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.
CarmelCarmel. 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. --- 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.
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.
BahurimBahurim (2Sam 3:16, etc.), on the slope of Mt. Olivet, poss. Kh. ez-Zambi, or Kh. Buqei'dan. --- Bahurim, a fortress of Benjamin, about an hour's walk east of Bethania. Adric. xxviii.
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. 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.