Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 8:18

Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David's sons were chief ministers.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Benaiah;   Cabinet;   Cherethites;   David;   Jehoiada;   King;   Officer;   Pelethites;   Thompson Chain Reference - Benaiah;   Jehoiada;   Pelethites;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Kings;   Philistines, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Benaiah;   Cherethites or Cherethim;   Pelethites;   Philistines;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Cherethites;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Government;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Benaiah;   Caphtor;   Cherethim;   Ira;   Jehoiada;   Pelethites;   Philistines;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Army;   Benaiah;   Cherethims;   Samuel, the Books of;   Versions;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Benaiah;   Cherethites, Cherethim;   Chief;   Hellenism;   Ira;   Jehoiada;   King, Kingship;   Occupations and Professions in the Bible;   Pelethites;   Samuel, Books of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Benaiah;   Ira;   Jehoiada;   King;   Melchizedek;   Samuel, Books of;   Shavsha;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Benaiah ;   Cherethims, Cherethites ;   Jehoiada ;   Pelethites ;   Samuel, Second Book of;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Pelethites;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Benaiah;   Cherethites;   Jehoiada;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Bena'iah;   Cher'ethites;   Jeho-I'ada;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Abiathar;   Army;   Benaiah;   Cherethites;   Criticism (the Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis);   David;   Government;   Ira;   Jehoiada;   King;   Pelethites;   Philistines;   Priests and Levites;   Principal;   Shavsha;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Benaiah;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Captain;   Cherethites;   Levi ;   Priest;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Benaiah - The chief of the second class of David's worthies. We shall meet with him again.

The Cherethites and the Pelethites - The former supposed to be those who accompanied David when he fled from Saul; the latter, those who came to him at Ziklag. But the Targum translates these two names thus, the archers and the slingers; and this is by far the most likely. It is not at all probable that David was without a company both of archers and slingers. The bow is celebrated in the funeral lamentation over Saul and Jonathan; and the sling was renowned as the weapon of the Israelites, and how expert David was in the use of it we learn from the death of Goliath. I take for granted that the Chaldee paraphrast is correct. No weapons then known were equally powerful with these; the spears, swords, and javelins, of other nations, were as stubble before them. The bow was the grand weapon of our English ancestors; and even after the invention of firearms, they were with difficulty persuaded to prefer them and leave their archery.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:18". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-samuel-8.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over both the Cherethites and Pelethites,.... These, according to JosephusF11Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 7. c. 5. sect.4.) , were the king's bodyguards, and this man is expressly said to be set over his guards, 2 Samuel 23:22; and which some think were of the nation of the Philistines, famous for archery, and slinging of stones; and so the Targum renders it,"was appointed over the archers and slingers;'so "choriti" in VirgilF12Aeneid. 10. are quivers for arrows; the great use of which in fighting David had observed, and therefore got a select company of these men, partly to teach Israel, and partly to guard himself: but others are of opinion that David would never suffer such as were Heathens to be so near his person, and therefore take them to be Israelites; and so some Jewish writers say they were two families in Israel; which is much better than to interpret them as others do of the sanhedrim, and even of the Urim and Thummim, as in the Targum on 1 Chronicles 18:17; See Gill on Zephaniah 2:5; and it is most probable that they were Israelites, who were David's guards, and consisted of the chiefs that were with him in Philistia, and particularly at Ziklag, which lay on the south of the Cherethites, 1 Samuel 30:14; and so had their name from thence; and among the chief of those that came to him at Ziklag there was one named Peleth, from whence might come the Pelethites, and they were all of them archers; see 1 Chronicles 12:2,

and David's sons were chief rulers; princes, princes of the blood, or "chief about the king", as in 1 Chronicles 18:17; they were constant attendants at court, waiting on the king, ready at hand to do what he pleased to order; they were the chief ministers, and had the management of the principal affairs at court. Abarbinel thinks that this respects not only David's sons, but Benaiah, and the family of the Cherethites and Pelethites, who had none of them particular posts assigned them, which were settled and known, as those before mentioned had, but were always near at hand, to do whatsoever the king commanded them; and which seems better to agree with the literal order and construction of the words; which are:

and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and Pelethites,

and the sons of David, were princes, or chief rulers; or priests, who according to GussetiusF13Ebr. Comment. p. 366. brought the offerings or presents to the king, and did that to him the priests did to the Lord.

