2 Samuel 8:4

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.

2 Samuel 8:4 Meaning and Commentary

2 Samuel 8:4

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 Josephus F13; 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 Josephus F14:

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 ) ( 2 Chronicles 1:14 ) ; 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 ) .


FOOTNOTES:

F13 Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 7. c. 5. sect. 1.)
F14 Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 7. c. 5. sect. 1.)

2 Samuel 8:4 In-Context

2 And he smote Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive. And so the Moabites became David's servants, and brought gifts.
3 David smote also Hadadezer, the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to recover his border at the river Euphrates.
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.
5 And when the Syrians of Damascus came to succour Hadadezer king of Zobah, David slew of the Syrians two and twenty thousand men.
6 Then David put garrisons in Syria of Damascus: and the Syrians became servants to David, and brought gifts. And the LORD preserved David whithersoever he went.