The historian is now drawing towards a conclusion of David's reign, and
therefore gives us an account here,
I. Of some of his last words, which he spoke by inspiration, and which
seem to have reference to his seed that was to be for evermore, spoken
of in the close of the foregoing chapter,
2 Samuel 23:1-7.
II. Of the great men, especially the military men, that were employed
under him, the first three
(2 Samuel 23:8-17),
two of the next three
(2 Samuel 23:18-23),
and then the thirty,
2 Samuel 23:24-39.
David's Last Words.
B. C. 1015.
1 Now these be the last words of David. David the son of
Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed
of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said,
2 The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my
3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He
that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.
4 And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun
riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass
springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.
5 Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with
me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure:
for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he
make it not to grow.
6 But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns
thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands:
7 But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron
and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with
fire in the same place.
We have here the last will and testament of king David, or a codicil
annexed to it, after he had settled the crown upon Solomon and his
treasures upon the temple which was to be built. The last words of
great and good men are thought worthy to be in a special manner
remarked and remembered. David would have those taken notice of, and
added either to his Psalms (as they are here to that in the foregoing
chapter) or to the chronicles of his reign. Those words especially in
2 Samuel 23:5,
though recorded before, we may suppose he often repeated for his own
consolation, even to his last breath, and therefore they are called his
last words. When we find death approaching we should endeavor
both to honour God and to edify those about us with our last words.
Let those that have had long experience of God's goodness and the
pleasantness of wisdom, when they come to finish their course, leave a
record of that experience and bear their testimony to the truth of the
promise. We have upon record the last words of Jacob and Moses, and
here of David, designed, as those, for a legacy to those that were left
behind. We are here told,
I. Whose last will and testament this is. This is related either, or is
usual, by the testator himself, or rather, by the historian,
2 Samuel 23:1.
He is described,
1. By the meanness of his original: He was the son of Jesse. It
is good for those who are advanced to be corner-stones and top-stones
to be reminded, and often to remind themselves, of the rock out of
which they were hewn.
2. The height of his elevation: He was raised up on high, as one
favoured of God, and designed for something great, raised up as a
prince, to sit higher than his neighbours, and as a prophet, to see
(1.) He was the anointed of the God of Jacob, and so was
serviceable to the people of God in their civil interests, the
protection of their country and the administration of justice among
(2.) He was the sweet psalmist of Israel, and so was serviceable
to them in their religious exercises. He penned the psalms, set the
tunes, appointed both the singers and the instruments of music, by
which the devotions of good people were much excited and enlarged.
Note, The singing of psalms is a sweet ordinance, very agreeable to
those that delight in praising God. It is reckoned among the honours to
which David was raised up that he was a psalmist: in that he was as
truly great as in his being the anointed of the God of Jacob.
Note, It is true preferment to be serviceable to the church in acts of
devotion and instrumental to promote the blessed work of prayer and
praise. Observe, Was David a prince? He was so for Jacob. Was he a
psalmist? He was so for Israel. Note, the dispensation of the Spirit is
given to every man to profit withal, and therefore, as every man has
received the gift, so let him minister the same.
II. What the purport of it is. It is an account of his communion with
1. What God said to him both for his direction and for his
encouragement as a king, and to be in like manner, of use to his
successors. Pious persons take a pleasure in calling to mind what they
have heard from God, in recollecting his word, and revolving it in
their minds. Thus what God spoke once David heard twice, yea often. See
(1.) Who spoke: The Spirit of the Lord, the God of Israel, and
the Rock of Israel, which some think is an intimation of the
Trinity of persons in the Godhead--the Father the God of Israel,
the Son the Rock of Israel, and the Spirit proceeding
from the Father and the Son, who spoke by the prophets, and
particularly by David, and whose word was not only in his heart, but in
his tongue for the benefit of others. David here avows his divine
inspiration, that in his psalms, and in this composition, The Spirit
of God spoke by him. He, and other holy men, spoke and wrote as
they were moved by the Holy Ghost. This puts an honour upon the
book of Psalms, and recommends them to our use in our devotions, that
they are words which the Holy Ghost teaches.