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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 8:18". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-8.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada [was over] both the h Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David's sons were chief rulers.

(h) The Cherethites and Pelethites were as the king's guard, and had charge of his person.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:18". "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

Cherethites — that is, Philistines (Zephaniah 2:5).

Pelethites — from Pelet (1 Chronicles 12:3). They were the valiant men who, having accompanied David during his exile among the Philistines, were made his bodyguard.

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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.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:18". "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

Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, a very brave hero of Kabzeel (see at 2 Samuel 23:20.), was over the Crethi and Plethi . Instead of והכּרתי, which gives no sense, and must be connected in some way with 1 Kings 1:38, 1 Kings 1:44, we must read הכּרתי על according to the parallel passage 2 Samuel 20:23, and the corresponding text of the Chronicles. The Crethi and Plethi were the king's body-guard, σωματοφύλακες (Josephus, Ant . vii. 5, 4). The words are adjectives in form, but with a substantive meaning, and were used to indicate a certain rank, lit . the executioners and runners, like השּׁלישׁי (2 Samuel 23:8). כּרתי, from כּרת, to cut down or exterminate, signifies confessor, because among the Israelites (see at 1 Kings 2:25), as in fact throughout the East generally, the royal halberdiers had to execute the sentence of death upon criminals. פּלתי, from פלת (to fly, or be swift), is related to פּלט, and signifies runners . It is equivalent to רץ, a courier, as one portion of the halberdiers, like the ἄγγαροι of the Persians, had to convey the king's orders to distant places (vid., 2 Chronicles 30:6). This explanation is confirmed by the fact that the epithet והרצים הכּדי was afterwards applied to the king's body-guard ( 2 Kings 11:4, 2 Kings 11:19), and that הכּרי for הכּרתי occurs as early as 2 Samuel 20:23.

כּרי, from כוּר, fodit, perfodit, is used in the same sense.

