Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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2 KINGS - Chapter 21

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2 Kings xxi.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Of David, after the revolt of Seba. (Calmet) --- House. It seems the family and chief officers of Saul, had concurred in his cruelty and unjust zeal. Hence many of them might be still living, to undergo this chastisement; and the rest of the people were guilty of some faults. (Haydock) --- If they had been perfectly innocent, still God is the dispenser of his own gifts. He is under no obligation of sending health and peace to his creatures. The just often derive greater advantage from crosses than from prosperity. The exemplary punishment of Saul's family was a lesson to kings, and to all mankind, to teach them how they ought to observe justice and the sanctity of oaths. --- Gabaonites; probably after the slaughter of the priests, at Nobe, 1 Kings xxii. 19. (Calmet)

Ver. 2. Amorrhites, by which name all the nations of Chanaan were frequently designated, Genesis xv. 16. (Menochius) --- They were properly Hevites. --- Juda. As if Josue, and all succeeding governors, had acted wrong, Exodus xxiii. 33., and Josue vi. 19. Saul ought, at least, to have consulted God. (Calmet)

Ver. 3. Atonement, to expiate the injury done to you by Saul; (Menochius) and that you may turn your curses into blessings. The ancients were convinced, that God attends to the imprecations of the innocent. (Calmet)

Ver. 4. Gold. It is supposed that David made them an offer of some. (Salien, the year before Christ 1040.) --- Israel besides. At first they required all the progeny of Saul, nine in number, to be crucified: but, at David's request, and intimation that he had sworn to protect the sons of Jonathan, Miphiboseth and Micha, (Haydock) they were content with the death of seven. (Menochius) --- They insist upon the law of retaliation. (Salien) --- The custom of delivering up criminals to be executed by the relations of the injured dead, still subsists in the East. (Calmet)

Ver. 6. Chosen. Some think it improbable that they should give Saul this title; and Castalion would substitute ber, "in the mountain," (ver. 9) instead of bchir, "anointed," a title which Junius, however, refers to David: "O thou anointed," &c. (Calmet) --- But why might not these people recognize this character in Saul, which would make the punishment more disgraceful, as they chose the city of Saul, in preference, for the execution of his unhappy offspring? (Haydock) --- Them, having received an order from God, lest the people might suspect that he was gratifying his private revenge. (Estius) (Josephus, [Antiquities?] vii. 10, 12.)

Ver. 8. Of Michol. They were the sons of Merob, who was married to Hadriel; but they are here called the sons of Michol, because she adopted them, and brought them up as her own: (Challoner; Chaldean; St. Jerome, Trad.) or Merob was called Michol; (Sa) or, what seems most probable, from the word she bore being used, (Cajetan) and as two sisters would hardly have the same name, (Haydock) Michol has crept into the text instead of Merob. (Capel.; Salien; Calmet) (1 Kings xxv. 44.)

Ver. 9. Lord. The prophets had frequented this hill, 1 Kings viii. 4, 13. So the Gabaonites crucified these seven, before an ancient altar, as victims to appease God's anger, (Calmet) for the treaty with them having been violated, (Haydock) particularly after they had embraced the true religion. (Salien) (Deuteronomy x. 19.) --- Barley, about Easter. (Menochius)

Ver. 10. Hair-cloth, to sleep on, occasionally. --- Heaven. The famine had been caused by drought. As soon therefore as rain fell, David was assured that God was appeased. He had suffered the bodies to hang so long, for that purpose, though commonly they were to be taken down before night. (Menochius) --- Respha is supposed, by some, to have guarded the bodies from spring till the rain fell in autumn. But the former opinion seems more plausible. We here behold the custom of watching by the bodies of the dead. See Homer, Iliad xxiii. --- Beasts. The gibbets were formerly very low. (Calmet) --- Thus Blandina was exposed to wild beasts. (Eusebius, Hist. v. 1.)

Ver. 11. Done. Her piety and affliction were extraordinary. She had been brought up in delicacies, and was a person of uncommon beauty, so as to captivate Abner, chap. iii. 8. She must now have been advanced in years. (Haydock)

Ver. 14. Side of the mountain, or in distinct cavities. (Calmet) --- Many suppose that Tsel, or Sela, is the name of a place (Menochius) not far from Gabaa, Josue xviii. 28. (Calmet) --- Many proper names are thus translated. (Du Hamel)

Ver. 15. Again: it is not certain at what time. Some think it was towards the beginning of David's reign, since he leads his men to battle; or the Philistines might have made an irruption into his dominions, about three years after the death of Absalom. (Calmet) --- David had offered to put himself at the head of the army, against his son, chap. xviii. 2. (Haydock) --- Faint. He was now sixty-four years old. (Salien)

