Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 8:17

Zadok the son of Ahitub and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar were priests, and Seraiah was secretary.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Abiathar;   Ahitub;   Cabinet;   David;   King;   Officer;   Scribe (S);   Secretary (Recordist);   Seraiah;   Thompson Chain Reference - Abiathar;   Scribes;   Zadok;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Kings;   Scribes;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Abiathar;   Ahitub;   Philistines;   Scribe;   Seraiah;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Abiathar;   Zadok;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Scribe;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Ahimelech;   Ahitub;   Eli;   King;   Scribes;   Seraiah;   Shavsha;   Zadok;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Abiathar;   Ahitub;   Education;   Eli;   King;   Pentateuch;   Samuel, the Books of;   Scribes;   Seraiah;   Shavsha;   Sheva;   Writing;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Abiathar;   Abimelech;   Ahimelech;   Ahitub;   King, Kingship;   Occupations and Professions in the Bible;   Samuel, Books of;   Secretary;   Seraiah;   Sheva;   Writing;   Zadok;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Abiathar;   Ahimelech;   Ahitub;   King;   Priests and Levites;   Sadducees;   Samuel, Books of;   Seraiah;   Shavsha;   Writing;   Zadok;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Abiathar;   Sadducees (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Abiathar ;   Abimelech ;   Ahimelech ;   Ahitub ;   Scribes;   Seraiah ;   Shavsha ;   Zadok ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Seraiah;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Abiathar;   Ahitub;   Eli;   Zadok;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Ahi'tub;   E'li;   Scribes;   Sera'iah;   Shav'sha;   She'va;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Abiathar;   Armies;   Scribes;   Zadok;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Abiathar;   Ahijah;   Ahimelech;   Ahitub;   David;   Government;   King;   Priest, High;   Sadducees;   Seraiah;   Shavsha;   Text of the Old Testament;   Writing;   Zadok;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Ahitub;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - High Priest;   King;   Scribes;   Seraiah;   Zadok;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Seraiah - the scribe - Most likely the king's private secretary. See 1 Chronicles 24:3; (note).

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:17". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-samuel-8.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Zadok the son of Ahitub, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, were the priests,.... Not high priests, as JosephusF9Ut supra, (Antiqu. l. 7. c. 5.) sect. 4. suggests, for there was only one high priest at a time; indeed there was a "sagan", or deputy priest, on occasion; and so Abarbinel says that Zadok was the high priest, and Ahimelech his second or deputy; but the truth of the case was this, Abiathar was high priest only, and continued so until the time of Solomon, when he was thrust out of his office, and Zadok put into it; and Ahimelech his son and Zadok were the principal priests under him, the one of the family of Ithamar, the other of Eleazar; so the Targum on 1 Chronicles 18:16 calls them "sagans", or deputies of the high priesthood. Zadok is mentioned first, though Ahimelech was the son of the present high priest, because he was in great favour with David, as afterwards with Solomon, in whose days the high priesthood was translated to him; the family of Eli being now upon the decline, and near being removed from the high priesthood, as was foretold by Samuel it should:

and Seraiah was the scribe; or secretary of state; in 1 Chronicles 18:16 he is called Shavsha; he seems to have had two names.

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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 8:17". "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

and Ahimelech  …  were the priests — On the massacre of the priests at Nob, [1 Samuel 22:19 ], Saul conferred the priesthood on Zadok, of the family of Eleazar (1 Chronicles 6:50), while David acknowledged Ahimelech, of Ithamar‘s family, who fled to him. The two high priests exercised their office under the respective princes to whom they were attached. But, on David‘s obtaining the kingdom over all Israel, they both retained their dignity; Ahimelech officiating at Jerusalem, and Zadok at Gibeon (1 Chronicles 16:39).

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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 8:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-samuel-8.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

