Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 8:15

So David reigned over all Israel; and David administered justice and righteousness for all his people.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Cabinet;   David;   Judge;   King;   Types;   Thompson Chain Reference - Justice;   Justice-Injustice;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Justice;   Kings;   Types of Christ;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Philistines;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Justice;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Israel;   Justice;   Samuel, First and Second, Theology of;   Easton Bible Dictionary - David;   Rabbah;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Samuel, the Books of;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Administration;   Samuel, Books of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Shavsha;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Shavsha;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Government;  

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

DAVID'S WISE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE ALSO A LIST OF IMPORTANT SUBORDINATE ADMINISTRATORS

"So David reigned over all Israel; and David administered justice and equity to all his people. And Joab the son of Zeruriah was over the army; and Jehoshaphat, the son of Ahilud, was recorder; and Zadok the son of Ahitub and Ahirnelech the son of Abiathar were priests; and Seriah was secretary; and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David's sons were priests."

This record of David's wise and efficient administration of the affairs of his kingdom must be applied especially to the first half of his reign, before the king's adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband placed him under the judgment of divine punishment from God. There was probably some truth in Absalom's charges at that later time of the king's incompetence.

"Zadok ... and Ahimelech ... were priests" (2 Samuel 8:17). Having two priests was contrary to the Law of Moses (these were actually high priests), but David skillfully contained the situation until during the greater stability of Solomon's kingship, the situation was finally corrected.

Regarding Ahimelech and Abiathar, some manuscripts make Ahimelech the father and Abiathar the son; but Our Lord settled the matter in Mark 2:26 where He made Abiathar the father and the one who gave David the bread of the Presence. The uncertainties resulting from such things are of no special importance; and, if we knew all of the facts, all difficulties would disappear.

We reject the speculation which denies that Zadok was a Levite.[20] "According to Biblical genealogies, both Zadok and Abiathar (or Ahimelech) were descended from Ahitub, a son of Aaron, who was the father of Eleazar and Ithamar, Zadok being descended from Eleazar and Abiathar from Ithamar."[21] A slight variation in the spelling of the name of Ahitub (in some versions) is no excuse whatever for the false notion that "the same person is not necessarily meant in both references."[22]

One other bizarre allegation sometimes leveled against Zadok (2 Samuel 8:17) is that, "He might not even have been a Levite, but some kind of a successor to Melchizedek as a Priest of God Most High in the Jebusite city of Jerusalem. who was accepted by Saul as his High Priest after Saul's murder of the priests of Nob."[23]; SUCH A POSTULATION IS NONSENSE. Saul did not possess Jerusalem; and besides, Melchizedek had no successors, being a "priest for ever." Melchizedek ruled in Salem a thousand years, almost, before the events mentioned here.

"The Cherethites and the Pelethites" (2 Samuel 8:10). "This bodyguard of foreign mercenaries here appears for the first time in Israel's history."[24] Ancient kings considered them more dependable than bodyguards recruited from native populations. Thus, both of these rival High Priests were actually descendants of Aaron and thus eligible for the office of high priest. This refutes the allegation of Bennett that, "The priesthood was not limited either to the house of Aaron nor to that of Levi."[25]

"And David's sons were priests" (2 Samuel 8:18). Some believe that the sons of David actually performed priestly functions, but the Bible has no record of any such thing. Can it be supposed that Absalom was a priest? or that another son of David, the godless Amnon, who raped Tamar (his half-sister; 2 Samuel 13:14) was a priest? Before assigning our reasons for rejecting this rendition here as inaccurate, or, at least, denying absolutely the critical interpretation of the place, it must be said that IF David's sons (any of them) ever served as a priest of God, then such a fact would fit into the typical nature of David; because, certainly, the sons of that "Greater David" (who is Christ) are all priests (1 Peter 2:9).

First, the mention of any ordinary priest in this passage would have been totally out of order. Abiathar (Ahimelech) and Zadok were mentioned because they were High Priests, one elevated by Saul, the other by David. This paragraph is a list of David's administrators for the business of the kingdom, among whom the sons of David were certainly included, as we learn later in the activities of Absalom. The parallel inspired account tells us exactly what were the functions of David's sons. "And David's sons were the chief officials in the service of the king" (1 Chronicles 18:17). In no sense whatever were they `priests.'

"But the word in the text here is PRIESTS." Even the scholars who are tempted to see the meaning here as PRIESTS in the ordinary sense admit that, "David's sons were hardly priests in the sense that Abiathar and Zadok were priests."[26]

Canon Cook gives us the true explanation of this problem: "The word [~kohen] here rendered `chief rulers' (as it stands in the KJV and as `chief ministers' as it stands in the ASV) is the regular word for `a priest.' In the early days of the monarchy, the word had not quite lost its etymological sense from the root meaning `TO MINISTER,' or `TO MANAGE AFFAIRS.' although in later times its technical sense alone survived."[27] From this, it is clear that in the times of David the true meaning of the word is that given in the KJV and in the ASV. Therefore, we do not hesitate to designate the RSV rendition of the word here as "priests, "contrary to the proper rendition of the passage in 1 Chronicles 18:17 by the inspired author - we do not hesitate to designate the RSV in this rendition as a "bastard translation." R. Payne Smith, another very distinguished scholar writing in the Pulpit Commentary has this:

"In the time of the writing of 1Kings, this word [~kohen] as a word for `priest' was already becoming obsolete, as proved by 1 Kings 4:5; and therefore the author of 1 Chronicles 18:17, writing at a still later time, changed the passage to give the correct meaning. We are certain that the Chronicler knew what the passage in 2 Samuel 8:18 meant, and that he was also aware that the word [~kohen] had gone out of use as a term for chief officials; and so he properly rendered the passage thus: `David's sons were the chief officials in the service of the king." [28]

Copyright Statement
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 8:15". "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 reigned over all Israel,.... Not only over Judah, but over all the tribes of Israel, and over the whole land of Canaan, as promised to Abraham, Genesis 15:18; reaching to the river Euphrates, as Syria did, now conquered by David:

and David executed judgment and justice unto all his people; when he returned from his wars, he heard and tried all causes impartially, brought before him, and gave sentence according to the law of God, and administered righteous judgment without any respect to persons; all had justice done them that applied unto him, whether high or low, rich or poor; and indeed during his wars he was not negligent of the civil government of his subjects, and the distribution of justice to them by proper officers, in which he was a type of Christ; see Isaiah 11:5.

Copyright Statement
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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-8.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And David reigned over all Israel; and David executed g judgment and justice unto all his people.

(g) He gave judgment in controversies, and was merciful toward the people.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:15". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-samuel-8.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

2 Samuel 8:15-18. His reign.

David executed judgment and justice unto all his people — Though involved in foreign wars, he maintained an excellent system of government at home, the most eminent men of the age composing his cabinet of ministers.

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:15". "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

(15) ¶ And David reigned over all Israel; and David executed judgment and justice unto all his people.

How delightful to see, and again to have it marked to our notice, to whom David owed all his blessings. And his reign so prosperous, so ordered, so conducted! Surely the Lord was with him. But, Reader, again behold in it, the peaceable kingdom of Jesus strikingly represented; and all David's victories types of the triumphs of David's Lord in the conquests of his cross. It is Jesus who spoiled principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Colossians 2:15. Yes! dearest Lord, we now sing the glories of thy reign of grace; and by and by we shall sing that song of thy reign of glory in heaven. Now is come salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ. Revelation 12:10.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:15". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/2-samuel-8.html. 1828.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 8:15 And David reigned over all Israel; and David executed judgment and justice unto all his people.

Ver. 15. And David reigned over all Israel.] They were his loyal subjects at home; like as his foes abroad were his slaves and vassals; the bounds of his kingdom also were extended to the uttermost, as God had anciently promised.

And David executed judgment and justice.] Fuit severus in quos oportuit, et in quos oportuit misericors, saith Vatablus. Now it was, haply, that "the God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke unto him, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God." [2 Samuel 23:3] David was not puffed up with pride of his many victories, as Nebuchadnezzar; nor did he thereupon give himself to riot and intemperancy, as Alexander; nor did he tyrannise the more over his people, as Saul; but set himself to rule aright, that his throne might be established. [Proverbs 14:34]

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-8.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible

Judgment and Justice, i. e. just judgment, as Deuteronomy 16:18. A figure called hendiadis as in Genesis 3:16 Matthew 4:16.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:15". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-samuel-8.html. 1685.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Samuel 8:15. David reigned over all Israel — He has no disturbance at home, while he was engaged in wars abroad: but all Israel obeyed him. And David executed judgment and justice — That is, either, 1st, Having now finished his foreign wars, he applied himself to the civil government of his people, according to the law of God, which he executed duly by himself, or his judges: or, rather, 2d, Even while he was engaged in so many wars abroad, he did not neglect his people at home; but took care that justice should be administered to them, according to that divine admonition recorded in his last words, 2 Samuel 23:3, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:15". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-samuel-8.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

All Israel, not only over Juda. (Menochius) --- All the people who dwelt within the promised land, as far as the Euphrates, were forced to acknowledge his dominion. (Haydock) --- People, settling their differences, &c. Kings formerly performed in person, the most important office of rendering justice; whence three kings of Crete are mentioned as judges in the realms below. (Calmet) --- David acted with wisdom and justice. (Menochius)

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:15". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-8.html. 1859.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And David reigned over all Israel; and David executed judgment and justice unto all his people.

David executed judgment and justice unto all his people. Though involved in foreign wars, he maintained an excellent system of government at home, the most eminent men of the age composing his cabinet of ministers.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-samuel-8.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And David reigned over all Israel; and David executed judgment and justice unto all his people.
over all Israel
3:12; 5:5
David executed
23:3,4; 1 Chronicles 18:14; Psalms 45:6,7; 72:2; 75:2; 78:71,72; 89:14; 101:1-8; Isaiah 9:7; Jeremiah 22:15,16; 23:5,6; Amos 5:15,24
Reciprocal: 2 Samuel 15:3 - there is;  1 Kings 4:2 - the princes;  1 Kings 10:9 - to do;  2 Kings 15:5 - judging;  1 Chronicles 5:2 - the chief ruler;  2 Chronicles 9:8 - to do judgment;  2 Chronicles 17:3 - he walked;  Psalm 101:2 - behave;  Psalm 119:121 - I have;  Proverbs 29:4 - king;  Proverbs 31:9 - GeneralIsaiah 1:21 - it was full;  Isaiah 11:4 - But with;  Jeremiah 21:12 - Execute;  Ezekiel 16:13 - and thou didst;  Hebrews 7:2 - King of righteousness

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:15". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-8.html.