Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
Saul’s New War with the Philistines and David’s Exploit with its Diverse Consequences for Him and for his Relation to Saul
I. The two Camps and Goliath’s arrogant Challenge
1 SAMUEL 17:1–11
1Now [AND] the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh [Socoh], which belongeth to Judah, and pitched 2between Shochoh [Socoh] and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim.1 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by [in] the valley of Elah 3[of the Terebinth], and set the battle in array against the Philistines. And the Philistines stood on a [the] mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a [the] mountain on the other side, and there was a valley [the ravine 4was] between them. And there went out a champion2 out of [from] the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and 5a span. And he had an helmet of brass [copper] upon his head, and he was armed with [clothed in] a coat of mail [corselet of scales]; and the weight of the coat 6[corselet] was five thousand shekels of brass [copper]. And he had greaves3 of brass [copper] upon his legs, and a target [javelin] of brass [copper] between his 7shoulders. And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head4 weighed six hundred shekels of iron; and one bearing a shield [the shield-bearer] 8went before him. And he stood and cried unto the armies [ranks]5 of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am I not a [the] Philistine, and ye servants6 to Saul? choose you a man for you, and 9let him come down to me.7 If he be able to fight with me, and to [om. to] kill me, then will we be your servants; but [and] if I prevail against him and kill him, 10then shall ye be our servants and serve us. And the Philistine said, I defy the armies [ranks] of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together. 11When [And] Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, [ins. and] they were dismayed and greatly afraid.
II. David and Goliath. 1 Samuel 17:12–54
12Now [And] David was the son of that [this] Ephrathite of Bethlehem-Judah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons; and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul [the man in the days of Saul was old, advanced in 13years].8 And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed [had followed]9 Saul to the battle; and the names of his three sons that went to the battle were 14Eliab, the first-born, and next unto him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. And 15David was the youngest; and the three eldest followed Saul. But [And] David 16went and returned from10 Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem. And the 17Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days. And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run [carry them quickly] to the camp to thy brethren; 18And carry these ten cheeses [pieces of cheese11] unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge [and bring a 19token12 from them]. Now [And] Saul and they and all the men of Israel were13 20in the valley of Elah [of the Terebinth], fighting with the Philistines. And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him, and he [om. he] came to the trench [wagon-rampart] as [and] the host was going forth14 to the fight and [ins. they] shouted for the battle. 21For [And] Israel and the Philistines had [om. had] put the battle in array 22army against army [line against line]. And David left15 his carriage [baggage] in the hand of the keeper of the carriage [baggage], and ran into the army [ranks], 23and came and saluted [asked after the welfare of] his brethren. And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name [Goliath the Philistine by name, of Gath16], out of the armies [from the ranks17] of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words; and David 24heard them. And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, 25and were sore afraid. And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely [for] to defy Israel is he come up; and it shall be that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich18 him with great riches, and will give him 26his daughter, and make his father’s house free in Israel. And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised 27Philistine, that he should defy the armies [ranks] of the living God? And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man 28that killeth him. And Eliab, his eldest brother, heard when he spake unto the men, and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that 29thou mightest see the battle (for to see the battle art thou come down). And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause [Was it not a word 30merely19]? And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same 31manner; and the people answered him again after the former manner. And when [om. when] the words were heard which David spake, [ins. and] they rehearsed them before Saul; and he sent for him.
32And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant 33will go and fight with this Philistine. And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for thou art but a youth, and he a 34man of war from his youth. And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a [the] lion and a [the] bear,20 and took a lamb21 35out of the flock; And I went after him and smote him and delivered it out of his mouth; and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard,22 and smote him 36and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them,23 seeing he hath defied the armies [ranks] 37of the living God. David said moreover [And David said], The Lord [Jehovah] that delivered me out of the paw [hand]24 of the lion and out of the paw [hand] of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of the Philistine. And Saul said unto 38David, Go, and the Lord [Jehovah] be25 with thee. And Saul armed David with his armor [clothed David with his military dress], and he [om. he] put an helmet26 of brass [copper] upon his head, also he [and] armed [clothed] him with a coat of 39mail [corselet of scales]. And David girded his sword upon his armor [dress] and he [om. he] assayed27 to go, for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, 40I cannot go with [in] these, for I have not proved them. And David put them off him. And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in [into] a [the] shepherd’s bag28 which he had, even [namely] in [into] a [the] scrip;28 and his sling was in his hand, and he drew near to the Philistine.
41And29 the Philistine came on and drew near [the Philistine drew nearer and 42nearer] unto David, and the man that bare the shield went before him. And when [om. when] the Philistine looked about [om. about] and saw David, [ins. and] he disdained him, for he was but [om. but] a youth and ruddy and of a fair countenance.30 43And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to 44me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto [to] the fowls of 45the air and to the beasts of the field.31 Then said David [And David said] to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a [om. a] sword and with a [om. a] spear and with a [om. a] shield [javelin], but I come to thee in the name of the Lord [Jehovah] of hosts, the God of the armies [ranks] of Israel, whom thou hast defied. 46This day will the Lord [Jehovah] deliver thee into my hand, and I will smite thee and take thine head from thee, and I will give the carcasses32 of the host [army] of the Philistines this day unto [to] the fowls of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that [and] all the earth may [shall] know that there is a God in Israel 47[Israel hath a God]. And all this assembly shall know that the Lord [Jehovah] saveth not with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s [Jehovah’s], and he 48will give you into our hands. And33 it came to pass, when the Philistine arose and came [went] and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted and ran toward the 49army [line] to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in [into] his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, and 50the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell upon his face to the earth. So [And]34 David prevailed over the Philistine with a [om. a] sling and with a [om. a] stone, and smote the Philistine and slew him, but [and] there was no sword in the hand 51of David. Therefore [And] David ran and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him and cut off his head therewith. And when [om. when] the Philistines saw their champion was dead, 52[ins. and] they fled. And the men of Israel and of Judah arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines until thou come to the valley [ravine35] and to the gate of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, 53even [and] to [as far as] Gath and to [as far as] Ekron. And the children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines, and they spoiled their tents 54[camps]. And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem, but [and] he put his armour [trappings] in [into] his tent.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
1 Samuel 17:1–11. The camps of the Philistines and the Israelites confronting one another. Goliath’s appearance on the scene and his arrogant challenge. The power of the Philistines was not broken; they rose with renewed strength against Israel, and made another attempt to reduce them to subjection. The Philistine army assembled at Socoh, now Shuweikeh. This is, however, not the Socoh (also called Shuweikeh) three German [fourteen English] miles southwest of Hebron on the spurs of the mountains of Judah (Josh. 15:48), but the Socoh west of these mountains in the plain of Judah, about four German [nineteen English] miles southwest of Jerusalem, and about three German [fourteen Eng.] miles southwest of Bethlehem (Josh. 15:35) in Wady Sumt (Acacia-valley), which Robinson, II., 604 [Am. ed., II., 20, 21] regards as the same with Terebinth-valley (1 Samuel 17:2), while, according to Thenius, “the latter is probably to be looked for in a branch of that Wady, in Wady Sûr, which runs up towards Beit-Nusib.” Azekah, whither (Josh. 10:10) Joshua pursued the five kings who were besieging Gibeon, from Gibeon, that is, to the southwest. Its position is in general determined by that of Ephes-dammim, the present ruins of Damum, about one Germ. [four and three-fourths Eng.] mile northeast of Shuweikeh. The rendezvous of the army was Socoh, the camp was at Ephesdammim. On the nature of the ground, according to Robinson, see Ritter, XVI. 114 sq.36
1 Samuel 17:2. The Israelitish army assembled and encamped in the Terebinth-valley. As the Israelites must have moved from the north-east, the Terebinth-valley must be placed north-east of the Philistine position, and regarded as a plain in Wady Sur or Massur.
1 Samuel 17:3. The position of the opposing armies towards the mountain, on the declivity of the mountain (this is not in conflict with the Israelitish position in the Terebinth-vale, if we suppose lowlands descending from the heights), the two separated by the still deeper bed of a brook, is vividly described.
