Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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2 KINGS - Chapter 8

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2 Kings viii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Tribute. Aquila, and probably St. Jerome, 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, (Calmet) or even till the 12th. (Salien) --- He might now force them to pay tribute. (St. Jerome, &c.) (Haydock) --- Perhaps a letter may have been transposed, and instead of Meteg, we should read, "Geth, the mother," or metropolis, and its dependencies; (1 Paralipomenon xviii. 1.) or "he took Metec, (Numbers xxxiii. 28.) and its mother," Geth, which reconciles the two passages. Chaldean, &c., "he deprived them of the advantage of the rivulet." Septuagint, "David took the separated" place, (Serarius) or the city of Geth. (Menochius)

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. (Denis the Carthusian) --- Septuagint intimate that half were destroyed. (Calmet) --- But the Hebrew rather implies that the greatest part was saved, "a full cord to save alive;" (Menochius) unless there were three lots, and only one of them, larger indeed than the rest, spared. (Haydock) --- Death, or slavery, were the portion of all who were taken in war. (Grotius, Jur. iii. 4, 20.) --- Lex nulla capto parcit aut pœnam impendit. (Seneca) --- Tribute. Hebrew, "brought gifts," which is a softer term. The Moabites were thus punished for former and, probably, for some recent offences. (Haydock)

Ver. 3. Adarezer. He is styled Adadezer in Hebrew and this seems to have been his true name, though it is written Adarezer in Paralipomenon. 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 Nicolaus 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. (Antiquities vii. 6.) --- Euphrates, which had been promised by God, Genesis xv. 18., and Numbers xxiv. 17. (Calmet) --- Adadezer was probably the aggressor. (Salien) (Menochius)

Ver. 4. A thousand. Protestants supply chariots, (Haydock) after the Septuagint and 1 Paralipomenon (xviii. 4.) which have 7000 horsemen. See how we have attempted to reconcile these texts, 1 Kings 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 [in] chap. 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 Chronicles 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, Isaias xxi. 7, 9. (Menochius) --- Houghed. Aquila, "destroyed." He rendered them unfit for war, as Josue had done, (Josue xi. 6.) supposing that this was the import of the decree, forbidding many horses to be kept, Deuteronomy xvii. 16. --- Horses is not expressed in Hebrew, though the Protestants supply the word; as also, for. We should translate literally, "He left out of them 100 chariots;" (Haydock) as we read elsewhere, that Adarezer had 1000. (Menochius) --- 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. Septuagint, "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. (Haydock)

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; (chap. x.) so the king of Damascus was ruined by coming too late to his assistance. This king may be the Adad mentioned by Nicolaus. (B. 4.) (Salien, the year of the world 2993, the 14th year of David.) See ver. 1 and 3.

Ver. 7. Arms. "Quivers," Paralipomenon and Syriac. "Bucklers," Hebrew and Chaldean. "Bracelets," Septuagint. (Calmet) --- These bucklers might be for ornament, like those of Solomon, 3 Kings x. 16. (Salien) --- They were taken afterwards by Sesac, king of Egypt. (Josephus, [Antiquities?] vii. 6.) (Haydock)

Ver. 8. Beroth, or Boroe. (Calmet) --- Brass. All for the use of the temple, 1 Paralipomenon 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, (Calmet) was pleased with the victories of a prince from whom he thought he had less to fear, as he lived at a greater distance. (Haydock)

Ver. 10. Joram, called Adoram in Chronicles. (Calmet) --- His, Joram's hand. (Menochius)

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 Paralipomenon xxvi. 26, 28.

Ver. 13. Name, or triumphal arch. (Rabbins) --- He acquired great fame, chap. vii. 9., and Machabees v. 57. (Menochius) --- Syria, which is styled Aram in Hebrew. The Septuagint 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 Psalm lix; and 1 Paralipomenon 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.) (Calmet) --- Othes think that the borders of the most salt lake of Sodom are denoted. (Menochius) See Genesis xiv. 10.