(Note: Gesenius ( Thes. s. vv. ) and Thenius (on 1 Kings 1:38) both adopt this explanation; but the majority of the modern theologians decide in favour of Lakemacher's opinion, to which Ewald has given currency, viz., that the Crethi or Cari are Cretes or Carians, and the Pelethi Philistines (vid., Ewald, Krit . Gramm . p. 297, and Gesch. des Volkes Israel, pp. 330ff.; Bertheau, zur Geschichte Israel, p. 197; Movers, Phönizier i. p. 19). This view is chiefly founded upon the fact that the Philistines are called C'rethi in 1 Samuel 30:14, and C'rethim in Zephaniah 2:5 and Ezekiel 25:16. But in both the passages from the prophets the name is used with special reference to the meaning of the word הכרית, viz., to exterminate, cut off, as Jerome has shown in the case of Ezekiel by adopting the rendering interficiam interfectores (I will slay the slayers) for את־כּרתים הכרתּי . The same play upon the words takes place in Zephaniah, upon which Strauss has correctly observed: “Zephaniah shows that this violence of theirs had not been forgotten, calling the Philistines Crethim for that very reason, ut sit nomen et omen .” Besides, in both these passages the true name Philistines stands by the side as well, so that the prophets might have used the name Crethim (slayers, exterminators) without thinking at all of 1 Samuel 30:14. In this passage it is true the name Crethi is applied to a branch of the Philistine people that had settled on the south-west of Philistia, and not to the Philistines generally. The idea that the name of a portion of the royal body-guard was derived from the Cretans is precluded, first of all, by the fact of its combination with הפּלתי (the Pelethites); for it is a totally groundless assumption that this name signifies the Philistines, and is a corruption of פלשׁתּים . There are no such contractions as these to be found in the Semitic languages, as Gesenius observes in his Thesaurus ( l.c. ), “ quis hujusmodi contractionem in linguis Semiticis ferat? Secondly, it is also precluded by the strangeness of such a combination of two synonymous names to denote the royal body-guard. “Who could believe it possible that two synonymous epithets should be joined together in this manner, which would be equivalent to saying Englishmen and Britons?” ( Ges. Thes . p. 1107). Thirdly, it is opposed to the title afterwards given to the body-guard, והרצים הכּרי (2 Kings 11:4, 2 Kings 11:19), in which the Cari correspond to the Crethi, as in 2 Samuel 20:23, and ha-razim to the Pelethi ; so that the term pelethi can no more signify a particular tribe than the term razim can. Moreover, there are other grave objections to this interpretation. In the first place, the hypothesis that the Philistines were emigrants from Crete is merely founded upon the very indefinite statements of Tacitus ( Hist . v. 3, 2), “ Judaeos Creta insula profugos novissima Libyae insedisse memorant ,” and that of Steph. Byz. ( s. v. Γαζά ), to the effect that the city of Gaza was once called Minoa, from Minos a king of Crete, - statements which, according to the correct estimate of Strauss ( l.c. ), “have all so evidently the marks of fables that they hardly merit discussion,” at all events when opposed to the historical testimony of the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 2:23; Amos 9:7), to the effect that the Philistines sprang from Caphtor . And secondly, “it is a priori altogether improbable, that a man with so patriotic a heart, and so devoted to the worship of the one God, should have surrounded himself with a foreign and heathen body-guard” (Thenius). This argument cannot be invalidated by the remark “that it is well known that at all times kings and princes have preferred to commit the protection of their persons to foreign mercenaries, having, as they thought, all the surer pledge of their devotedness in the fact that they did not spring from the nation, and were dependent upon the ruler alone” (Hitzig). For, in the first place, the expression “at all times” is one that must be very greatly modified; and secondly, this was only done by kings who did not feel safe in the presence of their own people, which was not the case with David. And the Philistines, those arch-foes of Israel, would have been the last nation that David would have gone to for the purpose of selecting his own body-guard. It is true that he himself had met with a hospitable reception in the land of the Philistines; but it must be borne in mind that it was not as king of Israel that he found refuge there, but as an outlaw flying from Saul the king of Israel, and even then the chiefs of the Philistines would not trust him (1 Samuel 29:3.). And when Hitzig appeals still further to the fact, that according to 2 Samuel 18:2, David handed over the command of a third of his army to a foreigner who had recently entered his service, having emigrated from Gath with a company of his fellow-countrymen (2 Samuel 15:19-20, 2 Samuel 15:22), and who had displayed the greatest attachment to the person of David (2 Samuel 15:21), it is hardly necessary to observe that the fact of David's welcoming a brave soldier into his army, when he had come over to Israel, and placing him over a division of the army, after he had proved his fidelity so decidedly as Ittai had at the time of Absalom's rebellion, is no proof that he chose his body-guard from the Philistines. Nor can 2 Samuel 15:18 be adduced in support of this, as the notion that, according to that passage, David had 600 Gathites in his service as body-guard, is simply founded upon a misinterpretation of the passage mentioned.)

And David's sons were כּהנים (“confidants”); not priests, domestic priests, court chaplains, or spiritual advisers, as Gesenius, De Wette, and others maintain, but, as the title is explained in the corresponding text of the Chronicles, when the title had become obsolete, “the first at the hand (or side) of the king.” The correctness of this explanation is placed beyond the reach of doubt by 1 Kings 4:5, where the cohen is called, by way of explanation, “the king's friend.” The title cohen may be explained from the primary signification of the verb כּהן, as shown in the corresponding verb and noun in Arabic (“ res alicujus gerere ,” and “ administrator alieni negotii ”). These cohanim , therefore, were the king's confidential advisers.

