Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 8:13

So David made a name for himself when he returned from killing 18,000 Arameans in the Valley of Salt.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Hadadezer;   Salt;   Syria;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Salt;   Syria;   Valleys;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Philistines;   Salt;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Edom;   Israel;   Palestine;   Salt;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Amos, Theology of;   Israel;   Obadiah, Theology of;   Easton Bible Dictionary - David;   Euphrates;   Rabbah;   Salt, Valley of;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Abishai;   Amaziah;   Edom;   Joab;   Psalms;   Salt;   Salt, Valley of;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Edom;   Esau;   Hadad-Ezer;   King, Kingship;   Salt, Valley of;   Samuel, Books of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - David;   Edom, Edomites;   Israel;   Salt, Valley of;   Samuel, Books of;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Abishai ;   Salt, Valley of;   Yale, Valley;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Salt valley of;   Smith Bible Dictionary - E'dom, Idumae'a;   Salt, Valley of,;   Syr'ia;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - War;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Edom;   Salt;   Salt, Valley of;   Vale;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Edox, Idumea;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

David gat him a name - Became a very celebrated and eminent man. The Targum has it, David collected troops; namely, to recruit his army when he returned from smiting the Syrians. His many battles had no doubt greatly thinned his army.

The valley of salt - Supposed to be a large plain abounding in this mineral, about a league from the city of Palmyra or Tadmor in the wilderness.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:13". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-samuel-8.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The Syrians - Read the Edomites, as in marginal references (compare Psalm 60:1-12 title), and as the context 2 Samuel 8:14 requires. For a further account of this war of extermination with Edom, see 1 Kings 11:15-16. The war with Edom was of some duration, not without serious reverses and dangers to the Israelites (2 Samuel 8:2 note). The different accounts probably relate to different parts of the campaign.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-samuel-8.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

DAVID'S VICTORY OVER THE EDOMITES

"And David won a name for himself. When he returned he slew eighteen thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt. And he put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom he put garrisons, and all the Edomites became David's servants. And the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went."

Evidently the reason for the inclusion of this episode at this point in the narrative lies in its contrast with the conquest of the extreme northeast just related. "The Valley of Salt lay in the extreme south of the Arabah, southward from the Dead Sea."[17] Two great victories of the Israelites were won in this valley. In addition to this one, "Two centuries later, Amaziah king of Judah defeated another 10,000 Edomites and captured Sela."[18]

"David slew eighteen thousand of the Edomites" (2 Samuel 8:13). The avid seekers of `contradictions' or `discrepancies' are diligent to point out that David is here said to have slain those Edomites, but that 1 Chronicles 18:13 ascribes the victory to Abishai, and that 1 Kings 11:15-16 and the heading of Psalms 60 declare that it was Joab who did it! However, as Willis noted, "David was involved as king, Joab as commander of the army, and Abishai had charge of that particular battle."[19] In the same way it is correct to say that President Bush, Secretary of Defense Cheney, or General Schwartzkopf won the victory in Desert Storm.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:13". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/2-samuel-8.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And David gat him a name,.... Fame and reputation in the several nations of the world for valour and courage, for the many and signal victories that he obtained; the Jewish writers generally refer this to his humanity in burying the dead bodies of his enemies slain in war, which gained him great esteem among all, and even his very enemies; but nothing of that kind is pointed at here, but his conquests: or "he made himself a name"; erected a triumphal archF2So Hieron. Trad. Heb. in 2 Reg. fol. 78. D. in memory of his victories:

when he returned from smiting of the Syrians in the valley of salt,

being eighteen thousand men; in the relation of this fact in different places some difficulties arise, both as to the people smitten, and their numbers, and by whom; in this place they are said to be Syrians, but in 1 Chronicles 18:12, and in the title of Psalm 60:1, which was composed on account of these victories, they are called Edomites, and said to be of Edom; which may be reconciled by observing, that the Syrians and Edomites were confederates in this war; and that whereas the latter were auxiliaries to the former, the whole body of the army might be called Syrians, of which twenty two thousand were slain that were properly Syrians, and eighteen thousand Edomites, in all forty thousand; which was a very great slaughter: or the sense is, that when he had smitten the twenty two thousand Syrians, and was upon the return, he met with a body of Edomites, who came to the assistance of the Syrians, and he slew eighteen thousand of them; and the Jews say, as Jarchi observes, there were two battles; and if so, this would remove all the difficulties started; as for the numbers slain, here eighteen thousand, and Psalm 60:1, twelve thousand, it is reconciled by observing, that Abishai first began the attack upon the Edomites, and slew six thousand of them; and then Joab fell upon them, and slew twelve thousand more, in all eighteen thousand; in 1 Chronicles 18:12, this slaughter is ascribed to Abishai, because he began it, even the whole number; and in Psalm 60:1, to Joab, the twelve thousand slain by him, who seconded Abishai; and the whole is here attributed to David, because he was king, under whom Abishai and Joab served as generals: and no less difficult is it to ascertain the place where this slaughter was made, called "the valley of salt": it seems by our text that it was in Syria, but in other places as if it was in Edom; see 2 Kings 14:7; but in Edom itself is no such valley to be found, though there is in Syria; one travellerF3Cartwright's Preacher's Travels, p. 11. tells us, that in the way from Aleppo to the banks of Euphrates are many villages, among which is one of note, called Tedith, famous for a synod held here by the Jews, in the year from the creation 3498, of which Ezra was the scribe; when were placed the books of the Old Testament in the order in which they now are; and near this town, he says, is the valley of salt, memorable for the victory here recorded: others sayF4Egmont and Heyman's Travels, vol. 2. p. 347. about three or four hours' journey from Aleppo is the valley of salt, near which is a salt spring, whose waters running over the place leave, when dried by the sun, a great quantity of excellent salt; this salt is thrown together in the Gabboul, or salt house; but by othersF5See Lowthorp's Philosophical Transactions abridged, vol. 3. p. 504. we are informed, that near about an hour's distance from the city of Tadmor, see 1 Kings 9:18 2 Chronicles 8:3, is to be seen a large valley of salt, affording great quantities thereof; and it is thought that this is more probably the valley of salt mentioned here, than another which lies about four hours from Aleppo, and has sometimes passed for it; and which the above accounts show: but a modern writerF6Halifax apud Calmet's Dictionary in the Word "Salt". , in his account of Palmyra, the same with Tadmor, speaks of a great plain, all covered with salt, from whence the whole country round is supplied. This plain is about a league from Palmyra, and extends itself towards the eastern part of Idumea (or Edom) the capital city of which was Bozra; and indeed this valley being both in Syria, and reaching to the borders of Edom, bids fair to be the valley here spoken of.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-8.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

David gat him a name when he returned from smiting of the Syrians — Instead of Syrians, the Septuagint version reads “Edomites,” which is the true reading, as is evident from 2 Samuel 8:14. This conquest, made by the army of David, was due to the skilful generalship and gallantry of Abishai and Joab. (1 Chronicles 18:12; compare Psalm 60:1, title.) The valley was the ravine of salt (the Ghor), adjoining the Salt Mountain, at the southwestern extremity of the Dead Sea, separating the ancient territories of Judah and Edom [Robinson].

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-samuel-8.html. 1871-8.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

(13) And David gat him a name when he returned from smiting of the Syrians in the valley of salt, being eighteen thousand men.

The high reputation of David is again noticed in this battle with the Syrians, in the valley of Salt. And whoever reads with attention, David's holy triumph upon the occasion, which he wrote upon it, will be enabled to form suitable ideas of the well-founded reason. Who will lead me (says he) into the strong city? Who will bring me into Edom? David in this song asks the question, and answers it himself. God will. It is thou which goeth forth with our armies. And hence, in the confidence of this, David considers himself, even before the battle, as already in possession of the territories of the enemy. God hath spoken in his holiness; (saith he) I will rejoice: I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth. Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of my head; Judah is my lawgiver. Moab is my wash pot; over Edom will I cast out my shoe: Philistia, triumph thou because of me. See Psalms 60:6-8. How beautiful it is to behold the triumphs of faith realizing the promises, and absolutely entering upon the enjoyment of blessings by anticipation before they come. Reader! may not all true believers in Christ do the same? If we heartily believe the record that God hath given of his Son, may we not exultingly cry out; Jesus is mine; God the Father is mine; the Holy Ghost is mine; all blessings in providence and grace, in heaven and earth are mine; for I am Christ's, and Christ is God's, 1 Corinthians 3:22-23.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:13". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/2-samuel-8.html. 1828.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 8:13 And David gat [him] a name when he returned from smiting of the Syrians in the valley of salt, [being] eighteen thousand [men].

Ver. 13. And David gat him a name.] He set him up a triumphal arch or trophy, saith Abulensis and others; he was worthily renowned and reckoned amongst the world’s worthies; he was everywhere cried up for a great warrior and a famous conqueror.

