentiments of a king, said the deputies of Alexander to Abdalonymus, but carry along with you this moderation, when you assume the dignity which you deserve to enjoy.”  Curtius iv.


Ver. 7.  Find.  Undertake any enterprise, how difficult soever, which God may propose to thee.  C.


Ver. 8.  Galgal.  Here also by dispensation was an altar of God.  Ch. To do.  Saul went thither, after the victory which he had obtained over the Ammonites, when he was confirmed in his dignity.  C. xi. 14.  But the mention of seven days, seems to indicate that Samuel is here speaking of that event, when the war against the Philistines was at hand, and Saul neglected to wait the appointed term, before he ventured to offer sacrifice.  C. xiii. 8.  C. Some think that Samuel engages always to meet him at Galgal, on any important business, within the space of seven days.  Serar. Others translate, “I will be at Galgal with thee, and we will offer sacrifices, for seven days.”  C. Prot. “I will come down to thee to offer burnt-offerings,” &c. which is conformable to the Sept.  Indeed Saul was probably blamed for offering the victims himself.  H. Obedience was enjoined him to try his humility.  S. Greg.  W.


Ver. 11.  Prophets.  This proverb received a fresh confirmation, when Saul was going to seize David, and was forced by the Spirit to join with the college of prophets, in singing God’s praises.  C. xix. ult.  H. It may be applied to those who are unexpectedly raised to a high dignity, or enabled to speak or to do extraordinary things, like the apostles, when they spoke various languages &c.  Delrio adag. 178.  C.


Ver. 12.  Their father.  That is, their teacher or superior.  As much as to say, Who could bring about such a wonderful change as to make Saul a prophet? (Ch.) but the Lord, whose Spirit breatheth where he will.  Jo. iii. 8.  H. Sept. “Who is his father? is it not Cis?”  The Jews seem to have been in a like consternation, when they observed respecting Jesus, who wrought such miracles, Is not this the carpenter’s son?  People are unwilling to reflect, that God can select his instruments and ministers from every profession, and make the tongues of infants eloquent.  H. The spirit of prophecy is a gift of God, not of parents.  M. But a prophet is not without honour, save in his own country.  Mat. xiii. 57.  H.


Ver. 13.  Place.  Returning to his father’s house, after the Spirit had ceased to inspire him, and the prophets had retired home.  His relations, suspecting something more than common had been revealed to Saul by Samuel, began to ask him questions: but he had the prudence to keep (C.) his secret to himself, either in obedience to Samuel’s injunction, when he sent the servant before, (H.) or out of humility, (M.) or to prevent the dangers of envy from his own kindred.  Josephus.


Ver. 17.  Lord, who always presided over such assemblies.  This was convened to elect a king, whom God pointed out by lots.  Some assert that the ark, and the high priest, in his pontifical ornaments, were present.  C. Adrichomius says Maspha was only three hours’ walk from Cariathiarim.  M.


Ver. 19.  Families.  Lots were first drawn to determine the tribe, then to find out which of the great families, and which house, was to give a king to Israel.  H. See Jos. vii. 14.  M. God was pleased thus to convince them that the election proceeded from him.  S. Greg.  W.


Ver. 21.  Metri.  We find none of this name, 1 Par. viii. 1.  It is probably a title which some of the great patriarchs of Benjamin had acquired by shooting, as Metri means “an archer or bowman.”  C.


Ver. 22.  Home.  Heb. “he hath hidden himself among the stuff,” (H.) instruments, or baggage, at Masphath.  He acted thus out of modesty, judging himself unfit for the exalted dignity, (C.) and shewed that he did not seek for it.  M.


Ver. 23.  Upwards.  God condescended to gratify the desires of the people, who chiefly regarded the stature and corporal qualifications of their king.  “Many nations are accustomed to look with veneration on a majestic person, and think none are capable of great exploits except those whom nature has made very handsome.”  Curtius vi.  See C. ix. 2.  More civilized nations rather consider the qualities of the mind.  Alexander, Agesilaus, &c. were not of a majestic stature.


Ver. 24.  King.  Our favourite song, “God save,” &c. is an amplification of this sentiment.  H.


Ver. 25.  Before the Lord.  It seems that the ark was therefore present.  This record of Samuel is lost, so that we cannot determine what laws he prescribed on this occasion.  C. Josephus (vi. 5.) says that he wrote and read in the hearing of all, and in the presence of the king, what evils would ensue under the regal government; and deposited the writing in the tabernacle, that the truth of the prediction might be ascertained.  He probably alludes to the denunciation of tyranny, which had been made C. viii. and which he says Samuel repeated on this occasion.  But the prophet would also take a copy of the law of the kingdom, prescribed by Moses, (Deut. xvii.) and deliver it to Saul, that he might make it the rule of his conduct, and not imitate the wicked customs of tyrants.  H. The whole process of this memorable event he would also write down, (M.) as we read it at present in this chapter, placing it in the proper order, as a continuation of the sacred history which Moses and Josue had commenced; and like them, depositing the sacred volume beside the ark, or in the tabernacle.  See Jos. xxiv. 26.  H.


Ver. 26.  Touched; to consider the appointment of Saul, as his act.  Afterwards they retired home, and the new king returned to his wonted occupations.  The army here denotes part of the assembly, as the young men came with their leaders ready, if called, to march to battle.  Ex. vi. 26.  Deut. xx. 9.  C.


Ver. 27.  Belial; seditious men, perhaps of the tribe of Ephraim, (Judg. xii.) or of Juda, to whom the regal power seemed to belong.  Gen. xlix.  Salien. Presents, in testimony of their submission.  See Judg. iii. 15.  3 K. iv. 21.  The eastern kings still expect that ambassadors should bring noble presents, otherwise they deem themselves insulted.  P. Martyr. Subjects dare not appear before their king, in Thrace, without some such offering.  Xenophon, Anab. vii. &c.  C. Not.  He knew that the throne is established by mercy.  Prov. xx. 28.  Hence he chose to pardon these discontented people after he had obtained the victory, and was even solicited to make an example of them.  Salien, A. 2962. Severity might have alienated the minds of many, as he was hardly yet confirmed in his dignity, and the war against Ammon was threatening.  M.



1 KINGS 11




Ver. 1.  After this.  So far is omitted in the Heb. &c. but we find it in most editions of the Sept. and in Josephus.  C. Fight.  He had threatened an invasion before, and had perhaps (H.) attacked some of the tribes on the east side of the Jordan, and treated them with the same cruelty as he intended for those of Jabes, which was a city of the first consequence.  Josephus,  vi. 5. Naas, “a serpent.”  There was a king of this country of the same name, in the days of David.  The people had been quiet since Jephte had made such havoc among them, about ninety years before.  Judg. xi.  C. Covenant.  They were willing to pay him tribute.  But it seems they had offered  him some insult, which made the king resolve to punish them more severely.  They make no mention of Saul, as they did not wish to let the king know of his election; (Salien) and perhaps had no great confidence in him, (H.) as he was not yet fully confirmed in his dignity, (C.) and had let a whole month pass without taking any measures for the deliverance of his country, though it was on that pretext that he was elected.  H. They considered what had passed as of no consequence.  C. xii. 12.


Ver. 2.  Eyes:  strange proposal!  He would not render them quite blind, that he might not be deprived of their service.  But he wished to render them unfit for war, (C.) as the buckler covers the left eye; (Josephus) and people who shoot with bow and arrow, keep it closed.  C.


Ver. 3.  Days.  We have examples of similar requests in history.  Grot. Jur. iii. 23.  See Judith vii. 23.


Ver. 4.  Of Saul.  Sept. “to Saul,” which may remove the surprise of Abulensis, that the king is not mentioned.  Salien. Saul was absent at the time, so that they made known the threatening danger to the people.


Ver. 5.  Field.  So David fed sheep, even after he was anointed king.  The ancients had very different sentiments of royalty from what we have.  Their kings and great men did not esteem it beneath them to cultivate the earth.  Several of them wrote on the subject.

Jura dabat populis, posito modo prætor aratro,

            Pascebatque suas ipse Senator oves.  Ovid, Fast. i.

Many of the most eminent Roman generals were taken from the plough.  C. Xenophon introduces the younger Cyrus, saying, “Many of these trees were planted with my own hands.”  Cicero. Senect. 17.


Ver. 6.  Spirit of fortitude, prudence, and zeal.  H.


Ver. 7.  Oxen, with which he had been ploughing. Pieces.  Heb. does not say that he sent them; and Josephus intimates, that he only “hamstrung them, and sent messengers,” &c.  H. But such actions are far more impressive than words.  See Judg. xix 29.  Act. xxi. 10. &c.  C. Samuel.  Saul adds the name of the prophet, as the people had still great confidence in him, and he always acted as God’s envoy.  H. Oxen.  He does not threaten capital punishment, but insinuates that both duty and interest require the presence of all.  Salien. Of the Lord; that is, a great fear: (C.) or, God moved the people to shew a ready obedience and reverence to their king’s commands.


Ver. 8.  Bezec, where Adonibezec had reigned, (Judg. i.  M.) near the place where they crossed the Jordan, a little below Scythopolis, to go to Jabes, which was about thirty miles distant.  C. Thousand.  Josephus makes the army consist of 770,000, who were collected at Bala.  Sept. have 600,000 of Israel; and they agree with this author, in allowing also 70,000 to Juda alone.  But this is a larger army than what came out of Egypt, and exceeds the limits of probability, unless all assembled, as the preceding verse seems (H.) to insinuate; (M.) and we find far greater numbers, 2 Par. xiii. 3. 17, if no (H.) error have there crept in.  Kennicott.


Ver. 9.  Hot.  Josephus says, Saul “being seized with the divine spirit, ordered them to inform the citizens of Jabes, that he would come to their assistance on the third day, and rout the enemy before the sun arose.”  But the message of which the Scripture here speaks, (H.) was sent from Bezec.  Saul, in effect, came upon the Ammonites unawares before it was light, gained a complete victory, (C.) and then pursued the fugitives till noon.


Ver. 10.  To you, Naas, (H.) which they speak in irony, and that the enemy may be off his guard.  C. We must thus deceive our passions, that we may not be blinded (H.) or slain by them.  S. Greg. v. 1. in Reg.  W.


Ver. 11.  Camp.  It was not then customary to throw up any fortifications, but only to place sentinels in all the avenues. Watch, which ended at sunrise.  C.


Ver. 12.  Them.  It seems there were but few discontented persons.  Salien. They address themselves to Samuel, who they knew had not regarded their request of a king with approbation, as if to give him a little mortification.  But he makes a proposal of confirming the election with still greater solemnity, if they persevered in their resolution, (H.) as he intimated they might still recede, (C.) and be content with the former mode of government, as being far better.  H.


Ver. 15.  They made.  Sept. “and there (again the prophet; Josephus) Samuel anointed Saul king.”  The same ceremonies as  had been used before, except the casting of lots, were here repeated, particularly the solemn anointing, (Salien) whence, in the following chapter, (v. 3) Saul is styled the anointed.  M. The Lord.  His ark was probably present, and the priests to offer victims.  Salien, A. 2963.



1 KINGS 12




Ver. 1.  You.  He speaks with the authority of a prophet, (C.) and takes this opportunity to draw from the whole people a confession of his integrity, that the kings might follow the pattern which he had set them.  H.


Ver. 2.  Goeth, as your leader, according to your request.  I am like a private man, (C.) willing to submit to his and the people’s judgment, (H.) though it could not be required.  M. Grey-headed.  This he might be at the age of sixty, which most chronologers allow him, (H.) as he had been at the head of affairs from his early years, in most difficult times.  T. With you.  As soon as I heard of your complaints, I deprived them of their power, so that you cannot blame me from their misconduct.  If they were guilty, they may stand their trial before the king.  C.


Ver. 3.  Anointed, “Christ,” as the anointing of kings prefigured that of the Messias, which, in Hebrew, has the same import as the word cristoV has in Greek.  C. Wronged.  Lit. “by calumny,” or by any other mode of oppression.  H. Despise.  Heb. “hide my eyes,” through confusion.  C. Prot. “to blind my eyes therewith.”  H. Sept. have read nalim, “shoes,” instead of anlim.  C. “Have I taken from the hand of any one a preset, to render me favourable, so much as a shoe?  (upodema, or latchet) answer against me,” &c.  H.


Ver. 6.  Made, and appointed them to rule the people.  Jerem. xxxvii. 15.  Le Clerc. Egypt.  Sept. add, “is witness;” and some Latin copies have, “is present.”  C.


Ver. 7.  Stand up, like people cited to the bar.  Having undergone his own trial with applause, Samuel shews that the people will not come off so well at the tribunal of God, whom they had treated with greater disrespect, injustice, and ingratitude than they had himself, as he convinced them by an astonishing and terrible storm.  H. Kindness.  Sept. “justice,” as the same Heb. word implies both.  God had treated his people with mercy and with justice (C.) alternately.  H.


Ver. 9.  Hasor.  See Judg. iv. 1. Moab.  Jephte delivered the people from the hands of the Ammonites, who claimed all that country.  Judg. xi. 15.  Eglon had been slain by Aod, before the Chanaanites enslaved Israel.  C.


Ver. 11.  Jerobaal and Badan.  That is, Gedeon and Samson, called here Badan or Bedan, because he was of Dan.  Ch.  Chald. &c.  W. Others think that Jair, (Judg. x. 3.  Junius, Usher,) or, according to the Sept. “Barac,” are designated.  Jair was a descendant of one Bedan, 1 Par. ii. 21.  C. But we do not read that Jair performed any great exploit.  H. Samuel.  He speaks of himself as of any other man: as the interests of God were not to be betrayed by an unseasonable modesty.  C. Josephus only specifies Jephte and Gedeon.  H. The Israelites thought that they could dispose things better than God had done under the judges; and hence their sin is so often repeated.  S. Greg.  W.


Ver. 13.  Desired.  S. Aug. (in Ps. li.) considers this as a kind of sarcasm.  C. You will see what advantages you will derive from your choice.  M.


Ver. 14.  Of the Lord, causing him to look upon you and treat you with indignation.  C. Sept. “and do not contend with the mouth,” or against the orders of the Lord, which cannot fail to excite his displeasure.  M. If you prove faithful under this new form of government, though it be less agreeable to God, he will still protect you.  H.


Ver. 15.  Fathers.  Sept. “king,” v. 25.  Superiors (W.) are often styled fathers.  Syr. &c. “as upon your fathers,” (C.) which is adopted by the Prot. “as it was against,” &c.  H.


Ver. 17.  Wheat-harvest.  At which time of the year it never thunders or rains in those countries.  Ch. The wheat-harvest is towards the end of June.  The usual seasons for rain are only spring and autumn.  S. Jerom in Amos iv. 7, &c. Thunder.  Lit. “voices.”  Ps. xvii. 14.  C. See.  Being fully convinced by the miracle, which declares the will of God in the clearest manner.  Though God was pleased thus to manifest his displeasure, at the people’s assuming to themselves the right of changing the established form of government, by insisting so much upon having a king at this time, we cannot hence infer, as Paine and some late seditious writers have done, that the regal power is in itself an evil.  It might be contrary to a theocracy, and still might suit the manners of some nations better than any other form.  To determine precisely what sort of government is best, would be an arduous task.  We admire our own constitution; yet our ally, the prince of the Brazils, has lately forbidden any panegyric of it to be printed in his dominions.  All innovations are, generally, attended with the most serious inconveniences.  H.


Ver. 19.  And Samuel, at whose prayer the Lord had sent such a storm, lest he should punish them as they deserved.  But the prophet alleviates their fears, and teaches them to refrain from idolatry, and he will still continue to perform his duty in praying for them, and giving them good advice.  Salien. The fear of God is increased by that which the people shew for his servants.


Ver. 20.  Following, as that would imply despair.  To come boldly before him would argue presumption.  Therefore, S. Mary Magdalene keeps at the feet of Jesus Christ.  W.


Ver. 21.  Vain and wicked idols.  Heb. thohu, full of “confusion” and disorder.


Ver. 22.  Sake.  This motive often proved the salvation of Israel.  Ex. xxxii. 12.  The Scriptures wholly tend to impress upon our  minds, a sense of our own weakness, and of God’s  infinite glory and perfection.  C. We may all say, “Our hope to rise is all from Theeour ruin’s all our own.”  Austin.


Ver. 23.  The Lord.  For a pastor to neglect instruction, is not only detrimental to the people, but injurious to God.  H. Way.  None contributed more than Samuel to keep the people within due bounds, during the reign of Saul.  C.


Ver. 25.  Together.  Sept. “shall be rejected.”  Saul soon experienced the effect of this prophetic menace; and the Jews were, at last, also cast away.  H.



1 KINGS 13




Ver. 1.  Of one year.  That is, he was good, and like an innocent child, and for two years continued in that innocency.  Ch.  S. Greg.  W. Israel.  This verse is omitted in some copies of the Sept.  It is extremely difficult to explain.  Some translate Heb. “Saul was a son of one year old,” &c.  Sym.  Others, “Saul begot a son the first year of his reign, (Raban) Isboseth, who was 40 years old when his father died, after governing all that while.  Serar. Syr. and Arab. “In the first or second year of the reign of Saul…he chose,” &c.  Hardouin supposes that the people dated their years by his reign only so long.  Some think that the Heb. is imperfect; and an ancient interpreter has, “Saul was 30 years old, when he began,” &c.  C. The Rabbins and may commentators assert, that the reign of Saul lasted only two years.  T. But some of them explain this, as if he reigned alone only that term before he was rejected, when he could only be regarded as an usurper.  Others, that he obtained the whole power for two years, after the death of Samuel.  Usher concludes that, during the incursions of the Philistines, he could hardly be said to reign, and these commenced after he had been king two years.  We might also translate, “Saul was the son of the year of his reign, (when he was confirmed at Galgal) and in the second year…he chose,” &c.  C. Perhaps the first translation, though somewhat mystical, may be the most literal, shewing that for one year Saul continued to act with the most engaging affability and moderation.  But in the second he threw off the yoke, and was, in his turn, rejected by the Lord, as we shall soon behold.  H. Scaliger seems to prefer allowing that the numeral letters have been omitted by some transcriber, and that we should read, Saul was 30 years old.  This, and similar variations, he attributes to the compendious method of using numeral letters; (Kennicott) an inconvenience very frequently attending all MSS. both sacred and profane.  Taylor.


Ver. 2.  Dwellings, from Galgal (Salien) or from some other general assembly.  C. These 3000 were to be the king’s guards, supported at the expense of the nation, that the people might begin to feel one part of the royal prerogative.  Salien, A.C. 1089.


Ver. 3.  Land.  As soon as the next cities had heard the alarm, they sounded the trumpet, and so the news was conveyed to the most distant parts, in a short time.  Judg. iii. 27. Hebrews.  Probably those “on the other side” of the Jordan, who presently came to the assistance of their brethren, v. 7.  Osiander. It might also be the usual beginning of a proclamation.  See Dan. iii. 4.  M. Sept. and Aquila have a instead of r, in hibrim.  “Let the servants (subjects) attend.”  Aq.  The slaves have rebelled,” (Sept.) meaning the Philistines, who ought to have been subject to Israel.  H.


Ver. 4.  Courage.  Heb. “and Israel was in abomination (stinking) with the Philistines.”  See Ex. vi. 21.  C. Sept. “despised as nothing the strangers.” Were should be omitted, as the verb is active, clamavit, in the Vulg. and Sept. though the Prot.  have “were called,” &c.  They shouted with alacrity, that Saul would lead them on to battle.  H. Osiander thinks that they “exclaimed against him,” for engaging them in this new war.


Ver. 5.  Chariots.  This number seems almost incredible, as the Philistines were but a contemptible nation, compared with various others which never brought so many chariots into the field.  Zara, king of Ethiopia, in his army of a million men, had only 300.  2 Par. xiv. 9.  Adarezer had 1000, and Sesac 12000 chariots, while Solomon could only boast of 1400.  Hence the Syr. and Arab. read “3000;” and it is supposed that the Heb. has im, at the end of shelosh, redundant.  Bochart, Capel, &c.  The number of horsemen would otherwise bear no proportion with the chariots.  We must also observe, that under this name the Scripture denotes those who upon the chariots.  They were drawn by two horses, and one man guided the horses, while another stood on the chariot; and in battle, eight other soldiers attended it.  These remarks will tend to explain many difficult passages, in which we read of chariots being slain and hamstrung, which may be understood of the men and horses, 2 K. viii. 4. and x. 18.  In one place we read 700, and in another 7000 chariot were slain, (1 Par. xix. 18,) the latter number comprising the 10 attendants; so here, the Philistines might have 3000 chariots, which being each accompanied with ten men, might be counted as 30,000.  C. Others think that there were 30,000 men fighting on chariots.  Lyran.  Salien. The Tyrians might have come to the assistance of their old friends, as C. vii. 10.  See 3 K. iv. 26.  M. Number.  Josephus specifies “300,000 infantry.”  H. Bethaven.  Many copies of the Sept. read, “Bethoron,” more probably, as Bethel must have been on the east of Machmas, which lay north of Gabaa, chap xiv. 5. (C.) “over-against Bethoron on the south.”  Grabe.  H. Heb. also, “having Bethaven on the east.”  Bethel was called Bethaven after the schism of Jeroboam, so that this name seems to have been substituted by a later writer, (C.) unless it might have had both names long before.  Jos. xviii. 12.  H. this is not contrary to C. vii. 13, as the Philistines had been quiet for a long time.  Heb. alom, properly denotes the term of a jubilee or 50 years.  D.


Ver. 6.  Straitened, the people from the northern provinces, and provisions being cut off, by the immense army of the Philistines. C. Providence was pleased to convince the people that, though they had been able to muster so large a force against the Ammonites, at so short a warning, they must not depend on the efforts of their new king.  H. He suffered any of the army to retire, as he sent away most of Gedeon’s soldiers, that the whole glory of the victory might be attributed to him.  Salien. Dens.  So the Chal.  Some explain the Heb. “high places (H.) or towers.”  C. Sept. “ditches or holes.”  M. BoqroiV.  In that country there are many spacious caverns.  C. xxiv.  Jos. x.  H.


Ver. 7.  Hebrews.  Sept. “the people, who came over, (the river) crossed the Jordan.”  H. The title of Hebrews, “passengers,” seems to be applied to those who lived on the east side of the river, (C.) though probably some others would seek for a retreat in that country, or even hide themselves in the regions of the Ammonites, out of which they had lately driven the inhabitants.  H. Heb. “the Hebrews passed over the Jordan, the land of,” &c.  C. Afraid.  Sept. in a sort of “ecstasy” of fear.


Ver. 8.  Of Samuel.  Yet the prophet condemns his proceedings, either because he did not wait till the expiration of the seventh day, (C.  S. Ignatius, &c.  Salien) or because he ventured to offer sacrifice himself.  Lyra. after Sulp. Serverus, &c.  H.  W. He had however the high priest with him; (C. xiv. 3,) so that he might have performed this sacred function, at the request of Saul: and we do not find that the latter is accused of sacrilege.  Salien. The magnitude of the punishment is no proof of the nature of the transgression, as God often punishes, with great severity, sins which to us might appear venial.  H. This is true, particularly with respect to those who first dare to transgress a positive command; (Num. xv. 32.  M.) as Saul seems to have done the injunction of the prophet, C. x. 8.  The regal dignity was a gratuitous gift.  Salien. With a trembling heart, we must consider how he was rejected for neglecting  to wait so short a time,” (S. Greg.) when the circumstances seems to plead so strongly in his favour.  How impenetrable are the judgments of God! and how punctually does he require his orders to be obeyed!  C.


Ver. 12.  Lord, by sacrifices. Holocaust.  Heb. “I forced myself therefore,” &c.  It is asked whether Saul offered sacrifice, or caused it to be offered by the priests.  The text seems to assert that he did it himself.  Samuel and David did the like; and we read that Solomon ascended to the brazen altar, at Gabaon, for the same purpose.  2 Par. i. 5.  If it was lawful to erect altars out of the tabernacle, notwithstanding the divine prohibition, why might not individuals also offer sacrifice on certain solemn occasions?  The Hebrew kings seem to have exercised some of the sacerdotal functions, particularly before the building of the temple; for afterwards we find one of their kings severely punished for presuming to offer incense.  4 K. xv. 5.  C. Yet the proofs that they ever lawfully offered sacrifice, are not very satisfactory, as, in the Scripture language, a person is often said to do what he enjoins another to perform on his account; and if some prophets have acted in the character of priests, by divine dispensation, we need not extend the privilege to all who have dared to assume the like prerogative.  The law is clear.  It is the duty of all who do not regulate their conduct by it, to know that they have God’s approbation.  Their expressing no scruple on the occasion, proves nothing, no more than the sacred writer’s omitting to stigmatize their proceedings.  But here, if Saul really offered the holocaust, the words of Samuel, Thou hast done foolishly, convey a sufficient reproach: but if he did not, we must suppose that he blames the neglect of waiting the full term of days.  H.


Ver. 13.  Ever.  He foresaw this want of obedience, and therefore promised the sceptre to Juda.  Gen. xlix.  M. God’s foresight of sin, and preordination to punish it, does not take away free-will nor the possibility of a reward.  S. Aug.  W.


Ver. 14.  Continue long.  This seems to have been a threat, which Saul might still have escaped, if he had not proved disobedient again.  S. Greg. says, “he might have been loosed from the bonds of his former disobedience;” prioris inobedientiæ nexus enodaret.  The second rebellion caused  him to be entirely rejected, and the prophet was ordered to go and anoint David.  C. xv.  Salien.


Ver. 15.  Samuel.  Piscator suspects that we ought to read Saul, as no mention is made of the prophet in the sequel of this war, and he is never consulted.  C. Josephus says he returned home.  H. But all the versions are conformable to the text: and Samuel went with the king and his 600 soldiers, to Gabaa, (C.) that he might not appear to retain any ill-will towards Saul, and that his followers might not be quite dispirited, as they knew that he had the thunderbolts of heaven in his hand; and if he was with them, they had nothing to fear from the myriads of their opponents.  His presence was very seasonable, for they had to cut their way through the enemy.  Salien. And the…Benjamin.  All this is omitted in Heb. Chal. and in many Greek and Latin copies.  C. It is found in the Alex. and Vat. Sept. In the hill, is a translation of Gabaa, which alone occurs in those editions.  H.


Ver. 17.  Plunder, seeing that the Israelites durst not come to an engagement.  Jonathan took advantage of their absence.  C. xiv. Land of Sual, “foxes,” not far from the birth-place of Gedeon.  Judges vi. 11.


Ver. 18.  Bethoron, the lower, to the north-west of Gabaa. Seboim was one of the cities which perished along with Sodom.  C.


Ver. 19.  Smith.  The Philistines had taken these precautions before Samuel gained the victory over them, and he consented that the people should employ the Philistines as before, when he made peace with them; (Salien) or they had again begun to get the upper hand at the beginning of Saul’s reign, as the Israelites had been long in the enjoyment of peace, and negligent.  T. Josephus extends this species of servitude only to the neighbourhood of Gabaa, and says the major part of Saul’s 600 men “was destitute of arms, because that country had neither iron nor people to make arms.”  The immense army which had so lately discomfited the Ammonites, was surely not without weapons. But most of them had retired, (H.) and those who accompanied the king might rely chiefly on their expertness in using the sling.  Judg. xx. 16.  M. The brave men who came to join David, are praised on this account, as well as for shooting with bow and arrow.  1 Par. xii. 2.  Furious battles have been also fought with sharpened stakes, burnt at the end, (Æn. vii.) and with various implements of husbandry, of which the Hebrews were not deprived.  In the defeat of Sisara, they had not a buckler nor a lance among 40,000 (Judg. v. 8.  C.) as the Philistines had already begun to deprive the Israelites of such weapons.  H. Other nations have since imitated their policy.  4 K. xxiv. 14.  Justin. i. 7.


Ver. 20.  All Israel, whom the Philistines had conquered, particularly the neighbouring tribes.  C. They were obliged to go to the places where the enemy kept garrisons, (M.) as they did at Gabaa, Bethel, &c. Share.  Sept. Syr. &c. “scythe,” or “sickle for corn;” qeristhrion.  H. The original term, macharesha, may signify all sorts of implements. Spade.  Heb. is supposed to mean, “a coulter.”  Sept. “instrument,” which the prophets often say will be turned into a sword, in times of war.  Joel iii. 15.  Mic. iv. 3. Rake.  The same generical term is used in Heb. as was before translated a plough-share.  Sept. have “scythe;” drepanon.  C.


Ver. 21.  Mended, by the Philistines.  H. The Heb. is variously translated.  “Their implements were like saws; or, they had a file to sharpen the,” &c.  C. Sept. “and the fruits were ready to be gathered.  But the vessels (instruments for labour) were three sicles for a tooth, and the same price (or station, upostasiV, a word used v. 23, in the latter sense) for an axe or a scythe;” as if the Philistines required three sicles for doing the smallest thing, when the harvest was at hand.  H.


Ver. 23.  Further.  Heb. “went out to the passage (H.) or defile of Machmas,” leading to Gabaa.  C. Sept. “and there came out of the station of the strangers, to the other side (or beyond) Machmas,” where they have been fixed.  C. vi. 11. 16.  H.



1 KINGS 14




Ver. 1.  Day, while it was yet dark.  Josephus. This action would seem rash, and contrary to military discipline, which requires that the general should be apprised of any hazardous enterprise.  C. But it is thought that Jonathan was directed by God, who granted him success.  A. Lapide. The Rabbins say, “every augury which is not like that of Eleazar and Jonathan, is null.  If they had done ill,…God would not have heard them.”  Kimchi.


Ver. 2.  Magron, a village between Gabaa and Machmas.  Isai. x. 28.  Heb. reads “Remmon,” which means “a pomegranate tree,” and denotes a famous impregnable rock, with extensive caverns, where an equal number of men had formerly saved themselves.  Judg. xx. 47.  C.  T.  M.


Ver. 3.  Ephod; or was high priest, v. 18.  Achias is called Achimelech, C. xxii. 9.  C. He had succeeded his father, Achitob, in the beginning of Saul’s reign, after the former had held the dignity twenty-two years.  Salien, A. 2962.


Ver. 6.  Uncircumcised.  The Hebrews looked upon the Gentiles as unclean and they, in their turn, spoke of the Jews  in the most contemptuous manner.  C. It may.  Lit. “if perchance.”  H. This does not express any doubt.  The hero found himself impelled to undertake this work, but he knew not by what means God would crown it with success.  He therefore prays to him in this manner, as Abraham’s servant had done.  Gen. xxiv. 12.  He does not tempt God no more than Gedeon and Moses, who begged that the Lord would manifest his will by miracles.  C. Few.  These words are often repeated, (2 Par. xiv. 11.  1 Mac. iii. 18,) and were verified.  C. xvii. 47.  Judg. vii. 4.  M.


Ver. 10.  This shall be a sign.  It is likely Jonathan was instructed by divine inspiration, to make choice of this sign; otherwise, the observation of omens is superstitious and sinful.  Ch.  M.  W.


Ver. 11.  Philistines, probably on the northern rock, as they afterwards climbed up that on the south, (C.) where they had not been discovered.  Salien.


Ver. 12.  A thing, making you pay dear for  this temerity.  Herodotus (v.) mentions, that the Peonians were commanded by the oracle not to attack the Perinthians, unless they were challenged.  They did so, and gained a complete victory.


Ver. 14.  Day.  Varro, &c. allow 120 feet, Columella only 70, for a day’s work, so that these twenty men were slain in the space of 60 or 35 feet.  Louis de Dieu rejects all the other versions, and would translate the Heb. “in almost the half of the length of a furrow, and in the breadth which is between two furrows in a field,” so that the enemy would be very close together.  Lit. “almost in the half of a furrow of a yoke of the field,” which seems rather to be understood of the length, (C.) if indeed it have any meaning.  Prot. are forced to help out the text: “within as it were a half acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plough.”  H. But a whole acre was the usual allowance.  M. Hallet observes, “the Sept. read the Heb. in a different manner, and have rendered the verse thus, ‘That first slaughter was…of about twenty men, with darts, and stones, and flints of the field:’ I suppose the read, Betsim ubomauth.”  Kennicott adds, and ubgomri, as the Arabs still use gomer, to denote “a small flint.”  Golius.  H.


Ver. 15.  Miracle.  Heb. charada, “consternation or trembling,” a panic fear, as the Philistines imagined that all the army of Israel had got into the camp.  “In the terrors sent by demons, (or superior beings) even the sons of the gods flee away.”  Pindar. Nem.  The earth quaked (C.) to increase the enemies’ apprehensions, so that those who had gone out to plunder, hearing of the disaster, which report had greatly magnified, and all the people feeling this unusual and alarming motion of the earth, perceiving that God was fighting against them, and trembled.  H.