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Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:18". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/2-samuel-8.html. 1854-1889.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

REFLECTIONS

WHILE I behold the victories of David, upheld by the arm of Omnipotence, and the Lord his God preserving him whithersoever he went, oh! for grace to look unto the same covenant God in Christ, that I may go forth against all the spiritual enemies of my salvation, conquering and to conquer; upheld by his Almighty arm, and kept by his gracious power from all danger, through the faith which is in Christ Jesus. And, Lord! do thou endue my soul with the same spirit as thy servant David, to consecrate all gifts, and all attainments to thee, the bountiful Source and Giver of all; that both gain and substance may be cheerfully offered unto thee, the Lord of the whole earth.

But chiefly, while I read those victories of David, oh! let my soul pass over the review of David king of Israel, and behold Jesus the King of heaven and earth, going forth thus against all the powers of darkness, the confederacies of earth and hell, in the salvation of his people. Yes! dearest Jesus, I do behold thee as the Great Captain of salvation, boldly waging war with sin, with Satan, and the host of foes in our corrupt and carnal hearts. But thy weapons are all spiritual; and thy victories all eternal. Thou hast ascended up on high, thou hast led captivity captive, and received gifts for men; yea, even for the rebellious, that the Lord God might dwell among them. And now, Lord, having slain thine enemies thyself; it is thou which leadest on thy people to the same victory over them, by the sovereignty of thy power. Do thou, blessed Jesus, lead me on, and bring me through, and make me more than conqueror; and in all my spiritual warfare, let me set thee, the Lord, continually before me, for if thou art on my right hand, I shall not be moved.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:18". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/2-samuel-8.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over both the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David's sons were chief rulers.

Cherethites, … — The Cherethites and Pelethites were undoubtedly soldiers, and such as were eminent for their valour and fidelity. Most probable they were the king's guards, which consisted of these two bands, who might be distinguished either by their several weapons, or by the differing time or manner of their service. They are supposed to be thus called either, first, from their office, which was upon the king's command to cut off or punish offenders, and to preserve the king's person, as their names in the Hebrew tongue may seem to imply. Or, secondly, from some country, or place to which they had relation. As for the Cherithites, it is certain they were ether a branch of the Philistines, or a people neighbouring to them, and so might the Pelethites be too, though that be not related in scripture. And these Israelites and soldiers of David might be so called, either because they went and lived with David when he dwelt in those parts or, for some notable exploit against, or victory over these people.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:18". "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 8:18 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada [was over] both the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David’s sons were chief rulers.

Ver. 18. Was over both the Cherethites and the Pelethites,] i.e., Was Praefectus cohortis praetoriance, captain of the king’s guard, (a) who might be native Philistines, great and mighty men of stature, but proselytes and professors of the true religion.

And David’s sons were chief rulers.] Or, Princes, chief about the king, [1 Chronicles 18:17] which preferment haply might puff up Absalom and Adonijah, and put them upon ill exploits. Our Henry II was very unhappy in his eldest son Henry, whom he crowned whilst he was yet alive, but killed him with that kindness; in his second son Richard, who, being set over Normandy, conspired with the king of France against him; and in his third son John, upon whom by heaping honours, he made him more dangerous at home. (b)

