2 Samuel 8 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of 2 Samuel 8)

Verse 1

[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.

And David took — Gath and her towns, as it is expressed in the parallel place, 1 Chronicles 18:1. Which are called Metheg-ammah, or the bridle of Ammah, Gath was situate in the mountain of Ammah; and because this being the chief city of the Philistines, and having a king, which none of the rest had, was the bridle which had hitherto kept the Israelites in subjection.

Verse 2

[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.

Moab — For although the king of Moab, out of hatred to Saul, gave protection to his parents, 1 Samuel 22:3,4, yet the Moabites were perpetual and sworn enemies to the Israelites, who therefore were forbidden to admit them into the congregation of the Lord. And though God commanded them in their march to Canaan, to spare the Moabites, yet afterwards they proved fierce enemies to God and his people, and thereby provoked God to alter his carriage towards them.

Measured them — That is, having conquered the land, he made an estimate of it, and distributed the towns and people into three parts.

Casting down — Overthrowing their towns, and utterly destroying their people in manner following. And now that prophecy, Numbers 24:17, was accomplished.

Verse 3

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

As he went — David, remembering the grant which God had made to his people of all the land as far as Euphrates, and having subdued his neighbouring enemies, went to recover his rights, and stablish his dominion as far as Euphrates.

Verse 4

[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.

Seven hundred — Or, seven hundred companies of horsemen, that is, in all seven thousand; as it is 1 Chronicles 18:4, there being ten in each company, and each ten having a ruler or captain.

Houghed — - That is, cut the sinews of their legs, that they might be useless for war.

Verse 5

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

Of Damascus — That is, who were subject to Damascus, the chief city of Syria.

Verse 7

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

On the servants — Or rather, which were with the servants, that is, committed to their custody, as being kept in the king's armoury: for it is not probable they carried them into the field.

Verse 8

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

From Betah, … — In 1 Chronicles 18:8, it is, from Tibhath, and from Chun. Either therefore the same cities were called by several names, as is usual, the one by the Hebrews, the other by the Syrians, or those were two other cities, and so the brass was taken out of these four cities.

Verse 14

[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.

The Lord preserved, … — All David's victories were typical of the success of the gospel over the kingdom of Satan, in which the Son of David rode forth, conquering and to conquer, and will reign 'till he has brought down all opposing rule, principality and power.

Verse 16

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

Recorder — The treasurer, who examined all the accounts, and kept records of them.

Verse 17

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

Scribe — Or, secretary of state.

Verse 18

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

Cherethites, … — The Cherethites and Pelethites were undoubtedly soldiers, and such as were eminent for their valour and fidelity. Most probable they were the king's guards, which consisted of these two bands, who might be distinguished either by their several weapons, or by the differing time or manner of their service. They are supposed to be thus called either, first, from their office, which was upon the king's command to cut off or punish offenders, and to preserve the king's person, as their names in the Hebrew tongue may seem to imply. Or, secondly, from some country, or place to which they had relation. As for the Cherithites, it is certain they were ether a branch of the Philistines, or a people neighbouring to them, and so might the Pelethites be too, though that be not related in scripture. And these Israelites and soldiers of David might be so called, either because they went and lived with David when he dwelt in those parts or, for some notable exploit against, or victory over these people.