Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 8:2

He defeated Moab, and measured them with the line, making them lie down on the ground; and he measured two lines to put to death and one full line to keep alive. And the Moabites became servants to David, bringing tribute.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Cord;   King;   Moabites;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Measures;   Moabites;   Presents;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Captives;   Moabites;   Philistines;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Israel;   Moab;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Amos, Theology of;   Israel;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Euphrates;   Gift;   Moab;   Moabite;   Rabbah;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Ahaziah;   Dibon;   Eglon;   Mesha;   Moab;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Gift, Giving;   King, Kingship;   Line;   Moab and the Moabite Stone;   Nebo;   Pahath-Moab;   Samuel, Books of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - David;   Gift, Giving;   Israel;   Moab, Moabites;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Lots;   Messiah;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Moab, Moabites ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Moab;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Da'vid;   Mo'ab;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Captives;   Philistim;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - On to Canaan;   Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Captive;   Chemosh;   Cord;   David;   Gift;   King;   Moab;   Rope;   Tax;   War;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Gifts;   Taxation;   War;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

And measured them with a line - even with two lines - It has been generally conjectured that David, after he had conquered Moab, consigned two-thirds of the inhabitants to the sword; but I think the text will bear a meaning much more reputable to that king. The first clause of the verse seems to determine the sense; he measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground - to put to death, and with one line to keep alive. Death seems here to be referred to the cities by way of metaphor; and, from this view of the subject we may conclude that two-thirds of the cities, that is, the strong places of Moab, were erased; and not having strong places to trust to, the text adds, So the Moabites became David's servants, and brought gifts, i.e., were obliged to pay tribute. The word line may mean the same here as our rod, i.e., the instrument by which land is measured. There are various opinions on this verse, with which I shall not trouble the reader. Much may be seen in Calmet and Dodd.

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

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

David took great numbers of the Moabites prisoners of war, and made them lie down on the ground, and then divided them by a measuring line into three parts, putting two-thirds to death, and saving alive one-third. The cause of the war with the Moabites, who had been very friendly with David 1 Samuel 22:3-4, and of this severe treatment, is not known. But it seems likely, from the tone of Psalm 60:1-12 that David had met with some temporary reverse in his Syrian wars, and that the Moabites and Edomites had treacherously taken advantage of it, and perhaps tried to cut off his retreat.

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

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And he smote Moab,.... He next went against that, and invaded it, the people of it being always troublesome and distressing to the children of Israel; and though the king of it had shown some favour to David, yet it was when he considered him as an enemy to Saul, and Saul to him; but things having taken a different turn, his and his people's enmity against David and his people appeared; wherefore he went and fought them, and made them his subjects, whereby was fulfilled the prophecy of Balaam, Numbers 24:17; as it referred to David:

and measured them with a line: either their country and fields, to distribute among his people, or rather the soldiers he took prisoners; which, as Procopius Gazaeus says, were so numerous that they could not be told, and therefore they were ordered to lie prostrate on the ground, and they were measured with a line, as it follows:

casting them down to the ground; or ordering them to lie down; though some understand this of casting down their cities, towers, and strong holds, and levelling them with the ground:

even with two lines measured he; with one, so it may be supplied, as the Vulgate Latin:

to put to death, and with one full line, to keep alive; that is, in measuring them with his lines, he divided them into two parts, one he put to death, and the other, the full line, which contained the most, he saved alive; though it seems according to our version, and so most understand it, that David slew two thirds, and saved one, and so JosephusF5Antiqu. l. 7. c. 5. sect. 1. . This must be understood of the army of the Moabites that fell into his hands, so Josephus, who persisted and refused to submit, not of all the inhabitants of the land. The Jews sayF6Bemidbar Rabba, l. 14. fol. 212. 1. , that the reason of this severe treatment of them was because they slew the father, and mother and brethren of David, whom he left to the care and custody of the king of Moab, when he fled from Saul, see 1 Samuel 22:3; since after that they are heard no more of; though it should rather be imputed to their enmity against the people of Israel. The phrase of "meting out the valley of Succoth" seems to be an allusion to this fact, Psalm 60:6, the psalm being written on occasion of the victories here related:

and so the Moabites became David's servants; the inhabitants of the land who were left in it, perhaps that part of the soldiers preserved alive were brought home captives:

and brought gifts; paid a yearly tribute to King David, as they afterwards did to Solomon and to Rehoboam, until the revolt of the ten tribes, and then they paid it unto the kings of Israel, to the times of Ahab, see 2 Kings 3:4, though these gifts may be distinct from, and besides the tribute paid, which is supposed in their being servants, see 2 Chronicles 17:11. Thus the ArabiansF7Herodot. Thalia, sive, l. 3. c. 97. carried gifts to the king of Persia besides tribute.