From smiting of the Syrians.] Amongst whom also were very many of the Edomites, who here met with their bane, and lost the library of their country. See 1 Chronicles 18:12, Psalms 60:1, title: which psalm David sang at this time, and on this occasion.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-8.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Samuel 8:13. David gat him a name, &c.— To get a name, in the Eastern style, does not mean to be called by this or that particular name, but to be celebrated as a happy and glorious person. Thus it is joined with praise, Zephaniah 3:20. It is said of God himself, upon account of the signs and wonders he wrought in Egypt, thou hast made thee a name; which our version in Daniel 9:15 renders, thou hast gotten thee renown. And thus David got him a name; i.e. as God tells him by Nathan, ch. 2 Samuel 7:9. I was with thee, &c.—and have made thee a great name, &c. i.e. made thee esteemed and reverenced in all the countries round about, as a mighty prince and a successful warrior; a name which he must have had from the Syrians as well as Jews, and from all his enemies whom he subdued by his valour. Houbigant translates the passage thus: Moreover David, having conquered Syria, when he returned, waged war with the Edomites in the valley of Salt, and slew of them eighteen thousand men. His note is ingenious, and his criticisms, to which we refer the reader, seem very just. Dr. Delaney supposes, that upon this occasion David wrote the 99th Psalm. See the 4th verse of which, and compare with the 15th of this chapter. Note; (1.) Whatever is great or good in us, let God alone have the praise of it. (2.) These conquests typify the greater ones of David's Son and Lord. He must reign till he has put all his enemies under his feet, subdued sin, and destroyed death and hell; when, having rescued his people from all their enemies round about, he shall make them princes and kings in glory, where they shall reign with him.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:13". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-samuel-8.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible

Gat him a name, i.e. much increased his reputation. The Syrians, or Edomites, as they are said to be, 1 Chronicles 18:12. It is likely these two people were confederates, and that divers of the Syrians whom David had defeated in Syria fled to Edom, and there joined with them against their common enemy, and made up together a very great army, (as the number of the men slain in it showeth,) consisting of the veteran soldiers of both countries; although the slaughter here following may seem not to have been of the Syrians, as the words at first reading seem to intimate, but of the Edomites; (it not being probable that the Syrians would come so far from their own country, as to the valley of salt, to fight;) and this verse may be read thus, and that very agreeably to the Hebrew:

And David gat him a name when he returned from smiting of the Syrians, in smiting (which is easily repeated out of the last clause, according to the common usage of Scripture)

in the valley of salt eighteen thousand men, who were Edomites, as is sufficiently implied here in the next verse, and expressed 1 Chronicles 18:12.

The valley of salt; a place in Edom so called, either from its neighbourhood to the Salt Sea, or for some other cause now unknown. Being eighteen thousand men; as it is also 1 1 Chronicles 18:12, where also they are said to be smitten by Abishai, because he was then a chief commander of the army under David, and, it may be, began the fight; as, for the like reason, they are said to be smitten by Joab, Psalms 60:1, where also there are only 12,000 mentioned; which place, if it speak of this battle, the state of it was this: Abishai begins the combat, and kills 6000; after him comes in Joab, and kills 12,000 more, which makes up this 18,000. But why may not that be another history and battle? So the Edomites and Syrians together did first fight with Abishai, and lost 18,000 men, and afterwards recruited their forces and fought with Joab, and lost other 12,000 men. Nor is it strange if two battles were fought in one place; of which there are divers instances in historians.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:13". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-samuel-8.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

13.Gat him a name — Or, made him a monument, for שׁם, name, is sometimes used in this sense. On his return he erected a memorial of his triumphs, and probably also celebrated them with a grand triumphal procession and a splendid exhibition of his spoils.

From smiting of the Syrians in the valley of salt — But the Syrians were not smitten in the valley of salt, for this valley is undoubtedly the great plain to the south of the Dead Sea, which abounds in rock salt and brackish springs and streams. Here, at a later day, Amaziah slew ten thousand Edomites. 2 Kings 14:7. The text of this verse is therefore faulty, and to be corrected from the parallel passage in 1 Chronicles 18:12, which says that Abishai, the brother of Joab and a distinguished warrior of David’s army, “slew of the Edomites in the valley of salt eighteen thousand men.” The difference between את אדם, the Edomites, and את ארם, the Syrians, is so slight that a copyist might easily mistake one for the other. Read therefore: From smiting the Edomites in the valley of salt. 1 Kings 11:15-16, affords a few more items of this Edomite war. Joab remained there with the host of Israel for six months, until he had smitten every male. So David, Joab, and Abishai are all spoken of as engaged in the conquest of Edom: David, as the royal head of the army and the nation; Joab, as captain or chief general; and Abishai, as having in this war signalized his valour by daring exploits, and leading his division of men into positions which met the chief brunt of the battle. To celebrate these victories David composed Psalms 60.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:13". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-8.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Name, or triumphal arch. (Rabbins) --- He acquired great fame, chap. xvii. 9., and 1 Machabees v. 57. (Menochius) --- Syria, which is styled Aram in Hebrew. The Septuagint have read Edom, or Idumea, as the two names have often been confounded, on account of the similarity of the letters. The following verse seems favourable to this reading, as well as the title of the Psalm lix; and 1 Paralipomenon xviii. 12, says, Abisai....slew of the Edomites, in the valley of the salt-pits, 18,000. It is probable that David was present. This Idumea was on the east of the Dead Sea, and had Bosra for its capital. The salt-pits might be a great plain, about three miles south of Palmyra or Thadmor, which supplies almost all Syria with salt. (Brun.) (Calmet) --- Othes think that the borders of the most salt lake of Sodom are denoted. (Menochius) See Genesis xiv. 10.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:13". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-8.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