1 Samuel 17:4. Goliath comes forward—description of his person. He is called “the man of the midst,” middleman [champion] because he advances between the two armies (1 Samuel 17:8, 9) to decide the matter by single combat. (Maurer: “בֵּנַיִם, interval between two things, here between two armies (τὰ μεταίχμια, Eur. Phœn. 5:1285, on which the Schol. says: “the space between armies where single combats took place), whence אַישׁ חַבֵּנַיִם, one who decides a contest by single combat between two army-lines.” Sept. Al., ’Αμεσσαῖος (1 Samuel 17:23), error for ὁ μεσαῖος). See examples of similar single combats among the Oriental nations in Stähelin’s “Leben Davids,” Bas. 1866, p. 4.37 Neither of the armies dares to attack. Saul and Israel feared the Philistines, instead of bravely attacking the hereditary enemy of the Theocracy in reliance on the help of the Lord. The explanation is found in Saul’s false attitude towards the Lord. “The king reckons only with human factors, believing that he has forfeited all claim to help from above. What wonder that his position seems to him in general doubtful, and he thinks it prudent—unbelief makes us cowards—to act merely on the defensive.” (F. W. Krummacher.) The plu. “out of the camps of the Philistines” does not justify us in accepting the arbitrary rendering of the Sept., “out of the ranks;” it refers to the various camp-divisions out of which Goliath came (comp. Ew. § 178 d).—Gath, one of the five Philistine capital-cities, has now disappeared without trace. When Joshua destroyed the giant race of the Enakim (Josh. 11:21 sq.) in this region, there remained some of them only in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod (1 Samuel 17:22). Goliath’s height is given exactly: six cubits and a span. The change in the Sept. of the six to four is due to the desire to give plausibility to what seemed incredible. According to Thenius (die althebr. Längen und Hohlmasse in den Theol. Stud. und Krit., 1846, p. 117 sq.) Goliath’s height was 9 feet 1 inch (Parisian).38 See in Then, and Keil (Comms. on this verse) examples of like tallness in ancient and modem times. The skeletons of Pusio and Secundilla, mentioned by Pliny (N. H. 7, 16) were a Paris inch longer [10 ft. 3 in. Roman measure.] [Keil mentions a giant who came to Berlin in the year 1857, who was as tall as Goliath; and “Chang, the Chinese giant, lately in England, was 7 feet 8 inches high” (Bib. Com). On the giants of the Bible see the dictionaries of Winer (Riesen), Herzog (id.), Smith, and Fairbairn.—TR.].
1 Samuel 17:5–7. Goliath’s arms are in keeping with his bodily size: 1) copper-helmet; 2) scale-corselet; (קַשְׂקֶשֶׂת, according to Num. 11:9 sq.; Deut. 14:9 sq.; Ezek. 29:4 = “scale”), a harness or corselet made of overlapping metallic plates (φολιδωτόν, Aq. “clad with scales”), not of chain-rings. Such scale-corselets were common in ancient oriental wars. See Layard, “Nineveh and its Remains,” II. 4, and Bochart, Phal. III. 13. [Also Kitto, “Saul and David,” p. 211 sq., and Philippson in loco.] The weight of the corselet, or coat-of-mail, was 5000 shekels; the shekel was not a full German loth [half-ounce]; Then.: “about 139 Dresden pounds.” The corselet probably descended far down the body, as we see in the pictures of Assyrian warriors in Layard’s “Nineveh.” 3) copper-greaves on the legs. (Read plu. “greaves,” as in all ancient VSS.) These greaves did not cover the thighs (Bunsen), which in oriental fashion were protected by the corselet. 4) a copper-lance between his shoulders. The Heb. “lance” (כּידוֹן), is to be retained in spite of the reading “shield” (מָגֵן) in Sept., Vulg., Syr., Arab. The text is confirmed by 1 Samuel 17:45, “where the shield would be out of place, with two offensive arms” (Then.).39 As the ancients carried even their swords on their shoulders (Il. 2, 45; Bochart, Hieroz. 1,2, 8), there is nothing strange in his carrying the javelin “between the shoulders.” 5) a spear, whose shaft (read עֵץ for חֵץ, comp. 2 Sam. 21:19; 1 Chr. 20:5) was like a weaver’s beam, and whose head weighed 600 shekels of iron, “somewhat over 16½ Dresden pounds, quite in keeping with the other statements” (Then.). 1 Samuel 17:8–11. Goliath’s contemptuous and fear-inspiring challenge. 1 Samuel 17:8. He stood and cried to the ranks of Israel: Why are ye in battle array? behold, I represent the whole Philistine people, and ye are servants of Saul. Send one of you to fight with me, and “let him come down to me;” Goliath was standing, namely, in the valley, beneath the Israelites who were encamped on the hill-side.
1 Samuel 17:9. The proposed agreement to decide the question of subjection by the single combat, which, in Goliath’s opinion, would undoubtedly result in favor of the Philistines. Clericus here cites the combat between the Horatii and the Curiatii, and the agreement (Liv. I. 23) between the Romans and Albans “that the nation, whose citizens conquered in the combat, should rule the other in peace.”
1 Samuel 17:10. Goliath’s scorn and contempt of Israel lay not merely in the reproach that they were Saul’s slaves and in the tone of his words, but also in the challenge itself, because it was not answered.40
1 Samuel 17:11. Fear and trembling take possession of Israel with Saul at the head. F. W. Krummacher: “Israel is afraid, because its king is. They dare not in childlike spirit appropriate the promises of Jehovah. The wings that should bear them up in trustful upsoaring to the Lord of Hosts are crippled.”
1 Samuel 17:12–31. David in the camp—his preparation for the combat with Goliath.
1 Samuel 17:12. The full account of the person and family of David tells what we already know from chap. 16., and yet reads as if nothing had been said of his origin. This suggests that the Redactor of the Book here appends and works in a narrative concerning David, which began with the family history, and then related the combat with Goliath and its occasion. This view is supported by the “that” or “this” (הַזֶּה), which is evidently added in order to connect the words with 16:1. Vulg. properly: “the above-mentioned Ephrathite.” The last words of 1 Samuel 17:12 relating to Jesse, the “Ephrathite” (that is, of Ephrath, the old name of Bethlehem, Gen. 48:7, see Ruth 1:1, 2), are difficult. The rendering, with retention of the text, “was come among the weak” (D. Kimchi, S. Schmid, Keil) [Eng. A. V. “went among men”] is opposed to the ordinary meaning of the Heb. (אֲנַשִים) = “people, men.” Bunsen’s explanation: “belonged to the men of standing” is, by his own judgment, possible only by an arbitrary insertion, and is otherwise meaningless. [Comp. the Targum: belonged to the בחיר, the vigorous young men.—TR.] Hitzig (see in Thenius) renders: “he was an old man among men,” which arbitrarily omits בָּא, “went.” It seems best, with Grotius, Thenius, after Sept., Vulg., Syr., Arab., to substitute “in years” (בַּשָּנִים) instead of the text, and render “he was advanced in years.” This phrase indeed is not found elsewhere, but we have the similar phrase “advanced in days” (Gen. 24:1; Josh. 13:1) = aged. This statement of Jesse’s age gives the reason why he does not himself go into the field, but only his three oldest sons. In the pluperfect “went … had gone (Ew. § 346 c, A. 3—“the verb standing in sequence is then explained as plup. by means of its own perf.”) we have a trace of the effort of the Redactor to work the new narrative, to which the simple “went” belonged, into the whole history. The pluperfect was necessary here, because the account of David’s family carries us into a time anterior to the already related appearance of Goliath.41 While we have here eight sons of Jesse (and so 16:10 sq.), only seven are named in 1 Chr. 2:13–15, David being there the seventh. Clericus rightly supposes that there the name of one of David’s brothers is by error omitted. The name of the third, here and 16:6–9 written Shammah, is Shimeah in 1 Chr. 2:13 [Eng. A. V.: Shimmi perhaps after Vulg.—TR.] and 20:7, Shimei in 2 Sam. 21:21 [so Kethib, but Qeri is Shimeah; Erdmann writes שִׁמְעָי, putting the vowels of the Qeri under the Kethib, comp. 1 Kings 1:8.—TR.] and Shimeah in 2 Sam. 13:3, 32.
1 Samuel 17:14. The words: and the three eldest followed Saul are a repetition of the statement in 1 Samuel 17:13, and show the pains the Redactor took to introduce his new material clearly and connectedly.
1 Samuel 17:15. Here the narrator takes up the “and David” of 1 Samuel 17:12, after having explained that the three oldest brothers had followed Saul to the war. David was “going and returning” from Saul to feed his father’s sheep in Bethlehem; that is, he did not remain constantly at the court of Saul, but went back and forth, to court, and then home to attend to his pastoral duties. This he could do, since Saul was not always in the gloomy state which required David’s harp. Inasmuch as it appears from what follows that this going and returning from Saul was not from the theatre of war (for then he would already have given account of his brothers, and also his appearance there surprises them), it must have fallen in the time before Saul went to the war. According to this David was not constantly at the court of Saul, and from time to time exchanged the harp for the shepherd’s staff. Although, according to 16:21, he is Saul’s armor-bearer, he is yet not with him in the field; he is even (1 Samuel 17:33) a boy ignorant of war, and (1 Samuel 17:28) an unauthorized spectator of the battle. This has been regarded as in conflict with 1 Samuel 16., and therefore the section 1 Samuel 17:12–31 has been declared to be a later interpolation (Mich., Eichh., Dath., Berth., after the Vat. Sept., which omits it), or by another author than that of 1 Samuel 16, and in conflict with the latter (De Wette, Then., Ew., Bleek, Winer, Stähelin). But it is unnecessary to suppose a contradiction here. If Joab, the General, had ten armor-bearers (2 Sam. 18:15; comp. 2 Sam. 23:37), King Saul would certainly have more than one, as to which note that in 16:21 it is not said that David became the armor-bearer of Saul [properly: “he became an armor-bearer to him.”—TR.]. As totally unpracticed in war (so 1 Samuel 16. supposes him to be), David, notwithstanding his enrolment among the court-esquires (armor-bearers), could not be needed by Saul in war, and he needed not to he taken along for his music, because in the midst of military affairs Saul’s mind was concentrated on one point, held by one thought. Finally, the words of 16:21, 22, do not exclude the supposition that David went to and fro to his father; they rather open a way for it, since his service with Saul had respect to a definite end, which no longer existed when Saul’s condition of mind was for a long time better. And so this statement in 1 Samuel 17:15 may be very well harmonized with that of 16:21–23; they do not exclude each other. The sentence [1 Samuel 17:15] is to be taken, in connection with the second half of 1 Samuel 17:14, in a pluperfect sense, and as an addition of the Redactor’s, the aim of which is to furnish the connection between 16:21, 22, and the following narrative of David’s visit from Jesse to the army, which is from another source than 1 Samuel 16.—[Paraphrase of 1 Samuel 17:12–17: “Let us leave the army for the present in order to introduce another personage. David was the son of a Bethlehemite named Jesse (already mentioned in 1 Samuel 16.), who, an old man, did not himself go to the war, but had sent his three oldest sons. The youngest, David, had been at Saul’s Court, but had been going to and fro to his father’s house. It was while the Philistine champion above-mentioned was daily offering his challenge (for he repeated it forty days) that Jesse determined to send David to his brethren.”—TR.].