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

Geneva Study Bible

And he smote Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with b two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive. And [so] the Moabites became David's servants, [and] brought gifts.

(b) He slew two parts as it pleased him, and reserved the third.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:2". "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

he smote Moab, and measured them with a line — This refers to a well-known practice of Eastern kings, to command their prisoners of war, particularly those who, notorious for the atrocity of their crimes or distinguished by the indomitable spirit of their resistance, had greatly incensed the victors, to lie down on the ground. Then a certain portion of them, which was determined by lot, but most commonly by a measuring-line, were put to death. Our version makes him put two-thirds to death, and spare one-third. The Septuagint and Vulgate make one-half. This war usage was not, perhaps, usually practiced by the people of God; but Jewish writers assert that the cause of this particular severity against this people was their having massacred David‘s parents and family, whom he had, during his exile, committed to the king of Moab.

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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 8:2". "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

Subjugation of Moab. - “He smote Moab (i.e., the Moabites), and measured them with the line, making them lie down upon the ground, and measured two lines (i.e., two parts) to put to death, and one line full to keep alive.” Nothing further is known about either the occasion or the history of this war, with the exception of the cursory notice in 1 Chronicles 11:22, that Benaiah, one of David's heroes, smote two sons of the king of Moab, which no doubt took place in the same war. In the earliest period of his flight from Saul, David had met with a hospitable reception from the king of Moab, and had even taken his parents to him for safety (1 Samuel 22:3-4). But the Moabites must have very grievously oppressed the Israelites afterwards, that David should have inflicted a severer punishment upon them after their defeat, than upon any other of the nations that he conquered, with the exception of the Ammonites (2 Samuel 12:31), upon whom he took vengeance for having most shamefully insulted his ambassadors (2 Samuel 10:2.). The punishment inflicted, however, was of course restricted to the fighting men who had been taken prisoners by the Israelites. They were ordered to lie down in a row upon the earth; and then the row was measured for the purpose of putting two-thirds to death, and leaving one-third alive. The Moabites were then made “servants” to David (i.e., they became his subjects), “bringing gifts” (i.e., paying tribute).

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

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

(2) And he smote Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive. And so the Moabites became David's servants, and brought gifts.

This conquest over Moab, seems to have been the fulfillment of Balaam's prophecy. See Nu 2 Samuel 24:17.

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

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And he smote Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive. And so the Moabites became David's servants, and brought gifts.

Moab — For although the king of Moab, out of hatred to Saul, gave protection to his parents, 1 Samuel 22:3,4, yet the Moabites were perpetual and sworn enemies to the Israelites, who therefore were forbidden to admit them into the congregation of the Lord. And though God commanded them in their march to Canaan, to spare the Moabites, yet afterwards they proved fierce enemies to God and his people, and thereby provoked God to alter his carriage towards them.

Measured them — That is, having conquered the land, he made an estimate of it, and distributed the towns and people into three parts.

Casting down — Overthrowing their towns, and utterly destroying their people in manner following. And now that prophecy, Numbers 24:17, was accomplished.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:2". "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 8:2 And he smote Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive. And [so] the Moabites became David’s servants, [and] brought gifts.

Ver. 2. And he smote Moab, and measured them with a line.] He used this great severity against them, say the Rabbis, because they had treacherously slain his father and mother, whom he had left with them. [1 Samuel 22:3-4] Howsoever, the Moabites were ever bitter enemies to the Israelites. See Numbers 22:3. {See Trapp on "Numbers 22:3"}

And measured them with a line.] As a carpenter marketh out with a line [Isaiah 44:13] what he meaneth to hew off. Compare Isaiah 34:11.

