Verse 39. "I am this day weak" - Had Abner lived, all the tribes of Israel would have been brought under my government.
"Though anointed king" - I have little else than the title: first, having only one tribe under my government; and secondly, the sons of Zeruiah, Joab and his brethren, having usurped all the power, and reduced me to the shadow of royalty.
"The Lord shall reward the doer of evil" - That is, Joab, whom he appears afraid to name.
WE talk much of ancient manners, their simplicity and ingenuousness; and say that the former days were better than these. But who says this who is a judge of the times? In those days of celebrated simplicity, &c., there were not so many crimes as at present I grant: but what they wanted in number they made up in degree: deceit, cruelty, rapine, murder, and wrong of almost every kind, then flourished. We are refined in our vices; they were gross and barbarous in theirs: they had neither so many ways nor so many means of sinning; but the sum of their moral turpitude was greater than ours. We have a sort of decency and good breeding, which lay a certain restraint on our passions, they were boorish and beastly, and their bad passions were ever in full play. Civilization prevents barbarity and atrocity; mental cultivation induces decency of manners: those primitive times were generally without these. Who that knows them would wish such ages to return?