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:18". 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 8:18. Benaiah, &c.— Benaiah was one of David's three worthies of the second order, eminent for many great exploits, but of which three only are particularly recounted by the sacred historian. There seems to have been something in the fortitude of Benaiah similar and congenial to that of David, which, possibly, was the reason why he made him commander of the Cherethites and the Pelethites, concerning whom the opinions of the critics have been various. That כרתי Cherethi is another word for Philistine, appears clearly from Zephaniah 2:5 and Ezekiel 25:16. That David's guards were native Philistines, of his mortal enemies, is not to be imagined; even although we should suppose them proselytes; for, how could their being proselyted more effectually recommend the fidelity of any men to him, than being natives of his own country, and known and tried subjects? The only question then is, Why any of his own subjects should be called Cherethites? And the answer is obvious: they were called so from their having gone with him into Philistia, and continued there with him all the time that he was under the protection of Achish. There were they who resorted to him from the beginning in his utmost distress, and clave to him in all his calamities: and it is no wonder if men of such approved fidelity were in a more immediate degree of favour and confidence with the king, and enjoyed, among other privileges, an exemption from the authority of the captain-general, and were placed under peculiar commanders: I believe, it will be no uncommon thing in the history of any country to find legions and bands of soldiers denominated, not from the place of their nativity, but that of their residence; as general Monk's troops, who sojourned with him in Scotland, were called Coldstreamers, and some of the same corps, I believe, are still called by the same name, from a place in Scotland where they had resided for some time, notwithstanding that they were native English. Now as the Cherethites were, I apprehend, the body of troops which clave to David from the beginning, and went with him into Philistia; the פלתי Pelethi I apprehend to have been the body of troops made up of those valiant men who resorted to him when he was there (I mean when he resided at Ziklag, but still under the protection of Achish); among whom I find one Pelet, the son of Azmavith, 1 Chronicles 12:3 who, as I presume, became their captain, and from whom they were called Pelethites; as the soldiers disciplined by Fabius and Iphicrates were called Fabians and Iphicratians (see Corn. Nep. in Iphicrate); and as under the later emperors the soldiers were commonly denominated from their commanders: unless we suppose them rather denominated from Peleth, the son of Jonathan, 1 Chronicles 2:33 who was of the king's own tribe. Now as the Cherethites adhered to David, and followed his fortunes from the beginning, they justly held the first degree of favour with him: and therefore they are always placed before the Pelethites, who only resorted to him when he was in Ziklag; and for that reason were only entitled to the second degree of favour. See 1 Samuel 30:14. A learned professor abroad strongly defends the Chaldee interpretation; which is, that Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, was over the archers and slingers: and he observes, that, in the Arabic language, Caratha signifies to hit the mark, to strike it with an arrow (which probably might occasion the giving the name of Cretans to the inhabitants of the island of Crete, so famous in antiquity for their skill in handling the bow); and that in the same language Pelet, among other things, signifies to be alert, to leap, to run swiftly; so that the Pelethites were possibly soldiers chosen for their speed, and light armed, as were the Velites of the Romans, who, with their other weapons, carried very light arrows, which were called peltes, and the use of which came from the East. The Romans commonly associated their archers and light soldiers together; the Gauls did the same; but what is of most importance, is, that in after times, under the successors of David, and particularly under the cruel Athaliah, the body-guards went by the name of כרי Chari and רצים Ratzim: the former were, doubtless, our Cherethites: and the name of the second literally points out runners, men very active and swift; or possibly couriers, appointed continually to carry the prince's orders; which answers the idea which we have given of the Pelethites. The guards of Saul were heretofore so called. Accordingly, the author of the Vulgate renders the names Cheri and Retzim, 2 Kings 11:19 by Cherethites and Pelethites; and the Syriac interpreter, as well there as in the 4th verse of the same chapter, by the runners and couriers. Possibly the Cherethites, called also cheri and couri, (from whence the name runners seems to have been formed,) were employed to carry verbal orders from the prince, where it was necessary to do it expeditiously; and the others, that is to say, the Pelethites, or Retzim, were charged with his letters occasionally. In a day of battle, the former handled the bow; the latter made use of the sling, or a light dart, and had shields which were of the same kind. In fine, it is observable, that in our days the Ottoman emperors have among their guards two orders of soldiers that nearly resemble those who were about the person of David. The first, called soulaks, are chosen out of the bravest of the Janissaries: there are three hundred of them, who draw the bow both with the right and left hand. The second, in number sixty, are called paicks, and perform the duty of runners and lacqueys. They fly to all parts charged with the sultan's letters, holding a short pike in their hand, and wearing a poinard at their waist. The emperor never goes out unaccompanied with two of his soulaks. The paicks are, for the most part, Persians, and so swift of foot as to keep up with the strongest and lightest horses. See Rycaut's State of the Ottoman Empire, p. iii. c. 7.

