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2 Samuel 5:8

8 On that day David had said, “Anyone who conquers the Jebusites will have to use the water shaft to reach those ‘lame and blind’ who are David’s enemies.a ” That is why they say, “The ‘blind and lame’ will not enter the palace.”

Read 2 Samuel 5:8 Using Other Translations

And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, that are hated of David's soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.
And David said on that day, "Whoever would strike the Jebusites, let him get up the water shaft to attack 'the lame and the blind,' who are hated by David's soul." Therefore it is said, "The blind and the lame shall not come into the house."
On the day of the attack, David said to his troops, “I hate those ‘lame’ and ‘blind’ Jebusites. Whoever attacks them should strike by going into the city through the water tunnel. ” That is the origin of the saying, “The blind and the lame may not enter the house.”

What does 2 Samuel 5:8 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
2 Samuel 5:8

And David said on that day
On which he took the strong hold of Zion:

whosoever getteth up to the gutter;
where it is generally supposed the blind and lame were, whether images or real men: but what is meant by "Tzinnur", we render "gutter", is not easy to say; we follow some of the Jewish writers, who take it to be a canal, or water spout, used to carry off the water from roofs of houses into cisterns, as the word is rendered in ( Psalms 42:7 ) ; which is the only place besides this in which it is used in Scripture; but R. Isaiah takes it to be the bar or bolt of the gate, and the sense to be, whoever got up to the gate, and got in at that, unbolting it, or breaking through it; the Targum interprets it of the tower of the city, or strong fortress, and so Abarbinel; but Jarchi says it was a ditch, agreeably to which Bochart F8 translates the words, and indeed more agreeably to the order of them;

``whosoever smites the Jebusites, let him cast into the ditch (next the wall) both the blind and the lame, extremely hated by David.''

But a learned modern writer F9 gives a more ingenious and probable interpretation of these words thus;

``whosoever (first) smiteth the Jebusites, and through the subterraneous passages reaches the lame and the blind''

and which seems to be favoured by Josephus, as he observes; who says {k}, the king promised the command of the whole army to him who should (dia twn upokeimenwn faraggwn) , "through the subterraneous cavities", go up to the citadel, and take it: to which I would add that the word is used in the Chaldee paraphrase of ( Ecclesiastes 1:7 ) , of the several subterraneous passages, through which the rivers flow out of and reflow into the ocean: remarkable is the note of Theodoret,

``a certain Hebrew says, Aquila renders it "through a pipe"; on which, he observes, David being willing to spare the walls of the city, ordered the citizens should enter into the city by an aqueduct;''

according to the Jews, there, was a cave underground, which reached from the king's house in Jerusalem to Jericho, when it was taken by Nebuchadnezzar; (See Gill on Jeremiah 39:4); in which story there may be a mixture of fable; yet it is not improbable that there was such a subterraneous passage; since Dio Cassius F12 speaks of several such, through which the Jews made their escape in the last siege of the city:

and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind;
or even the lame and the blind men the Jebusites had placed to mock David; and therefore it follows,

[that are] hated of David's soul:
because he was despised and jeered at by them, and through them: if these could be understood of their idols and images, the phrase would be easily accounted for, nothing being more abominable to David than idolatry:

[he shall be chief and captain];
these words are not in the original text here, but are supplied from ( 1 Chronicles 11:6 ) ; that is, he shall be chief commander of the army, as Joab became, who was the first that went up and smote them:

wherefore they said, the blind and the lame shall not come into the
that is, either the Jebusites said this, that their images, called in derision by David the blind and the lame, if these did not keep David out, they should never be intrusted with the safety of their fort any more F13; or rather because the blind and the lame men said this of David, he shall not come into the house, the fort, or citadel, therefore David hated them; which is the sense of the above learned writer F14.


F8 Phaleg. l. 4. c. 36. col. 304.
F9 Dr. Kennicott's Dissert. 1. p. 35.
F11 Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 7. c. 3. sect. 1.)
F12 Hist. l. 66.
F13 Gregory, ut supra. (Notes and Observations ch. 7.)
F14 Dr. Kennicott, ut supra. (Dissert. 1. p. 35.)
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