King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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2 Samuel 8

David subdues the Philistines, the Moabites, and the Syrians. (1-8) The spoil dedicated. (9-14) David’s government and officers. (15-18)

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David subdues the Philistines, the Moabites, and the Syrians

1 And after this it came to pass that David smote the Philistines, and subdued them: and David took Methegammah out of the hand of the Philistines.

2 And he smote Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive. And so the Moabites became David’s servants, and brought gifts.

3 David smote also Hadadezer, the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to recover his border at the river Euphrates.

4 And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: and David houghed all the chariot horses, but reserved of them for an hundred chariots.

5 And when the Syrians of Damascus came to succour Hadadezer king of Zobah, David slew of the Syrians two and twenty thousand men.

6 Then David put garrisons in Syria of Damascus: and the Syrians became servants to David, and brought gifts. And the LORD preserved David whithersoever he went.

7 And David took the shields of gold that were on the servants of Hadadezer, and brought them to Jerusalem.

8 And from Betah, and from Berothai, cities of Hadadezer, king David took exceeding much brass.

The spoil dedicated

9 When Toi king of Hamath heard that David had smitten all the host of Hadadezer,

10 Then Toi sent Joram his son unto king David, to salute him, and to bless him, because he had fought against Hadadezer, and smitten him: for Hadadezer had wars with Toi. And Joram brought with him vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and vessels of brass:

11 Which also king David did dedicate unto the LORD, with the silver and gold that he had dedicated of all nations which he subdued;

12 Of Syria, and of Moab, and of the children of Ammon, and of the Philistines, and of Amalek, and of the spoil of Hadadezer, son of Rehob, king of Zobah.

13 And David gat him a name when he returned from smiting of the Syrians in the valley of salt, being eighteen thousand men.

14 And he put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom put he garrisons, and all they of Edom became David’s servants. And the LORD preserved David whithersoever he went.

David’s government and officers

15 And David reigned over all Israel; and David executed judgment and justice unto all his people.

16 And Joab the son of Zeruiah was over the host; and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder;

17 And Zadok the son of Ahitub, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, were the priests; and Seraiah was the scribe;

18 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over both the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David’s sons were chief rulers.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

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.