1Samuel 18

 

1Samuel 18:1–30

David and Saul’s Children


Outline of Chapter 18:

 

       vv.    1–4        David has Jonathan’s Love and Saul’s Respect

       vv.    5–9        Israel Comes to Love David; Saul Begins to Fear and Despise David

       vv.   10–16      Saul Begins to Make Attempts on David’s Life; Israel’s Love for David Grows

       vv.   17–19      Saul Promises his Eldest Daughter to David in Marriage and Withdraws the Offer

       vv.   20–30      Saul Offers David his Youngest Daughter in Marriage for a Dowry of 100 Philistine Foreskins


Charts and Maps:

 

       v.      1           What Did David and Saul Talk About?

       v.     25           Why David Believed that Saul Would Give Him His Daughter’s Hand in Marriage

       v.     29           Saul’s Attempts to Foil the Plan of God

       v.     30           1Samuel 16–18 Presented in Chronological Order

       v.     30           The Greek and Hebrew Text Translated and Differentiated


Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To

 

 

Documentary Hypothesis

 


I ntroduction: 1Sam. 18 is a roller coaster of a chapter. After Saul finds out the name of David’s parents, Saul’s son Jonathan immediately develops a love and respect for David—probably because they are about the same age and on the same spiritual wavelength. Saul also has an abiding respect for David, and he places him in high authority over his army. However, during one of the civilian receptions for Saul and his army, the women sing something which really rubs Saul the wrong way, and his respect for David turns to suspicion and suspicion turns to hatred. Then Saul attempts to kill David on several occasions. In the final third of this chapter, it appears as though David is going to become the king’s son-in-law, although the proposed marriage between David and Saul’s eldest daughter does not come to pass; however, Saul does agree to let David marry his younger daughter, and this time Saul allows that marriage to occur.


To give you a little more detail: this chapter picks up right after David has killed Goliath (1Sam. 17:31–51). Saul calls David to him to determine who his parents are, as he had made a promise to free his family from taxes (a promise which I suspect was never fulfilled). In their post-battle, one-on-one interview, Saul and David are apparently observed by Jonathan, Saul’s son, who would have had high ranking in Saul’s army (and not simply because he was Saul’s son, but because his great bravery was legendary—see 1Sam. 14). During this interview, David and Jonathan developed a strong bond which became a marvelous friendship. Jonathan pledged his loyalty and love to David, and outfitting David with his own equipment. Furthermore, Saul no longer allowed David to return to his father’s home, his presence being much to valuable to the throne. And Saul placed David over his men of war, which possibly even placed him over Jonathan. 1Sam. 18:1–4.


The citizenry of Israel also became enthralled with David—particularly the women. Even in the public’s eye, he had no missteps. After every successful campaign, the women would gather themselves to the army and sing. However, on one occasion, they really pissed Saul off by singing, “Saul has slain his thousands and David has slain his tens of thousands.” (1Sam. 18:7b). From that time on, Saul looked upon David with suspicion (vv. 5–9).


Saul realized that God had replaced him; however, the actual replacement had not yet come to pass. David’s wisdom, his actions, and his popularity first made Saul suspicious and then he seemed to realize that David was his replacement. Although this is not stated outright, Saul’s behavior is indicative of one who feels threatened by David. Saul first tries to kill David himself. While David is in the palace playing his instrument, Saul loses the Holy Spirit and an evil spirit influences him, and Saul tries to kill David with his spear. After David twice eludes his direct attack, Saul recognizes that God is with him (vv. 10–12).


Then Saul apparently demotes David (although this demotion is not specifically so presented). The result of this demotion is that David would probably be more likely to be involved in fighting the enemy himself—again, not directly stated but an inference of this chapter. However, what is stated is that, regardless of the circumstances that David finds himself in, he still prospers. He becomes even more of a popular hero, and Saul’s suspicion of David, turns to fear, which later turns to dread (vv. 13–16).