1 Samuel 17:16 connects itself in content with 1 Samuel 17:8, and prepares the way for the progress of the narrative, in order to show how David’s conduct on the field of battle over against the bearing of the Philistine was motived by the insolence of the latter. Thenius: “If 1 Samuel 17:12–31 were interpolated, this explanatory insertion could not be accounted for at all.”
1 Samuel 17:17. “Parched peas” (קָלִיא, קָלִי, Lev. 23:14; 2 Sam. 17:28) [or “parched grain.”—TR.].—According to Thenius the Ephah = 3 Dresden pecks. “And carry them quickly to thy brethren,” that is, the parched grain and the bread.—[Bib. Comm.: “All the circumstances necessary for the understanding of the narrative having been explained, it now proceeds more smoothly.”—TR.]
1 Samuel 17:18. “Cheeses,” that is, pieces of cheese or curds (literally, milk, so the ancient VSS.). The word cannot mean “milk-portion,” that is, one milking of a cow (Mich., Schulz), since, as Then, properly remarks, David could not have carried ten such portions with the rest of his load. This gift David is to carry to the captain over a thousand, the chiliarch, under whose command his brothers were. A sketch from military folk-life, such as we often even now see. “And inquire of their welfare” (לְשָׁלום), comp. 2 Sam. 11:7; Gen. 37:14; 2 Kings 10:3.—And take their token, that is, take a token from them, “that we may see and know that they are well, and that thou hast been with them” (Berl. Bib.). The old expositors have here made unnecessary difficulty. The pledge was a token, which, though David had seen them, would be of special value to the father’s heart as an immediate sign from their own hands of their being alive and well (in place of a letter).
1 Samuel 17:19 is not an explanatory remark of the Narrator or Redactor, but a part of Jesse’s speech to David, who is thus instructed where to find his brothers; we must therefore render in present time: “And Saul … are in the terebinth-vale.”—[This construction is favored by the phrase: “and they,” which seems more appropriate in Jesse’s mouth. Yet the rendering of Eng. A. V. is allowable.—TR.]
1 Samuel 17:20 relates the arrival of David on the field of battle, and thus introduces us into military life, מַעְגָּל42 means properly “wagon-track;” it is doubtful how it is to be rendered here and in 26:5, 7. The Complut. Sept. translates by στρογγύλωσις, “rounding,” in accordance with the meaning of עָגַל, “to be round,” and the usual form of ancient camps (Winer, R.-W. I. 681). This points not to a wagon-rampart, but to the round circumvallation. Vulg. wrongly: “ad locum Magala.—[The Syr. has “camp,” the Chald. “fortification,” the Arab. “army” or “camp.” Erdmann renders “camp-wall,” Philippson “wagon-rampart,” Bib.-Com. “wagons,” i.e. “wagon-rampart,” Calvin, “the place of wagons.” This last seems to be the literal meaning of the word (so margin of Eng. A. V.), and best suits the circumstances of 1 Sam. 26:5, 7; the wagons were made into a fortification or rampart. The renderings of Syr. and Arab, are general, of the nature of paraphrases.—TR.] “The host” is not connected with the preceding verb (“and came to the host”), but begins an independent sentence, in which the original construction “and the host which” is interrupted by the phrase “and they shouted,” the subject of which is supplied from “host.”43—And they shouted in the battle, that is, raised the war-cry. We need not change the Heb. prep. “in” to “to;” it is a pregnant construction: they shouted as men do in battle [or better “they shouted (and advanced) into the battle.”—TR.]
1 Samuel 17:21 gives the position of the opposing armies.
1 Samuel 17:22. “His baggage,” the present that he had to deliver [and anything else that he might have with him.—TR.]—“He came and asked after his brothers, in order to learn of their well-being.” Clericus: “for he knew that the tribe of Judah was in the front, Num. 2:3; 10:14.”44
1 Samuel 17:23. Goliath’s advance, already described in 1 Samuel 17:4, and here repeated, first directs David’s attention to him, and incites him to the resolution to fight the champion. עוֹלֶה [Eng. A. V. “came up”] is not “came on” (De Wette), but “ascended,” that is, he came over the valley so near to the Israelites, that he advanced some distance up the height on which they were encamped, in order to throw more contempt into his challenge.—(The Kethib, ממערות, can be rendered neither caterva hominum (Gesen.), nor loca plana (מַעֲרוֹת), nor speluncæ (מְעָרוֹת); these meanings give no good sense. It is better to take the Qeri with Sept. and Vulg. [Chald.] “ranks,” or, still better with Then. [Syr.] the Sing. “the line.”)—Surprising is the description of Goliath: “Goliiath the Philistine his name,” instead of “Goliath his name, the Philistine of Gath,” as the Vulg. [so Eng. A. V.] translates. We need not, however, transpose the Heb. text (Then.), since in the popular language “Goliath the Philistine” may have become a proper name. We see here too that the author is drawing from a narrative whose description of Goliath (which the author retains, though he had already, 1 Samuel 17:4, described him) contained this popular designation of the grant.
1 Samuel 17:24. Even the sight of Goliath fills the Israelites with fear and trembling.
1 Samuel 17:2–5.45—The כִּי [Eng. A. V. “surely”] after “have ye seen?” gives the ground of the exhortation therein contained to get ready with anger at Goliath’s insolent bearing towards Israel; it corresponds to Germ. ja, Eng. surely. Comp. Mic. 6:3; Job 31:18; Ges. § 155, 1, e (d).—And the man who shall kill him, him will the king enrich, etc. This indicates that Saul had already issued a proclamation, urging the combat with the giant. As generals and princes were accustomed to encourage to such deeds of arms by offering large prizes (Josh. 15:16; Judg. 1:12; 2 Sam. 18:11; 1 Chron. 11:6), so, according to the talk which passed among the people, Saul had promised the highest possible reward to the conqueror of Goliath: great riches, his daughter to wife, and freedom from taxation. This last is the meaning of חָפְשִׁי, not, as Ewald holds, elevation to the rank of free lord, or baron, as the middle rank between king and subjects.—[The word is synonymous with our “free;” see its use in Ex. 21:2; Deut. 15:12; Job 3:19; 39:5; Ps. 88:5 (6), of slaves set free, of a dead man free from the cares of life, of the wild ass at liberty. Here probably of freedom from taxes.—TR.].46—As in 1 Samuel 17:27 the people give the same answer to David’s question (1 Samuel 17:26), which supposes this offering of rewards to be a usual thing, we must conclude that Saul actually made these promises (though nothing is afterwards said of their fulfilment), especially as the same thing is repeated in 1 Samuel 17:27. From Saul’s tendency to rash and exaggerated action, and from his changeableness, we can easily understand both the promise and his unwillingness to perform it.
1 Samuel 17:26. The ground and justification of David’s question concerning the reward of slaying the Philistine is furnished by the high significance of the deed as expressed in the words: “and take away the reproach from Israel;” this significance lends the deed such value that Saul, in David’s opinion, must assign it a high prize.—For who is this Philistine, etc.—These words do not, in the first instance express David’s desire to fight the Philistine (Keil), but they contain the ground of the preceding thought, that the insult offered Israel by the Philistine must be wiped out. This ground lies in the contrast (already indicated in the preceding words “the Philistine … Israel”) between the stand-point of the Philistine as an uncircumcised who has no community with the living God, and stands outside of God’s covenant with Israel, and the stand-point of this covenant-people, which is expressed in the words: “ranks of the living God.” How should this insult of the unclean Philistine cleave to the people of Israel, who are consecrated to the living God, whose battle-line, therefore, is also devoted to him? The living God is emphasized over against the dead idols of the Philistines. Since the Philistine has reviled the people of God, the covenant-people of the Lord, he has directed his scorn and derision against the living God Himself; and he who does the deed that takes away this reproach from Israel, will have God on his side, and do the deed with God’s help. In these words David is seized with holy anger, whose fire flames up from his theocratic sense of honor, to which violence is done by the Philistine’s challenge. His words already indicate his calling, which he has received from the Lord, to rouse the people of Israel, by awakening a new and vigorous theocratic spirit, out of the lethargy into which they had fallen in respect to their hereditary foe under the steadily sinking Saul (a lethargy illustrated in the repeated and unanswered challenge of Goliath), to the height of a true theocratic life.—[Bib. Com.: “The expression ‘the living God’ occurs first Deut. 5:26, then Josh. 3:10; 2 Kings 19:4; twice in the Ps. (42:2; 84:2), four times in the Prophets, and frequently in the New Testament. It is generally in contrast to false gods (1 Th. 1:9, etc.).”—Besides Isa. 37:4, 17; Jer. 10:10; 23:36; Hos. 1:10 (2:1); comp. similar expressions in Ps. 18:46; Jer. 44:26, and the asseveration of Jehovah “as I live” and the significance of the divine name “I am that I am.”—TR.]
