Bible Book List
Matthew Henry's Commentary – Verses 15–18
Verses 15–18

David was not so engaged in his wars abroad as to neglect the administration of the government at home.

I. His care extended itself to all the parts of his dominion: He reigned over all Israel (2 Sam. 8:15); not only he had a right to reign over all the tribes, but he did so; they were all safe under his protection, and shared in the fruits of his good government.

II. He did justice with an unbiased unshaken hand: He executed judgment unto all his people, neither did wrong nor denied or delayed right to any. This intimates, 1. His industry and close application to business, his easiness of access and readiness to admit all addresses and appeals made to him. All his people, even the meanest, and those too of the meanest tribes, were welcome to his council-board. 2. His impartiality and the equity of his proceedings, in administering justice. He never perverted justice through favour or affection, nor had respect of persons in judgment. Herein he was a type of Christ, who was faithful and true, and who doth in righteousness both judge and make war, Rev. 19:11. See Ps. 72:1, 2.

III. He kept good order and good officers in his court. David being the first king that had an established government (for Saul’s reign was short and unsettled) he had the modelling of the administration. In Saul’s time we read of no other great officer than Abner, that was captain of the host. But David appointed more officers: Joab that was general of the forces in the field, and Banaiah that was over the Cherethites and Pelethites, who were either the city train-bands (archers and slingers, so the Chaldee), or rather the life-guards, or standing force, that attended the king’s person, the pretorian band, the militia. They were ready to do service at home, to assist in the administering of justice, and to preserve the public peace. We find them employed in proclaiming Solomon, 1 Kgs. 1:38. 2. Two ecclesiastical officers: Zadok and Ahimelech were priests, that is, they were most employed in the priests’ work under Abiathar, the high priest. 3. Two civil officers: one that was recorder, or remembrancer, to put the king in mind of business in its season (he was prime minister of state, yet not entrusted with the custody of the king’s conscience, as they say of our lord chancellor, but only of the king’s memory; let the king be put in mind of business and he would do it himself); another that was scribe, or secretary of state, that drew up public orders and despatches, and recorded judgments given. 4. David’s sons, as they grew up to be fit for business, were made chief rulers; they had places of honour and trust assigned them, in the household, or in the camp, or in the courts of justice, according as their genius led them. They were chief about the king (so it is explained, 1 Chron. 18:17), employed near him, that they might be under his eye. Our Lord Jesus has appointed officers in his kingdom, for his honour and the good of the community; when he ascended on high he gave these gifts (Eph. 4:8-11), to every man his work, Mark 13:34. David made his sons chief rulers; but all believers, Christ’s spiritual seed, are better preferred, for they are made to our God kings and priests, Rev. 1:6.