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2Sa 23:1 Now these are the last words of David. David the son of Jesse says, the man who was raised on high says, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the sweet psalmist of Israel-
2 Sam. 23:1-5 gives quite some insight into the nature of David’s spiritual maturity at the end. He comes over as:

Sure of his salvation

Aware of his own failures and frailty, acknowledging that his family ‘was not so with God’

Deeply aware of God’s grace

Having a clear vision of Jesus the future Messiah, even foreseeing how He would be pierced with a weapon and slain by wicked men- in order to attain our salvation

Aware that his own rulership was pathetically inferior to that of the Lord Jesus

Appreciative that all these wonderful things are rooted in the covenant made to himself, which was all his salvation and desire.

These very same themes we find recurring in the lives of many other servants of God.

2Sa 23:2 The Spirit of Yahweh spoke by me. His word was on my tongue-
This is a classic statement of Divine inspiration, putting His word upon the tongue of the inspired writers and speakers of His word.

2Sa 23:3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me, ‘One who rules over men righteously, who rules in the fear of God-
This may have been spoken to David by Samuel when he was first anointed; or by special revelation to David when he first became king. Prov. 29:2 alludes to this, saying that when the righteous rule, the people rejoice (s.w.). The king of Israel was to ever remember that God was the ultimate king; and was to rule therefore in respect of Him.

2Sa 23:4 shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, when the tender grass springs out of the earth, like the clear shining after rain’-
This suggests that the ruler in view was to be as the sunrise, after the clouds and darkness of the night have dispersed. This was indeed how David's reign appeared after the reign of Saul. But the clouds returned in the course of David's reign, and it looks ahead to the coming of David's greater Son, the Lord Jesus, to arise as the dawn and re-establish David's kingdom as God's eternal Kingdom on earth (s.w. "sun rises" Mal. 4:2). "Clear shining" is the word used for the "brightness" of the cherubim which were to return to Zion along with the exiles to establish eternal brightness there, with a restored Davidic king (Ez. 1:4; 10:4).

2Sa 23:5 Most certainly my house is not so with God-
David is one of the major Old Testament types of the Lord Jesus. The words of David in Ps. 16 are quoted in Acts 2:25,29 concerning Jesus: “I have set the Lord always before me... He is at my right hand... You will not leave my soul in hell, neither will You suffer Your holy one to see corruption”. These are words describing David’s feelings about his own death and resurrection; and yet so identified was he with the Messiah, that they are quoted as being directly true of Jesus. But Acts 2:29 also quotes these words with a slightly different spin- in that David saw the Lord Jesus always before him, and it was this sense that stabilized him. This could only have been true in that David understood all his feelings and present and future experiences [e.g. resurrection, not being suffered to corrupt eternally] as being typical of the Lord Jesus. He so understood himself as a type of the One to come that he saw this person as ever with him. This is the extent of the typology. 1 Chron. 17:17 in Young’s Literal has David saying: “Thou hast seen me as a type of the man on high” [i.e. Messiah]. David describes himself at ease with clearly Messianic titles such as ‘the Christ’, ‘the man raised on high’, and then goes on to speak of the Messiah who is to come on the “morning without clouds”, admitting that “verily my house is not so with God” (2 Sam. 23:1-5). This is only really understandable if we accept that David consciously saw himself as a type of the future Messiah.  

There is an intended ambiguity in the Hebrew text of 2 Sam. 23:5. The AV has: “Although my house be not so with God…this is all my salvation”; whilst the NIV and other translations suggest the opposite: that because his house was in order, therefore this was all his salvation and desire fulfilled. Solomon and David were sure that the house of David was “with God”, and yet from God’s perspective they weren’t, and the fulfilment of the promises would have to be in the future Messiah.

Yet He has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure, for it is all my salvation, and all my desire, although He doesn’t make it grow-
David's "desire / delight" was in God's law (Ps. 1:2 s.w.) and also in the things of the future Kingdom of God (s.w. 2 Sam. 23:5); our "delight" in those things is reflected in our attitudes to God's word. And we shall be finally judged according to our 'delights', our dominant desires (s.w. Ecc. 3:17; 8:6). The Lord Jesus was devoted to sharing Yahweh's "delight" (Is. 53:10). We shall be judged according to what are our dominant desires. 