(2.) What was spoken. Here seems to be a distinction made between what
the Spirit of God spoke by David, which includes all his psalms,
and what the Rock of Israel spoke to David, which concerned
himself and his family. Let ministers observe that those by whom God
speaks to others are concerned to hear and heed what he speaks to
themselves. Those whose office it is to teach others their duty must be
sure to learn and do their own. Now that which is here said
(2 Samuel 23:3,4)
may be considered,
[1.] With application to David, and his royal family. And so here is,
First, The duty of magistrates enjoined them. When a king was
spoken to from God he was not to be complimented with the height of his
dignity and the extent of his power, but to be told his duty. "Must is
for the king," we say. Here is a must for the king: He must
be just, ruling in the fear of God; and so must all inferior
magistrates in their places. Let rulers remember that they rule over
men--not over beasts which they may enslave and abuse at pleasure, but
over reasonable creatures and of the same rank with themselves. They
rule over men that have their follies and infirmities, and therefore
must be borne with. They rule over men, but under God, and for him; and
1. They must be just, both to those over whom they rule, in allowing
them their rights and properties, and between those over whom they
rule, using their power to right the injured against the injurious; see
It is not enough that they do no wrong, but they must not suffer wrong
to be done.
2. They must rule in the fear of God, that is, they must themselves be
possessed with a fear of God, by which they will be effectually
restrained from all acts of injustice and oppression. Nehemiah was so
So did not I, because of the fear of God), and Joseph,
They must also endeavor to promote the fear of God (that is, the
practice of religion) among those over whom they rule. The magistrate
is to be the keeper of both tables, and to protect both godliness and
honesty. Secondly, Prosperity promised them if they do, this
duty. He that rules in the fear of God shall be as the light
of the morning,
2 Samuel 23:4.
Light is sweet and pleasant, and he that does his duty shall have the
comfort of it; his rejoicing will be the testimony of his conscience.
Light is bright, and a good prince is illustrious; his justice and
piety will be his honour. Light is a blessing, nor are there any
greater and more extensive blessings to the public than princes that
rule in the fear of God. As the light of the morning,
which is most welcome after the darkness of the night (so was David's
government after Saul's,
which is increasing, shines more and more to the perfect day, such is
the growing lustre of a good government. It is likewise compared to the
tender grass, which the earth produces for the service of man; it
brings with it a harvest of blessings. See
which were also some of the last words of David, and seem to refer to
those recorded here.
[2.] With application to Christ, the Son of David, and then it must all
be taken as a prophecy, and the original will bear it: There shall
be a rule among men, or over men, that shall be just, and
shall rule in the fear of God, that is, shall order the affairs
of religion and divine worship according to his Father's will; and he
shall be as the light to the morning, &c., for he is the light
of the world, and as the tender grass, for he is the branch
of the Lord, and the fruit of the earth,
xxxii. 1, 2; Ps. lxxii. 2.
God, by the Spirit, gave David the foresight of this, to comfort him
under the many calamities of his family and the melancholy prospects he
had of the degeneracy of his seed.
2. What comfortable use he made of this which God spoke to him, and
what were his devout meditations on it, by way of reply,
2 Samuel 23:5.
It is not unlike his meditation on occasion of such a message,
2 Samuel 7:18-29,
&c. That which goes before the Rock of Israel spoke to him; this
the Spirit of God spoke by him, and it is a most excellent
confession of his faith and hope in the everlasting covenant. Here
(1.) Trouble supposed: Although my house be not so with God, and
although he make it not to grow. David's family was not so with
God as is described
(2 Samuel 23:3,4),
and as he could wish, not so good, not so happy; it had not been so
while he lived; he foresaw it would not be so when he was gone, that
his house would be neither so pious nor so prosperous as one might have
expected the offspring of such a father to be.
[1.] Not so with God. Note, We and ours are that really which we
are with God. This was what David's heart was upon concerning his
children, that they might be right with God, faithful to him and
zealous for him. But the children of godly parents are often neither so
holy nor so happy as might be expected. We must be made to know that it
is corruption, not grace, that runs in the blood, that the race is not
to the swift, but that God gives his Spirit as a free-agent.