Zadok the son of Ahitub, of the line of Eleazar (1 Chronicles 6:8; 1 Chronicles 6:11-12), and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, were cohanim, i.e., officiating high priests; the former at the tabernacle at Gibeon (1 Chronicles 16:39), the latter probably at the ark of the covenant upon Mount Zion. Instead of Ahimelech, the Chronicles have Abimelech, evidently through a copyist's error, as the name is written Ahimelech in 1 Chronicles 24:3, 1 Chronicles 24:6. But the expression “Ahimelech the son of Abiathar” is apparently a very strange one, as Abiathar was a son of Ahimelech according to 1 Samuel 22:20, and in other passages Zadok and Abiathar are mentioned as the two high priests in the time of David (2 Samuel 15:24, 2 Samuel 15:35; 2 Samuel 17:15; 2 Samuel 19:12; 2 Samuel 20:25). This difference cannot be set aside, as Movers, Thenius, Ewald, and other suppose, by transposing the names, so as to read Abiathar the son of Ahimelech; for such a solution is precluded by the fact that, in 1 Chronicles 24:3, 1 Chronicles 24:6, 1 Chronicles 24:31, Ahimelech is mentioned along with Zadok as head of the priests of the line of Ithamar, and according to 1 Chronicles 24:6 he was the son of Abiathar. It would therefore be necessary to change the name Ahimelech into Abiathar in this instance also, both in 1 Chronicles 24:3 and 1 Chronicles 24:6, and in the latter to transpose the two names. But there is not the slightest probability in the supposition that the names have been changed in so many passa Ges. We are therefore disposed to adopt the view held by Bertheau and Oehler, viz., that Abiathar the high priest, the son of Ahimelech, had also a son named Ahimelech, as it is by no means a rare occurrence for grandfather and grandson to have the same names (vid., 1 Chronicles 6:4-15), and also that this (the younger) Ahimelech performed the duties of high priest in connection with his father, who was still living at the commencement of Solomon's reign (1 Kings 2:27), and is mentioned in this capacity, along with Zadok, both here and in the book of Chronicles, possibly because Abiathar was ill, or for some other reason that we cannot discover. As Abiathar was thirty or thirty-five years old at the time when his father was put to death by Saul, according to what has already been observed at 1 Samuel 14:3, and forty years old at the death of Saul, he was at least forty-eight years old at the time when David removed his residence to Mount Zion, and might have had a son of twenty-five years of age, namely the Ahimelech mentioned here, who could have taken his father's place in the performance of the functions of high priest when he was prevented by illness or other causes. The appearance of a son of Abiathar named Jonathan in 2 Samuel 15:27; 2 Samuel 17:17, 2 Samuel 17:20, is no valid argument against this solution of the apparent discrepancy; for, according to these passages, he was still very young, and may therefore have been a younger brother of Ahimelech. The omission of any allusion to Ahimelech in connection with Abiathar's conspiracy with Adonijah against Solomon (1 Kings 1:42-43), and the reference to his son Jonathan alone, might be explained on the supposition that Ahimelech had already died. But as there is no reference to Jonathan at the time when his father was deposed, no stress is to be laid upon the omission of any reference to Ahimelech. Moreover, when Abiathar was deposed after Solomon had ascended the throne, he must have been about eighty years of age. Seraiah was a scribe. Instead of Seraiah, we have Shavsha in the corresponding text of the Chronicles, and Sheva in the parallel passage 2 Samuel 20:25. Whether the last name is merely a mistake for Shavsha, occasioned by the dropping of שׁ, or an abbreviated form of Shisha and Shavsha, cannot be decided. Shavsha is not a copyist's error, for in 1 Kings 4:3 the same man is unquestionably mentioned again under the name of Shisha, who is called Shavsha in the Chronicles, Sheva ( שׁיא ) in the text of 2 Samuel 20:25, and here Seraiah. Seraiah also is hardly a copyist's error, but another form for Shavsha or Shisha. The scribe was a secretary of state; not a military officer, whose duty it was to raise and muster the troops, for the technical expression for mustering the people was not ספר, but פּקד (cf. 2 Samuel 24:2, 2 Samuel 24:4,2 Samuel 24:9; 1 Chronicles 21:5-6, etc.).

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Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:17". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/2-samuel-8.html. 1854-1889.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And Zadok the son of Ahitub, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, were the priests; and Seraiah was the scribe;

Scribe — Or, secretary of state.

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Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:17". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-samuel-8.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 8:17 And Zadok the son of Ahitub, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, [were] the priests; and Seraiah [was] the scribe;

Ver. 17. Were the priests.] Ahimelech, alias Abiathar, being the only high priest: till he was thrust out by Solomon for siding with Adonijah; and Zadek set in his room. [1 Kings 2:25; 1 Kings 2:27]

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:17". 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 8:17. Seraiah was the scribe Supposed to be the king's secretary of state, or prime counsellor in the law. Bishop Patrick says, that as the Hebrew word סופר sopher, which we translate scribe, imports something of learning, as the word scribe does in the New Testament, he takes Seraiah to have been the king's prime counsellor in the law; and others think there were two of this character, an ecclesiastical and a civil. See 1 Chronicles 27:32. It has been supposed by some, that Zadok was the high-priest, and Ahimelech his סגן segan, or vicar; while others think, that neither of these was the high-priest, but the vicars of Abiathar, and the heads of the sacerdotal families.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:17". 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

The son of Ahitub; not of that Ahitub, 1Sa 22; for that was of Ithamar’s race, but this of Eleazar.

