2 Samuel 20:6
(6) David said to Abishai.--David is determined to pass over Joab, and, therefore, when Amasa fails in this crisis, requiring immediate action, he summons Abishai, and puts him in command of such forces as were at hand in Jerusalem, and gives him orders for the rapid pursuit of Sheba. The clause "escape us" is difficult, and doubtful in the original, and the English follows the Vulg. Others translate "pluck out our eye," i.e., do us great harm; others as the LXX., "over shadow our eye," meaning either cause us anxiety, or hide where we cannot find him.

Verse 6. - David said to Abishai. David thus gives the command to the younger brother, and we find in ver. 7 that even "Joab's men," his own special troop, were placed under Abishai's command. There seems always to have been a firm friendship between the brothers, and at first Joab acquiesces. The king was, in fact, in so grim a humour that he probably felt that he had better keep with his men, who would protect him, instead of remaining at Jerusalem, where he would be in David's power. When Amasa joined them, Abishai would have to resign to him the command; and David probably expected that, after a successful campaign, and with the aid of the men of Judah, who were rebels like himself, Amasa would be able to crush Joab. But Joab did not intend to wait for this; and immediately on meeting his rival he murders him, and assumes the command. Thy lord's servants. These are the men enumerated in ver. 7, and formed David's usual military attendants. When war broke out, they were reinforced by a levy of the people. And escape us. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain. It may signify, "and withdraw himself from our eyes," which gives the sense of the Authorized Version, and is supported by the Vulgate. The Septuagint renders, "and overshadow our eyes," which might have the same meaning, but, as others think, may signify, "and cause us anxiety." Many modern commentators render, "and pluck out our eye;" that is, do us painful damage. Either this or the Authorized Version gives a good sense, and, anyhow, rapid action was necessary, or Sheba's revolt might become dangerous.

20:4-13 Joab barbarously murdered Amasa. The more plot there is in a sin, the worse it is. Joab contentedly sacrificed the interest both of the king and the kingdom to his personal revenge. But one would wonder with what face a murderer could pursue a traitor; and how, under such a load of guilt, he had courage to enter upon danger: his conscience was seared.And David said to Abishai,.... For it seems he would have nothing to say to Joab, being displeased with him for slaying Absalom, and having removed him from his posts; and therefore speaks to the next officer in his army, Abishai; though Josephus (p) says, he addressed himself to Joab, contrary to the express words of the text:

now shall Sheba the son of Bichri do us more harm than did Absalom; gain a greater party, and give more trouble to subdue him, unless suppressed in time:

take thou thy lord's servants, and pursue after him; without waiting for Amasa, and the troops he was assembling; delays in such a case as an insurrection being dangerous, which ought to be nipped in the bud, and crushed as soon as possible; in order to which, he bids him take his servants that were about him, his bodyguards, and pursue Sheba:

lest he get him fenced cities; where he may secure himself, and hold out a siege a long time, and give a great deal of trouble:

and escape us; for the present; or "escape our eyes", as the "Keri", or marginal reading is; we shall lose sight of him, and not know which way he is gone, if he is not pursued quickly.

(p) Antiqu. l. 7. c. 11. sect. 6.

2 Samuel 20:5
Top of Page
Top of Page