[2.] Not made to grow, in number, in power; it is God that makes
families to grow or not to grow,
Good men have often the melancholy prospect of a declining family.
David's house was typical of the church of Christ, which is his house,
Suppose this be not so with God as we could wish, suppose it be
diminished, distressed, disgraced, and weakened, by errors and
corruptions, yea, almost extinct, yet God has made a covenant with the
church's head, the Son of David, that he will preserve to him a seed,
that the gates of hell shall never prevail against his house. This our
Saviour comforted himself with in his sufferings, that the covenant
with him stood firm,
(2.) Comfort ensured: Yet he hath made with me an everlasting
covenant. Whatever trouble a child of God may have the prospect of,
still he has some comfort or other to balance it with
(2 Corinthians 4:8,9),
and there is none like this of the Psalmist, which may be understood,
[1.] Of the covenant of royalty (in the type) which God made with David
and his seed, touching the kingdom,
[2.] It must look further, to the covenant of grace made with all
believers, that God will be, in Christ, to them a God, which was
signified by the covenant of royalty, and therefore the promises of the
covenant are called the sure mercies of David,
It is this only that is the everlasting covenant, and it cannot be
imagined that David, who, in so many of his psalms, speaks so clearly
concerning Christ and the grace of the gospel, should forget it in his
last words. God has made a covenant of grace with us in Jesus Christ,
and we are here told, First, That it is an everlasting
covenant, from everlasting in the contrivance and counsel of it, and to
everlasting in the continuance and consequences of it. Secondly,
That it is ordered, well ordered in all things, admirably well,
to advance the glory of God and the honour of the Mediator, together
with the holiness and comfort of believers. It is herein well ordered,
that whatever is required in the covenant is promised, and that every
transgression in the covenant does not throw us out of covenant, and
that it puts our salvation, not in our own keeping, but in the keeping
of a Mediator. Thirdly, That it is sure, and
therefore sure because well ordered; the general offer of it is
sure; the promised mercies are sure on the performance of the
conditions. The particular application of it to true believers is sure;
it is sure to all the seed. Fourthly, That it is all our
salvation. Nothing but this will save us, and this is sufficient:
it is this only upon which our salvation depends. Fifthly, That
therefore it must be all our desire. Let me have an interest in
this covenant and the promises of it, and I have enough, I desire no
3. Here is the doom of the sons of Belial read,
2 Samuel 23:6,7.
(1.) They shall be thrust away as thorns--rejected, abandoned. They are
like thorns, not to be touched with hands, so passionate and furious
that they cannot be managed or dealt with by a wise and faithful
reproof, but must be restrained by law and the sword of justice
and therefore, like thorns,
(2.) They shall, at length, be utterly burnt with fire in the same
Now this is intended,
[1.] As a direction to magistrates to use their power for the punishing
and suppressing of wickedness. Let them thrust away the sons of
[2.] As a caution to magistrates, and particularly to David's sons and
successors, to see that they be not themselves sons of Belial (as too
many of them were), for then neither the dignity of their place nor
their relation to David would secure them from being thrust away by the
righteous judgments of God. Though men could not deal with them, God
[3.] As a prediction of the ruin of all the implacable enemies of
Christ's kingdom. There are enemies without, that openly oppose it and
fight against it, and enemies within, that secretly betray it and are
false to it; both are sons of Belial, children of the wicked one, of
the serpent's seed; both are as thorns, grievous and vexatious: but
both shall be so thrust away as that Christ will set up his kingdom in
despite of their enmity, will go through them
and will, in due time, bless his church with such peace that there
shall be no pricking brier nor grieving thorn. And those that
will not repent, to give glory to God, shall, in the judgment-day (to
which the Chaldee paraphrast refers this), be burnt with unquenchable
David's Mighty Men.
B. C. 1054.
8 These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The
Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the
same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight
hundred, whom he slew at one time.