1 Samuel 17:28. Over against David appears his oldest brother Eliab as the representative of a totally different disposition. His words show not merely complete lack of brotherly love for David, but bitterness and hatred towards him. In contrast with David’s holy anger, his unholy anger is kindled at David’s talk with the soldiers. Perhaps envy and ambition lay at the bottom of this. His two questions: 1) Why hast thou come down?—the down refers to the relatively elevated position of Bethlehem—and 2) With whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? 1) express the thought: “Thou hast nothing to do here, belongest not here,” indicating a haughty, quick-judging nature, and 2) reproach David with neglect of duty as keeper of his father’s flocks. While all David’s thought and feeling is on the great national disgrace and its removal, and his mind is concerned with plans for saving the honor of Israel and Israel’s God, Eliab in his low and blind zeal thinks only of the flock of sheep and the possible loss to them from lack of oversight; the type of a narrow soul, incapable of great thoughts and deeds. But from the reproach of inconsiderate neglect of duty, he passes to a two-fold serious accusation: I know thy arrogance and the naughtiness of thy heart, for to see the battle art thou come down.—His zeal blinded by envy and jealousy, he ascribes David’s visit to the worst motives: 1) pride, in that he wishes to rise above his shepherd-life and play a part in the war, and 2) badness of heart, according to the connection wickedness, brutality, in that he wishes to enjoy himself and please his eyes in the battle. In Eliab’s words we see the disposition which he falsely and with hate-blinded zeal ascribes to his brother.—As he forms in word and bearing the sharpest contrast to David, so David’s conduct towards him (1 Samuel 17:29) is in sharpest contrast to him. His answer is quiet, passionless, but a decided and explicit disavowal of the wrong angrily charged on him.—What have I now done? that is, nothing that I have done gives ground for the reproaches and accusations which you have addressed to me. Opposed to the “done” (עָשִׂיתִי) is the following “word” (דָּבָר).—Was it not a word merely?—This is not: Was it not a command? namely, of my father, to come hither, must I not obey (Luther, Gesen.)? for this would be unintelligible to Eliab from its brevity. David would have expressed himself more definitely, if he had meant his father’s command. The reply refers to the word (1 Samuel 17:26) which David had spoken, as appears from what follows; and so the ancient VSS. The sense is: Is not this word permitted me? Can I not seek information by such a word?
1 Samuel 17:30. David turned from Eliab to another with the same question, and received the same answer. The meaning of דָּבָר (“word”) here and 1 Samuel 17:31 in reference to 1 Samuel 17:26 confirms the view of its meaning in 1 Samuel 17:29.
1 Samuel 17:31. “In the presence of Saul,” not “to Saul,” “markedly expressive of respectful announcement” (Then.). David’s zeal exhibited to the people for the honor of the Lord and of Israel was the cause of his again appearing before Saul, and the preparation for the deed of heroism by which he was to save the honor of Israel and its God against the scorn of the Philistine.
1 Samuel 17:32–40. David’s conversation with Saul on his resolution, and his preparation for the combat with Goliath.
1 Samuel 17:32. Let no man’s heart fail because of him.—To read (Then, after the Sept.) “my lord” (אדני), instead of “man” (אדם) destroys the general character of the affirmation, which is here so appropriate; for, according to 1 Samuel 17:24, the fear of the Philistine was universal in Israel.—“Heart,” here=“courage;” comp. Germ. beherztheit [literally “heartedness;” so Eng. “courage,” from French cœur, “heart.”—TR.].—The Pron. “him” is better referred to the Philistine; Then. refers it to Saul [let not my lord’s heart fail him”], and Vulg. renders in eo, “in him.” David first expresses the general thought, “no man’s courage must fail on his account,” and then individualizes it in the words “I will exhibit such a manly courage.”—In this exhortation to courageousness David expresses his own stout courage over against the universally feared Philistine, and the want of courage in Israel. As proof of his courage he announces his determination to undertake immediately the combat with this Philistine.
1 Samuel 17:33. Against this Saul represents that David as a youth cannot venture on a battle with this man, who had been a warrior from his youth. [In 16:18 David is designated by the same term, “man of war,” which here describes Goliath; but this term would naturally have different meanings as used by the young man in 1 Samuel 16. and by Saul here, and moreover the contrast here rather rather refers to the ages of the two antagonists. David might seem to Saul’s retainer a brilliant young “warrior,” and yet as a stripling seem to Saul unable to cope with this experienced “warrior.”—TR.]
1 Samuel 17:34 sq. To this remark of Saul David, in order to show his courage and strength, replies by narrating a victorious combat with a lion and a bear, which he had while keeping his father’s flocks. The Art. [omitted in 1 Samuel 17:34 in Eng. A. V.—TR.] before “lion” and “bear” is better understood as representing David’s immediate view of the animals in his description [the lion which I now in imagination see before me], than as pointing them out as the well-known animals.47 (אֵח before הַדּוֹב is sign of the Acc., Ew. § 277 d. Böttcher: “As אֵח before the Nominative is always either limiting or emphasizing (Jer. 45:4; 38:16 Keth.; Ezek. 44:3 al.), the form ‘and what the bear was’ very naturally expresses the sense ‘and even the bear;’ for the black, ugly bear seemed to the Hebrew still more dreadful than the noble lion, and stands after the latter in a climax (Hos. 13:7 sq.; Am. 5:19; Prov. 28:15; Sir. 47:3).” Comp. 2 Sam. 17:8, where special strength and courage are ascribed to the bear.—זֶח is clerical error for שֶׂה.) As we cannot suppose that the two animals united in a robbery, David must be regarded as here combining two combats, one with a lion, the other with a bear. The constant use of the singular suffix (1 Samuel 17:35), which with two subjects is surprising, is not to be explained (Keil) by supposing that David here combines the two exploits, “killed the one beast and the other;” for not only does the “beard” not suit the bear, but the impression made on us by the narrator is that he is thinking of one animal, not of two. It is better to understand 1 Samuel 17:35 of the lion, since he is first named in 1 Samuel 17:34, and the following statement suits him only. Against this cannot be urged the impropriety of speaking of a lion’s beard, for the ancients frequently mention it, Hom. Il., 15,275; 17,109; Mart. 10:9. Thus in the words “there came the lion and the bear,” there is a vivid description of David’s killing the lion, evidently with his shepherd’s staff. See 2 Sam. 23:20, where it is related of Benaiah, a captain of David’s, that he killed a lion in a pit. On the fact that lions are killed with sticks by the Arabs see Thevenot, Voyage de Levante, II., 13. Comp. Rosenm., Bibl. Thierreich, p. 132.48 1 Samuel 17:36. Here David first says expressly that he slew both beasts. He expresses his confident conviction that he will likewise slay the Philistine. “The Philistines, this uncircumcised, shall be as one of them.” But at the same time he grounds (“seeing that”) this conviction and certainty of victory on Goliath’s wickedness, his defiance of the ranks of the living God, wherein we again see David’s strong and clear consciousness of the theocratic significance of this battle between the Philistines and the Israelites, whose covenant-God is contemned in His people and their army, and who therefore cannot abandon His people’s cause, which is His own.
1 Samuel 17:37. David again declares the ground of his confidence that he will conquer Goliath, namely, his trust in the mighty help of the Lord, which he founds on his experience of that help in the combat with the lion and the bear. The experience of the Lord’s help is the foundation of hope for new help.—Saul accordingly permits him to go to the fight, and assures him that the Lord will be with him.
1 Samuel 17:38 sq. “His garments” (מַדָּיו) can from this connection mean only garments which pertained to warlike equipment (18:4), over which the sword was girded.
1 Samuel 17:39. That David puts on Saul’s armor shows that he was of about the same stature with him. [Not necessarily, since the armor may have been capable of change of size by tightening.—TR.] David cannot go, he says, in these garments, not because they are too large, but because he is not accustomed to them. He sees that they would only hinder him in the fight, and lays them off.
1 Samuel 17:40. He exchanges the armor for his shepherd’s implements, staff and sling. The latter was as necessary to the shepherds as the former, in order to keep off the wild beasts. David must therefore have been well-practiced in its use.—See an example of skill with the sling among the Benjaminites, Judg. 20:16. So he advanced against the Philistine.
1 Samuel 17:41–54. David’s victory over Goliath.
1 Samuel 17:41. The mutual approach of David and Goliath is here again described in a very lively manner: Goliath drew nearer and nearer to David, in consequence of David’s approach to him (1 Samuel 17:42). V. 42. As he comes nearer Goliath looks more closely at David and despises him, seeing in him not a warrior, but a pretty youth. This account tallies exactly with 16:12.