Ver. 16.  Gabaa, where they were stationed to observe the enemies’ motions, and to give notice of them to Saul, at Remmon, v. 2.  C. Overthrown.  Heb. “melted down, (without courage) and they went crushing” one another is the narrow passes, (H.) and turning their arms against all they met.  Josephus.


Ver. 17.  Were not.  Heb. “when they had numbered, behold Jonathan, &c. not” in the number.  H.


Ver. 18.  Ark.  Sept. “the ephod.”  Kimchi, &c. Spencer follows the sentiment of the Rabbins, and explains it of a little box, in which the ephod and pectoral were placed, when they were brought to the army.  But what need of this explication?  C. How the oracle was given is uncertain.  M.


Ver. 19.  Hand.  He prayed with his hands extended.  Saul believed that God had sufficiently intimated his will, by affording such a favourable opportunity.  “The best of omens is to revenge our country’s wrongs.”  Hector. Iliad.  M. Optimis auspiciis ea geri, quæ pro Reip. salute fierent, was the observation of Q. F. Maximus. Senect.  C. Saul did not wait for God’s answer, and therefore had nearly lost his son by a rash vow, and by too eager zeal.  W.


Ver. 21.  Before; that is, for some time, as slaves.  M. Having retired to their camp, to avoid the plunderers, (C.) they rose upon their oppressors, as Christian slaves have often done upon the Turks, when a galley has been engaged, and fallen into the hands of their friends.  M. Camp.  Heb. adds, “round about,” as if they guarded the baggage, (Piscator) or had retreated thither from the environs.  C.


Ver. 22.  And there, &c.  This is not found in Heb. &c. nor in many Latin copies.  The Sept. specify the number, (v. 24) where it is not in the original.  C.


Ver. 23.  Bethaven.  They pursued the stragglers thither, as well as to Aialon, v. 31.  H.


Ver. 24.  Together.  Which interpretation is more natural (C.) than the Prot. “where distressed,…for Saul had adjured,” &c.  H. Sept. “And all the people was with Saul, about 10,000, and the war was spread through all the city in Mount Ephraim, and Saul was guilty of great ignorance that day, and he adjures (H. or cursed) the people,” &c.  He saw not that he was acting against his own interest.  The sequel does not evince that God approved of his conduct.  But the people were to be taught not to make light of oaths, nor to neglect the curses which their rulers should denounce.  C. Food.  Lit. “bread,” which comprises all sorts of food, honey, &c. (v. 25.  H.) but not drink, which might lawfully have been taken, as thirst is more difficult to bear.  M. Salien (A. 2964) defends the conduct of Saul, and condemns Jonathan.


Ver. 25.  Ground.  Even still travellers perceived the smell of honey very frequently in that country.  Maundrell. The people use honey almost in every sauce and in every repast.  Virgil assures us, that “bees dwell in holes under ground, in hollow stones, and trees.”  Georg. iv.  The Scripture frequently mentions honey flowing.  Ex. ii. 8.  Ps. lxx. 17.  Job xx. 17.

Mella fluant illi, ferat & rubus asper amomum.  Virg. Ec. iii.

Sanctius says, that in Spain, streams of honey may be seen on the ground; and Maldonet observes, that the countrymen get a livelihood by gathering it from the trees in Betica, or Andalusia.


Ver. 27.  Enlightened.  Extreme hunger and fatigue hurt the eyes.  Jer. xiv. 6.  Sanctius saw a man who through fasting lost his sight, and recovered it again as soon as he had eaten.  This is conformable to the observations of Hippocrates, and to nature.  C. Tenebræ oboriuntur, genua inedia succedunt.  Perii, prospicio parum.  “Through hunger…I see but little.”  Plautus.  H.


Ver. 29.  Land.  Chal. “the people of the land.”  M. He speaks his sentiments freely.  But we ought not to find fault, in public, with the conduct of the prince.  C. The people might have eaten a little without stopping the pursuit, as they generally carried provisions with them, or might find some easily on the road, so as to run with fresh vigour, (See Jos. x.) and make ample amends for the time that they were delayed.  H.


Ver. 31.  Aialon, in the tribe of Dan.  It might be about ten miles from Machmas.


Ver. 32.  Blood, contrary to a two-fold law.  Gen. ix. 4.  Lev. xvii. 14.  The blood ought to have been carefully extracted and buried.  C. This was another bad effect of Saul’s rash oath.  W.


Ver. 34.  With the blood, as you have done.  M.


Ver. 35.  First.  Saul begins to exercise himself in acts of religion, which only belonged to a prophet, &c.  He thought he might do so in quality of king, thus consecrating a monument of his victory to the God of armies.  It was perhaps the very stone on which the oxen had been just before killed for the people.  C.


Ver. 36.  God, to consult him, whether the enterprise met with his approbation.  Saul is too eager to follow his own prudence.  H. He would not before wait for God’s answer; (v. 19)  now he can get none.  W.


Ver. 38.  Corners, to the very last; or all the princes.  Judg. xviii. 9.


Ver. 39.  Gainsayed him, out of respect.  Saul gives another proof of his precipitation, in swearing; and the people, by this silence, acquiesce, not suspecting that Jonathan could have offended in what he had done.  C. One of them, at least, knew that he had transgressed the order of his father, v. 28.  But extreme necessity might plead his excuse.  H. They might be silent through fear, or reverence, without giving their consent.  Salien.


Ver. 41.  A sign, (judicium;) “pass sentence;” declare why, &c.  H. Heb. “give purity.”  Shew who is innocent.  C. Sept. “give the proofs” by the Thummim, which they seem to have read.  C.


Ver. 42.  Jonathan was taken.  Though Jonathan was excused from sin, through  ignorance of the prohibition, yet God was pleased on this occasion to let the lot fall upon him, to shew to all, the great obligation of obedience to princes and parents, (Ch.) the sacred nature of an oath, and at the same time to give Saul a warning not to swear rashly.  C. How must he have been afflicted, when he saw that he had brought his beloved son into such danger!  M.


Ver. 44.  Die.  We may here admire the respect which the ancients had for an oath, without seeking for any modification; and the blindness of Saul, who condemns his son with as much haste as he had pronounced the curse, thinking thus to honour God.  The thing surely required some deliberation, and he ought to have consulted the Lord about it.  The action of Jonathan was not criminal, and the former silence of God did not prove that he deserved death.  C. If it had, the people would never have been able to have rescued him, no more than the unhappy Achan.  Jos. vii.  H. If Saul had been more enlightened, and more humble, he would have concluded that God was displeased at him, and not at Jonathan.  C. Yet Cajetan and Serarius find fault with the latter.  M.


Ver. 45.  The people, directed probably by the high priest, who pronounced the oath null.  Salien. Ground.  He shall not be hurt.  M. With God.  He has been visibly “the minister of God’s mercy.”  Sept. Die.  They obtained his pardon.  They ought not to have permitted the king’s oath to be put in execution, as it was so horribly unjust.  Grot. Jur. ii. 13. 6.  C.


Ver. 47.  Soba, in the north.  M. Rohab was the capital of another part of Cœlosyria.  1 Par. xviii. 3.  2 K. x. 6. Overcame.  We are not to judge of the virtue of a man from his success in the world.  C. Under the reign of Saul, the tribe of Ruben overcame the Agarites.  1 Par. v. 10. 18.  Salien, A. 2965.


Ver. 48.  Amalec.  The particulars of this war will be given C. xv. as it explains the cause of Saul’s rejection, and David’s advancement to the throne.  Salien.


Ver. 49.  Sons, who accompanied Saul in his wars.  Isboseth was too young. Jessui is called Abinadab, 1 Par. viii. 33.  C.


Ver. 50.  Achinoam.  After he came to the throne, he had Respha.  2 K. iii. 7.  M.



1 KINGS 15




Ver. 1.  Lord, in gratitude for so great an honour.  H.


Ver. 2.  Reckoned up.  God speaks  in a human manner, as if he had been reading the history of ancient times.  Ex. xvii. 14.  M. The Amalecites had treated Israel with inhumanity, above 400 years before.  God’s vengeance is often slow, but only so much the more terrible.  C. Heb. pakadti, I have visited, or will punish and remember.


Ver. 3.  Destroy, as a thing accursed.  H. Child.  The great master of life and death (who cuts off one half of mankind whilst they are children) has been pleased sometimes to ordain that children should be put to the sword, in detestation of the crimes of their parents, and that they might not live to follow the same wicked ways.  But without such ordinance of God, it is not allowable in any wars, how just soever, to kill children.  Ch. The Israelites were now to execute God’s orders with blind obedience, as he cannot be guilty of injustice. Nor covet…his, is omitted in Heb. &c.  C. Amalec is stricken when the flesh is chastisedHe is destroyed when we repress evil thoughts.  S. Greg.  W.


Ver. 4.  As lambs.  This comparison is very common.  Isai. xl. 11.  Ezec. xxxiv. 2.  But many translate the Heb. “in Telaim.”  S. Jerom reads Heb. c, as, instead of b, in, with greater propriety.  Sept. and Josephus, “in Galgal,” which in effect would have been the most proper place for rendezvous.  C. Footmen.  Vat. Sept. “400,000 ranks or standards, (Josephus, men) and Juda 30,000.”


Ver. 5.  Amelac.  The people dwelt in tents, and removed from one place to another.  So in Ethiopia there are properly no cities, the place where the prince encamps is deemed the capital.  C. Torrent.  Heb. or “valley.”


Ver. 6.  Egypt.  See Judg. i. 16.  Ex. xviii. 12.  Num. x. 31. and xxiv. 21.  Saul gave private instructions to the Cinite, who had been settled at Arad, and had mixed with Amalec, to depart.  C.


Ver. 7.  Sur.  See Gen. ii. 11. and xvi. 7. and xxv. 18.  Ex. xv. 22.  M. These people had occupied a great part of the country, from the Persian Gulf to Egypt.  H.


Ver. 9.  Garments.  Heb. is commonly rendered, “fatlings.”  Sept. “eatables.”  C. Avarice seems to have actuated Saul, (Lyran) or a false pity, (Josephus) or a desire to grace his triumph, v. 12.  Glossa.  M.


Ver. 11.  Repenteth.  God cannot change: but he often acts exteriorly as one who repents.  He alters his conduct when men prove rebellious.  S. Justin. p. 22. Grieved.  Heb. “indignant.”  C. He was sorry to think that Saul would now lose his temporal, and perhaps his eternal crown.  Salien. “The choice of Judas and of Saul, do not prove that God is ignorant of future events, but rather that he is a Judge of the present.”  S. Jer. in Ezec. ii.


Ver. 12.  Arch.  Here we behold what a change prosperity makes in the manners of those who before shewed the greatest humility.  Saul erects a monument to his own vanity.  Heb. “he has set him up a hand,” (as Absalom did, 2 K. xviii. 18.) or “a place” to divide the booty, (Jonathan) or “a garrison,” to keep the country in subjection.  C. Perhaps he erected the figure of “a hand,” as an emblem of strength, and in honour of Benjamin, “the son of the right hand,” of whose tribe he was.  H.


Ver. 14.  Hear, and which manifestly prove, that God’s order has not been put in execution.  M.


Ver. 15.  Thy God.  This was probably a falsehood,  like the rest.  Salien.


Ver. 17.  Eyes.  God rejects the proud, and gives his grace to the humble.  See Luke i. 52.  H.


Ver. 20.  Lord.  Sept. “of the people.”


Ver. 21.  First-fruits, or the best. Slain.  Heb. “of the anathema.”


Ver. 22.  Rams.  Can God be pleased with victims which he has cursed?  H.


Ver. 23.  Obey.  Heb. “Rebellion is the sin of divination or witchcraft, and resistance is iniquity, and the Theraphim.”  Sym. “the injustice of idols.”  Theraphim here designate idolatrous representations.  Gen. xxxi. 19.  They were probably of Chaldee origin, in honour of the sun and fire, (C.) and were venerated like the Penates, and supposed to be the sources of prosperity, from the Arab. Taraph, “to give abundance.”  Hence Laban was so solicitous to recover what Rachel had taken away.  Louis de Dieu By sacrifices we give our goods, or another’s flesh is immolated; (Mor. xxxiii. 10.  D.) by obedience, we give ourselves to God.  S. Greg.  W.


Ver. 24.  Voice: miserable excuse for a king, who ought to prevent the sins of his people!  C. Saul’s transgression seems less than David’s; but the one repents, and the other proudly defends what he had done.  D.


Ver. 25.  Bear, or take away.  Pardon my fault.  Do not expose me in public. The Lord, by offering sacrifices, v. 31.  C.


Ver. 27.  Rent: a dreadful prognostic that Saul was cast away.  H.


Ver. 29.  Triumpher.  Some suppose that he speaks ironically of Saul.  A prince, like you, will not repent.  C. But it more probably refers to God, who would not fail to execute his threats against the king.  H. Heb. “the victor in Israel will not lie, he will not repent.”  Sept. “and Israel shall be split in two, and the holy one of Israel shall not turn nor repent.”  Saul’s rejection became now inevitable.  C.


Ver. 30.  Israel.  He is wholly solicitous to shun disgrace in this world.  H. His confession was not actuated by such contrition as that he might deserve to hear, the Lord has removed thy sin.  He begins by falsehood; continues making idle excuses, and throwing the blame on others, and concludes, by shewing that he is more concerned for what his subjects may think and do against him, than for the displeasure of God.  He boldly ventures to offer victims.  But Samuel joins not with him in prayer,  looking upon him as a person excommunicated; and he only attends that he may see the word of the Lord fulfilled, and Agag treated as he deserved.  Salien, A. 2965.


Ver. 32.  Trembling.  Heb. “and Agag came to him delicately.”  Sept. “trembling,” (H.) or walking with a soft step, or “with bands or chains;” mahadannoth.  See Pagnin.  M. Some think that he presented himself boldly, like a king, fearing nothing.  Vatab. Manner.  Heb. “Surely the bitterness of death is past.”  I have obtained pardon from Saul.  But the sense of the Vulg. seems preferable, as he must have perceived, from the looks of the prophet, that death was hanging over him.  Hence others translate, “is pouring upon me,” instead of, is past.  Sept. “Is death thus bitter?”  Chal. “I pray my Lord: the bitterness of death.”  H. O death! how bitter is the remembrance of thee to a man that hath peace in his possessions, &c. Eccli. xli. 1.  So Aristotle (Nicom. iii. 6.) says, “Death is most terrible, (peraV gar) for it is a passage,” or separation, from all the things which could attach a man to this world.  C. This catastrophe of Agag and Saul, had been long before predicted.  Num. xxiv. 7.  H.


Ver. 33.  Pieces.  Josephus adds, by the hand of others.  M. But zeal put the sword into his own hand; and he imitated the Levites and Phinees, (Ex. xxxii. 27.) to shew Saul how preposterous had been his pity, when the Lord had spoken plainly.  C. Lord, as a sort of victim.  Isai. xxxiv. 6.  M.


Ver. 35.  Saw Saul no more till the day of his death.  That is, he went no more to see  him: he visited him no more.  Ch. He looked upon him as one who had lost the right to the kingdom, though he was suffered for a time to hold the reins of government, as a lieutenant to David.  He might afterwards see Saul passing, but never to visit him, (Salien) or to consult with him about the affairs of state; (M.) nor perhaps did he even see him, when Saul came to Najoth.  C. xix. 19. 24.  His spirit came to announce destruction to Saul, the night preceding the death of that unfortunate king.  C. xxxviii.  H. Repented.  God is said, improperly, to repent when he alters what he had appointed.  S. Amb. de Noe, c. iv.  W.



1 KINGS 16




Ver. 1.  How long.  It seems his tears were not soon dried up, as he lamented the fall of one whom he had formerly so much admired, and perceived what evils would ensue.  Salien. He had hoped that the decree might have been revokable.  But God now convinces him of the contrary, by ordering him to go and anoint a successor. Horn.  Such vessels were formerly very common, and were used to contain liquor, and instead of cups.  3 K. i. 39.  Horace ii. Sat. 2.  The ancient silver cups, at Athens, resembled horns.  Athen. xi. 7.  But the northern nations, particularly Denmark, &c. used horns to drink, as the Georgians still do.  The rims are ornamented with silver, &c.  Plin. xi. 37.  Chardin.  C. A fragile vile was not used, but a horn, to denote the duration and abundance of David’s reign.  Rupert.  M.


Ver. 2.  Of the herd.  Heb. “a heifer in thy hand.”  H. Females might be employed as peace-offerings.  Lev. iii. 1. Lord.  This was one, though not the principal reason.  No one doubted but that he might lawfully offer sacrifice, at a distance from the tabernacle, as he was guided by God.  The Jews allow that prophets have this privilege, and may dispense with the ceremonial law, (Grot.) when they act by God’s authority, as we ought to believe they do, as long as there is  no proof to the contrary.  H.


Ver. 3.  Sacrifice, to partake of the feast, (M.) which must be consumed in two days, or thrown into the fire.  Lev. vii. 16.  C.


Ver. 4.  Wondered.  Heb. “trembled,” being full of consternation, (H.) as the prophet did not now stir much from home; and fearing lest he had some bad news to impart, or had incurred the king’s displeasure, (C.) unless he came to punish some of the people at Bethlehem.  M.


Ver. 5.  Sanctified, prepared by aspersions, washing, and continence.  Ex. xix 14.  What sorts of uncleanness excluded from the feast, are specifie, Lev. xxii.  M. Samuel arrived in the evening, and announced that sacrifice would be offered the ensuing morning.  T.


Ver. 6.  Him.  Heb. “surely the Lord’s anointed is in his presence.”  This he spoke by his own spirit, judging from the comeliness of Eliab.  C. But the beauty of Saul’s body had concealed a deformed soul.  H.


Ver. 7.  Rejected, or not chosen.  M. God had positively rejected this eldest son, as his pride seems to have been the greatest.  C. xvii. 28.  H. Heart.  This is one of God’s perfections.  Glorified saints see man’s heart in his light, for their own and our advantage, (S. Greg. Mor. xii. 11.  S. Aug.) as the prophets have sometimes done.  3 K. xiv.  W.


Ver. 10.  Seven.  David was absent.  Isai had eight sons.  C. xvii. 12.  Yet only seven are mentioned, 1 Par. ii. 13.  Perhaps one of those whom he produced on this occasion, might be a grandson, or one is omitted in Chronicles.  C.


Ver. 11.  Young son, (parvulus,) “a little one;” (H.) or the youngest, who might be about 15, (C.) or 28.  Seder. olam. iii.  M.


Ver. 12.  Ruddy, like the spouse, Cant. v. 10.  Some explain it of his hair.  So Alexander is said to have had reddish or golden locks. Behold.  Heb. “with the beauty of the eyes.”


Ver. 13.  Brethren.  Some say, without informing him, (C.) or them, (M.) what the unction meant.  If he told the brothers, he would no doubt take the necessary precautions to keep it secret, as the whole family would have been in imminent danger, if the transaction had come to the ears of Saul, v. 2.  Josephus says, that Samuel only informed Isai in private: and David’s brothers treated him with no peculiar distinction.  Whence it is inferred, that they had not been present when he was anointed.  Some witnesses seem, however, to have been requisite, as the title of David to the regal dignity depended on this ceremony, and none were more interested than his own family to assert his pretensions.  He now had a right to the kingdom, but not the possession; being like a son expecting his father’s estate as his future right, of which, as yet, he cannot dispose.  C. Came upon, to make him prosper.  M. Heb. “came with prosperity; (Sept.) impetuosity.”  God endued him with all those graces which might render him fit to command.  C. So David prays himself, “with a princely spirit confirm me;” (Ps. l. 14.) or, strengthen me with a perfect spirit.  Salien observes, that he did not now receive the spirit of charity, as if he had hitherto been in enmity with God, (C. xiii. 14.) but he began to advance in virtue with more rapid strides, while Saul became every day more criminal and abandoned to the devil.  H. David received the spirit of fortitude and of prophecy, of which Saul had formerly had some experience, when he was first elevated to that high dignity.  C. x.  He was changed into a new man, and adorned with all that could render a king most glorious.  Though he returned to his wonted occupations, the spirit of the Lord enabled him to destroy wild beasts, as in play, (Eccli. xlvii. 3.) and to compose and sing many of those divine canticles which we still admire.  Salien, A. 2969. Whether he composed all the Psalms, as S. Chrysostom endeavours to prove, (præf.) we shall examine hereafter.  H.


Ver. 14.  From the Lord.  An evil spirit, by divine permission, and for his punishment, either possessed or obsessed him.  Ch. We no longer behold in Saul any generous sentiments.  He falls a prey to melancholy, anger, suspicion, and cruelty.  “He was seized with an illness, inflicted by the devil, says Josephus, (vi. 9.) so that he seemed to be choking; nor could the physicians discover any other means to alleviating his distress, except by employing some person skilled in music… David alone could bring the king ot his right senses, by singing hymns with the sound of the harp.  Wherefore Jesse consented that his son should remain with the king, since he was so much delighted with his company.”  H. The Jews, and many Christians, suppose that Saul’s illness was melancholy, or “madness,” as S. Chrysostom calls it.  It was inflicted by an evil, or even by a good angel, as the minister of God’s vengeance, (Ex. xi. 4.  C.) who punished his former pride and rebellion, by reducing him to so mean a condition.  H. S. Aug. and V. Bede suppose, that the evil spirit troubled him by God’s permission.  W.


Ver. 16.  Easily.  The effects which have been produced by music are truly surprising, if we may believe what the ancients have related.  Our music may not at present be so striking, or we may keep a greater restraint upon our passions, and moderate the exterior demonstrations of our sentiments more than they did.  C. But, in the present case, there was probably some miraculous interference.  H. The disciples of Pythagoras lay a great stress on music, to calm the passions, (Quintil. ix. 4.  M.) or to rouse them.  p. 439.  H. It may also frequently contribute to restore health.  Gallien, &c.  See C. x. 10.  4 K. iii. 15.  C. but God made it so efficacious here, to shew the virtue of David, and the injustice of Saul.  W. Thus, by the prayers of the Church, the devil is expelled.  Theodoret.  T.


Ver. 18.  Him.  Some think that this took place before David’s victory over Goliath; others believe, that David was only made armour-bearer to Saul, after that event.  We must not disturb the order of the sacred historian without some cogent reason: and the courtiers might already have heard of David’s prowess and virtue, of which he gave such evident proofs, after he was confirmed by the Holy Spirit, v. 13.  C.


Ver. 20.  Laden.  So Chal.  M. Lit. plenum, “full of.”  H. Sept. “a gomor,” which they seem to have read instead of the Hebrew chamor, “an ass of bread,” as Sosibius says, “he eats three asses’ of panniers of loaves.”  C. Prot. supply, “laden.


Ver. 21.  Bearer.  This was an honourable office.  H. Cyrus had been employed by his grandfather Astyages in the same capacity, before he came to the empire.  Athen. xiv.  C.


Ver. 22.  Sight.  He had sent him back, as people of a melancholy temper are often hard to please; (M.) and before David married Michol, he did not remain with the king, but only came when his presence was deemed necessary.  C.


Ver. 23.  Departed from him.  Chased away by David’s devotion.  Ch. The melody of David’s harp, as some of the Fathers remark, represent that sweet and engaging demeanour, which should distinguish the peaceful ministers of the gospel,…whether they strive to allay the rage, or dispel the fears of a troubled mind.”  Reeves. Nothing can equal the divine harmony of those sublime truths which are contained in the Psalms of David, and nothing can so powerfully contribute to drive away the spirit of pride from our hearts, and awaken them to the voice of heaven.  S. Aug. Some of these truths might make some passing impression even on the mind of Saul; and the devil could not bear to hear the praises of God.  H.



1 KINGS 17




Ver. 1.  Battle.  They perhaps had heard of Saul’s malady, (Salien) and bore a constant hatred to the Israelites during his reign.  C. xiv. 52. Azeca, about 15 miles south of Jerusalem. Dommim, or Phesdommim, 1 Par. xi. 13.


Ver. 2.  Terebinth.  Heb. ela, “the oak.”  Aquila.


Ver. 3.  Valley of the Terebinth, which S. Jerom seems to call Magala, v. 20.


Ver. 4.  Base-born.  Heb. “of two sons,” or of obscure origin.  A. Lapide. His parents are no where specified, as Arapha is not, as some pretend, the name of his mother, but denotes that he was of the race of the Raphaim.  2 K. xxi. 16.  Some translate, a man who challenges to fight a duel, or one who comes into the midst as “a champion,” to decide the cause of all the rest.  Thus the Gaul defied the most valiant of the Romans, but was slain by M. Torquatus, Livy vii.  Sept. “A strong man went out from the station,” &c.  Chal. “There came out from them, out of the camp of the Philistines, a man named Goliath.”   But many able interpreters adhere to the Vulg. Span, about 12½ feet, so that he was taller than two common men.  Those who call in question the existence of giants, will surely have nothing to object to this formal proof from Scripture.  C. The Vat. Sept. and Josephus read, however, “four cubits and a span,” or near eight feet.  Ken. Some reduce his height to 11 feet 3 inches, or even to 9 feet 9 inches, English.  H. His helmet weighed 15 pounds, avoirdupois; his collar, or buckler, about 30; the head of his spear (26 feet long) weighed about 38 pounds; his sword 4; his greaves on his legs 30; and his coat of mail 156: total, 273 pounds.  Button.  H. Goliath was a figure of the devil, or of any arch-heretic, who provoketh the Church of God, but is slain by the humble with his own weapons.  W.


Ver. 5.  Scales, like those of fishes.  Sept. insinuate, that it was armed with things resembling fish-hooks; alisidwnton, hamata. Brass, which was used for the armour of the ancients.  Plutarch (in Demetrio) speaks of a coat of mail weighing forty pounds: the usual weight was twenty pounds.  Lipsius. The strength of the giant must have borne proportion with his size.  C.


Ver. 6.  Legs, on the forepart, from the knee to the ankle.  Vegetius observes, that the infantry wore such greaves of iron, only on one leg.  C. Shoulders, when he marched.  M. Some understand a dart, &c. but without any proof.  C.


Ver. 7.  Beam, which was of a very different construction from ours.  Hostius concludes, that all the armour of Goliath must have weighed 272 pounds and 13 ounces, including the buckler and spear which his armour-bearer carried before him.  Plutarch allows a talent, or 60 pounds, for the usual weight of a soldier’s armour.  Alcimus was remarked in the army of Demetrius, for having double that weight. Bearer.  Heb. “one bearing a shield,” or whose office it was to carry it, or any other part of the armour, when required.  It would appear singular that the giant should have two bucklers, though David seems to specify two sorts.  Ps. xxxiv. 2.  This attendant might carry a large one, which would cover most part of the body, and was of service when a person had not to remove far from his place of battle.  The buckler of Ajax was like a tower, and consisted of seven hides, covered with a plate of brass.  Homer, Iliad Z.  C.


Ver. 8.  Out; exulting.  Eccli. xlvii. 5.  M. Servants; I am free.  H. Hand.  Such combats were very common in ancient times.  Paris and Menelaus, Hector and Ajax.  The Horatii and Curiatii fought to decide the fate of contending nations.  Iliad g, and H. Livy i. 23.  C.


Ver. 9.  Us.  It does not appear that this proposal was accepted or ratified by either party.  The Israelites had still to pursue the enemy.  E.


Ver. 12.  Now, &c. to v. 32.  And when, is omitted in the Vatican Sept. which begins the latter verse thus, “And David said,” as the Alex. copy does now the 12th, which leads Kennicott to suspect that the intermediate verses are an interpolation, formerly unknown to the Greek version.  Houbigant includes these verses between crotchets, “that it may be understood that these are not of the same author as the rest, and that the sacred writer may not be accused of making useless repetitions.”  It has been observed in the last chapter, that David was the son of Isai, &c.  “If, says he, this be omitted, there will be no vacuum in the context,” as there is none in the Roman edition: (11) “they were greatly afraid. (32.)  And David said to Saul,” &c.  As he had been appointed Saul’s armour-bearer, it was very natural to suppose that he would be near the king’s person on such an occasion, rather than feeding sheep.  We find also, that he had a tent of his own, (v. 54) which he could not have had, if he had only come to bring provisions to his brethren.  The unaccountable conduct of Eliab, the timidity of all Israel for forty days, &c. will thus be avoided.  Josephus is supposed to have given occasion to this embellishment, though he takes no notice of many of those particulars which excite the surprise of Pilkington, Kennicott, &c.  Dis. ii. p. 421.  These verses were, however, in the Heb. before the days of Aquila, &c. and Origen received them from the Jews as genuine.  A Hebrew Bible, (1661) with marginal criticisms, by a Jew, includes these verses within parentheses, as interpolated, as well as from v. 55 to C. xviii. 6, observing that “the history consists at present of different and inconsistent accounts.”  The Syriac MS. of Masius generally confirms the Vatican Sept. (Morin) so that we conclude, that these verses are there asterisked on the authority of Origen, as not being in the original Greek, nor consequently in Hebrew.  ib. p. 575. Mentioned.  Heb. “Juda, whose name…and the man went among men, an old man in the days of Saul.”  We have already observed that the Alex. Sept. seems to promise a speech, but defers till v. 32, thus, “And David said, the son of an Ephrathite.  He was from,” &c.  H. Men.  Chal. “He was an old man, whom they ranked among the young,” as still vigorous.  Jam senior, sed cruda seni viridisque senectus.  C.


Ver. 13.  Battle.  In these wars, all attended as much as possible.  C. xvi. 10.


Ver. 15.  Bethlehem, the king being relieved from his malady.  “The greatest men formerly kept sheep.”  Ex antiquis illustrissimus quisque pastor erat.  Varro ii. 1.  In this profession, David found many opportunities of signalizing his courage against wild beasts.  C.


Ver. 17.  Loaves.  The soldiers at that time, and perhaps always among the Hebrews, lived at their own expense, as the tribute which was paid to the king was not sufficient to support large armies, v. 25.  C. S. Paul insinuates, however, that soldiers were paid.  1 Cor. ix. 7.  H.


Ver. 18.  Cheeses.  Heb. “of milk.”  Sept. “pieces of soft cheese:” erts is no where else used to denote cheese.  This was a present (C.) for (Heb.) “the Chiliarch.” Placed, who is their immediate officer.  H. Heb. “how they are mixed:” their company.  Sept. &c. “what they stand in need of.”  Sym. “Thou shalt receive their pay.”  Syr. and Arab. “what news.”  Others would translate, “their pledge,” or bill of divorce to their wives, that, in case they be made prisoners for three years, the latter may be allowed to marry.  Trad. Heb.  C.


Ver. 19.  Fighting, or ready to engage.  H.


Ver. 20.  Magala signifies, “the circle, or chariots.”  The Arabs still place their waggons and baggage round the camp, or in a circle.  C. It may also be a proper name.  M.


Ver. 22.  Brethren.  This inquiry seems rather unseasonable, when all were shouting for battle.  Ken.


Ver. 23.  Up, or proceeding into the vale.  M. Camp.  Heb. “ranks, or armies.”


Ver. 24.  Exceedingly, though they had now heard him twice a-day for so long a time, (Ken.) and came purposely to engage him and all the Philistine army.  Perhaps he proceeded farther than usual.  H.


Ver. 25.  Tribute, and all public charges, which may be burdensome.  C. It does not appear that these words are addressed to any one in particular, nor that the king had authorized such a declaration.  H. Yet the people all persisted in the same declaration, so that a promise must have been made.  M. It was never at least fulfilled.  H. Christ having overcome the devil, receives the Church for his spouse.  W.


Ver. 28.  Battle.  This speech is too insulting, even though David might seem to have given vent to the sentiments of his soul with too much ardour; particularly as Eliab knew that he had received the royal unction, (C.) if that were not kept a secret from him.  C. xvi. 13.


Ver. 29.  Sepak.  Lit. “is it not a word” (H.) of no farther consequences?  May I not speak my sentiments? (C.) as all others do.  M. Is not the thing enough to excite the indignation even of the coldest person, to hear this monster insulting God’s armies?  The repeated inquiries of David, made people conclude that he was ready to fight the giant, (H.) though as yet he had made no such proposal, whence it seems more improbable that his words would be reported to the king.  Kennicott. Prot. “Is there not a cause?”  H. Have I not an order from my father to come?  M.


Ver. 32.  Saul.  Lit. “to him.”  But Heb. and Sept. have, “And David said to Saul,” which makes the connection between this and v. 11, more clear.  H. In him, or on account of Goliath.  M.


Ver. 33.  Boy, compared with the giant, (H.) or Saul, though David might be about 22 years old, (Salien) or near 30.  T. S. Aug. and Theodoret say only 14 or 16.  M. He had not yet been in the wars.  C.