REFLECTIONS.—We have here,

David dispensing to his subjects the blessings of an upright government, as well as subduing their foes before them. All Israel felt and owned his gentle sway; the meanest have access to him, and justice is without partiality dispensed by him: well may it be said, Happy art thou, O Israel! Note; We cannot be thankful enough for the blessing of a mild government, and an incorrupt administration of justice.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:18". 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

Was over: these words are supplied out of the parallel place, 1 Chronicles 18:17, and out of 2 Samuel 20:23, where they are expressed.

The Cherethites and Pelethites were undoubtedly soldiers, and such as were eminent for their valour and fidelity to the king, as is evident from 2 Samuel 15:18 20:7 1 Kings 1:38,44; and most probably they were the king’s guards, which consisted of these two bands, who might be distinguished either by their several weapons, or by the differing time or manner of their service. They are supposed to be thus called, either, first, from their office, which was upon the king’s command to cut off or punish offenders, and to preserve the king’s person, as their names in the Hebrew tongue may seem to imply; or, secondly, from some country or place to which they had relation. As for the Cherethites, it is certain they were either a branch of the Philistines, or a people neighbouring to them, and confederate with them, as is manifest from 1 Samuel 30:14 Ezekiel 25:16 Zephaniah 2:4,5. And so might the Pelethites be too, though that be not related in Scripture. And these Israelites and soldiers of David might be so called, either because they went and lived with David when he dwelt in those parts; or from some notable exploit against or victory over these people; as among the Romans the names of Asiaticus, Africanus, &c. were given for the same reason. One of their exploits against the Cherethites is in part related 1 Samuel 30:14. And it is likely they did many other against them, and against other people, amongst which the Pelethites might be one.

Were chief rulers; had the places of greatest. authority and dignity conferred upon them.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:18". 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

18.The Cherethites and the Pelethites — The Syriac and Arabic versions render these words, nobles and soldiers; the Targum of Jonathan, archers and slingers. Josephus simply says: “He committed the command over his body guards to Benaiah,” and this agrees with chap. xxiii, 23, where it is said that Benaiah was set over the guard, or privy council, of the king. The Hebrew words are in the form of adjectives, and may be translated by executioners and runners, and such offices they probably served in David’s army. But the words seem to refer most naturally to the nationality of the men, and to indicate that they were composed principally, if not altogether, of foreigners — Cretans and Philistines. A common and prevailing opinion is, that the Philistines were originally colonists from Crete, and perhaps numerous immigrants from that earlier home of the race were continually coming into Philistia during David’s residence at Ziklag. These later immigrants may have been called Cherethites in distinction from the older Philistine settlers. See note on 1 Samuel 30:14. The fact that David had a considerable body of Gittites in his army (2 Samuel 15:18) forbids our assuming that he would never have composed his body-guard of foreigners, He may have had peculiar reasons for so doing of which we are now ignorant. And, as Ewald well says, “This small body could at no time become a source of danger to the State. Far more was to be apprehended from the Gibborim, (mighty men,) who obviously formed the commencement of a sort of milites praetoriani, or janissaries, and were already of sufficient importance to play a part at Solomon’s accession. 1 Kings 1:8; 1 Kings 1:10. To this must be added that they might also be chosen from foreigners as soon as they conformed to the religion of the country. Uriah was a Hittite, but, as far as religion went, a good Israelite; Zelek was an Ammonite, (2 Samuel 23:37,) and Ithmah a Moabite, (1 Chronicles 11:46;) and Ittai of Gath, who was appointed commander of one of the three divisions of the army in the battle against Absalom, is expressly designated as a foreigner by David. 2 Samuel 15:19.”

David’s sons were chief rulers — Literally, priests; margin, princes. The word has been explained as domestic priests, court chaplains, or spiritual advisers. The parallel passage in Chronicles seems to give the true sense, chief at the hand of the king; that is, his most intimate counsellors and confidants. See note on 1 Kings 4:2; 1 Kings 4:5.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:18". "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 8:18. Benaiah, &c. — Benaiah was one of David’s three worthies of the second order; eminent for many great exploits, of which three only are recounted by the sacred historian. Was over both the Cherethites and the Pelethites — These were undoubtedly soldiers of some kind, and even such as were eminent for their valour and fidelity to the king, as is evident from 2 Samuel 15:18; 2 Samuel 20:7; and 1 Kings 1:38; 1 Kings 1:44; yet they were not common soldiers, but probably the constant guards of David’s person; like the Prætorian bands among the Romans. Josephus calls them keepers of the body, or body-guards, who never departed from the place where the king was. That Cherethites is sometimes another word for Philistines, appears plainly from Zephaniah 2:5, and Ezekiel 25:16; But, “that David’s guards were native Philistines, of his mortal enemies, is not to be imagined, even although we should suppose them proselytes. For how could their being proselyted more effectually recommend the fidelity of any men to him than being natives of his own country, and known and tried subjects? The only question, then, is, why any of his own subjects should be called Cherethites; and the answer is obvious. They were called so from their having gone with him into Philistia, and continued there with him all the time that he was under the protection of Achish. These were they who resorted to him from the beginning, in his utmost distress; and clave to him in all his calamities; and it is no wonder if men of such approved fidelity were in a more intimate degree of favour and confidence with the king, and enjoyed, among other privileges, an exemption from the authority of the captain-general, and were placed under peculiar commanders. And it will be no uncommon thing in the history of any country, to find legions and bands of soldiers, denominated, not from the place of their nativity, but that of their residence; as General Monk’s troops, who sojourned with him in Scotland, were called Coldstreamers.” — Delaney. The same author apprehends the Pelethites to have been another body of troops, made up of those valiant men who resorted to David when he resided at Ziklag, among whom we find one Pelet, the son of Azmaveth, (1 Chronicles 12:3,) who, it is supposed, became their captain, and from whom they were called Pelethites, as the soldiers disciplined by Fabius and Iphicrates were called Fabians and Iphicratians. “Now, as the Cherethites adhered to David and followed his fortune from the beginning, they justly held the first degree of favour with him, and therefore they are always placed before the Pelethites, who only resorted to him when he was in Ziklag; and for that reason were only entitled to the second degree of favour.” See 1 Samuel 30:14. It must be observed, however, that the Chaldee interpretation of these terms is, archers and slingers, an interpretation which is defended by a learned professor abroad, deriving the name Cherethite from Caratha, which, in the Arabic language, signifies to hit the mark, and Pelethite, from pelet, which in the same language, among other things, signifies to be alert, to leap, to run swiftly. The latter, therefore, he thinks, were soldiers chosen for their speed, and were light armed, like the Roman velites, who, with their other weapons, carried very light arrows, which were called pelles, and the use of which came from the East. And David’s sons were chief rulers — For so the Hebrew word, כהנים, cohanim, generally translated priests, must often be interpreted. Indeed it signifies any ministers, either of God or of man. David’s sons, being of the tribe of Judah, and not of the posterity of Aaron, could not be priests, according to the law. But they were among the principal officers of his court, the prime ministers of his household. Upon the whole, we find by this chapter that so long as David was zealous for the honour of God, and faithful in the discharge of his duty, God defended and protected him against his enemies, and blessed him with glory and happiness; but the scene changed when he provoked God by his sins, as we see in the sequel of his history.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:18". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-samuel-8.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

The Cerethi and Phelithi. The king's guards. (Challoner) --- They were Philistines, and had attached themselves to David while he was at Geth, continuing always faithful to him. We read of them in the Vulgate, under the reign of Joas, 4 Kings xi. 19. David selected some out of all Israel, towards the end of his reign, 1 Paralipomenon xxvii. --- Princes: literally, priests; (Cohen) so called, by a title of honour, and not for exercising the priestly function. (Challoner) --- Sanctius translates, they "were like priests." The book of 1 Paralipomenon (xviii. 17,) explains, were chief about the king. Septuagint, "masters of the palace." David kept them near his person, and employed them as he thought proper: Bertram thinks, in embassies, till after the revolt of Absalom, when Ira took their place, chap. xx. 26. (Calmet) --- Protestants, "David's sons were chief rulers." Chaldean, "grandees;" (Haydock) "ministers." (Grotius) (Du Hamel)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:18". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-8.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Benaiah. Compare 2 Samuel 23:20.

