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Poole on 2 Samuel 5:8-10: The Conquest of Jerusalem, Part 2

Verse 8:[1]  And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, that are hated of David’s soul, (1 Chron. 11:6-9) he shall be chief and captain.  Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house (or, because they had said, even the blind and the lame, He shall not come into the house[2]).

[He had set forth a reward]  Hebrew:  for he said (Pagnine) (had said [Vatablus]).  He declares in what matter that citadel was to be stormed (Vatablus, thus Piscator).  The Latin well supplies what is understood in the Hebrew (Grotius).


[Whoever had smitten, etc., ‎ כּל־מַכֵּ֤ה יְבֻסִי֙ וְיִגַּ֣ע בַּצִּנּ֔וֹר וְאֶת־הַפִּסְחִים֙ וְאֶת־הַ֣עִוְרִ֔ים שְׂנֻאֵ֖י נֶ֣פֶשׁ דָּוִ֑ד ]  Whoever will have smitten the Jebusite, and will have reached the gutters, or pipes, wherewith the rain of the roof is received (Vatablus), pipe (Montanus).  And he will have approached the gutter tiles (Tigurinus).  Reaching that drain (Junius and Tremellius), that is, that channel (Piscator).  And he had touched the gutters of the roofs (Vulgate).  Altogether rightly.  For, צִנּוֹר (which occurs only twice, here and in Psalm 42:7[3]) is properly a tub through which water is carried in a declivity, suppose from a mountain or from a roof.  And thus they explain it in Psalm 42:  the Vulgate, Septuagint, Chaldean, Kimchi, and Ibn Ezra (Bochart’s Sacred Geography “Canaan” 1:28:599).  With the waters corrupted, he [David] took the citadel.  See similar examples in Frontinus’ Concerning Aqueducts[4] 3:7 (Grotius).  And he will have reached the fortification (Mariana, similarly Jonathan).  [But the Syriac and the Arabic translate it, he will have reached the blind with a shield, etc.]  And the lame and the blind, understanding, he will have smitten (Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius, English, Vatablus), or, will have thrown down (Osiander), or will have reached (Mariana) (who will have arrived at the gutters and at the blind and the lame [Ibn Ezra in Munster, similarly Castalio, Strigelius, Dutch], will have removed those Telamones [Castalio]) held in hatred of David’s soul (Pagnine, Tigurinus, Montanus, thus English, Junius and Tremellius, Piscator, Osiander).  Bochart translates it thus, Whoever will have smitten the Jebusites, let him throw them down into the channel nearest the wall, the blind as well as the lame especially hateful to David.  Inasmuch as these things are altogether plain, there was no reason that learned men should weary themselves so in the exposition of them.  I especially marvel at Gordonius, who, I would say, offends here, as if they corrupted the Hebrew founts in this place.  Moreover, the name of the Jebusites he finds in Ebusus, an island near Hispania,[5] where was one of the colonies of the Phœnicians (Bochart’s Sacred Geography “Canaan” 4:36:345).  They were hateful to him, because of the impediment brought to the assault, and because the Jebusites were worshipping those (statues) (Mariana).  Or because of that taunt, verse 6 (Piscator, similarly Castalio), with the witticism passing from the statues to men by jest:  whence also the proverb arose (Castalio).  Both the sinners and the guilty [here I think that whom is to be understood] David’s soul hath cast down (Jonathan).  Moreover, the sense is yet imperfect, and so they supply something here out of 1 Chronicles 1:6, namely, he shall be chief and captain of my army (thus Vatablus, so Pagnine, Junius and Tremellius, Malvenda, Ibn Ezra in Munster).  In this place the reward is omitted, as in Genesis the punishment of the one that kills Cain.[6]  [Thus Vatablus in the Notes in the Tigurinus Bible, where you will find many other things worth knowing, which by ill fate have been omitted in that edition of Vatablus’ Notes in the Sacred Critics.[7]]  The reward is passed over in silence, because this was customary in promises and oaths (certain interpreters in the Dutch).  In conditional speech, sometimes there is an ellipsis of the latter member, as in this passage (Glassius’ “Grammar” 708).  There is an ellipsis of the consequent (Junius), with the apodosis suppressed in the other member (Malvenda).  Moreover, whenever rewards of this sort are proposed, it ought always to be understood, to the extent that it is allowed by the law of God.  For, if one, perhaps wicked, as it happens, had fulfilled these things, who should be met with punishment, rather than with reward, David would not have been obliged to stand to these promises; and, unless he did this by the impulse of the Spirit (which is hardly plausible), he certainly sinned in giving the command to Joab, a nefarious man, etc. (Martyr).  [The Syriac, and the Arabic similarly, thus translate it without any supplement:  Whoever, smiting the Jebusites, will have touched the blind or the lame with the shield (perhaps instead of צִנּוֹר/gutter they were reading צִנָּה/shield), he hates the soul of David.]

Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, that is, whosoever scaleth the fort, or getteth up to the top of it, where the gutter was.  And the lame and the blind, or even, or especially (for the Hebrew particle ו/vau signifies both ways) the lame and the blind; that is, those of them who are set to defend that place; who, as they pretend, should be only the lame and the blind.  Others understand it of their idols or images.  But they could not properly be said to be smitten, that is, killed; as that word is used here, and elsewhere.  That are hated of David’s soul:  this belongs to the Jebusite, and the lame and the blind; and it is explained in verse 6.  He shall be chief and captain:  these words are fitly supplied out of 1 Chronicles 11:6, where they are expressed; and they must needs be understood to make the sense complete.  And such ellipses or defects of a part of the sentence are usual in promises, and oaths, and conditional offers, such as this was.

[Therefore, it is said in a Proverb (thus Strigelius), ‎עַל־כֵּן֙ יֹֽאמְר֔וּ]  Therefore they were saying (Pagnine, Montanus, similarly Munster, Tigurinus), or, they say (Syriac, Arabic, Mariana), supplying, that it was a statute (Mariana); they shall say (Septuagint, Piscator); it is wont to be said (Junius and Tremellius, Piscator).  An impersonal expression (Piscator).

[The blind and the lame shall not come into the temple, ‎לֹ֥א יָב֖וֹא אֶל־הַבָּֽיִת׃]  He shall not come into the house (Pagnine, Montanus, thus Jonathan, Syriac, Tigurinus, Osiander, Strigelius, similarly Piscator, Castalio).  Into that house (Munster, Junius and Tremellius).  Or into that citadel (Munster, Vatablus, Grotius) of Zion (Grotius).  Into the city of the Lord (Septuagint).  The house of God (Arabic).  The sense of this passage is, either, 1.  With the fortress obtained, which the Jebusites were thinking to be protected from the enemy by the blind and the lame, David and his men were speaking mockingly, The blind and the lame shall no longer come into the house, or that citadel, in order to protect it, but mighty men (Munster).  A proverbial expression seems to be applicable, that the weak and the infirm are to be kept from the ramparts (Malvenda):  Either, 1.  Because the inept and the useless are refused the office that they seek (certain interpreters in Malvenda).  Or, 2.  It is a Proverb about one that would boast in a vain matter; that is to say, Boast not, etc., lest the same happen to thee that happened to the Jebusites, who in the blind and the lame, etc., boasted against David; but in vain (Piscator).  Or, 3.  About one that would end up enduring what he has done to another.  They marveled, that they wanted to keep David out of the citadel; but they themselves were cast out of it, in such a way that they were never able to return to it afterwards (Martyr).  Indeed, it was observed among the nations as a good omen, that the mourning and the disfigured proceed not into the presence of kings.  But this was observed ordinarily (says the Holy Spirit) in the house of David, not with respect to all, but with respect to the lame and the blind; not as a superstitious omen, but for the perpetual recollection of this history.  Mephibosheth was excepted from this law by a another, stronger law of piety and gratitude (Malvenda out of Junius).  David decreed that no blind or lame man should enter that citadel, for a monument of the forementioned history (Grotius, similarly Salian in Menochius); he sanctioned this by law for the hatred of that mockery (Mariana).  They say, David shall never admit in that citadel the blind and (or) the lame; or they said, that is, they established, that afterwards no blind or lame man should enter into that citadel.  The Future/Imperfect in the Hebrew is in the place of the Past or Present (Vatablus).  It is to be observed that a name is often imposed upon a man, or a people, from some term, in which there is something singular.  Antigonus, King of Macedon,[8] was called Doson, because δώσω/doso, that is, I will give, was much in his mouth; apparently he was promising many things, but was actually granting nothing.  Thus Gideon was called Jerubbaal, Judges 6:32.[9]  Thus in this place from their own witticism, except thou take away the blind and the lame, the Jebusites were called the blind and the lame in the reproving proverb (Sanchez).  Or, 2.  David repeated the law of Moses, that the blind and the lame should not enter the temple (Mariana).  It was said of old, that the blind and the lame should be kept from the ministry, Leviticus 21:18.  From this time, he began to have that use of the proverb.  Now, the sense is, that the Jebusites should never enter the temple, or the place from which they were expelled; for the substance comes to the same thing, since the temple was going to be in Jerusalem, and the arc/ark of the Lord was going to be in the arce/citadel of Zion, or in the city of David.  It was not to be understood of all Jebusites, but of these inhabitants of the upper city, for Araunah was a Jebusite, concerning whom in 2 Samuel 24 (Sanchez).  From the entrance of the temple he keeps the blind and the lame, not indeed of the Hebrews (for these Christ healed in the Temple, Matthew 21:14), but of the Jebusites (Lapide).  3.  To me it is especially satisfying, that this was wont to be said as often as what was supposed to be impossible was done.  The blind and the lame were denying that David was going to capture the citadel, and yet he began (Martyr).  4.  They think that this is said concerning an impossible matter, which anyone attempts, the blind and the lame shall not come into the temple; that is to say, thou attemptest the impossible, but in vain (Lapide).  5.  The sense:  Let no one set idolatrous images in his house, because there is no help or protection in them (Osiander).  [Thus all maintain that this is a proverb; which, nevertheless, does not appear to be necessary:  for the expression, which not rarely is taken otherwise, does not compel this:  and it is able to be merely a repetition of the prior saying, as an argument, whereby moved, David proposed this reward to the victor, because (verbatim, because thus[10]) they said (the future/imperfect in the place of the past, which is very common), or had said, the blind and the lame shall not come into this house, or citadel; that is, the blind and the lame soldiers of David shall not enter, etc.]

Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house, that is, whence it became a proverb, or a common saying, used by David and others upon this occasion.  Or otherwise, The blind and the lame Jebusites were set to keep the house, that is, the fort of Zion; and to keep others from coming into it; but now they are shut out of it, and none of them, to wit, either, 1.  Of the Jebusites; or, 2.  Of blind and lame persons, shall be admitted to come into it again; which David might resolve, and ordain, to keep up the memory of this great exploit, and of the insolent carriage of the Jebusites, and their unhappy success.  Or, The blind and the lame shall not come into my house, to wit, into the king’s palace.  And although this might be a general rule and decree of David’s, yet he might dispense with it in some special cases, as in that of Mephibosheth.  But it is not necessary that this should be a proverb; for the words may be thus rendered, as it is in the margin of our Bible, Because they had said, even the blind and the lame, He (that is, David) shall not come into the house; or, Because they (that is, the Jebusites) had said, The blind and the lame shall hinder him; (which words are easily supplied out of verse 6, where having spoken of this more largely, it was sufficient here to mention the most emphatical words, as is usual in such cases;) he shall not come into the house, or hither, as they say, verse 6, that is, into the fort; for the word house is used very largely and generally in the Hebrew language, for any place, as Judges 16:21.

Verse 9:[11]  So David dwelt in the fort, and called it (2 Sam. 5:7) the city of David.  And David built round about from Millo and inward.

[And he built]  Understand, the wall (Vatablus), or the city (Septuagint).

[Along the circuit from Millo and inward, ‎סבִ֔יב מִן־הַמִּלּ֖וֹא וָבָֽיְתָה׃ [12]Along the circumference, and within (Tirinus).  Or, inside the house (Pagnine).  From the obstruction and more inwardly (Jonathan).  From the very fortification inwards (Junius and Tremellius).  From Millo inwards, understanding, verging (Vatablus).  In a circuit from the summit, and his house (Septuagint).  Question:  What is Millo?  Responses:  1.  It was the place and plaza for assemblies, where the people were congregating (Hebrews in Vatablus).  Thus it was called, because it was filled with men (Kimchi in Munster).  Therefore, he built a forum, and other edifices round about (Mariana).  2.  The mound that was encircling the citadel (certain interpreters in Vatablus).  3.  The trench around the citadel, so called because it was filled with water (certain interpreters in Vatablus).  But Jerusalem was in a very dry place, and was always troubled with a scarcity of water (Martyr).  4.  It was a certain chasm, and deep and broad valley, which was separating mount Zion from the lower city (Menochius, Lapide, Sanchez, Lyra, Josephus and Adrichomius in Lapide); which Solomon finally filled and leveled, whence it was called Millo (Lapide).  It is called this proleptically in this passage  (Malvenda).

Millo seems to have been some large and well fortified building, Judges 9:6; 2 Chronicles 32:5, adjoining or near to the wall of the city of Zion.


Verse 10:[13]  And David went on, and grew great (Heb. went going and growing[14]), and the LORD God of hosts was with him.

Grew great in reputation and power.

[1] Hebrew:  וַיֹּ֙אמֶר דָּוִ֜ד בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֗וּא כָּל־מַכֵּ֤ה יְבֻסִי֙ וְיִגַּ֣ע בַּצִּנּ֔וֹר וְאֶת־הַפִּסְחִים֙ וְאֶת־הַ֣עִוְרִ֔ים שָׂנְא֖וּ נֶ֣פֶשׁ דָּוִ֑ד עַל־כֵּן֙ יֹֽאמְר֔וּ עִוֵּ֣ר וּפִסֵּ֔חַ לֹ֥א יָב֖וֹא אֶל־הַבָּֽיִת׃

[2] Hebrew:  ‎עַל־כֵּן֙ יֹֽאמְר֔וּ עִוֵּ֣ר וּפִסֵּ֔חַ לֹ֥א יָב֖וֹא אֶל־הַבָּֽיִת׃.

[3] Psalm 42:7:  “Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts (‎לְק֣וֹל צִנּוֹרֶ֑יךָ):  all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.”

[4] Sextus Julius Frontinus (c. 40-103 AD) was a Roman author; he wrote a treatise on the aqueducts of Rome (De Aquæductu), and another on Greco-Roman military stratagems (Strategemata).

[5] Ibiza is off the eastern coast of Spain.

[6] Genesis 4:15.

[7] Critici Sacri.

[8] Antigonus III Doson was King of Macedon from 229 to 221 BC.

[9] Judges 6:32:  “Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal (‎יְרֻבַּעַל), saying, Let Baal plead against him (‎יָ֤רֶב בּוֹ֙ הַבַּ֔עַל), because he hath thrown down his altar.”

[10] Hebrew:  ‎עַל־כֵּן.

[11] Hebrew:  ‎וַיֵּ֤שֶׁב דָּוִד֙ בַּמְּצֻדָ֔ה וַיִּקְרָא־לָ֖הּ עִ֣יר דָּוִ֑ד וַיִּ֤בֶן דָּוִד֙ סָבִ֔יב מִן־הַמִּלּ֖וֹא וָבָֽיְתָה׃

[12] מָלֵא signifies to fill; מִלּוֹא may refer to a filling of earth or defensive mound, or perhaps a citadel or other defensive structure.

[13] Hebrew:  ‎וַיֵּ֥לֶךְ דָּוִ֖ד הָל֣וֹךְ וְגָד֑וֹל וַיהוָ֛ה אֱלֹהֵ֥י צְבָא֖וֹת עִמּֽוֹ׃ פ

[14] Hebrew:  ‎וַיֵּ֥לֶךְ דָּוִ֖ד הָל֣וֹךְ וְגָד֑וֹל.

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Matthew Henry: 'Here we have...

David's success against the Jebusites. Their pride and insolence, instead of daunting him, animated him, and when he made a general assault he gave this order to his men: "He that smiteth the Jebusites, let him also throw down into the ditch, or gutter, the lame and the blind, which are set upon the wall to affront us and our God." It is probable they had themselves spoken blasphemous things, and were therefore hated of David's soul. Thus 2 Samuel 5:8 may be read; we fetch our reading of it from 1 Chron icles11:6, which speaks only of smiting the Jebusites, but nothing of the blind and the lame. The Jebusites had said that if…

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