Ver. 35.  Them.  He refers to two events, shewing his fortitude (C.) and generous disposition, which rendered him fit for command, as he was not afraid to  expose his life to protect his charge.  H. The pastoral care is an apprenticeship for the throne to him who is designed to be at the head of the mild flock of men, as hunting with dogs conducts to martial exploits.  Philo in Vita Mosis. He who has overcome the spirit of pride and of carnal pleasures, signified by the lion and the bear, is able also to gain a victory over the devil.  W.


Ver. 36.  I will…Philistine.  This is not in Heb. or the Sept. and it is marked as an addition in the ancient MSS.  C. Single combats, to prevent the spilling of more blood, may sometimes be authorized by public authority.  Grotius.


Ver. 39.  Armour.  Heb. “he tried to go.”  Sym. “he went lame.”  Sept. “he laboured in walking once and twice.”  C. Salien supposes that the armour was not made for Saul, as he was much more bulky than young David.  Yet we find that the latter could use the sword of the giant without difficulty.  S. Chrys. &c.  H.


Ver. 40.  Smooth.  Louis de Dieu translates broken “pieces of stones,” as he pretends, contrary to the common opinion, that rough stones are more suitable for the sling.  C. The learned Jew, whom we have cited above, (v. 12,) and several others, have inferred from this verse, that David seems to have just come from the flock.  But Kennicott justly observes, that slingers were of great service in the army; and the “vessel of shepherds,” the bag or scrip, might well be used to obtain the stones; as the staff, makel, denotes a military weapon.  (Taylor, Conc.)  Diss. ii. p. 555.  David was very  expert in using these weapons, and the ordinary armour was encumbering to him.  H. “Valour depends more on its own efforts than on armour,” tegumentis.  S. Amb. Off. i.


Ver. 43.  Gods.  Dagon or Baalim.  M. Sept. Alex. has, “idols.”  The beauty and accoutrements of David, made the rough warrior suppose that he was not coming to fight, but only to laugh at him and run away.  H.


Ver. 44.  Earth.  The heroes of modern days refrain from such compliments.  Homer frequently describes his champions making long speeches in praise of their former exploits.  David displays his piety and confidence in God.  C.


Ver. 47.  Battle, whose armies thou hast defied, (v. 45.  H.) or in general, He is the God of war, who grants victory to whom He pleases.  C.


Ver. 48.  Arose.  The Roman Triarii and the Gauls expected the hour of battle sitting.  C.


Ver. 49.  Forehead.  “The soul…more probably resides in the callous body of the brain,” (Eyre, Thesis 1797,) between the eyes.  H. Earth, quite lifeless, (Salien) or unable to resist.  M. The Balearic slingers scarcely ever missed their mark.  Livy, viii. 4.  The Chaldee supposes that David hit the eye, which was not covered with brass: but the stone might penetrate or kill Goliath through his helmet.  Even a buckler is not capable of withstanding their violence.  Diodorus, v. 207.  See Judg. xx. 16.  C. Pride sits on the forehead, and manifests itself by impudent behaviour.  We must destroy it by humility, and by the cross of Christ.  S. Aug.  W.


Ver. 54.  Tent, or tabernacle of the Lord, which David erected in his honour, at Jerusalem, many years afterwards.  Jun.  Piscator, &c.  The lower part of Jerusalem was already in the hands of the Israelites.  He might place the armour for the present in the tent of his brethren.  We find that the sword was deposited in the tabernacle, at Nobe.  C.  See v. 12.  H. The head was carried about to various cities.  It would serve to strike terror into the Jebusites, at Jerusalem, and others.  M. The Vat. Sept. &c. immediately subjoin, C. xviii. 6.  Now, &c.  Lit. “And the women dancing, came to meet David.”  H. These three last verses occur only in the Alex. MS. though Theodoret (q. 43,) seems to have read them.  In some other Greek copies, there is a long addition respecting David’s combat.  See the New Hexapla.  These verses are found, however, in Heb. Chal. &c.  It is astonishing that Saul should not have known David.  He was now more interested to be acquainted with his family, as he had engaged to give him his daughter in marriage.  We must reflect that his malady might have impaired his memory, and David was still growing, so that a few months absence might produce a wonderful alteration, &c.  C. Know not.  Lit. “if I know.”  The different dress, in which David now appeared, gave rise to this ignorance.  M. Abner was not surely affected with the same malady as the king, who was obliged to ask David who was  his father.  But courtiers easily forget those from whom they have no expectations.  H. These strange proceedings make others conclude that this history is interpolated.  Kennicott. Huet maintains the contrary.  D. Saul only enquires about David’s parentage.  Mariana.  T.



1 KINGS 18




Ver. 1.  Soul.  Pythagoras said, “that friendship is an equality, and one soul, and that the friend is another self.”  It would be difficult to find two souls more tender and generous than those of David and Jonathan.  C. Josephus speaks of their friendship on another occasion, as these five verses are omitted in the Rom. Sept. &c.  Ken.


Ver. 3.  For he, Jonathan.  H. Soul.  “Friends have one soul.”  Arist. Mor. ix. 8.


Ver. 4.  Girdle, which perhaps was of great value.  Job xii. 18.  He wished that David should lay aside his shepherd’s dress, and appear like himself at court, that all might know how much he loved him.  M.


Ver. 5.  Prudently, or with success.  C. Especially.  Heb. “also,” which enhances his praise, as courtiers are but too apt to envy those who are taken from a low condition and set over them in the king’s favour.  David must have displayed great wisdom and moderation.  H.


Ver. 6.  Philistine.  Some explain this of some fresh achievement against that nation, (Malvenda.  W.) but without reason. Dancing.  Heb. also playing on the flute, or on some such instrument of music.  C. So Mary sung after the Israelites had crossed the Red Sea.  Ex. xv. 20.  2 K. i. 20.  Judg. xi. 34.


Ver. 7.  Sung.  The chorus of their song is given.  C. “The women sung, Saul slew his thousands; and the virgins answered, And David,” &c.  Josephus. The death of Goliath was equivalent to the slaughter of thousands, as he had filled the whole army of Israel with dismay.  H.


Ver. 8.  A thousand.  These women were guilty of an indiscretion, through excess of zeal, as it is always displeasing for the sovereign to hear any of his subjects preferred before him.  S. Chrys. hom. i. de Saul. The jealousy of Saul was the more excited, as he had been threatened with the loss of his kingdom, and perceived in David all the qualifications of a king.  A malo principe tanquam successor timetur quisquis est dignior.  Pliny in Traj. But was David responsible for what was spoken in  his praise?  C. The Vat. Sept. omit what follows till v. 12.  “And Saul feared David, (13) and he removed,” &c.  The Alex. copy agrees with the Vulg.  H. Those who are proud, cannot bear the praises of others.  W.


Ver. 9.  Eye.  Sept. “and Saul suspected.”  H. Chal. “laid snares for David.”  C.


Ver. 10.  Prophesied.  Acted the prophet in a mad manner, (Ch). like an enthusiast, (C.  2 K. ix. 11.) or one possessed by the devil, as the Sybil was agitated by Apollo.  Et rabie fera corda tument.  Æneid vi.  To alleviate his distress, David took up his harp.  H. Spear.  With this weapon he was generally armed.  C. xix. 10. and xxvi. 7.  “It was used as a diadem formerly, and the ancients adored spears as gods.”  Justin. xliii.


Ver. 13.  People, as their leader.  Saul gave him an honourable, but dangerous office, to procure his destruction.  This is frequently the manner in which men of superior talents have been treated, (C.) as Corbulo, Germanicus, and Agricola were by three Roman emperors.  Tacit. Ann. ii. &c.


Ver. 15.  Began.  Sept. “he was filled with awe in his presence.”  Heb. “he was afraid of him,” as he perceived that God protected  him in all perils.


Ver. 17.  And Saul.  This an the two following verses are omitted in the Rom. Sept. which subjoins, “and Michol, the daughter of Saul, loved David,” &c.  H. Wife.  He had promised her already, (M.) if the verses in the preceding chapter be genuine.  But why then had he delayed so long, and why does he require other conditions?  The comparison made by the women, (v. 7,) and the inconstant temper of Saul, might account for this.  H. The Lord defends his people.  As long as the Israelites followed the orders of God, their wars might justly be attributed to him; but not when they were waged to satisfy the cravings of ambition.  C.


Ver. 18.  Life.  What exploits have I performed deserving such an honour? or what offices have my relations yet enjoyed?  C. David considers only his abject condition, and forgets his victories.  H.


Ver. 19.  Wife.  If this were the case, the character of Saul is rendered more despicable and perfidious.  David never reclaims Merob, as he did Michol.  H. All the children of the former were gibbeted, 2 K. xxi. 9.  The latter was given to David for his destruction, like Cleopatra (Dan. xi. 17,) to Ptolemy.  T.


Ver. 20.  Other, is not found in the Heb. Sept. &c.  H. Some Latin copies read, “David loved Michol,” (C.) as the Douay Bible translates; the authors living before the Popes had published their authentic editions.  H. Both might be true.  Drus.


Ver. 21.  Days.  Heb. “In two thou shalt,” &c.  C. Prot. “in the one of the twain,” Merob or Michol.  H. Saul had deceived him with respect to the first; but he promises that he shall have “the second,” (C.) or two motives induced the king to make him this offer, the victory over Goliath, and the slaughter of 100 Philistines.  M.  T. The Sept. omit this sentence, and read, “And the hand of the Philistines was upon Saul, and Saul commended,” &c.


Ver. 23.  Ability, or riches.  Sept. “without glory.”  H.  See v. 18.


Ver. 25.  Dowry.  Among the Hebrews, the man had to purchase his wife. Philistines.  They were the nearest nation of those who were not circumcised; and thus Saul would prove that David had attacked them, which would greatly irritate them against him.  C. Josephus specifies six hundred heads, (H.) falsely, (Horn) as he frequently disguises what might give his readers offence, as being either mean or incredible.  C. Hundred is not specified in the original Heb. copies, (Capel, iii. 17,) and David gives 200, v. 27.  But Saul only stipulated for 100.  See 2 K. iii. 14.  C. Wife, “thinking it mean to be guilty of an untruth,” &c. says Josephus; “yet his disposition was not altered.  He resolved, therefore, to take away his life, and wished Jonathan and his most trusty servants to put his designs in execution.”  He then mentions the friendship of these two.  But he takes no notice of the proffered marriage of Merob, and he seems not to have known that she was ever promised.  See v. 17. and 19. and C. xvii. 12.  H.


Ver. 28.  David.  Of the subsequent verses, the Rom. Sept. has only the following words.  “And all Israel lived him; (29) and Saul still continued to be in awe of him.”  The Alex. MS. agrees with the Heb. only, instead of Michol, &c. it reads, “all Israel.”  If the contested passages were omitted, the history would be less perplexed.  But we must wait for the decision of the Church in matters of this nature, and never decide to peremptorily.  H.


Ver. 30.  Forth, probably to revenge the recent insult.  C.



1 KINGS 19




Ver. 1.  Jonathan.  He was most interested, as David might be feared as a competitor; (M.) and, under the cloak of friendship, he might more easily destroy him.  Saul was a stranger to the generous sentiments of his son, or he would never have made the proposal.  H. Grotius compares him with Germanicus.  C.


Ver. 2.  Morning.  Sept. add, “to-morrow.”  M.


Ver. 3.  Field.  Saul would come thither, or Jonathan would sound his father’s disposition, and give David information in the place appointed.  C.


Ver. 3.  Hand, in danger.  M.


Ver. 6.  Slain.  His inconstant temper might cause him to be moved with the expostulation of his son; but he presently relapsed, if he were ever sincere.  C. The Scripture seems to insinuate that he was.  M.


Ver. 9.  Saul.  His jealousy was again enkindled by the success of David.  C. Hand, on music, to assuage the paroxysms o the king’s fury.  H.


Ver. 11.  Morning, fearing lest they might miss him in the night, (Salien) and perhaps desiring to see his execution, after he had been tried.  Joseph. The Philistines would not attack Samson at night.  See Judg. xvi. 2.  Ex. xiv. 20.  The Parthians and Mahometans will do nothing at that time; moved perhaps by some superstitious notion.  C.


Ver. 13.  Image.  Heb. Teraphim.  Aquila, “figures.”  Sym. “idols.”  Some believe that David had idols in his house, as ornaments, or to treat them with ignominy.  Mercer. But others cannot persuade themselves that he would keep such dangerous things.  What Michol took, might therefore be some sacred representation, or a statue of some great man.  Genebrard.  (Kimchi.  Maim.)  Or it might be some piece of wood, or clothes folded up, so as to make the guards believe that David was in bed.  Bochart, Anim. i. 2. 51.  See Gen. xxxi. 19.  C. They would not examine very narrowly.  H. The Taraphim denote both idolatrous and sacred things.  Ose. iii. 4.  M. Skin.  Vat. and Alex. Sept. “liver,” still warm and in motion.  T. But they have followed a false reading, as well as Josephus and Aquila.  C. Some have inferred that the hair of goats in that country is reddish, because it was designed to resemble David’s hair, of the same colour.  T. This is, however, uncertain.  The skin might form his pillow or coverlet.  C.


Ver. 14.  Sick.  This is an officious lie.  She tells another to excuse herself, v. 17.  The children of Saul strive to prevent their father’s cruelty, by taking part with the innocent David.  H. It is thought that David composed the 68th Psalm, Eripe, &c. on this occasion.  C.


Ver. 19.  Najoth.  It was probably a school or college or prophets, in or near Ramatha, under the direction of Samuel.  Ch. Chal. “in the house of doctrine.”  See C. x. 5.  M.


Ver. 20.  Prophesying.  That is, singing praises to God by a divine impulse.  God was pleased on this occasion that both Saul’s messengers and himself should experience the like impulse, that he might understand, by this instance of the divine power, how vain are the designs of man against him whom God protects.  Ch. The messengers did not return.  M. They were seized by the spirit only when they arrived at Najoth.  But Saul felt the impression even at Socho, threw aside his garments, and began to act and to speak as one inspired.  C.


Ver. 24.  Naked.  Divested of his regal ornaments, (T.) though not in an indecent posture.  People are said to be undressed, when they have not such clothes on as might be expected.  Hesiod and Virgil say, Nudus ara, sere nudus; hiems ignava colono.  “Plough and sow naked; choose a fine season for work, and rest in winter.”  H.  See Mic. i. 8.  2 K. vi. 20. Yet some assert (C.) that Saul was entirely undressed, as some pretended prophets and slaves go in the hot countries.  Isai. xx. 1.  We are not to judge of the indecency of such behaviour from our own manners.  Some copies read cecinit, (C.) and the Douay Bible has “and sang naked.”  H. Saul had not the gift of prophecy, like holy men, but only like Balaam’s ass, for a time.  S. Aug. ad Simp. ii. 1.  W. Prophets.  This is something wonderful.  M. The proverb was now confirmed.  C. x. 11.  C.



1 KINGS 20




Ver. 1.  To Jonathan, at Gabaa.  He thought it no longer safe to remain at Najoth.


Ver. 2.  Be.  The recent machinations and orders of Saul had been concealed from his son, with whom he used to consult on all important matters.  C. Perceiving, however, that Jonathan was unwilling to come into his measures, Saul, in his phrenzy, tried to destroy David.  H. But Jonathan, forming his judgment of others by his own upright heart, relied on the oath of his father, (C.) and on the information he had lately communicated to him, when he desired David to be slain.  M. Abulensis believes that the particulars of a preceding reconciliation have been lost, which Salien supplies, A. 2973.


Ver. 3.  As I may say, is not in Heb.  Sept. “the space between me and thy father is filled up, unto death.”  We can never more have any union, nor dwell together in safety.  H.


Ver. 4.  Soul, is often put for desire.  Ps. xxvi. 12.  C.


Ver. 5.  To-morrow is the new moon.  The neomenia, or first day of the moon, kept according to the law, as a festival; and therefore Saul feasted on that day; and expected the attendance of his family.  Ch. Num. x. 10. Moon.  Lit. “calends,” a Greek word, intimating that the people were informed, or “called” together, on that occasion; as many nations follow the lunar system in the regulation of the year.  H. The Rabbins say that people were stationed on the highest hills to observe the first appearance of the moon, and to give notice of it.  But for fear of a mistake, two days were observed, as here we see that Saul gave a feast for such a length of time.  This, however, is very uncertain.  David speaks without any reference to the watchmen, as of a thing well known to all.  The reason of Saul’s feasting two days, was because one of them was the sabbath.  The following work-day David came to Nobe, (v. 19,) and partook of the loaves which had been changed on the sabbath day.  C. xxi. 6.  Lev. xxiv. 8. Sit.  The custom of sitting at table seems to have been more ancient than that of lying.  The Persians chiefly introduced the latter.  They had very low tables, so that one of them placed under the feet of Alexander, when he sat upon the throne of Darius, which was too high for  him.  Curt. v.  Both customs frequently prevailed at the same time.  Eccli. ix. 12. and xxxi. 12.  Women probably always sat, as the Chaldee says Esther did.  Est. vii. 8.  See Athen. i. 14.  V. Max. ii. 1. Day.  The second of the month, after the sabbath was ended.  C. Pezron thinks that both the last and first days of the month were festivals.  D.


Ver. 6.  Tribe.  It might seem an effect of pride, not to accept of such invitations of the king, without some good excuse.  Ovid speaks of feasts instituted for relations alone.  Fast. ii.

Proxima cognati dixere Charistia cari

            Et venit ad socios turba propinqua Deos.  M.

Saul might pretend that his throwing his spear at David, was an effect of his distemper; and as the latter had returned to his palace after the first attempt, he might judge that he would do the like now, though he had so lately sought his life.  David probably retired to Bethlehem, and returned the third day, when he bid adieu to Jonathan and to the court of Saul for ever, (v. 21.  C.) though he saw Jonathan once more at Ziph.  C. xxiii. 16.


Ver. 7.  Height.  Heb. “the evil is completed (or resolved upon) by him.”  H.


Ver. 8.  Lord, the most durable and sacred, confirmed by the name of God.  C. Kill.  So Moses besought God to take away his life.  A friend would put him to as little torture as possible.  M. But David only means strongly to assert his own innocence.  H.


Ver. 9.  Thee.  Heb. “then, should I not tell thee?”  C. Sept. “and if it reach not thy cities, I will inform thee.”


Ver. 12.  After.  Sept. “The Lord…has known that I will sift my father, as opportunity shall serve, thrice,” or repeatedly.  H.


Ver. 13.  Father, at the beginning of his reign.  Jonathan foresees that David will be his father’s successor.  C. Hence he commends himself and family to his protection.  M.


Ver. 14.  Die.  Heb. lit. “If I live, thou shalt not shew me, &c…and if I die, (15) thou shalt not,” &c.  It seems there is a negation too much.  Jonathan requests that David would shew mercy to him and to his family; or he is willing that neither should partake of his kindness, if he prove a traitor to his friend.  C. Prot. “And thou shalt not only, while yet I live, shew me the kindness of the Lord, that I die not: (15) But also thou shalt not cut off they kindness from my house for ever, no not when the Lord hath cut off,” &c.  H.


Ver. 15.  May he.  It is a curse upon himself, if he should not be faithful to his promise. It.  That is, revenge it upon David’s enemies, and upon me, if I shall fail of my word given to him.  Ch. The Heb. and several Latin MSS. stop at earth; and what follows, is not found in some Greek and Latin editions.  C. Enemies.  May God punish David’s enemies, and me among the rest.  M.


Ver. 16.  Enemies.  This seems to be a second translation of the former sentence, with a small variation. Required may be expressed in the future, as an imprecation made by the two friends against those who should attempt to break the covenant, or to oppose David’s reign.  Sept. omit this verse entirely, and translate the following, (17) “and Jonathan continued to swear to David, inasmuch as he loved him, because he loved the soul of the man who loved him.”  He had such an affection for David, that he extended his love to all his friends.  Prot. “so Jonathan made a covenant with…David, saying: Let the Lord even require it at,” &c.  H. He did so in due time, and the covenant between these two had its effect.  C.


Ver. 19.  Morrow.  Heb. “and after three days (H.  or, on the third day) thou shalt,” &c.  Syr. and Arab. “Thou wilt be called for at table, at the third hour.”  C. Sept. use the same word, trisseuseiV, as in the following verse: “I will shoot thrice at wild beasts, with arrows, sending as far as Laarmattarai,” so here they may insinuate that David must “wait three days,” (H.) or come on each of these days, that he may not slip an opportunity.  Cajet. Work.  Le Clerc translates, “in the day of the business.”  Prot. “where thou didst hide thyself when the business was in hand, and shalt remain by the stone Ezel.”  Sept. Alex. “by this affair.”  Vat. “Ergab,” a word which Grabe admits instead of ergon, in his edition.  H. Other copies, with the Syr. and Arab. have simply, “near this stone,” which Junius styles speculam, as if it were a butt or landmark, (C.) or a stone to shew the road, (Lyran) or mile-stone, (T.) which latter supposition is not probable, as David desired to be concealed.  M. He would therefore choose some cavern, so as to be able to hear what Jonathan said, without being seen.  H. This precaution was necessary for the safety of both.  M.


Ver. 23.  Ever.  Let us always inviolably adhere to our covenant.  H.


Ver. 24.  Field, on the third day, having gone in the mean time to Bethlehem, v. 6.


Ver. 25.  Arose, out of respect.  Sept. “he had the precedence over Jonathan” alone, as the latter sat “on the king’s right hand, and Abner on the left.”  Arab.  C. David’s place was after Abner.  M.


Ver. 26.  Purified, having perhaps touched some dead body, &c.  Lev. xi. 24.


Ver. 27.  To-day, which was the sabbath.  C. On the new moons people did not travel far.  M.


Ver. 29.  Sacrifice.  Heb. “my family hath a sacrifice,” &c.  v. 5.  H.


Ver. 30.  A man.  Heb. “of an unjust revolt.”  Thou hast taken part against thy father.  C. Prot. “son of the perverse rebellious woman.”  Sept. “of the fugitive, (H.) or of those girls who go in quest of men.”  We must not suppose that Jonathan’s mother was really of this description.  Saul, in rage, wishes to affront his son, (C.) as some frantic parents call their children bastards, not reflecting that the reproach would fall upon themselves. Isai, as he styles him out of contempt, v. 27. Mother.  Heb. &c. “of thy mother’s nakedness or shame.”  M. Instead of a crown, thou must expect ot be reduced to a private station, to the disgrace of my family.  H.


Ver. 31.  The son of death.  That is, one that deserveth death, and shall surely be put to death.  Ch. So people are often styled sons of perdition, of hell, of light, &c. (C.) when they are worthy of such things.  H. All the crime of David, was his too exalted merit, which, under a jealous prince, is often fatal.  Nec minus periculum ex magna fama, quam ex mala.  Tacit. Agricola.


Ver. 34.  Great.  Lit. “in the anger of fury.”  H. Him, either David or Jonathan.  C. Indeed the crime of rebellion  had been imputed to both.  H. Jonathan was grieved on account of the affront and danger (M.) to which he had been publicly exposed, as well as for his friend, upon whose destruction he perceived that his father was now deliberately bent, and not merely during his fits of madness. Confusion.  Sept. “because his father had completed his malice against him;” (H.) or, “had resolved to make an end of him.”  C.


Ver. 36.  Another.  The Heb. &c. do not express this distinctly; (C.) but we find, v. 38, “the lad gathered up the arrows.”


Ver. 40.  Arms.  Prot. “artillery:” but the bow and arrow, &c. are meant.  The boy was sent away under this pretext.


Ver. 41.  Place.  Prot. “out of a place towards,” &c.  H. Chal. “from the side of the rock Asha;” (or Ezel, v. 19,) though the name is written rather differently in Hebrew.  But this was the place appointed.  C. Sept. “from sleep,…and adored him,…and each bewailed his neighbour, to great perfection.”  H. More. Jonathan strove to comfort him, as he was leaving wife, friends, and all.  M.


Ver. 42.  Stand.  This is not expressed in the text, which is left imperfect, (H.) to denote the anguish of the parting friends, (M.) very beautifully.  Salien. David did not exactly comply with this covenant, and his grandson lost half the kingdom.  2 K. xix.  T.



1 KINGS 21




Ver. 1.  Nobe.  A city in the tribe of Benjamin, to which the tabernacle of the Lord had been translated from Silo.  Ch. It was about 12 miles south-west of Gabaa.  Tudelensis. There was another Nobe on the east side of the Jordan, to which Serarius thinks David was three days in travelling.  But when David made that assertion, he wished to conceal the real state of his affairs, as he had not seen Saul since he was at Najoth, v. 5.  Nobe was afterwards accounted a sacerdotal city, v. 19.  2 Esd. xi. 32. Achimelech, who is perhaps the same with Achia (C. xiv. 3,) and Abiathar.  Mark ii. 32. With thee.  He would not expose his men to the resentment of Saul, (C.) though he afterwards gave the priest to understand that he had some attendants, (v. 2) as the gospel relates.  Mat. xii. 3.  He dismissed them before he entered Geth.  C.


Ver. 2.  The king, &c.  This was an untruth, which David, like many other great men, might think lawful in such an emergency.  But it is essentially evil.  C. And such, which he deems it unnecessary to specify.  Sept. retains the Heb. words, “Phelanni almoni.”  See Ruth iv. 1.


Ver. 4.  If the young men be clean, &c.  If this cleanness was required of them that were to eat that bread, which was but a figure of the bread of life which we receive in the blessed sacrament; how clean ought Christians be when they approach to our tremendous mysteries?  And what reason hath the Church of God to admit none to be her ministers, to consecrate and daily receive this most pure sacrament, but such as devote themselves to a life of perpetual purity.  Ch. Women.  God required this on  many occasions.  Ex. xix. 15.  Urgent necessity determined Achimelech to grant the loaves, as our Saviour intimates, though it is probable that he first consulted the Lord.  C. xxii. 16.  C. David perhaps went to Nobe on purpose to ask advice.  M. We have here an example of a dispensation, and of the distinction between lay, or common, and holy bread.  W.


Ver. 5.  Vessels, i.e. the bodies, have been holy; that is, have been kept from impurity: (Ch). in which sense S. Paul uses the word.  1 Thess. iv. 4.  It also includes garments, arms, &c.  All was to be clean.  Sept. “my men are all purified.”  C. Defiled.  Is liable to expose us to dangers of uncleanness, (Ch). as we shall perhaps have to fight.  H. Sanctified.  That is, we shall take care, notwithstanding these dangerous circumstances, to keep our vessels holy; that is, keep our bodies from every thing that may defile us.  Ch. The text is very obscure.  Heb. “the way is impure, because to-day it shall be purified in the vessel.”  C. Prot. “and the bread is in a manner common, yea though it were sanctified this day in the vessel.”  We might eat of it in a case of such necessity.  H. Though laics be commonly debarred from tasting of it, we will partake of it with all due respect.  C. Sept. “the journey is (of a disagreeable nature, or) impure, therefore it will be rendered holy by my vessels,” or arms, in the king’s cause.  H. He seems to be going towards the infidel nations.  M.


Ver. 7.  Within.  Heb. mehtsar, “detained, or assembles before the Lord.”  Theodoret thinks he was possessed; others believe he had made a vow, &c. Edomite.  Some Greek copies read, a Syrian, as also C. xxii. 9.  C. He had embraced the Jewish religion.  M.


Ver. 9.  This.  Chaldee observes, he gave this sword “after he had consulted the Lord with the ephod.”  In a just war, the ornaments of the temples may be used.  Pro republic i plerumque templa nudantur.  Seneca.  Grot. Jur. iii. 5. 2.  C. Tostatus believes that David would restore this sword, as soon as he had procured other arms.


Ver. 10.  Achis.  He is elsewhere called Achimelech.  This bold step was taken by God’s order, (Salien) or secret impulse, as the high priest and Doeg knew not whither David had directed his course.  H. Sanchez thinks David received no express declaration, as the event was not very prosperous.  M. Many great men have taken refuge among their greatest enemies, as Themistocles, Alcibiades, and Coriolanus fled respectively to the Persians, Lacedæmonians, and Volscians, and were received with great respect.  Indeed the acquisition of such men is equivalent to a victory.  C. Though David might expect that his name would be hateful at Geth, as he had slain their great champion, &c. yet he had done it in an open manner, and had displayed the most heroic courage, so that the king and nobility might raise their thoughts above the vulgar sentiments of jealousy and revenge.  Salien. David only retired from the court of this king, to avoid the hatred of the courtiers; he returned again, and was kindly received.  C. xxvii. 1.  C.


Ver. 11.  Land, equal to a king in glory.  M. Perhaps they had heard of the rejection of Saul, and reflected that their own country belonged to him, according to the terms proposed by Goliath.  C.


Ver. 13.  Countenance.  Heb. “sentiment, (C.) or, behaviour.”  H. Chal. “reason.”  He no longer acted as a prudent man, but like a fool. Down; not fainting, (C.) but like one in an epileptic fit.  H. Heb. “he feigned himself mad.”  Chal. “stupid.” Stumbled.  Heb. “wrote, or made figures upon.”  Sept. “beat the drum upon the gates of the city, and he was carried about, or acted the fool, in his hands, (parefereto en tais cersin, autou: Amama would have, autwn, their) and he fell against the doors of the gate,” &c.  They seem to give a double translation.  S. Aug. says, “we cannot understand how David could be carried  in his own hands.  But we understand how it was verified in Christ.  For Christ was carried in his own hands at his last supper, when he gave, or commending, his own body, he said, This, &c. for he then carried his own body in his own hands.”  In Ps. xxxiii. conc. i.)  Ferebat enim illud corpus in manibus suis.  Amama may laugh at S. Augustine’s ignorance of Hebrew, but the holy doctor was at least a sincere Catholic.  H. Beard.  We find some wretched objects doing the same.  Mar. ix. 17.  The spittle was deemed infectious.  Et illic isti qui sputatur, morbus interdum venit.  Plautus in Captivis.


Ver. 15.  House.  David had not rushed into the palace of his own accord, but wished to remain concealed.  Some of the people however knew him, and would have him to enlist as one of the soldiers of Achis; (M.) or even designed to get him put to death, which made him have recourse to this expedient.  Some of the saints have imitated him, to avoid worldly honours and dignities of the Church.  H. Thus the conduct of Jesus Christ himself, was accounted foolishness by worldlings.  Mark iii. 21.  Luke xxiii. 11.  1 Corinthians i. 23.  V. Bede.  W.



1 KINGS 22




Ver. 1.  Odollam, about two days’ journey from Geth, (Salien) nine miles east of Eleutheropolis, in the tribe of Juda.  Euseb.  C. Jos. xii. 15.  2 Mac. xii. 38.  M. Thither, to avoid the fury of Saul, which fell so heavy upon the priests, v. 16.  The most warlike sons of Gad came hither also, to join David.  1 Par. xii. 8.  Abul.  Salien, A. 2973.


Ver. 2.  Men.  His title to the crown was incontestable, so that he might justly make war, particularly in his own defence, and receive those who flocked to him to screen themselves from the persecution of Saul, and from their debtors, whom they would thus enable themselves to repay in time, by the plunder which they would take from the enemy.  David maintained the strictest discipline, and withheld his men from making any disturbance, always manifesting the greatest respect for the person of the king.  C. The soldiers of Jephte were of the same description as these of David.  Judg. xi. 3.  H.


Ver. 3.  Of Moab, to distinguish it from the city of Benjamin, where Samuel had assembled the people; (M.) and perhaps also from the birth-place of Jephte, unless the Moabites had taken possession again of that part of Galaad.  C. Saul had made war upon this king, so that he was more ready to protect David, who departing soon after, by the admonition of Gad, (v. 5.  C.) left those who could not follow him under his care.  In the mean time he lived on plunder, taken from the surrounding enemies, (Tostat) and was joined by 200 men from the tribes of Benjamin and of Juda, (1 Par. xii. 16,) with Amasai, his nephew, by his sister Abigail, at their head.  Salien, A.C. 1079.


Ver. 4.  The hold.  The strong hold, or fortress of Maspha.  Ch. It signifies “a watch-tower.”  H. In this place the parents of David probably finished their days, as we find no farther mention of them.  Salien.


Ver. 5.  Haret, west of Jerusalem.  Sept. read “the town of Haret,” (Euseb.) or “Sarec.”  M. Rama, “the height,” in Gabaa.  C. God would not suffer David and his followers to continue long among the infidels, for fear of danger.  M. The hero shews his ready obedience to the word of the unknown prophet, and is willing again to expose himself in the midst of Saul’s dominions.  Salien.


