And the king and his men went to Jerusalem
Which, at least part of it, belonged to the tribe of Benjamin; and therefore until all Israel, and that tribe, with the rest, made him king, he did not attempt the reduction of it, but now he immediately set out on an expedition against it:
unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land:
who inhabited the country about it, and even dwelt in that itself; for the tribe of Judah could not drive them out at first from that part of it which belonged to them, nor the tribe of Benjamin from that part which was theirs; in short, they became so much masters of it, that it was called, even in later times, Jebus, and the city of the Jebusites; see ( Joshua 15:63 ) ( Judges 1:21 ) ( Judges 19:10 Judges 19:11 ) ;
which spake unto David;
when he came up against them, and besieged them:
except thou take away the blind and lame, thou shalt not come in
which many understand of their idols and images, which had eyes, but saw not, and feet, but walked not, which therefore David and his men in derision called the blind and lame; these the Jebusites placed for the defence of their city, and put great confidence in them for the security of it, and therefore said to David, unless you can remove these, which you scornfully call the blind and the lame, you will never be able to take the place. And certain it is the Heathens had their tutelar gods for their cities as well as their houses, in which they greatly trusted for their safety; and therefore with the Romans, when they besieged a city, the first thing they attempted to do was by any means, as by songs particularly, to get the tutelar gods out of it F2; believing otherwise it would never be taken by them; or if it could, it was not lawful to make the gods captives F3: and to this sense most of the Jewish commentators agree, as Kimchi, Jarchi, Ben Gersom, and R. Isaiah, who take them to be images; some say, made of brass, which were placed either in the streets of the city, or on the towers: it was usual with all nations to place on their walls both their household and country gods, to defend them from the enemy F4. A learned countryman of ours F5 is of opinion that these were statues or images talismanically made, under a certain constellation, by some skilful in astrology, placed in the recess of the fort, and intrusted with the keeping of it, and in which the utmost confidence was put: but it seems better with Aben Ezra and Abarbinel, and so Josephus F6, to understand this of blind and lame men; and that the sense is, that the Jebusites had such an opinion of the strength of their city, that a few blind and lame men were sufficient to defend it against David and his army; and perhaps in contempt of him placed some invalids, blind and lame men, on the walls of it, and jeeringly told him, that unless he could remove them, he would never take the city:
or "saying" F7; this was the substance of what they said, or what they meant by it:
David cannot come in hither;
it is impossible for him to enter it, he cannot and shall not do it, and very probably these words were put into the mouths of the blind and lame, and they said them frequently.
F2 Vid. Valtrinum de re militar. Rom. l. 5. c. 5.
F3 Vid. Macrob. Saturnal. l. 3. c. 9. Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 6. c. 4.
F4 Cornel. Nepot. Vit. Themistocl. l. 2. c. 7.
F5 Gregory's Notes and Observations ch. 7.
F6 Antiqu. l. 7. c. 3. sect. 1.
F7 (rmal) "dicendo", Pagninus, Montanus.