Devotional Readings

2 Samuel 5 – The Blind and the Lame

Interesting to read John Gill’s commentary on this…
2Sa 5:6  And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither. 2Sa 5:7  Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David. 2Sa 5:8  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, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.

except thou take away the blind and lame, thou shalt not come in hither; which many understand of their idols and images, which had eyes, but saw not, and feet, but walked not, which therefore David and his men in derision called the blind and lame; these the Jebusites placed for the defence of their city, and put great confidence in them for the security of it, and therefore said to David, unless you can remove these, which you scornfully call the blind and the lame, you will never be able to take the place. And certain it is the Heathens had their tutelar gods for their cities as well as their houses, in which they greatly trusted for their safety; and therefore with the Romans, when they besieged a city, the first thing they attempted to do was by any means, as by songs particularly, to get the tutelar gods out of it (b); believing otherwise it would never be taken by them; or if it could, it was not lawful to make the gods captives (c): and to this sense most of the Jewish commentators agree, as Kimchi, Jarchi, Ben Gersom, and R. Isaiah, who take them to be images; some say, made of brass, which were placed either in the streets of the city, or on the towers: it was usual with all nations to place on their walls both their household and country gods, to defend them from the enemy (d). A learned countryman of ours (e) is of opinion that these were statues or images talismanically made, under a certain constellation, by some skilful in astrology, placed in the recess of the fort, and intrusted with the keeping of it, and in which the utmost confidence was put: but it seems better with Aben Ezra and Abarbinel, and so Josephus (f), to understand this of blind and lame men; and that the sense is, that the Jebusites had such an opinion of the strength of their city, that a few blind and lame men were sufficient to defend it against David and his army; and perhaps in contempt of him placed some invalids, blind and lame men, on the walls of it, and jeeringly told him, that unless he could remove them, he would never take the city:

2 Samuel 5:8

And David said on that day,…. On which he took the strong hold of Zion:

whosoever getteth up to the gutter; where it is generally supposed the blind and lame were, whether images or real men: but what is meant by “Tzinnur”, we render “gutter”, is not easy to say; we follow some of the Jewish writers, who take it to be a canal, or water spout, used to carry off the water from roofs of houses into cisterns, as the word is rendered in Psa 42:7; which is the only place besides this in which it is used in Scripture; but R. Isaiah takes it to be the bar or bolt of the gate, and the sense to be, whoever got up to the gate, and got in at that, unbolting it, or breaking through it; the Targum interprets it of the tower of the city, or strong fortress, and so Abarbinel; but Jarchi says it was a ditch, agreeably to which Bochart (h) translates the words, and indeed more agreeably to the order of them;”whosoever smites the Jebusites, let him cast into the ditch (next the wall) both the blind and the lame, extremely hated by David.”But a learned modern writer (i) gives a more ingenious and probable interpretation of these words thus;”whosoever (first) smiteth the Jebusites, and through the subterraneous passages reaches the lame and the blind, &c.”and which seems to be favoured by Josephus, as he observes; who says (k), the king promised the command of the whole army to him who should δια των υποκειμενων φαραγγων, “through the subterraneous cavities”, go up to the citadel, and take it: to which I would add that the word is used in the Chaldee paraphrase of Ecc 1:7, of the several subterraneous passages, through which the rivers flow out of and reflow into the ocean: remarkable is the note of Theodoret,

“a certain Hebrew says, Aquila renders it “through a pipe”; on which, he observes, David being willing to spare the walls of the city, ordered the citizens should enter into the city by an aqueduct;”according to the Jews, there, was a cave underground, which reached from the king’s house in Jerusalem to Jericho, when it was taken by Nebuchadnezzar; See Gill on Jer 39:4; in which story there may be a mixture of fable; yet it is not improbable that there was such a subterraneous passage; since Dio Cassius (l) speaks of several such, through which the Jews made their escape in the last siege of the city:

and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind; or even the lame and the blind men the Jebusites had placed to mock David; and therefore it follows:

that are hated of David’s soul: because he was despised and jeered at by them, and through them: if these could be understood of their idols and images, the phrase would be easily accounted for, nothing being more abominable to David than idolatry:

he shall be chief and captain; these words are not in the original text here, but are supplied from 1Ch 11:6; that is, he shall be chief commander of the army, as Joab became, who was the first that went up and smote them:

wherefore they said, the blind and the lame shall not come into the house; that is, either the Jebusites said this, that their images, called in derision by David the blind and the lame, if these did not keep David out, they should never be intrusted with the safety of their fort any more (m); or rather because the blind and the lame men said this of David, he shall not come into the house, the fort, or citadel, therefore David hated them; which is the sense of the above learned writer (n).

(h) Phaleg. l. 4. c. 36. col. 304. (i) Dr. Kennicott’s Dissert. 1. p. 35. (k) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 7. c. 3. sect. 1.) (l) Hist. l. 66. (m) Gregory, ut supra. (Notes and Observations, &c. ch. 7.) (n) Dr. Kennicott, ut supra. (Dissert. 1. p. 35.)

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