Ver. 7.  Jemini.  Benjamites, my countrymen.  Saul approaches them with being too little concerned about his interests, and falsely accuses his own son, who, it seems, had retired from court, after his father had attempted to kill him.  But he shewed no signs of disloyalty.  C. The king mentions the league between Jonathan and David, on suspicion.  C. xx. 23.  M.


Ver. 9.  Servants, or herdsmen.  C. xxi. 7.  Sept. “the Syrian, who was set over the mules of Saul.”  H. Informers are a set of men destructive to the public,” says Tacitius, Hist. i. 4.


Ver. 10.  Consulted.  Some think this was a falsehood, as it is  not mentioned before.  Hugo. But Achimelech does not deny the fact, v. 15.  C.


Ver. 12.  Achitob.  He gives him no honourable title, no more than David, (v. 7, &c.) out of disrespect.  M.


Ver. 14.  Faithful…and honourable, are titles given to people of great distinction at court.  C. ix. 6.  Num. xii. 7.  Gen. xxxiv. 19.


Ver. 15.  For him?  We might read without an interrogation, “I have to-day begun…” (Chald.) never suspecting that it would be disagreeable to the king.  C. His character and his declarations, led me to conclude quite the contrary, so that I cannot lawfully be accused of any conspiracy.  H.


Ver. 17.  Messengers.  Heb. “runners.”  These officers remained at court and were people of great account, (C.) like the king’s guards, 2 K. xv. 1.  3 K. i. 5.  H. Lord, out of reverence, and being convinced of their innocence.  M. The obedience which we owe to superiors is subordinate to that which we must always shew towards God and  justice.  C. Saul unjustly condemned them as the abettors of his competitor.  W.


Ver. 18.  Five.  Josephus reads “385.”  Sept. “305.” Ephod.  They all appeared in this dress, as they were priests.  C. It was different from the sacred ephod.  Abulensis. Thus the posterity of Heli was almost entirely cut off, as God had threatened.  C. ii.  D.  T.


Ver. 19.  Sword.  Saul, now abandoned God, acts against all law.  He probably, on this occasion, destroyed the inhabitants of Gabaon, to make place for the tabernacle, which was removed hither.  C.  See C. xxvii. 12. He might also appoint Achitob high priest, the father of Sadoc, who supplanted Abiathar, 1 Par. xii. and xvi. 29.  T.


Ver. 20.  Escaped.  He had perhaps remained at Nobe, to do duty.  M. God was pleased to reserve him, (C.) to convey the sacred ornaments of the high priest to David.  H. S. Bachiarius looks upon the slaughtered priests as martyrs.  T.


Ver. 22.  House.  Lit. “I am guilty,” &c.  H. “Good people acknowledge a fault, where there is none.”  S. Greg. David was aware of the malicious temper of Doeg, but he could not prevent its evil effects, as he had applied to the high priest without perceiving that he was there.  H. He received Abiathar at Ceila, which he had protected against the Philistines.  C. xxii.


Ver. 23.  Saved.  We will be as one soul.  On this occasion David composed the 51st Psalm, Quid gloriaris, to reprobate the conduct of Doeg.  Salien. We may consider David as the fourth in order of the sacred writers, as he appears after Moses, Josue, and Samuel.  H.



1 KINGS 23.




Ver. 1.  Barns.  The floors were composed of earth and the dregs of oil, made into a sort of mortar, so that rain, mice, &c. could not hurt them.  Cato 91 and 129. Hither the people of Ceila had gathered their corn, and the enemy came to plunder, or to spoil, according to custom.  Judg. v. 4. and xv. 5.  C. Ceila was about seven miles from Hebron, and as many from Eleutheropolis.  S. Jerom.


Ver. 2.  Lord, by the prophet Gad, (Salien.  v. 6.  M.) or by Abiathar, who brought the ephod along with him.  David undertakes nothing without his advice.


Ver. 3.  Judea, in the midst of the country, remote from the Philistines; and in a forest, where Saul cannot so easily attack us, as in a city.


Ver. 4.  Again, in the presence of his soldiers.  C. Thus Gedeon requested a double miracle of the Lord, to encourage his men.  M.


Ver. 6.  An ephod, or the ephod.  That is, the vestment of the high priest, with the Urim and Thummim, by which the Lord gave his oracles.


Ver. 7.  Bars.  This was what David’s men apprehended.  Saul thinks this is a fit opportunity for taking them all prisoners; and he supposes that God was on his side, though, after his repeated crimes, he had little reason to flatter himself with hopes of this nature.  The wicked, however, easily delude themselves.  H.


Ver. 8.  People, in the neighbourhood.  It is hardly probable that all Israel should be put in motion to take a few men.  C.


Ver. 9.  Secretly.  He might have pretended that the armament was against the Philistines.  M. Ephod.  Some say that David put it on.  But this was the privilege of the high priest, who gave the answer to David’s consultation, which he might perhaps repeat after him.  C. He put on the rational to consult God.  Ex. xxviii.  Lev. viii.  W.


Ver. 12.  Up.  God had only answered the first question before.  He now informs David, that it is the intention of the men of Ceila to deliver him into the hands of Saul, who was preparing to attack their city, and that he would inevitably fall into his hands, (C.) if he did not retire.  W. God sees contingent events with the same certainty as those which will really take place.  H. The people of Ceila could not have justly delivered up the innocent David, but they might have insisted that he should quit their city, to save it from destruction; or they might have forced him.  Scholastic.  T.


Ver. 14.  Ziph, eight miles east of Hebron, (S. Jer.) towards the southern Carmel.  Euseb. Abdias (v. 3) takes notice of the clefts of the rocks of Edom.  S. Jerom says, this mountain was “dark and cloudy.”  M.


Ver. 16.  In God exceedingly, reminding him of God’s promises.  C. He hoped to see David king, and himself next to him in power.  H.


Ver. 17.  Next, in dignity; thy helper and associate.  See Eccli. iv. 8. 11. This, our league, (C.) or the decree appointing David to be king.  M.


Ver. 18.  Lord, Gad or Abiathar being present.  S. Jer. This is the third time they had confirmed their alliance, to satisfy their love.  M.


Ver. 19.  Hand, to the south.  D.


Ver. 22.  Him, and therefore will be upon his guard.  H. Syriac, “because I am told he is crafty.”  C. Sept. “because Saul said, lest this crafty man should exert all his art;” or, “lest he should be very cunning.”  H. Saul foreboded that he would again elude his pursuit.  Vatable.


Ver. 23.  And if.  Heb. “if he be in the land, I will.” Thousands; the cities, or with all the troops.  D.


Ver. 24.  Maon, in Arabia Petrea, not far from Bersabee.  C.


Ver. 26.  Other side, to the south. Despaired, without the divine assistance.  Salien. Heb. nechpaz, “feared, or (D.) made haste to flee.”  Sept. “David was screened to depart.”  He used all possible precautions not to fall into Saul’s  hands, though he knew he should succeed him.  He might still experience some fear of ill treatment.  H.


Ver. 28.  Division, as it alone had been between the two rivals.  Saul was obliged to leave the place, though he and his men were in suspense what to do.  C.



1 KINGS 24




Ver. 1.  Engaddi, below Jericho, on the west side of the Dead Sea.  It was famous for rocks and caverns.  C.


Ver. 3.  Goats; an hyperbole.  M. Heb. “upon the rocks of the wild goats.”  H.


Ver. 4.  Cotes.  These were probably no other than the caverns, in which shepherds there secure themselves and their flocks, in the night, and from storms.  T. Some of them, in Syria, are so capacious as to contain 4,000 men, (Strabo xvi.) so that David might well remain unperceived by Saul, who did not enter so far.  Polyphemus and Cacus dwelt in caverns, with their flocks.  Virg. Æneid viii. Nature.  Heb. “to cover his feet,” which has the same import.  Syr. and Arab. “to rest, or sleep.”


Ver. 5.  Eyes.  This might have been spoken by Gad, or Samuel; (M.) or they only mean that this is a most favourable opportunity.  Some think that David ought to have embraced it, and put an end to these troubles, by the death of the usurper.  But this was not the opinion of David; and God, who had promised him the throne, had not authorized him to lay violent hands on Saul.  He might act on the defensive, but not be the aggressor.  T. Arose, with an intention to kill his unjust persecutor, v. 11. Robe, to convince him how easily he might have taken away his life.  S. Aug. de C. xii. 6. The noise of Saul’s attendants hindered him from being perceived.  Perhaps Saul might have put off his robe.  M. S. Chrysostom observes, the David obtained more glory by sparing Saul than by killing Goliath.  T. Clemency makes a man like God.  Cicero.


Ver. 6.  Heart struck him; viz. with remorse, as fearing he had done amiss.  Ch. A tender conscience is uneasy about things which are not sinful, while some stick at nothing.  W. The action of David seemed disrespectful.  C. “The subjects of kings adore the royal name as a divinity.”  Curtius vii.  Regium nomen…pro deo colunt.


Ver. 7.  Anointed.  He was chosen by God, and to be judge by him.  C. Reges in ipsos imperium est Jovis.  Hor. David was not to mount the throne, till Saul was removed, by God’s ordinance.  W.


Ver. 11.  A thought to kill thee.  That is, a suggestion, to which I did not consent.  Ch. Heb. “and he spoke to kill thee, and he has pardoned thee; and  he said, I will not,” &c.  C. Prot. “and some bade me kill thee, but mine eye spared thee, and I said.”  Sept. “and I would not kill thee, and I spared thee, and said,” &c.  H.


Ver. 12.  Father.  He had married Saul’s daughter; (M.) and the king ought to be the common father of his people.  H.


Ver. 13.  Revenge me of thee; or, as it is in the Hebrew, will revenge me.  The meaning is, that he refers his whole cause to God, to judge and punish according to his justice; yet so as to keep himself, in the mean time, from all personal hatred to Saul, or desire of gratifying his own passion, by seeking revenge.  So far from it, that when Saul was afterwards slain, we find that, instead of rejoicing at his death, he mourned most bitterly for him.  Ch. If it be lawful to seek redress from a magistrate, much more may we appeal to the Sovereign Judge!  M.


Ver. 14.  Thee: the tree is known by its fruit.  If therefore I have behaved  in this manner, no longer trust the reports of others against me.  C. The wicked, if left to themselves, will be their own tormentors.  He may thus indirectly threaten Saul, as  iniquity is often put for punishment.  M. The wicked shall at last open thier eyes, and be reclaimed.  Rabbins ap. Munster. David entertained hopes that even Saul would now be convinced of his innocence.  H.


Ver. 15.  Dog.  This expression is still used to denote a contemptible person.  2 K. xvi. 9.  What honour can so great a king derive, from gaining the victory over a man unarmed? &c.  C.


Ver. 17.  Voice.  He was at such a distance, as not to be able to distinguish his features. Wept.  The greatest reprobates  may sometimes feel sentiments of compunction, so that we need not here doubt of Saul’s sincerity.  C. He might otherwise have turned upon David with his 3,000, and easily have seized his prey.  H.


Ver. 22.  Father.  David complied with this request as far as he was able: but, as God was resolved to punish the posterity of Saul, for the injury done to the Gabaonites, he was forced to give them all up, except Miphiboseth, the son of Jonathan.  C. He could not promise to defend them, if they proved guilty.


Ver. 23.  Places, knowing that no dependence was to be had on Saul.  M. How blind and ungrateful must this king have been, thus to fight against the known designs of Providence, instead of endeavouring to reward and to make a friend of so great a person!  H.



1 KINGS 25




Ver. 1.  Samuel died.  The Rabbins say four months before Saul.  Seder, olam 13.  T. Others believe about two years; and suppose that he was 98 years old, twenty of which he had been judge: (C.) Salien says 38, and that he lived seventy-seven years.  M. On all these points the learned are divided.  C. vii. 15.  They are more unanimous in praising (H.) the conduct of this most  holy statesman.  Grotius compares him with Aristides.  C. But he Holy Ghost gives Samuel a far more glorious character.  Eccli. xlvi. 16. &c.  H. Both he and his mother are figures of the two testaments.  Anna becomes fruitful Samuel is substituted in the place of Heli.  The sterility of Anna represents the incapacity of the Synagogue, to produce living and virtuous children.  She bears Samuel, the figure of Jesus Christ, who reunites in his person the royal and the sacerdotal dignity.  But under another point of view, Samuel, how perfect soever, must give place to the more perfect David, the glorious type of Jesus Christ, and thus the Synagogue, notwithstanding all her prerogatives, must yield to the Church.  See S. Aug. de C. xvii. 1. 4.  Many of the ancients have looked upon Samuel as the high priest: but the generality have acknowledged that he was only a Levite, (C.) or an extraordinary priest, like Moses.  H. All Israel, or many from every tribe, assembled to attend his funeral; (T.) and all mourned for him, as they had done for Moses and Aaron.  Salien. House, or among his kindred, (T.) in a place which he had chosen for his tomb.  This is called the house of the wicked for ever; but the just raise their hopes much higher, and await a more splendid palace above, and a glorious resurrection.  H. The would not bury Samuel in his dwelling-house, as it could not then be entered without incurring an uncleanness.  C. His bones were translated with great respect to Constantinople, and a noble mausoleum was built for them by the emperor Justinian.  Procopius v.  S. Jer. c. Vigil.  T.


Ver. 2.  Maon.  Vat. Sept. has the same word in the preceding verse, instead of Pharan.  H. Possessions.  Heb. “work.”  Cattle then formed the chief source of riches.  Carmel and Maon were not far from Pharan, in Arabia.  C.


Ver. 3.  Caleb, the famous companion of Josue.  His name means, “a dog;” whence the Sept. “he was a Cynic.” Josephus, “he followed the manners of the Cynics,” who were remarkable for their impudence, like dogs.  Caleb was of the same tribe as David, and ought to have been  more favourable to him on that account, v. 6.  H.


Ver. 7.  Molested them.  This deserved some acknowledgment, as they might have done it with impunity.  But David had also been of service to Nabal’s men, as one of them told Abigail, v. 1621.


Ver. 8.  Good day, set aside for rejoicing, w hen the sheep were shorn.  2 K. xiii. 24.


Ver. 10.  Masters.  As if he had said, you and David are but fugitive slaves.  C. He might also insinuate, that David encouraged such practices.  C. xxii. 2.  H.


Ver. 11.  Water, under which name all sorts of drinks are included.  Nabal had plenty of wine, and was much intoxicated, v. 36.  Sept. translate, “wine.”  Syr. and Arab. “drink.” Cattle.  Heb. “victims,” which is a term used both for sacred and profane feasts.


Ver. 14.  Rejected them.  Heb. “flew against them.”  Chal. “saw them with disgust.”


Ver. 17.  Determined, and as if it had already taken place.  C. xx. 7.


Ver. 18.  Raisins.  Hebrew tsimmukim, “dried raisins,” or clusters of an extraordinary size.  Roger speaks of some gathered in the vale of Sorec, which weighed 25½ pounds.  A.D. 1634.  Sept. “a gomer of dry raisins.”  Syr. and Arab. “a hundred cheeses.” Cakes.  Chal. “pounds.”  Heb. is imperfect, two hundred…of figs.  We must supply (C.) cakes, with the Prot. &c. or pounds, with the Chaldee, (H.) as each of the cakes perhaps weighed so much.  M.


Ver. 19.  Nabal.  Knowing his churlish temper, and that he was drunk at this time, (v. 36.  H.) she might be well excused from the ordinary laws which forbid a wife to dispose of her  husband’s property, without his consent.  The emergency left no time for consultation.  She gave a part to save the whole.  C.


Ver. 20.  Foot.  Heb. “in the obscurity,” or road covered with trees.  Sept. “in the shade.”  Chal. “on the side.”  David was descending from the mountains of Pharan, at the same time.


Ver. 22.  The enemies, is left out in some editions of the Sept.  But David wishes all evils to himself, though, to avoid the ominous expression, he specifies his enemies, if he do not punish Nabal. Leave.  David certainly sinned in his designs against Nabal and his family, as he himself was afterwards sensible, when he blessed God for hindering him from executing the revenge he had proposed.  Ch. All.  Chal. “any one who is come to the use of reason.”  Syr. and Arab. “the least thing hanging upon the wall.”  I will destroy the guilty, and plunder all the valuable effects.  C. But the Heb. Sept. &c. agree with the Vulg. and the meaning is, either that every man, or that every dog, and even the meanest things, should be enveloped in the general ruin.  H. The manners of men vary, but those of dogs are always the same.  Hence, it is more generally supposed that this expression (C.) denotes that even dogs shall be exterminated, and consequently other things for which Nabal would have a greater affection.  H. Aurelian being irritated against the inhabitants of Thiane, swore, “I will not leave a dog in this town;” which all people explained as if he meant to leave nothing alive in it.  But being afterwards moved with compassion at the distress of the people, he executed his threat literally, and killed all the dogs.  Vopisc.  See 3 K. xiv. 10. and xv. 29. and xxi. 21. and 4 K. v. 6.  Bochart, Anim. ii. 55.  Delrio, adag. 184.  C. The unhappy Geddes translates, “a dog,” to avoid the indelicate allusion.  It would have been well if he had allowed himself no greater liberties!  H. The Heb. mashtin, may denote a shepherd’s or a mastiff dog.  M.


Ver. 24.  Iniquity, or the punishment of this fault, v. 28.  C. She wishes to divest the mind of David from the consideration of her husband’s incivility; and, after condemning it herself, insinuates that it would be unbecoming for a great king to mind so insignificant an enemy, v. 28.  H. Thus the emperor Adrian, and Louis XII. would not resent the affronts which they had received before they were raised to that high dignity.  T.


Ver. 25.  The king, is not in Heb. Sept. &c.  David’s title was not yet publicly acknowledged.  C. But Abigail plainly alludes to it, v. 28.  H. Name.  Nabal, in Hebrew, signifies a fool.  C. Thus she extenuates his fault, by attributing it to a deficiency in understanding.


Ver. 26.  To thee.  She felicitates David on not having put his design in execution.  C. Theodoret thinks he might lawfully have done it; but others believe that the fault bore no proportion with the intended punishment.  T. As Nabal, devoid of sense.  Abigail displays the eloquence of nature.  C.


Ver. 27.  Blessing, or present.  M.  See 2 Cor. ix. 5. C.


Ver. 28.  House.  Thy family shall long continue in the enjoyment of the royal power.  Chal. “an established kingdom.”  H. Lord, as his general. Evil.  Do no manner of injustice.  Heb. “and evil hast not been found,” &c.  Hitherto thy life has been irreproachable.  C.


Ver. 29.  Bundle.  Such things are more secure than those which are loose.  W. Of the living, or predestinate, over whom Providence watches in a particular manner.  She seems to allude to the method of carrying pieces of silver in bundles.  Prov. vii. 20.  Chal. “the soul of my lord shall be in the treasury of the lives of the age, before the Lord God.”  C. It shall be preserved for length of days, like something most precious, (H.) while the wicked shall be in continual danger and anxiety, like a stone in a sling.  Zac. ix. 15.  By substituting c for b in Heb. the sense may be still more striking: “the soul of my lord shall be preserved like a living (precious, serviceable,) stone.  But the soul of thy enemies shall be whirled in a sling.”  The Hebrews had a great esteem for slingers, so that this comparison would be sufficiently noble.  A living stone is often mentioned both is sacred and in profane authors.  1 Pet. ii. 4.  Virgil Æneid i. 171.  Vivoque sedilia saxo.


Ver. 30.  Israel, a thing which all expected, and even Saul himself. C. xxiv. 21.


Ver. 31.  Scruple.  Heb. “scandal,” or sin, for David might defend himself, but ought not to attack or take revenge, like a king.  Grot. Innocent.  Many of Nabal’s family were such, and even his fault did not deserve death.  Heb. “shed blood without cause.”  C. Handmaid, who has suggested this good advice.  M. David was so much pleased with her prudence and beauty, that he afterwards married her.


Ver. 32.  Speech.  Heb. “advice, or wisdom.”  Sept. “conduct.”  C.


Ver. 35.  Face.  I have been pleased with thy coming, and granted thy request.  H. David had sworn with too much haste.  C. “It is sometimes wrong to perform what has been promised, and to keep an oath.”  S. Amb. Off. i. C. ult.


Ver. 36.  Morning.  Admirable pattern of discretion, and how reprimands may be made with advantage.  C. A medicine given at an improper time often does harm.  Plin. xvii. 27.  When a person said to Cleostratus, “Are you not ashamed to get drunk?”  he replied, “Are you not ashamed to rebuke a drunken man?”


Ver. 37.  Stone.  Stupified at the thought of the imminent danger to which he had foolishly exposed himself.  So the poets represent Niobe as metamorphosed into a stone, at the hearing of her children’s death.  T. Josephus intimates that Nabal was killed by the malignant influence of the stars, sideratus.  Ant. vi. 14.  Thus, says he, David “learnt that no wicked person can escape the vengeance of God, and that Providence does not neglect human affairs, and abandon them to chance.”


Ver. 39.  Blessed be, &c.  David praises God on this occasion, not out of joy for the death of Nabal, (which would have argued a rancour of heart) but because he saw that God had so visibly taken his cause in hand, in punishing the injury done to him; whilst, by a merciful providence, he kept him from revenging himself.  Ch.  Ps. lvii. 10.


Ver. 41.  Thy servant.  She speaks to David’s representatives, as if he had been present.  H. The marriage was proposed probably a month or two after the death of Nabal; and Abigail followed the messengers, in a short time.  M.


Ver. 43.  Took, or “had taken before,” according to Josephus.  Hence she is placed first, (C.) as the mother of David’s first-born, Amnon.  2 K. iii. 2.  M. Michol, whom he married first, had no children.  H. Jezrahel, a city of Juda.  M.  Jos. xv. 56. There was another more famous place of this name is Issachar.


Ver. 44.  Phalti, or Phaltiel, 2 K. iii. 15.  Saul violated all laws by so doing, and David took her back when he came to the throne, which he could not have done if he  had given her a bill of divorce.  Deut. xxiv. 4.  C. Michol was not blameless in living thus with another man.  M. The Rabbins say that a sword hindered Phalti from approaching her.  Horn in Sulp. Gallim, a city of Benjamin.  Isai. x. 30.  C.



1 KINGS 26




Ver. 1.  Ziph.  Having declared themselves so decidedly against David, they apprehended the utmost danger if he should ascend the throne. Hill.  Heb. “Gabaa,” as the Vulg. leaves it, v. 3.  It lay to the right hand of Ziph, (C. xxiii. 19,) or “of Jesimon.”  Sept.


Ver. 4.  Certainly, or in a place strongly secured by nature.  Sept. “well armed.”


Ver. 5.  Tent, or covered chariot, such as the Scythians use in their marches.  Justin i.  or in a “royal tent.”  Sept. lamphnh, (Pollux.  M.) “richly ornamented,” (Lucifer of Cagliari) “in the midst” (Aquila) of his troops.  C. David might see all was quiet from an eminence, or he might be informed by his spies.  M.


Ver. 6.  Hethite.  He had probably embraced the Jewish religion. Abisai was the son of Sarvia, David’s sister, and made a great figure at court.  C. David was directed by God to manifest his clemency (M.) and reverence for Saul in this perilous attempt.  H.


Ver. 8.  My.  Heb. “the spear,” which was fixed in the ground at Saul’s pillow.  Prot. “let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear, even to the earth, at once, and I will not smite him a second time.”  H.


Ver. 9.  Guiltless.  Saul was still his king, how wicked soever, and this title rendered his person  inviolable.  The eastern nations are very seldom guilty of rebellion, or of murdering their kings; a thing of which we find so many examples in the Roman, English, and French histories.  C. A private man could not lay violent hands upon the king without a crime; and therefore David represses Abisai, and commits his cause to God.  C. xxiv. 13.  M. He will not permit any one to destroy the life of the king, though he was already anointed to succeed him.  W.


Ver. 10.  To die a natural death.  Thus those who are slain, are said to die before their day.  Ps. liv. 28.  Jesus was not taken, because his hour was not yet come.  John ii. 4. and vii. 30.  C. David waits with patience, that God might take off his adversary by sickness, old age, or the sword.  M. He will not ascend the throne before the time appointed, and he will not kill Saul, except it be in battle, in his own defence.  H.


Ver. 12.  Water, for refreshment, or for purifications. Lord.  It is not necessary to have recourse to a miracle, (C.) though it must have been by a special providence that all continued in such a deep sleep, (H.) to give David an opportunity of manifesting his innocence.  W.


Ver. 15.  Israel.  This was a cutting irony.  C. Salien attributes to it the enmity which Abner bore to David for above seven years.  M.


Ver. 16.  Death; i.e. you deserve to die.  Such negligence was punishable with death, according to the Roman laws; & qui excubias.  Grot.


Ver. 19.  Sacrifice, that he may be appeased; (Jonathan.  Vatab.) or rather, I am willing to fall a victim, (M.) and pray that thy sacrifice may be acceptable, and all thy designs against me succeed.  Ps. xix. 4. They are.  The opposition of this sentence to the preceding seems to require “let them be,” &c.  What in effect did not those deserve who wished to make David adore false gods?  C. Lord in the land of Israel. Gods.  They said so, at least by their actions.  M. All other countries were in a manner abandoned to idol-worship, so that a person could not dwell in them, without the most  imminent danger.  See 2 K. xiv. 16.  Ps. lxxxiii. 12.  C.


Ver. 20.  Before, the contrary to the decrees of the Lord, (H.) who will be my avenger. Hunted, (persequiur) is here used in a passive sense; (C.) or it may be rendered, “as a partridge pursues” what it feeds upon.  H.


Ver. 21.  Precious, and treated as such, with care and respect.  See 4 K. i. 14.  Ps. xlviii. 9.  Isai. xliii. 4. Ignorant.  Yet Saul was inexcusable.  2 K. xxiv. 10, &c.


Ver. 22.  It.  He would not keep the spear, lest it might seem disrespectful.


Ver. 24.  Set by.  Lit. “magnified,” or deemed very precious.  H. Distress.  These were the last words which David addressed to Saul; and they seem to have made a deep impression upon him.  But as no dependance could be placed on Saul’s most solemn promises, David resolved, by God’s advice, to retire to the country of Geth.  Salien.  A. 2978.


Ver. 25.  Prevail, and mount the throne. Place, Gabaa.  M.



1 KINGS 27.




Ver. 1.  Hands.  God requires that we should act with prudence.  D. David probably consulted the Lord, and sent ambassadors to Achis, before he went into his dominions, (M.) where he had been in such danger before.  D.


Ver. 2.  Maoch, or Maacha.  3 K. ii. 29.  This king had perhaps seen David, when he counterfeited madness.  But now he was convinced that, by granting him protection, he would greatly annoy Saul, and draw many brave men out of his dominions.


Ver. 3.  Household.  They were aware of the cruelty of Saul.  The names of these valiant men are specified, 1 Par. xii. 1. &c.


Ver. 5.  Country, less peopled, and more remote from the sea. With thee.  David was attended like a king, so that he wished to avoid giving umbrage to Achis, and, at the same time, keep his own men at a greater distance from the contagious morals of the idolaters.


Ver. 6.  Day.  This was written some time after the death of Samuel. Siceleg belonged at first to Juda, and was afterwards given to the tribe of Simeon, till it fell into the hands of the Philistines, and being restored by them to David, was considered afterwards as the property of the kings of Juda.  It lay not far from Horma.  Jos. xix. 4.


Ver. 7.  Months.  Heb. “days and four months.”  The former expression denotes a year; though some would have it, that David remained “four months and a few days” in the country.  He probably continued so many months at Geth, (v. 9. 11,) and about a year at Siceleg.  C. Sept. have “days, four months;” and Salien adopts that term.  H.  See C. xxix. 3.  D.


Ver. 8.  Pillaged Gessuri, &c.  These probably were enemies of the people of God; and some, if not all of them, were of the number of those whom God had ordered to be destroyed; which justifies David’s proceedings in their regard.  Though it is to be observed here, that we are not under an obligation of justifying every thing that he did: for the Scripture, in relating what was done, doth not say that it was well done.  And even such as are true servants of God, are not to be imitated in all they do.  Ch. The nations of Chanaan, who inhabited as far as Egypt, and the Amalecites, who had escaped the arms of Saul, were devoted to destruction.  Ex. xvii. &c.  In such cases, any man might fall upon them, without any other formal declaration of war.  C. There was another Gessuri of Syria, in the tribe of Manasses, across the Jordan.  M. The country which these people inhabited, to the south of Palestine, was afterwards depopulated by the kings of Egypt and of Syria, in their continual wars, so that many of the cities which are mentioned in Scripture, were never known to profane geographers.  C. S. Jerom, (Trad.) Sa, and others, think that David attacked some of the Philistines.  But it is as probable at least that he would abstain from molesting them, whom had so generously afforded him an asylum.  Salien concludes, that he did not attack the other nations, (except the Amalecites, who were sufficiently marked out for destruction, Deut. xxv. 19,) without consulting the Lord, by the high priest, as he was accustomed to do in every difficulty.  A. 2979.  M. They all dwelt in part of the land of Chanaan, (W.) which was sufficient.  H.


Ver. 9.  Apparel.  Saul alone had been ordered to destroy all the property of Amalec.  Abulensis.


Ver. 10.  Jerameel, the son of Esron, inhabited the most southern part of Juda. Ceni, or the Cinites, descendants of Jethro, (C.) who dwelt at Arad and the environs.  The words of David might signify that he attacked these people of Israel, as Achis understood him; or that he made inroads upon those who dwelt to the south of them, which was really the case.  H. At his return, he passed by Siceleg, where he left the spoil, carrying some of the choicest things, as a present, to Achis.  M. But he suffered none of the human race to be carried away captive, lest any of them might disclose the true state of affairs to the king, who might have apprehended that the injured nations would make an attack upon his dominions.  Salien.


Ver. 12.  Harm.  Heb. “he hath made himself stinking (an object of horror) to his people.”  A strong expression used, Gen. xxxiv. 30.  Ex. v. 21.  C. Sept. “he is quite covered with confusion.”  Achis supposed that David had thus forfeited all his pretensions to dwell among, much less, to reign over Israel: so that he might keep him always in his service.  H. In the mean time, Saul was exterminating the people of Gabaon, which brought a pestilence on Israel, 40 years later.  Theodoret. He perhaps supposed that the oath of Josue had not been yet put in execution, as it ought to be, herein indulging too much his cruel temper.  Salien.



1 KINGS 28




Ver. 1.  Israel.  God made use of the ill-will of the Philistines to punish Saul, and to make way for David to the throne.  Salien. Each of the five lords brought their armies into the field, where they were united.  Achis, placing the greatest confidence in David, requires his attendance.  C.


Ver. 2.  Do; or “can do.”  Thou wilt be convinced of my valour and fidelity.  H. But could David lawfully fight against his brethren? or could he desert Achis in the heat of the engagement?  His answer is ambiguous.  C. He prudently committed his cause into the hands of Providence, resolved to do nothing contrary to his duty, and to abide by God’s decision, in this critical juncture, so that Cajetan blames him unjustly.  Salien.  M.  T. Guard.  Sept. “captain of my body guard.”


Ver. 3.  Samuel.  His death is here recorded, as well as the abolition of magic, to explain what follows, when Saul, not being able to obtain an answer from God, as his prophet had been withdrawn in anger, had recourse to the devil.  H. Land, while he reigned virtuously, (M.) according to the law.  Lev. xix 31.  Deut. xviii. 11.


Ver. 4.  Gelboe.  So that he occupied the parts south of the vale of Jezrahel, while the Philistines were encamped on the north, in the tribe of Issachar.  M.


Ver. 5.  Dismayed.  It was so  numerous, while his own conscience upbraided him with being at enmity with God, who increased his fears.  Salien.


Ver. 6.  Dreams. During which God often revealed his will.  See Deut. xiii. 3. Priests.  Heb. “nor by Urim.”  It seems Saul had appointed some priests, and had fabricated a fresh ephod, with the Urim, &c. after the departure of Abiathar.  C. But Salien calls this in question, and there might neither be priests nor prophets for Saul to consult.  H. God despised a man, who had slain so many of his sacred ministers.  M.


Ver. 7.  Spirit.  Heb. “an ob,” or vessel distended, as such impostors seemed to swell at the presence of the spirit.  Sept. “a belly talker.”  They endeavour to speak from that part.  We read of some who, without magic, have possessed the art in great perfection, so as to deceive the company, and make them think that some one was calling them from a great distance; as was the case with one Farming in England, 1645.  Dickenson, c. 9. Brodeus mentions that the valet of Francis I. could thus counterfeit the speech of people deceased, and by these means prevailed upon a rich woman to marry him, and a banker of Lyons to give him a large sum of money.  James Rodoginus, a possessed person in Italy, 1513, could make articulate sounds from the hollow of his belly, when his lips and nostrils were closed up. The oracles of idols were generally given in a low tone, as if they proceeded from the earth.  Submissi petimus terram & vox fertur ad aures.  Virg. Those of Apollo were the most famous, and hence a divining spirit is called a Python.  Saul must have been stupidly blind, thus to depend on what he had formerly banished with such care.  C. He flattered himself that some would still be left, especially among the women, who are most addicted to superstition, as well as to religion.  M. Endor was distant from Gelboe about four hours’ walk.  Adrichomius. But Saul made a long circuit to avoid the enemy.  Salien, v. 20.


