Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 8:4

David captured from him 1,700 horsemen and 20,000 foot soldiers; and David hamstrung the chariot horses, but reserved enough of them for 100 chariots.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Animals;   Cavalry;   Chariot;   Hadadezer;   Horse;   Houghing;   Syria;   Zobah;   Thompson Chain Reference - Animals;   Cruelty;   Kindness-Cruelty;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Chariots;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Hadadezer or Hadarezer;   Horses;   Hough;   Philistines;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Chariot;   Israel;   War;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Amos, Theology of;   Israel;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Army;   Chariot;   David;   Euphrates;   Hadarezer;   Horse;   Hough;   Rabbah;   Rezon;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Army;   Chariot;   Euphrates;   Harosheth of the Gentiles;   Rezon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Cavalry;   Footman;   Hadad-Ezer;   Hamstring;   Horse;   Hough;   King, Kingship;   Samuel, Books of;   Syria;   Transportation and Travel;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Chariot;   Chronicles, I;   David;   Horse;   Hough;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Army;   Hadadezer ;   Horse;   Hough, to;   Zoba, Zobah ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Moab;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Chariot,;   Hadade'zer;   Horse;   Law of Moses;   Syr'ia;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Chariots of War;   Horse;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Army;   Chariot;   Hock;   Solomon;   Zobah;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Chariot;   Hadadezer;   Horse;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

A thousand chariots - It is strange that there were a thousand chariots, and only seven hundred horsemen taken, and twenty thousand foot. But as the discomfiture appears complete, we may suppose that the chariots, being less manageable, might be more easily taken, while the horsemen might, in general, make their escape. The infantry also seem to have been surrounded, when twenty thousand of them were taken prisoners.

David houghed all the chariot horses - If he did so, it was both unreasonable and inhuman; for, as he had so complete a victory, there was no danger of these horses falling into the enemy's hands; and if he did not choose to keep them, which indeed the law would not permit, he should have killed them outright; and then the poor innocent creatures would have been put out of pain. But does the text speak of houghing horses at all? It does not. Let us hear; הרכב כל את דוד ויעקר vayeakker David eth col harecheb, And David disjointed all the chariots, except a hundred chariots which he reserved for himself. Now, this destruction of the chariots, was a matter of sound policy, and strict piety. God had censured those who trusted in chariots; piety therefore forbade David the use of them: and lest they should fall into the enemy's hands, and be again used against him, policy induced him to destroy them. The Septuagint render the words nearly as I have done, και παρελυσε Δαυιδ παντα τα ἁρματα .

He kept however one hundred; probably as a sort of baggage or forage wagons.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-samuel-8.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Seven hundred horsemen - It should be seven thousand, as in 1 Chronicles 18:4.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:4". "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 David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven hundred horsemen,.... "Chariots" are not in the text here, it is only 1700 "horsemen"; but it is supplied from 1 Chronicles 18:4; where the word is expressly mentioned, and there the horsemen are said to be seven thousand as in the Septuagint version here, and in JosephusF13Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 7. c. 5. sect. 1.) ; which may be reconciled by observing, with Kimchi and Abarbinel, that here the chief officers are meant, there all the chariots and horsemen that were under their command are mentioned, which together made up that large number; or else here are meant the ranks and companies of horse David took, which were seven hundred; and these having ten in a company or rank, made seven thousand; and there the complement of soldiers in those companies and ranks are intended:

and twenty thousand footmen; the same as in 1 Chronicles 18:4; and so in JosephusF14Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 7. c. 5. sect. 1.) :

and David houghed all the chariot horses; or hamstrung them, as Joshua was ordered to do with respect to the Canaanites, Joshua 11:6; he did not kill them, which might seem cruel and unmerciful to the brute creatures, but hamstrung them, that they might be useless for war; and the reason of it was, that horses might not be multiplied in Israel for that purpose, that so their trust and confidence might not be placed in them; see Deuteronomy 17:16,

but reserved of them for an hundred chariots; for his own use, not for war, but for grandeur; which accounts in some measure for the number of chariots and horses Solomon had, 1 Kings 4:26; the number of horses reserved is supposed to be four hundred, four horses being used in a chariot, which Jarchi gathers from 2 Chronicles 1:17.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-8.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: and David houghed all the chariot horses, but reserved of them for an hundred chariots.