Ver. 16. Jesbibenob may signify, "Jesbi, the son of Ob." Septuagint, "Jesbe, of Nob, who was of the race of the giants." Arapha seems to have been one of great fame, (ver. 18, 21, 22) who had several children; unless other giants assumed his name. (Calmet) --- Ounces. Hebrew, "sicles of brass, in weight." Sicles is only understood, as on similar occasions. Neither is sword expressed; (Haydock) so that some think he had on a new suit of armour. Symmachus, "a sword." Roman Septuagint, "a club." The weight of the whole spear is specified in Hebrew, Septuagint, &c., (Calmet) as weighing "300---of brass," (Haydock) of which metal it seems to have been formed, as the Jews had no such money till after the captivity. (Calmet)

Ver. 17. Lamp; glory and protection. Achilles reproaches himself for not having been "a light to" his friend. (Homer, Iliad S.)

Ver. 18. Gob, as Gazer was called by the Philistines; (1 Paralipomenon xx. 4.; Salien) unless (Haydock) the former word be a mistake of the transcriber. (Calmet) --- Septuagint (Alexandrian) reads, Geth. (Haydock) --- Sobochai, one of David's valiant men, 1 Paralipomenon xi. 29. --- Saphai is added in 1 Chron. xx.

Ver. 19. Adeodatus, the son of Forrest. So it is rendered in the Latin Vulgate, by giving the interpretation of the Hebrew names, which are Elhanan, the son of Jaare. (Challoner) --- We should translate all the proper names, or none; as the present mode is extremely perplexing. Adeodatus might therefore be rendered, "God given;" (Dieudonn, as the French have it, though they will not translate Saltus, but leave Jaare) or, if Adeodatus must remain, as it is sometimes a proper name, why may not Saltus? A mere English reader might suppose that Forrest was a Hebrew name, and, with Swift in jest, maintain the high antiquity of our language. (Haydock) --- Regularly proper names should be retained. (Calmet) --- But the learned have often chosen to give the import of foreign names, in the language in which they have been writing. See Du Thou's History. Thus Dubois is styled Sylvius; Newman, Neander; &c. --- An embroiderer. Protestants make this a part of the man's name, "Jaare-oregim." Septuagint, "the son of Ariorgeim." In 1 Paralipomenon xx, no notice is taken of his profession. (Haydock) --- That passage will evince that Elhanan is not the same with David, as some would infer from the mention of Goliath's death, but the son of Jair, uncle of Joab, (chap. xxxiii. 24.) who was born at Bethlehem, though the verse in Paralipomenon would insinuate less correctly, that the giant's name was Lechem, thus, "Elehanan....slew Lechem, the brother," &c., as the copyist had written ath instead of bith. (Calmet) --- Our version has not this mistake: "Adeodatus, the son of Saltus, a Bethlehemite, slew the brother of Goliath, the Gethite," &c., 1 Paralipomenon xx. 5. (Haydock) --- "It would be difficult to find a passage more disfigured than the present; and, without the help of the Paralipomenon, it would be impossible to make it out." (Calmet) --- Kennicott makes a similar remark. (Diss. i. and ii.) But he believes that the Book of Chronicles, though the latest, and usually the most corrupt, of the Old Testament, is here perfectly correct; and that the passage before us is strangely corrupted, "Jaare Oregim, a Bethlehemite," being placed instead of , ..."Jaor slew Lahmi," as he thinks that oregim, "weavers," has been inserted from the line below, p. 79. Josephus ([Antiquities?] vii. 10.) relates this transaction as follows, "When the king had sent a fresh army against them, Nephan, his relation, displayed the greatest valour. For engaging in a single combat with the bravest man of the Philistines, and killing his antagonist, he caused the rest to turn their backs, and many of the enemy fell in that battle." Thus he evades all the difficulty, adding much out of his own head; and by Nephan, designating Elehanan, the son of his (Joab's) uncle, (chap. xxiii. 24.) or Dodo, a word which the Vulgate renders patrui ejus, "his paternal uncle," though it hath a wider signification, and denotes other relations. Hence, as Joab was the nephew of David, this brave man might be in the same degree, and born of one of the children of Isai; or, perhaps, Josephus infers that he was a kinsman of David, because he was of the same city. (Haydock) --- Goliath. He might have the same name as his brother, who had been slain by David forty-three years before; (Salien) or the title of brother may only signify, that this giant resembled the former in size and strength, Proverbs xviii. 9. --- Beam. See 1 Kings xvii. 7. (Calmet)

Ver. 20. Fourth. Josephus says this was the last war with the Philistines; and Tostat supposes, that they wished to retake the city of Geth. (Salien) --- Stature, or "of contradiction." (Aquila) --- Hebrew Madon. Septuagint leave it as the proper name of a place, "Madon," specified [in] Josue xi. 1., and xii. 19. Capel would read, "a man of Madian." --- Six. Such people were styled Sedigiti, among the Romans. The daughters of Horatius were thus distinguished, as well as the poet Volcatius. (Pliny, [Natural History?] xi. 43.)