Saul then offers David the hand of his eldest daughter Merob in marriage, which offer is accompanied by the need for David to fight against the Philistines (v. 17). It is possible that this is coterminous with David’s demotion (v. 13), and it is possible that this occurred afterwards (as our Gentile minds might initially conclude, given the order of the verses). David is very successful in battle, but Saul gives his daughter Merob to another man on the day that she is to be married to David (v. 19).


Saul’s actions, however, backfire on him, and his youngest daughter Michal tells him that she is in love with David. Saul quickly determines how to use this to his advantage. He promises David once again to make him part of the family by marrying one of his daughters, but requires a dowry of 100 Philistine foreskins. Now, you may wonder, how does Saul offer up one daughter, not fulfil this promise, and then offer up a second daughter, and yet David falls for it a second time? When we get to that, I will explain it to you. David does fulfil Saul’s dowry requirement and he does marry Michal (vv. 20–30).


Finally, four times in this chapter, David is said to act wisely (vv. 5, 14, 15, 30); three times in this chapter, Saul will be said to be afraid of David (vv. 12, 15, 29); and three times in this chapter, Jehovah is said to be with David (vv. 12, 14, 28. I don’t know as of right now if there is any significance in the repetition of these statements other than an emphasis being placed upon their meaning. One of the approaches which I tend to avoid, but might be forced to in this situation, is that we have two separate accounts of the events which have been woven together. My reason for avoiding this approach is that the JEPD crowd has taken this to a ridiculous extreme (see the Doctrine of Documentary Hypothesis in my Introduction to the book of Exodus). However, there is no reason to assume that one person wrote each and every word to this book or that. It is reasonable to assume that some authors used the sources available to them, and that God the Holy Spirit guided them to write only that which was accurate. It is also reasonable that, rather than take liberties with one’s sources, that some might quote them at length—so what we may have here is the weaving of two (or more) sources, which would account for the repetitiousness. It is clear that the events in the past three chapters are not laid out end to end in chronological form (this topic will be covered several times throughout this chapter); and several great exegetes, Keil and Delitzsch Footnote among them, point out that this lack of chronology is due, in part, to there being two traditions that are preserved here. It should not bother us that there were several accounts of David’s life, considering that he was so well-liked and respected; and it should not concern us if a later author made use of those accounts to piece together the events of David’s life. It is even possible that David himself recorded many of these events, and that a later editor edited in another account (or, other accounts).


As in the previous chapter, LXX β and the MT are considerably different, LXX β presenting a much shorter version of the text. Therefore, at the end of this chapter, we will look at the LXX texts as a whole.


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David has Jonathan’s Love and Saul’s Respect


Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

And so he is as his completion to speak unto Saul and a soul of Jonathan was knit in a soul of David and so loves him Jonathan as his [own] soul.

1Samuel

18:1

And so it was as he finished speaking to Saul that Jonathan’s soul was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as [he loved] his own soul.

And after he [David] finished speaking to Saul that Jonathan’s became the closest of friends with David; in fact, Jonathan loved David as he loved his own soul.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he is as his completion to speak unto Saul and a soul of Jonathan was knit in a soul of David and so loves him Jonathan as his [own] soul.

Alexandrian Septuagint         And it came to pass when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. [The first five verses of this chapter are not found in the Septuagint version which I use, which I have called Septuagint β, but they are found in the Alexandrian Septuagint (LXX α)—this was discussed in great detail in the previous chapter]

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       David and Saul finished talking, and soon David and Jonathan became best friends. Jonathan thought as much of David as he did of himself.

NAB                                       By the time David finished speaking with Saul, Jonathan had become as fond of David as if his life depended on him; he loved him as he loved himself. [The first five verses of this chapter are in brackets, as there are two primary Septuagint versions of 1Sam. 16–18, and this is lacking in Septuagint β]

NJB                                        When David had finished talking to Saul, Jonathan felt an instant affection for David; Jonathan loved him like his very self.

NLT                                After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king’s son. There was an immediate bond of love between them, and they became the best of friends.

TEV                                       Saul and David finished their conversation. After that, Saul’s son Jonathan was deeply attracted to David and came to love him as much as he loved himself.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         David finished talking to Saul. After that, Jonathan became David’s closest friend. He loved David as much as └he loved┘ himself.

