1Samuel 17

 

1Samuel 17:1–58

David Answers Goliath’s Challenge


Outline of Chapter 17:

 

       vv.    1–3        The Armies of Israel and Philistia Face Off

       vv.    4–11      Goliath Issues a Challenge to the Any Man in of Israel

       vv.   12–15      Background on David and His Brothers

       v.      16        Goliath Issues His Challenge for 40 Days

       vv.   17–20      David Brings Supplies to His Brothers

       vv.   21–27      David Inquires About What Saul Would Do for the Man Who Defeats Goliath

       vv.   28–30      David’s Oldest Brother Harangues Him for His Impertinence/David Confirms Answers

       vv.   31–37      Saul Interviews David Concerning Goliath’s Challenge

       vv.   38–40      David Prepares to Battle the Philistine

       vv.   41–51      David Battles Goliath

       vv.   52–54      Israel is Victorious Over the Philistine Army

       vv.   55–58      Saul Interviews David a Second Time


Charts and Maps:

 

       v.      1           Summarizing the Doctrine of the Three Socoh’s

       v.      4           A Summary of the Doctrine of the Anakim

       v.     12           The Three Introductions to Saul and to David

       v.     16           A Re-Ordering of 1Sam. 17:11–19

       v.     25           How David Hears About Saul’s Reward to the Man who Defeats Goliath

       v.     29           Various Interpretations of 1Samuel 17:29b

       v.     33           What is Going Through David’s Mind as He Speaks to Saul?

       v.     54           If Saul Ordered Goliath’s Head to be Displayed, Why did he Choose Jerusalem?

       v.     54           Why Goliath’s Head Was Taken by David to his Meeting with Saul and Then to Jerusalem

       v.     55           Why Does Saul not Recognize David?

       v.     56           The Order of Events in David’s Early Life

       v.     58           The LXX β of 1Samuel 17 (with the Missing Portions in Magenta)


Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To

The Three Socoh’s

Doctrine of the Anakim

Textual Criticism of the Old Testament

City of Gath

 

 

 

Circumcision


I ntroduction: 1Sam. 17 is a big change of pace and scenery from the previous chapter. In 1Sam. 16, we have the anointing of David as the future king of Israel. In v. 17, we have yet another war between Israel and Philistia, which is different from any other war, as this huge man stands before Israel issuing a challenge to fight any Israelites in leu of an out and out war. This is the chapter which brings to the forefront David’s preparation and training for adulthood. Although the notes of the NLT place the events of this chapter several years after the previous one, I know of no reason why this could not have occurred a week or a month after 1Sam. 16.


To break this chapter down: (1) The Philistines move into Israeli territory in an intentionally provocative action. Saul gathers his army to stand in opposition to the Philistines (vv. 1–3). (2) Goliath steps forward, a huge man, well-armored, and he issues a challenge to all of Israel: “Send out one man to face me—if he prevails, then we are your servants; if I prevail, then you will be our servants.” This challenge unnerves all of Saul’s army (vv. 4–11). (3) Then we switch scenes, and examine a little about David’s background, and come to find that three of his brothers are in Saul’s army, listening to Goliath’s challenge (vv. 12–15). (4) Goliath issues this challenge, morning and evening, for 40 days; no one from the Israeli army steps forward to meet his challenge (v. 16). (5) Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Jesse gathers supplies for David to bring to his brothers (vv. 17–20). (6) When David arrives at the Israelite camp, he overhears the challenge of Goliath and what Saul would do for the man who defeats Goliath. Once he arrives at his brothers’ station, he inquires further about what he has overheard, and it is confirmed that Saul would make this man wealthy, give him the king’s daughter in marriage, and exempt his family from taxes and public service (vv. 21–27). (7) His eldest brother, Eliab, overhears David’s questions, and berates him for his impertinence and audacity (v. 28). David responds to his brother, and then asks for further confirmation of what he has overheard (vv. 29–30). (8) Saul hears about David’s questions, and calls for him, apparently not recalling who David was and not recognizing David once he reported to Saul. Saul questions David, asking him how on earth would he, as an untrained youth, face Goliath, a veteran soldier. David recalls two similar incidents, when his flock was threatened by a bear and by a lion. In both instances, David chased after the intruder and killed it (vv. 31–37). (9) Saul agrees to let David face Goliath (recall that no one else has stepped forward), but dresses him up in his personal armor and gives him his own weapons. David had not learned how to maneuver in the armor, nor was he able to handle the weapons given him by Saul, and chose to go without them, choosing, instead, his own weapons, a staff, a sling, 5 stones which he picks up, and his shepherd’s bag. Although it is not mentioned, I would have expected him to carry a knife in his belt (vv. 38–40). (10) Then David steps out before Goliath and Goliath harangues David, in an obvious attempt at psychological warfare. Furthermore, Goliath was probably a bully from his youth up, and he took this opportunity to try to bully David, whom he saw as smaller and weaker. David’s gives Goliath an eloquent and doctrinal reply, and propels a stone into Goliath’s forehead. It is not completely clear whether this kills Goliath or not, but David runs up and uses Goliath’s own sword to behead him, which certainly completes their contest (vv. 41–51). (11) The Israeli army responds with great cheering and they suddenly charge the Philistines, who are caught off guard and who flee toward their cities of Ekron and Gath. Many of them are killed in this retreat (vv. 52–53). David, meanwhile, collects his own souvenirs—Goliath’s heard and his weapons (v. 54). (12) Finally, Saul inquires about David’s father, as part of his promise is to exempt the family of David’s father from taxes and public service. Since his commanding officer, Abner, does not know, he is sent to find out. Abner finds David and brings him to Saul. David comes into Saul’s presence with the head of Goliath in his hand, and tells Saul whose family he belongs to (vv. 55–58).

 

Keil and Delitzsch do an outstanding job providing even a briefer summary this chapter: A war between the Philistines and the Israelites furnished David with the opportunity of displaying before Saul and all Israel, and greatly to the terror of the enemies of his people, that heroic power which was firmly based upon his bold and pious trust in the omnipotence of the faithful covenant God (vv. 1–3). A powerful giant named Goliath, came forward from the ranks of the Philistines, and scornfully challenged the Israelites to produce a man who would decide the war by a single combat with him (vv. 4–11). David, who had returned home for a time from the court of Saul, and had just been sent into the camp by his father with provisions fo his elder brothers, who were serving in the army, as soon as he heard the challenge and the scornful words of the Philistine, offered to fight with him (vv. 15–37), and killed the giant with a stone from a sling; whereupon the Philistines took to flight, and were pursued by the Israelites to Gath and Ekron (vv. 38–54). Footnote


In order to recognize the importance of textual criticism, one source which I employ is Brenton’s Septuagint, which has the Greek translation of the Old Testament, as well as Brenton’s English rendering of same (which I modernize somewhat). There are quite a large number of varying Greek manuscripts, which we studied in Textual Criticism of the Old Testament back in 1Sam. 14:18. Brenton has transcribed what is apparently LXX β; LXX α is the Alexandrian Septuagint. There are several verses in this chapter which are found in the Hebrew text but are not found in LXX β; however, these verses are found in LXX α. Therefore, I will substitute from LXX α these verses missing from LXX β. Brenton includes an English translation of said verses in his Old Testament index (prior to the Apocrypha), but not the Greek for them. Since it will be difficult to keep track of, I will, at the end of this chapter, provide the English translation of this chapter where one can see it with and without the material found in the Alexandrian Septuagint.


Behind the scenes, there is a lot of debate and discussion about this chapter—whether we should accept the short version (that found in LXX β) or the long version (that found in LXX α and Masoretic Text). Apart from this exegesis, many of you would have no idea that there is a dispute about what is inspired and what is not in this chapter. You see, most translations, where there is missing text, generally will follow the Masoretic text, which refers to the vowel-pointed Hebrew manuscripts from the 9th and 10th centuries. A few English translations (Brenton’s Septuagint and the NAB are the only two which come to mind) bracket the disputed text. Most do not even mention this. However, when you read anyone’s exegesis of this chapter, then there is a great deal of discussion about what belongs and what does not. There are times that I provide two viewpoints (or more) on an issue, and do not take a side. However, this issue can be determined logically; you’ll hear the arguments on both sides, fairly presented, and then I will accurately conclude what belongs and what does not.


Generally speaking, the more liberal the exegete, the more likely they are to treat these as two separate accounts which were woven together (and often it is suggested that one or both accounts are dubious). Conservative scholarship tends to go along with the Masoretic text. However, the lack of a third of this chapter in the LXX should bear some commentary in any translation with footnotes.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart Index


The Armies of Israel and Philistia Face Off


Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

And so gather Philistines their camps to war and so they are gathered [at] Socoh which [is] to Judah. And so they camp between Socoh and Azekah in Ephes-dammim.

1Samuel

17:1

The Philistines gathered their armies [lt., camps] for war. They were gathered at Socoh, which belongs to Judah. [Specifically], they set up camp between Socoh and Azekah in Ephes-dammim.

The Philistines gathered their armies to the Socoh area, which belongs to Judah. They set up a base of operations between Socoh and Azekah in Ephes-dammim.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so gather Philistines their camps to war and so they are gathered [at] Socoh which [is] to Judah. And so they camp between Socoh and Azekah in Ephes-SeptuagintAnd the Philistines gather their armies to battle, and gather themselves to Socchoth of Judæa, and encamp between Socchoth and Azeca Ephermen [Alexandrian, Apheadommin].

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       The Philistines got ready for war and brought their troops together to attack the town of Socoh in Judah. They set up camp at Ephes-Dammim, between Socoh and Azekah.

NAB                                       The Philistines rallied their forces for battle at Socoh in Judah and camped between Socoh and Azekah at Ephes-dammim.

NJB                                        The Philistines mustered their troops for war; they assembled at Socoh in Judah and pitched camp between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-Dammim.

NLT                                The Philistines now mustered their army for battle and camped between Socoh in Judah and Azekah at Ephes-dammim.

REB                                       The Philistines mustered their forces for war; they massed at Socoh in Judah and encamped between Socoh and Azekah at Ephes-dammim.

TEV                                       The Philistines gathered for battle in Socoh, a town in Judah; they camped at a place called Ephes-Dammim, between Socoh and Azekah.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         The Philistines assembled their armies for war. They assembled at Socoh, which is in Judah, and camped between Socoh and Azekah at Ephes Dammim.

JPS (Tanakh)                        The Philistines assembled their forces for battle; they massed at Socoh of Judah, and encamped at Ephes-dammim, between Socoh and Azekah.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle; and they were gathered at Socoh which belongs to Judah, and they camped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim.

Young's Updated LT              And the Philistines gather their camps to battle, and are gathered to Shochoh, which is to Judah, and encamp between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephes-Dammim;...


What is the gist of this verse? You will recall that the Philistines absolutely hated the Jews and they attacked them whenever possible. They had built up their forces again; they hated the Jews, so they went into Judah and gathered for an attacked against Israel.


1Samuel 17:1a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âçaph (ף ַס ָא) [pronounced aw-SAHF]

relocate, transfer, transport, gather, to gather and remove, to remove

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #622 BDB #62

Pelishetîy (י. ש ̣ל) [pronounced pe-lish-TEE]

transliterated Philistines

masculine plural gentilic adjective (acts like a proper noun)

Strong’s #6430 BDB #814

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

machăneh (ה נ ֲח ַמ) [pronounced mah-khuh-NEH]

camp, encampment; the courts [of Jehovah]; the heavenly host

masculine plural noun with a 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #4264 BDB #334

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

milechâmâh (ה ָמ ָח  ׃ל  ̣מ) [pronounced mil-khaw-MAW]

battle, war

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4421 BDB #536


Translation: The Philistines gathered their armies [lt., camps] for war. The Philistines and the Israelites were mortal enemies. There were a number of times that the Philistines were soundly defeated. The continued to face off Israel. You will recall that God told Israel that all of the indigenous peoples of the Land of Promise needed to be completely wiped out. This is the reason. These Philistines could not simply be defeated and let it go at that. Every time that their strength was back up to a point where an army could be supported, they would then attack Israel. If you recognize the present-day hatred of Israel, then what we find here is easy to understand.


Edersheim Footnote makes the suggestion that the Philistines also knew of Saul’s mental state (mentioned back in 1Sam. 16:14–15), and determined that it would be opportune to attack Israel while their leader was disturbed. We do not have any evidence of this information leaking from the castle of Saul to the cities of Philistia, and, although it is a reasonable theory, I would think that the simple building up of the Philistine army was reason enough for the Philistines to attack. Furthermore, there is no evidence that Saul’s mental illness (which came and went) negatively affected his ability to lead Israel in war. It was his spiritual weakness which was his downfall.


1Samuel 17:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âçaph (ף ַס ָא) [pronounced aw-SAHF]

to be assembled, to be gathered, to assemble, to gather

3rd person masculine plural, Niphal imperfect

Strong’s #622 BDB #62

sôkôh (הֹכֹש) [pronounced soh-KOH]

branch, brushwood and is transliterated Socoh

proper noun location

Strong’s #7755 BDB #962

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Yehûwdâh (הָדהי) [pronounced yehoo-DAW]

possibly means to praise, to be praised; and is transliterated Judah

masculine proper noun/location

Strong’s #3063 BDB #397


Translation: They were gathered at Socoh, which belongs to Judah. Socoh is a city which lay on the Israeli-Philistine border. Now might be a good time to examine The Three Socoh’s found in Scripture. This particular Socoh is located southwest of Jerusalem, about a 3½ hour walk away. Footnote The NIV Study Bible places it 15 miles west of Bethlehem. Footnote


Summarizing the Doctrine of the Three Socoh’s

1.    In the Hebrew, Socoh (Soco) probably means branch, brushwood.

2.    Given the name and its meaning, that there is more than one Socoh is not difficult to believe. given that there are two Socoh’s named in Joshua 15 gives this position even more credence. There are three, possibly four different cities with this name, which we will cover below. However, given that a picture is worth a thousand words, let me give you what ZPEB has:

3.    The southernmost Socoh is mentioned only in Joshua 15:48. This is the southernmost hill country of Judah, also called the Eshtemoh, about 10 miles southwest of Hebron.

4.    The second Socoh is the one found in our passage, 1Sam. 17:1. It is mentioned in Joshua 15:35 and is found in the Shephelah near Azekah, between Bethlehem and the Mediterranean Sea.

5.    The third Socoh is the most northern of the three, found in the Sharon Plain, and mentioned in 1Kings 4:10. ISBE does not present a third Socoh, but identifies this one with the Socoh of 1Sam. 17:1.

6.    The final mention of Socoh is in 1Chron. 4:18, where Heber is said to be the founder of Socoh (see my exegesis of this passage). We do not know which Socoh, or whether this is a fourth location. However, one can be considered a founder even if he resettles a city which was formerly deserted or destroyed.

socoh005.gifScanned from The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible; Merrill Tenney, ed., Zondervan Publishing House, ©1976; Vol. 5, p. 467.  


1Samuel 17:1c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

chânah (ה ָנ ָח) [pronounced khaw-NAW]

to bivouac, to camp, to encamp in [or, against]

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #2583 BDB #333

bêyn (ןי ֵ) [pronounced bane]

in the midst of, between, among; when found twice, it means between

preposition

Strong's #996 BDB #107

sôkôh (הֹכֹש) [pronounced soh-KOH]

branch, brushwood and is transliterated Socoh

proper noun location

Strong’s #7755 BDB #962

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bêyn (ןי ֵ) [pronounced bane]

in the midst of, between, among; when found twice, it means between

preposition

Strong's #996 BDB #107

׳ăzêqâh (ה ָק̤זֲע) [pronounced ģuh-zay-KAW]

to dig about, to dig a cistern and is transliterated Azekah

proper noun location

Strong’s #5825 BDB #740

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s #none BDB #88

epheç dammîym (םי.- ס∵פ ∵א) [pronounced EH-fes dah-MEEM]

edge [or brink] of water; and is transliterated Ephes-dammim

proper noun location

Strong’s #658 BDB #67


Translation: [Specifically], they set up camp between Socoh and Azekah in Ephes-dammim. Socoh belonged to Judah, and therefore was controlled by the Israelites. We first hear about Azekah in Joshua 10:10–11 when the five king coalition attacked the Gibeonites, who were allied with Israel. Israel chased their armies as far as Azekah, where God killed many of them with hailstones.


Although Azekah was one of the cities given by God to Judah (Joshua 15:35), it is apparent that the Philistines had control of this city throughout much of the Philistine-Israeli conflict. Azekah was a Palestinian city which dates back to at least 1300 b.c. and remained until Byzantine times. A ZPEB map places it just 3 miles northwest of Socoh, 9 miles north of Beit Jibrin (Eleutheropolis) and 15 miles northwest of Hebron in the Shephelah. Footnote The NIV Study Bible suggests that it is a little over a mile northwest of Socoh. Footnote Since the Israelites did not camp in Socoh, but in Ephes-dammim instead (which was between Socoh and Azekah), we would expect Socoh and Azekah to be further than a mile apart (otherwise, Israel would have simply camped on the outskirts of Socoh). ZPEB suggests that the Byzantine incarnation of Azekah is possibly Khirbet el ׳Alami, which is just east of the tell where the Philistine version probably was.


