And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man
A city in the tribe of Judah, ( Joshua 15:21 ) ; the father of this man was a man of great vivacity, valour, and strength, so that it was like father like son. Procopius Gazaeus says Benaiah was David's brother's son, and a grandson of Jesse:
who had done many acts;
which may refer either to the father of Benaiah or to Benaiah himself; and indeed the Syriac and Arabic versions refer the preceding character, "a valiant man", not to the father, but the son:
he slew two lionlike men of Moab;
two princes of Moab, as the Targum, or two giants of Moab, as the Syriac and Arabic versions; men who were comparable to lions for their strength and courage; for this is not to be understood of two strong towers of Moab, as Ben Gersom, which were defended by valiant men like lions, or which had the form of lions engraved on them: nor of Moabitish altars, as Gussetius F6, the altar of the Lord, being called by this name of Ariel, the word used; but of men of uncommon valour and fortitude:
he went down also, and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in
not Joab, ( 1 Kings 2:34 ) , as is the tradition F7, but a real lion, the strongest among the beasts; and that in a pit where he could not keep his distance, and turn himself, and take all advantage, and from whence he could not make his escape; and which indeed might quicken his resolution, when he must fight or die; and on a snowy day, when lions are said to have the greatest strength, as in cold weather, or however are fiercer for want of food; and when Benaiah might be benumbed in his hands and feet with cold. Josephus F8 represents the case thus, that the lion fell into a pit, where was much snow, and was covered with it, and making a hideous roaring, Benaiah went down and slew him; but rather it was what others say, that this lion very much infested the places adjacent, and did much harm; and therefore, for the good of the country, and to rid them of it, took this opportunity, and slew it; which one would think was not one of the best reasons that might offer; it seems best therefore what Bochart F9 conjectures, that Benaiah went into a cave, for so the word used may signify, to shelter himself a while from the cold, when a lion, being in it for the same reason, attacked him, and he fought with it and slew it; or rather it may be an hollow place, a valley that lay between Acra and Zion, where Benaiah, hearing a lion roar, went down and slew it F11.