Ahimelech the son of Abiathar; so Abiathar called his son by the name of his father, 1 Samuel 22:20. The priests, i. e. the chief priest next under Abiathar, who fled to David, 1 Samuel 22:20, and now was high priest, as may be gathered from 2 Samuel 15:35 1 Kings 2:27,35: under him these two were the next chief priests, or the second priests, each one being chief of the house of his father, Zadok of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of Ithamar. See Numbers 3:32 1 Chronicles 24:3,4. Or these two are here mentioned, because they constantly attended upon the king, that he might consult with them in the matters of the Lord, as need required.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:17". 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

17.Zadok’ and Ahimelech’ priests — The one officiating at Gibeon, the other at the new tabernacle in Jerusalem. See on 2 Samuel 6:17.

Son of Abiathar — But in 1 Samuel 22:20, Abiathar is called the son of Ahimelech; who, then, is this Ahimelech the son of Abiathar? Some have supposed that the names in the text have been transposed by the mistake of some copyist. Others, that Abiathar, son of the slain Ahimelech, had also a son named Ahimelech who performed the duties of high priest in connexion with his father. This latter supposition is strengthened by the fact that the associate priest of Zadok is called Ahimelech in 1 Chronicles 24:3; 1 Chronicles 24:6; 1 Chronicles 24:31, but the former supposition seems to us more plausible.

The scribe — Persons of this order were, before the Babylonish exile, private secretaries of the king. Their work was distinct from that of the recorder in this, that the scribe first provided the materials which the recorder afterwards transcribed and preserved among the archives. Heeren, in his “Historical Researches,” thus speaks of the secretaries of the ancient Persian kings: “Whatever the monarch said or did was, of course, worthy of being recorded; and to this intent his person was usually surrounded by scribes or secretaries, whose office it was to register his words and actions. They were in almost constant attendance upon the sovereign, and especially when he appeared in public, on occasion of festivals, of public reviews, and even in the midst of the tumult of battle, and noted down the words which fell from him on such occasions. This institution was not peculiar to the Persians, but prevailed among all the principal nations of Asia. The king’s scribes are mentioned in the earliest records of the Mongol conquerors; and it is well known that Hyder Ali usually appeared in public surrounded by forty such secretaries.” At a later period the work of the scribes among the Jews was to write copies of the Scriptures and interpret the same.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:17". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-8.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Samuel 8:17. Zadok and Ahimelech were the priests — That is, as some think, Zadok was the high-priest, and Ahimelech his sagan or vicar; or, according to others, neither of these was the high-priest, but they were both only the vicars of Abiathar, and heads of the sacerdotal families, the second priests, to use the language of Scripture, 2 Kings 25:18. The former was of the family of Eleazar, (1 Chronicles 6:8,) the other of Ithamar. The family of Eli was now declining fast; and in the next reign the other family was advanced to the high-priesthood, Abiathar and his posterity being quite thrown out. Seraiah was the scribe — Or secretary of state, as we now speak. But Bishop Patrick observes, that as the word ספרsopher, which we translate scribe, imports something of learning, as the word scribe, so often occurring in the New Testament, also does, he takes Seraiah to have been the king’s prime counsellor in the law. And others think there were two of this character, one an ecclesiastical and the other a civil scribe. Thus “the sacred writer no sooner gives us an account of David’s executing justice and judgment, but he immediately adds a list of the great officers then employed by him. For a principal part of a king’s wisdom, as well as of his felicity, consists in the choice of able ministers to discharge the great offices of the state.” — Delaney.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:17". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-samuel-8.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Achimelech is also called the father of Abiathar, as these two had both names indiscriminately, 1 Kings xxi. 2. During the contest between the families of Saul and of David, two high priests were acknowledged, in their respective dominions. Sadoc was also permitted to officiate at Gabaon, during the reign of David; and, as Abiathar took part against Solomon, he was invested with the whole authority, and thus were accomplished the predictions made to Phinees and to Heli, Numbers xxv. 12., and 1 Kings ii. 35. (Calmet) --- Yet Salien considers Abiathar as the sole pontiff, from the time that his father was murdered by Saul. Sadoc, in the mean while, was his arch-priest or delegate, at Gabaon; (Haydock) though Abulensis and Josephus acknowledge both as high priests, (1 Paralipomenon xxiv. 3,) officiating by turns. (Menochius) --- Scribe, or secretary. (Challoner) See Judges v. 14. --- Septuagint, "counsellor." He is called Susa, in Chronicles. (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:17". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-8.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Zadok. Probably served at Gibeon. Compare 1 Chronicles 18:16.