Cherethites . . . Pelethites. David"s body-guard. Here ends the prosperous part of David"s reign.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:18". "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 Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over both the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David's sons were chief rulers.

Cherethites - i:e., Philistines (Zephaniah 2:5).

Pelethites - from Pelet (1 Chronicles 12:3). They were the valiant men who, having accompanied David during his exile among the Philistines, were made his body-guard.

And David's sons were chief rulers, [ koh

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:18". "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

(18) The Cherethites and the Pelethites.—These bodies of men, here mentioned for the first time, afterwards appear frequently, constituting the most trusted part of the king’s army, and forming his especial body-guard (2 Samuel 15:18; 2 Samuel 20:7; 2 Samuel 20:23; 1 Kings 1:38; 1 Kings 1:44; 1 Chronicles 18:17). Benaiah, who commanded them, a hero from Kabzeel (2 Samuel 23:20), was afterwards promoted by Solomon to be general-in-chief (1 Kings 2:35). But the meaning of the words, “the Che-rethites and the Pelethites,” has been much disputed. On the one hand it is urged that the form of the name indicates a tribal designation, and that there was a tribe of Cherethites living south of Philistia (1 Samuel 30:14), who are also mentioned in connection with the Philistines in Ezekiel 25:16; Zephaniah 2:5. Besides, these names appear as those of bodies of troops only during the reign of David, and the objection that he would have been unlikely to employ foreign mercenaries may be met by the supposition that they had embraced the religion of Israel. On the other hand, the Chaldee (“archers and slingers”) and Syriac (“nobles and Tustics”) understood them as appellatives, and it is said that they should properly be translated “executioners and runners,” such offices falling to the chief troops in all Oriental armies; no tribe of “Pelethites” is known, and in 2 Samuel 20:23 the expression translated “Cherethites and Pelethites” has another form for “Cherethites,” which again occurs with “Pelethites” in 2 Kings 11:4; 2 Kings 11:19, and is translated “the captains and the guard.” The question does not seem to admit of positive determination.

Chief rulers.—So these words are rendered in all the ancient versions except the Vulg., and the same term is applied in 1 Kings 4:5 to Zabud, with the explanation “the king’s friend,” and also in 2 Samuel 20:26 to Ira, “a chief ruler about (literally, at the side of) David.” The word, however (cohen), is the one generally used for “priest,” and there seems here to be a reminiscence in the word of that early time when the chief civil and ecclesiastical offices were united in the head of the family or tribe. Such use of the word had become now almost obsolete, and quite so in the time when the Chronicles were written, since they substitute here (1 Chronicles 18:17) “chief about (literally, at the hand of) the king.” For this change in the use of the word, “exact analogies may be found in ecclesiastical words, as bishop, priest, deacon, minister, and many others.”—Speaker’s Commentary.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:18". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-8.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over both the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David's sons were chief rulers.
Benaiah
1 Kings 1:44; 2:34,35; 1 Chronicles 18:17
the Cherethites
15:18; 20:7,23; 23:20-23; 1 Samuel 30:14; Ezekiel 25:16; Zephaniah 2:5
chief rulers
or, princes.
20:26 Reciprocal: Genesis 41:45 - priest of;  Genesis 41:50 - priest;  Genesis 47:22 - of the priests;  1 Kings 1:8 - Zadok;  1 Kings 1:38 - the Cherethites;  1 Kings 4:5 - the principal;  1 Chronicles 11:22 - Benaiah;  2 Chronicles 12:10 - the chief;  Psalm 122:5 - the thrones;  Jeremiah 7:16 - I will

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:18". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-8.html.