gat him = made himself.

smiting = his smiting. This is David"s exploit. In 1 Chronicles 18:3, 1 Chronicles 18:12 it is Abishai"s command, while in title of Psa 60 (Psalms 60:1) it is Joab"s share in the campaign (1 Kings 11:16).

eighteen thousand. This is the total. Joab"s share was 12,000, and took six months longer. Compare 1 Kings 11:13, 1 Kings 11:16.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:13". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-samuel-8.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And David gat him a name when he returned from smiting of the Syrians in the valley of salt, being eighteen thousand men.

Returned from smiting of the Syrians, [ 'et (Hebrew #854) 'Araam (Hebrew #758). Instead of Syrians, the Septuagint version has Edomites, the Septuagint having read 'Edowm (Hebrew #123) (1 Chronicles 18:12), which is the true, reading, as is evident from 2 Samuel 8:14 (see Davidson's 'Hebrew Text of the Old Testament,' in loco.)] This conquest, made by the army of David, was due to the skillful generalship and gallantry of Ahishai and Joab (1 Chronicles 18:12 : cf. Psalms 60:1-12, title). The valley was the ravine of Salt, in the neighbourhood of Sela, at the foot of Jebel Usdum (the Ghor, or upper part of the Arabah), adjoining the Salt Mountain, at the southwestern extremity of the Dead Sea, separating the ancient territories of Judah and Edom (Robinson's, 'Biblical Researchers,' 2:, p. 283; Porter's 'Handbook,' p. 61; Stanley, 'Sinai and Palestine,' p. 478).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-samuel-8.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(13) When he returned from smiting of the Syrians.—Possibly, from the similarity in the original between Syria and Edom (see 2 Samuel 8:3; 2 Samuel 8:12), the words “he smote Edom” have dropped out of the text, but this supposition is not necessary. The course of affairs appears to have been as follows:—the war was originally undertaken against the Ammonites (2 Samuel 10:1-12), who had obtained the aid of the Syrians. In the first campaign their combined armies were defeated (2 Samuel 10:13-14), and they sought aid from every quarter, from the tribes beyond the Euphrates, on the north (2 Samuel 10:16), and from the Edomites on the south. David first inflicted a crushing defeat upon the allies near Hamath, and then “returned” to the south, where he again met them in “the valley of salt”—the Arabalt south of the Dead Sea, this latter army being naturally chiefly composed of Edomites, and so called in 1 Chronicles 18:12, and in the title of Psalms 60, but here spoken of as Syrians because the whole confederacy is called by the name of its most powerful member. David himself returned from the southern campaign; but what was done by his general, Abishai, under his orders, is naturally said to have been done by him. Meantime, when this first battle, attended with the slaughter of 18,000 men, had been won by Abishai, Joab, the general-in-chief, being set free by the victories in the north, gained another battle in the same locality, killing 12,000 (Psalms 60, title). The power of Edom was now completely broken, and the whole forces of Israel were mustered under Joab to overrun their country and destroy all its male inhabitants (1 Kings 11:15-16), certain of them, however, excepted (1 Kings 11:17), and their descendants in after ages were relentless foes of Israel. (Comp. the prophecy of Isaac, Genesis 27:40.)

In this summary of David’s reign the historian here turns from his wars and victories over other nations to the internal affairs of his kingdom. Substantially the same list of officers is again given in 2 Samuel 20:23-26.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:13". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-8.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And David gat him a name when he returned from smiting of the Syrians in the valley of salt, being eighteen thousand men.
gat him
7:9; 1 Chronicles 18:12; Psalms 60:1; *title
smiting
Heb. his smiting. the valley of salt.
2 Kings 14:7; 2 Chronicles 25:11
being
or, slaying.
Reciprocal: Genesis 11:4 - and let;  2 Samuel 22:38 - General1 Chronicles 17:8 - made thee;  2 Chronicles 26:8 - his name

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-8.html.