1 Samuel 17:43 sq. The Sept. reads: “Am I as a dog, that thou comest against me with staff and stones? and David said, Nay, but worse than a dog.” The Plu. “staves” seemed to them strange, and was therefore changed into the Sing., and this occasioned the additional words. It stands, as Keil observes, “in scornful exaggeration of what seemed to the Philistine the wholly unsuitable armor of David.” The words: “worse than a dog,” do not suit David’s character; they would be excessive abuse. The Philistine’s word: “am I a dog?” sets forth his feeling of insult at David’s coming against him with a staff, which was ordinarily employed not against men, but against beasts. And the Philistine cursed David by his god. Here is shown the innermost contrast which comes into play in the battle between Israelites and Philistines: the contrast between the living God and His people on the one hand, and the idolatrous, antitheocratic world on the other. Similar are the scornful defiances which warriors of antiquity mutually gave at the beginning of a combat.—On 1 Samuel 17:44 comp. Ezek. 29:5.
1 Samuel 17:45 sq. David’s answer to Goliath’s reproaches contains in an advancing line of thought the most important elements of his character: 1) he expresses most sharply that contrast between their two stand-points in their religious-moral aspect: Thou comest to me relying on thine own strength and thy powerful armor, but I come to thee in the name of Jehovah Sabaoth, the God of the ranks of Israel, whom thou hast defied. The name of the Lord is for David the totality of all the revelations by which the living God has made Himself known and named among His people. Of these elements, which form the conception of the name of God, he here, suitably to the situation, adduces those which characterize Him in respect to His warlike and ruling power as Captain and Conqueror of His people (Ps. 24:10). The words, “whom thou hast defied,” form the factual ground of David’s second declaration, 1 Samuel 17:46: The Lord will, because I come against thee in His name, give thee into mine hand, &c. David expresses his certainty of victory, but at the same time affirms that it will be God’s deed. Triumphal heroic courage before victory, and humble bowing before God as the bestower of victory are here united in David. The rendering of the Sept.: thy corpse and the corpses (of the army, &c.) is no doubt occasioned by the strangeness of the Sing. [Eng. A. V. has Plu. “carcasses.” See Text. and Gramm.—TR.]. “Corpse” (פֶּגֶר) is to be taken collectively.—3) By the help which God the Lord will grant His people in this victory, all the world will know that Israel has a God, not: “that God is for Israel.” The sense is: The other nations will learn that God does not suffer Himself to be mocked in His people, but as their covenant-God helpfully and mightily espouses their cause.
1 Samuel 17:47. 4) Together with the knowledge, which reaches beyond Israel to the heathen nations, that Israel has a protecting and saving God, for Israel themselves (here called “all this assembly”) the blessing of this not doubtful victory will be, that they shall know that the Lord needs not external mighty means, as sword and spear, for His help; for His is the battle, by His almighty will the issue of the battle is determined in His people’s favor, arms of war do not secure His help, but His power alone secures success, even when not those arms but seemingly feeble means are employed. He gives the enemy into the hand of His people.
1 Samuel 17:48 sq. Goliath’s approach to David at the beginning of the combat is minutely and vividly described; as well as David’s preparation for the battle, and its speedy termination. David’s unbroken courage is made more evident by the remark that he went “toward the line” to meet the Philistine. The stone flung from the sling reached Goliath’s forehead. The addition in the Sept. “through the helm,” is a superfluous interpretation. If his forehead and face were covered by the front of the helm, the stone might indeed penetrate through the latter. But it may also be supposed that Goliath, confident of victory, advanced against the despised shepherd-lad with uncovered forehead. Comp. W. Vischer, Antike Schleudergeschosse [Ancient Slings], Basel, 1866, p. 5, where he speaks of slingers who could hit the part of the enemy’s face at which they aimed.
1 Samuel 17:50 sq. expressly declares the superiority of David over Goliath with sling and stone, in accordance with David’s words, 1 Samuel 17:47, that victory is not determined by strength of warlike arms. To this refers also the added statement, “David had no sword in his hand,” which is at the same time the reason for the following statement, namely, the slaying of the giant with his own sword, with which David cut off his head. After the fall of Goliath the terrified Philistines take to flight, without trying a battle. The Israelites raised the battle-cry, and pursued them.
1 Samuel 17:52. The text reads: “up to a ravine.” This gives no good sense, since the ravine between the two armies cannot be meant, nor can we suppose such an indefinite locality, the word not having the Article. As Gath and Ekron are afterwards named as the limit of the pursuit, it is natural to suppose that here גַּיא [“ravine”] stands by error for גַּת [Gath]. בְּדֶרֶךְ שַׁעֲרִים is usually understood of a city, Shaarim: “on the road as far as Shaarim.” Thenius’ objection, that no such city is mentioned elsewhere, is not tenable, for see Josh. 15:36. Thenius renders after the Sept. “in the way of the gates,” understanding by this the whole space between the outer and inner gate, since city gates were in the form of a building, enclosing a space, and so had two doors (2 Sam. 18:24); against which is partly the absence of the Art., partly the double עַד, “up to,” as the sign of direction and progress. According to the usual view the Philistines fled along the road from Shaarim partly towards Gath, partly towards Ekron, and many of them were slain. “This direction of the flight resulted from the nature of the country. The Wady Sumt, where the combat took place, passes northward from Socoh, turns after two or three miles westward by the village Sakarieh (שַׁעֲרַיִם, Sept. Josh. 15:36, Σακαρίμ), emptying into the Wady Simchim; about a mile from this is the village of Ajjur, which is held to be ancient Gath (Rob. II. 606–8 (Am. Ed., II., 66, 67); Ritter, XVI., 91), and so the Philistines fled through the valley that Robinson also traversed in his excursion from Jerusalem to Gath.49 Another portion of the Philistines remained in Wady Sumt and fled northward, where the Wady Sumt takes the name Wady Surar, in which lies the present city Akir.” Stähelin, Das Leben David’s, p. 7 sq.
1 Samuel 17:53. From this hot pursuit of the Philistines up to their cities the Israelites turned back to spoil the enemy’s camp.
1 Samuel 17:54. David carried Goliath’s head to Jerusalem. This is no anachronism, since only the fortress of Jebus on mount Zion was then in the hands of the Jebusites, the city Jerusalem being already in possession of the Israelites (Josh. 15:63; Judg. 1:21). But why should not this city be selected as the place of deposit of this trophy, since it was the nearest to the field of battle? Goliath’s arms, on the contrary, he put into his dwelling. אֹהֶל [usually = “tent,” as in Eng. A. V.—TR.] is the ancient word for dwelling, as in 4:10; 13:2; 2 Sam. 18:17; 19:8; 20:1, and here the old homestead in Bethlehem is meant. It is no contradiction that we afterwards (21:9) find the sword of Goliath in the sanctuary at Nob; for meantime it might have been carried thither to be permanently kept as sign of the victory granted Israel by the Lord over their old hereditary enemy.
HISTORICORAL AND THEOLOGICAL
1. David and Goliath, with the two armies, represent the immediate contrast of the godly and antigodly life, of the Theocracy and the Antitheocracy within the world; on one side the sincere humility, which bows beneath the hand of the living God, will be only His instrument, only seeks His honor, only strives after the ends of His kingdom, and is therefore by God highly exalted—on the other side the pride and arrogance, which boldly lifts itself above everything divine, puts its trust only in earthly human power, pursues God’s kingdom and honor with scorn and contempt, stands up perpetually against God’s people to oppress them, but is at last cast down and judged by the Lord.
[At the end of the Psalter the Sept. has an additional Psalm referring to this combat, as follows: “This is the autographic (though supernumerary) Psalm of David, composed when he had the single combat with Goliath. I was little among my brethren, and youngest in the house of my father. I kept my father’s sheep, my hands made an organ, my fingers joined together a psaltery, and who will tell it to my lord? He is the Lord, He heareth. He sent His messenger and took me from the sheep of my father, and anointed me with the oil of His anointing. My brethren were handsome and tall, and the Lord was not well pleased with them. I went forth to meet the Philistine, and he cursed me by his idols; and I drew his sword from his side, and beheaded him, and took away reproach from the children of Israel.”
This is certainly not genuine (it is given also in the Syriac, Arabic, and Æthiopic versions), but it sets forth the religious-theocratic spirit with which David viewed the conflict. We might have expected that David would thus celebrate his victory; but there is no trace in the Heb. of such a Psalm.—TR.]
2. David and Eliab represent within the people of God the contrast between the disposition which looks above to the honor and the ends of the living God, and that which looks to earthly possession and earthly-worldly interests, which is not capable of recognising ideal moral motives in others, but judging by itself, ascribes to them only low and selfish aims. Selfishness, passionately roused by envy and jealousy, hinders a just judgment of the bearing and conduct of brethren, and leads to wicked accusation against them.
3. He alone can perform great things for the kingdom of God in its conflict with the hostile world, who like David 1) resists and overcomes himself, and shows true manly courage in patiently bearing the injustice of misunderstanding and calumniation, and not repaying evil with evil; 2) is filled with the fire of holy anger against ungodliness and sin, and of holy enthusiasm for the cause and honor of the Lord; 3) expects not victory from his own strength and human might, but trusts in the Lord alone.
