Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 8

The officials in David’s government

2 Samuel 8:15-18

2 Samuel 8:15-18 is a description of David's government, and gives the names of his most important officials.

In the ancient world, a king also acted as chief judge, and he was in charge of his government. So, an ancient king had much more power than most rulers of nations do today.

Psalm 101 describes David's attitudes towards this important work. He tried to use his power to do what is right and good. He chose loyal and honest people to work for him, wherever possible. He opposed people who behaved wickedly. He considered that they should have no place either in his government, or in his country.

Although David tried hard to do that, he was not completely successful. Joab, the leader of David's army, was loyal to David, but he was a cruel and evil man (3:22-39). David also gave great responsibility to his (David’s) own sons. However, they caused much trouble for him, as we shall see in later chapters.

We know nothing else about Jehoshaphat and Seraiah, who seem to be the most important officials in David's government. Ahimelech's family had long been Israel's chief priests. However, God had said that he would replace them (1 Samuel 2:35). From the time of Solomon, Zadok's family became the chief priests (1 Kings 2:35).

The Kerethites and Pelethites were important soldiers and royal guards. Benaiah, who led them, was an especially brave soldier (23:20-23). He became the chief commander of Solomon's army (1 Kings 2:35).

Next part: David's desire to show kindness to Saul's family (2 Samuel 9:1-2)


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