And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armor in his tent.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The head of the Philistine.—There is no real difficulty here, for although the fortress of Jebus, on Mount Zion, was in the hands of the Jebusites, and continued to be so until David captured the stronghold, many years later, the city of Jerusalem already belonged to the Israelites. (See Joshua 15:63; Judges 1:21.) This “place of arms” was naturally selected for the home of the famous trophy, being the nearest stronghold to the scene of the victory.
But he put his armour in his tent.—Ohel, the Hebrew word rendered here “tent,” is the ancient word for “dwelling.” If we understand that David kept for the present the armour of his mighty adversary, we must suppose he took it to his dwelling at Bethlehem, and after a time presented it to the sanctuary at Nob. In 1Samuel 21:9 we read of the “sword of Goliath wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod.” Abarbanel, however, with great probability, believes that by the expression “in his tent” the “tabernacle of Jehovah” is meant—“His tabernacle,” so termed pointedly by the compiler of the history, because David, in later days, with great ceremony, “pitched it” in his own city (2Samuel 6:17). In Acts 15:16 the writer of this New Testament Book expressly calls the sacred tent “the Tabernacle of David.”1 Samuel 17:54. And brought it to Jerusalem — After he had shown it to Saul, 1 Samuel 17:57, and exposed it to all the people, chap. 1 Samuel 18:6. Jerusalem was now become a noted city, which was the reason why he brought his head thither. Some think, however, that this is spoken of a future action, namely, that when David was come to the kingdom, and had made Jerusalem his royal seat, he ordered the scull of Goliath to be fixed up in some public place there, as a monument of this most signal victory. But he put his armour in his tent — A tent which probably was set up for David on this occasion. The sword was afterward placed behind the ephod in the tabernacle, being consecrated to God, and preserved as a memorial of the victory to his honour, 1 Samuel 21:9.Judges 1:8 note.
His tent - Perhaps the tabernacle. David had neither tent nor house of his own. It would be quite in accordance with David's piety that he should immediately dedicate to God the arms taken from the Philistine, in acknowledgment that the victory was not his own but the Lord's (compare 1 Samuel 21:9). His tabernacle, meaning the tabernacle which he had pitched (2 Samuel 6:17; compare Acts 15:16).Brought it to Jerusalem; either to terrify the Jebusites, who yet held the fort of Zion, 2 Samuel 5:7; or for some other reason not recorded, nor now known.
In his tent, i.e. in the tent which was erected for him in the camp, upon this occasion. There it was kept for the present, though afterwards it seems to have been translated to the tabernacle, where we find his sword, 1Sa 21, and it is not unlikely the rest of his armour was there also.
but he put his armour in his tent; not where the army was encamped before the engagement; for David had not his tent there, and beside the camp broke up upon this victory obtained; but rather in his tent or apartment at Bethlehem, when he returned thither, and where he laid up the armour he took from Goliath; though Abarbinel thinks, and so other Jews (q), that by his tent is meant the tabernacle of the Lord, called David's, because of his attachment to it; and certain it is that the sword of Goliath was either now, or at least hereafter, laid up there, see 1 Samuel 21:9; where all that went to sacrifice might see it, and call to mind this wonderful instance of the power and goodness of God, and praise him for it.And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armor in his tent.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)54. to Jerusalem] There are no indications that Jerusalem had yet attained any importance either as a political or religious centre. The citadel still remained in the hands of the Jebusites, though the lower city had been captured (Joshua 15:63). It seems best therefore to suppose that David deposited the head as a votive offering in the Tabernacle at Nob which was close to Jerusalem. We know that he afterwards placed Goliath’s sword there, and possibly the rest of his armour along with it. This is preferable to the conjecture that the historian here relates by anticipation what David did eventually when he occupied Jerusalem.
in his tent] So long as the army remained in the field he kept it as a trophy of his victory.
We might naturally expect that David would celebrate his victory by a Psalm of thanksgiving. No extant Psalm however can with certainty be referred to this occasion. The Sept. adds “against Goliath” to the title of Psalms 144 (Sept. 143), but without any sufficient probability; and the Psalm appended to the Psalter in the Sept., which professes to belong to this period, is certainly not authentic. A translation of it may be found in Smith’s Dict. of the Bible, I. 403.Verse 54. - David...brought it to Jerusalem. This is an anticipation of later history. The Jebusites at this time held Jerusalem; but when David had taken it from them, he removed the head of Goliath thither, and the narrator, following the usual custom of Hebrew historians, mentions the ultimate fate of this trophy here (see on 1 Samuel 16:21). He put his armour in his tent. I.e. he carried it to his home (see on 1 Samuel 2:35; 4:10; 13:2, etc.), where it became his private property. The mistranslation of camp by tents in ver. 53 might lead an English reader to suppose that it meant a tent in the camp of Israel; but most probably the men all slept under their wagons. Abravanel supposes that by David's tent was meant the tabernacle of Jehovah, but this would surely have been stated more fully. Either, however, now, or at some later period, David must have presented the sword as an offering to the tabernacle, as it was laid up at Nob, whence he took it with him in his flight (see 1 Samuel 21:9). SAUL'S INQUIRY CONCERNING DAVID'S PARENTAGE (vers. 55-58).
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