Israel eventually took Azekah back, and 2Chron. 11:7–9 tells us that Rehoboam rebuilt and fortified both Soco and Azekah (Rehoboam was the first king after Solomon). This fortification was probably prompted by the invasion of Shishak, circa 918 b.c. Footnote When Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, invaded and defeated Judah in 587 b.c., two of the last cities to fall were Lachish and Azekah (Jer. 34:7). That Azekah was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar is implied in the Lachish Letters. Footnote Azekah was re-occupied by Israel after the exile (Neh. 11:30). Footnote


ZPEB gives us the topological description: Tel Zaķarēyeh, Footnote the site of ancient Azekah, is a triangular mound about 1000 ft. by 500 ft., rising about 350 ft. above the Valley of Elah, the modern Wadi es Sunţ. On a plateau at the top of the tell there is still a wall and towers from ancient fortifications. Footnote Archeological explorations tell us that the rock underneath the city had been carefully excavated into a series of underground chambers which could be used as places of refuge during a war. Footnote ISBE also tells us that there is a long-used north-south high route coming from the area of Ajalon, which fits nicely with the narrative found in Joshua 10. It was a fortified city, as one would expect, being right at the Philistine-Israeli border.


Finally, Ephes-dammim is probably equivalent to Pasdammim, mentioned in 1Chron. 11:13. This particular site is only mentioned these two times in Scripture, and appears to simply refer to this general area where Israel and Philistia faced each other. According to the Oxford Genesis, this is located 16 miles southwest of Jerusalem. Footnote


And Saul and a man of Israel were gathered and so they encamp in a valley of the Elah. And so they set in array a war to meet Philistines.

1Samuel

17:2

Saul and the men of Israel were also gathered; setting up [their] camp in the valley of Elah. They organized [themselves for] battle to meet the Philistines.

Saul countered by stationing the army of Israel near the valley of Elah, prepared to go to war.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And Saul and a man of Israel were gathered and so they encamp in a valley of the Elah. And so they set in array a war to meet Philistines.

Septuagint                             And Saul and the men of Israel gather together, and they encamp in the valley, and set the battle in array against the Philistines.

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

NAB                                       Saul and the Israelites also gathered and camped in the Vale of the Terebinth, drawing up their battle line to meet the Philistines.

NJB                                        Saul and the Israelites also mustered, pitching camp in the Valley of the Terebinth, and drew up their battle-line opposite the Philistines.

NLT                                Saul countered by gathering his troops near the valley of Elah.

REB                                       Saul and the Israelites also mustered, and they encamped in the valley of Elah. They drew up their lines of battle facing the Philistines,...

TEV                                       Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in Leah Valley, where they got ready to fight the Philistines.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         So Saul and the army of Israel assembled and camped in the Elah Valley. They formed a battle line to fight the Philistines.

JPS (Tanakh)                        Saul and the men of Israel massed and encamped in the valley of Elah. They drew up their line of battle against the Philistines,...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered, and camped in the valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array to encounter the Philistines.

NRSV                                    Saul and the Israelites gathered and encamped in the valley of Elah, and formed ranks against the Philistines.

Young's Updated LT              ...and Saul and the men of Israel have been gathered, and encamp by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array to meet the Philistines.


What is the gist of this verse? When Israel hears of the Philistines who have gathered in Judah, Saul also gathers his troops in Elah, and organizes them for battle.


1Samuel 17:2a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

man, each, each one, everyone

masculine singular construct

Strong's #376 BDB #35

Even though this is a masculine singular construct in the Hebrew, we would properly understand it as a plural.

Yiserâêl (ל ֵא ָר  ׃  ̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

âçaph (ף ַס ָא) [pronounced aw-SAHF]

to be assembled, to be gathered, to assemble, to gather

3rd person masculine plural, Niphal perfect

Strong’s #622 BDB #62


Translation: Saul and the men of Israel were also gathered;... No matter what you say negative about Saul, he was an incredibly brave man. He did not back down in war. The Philistines were the toughest opponents that Israel faced. When intelligence informed Saul that their army had gathered en masse in Judah, Saul gathered the men of Israel to respond.


1Samuel 17:2b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

chânah (ה ָנ ָח) [pronounced khaw-NAW]

to bivouac, to camp, to encamp in [or, against], to set up camp

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #2583 BDB #333

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s #none BDB #88

׳emeq (ק מ ע) [pronounced ĢEH-mek]

valley, vale, lowland, deepening, depth

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #6010 BDB #770

êlâh (הָל̤א) [pronounced ā-LAW]

terebinth, oak and is transliterated Elah

proper noun/location

Strong’s #424 BDB #18


Translation: ...setting up [their] camp in the valley of Elah. Saul chose a place near to where the Philistines were. An army must be organized prior to going to war.


Elah refers specifically to a terebinth, a 35 foot, long-lived tree, although it apparently can be applied to any large tree. What we have here is a valley named for the most common tree of that valley (it may not even be a proper name, as there is no difference between the proper noun and the word translated terebinth). The Valley of Elah is thought to be equivalent to the Wadi es-Sant (or, Valley of the Acacia), which is 14 miles southwest of Jerusalem. Footnote Keil and Delitzsch tell us that terebinth valley is a plane by the Wady Musur. Footnote Since wadi’s are rivers only during the rainy season, what would remain at this time is a bed of rocks. Footnote


1Samuel 17:2c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳ârake ( ַר ָע) [pronounced ģaw-RAK']

to prepare, to organize, to set in order, to arrange in order, to set in a row

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6186 BDB #789

milechâmâh (ה ָמ ָח  ׃ל  ̣מ) [pronounced mil-khaw-MAW]

battle, war

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #4421 BDB #536

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

qârâ (א ָר ָק) [pronounced kaw-RAW]

to encounter, to befall, to meet; to assemble [for the purpose of encountering God or exegeting His Word]; to come, to assemble

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #7122 & #7125 BDB #896

Pelishetîy (י. ש ̣ל) [pronounced pe-lish-TEE]

transliterated Philistines

masculine plural gentilic adjective (acts like a proper noun)

Strong’s #6430 BDB #814


Translation: They organized [themselves for] battle to meet the Philistines. What this means is that they are simply organizing their troops to meet the Philistines in battle. What we will have day after day is that the Philistines and the Israelites will line up in preparation for battle across the valley from one another.


And Philistines are standing toward the mountain from this one and Israel is standing toward the mountain from this one and the valley [is] between them.

1Samuel

17:3

The Philistines stood toward the mountain on one side [lit., this] while the Israelites stood toward the mountain on the other [lit., that] with a valley between them.

The Philistines stood on the mountain on one side of a valley, while the Israelites took their stand on the opposite mountain.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And Philistines are standing toward the mountain from this one and Israel is standing toward the mountain from this one and the valley [is] between them.

Septuagint                             And the Philistines stand on the mountain on one side, and Israel stands on the mountain on the other side, and the valley was between them.

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

NJB                                        The Philistines occupied the high ground on one side and the Israelites occupied the high ground on the other side, with the valley between them.

NLT                                So the Philistines and Israelites faced each other on opposite hills, with the valley between them.

REB                                       ...the Philistines occupying a position on one hill and the Israelites on another, with a valley between them.

TEV                                       The Philistines lined up on one hill and the Israelites on another, with a valley between them.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        ...with the Philistines stationed on one hill and Israel stationed on the opposite hill; the ravine was between them.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And the Philistines stood on the mountain on one side while Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them.

Young's Updated LT              And the Philistines are standing on the mountain on this side, and the Israelites are standing on the mountain on that side, and the valley is between them.


What is the gist of this verse? Once the armies had gathered, Israel took their stand along the side of one mountain and the Philistines stationed their troops on an opposite mountain. There was a valley which was between them.


1Samuel 17:3

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Pelishetîy (י. ש ̣ל) [pronounced pe-lish-TEE]

transliterated Philistines

masculine plural gentilic adjective (acts like a proper noun)

Strong’s #6430 BDB #814

׳âmad (ד ַמ ָע) [pronounced ģaw-MAHD]

to take a stand, to stand, to remain, to endure, to withstand

masculine plural, Qal active participle

Strong's #5975 BDB #763

el (לא) [pronounced el]

in, into, toward, unto, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

har (ר ַה) [pronounced har]

hill, mountain, hill-country

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #2042 (and #2022) BDB #249

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

zeh (ה ז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, thus

masculine singular demonstrative adjective

Strong’s #2063, 2088, 2090 BDB #260

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Yiserâêl (ל ֵא ָר  ׃  ̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

׳âmad (ד ַמ ָע) [pronounced ģaw-MAHD]

to take a stand, to stand, to remain, to endure, to withstand

masculine plural, Qal active participle

Strong's #5975 BDB #763

el (לא) [pronounced el]

in, into, toward, unto, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

har (ר ַה) [pronounced har]

hill, mountain, hill-country

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #2042 (and #2022) BDB #249

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

gaye (אי-) [pronounced gaheee], which

valley

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #1516 BDB #161

bêyn (ןי ֵ) [pronounced bane]

in the midst of, between, among; when found twice, it means between

preposition with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #996 BDB #107


Translation: The Philistines stood toward the mountain on one side [lit., this] while the Israelites stood toward the mountain on the other [lit., that] with a valley between them. As is today, there are varying tactics which an army takes. Here, both armies stationed themselves on opposite mountains (probably near the foot of each mountain) with a valley between them. Barnes suggests that in the middle of this valley is another valley, the dried river bed of the Wadi which ran through there during the rainy season.

 

Edersheim paints the picture for us: About ten miles southwest of [Bethlehem]...lay...Shochoh, the modern Shuweikeh. Here a broad wady, or valley, marking a water-course, runs north for about an hour’s distance. This is the modern Wady-es-Sumt, the valley of the acacias, the ancient valley of Elah, or of the terebinth. At the modern village of Sakarieh, the ancient Shaarim, the wady divides, turning westwards towards Gath, and northwards by the Wady Surar towards Ekron. Shochoh and Ephes-Dammim,...[which lies] about three miles north-east of Shochoh, between which two points the Philistine camp was pitched, lay on the southern slope of the wady, while the host of Israel was camped on the northern slope, the two being separated by the deep part of the wady. But no longer did the former God-inspired courage fire Israel. The Spirit of God had departed from their leader, and his followers seemed to share in the depression which this consciousness brought. In such a warfare, especially among Easterns, all depended on decision and boldness. But unbelief makes cowards; and Saul and his army were content with a merely defensive position, without venturing to attack their enemies. Day by day the two armies gathered on the opposite slopes, only to witness what was for Israel more than humiliation, even an open defiance of their ability to resist the power of Philistia—by implication, a defiance of the covenant-people as such, and of Jehovah, the covenant-God, and a challenge to a fight between might in the flesh and power in the Spirit. And truly Israel, under the leadership of a Saul, was ill prepared for such a contest. Footnote


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


Goliath Issues a Challenge to the Any Man in of Israel


And so comes out a man of the betweens [or, midst, valley, betweeness] from a camp of Philistines. Goliath [is] his name from Gath; his height four [MT reads six] cubits and a span.

1Samuel

17:4

A man of the midst came out from the camp of the Philistines. His name [is] Goliath from Gath [and] his height is nearly 7 feet tall [lit., four (MT reads six) cubits and a span].

A man came out of the midst of the camp of Philistines named Goliath. He was from Gath and he stood roughly seven feet tall.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so comes out a man of the betweens [or, midst, valley, betweeness] from a camp of Philistines. Goliath [is] his name from Gath; his height six cubits and a span.

Septuagint                             And there went forth a mighty man out of the army of the Philistines, Goliath by name, out of Gath. His height [was] four cubits and a span.

 

Significant differences:          The primary difference between the texts is Goliath’s height, to be discussed in great detail in the exegesis. The Latin, Syriac and Hebrew are in agreement (as usual).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       The Philistine army had a hero named Goliath who was from the town of Gath and wa over nine feet tall.

NAB                                       A champion named Goliath of Gath came out from the Philistine camp; he was six and a half feet tall.

TEV                                       A man named Goliath, from the city of Gath, came out from the Philistine camp to challenge the Israelites. He was over nine feet tall. Hebrew nine feet; one ancient Hebrew manuscript and one ancient translation seven feet.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         The Philistine army’s champion came out of their camp. His name was Goliath from Gath. He was ten feet tall. [Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls and Greek “seven feet tall.”]

JPS (Tanakh)                        A champion [lit., the man of the space between, i.e., between the armies] of the Philistine forces stepped forward; his name was Goliath of Gath, and he was six cubits and a span tall.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.

NRSV                                    And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. Six cubits as per the MT; the Qumran manuscripts (Dead Sea Scrolls) and the Greek have four cubits.

Young's Updated LT              And there goes out a man of the duelists from the camps of the Philistines, Goliath is his name, from Gath. His height is six cubits and a span,...


What is the gist of this verse? A man from the Philistine side stepped out into the valley between the two armies. His name was Goliath from Gath and he was about 7 feet tall.


1Samuel 17:4a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yâtsâ (א ָצ ָי) [pronounced yaw-TZAWH]

to go out, to come out, to come forth

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3318 BDB #422

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

man, each, each one, everyone

masculine singular construct

Strong's #376 BDB #35

bênayim (ם̣י-נ̤) [pronounced bay-NAH-yim]

the betweens, the gap, the midst, two intermediates, the space between two armies

dual of the preposition between (Strong’s #996 BDB #114); with the definite article

Strong’s #996 & #1143 BDB #108

The word bênayim is found only here and in v. 23. The man of the gap or the man of the midst is roughly equivalent to our more modern the one standing in the gap.

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

machăneh (ה נ ֲח ַמ) [pronounced mah-khuh-NEH]

camp, encampment; the courts [of Jehovah]; the heavenly host

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #4264 BDB #334

Pelishetîy (י. ש ̣ל) [pronounced pe-lish-TEE]

transliterated Philistines

masculine plural gentilic adjective (acts like a proper noun)

Strong’s #6430 BDB #814


Translation: A man of the midst came out from the camp of the Philistines. It is difficult to understand the actual meaning of bênayim, except that he was a man who stood in the gap for the Philistines. He was their hero of the valley. As you have no doubt noticed, most translators made no attempt to give a literal rendering here and opted for such renderings as champion. Barnes indicates that the literal rendering of champion (as have I) is “a man between the two camps;” i.e., one who did not fight in the ranks like an ordinary soldier, but came forth into the space between the hostile camps to challenge the mightiest man of his enemies to come and fight him. Footnote

 

The NIV Study Bible also comments on the word champion here: The ancient Greeks, to whom the Philistines were apparently related, sometimes decided issues of war through chosen champions who met in combat between the armies. Through this economy of warriors the judgment of the gods on the matter at stake was determined (trial by battle ordeal). Israel too may have known this practice (see 2Sa 2:14–16). Footnote For those who already know about David and Goliath, or who have read ahead, know that this is the basis of Goliath’s challenge to Israel.


We have the two camps of opposing armies with a valley between them. A man steps out to the midst of the valley and stares down the opposing army of Israelites.


1Samuel 17:4b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

Gâleyath (ת-ילָ) [pronounced gohl-YAHTH]

conspicuous and is transliterated Goliath

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1555 BDB #163

shêm (ם ֵש) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character

masculine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

Gath (ת ַ) [pronounced gahth]

wine-press and is transliterated Gath

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1661 BDB #387

bvahh (-בֹ) [pronounced GOHb-VAH]

height

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1363 BDB #147

shêsh (ש̤ש) [pronounced shaysh]

six

masculine form of numeral

Strong’s #8337 BDB #995

In the Greek and in the Dead Sea Scrolls, this reads four, which is probably the accurate reading. Some Greek manuscripts read five cubits; the Latin, Syriac and Hebrew read six cubits.

ammâh (ה ָ ַא) [pronounced ahm-MAW]

cubit (18 inches)

feminine plural noun

Strong’s #520 BDB #52

A cubit is the distance between the elbow and the end of the outstretched middle finger; roughly 18 inches.

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

zehreth (ת∵ר∵ז) [pronounced ZEH-reth]

span

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #2239 BDB #284.

If you spread out your fingers, the distance between the tips of the thumb and the little finger is a span, which is about six inches (maybe slightly larger).


Translation: His name [is] Goliath from Gath [and] his height is nearly 7 feet tall [lit., four (MT reads six) cubits and a span]. As is the case with many historic incidents, there is possibly some exaggeration associated with David and Goliath. The only exaggeration which is recorded here is that Goliath was nearly 10 feet tall (as per the MT), or, more conservatively, 9'2" tall. Footnote As has been mentioned, the LXX and the Dead Sea Scrolls tell us that Goliath is four cubits and a span, which makes him more like 7 ft. tall. Now, even though it may be possible that Goliath is somewhere between 9 and 10 ft. tall, Footnote my guess is that Goliath is more likely around 7 feet tall. Since the Israelites were historically a short people—probably none of them were over 6' and most were about 5'6" or shorter, Goliath at 7 feet would appear to be quite large. I’m a pretty big guy at 6'3" and I have seen some professional wrestlers who, at 6'5", make me feel puny. Also, given the material that the human body is constructed from, when someone is larger than normal, this does not mean that they are proportionately stronger. Most of the famous body builders are significantly shorter than 6' tall, as muscle builds more readily on a shorter frame. A person of significant height is just as likely to be generally weaker than many shorter men. There is also the question as to just how tall a person can be. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the tallest man is Robert Wadlow at 8'11" tall (he died in 1940 at the young age of 22 from an infected foot blister). Footnote Another of the tallest men (apparently he made the Guinness Book of World Records as the tallest living man was Mohammad Alam Channa, who died from kidney failure in the United States at the age of 42. He was a paltry 7'7" tall and apparently suffered from numerous maladies throughout his life. Footnote My point here is that the materials out of which the body is made can ideally support a person within a certain height and weight range and when that is considerably exceeded, the various organs, nerves, muscles, bones, etc. cannot fully support normal bodily functions. Our skeletal structure, for instance, is ideal when supporting a frame which has specific boundaries. It is questionable as to how well it could support a man who is 10 ft. tall.