4. That the world hostile to God’s kingdom can long unpunished visit its scorn on the truth of the eternal and living God, is commonly a result of the inner weakness, disorder, and timidity of the members of the kingdom of God. When, therefore, there arises a man from their midst who with mighty word and deed encounters and conquers the foe, this is a direct interposition of God’s hand in the development of His kingdom, and such a man is His chosen instrument for the casting down of the haughty worldly powers, and for a new gathering together and elevation of His people.
5. Those men of God, who contend for the honor and cause of the Lord and His kingdom on earth, are, in unshakable reliance on Him, sure of their victory precisely because they have not their own honor in view, and do not set their hope on human-earthly might. As their trust in their own strength vanishes, their trust in the Lord’s help increases, which is not dependent on anything creaturely. A life hidden in God is the source of the most courageous testimony and the greatest prowess, and in the name of God opposes the most inimical powers of this world, joyously certain of the victory of the Lord’s cause and of the ends of his kingdom.
See further the remarks in the Exegetical Exposition.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
[1 Samuel 17:10. SCOTT: Degenerate professors of religion often receive just rebukes from most decided enemies. …In human accomplishments the opposers of the truth of God have frequently possessed an undisputed superiority; confiding in this, they have defied, and still do defy, the advocates of spiritual truth to engage with them; and they dream of a total and decided victory.—TR.]
1 Samuel 17:14 sqq. SCHLIER: David is acquainted with the Fourth Commandment, and knows that for him God’s way always goes in God’s commandment. No one has blessing and success in life who has not in youth learned obedience.
1 Samuel 17:16. LANGE: Without a divine call one should not go into the peril of conflict.—[This remark seems inappropriate here. The Israelites had every call of patriotism and honor, but they did not heed.—TR.]—SCHLIER: They are the best rulers, in great things as in small, who have first themselves learned to hearken and serve. The best training for command is obedience.—[“Forty days.” Two pictures, every morning and evening: the giant and boastful warrior, with huge weapons, stalking forth and defying Jehovah and His people—and ten miles away the quiet youth, tending his sheep, bearing crook and sling and harp, trusting Jehovah, and all unconscious of his splendid destiny.
1 Samuel 17:20. HALL: If his father’s command dismiss him, yet will he stay till he have trusted his sheep with a careful keeper. We cannot be faithful shepherds, if our spiritual charge be less dear unto us; if, when necessity calls us from our flocks, we depute not those who are vigilant and conscionable.—TR.]
1 Samuel 17:22. SCHMID: Often is that which to man appears thoughtless and rash, a work of the special Providence of God. So we must not be over-hasty in judging.
1 Samuel 17:23. STARKE: To revile and talk big is the manner of Satan and all his comrades. Ps. 73:8. O man, guard against it.—To pious souls nothing is more painful than when they are compelled to hear the ungodly revile God. Ps. 10:1 sq.—[1 Samuel 17:24. TAYLOR: Which of us is not sometimes brought almost to a stand-still, when he surveys the ignorance, infidelity, intemperance and licentiousness by which we are surrounded? It seems to us, in moments of depression, as if these evils were stalking forth defiantly before the armies of the living God, and laughing them, Goliath-like, to scorn; and our courage is apt to cool as we contemplate this show of force. But we must not allow these feelings to prevail. The God of David liveth, and He will still give us success.—TR.]
1 Samuel 17:26. HALL: While base hearts are moved by example, the want of example is encouragement enough for an heroical mind. See 1 Samuel 17:23.
1 Samuel 17:28. OSIANDER: See what envy does: how hateful it makes pious people, and how it is wont to excite bitter hate and aversion among brethren! Prov. 14:30.—SCHMID: Wrath and envy interpret everything in the worse sense, however good it may be in itself.—HALL: There is no enemy so ready or so spiteful as the domestical.—[SCOTT: In times of general formality and lukewarmness, every degree of zeal which implies a readiness to go further, or venture more in the cause of God, than others do, will be censured as pride and ambition; and by none more than near relations and negligent superiors: and such censures will seldom be unmingled with unjust insinuations, slanders and attempts to blacken a man’s character.—TR.]
1 Samuel 17:29. STARKE: We must not be turned away from the execution of the divine will by bad or by good words, by favor or by disfavor.—HALL: He is fitted to be God’s champion, that hath learned to be victor of himself.—[TAYLOR: When we are assailed in our home, or beyond it, with scorn and derision, let us remember that our real conflict in such a case is not with the scorner, but with ourselves. Let our effort be put forth not to silence him, but to control ourselves, and then we shall succeed in obtaining a victory over both.—TR.]
1 Samuel 17:30: SCHLIER: If you wish to show manly spirit, conquer yourself; if you wish to be brave, subdue your wrath, and learn to curb yourself; if you wish to do great deeds, show it in little things, show it in the duties of common life, show it in the things which the world counts for little, but which are highly esteemed in the sight of God.—BERL. BIBLE: David troubles himself little as to whether he is praised or blamed, if only God is glorified through him.—[HALL: He whom the regard of others’ envy can dismay, shall never do ought worthy of envy. Never man undertook any exploit of worth, and received not some discouragement in the way.—TR.]
1 Samuel 17:32. CRAMER: In need and peril one should look not alone, to his weakness and the greatness of the peril, but to God the Almighty (2 Chron. 20:12; 2 Kings 19:14).—CALVIN: God often works in an extraordinary manner in those who undertake a great and glorious work. We must therefore carefully distinguish the general and ordinary powers of the faithful servants of God from their special and extraordinary gifts. When, therefore, we undertake to do something great and difficult, we should earnestly prove ourselves as to whether our powers suffice for it, and whether we trace in ourselves the movement and impulse of divine power, through which alone there is promised us a happy result.—[1 Samuel 17:33. HALL: David’s greatest conflict is with his friends: the overcoming of their dissensions, that he might fight, was more work than to overcome the enemy in fighting.—TR.]
1 Samuel 17:34. J. LANGE: Temptations, when they are rightly regarded and directed, serve to strengthen our joy of faith (Rom. 8:35 sq.).
1 Samuel 17:36. CRAMER: When God has once given us help we must always remember it, and encourage ourselves therewith for the future (2 Cor. 1:8; 2 Tim. 4:16).—BERL. BIBLE: In this way are the saints accustomed to strengthen and increase their faith through their experience; and so must we also learn to do (2 Cor. 1:10).—CALVIN: On the manifestations of God’s grace which we have received we should build our hope for the future; for God is always like Himself, and His almightiness constantly the same, and those who call on Him He is always ready to help.—OSIANDER: He who reproaches God’s people, reproaches God Himself.
1 Samuel 17:37. STARKE: God often produces the greatest things by trifling, and to outward appearance contemptible means and instruments.—CALVIN: David goes not into the conflict clothed with human armor, but persists in the confidence firmly rooted in his soul, that God will without human equipment give him the victory over death. For God’s power and strength needs no human means; it is sufficient unto itself, and need borrow nothing elsewhere.—BERL. BIBLE: He who wishes to assure himself of victory must throw away such weapons, and fight with the pure and simple word of God.—[HALL: It is not to be inquired how excellent anything is, but how proper. Those things which are helps to some, may be incumbrances to others. An unmeet good may be as inconvenient as an accustomed evil.
1 Samuel 17:39, 40. David’s weapons were really best suited to his undertaking. With heavy armor he would have been no match at all for the giant; but lightly armed, he could keep at a distance and might destroy him with his missiles. “Fight the devil with fire,” is a very foolish proverb, for with that weapon he will assuredly beat us. In like manner some imperfectly educated preachers attempt to meet the skepticism of the day by preaching about “Science,” “Philosophy,” or “Criticism,” when they might accomplish greatly more by speaking of those experimental and practical subjects which they know how to handle.—TR.]
1 Samuel 17:42 sqq. SCHMID: He who despises his enemy before he has tried him, acts very unreasonably.—CRAMER: An undeserved curse does not stick (Matt. 5:11).—BERL. BIBLE: The world always despises believers as a worthless, unarmed mass, not at all furnished with carnal power.—Simple souls have no other weapons than the cross and tranquillity. Therefore are they despised by haughty men.
1 Samuel 17:44. STARKE: Cursing and big talk are the proper work of godless people. Seldom ever was there a good end of ostentation. Presumption is at once the presage and cause of ruin [from HALL].—SCHMID: God requites to the godless upon their own head the evil which they threaten and seek to carry out against the pious. Ps. 7:17 ; 140:10 .
1 Samuel 17:45 sqq.—SCHMID: Against God no weapons avail, no strength, yea, not the whole world.—STARKE: There is no better fighting than under the shield of the Almighty (Ps. 140:1 sq.)—BERL. BIBLE: The shield that covers me is faith, my sword is the strength of God, in which I have put all my confidence; my spear is the entire freedom from all selfhood, so that I seek no other interest than that of God. In such equipment, namely in entire self-devotion, as I do not trouble myself about the result, I venture all I am and have. [MAURICE: In this story everything is said to make us feel the feebleness of the Israelitish champion; everything to remind us that the nation of Israel was the witness for the nothingness of man in himself, for the might of man when he knows that he is nothing, and puts his trust in the living God. … And this is the sense which human beings want now as in times of old. … To disbelieve this is to fall down and worship brute force, to declare that to be the Lord. How soon we may come through our refinements, our civilization, our mock hero-worship, to that last and most shameful prostration of the human spirit, God only knows.—TR.]