9 And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite,
one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the
Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and
the men of Israel were gone away:
10 He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was
weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a
great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to
11 And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite.
And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where
was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from
12 But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it,
and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.
13 And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David
in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of
the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim.
14 And David was then in a hold, and the garrison of the
Philistines was then in Bethlehem.
15 And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink
of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!
16 And the three mighty men brake through the host of the
Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that
was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David:
nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto
17 And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do
this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of
their lives? therefore he would not drink it. These things did
these three mighty men.
18 And Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was
chief among three. And he lifted up his spear against three
hundred, and slew them, and had the name among three.
19 Was he not most honourable of three? therefore he was their
captain: howbeit he attained not unto the first three.
20 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man,
of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of
Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in
time of snow:
21 And he slew an Egyptian, a goodly man: and the Egyptian had
a spear in his hand; but he went down to him with a staff, and
plucked the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, and slew him with
his own spear.
22 These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the
name among three mighty men.
23 He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not
to the first three. And David set him over his guard.
24 Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan
the son of Dodo of Bethlehem,
25 Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite,
26 Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite,
27 Abiezer the Anethothite, Mebunnai the Hushathite,
28 Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite,
29 Heleb the son of Baanah, a Netophathite, Ittai the son of
Ribai out of Gibeah of the children of Benjamin,
30 Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash,
31 Abialbon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite,
32 Eliahba the Shaalbonite, of the sons of Jashen, Jonathan,
33 Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite,
34 Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite,
Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,
35 Hezrai the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite,
36 Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite,
37 Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Beerothite, armourbearer to
Joab the son of Zeruiah,
38 Ira an Ithrite, Gareb an Ithrite,
39 Uriah the Hittite: thirty and seven in all.
I. The catalogue which the historian has here left upon record of the
great soldiers that were in David's time is intended,
1. For the honour of David, who trained them up in the arts of
exercises of war, and set them an example of conduct and courage. It
is the reputation as well as the advantage of a prince to be attended
and served by such brave men as are here described.
2. For the honour of those worthies themselves, who were instrumental
to bring David to the crown, settle and protect him in the throne, and
enlarge his conquests. Note, Those that in public stations venture
themselves, and lay out themselves, to serve the interests of their
country, are worthy of double honour, both to be respected by those of
their own age and to be remembered by posterity.
3. To excite those that come after to a generous emulation.
4. To show how much religion contributes to the inspiring of men with
true courage. David, both by his psalms and by his offerings for the
service of the temple, greatly promoted piety among the grandees of the
(1 Chronicles 29:6),
and, when they became famous for piety, they became famous for
II. Now these mighty men are here divided into three ranks:--
1. The first three, who had done the greatest exploits and thereby
gained the greatest reputation--Adino
(2 Samuel 23:8),
(2 Samuel 23:9,10),
2 Samuel 23:11,12.
I do not remember that we read of any of these, or of their actions,
any where in all the story of David but here and in the parallel place,
1 Chron. xi.
Many great and remarkable events are passed by in the annals, which
relate rather the blemishes than the glories of David's reign,
especially after his sin in the matter Uriah; so that we may conclude
his reign to have been really more illustrious than it has appeared to
us while reading the records of it. The exploits of this brave
triumvirate are here recorded. They signalized themselves in the wars
of Israel against their enemies, especially the Philistines.
(1.) Adino slew 800 at once with his spear.
(2.) Eleazar defied the Philistines, as they by Goliath, had defied
Israel, but with better success and greater bravery; for when the men
of Israel had gone away, he not only kept his ground, but arose, and
smote the Philistines, on whom God struck a terror equal to the
courage with which this great hero was inspired. His hand was weary,
and yet it clave to his sword; as long as he had any strength remaining
he held his weapon and followed his blow. Thus, in the service of God,
we should keep up the willingness and resolution of the spirit,
notwithstanding the weakness and weariness of the flesh--faint, yet
the hand weary, yet not quitting the sword. Now that Eleazar had beaten
the enemy, the men of Israel, who had gone away from the battle
(2 Samuel 23:9),
returned to spoil,
2 Samuel 23:10.
It is common for those who quit the field, when any thing is to be done
to hasten to it when any thing is to be gotten.