Is. 26:8,9 parallels “the desire of my soul” with “my spirit”; it is the dominant desire of a man. For David, the salvation promised to him through Christ was “all my desire” (2 Sam. 23:5). The direction of his life was towards that end.

2Sa 23:6 But all of the ungodly shall be as thorns to be thrust away, because they can’t be taken with the hand-
The ungodly, like thorns, cannot be taken away by human hand. The sensitivity of the Lord Jesus constructed the parable of the wheat and weeds with the aim of showing the thoughtful how deeply inappropriate is their desire to root up the tares. He clearly had in mind the prophecy of Himself in 2 Sam. 23:6,7: "The sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken by (human) hands: but the man that shall touch them (Christ) must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place (just outside Jerusalem) "where Christ was "fenced with iron". It isn't possible for us to uproot the tares because this can only possibly be done by the one who totally uprooted  sin in Himself, dying to it on the cross. This association between Christ's right to judge and His victorious death is shown by the way the "tares" will be burnt in the same area as He was crucified in. Phil. 2:9-11 reasons along the same lines; because Christ died for us, He therefore has the right to have every knee bowing to Him at the judgment. On account of being "the Son of man" and yet also being our perfect Messiah, He has the right therefore to be judge (Jn. 5:27 cp. Dan. 7:13,14). The Lord understood all this; and to the thoughtful, those who would grasp His allusion to 2 Sam. 23, He was saying: 'If you think you can root up the tares, if you think you have that wisdom to identify the tares, you are really insulting the greatness of what I achieved on the cross. It's only on account of that that I have the ability and right to divide wheat from tares, sheep from goats'.  

But Adam Clarke understands this simply as "A metaphor taken from hedging; the workman thrusts the thorns aside either with his bill or hand, protected by his impenetrable mitten or glove, till, getting a fair blow at the roots, he cuts them all down. The man is fenced with iron, and the handle of his bill is like the staff of a spear. This is a good representation of the dubbing-bill, with which they slash the thorn hedge on each side before they level the tops by the pruning-shears. The handle is five or six feet long. This is a perfectly natural and intelligible image".

2Sa 23:7 but the man who touches them must be filled with iron and the staff of a spear-
See on :6. David recognizes that he had failed, that his house was “not so with God”, and yet through the future Messiah, “the light of the morning”, who would be pierced by a spear, the promises to him regarding his eternal future would indeed be fulfilled (2 Sam. 23:4,5,7).

They shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place-
This could mean that in the place where the Messianic seed was to be filled with the iron of a spear, those who did this to Him would be burnt. Perhaps they will be literally resurrected to judgment and burnt in the valley of Hinnom, near the place of the Lord's crucifixion.

2Sa 23:8 These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb Basshebeth a Tahchemonite, chief of the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite, who slew eight hundred at one time-
"Captains" is a form of the word translated "thirty" used in :23, and is evidence that the "thirty" are not to be read as a literal number; in any case, 37 names are given for the "mighty men", not 30. And there are more in the parallel record in Chronicles. Likewise "hundred" need not be taken literally as 100, rather like the term "legion", and can refer to a military group.

2Sa 23:9 After him was Eleazar the son of Dodai the son of an Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines who were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel had fled away-
"Defied" is the word used of how Goliath had defied Israel (1 Sam. 17:10,25,26,36,45). Later Philistine defiance is described with the same word (2 Sam. 21:21). David's victory over Goliath was inspirational to other Israelites, just as the Lord's triumph on the cross should be to us.

2Sa 23:10 He arose, and struck the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand froze to the sword; and Yahweh worked a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to take spoil-
We note that Yahweh worked a great victory through David over Goliath (same phrase in 1 Sam. 19:5; see on :12), specifically without a sword. But this man was inspired by David and used in the same way, although his faith was perhaps weaker in that he used a sword, unlike David who turned down the offer of Saul's sword.