1 Samuel 17:46. CALVIN: God’s action is of such a kind that by His great deeds He draws all to wonder, and constrains even godless, scornful men to bow before His doing, and against their will to confess that it is not man’s, but God’s work.
1 Samuel 17:47. CRAMER: Where human help gives out, divine help begins again, that the honor may be God’s (Judg. 7:2).
1 Samuel 17:1–50. J. DISSELHOFF: The first sending of the anointed one out of stillness into strife: 1) He does not seek to hurry out of the stillness into the peril of the strife: but he goes with confidence when he is sent; 2) He seeks in the strife not his own interest, but only the honor of his Lord and the welfare of His people; 3) His only weapon is faith in the living God and His cause, and this weapon is his victory.—F. W. KRUMMACHER: David and Goliath: 1) Israel’s need, and 2) The divine deed of deliverance through David.
1 Samuel 17:1–11. The decisive conflict between the people of God and the world which is hostile to God: 1) The two camps, which stand over against each other (1 Samuel 17:1–3); 2) The weaponed might in which the enemy comes forth to challenge the host of Israel (4–8); 3) The decision as to servitude or dominion, with which this conflict is occupied (9); 4) The proving which the people of God have to stand in presence of the challenge to this conflict (10, 11).
1 Samuel 17:12–31. How the Lord leads His servants, in order to prepare them for the victorious conflict for the honor of His name: 1) Out of retirement into the stirring life of the world, 1 Samuel 17:12, 13, (comp. with 16:17–23); 2) Out of the conflict-stirred world into the stillness (1 Samuel 17:14, 15); 3) Out of the stillness into the conflict of the world (1 Samuel 17:17–31).
1 Samuel 17:32–41. The brave spirit of a soldier of God over against the might of the enemy: 1) Wherein it shows itself: a) In the strength and encouragement with which it can lift up the dejected hearts of others (1 Samuel 17:32 a); b) In the bold resolution with which it goes to meet the mighty foe in conflict notwithstanding his apparent superiority (32 b); c) In the endurance of the temptation and assault which are prepared for it by taking counsel with flesh and blood (33); 2) Whereon it grounds itself: a) On the help of the Lord already experienced in victorious conflict (1 Samuel 17:34–36 a, 37); b) On the prize of the conflict, the honor of the Lord (36 b); c) On the divine equipment assumed instead of carnal weapons, namely, the power of the Lord (38–41).
1 Samuel 17:42–54. Faith contending with the world for the honor of the Lord: 1) Called forth by scoffing at the Lord’s honor (42–44); 2) Ready for conflict in the Lord’s name (45); 3) Sure of victory in reliance on the Lord’s help (46–48); 4) Crowned with victory through the Lord’s might (49–54).
1 Samuel 17:42–47. The battle-cry in the kingdom of God: “The battle is the Lord’s.” 1) The enemy is the enemy of the Lord and of His kingdom 42–44); 2) The armor is the name of the Lord (45); 3) The combatants are the people of the Lord, whom He acknowledges as His possession (46); 4) The victory is the gift of the Lord, unto the honor of His name (47–54).
1 Samuel 17:48–54. The defeats which are prepared for the world by the kingdom of God: 1) Through what sort of combatants? Through such as a) like David heroically lead the van of God’s host and decide the conflict (1 Samuel 17:48), and b) such as bravely bring up the rear, perseveringly pursuing the already-smitten foe. 2) With what sort of weapons? a) With weapons which they themselves have according to their calling through God’s grace and wield in reliance on God’s help (1 Samuel 17:49), and b) with weapons which they take from the foe, in order to give him the finishing stroke with his own weapon (50, 51). 3) With what sort of result? a) In respect to the foe: Annihilation of his power on his own ground (52), and b) in respect to the booty, rich gains (53, 54).
[1 Samuel 17:8–11. “A man.” 1) Often in civil and religious conflicts one man is wanted to fight the battles of his brethren—the need of the hour is a man. 2) Often Providence is preparing the man, not far away—perhaps no one would now dream that he is the man—his pursuits would not suggest it, nor the character he has thus far developed—his friends do not know what is in him (16:11; 17:28)—the enemy may despise him at his first appearance (43, 44). 3) Yet looking back one can always see that there was no accident—that he had the suitable combination of native qualities—and that his pursuits gave the requisite training.
1 Samuel 17:28–30. David and his brother. 1) The elder brother slow to recognize that his younger brother is a grown man. 2) The unjust judgment and unmerited public rebuke. 3) The young man’s self-contained and conciliatory reply. 4) His quiet perseverance in acting out the sacred impulse within (1 Samuel 17:30, comp. 1 Samuel 17:26).—TR.]
III. The Immediate Consequences of David’s Exploit in Respect to his Relation to Saul
David at the Royal Court; his Friendship with Jonathan; Saul’s Hatred towards Him; Saul’s Attempt on his Life
1. David at the Royal Court
1 SAMUEL 17:55–58
55AND50 when Saul saw David go [going] forth against the Philistine, he said unto Abner, the captain of his host, Abner [om. Abner], Whose son is this youth? [ins. Abner]. And Abner said, As thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell [do not know]. 56, 57And the king said, Inquire thou whose son the stripling is. And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him 58before Saul, with [and] the head of the Philistine [ins. was] in his hand. And Saul said unto him, Whose son art thou, thou [om. thou] young man? And David answered [said], I am [om. I am] the [The] son of thy servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.
1[1 Samuel 17:1. This name is variously spelled in the VSS. Sept., Vat., ’Εφερμέν (omission of s and r for d), Aq. ἐν πέρατι Δομείμ, Syr. Opharsemin (for Opharsemin, a common mode of inversion in Syriac writing of proper names, and r for d), Arab. Pharsamin (after the Syriac), Vulg. finibus Dommim (confines of Dommim, a translation of the first part of the Heb. word). These readings establish the form in the text, which, however, appears in 1 Chron. 11:13 as Pas-dammim (Sept. Φασοδαμίν, Syr. Pasi demayo [Pasi, or well of the waters], Vulg. Phesodomim, Arab. well of Bethlehem [after Syr.]), probably a shortened form of our word.—TR.]
2[1 Samuel 17:4. Chald. (misunderstanding the Heb., but serving to establish the text) “a man from between them,” Syr. “giant.” The Vulg. curiously renders “spurious,” that is, according to explanations suggested in Poole’s Synopsis, “giant,” because giants were looked on as despising the laws of marriage, born of uncertain fathers, hence called “sons of the earth.” The rendering “giant,” “mighty man,”=“one distinguished among (בֵּין) men,” or “a man of sons (בָּנִים).”—TR.]
3[1 Samuel 17:6. In the Heb. Sing., but according to all the ancient VSS. Plu.—TR.]
4[1 Samuel 17:7. Literally “flame,” from the flashing of the metal, Aq., Th., φλὸξ δόρατος.—TR.]
5[1 Samuel 17:8. It seems better to express in the translation the distinction between “army” (צָבָא, חִַיל, פַחֲנֶה) and “ranks” (מַעֲרָכֹת).—TR.]
6[1 Samuel 17:8. Sept. writes badly “Hebrews,” and omits Art. before “Philistine.” “The phrase ‘the Philistine’ is conceived from the stand-point of the Jewish narrator” (Wellh.).—TR.]
7[1 Samuel 17:12. This word (הַזֶּה) is grammatically impracticable; it no doubt belongs to the original text, being the Redactor’s reference to the preceding narrative, 1 Samuel 16, and in order to indicate this reference in the translation, the word is rendered “this,” instead of “that.” It is retained in Chald., Vulg., Greek (οὗτος, impossibly), and omitted (on account of the difficulty) in Syr., Arab.—On the omission of 1 Samuel 17:12–31 in the Vat. Sept., see Erdmann in Introd. and Exposition.—TR.]
8[1 Samuel 17:12. This corrected reading is adopted (from the Syriac) also by Maurer, Thenius, Wellhausen, and by Erdmann. Bib. Comm. prefers the reading of the Vulg.: “old and of a great age among men” (בא being taken elliptically for בא בשׁנים), which, however, is hardly defensible. The inversion of Eng. A. V. is not allowable. The Chald. has (in Jesse’s honor): “the man in the days of Saul was old, counted among the choice young men.” So in Talmud, Berakoth 58, 1, the explanation is: “he went forth with the army, and went in with the army, and taught in the army” (but Philippson renders: “he had a retinue”). These attempts all do violence to the text, which in its present form yields no good sense, but becomes natural and easy when we substitute שָׁנִים or יָמִים for אֲנָשִׁים. See Erdmann’s Exposition.—TR.]
9[1 Samuel 17:13. This construction is explained by the grammarians as pluperfect; yet its difficultness suggests an insertion of הָלְכוּ by clerical error, possibly from the following clause. At the same time this whole paragraph is marked by grammatical harshness, due to the connection which the Redactor keeps up with 1 Samuel 16.—TR.