(3.) Shammah met with a party of the enemy, that were foraging, and
2 Samuel 23:11,12.
But observe, both concerning this exploit and the former, it is here
said, The Lord wrought a great victory. Note, How great soever
the bravery of the instruments is, the praise of the achievement must
be given to God. These fought the battles, but God wrought the
victory. Let not the strong man then glory in his strength, nor in any
of his military operations, but let him that glories glory in the
2. The next three were distinguished from, and dignified above, the
thirty, but attained not to the first three,
2 Samuel 23:23.
All great men are not of the same size. Many a bright and benign star
there is which is not of the first magnitude, and many a good ship not
of the first rate. Of this second triumvirate two only are named,
Abishai and Benaiah, whom we have often met with in the story of David,
and who seem to have been not inferior in serviceableness, though they
were in dignity, to the first three. Here is,
(1.) A brave action of these three in conjunction. They attended David
in his troubles, when he absconded, in the cave of Adullam
(2 Samuel 23:13),
suffered with him, and therefore were afterwards preferred by him. When
David and his brave men who attended him, who had acted so vigorously
against the Philistines, were, by the iniquity of the times, in Saul's
reign, driven to shelter themselves from his rage in caves and strong
holds, no marvel that the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim,
and put a garrison even in Bethlehem itself,
2 Samuel 23:13,14.
If the church's guides are so misled as to persecute some of her best
friends and champions, the common enemy will, no doubt, get advantage
by it. If David had had his liberty, Bethlehem would not have been now
in the Philistines' hands. But, being so, we are here told,
[1.] How earnestly David longed for the water of the well of Bethlehem.
Some make it a public-spirited wish, and that he meant, "O that we
could drive the garrison of the Philistines out of Bethlehem, and make
that beloved city of mine our own again!" the well being put for the
city, as the river often signifies the country it passes through. But
if he meant so, those about him did not understand him; therefore it
seems rather to be an instance of his weakness. It was harvest-time;
the weather was hot; he was thirsty; perhaps good water was scarce, and
therefore he earnestly wished, "O that I could but have one draught of
the water of the well of Bethlehem!" With the water of that well he had
often refreshed himself when he was a youth, and nothing now will serve
him but that, though it is almost impossible to come at it. He
strangely indulged a humour which he could give no reason for. Other
water might quench his thirst as well, but he had a fancy for that
above any. It is folly to entertain such fancies and greater folly to
insist upon the gratification of them. We ought to check our appetites
when they go out inordinately towards those things that really are more
pleasant and grateful than other things (Be not desirous of
dainties), much more when they are thus set upon such things as
only please a humour.
[2.] How bravely his three mighty men, Abishai, Benaiah, and another
not named, ventured through the camp of the Philistines, upon the very
mouth of danger, and fetched water from the well of Bethlehem, without
2 Samuel 23:16.
When he wished for it he was far from desiring that any of his men
should venture their lives for it; but those three did, to show,
First, How much they valued their prince, and with what pleasure
they could run the greatest hardships in his service. David, though
anointed king, was as yet an exile, a poor prince that had no external
advantages to recommend him to the affection and esteem of his
attendants, nor was he in any capacity to prefer or reward them; yet
those three were thus zealous for his satisfaction, firmly believing
the time of recompence would come. Let us be willing to venture in the
cause of Christ, even when it is a suffering cause, as those who are
assured that it will prevail and that we shall not lose by it at last.
Were they so forward to expose themselves upon the least hint of their
prince's mind and so ambitious to please him? And shall not we covet to
approve ourselves to our Lord Jesus by a ready compliance with every
intimation of his will given us by his word, Spirit and providence?