Now, don’t misunderstand me—I am not back-peddling on the inspiration of Scripture here. I present this information primarily because there is uncertainty as to the correct rendering of this passage. Furthermore, that the Dead Sea Scrolls are in agreement with the Septuagint is further support that Goliath is a 7 ft. giant.


On the other hand, there is the possibility, however, than one copyist thought, “No way is this guy 10' tall!” and subsequently changed Goliath’s height to the more reasonable 7' height. I should also point out that the bed of Og king of Bashan was 9 cubits by 4 cubits Deut. 3:11). That would suggest that Og may have been 6 or 6½ cubits tall (over 9 feet tall). Footnote There will also be an Egyptian mentioned later, who was considered very tall at 5 cubits (7½’ tall—1Chron. 11:23). Still, my money is on Goliath being 7' (4 cubits) tall. Given this height, he could still be reasonable strong and healthy. In any case, now would be a good time to examine the Doctrine of the Anakim.


This can be inserted whenever this doctrine is called for...

A Summary of the Doctrine of the Anakim

1.    The word anak is tied to the word neck, the implication being that a tall person has a long neck.

2.    The first mention of the Anakim are in Num. 13. The 12 spies check out the Land of Promise and come back with reports that the men of the land are Nephilim, which simply means giants. The spies say that these Nephilim in the land are sons of Anak, the first mention of this particular group. It is important to recognize that 10 of the spies were intentionally giving a bad report. That is, they did not want to invade the land, and they claimed that the Israelites were like grasshoppers before these Nephilim. This in no way means that there are 9–12 foot giants in the land. The Israelites were a relatively short people (by today’s standards) and if a significant number of men were over 6' tall, then a person who intended on slanting the report would call them giants.

3.    It is unclear as to how many of these giants were in the land. Since there is one passage where Joshua forces them out of the land, my thinking is that there were not that many of them.

4.    Anakim is not a name of a particular people but more of a descriptive term which could be given to various groups of people (or, even applied to individuals). This is because we do not find the Anakim on any of our genealogical lists. This particular point is disputed with excellent scholars on both sides of the issue.

5.    There was an actual person named Anak, who is mentioned in Joshua 15:14, where Caleb drives out the three sons (probably tribes) of Anak from his territory in Judah. More than likely, these men were unusually tall (by ancient world standards), and were both anakim and Anakim. That is, they were giants in general and their name came from their father Anak, whose name means giant. My point is, by my theory, that the name came from its meaning. In other words, there was not some major, ancient ancestor named Anak, from whom all of the giants of the land were born. There were giants in the land, and one of them was given the name giant.

6.    Joshua forced the Anakim out of Judah, and they retreated to Gaza, Gath and Ashdod (Joshua 11:21–22).

7.    The Philistines were probably Egyptians at one time who left Egypt by ship and lived for a long time in Crete and eventually took up residence on the west coast of the Land of Promise. They do not appear to have invaded and destroyed the people along the west coast, but they appear to have conquered and then assimilated the various Canaanites groups in with their own culture.

8.    So what we have are these Anakim and Philistines, both coming from different directions, and all settling along the southwestern coast of Israel. Our passage, 1Sam. 17, tells us that they apparently commingled sometime after the time of Joshua, and by the time of David, were one group of people, some of whom were giants (by comparison).

9.    Interestingly enough, we have no mention of giants among the Philistines until this point in time (Joshua 17).

10.  ISBE suggests that the Anakim came from the Ægean Sea area like the Philistines, and even suggests that they may have been related. As we have seen, being related is not a guarantee that two peoples will get along (illustration: the Arabs and the Jews). ZPEB places them originally at Arba (Joshua 15:13) or Hebron (Num. 13:22). The latter is most certainly true, although we do not know where they came from prior to Hebron.

11.  The last that we will hear from these giants is 2Sam. 21:16–22 (parallel passage, 1Chron. 20:4–8), where David and his men will kill 4 giants who were related to Goliath. The fact that we have so little mention of these giants would tend to confirm that there were not many of them to begin with and that their propagation among the Philistines was not significant.

12.  We have no definite mention of them outside the Bible. This would again confirm their small numbers.

13.  The only possible extra-Biblical source which mentions them is in the Execration texts discovered in Egypt where they are known as the Iy-canaq. Three of their princes have Semitic names.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


I want you to recall that Saul is very tall and a mighty warrior himself. He is a head taller than the general population of Israel (1Sam. 9:2 10:23). I am about 5' at my shoulders, so my guess is that Saul is about 6'6" or slightly taller himself. However, as I have mentioned, I’ve seen wrestlers at 6'5" that seem huge to me. So if Saul is looking at a man a half a foot taller than he is, he is not likely to step forward either with the idea of going one-on-one with Goliath. This is unfortunate, as Saul would be the man who should have stepped forward in the power of the Holy Spirit.


This information was written after the fact; at the time that Goliath came out, no one on the Israelite side knew who he was. Since Goliath will come out before Israel 80 times, he probably related some of his personal information to them (we would not expect him to simply repeat the exact same words time after time). This may have included information about his 4 sons and relatives, who were also giants. Obviously, the Israelite soldiers were all deathly afraid of him.


Interesting fact: Almost everyone has heard the names David and Goliath together. However, the name Goliath only occurs twice in this chapter and perhaps a half-dozen times elsewhere (and many of those instances refer to Goliath Jr.). This is the only chapter which describes in detail the fight that occurred. However, throughout most of this chapter, Goliath will be called the Philistine.


We covered the City of Gath back in 1Sam. 5:8. It is one of the five primary cities of the Philistines. It is also a city where some of the Anakim went (Joshua 11:22).


And a helmet of bronze upon his head and body armor of scales he was clothed [with] and a weight of the body armor: five of a thousand shekels bronze;...

1Samuel

17:5

He was wearing a helmet of bronze on his head and scaled body armor; the weight of the body armor [was] 125 lbs. [lit., 5000 shekels] [and it was] bronze;...

Goliath was wearing a helmet of bronze and scaled body armor. The weight of the bronze body armor was 125 lbs.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And a helmet of bronze upon his head and body armor of scales he was clothed [with] and a weight of the body armor: five of a thousand shekels bronze;...

Septuagint                             And [there was] a helmet upon his head, and he wore a breastplate of chain armor; and the weight of his breastplate [was] five thousand shekels of brass and iron.

 

Significant differences:          That his helmet is bronze is mentioned in the MT, but not in the Greek. That is the only significant difference between the texts.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       He wore a bronze helmet and had bronze armor to protect his chest and legs. The chest armor alone weighted about one hundred twenty-five pounds.

NLT                                He wore a bronze helmet and a coat of mail that weighed 125 pounds.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he wore a bronze coat of armor scales weighing 125 pounds.

JPS (Tanakh)                        He had a bronze helmet on his head, and wore a breastplate of scale armor, a bronze breastplate weighing five thousand shekels.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And he had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was clothed with scale armor which weighed five thousand shekels of bronze.

Young's Updated LT              ...and a helmet of brass is on his head, and with a scaled coat of mail he is clothed, and the weight of the coat of mail is five thousand shekels of brass,...


What is the gist of this verse? Goliath is decked out in heavy armor.


1Samuel 17:5a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

kôwbva׳ (ע-ב) [pronounced kohb-VAHĢ]

helmet

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #3553 BDB #464

nechôsheth (ת∵שֹחנ) [pronounced ne-KHOH-sheth]

copper, bronze, brass; that which is made of brass or copper, money, fetter, bonds, leg irons

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #5178 BDB #638

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

rôsh (ש אֹר) [pronounced rohsh]

head, top, chief, front, choicest

masculine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #7218 BDB #910

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shireyôwn (ןיר̣ש) [pronounced shire-YOHN]

body armor

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #8302 BDB #1056

qaseqeseth (ת∵ש∵קש-ק) [pronounced kase-KEH-seth]

scale of a fish; scale armor

feminine plural noun

Strong’s #7193 BDB #903

hûw (אה) [pronounced hoo]

he, it

masculine personal pronoun

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

lâbash (ש-בָל) [pronounced law-BAHSH]

to put on, to clothe, to be clothed, to wear

Qal passive participle

Strong’s #3847 BDB #527

Interestingly enough, we find some of these same terms (to clothe, body armor, helmet) found in Isa. 59:17.


Translation: He was wearing a helmet of bronze on his head and scaled body armor;... Apparently, the Israelites, in general, fought without armor and this was a new thing. We have already seen that earlier, the Israelites did not have access to iron for weapons of war (1Sam. 13:19). By this time, they do have armor (see v. 38), but it is still a fairly new thing. What Goliath is wearing is impressive enough for the writer to note.


Young’s translation suggests that Goliath’s armor is a coat of mail, which is armor made of rings and hooked together. This would give a warrior protection from a sword being swept from the side, although one could sustain some damage if the point of a sword was used (however, I don’t know if this was a common method of usage for swords at that time). A coat of mail would allow for maximum mobility and a reasonable amount of protection in battle. Freeman tells us that Goliath’s armor was made of metallic scales rounded at the bottom and squared at the top, and sewn to linen or felt. Footnote


We have the armor of Rameses III in the British Museum, and the breastplate is essentially a shirt made of scales of armor (as opposed to the armor being fashioned out of one or two pieces). The word qaseqeseth bears out this understanding of Goliath’s armor (compare its use in Lev. 11:9–10 Deut. 14:9–10). My guess is that this either made the manufacturing of the armor easier and it gave more mobility to the wearer of the breastplate.


1Samuel 17:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

misheqâl (לָקש ̣מ) [pronounced mishe-KAWL]

weight

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4948 BDB #1054

shireyôwn (ןיר̣ש) [pronounced shire-YOHN]

body armor

feminine singular noun with the def art

Strong’s #8302 BDB #1056

chămishshâh (הָ ̣מֲח) [pronounced khuh-mish-SHAW]

five

numeral, feminine construct

Strong’s #2568 BDB #331

eleph (ף ל א) pronounced EH-lef]

thousand, families, (500?); military units

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #505 (and #504) BDB #48

sheqel (ל∵ק∵ש) [pronounced SHEH-kehl]

0.4 ounces or 11 grams and is transliterated shekel

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #8255 BDB #1053

nechôsheth (ת∵שֹחנ) [pronounced ne-KHOH-sheth]

copper, bronze, brass; that which is made of brass or copper, money, fetter, bonds, leg irons

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #5178 BDB #638


Translation: ...the weight of the body armor [was] 125 lbs. [lit., 5000 shekels] [and it was] bronze;... This was the most impressive aspect to the writer is that Goliath’s armor alone weighed 125 lbs, Footnote which is not far from the weight of some of Israel’s smaller soldiers. You may wonder how did the author of the book of Samuel weigh this—at the end of this chapter, David will keep Goliath’s armor and weapons as souvenirs (v. 54), which means that these items probably were weighed at a later date. This is an incredible amount of weight for someone to carry around; it would suggest to me that Goliath weighed perhaps 300 lbs. (or more) himself, that weight being mostly muscle.


...and greaves [shin guards] of bronze upon his [two] feet and a javelin of bronze [or, possibly a shield] between his shoulders.

1Samuel

17:6

...and [he had] bronze shin guards above his feet and a bronze javelin [was slung] between his shoulders.

He also wore bronze leg guards and had a bronze javelin slung over his back.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       ...and greaves [shin guards] of bronze upon his [two] feet and a javelin of bronze [or, possibly a shield] between his shoulders.

 

eptuagint                        And greaves of brass [were] upon his legs, and a brazen target [was] between his shoulders.

 

Significant differences: 


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       He carried a bronze sword strapped on his back,... [The CEV combined vv. 5–6]

NAB                                       ...and bronze greaves, and had a bronze scimitar slung from a baldric. A scimitar, by the way, is a curved oriental sword and a baldric is a belt for same which runs between the waist and the shoulder. Footnote

REB                                       On his legs were bronze greaves, and one of his weapons was a bronze dagger.

TEV                                       His legs were also protected by bronze armor, and he carried a bronze javelin slung over his shoulder.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         On his legs he had bronze shin guards and on his back a bronze javelin.

JPS (Tanakh)                        He had bronze greaves on his legs, and a bronze javelin [slung] from his shoulders.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Emphasized Bible           ...and ║greaves of bronze║ on his feet,— and ║a javelin of bronze║ between his shoulders;...

NASB                                     He also had bronze greaves [or, shin guards] on his legs and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders.

Young's Updated LT              ...and a frontlet of brass is on his feet, and a javelin of brass between his shoulders.


What is the gist of this verse? The writer goes on to describe what Goliath was wearing. He had a spear or javelin (or, possibly a hand shield) slung over his back, between his shoulders, and he had on leg guards.


1Samuel 17:6

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

mitzechâh (הָחצ ̣מ) [pronounced mitzê-KHAW]

greave, greaves, shin guards, leg guards

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #4697 BDB #595

This word is in the plural in the Aramaic, Septuagint, Syriac and Vulgate. Footnote

nechôsheth (ת∵שֹחנ) [pronounced ne-KHOH-sheth]

copper, bronze, brass; that which is made of brass or copper, money, fetter, bonds, leg irons

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #5178 BDB #638

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

regel (ל ג ר) [pronounced REH-gel]

foot, feet

feminine dual noun (with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix)

Strong’s #7272 BDB #919

Although many translations have this armor on the legs, I don’t know that regel can be used that way. It is found numerable times in the Old Testament and rendered almost each and every time feet. I think that what we have is armor above the feet, which is the same as having armor on the legs or shins.

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

kîydôwn (ןדי.) [pronounced kee-DOWN]

spear, lance, javelin; and possibly shield

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #3591 BDB #475

nechôsheth (ת∵שֹחנ) [pronounced ne-KHOH-sheth]

copper, bronze, brass; that which is made of brass or copper, money, fetter, bonds, leg irons

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #5178 BDB #638

bêyn (ןי ֵ) [pronounced bane]

in the midst of, between, among

preposition

Strong's #996 BDB #107

kâthêph (ף ֵת ָ) [pronounced kaw-THAFE]

side, shoulder, shoulder-blade

feminine plural noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #3802 BDB #509


Translation: ...and [he had] bronze shin guards above his feet and a bronze javelin [or, possibly a shield] [was slung] between his shoulders. Not only was Goliath huge, and not only did he have a breastplate of armor, but he had armor over his legs, and he wore a javelin slung over his back, between his shoulders. There was almost no way he could be hurt and he carried weapons to kill.


Greaves or shin-guards could be made out of leather or wood, but, in Goliath’s case, they were made of brass. They were bound together by thongs around the calves and above the ankles, which provide protection and yet allowed mobility. Footnote


Because of the confusion of the word kîydôwn, Goliath either had two shields—a huge one carried by shield bearer who walked in front of him), and a smaller one, for hand-to-hand combat, which he carried on his back—or he had two spear-type weapons—one which he carried and the other which was slung over his back. The shield bearer and the spear he bore will be covered in the next verse.


The idea that this is a shield comes from the Latin, which is also the way that Luther understood it. Footnote However, in hand-to-hand combat, Goliath is wearing armor, which considerably lessens the need for a hand-held shield. The best argument in favor of this being an offensive weapon (e.g., a javelin) is its use in v. 45, where it is both seen by David and apparently identified by him as an offensive weapon. If this were a smaller hand or arm-held shield, then David would not have even seen it, as it would have been slung over Goliath’s back. However, if this were a 6 ft. javelin, for instance, then part of it could be seen from David’s view. Obviously, there would have been a strap or some sort of holster to hold this weapon where Goliath could easily reach it, but where it would be out of his way for most instances of combat. This is also Freeman’s take on this item, offering the various interpretations that I did, but stating his view that it was a light javelin which would be hurled at an enemy. Footnote


And a shaft of his spear like a beam of weavers and a spear-head of his spear six hundreds shekels—iron. And a bearer of the shield is walking to his faces.

1Samuel

17:7

The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam and the head of his spear [was] 15 lbs. [lit., 600 shekels] of iron. And his shield bearer walked before him.

The shaft of his spear was as large as a weavers’ shaft and his spear head weighed 15 lbs. The man who carried his shield walked ahead of him.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And a shaft of his spear like a beam of weavers and a spear-head of his spear six hundreds shekels—iron. And a bearer of the shield is walking to his faces.

Septuagint                             And the staff of his spear [was] like a weavers’ beam, and the spear’s head [lit., the spear] was [formed] of six hundred shekels of iron; and his armor-bearer went before him.

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       ...and his spear was so big that the iron spearhead alone weighed more than fifteen pounds. A soldier always walked in front of Goliath to carry his shield.

NLT                                The shaft of his spear was as heavy and thick as a weaver’s beam, tipped with an iron spearhead that weighed fifteen pounds. An armor bearer walked ahead of him carrying a huge shield.

TEV                                       His spear was as thick as the bar on a weaver’s loom, and its iron head weighted about fifteen pounds. A soldier walked in front of him carrying his shield.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         The shaft of his spear was like the beam used by weavers. The head of his spear was made of 15 pounds of iron. The man who carried his shield walked ahead of him.

