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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Shmuel II - II Samuel - Chapter 23

Shmuel II - II Samuel - Chapter 23

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 23

1. And these are the last words of David; the saying of David the son of Jesse, and the saying of the man raised on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, And the sweet singer of Israel.   א. וְאֵלֶּה דִּבְרֵי דָוִד הָאַחֲרֹנִים נְאֻם דָּוִד בֶּן יִשַׁי וּנְאֻם הַגֶּבֶר הֻקַם עָל מְשִׁיחַ אֱלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב וּנְעִים זְמִרוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל:
the last words of David: The concluding words of prophecy of David. Now which were the first [prophetic words of David]? The words of the song of praise that were stated above. However all the [other] songs and praise that he had said are not referred to as ‘words.’  
raised on high.: Heb. הקם על, raised on high.  
sweet singer of Israel: The Israelites do not sing in the Temple [any songs] other than his praises and songs.  
2. The spirit of the Lord spoke in me, And His word was upon my tongue.   ב. רוּחַ יְהֹוָה דִּבֶּר בִּי וּמִלָּתוֹ עַל לְשׁוֹנִי:
spoke in me: He lodged in me the spirit of his holiness which spoke within me. Now all expressions of prophecy are indicated by [the word] דבר, just as with: “Has the Lord indeed spoken only in Moses? Has he not spoken also in us? (הרק אך במשה דבר הלא גם בנו דבר אדבר בו)” (Num. 12:2). The reason for this is that the spirit (of God) enters the prophets and speaks from within him.  
3. The God of Israel said, concerning me spoke the Rock of Israel; 'A ruler over men shall be the righteous (man), he that rules in the fear of God.   ג. אָמַר אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לִי דִבֶּר צוּר יִשְׂרָאֵל מוֹשֵׁל בָּאָדָם צַדִּיק מוֹשֵׁל יִרְאַת אֱלֹהִים:
concerning me: [Rashi renders:] To me spoke etc. To me spoke and commanded the rock of Israel that I be a ruler over man, i.e., over Israel who is known as ‘man,’ as it is written: “You are man (אתם אדם)” (Ez. 34:3); and that I be [both] a righteous ruler and a God fearing man. Now our Rabbis have interpreted it in a different manner. David said, The Lord of Israel spoke to me, to me spoke the rock of Israel; I am the ruler of men. Now who is ruler over me? The righteous man, for I pass a decree and he [has the power to] revoke it. (T.B. Moed. Kat. 15b) However, according to the flow of the verses the first is the more literal interpretation of the text.  
4. And as the light of the morning (when) the sun shines; a morning without clouds, more than the light that follows the rain that falls upon the grass of the earth.   ד. וּכְאוֹר בֹּקֶר יִזְרַח שָׁמֶשׁ בֹּקֶר לֹא עָבוֹת מִנֹּגַהּ מִמָּטָר דֶּשֶׁא מֵאָרֶץ:
And as the light of the morning when the sun shines: And he assured me that my greatness would increase constantly like the light of the morning that grows ever brighter.  
without clouds: a light that does not dim.  
from the light that follows the rain that falls upon the grass of the earth: My morning will shine brighter than the light that comes forth from the rain like a resplendent heat [the sun] upon light. When the rain descends upon land covered with grass and the sun shines upon it, the [moist] grass shines. Now this is its interpretation: More than the light which comes from the rain of the grass of the earth.  
5. For my house is not so with God. For an everlasting covenant has He made with me, fully set forth and heeded for all my salvation and all the desire [is before Him], for He will not sprout forth [another on the throne].   ה. כִּי לֹא כֵן בֵּיתִי עִם אֵל כִּי בְרִית עוֹלָם שָֹם לִי עֲרוּכָה בַכֹּל וּשְׁמֻרָה כִּי כָל יִשְׁעִי וְכָל חֵפֶץ כִּי לֹא יַצְמִיחַ:
for my house is not like that: That my light should be cloudy.  
for an everlasting covenant: The Torah [which is an everlasting covenant] that God set before me is fully set forth throughout all my house and is observed.  
all my salvation and all the desire: of my needs are prepared before Him. Now this is an abbreviated verse.  
will not sprout forth: another as king after my kingdom. An alternate interpretation is: An everlasting covenant has He made with my household that my kingdom should attain permanence. Now this covenant has “been set forth by all,” i.e., in the mouths of all the prophets.  
6. But the wicked are all as thorns thrust away, for they cannot be taken in hand.   ו. וּבְלִיַּעַל כְּקוֹץ מֻנָד כֻּלָּהַם כִּי לֹא בְיָד יִקָּחוּ:
as thorns thrust away: as swaying thorns; chardon in French: (as in Ex. 22:5). It is tender when yet small and shakes to and fro, but eventually becomes firm to the degree that it can no longer be taken in hand.  
7. But if a man touch them, he should be armed with iron and the staff of a spear; and with fire they shall be utterly burned in their place.   ז. וְאִישׁ יִגַּע בָּהֶם יִמָּלֵא בַרְזֶל וְעֵץ חֲנִית וּבָאֵשׁ שָׂרוֹף יִשָּׂרְפוּ בַּשָּׁבֶת:
But if a man touch them he should be armed: He must cover his skin with [shields of] iron and load his hand with weaponry in order to cut them down.  
and with fire they shall be utterly burned: They [the thorns] serve no useful purpose other than [for] burning and sitting and warming oneself before them. So it is with the wicked who have no way out other than by being consumed by Gehinnom.  
in their place: Heb. בשבת, when He sits.[When] the Holy One Blessed be He sits on His throne of Justice.  
8. These are the names of the mighty men who (served) David. He who sat in the assembly of the wise, the chief of the three-some, he was Adino the Etznite; [who lifted his spear] against eight hundred slain at one time.   ח. אֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹת הַגִּבֹּרִים אֲשֶׁר לְדָוִד ישֵׁב בַּשֶּׁבֶת תַּחְכְּמֹנִי | רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁלִשִׁי הוּא עֲדִינוֹ הָעֶצְנִי עַל שְׁמֹנֶה מֵאוֹת חָלָל בְּפַעַם אֶחָת:
who sat in the assembly of the wise: Sat in the assembly of the Sanhedrin who are the wise. Now he was a three-fold head (ראש השלישי) , since he was leader in terms of beauty, in terms of wisdom and in terms of strength. Now in these three he was [indeed] a leader, as it is stated: “… and he is understanding, handsome, and a mighty warrior” (I Sam. 16:18).  
Adino the Etznite: When he was engaged in the learning of Torah, he would wrap and knot himself as a worm [he would be very flexible] similar to התקשר מעדנות כימה of Job 38:31. But when he would go out to battle he became firm as wood (עץ) and would strike eight hundred dead in one battle.  
9. And after him [came] Eleazar the son of Dodo the son of an Ahohite, [who was] among the three mighty men [that were] with David, when they risked their lives against the Philistines that were gathered there to do battle, while the men of Israel had departed.   ט. וְאַחֲרָיו אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן דֹּדוֹ בֶּן אֲחֹחִי בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה הַגִּבֹּרִים עִם דָּוִד בְּחָרְפָם בַּפְּלִשְׁתִּים נֶאֶסְפוּ שָׁם לַמִּלְחָמָה וַיַּעֲלוּ אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל:
the son of Dodo: That was his name.  
among the three mighty men: the most prominent of the mighty men.  
risked their lives: When they pledged to fight [the Philistines] and defeat them.  
10. He rose up and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand cleaved to the sword; and the Lord performed a great victory that day; and [when] the people returned after him (it was) only to strip (the slain).   י. הוּא קָם וַיַּךְ בַּפְּלִשְׁתִּים עַד | כִּי יָגְעָה יָדוֹ וַתִּדְבַּק יָדוֹ אֶל הַחֶרֶב וַיַּעַשׂ יְהֹוָה תְּשׁוּעָה גְדוֹלָה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא וְהָעָם יָשֻׁבוּ אַחֲרָיו אַךְ לְפַשֵּׁט:
only to strip the slain: Jonathan translates: to strip the slain. There was no one to help him in killing, but they would all strip the dead after him.  
11. And after him (came) Shammah the son of Agei the mountaineer. Now the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, and there was a plot of ground full of lentils; and the people (had) fled from the Philistines.   יא. וְאַחֲרָיו שַׁמָּא בֶן אָגֵא הָרָרִי וַיֵּאָסְפוּ פְלִשְׁתִּים לַחַיָּה וַתְּהִי שָׁם חֶלְקַת הַשָּׂדֶה מְלֵאָה עֲדָשִׁים וְהָעָם נָס מִפְּנֵי פְלִשְׁתִּים:
the mountaineer: Heb. הררי, a mountaineer.  
gathered together into a troop: Heb. לחיה, lit. a wild beast. Just as the wild beasts of the field [gather into troops].  
12. But he stationed himself in the midst of the plot and he defended it, and he slew the Philistines; and the Lord performed a great victory.   יב. וַיִּתְיַצֵּב בְּתוֹךְ הַחֶלְקָה וַיַּצִּילֶהָ וַיַּךְ אֶת פְּלִשְׁתִּים וַיַּעַשׂ יְהֹוָה תְּשׁוּעָה גְדוֹלָה:
13. And three of the thirty chiefs went down, and they came in the harvest time to David to the cave of Adulam; and the troop of Philistines were encamped in the valley of Rephaim.   יג. וַיֵּרְדוּ שְׁלֹשָׁה מֵהַשְּׁלֹשִׁים רֹאשׁ וַיָּבֹאוּ אֶל קָצִיר אֶל דָּוִד אֶל מְעָרַת עֲדֻלָּם וְחַיַּת פְּלִשְׁתִּים חֹנָה בְּעֵמֶק רְפָאִים:
of the thirty: Jonathan translates: of the warriors the chiefs of the camps.  
14. And David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem.   יד. וְדָוִד אָז בַּמְּצוּדָה וּמַצַּב פְּלִשְׁתִּים אָז בֵּית לָחֶם:
and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem: The army was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim, but they had sent a garrison of theirs to Bethlehem.  
15. And David desired, and he said: "Oh if one would only give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem which is by the gate."   טו. וַיִּתְאַוֶּה דָוִד וַיֹּאמַר מִי יַשְׁקֵנִי מַיִם מִבּוֹר בֵּית לֶחֶם אֲשֶׁר בַּשָּׁעַר:
Oh if one would only give me: Our Rabbis said, It was necessary for him to ask a [legal] question of the Sanhedrin who were seated at the gate of Bethlehem.  
16. And the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, and they drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and they carried it and brought it back to David, but he did not care to drink it and he poured it out before the Lord.   טז. וַיִּבְקְעוּ שְׁלשֶׁת הַגִּבֹּרִים בְּמַחֲנֵה פְלִשְׁתִּים וַיִּשְׁאֲבוּ מַיִם מִבּוֹר בֵּית לֶחֶם אֲשֶׁר בַּשַּׁעַר וַיִּשְׂאוּ וַיָּבִאוּ אֶל דָּוִד וְלֹא אָבָה לִשְׁתּוֹתָם וַיַּסֵּךְ אֹתָם לַיהֹוָה:
poured it out before the Lord: He said: This tradition I had handed down to me from the court of Samuel the Ramathite: Whosoever endangers his life for the sake of the word of the Torah [one is to heed the Halachah but not at the cost of life] we are not to state the decision [for which he had endangered his life] in his name. Now how do we explain “and he poured it out before the Lord,” that we state it not in his own name but [anonymously] in the name of the entire academy [in this manner ‘pouring it out’ without due credit to the one who stated it, but simply for the sake of the Lord].  
17. And he said: "Be it far from me, O' Lord, that I should do this; [Shall I drink] the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives?" And he would not drink it. These [deeds] performed the three mighty men.   יז. וַיֹּאמֶר חָלִילָה לִּי יְהֹוָה מֵעֲשֹתִי זֹאת הֲדַם הָאֲנָשִׁים הַהֹלְכִים בְּנַפְשׁוֹתָם וְלֹא אָבָה לִשְׁתּוֹתָם אֵלֶּה עָשֹוּ שְׁלשֶׁת הַגִּבֹּרִים:
[shall I drink] the blood of the men: Heb. הדם. It is an expression of wonder.  
18. And Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief of the three. And he roused his sword against three hundred slain at one time, and he had [acquired] a name among the three.   יח. וַאֲבִישַׁי אֲחִי | יוֹאָב בֶּן צְרוּיָה הוּא רֹאשׁ הַשְּׁלֹשָׁה וְהוּא עוֹרֵר אֶת חֲנִיתוֹ עַל שְׁלשׁ מֵאוֹת חָלָל וְלוֹ שֵׁם בַּשְּׁלֹשָׁה:
19. Of the three he was most honored; and he was their captain; but to the [first] three he did not attain.   יט. מִן הַשְּׁלֹשָׁה הֲכִי נִכְבָּד וַיְהִי לָהֶם לְשָֹר וְעַד הַשְּׁלֹשָׁה לֹא בָא:
to the three he did not attain: But to the three warriors [of the first order] he did not attain.  
20. And Benayahu the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man great in deeds, of Kabzeel, he smote the two mighty men of Moab, and he went down and smote the lion inside a pit on a snowy day.   כ. וּבְנָיָהוּ בֶן יְהוֹיָדָע בֶּן אִישׁ חַיִל רַב פְּעָלִים מִקַּבְצְאֵל הוּא הִכָּה אֵת שְׁנֵי אֲרִאֵל מוֹאָב וְהוּא יָרַד וְהִכָּה אֶת הָאֲרִי בְּתוֹךְ הַבֹּאר בְּיוֹם הַשָּׁלֶג:
the two mighty men of Moab: But our Rabbis stated that he neither left anyone like him, in the [period of the] First Temple nor in the [period of the] second Temple.  
of Moab: because Solomon, who built it, was a descendant of Ruth the Moabitess.  
21. And he slew an Egyptian, a man of striking appearance; and in the Egyptian's hand was a spear; and he went down to him with [only] a staff. And he grabbed the spear from the hand of the Egyptian, and slew him with his own spear.   כא. וְהוּא הִכָּה אֶת אִישׁ מִצְרִי אִישׁ מַרְאֶה וּבְיַד הַמִּצְרִי חֲנִית וַיֵּרֶד אֵלָיו בַּשָּׁבֶט וַיִּגְזֹל אֶת הַחֲנִית מִיַּד הַמִּצְרִי וַיַּהַרְגֵהוּ בַּחֲנִיתוֹ:
22. These [deeds] performed Benayahu the son of Jehoiada, and he had [acquired] a name among the three mighty men.   כב. אֵלֶּה עָשָֹה בְּנָיָהוּ בֶּן יְהוֹיָדָע וְלוֹ שֵׁם בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה הַגִּבֹּרִים:
23. Of the thirty he was the most honored, but to the first three he [never] did attain. And David placed him over his following.   כג. מִן הַשְּׁלֹשִׁים נִכְבָּד וְאֶל הַשְּׁלֹשָׁה לֹא בָא וַיְשִׂמֵהוּ דָוִד אֶל מִשְׁמַעְתּוֹ:
of the thirty he was most honored: Every mention of שלשים in this chapter, Jonathan translates as warriors.  
24. Asahel the brother of Joab was among the thirty. Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem;   כד. עֲשָׂהאֵל אֲחִי יוֹאָב בַּשְּׁלֹשִׁים אֶלְחָנָן בֶּן דֹּדוֹ בֵּית לָחֶם:
25. Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite;   כה. שַׁמָּה הַחֲרֹדִי אֱלִיקָא הַחֲרֹדִי:
26. Helez the Paltite, Irah, the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite;   כו. חֶלֶץ הַפַּלְטִי עִירָא בֶן עִקֵּשׁ הַתְּקוֹעִי:
27. Abiezer the Anathothite, Mebunnai the Hushathite;   כז. אֲבִיעֶזֶר הָעַנְּתֹתִי מְבֻנַּי הַחֻשָׁתִי:
28. Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite;   כח. צַלְמוֹן הָאֲחֹחִי מַהְרַי הַנְּטֹפָתִי:
29. Heleb the son of Baanah the Netophathite, Ittai the son of Ribai of Gibeah of the children of Benjamin;   כט. חֵלֶב בֶּן בַּעֲנָה הַנְּטֹפָתִי ס אִתַּי בֶּן רִיבַי מִגִּבְעַת בְּנֵי בִנְיָמִן:
30. Benaiahu a Pirathonite, Hidai of Nahale-noash;   ל. בְּנָיָהוּ פִּרְעָתֹנִי הִדַּי מִנַּחֲלֵי גָעַשׁ:
31. Abi-albon the Arbothite, Azmaveth the Barhumite;   לא. אֲבִי עַלְבוֹן הָעַרְבָתִי עַזְמָוֶת הַבַּרְחֻמִי:
32. Eliahba the Shaalbonite, [of] the sons of Jashen, Jonathan;   לב. אֶלְיַחְבָּא הַשַּׁעַלְבֹנִי בְּנֵי יָשֵׁן יְהוֹנָתָן:
33. Shammah the Haraite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Ararite;   לג. שַׁמָּה הַהֲרָרִי אֲחִיאָם בֶּן שָׁרָר הָאֲרָרִי:
34. Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite;   לד. אֱלִיפֶלֶט בֶּן אֲחַסְבַּי בֶּן הַמַּעֲכָתִי אֱלִיעָם בֶּן אֲחִיתֹפֶל הַגִּלֹנִי:
35. Hezrai the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite;   לה. חֶצְרַי הַכַּרְמְלִי פַּעֲרַי הָאַרְבִּי:
36. Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite;   לו. יִגְאָל בֶּן נָתָן מִצֹּבָה בָּנִי הַגָּדִי:
37. Zelek the Ammonite, Nahri the Beerothite, the armorbearer of Joab the son of Zeruiah;   לז. צֶלֶק הָעַמֹּנִי נַחְרַי הַבְּאֵרֹתִי נֹשֵֹא כְּלֵי יוֹאָב בֶּן צְרוּיָה:
38. Ira an Ithrite, Gareb an Ithrite;   לח. עִירָא הַיִּתְרִי גָּרֵב הַיִּתְרִי:
39. Uriah the Hitite; thirty-seven in all.   לט. אוּרִיָּה הַחִתִּי כֹּל שְׁלֹשִׁים וְשִׁבְעָה:
thirty seven: Now they are not [all] listed here: I therefore say that it was unnecessary to mention Joab since he was the commander- in-chief. Regarding the others that were missing perhaps the sons of Jesse (Jashan. See above v. 32) were three or four.  
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