And with one full line to keep alive.] See a like mixture of severity and mercy in Zechariah 13:8-9. So Christ will at the last day shed and sever the sheep from the goats. [Matthew 25:32-33]

And so the Moabites became David’s servants.] Even his wash pots, [Psalms 60:8] and that prophecy was in part fulfilled, Numbers 24:17.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:2". 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 8:2. He smote Moab It is frequent in the sacred writings to put the inhabitants of a country for the country itself: see Isaiah 15:4. The LXX favour this interpretation, and thus Grotius understands it. And to this the Psalmist seems plainly to refer, when, speaking of the wars of David with Moab, Edom, and other nations, he says, I will divide Sechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth, viz. in order to divide it. Psalms 60:6. He measured them with a line. The measurement of lands was formerly by the line, as now it is generally done by the rod; and because lands were divided into certain tracts and portions by the line, hence the line is often put for the tract marked out by it, or even where the line had never been made use of at all. Thus, all the region of Argob, Deuteronomy 3:4 is in the original חבל כל kal chebel, all the line of Argob. So the line of the sea, Zephaniah 2:5-7 is the sea-coast. Thus in the place before us, he measured them by line, i.e. divided the country of the Moabites into several parts, that he might the better know what towns it was most proper to demolish, to level with the ground, and to extirpate the inhabitants of them. Even with two lines, &c. The ancient versions read differently from our present text. The Vulgate, he measured two lines, one to kill, and one to keep alive. The Septuagint differently, but to the same sense, there were two lines for putting to death, and two for taking alive; according to which accounts, one half of the inhabitants only were put to death. And it appears from the text itself, that it should be thus understood. The words in the original are, חבלים שׁני וימדד vaimadded shenei chabalim, And he measured two lines. Repeat from the foregoing words, חבל chebel, a line, להמית lehamith, to put to death, להחיות החבל ומלא umlo hachebel lehachayoth; and the fulness of a line to keep alive. This supplement is natural and agreeable to the language. Many instances may be produced. Thus, Psalms 110:3 what we render, almost without any sense, from the womb of the morning thou hast the dew of thy youth, becomes an elegant expression if we repeat the word dew. The dew of thy youth is as the dew from the womb of the morning. The verse here then should be rendered, "And he measured two lines; i.e. divided the country into two parts; a line, i.e. a tract for death; and the plenitude of the line, i.e. a very large tract of the country for life, to destroy the inhabitants of the one, and preserve the inhabitants of the larger part." The first clause of the verse, he measured them with a line, &c. signifies no more than that David smote Moab, i.e. the country and its inhabitants, and measured them with a line; i.e. took an exact survey of the towns, and cities, and strongholds of the whole land, ארצה אותם השׁכב hashkeb otham artzah, to throw them down to the ground; i.e. to destroy and level them to the ground, as far as he thought necessary to humble them, and to secure himself. The expression, fulness of a line, seems to denote a very large tract of country, and might be a larger than that where the inhabitants were ordered to be put to death.

The Moabites became David's servants Who was the aggressor in these two last actions, is not said; but it may be collected from Psalms 83 that Edom, Moab, Ammon, Amalek, and others, consulted together to cut off Israel from being a nation, which seems to refer to the wars mentioned in this chapter. However, it may be remarked, that the Philistines, Moabites, and other neighbouring nations, were perpetual enemies of the Jews, and invaded them whenever they were able; and that therefore the Jews thought they had a right to make reprisals, and to attack them upon every occasion. See Numbers 24:17; Numbers 24:25 where this event is foretold.

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

He smote Moab; for although the king of Moab, out of hatred to Saul, pretended some kindness to David, and gave protection to his parents, 1 Samuel 22:3,4; yet the Moabites were perpetual and sworn enemies to the Israelites, who therefore were forbidden to admit them into the congregation of the Lord, and to seek their peace and prosperity, Deuteronomy 23:6. And though God commanded them in their march to Canaan to spare the Moabites, Deuteronomy 2:9,19, yet afterwards they proved unthankful, and insolent, and fierce enemies to God and his people, Numbers 22:2,24:17,18 Jud 3:14, &c.; 1 Samuel 14:47, &c., and thereby provoked God to alter his course and carriage towards them.

With a line, i. e. as with line, the particle as being oft understood, as Psalms 11:1 22:6 45:1. The sense is, having conquered the land, he made an estimate of it, and, as it follows, distributed the towns and people into three parts.