JPS (Tanakh)                        The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s bar, and the iron head of his spear weighted six hundred shekels; and the shield-bearer marched in front of him.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And the shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and the head of his spear weighed six hundred shekels of iron; his shield-carrier also walked before him.

Young's Updated LT              ...and the wood of his spear is like a beam of weavers, and the flame of his spear is six hundred shekels of iron, and the bearer of the buckler is going before him.


What is the gist of this verse? Goliath’s spear shaft was the size of a weavers’ beam and his spear head alone weighed fifteen pounds. His shield was carried by a shield bearer—a man who walked in front of him.


1Samuel 17:7a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

chêts (ץ ̤ח) [pronounced khayts]

arrow; a wound [inflicted by an arrow]; a spear shaft

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #2671 BDB #346

chănîyth (תי.נֲח) [pronounced khuh-NEETH]

spear

feminine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #2595 BDB #333

kaph or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

mânôwr (רנָמ) [pronounced maw-NOHR]

beam, probably round

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #4500 BDB #644

ârag (ג-רָא) [pronounced aw-RAHG]

to weave, to braid

masculine plural, Qal active participle

Strong’s #707 BDB #70

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lehâbvâh (ה ָבָה∵ל) [pronounced leh-haw-VAW]

flame; lightning; point or head of spear, blade

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #3852 BDB #529

chănîyth (תי.נֲח) [pronounced khuh-NEETH]

spear

feminine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #2595 BDB #333

shêsh (ש̤ש) [pronounced shaysh]

six

masculine form of numeral

Strong’s #8337 BDB #995

mêâh (ה ָא ֵמ) [pronounced may-AW]

one hundred

feminine plural numeral

Strong’s #3967 BDB #547

sheqel (ל∵ק∵ש) [pronounced SHEH-kehl]

0.4 ounces or 11 grams and is transliterated shekel

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #8255 BDB #1053

barezel (לז ׃ר ַ) [pronounced bare-ZELL]

iron

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #1270 BDB #137


Translation: The shaft of his spear was like a weavers’ beam and the head of his spear [was] 600 shekels [or, 15 lbs] of iron. Here we complete the telling of Goliath’s weaponry. The shaft of his spear of large in itself; like a weavers’ beam (we will assume that is larger than a typical spear shaft). The head of the spear weighed 15 lbs. alone and was made of iron, as opposed to Goliath’s armor, which was brass. Lahmi, Goliath’s brother, will be similarly armed in his last battle (2Sam. 21:19 1Chron. 20:5).


1Samuel 17:7b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nâsâ (א ָ ָנ) [pronounced naw-SAW]

to lift up, to bear, to carry

Qal active participle

Strong’s #5375 (and #4984) BDB #669

tsinnâh (הָ̣צ) [pronounced tzin-NAW]

large shield

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #6793 BDB #857

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

Qal active participle

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pânîym (םי̣נ ָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM

face, faces

masculine plural noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean upon the face of, before, before the face of, in the presence of, in the sight of, in front of. When used with God, it can take on the more figurative meaning in the judgment of.


Translation: And his shield bearer walked before him. It took one man simply to carry Goliath’s shield (which he would hold with one arm during battle). This shield carrier walked in front of him (also mentioned in v. 41). This is the largest kind of a shield—a full-bodied shield which was designed to protect the entire body. The Egyptian shield was about five feet tall, square at the bottom, and came to a pointed arch at the top. The Assyrian shield was taller and some of them curved backward at the very top. Although I visualized metal shields, according to Freeman, they were generally made of wicker work or of light wood covered with hides. They were grasped by a handle of wood or of leather. Footnote Although Freeman tells us first that this was a full-bodied shield, he also says to the shields of the Philistines appear to have been circular, which seems somewhat contradictory to me.


Interestingly enough, Goliath’s sword is not mentioned in this description (by the way, no other exegete that I refer to other than Gordon mentions this). He certainly did have a sword probably fastened to his waist (compare v. 39a), as David will mention his sword in v. 45 and he will make use of the sword in v. 51. The only guess I can offer here is that it was a standard issue sword, which was carried by almost all Philistine soldiers, and so did not require comment. I didn’t catch this until my third sweep through this material; therefore, the author may have taken the sword for granted, as I did. Also recall that most of the comments were about the weapons and armor of Goliath and how much it weighed.


And so he stands and so he calls unto ranks of Israel and so he says to them, “For why are you coming out to prepare a battle? Not I the Philistine and you [all] servants of Saul? Separate for yourselves a man and he will come down unto me.

1Samuel

17:8

He stood and called out to the army of Israel, saying, “Why have you [all] come forth to prepare a battle? [Am] I not the Philistine and you [all are] servants of Saul? Choose for yourselves [one] man and he will come down to me.

He stood and called out to the army of Israel, saying, “Why did you all come out here in preparation for a war? Am I not a single Philistine and you are all the servants of Saul? Just select one man and he will come out to me.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he stands and so he calls unto ranks of Israel and so he says to them, “For why are you coming out to prepare a battle? Not I the Philistine and you [all] servants of Saul? Separate for yourselves a man and he will come down unto me.

Septuagint                             And he stood and cried to the army of Israel, and said to them, “Why are you come out to set yourselves in battle array against us? Am I not a Philistine, and you [are] Hebrews of Saul? Choose for yourselves a man, and let him come down to me.

 

Significant differences:          The men of Israel are called servants of Saul in the Hebrew, Latin and Syriac; and Hebrews of Saul in the Greek (very little of this chapter is readable in the Greek).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Goliath went out and shouted to the army of Israel:

Why are you lining up for battle? I’m the best soldier in our army, and all of you are in Saul’s army. Choose your best soldier to come out and fight me!

NJB                                        Taking position in front of the Israelite lines, he shouted, ‘Why have you come out to range yourselves for battle? Am I not a Philistine and are you not Saul’s lackeys? Choose a man and let him come down to me.

NLT                                Goliath stood and shouted across to the Israelites, “Do you need a whole army to settle this? Choose someone to fight for you, and I will represent the Philistines. We will settle this dispute in single combat!

TEV                                       Goliath stood and shouted at the Israelites, “What are you doing there, lined up for battle? I am a Philistine, you slaves of Saul! Choose one of your men to fight me.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Goliath stood and called to the Israelites, “Why do you form a battle line? Am I not a Philistine, and aren’t you Saul’s servants? Choose a man, and let him come down to └fight┘ me.

JPS (Tanakh)                        He stopped and called out to the ranks of Israel and he said to them, “Why should you come out to engage in battle? I am the Philistine [champion], and you are Saul’s servants. Choose one of your men and let him come down against me.



Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And he stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, and said to them, “Why do you come out to draw up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me.

Young's Updated LT              And he stands and calls unto the ranks of Israel, and says to them, “Why have you come out to set in array the battle? Am I not the Philistine, and you servants to Saul? Choose for you a man, and let him come down unto me;...


What is the gist of this verse? Goliath stands out in the valley between the armies and first grabs the attention of every Israelite by asking, “Why are you all preparing for a war? Am I not just one Philistine?” He says this to get the attention of each and every soldier. Then he tells them to select one man from their army.


1Samuel 17:8a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âmad (ד ַמ ָע) [pronounced ģaw-MAHD]

to take a stand, to stand, to remain, to endure, to withstand

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5975 BDB #763

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qârâ (א ָר ָק) [pronounced kaw-RAW]

to call, to proclaim, to read, to call to, to call out to, to assemble, to summon

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #7121 BDB #894

el (לא) [pronounced el]

in, into, toward, unto, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

ma׳ărekeh (ה∵כ∵רֲע -מ) [pronounced mah-ģuh-reh-KEH]

row, rank, battle line; this is also translated armies

feminine plural construct

Strong's #4634 BDB #790

Yiserâêl (ל ֵא ָר  ׃  ̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition with a 3rd person masculine plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

mâh (ה ָמ) [pronounced maw]

what, how, why

interrogative; exclamatory particle

Strong’s #4100 BDB #552

Lâmed + mâh can be rendered why, for what reason, to what purpose, for what purpose, indicating an interrogatory sentence.

yâtsâ (א ָצ ָי) [pronounced yaw-TZAWH]

to go out, to come out, to come forth

2nd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3318 BDB #422

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

׳ârake ( ַר ָע) [pronounced ģaw-RAK']

to prepare, to organize, to set in order, to arrange in order, to set in a row

Qal infinitive construct

Strong's #6186 BDB #789

milechâmâh (ה ָמ ָח  ׃ל  ̣מ) [pronounced mil-khaw-MAW]

battle, war

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #4421 BDB #536


Translation: He stood and called out to the army of Israel, saying, “Why have you [all] come forth to prepare a battle? Israel has observed that the Philistines had gathered for war, so they did the same on an opposite hill. Goliath steps out between the two armies and calls out to them, “Why are you all preparing for war?” At first, this seems to be a silly question. The Philistines are there ready to do battle, so certain the Israelites had to follow suit. However, the question was designed to be intriguing. Goliath wanted to get their attention.


1Samuel 17:8b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hă ( ֲה) [pronounced heh]

interrogative particle which acts almost like a piece of punctuation, like the upside-down question mark which begins a Spanish sentence. The verb to be may be implied.

Strong’s #none BDB #209

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

ânôkîy (י.כֹנָא) [pronounced awn-oh-KEE]

I, me

1st person singular personal pronoun (sometimes a verb is implied)

Strong’s #595 BDB #59

Pelishetîy (י. ש ̣ל) [pronounced pe-lish-TEE]

transliterated Philistine

masculine singular gentilic adjective (acts like a proper noun) with the definite article

Strong’s #6430 BDB #814

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

attem (ם∵-א) [pronounced aht-TEM]

you all, you guys, you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine plural, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

This reads Hebrews of Saul in the Greek.

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982


Translation: [Am] I not the Philistine and you [all are] servants of Saul? Goliath is just one Philistine. When he says, literally, “Not I the Philistine...?”, he is saying, “Am I not just one Philistine?” It is as though Goliath is taunting them—I am just one Philistine and you are all preparing to fight a war? Again, his words are chosen to be provocative—he wants their attention. He wants the attention of each and every Israelite. This is psychological warfare. If all the Israelites are listening, then what he will say will be a lot more intimidating.


So, Israel is preparing to go to war on one hill. Goliath, one Philistine, is standing in the valley below them, calling out, “Why did all of you come out to do battle? Am I not just one Philistine and you are all the servants of Saul?” His question here is actually somewhat humorous. “You all showed up just to fight me, one Philistine?” Now, every man of Israel is quiet and listening. This is what Goliath wants.


Goliath refers to the Israelites as servants (or, slaves) of Saul. First of all, it was common for the people of a country to be spoken of as servants of the king. In Samuel’s warning to the people of Israel, he tells them that they will become the servants of the king they desire (1Sam. 8:17). When David is asked who his father is at the end of this chapter, he will refer to his father as a servant of Saul’s (v. 58). So, this was not an insult, but simply a way to address all of the army of Israel. The implication is, you are all Saul’s servants; therefore, one of you needs to step forward to fight me.


As has happened many times in the past, the verses are not separated as well as they could be. The next portion of v. 8 is better placed along with v. 9.


1Samuel 17:8c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

bârar (ר-רָ) [pronounced baw-RAHR]

separate, sever, choose, select, separate and remove [i.e., cleanse]; explore, search out, prove

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong’s #1305 BDB #140

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition with a 2nd person masculine plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

man, each, each one, everyone

masculine singular construct

Strong's #376 BDB #35

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

yârad (ד ַר ָי) [pronounced yaw-RAHD]

to descend, to go down

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3381 BDB #432

el (לא) [pronounced el]

in, into, toward, unto, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied) with a 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39


Translation: Choose for yourselves [one] man and he will come down to me. Now Goliath starts dictating how they will do battle. This is the position that every army wants to be in—they want to dictate the time, the place and the particulars of each battle; that way, they have the advantage, as they have planned for that time, place and particulars. An army has a certain strategy and they have planned specific tactics; this is dependent upon the environment of the battle itself—and if they control the specifics of the battle, it is more likely that their strategy and tactics will give them the war.


Keil and Delitzsch have a slightly different take on what Goliath says; their understanding is that Goliath is calling out, “Why would you engage in battle with us? I am the man who represents the strength of the Philistines, and you all are only servants of Saul. If you have any true heroes, choose one out, that we may decide the matter by a one-on-one fight.”  Footnote


If he is able to fight with me and he has struck me and we have been to you for servants; and if I [even] I am able to him and I have struck him and you have been to us for servants and you have served us.”

1Samuel

17:9

If he is able to fight with me and strike me down, then we will be your servants; but if I am able with respect to him to strike him down, then you will be our servants and you will serve us.”

If he is able to fight with me and if he defeats me, then we will be your slaves; however, if I am able to defeat him, then you will be our slaves and you will serve us.”


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       If he is able to fight with me and he has struck me and we have been to you for servants; and if I [even] I am able to him and I have struck him and you have been to us for servants and you have served us.”

Septuagint                             And if he is able to fight against me, and strikes me down, then we will be your servants; but if I should prevail and strike him down, you all will be our servants, and you will serve us.”

 

Significant differences:          There is a minor difference with a verb in the middle of this verse.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       If he can kill me, our people will be your slaves. But if I kill him, your people will be our slaves.

NAB                                       If he beats me in combat and kills me, we will be your vassals; but if I beat him and kill him, you shall be our vassals and serve us.”

REB                                       If he defeats and kills me in fair fight, we shall become your slaves; but if I vanquish and kill him, you will be our slaves and serve us.

TEV                                       If he wins and kills me, we will be your slaves; but if I win and kill him, you will be our slaves.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         If he can fight me and kill me, then we will be your slaves. But if I overpower him and kill him, then you will be our slaves and serve us.”

JPS (Tanakh)                        If he bests me in combat and kills me, we will become your slaves; but if I best him and kill him, you shall be our slaves and serve us.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     “If he is able to fight with me and kill [lit., smite] me, the we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill [lit., smite] him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.”

Young's Updated LT              ...if he is able to fight with me, and has struck me down, then we have been to you for servants; and if I am able for him, and have struck him down, then you [all] have been to us for servants, and have served us.”


What is the gist of this verse? Goliath sets up two scenarios; if the man chosen by Israel defeats him, then the Philistines will serve Israel; if he defeats any man chosen by Israel, then Israel is to agree to serve the Philistines.


1Samuel 17:9a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

îm (ם ̣א) [pronounced eem]

if, though; lo, behold; oh that, if only; when, since, though when

primarily an hypothetical particle

Strong's #518 BDB #49

yâkôl (לֹכָי) [pronounced yaw-COAL]

to be able, can, to have the ability, to have the power to; to be able to bear; to be able to bring oneself [to do anything]; to be lawful, to be permitted; to be powerful, to prevail

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3201 BDB #407

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

lâcham (ם ַח ָל) [pronounced law-KHAHM]

engage in battle, engage in war, to wage war; to fight, to battle

Niphal infinitive construct

Strong’s #3898 BDB #535

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with a 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nâkâh (ה ָכ ָנ) [pronounced naw-KAWH]

to smite, to assault, to hit, to strike, to strike [something or someone] down, to defeat

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil perfect with a 1st person singular suffix

Strong #5221 BDB #645

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was

1st person plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713


Translation: If he is able to fight with me and strike me down, then we will be your servants;... Here Goliath actually proposes that which he wants all of the Israelite soldiers to hear. He suggests that whoever they choose come out and fight him, and if this man defeats him, then the Philistines will be Israel’s servants.


1Samuel 17:9b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

îm (ם ̣א) [pronounced eem]

if, though; lo, behold; oh that, if only; when, since, though when

primarily an hypothetical particle

Strong's #518 BDB #49

ânîy (י.נָא) [pronounced aw-NEE]

I, me

1st person singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #589 BDB #58

yâkôl (לֹכָי) [pronounced yaw-COAL]

to be able, can, to have the ability, to have the power to; to be able to bear; to be able to bring oneself [to do anything]; to be lawful, to be permitted; to be powerful, to prevail

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3201 BDB #407

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nâkâh (ה ָכ ָנ) [pronounced naw-KAWH]

to smite, to assault, to hit, to strike, to strike [something or someone] down, to defeat

1st person singular, Hiphil perfect with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong #5221 BDB #645

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was

2nd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition with a 1st person plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳âbad (ד ַב ָע) [pronounced ģawb-VAHD]

to work, to serve, to labor

2nd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #5647 BDB #712

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object

affixed to 1st person plural suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84


Translation: ...but if I am able with respect to him to strike him down, then you will be our servants and you will serve us.” The flip side to Goliath’s proposal is that if he defeats any many that Israel sends out against him, then Israel must agree to serve the Philistines. The key here is psychological warfare. Goliath is probably the biggest, meanest, most experienced warrior in the middle east; he could probably kill just about anyone in a one-on-one fight. Therefore, he wants all Israel to see the Philistines as being represented by him alone, a man too big and too vicious for any Israelite to stand up against. If this is the vision the Israelites get of the entire Philistine army, then they are defeated before they shoot their first arrow. The idea is to either get the Israelites to surrender or to demoralize them to a point where defeating them will be easy. As we will see at the end of this chapter, this is not a true offer made by Goliath. Its intent was psychological; however, the actual offer itself was bogus. That such a suggestion was not completely out of the ordinary is testified to in 2Sam. 2:12–16.