Ahimelech the son of Abiathar. Named after his grandfather (1 Samuel 21:1; 2 Samuel 22:9, 2 Samuel 22:16).

Abiathar. Probably served at Jerusalem.

the scribe. The first occurrence of this title. Hebrew. sophir, a counter. Individual soribes held high positions as associates of the High Priests, and of the commanderin-chief. They were amanuenses, registrars, accountants (2 Kings 12:10); adjutants (2 Kings 25:19); secretaries of state (2 Samuel 8:17. Isaiah 33:18). First occurrence as a class or caste (1 Chronicles 2:33); a branch of the Levites (2 Chronicles 34:13). When Priests, who should have been teachers of the Law (Deuteronomy 17:11; Deuteronomy 33:10), be-came absorbed in ritual, the Scribes became custodians. Ezra was an ideal priest and scribe.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:17". "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 Zadok the son of Ahitub, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, were the priests; and Seraiah was the scribe;

Zadok ... and ... Ahimelech the son of Aniathar were the priests. There is a confusion in the text here (cf. 1 Chronicles 18:16; 1 Chronicles 24:3; 1 Chronicles 24:6; 1 Chronicles 24:31). Ahimelech is substituted for Abiathar - "and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar" for 'Abiathar the son of Ahimelech.' But in 2 Samuel 20:25, and in all other passages, it is Abiathar who is mentioned as contemporary with Zadok. On the massacre of the priests at Nob, Saul conferred the priesthood on Zadok, of the family of Eleazar (1 Chronicles 6:50), while David acknowledged Abiathar, of Ithamar's family, who fled to him. The two high priests exercised their office under the respective princes to whom they were attached. But on David's obtaining the kingdom over all Israel, they both retained their dignity-Abiathar officiating at Jerusalem, and Zadok at Gibeon (1 Chronicles 16:39).

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:17". "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

(17) Ahimelech, the son of Abiathar.—So Ahimelech is also described in 1 Chronicles 18:16; 1 Chronicles 24:6; on the other hand, Abiathar is expressly said to be the son of Ahimelech in the narrative in 1 Samuel 22:20-23. This difficulty is increased by the further notices of the men bearing these names. Ahimelech was certainly the high priest who gave the shew-bread to David, and was slain in consequence by Saul (1 Samuel 21, 22), and Abiathar, who fled to David, and afterwards became high priest, and was finally put out of the high-priesthood by Solomon (1 Kings 1, 2) was certainly his son; but, on the other hand, in 1 Chronicles 24:3; 1 Chronicles 24:6; 1 Chronicles 24:31 Ahimelech. is said to have been the co-priest with Zadok during the reign of David, and our Lord says that David ate the shew-bread “in the days of Abiathar, the high priest” (Mark 2:26). These apparently conflicting facts have occasioned unnecessary perplexity. The simple solution of the difficulty seems to be that both names were borne alike by father and by son, so that both of them are spoken of sometimes under one name, sometimes under the other.

On the double high-priesthood of Zadok and Abiathar, see Note at the beginning of 2 Samuel 6.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:17". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-8.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Zadok the son of Ahitub, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, were the priests; and Seraiah was the scribe;
Zadok
1 Chronicles 6:8,53; 24:3,4
and Seraiah
1 Chronicles 18:16
Shavsha
scribe. or, secretary.
Reciprocal: 2 Samuel 15:24 - Zadok;  2 Samuel 20:25 - Sheva;  1 Kings 1:8 - Zadok;  2 Kings 12:10 - the king's;  2 Kings 18:18 - the scribe;  1 Chronicles 12:28 - Zadok;  1 Chronicles 15:11 - Zadok;  Ezra 4:8 - scribe;  Ezra 7:2 - Zadok;  Isaiah 36:3 - Shebna;  Jeremiah 36:10 - the scribe;  Mark 2:26 - Abiathar

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:17". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-8.html.