Ver. 8.  Clothes, that he might not fill the woman or his army with dismay.  C.


Ver. 10.  Thing.  He adds this crime of swearing unjustly, to all the rest.  Saline.


Ver. 11.  Samuel.  Here we behold the antiquity of necromancy, which is a proof that people believed the soul’s immortality; animas responsa daturas.  Horace i. sat. 8.  C. Protestants sometimes deny (H.) that souls appear again, contrary to this history and Mat. xvii.  S. Aug.  W.


Ver. 12.  Woman.  The Rabbins pretend that she was Abner’s mother, (C.) which is extremely improbable, as he was of the tribe of Benjamin, and a man of such renown.  Salien. Theodoret follows their opinion, in supposing that the woman was startled, because Samuel appeared in a standing posture, and not with his feet upwards, or lying down on his back, as in a coffin, which they say (C.) is the usual manner of spirits appearing to people of her character.  Bellarm. Purgat. ii. 6. She cried out, because he appeared before she had begun her incantations, and was arrayed like a priest, according to Josephus, (H.) in great majesty, or she pretended to see him, the better to impose upon the king; for some think that all was a delusion. C. Saul.  This she learnt either from Samuel, (Josephus) or from her familiar spirit.  M.


Ver. 13.  Gods, or one venerable and divine personage.  W. Elohim, is applied to Samuel for greater honour.  It is a title given to the true God, to idols, and people in dignity.  C.


Ver. 14.  Understood that it was Samuel.  It is the more common opinion of the holy fathers, and interpreters, that the soul of Samuel appeared indeed; and not, as some have imagined, an evil spirit in his shape.  Not that the power of her magic could bring him thither, but that God was pleased for the punishment of Saul, that Samuel himself should denounce unto  him the evils that were falling upon him.  See Ecclesiasticus xlvi. 23.  Ch. The passage is decisive; (T.) he slept and he made  know to the king, and shewed him the end of his life, and he lifted up his voice from the earth, in prophecy, &c.  Those who have called in question the reality of Samuel’s apparition, seem not to have remembered this passage.  H. Yet his soul was not united to his body, (Salien) nor was he adduced by the power of the devil, but (D.) by a just judgment of God, to denounce destruction to the wicked king.  S. Aug. &c.  T. The woman, beholding Samuel, fled out of the place, to Saul’s companions, and left him alone with the king, v. 21. Adored Samuel with an inferior honour, as a friend of God, exalted in glory.  Salien. That Samuel really appeared, is the more common opinion of the fathers.  S. Aug. Cura. xv.  W.


Ver. 15.  Up.  To inform a person of something very terrible, is distressing; and though the saints deceased cannot partake in the afflictions of mortals, yet we read that “the angels of peace will weep, but they will approve of the just sentence of the judge” against the reprobate.  H. The Scripture language conforms itself to the opinions of the people, who thought that such avocations disturbed the soul’s repose.  Hence the fathers at Elvira (C. xxxi.) forbid “the lighting of wax candles in church-yards during the day, for the spirits of the saints are not to be disquieted.”  Isaias (xiv. 9,) represents hell all in commotion, at the approach of the king of Babylon.  These expressions are figurative.  C. God does not encourage magical arts, on this occasion, but rather prevents their operation, as he did, when Balaam would have used some superstitious practices.  Num. xxiv.  D.


Ver. 16.  Rival.  How vain is it to expect that a prophet can give an answer when the Lord is silent!  Heb. “is become thy enemy.”  H.


Ver. 17.  To thee.  Heb. “to him.”  This was only a repetition of what Samuel had before denounced.  C. xv. 28.  If the evil spirit spoke this, he was not guilty of falsehood,  nor more than Mat. viii. 29.  C. But would he dare so often to repeat the name of the Lord?  H. Could he know what would happen to Saul, &c. the next day?  W.


Ver. 19.  To-morrow.  Usher supposes some days afterwards.  But all might take place the day after this was spoken.  C. Sons, except Isboseth, who enjoyed, for a time, part of his father’s kingdom.  H. With me.  That is, in the state of the dead, and in another world, though not in the same place.  Ch. Saul was guilty of suicide, so that he could not be with Samuel in happiness, (C. xxxi. 4.  T.) though he was in the other world.  W. See S. Aug. ad Simp. ii. 3. Cura pro mort. c. xv.  S. Justin. Dial.  Origen, &c.


Ver. 20.  Day, through excessive anguish.  H. He fainted away; upon which his attendants and the woman rushed in.  Salien.


Ver. 21.  Hand, in the most imminent danger.  See Judg. xii. 3.


Ver. 24.  Calf, destined for  a victim or feast.  Luke xv. 23.  Prov. xv. 17.  C. The generosity of this woman deserves commendation.  Josep. vi. 15.  H.



1 KINGS 29




Ver. 1.  Aphec.  Hence they proceeded to Sunam, and attacked Saul, near the fountain, which were all places in the vale of Jezrahel.  The sacred writer thus leaves the two armies ready to engage, being intent on giving the particulars of David’s history, and only relating the affairs of Saul, &c. in as much as they may refer to him.  C. David had retired from the army of the Philistines before Saul went to Endor, and some of the tribe of Manasses went after him, and were present in the battle, in which the Amalecites were slain and plundered.  1 Par. xii. 19.  Salien.


Ver. 2.  Thousands, making the troops pass in review, as the Hebrew insinuates.  Their army seems to have been divided, in the same manner as that of the Israelites, each company of 10, 50, &c. having its respective officer, under the five lords. Were.  Heb. “passed.”  David’s band was connected with the troops of Achis, yet so that they might be easily distinguished by their dress, &c.  C. The Roman Triarii, who were esteemed the bravest soldiers, occupied the rear.  M. Josephus gives us to understand that Achis was the commander in chief.  Ant. vi. 14.  T.


Ver. 3.  Know David.  It seems they were not unacquainted with him, since they knew that Achis had given him a place, (v. 4,) or city.  H. But they prudently judged that it would be very hazardous to employ him on this occasion.  Providence thus brought him honourably out of the scrape, as he could not have remained even inactive, among the troops of the Philistines, without rendering himself suspected both to them and to his own people.  C. Years.  Abulensis thinks that Achis told an untruth, to persuade the lords that he had been long witness of David’s fidelity.  He might also allude to the first time, when he came to his court, or the four months specified C. xxvii. 9, might fall into different years.  Sept. “he has been with us days, this is the second year.”  M.  Syr. “two years (Arab. “one year,”) and some months.”  C. The true term was only four months.  W.


Ver. 4.  Adversary.  Heb. Satan, “a calumniator, enemy,” &c.  C. Tacitus (Hist. iv.) speaking of the Batavian corps, says, “which, being bribed, pretended to be faithful, that it might flee, and become more acceptable after it had betrayed the Romans in the heat of the engagement.”


Ver. 6.  Lord.  Heb. Jehova.  H. Achis speaks of the true God, as David was accustomed to do.  Salien. Perhaps he adored him, like his other gods; as the Israelites are accused of swearing by the Lord and by Melchom.  Soph. i. 5. The pagans often appealed to the gods of those with whom they were treating.  C.


Ver. 8.  King.  He speaks thus that he might not increase the suspicions of the Philistines.  M. In the mean time, God called him to fight against Amalec, and to defend his own property, which was actually, or the next day, taken from Siceleg; (H.) so that nothing could have been more desirable to him, than to be thus dismissed with applause.  Salien.


Ver. 9.  Angel of God, equally incapable of any meanness.  The pagans admitted the existence of good and of evil spirits.  Sanctius.  This exaggerated compliment occurs, Gen. xxxiii. 10.  2 K. xiv. 17. and xix. 27.


Ver. 10.  Thy Lord.  He may allude to Saul, (v. 3,) or to himself, (C. v. 8,) or to God, as David was under obligations to all three.  H. Light, that none might know or be dejected, in the rest of the army.  M.



1 KINGS 30




Ver. 1.  Day.  It was distant from Aphec about 90 miles. Smitten, yet without killing any.  C. We may adore a merciful Providence, which prevented these barbarians from treating David’s men as he had treated theirs.  C. xxvii. 11.  Salien, A.C. 1074. He would allow them to burn the city, &c. that David might be roused to execute the divine vengeance upon them.  Theodoret.


Ver. 4.  Tears.  Heb. “till they had no more power to weep.”  M. See Lament. ii. 11.  Cicero exclaims, Hei mihi! consumptis enim lachrymis, infixus tamen hæret in corde dolor.  Phil. ii.


Ver. 6.  Stone him, as the author of all their losses, because he had not left a sufficient garrison at Siceleg, and had irritated the Amalecites.  Inconstant people! they thought that he we indebted to them for all that he possessed!  C. David, without being too much dejected, sought out for an immediate remedy, and led them on to battle.  Their ancestors had once threatened to stone Moses.  Ex. xvii. &c.  T.


Ver. 7.  To David.  Some think that David put on the ephod; but this was the function of the high priest, who, according to Grotius, turned towards David, that he might see the brightness of the precious stones.  See Ex. xxviii. 30.  By means of the priest David was enlightened.  W.


Ver. 9.  Besor is formed by the water falling from the mountains of Idumea, and discharges itself into the Mediterranean, below Gaza.  C. Some take it to be the torrent of the desert, or the river of Egypt.  Adrichomius makes it run from the mountains of Juda, so as to form the southern boundary of the tribe of Simeon.  H.


Ver. 10.  Weary.  Heb. pigru, denotes those who are “lazy and dead.”  Sept. “some sat down on the other side of the torrent.”  Syr. and Arab. insinuate, to defend the passage.  But why then do the rest complain?  C. They acted irrationally, as David shewed afterwards.  Some of the 600 might well be more exhausted than others, and these were selected to guard the baggage, v. 24.  This was only the third day since they left Aphec, v. 1.  H.


Ver. 12.  Raisins.  Heb. tsimmukim.  See C. xxv. 18.  C. The soldiers very prudently took some provisions with them, as they were going into a desert country.  M.


Ver. 13.  Ago.  His master’s inhumanity was justly punished, and God provided for the safety of his poor slave, while he sent a guide for David.  H.


Ver. 14.  Cerethi, denotes the Philistines, (R. David.  See v. 16.  H.) who came originally from Crete.  2 K. xv. 18.  Ezec. xxv. 16.  C. They might be natives of some province of the Philistines, (Vatab.) belonging to Gaza, (M.) or Geth.  H. Caleb.  Hebron and Cariath-sepher fell to his share.  The enemy had a good opportunity to ravage all those places, as most of the soldiers were absent (C.) at Jezrahel.  H.


Ver. 15.  Him.  David did not require this slave to betray his master, for the latter had lost all his claim, and David had acquired it by relieving the distressed.  Si herus negaverit servo suo alimenta, & alius suppeditet, sit occupantis.  See Martyr. and the Roman laws.  The Amalecites dwelt in tents, and the slave knew where they commonly lodged.  C. Perhaps his master had told him where to meet him, in case he recovered.


Ver. 16.  Drinking.  Heb. adds, “and dancing,” (Salien) in honour of their gods.  M.


Ver. 17.  Evening.  Heb. “twilight,” in the morning (C.) or evening.  H. Some think that the pursuit lasted three days; others only from three till five in the evening.  But David more probably slaughtered the intoxicated people, during the space of a whole day, from morning till evening.  C. Sept. “from the morning or evening star rising, aro ewsforou, till the afternoon, and on the following day,” (H.) which commenced at sun-set.  C. It was no battle, but flight and carnage.  M.


Ver. 19.  All, excepting what had been eaten, or consumed with fire.  M.


Ver. 20.  And made.  Heb. “which they drove before those things (or cattle,” taken from the Amalecites.  H.) “which were separated from those which David had recovered.”  Each one reclaimed what he had lost.  Perhaps David’s portion was placed by itself.  C. Grotius thinks that, as the things taken in war cannot be reclaimed by the former proprietors, all was equally divided.  See Seld. Jur. vi. 16.


Ver. 22.  Unjust.  Heb. Belial.  See Deut. xiii. 13.  C. David saluted those who had remained at Besor, to shew that he approved of their conduct, unless we may attribute it to his great clemency.  M.


Ver. 24.  Alike.  Nothing could be more just and prudent; as this decision prevents continual murmurs and inconveniences.  Those who are left behind, are bound to defend the baggage at the hazard of their lives, and each man must obey the orders of the general.  Hence all nations seem to have adopted similar regulations, though Achilles declaims against it.  Iliad i. Coriolanus observes, that formerly the Romans brought all the spoil into the public treasury.  Halicar. vii. The soldiers promised on oath to bring all they should take, and an equal division was made to the whole army.  Polyb. x. The sick and absent also partook of the plunder.  C. The same was observed by the Machabees, 2 B. viii. 28.  H.


Ver. 25.  A law.  Custom, (C.) and a particular injunction, had long before made way for it.  Num. xxxi. 27.  H.  Jos. xxii. 8. We might translate the Heb. “And this law had been observed in Israel from that day and before.”  David restored to its full vigour this ancient regulation.  The Hebrews have no compound verbs, such as re-establish, re-build, &c. instead of which, they say, to establish, (C.) and build again.  Thus, by the addition of adverbs, they can explain the same things.  Prot. “from that day forward he made it a statute,” &c.  H. It is not, therefore, unlawful to make new laws, provided they be conformable to those of God.  Deut. iv. and xii.  W.


Ver. 26.  Neighbours.  Heb. “friends;” some were at a distance, v. 28.  H. The number of presents shews the quantity of the spoil, and the generosity of David towards those who had formerly assisted  him.  C.


Ver. 27.  Bethel, “the house of God,” as the priests had afforded him protection.  H. It is not certain whether he speaks of a town of Ephraim, or of the cities where the ark and the tabernacle were now fixed. Ramoth, in the tribe of Simeon: (C.) there was another in the tribe of Gad.  M. Jether, or “Jethira,” (Euseb.) a priests’ town, called Ether.  Jos. xv. 42.


Ver. 28.  Aroer, on the Arnon.  David had sojourned among the Moabites. Sephamoth: perhaps Sephama, (Num. xxxiv. 10,) though it was a great way beyond the Jordan.  C. Abulensis assigns Sephamoth to Juda.  M. Esthamo was in the same tribe, belonging to the priests.  Jos. xxi. 14.


Ver. 29.  Rachel; perhaps the same with Hachila.  C. xxiii. 19. and xxvi. 1. Jerameel.  See C. xxvii. 10. Ceni, a canton to the south of the Dead Sea.


Ver. 30.  Arama, or Horma.  Num. xxi. 3. Lake.  Heb. “at Chor Aschan.”  It is called Asan, Jos. xv. 42, and xix. 7. Athach, or Athar.  Jos. xix. 7.


Ver. 31.  Hebron, twenty miles south of Jerusalem. Rest.  David remunerated all his old friends, which was the sure way to procure more.  H. He was still uncertain what would be the event of the war between Saul and the Philistines; and desirous to make friends, who might smooth his way to the throne, according to God’s appointment.  Salien.



1 KINGS 31




Ver. 1.  Fled.  They make but a feeble resistance, as God was not with them.  H. The first onset was made by the archers, and Saul’s three sons fell, while the king himself was dangerously wounded.  C. The death of his sons would increase his anguish.  M. He seems not to have told them of the divine decree, as he might deem it irrevocable and unavoidable, so that flight would have been of no service to them.  H.


Ver. 2.  Jonathan.  Ven. Bede, &c. doubt not of his salvation.  Salien.


Ver. 3.  Overtook.  Heb. “attacked, found, or hit him.”  He was running away.  H. Wounded.  Some translate Heb. “terrified,” as they believe the words of the Amalecite, “my whole life is in me.”  But that wretch deserves no credit; and Saul would probably not take the desperate resolution of killing himself, till he saw there was no possibility of escaping.  Sept. “the archers find him, and they wounded him in the lower belly.”  Theodotion, “in the part near the liver.”


Ver. 4.  Bearer.  The Rabbins say he was Doeg.  They were not yet come to a close engagement. Mock at me, as was then customary.  See Jos. viii. 29.  Judg. i. 7.  He might recollect the treatment of Samson.  C. Fear.  “To spill the royal blood’s a direful thing.”  Homer.


Ver. 5.  With him.  Thus to avoid a little shame and temporal punishment, they rushed into those which are inconceivably geat and eternal.  H. The Jews in vain attempt to excuse Saul, as they deem suicide in such cases lawful, though in others they deprive those of burial, who have been guilty of it.  Joseph. Ant. vi. 14. This author applauds the behaviour of Saul; and indeed, his courage called forth the praises of David.  But even the pagans have deemed those no better than cowards, who have killed themselves to avoid misery.

Rebus in adversis facile est contemnere mortem:

Fortiter ille facit, qui miser esse potest.  Martial.

The civil laws deny suicides the rites of burial, as they are also guilty of a crime against the state, which they deprive of their labours.  They unjustly abandon what God has only committed to their care.  Saul seems to have been afraid of receiving any insult himself, rather than to have been desirous of preventing the blasphemies of the infidels against God, as the Jews pretend.  He gave no signs of repentance, and the spirit of God pronounces his condemnation.  So Saul died for his iniquities, because he transgressed; (C.  Heb. and Sept. in his iniquities, by which he prevaricated.  T.)…and moreover consulted also a witch, and trusted not in the Lord: therefore he slew him.  1 Par. x. 13, 14.  Saul prefigured those, who having yielded to temptations, persist and die in their evil ways.  S. Greg.  W.


Ver. 6.  His men.  Paral. his house fell together.  The hopes of his family were at an end, (H.) though Isboseth, Abner, and some few survived him, (M.) who had fled, (C.) or had not been in the engagement.  H.


Ver. 7.  Beyond, or about “the passage” or fords of the Jordan, as the Heb. means.  M. The Philistines did not pursue after them, as God set bounds to their ambition.  It might otherwise have proved very fatal to his people, who were now so much divided and terrified.  In the parallel passage, in Chronicles, it is only said, When the men…that dwelt in the plains (of Jezrahel) saw this, they fled.  1 Par. x. 7.  The Philistines seized the abandoned cities, particularly Bethsan, (v. 10.  H.) which had been retained by the Chanaanites in the days of the judges, and which David took back.  Judg. i. 27.  3 K. iv. 12.


Ver. 9.  Head, as David had treated that of Goliath.  C. xvii. 54.


Ver. 10.  Astaroth.  The like custom was observed by the Hebrew, (C. xxi. 9,) and by the Greeks and Romans, (C.) to acknowledge that victory was granted by God.  The Philistines insulted Saul’s body, and blasphemed the true God, as much as if they had taken the king alive.  He only avoided the mortification of hearing them while he was forced to attend to the furies below. Body, with those of his three sons, v. 12.  H. Saul’s head was hung up in the temple of Dagon, at Azotus; (1 Par. x. 10,) his body was suspended on the wall or street of Bethsan; (2 K. xxi. 12,) or in the most public place, near the gate of the city.


Ver. 11.  Jabes, in gratitude for the deliverance which he had procured for them.  C. xi. 11.  C. They are also deserving of praise for shewing mercy to the dead, as well as for their bravery.  W.


Ver. 12.  Burnt them, or the flesh, reserving the ashes and bones to be buried, as was customary among the Greeks (Homer, y.) and Romans:

Sed cænam funeris hœres

            Negliget iratus quod rem curtaveris; urnæ

            Ossa inodora dabit.  Persius. vi.

See  Amos vi. 10.  Jonathan insinuates, that they burnt over the bodies aromatic spices.


Ver. 13.  Wood.  Par. under the oak. Days, at their  own option.  David fasted one day, (C.) as he did for Abner.  Salien. There was no obligation of mourning for the kings, though it is probable that those near the royal city, would shew this mark of attention to the deceased monarch.  See Jer. xxxiv. 5.  2 Par. xxxv. 25.  The usual term of mourning was seven days.  Eccli. xxii. 13.  C. It is very difficult to ascertain the length of Saul’s reign.  Sanctius and Tirin allow him only 2 years; Petau 12; Calvisius 15; Salien 18; Bucholeer, and probably Josephus, 20, though most copies of the latter have 38; S. Aug. Serarius, Usher, &c. 40, which is the term mentioned Acts xiii. 20.  But most chronologers suppose that the time of Samuel’s administration is there also included.  H. Sulpitius thinks that Saul only “reigned a very short time,” as “the ark was brought to Cariathiarim before the appeared on the throne, and was removed by David, after it had been there twenty years.”






otherwise called,




This Book contains the transactions of David till the end of the pestilence, occasioned by his numbering the people.  C. xxiv.  The last six chapters of the preceding book were probably written by Gad, who delivered God’s orders to David, after he was deprived of the company of Samuel.  Gad, Nathan, and other prophets, continued the sacred history, 1 Par. xxix. 29.  After the unfortunate death of Saul, his general, Abner, instead of submitting quietly to the dominion of David, (H.) set the son of the deceased monarch upon the throne, at Mahanaim; and two years elapsed before the rival kings came to open war.  C. ii. 10.  Salien. David was 30 years old when he was anointed at Hebron, (C. v. 4,) where he reigned seven years and a half over Juda.  On the death of Isoboseth, he was anointed a third time, as king of all Israel, and reigned in that character 37 years.  H. The partisans of Isoboseth might be excused in their adherence to him, as he was the son of the late king, and the election of David was not sufficiently notified to them.  Salien. We here behold the many virtues of David, and his repentance for some faults into which he had fallen.  His predictions, and the names and exploits of many of his valiant men, are likewise recorded.  W.







Ver. 1.  Siceleg, though it had been burnt down.  Salien, A. 2949.


Ver. 6.  Chance.  He feigned this to obtain the favour of David; but the king punished him as he deserved.  W. Spear, or sword, as it is before expressed.  M.


Ver. 8.  Amalecite.  The Rabbins say he was the son of Doeg; and has this appellation because Amalec sprung from Esau.  Gen. xxxvi. 12.  But this is all very uncertain.  The man seems to have gotten possession of the marks of the royal dignity in the night, as the Philistines deferred till the next day stripping the bodies of the deceased.  C.


Ver. 9.  Anguish.  Heb. “the coat of mail withholds me.”  Sept. “horrid darkness encompasses me.”  Shabah, signifies a coat of mail, made of cloth, very thick, and boiled in vinegar, to render it more impenetrable.  The Greeks emperors and the French formerly wore them much, instead of iron.  C. Prot. however agrees with us. In me.  I have yet received no mortal wound.  H.


Ver. 10.  I killed him.  This story of the young Amalecite was not true, as may easily be proved by comparing it with the last chapter of the foregoing book.  Ch. Fall.  This he says, apprehending that David would perhaps disapprove of what he had done. Diadem, or ribband, which was tied round his head, as a badge of his dignity.  Heb. “the crown.”  But it was not of metal, though such were already common.  Ex. xxviii. 36.  1 Par. xx. 2.  Some pretend that Doeg gave these insignia to this son, that he might ingratiate himself with the future king.  But they were upon Saul, so that the enemy could easily distinguish him. Bracelet.  The Hebrews took a great many from the Madianites.  Num. xxxi. 50.  Such presents were made by the Romans to soldiers who had performed some feats of valour.  Plin. xxxiii. 2.  Livy i. 10.


Ver. 11.  Rent them, in sign of grief, as many other nations did.

Tum pius Æneas humeris abscindere vestem.  Æneid v.  C.


Ver. 12.  Of the Lord, the priests; (Abulensis) though it seems to be explained by the following words, of all the Israelites.  H.


Ver. 13.  Stranger, residing among the Hebrews.


Ver. 16.  Head.  None but thyself can be answerable for thy death.  See Matthew xxvii. 25.  David was already supreme magistrate, and he wished that all should be convinced that he rejoiced not at the death of the king, and that none might imitate the example of this wretch.  C. Thus Vitellius punished the murderers of Galba, “not out of respect to Galba; but, according to the custom of princes, as a protection for the present, and a threat of vengeance for the future,” in case any should dare to treat him in like manner.  Tacit. i.  Tradito principibus more, munimentum in præsens, in posterum ultionem.


Ver. 18.  Bow.  So this canticle was entitled, because it spoke in praise of the bow and arrows of Saul and Jonathan, v. 22.  So one of the works of Hesiod is called “a buckler;” of Theocritus “a flute;” of Simmias “wing;” &c.  Sept. have neglected this word entirely (C.) in the Roman edition.  But it is found in the Alex. copy, which reads “Israel,” instead of Juda, perhaps properly.  Grabe, prol. iv. 2.  H. Chal. “to shoot with the bow.”  Many suppose that David cautioned his men to exert themselves in that art, (M.) as they might soon expect to have to encounter the Philistines, (T.) who were very expert bowmen.  W. But the former interpretation seems preferable.  C. The bow might be also the beginning of some favourite song, to the tune of which (D.) David would have his men to sing this canticle, (H.) particularly when they went to battle.  Grotius. Just.  See Jos. x. 3.  M. It seems this was a more ancient record, to which the author of this book refers.  C. He might have in view the canticle of Anna, (1 K. ii. 4,) or some other.  H. The custom of composing canticles, on such solemn occasions, is very ancient and frequent.  See 3 K. iii. 33. and xiii. 29.  Jeremias xlviii. 31.  Iliad y & c.  The style of this piece can hardly be equalled by the most polite writers.  C. David is chiefly occupied with the praises of Jonathan.  H. Consider…places.  This sentence is omitted in Heb. Chal. Sept. and in some copies of S. Jerom’s version.  T. i. p. 365, Nov. edit. op.  It is a farther explication of the subsequent verse.  C. Yet the Sept. read, “Erect a pillar, O Israel, [upon thy heights; the Vat. Sept. places this after slain. H.] in honour of the slain, thy wounded soldiers.  How are the mighty fallen?”  The Hebrew seems to be different from what the Sept. Chal. &c. read, as the Masora now adopts etsbi, instead of etsib, which has greatly puzzled interpreters.  Hence Aquila translates akribwson, with the Sept. of Ximenes, i.e. “Execute or consider with attention,” this sepulchral monument on which you shall inscribe, “For the dead and for thy wounded.”  It was to be placed on some “eminence,” according to custom. The present Heb. is very indeterminate, denoting “glory, a honey-comb,” &c.  Ezec. xx. 6.  Dan. xi. 16. 41.  See Grabe, Prol.  H.


Ver. 19.  Illustrious.  Heb. “the glory (beauty, hart, &c.) of Israel hath been pierced,” &c.  The comparison of Saul with a hart, is noble enough in the ideas of the ancients.  Ps. xvii. 34.  Cant. ii. 9. and viii. 14.  Syr. and Arab. “O hart of Israel, they have been slain,” &c.  C. Slain.  Heb. chalal, signifies also “a soldier;” and this word agrees perfectly well with giborim, “valiant,” both here and v. 22. and 25.  Kennicott would apply it to Jonathan, upon whom David’s attention is mostly fixed.  “O ornament of Israel!  O warrior, upon thy high places!  How,” &c.  H. In this manner many such pieces commence.  Lament. i.  T.


Ver. 20.  Triumph.  He was aware of the exultation of the infidels.  H.


Ver. 21.  Fruits, which may be offered to the Lord.  Inanimate things could not offend, nor does David curse them in earnest.  But (T.) nothing could more strikingly express his distress and grief, than this imprecation.  It is false that those mountains have since been barren.  This canton is one of the most fruitful of the country.  Brocard.  C. Job (iii.) speaks with the same animation, and curses his day.  M. Of Saul, or “Saul, the shield of his people, was cast away, as,” &c.  Prot. “as though he had not been anointed with oil.”  H. He is not reproached for throwing away his buckler, for nothing was deemed more shameful.  The ancient Germans would not allow such a one to enter their temples or places of assembly.  Tacit. mor. Germ. A woman of Sparta told her son, when she delivered on to him, “Bring this back, or be brought upon it” dead.  Impositu scuto referunt Pallanta frequentes.  Æneid x.  Sanctius.  C. As though.  Heb. seems to have sh, instead of s, (as it is in several MSS. correctly, in noshug) and bli, instead of cli, (Delany) as the former word seems no where else to signify quasi non; and the Syr. Arab. and Chal. omit the negation.  It might therefore be the shield of Saul, “the arms of him who has been anointed with oil.”  Kennicott. Some would refer this unction to the shield, (Vatab.) as this was some times done: (M.) but the reflection would be here too trifling.  C.


Ver. 22.   From.  Heb. “without the blood of soldiers, without the fat of the valiant, the bow of Jonathan had never returned.”  Kennicott. Fat.  The entrails.  It might also denote the most valiant of the soldiers, as we read of “the fat or marrow of corn” for the best.  Ps. lxxx. 17.  C. Jonathan attacked the most courageous, and laid them dead at his feet.  H. Empty.  Saul carried destruction wherever he went.

Et nos tela, pater, ferrumque haud debile dextrâ,

            Spargimus & nostro sequitur de vulnere sanguis.  Æn. xii. 50.


Ver. 23.  Lovely, or united.  Jonathan always behaved with due respect towards his father, though he could not enter into his unjust animosity against David.  C. The latter passes over in silence all that Saul had done against himself, and seems wholly occupied with the thought of the valour and great achievements of the deceased.  H. Sanchez believes that these epithets were introduced of course into funeral canticles, like Alas! my noble one, (Jer. xxii. 18.  M.) as Saul could have no pretensions to be styled lovely, or friendly, towards the latter part of his reign; since he treated the priests, David, and even his son Jonathan, with contumely, and even with unrelenting fury.  But all this David would willingly bury in oblivion.  He will not even notice how different was the end of the two heroes.  Jonathan died like a virtuous soldier in his country’s cause; Saul was wounded, but impiously accelerated his own death, through dread of torments and of insult.  Though they died, therefore, on the same field of battle, their end was as different as that of the saint and of the impenitent sinner.  H.


Ver. 25.  Battle.  Heb. “in the midst of battle! O Jonathan, thou warrior upon thy high places!”  Kennicott, Diss. i. p. 123.


Ver. 26.  Brother.  So they lamented, Alas! my brother.  Jer. xxii. 18.  M. Women.  He indicates the ardour of his love, not any inordinate affection.  D. I love thee more than any person can love a woman, (C.) more than women can love their husbands or children.  M. Chal. “thy love is more wonderful to me than the love of two who are espoused.” As, &c.  This is not found in Heb. Sept. or S. Jerom.  C.


Ver. 27.  Perished, falling into the hands of the enemy; though Saul and Jonathan may be styled the arms, as well as the shield, of Israel.  M. No character could be more worthy of praise than the latter.  His breast was never agitated by envy, though he seemed to be the most interested to destroy David.  Even Saul had many excellent qualities; which makes Ven. Bede compare him in those respects with Jesus Christ; as most of the memorable persons and events of the Old Testament had a view to Christ on the one hand, and to the Synagogue on the other.  Saul is one of the most striking figures of the reprobation and conduct of the Jewish church.  As he was adorned with many glorious prerogatives, and chosen by God, yet he no sooner beheld the rising merit of David, than he began to persecute him: so the Jews had been instructed by the prophets, and had been selected as God’s peculiar inheritance; and nevertheless took occasion from the virtues and miracles of the Son of God, to conspire his ruin.  The Romans were sent to punish the Jews, who are now become the most abject of all mankind, and are filled with rage, seeing the exaltation of the Christian Church, as Saul was reduced by the Philistines to the greatest distress, and his children were forced to implore the protection of the man whom he had so cruelly persecuted, &c.  C. Saul and Judas may be a warning to us, that no person ought to live without fear, since they perished so miserably, though they had been elevated by the hand of God.  S. Amb. &c.  H.







Ver. 1.  Juda.  David thought it was his duty to co-operate with the designs of Providence.  He consults the Lord (C.) by means of Abiathar, (Abul.) or by a prophet.  Joseph. Hebron, ennobled by the patriarchs.  M. It was also in the centre of Juda, and the strongest place belonging to that tribe.  C. Part of Jerusalem was still in the hands of the Jebusites.  H.


Ver. 3.  Towns, villages, and dependencies of Hebron.