10[1 Samuel 17:15. Some MSS. have מֵעִם instead of מֵעַל, and one inserts בּ before “Bethlehem.”—TR.]
11[1 Samuel 17:18. Properly “thick curds.”—TR.]
12[1 Samuel 17:18. Aq. σύμμιξιν (intercourse), Sym. μισφοφορίαν (pay), Th. ὁ ἐὰν χρῄζουσι, Chald. “their welfare,” Syr. “message.”—TR.]
13[1 Samuel 17:19. Or, if this be a part of Jesse’s speech, “are;” so Erdmann.—TR.]
14[1 Samuel 17:20. The Art. is to be omitted before יצֵֹא, otherwise וְהַחַיִל, etc., must be the Accus. after ויָּבֹא, which gives an unnatural sense, and breaks the connection with וְהֵרֵעוּ.—TR.]
15[1 Samuel 17:22. The Heb. is more lively: “put his baggage from him upon the hand,” etc.—TR.]
16[1 Samuel 17:23. So the Heb. requires. The champion’s name was “Goliath the Philistine.”—TR.]
17[1 Samuel 17:23. On the Kethib and Qeri see Erdmann, Exposition.—TR.]
18[1 Samuel 17:25. The unusual Hiph. form (omission of chireq) is perhaps from assimilation to the preceding word, the doubled Nun depressing the pretonic syllable. Similar form in 1 Sam. 14:22.—TR.]
19[1 Samuel 17:29. So also Erdmann, Philippson, Bib. Com., and the ancient VSS.—TR.]
20[1 Samuel 17:34. On the Art. and אֵת see the Exposition. Maurer proposes to render אֵת “with,” equivalent to “and.” So Kimchi and Junius in 2 Kings 6:5.—TR.]
21[1 Samuel 17:34. The זֶה for שֶׂה is a remarkable instance of a perpetuated clerical error. Norzi and De Rossi state that all MSS. and early Edd. read שׂה; but the Ed. of Athias has retained the erroneous form which is corrected by some other editors (as Walton).—TR.]
22[1 Samuel 17:35. Sept. “throat;” other VSS. as Heb.—TR.]
23[1 Samuel 17:36. Sept. here inserts: “shall I not go and smite him, and take away to-day the reproach from Israel?” so nearly the Vulg.—an insertion from 1 Samuel 17:26.—TR.]
24[1 Samuel 17:37. Th. “mouth.” The word “hand” should be retained, in the sense of “power.”—TR.]
25[1 Samuel 17:37. The unapocop. Impf. sometimes occurs in optative sense, as in 1 Sam. 3:17, יַעֲשֶה.—TR.]
26[1 Samuel 17:38. Instead of קוֹבַע some MSS. and edd. have בּוֹבַע.—TR.]
27[1 Samuel 17:39. Sept. ἐκοπίασε, “labored in going, went with difficulty,” as if they read וַיֵּלֶא, which is not a bad sense. Sym. gives ἔσκαζεν, “limped,” and so other (anonymous) Grk. VSS. ἐχώλαινεν, which may represent the text-word or לאה. The Vulg. renders “began” (and so Erdmann), and Syr., Arab., Chald., “did not wish.” The Heb. word (הוֹאִיל) more commonly means “to be content, willing,” but in some cases expresses determination, resolution, making up one’s mind to a thing. Thus in Deut. 1:5 Moses “determines, takes in hand,” to explain the law, and in Josh. 17:12 the Canaanites “resolved and carried out their resolution” to dwell in the land. Here David resolves, undertakes to walk in armor, because he had not tried it; if he had tried it before, he would not have made such a resolution. Thus in the Heb. stem lies the conception of “resolving” with the added idea frequently that the attempt is made to carry out the resolution, so that the Eng. “undertake, assay, begin, succeed in (when the undertaking is carried out), fail (when the undertaking is not carried out),” may in different connections properly render it. So a similar determination is often found in the Heb. and Chald. אבה, which with the neg. means “resolve not to do a thing.”—We may then maintain the Heb. text against the Sept., and we see that the Chald. and Syr. have introduced into their translation the expression of the failure which is expressed in the context, and may be involved in the Heb. וַיֹּאֶל.—TR.]
28[1 Samuel 17:40. “Fixture” is not a good word; but some general term is needed for Heb. בְּלִי, like Germ. geräth or zeug. The double name here is suspicious; the second is omitted by Vulg., and translated εἰς συλλογήν by Sept.; but both are given in Chald. and Syr. One may be a gloss.—Instead of “smooth stones,” L. de Dieu renders “parts of stones,” i.e. “sharp pieces,” and refers to Isa. 57:6.—TR.]
29[1 Samuel 17:41. This verse is omitted in Sept., but is in keeping with the liveliness of the whole description.—TR.]
30[1 Samuel 17:42. Sept. and a few MSS. read “eyes.”—TR.]
31[1 Samuel 17:44. Some VSS. and MSS. have “earth.”—TR.]
32[1 Samuel 17:46. In the Heb. the word is Sing.; comp. Am. 8:3 for collective force. To this Wellhausen objects that the collective sense is inadmissible before מַחֲנֶה פ׳, and therefore prefers the Sept. reading “thy corpse and the corpses of the camp;” yet פֶגֶר may here easily=“mass of corpses,” as Chald. “putrid flesh.”—TR.]
33[1 Samuel 17:48. The simpler form of this verse in the Sept.: “and the Philistine arose, and went to meet David,” seems not so much in accordance with the tone of the narrative as the more elaborate expression of the Heb.—TR.]
34[1 Samuel 17:50. This recapitulatory verse (quite in the Heb. manner) is omitted in Sept.—TR.]
35[1 Samuel 17:52. Erdmann and others take the Sept. reading “Gath” (גת), instead of “ravine” (גיא), a not improbable correction; yet the VSS. sustain the Heb. reading, which, moreover, as the more difficult, would easily be changed into the obvious “Gath.” It is better to retain Shaaraim as a proper name, as a more natural geographical description of the direction of the rout; the rendering: “in the gate-way,” moreover, as a climax, ought to follow, not precede, the words: “and to Gath and to Ekron.”—TR.]
36[See Arts. “Socoh,” “Azekah,” “Ephesdammim,” in Smith’s Bib.-Dict.—TR.]
37[Examples from classic history in Chandler’s “David.”—TR.]
38[According to other computations the cubit was eighteen inches, and the span nine inches, Goliath’s height, therefore, nine feet nine inches. The copper-shekel is by some estimated at a little over an ounce.—Smith’s Bib.-Dict., “Weights and Measures.”—TR.]
39[It is not necessary to suppose that the VSS. had a different reading from the Heb.; they were misled by the position of the kidon (lance) between the shoulders. See Bochart, Hieroz. II., 135–140.—TR.]
40[The Chald. adds in 1 Samuel 17:8: “I am that Goliath the Philistine, of Gath, that slew the two sons of Eli, the priests Hophni and Phinehas, and carried captive the ark of the covenant of Jehovah, and brought it to the house of Dagon, my Error, and the Philistines have not honored me by making me captain over a thousand.… what great thing has Saul done that you should make him king?” This Targum (of the fourth century) has not a few such fanciful expressions of the simple and graphic Heb. text.—TR.]
41[On this construction see “Text. and Grammat.”—TR.]
42 הַמַּעְגָּלָה [Eng. A. V.: “trench”] the ה is to be taken with Thenius as ה local (comp. 10:10, הַגִּבְעָתָה), and not as feminine ending. [So Gesenius and Buxtorf, but Winer and Fürst as the masoretic pointing.—TR.]
43[On this construction see “Text. and Grammat.” The better translation is: “and he came to the rampart, and the host was going forth to the fight, and they shouted.” etc.—TR.]
44[This is a rash conclusion of Clericus.—TR.]
45The ר in הַרְּאִיתֶם with the unusual Dagh. dirimens (as in 10:24)—comp. Ew. § 23 (b) with § 71.
46[This throws incidental light on the development of the political organization in Israel, since we have here apparently a regular system of taxes.—TR.]
47[On the varieties of lion and bear found in Palestine anciently and now, see the Arts. in Smith’s Bib.-Dict.—TR.]
48[See Bochart, Hieroz. III., cap. IV., who renders “the lion or the bear,” and so refers the exploit to either, which seems better. “Beard” may be used in a general way for “chin.” See “Text. and Grammat.”—TR.]
49[Robinson declines to fix Gath; Mr. J. L. Porter (in Smith’s Bib.-Dict.) places it on the Tel-es-Safieh.—TR.]
50[1 Samuel 17:55. The passage 17:55–18:5 is omitted by Vat. Sept., but by no other ancient version. Whether it was wanting in the Heb. MSS. used by the Alexandrian translators, or omitted by them to avoid an apparent contradiction, it is almost impossible with our present lights to decide. We do not know what MSS. they had. Erdmann and others regard the passage not as an interpolation, but as an account taken from an authority different from that of 16:14–23, and irreconcilable with it. For a proposed reconciliation see Erdmann’s Introduction and Note and Remark of Translator in the Exposition following.—TR.]
Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim.