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Go to Bible: 2 Samuel 23
“the sweet psalmist of Israel.” The Hebrew can be translated a few different ways as is represented in the various English translations.(top)
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“sons of Belial.” This is a designation of sons of the Devil. The idea here is plural, more than one, because the second stanza says “they” (plural). [For more on sons of Belial, see commentary on 1 Sam. 2:12. For more on the unforgivable sin and children of the Devil, see commentary on Matt. 12:31].(top)
“be armed.” The Hebrew idiom is “to fill the hand,” which is shortened here in the Hebrew text to “fill” [his hand], that is, be armed.
“They will be burned, yes, burned.” God uses the figure of speech polyptoton for emphasis, repeating the word “burned” with different inflections (see more on polyptoton at Gen. 2:16). Evil people will be burned up and annihilated (Rev. 20:11-15).
“completely.” Depending on the trilateral root word that is chosen, the Hebrew can be read as “completely” or “to extermination” (cp. NAB; NJB; NLT), or “where they sit” (thus, “on the spot”). But the reading “on the spot” does not make sense, because wicked people will be burned in the Lake of Fire, not “on the spot” or “where they are.” But they will be burned up completely. They will be burned to ashes; completely burned up. (See Appendix 4, “Annihilation in the Lake of Fire”).
“the mighty men whom David had.” David did not do his great feats alone, he had help, and as a type of the Messiah, this points to the fact that even the Messiah had help and will have the help of great men and women in the future when he rules the earth.
“Josheb Basshebeth.” The name likely means, “the one who sits at the sitting,” which likely means “the one who sits at the judgment.”
“he wielded his spear.” Some Septuagint texts and a couple Hebrew manuscripts read this way, and it makes sense because the flow of the text is to give the name of a warrior and then speak of his mighty deeds. The Masoretic text reads more like, “the same was Adino the Eznite,” but that does not really make sense in the context.(top)
“had withdrawn.” The Hebrew is literally, “had gone up,” but the Philistines lived on the coast and were “down” from Israel, so for the Israelites to “go up” was to go back some ways into the hill country and thus to withdraw from the battle. They returned later (2 Sam. 23:10).(top)
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“into a troop.” Some versions have “at Lehi,” transliterating the Hebrew into a place name, but the same word is used in 2 Samuel 23:13 as a troop.(top)
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“David longed and said, ‘Oh that one would give me water to drink.’” Anyone who had drank the native water from the ground in different places knows that the water in different locations often has its own subtle taste. David grew up in Bethlehem drinking that water, and now the Philistines controlled the area. David did not desire that specific water because he had no water to drink but because the Philistines controlled his town and he had fond memories of it and the water he used to drink there. It never occurred to him that some of his men loved him enough to get him some of that water at the risk of their lives.
“the well of Bethlehem.” There is a well in Bethlehem near the Church of the Nativity that is now not used, and that could be the well David spoke of. No wall around Bethlehem has been found, but not much effort has been put into finding one either.(top)
“broke through the camp.” That is, broke through the outer perimeter and into the camp, where the well would have been.
“but he would not drink it, but poured it out to Yahweh.” The men did what they did in honor of David, but by his action in pouring out the water to Yahweh he indicated that he was not greater than the men who risked their lives to get him the water he longed for. Had he drank of the water it would have validated that he was somehow worthy of the sacrifice of those men, which he knew he was not.(top)
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“37 in all.” There are only 36 names in the list. This could be due to Joab being left out as so obvious he should be included in anyone’s mind, or it may be that one of the names in the list taken as a father is another mighty man.(top)