2Sa 23:11 After him was Shammah the son of Agee a Hararite. The Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils; and the people fled from the Philistines-
The Chronicles record says it was full of barley, so perhaps lentils were grown together with barley. Shammah defended the field of barley because it was valuable to the Israelites. And in this we have a corroboration of the record with how Absalom had burnt Joab's field of barley (2 Sam. 14:30). We may wonder why Joab slew Absalom. It could have been that to lose a field of barley was to lose food for many months or even a year. It was therefore a major loss to Joab. As Shammah defended a field of barley with his life, so Joab was so vengeful at the loss of his field of barley that he later slew Absalom.

2Sa 23:12 But he stood in the midst of the plot and defended it, and killed the Philistines-

"Defended" or "delivered" is the word used for David's victories (1 Sam. 17:37; 30:8,18,22) which were clearly so inspirational to his men, as the Lord's victory should be to us.

And Yahweh worked a great victory-
The record continually gives the glory to Yahweh for working through His willing workers. They did not achieve these victories in their own strength alone. The very phrase as in :10 of 1 Sam. 19:5 describing how Yahweh gave David the great victory over Goliath. This was clearly inspirational to David's men in their own battles, just as the Lord's victory on the cross should not be seen simply as a historical achievement for us, but an abiding inspiration to us to in essence do likewise.

2Sa 23:13 Three of the thirty chief men went down-
Not literally thirty; see on :23.

And came to David in the harvest time-
1 Chron. 11:15 "to the rock"; see on :14.

To the cave of Adullam; and the troop of the Philistines was encamped in the valley of Rephaim-
The giants of the Philistines were in the valley of the giants. And they even had a garrison in David's home town (:14). They appeared insuperable. This refers to an incident during the campaign of 2 Sam. 5:17.

2Sa 23:14 David was then in the stronghold; and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem-
The hideout of 2 Sam. 5:17. The rock or hill of Adullam was surrounded by valleys fully viewable from the top of the hill, making it a strong position. Yet despite the obvious tactical advantages of the place, David's Psalms repeatedly describe Yahweh as his rock, stronghold and fortress.

2Sa 23:15 David longed and said, Oh that one would give me water to drink of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!-
This has absolute psychological credibility. A leader of partisans sitting with his men in a cave, bitterly reflecting that the enemy have placed a garrison in his home village... would indeed make such a passing, under his breath comment like this.

2Sa 23:16 The three mighty men broke through the army of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but he would not drink of it, but poured it out to Yahweh-
We see here the intense personal loyalty to David which is a theme throughout the record. It looks forward to that which there is to be between the Lord Jesus and we who follow Him in these outlaw days of our generation.

2Sa 23:17 He said, Be it far from me, Yahweh, that I should do this! Isn’t it the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives? Therefore he would not drink it. The three mighty men did these things-
Despite the intense personal loyalty which David inspired, he is to be commended for not allowing this to turn into a mere personality cult. He poured out that water to Yahweh, feeling unworthy to drink it. We note that water represented blood. This is a warning against being too literalistic in requirements concerning the elements of the breaking of bread service. David perceived the spirit of the law about drink offerings, and "poured [water] out to Yahweh" (:16) in a cave, not being a Levitical priest, and far from the sanctuary.

2Sa 23:18 Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief of the three. He lifted up his spear against three hundred and killed them, and had a name among the three-
"Hundred", like "legion", need not be read literally; it could refer to a group or military subdivision. Again the idea of singularly attaining victory against a multitude is a replication in spirit of David's victory over Goliath.

2Sa 23:19 Wasn’t he the most honourable of the three? Therefore he was made their captain: however, he didn’t attain to the three-
This apparently means that he was demoted. This happened several times, as David considered that military valour was not the prime qualification for the post of army general, but rather perceiving grace and not shedding the blood of war in peace. Because Joab clearly failed to understand grace, David replaced him with Amasa- whom Joab later murdered out of jealousy.

2Sa 23:20 Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done mighty deeds-
Benaiah was one of David's senior military commanders (2 Sam. 8:18; 1 Chron. 27:5), and the Hebrew of 2 Sam. 23:20 can be translated "Benaiah the son of Jehoiada the priest, as head", i.e. of a group of David's mighty men. The Jehoiada in view as his father would therefore be Jehoiada the priest. The idea is that priests were also military leaders within David's army, indeed it seems there were a large group of them as ordinary soldiers in 1 Chron. 12:27. This shows how priesthood was not understood as abstract spirituality, but that spirituality was articulated in practice. And this, along with the hints in the names of the mighty men that some were Levites, is significant in that the Levites were not numbered as they were exempt from military service (Num. 1:47). But these chose to do it. See on 2 Sam. 24:5.

He killed the two sons of Ariel of Moab: he went down also and killed a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow-
Perhaps this incident occurred at this time of the campaign in 2 Sam. 8:2. Although that campaign was not David and his men at their spiritual best; see note there. We see him following the path of David, whose victory over a literal lion gave him courage to fight Goliath. So Benaiah was inspired by David personally to kill a lion, and then kill two lion like men (AV) of Moab. The lion would have been driven by the cold from the forests, and was preyed upon people. Benaiah therefore risked his life for the sake of his people, and slew the lion.

2Sa 23:21 He killed an Egyptian, a goodly man-
Literally, a man to look at. This was because he was five cubits tall (1 Chron. 11:23).

And the Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and killed him with his own spear-
Again this is a repeat of the spirit of David's victory over Goliath, coming to Goliath with a staff and sling, and slaying him with his own weaponry. The point is repeatedly made that like the Lord's victory on the cross, David's over Goliath was programmatic for the inspiration of his followers to be like him.

2Sa 23:22 Benaiah the son of Jehoiada did these things, and had a name among the three mighty men-
As noted on :19, there seems to be the idea that some of these men were demoted. Thus Benaiah was both amongst the three, but didn't attain / remain amongst them (:23). "The three" is likely not to be read too literally, but may be a technical term for a group office, like "the thirty"; see on :23.

2Sa 23:23 He was more honourable than the thirty, but he didn’t attain to the three-
The numbers "three" and "thirty" are not necessarily to be taken literally. A form of the word for "thirty" is used of the "captains" in :8, and of Pharaoh's captains (Ex. 14:7; 15:4); in any case, 37 names are given for the "mighty men", not 30. And there are more in the parallel record in Chronicles.

David set him over his guard-
Heb. 'David appointed him to his audience', he was a member of David's inner circle of advisers on the basis of his faith shown in personal life, and not because of any possession of only theoretical wisdom.

2Sa 23:24 Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem-
Elhanan had also replicated David's victory over Goliath; see on 2 Sam. 21:19.

2Sa 23:25 Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite-
This Shammah was "Shammuth the Izrahite" of 1 Chron. 27:8. "Izrahite" there could be "the Zarhite" a man descended from Zerah the son of Judah. But he was from Harod (2 Sam. 23:25), near mount Gilboa in the north. Perhaps he was given this name because he had done something valiant for Saul in the last fateful battle he fought in that area against the Philistines.

2Sa 23:26 Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite-
He is called a man of Ephraim in 1 Chron. 27:10. But Beth-Palet [he was a "Paltite", 2 Sam. 23:26] was a town in the tribe of Judah. We get the impression that many of these men were living outside the territory of their native tribes. That could have been for various reasons, but perhaps we are to conclude that the men who supported David were [as with us and our loyalty to Jesus] those who had had non standard personal lives which left them isolated from their home areas.

2Sa 23:27 Abiezer the Anathothite-
A priestly town in Benjamin. Perhaps he too was a priest; see on 2 Sam. 23:20.

Mebunnai the Hushathite-
Sibbechai of 2 Sam. 21:18. He was a descendant of Zerah of Judah (see also on :25) (1 Chron. 4:4; 27:11).

2Sa 23:28 Zalmon the Ahohite-
Called Ilai in 1 Chron. 11:29. There is only one Hebrew letter different. This would be an example of slight errors in copying which are found in the Hebrew text, although overall it is Divinely inspired.

Maharai the Netophathite-
This was near Jerusalem and the Levitical singers lived there after the exile (Ezra 2:22; Neh. 11:28); so he too may have been a Levite living in Judah. See on :20.

2Sa 23:29 Heleb the son of Baanah the Netophathite-
See on :28.

Ittai the son of Ribai of Gibeah of the children of Benjamin-
He was from Saul's birthplace, and so would have rejected Saul for David, although David was not from his tribe. He did what was counter instinctive and countercultural, as all David's followers did. And as do the followers of his greater Son. 

2Sa 23:30 Benaiah a Pirathonite, Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash-
Pirathon was in Ephraim (Jud. 12:15), and there was always antipathy between Judah and Ephraim. So as noted on :29, here again was a man who stepped out from his surrounding cultural expectations in loyalty to David.

2Sa 23:31 Abialbon the Arbathite-
Beth Arabah was a small settlement right out in the desert (Josh. 15:61; 18:22), therefore also called Arabah (Josh. 18:18). From such a poor and obscure place there arose a man who was attracted to David's cause (2 Sam. 23:31), just as the Lord calls all manner of unusual people to Himself today.

Azmaveth the Barhumite-
Coming from Bahurim, he would have been aware of David's shameful behaviour there (see on 2 Sam. 3:16) and yet he still followed David. He would have seen David's actions to Michael and Paltiel as out of character with David generally, and didn't allow his loyalty to be fazed by them.

2Sa 23:32 Eliahba the Shaalbonite, the sons of Jashen, Jonathan-
Eliahba was from Shaalabbin in Dan in the far north, very far from David's origins (2 Sam. 23:32; Josh. 19:42). But somehow he encountered David, and loyally followed him. We marvel at the extent of those who followed David; they were from all over Israel. In those days of limited communication, we wonder how he came to know David well enough to give his life to his cause. But it is the same marvel as we reflect how people are called to the Lord Jesus today.

2Sa 23:33 Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Ararite-
To reconcile this with the record in Chronicles, we may need to read Shammah as one of the sons of Jonathan of the preceding verse. We could then read this verse along with the last part of :32 as "Jonathan the son of Shammah, the son of Agee the Hararite."

2Sa 23:34 Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maacathite-
Beth-Maachah was a town in Naphtali (2 Sam. 20:14), confirming the impression that David's closest supporters were not just local family friends, but men providentially drawn to him from all over Israel.

Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite-
Eliam was the father of Bathsheba, making Ahithophel her grandfather. We can more readily understand why he turned against David after his shameful behaviour with his granddaughter.

2Sa 23:35 Hezro the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite-
Arab is in Judah whereas Carmel is in northern Israel. The juxtaposition of the two confirms the impression that David's supporters were from all over Israel. The way they were all united together around this man from Bethlehem is amazing, and points forward to the gathering of the disparate followers of the Lord Jesus around Him today.

2Sa 23:36 Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite-
Chronicles has "Joel the brother of Nathan" but Igal and Joel in Hebrew are very similar. Igal would have been a Syrian from Zobah, perhaps one of the soldiers who fought against David (2 Sam. 10:6) and then converted to him. The Gittites who followed David were likewise Philistines from Gath who were once his enemies but converted to his God, and devoted themselves zealously to Him. This is an incredible witness to the power of Yahweh to convert, because such willing defections of individuals to the people and God of their enemies, and being zealously committed to Him, was unheard of in their society. See on :37.

2Sa 23:37 Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Beerothite, armour bearers to Joab the son of Zeruiah-
As noted on :36, the one time enemies of David such as Zelek the Ammonite became his most committed followers. Or perhaps his conversion was a result of the one time friendship between David and Ammon, and the support for David by Shobi (2 Sam. 17:27). Likewise Naharai was from Beeroth, which although counted to Benjamin (2 Sam. 4:2) was inhabited by Gentile Gibeonites, whom Saul had persecuted.

2Sa 23:38 Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite-
The faithful Ithrites (2 Sam. 23:38) were from Kirjath Jearim (1 Chron. 2:53), perhaps converted to a more spiritual outlook by the long presence of the ark amongst them (1 Sam. 7:2).

2Sa 23:39 Uriah the Hittite: thirty-seven in all
As noted on :20, the number "thirty" need not be read literally, Uriah is mentioned last to draw attention to him. His father in law was also one of the mighty men (:34), so the shame of what David did was felt very strongly in the ranks of his closest followers.