Casting them down to the ground, i. e. overthrowing their towns, and utterly destroying their people in, manner following.

With two lines measured he to put to death; which severity was necessary for his own and his people’s security, because they were numerous and potent, and bordering upon Canaan, and very vexatious and mischievous to the Israelites. And now that prophecy, Numbers 24:7, was accomplished.

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

2.Smote Moab — The occasion and details of this war are unknown, though some Jewish writers have conjectured that it was undertaken to retaliate the death or ill-usage of David’s parents. See note on 1 Samuel 22:4. The fearful slaughter to which David put the Moabites shows that they had wantonly provoked his wrath, and that of Israel. The incident related of Benaiah in 2 Samuel 23:20, and 1 Chronicles 11:22, probably occurred at this time.

Measured them with a line — A barbarous but convenient method of numbering the captives, and in accordance with the customs and spirit of that age.

Casting them down to the ground — Rather, causing them to lie down. They were made to lie down in a row so as to be more conveniently measured with the line.

Two lines’ to put to death’ one full line to keep alive — That is, two thirds were marked off for death, and one full third to be kept alive. “That they might not suffer by the roughness of this mode of marking them out, the line was so drawn as palpably to make the proportion marked off to be spared much the largest of the three thirds, which is doubtless the meaning of the full line to keep alive.” — Kitto.

Brought gifts — Paid tribute.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:2". "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 8:2. He smote Moab — For although the king of Moab, out of hatred to Saul, gave protection to David’s parents, 1 Samuel 22:3-4; yet the Moabites were perpetual and sworn enemies to the Israelites, who therefore were forbidden to admit them into the congregation of the Lord. God indeed commanded the Israelites, in their march to Canaan, to spare the Moabites for the sake of their progenitor Lot, but afterward they became such fierce enemies to him and his people, that he was provoked to treat them in a different manner. Now was fulfilled the prophecy of Balaam, Numbers 24:17-18. “A sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners,” or princes, “of Moab.” See the note on that passage. And measured them with a line — That is, having conquered the country, he took an exact survey, and made an estimate of it, distributing the towns and people into three parts. Casting them down to the ground — Destroying the fortified cities and strong holds of the whole land, and levelling them with the ground, as far as he thought necessary to humble them and secure himself. With two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive — This passage, it must be acknowledged, is extremely obscure. But the most probable sense of it seems to be, that upon the taking and demolishing of those forts and strong holds, which made an obstinate resistance, he discriminated between those who were hardy and determined in refusing all offers of mercy, made upon their submission, and those who were unwillingly withheld by their rulers and commanders from accepting the mercy offered them; preserving the latter alive, and putting the others to death. “Agreeable to this sense,” says Dr. Delaney, “the Hebrew text may, and I think ought, to be understood thus: With two lines measured he, namely, one to put to death those obstinate few who rejected all offers of mercy; and with one full line (in the original, one line of plenitude) to keep alive; that is, to save all those who would have submitted and accepted proffered mercy, had they been suffered. David was a prophet, and thoroughly versed in the Scriptures; and when he had there learned that a king was to arise out of Jacob who should one day smite and subdue Moab, it was not hard for him to discern, in the spirit of prophecy, that he himself was that king, especially after the message delivered to him by Nathan, from the word of the Lord. And there is no doubt but he executed the sentence denounced against Moab, in the prophecy of Baalam, in that sense in which the Spirit of God denounced it, which I apprehend to be that now explained. But, supposing David destroyed two-thirds of the Moabites on this occasion, and saved only one- third, (for so some understand the text,) the severity of this chastisement was no greater than that which God himself denounces against his own people for their sins, Zechariah 13:8. And why might not the sins of the Moabites deserve this chastisement now, as those of the Jews did at the time referred to in this prophecy? The greatest sins the Jews ever committed against God were those corruptions which they copied from their neighbour nations, the most abominable of all which were practised by the very nation we are now speaking of; and therefore there is good reason to believe that they now deserved the same severity of vengeance from the justice of God, which he afterward inflicted upon his own people.” And so the Moabites became David’s servants — Were made subject to him; and brought gifts — Or paid a constant tribute, which they continued to do all his days, and in the reign of Solomon. And after the kingdom was divided, it was paid to the kings of Israel, till after the death of Ahab, when they refused to pay it, 2 Kings 3:4-5.