And so says the Philistine, “I [even] I defy ranks of Israel the day the this! Give to me a man and we may fight together.”

1Samuel

17:10

Then the Philistine said, “I defy [or, scorn, discredit, shame] the army of Israel this day! Give me a man and we will fight together.”

The Philistine waited for a time and then called out again, “I defy and shame the entire army of Israel on this day! Send out one man that we may fight.”


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says the Philistine, “I [even] I defy ranks of Israel the day the this! Give to me a man and we may fight together.”

Septuagint                             And the Philistine says, “Behold, I have defied the armies of Israel this very day; give me a man and we will both us fight in single combat.”

 

Significant differences:          The Greek has the additional word behold; and there is some question about the final word in this verse—what we find in the Greek may simply be their interpretation of the verb.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Here and now I challenge Israel’s whole army! Choose someone to fight me!

NLT                                I defy the armies of Israel! Send me a man who will fight with me!”

REB                                       Here and now I challenge the ranks of Israel. Get me a man, and we will fight it out.’


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):


 

God’s Word                         The Philistine added, “I challenge the Israelite battle line today. Send out a man so that we can fight each other.”

JPS (Tanakh)                        And the Philistine ended, “I herewith defy the ranks of Israel. Get me a man and let’s fight it out?”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Again the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.”

Young's Updated LT              And the Philistine says, “I have reproached the ranks of Israel this day; give to me a man and we fight together.”


What is the gist of this verse? A little time passages and Goliath calls out to the Israelites once again. He again asks for someone from them to come out and fight.


1Samuel 17:10a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Pelishetîy (י. ש ̣ל) [pronounced pe-lish-TEE]

transliterated Philistine

masculine singular gentilic adjective (acts like a proper noun) with the definite article

Strong’s #6430 BDB #814

ânîy (י.נָא) [pronounced aw-NEE]

I, me

1st person singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #589 BDB #58

châraph (ף ַר ָח) [pronounced khah-RAHF]

to defy, to reproach, to scorn, to reproach, to scornfully defy; to discredit, to shame, to rebuke

1st person singular, Piel perfect

Strong's #2778 BDB #357 & #358

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ma׳ărekeh (ה∵כ∵רֲע -מ) [pronounced mah-ģuh-reh-KEH]

row, rank, battle line; this is also translated armies

feminine plural construct

Strong's #4634 BDB #790

Yiserâêl (ל ֵא ָר  ׃  ̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day, today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

zeh (ה ז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, thus

masculine singular demonstrative adjective with the definite article

Strong’s #2063, 2088, 2090 BDB #260


Translation: Then the Philistine said, “I defy [or, scorn, discredit, shame] the army of Israel this day! The impression that I get is that Goliath waited for a time; say five minutes. He gave Israel a time to think about what he said. Now he calls out, “I defy [or, scorn, discredit, shame] your entire army!” This phrase will be repeated in by David vv. 26, 36 and 45. How embarrassing that Goliath calls for just one man to come out to challenge him, and not a single Israelites steps forward.


1Samuel 17:10b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

nâthan (ןַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

2nd person masculine plural, Qal imperative

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition with a 1st person plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

man, each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâcham (ם ַח ָל) [pronounced law-KHAHM]

engage in battle, engage in war, to wage war; to fight, to battle

1st person plural, Niphal imperfect with the voluntative hê

Strong’s #3898 BDB #535

yachad (ד ַח ַי) [pronounced YAH-khahd]

together, alike, all together

adverb

Strong’s #3162 BDB #403


Translation: Give me a man and we will fight together.” Goliath renews his challenge: “Just send out one man and we will fight.” The idea is, is there not even one man in all of Israel who is willing to face me?


This idea of two champion warriors battling each other in the middle of the battle line to determine the ultimate victory instead of an out and out war between the two armies is a theme also found in Homer’s Iliad, Virgil’s Aeneid and in Aeschylus’ Seven Against Thebes. Footnote So, this is not unheard of. All of these authors, by the way, wrote these books centuries after this narrative.


And so hears Saul and all Israel words of the Philistine the these and so they were dismayed and so they were afraid greatly.

1Samuel

17:11

When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they became dismayed and very afraid.

When Saul and all of Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they became dismayed, discouraged and very afraid.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so hears Saul and all Israel words of the Philistine the these and so they were dismayed and so they were afraid greatly.

Septuagint                             And Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, and they were dismayed and greatly terrified.

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Saul and his men heard what Goliath said, but they were so frightened of Goliath that they couldn’t do a thing.

NAB                                       Saul and all the men of Israel, when they heard this challenge of the Philistine, were dismayed and terror-stricken.

NLT                                When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken.

REB                                       When Saul and the Israelites heard what the Philistine said, they were all shaken and deeply afraid.

TEV                                       When Saul and his men heard this, they were terrified.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         When Saul and all the Israelites heard what this Philistine said, they were gripped with fear.

JPS (Tanakh)                        When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and terror-stricken.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

Young's Updated LT              And Saul hears—and all Israel—these words of the Philistine, and they are broken down and greatly afraid.


What is the gist of this verse? Both Saul and his entire army are terribly unnerved by Goliath’s challenge.


1Samuel 17:11a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâma׳ (ע ַמ ָש) [pronounced shaw-MAHĢ]

to listen, to hear, to listen intently, to listen and obey, to listen and act upon, to listen and give heed to, to hearken to, to be attentive to, to listen and take note of, to listen and be cognizant of

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #8085 BDB #1033

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

every, each, all of, all

masculine singular construct not followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

Yiserâêl (ל ֵא ָר  ׃  ̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

bvâr (ר ָב ָ) [pronounced dawb-VAWR]

word, saying, doctrine, thing, matter

masculine plural construct

Strong's #1697 BDB #182

Pelishetîy (י. ש ̣ל) [pronounced pe-lish-TEE]

transliterated Philistine

masculine singular gentilic adjective (acts like a proper noun) with the definite article

Strong’s #6430 BDB #814

êlleh (ה  ֵא) [pronounced EEHL-leh]

these, these things

demonstrative plural adjective (with the definite article)

Strong's #428 BDB #41


Translation: When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine,... Goliath got the attention of all the Israelite soldiers and Saul heard him as well. What he said was designed to grab their attention.


1Samuel 17:11b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

châthath (ת ַת ָח) [pronounced khaw-THAHTH]

dismay, discourage and, on occasion, broken in pieces and even to be afraid

3rd person masculine plural, Niphal imperfect

Strong’s #2865 BDB #369

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yârê (א ֵר ָי) [pronounced yaw-RAY

to fear, to fear-respect, to reverence, to have a reverential respect

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3372 BDB #431

meôd (דֹא  ׃מ) [pronounced me-ODE]

exceedingly, extremely, greatly, very

adverb

Strong’s #3966 BDB #547


Translation: ...they became dismayed and very afraid. Saul finds himself in a hopeless situation. Most of the Israelites recognize that they are there with him. There is no one in the Israeli army which can stand up against Goliath. They face certain death or certain slavery. Even though Saul is probably 6'6" tall, Goliath obviously towers over him and he is not willing to step forward. Therefore, all Israel is dismayed and extremely afraid. This is at Goliath’s initial challenge. We will see in v. 24, their fear did not lessen even as Goliath issued this same challenge twice a day for 40 days.


This shows a dearth of spirituality in Saul and in his soldiers. Israel’s strength as an army is not dependent upon men but upon God. One of the first things which Moses taught that evil generation of wandering was that God delivered Israel (Ex. 14:13–14). He actually didn’t teach them anything; he simply said, “Watch this.” and God delivered the children of Abraham from the forces of pharaoh. Later, after the land had been spied out, Israel had become afraid of the inhabitants of the Land of Promise and Moses told them, “Only do not rebel against Yehowah; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and Yehowah is with us; do not fear them!” (Num. 14:9). In fulfilling a vow that Joshua made to the Gibeonites, he was about to pit his army against the combined forces of five kings, but God said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands; not one of them will stand before you.” (Joshua 10:8b). Do you know what the key is? Scripture. Saul did not know the Scriptures, nor did the people in his army, whom he led. Therefore, all they can have is human viewpoint. Footnote


Let me further explain the reason for this lack of divine viewpoint in Israel. Saul did nothing to spread God’s Word in Israel. David will bring the Ark to Jerusalem and he will write Scripture. Solomon will construct the Temple of God and he will write Scripture. But it is doubtful that Saul even had a copy of God’s Word made for him to read and study (Deut. 17:18–20). We have already seen Saul try to placate God as if He were some kind of a heathen god in 1Sam. 13:9ff. So, again the key difference between Saul and David is not that Saul sinned a lot and David sinned very little, but the key was the doctrine in their souls and the amount of time that they logged in filled with the Spirit of God.


Application: You will sin, and there are times when you sin willingly. Furthermore, these sins will negatively impact your life. However, when it comes to your service to God, there are three important factors (after salvation, of course): are you filled with God the Holy Spirit; Footnote do you know God’s Word; and do you believe God’s Word? More than anything else, these three factors distinguish David from Saul.


To continue the context of this verse, go directly to v. 16. If v. 16 is placed after v. 11, the previous narrative is properly closed out, and the following narrative feels less interrupted. I have said a lot about the text missing from LXX β, and I will say a lot more. However, to head you off at the pass, v. 16 is one of the disputed verses; however, it fits in well following v. 11 (an undisputed verse). Removing v. 16 (along with all the other questionable verses) leaves us with a serious gap. After we cover a few more verses, then I will give you a translation with v. 16 moved.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


Background on David and His Brothers


At this point, we have a radical change of scenery; we leave the battlefront, and suddenly find ourselves with David at home with his father.


And David a son of a man an Ephrathite the this from Bethlehem, Judah and his name [is] Jesse and to him eight sons and the man in days of Saul old he had come in men.

1Samuel

17:12

Now David was the son of a man—this Ephrathite—from Bethlehem [in] Judah [whose] name [was] Jesse and he had [lit., to him] eight sons. Furthermore, his father [lit., the man] had come [to be] old among men [or, in years] in the days of Saul.

Now David was the son of Jesse, this Ephrathite from Bethlehem in Judah, who had eight sons. Furthermore, this man had become old during the time of Saul.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And David a son of a man an Ephrathite the this from Bethlehem, Judah and his name [is] Jesse and to him eight sons and the man in days of Saul old he had come in men.

Alexandrian Septuagint         And David son of an Ephrathite said, this was of Bethleem Juda and his name was Jesse, and he had eight sons. And the man passed for an old man among men in the days of Saul. This comes from the Alexandrian LXX, as well all of vv. 12–31; these few missing passages are found in Brenton’s appendix.

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences; although the second sentence is difficult to understand in either language.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       David’s father Jesse was an old man, who belonged to the Ephrathah clan and lived in Bethlehem in Judah. Jess had eight sons:...

REB                                       David was the son of an Ephrathite called Jesse, who had eight sons, and who by Saul’s time had become old, well advanced in years. Note that the REB leaves out that Jesse is from Bethlehem in Judah, saying that this is the probable reading and indicates Heb. adds Is this the man from Bethlehem in Judah? Footnote However, they give nothing more to substantiate this position.

TEV                                       David was the son of Jesse, who was an Ephrathite from Bethlehem in Judah. Jesse had eight sons, and at the time Saul was king, he was already a very old man. Some ancient translations a very old man; Hebrew unclear.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        David was the son of a certain Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah whose name was Jesse. He had eight sons, and in the days of Saul the man was already old, advanced in years.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Emphasized Bible           Now ║David║ was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehem-judah, whose │name│ was Jesse, and │who│ had eight sons, —and ║the man║ in the days of Saul was old, advanced in years.

NASB                                     Now David was the son of the Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, whose name was Jesse, and he had eight sons. And Jesse was old in the days of Saul, advanced in years among men.

NRSV                                    Now David was the son of an Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, named Jesse, who had eight sons. In the days of Saul the man was already old and advanced in years. The NRSV footnotes that in years corresponds to the Greek and the Syriac, whereas among men is the Hebrew reading. Obviously (see below), this does not correspond with the Alexandrian LXX, and this verse is missing from LXX β.

Young's Updated LT              And David is son of this Ephrathite of Bethlehem, Judah, whose name is Jesse, and he has eight sons, and the man in the days of Saul has become aged among men.


At this point, we have several verses whose inclusion with Holy Writ in debated. In fact, there are several sections of this chapter where there are long passages whose inspiration is doubted. At this point, I will present them as Scripture, and then, at the end of this chapter, I will discuss more clearly what is found and what is missing from LXX β.


What is the gist of this verse? We find out again that Jesse, an Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, is the father of David and that he has 8 sons. We also find out that Jesse is an old man by this time.


1Samuel 17:12a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

man, each, each one, everyone

masculine singular construct

Strong's #376 BDB #35

epherâthîy (י .תָרפ∵א) [pronounced ef-raw-THEE]

to bear fruit, to be fruitful and is transliterated Ephrathite

gentilic adjective

Strong’s #673 BDB #68

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

bêyth lechem (ם∵ח∵ל תי̤) [pronounced bayth-LEH-khem]

house of bread and is transliterated Bethlehem

proper noun, location

Strong’s #1035 BDB #111

Yehûwdâh (הָדהי) [pronounced yehoo-DAW]

possibly means to praise, to be praised; and is transliterated Judah

masculine proper noun/location

Strong’s #3063 BDB #397

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shêm (ם ֵש) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character

masculine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027

Yîshay (י ָש̣י) [pronounced yee-SHAH-ee]

transliterated Jesse

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3448 BDB #445


Translation: Now David was the son of a man—this Ephrathite—from Bethlehem [in] Judah [whose] name [was] Jesse... Saul was introduced thrice in this book—and this is the 3rd time which David is introduced. The author is careful to note that this is the same David as found in the previous chapter, by naming his father.


Saul and David are introduced thrice in this book:

The Three Introductions to Saul and to David

Saul

David

We first find Saul wandering around looking for some lost donkeys in 1Sam. 9, where he finds that he is the guest of honor at a banquet put on by the prophet Samuel. He seems to be less surprised by these events than we would expect him to be.

In the first half of 1Sam. 16, Samuel goes out to anoint the new king, who turns out to be this unknown man named David.

Saul is later publically declared king at Mizpah by Samuel in 1Sam. 10. There were several in attendance who doubted Saul’s ability to lead Israel.

Later, in this same chapter, Saul begins to suffer from various psychoses, and David is called in to soothe him by music-therapy.

Saul actually steps into Israel’s history as a man to be noticed when he defeats the Ammonites in 1Sam. 11. At this point, God gave the Holy Spirit to Saul and he was recognized by Israel as their king (see 1Sam. 12).

Here, David will come to bring his brothers supplies when he hears Goliath’s bellowing and he steps up to the challenge.

Unlike Saul, who is first introduced as king as an unknown and later popularly accepted as king, once he proves himself; David will have proven himself great in Israel long before he assumes the throne of Israel.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


You might find this sudden change of scenery disconcerting. There’s no need for that. David is going to find himself on the battleground, and this tells portion us how he came to be there. If this is left out, then there is a great gap in the explanation as to how or why David’s 3 oldest brothers are gathered with Saul’s army and how David is there as well, although the many brothers in between are not there. Furthermore, it helps to explain why David was there, despite the fact that he appears to be (and probably is) very young (1Sam. 17:33). What we have here is simply a coterminous event where David will go from point A to point B, the original scene of the action in this chapter.


I don’t know if you will recall, but we first heard Jesse’s name at the end of the book of Ruth. Ruth is this short and engaging love story between a Moabite woman and a successful Jewish man. This sort of story has been done many times in the movies; however, the difference between Ruth and the women in the Hollywood version, is that Ruth is a woman of great character. She may be at the bottom of society in Jewish culture, but she is not there because of her own lack of personal integrity. She was the daughter-in-law of a Jewish woman who was living outside of the land and she chose, in loyalty to her mother-in-law, to stay with her and to help provide for her when all their loved ones died. There are some women whose allegiance to one’s husband might last until his death. In fact, in today’s society, if a man or woman sticks by his or her mate through a difficult death, we are often impressed by their great dedication. However, Ruth did not just stay with her husband through his death, but she then remained with her mother-in-law after his death. How many women would do that?


As a Moabites, Ruth was an outsider brought into the land by a Jewess. In the book of Ruth, she is redeemed by a Christ figure named Boaz, a very successful relative of Ruth’s mother-in-law, who falls in love with her. This is analogous to Christ bringing in the Church from outside the Jewish economy. Ruth and Boaz married and had a son Obed; to Obed was born Jesse; and to Jess was born David (Ruth 4:17, 21–22). We also examined David’s line in 1Chron. 3. David was the great king of Israel, and his bloodline was preserved in Scripture. He is also in the line that leads from Adam to Noah to Abraham to David to Josiah and eventually to Jesus. In fact, David is past the half-way between the first and the last Adam. It’s the most important genealogy, one which we come across again and again in Scripture.


Ephrath and Bethlehem are different names for the same place (or Ephrath is the general area which contains the small city of Bethlehem). Footnote We find this in the gloss of Gen. 35:19 where Rachel, the wife of Jacob, dies and is buried on the road to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem) (see also Gen. 48:7 Ruth 4:11). This will also be the birthplace of our Lord, as later prophesied in Micah 5:2: “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah; from you, One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His appearances [or, advents] are from long ago, from the days of eternity.”


LXX β leaves this passage out—and I suspect that some scribe read 1Sam. 16:11,22 and 17:55–56, 58 and sensed there to be a contradiction. In the first instance, it appears that Saul knows who David’s father is; and in the second, he appears not to know who David’s father is. Therefore, this is incorrectly perceived as a contradiction, and my guess is that some scribe just deleted certain portions of the narrative in this and the next chapter in order for the accounts not to be contradictory in content. Footnote However, these passages are not contradictory in content (this will be covered later in great detail), and the removal of these few passages actually introduces more problems than it solves (which problems are alluded to in the previous paragraph).


1Samuel 17:12b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

shemônâh (הָנֹמ ש) [pronounced shemoh-NAW]

eight

feminine singular numeral

Strong’s #8083 BDB #1032

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119


Translation: ...and he had [lit., to him] eight sons. You will recall that we settled the issue of the number of Jesse’s sons in 1Sam. 16:11 (which is eight in all, with David being the youngest of the eight). Footnote Jesse paraded seven of his sons before Samuel, and none were identified by Samuel as the next king. Then Jesse brought in his eighth son, David.


1Samuel 17:12c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

man, each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #376 BDB #35

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s #none BDB #88

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

days

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

zâkên (ן ֵק ָז) [pronounced zaw-KANE]

old, elderly

masculine singular adjective

Strong’s #2205 BDB #278

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s #none BDB #88

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

man, each, each one, everyone

masculine plural noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

In the Septuagint and Syriac, we have years instead of men. Footnote So Jesse has become old among men [or, in years] in the days of Saul.


Translation: Furthermore, his father [lit., the man] had come [to be] old among men [or, in years] in the days of Saul. Jesse was roughly the age of Samuel, who was old and kept thinking that he was going to retire from service to God. Very likely, David was born to him at a fairly advanced age so that Jesse did not put the kind of time into him as he did his other sons. In fact, Jesse put David out in the fields with the flocks.


Keil and Delitzsch point out an important fact—vv. 12–13 appear to be superfluous, given 1Sam. 16:1, 8–11. Other than the fact that Jesse is an old man during the reign of Saul, there is really no new information there. Actually, there is nothing which demands that information not be repeated—in fact, there are times when within the same passage, we have repeated information. Furthermore, this carefully ties the David of this chapter to the David of the previous chapter. That is, there should be no confusion as to this being one and the same person. Thirdly, the first half of 1Sam. 16 appears to be written from Samuel’s viewpoint; what follows in the second half of chapter 16 and 17 seems to be written from David’s viewpoint. Therefore, when David wrote this, it was not necessarily repetition. Having more than one author is not a problem for the concept of inspiration. We have noted that there was at least one chapter in Deuteronomy which was not written by Moses; there was most of a chapter in the book of Joshua not written by Joshua; and that the book of Genesis probably had more than a half-dozen authors. Given the span of the book of Samuel, we should expect there to be different authors. 1Sam. 16:13 would mark a reasonable final point for the information which Samuel recorded; and v. 14 appears to be where David picked up writing. It is not necessary that David took Samuel’s manuscript and added to it. It is also not a problem if David wrote some, Samuel wrote some, and that these writings were strung together chronologically. Furthermore, recall Jonathan’s great victory of 1Sam. 14—this would be information which would not have been recorded by Samuel or by David (unless David based it upon what Jonathan had told him). In other words, even though these verses that we are studying now seem superfluous when looking back to the previous chapter, that does not mean that they are not part of God’s Word.


And so goes a trio of sons of Jesse; the greatest ones have gone after Saul to the battle and a name of his trio of sons who have gone to the battle: Eliab the firstborn, and his second Abinadab, and the third, Shammah.

1Samuel

17:13

So three of Jesse’s sons went—the [3] oldest [lit., greatest] ones have followed [lit., gone] after Saul to the battle. The names of his three sons who have gone to the battle: Eliab, the firstborn, Abinadab his second [born], and Shammah the third [born].

So Saul’s three eldest boys followed after Saul to this battle. Their names are Eliab, the firstborn, Abinadab the second, and Shammah the third.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so goes a trio of sons of Jesse; the greatest ones have gone after Saul to the battle and a name of his trio of sons who have gone to the battle: Eliab the firstborn, and his second Abinadab, and the third, Shammah.

Alexandrian Septuagint         And the three elder sons of Jessæ went and followed Saul to the war, and the name of his sons that went to the war were: Eliab his firstborn, and his second Aminadab, and his third Samma.

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

NLT                                Jesse’s three oldest sons—Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah—had already joined Saul’s army to fight the Philistines.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        The three oldest sons of Jesse had left and gone with Saul to the war. The names of his three sons who had gone to the war were Eliab the first-born, the next Abinadab, and the third Shammah;..


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And the three older sons of Jesse had gone [lit., gone, they went] after Saul to the battle. And the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the first-born, and the second to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah.

Young's Updated LT              ...and the three eldest sons of Jesse go, they have gone after Saul to battle; and the name of his three sons who have gone into battle are Eliab the first-born, and his second Abinadab, and the third Shammah.


What is the gist of this verse? Jesse’s oldest (and greatest) sons follow Saul to this battle against the Philistines. They are named again in this verse—Eliab, Abinadab and Shammah (from eldest to third eldest).


1Samuel 17:13a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

shelôshâh (הָשֹלש) [pronounced shiloh-SHAW]

a three, a trio, a triad, a threesome

feminine numeral construct

Strong’s #7969 BDB #1025.

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yîshay (י ָש̣י) [pronounced yee-SHAH-ee]

transliterated Jesse

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3448 BDB #445

gâdôwl (לד ָ) [pronounced gaw-DOHL]

great in quantity, great in magnitude and extent, mighty, vast, unyielding, immutable, significant, astonishing

masculine plural adjective with a definite article (it functions as a substantive here)

Strong’s #1419 BDB #152

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

achar (ר ַח ַא) [pronounced ah-KHAHR]

after, following, behind

preposition

Strong’s #310 BDB #29

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

milechâmâh (ה ָמ ָח  ׃ל  ̣מ) [pronounced mil-khaw-MAW]

battle, war

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4421 BDB #536


Translation: So three of Jesse’s sons went—the [3] oldest [lit., greatest] ones have followed [lit., gone] after Saul to the battle. Three of Jesse’s sons went into battle with Saul. It is interesting—the Hebrew does not call them the eldest sons, but the greatest sons. This should give you some idea as to God the Holy Spirit’s take on war and fighting for one’s country.


1Samuel 17:13b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shêm (ם ֵש) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027

shelôshâh (הָשֹלש) [pronounced shiloh-SHAW]

a three, a trio, a triad, a threesome

feminine numeral construct

Strong’s #7969 BDB #1025.

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine plural noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s #none BDB #88

milechâmâh (ה ָמ ָח  ׃ל  ̣מ) [pronounced mil-khaw-MAW]

battle, war

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4421 BDB #536

ělîyâbv (ב ָאי.ל ֱא) [pronounced el-ee-AWBV]

God is father; transliterated Eliab

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #446 BDB #45

bekôwr (רכ) [pronounced beKOHR]

firstborn

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #1060 BDB #114

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

misheneh (הנ  ׃ש  ̣מ) [pronounced mishe-NEH]

double, copy, second

masculine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #4932 BDB #1041

ăbîynâdâb (בָדָני.בֲא) [pronounced ub-vee-naw-DAWB]

my father is noble and is transliterated Abinadab

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #41 BDB #4

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shelishîym (םי.ש̣לש) [pronounced sheli-SHEEM]

third, a third part, a third time; chambers [of the third story]

Masculine/feminine adjective/ordinal numeral with the definite article

Strong’s #7992 BDB #1026

shammâh (הָ-ש) [pronounced shahm-MAW]

waste, devastation, appalment and is transliterated Shammah

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #8048 BDB #1031


Translation: The names of his three sons who have gone to the battle: Eliab, the firstborn, Abinadab, his second [born], and Shammah, the third [born]. These sons are also named in 1Sam. 16:6, 8–9 and 1Chron. 2:13. Even though David was chosen to be king over these three brothers, this does not mean that these are inferior human beings. They had character and bravery and were willing to go to war with Saul against the Philistines.


We have already covered David’s line, including his brothers, in 1Chron. 3, which chapter contains the genealogy of Judah. However, the author of 1Sam. 16 is also probably the author of this chapter, as the same three sons of Jesse are named in both chapters (in this chapter, we would expect that; in the previous chapter, we would have expected to hear the names of every brother who was paraded before Samuel).

 

Now and again, I think that it is important that you read some of the source material that I wade through. For instance, Keil and Delitzsch remark concerning the grammatical correctness of this verse: “The three great (i.e., eldest) sons of Jesse had gone behind Saul into the war.” כלָה, which appears superfluous after the foregoing כל̤-ו, has been defended by Böttcher, as necessary to express the pluperfect, which the thought requires, since the imperfect consec. כל̤-ו, when attached to a substantive and participial clause, merely expresses the force of the aorist. Properly, therefore, it reads thus: “And then (in Jesse’s old age) the three eldest sons followed, had followed, Saul;” a very ponderous construction indeed, Footnote but quite correct, and even necessary, with the great deficiency of forms, to express the pluperfect. Footnote


And David he [is] the younger and three the greatest ones have gone after Saul.

1Samuel

17:14

David [was] the youngest and the three older [lit., greater] [sons] have followed [lit., gone] after Saul.

David was the youngest of Jesse’s sons. The three eldest sons followed Saul into battle.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And David he [is] the younger and three the greatest ones have gone after Saul. Alexandrian SeptuagintAnd David himself is the younger and the three elder followed Saul.

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

NLT                                David was the youngest of Jesse’s sons. Since David’s three oldest brothers were in the army, they stayed with Saul’s forces all the time.

REB                                       ...David was the youngest. When the three eldest followed Saul,...

TEV                                       David was the youngest son, and while the three oldest brothers stayed with Saul,...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        ...and David was the youngest. The three oldest had followed Saul,...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And David was the youngest. Now the three oldest followed Saul,...

Young's Updated LT              And David is the youngest, and the three eldest have gone after Saul,...


What is the gist of this verse? The author makes it clear that David is the youngest of Jesse’s sons. I don’t exactly follow why he again tells us that the 3 oldest sons went after Saul.


1Samuel 17:14a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

hûw (אה) [pronounced hoo]

he, it

masculine personal pronoun

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

qâţôn (ןֹט ָק) [pronounced kaw-TOHN]

small, insignificant; a word particularly used for youth, younger

masculine singular adjective with the definite article

Strong’s #6995 & #6996 BDB #882


Translation: David [was] the youngest... There is an additional personal pronoun which is emphatic and emphasizes that David was the youngest of Jesse’s sons, which has already been told to us in 1Sam. 16:11. This particular author seems to be very careful about getting all of the names right, with whatever introductory material he believes is necessary to weave these characters into the historical narrative.


1Samuel 17:14b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shelôshâh (הָשֹלש) [pronounced shiloh-SHAW]

a three, a trio, a triad, a threesome

feminine numeral

Strong’s #7969 BDB #1025.

gâdôwl (לד ָ) [pronounced gaw-DOHL]

great in quantity, great in magnitude and extent, mighty, vast, unyielding, immutable, significant, astonishing

masculine plural adjective with a definite article (it functions as a substantive here)

Strong’s #1419 BDB #152

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

achar (ר ַח ַא) [pronounced ah-KHAHR]

after, following, behind

preposition

Strong’s #310 BDB #29

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982


Translation: ...and the three older [lit., greater] [sons] have followed [lit., gone] after Saul. The writer of this book tells us once again that Jesse’s three eldest sons followed after Saul. I don’t really get why he tells us this three times (twice in the previous verse and once here).


And David is going and returning from with Saul to feed sheep of his father [in] Bethlehem.

1Samuel

17:15

However, David [periodically] departed and returned from [serving] Saul to feed his father’s sheep [in] Bethlehem.

However, David continued to return periodically to feed his father’s sheep in Bethlehem.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And David is going and returning from with Saul to feed sheep of his father [in] Bethlehem.

Alexandrian Septuagint         And David departed and returned from Saul to feed his father’s sheep in Bethleem.

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       He took care of his father’s sheep, and he went back and forth between Bethlehem and Saul’s camp.

NLT                                But David went back and forth between working for Saul and helping his father with the sheep in Bethlehem.

REB                                       ...David used to go from attending Saul to minding his father’s flocks at Bethlehem.

TEV                                       ...David would go back to Bethlehem from time to time, to take care of his father’s sheep.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        ...and David would go back and forth from attending on Saul to shepherd his father’s flock at Bethlehem.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     ...but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s flock at Bethlehem.

Young's Updated LT              ...and David is going and returning from Saul, to feed the flock of his father at Bethlehem.


Before we begin an exegesis of this verse, it is important to realize that there are two ways that it may be understood. Many believe that David is with Saul and the army as Saul’s armor bearer and that he wanders back and forth from the battle to his sheep. Footnote This is not what is occurring. First of all, David is not necessarily by Saul’s side as an armor bearer at this time, and secondly, do you really think that Saul would allow David to leave him to take care of a few sheep and visit with his dad at home? David will be made Saul’s armor bearer when it appears to Saul that David can handle that responsibility. In other words, this verse does not necessarily follows 1Sam. 16:21b in time. That verse fits with the context but could refer to something which occurred later. We will discuss that later on in this chapter. Another major problem is, why did David wait until the 40th day before offering his services to Saul? If David went with Saul as his armor bearer to the Valley of Elah, then he would have heard Goliath’s challenge on several occasions before asking Saul’s permission to leave and go take care of his sheep.


What is most likely is that David is employed as palace guitarist to soothe Saul’s soul. Since Saul is off to war, there is no reason for David to hang out at the palace, so he leaves for awhile to check up on his flock and his family. Edersheim also tells us that, at the outbreak of war, David returned home. Footnote David’s three older brothers, meanwhile, have gone to war as Israeli soldiers; and David’s father will send David to the front to take them supplies.


Let me give you another reason why David has not been with Saul for these 40 days—if he was there and if his 3 oldest brothers are there, what about those brothers who are in between? It would make little sense for Saul to have the 3 eldest and the youngest from the same family, and yet skip the brothers in between. The deal is, the other brothers of David are also probably too young to go to battle.


What is the gist of this verse? Although David had an assignment with Saul, he also had responsibilities from whence he came, and he continued to fulfill those responsibilities..


1Samuel 17:15

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

Qal active participle

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

The use of the participle above and below seems to indicate that David did this several times. He did not simply just leave the service of Saul and go back home. He departed from being with Saul and returned home on several occasions. Therefore, I inserted the word periodically in my moderately literal translation.

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shûwb (בש) [pronounced shoobv]

to return, to turn, to turn back, to reminisce, to restore something, to bring back something, to revive, to recover something, to make restitution

Qal active participle

Strong's #7725 BDB #996

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5920, #5921 BDB #752

Together, they mean from upon, from over, from by, from beside, from attachment to, from companionship with, from accompanying [in a protective manner], from adhesion to

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

râ׳âh (ה ָעָר) [pronounced raw-ĢAWH]

to shepherd, to pasture, to tend to graze, to feed

Qal active participle

Strong’s #7462 BDB #944

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

tsôn (ןאֹצ) [pronounced tzohn]

small cattle, sheep and goats, flock, flocks

feminine singular collective construct

Strong’s #6629 BDB #838

âbv (ב ָא,) [pronounced awbv]

father, both as the head of a household or clan

masculine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1 BDB #3

bêyth lechem (ם∵ח∵ל תי̤) [pronounced bayth-LEH-khem]

house of bread and is transliterated Bethlehem

proper noun, location; pausal form

Strong’s #1035 BDB #111


Translation: However, David [periodically] departed and returned from [serving] Saul to feed his father’s sheep [in] Bethlehem. It is not entirely clear as to what happened with these sheep. It does not appear that Jesse assigned someone else to take care of them; or, even more likely, the person assigned to take care of the sheep really didn’t do a proper job. Or, even more simply put, this was originally David’s responsibility, and he continued with it, even though someone else was certainly involved with the sheep already. No doubt, he was home-sick for that particular responsibility. Without naming any names here, David continued to return to his sheep and to make certain that they were properly taken care of.


What we have in this verse and the previous verse is a contrast: David, Jesse’s youngest son, was serving Saul, but returned on at least this occasion to see to his flock. With Saul out of the palace and on the battlefield, there is really no reason for David to stay in the palace. A lazy man might have; however, he had other responsibilities, so he attended to those. Now, while David returned home, Jesse’s three oldest sons left home to serve Saul and their country as soldiers. This will set up another contrast on the battlefield. These same three brothers will not accept Goliath’s challenge, whereas David, who is not in the army, will. What we have here is clear support for Samuel’s selection of David over his brothers as Israel’s next king.


Application: What is the difference between David and his brothers? Is it that his brothers all have character flaws and David does not? I should say not! As we will find, David has some serious character flaws which will lead to serious sinning. Therefore, the key will not be the expression of his oldest brother’s jealousy (a clear mental attitude sin), but the key is doctrine and faith. David knows his doctrine; he will express it prior to facing off with Goliath. He has faith because he believes in God’s revealed truth. He believes that God would deliver Israel from Goliath. The two keys are faith and doctrine. Footnote You need them both.


There is one minor issue which I should attend to. Isn’t David the armorbearer for Saul (1Sam. 16:21)? Not yet. 1Sam. 16:21 sums up the early relationship between Saul and David. David began as one who played music, probably in the background, in the palace of Saul, to provide Saul with comfort and solace. In this chapter, David will prove himself on the battlefield, and Saul will then make him his armorbearer. Again, this is typical of Hebrew narrative—we have a summation of subsequent events followed by the playing out of those events. Sometimes, using a little logic, we must put some of the details in their reasonable chronological order.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


Goliath Issues His Challenge for 40 Days


And so comes near the Philistine a rising early and a becoming dark; and so he takes a stand forties a day.

1Samuel

17:16

The Philistine came near morning and evening; and he set himself [there] [for] forty days.

And for forty days and forty nights, the Philistine continued to come near and set himself before Israel to make his challenge.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so comes near the Philistine a rising early and a becoming dark; and so he takes a stand forties a day.

Alexandrian Septuagint         And the Philistine advanced morning and evening, and stood up forty days.

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Goliath came out and gave his challenge every morning and every evening for forty days.

NLT                                For forty days, twice a day, morning and evening, the Philistine giant strutted in front of the Israelite army.

REB                                       Morning and evening for forty days the Philistine came forward and took up his stance.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        The Philistine stepped forward morning and evening and took his stand for forty days.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And the Philistine came forward morning and evening for forty days, and took his stand.

Young's Updated LT              And the Philistine draws near, morning and evening, and stations himself forty days.


What is the gist of this verse? I like the way the NLT and CEV phrase this verse: for forty days, Goliath continues to come out before Israel to issue a challenge to them.


In this verse, we have our meantime, back at the ranch passage. When we left the valley between the armies, Goliath had just walked out between the two armies and challenged any Israeli to a one-on-one battle. We freeze on the last frame, where Saul and all of his army are afraid of this one man, and we go to David. In this verse, we go back to the two camps to see that this Philistine giant has stood before Israel 80 times. So, we have David leaving the palace to tend to his sheep, because Saul and his troops are no longer there, but down in the valley of Elah near Socoh. While David is tending the sheep, Goliath is standing before Israel, day after day, twice a day, goading them and psychologically devastating them. After this verse we will immediately go back to David and his father Jesse.


1Samuel 17:16a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâgash (ש ַג ָנ) [pronounced naw-GASH]

to come near, to draw near, to approach, to come hither

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5066 BDB #620

Pelishetîy (י. ש ̣ל) [pronounced pe-lish-TEE]

transliterated Philistine

masculine singular gentilic adjective (acts like a proper noun) with the definite article

Strong’s #6430 BDB #814

shâkam (ם ַכ ָש) [pronounced shaw-KAHM]

to start, to rise, to rise early, to make an early start; morning (in the Hiphil infinitive absolute)

Hiphil infinitive absolute

Strong’s #7925 BDB #1014

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳ârabv (ב-רָע) [pronounced ģaw-RAHBV]

to become evening, to grow dark; evening (in the Hiphil infinitive absolute)

Hiphil infinitive absolute

Strong’s #6150 BDB #788


Translation: The Philistine came near morning and evening;... What we have is a poetic contrast, if you will, between David and Goliath. David would continue to return to his sheep to care for them and Goliath would continue to stand before Israel and challenge them to send any one man to fight him. Goliath would do this twice each day.


1Samuel 17:16b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yâtsab (בַצָי) [pronounced yaw-TSAHBV

to set oneself [in a place], to take a stand

3rd person masculine singular, Hithpael imperfect

Strong’s #3320 BDB #426

arebâ׳îym (םי.עָר-א) [pronounced are-BAW-ĢEEM]

forty

undeclined plural noun

Strong’s #705 BDB #917

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day, today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398


Translation: ...and he set himself [there] [for] forty days. It is interesting that the Philistine army did nothing during this time. Goliath simply went out before Israel for forty days, twice each day, and issued a challenge to them. The idea was that they would become more and more debilitated by fear.


It may appear as though this verse jumps out of nowhere. However, this is one of those meanwhile, back at the ranch verses. In v. 15, David returns to his father’s sheep from Saul’s palace (as Saul is not there) and, at the same time, Goliath is walking out before the troops of Israel issuing his challenge. The author is simply making reference to two simultaneous events. A film editor often takes action occurring simultaneously in two different places, and plays a 5 second clip of one, and then a 5 second clip of the other, and alternates back and forth. Oft times, these two simultaneous actions come together, such as Lois Lane in dire straights, and Superman racing to save her. Here we have the literary origin of these cinematic cuts between simultaneous actions. In the next verse, we will cut back to David in Bethlehem.


If you do not like cinematic cuts, then place v. 16 immediately after v. 11, and you will see that both narratives are actually smoothed out somewhat. Or, v. 16 could be placed parenthetically between vv. 23–24 (although it fits less well there). Recall that, unlike our Gentile minds, the early Oriental writers did not place as much of an emphasis upon chronology. This particular placement of v. 16 indicates that we have simultaneous events in an almost awkward way (however, in the Hebrew—and even in the English—it jumps out at you and grabs you). When a verse of Scripture does that from a strictly literary standpoint, then there is a reason that it was placed where it was.


For your benefit, I am going to rearrange these verses, and insert v. 16 after v. 11.

A Re-Ordering of 1Sam. 17:11–19

When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they became dismayed and very afraid. And the Philistine came near morning and evening; he set himself [there] [for] forty days.


Now David was the son of a man—this Ephrathite—from Bethlehem [in] Judah [whose] name [was] Jesse and he had [lit., to him] eight sons. Furthermore, his father [lit., the man] had come [to be] old among men [or, in years] in the days of Saul. So three of Jesse’s sons went—the [3] oldest [lit., greatest] ones have followed [lit., gone] after Saul to the battle. The names of his three sons who have gone to the battle: Eliab, the firstborn, Abinadab his second [born], and Shammah the third [born]. David [was] the youngest and the three older [lit., greater] [sons] have followed [lit., gone] after Saul. However, David [periodically] departed and returned from [serving] Saul to feed his father’s sheep [in] Bethlehem.


Then Jesse said to David his son, “Please take to your brothers 2 cups [lit., an ephah] of roasted corn and these ten [loves] of bread and take [them] quickly to the camp to your brothers. Also, you will take these ten cuttings of cheese to their chief commander [lit., to the captain of the thousand]. And make personal contact [with] your brothers concerning [their] welfare and bring [back] a message from them [lit., their pledge, their exchange]. Saul and they and every man of Israel [are] in the Valley of Elah fighting with the Philistines.”

I did move one and so that the translation would read more smoothly (it is actually in accordance with the original text).


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


David Brings Supplies to His Brothers


And so says Jesse to David his son, “Take, please, to your brothers an ephah [roughly 2 cups] of the roasted corn and ten [loaves of] bread these and bring quickly [to] the camp to your brothers.

1Samuel

17:17

Then Jesse said to David his son, “Please take to your brothers 2 cups [lit., an ephah] of roasted corn and these ten [loves] of bread and take [them] quickly to the camp to your brothers.

Then Jesse said to his son David, Please take these 2 cups of roasted corn and these ten loaves of bread to their camp.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says Jesse to David his son, “Take, please, to your brothers an ephah [roughly 2 cups] of the roasted corn and ten [loaves of] bread these and bring quickly [to] the camp to your brothers.

Alexandrian Septuagint         And Jessæ said to David, “Take now to your brothers an ephah of this and these ten loaves, and run to the camp and give them to your brothers.

 

Significant differences:          The differences are noted, but rather insignificant. We know in the MT that it is roasted corn that David was taking; and there are two verbs in the LXX in the last phrase which take the place of one verb in the MT.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

TEV                                       One day Jesse said to David, “Take a half-bushel of this roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread, and hurry with them to your brothers in the camp.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        Jesse said to his son David, “Take an ephah of this parched corn and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers, and carry them quickly to your brothers in camp.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Then Jesse said to David his son, “Take now for your brothers an ephah of this roasted grain and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to your brothers.

Young's Updated LT              And Jesse says to David his son, “Take, I pray you, to your brothers, an ephah of this roasted corn and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to your brothers;...


What is the gist of this verse? During one of his trips back, David’s father sent him with supplies to his brothers. He took back with him a half a quart of roasted corn and 10 loaves of bread.


1Samuel 17:17a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Yîshay (י ָש̣י) [pronounced yee-SHAH-ee]

transliterated Jesse

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3448 BDB #445

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

lâqach (ח ַק ָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH]

to take, to take from, to take away, to take in marriage; to seize, to take possession of; to send after, to fetch, to bring; to receive

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542

nâ (אָנ) [pronounced naw]

please, I pray you, I respectfully implore (ask, or request of) you, I urge you

particle of entreaty

Strong's #4994 BDB #609

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

âch (ח ָא) [pronounced awhk]

brother, kinsman or close relative

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #251 BDB #26

êphâh (הָפ̤א) [pronounced ay-FAW]

transliterated ephah and it is equivalent to approximately ½ a quart or 2 cups

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #374 BDB #35

qâlîy (י̣ לָק) [pronounced kaw-LEE]

roasted corn, roasted grain

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #7039 BDB #885

zeh (ה ז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, thus

masculine singular demonstrative adjective with the definite article

Strong’s #2063, 2088, 2090 BDB #260

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳asârâh (הָרָ-ע) [pronounced ģah-saw-RAW]

ten

feminine numeral

Strong’s #6235 BDB #796

lechem (ם ח ל) [pronounced LEH-khem]

literally means bread; used more generally for food

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #3899 BDB #536


Translation: Then Jesse said to David his son, “Please take to your brothers 2 cups [lit., an ephah] of roasted corn and these ten [loves] of bread... You will note that v. 15 has some narrative meaning which we would have missed had it been left out. That verse tells us that David went back and forth from Saul to his father’s fields. Therefore, it would not be unusual for his father to give him supplies to take to his older brothers. However, leave out v. 15 (which legitimately could be done) and you will note that there would appear to be a contradiction—David is playing music for Saul, but it appears that he simultaneously is taking orders from his father in a nearby town. My point is that not every writer of Scripture was necessarily this thorough; therefore, there are times when it appears that there is a contradiction, but the only problem is that some specific logistic has been left out.


This verse is making me rethink the equivalent amount for an ephah of anything. Even though it is strictly for 3 brothers, my thinking is that the amount should be perhaps double this. Part of the problem is not fully knowing what this is, although roasted grain or popped corn is probably the idea here (it would be something akin to popcorn or an unsweetened breakfast cereal). The ten loaves of bread gives us the impression that the diet of the Israeli soldier was not too varied.


1Samuel 17:17b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

rûts (ץר) [pronounced roots]

to cause to run; to hastily lead up, to cause to hasten; to bring quickly

2nd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperative

Strong’s #7323 BDB #930

machăneh (ה נ ֲח ַמ) [pronounced mah-khuh-NEH]

camp, encampment; the courts [of Jehovah]; the heavenly host

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4264 BDB #334

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

âch (ח ָא) [pronounced awhk]

brother, kinsman or close relative

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #251 BDB #26


Translation: ...and take [them] quickly to the camp to your brothers. Jesse again emphasizes that this food goes to the three brothers who are serving in the military. This repetition here (to your brothers) seems to indicate that he personally does not have a lot of confidence in David and his ability to properly take orders. This would go along with the fact that Jesse had to be prodded to bring David out to meet Samuel (1Sam. 16:8–11). Essentially, this means that Jesse does not know his own son. He is not aware of David’s great character and potential.


Now, all of this is interesting, because we don’t know how long it has been since Jesse received news about his sons. I suspect with Goliath’s challenges, possibly some news has come around to Israel, but, more likely, the soldiers are so embarrassed, that those at home (which is fairly close by, by today’s standards) do not know how the war effort is going. Jesse only knows that his sons must need supplies by now and he, like any other parent, took part in supplying his part of the troops. Our armed service today often serves to cut the apron strings, to provide in some cases, complete independence from one’s parents. In Saul’s day, you didn’t run away to the army to get away from your parents. If you did, you might starve. Probably all of their weapons, bedding and camping supplies, and much of their food for the foot soldiers came from home. These were not mom’s brownies sent as a special treat; the food sent from home was necessary to the soldiers. It was their k-rations.


And ten cuttings of milk [or, cheese] the these you take to a captain the thousand. And your brothers you [personally] visit to welfare and their pledge you take.

1Samuel

17:18

Also, you will take these ten cuttings of cheese to their chief commander [lit., the captain of the thousand]. And make personal contact [with] your brothers concerning [their] welfare and bring [back] a message from them [lit., their pledge, their exchange].

Also, take these ten cuts of cheese to the captain of their military unit. Also, make certain to visit with your brothers concerning their welfare and needs and bring back to me any word from them.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And ten cuttings of milk [or, cheese] the these you take to a captain the thousand. And your brothers you [personally] visit to welfare and their pledge you take.

Alexandrian Septuagint         And you will carry to the captain of the thousand the ten cheeses of this milk, and you will see how your brothers fare, and learn what they want.”

 

Significant differences:          The differences appear to be a matter of translation. The Greek translators seem to be more specific about the food; and the final two verbs are similar enough to suggest it is a matter how of they chose to translate them, rather than any sort of real difference in manuscript.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       And here are ten large chunks of cheese to take to their commanding officer. Find out how your brothers are doing and bring back something that shows that they’re all right.

NAB                                       Also take these ten cheeses for the field officer. Greet your brothers and bring home some token from them.

NLT                                And give these ten cuts of cheese to their captain. See how your brothers are getting along, and bring me back a letter from them [Hebrew and take their pledge].”

TEV                                       And take these ten cheeses to the commanded officer. Find out how your brothers are getting along and bring back something to show that you saw them and that they are well.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         And take these ten cheese to the captain of the regiment. See how your brothers are doing, and bring back some news about them.

JPS (Tanakh)                        Take these ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand. Find out how your brothers are and bring some token from them.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     “Bring also these ten cuts of cheese to the commander of their thousand, and look into the welfare of your brothers, and bring back news [lit., pledge] of them.

Young's Updated LT              ...and these ten cuttings of the cheese you do take in to the head of the thousand, and your brothers then do inspect for welfare, and their pledge do receive.”


What is the gist of this verse? David was also to take some cheese to his brothers’ C.O., and find out how they are doing.


1Samuel 17:18a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

׳asârâh (הָרָ-ע) [pronounced ģah-saw-RAW]

ten

feminine numeral construct

Strong’s #6235 BDB #796

chârîyts (ץי.רָח) [pronounced khaw-REETZ]

a thing cut, a cut, a sharp instrument

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #2757 BDB #358

châlâb (בָל ָח) [pronounced khaw-LAWBV]

milk; cheese

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #2461 BDB #316

êlleh (ה  ֵא) [pronounced EEHL-leh]

these, these things

demonstrative plural adjective (with the definite article)

Strong's #428 BDB #41

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to take in, to bring, to come in with, to carry

2nd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

sar (ר ַ) [pronounced sar]

chieftain, chief, ruler, official, captain, prince, leader, commander

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #8269 BDB #978

eleph (ף ל א) pronounced EH-lef]

thousand, families, (500?); military units

masculine singular noun, pausal form

Strong’s #505 (and #504) BDB #48


Translation: Also, you will take these ten cuttings of cheese to their chief commander [lit., the captain of the thousand]. Since you cannot have a cutting of milk or sour cream, it is obvious that this word also refers to cheese or cream cheese. Edersheim renders this as ten cuts of curdled milk. Footnote Freeman tells us that the cheese of the East was quite inferior to English or Dutch cheese; that it was heavily salted, and that it began by being soft, but it quickly dried out and became hard. Footnote You will note that the very best that Jesse sends goes to the captain of his sons’ unit. The people of Israel fully understood military duty and were very appreciative of the work that their army accomplished.


This was customary behavior in the ancient world. Only in the last chapter, you will recall, David was called by Saul to provide in-house music for the palace, and Jesse sent him with bread, a jug of wine and a young goat, all for Saul (1Sam. 16:19–20).


1Samuel 17:18b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

âch (ח ָא) [pronounced awhk]

brother, kinsman or close relative

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #251 BDB #26

pâqad (ד ַק ָ) [pronounced paw-KAHD]

to go to a person, to visit, to have personal contact with, to sort out, to visit a person, to commit, to charge to the care of, to fall upon, to attack, to number, to take a census

2nd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6485 BDB #823

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

shâlôwm (םל ָש) or shâlôm (םֹלָש) [pronounced shaw-LOHM]

completeness, soundness, welfare, peace, safe, secure, tranquil, undisturbed, unagitated

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #7965 BDB #1022


Translation: And make personal contact [with] your brothers concerning [their] welfare... Pâqad means to make some sort of personal contact. So David is to do more than simply deliver these items and split; he is to spend time talking to his brothers concerning their welfare. We have a parallel situation in Gen. 37:13–14, where Jacob sends his son Joseph to check on his brothers (apparently their email server was down). This means that he is to inquire as to their needs (do they need more clothing, food, or equipment), as well as to their health and well-being. Instead of the supply trucks and helicopters of today, supplies were brought to an army via their families. When a war was being fought, the spoil of the war was their payment and sometimes their sustenance.


Again, with most, one would take it for granted that David would inquire as to the needs of his brothers. However, Jesse, still not knowing his son, instructs him along these lines. What this also indicates, on the part of Jesse (as I do not want to take from his parenting skills), he emphasizes what needs to be done and he emphasizes what is proper and honorable to do (bring supplies to David’s brothers; ask after their welfare, and also bring gifts to their commanding officer). One could just as easily say that what Jesse said to David was that which he would have said to any of his sons—by rote, he has taught all of his sons that which is proper and honorable to do. We will come to find that David understood these things, while his brothers did not.


1Samuel 17:18c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

׳ărubbâh (הָֻרֲע) [pronounced guh-roob-BAW]

thing exchanged, pledge, token

feminine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #6161 BDB #786

lâqach (ח ַק ָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH]

to take, to take from, to take away, to take in marriage; to seize, to take possession of; to send after, to fetch, to bring; to receive

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542


Translation: ...and bring [back] a message from them [lit., their pledge, their exchange]. The noun ׳ărubbâh may seem out of place here, but it simply means an exchange. David will take his brothers these supplies and, in exchange, he gets a list of their needs and information on their general welfare. The emphasis is not upon the meaning token, per se, but upon its extended meaning, that which is exchanged.


Only Today’s English Version puts this in such a way to suggest that Jesse wanted proof that David went to his brothers. Although this is an intriguing concept (and one that I would not completely rule out), I think the key is exchange—an exchange of the boys’ needs for the grain which David brings them. If the implication of the TEV is accurate, that would mean that Jesse did not trust that David would complete this task. I do not think that this is the case for two reasons: (1) Jesse has 3 or 4 Footnote other sons that he could send on this errand; and (2) there is no indication elsewhere that Jesse feels that David is untrustworthy. However, it is implied, when Samuel comes to anoint one of Jesse’s sons king, that David is viewed as too young and unimportant for Samuel to consider. If this is the case, Jesse simply does not recognize David’s character; an unfortunate thing for a father.


You will note that some verses ended Jesse’s quote with v. 18. Others carry it into the next verse. Even though there is no personalization found in this verse (i.e., no 2nd person masculine singular anything), there is this important lesson which Jesse relays to his son—every man of Israel is in the Valley of Elah fighting against the Philistines.


And Saul and they and every man of Israel [are] in a Valley of Elah fighting with Philistines.”

1Samuel

17:19

Saul and they and every man of Israel [are] in the Valley of Elah fighting with the Philistines.”

Furthermore, Saul and your brothers and every man of Israel are in the Valley of Elah fighting against the Philistines.”


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And Saul and they and every man of Israel [are] in a Valley of Elah fighting with Philistines.”

Alexandrian Septuagint         And Saul himself and all the men of Israel were in the valley of the Oak, warring with the Philistines. Not a part of Jesse’s quotation.

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences. I interpreted a noun as being proper; the Greeks translated it.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       They’re with Saul’s army, fighting the Philistines in Elah Valley.”

NJB                                        ...they are with Saul and all Israel are in the Valley of the Terebinth, fighting the Philistines.’

NLT                                David’s brothers were with Saul and the Israelite army at the valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines. Not a part of Jesse’s quotation.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         They, along with Saul and all the soldiers of Israel, are in the Elah Valley fighting the Philistines.”

JPS (Tanakh)                        Saul and the brothers [Heb. they] and all the men of Israel were in the valley of Elah, in the war against the Philistines. Not a part of the Jesse’s quotation.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     “For Saul and they and all the men of Israel are in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.”

Young's Updated LT              And Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel are in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines. Not a part of Jesse’s quotation.


It is clear that some translations include this verse as part of what Jesse said to David. Others, noted above, do not.


What is the gist of this verse? In what appears to be a continuation of Jesse’s requests, Jesse also tells David where to find Saul and his brothers.


1Samuel 17:19

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hêmmâh (ה ָ ֵה) [pronounced haym-mawh]

they, these

3rd person masculine plural personal pronoun

Strong’s #1992 BDB #241

Because of this simple word, the 3rd person masculine singular personal pronoun, I would include this verse as a continuation of Jesse’s quote. This refers right back to David’s brothers. If this were not a part of his quotation, and they would not be a part of Scripture, or we would find and the brothers of David instead.

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

every, each, all of, all

masculine singular construct not followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

man, each, each one, everyone

masculine singular construct

Strong's #376 BDB #35

Yiserâêl (ל ֵא ָר  ׃  ̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s #none BDB #88

׳emeq (ק מ ע) [pronounced ĢEH-mek]

valley, vale, lowland, deepening, depth

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #6010 BDB #770

êlâh (הָל̤א) [pronounced ā-LAW]

terebinth, oak and is transliterated Elah

proper noun/location

Strong’s #424 BDB #18

lâcham (ם ַח ָל) [pronounced law-KHAHM]

engage in battle, engage in war, to wage war; to fight, to battle

masculine plural Niphal participle

Strong’s #3898 BDB #535

׳îm (ם ̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near

preposition of nearness and vicinity

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767

Pelishetîy (י. ש ̣ל) [pronounced pe-lish-TEE]

transliterated Philistines

masculine plural gentilic adjective (acts like a proper noun)

Strong’s #6430 BDB #814


Translation: Saul and they and every man of Israel [are] in the Valley of Elah fighting with the Philistines.” This is a continuation of Jesse’s conversation with David. He is making a point. Every man of Israel is in the Valley of Elah fighting against the Philistines. Now, note for just a moment that this is not exactly true—after all, Jesse and five of his sons, including David, are not there. So it is not true that every man of Israel is in the Valley of Elah. However, the point is military service is a given; all the real men of Israel—those who are old enough, all those who are patriotic and believe in their country and believe in their God—they are there in the Valley of Elah, at war with the Philistines. It is important that David grasp that there is a duty to be fulfilled here—if not now, then in the future. Jesse, almost automatically, teaches David with every word that he says.


This verse is not simply narrative, but a continuation of Jesse speaking to David. We already know where Saul and David’s brothers are (vv. 2, 13). It is Jesse telling David exactly where the army of Saul is.


And so rises early David in the morning and so he leaves the sheep upon a keeper and so he carries and so he goes as which commissioned him Jesse. He comes the wagon rampart-ward and the army—the one going out—unto the battle line-ward and they are caused to shout in the war.

1Samuel

17:20

David then arose early in the morning and he left the sheep together with a keeper. He carried [the supplies] and went just as Jesse had commanded him. He came to the fortification [of wagons] and the army was going out toward the battle line, having made a battle cry [lit., having shouted in the war].

David then arose early the next morning, left his sheep in the charge of another, and he went, carrying that which Jesse had asked him to take. Just as he had arrived at the temporary fortification, the army was advancing toward the battle line, shouting war cries.


Here is how others have handled this verse:



Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so rises early David in the morning and so he leaves the sheep upon a keeper and so he carries and so he goes as which commissioned him Jesse. He comes the wagon rampart-ward and the army—the one going out—unto the battle line-ward and they are caused to shout in the war.

Alexandrian Septuagint         And David rose early in the morning, and left the sheep to a keeper, and took and went as Jessæ commanded him, and he came to the trench and to the army as it was going out to fight, and they shouted for the battle.

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       David obeyed his father. He got up early the next morning and left someone else in charge of the sheep; then he loaded the supplies and started off. He reached the army camp just as the soldiers were taking their places and shouting the battle cry.

NAB                                       Early the next morning, having left the flock with a shepherd, David set out on his errand, as Jesse had commanded him. He reached the barricade of the camp just as the army, on their way to the battleground, were shouting their battle cry.

NJB                                        David got up early in the morning and, leaving the sheep with someone to guard them, took up his load and went off as Jesse had ordered; he reached the encampment just as the troops were leaving to take up battle stations and shouting the war cry.

NLT                                So David left the sheep with another shepherd and set out early the next morning with the gifts. He arrived at the outskirts of the cap just as the Israelite army was leaving for the battlefield with shouts and battle cries.

TEV                                       David got up early the next morning, left someone else in charge of the sheep, took the food, and went as Jesse had told him to. He arrived at the camp just as the Israelites were going out to their battle line, shouting the war cry.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         David got up early in the morning and had someone else watch └the sheep┘. He took └the food┘ and went, as Jesse ordered him. He went to the camp as the army was going out to the battle line shouting their war cry.

JPS (Tanakh)                        Early next morning, David left someone in charge of the flock, took [the provisions], and set out, as his father Jesse had instructed him. He reached the barricade as the army was going out to the battle lines shouting the war cry.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     So David arose early in the morning and left the flock with a keeper and took the supplies and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the circle of the camp while the army was going out in battle array shouting the war cry.

Young's Updated LT              And David rises early in the morning, and leaves the flock to a keeper, and lifts up and goes, as Jesse commanded him, and he comes in to the path, and to the force which is going out unto the rank, and they have shouted for battle;...


What is the gist of this verse? David gets up early in the morning; leaves his own flock with a keeper, and leaves with the supplies which his father gave him to take to his brothers and their commander. He comes to the Israeli soldiers, just as they are going out to battle.


1Samuel 17:20a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâkam (ם ַכ ָש) [pronounced shaw-KAHM]

to start, to rise, to rise early, to make an early start

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #7925 BDB #1014

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s #none BDB #88

bôqer (ר∵קֹ) [pronounced BOH-ker]

morning

masculine singular noun (with a definite article)

Strong’s #1242 BDB #133

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâţash (ש-טָנ) [pronounced naw-TASH]

to allow to; to leave [forsake], to let go of, to let alone in the sense of to disperse, to be spread out, to let run wild

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #5203 BDB #643

For some words, I have to, in part, scrap what I find in BDB and in Gesenius, and begin from scratch. There were so many meanings for this word (8 sets of Qal meanings alone) that I went back, looked at all of the passages where this word is found, and then tried to find a smaller set of meanings which would work. The original use of this verb seems to be to allow to (Gen. 31:28), but it appears to have taken on a similar but different set of meanings in later literature.

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

tsôn (ןאֹצ) [pronounced tzohn]

small cattle, sheep and goats, flock, flocks

feminine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #6629 BDB #838

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over; on the ground of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, concerning, besides, in addition to, together with, beyond, above, over, by on to, towards, to, against, in the matter of, concerning, as regards to

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

shâmar (ר ַמ ָש) [pronounced shaw-MAR]

a keeper, a guard, a watcher, a preserver

Qal active participle

Strong's #8104 BDB #1036


Translation: David then arose early in the morning and he left the sheep together with a keeper. Typical of those who traveled in the ancient world; they would rise up early in the morning to go wherever they had planned. Here, David fills in one of the blanks that we had wondered about. Who deals with the sheep when he is gone? Apparently David took on the responsibility of finding a keeper for them. Jesse does not assign this job to another of his sons nor is Jesse the one to find a keeper for his own sheep. David has taken on this responsibility completely. This is one of the many things which give us a key as to David’s character. He is responsible. Surely you’ve known someone who had become frustrated with their job and quit in the middle of a shift or just didn’t show up again? This is the antithesis of David. He took this responsibility very seriously and he does not abandon this responsibility without seeing that his sheep are taken care of.


Application: I don’t care how much you hate your job or how much you hate your supervisor, you do not get to just up and quit one day. You put in a full day’s work; you give a proper 2 weeks notice; and you offer to train your replacement, even if it requires you to come in one or two days on your own time to make certain that he does the job correctly. No matter what the conditions, you do your job as unto the Lord.


In the final 4 years of my teaching at one school, I had the absolute worst supervisor whose only primary aim was to run me off. I could have decided to quit mid-year; I could have come in and done the minimum amount of work, seeing the writing on the wall. However, I continued to tutor my students every day after school and most days before; and I continued to hold my students to high standards. I continued to put in 10+ hour days each and every day, despite the fact that she went out of her way to make the working environment hostile to me. I did not work for her; I did not work for the principal or for the superintendent; I worked as though I were working for Jesus Christ. He gave me the job and I worked as though He were in charge.


1Samuel 17:20b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâsâ (א ָ ָנ) [pronounced naw-SAW]

to lift up, to bear, to carry

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #5375 (and #4984) BDB #669

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

kaph or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

Together, kaăsher (ר ש ֲא ַ) [pronounced kah-uh-SHER] means as which, as one who, as, like as, just asaccording to what manner; because.

tsâvâh (ה ָו ָצ) [pronounced tsaw-VAW]

to commission, to mandate, to lay charge upon, to give charge to, charge, command, order

3rd person masculine singular, Piel perfect, 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #6680 BDB #845

Yîshay (י ָש̣י) [pronounced yee-SHAH-ee]

transliterated Jesse

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3448 BDB #445


Translation: He carried [the supplies] and went just as Jesse had commanded him. In vv. 17–18, Jesse put together supplies for his three sons and additional supplies for their commanding officer. David carried these supplies, just as his father Jesse commanded him, and left at the time Jesse agreed to. David has several responsibilities that he is juggling. He has the sheep, which he has seen to; he is responsible to Saul, to soothe him with music; and he is now taking supplies to the army of Israel.


Note what David does not do—he does not complain to his father and say, “I’ve just got too much on my plate. You need to let one of the servants assist me here. You need to get one of my brothers out there to take care of the sheep in my absence—Saul the king did call me into personal service.” David accepts all additional responsibilities and he does just as Jesse commands.


1Samuel 17:20c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

ma׳egâlâh (הָלָע -מ) [pronounced mahģ-gaw-LAW]

a wagon rampart; a fortification [constructed of wagons]

feminine singular noun with the definite article and the directional hê

Strong’s #4570 BDB #722

The masculine form of this word means entrenchment, track, rut [wherein a wheel revolves]; a way; a course of action. It is not clear that the masculine and feminine forms have different meanings. The masculine is found in 1Sam. 26:5, 7 Psalm 23:3 65:11 140:5 Prov. 2:9 4:11, 26 Isa. 26:7. The feminine form is found in 1Sam. 17:20 Psalm 17:5 Prov. 2:15, 18 5:6, 21 Isa. 59:8. Strong treats them as the same word; Wigram (The New Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance) treats them as different words. Seeing as how the same authors (essentially) use both forms of the word, that would indicate to me that these words are cognates, but not necessarily synonyms.


Translation: He came to the fortification [of wagons]... Because we are not certain as to the exact meaning of this word, it is possible that David arrived where he began to see the ruts made by the wagon wheels. However, the use of the same word in 1Sam. 26:5, 7 seems to indicate that we are dealing with the circle or fortification of wagons. Footnote In either case, he arrives where the army of Saul is.


What I think is the actual scenario, is the David arrives where there is evidence of Saul’s army, where the wagons have been drawn together in a circle, but that the bulk of Saul’s army (save at least one person left behind) is already gathering in ranks and moving out toward the battle line. David can hear them from where he is (which helps to explain the next portion of this verse).


1Samuel 17:20d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

chayil (ל̣יַח) [pronounced CHAH-yil]

army, strength, valor, power, might; efficiency; and that which is gotten through strength—wealth, substance

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #2428 BDB #298

yâtsâ (א ָצ ָי) [pronounced yaw-TZAWH]

to go out, to come out, to come forth

Qal active participle with the definite article

Strong's #3318 BDB #422

el (לא) [pronounced el]

in, into, toward, unto, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

ma׳ărekeh (ה∵כ∵רֲע -מ) [pronounced mah-ģuh-reh-KEH]

row, rank, battle line; this is also translated armies

feminine singular noun with the definite article and the directional hê (or is that the simple feminine form?)

Strong's #4634 BDB #790

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

rûwa׳ ( ַער) [pronounced roo-AHĢ]

to shout, to raise a shout, to cry out, to give a blast, are caused to shout

3rd person plural, Hiphil perfect

Strong’s #7321 BDB #929

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s #none BDB #88

milechâmâh (ה ָמ ָח  ׃ל  ̣מ) [pronounced mil-khaw-MAW]

battle, war

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4421 BDB #536


Translation: ...and the army was going out toward the battle line, having made a battle cry [lit., having shouted in the war]. Now, this is interesting; each day, the Israeli army prepares itself for war and goes out to the battle line. What they will find at the battle line each day is one man—Goliath—goading them to send one man to fight him.


Now, do you recall when the men of Israel deserted Saul in droves in 1Sam. 13? They are no longer doing that. Despite the fact that Goliath intimidates them, despite the fact that Saul has offered them no one to oppose Goliath, these men still go out each day to stand and wait to go to war against the Philistines. Certainly, these men have shortcomings and none of them have the faith and doctrine of David—however, they know enough to remain with Saul. They know that they are the army of the Living God. Beyond that, their doctrine and faith are a bit shaky, but we are dealing with a group that has a little more faith and doctrine than before.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


David Inquires about What Saul Would Do for the Man Who Defeats Goliath


And so prepares Israel and Philistines—rank to encounter rank.

1Samuel

17:21

Israel and the Philistines had set [themselves] up in [battle] array, army to meet army.

The Israeli and Philistine armies faced each other in battle array.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so prepares Israel and Philistines—rank to encounter rank.

Alexandrian Septuagint         And Israel and the Philistines formed their lines one opposite the other.

 

Significant differences:          The differences in this verse appear to be a matter of translation.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       The army of Israel and the Philistine army stood there facing each other.

NAB                                       The Israelites and the Philistines drew up opposite each other in battle array.

NLT                                Soon the Israelite and the Philistine forces stood facing each other, army against army.

TEV                                       The Philistine and the Israelite armies took positions for battle, facing each other.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Israel and the Philistines formed their battle lines facing each other.

JPS (Tanakh)                        Israel and the Philistines drew up their battle lines opposite each other.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And Israel and the Philistines drew up in battle array, army against army.