Seven hundred — Or, seven hundred companies of horsemen, that is, in all seven thousand; as it is1Chronicles18:4, there being ten in each company, and each ten having a ruler or captain.

Houghed — - That is, cut the sinews of their legs, that they might be useless for war.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:4". "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 8:4 And David took from him a thousand [chariots], and seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: and David houghed all the chariot [horses], but reserved of them [for] an hundred chariots.

Ver. 4. And David took from him a thousand chariots.] As 1 Chronicles 18:4. And the seven hundred horsemen were ranks of horsemen, ten in a rank, and so make seven thousand (ib.). Josephus saith that he slew five thousand horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen. Of David’s houghing the horses he maketh no mention, because it might seem to have been unwisely done, though in obedience to God’s will, and according to Joshua’s practice. It is well observed concerning Josephus, that writing the antiquities of his own nation with an intention to communicate them to others, he described them as stately as he could; and when he thought the simplicity of the Scripture did not suffice to the commendation of things done amongst his Hebrews, he either added or detracted from the holy history; and therefore he is to be read with discretion.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:4". 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 8:4. A thousand chariots The word chariots, though not in the Hebrew, is rightly supplied from the parallel place, 1 Chronicles 18:4. Instead of seven hundred horsemen, says Houbigant, I read also as in the parallel place seven thousand, for the horses were always more than the chariots. These are in the number of those parts of the sacred writings, which to my apprehension demonstrate their divine origin. It is utterly abhorrent from all the principles of human policy, to make either creatures or utensils, when once become our own secure property, either wholly useless, or less useful to all the purposes for which either human contrivance has fitted, or Providence appointed them; and therefore David's burning so many chariots, and maiming so many horses taken from the enemy in battle, could only arise from a principle of obedience to the commands of Almighty God, expressly enjoining such a conduct to his people.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:4". 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

Chariots; which word is fitly supplied out of 1 Chronicles 18:4, such substantives being oft understood in the Hebrew language, as Genesis 26:30 2 Samuel 21:16.

Seven hundred horsemen, or seven hundred companies of horsemen, i. e. in all seven thousand; as it is 1 Chronicles 18:4; there being ten on each company, and each ten having a ruler or captain, Exodus 18:21 Deuteronomy 1:15. Or these seven hundred were the chief and the rulers of the rest, and the remaining six thousand three hundred were the common horsemen, subject to their commanders.

Houghed, i.e. cut the sinews of their legs, that they might be useless for war. Compare Joshua 11:6.

All the chariot horses, except the following reserve. Chariots are here put for chariot horses, as they are 1 Samuel 13:5 2 Samuel 10:18 Psalms 76:6. David did this because he could not keep them for his own use, Deuteronomy 17:16.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:4". 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

4.Houghed all the chariot horses — Cut the tendons of the ham, or the sinews of the hinder hoofs — a practice of ancient warfare. See Joshua 11:6; Joshua 11:9. But the word horses is not in the Hebrew, and עקר, to root up, may also mean to destroy. Hence Clarke, Parkhurst, and Furst render:

David destroyed (or disjointed ) all the chariots. Josephus also says: “He took a thousand of his chariots and destroyed the greater part of them, and ordered that no more than one hundred should be kept.” He would not have Israel trust in chariots. Compare Psalms 20:7; Isaiah 30:1. Keil translates and explains as follows: “David lamed all the cavalry; that is, he made the war chariots and cavalry perfectly useless by laming the horses.”

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:4". "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 8:4. David took from him a thousand chariots — The word chariot is not in the Hebrew, but is well supplied by our translators from 1 Chronicles 18:4, in which book many things are explained which are briefly related here; seven hundred horsemen — Or rather, seven hundred companies of horsemen, that is, in all, seven thousand, as it is 1 Chronicles 18:4, there being ten in each company, and each ten having a ruler or captain. David houghed all the chariot-horses — That is, cut the sinews of their legs, or their hamstrings, that they might be of no use in war; but reserved of them for a hundred chariots — Probably, as a monument of his victory, not for war; God having forbid them to multiply horses, Deuteronomy 17:16.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-samuel-8.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

A thousand. Protestants supply chariots, (Haydock) after the Septuagint and 1 Paralipomenon (xviii. 4.) which have 7000 horsemen. See how we have attempted to reconcile these texts, 1 Kings xiii. 5. Perhaps the numbers were expressed by single letters; and the Hebrew final n, (700) has been mistaken for z, (7000) both here and [in] chap. x. 18. Literis numeralibus non verbis antiquitus numeri concipiebantur. (Scaliger, apud Walton prol.) --- "Will any other hypothesis so naturally solve this repeated difficulty?" (Kennicott, Diss. on 1 Chronicles xi. p. 96 and 463.) --- Kimchi thinks that the king's horse-guards are only specified here; and Salien supposes, that those who fought on chariots are also included in Chronicles, as they are often styled horsemen, Isaias xxi. 7, 9. (Menochius) --- Houghed. Aquila, "destroyed." He rendered them unfit for war, as Josue had don, (Josue xi. 6.) supposing that this was the import of the decree, forbidding many horses to be kept, Deuteronomy xvii. 16. --- Horses is not expressed in Hebrew, though the Protestants supply the word; as also, for. We should translate literally, "He left out of them 100 chariots;" (Haydock) as we read elsewhere, that Adarezer had 1000. (Menochius) --- But this expression being unintelligible, no less than, "he houghed all the chariots," as the text stands at present in the original, may lead us to suspect that this verse has been inaccurately printed. Septuagint, "David paralyzed, (or rendered useless) all the chariots; and 100 chariots were reserved for himself out of them." Josephus says the rest of the 1000 chariots were burnt, 5000 horse slain, and 20,000 foot. (Haydock)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-8.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

seven hundred. =1 Chronicles 18:47; 1 Chronicles 18:000; but Hebrew f = 7 and J = 700 are easily mistaken one for the other. See note on 1 Kings 4:26. [f and J represent Hebrew characters]

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-samuel-8.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) A thousand chariots.—The word chariots has evidently dropped out of the text here, but is rightly inserted, following the LXX. and 1 Chron.; 700 horsemen should also be changed to 7,000, in accordance with 1 Chron., this being a more fitting proportion to 20,000 infantry in the plains of Syria, and the difference being only in two dots over the letter marking the numeral in Hebrew.

Houghed, i.e., hamstrung, to render them incapable of use in war. (Comp. Joshua 11:6; Joshua 11:9.) This is meant to apply not only to the chariot horses, but to all those of the cavalry. Whether David’s reservation of the number needed for 100 chariots was wrong or not, is not said. David probably felt the need of these horses as a means of more rapid communication with the distant parts of his increasing empire; yet this act may have been the entering wedge for Solomon’s direct violation of Deuteronomy 17:16, by sending to Egypt to “multiply horses to himself.”

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-8.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: and David houghed all the chariot horses, but reserved of them for an hundred chariots.
from him
or, of his. chariots. As 1 Ch 18:4 seven hundred. In the parallel place in Chronicles it is "seven thousand horsemen, a far more probable number. The letter [Zayin] zayin, with a dot upon it stands for seven thousand, and the final letter Nûwn,] noon, for seven hundred: the great similarity of these letters might easily cause the one to be mistaken for the other, and so produce an error in this place.
David houghed
Deuteronomy 17:16; Joshua 11:6,9; Psalms 20:7; 33:16,17
reserved
1 Kings 10:26
Reciprocal: 2 Samuel 10:18 - fled;  1 Kings 4:26 - forty thousand;  Jeremiah 17:25 - riding

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-8.html.