Secondly, How little they feared the Philistines. They were glad
of an occasion to defy them. Whether they broke through the host
clandestinely, and with such art that the Philistines did not discover
them, or openly, and with such terror in their looks that the
Philistines durst not oppose them, is not certain; it should seem, they
forced their way, sword in hand. But see,
[3.] How self-denyingly David, when he had this far-fetched dear-bought
water, poured it out before the Lord,
2 Samuel 23:17.
First, Thus he would show the tender regard he had to the lives
of his soldiers, and how far he was from being prodigal of their blood,
In God's sight the death of his saints is precious. Secondly,
Thus he would testify his sorrow for speaking that foolish word which
occasioned those men to put their lives in their hands. Great men
should take heed what they say, lest any bad use be made of it by those
about them. Thirdly, Thus he would prevent the like rashness in
any of his men for the future. Fourthly, Thus he would cross his
own foolish fancy, and punish himself for entertaining and indulging
it, and show that he had sober thoughts to correct his rash ones, and
knew how to deny himself even in that which he was most fond of. Such
generous mortifications become the wise, the great, and the good.
Fifthly, Thus he would honour God and give glory to him. The
water purchased at this rate he thought too precious for his own
drinking and fit only to be poured out to God as a drink-offering. If
it was the blood of these men, it was God's due, for the blood was
always his. Sixthly, Bishop Patrick speaks of some who think
that David hereby showed that it was not material water he longed for,
but the Messiah, who had the water of life, who, he knew, should be
born at Bethlehem, which the Philistines therefore should not be able
to destroy. Seventhly, Did David look upon that water as very
precious which was got at the hazard of these men's blood, and shall
not we much more value those benefits for the purchasing of which our
blessed Saviour shed his blood? Let us not undervalue the blood of the
covenant, as those do that undervalue the blessings of the
(2.) The brave actions of two of them on other occasions. Abishai slew
300 men at once,
2 Samuel 23:18,19.
Benaiah did many great things.
[1.] He slew two Moabites that were lion-like men, so bold and strong,
so fierce and furious.
[2.] He slew an Egyptian, on what occasion it is not said; he was well
armed but Benaiah attacked him with no other weapon than a walking
staff, dexterously wrested his spear out of his hand, and slew him with
2 Samuel 23:21.
For these and similar exploits David preferred him to be captain of the
life-guard or standing forces,
2 Samuel 23:23.
3. Inferior to the second three, but of great note, were the thirty-one
here mentioned by name,
2 Samuel 23:24-39,
&c. Asahel is the first, who was slain
by Abner in the beginning of David's reign, but lost not his place in
this catalogue. Elhanan is the next, brother to Eleazar, one of the
2 Samuel 23:9.
The surnames here given them are taken, as it should seem, from the
places of their birth or habitation, as many surnames with us
originally were. From all parts of the nation, the most wise and
valiant were picked up to serve the king. Several of those who are
named we find captains of the twelve courses which David appointed, one
for each month in the year,
1 Chronicles 27:1-5.
Those that did worthily were preferred according to their merits. One
of them was the son of Ahithophel
(2 Samuel 23:34),
the son famous in the camp as the father at the council-board. But to
find Uriah the Hittite bringing up the rear of these worthies, as it
revives the remembrance of David's sin, so it aggravates it, that a man
who deserved so well of his king and country should be so ill treated.
Joab is not mentioned among all these, either,
(1.) to be mentioned; the first, of the first three sat chief among the
captains, but Joab was over them as general. Or,
(2.) Because he was so bad that he did not deserve to be mentioned; for
though he was confessedly a great soldier, and one that had so much
religion in him as to dedicate of his spoils to the house of God
(1 Chronicles 21:28),
yet he lost as much honour by slaying two of David's friends as ever he
got by slaying his enemies.
Christ, the Son of David, has his worthies too, who like David's, are
influenced by his example, fight his battles against the spiritual
enemies of his kingdom, and in his strength are more than conquerors.
Christ's apostles were his immediate attendants, did and suffered great
things for him, and at length came to reign with him. They are
mentioned with honour in the New Testament, as these in the Old,
Nay, all the good soldiers of Jesus Christ have their names better
preserved than even these worthies have; for they are written in
heaven. This honour have all his saints.
Matthew Henry "Verse by Verse Commentary for '2 Samuel' Matthew Henry Bible Commentary".