Ver. 4.  Juda, without the concurrence of the other tribes, (C.) which would be an evil precedent in a commonwealth, unless God had authorized them by the declaration of his will.  Grot. Samuel had before anointed David, and given him a right to the crown, (W.) jus ad regnum.  But this anointing gives him a right to govern, jus in regno; (C.) or rather it proves, that the tribe submitted voluntarily to his dominion, which he had already (H.) lawfully begun to exercise, when he put the Amalecite to death.  Abulensis.  T. Told, perhaps by some ill-designing men, who wished to irritate David against those who had shewn an attachment to Saul, unless the king had made enquiry, thinking it his duty to bury the deceased.  C.


Ver. 6.  And truth, or a real kindness.  God will reward you for the sincere piety which you have shewn towards the dead.  C. Will. I do, by these messengers, thank you.  Louis de Dieu.


Ver. 7.  King.  He invites them to concur with the men of Juda, hoping that all Israel would be influenced by their example.  But his hopes proved abortive, as Abner caused Isboseth to be proclaimed king in the vicinity at Mahanaim.


Ver. 8.  Camp.  Heb. Machanayim, which many take for a proper name (C.) of the town, on the river Jabok, where Jacob had encamped.  Gen. xxxii. 2.  H. Abner was aware that he should not retain his authority under David, and therefore conducted Isboseth to the camps in various places, (M.) but chiefly on the east side of the Jordan, (H.  v. 29.) where the people were particularly attached to Saul’s family.  Isboseth seems to have been a fit tool for his purpose.


Ver. 9.  Gessuri.  There was one south of Juda: but this country was probably near Hermon, and might be tributary to Israel.  David perhaps married this king’s daughter, in order to detach him from the party of Isboseth.  C. iii. 3.  Heb. reads, “Assuri;” and S. Jerom observes, that many explained it of the tribe of Aser, (Trad. Heb.) with the Chaldee, (D.  M.) or of the Assurians.  Gen. xxv. 3. Israel, by degrees.  In the mean time the Philistines occupied many cities, which might prevent Isboseth from attempting to fix his residence on the west side of the Jordan, v. 19.


Ver. 10.  He reigned two years, viz. before he began visibly to decline: but in all he reigned seven years and six months: for so long David reigned in Hebron.  Ch.  W. The Jews admit of an interregnum in Israel of above five years, which is by no means probable.  Two years elapsed before the two houses came to an open war; (Salien) soon after which, the power of Isboseth was greatly weakened by the defeat, and afterwards by the defection, of Abner.  H. Hence the sacred historian refers to the commencement of hostilities, and not to the end of Isboseth’s dominion.  E.  T.  C.


Ver. 12.  Servants; guards, army.  M. Camp; or from Machanayim to Gabaon, in the tribe of Benjamin, about six miles from Jerusalem.  C. Sept. leave the former word untranslated, “Manaeim.”  H.


Ver. 14.  Play, like the gladiators with drawn swords, which formed one of the principal diversions at Rome, (C.) while it was pagan.  This might be considered as a prelude to the ensuing engagement; or like a detachment of twelve on each side, fighting to shew the prowess of their respective armies; as the three Horatii and Curiatii did afterwards, to spare the effusion of blood.  But there is no mention that Abner and Joab had authority to agree that these champions should decide the fate of the two kingdoms, (H.) whence they are generally accused of ostentation; though the soldiers, not being acquainted with their motives, were obliged to obey.  T.  M.


Ver. 16.  Together.  Some understand this only of Abner’s soldiers, as the original may be explained: “And they (David’s men) caught every on one his,” &c.  But it is more generally believed that all fell.  C. Rufin has erroneously translated Josephus in the former sense, and has lead Comestor, Lyran, &c. into this opinion.  T. Valiant.  Heb. “the portion of the smooth stones, (hatsurim, 1 K. xvii. 40. or) of the brave.”  C.


Ver. 18.  Woods.  Swiftness was one great qualification of a warrior.  C. i. 23.  Homer generally styles Achilles, “the swift-footed.”


Ver. 21.  Spoils.  Attack one who may be a more equal match for thee.  H.


Ver. 22.  Brother.  It seems they were great friends, though they had espoused different parties.  C.


Ver. 23.  Stroke, (aversâ.)  Heb. “with the hinder end of the spear, under the fifth rib.”  Sept. “in the loin.”


Ver. 24.  Wilderness, or land which was not ploughed, though fruitful.


Ver. 26.  Destruction.  Sept. “till thou hast gained a complete victory?”  Chal. “to separation?”  Must we come to an eternal rupture? Despair?  Heb. “that it will be bitterness in the end?”  Abner insinuates that they had commenced in a sort of play, but the consequences had already proved too serious; and if Joab continued to pursue, his men would be rendered desperate.  C. Despair makes people perform wonders, to revenge themselves.  M.


Ver. 27.  Sooner.  Heb. “If thou hadst not spoken,” (D.) by challenging, v. 14.  Josephus, &c.  C.


Ver. 28.  Trumpet.  It was not dishonourable for a general to do this himself.  C. xviii. 16.  But among the Hebrews, the priests generally performed this office.  C.


Ver. 29.  Beth-horon.  Sept. “the extended plain.”  Heb. Bithrun, (H.) or the country towards the Jordan.  C. Thus the battle ended in his disgrace; (H.) and many from all Israel began to flock to the standard of David.  1 Par. xii. 22.  T.


Ver. 32.  Day, after a march of ten hours.  Adric.  M.







Ver. 1.  War, the particulars of which are not given.  C. But David’s power continually increased, and he was blessed with many children.  H. “Legions and fleets are not such strong bulwarks of the throne, as a numerous family.”  Tacit. Hist. v.


Ver. 2.  Amnon, who was murdered by Absalom, for his incest.  C. xiii. 32.  M.


Ver. 3.  Cheleab, or Daniel.  1 Par. iii. 1.  Sept. “Dalnia.”  C. Alex. “Dalouja.”  H. Others, “Abia.” Gessur, not far from Damascus.  The lady probably first embraced the true religion, though the Scripture seldom enters into these details.  C. David is never blamed for marrying strange women.  Salien supposes that he entered into this alliance before the civil war broke out, that Isboseth, who had fixed his court at Mahanaim, might have an opponent near at hand.  The fruits of this marriage were very unfortunate, and brought great distress upon David: so little do men know what will be the event of the most splendid connections!  H.


Ver. 4.  Adonias was slain by Solomon, (3 K. ii. 24.  M.) for arrogating to himself the right of the first-born, and pretending that the crown belonged to him.  H. The names of his mother, and of those who follow, are barely known.  Salien.


Ver. 5.  Wife.  She was otherwise of no nobility, but perhaps loved by David more than the rest, as Rachel was by Jacob.  The Rabbins would infer that Egla and Michol are the same person.  But the latter had no children, (C. vi. 23.  Salien) and is mentioned v. 13.


Ver. 8.  Concubine.  To marry the king’s widow was deemed an attempt upon the throne.  3 K. ii. 22.  Hence Solomon was so displeased at Adonias, v. 24.  Some think that Isboseth formed the accusation on mere conjecture; but Abner does not deny the fact.  C. Dog’s head: of no account, like a dead dog; (H.) or no better than a servant, who leads a dog.  The Jews considered the dog as one of the vilest of animals.  C. ix. 8.  Job xxx. 1. Juda.  This word is neglected by the Sept.  Some would substitute Liduth, “to be cast away.”  C. God permits the defenders of a wrong cause to fall out, that the right one may be advanced.  W.


Ver. 9.  Sworn.  It seems therefore that he knew of God’s appointment, and had hitherto resisted it for his own temporal convenience.  H. If both he and Isboseth were ignorant of this decree, Abner had no right to deprive the latter of the crown.  Abulensis, q. 7.  M.


Ver. 11.  Him.  And no wonder; since even David could not repress the insolence of his chief commander, v. 39.  So Otho “had not yet sufficient authority to hinder the perpetration of crimes.”  Tacit. Hist. i.


Ver. 12.  Himself.  Heb. may be also “immediately,” (Piscat.) or “in secret,” (Kimchi) as the matter seems not to have transpired.  C.   Sept. Alex. “to Thelam, where he was, without delay, saying, Make,” &c.  H. Land?  Is it not thine? or have not I the disposal of a great part of it?  M.


Ver. 13.  Thee.  Could David thus authorize treachery?  It is answered, that Abner knew that the throne belonged to him, and he was already responsible for all the evils of the civil war.  David does not approve of his conduct, but only makes use of him to obtain his right. Michol.  He might justly think that the people would have less repugnance to acknowledge him for their sovereign, when they saw that he had married the daughter of Saul.  she had never been repudiated by him.  C.


Ver. 14.  Isboseth.  Thus he would screen the perfidy of Abner, (M.) and hinder him from using any violence.  C. The pacific king accedes immediately to the request, as he had no personal aversion to David, and saw that he was in a far more elevated condition than Phaltiel.  H. Moreover, this was no time to irritate him more, as Abner was discontented.  M.


Ver. 16.  Bahurim, in the tribe of Benjamin.  Adric. 28.


Ver. 18.  Enemies.  We read not of this promise elsewhere.  But how many other things are omitted in the sacred books?  C. Abner alleges God’s decree, that he may not be deemed a traitor.  Cajet.


Ver. 19.  Benjamin, which tribe was naturally most attached to Saul’s family.  They followed, however, the example of the ten tribes, and 20 of them accompanied their general to Hebron.  Salien.


Ver. 20.  Feast, through joy at the reception of his wife, and of such good news.  M.


Ver. 21.  And may.  Some Latin copies read with the Heb. “and it (Israel) may enter,” ineat.


Ver. 22.  Robbers.  Amalecites, (Salien) or Philistines, who had made some incursions into David’s territories.  Abulensis.


Ver. 25.  Dost.  This explains going out, &c.  H. Joab pretends to be wholly solicitous for the king’s welfare.  But he was afraid lest Abner should take his place, and he also desired to revenge Asael’s death.  M.


Ver. 26.  Messengers, in the king’s name. Sira.  See Judg. iii. 26.  Josephus says the place was 20 stadia from Hebron.  Ant. vii. 1.


Ver. 27.  Middle.  Sept. “sides.” Brother; (who had been wounded in the same place) a just punishment of Abner’s licentiousness.  Salien. This was given out as the pretext of the murder; but envy seems to have been the chief promoter.  M. Joab treated Amasa in the same manner.  C. xx. 10.  Ambition was his god.  C. Abisai was ready to assist him to murder Abner, v. 30.  Thus the fairest prospects of union seemed to vanish, and David was sincerely grieved, as he manifested in the most decided manner, confessing it was only the want of power which prevented him from bringing these merciless and potent brothers, his own nephews, to immediate punishment, v. 39.  H.


Ver. 28.  Innocent.  I would not purchase a kingdom at such a price.  C. I beg that the crime may not be imputed to us, who are innocent.  H. God sometimes punishes a whole kingdom for the sins of the rulers.  M. Yet not without some fault of the subjects.  H.


Ver. 29.  Issue.  Such were looked upon as unclean, (Lev. xv. 3,) and incapable of having children.  Aquila translates zab, “blind.”  Sept. “afflicted with the gonorrhœa.” Distaff, like eunuchs.  Delrio, adag. 190.  Claud in Eutrop.  Tu telas non tela pati, &c.  Some translate a stick, with which the blind, lame and aged endeavour to walk.  C. Any of these conditions would be very mortifying to great warriors.  H. Bread.  Hunger and famine were considered as a scourge of God.  Ps. lviii. 7. 15, and cviii. 10.  David is not moved with hatred, but foretells what will befall the posterity of these men, whose crime he abhors.  C.


Ver. 31.  Joab.  Requiring him to make some reparation, at least, for the offence, and to render the funeral pomp more solemn.  All were obliged to rend their garments, and to put on sackcloth, on such occasions.  It was very rough, and consisted chiefly of goat and camel’s hair. Bier, contrary to the custom of kings.  Some copies of the Sept. say, he “went before the bier,” (C.) where women commonly were placed.  Grotius.


Ver. 33.  Died.  Heb. “Is Abner dead, like Nabal,” “a fool,” (Chal.) “like the wicked?”  “Ought so brave a man to have died in this treacherous manner?”


Ver. 34.  Iniquity.  David does not spare Joab, in this canticle, which was sung by all the people.  C. He intimates, that if he had not used deceit, Abner would not have been so easily overcome.  H.


Ver. 35.  David.  Heb. “to cause David to eat meat” (H.) at the feast, which usually accompanied funerals.  Gen. l. 3.  C.


Ver. 38.  Israel.  And that all this pomp is not unseasonable.  M. The chief, if not the only virtue of Abner, was military skill, or a blunt valour.


Ver. 39.  King.  Sept. “and that I am to-day a relation, (by my wife) and appointed king by the king?”  H. He seemed as yet to have little more than the title.  His throne was not well established; (C.  W.) and to undertake to punish the offenders now, might have had so pernicious consequences as the attempt of Isboseth to correct his general.  H. It is better to temporize than to increase the distemper, (C.) by a fruitless zeal for justice.  H. The punishment was only deferred.  3 K. ii. 5.  M. Hard.  Powerful or insupportable.  C. This year was memorable for the death of Codrus, king of Athens.  Salien, A. 2985.







Ver. 1.  Isboseth is omitted in Heb. but understood.  He is expressed in the Sept.  The Alex. copy generally substitutes Memphibosthai, by mistake; as he (Miphiboseth) was the son of Jonathan, v. 4.  H. Weakened.  Hitherto Abner had been the chief support of Saul’s family.  His traitorous practices had been kept secret from Isboseth, (C.) who hoped that his former declaration had been dictated by a sudden passion, and would not be carried into effect.  C. iii. 10.  H. Troubled, not knowing what turn things would now take, and fearing the resentment of the sons of Sarvia, though they were convinced of David’s good dispositions.  Salien, A.C. 1067.


Ver. 2.  Bands, (Latronum.)  Lit. “robbers,” or people who live on plunder, like the posterity of Ismael, and of Esau.  Gen. xxvii. 40.  The life-guards of princes are often styled latrones, (C.) from their being stationed at their “sides,” as if Laterones.  M.

Fixumque latronis,

            Impavidus frangit telum.  Æn. xii. 7.

See Servius.  Judg. xi. 3. Beroth was one of the towns of the Gabaonites.  It is not certain that the inhabitants retired, in consequence of the persecution of Saul; but they went to the territory of Geth, or to another town of Benjamin.  2 Esd. xi. 33.  C.


Ver. 3.  That.  Heb. &c. “this day,” when the historian wrote.  M.


Ver. 4.  Miphiboseth.  All from Beroth, (v. 2,) may be included within a parenthesis, being only mentioned here to let us know the state of affairs, (H.) and how the son of Jonathan could have no pretensions of the crown.  Grot.  C. He would be almost 12 years old at the death of his uncle.  H.


Ver. 5.  At noon, “to divide the day,” as Varro (iii. 2,) writes.  This custom is very prevalent in hot countries. And the, &c. is all omitted in Heb. and in most ancient MSS. of S. Jerom’s version.  It is taken from the Sept. (C.) who do not notice any farther the taking ears of corn, v. 6.  H. Probably the Heb. had this sentence formerly.  D. It was customary to have women to keep the doors; (Mat. xxvi. 69,) and they were often employed in cleansing wheat.  Petronius says, in lance argentea pisum purgabat.  C. The ears of corn, hardly ripe, were cleansed, and used as a delicious food.  T.  1 K. xvii. 17.  Sanctius.


Ver. 6.  Corn.  Soldiers were paid with corn, instead of money.  They came, therefore, under this pretext; or they brought some as a present to the king, (Liran) or pretended that they were come to purchase, (M.) or bringing a sample to sell; (T.) ut emptores tritici. Chal. Prot. “as though they would have fetched wheat, and they smote him under the fifth rib.


Ver. 7.  Parlour.  Heb. “bed-chamber.” Wilderness.  Avoiding places frequented.  H. The distance was about 40 leagues, which they could not travel in one night.  C. Adrichomius says it was 30 hours’ walk.  Sept. “west-ward.”  H.


Ver. 8.  Life.  They wish to recall to David’s remembrance what Saul had done against him, that he may approve the more of what they had perpetrated.  M. They supposed that, as Abner had been well received, they should obtain still greater favour.  Salien.


Ver. 11.  Innocent.  Isboseth was such, at least, in their regard.  He might also have mounted his father’s throne, bona fide; and, at any rate, it was not their business to decide the matter (C.) in this treacherous manner.  Thus Alexander punished Bessus, who had murdered his master, Darius, with whom the former was at war.  H.


Ver. 12.  Feet, while they were alive, (Theodoret.  M.) almost as Adonibezec had treated many; (Judg. i. 6,) or they were first put to death, and the parts cut off were fastened to a cross; as the head and right hand of Cyrus were by his brother Artaxerxes.  Xenop. Anab. iii.  C. Josephus seems to be of the former opinion, saying, “he ordered them to be executed in the most excruciating torments,” “while the head of Jebosthe (Isboseth) was buried with all honour.”  Ant. vii. 2. Thus David convinced the people that he would punish crimes, when it was in his power, and that he would give no encouragement to the treason or perfidy of any one.  H.







Ver. 1.  Tribes.  Thus were God’s promises sweetly fulfilled, and David obtained the quiet dominion over all Israel, excepting perhaps a few of the tribe of Benjamin, according to the Vulgate.  1 Par. xii. 29.  An army of 340,822 was collected on this occasion; and David signalized the commencement of his reign, by the taking of Jerusalem.  C. The tribe is Issachar is not specified in the text; but Josephus asserts, that 20,000 of them assembled; so that the army would amount to 359 (Salien) or 60 thousand, besides the 822.  C. These might be considered as deputies of all the rest of their brethren, 1 Par. xii. 38.  They were abundantly supplied with all necessities.  Salien. Flesh, of the same nation, as Moses had specified.  Deut. xvii. 15.  C. They now relinquish all the seeds of division, which had before hindered them from joining with their brethren of Juda.  Kennicott discovers several important alterations, by comparing this history with 1 Chron. xi.  Dissert. i.  H.


Ver. 2.  Lead out to battle.  His experience in war was a great recommendation.  H. Feed, as a shepherd, under which character he is first represented.  H. Other rulers were afterwards honoured with the same title, (C.) particularly the governors of the Church.  Act. xx. &c.  David’s name is written without i, in the books before the captivity; whence Kennicott would infer, that the canticles were perhaps not the work of Solomon, as the i occurs there; Duid for Dud.  H.


Ver. 3.  Ancients; princes of the tribes, and officers, (C.) with all the chief magistrates.  H. The high priest, Abiathar, received the oaths of allegiance from the people, and of the king, who promised to govern according to the laws of God.  The ark was probably present, and innumerable sacrifices offered on this solemn occasion, as was usual.  1 Par. xii. 26.  Hebron continued to be a place of sacrifices.  C. xv. 7.  C. David had erected here a temporary altar and tabernacle, where Abiathar officiated in his pontifical robes, as it was not safe for the people to go into the dominions of Isboseth, either to Gabaon or to Cariathiarim.  Tostat. Israel, acknowledging the right which David had to the throne, by God’s appointment.  H.  W.


Ver. 4.  Forty, a round number, as another half year is specified below; (C.) or Solomon might be crowned at the expiration of the 40th year.  D.


Ver. 6.  Land.  This was the only canton which the infidels still retained, as they had still possession of the citadel of Jebus, (C.) though the Israelites had been in the country above 400 years.  Ken. Nothing could reflect greater glory on the beginning of David’s reign, than the seizing of this place, (C.) which was deemed so impregnable, that the Jebusites thought the blind and the lame were sufficient to defend it.  H. They placed some upon the walls, (M.) “despising him, on account of the strength of their walls.”


Ver. 7.  Castle: “the lower city,” (Josephus) spread over Mount Sion.


Ver. 8.  Gutters.  Heb. Tsinnor, “through (Nodius) the subterraneous passage,” (leading to the tops of the houses.)  Hugo of Vienna. Thus Babylon was taken by Cyrus, who passed through the channel of the Euphrates, the waters of which he had let out; though the inhabitants had derided his attempt to take the city by siege, as the men of Jebus do here.  Polybius says, “Rabatamana, a city of Arabia, could not be taken, till one of the prisoners shewed the besiegers a subterraneous passage, (uponomon) through which the besieged came down for water.”  Of the same nature were the gutters here spoken of.  Ken. “The king promised to give the command of the army to the man who would pass through the cavities (faraggon) below, and take the citadel.”  Josephus. This reward is expressly mentioned in 1 Paral. xi. 6, with the person who obtained it; (S. Jer. Trad.) and it seems, after David, this ought to be inserted, “shall be the head and captain.  And Joab, the son of Sarvia, went up first, and was made the general.”  H. Hatred.  Heb. “that are hated by David’s soul.”  Cajetan supposes that the Jebusites in the citadel, are thus distinguished from those who dwelt peaceably in the lower town, with the Israelites.  C. Proverb.  Prot. insert, “He shall be head and captain.  Wherefore they said, the blind…into the house.”  What is translated temple, may denote also, “the house” of David, or “the place” where this provocation had been given.  H. Idols shall never be adored in the true Church.  W. Some think that the blind and the lame were excluded from the temple, or from David’s palace.  But we find that they had free access to the temple; (Mat. xxi. 14.  Acts iii. 2.) and Miphiboseth ate at David’s table, though he was lame.  If the Jebusites be designated, they were already excluded from the temple, like other infidels of Chanaan.  C. Josephus (vii. 3.) insinuates, that “David drove them from Jerusalem,” though we read of Areuna residing there.  C. xxiv.16.  But he might be a proselyte before, and  not dwell in the fort.  The expression seems however to be proverbial, to signify any very difficult enterprize, which proves successful, and contrary to expectation.  H. The Jebusites were thus derided (Sanctius) in their turn.  T. Whether Joab took this strong place by a subterraneous passage, (H.) or scaled the walls, and so got to the top, whence the water falls, as from a gutter; (C.) it is certain that he displayed the utmost valour, and thus obtained the confirmation of his authority, which David would perhaps have willingly taken from him, (Salien) if another had offered himself, and performed this hazardous enterprize.  H. He made a fair offer to all Israel, as they probably expected.  Kennicott.


Ver. 9.  Inwards.  He built or repaired the higher “city of David,” beginning at Mello, to “fill up” the valley, which Solomon finished, and adorned with a palace.  3 K. ix. 15.  4 K. xii. 20.  The place is probably called Asaramel.  1 Mac. xiv. 27.  C. Sept. and Josephus generally understand Mello to designate the citadel of Sion, or “a complete fortification,” to defend the city.  Instead of inwards, the Sept. have, “and  his house.”  But ubithe means, “and to the house,” temple, or fort, whence he began the enclosure, so as to make a complete communication.  Ken. This city became “the most famous in all the East.”  Plin. v. 14. “Walls, built in a crooked manner, according to the rules of art, enclosing two hills, immensely high.”  Tacit. Hist. v. These hills were multiplied, on account of their different summits, so that Josephus speaks of five hills.  The palace of David stood on Sion, the temple on Moria, which was a part of it still more elevated, towards the east.  The other hill is often called Acra, by Josephus, and lay southward of Sion.  Here the ancient town of Jebus was built.  The Machabees took in an adjoining eminence.  Joseph. Bel. vi. 6. Bethsetta, or the new city, was afterwards enclosed.  Herod adorned the city with may superb monuments, both of a public and of a private nature.  C. We read of ten gates, and of four towers, belonging to this city.  It was not well supplied with water, and what it had was brackish.  The walls seem never to have exceeded four and a half miles; now they are only three, and include Mount Calvary, which was formerly no part of the city.  Button says a valley run from west to east, between the two hills of Zion on the south, and Acra on the north; which contradicts the former statement.  H. Villalpand supposes that the citadel was nine and a half stadia, and all the city thirty-five stadia in circumference, eight of which make an Italian mile.  M.


Ver. 11.  Hiram was a magnificent prince, who kept up a correspondence with Solomon.  He greatly adorned the city of Tyre.  See Josep. c. Ap. 1.


Ver. 12.  Over.  Heb. “for.”  The king is bound to promote the welfare of his people.  C. But the same word means “over,” as the Prot. allow.  H. Success constantly attending David, was an earnest that the Lord had not rejected him.  C.


Ver. 13.  David took more concubines and wives of Jerusalem.  Not harlots, but wives of an inferior condition: for such in Scripture are styled concubines.  Ch. He had in all eight wives, and ten whom he married with less solemnity.  He might desire to attach the principal families of the nation, as well as some foreign princes, to his interests.  Moses forbids a  king to have too many wives.  Deut. xvii. 17.  C. But David is never blamed for the transgression of this precept.  See C. iii. 1.  M.


Ver. 16.  Eliphaleth.  Sept. reckon twenty instead of eleven.  C. The Vat. copy has twenty-four, as some of the names have been read differently, so as to make two persons, and thus frequently a double translation occurs in the Sept. the one being taken either from Aquila, &c. or from some more early version, of which we know not the author.  Grabe.  Kennicott, Diss. ii. p. 404.


Ver. 17.  Seek, or attack David.  He went out to meet them.  Par.  But receiving an order not to join battle as yet, retired to Odollam, (C. xxiii. 13.  1 Par. xi. 15.  C.) a strong hold, with which he was perfectly acquainted.  H.


Ver. 18.  Raphaim.  Sept. “of Titans,” C. or giants who had dwelt there.  M. It lay to the west (M.) or south of Jerusalem, and extended as far as Bethlehem.  David was still more to the south, (C.) so that he seemed to be cut off from his capital.  But it was secure enough.  H. On this occasion, three of his brave men went through the midst of the enemies’ ranks, to fetch water from the spring of Bethlehem.  C. xxiii. 16.


Ver. 20.  Baal-Pharisim, “the master of the divisions or god of the scattered;” as the place was afterwards called, in memory that David became master, and put the enemy to flight, taking their idols, (C.) which were unable to save themselves.  H.


Ver. 21.  Away, and burnt.  Par.  The ark had on the contrary proved fatal to the gods, and to the people of the Philistines; who might hence perceive the difference there was between the true God and their false gods.


Ver. 23.  Shall, &c.  This consultation is omitted in Heb.  C. Prot. “and when David inquired of the Lord, he said, “Thou shalt not,” &c.  Sept. “and David,” &c.  H. Trees.  Heb. Becaim.  Sept. “of lamentation.”  Judg. ii. 1.


Ver. 24.  Trees.  Many translate the Heb. “mulberry trees,” or leave the original word, becaim, “the heights of Bochim.”  Sept. seem to give a double version: “the sound of the agitation (or Alex. “shutting up,” (H.) as with an army on all sides) of the woods, of the lamentation.”  M. Theodoret supposes, “the woods put in motion, without any wind.”  It is thought that an army of spirits went before David, and threw the enemy into a panic.  Storms of hail, &c. seem to have also cut them down.  Isai. xxviii. 21.  Ps. xvii. 9.


Ver. 25.  Gabaa, which some would understand of “the hills” of Bochim.  C. But in Sept. (Alex.) and in Par. we read Gabaon, a city near the birth-place of Saul.  H. David pursued the enemy by Gabaa, and took from them all the cities of which they had taken possession, after their victory.  C. Gezer was in the tribe of Ephraim, (M.) on the confines of the Philistines.  C.







Ver. 1.  Again, after he had been anointed.  David consulted his officers, &c. (1 Par. xiii. 1.) and called a numerous assembly of the priests and people to meet him at Cariathiarim. Thousand, in arms, to protect the rest, (C.) who might probably amount to 300,000.  H. This number Capel and Grotius would substitute for the one here mentioned.  Some copies of the Sept. read 70,000.  In the former assembly, there were 340, or 359, (C.) or 60 thousand.  C. v. 1.  H.


Ver. 2.  Juda.  But why are not the other tribes mentioned? and whither did they go?  We should probably translate, “from the city of Baalim, in Juda;” which is another name of Cariathiarim, as the Par. insinuate, v. 6.  See Jos. xv. 9, 60. Invoked; or which is called “the ark of the Lord.”


Ver. 3.  Cart, out of respect, as the Philistines had done, 1 K. vi. 7.  But God had ordered the Levites to carry it themselves, and the neglect here proved so dreadful; for which reason, David required the priests to attend when he removed the ark from the house of Obededom, 1 Par. xv. 12. Gabaa means “the hill of Cariathiarim,” where the ark had been in the house of Abinadab, from the time of its being restored back by the Philistines.  Ch. Hunnius would multiply the places where the ark was fixed, to show, against Catholics, that the Church is not confined to one place; (Amama) as if Catholic did not maintain the universality of the Church!  H.


Ver. 5.  Wood.  Heb. specifies “fir wood,” of which the instruments were, perhaps, usually made.


Ver. 6.  Nachon.  1 Par. Chidon.  Heb. may be rendered, “prepared;” (Chal.) as they were almost arrived at the end (C.) of the procession. His hand, is wanting in Heb.  Kennicott. Kicked.  Prot. “shook it.”  H.


Ver. 7.  Rashness.  Heb. shal, means also “error, ignorance,” &c.  Syr. and Arab. better, “because he put forth his hand.” Kennicott. Oza had touched the ark uncovered, (Serarius) shewing too little confidence in God, as if he could not have hindered it from falling; (Rabbins) or perhaps he was the advisor of the ark’s being placed upon a cart, instead of the Levites’ shoulders.  T. It is not certain that he was a Levite; and the privilege belonged to the sons of Caath, who could claim this honour only after the ark had bee folded up with three covers.  Moreover, the priests seem to have been always selected to carry the ark, after they came into the promised land, v. 3.  1 K. iv. 4. &c.  It is hoped that the fault of Oza would be expiated by his sudden death, (C.) as his intention was laudable.  T. But God would teach his ministers with what caution they were to treat sacred things, (C.) and how exactly all his injunctions were to be observed.  H.


Ver. 10.  Gethite, a native of Geth-remmon, a Levitical city; (Jos. xxi. 24,) or he might have been born at Geth; (C.) or his father might have resided there a long time, (Serar.  T.) unless he was there with David.  Salien. He was a Levite, 1 Par. xv. 18. and xvi. 5. and xxvi. 4.  C.


Ver. 12.  Choirs.  Or companies of musicians.  Ch. This sentence is not found in Heb. nor in S. Jerom’s version.  C. The Vat. and Alex. Sept. have, “David brought the ark of the Lord from the house of Obeddara, into the city of David, with joy; (13) and there were seven choirs with him, taking up the ark, and the sacrifice, a calf and lamb; (14) and David played on tuneful organs before the Lord; and David had on a beautiful stole.”  H.


Ver. 13.  Paces.  So altars of turf (Grot.) were erected at this distance from each other, on each side of the road.  The pagans have sometimes treated their emperors and deities with the like respect.  Sueton. in Otho and Calig. Paris thus addresses Helena in Ovid’s Heroic Epistles.

Ibis Dardanias ingens Regina per urbes,

                        Teque novam vulgus credet adesse Deam,

                        Quaque feres gressus, adolebunt cynnama flammæ,

                        Cœsaque sanguineam victima planget humum.


Ver. 14.  Ephod which ordinarily was the habit of priests.  But no law restrained others from using it, (C.) particularly on sacred occasions; as we often see laics in a surplice, when they have to sing Church music, &c.  M. David had also on a cloak of byssus; (Paral.) and still Michol speaks as if he had been uncovered; because in this solemn ceremony, he was inspired to divest himself of his royal robes, and to act with a degree of enthusiasm; (H.) which would not have been otherwise becoming in a king.  David is considered by some of the fathers as a figure of the priests of the new law; as he ate the loaves of proposition, was dressed like priests, &c.  Sacerdos scitus erat David.  1 Iræn. iv.  S. Amb. v. in Luc. vi.  C.


Ver. 16.  Leaping.  Sept. “beating” musical instruments…she counted him as nothing, &c.  H. She rather partook of her father’s disposition and pride.  M.


Ver. 18.  Blessed.  Wishing all sorts of happiness.  Only priests and kings perform this function publicly, 3 K. viii. 55.  Afterwards David went to his palace, to impart the same blessing to his family, and particularly to the women, who had not been present.  This is a vestige of the sacerdotal power, which masters of families formerly enjoyed.


Ver. 19.  Cake, made very thin, with a mixture of oil. Beef, sufficient for a meal. Oil.  This was much esteemed in those days.  Many would translate the Heb. “a bottle of wine.”


Ver. 20.  Fellows.  Sept. “dancers.”  Michol exaggerates, as David had been guilty of no indiscretion, v. 14.  C. S. Gregory (Mor. xxvii. 27,) styles her “insane.”  Yet Abulensis does not sufficiently approve of David’s conduct.  M.


Ver. 22.  Eyes.  Humility in a king is truly noble. Glorious.  He accepts the compliment of Michol, though she had spoken ironically.  H.


Ver. 23.  Death.  Thus was she punished.  The five sons who are attributed to her (C. xxi. 8.) were only adopted; or perhaps we ought to read Merob, in stead of Michol; (C.) as the latter had been connected with Phaltiel, and not with Adriel, who was the former’s husband.  H.







Ver. 1.  Enemies, before he had made war upon the surrounding nations.  1 Par. xviii. 1.


Ver. 2.  Nathan.  An admirable courier, (Grot.) and a great saint, Eccli. xlvii.  He was neither too rough, nor too complaisant. Cedar.  This was the most esteemed species of wood.  The palace of the Persian kings, at Ecbatana, was chiefly built of it, and of cypress wood.  Polyb. x. Houses were not there built in such a solid manner, as they are in colder climates.  They consisted mostly of wood. Skins.  The outer veils of the tabernacle were made of skins, as others generally were.  C. Heb. and Chal. “of curtains.”


Ver. 3.  Thee.  David did not, perhaps, consult him as a prophet; and Nathan thought that the proposal was so just, that it might be safely carried into effect.  The prophets are not inspired in all their actions.  Joseph was of a different opinion from his father.  Gen. xlviii. 19.  Samuel supposed that Eliab should have been king; (1 K. xvi. 6,) and Eliseus confesses, that God had concealed from his the affliction of the woman with whom he lodged.  4 K. iv. 24.  C. God afterwards sent the same Nathan to rectify his former decision, that he might not pass sentence, in future, without consulting him.  M.


Ver. 7.  Tribes.  1 Paral. xvii. 6, by the substitution of p for b, reads Shophete, “judges,” which seems more natural.  Some farther information is there given and we learn that the reason why David was denied the privilege of building a temple, was because he had been so much engaged in war.  C.


Ver. 10.  Before, provided they be faithful.  These promises are conditional.


Ver. 11.  House, or give thee children, who shall hold the sceptre.  M.


Ver. 12.  I will establish his kingdom.  This prophecy partly relates to Solomon; but much more to Christ, who is called the Son of David in Scripture, and the builder of the true temple, which is the Church, his everlasting kingdom, which shall never fail, nor be cast off for any iniquity of her children.  Ch. God passes over all the children whom David had already, 3 K. ii. 15.  The temporal kingdom was enjoyed by David’s posterity for a long time, sufficient to verify the expression for ever, as it is often used in Scripture.  C. But the spiritual kingdom of the Messias will last till the end of time, and be perfected in eternity.  H. In these predictions we must always distinguish the type from the reality.  C.


Ver. 14.  Men, who are not to be entirely destroyed, like the Chanaanites.  C. This is not unlike the human temptation of which S. Paul speaks.  1 Cor. x. 13.  See Ps. lxxii. 5. and lxxxviii. 33.  H. The rod of men denotes war, and stripes signify those punishments which God inflicts.  S. Jer. Trad. Some parts of this declaration regard Christ; others Solomon.  Heb. i. 5.  D.


Ver. 16.  Faithful; or continue a long time.  M.  3 K. xi. 38. Where is not the house of David? or how is this accomplished, except in the Church? Thy face.  Sept. “before me,” which is conformable to Ps. lxxxviii. 38.  David saw Solomon on the throne, and beheld the Messias in spirit.  C. Souls departed still see what regards them, (Sa.) if they be happy.  H.


Ver. 18.  Lord.  “More in soul, than by this posture of the body, remaining quiet in meditation and prayer.”  Cajet. Vatable says only kings were allowed to pary sitting, (Sa.  M.) and they must be of the house of Juda.  Maimon. they say the priests always stood in the temple.  But Josephus mentions seats of lead for them.  Bel. vii. 11.  The Heb. expression may denote no more, than that David continued for a long time in fervent prayer; Josephus says, prostrate on the ground before the ark.  It is not so much the posture of the body as the fervour of the soul, which God regards.  See S. Aug. ad Simp. ii. q. 4.  Pythagoras ordered his disciples to pray sitting; and Homer represents Thetis in that attitude.  C. Far, in power and glory.  H.


Ver. 19.  God.  Thus man wishes to be treated.  This maxim prevails universally.  People seek for their own and their children’s happiness; a favour which thou hast graciously promised unto me.  C. Thus immortality, and all happiness, were proposed unto the first man.  M. Some use an interrogation; “Is this the law of Adam?”  C. Prot. “manner of man.”  Can this felicity attend a man in his fallen state?  Does the greatest friend treat his companion with so much condescension and regard?  H. In 1 Par. xvii. 17, it is thus expressed, and hast made me remarkable above all men, O Lord God.  Osiander translates, “Behold the law of man, of the Lord God.”  I now discern the mysterious union of the godhead with our humanity, in the person of the Son.  C. Luther attributes this version, Hæc est ratio hominis, qui Dominus Deus est, to Zisgler; and hence proves the incarnation.  Amama and Tarnovius shew the weakness of the proof, though the article of faith be otherwise indubitable.  H. David is full of admiration that God should treat a weak mortal in such a manner.  D.


Ver. 20.  Unto thee.  To express his sentiments of gratitude.  M. What more can he desire?


Ver. 21.  Word’s sake.  Some copies (H.) of the Sept. read “servant’s sake,” as 1 Par. xvii.  C.


Ver. 23.  A name.  So that all might praise God, for the favours which he had bestowed upon his people, (H.) and admire his power and glory. Gods, whom thou didst cast out of Chanaan.  Par.  C. From, is not expressed in the Vulg. or Heb. though Prot. also supply it.  H. Some explain Elohim, “gods,” of the chief men of the Hebrew nation.  The power of the idols was overthrown; (Num. xxxiii. 4,) and the Israelites were rescued both from oppression, and from the service of false gods.  Ezec. xvi.  C. Adonai is often substituted for Jehova; as appears from 1 Par. xvii. 21. 22.  Kennicott.


Ver. 25.  Raise up.  As long as the promises were not fulfilled, they seemed to be dormant.  M.


Ver. 27.  In his heart.  Lit. “has found his heart,” (H.) following the inspirations of divine grace, to pray with attention and love, (C.) and confidence.  H.


Ver. 29.  Begin.  Heb. “please, or deign to bless.”  Sept. and Jonathan, “begin.”  C.







Ver. 1.  Tribute.  Aquila, and probably S. Jerom, translated, “cubit.”  Others suppose that Amma, or Meteg-ama, is some unknown place, which David wrested from the hands of the Philistines.  It is hardly probable that the Israelites would have paid the latter tribute till the 20th year of his reign, (C.) or even till the 12th.  Salien. He might now force them to pay tribute.  S. Jerom, &c.  H. Perhaps a letter may have been transposed, and instead of Meteg, we should read, “Geth, the mother,” or metropolis, and its dependencies; (1 Par. xviii. 1.) or “he took Metec, (Num. xxxiii. 28.) and its mother,” Geth, which reconciles the two passages.  Chald. &c. “he deprived them of the advantage of the rivulet.”  Sept. “David took the separated” place, (Serar.) or the city of Geth.  M.


Ver. 2.  Earth, like criminals condemned to die.  Theodoret. Some of them he chose to spare, and made tributary, having levelled the strong places with the ground.  Den. the Carthusian. Sept. intimate that half were destroyed.  C. But the Heb. rather implies that the greatest part was saved, “a full cord to save alive;” (M.) unless there were three lots, and only one of them, larger indeed than the rest, spared.  H. Death, or slavery, were the portion of all who were taken in war.  Grot. Jur. iii. 4. 20. Lex nulla capto parcit aut pœnam impendit.  Seneca. Tribute.  Heb. “brought gifts,” which is a softer term.  The Moabites were thus punished for former and, probably, for some recent offences.  H.


Ver. 3.  Adarezer.  He is styled Adadezer in Heb. and this seems to have been his true name, though it is written Adarezer in Paral.  Adad, or “the sun,” was the chief idol of Syria, and the kings inserted the name with their own; as Benadad did.  Josephus produces a fragment from Nicholaus of Damascus, in which he says that “Adad was king of Damascus, and of all Syria, except Phœnicia, and was defeated by David…His successors took his name, as the kings of Egypt did that of Ptolemy; and that the third in descent from this king, made an attack upon Samaria,” and upon Achab.  Ant. vii. 6. Euphrates, which had been promised by God, Gen. xv. 18.  Num. xxiv. 17.  C. Adadezer was probably the aggressor.  Salien.  M.


Ver. 4.  A thousand.  Protestants supply chariots, (H.) after the Sept. and 1 Par. (xviii. 4.) which have 7000 horsemen.  See how we have attempted to reconcile these texts, 1 K. xiii. 5.  Perhaps the numbers were expressed by single letters; and the Hebrew final n, (700) has been mistaken for z, (7000) both here and C. x. 18.  Literis numeralibus non verbis antiquitus numeri concipiebantur.  Scaliger, apud Walton prol. “Will any other hypothesis so naturally solve this repeated difficulty?”  Kennicott, Diss. on 1 Chron. xi. p. 96 and 463. Kimchi thinks that the king’s horse-guards are only specified here; and Salien supposes, that those who fought on chariots are also included in Chronicles, as they are often styled horsemen.  Isai. xxi. 7. 9.  M. Houghed.  Aquila, “destroyed.”  He rendered them unfit for war, as Josue had don, (Jos. xi. 6.) supposing that this was the import of the decree, forbidding many horses to be kept, Deut. xvii. 16. Horses is not expressed in Heb. though the Prot. supply the word; as also, for.  We should translate lit. “He left out  of them 100 chariots;” (H.) as we read elsewhere, that Adarezer had 1000.  M. But this expression being unintelligible, no less than, “he houghed all the chariots,” as the text stands at present in the original, may lead us to suspect that this verse has been inaccurately printed.  Sept. “David paralyzed, (or rendered useless) all the chariots; and 100 chariots were reserved for himself out of them.”  Josephus says the rest of the 1000 chariots were burnt, 5000 horse slain, and 20,000 foot.  H.


Ver. 5.  Men.  As Adarezer had brought upon himself the arms of David, perhaps by attempting to succour the Moabites, as he afterwards did the children of Ammon; (C. x.) so the king of Damascus was ruined by coming too late to his assistance.  This king may be the Adad mentioned by Nicholaus.  B. 4.  Salien, A. 2993, the 14th year of David.  See v. 1 and 3.


Ver. 7.  Arms.  “Quivers.”  Paral. and Syr. “Bucklers.”  Heb. and Chal.  “Bracelets.”  Sept.  C. These bucklers might be for ornament, like those of Solomon.  3 K. x. 16.  Salien. They were taken afterwards by Sesac, king of Egypt.  Joseph. vii. 6.  H.


Ver. 8.  Beroth, or Boroe.  C. Brass.  All for the use of the temple.  1 Par. xviii. 8.  The battle seems to have been fought near Beroth.  Salien.


Ver. 9.  Emath, or Emesa.  Its king, Thou, being alarmed at the ambition of his neighbour Adarezer, (C.) was pleased with the victories of a prince from whom he thought he had less to fear, as the lived at a greater distance.  H.


Ver. 10.  Joram, called Adoram in Chron.  C. His, Joram’s hand.  M.


Ver. 11.  Subdued.  This was the custom of most conquerors.  But no prince was ever more religious in this respect than David.  He had an officer appointed over the sacred treasure, which contained the presents of Samuel, Saul, &c. 1 Par. xxvi. 26. 28.


Ver. 13.  Name, or triumphal arch.  Rabbins. He acquired great fame.  C. xvii. 9.  1 Mac. v. 57.  M. Syria, which is styled Aram in Heb.  The Sept. have read Edom, or Idumea, as the two names have often been confounded, on account of the similarity of the letters.  The following verse seems favourable to this reading, as well as the title of the Ps. lix.; and 1 Par. xviii. 12, says,  Abisai…slew of the Edomites, in the valley of the salt-pits, 18,000.  It is probable that David was present.  This Idumea was on the east of the Dead Sea, and had Bosra for its capital.  The salt-pits might be a great plain, about three miles south of Palmyra or Thadmor, which supplies almost all Syria with salt.  Brun.  C. Othes think that the borders of the most salt lake of Sodom are denoted.  M.  See Gen. xiv. 10.


Ver. 14.  Guards, or officers to administer justice in his name, after Joab had killed all the males, during six months.  3 K. xi. 15.  C.


Ver. 15.  All Israel, not only over Juda.  M. All the people who dwelt within the promised land, as far as the Euphrates, were forced to acknowledge his dominion.  H. People, settling their differences, &c.  Kings formerly performed in person, the most important office of rendering justice; whence three kings of Crete are mentioned as judges in the realms below.  C. David acted with wisdom and justice.  M.


Ver. 16.  Sarvia, sister of David.  1 Par. ii. 16. Army.  Joab  had acquired such influence over it, that his power was formidable even to David.  He was a great warrior, and had contributed more than any other person to establish the throne of his uncle; but he was devoid of justice, and not much unlike Achilles.

Jura negat sibi nata, nihil non arrogat armis.  Horace.

Grot. Recorder, or chancellor.  Ch. A commentariis. Aquila. “Remembrancer,” (H.) or the person who kept a journal of all memorable transactions.  The kings of Persia employed people to keep such journals.  1 Esd. iv. 15.  Est. vi. 1.  Joseph. xi. 2. The power of these writers was very great.  Judg. v. 14.  4 K. xviii. 18.  C. Reference is often made to their “words of days.”  They had also to present petitions and memorials from the people.  M.


Ver. 17.  Achimelech is also called the father of Abiathar, as these two had both names indiscriminately.  1 K. xxi. 2.  During the contest between the families of Saul and of David, two high priests were acknowledged, in their respective dominions.  Sadoc was also permitted to officiate at Gabaon, during the reign of David; and, as Abiathar took part against Solomon, he was invested with the whole authority, and thus were accomplished the predictions made to Phinees and to Heli.  Num. xxv. 12.  1 K. ii. 35.  C. Yet Salien considers Abiathar as the sole pontiff, from the time that his father was murdered by Saul.  Sadoc, in the mean while, was his arch-priest or delegate, at Gabaon; (H.) though Abulensis and Josephus acknowledge both as high priests, (1 Par. xxiv. 3,) officiating by turns.  M. Scribe, or secretary.  Ch.  See Judg. v. 14. Sept. “counsellor.”  He is called Susa, in Chronicles.  H.


Ver. 18.  The Cerethi and Phelithi.  The king’s guards.  Ch. They were Philistines, and had attached themselves to David while he was at Geth, continuing always faithful to him.  We read of them in the Vulgate, under the reign of Joas.  4 K. xi. 19.  David selected some out of all Israel, towards the end of his reign.  1 Par. xxvii. Princes: literally, priests; (Cohen) so called, by a title of honour, and not for exercising the priestly function.  Ch. Sanctius translates, they “were like priests.”  The book of 1 Par. (xviii. 17,) explains, were chief about the king.  Sept. “masters of the palace.”  David kept them near his person, and employed them as he thought proper: Bertram thinks, in embassies, till after the revolt of Absalom, when Ira took their place.  C. xx. 26.  C. Prot. “David’s sons were chief rulers.”  Chal. “grandees;” (H.) “ministers.”  Grot.  D.







Ver. 1.  Saul.  David was solicitous only about the descendants of Jonathan, who was the eldest son.  The rest he afterwards gave up to be crucified, while he ordered the patrimony of Saul to be given to Miphiboseth, who was now about twenty years old.  Salien, A.C. 1058. It is rather wonderful that David had not thought of his old friend sooner.  But we are not obliged to suppose that he had reigned fifteen years, without being mindful of his repeated promises to Jonathan.  1 K. xx. 42.  H. This event took place towards the beginning of his reign.  C.


Ver. 2.  Servant, of free man of Saul, and a convert.  Josephus.  M. Yet he might very well be a Hebrew, who refused to accept his liberty, and continued as superintendent over the rest of his master’s house, (v. 10,) like Eleazar, Joseph, (Gen. xxiv. and xxxix.) or the servant of whom our Saviour speaks.  Luke xii. 42.  C.


Ver. 4.  Lodabar, probably on the east side of the Jordan.  C. Machir was a powerful man of the tribe of Manasses.  M.


Ver. 7.  Father, or grandfather.  H. It is thought that all his goods had been confiscated, in consequence of Isboseth’s assuming the regal dignity.  C. David might give the property to whom he pleased.  M. Always.  This was a mark of the greatest distinction.  Luke xxii. 30.  The Romans sometimes made their slaves free, in this manner, per mensam.  C.


Ver. 9.  Son, Miphiboseth.  Some understand less correctly, (C.) “I have given to Micha, the son of Miphiboseth, all that belonged to Saul; and, as for Miphiboseth, I give him my table.”  Munster.  Vatab.  Salien.  M. Saul’s patrimony might be administered by Siba, to support Micha.  D.


Ver. 10.  Servants under him, though all belonged to Miphiboseth.  H.


Ver. 11.  My table, if the king was pleased so to order.  Sanchez. It would seem that Siba did not properly understand the king.  C. The Sept. Syr. and Arab. read, perhaps more correctly u, “his,” instead o i, “my table,” in shulchani.  “And Memphibosthai ate at David’s table, as one,” &c.  H. He did not merely eat of the king’s table, (v. 13,) but at it, super mensam, as the Heb. Chal. and Sept. express.  M.


Ver. 13.  Feet, from five years of age.  C. iv. 4.  If we add the seven years and a half of his uncle’s reign, and suppose that David would take this notice of him, as soon as he had it in his power, after the taking of Jerusalem, we may conclude that he was about thirteen years old when he was presented to the king, and behaved with the most engaging modesty and respect.  If he had already a son, (v. 12,) we may allow a few years more.  H.



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Ver. 2.  Naas, whom Saul had defeated, and who on that account is supposed to have received his rival more willingly, (C.) when he had retreated into the country of Moab.  1 K. xxii. 3.  After receiving many presents from Naas, he retired to Odollam.  S. Jer. Tradit.  M. Though the Israelites were not to seek the friendship of these nations, (Deut. xxiii. 6,) they were not forbidden to make a return of gratitude.  M.


Ver. 3.  It.  Thus, by their insinuations, they pervert the good dispositions of their prince, and by too much policy bring ruin on the nation.  H. History affords many examples of similar effects of worldly wisdom.  M.


Ver. 4.  Away, having forced them as it were to go into mourning for the deceased king.  These nations adopted the same customs as the Hebrews: they cut their hair, and rent their garments, to express their deep affliction.  Isai. xv. 2.  The Arabs would deem it a great insult, and a piece of irreligion, to shave their beard.  Darvieux vii. p. 175.  Plutarch (Agesil) observes, that the Lacedemonians obliged those who acted in a cowardly manner in war, to wear only one wisker: and Herodotus (ii. 121,) takes notice of a person who, in contempt, cut off the beard on the right cheeks of some soldiers, who were placed to guard the body of his brother, who had been gibbeted, having first made them drunk, that he might take away the body.  The garments (Aquila says, “the tunic,” Sept. “the cloak, or mandua,” which is a military garment used in Persia) were cut (C.) for the same purpose, like our spencers, (H.)  that the ambassadors might be exposed to derision, as breeches were not usually worn, (C.) except by priests officiating.  D. This was in contempt of circumcision.  M. Yet we cannot suppose, but that the ambassadors would procure something to cover themselves before they arrived at Jericho, where they remained till their beard and the hair of their head (1 Par. xix.) were grown.  The city was not rebuilt, but there were some houses in the territory of that devoted place.  Jos. vi. 26.  H.


Ver. 6.  Rohob, the capital, between Libanus and Antibanus. Soba was subject to Adarezer.  C. viii. 3. Maacha, at the foot of Hermon. Istob (Heb. ish tob) signifies, the man, or prince, or “the master of Tob,” (C.) where Jephte lived.  Judg. xi. 5.  D.  Salien. Josephus thinks that Istob is the name of a fourth king, who, together with the king of Micha, brought 22,000 into the field.  The first he styles king “of the Mesopotamians,” (1 Par. xix. 6.) which Salien explains of the country between Abana and Pharphar, the two great rivers of Syria, (4 K. v. 12,) though, on this occasion, he allows that Adarezer hired forces from the utmost parts beyond the Euphrates.  H.


Ver. 7.  Warriors.  The outrage offered to the ambassadors was a sufficient reason.  The king of Ammon might have refused to receive them; but he could not, with any propriety, treat them with scorn.  “The right of ambassadors has both a divine and human sanction.”  Cicero, c. Verrem 3. The Romans have frequently waged war to revenge such wrongs.  Grot. Jur. ii. 18.


Ver. 8.  Ammon.  David was disposed to have lived in peace with this nation: but they voluntarily provoked his arms, after he had made such havoc upon all the neighbouring idolaters, and thus draw down the scourge of Providence; who suffers those to be blinded whom he has resolved to punish.  The preparations for this war seem to have been greater than usual, and it continued for a longer period, and in the end proved destructive to all.  H. Gate of Medaba.  Paral.  Besides the 33,000 auxiliaries (v. 6) and the natives, 32,000 chariots of war were hired from beyond the Euphrates.  1 Par. xix. 7.


Ver. 12.  City, Jerusalem, the metropolis; or, all the cities of Israel.  Paral.


Ver. 15.  Together, expecting that David would  punish them farther.  M.


Ver. 17.  Helam.  Ptolemy mentions Alamata, on the Euphrates.  But perhaps we ought to read the Heb. Lehem, “he came upon them.”  See 1 Par. xix. 17.  Some translate, “he came to their army.”


Ver. 18.  Hundred.  Paral. thousand, allowing ten men for each chariot.  D.  M. The men is omitted in both texts.  See C. viii. 4.  H. Horsemen.  Paral. reads, footmen, supplying what is here omitted, (Salien) so that 87,000 Syrians perished, unless there be a mistake of the transcribers.  C. Smote, though not perhaps with his own hand, as he slew so many thousands by means of his army.  M.


Ver. 19.  Before Israel.  Heb. and Sept. only read, “And when all the kings, servants of Adarezer, saw that they were smitten before Israel, they made peace with Israel, and served them,” &c.  H. The addition is not found in the ancient version of S. Jerom.  These tributary kings lived in Syria, and some perhaps beyond the Euphrates.  See Ps. lix.  C. The army had consisted of 145,000 men.  After the loss of 87,000, the servants of Adarezer went over to David, and served him.  Paral.  M.



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Ver. 1.  Year.  Heb. “at the end of the year,” (Chal.  Syr.) which may be explained either of the year after the preceding engagement, or at the end of the civil year, in the autumnal equinox, (C.) or of the sacred year, which begins in the spring, (H.) when kings more commonly go to battle, about the month of March.  M. In hot countries they make a campaign also in autumn. Ammon.  They had not been sufficiently chastised, as they had saved themselves within their strong cities.  They had added to their other crimes, that of stirring up the Syrians against David.  C. Rabba, the capital of Ammon, which Polybius calls “Rabatamana.”  See C. v. 8.  H.


Ver. 2.  Noon.  He had been reposing, according to custom.  C. iv. 7.  C. But the devil was not idle.  He was meditating a temptation and crime, which involved a great part of the remainder of David’s life in misery.  H. He had reigned 18 years, and lived 48, almost without blame.  Salien, A. 2998. His house, as the Heb. explains it.  The Vulg. might insinuate that the woman was upon “the roof of her house.”  But she was probably in her garden, as the Jews have their baths in the open air.  They are frequently obliged to purify themselves.  C. The house must have been very near David’s palace.  Salien.


Ver. 3.  Eliam.  By a transposition of letters, he is called Ammiel, in 1 Par. iii. 5.  Both words signify “my people is God’s.”  This son of Achitophel (C. xxiii. 34,) was one of David’s valiant men, as well as Urias, who is styled the Hethite, being born at Eth; (S. Jer.  Salien) or on account of his extraction, or because he or his ancestors (H.) had performed some great exploit against that nation; as Germanicus, Africanus, &c. received those titles among the Romans, for conquering the Germans, &c.  C. Eth was a place near Hebron.  Adric. 128.  M. The name of Bethsabee is also different in Paral.; the last b in Heb. being changed into v.  Both-shua, both-al-i-am; instead of Both-shoba, both-am-i-al.  H.  Kennic. The grandfather of Bethsabee is supposed to have revolted against David, to revenge the wrong done to her.  T.  A. Lapide.  “Let the weak tremble at the fall of the strong.”  S. Aug. in Ps. l.


Ver. 4.  Purified.  Lit. “sanctified.”  Heb. and Sept. “for she was, ” &c.  H. Hoc ideo additum ne miraremur illico eam concepisse.  Grot.  Arist. Anim. vii. 20. Women were obliged to bathe after such actions.  Lev. xv. 18.


Ver. 8.  Feet.  As they did not wear stockings, this practice was very common after a journey.  David thus insinuated that Urias might take his rest, and go to his wife, that so he might suppose that the child was his own, and the crime of Bethsabee might be concealed.  C. King, as a mark of honour, but in reality that he might be more excited to indulge his pleasures.  Abulensis.  M.


Ver. 9.  House, in the court, for the guards.  See Athen. v. 2. &c.


Ver. 10.  Journey, of thirty hours’ length.  Adrichomius.


Ver. 11.  Ark.  Most people suppose that the ark and the priests were before Rabba, as they seem to have been present in all expeditions of consequence.  M. C. but, at any rate, the ark was covered with skins or veils, even in the tabernacle at Gabaon, or at Sion.  H. Thing.  He binds himself by an oath not to gratify his natural inclinations, that the king might desist from pressing him any farther.  Salien. But David resolves to endeavour to make him forget his oath, during the moments of intoxication.  The valour and temperance of Urias, and divine Providence, render all his craft useless; and a concatenation of crimes cannot hide the original offence.  H.


Ver. 13.  Couch.  It seems he was one of the guards.  Josephus says he was Joab’s armour-bearer, (Ant. vii. 7.) and one of David’s heroes.  C. xxiii. 39.


Ver. 14.  Morning of the fourth day, as Urias staid three nights at Jerusalem.  It is not clear that he was intoxicated the last of them.  On that night David permitted him to act as he should think proper; and finding that he obstinately persisted in the resolution of not going to sleep with his wife, he had recourse to the last and most barbarous expedient of making way for his own marriage with the woman, as he saw this was the only method left for  him to save her honour.  The utmost expedition was requisition, as many days must have elapsed before she perceived her situation; (H.) and if many more should pass over, it would be manifest to the world that she had been guilty of adultery, and must either be stoned, or, if David spared her, he must bear the blame.  Salien. Urias.  The fable of Bellerophon being sent by Prœtus to Jobates, king of Syria, with a letter, desiring the king to put the bearer to death, seems to have been copied from this history.  Their letters have become proverbial.  Chry.

Aha Bellerophontem jam tuus me fecit filius,

                        Egomet tabellas detuli ut vincirer.  Plaut. Bacchide.


Ver. 15.  Die.  We no longer behold the genius of that David who would not hurt his persecutor.  What a change does a shameful passion introduce in the whole conduct of a man! and how does one false step conduct from one abyss to another!  Proprium humani ingenii est odisse quem læseris.  Tacit. David could no longer bear the sight of a man whom he had injured so grievously.  C.


Ver. 17.  Also.  Hence David prays with reason; Deliver me from blood (sanguinibus) of many slain.  He was answerable for all  Cajetan.


Ver. 21.  Jerobaal?  Hebrews write Jeroboseth, to avoid the mention of Baal, as they also do with respect to the name of Isboseth, who was probably called Isbaal.  C.  See Judg. ix. 57. Joab supposed that David might probably adduce this instance, to shew the danger of approaching too near the wall, as it had proved destructive to part of his army, and had been fatal to Abimelech.  But it seems the messenger did not allow him time to express any resentment, before he told him the agreeable news, which he desired so much to hear, v. 24.  H.


Ver. 26.  For him.  We may apply to her tears those words of Lucan:

Lachrymas non sponte cadentes

                        Effudit, gemitusque expressit pectore læto.

“None affected more sorrow for the death of Germanicus, than those who rejoiced the most at that event.”  Tacit. An. ii. The mourning for the dead usually lasted seven days; (Eccli. xxii. 13.) and after that period, David seems to have married Bethsabee.  Abulen. q. 21.


Ver. 27.  Lord; not that David had married the woman, but on account of his former conduct towards her and her husband.  M. The canon law forbids the marriages of those who have been accomplices in the death of their former partner; and some have thought that this marriage of David was null.  But this is inaccurate; and the fruits of it were (C.) all deeded legitimate.  See 1 Par. iii. 5.  H. The Rabbins even pretend that David was guilty of no sin in marrying Bethsabee during the life-time of Urias; as the latter, they say, must have given her a bill of divorce when he went to war.  Grotius. But why should we excuse an action which was so severely condemned and punished by God?  C. xii. 1. &c.  Ps. l.  C. In David’s conduct, we here behold a complication of the basest passions of lust and cruelty; which make David neglect the sanctity of an oath, (v. 11) and attempt to ruin, by drunkenness, the soul of one to whom he was much indebted; and, afterwards, to expose him to an untimely death, perhaps without repentance; if indeed Urias exceeded the bounds of moderation.  This however is not certain; as the word drunk is often used to denote a degree of blameless conviviality.  Gen. xliii. 34.  Yet the design of David was equally criminal.  How soon may the man according to God’s own heart, fall from his elevated station into the depth of the abyss!  Wherefore let him that thinketh himself to stand, take heed lest he fall.  1 Cor. x. 12.  H.



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Ver. 1.  Unto him, after the birth of the child.  A whole year had nearly elapsed, and David continued blind and  impenitent.  The spirit of prophecy had left him; and, though he was clear-sighted, and equitable enough to punish the faults of others, he could not discern his own picture, till Nathan had removed the veil.  The prophet acted with the utmost prudence, and did not condemn the king till he had pronounced sentence on himself.  It is commonly supposed that the interview was private.  S. Chrysostom believes that the chief lords of the court were present; which would enhance the discretion of Nathan, as well as David’s humility.  C.


Ver. 3.  Daughter.  All these expressions tended to shew the affection of the owner for this pet lamb.  H. In Arabia, one of the finest is commonly fed in the house along with the children.  Bochart, Anim. T. i. B. ii. 46. It is not necessary that every word of this parable should have been verified in Bethsabee.  C. Many things are usually added for ornament.  M. Yet she had been treated in the most tender manner by her husband, who had her alone, while David had eighteen wives.  H.


Ver. 4.  To him.  This wanton cruelty caused David to pronounce him deserving of death; as simple theft was punished with only a four-fold restitution.  Ex. xxii. 1.  Judges sometimes diminish, and at other times increase, the severity of the law, according to the dispositions of the offenders, which lawgivers could not exactly foresee.  C.


Ver. 6.  Fold.  Sept. “seven-fold,” which Grabe corrects by the Heb.  H. David lost four of his sons; the first born of Bethsabee, Amnon, Absalon, and Adonias: and saw his daughter Thamar, (C.) and his ten inferior wives, dishonoured, in punishment of his crime.  M.


Ver. 7.  The man, against whom thou hast pronounced sentence, and who has treated thy neighbour with still less pity.  H.

Mutato nomine de te

                        Fabula narratur.  Hor.


Ver. 8.  Wives.  We know of none that David married.  But, as king, he enjoyed alone that privilege.  Grot.  C. ii. 7. and xvi. 21. Unto thee.  Heb. “I would have given thee such and such.”  C. Sept. “I will moreover give thee like unto these;” a continuation of prosperity.  H. This singular love, which God was still disposed to manifest unto David, touched his heart with peculiar force.  Salien.


Ver. 10.  House.  What a dismal scene opens itself to our view during the remaining part of David’s reign!  H. Scarcely one of his successors was free from war; even Solomon was disturbed by the rebellion of Jeroboam, &c. and many of David’s family and descendants came to an untimely end, v. 6.  C. Six sons of Josaphat, all Joram’s, except one, Josias, the children of Sedecias, &c.  4 K. xxv. &c.  W.


Ver. 11.  I will raise, &c.  All these evils, inasmuch as they were punishments, came upon Daivd by a just judgment of God, for his sin; and therefore God  says, I will raise, &c.  But inas much as they were sins, on the part of Absalom and his associates, God was not the author of them, but only permitted them.  Ch. God permitted the wicked prince to succeed for some time, that he might punish David.  C. Neighbour, most dearly beloved.  To be treated ill by such a one, is doubly severe.  Ps. liv. 15.  M.


Ver. 12.  Sun, publicly.  C. xvi. 22.  How abominable soever this conduct of an unnatural son must have been to God, he says, I will do this; because, when he might have prevented it by a more powerful grace, or by the death of the delinquent, he suffered him to carry his infernal project into execution.  H.


Ver. 13.  Sinned.  His confession was sincere, and very different from that of Saul, 1 K. xv. 24.  “The expression was the same; but God saw the difference of the heart.”  S. Aug. con. Faust. xxii. 27. Sin.  He has remitted the fault and the eternal punishment, and he has greatly diminished the temporal chastisement, and will not inflict instant death, as he seemed to have threatened, v. 10.  C. “The speedy remission shewed the greatness of the king’s repentance.”  S. Amb. Apol. 2.


Ver. 14.  Occasion.  Lit. “made” almost, in the same sense, as God threatened to do, what was effected by Absalom, v. 12.  David did not co-operate with the malice of infidels; but he was responsible for it: in as much as he had committed an unlawful action, which gave them occasion to blaspheme God, as if he had not been able to foresee this scandalous transaction.  Thus God and religion are often vilified, on account of the misconduct of those who have the happiness to be well informed, but do not live up to their profession: but this mode of argumentation is very fallacious and uncandid.  It ought, however, to be a caution to the servants of the true God, never to do any thing which may have such fatal consequences; and alienate the minds of weak men for the truth. Die.  Thus infidels would see, that God did not suffer David to pass quite unpunished.  H.


Ver. 15.  Of.  Heb. “it was sick” (C.) of a fever.


Ver. 16.  A fast, (jejunavit jejunio) denotes, with more than ordinary rigour.  Salien. By himself.  Heb. “he went in, and lay all night upon the ground.”  H.


Ver. 18.  Day.  After his birth, when he had received circumcision; (Salien) or on the 7th day since the commencement of his malady.  C.  M.


Ver. 23.  To me.  No instance of any one being raised from the dead had yet occurred; though David did not disbelieve its possibility.  M.


Ver. 24.  Wife.  She had partaken in his affliction and repentance.  The Jews say that David told her the divine oracle, which is mentioned 3 K. i. 13. 17, that her next son should succeed to the throne.  Salien (A. 3000) supposes that he was conceived in May, two months after the death of Bethsabee’s first-born, and came into the world about he time of the Passover. Solomon, “the pacific.”  See 1 Par. xxii. 9.  M.


Ver. 25.  Amiable to the Lord.  Or beloved of the Lord.  In Hebrew, Yedideya.  Ch. Loved him, is not expressed in Heb. “because of the Lord.”  H. Theodotion, “in the word, or agreeably to, the order of the Lord.”  Solomon never went by the name which God here gives him, (C.) except in this place.  M. It shews the gratuitous predilection which God had for him; but affords no proof of his predestination to glory, of which there is too much reason to doubt.  C.


Ver. 27.  The city of waters.  Rabbath, the royal city of the Ammonites, was called the city of waters, from being encompassed with waters.  Ch.   See C. v. 8. The Heb. in the preceding verse seems to insinuate, (H.) that “he had taken the royal city.”  But he was only on the point of doing it, or had, perhaps, made himself master of some part of it.  Here the Heb. “I have taken,” may be explained in the same sense, unless the city of waters were the lower part of Rabbath, lying on the Jaboc.  Junius translates, “He cut off the waters, which entered the city;” and Josephus favours this explanation.  It seems the siege lasted about two years.  C. Antiochus took this city, by depriving the inhabitants of water.  Polyb. v.


Ver. 28.  Take it.  The higher, and more impregnable part; which honour Joab reserved for David.


Ver. 30.  King.  Heb. Malcam, “their king.”  Moloc, “king,” or the chief idol of the Ammonites.  It was forbidden to use the ornaments of the idols on Chanaan, but not of other nations.  This crown might be worth a talent, on account of the gold and precious stones; (1 Par. xx. 2.  Sanchez.  Bochart,) or it might weigh so much as almost 87 pounds, (C.) or above 113 pounds English.  H. such immence crowns were sometimes suspended for ornament, over the throne; as Benjamin of Tudela says was done by the emperor Commenes.  Pliny describes one of nine pounds; and Athenæus (v. 8,) another of 80 cubits, or 40 yards (H.) in circumference.  C. The idol, or the king of Ammon, (M.) might have one of the like nature, suspended.  The Rabbins say David caused it to hand in the air by means of a load-stone; as if it would attract gold!  C.


Ver. 31.  Sawed.  Heb. “he put them under saws, and under rollers of iron, and under knives,” &c.  H. The Jews say that Isaias was killed by being sawed asunder; to which punishment S. Paul alludes.  Heb. xi. 37.  M. Brick-kilns, or furnaces.  Ps. xx. 10.  Muis. David and his companions were thrown into the fiery furnace.  Dan. iii. 6. 11.  Est. xiii. 7.  C. Some condemn David of excessive cruelty on this occasion.  T.  Sanctius. But the Scripture represents his conduct as irreproachable, except in the affair of Urias; (3 K. xv. 5,) and at this distance of time, we know not the motives which might have actuated him to treat his enemy with such severity.  The Ammonites had probably exercised similar cruelties on his subjects.  See 1 K. xi. 2.  Amos i. 13.  C. They had shamefully violated the law of nations, and had stirred up various kings against David.  M. Salien blames Joab for what may seem too cruel.  But, though he was barbarous and vindictive, we need not condemn him on this occasion, no more than his master; as we are not to judge of former times by our own manners.  H. War was then carried on with great cruelty.  C.



2 KINGS 13




Ver. 1.  Thamar was born of Maacha, as well as Absalom.


Ver. 2.  Her.  He had seen her on some solemn occasions, when virgins were allowed to go out, well attended.  At other times they were so strictly guarded, that Amnon thought it almost impossible to gratify his passion, (C.) which made him grow pale.  He afterwards feigned himself to be more sickly than he really was, v. 6.  H.


Ver. 3.  A very wise man.  That is, a crafty and subtle man: for the counsel he gave on this occasion shews that his wisdom was but carnal and worldly.  Ch. Jonadab seems to be styled Jonathan, C. xxi. 21.  C.


Ver. 4.  King? to whom every indulgence must be allowed.  M.


Ver. 5.  To me.  Heb. “and give me meat, and dress the meat in my sight, that I may see it, and eat it,” &c.  H. He pretends to be disgusted with food, (C.) unless he see his sister make it ready.  H.


Ver. 6.  Messes.  Heb. “cakes, or cordials;” what which refresh the heart, and give an appetite.  The queen of Perdiccas, of Macedon, baked bread for her servants.  Herod. viii. 137.  Gen. xviii. 6.


Ver. 9.  Out.  This conveys the idea of something liquid.  C. It was a thin wafer, (H.) or cake, of which there were different sorts.


Ver. 10.  Chamber.  Heb. Chadera, “bed-place,” (Cant. i. 4.) where Amnon was lying.  C.


Ver. 12.  Folly, or impiety, so directly contrary to the law.  Levit. xviii. 6. and 9. and 11.  H.


Ver. 13.  Thee.  Was she ignorant that such marriages could not be allowed?  C. Some think she was.  Grot.  M. Others believe that, in her present situation, she said what first came into her head, to get out of the hands of her brother.  The Rabbins pretend that she was conceived before David married her mother, and that the latter was a pagan; so that they suppose there was no relationship between Thamar and Amnon.  But this is all asserted without proof.  C.


Ver. 15.  Before.  Such changes are not unfrequent in those who give way to disordered passions, as Aristotle (prob. iv.) proves.  Semiramis slew her lovers, and among the rest her own son.  T. God caused Amnon to be stung with remorse, and the evil spirit pushed him on to extremities, which filled the palace with scandal and bloodshed.  M.


Ver. 16.  Greater, as being more public; (T.) and all would think her guilty of some horrible misdemeanor.  H. It made the divulging of the crime in some degree necessary.  M. Unhappy woman! why did she not cry out, at least, before the perpetration of the act, as the law directed?  Deut. xxii. 24.  Salien, A. 3000.


Ver. 18.  Robe.  Heb. passim; long and variegated, like Joseph’s.  Gen. xxxvii. 3.  The Sept. call it, karpwtoV, to insinuate that it was “adorned with fruits,” &c.  H.


Ver. 19.  Head, as if to hide her face.  Ezec. xxvii. 30.  Jer. ii. 37.  So Mezentius:

“Canitiem immundo deformat pulvere et ambas

Ad Cœlum tendit palmas.”  Virgil, Æneid x.  See Iliad 2.  C.

Crying, that no one might think she had consented.  M. She probably went directly to her brother’s house, and related the affair to him; or he met her in this condition.  Salien.


Ver. 20.  Brother.  His disgrace will fall upon the whole royal family, and the king will not bring him to punishment, like another.  C. Away.  Heb. and Chal. “desolate.”  M. Sept. “like a widow.”


Ver. 21.  And he, &c.  This is not in Heb. &c. nor in S. Jerom’s version.  Josephus and some copies of the Sept. read it.  But the reason here alleged would not suffice to excuse David.  C. He might think that, as he had shewn such a bad example himself, he could not with a good grace punish others.  Sanctius. This however was requisite, as long as he was king.  Whatever faults he might have fallen into, he was not on that account to suffer crimes to remain unpunished; (H.) and it is supposed that he testified his resentment to Amnon; (Salien, &c.) though the Scripture be silent thereon.  H. Abulensis condemns him for too great remissness.  M.


Ver. 23.  Two.  Heb. “full years.”  He waited so long, that he might put his murderous designs in execution with less suspicion.  H. Sheep.  It was esteemed the best husbandry, “to have fine flocks;” bene pascere: (Cato) even for the nobility. Ephraim, or Ephrem; (Jo. xi. 54.) probably near Bethel.  Joseph. Bel. v. 33.  C. Nabal had made a feast on a similar occasion.  1 K. xxv.  Absalom invites his father to avoid suspicion; (M.) though he would be glad at his refusing to come, unless perhaps he would not have hesitated to order his brother to be murdered in his very presence, in order to punish both.  H.


Ver. 25.  Blessed him, wishing him joy.  Absalom kept a separate establishment, and had many children.  C. xiv. 27.  M.


Ver. 26.  Amnon.  He mentions him as the eldest, and that David might suppose that they were perfectly reconciled.  C. The unhappy father seems for a long time to have expressed a reluctance and foreboding.  H.


Ver. 28.  It is I: the blame will fall on me; I will rescue all from danger.  These servants were probably infidels, of Gessur, and fled with their master.  M.


Ver. 29.  Mule.  This is the first time we find these animals used to ride on.  The judges had fair asses.  These mules were not the offspring of horses and asses.  They bear young in Syria, (Aristot. anim. vi. 24.) and are little inferior to horses in size, though they are shaped like our mules.  Ibid. c. xxxvi.


Ver. 30.  Left.  Fame often magnifies.  M. Crescit eundo.  H.


Ver. 32.  Mouth.  Chal. Syr. “heart.”  Aquila, “because Absalom was in wrath against him.”  He had resolved upon his destruction.  C. Perhaps he had expressed his intention to some of the court; and this Jonadab (by whose means the crime had been committed, v. 5) had heard of it.  H.


Ver. 34.  Mountain.  Olivet.  C. They had not kept the high road through fear of Absalom; (Abul.) who, on his part, fled out of the country, as no city of refuge was able to protect wilful murderers.  H.


Ver. 37.  Tholomai, or Tholmai, (H.  C. iii. 3.) his maternal grandfather.  C.


Ver. 38.  Ceased.  We do not read that he had pursued Absalom before.  C. Now he laid aside all thoughts of punishing him, as he began even to desire to see him again, when he reflected that Amnon had deserved death.  H. Heb. also, “he burnt with a secret desire to receive Absalom.”  C. xiv. 1.  Jonathan.  Vatab. &c.  C. Prot. “the soul of king David longed to go forth unto,” &c.  H.



2 KINGS 14




Ver. 2.  Thecua, twelve miles south of Jerusalem.  S. Jer. Joab causes this unknown woman to come from the country to conceal his design, (C.) hoping that Absalom would be his father’s successor.  M.


Ver. 4.  Save me.  So the Jews frequently repeated Hosanna; and David addressed God, save us.  1 Par. xvi. 35.  T.


Ver. 5.  Dead.  Some conclude from v. 16, that this is a true history; but it appears rather, that it was only a parable, (v. 19.  C.) invented by Joab.  M.


Ver. 7.  Heir.  She expresses their sentiments more than their words.  C. Some of the relations might desire to obtain the inheritance.  M. See Num. xxxv. 18. Spark.  Posterity is often denoted by a lamp.  C. xxi. 17.  Heb. and Sept. “my coal,” reserved to enkindle my fire, (C.) or to perpetuate our name in Israel, (H.) or that of his father, to whose title the son succeeded.  The mother could claim no inheritance.  M.


Ver. 9.  Guiltless, if the murderer be not brought to execution.  I am willing to bear all the blame and punishment.  C. Abigail and Rebecca speak in the same manner.  1 K. xxv. 24.  Gen. xxvii. 13.  T. Though kings may not pardon as they please, yet in this instance David might protect the widow’s son, as there was no witness to prove that he had committed the murder.  M. The woman was not satisfied with the former promise.  She wished to extort something more decisive.  She intimates that the danger is pressing, and if any misfortune should arrive, she cannot impute it to the king, (C.) which gives him occasion to encourage her the more.  H.


Ver. 11.  Multiplied, or overwhelm me with their numbers.  C.


Ver. 13.  Exile, the banished Absalom, (H.) who, in similar circumstances, has only committed a crime like that which the king is willing to pardon at the entreaty of a poor widow; though all the people of God seem interested for the welfare of Absalom, whom they look upon as the heir apparent.  This was the drift of the whole parable.  C. To sin, may be referred to Absalom, who might be driven by despair to worship idols.  M.


Ver. 14.  Earth; so great was the distress of the people at the absence of their darling prince.  H. His death would not bring Amnon to life again.  We must not cherish sentiments of eternal enmity. Perish.  Chal. “a just judge cannot take the money of iniquity.”  Le Clerc, “And cannot the prince (or judge) pardon a man, and devise means to leave his son no longer in exile?”  C. Prot. “neither doth God respect any person; yet doth he devise means, that his banished son be not expelled from him.”  Let the king imitate this example.  H.


Ver. 15.  Before the people.  Heb. also, “through fear, or respect for the people,” who generally wished that Absalom might return.  H. Joab was present, (v. 21) and no doubt many others; who, if requisite, might join their prayers with hers.  C.


Ver. 16.  Me.  She identifies her cause with that of her son, as if she could not survive his death; or, at least, could not retain the inheritance, if he should perish.  H.


Ver. 17.  Sacrifice; perfect and inviolable.  T. Cursing, provided he be in the right.  M. Heb. “the king to discern (hear) good and bad;” of consummate wisdom; (v. 20.  H.) so that no one can impose upon him.


Ver. 19.  Right, but he hath ordered me to say all these things.  Joab had given her leave to make this declaration, as he perceived that the king’s heart was already inclined towards Absalom, v. 1.  M.


Ver. 21.   Boy.  This expression might tend to excuse what he had done amiss; as it shewed also the tenderness of David for Absalom.  M.


Ver. 22.  Blessed.  That is, praised, and gave thanks to the king.


Ver. 24.  Face, though he lived in Jerusalem.  C. This was done, in order that he might enter seriously into himself, and avoid similar excesses.  M. He felt this privation more than exile.  H.


Ver. 26.  A year.  Heb. and Sept. “from the end of the days to days.” Chal. “as it was convenient.”  But the Vulg. seems the best, (C.) and is followed by the Prot. version.  H. Sicles, including all his hair.  The Hebrews wore their hair very long.  It does not commonly grow above four inches in a year; so that the hair which was cut off could not weigh 200 sicles.  C. Weight.  Heb. “after the king’s stone,” Beeben; but one MS. has Boshkol, with the Sept. “after the king’s sicle (Ken.) weight,” at Babylon, as Pelletier supposes that this work was written towards the end of the captivity.  He allows that Absalom’s hair might weigh almost 31 ounces.  Some women wear above 32 ounces, if we may believe the hair-dressers.  Some suppose that r (200) has been substituted instead of d (4) or c, (20) &c.  But all are not convinced that the Hebrew formerly marked the numbers by letters.  Sept. have, “100 sicles,” (C.) which some attempt to reconcile with the common reading, by saying, that they speak of the sicles of the sanctuary, which were double the weight of the king’s sicles.  Yet the Alex. and Vat. copies agree with the Vulgate: (H.) and of this distinction of weights there is no proof.  The Rabbins assert that the value, and not the weight, of Absalom’s hair is given; (C.) and that he made a present of his hair to some of his friends, who sold it to the ladies of Jerusalem, to adorn their heads.  Sanctius. Tirin adopts this sentiment, and ridicules those who say that the weight is meant; as he says, 200 sicles would be equivalent to 8¾ Roman pounds, which comes near to Arbuthnot’s calculation in English.  H. Bochart reduces the weight to four such pounds, each consisting of twelve ounces; and he supposes that the hair was so heavy, on account of the gold dust with which it was covered, according to the fashion of those times.  Joseph.  viii. 1. But this weight would be only accidental.  C. Josephus (vii. 8.) intimates, that Absalom’s hair was “cut every eight days,” or “for the space of eight days.”  It is quite incredible that it should weigh 200 sicles, or five minæ of Alexandria, each consisting of twelve ounces.  The Latin interpreter reads, “every eight months.”  C. S. Epiphanius and Hero have 125 sicles, or about 31 ounces.  H. The Babylonian sicle, here mentioned, was only the third part of that used by the Hebrews.  D.


Ver. 27.  Sons, who all died before their father.  C. xviii. 18. Thamar, in memory of his sister; (Abul.) or this Thamar received the name from her aunt, who resided with Absalom.  M. Some Greek and Latin copies add, that she was married to Roboam, the son of Solomon, by whom he had Abias.  But this addition is of no authority, and can hardly be reconciled with chronology.  We read that Roboam espoused Maaca, the daughter of Absalom; (2 Par. xi. 20.) but she might be only his grand-daughter, by Thamar.  C. Josephus had adopted this addition.  H.


Ver. 29.  To him.  Joab, like a crafty courtier, would neither disoblige the king nor the prince, and therefore wished not to meddle in this affair; as he might either excite the suspicions of the own, or the resentment of the other.  C.


Ver. 33.  Kissed Absalom, and thus was reconciled to his prodigal son.  Luke xv. 20.  The ungrateful wretch only took occasion, from his father’s goodness, to alienate the minds of the people from him, by insinuating that he neglected the welfare of the people.  H.



2 KINGS 15




Ver. 1.  Before him.  Romulus instituted the 300 guards, whom he called Celeres, for the like purpose.  C. Absalom’s ambition could not  wait patiently for the death of his father, who was not yet sixty years old, and had been first anointed forty years before, v. 7.  He looked upon himself as the heir apparent, Amnon being now slain, and Cheliab (or Daniel) either dead, as it is thought, or unfit for government, while Solomon was only eight years old.  Salien. The quality of his mother, and his own personal qualifications, made him despise his brethren, and he began to assume the equipage of a king.  C. David considered this as only the effect of juvenile vanity, and he had not a mind to irritate him, without the utmost necessity.  Salien. Heb. “Absalom prepared for himself a chariot, (Prot. chariots) and horses,” &c.  H. It is not certain whether he had any other horsemen but those who mounted the chariots.  Horses were then very scarce in Israel.  C. Adonias afterwards imitated his brother’s ambition, during his father’s life; (3 K. i. 5.) so that evil was continually raised up against David, out of his own house.  C. xii. 11.


Ver. 2.  Israel.  Absalom rises early for wickedness.  He assumes the character of a more zealous and disinterested judge, as if to contrast his conduct with the remissness of some appointed by the king; though the Holy Ghost bears witness to the integrity of David.  C. viii. 15.  Who would not be deceived by such appearances, if the arts of hypocrites had not taught us to examine things to the bottom, and to be upon our guard?  If thy eye be evil, thy whole body will be darksome.  The intention decides all.  H.


Ver. 5.  Kissed him.  Engaging affability!  How often abused by the ambitious, for similar purposes!  H. Thus acted Otho.  Protendens manum, adorare vulgus, jacere oscula et omnia serviliter pro dominatione.  Tacit. Hist. i. “Stretching out his hand, he bowed to the common people, dispensing his kisses at random, and performed all the acts of servility to obtain the throne.”  H.


Ver. 6.  Enticed.  Heb. “stole.”  The people were not aware of his designs.  C. Absalom rendered them dissatisfied with the present government, and led them to expect better days, under his administration.  H.


Ver. 7.  Forty, which Vatable dates from the time when the people petitioned for a king; Salien, from the first anointing of David.  M. It is probable enough that this number has been substituted instead of four, which Josephus, Theodoret, Syr. Arab. and many Latin MSS. read; and Absalom would employ this term in securing the interest of Israel, before he declared himself openly their king.  C. He had been so long at Jerusalem, since his return.  Salien. The canon of Heb. verity, supposed to be made about the ninth century, is said (by Martinnay.  H.) to be altered by some correcting hand, from four to forty.  Kennicott. This is the famous Memmian canon, which Theodulph, bishop of Orleans, is believed to have ordered, as the standard of truth, according to the Hebrew copies of that day: (H.) and this seems to have guided the Ben. editor of S. Jerom’s works, and of his translation; so that it is no wonder if “the printed copies agree in so many places with the corrupted Heb.”  Canon Memmianus pure leget juxta Hebræum, quod nos edidimus.  Note on 2 Par. xiii. 3. 17.  The Vulgate of Sixtus V. in that passage, as well as in the present, reads the smaller numbers, as he was guided by the best Latin copies, whereas Clement VIII. has also consulted “the Heb. fountains.”  The former, says Kennicott, (Diss. ii. p. 205) “seems to have been printed on a juster plan…and the old Latin version is likely to be found more pure in the edition of Sixtus than in that of Clement, since the latter seems to have corrected his Latin by the modern (i.e. the corrupted) Heb. copies.”  Dr. James observes, that “almost all the Latin editions received in the Church, for many years, (preceding 1590) agree with Sixtus,” who here reads quatuor, with many others; so that Grotius is well supported in having pronounced so decisively, “without doubt there is a mistake, two letters having been added at the end of arba.  The thing itself declares that four years had elapsed.”  Kennicott. It appears to be indubitable, that some mistakes have taken place with regard to numbers.  But that this place is incorrect may not be so certain, as the chronology of Salien, Usher, &c. explains it well enough.  The Hebrew text was esteemed more correct when the last editions of S. Jerom, and of the Vulg. were given, than it is at present.  H.


Ver. 8.  Lord.  The pretext seemed very bad, since he ought not to have delayed so long to perform his vow.  Moreover, the usual places for sacrifice were Gabaon or Sion.  But Absalom might plead a respect for the patriarchs, who were buried at Hebron.  S. Jer. Trad.  M.


Ver. 10.  Spies, or men to give a plausible appearance to his ambition, and to insinuate that all was done according to order, and with David’s approbation.  “The first word (or step) is the most difficult,” on such occasions; (Tacit. Hist. ii.  Grot.) and those who find themselves incautiously entangled, find a repugnance to recede.  H. Reigneth.  He was solemnly anointed.  C. xix. 10.  M.


Ver. 11.  Design.  Their hearts had been stolen, v. 6.  They only meant to do honour to the prince, but by no means to join in his rebellion, like the rest.  C.


Ver. 12.  Achitophel, the grandfather of Bethsabee; to revenge whose dishonour, he had instigated the young prince to revolt, and had planned his rebellion; (Salien) so that he was every ready to lend  his assistance.  C.


Ver. 13.  Absalom.  How came they to abandon a king, appointed by heaven, and adorned with so many virtues?  God was resolved to punish him.  Many are always desirous of novelty.  David had lately been guilty of two scandalous crimes.  Joab remained unpunished, and arrogant; the judges neglected their duty, &c. v. 3.  Some had still a partiality for the family of Saul.  C.  Grotius.


Ver. 14.  Ruin, of a house falling.  Heb. “evil.”  David gives way to the fury of the rebels, hoping that they will enter into themselves, without bloodshed.  He departs on foot, like a penitent, acknowledging the justice of God.  Fear does not prompt him to leave Jerusalem, which was a place of such strength, (C. v. 6.) nor are his attendants abandoned on a sudden by that courage, which made some of them a match for a whole army.  David disposes of all things with great coolness and prudence.  C. He wishes to appease God.  M.


Ver. 16.  Concubines.  That is, wives of an inferior degree, (Ch.  Gen. xxv.  W.) who might perhaps have some influence to pacify the rioters.


Ver. 17.  House, or palace, (H.) at the foot of the walls, (C.) that all who were well disposed, might join the king’s standard.  Heb. “in a place that was far off;” (H.) or, “this house of flight (this family of David, in flight) stopped.” C.


Ver. 18.  Phelethi, the king’s foreign guards, of Philistine extraction.  C. viii. 18. Gethites, who had been probably induced to enter his service by Ethai, v. 19.  C. Men.  This number David kept up, in honour of those valiant companions who had defended him  at Odollam, &c.  Salien. It is observable, that David is attended only by his own family, and by strangers; representing Jesus Christ, who rejects the Synagogue and its sacrifices, while he makes choice of the Gentiles.  C.


Ver. 19.  Ethai.  Many assert that he was the son of Achis, and had embraced the true religion.  M. King; Absalom, who will not molest you.  H. Some translate the Heb. “Return from the king.”  Syr. Arab.


Ver. 20.  The Lord.  Heb. “mercy and truth with thee.”  As thou hast acted towards me, so mayest thou be rewarded.  H.


Ver. 23.  Cedron.  Heb. nachal Kidron, may signify, “the shady torrent,” or “vale,” as it is styled by Josephus.  It does not take its name from cedars.  It is dry in summer, and when filled with water, in only three steps across.  Doubdan xxvii. Desert, of Bethel, (C.) or of Jericho, where S. John Baptist and our Saviour dwelt for some time.  David passed over Kedron, only after he had dismissed the priests.  M.


Ver. 24.  Went up to the ark, or along with the rest.  C.


Ver. 25.  City.  Abiathar had consulted the Lord for David, and received no answer; whence the king concluded that he had not suffered enough.  M. David displays a faith which could hardly have been expected of the carnal Jews.  He confesses that God will reward the virtuous, and punish the wicked, independently of the ark, the symbol of his presence, and of which he deemed himself unworthy.  C.


Ver. 27.  Seer, supposing he was high priest, along with Abiathar, he might be thus addressed as one who consulted God by the ephod, as he might also, if he presided over the prophets, like Chonenias.  1 Par. xv. 22.  Dionysius.  M. Heb. “Art not thou a seer?” a prudent man, who may be of greater service to me in the city; (H. or) seest thou not “the state of my affairs?”  Sept. “See and return.”  Follow my advice, or then act as your own wisdom dictates.  C.


Ver. 30.  Weeping, &c.  David on this occasion wept for his sins, which he knew were the cause of all his sufferings.  Ch. Barefoot, like a criminal, or one in mourning.  Isai. xx. 4.  Ezec. xxiv. 17.  C. Covered, that the people might not see him.  W.


Ver. 31.  Infatuate:  “render useless;” (Theodotion) “dissipate,” Sept.  C. God hindered the wise counsel of Achitophel from being regarded.  H.


Ver. 32.  The Lord, before he lost sight of the holy city, where the ark was kept.  C. Arachite, a convert, (M.) from Arach, or Edessa.  S. Jerom. Trad. in Gen. x.


Ver. 33.  To me, as he was perhaps advanced in years, though very prudent.  M.


Ver. 34.  Defeat; (dissipabis) “render of no effect.”  H. Thus princes keep spies in an enemy’s country.  C.



2 KINGS 16




Ver. 1.  Siba was a mean character, but of sufficient discernment to judge that David would gain the day.  He came to calumniate his master; and David paid too much attention to him, though his testimony would not have been received in a court of judicature.  C. We must reflect that the mind of David was full of trouble, and devoid of suspicion.  H. But he did wrong (W.) in condemning Miphiboseth unheard. Raisins.  See 1 K. xxv. 18. C. Figs; (palatharum) which are often called caricarum.  M. Heb. mea kayits, “a hundred of summer” fruits, like fresh grapes, (Num. xiii. 21.) and other fruits, gathered after harvest time.  Mic. vii. 1.


Ver. 2.  Loaves.  Heb. “and to fight.”  But the Sept. and the Masorets reject the letter l, which causes the difference.  C.


Ver. 3.  Father: a very improbable story, as the son of Jonathan was lame, and all Israel had declared for Absalom.  M.


Ver. 4.  All.  In the East, crimes are generally punished with the loss of goods.  C. Kings.  He intimates that he had not spoken against his master, with a design to obtain his effects.  M.


Ver. 5.  Bahurim, a fortress of Benjamin, about an hour’s walk east of Bethania.  Adric. xxviii. It signifies, “chosen youths;” and it is called Almut, or Almon, “youth.”  1 Par. vi. 60. &c.  Hither Phaltiel conducted Michol.  C. iii. 16.  C.


Ver. 7.  Belial; contemner of the laws, and murderer.  M.


Ver. 9.  Dog.  David’s nephew was moved with indignation.  He could easily have punished the insolence of Semei.  H.


Ver. 10.—11.  Hath bid him curse.  Not that the Lord was the author of Semei’s sin, which proceeded purely from his own malice, and the abuse of his free-will; but that knowing and suffering his malicious disposition to break out on this occasion, he made use of him as his instrument to punish David for his sins.  Ch. He adored the justice of God; who is often said to do what he does not hinder, or what he only permits.  E. David is here a noble figure of Jesus Christ, excusing his executioners, (H.) and receiving the insults of the Jews, without complaining.  C. If Semei had not been guilty of sin, but acted according to God’s will, he could not have been justly punished.  3 K. ii.  W.


Ver. 12.  Affliction, of which he makes a sort of sacrifice, being convinced that God will not reject the contrite and humble heart.  Ps. l. 19.  C.


Ver. 13.  Earth, like a man in fury.  Acts xxii. 23.


Ver. 14.  There, on the hill side, (H.) at Bahurim, v. 5.  M.


Ver. 16.  Arachite; perhaps descended from the ancient Aracites, who dwelt near Arad and Tripoli, where the pretended Sabbatic river is said to flow; (Jos. Bel. xii. 13.) or rather, as the names are written in a different manner, this person might be a native of Arachi, in Benjamin, west of Bethel.  Jos. xvi. 2.  C. See C. xv. 32. Friend.  This was his peculiar title of office.  1 Par. xxvii. 33.  C. King. (Salve.)  Lit. “Hail, O King,” in both places.  The salutation is repeated for greater emphasis.  H.


Ver. 17.  Friend.  He rather accuses him of treachery.  H. But he does not mention the name of king, or of father, lest it should too plainly speak his own condemnation, as an ungrateful rebel.  Salien.


Ver. 18.  Chosen.  (Vox populi, vox Dei)  Private people are not commonly able, or allowed, to judge of the right, which the prince has to the throne.  But here Absalom was manifestly an usurper; and many still adhered to David.  C. Chusai assumes the character of a courtier, and flatters the prince; (Salien) who ought to have been on his guard.  See C. xv. 34.  C.


Ver. 21.  Their hands may be strengthened, &c.  The people might apprehend lest Absalom should be reconciled to his father; and therefore they followed him with some fear of being left in the lurch, till they saw such a crime committed, as seemed to make a reconciliation impossible.  Ch. This was the most heinous outrage that a son could offer to his father.  Jacob resented it to the last.  Gen. xlix. 4.  Amyntor devoted his son Phœnix to all the furies, for a similar offence.  Iliad ix.  Armais treated the wives of his brother Sesostris in this manner, when he had resolved to rebel.  Joseph. c. Ap. i.


Ver. 22.  Israel, who saw him enter the tents, (C.) on the flat roof.  C. xi. 2. and xii. 11.  H. The wives of the conquered  king were reserved for the victor.  Smerdis married all the wives of his predecessor, Cambyses.  Herod. iii. 68. and 83.  C.


Ver. 23.  Absalom.  It tended to promote the end which was desired, (H.) whether good or bad.  His prudence is hyperbolically compared with the divine oracles; (M.) and his authority must have had great weight, since David began to take precautions, only after he had heard that Achitophel had joined the rebels; and Absalom was persuaded (C.) to perpetrate so foul and unnatural a crime publicly, no one daring to make any opposition.  Chusai was silent; as he was aware that, if he began to contradict this counsellor at first, he would only incur suspicion.  H. The unjust commonly endeavour by all means to attach people to themselves: but God, in the end, turns their counsels against themselves.  W.



2 KINGS 17




Ver. 1.  This night.  Achitophel has a mind to shew that he is not only an able statesman, but a good general.  H. On such occasions, expedition is of the utmost consequence, that the people may not have time to enter into themselves, or to concentrate about their lawful king.  “Nothing is more delightful than haste in civil discord, where action is more requisite than consultation.”  By delays, “he would give the wicked an opportunity to repent, and the good wou