Ver. 14. Guards, or officers to administer justice in his name, after Joab had killed all the males, during six months, 3 Kings xi. 15. (Calmet)

Ver. 15. All Israel, not only over Juda. (Menochius) --- All the people who dwelt within the promised land, as far as the Euphrates, were forced to acknowledge his dominion. (Haydock) --- 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. (Calmet) --- David acted with wisdom and justice. (Menochius)

Ver. 16. Sarvia, sister of David, 1 Paralipomenon 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)

(Grotius) --- Recorder, or chancellor. (Challoner) --- A commentariis. (Aquila) --- "Remembrancer," (Haydock) or the person who kept a journal of all memorable transactions. The kings of Persia employed people to keep such journals, 1 Esdras iv. 15., and Esther vi. 1. (Josephus, [Antiquities?] xi. 2.) --- The power of these writers was very great, Judges v. 14., and 4 Kings xviii. 18. (Calmet) --- Reference is often made to their "words of days." They had also to present petitions and memorials from the people. (Menochius)

Ver. 17. Achimelech is also called the father of Abiathar, as these two had both names indiscriminately, 1 Kings 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, Numbers xxv. 12., and 1 Kings ii. 35. (Calmet) --- 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; (Haydock) though Abulensis and Josephus acknowledge both as high priests, (1 Paralipomenon xxiv. 3,) officiating by turns. (Menochius) --- Scribe, or secretary. (Challoner) See Judges v. 14. --- Septuagint, "counsellor." He is called Susa, in Chronicles. (Haydock)

Ver. 18. The Cerethi and Phelithi. The king's guards. (Challoner) --- 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 Kings xi. 19. David selected some out of all Israel, towards the end of his reign, 1 Paralipomenon xxvii. --- Princes: literally, priests; (Cohen) so called, by a title of honour, and not for exercising the priestly functions. (Challoner) --- Sanctius translates, they "were like priests." The book of 1 Paralipomenon (xviii. 17,) explains, were chief about the king. Septuagint, "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, chap. xx. 26. (Calmet) --- Protestants, "David's sons were chief rulers." Chaldean, "grandees;" (Haydock) "ministers." (Grotius) (Du Hamel)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

David's victories, and his chief officers.

1 And it came to pass after this, that David defeated the Philistines, and brought them down, *and David took the bridle of tribute out of the hand of the Philistines.

2 *And he defeated Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to the earth: and he measured with two lines, one to put to death, and one to save alive: and Moab was made to serve David under tribute.

3 David defeated also Adarezer, the son of Rohob, king of Soba, when he went to extend his dominion over the river *Euphrates.

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

5 And the Syrians of Damascus came to succour Adarezer, the king of Soba: and David slew of the Syrians two and twenty thousand men.

6 And David put garrisons in Syria of Damascus: and Syria served David under tribute: and the Lord preserved David in all his enterprizes, whithersoever he went.

7 And David took the arms of gold, which the servants of Adarezer wore, and brought them to Jerusalem.

8 And out of Bete, and out of Beroth, cities of Adarezer, king David took an exceeding great quantity of brass.

9 And Thou, the king of Emath, heard that David had defeated all the forces of Adarezer.

10 And Thou sent Joram, his son, to king David, to salute him, and to congratulate with him, and to return him thanks; because he had fought against Adarezer, and had defeated him. For Thou was an enemy to Adarezer, and in his hand were vessels of gold, and vessels of silver, and vessels of brass.

11 And king David dedicated them to the Lord, together with the silver and gold that he had dedicated of all the nations which he had subdued:

12 Of Syria, and of Moab, and of the children of Ammon, and of the Philistines, and of Amalec, and of the spoils of Adarezer, the son of Rohob, king of Soba.

13 David also made himself a name, when he returned after taking Syria, in the valley of the salt-pits, killing eighteen thousand:

14 And he put guards in Edom, and placed there a garrison: and all Edom was made to serve David: and the Lord preserved David in all enterprizes he went about.

15 And David reigned over all Israel: and David did judgment and justice to all his people.

16 And Joab, the son of Sarvia, was over the army: and Josaphat, the son of Ahilud, was recorder:

17 And Sadoc, the son of Achitob, and Achimelech, the son of Abiathar, were the priests: and Saraias was the scribe:

18 And Banaias, the son of Joiada, was over the Cerethi and Phelethi: and the sons of David were the princes.



1: 1 Paralipomenon xviii. 1.

2: Year of the World 2960.

3: 1 Paralipomenon xviii. 3.