2 Samuel 23:17

And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men.
Read Chapter 23

Ambrose of Milan

AD 397
Further, what man can we consider finer and stronger than the holy David? He had desired water from the cistern of Bethlehem although it was cut off by a hostile army. That desire he was not able to remove, but he could mitigate it. For we do not find that the others lacked water, and the army was very large. And surely the king’s need for water would have been much less, in view of the other springs nearby. But he suffered a kind of irrational longing and wanted that water which was walled in and surrounded by the enemy, so that it could not have been readily brought without great risk. Thus he said, “Who will get me a drink from the cistern that is in Bethlehem by the gate?” And when three men were found to break down the enemy camp and bring the water which he had desired with a very great desire, he knew that he had obtained that water at the cost of danger to others. He poured it out to the Lord, so that he might not seem to be drinking the blood of those who had brought it. This ...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
I do not fear the uncleanness of food but only the uncleanness of uncontrolled desire. I know that Noah was permitted to eat every kind of meat which was edible; that Elijah was nourished on meat; that John, endowed with a marvelous abstinence, was not made unclean by partaking of living things, namely, the locusts which happened to be available as food. And I know that Esau was led into error by his greed for lentils; that David blamed himself for his craving for water; and that our King was tempted not by flesh but by bread. Further, the people in the desert deserved to be reprimanded, not because they desired meat but because they murmured against the Lord as a result of this desire for meat. Having been placed among these temptations, then, I struggle daily against undisciplined desire in eating and drinking. - "Confessions 10.31.46–47"

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Drink. This word is acknowledged in 1 Paralipomenon and in all the ancient versions. (Kennicott) Protestants supply, "Is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? "Instead of Jehova, (Haydock) which ought to have m prefixed, we find maleim; (1 Paralipomenon) a word never used in such solemn appeals to the Lord. This seems owing to the superstition of the Jews, who would not pronounce the former name, perhaps in imitation of the heathens, who kept the names of their tutelar gods secret, lest the enemy might call them out, and thus obtain possession of the country. See Macrob. iii. 9. No mention is made of the Romans making use of this mode of evocation at the last siege of Jerusalem, as they were unacquainted with the true name of God. Virgil (ii. 351,) writes, Excess ere omnes Adytis Arisque relictis, Dii quibus imperium hoc steterat. -- See Servius; Kennicott.

Gregory The Dialogist

AD 604
Much later, David was sitting opposite the enemy lines and desired longingly to drink from the cistern. Chosen soldiers of his broke through the enemy troops and returned unharmed with the water the king had desired. But the man who had been taught by his chastisements immediately reproached himself for having endangered his soldiers by his desire for water. He poured it out, making a libation to the Lord, as it is written there: “He poured it out to the Lord.” The water he poured out was changed into a sacrifice to the Lord, because he slaughtered his sin of eager desire by the penance of self-censure. The man who had once been unafraid to lust after another man’s wife was later terrified at having desired water. Since he remembered he had committed something forbidden, he was strict with himself and refrained even from what was allowed. - "Forty Gospel Homilies 34"

John Cassian

AD 435
And certainly when we are disturbed at this very anger because it has stolen upon us against our brother, and we angrily cast out its deadly suggestions and do not permit it to maintain its noxious lair in the recesses of our heart. To be angry in this latter way is also taught us by that prophet who so eradicated this from his mind that he did not even want to take revenge on his own enemies, who had in fact been handed over to him by God, when he said, “Be angry and do not sin.” For when he wanted water from a well in Bethlehem and had been brought it by strong men from the midst of enemy troops, he at once poured it out on the ground and, angrily extinguishing his wanton and passionate desire in this way, he offered it as a libation to the Lord, rejecting his yearning and desire with the words “May the Lord be gracious to me, lest I do this. Shall I drink the blood of those men who went out and the danger of their souls?” - "Institutes 8.8"

Leander of Seville

AD 600
A fish is caught by being enticed with a hook. A bird falls into a net while trying to get food. Animals that are tough by nature’s endowment fall into a pit from desire to eat, and what nature does not soften, food deceives. Therefore, learn temperance and parsimony from the prayer and the examples of ancients: from prayer, because the Lord says, “Lest your hearts be overburdened with self-indulgence and drunkenness”; from examples, because David was unwilling to drink the water he wanted, since he recognized the danger of being responsible for another’s blood; and because Daniel scorned the feasts of kings and lived on vegetables. What you possess in common with your companions should be acceptable to you and you should not cause others to be intemperate; also, do not become a cause for scandal to those to whom you wish to set an example by encouragement and by proof of a good life. - "The Training of Nuns 13"

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

App Store LogoPlay Store Logo