Ver. 22. Of David, who was present, though it does not appear that he slew any of the four. (Calmet)


Bible Text & Cross-references:

A famine of three years, for the sin of Saul against the Gabaonites; at whose desire, seven of Saul's race are crucified. War again with the Philistines.

1 And *there was a famine in the days of David for three years successively: and David consulted the oracle of the Lord. And the Lord said: It is for Saul and his bloody house, because he slew the Gabaonites.

2 Then the king calling for the Gabaonites, said to them: (Now the Gabaonites were not of the children of Israel, but the remains of the Amorrhites: *and the children of Israel had sworn to them, and Saul sought to slay them out of zeal, as it were, for the children of Israel and Juda.)

3 David, therefore, said to the Gabaonites: What shall I do for you? and what shall be the atonement for you, that you may bless the inheritance of the Lord?

4 And the Gabaonites said to him: We have no contest about silver and gold, but against Saul, and against his house: neither do we desire, that any man be slain of Israel. And the king said to them: What will you, then, that I should do for you?

5 And they said to the king: The man that crushed us and oppressed us unjustly, we must destroy in such manner, that there be not so much as one left of his stock in all the coasts of Israel.

6 Let seven men of his children be delivered unto us, that we may crucify them to the Lord, in Gabaa of Saul, once the chosen of the Lord. And the king said: I will give them.

7 *And the king spared Miphiboseth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the oath of the Lord, that had been between David and Jonathan, the son of Saul.

8 So the king took the two sons of Respha, the daughter of Aia, whom she bore to Saul, Armoni, and Miphiboseth: and the five sons of Michol, the daughter of Saul, whom she bore to Hadriel, the son of Berzellai, that was of Molathi,

9 And gave them into the hands of the Gabaonites: and they crucified them on a hill before the Lord: and these seven died together in the first days of the harvest, when the barley began to be reaped.*

10 And Respha, the daughter of Aia, took hair-cloth, and spread it under her upon the rock, from the beginning of the harvest, till water dropped upon them out of heaven: and suffered neither the birds to tear them by day, nor the beasts by night.

11 And it was told David, what Respha, the daughter of Aia, the concubine of Saul, had done.

12 And David went, and took the bones of Saul, and the bones of Jonathan, his son, from the men of Jabes Galaad, *who had stolen them from the street of Bethsan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when they had slain Saul in Gelboe.

13 And he brought from thence the bones of Saul, and the bones of Jonathan, his son: and they gathered up the bones of them that were crucified,

14 And they buried them with the bones of Saul, and of Jonathan, his son, in the land of Benjamin, in the side, in the sepulchre of Cis, his father: and they did all that the king had commanded, and God shewed mercy again to the land after these things.

15 And the Philistines made war again against Israel, and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines. And David growing faint,

16 Jesbibenob, who was of the race of Arapha, *the iron of whose spear weighed three hundred ounces, being girded with a new sword, attempted to kill David;

17 And Abisai, the son of Sarvia, rescued him, and striking the Philistine, killed him. Then David's men swore unto him, saying: Thou shalt go no more out with us to battle, lest thou put out the lamp of Israel.

18 *There was also a second battle in Gob against the Philistines: then Sobochai, of Husathi, slew Saph, of the race of Arapha, of the family of the giants.

19 And there was a third battle in Gob against the Philistines, in which Adeodatus, the son of the Forrest, an embroiderer, of Bethlehem, slew Goliath, the Gethite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam.

20 A fourth battle was in Geth: where there was a man of great stature, that had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, four and twenty in all, and he was of the race of Arapha.

21 And he reproached Israel: and Jonathan, the son of Samaa, the brother of David, slew him.

22 These four were born of Arapha, in Geth, and they fell by the hand of David, and of his servants.



1: Year of the World 2983, Year before Christ 1021.

2: Josue ix. 16.

7: 1 Kings xviii. 3.

9: Year of the World 2986, Year before Christ 1018.

12: 1 Kings xxxi. 12.

16: 1 Kings xvii. 7.

18: 1 Paralipomenon xx. 4.