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

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Earth, like criminals condemned to die. (Theodoret) --- Some of them he chose to spare, and made tributary, having levelled the strong places with the ground. (Denis the Carthusian) --- Septuagint intimate that half were destroyed. (Calmet) --- But the Hebrew rather implies that the greatest part was saved, "a full cord to save alive;" (Menochius) unless there were three lots, and only one of them, larger indeed than the rest, spared. (Haydock) --- Death, or slavery, were the portion of all who were taken in war. (Grotius, Jur. iii. 4, 20.) --- Lex nulla capto parcit aut pœnam impendit. (Seneca) --- Tribute. Hebrew, "brought gifts," which is a softer term. The Moabites were thus punished for former and, probably, for some recent offences. (Haydock)

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

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

smote Moab. Thus fulfilling Numbers 24:17.

measured = allotted, or divided by lot. See note on "line", below: i.e. David divided into two companies those who were to be spared and those who were not.

them = the territory. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Subject), App-6, for their territory. line. Line, put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Cause), App-6, for dividing or allotting what was measured with it. Deuteronomy 3:4, Deuteronomy 3:13 (region); 2 Samuel 32:8, 2 Samuel 32:9. Joshua 17:6, Joshua 17:14. Psalms 19:4. Amos 7:17. Micah 2:5. 2 Corinthians 10:16.

casting them = casting down the cities. See note on "them", above, and compare 1 Chronicles 18:2 = " made them his servants", or vassals.

to put to death. These were soldiers in arms, not inhabitants.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:2". "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 he smote Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive. And so the Moabites became David's servants, and brought gifts.

He smote Moab, and measured them with a line. This refers to a well-known practice of Eastern kings, to command their prisoners of war, particularly those who, notorious for the atrocity of their crimes, or distinguished by the indomitable spirit of their resistance, had greatly incensed the victors, to lie down on the ground, and then put to death a certain portion of them, which was determined by lot, but most commonly by a measuring line. Our version makes him put two-thirds to death, and spare one-third. The Septuagint and Vulgate make one-half. This war usage was not, perhaps, usually practiced by the people of God; but Jewish writers assert that the cause of this particular severity against this people was their having massacred David's parents and family, whom he had, during his exile, committed to the king of Moab.

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

(2) He smote Moab.—David’s former friendly relations with Moab (probably connected with his own descent from Ruth), are mentioned in 1 Samuel 22:3-4. The cause of his entire change of bearing towards them is not certainly known, but according to Jewish tradition the Moabites had proved false to their trust, and had put to death David’s father and mother. This is not unlikely, as his parents are never mentioned again after they were left in Moab. Others think that the Moabites had been guilty of some treachery towards David in his war with the Syrians and Ammonites. The two suppositions are quite consistent, and both may have been true. Many writers see in this conquest at least a partial fulfilment of the prophecy in Numbers 24:17.

With two lines.—This expression with the “one full line” of the next clause is equivalent to saying that David measured off the bodies of his prostrate enemies with a line divided into three equal parts. When they had been made to lie down upon the ground, side by side, the line was stretched over them. Such as were found under the two first parts of it were put to death, those under the third part were spared, thus two-thirds of all the Moabite men perished. There is no mention of this in 1 Chronicles 18:2.

Brought gifts.—A frequent euphemism for paid tribute. (Comp. 2 Samuel 8:6.)

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

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And he smote Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive. And so the Moabites became David's servants, and brought gifts.
he smote
Numbers 24:17; Judges 3:29,30; 1 Samuel 14:47; Psalms 60:8; 83:6; 108:9
measured
12:31
And so
6,12-14; 2 Kings 1:1; 3:4-27; 1 Chronicles 18:2
brought gifts
1 Samuel 10:27; 2 Chronicles 26:8; Psalms 72:10,11; Isaiah 36:16
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 23:6 - Thou shalt;  2 Samuel 22:38 - General1 Kings 10:25 - every man;  2 Kings 3:25 - beat down;  2 Kings 17:3 - presents;  2 Chronicles 17:11 - brought;  Psalm 68:30 - every;  Isaiah 16:1 - the lamb;  Isaiah 34:11 - stretch;  Lamentations 2:8 - stretched;  Ezekiel 24:6 - let no;  Amos 7:7 - a wall;  Micah 1:14 - give

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