JPS (Tanakh)                        When [David] finished speaking with Saul, Jonathan’s soul became bound up with the soul of David; Jonathan loved David as himself.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul fo David and Jonathan loved him as himself.

Young's Updated LT              And it comes to pass, when he finished to speak unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan has been bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.


What is the gist of this verse? Jonathan felt an almost instant affection for David and they became close friends.


Recall that chapter divisions were divisions made long after the text had been written and finalized. 1Sam. 18:1 continues 1Sam. 17:58 (in the Hebrew and in the Alexandrian Septuagint). David and Saul speak, and Jonathan is apparently looking on, and he and David will develop a close relationship. Recall that the conversations recorded are often severely edited? This is obviously the case here. That is, Saul doesn’t say, “Who is your father?” David answers, “Jesse.” And, because of this, Jonathan decides that David is a wonderful person. Obviously, there was a great deal which was discussed in David and Saul’s conversation, which Jonathan was likely privy to. Based upon this conversation (and upon what David said to Saul prior to facing Goliath in 1Sam. 17:32–39) which we do not have access to, Jonathan’s soul became knit to David’s.


You know I don’t mind speculating now and again.

What Did David and Saul Talk About?

1.    Saul asked David the name of his father; David told Saul, “I am the son of your servant, Jesse, the Bethlehemite.” (1Sam. 17:58b). This is the only part of this conversation that we are aware of. What follows will be speculative.

2.    Saul probably tells David, “I know a good place for you to display Goliath’s head; how would you like to take a trip to Jerusalem?” It is possible, in fact, that David and Jonathan went together to Jerusalem to display this head. David would have no standing whatsoever in Jerusalem; however, Jonathan, as the king’s son, would have a great deal of authority. Therefore, it makes sense for David to travel with someone, which would logically be Jonathan. This may have been why David and Jonathan became close.

3.    When David stood up against Goliath, he made it very clear that the Battle is the Lord’s. He makes several statements aloud to Goliath, so that everyone else can hear. All of his statements are clearly divine viewpoint. Therefore, when he speaks to Saul, after the fact, it is very likely that David is going to be expressing divine viewpoint as well. In some interviews, we might expect Saul to say, “How did you know how to get Goliath?” And then David rattles off, “Well, I looked the situation over carefully; figured Goliath was all talk and no show; saw that there was a space of his forehead that I could hit; and I knew I was really accurate with this here sling.” But, you see, David is not like that. He is not going to tell you how great and intelligent that he is. He is not going to tell you his great strategy and thought process and take the glory for this victory—he is going to credit God with the victory over Goliath, which is correct and proper. I am sure that Jonathan observes that aspect of their conversation and is impressed by that, as Jonathan thinks very similarly.

4.    It is probably at this point that Saul asks David to be his armor bearer, and he may even send out to get a message prepared for Jesse.

Since Jonathan forms a strong bond with David, apparently early on, then he must have observed David’s conversation with Saul before and after Goliath.


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1Samuel 18:1a

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

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

kaph or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately; combined with an infinitive, it can also take on the meaning as, often, when, as soon as

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

kâlâh (ה ָל ָ) [pronounced kaw-LAWH]

to complete, to finish, to accomplish, to be fulfilled; to be consumed, to be wasted, to be destroyed, to annihilate, to perish

Piel infinitive construct affixed to the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #3615 BDB #477

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

dâbar (ר ַב ָד) [pronounced dawb-VAHR]

to speak, to talk [and back with action], to give an opinion, to expound, to make a formal speech, to speak out, to promise, to propose, to speak kindly of, to declare, to proclaim, to announce

3rd person masculine singular, Piel imperfect

Strong’s #1696 BDB #180

el (לא) [pronounced el]

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

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

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 so it was as he finished speaking to Saul... Saul has called David in to conference over his defeat of Goliath and to draft him into the king’s army. He is probably simultaneously reevaluating the promises that he made prior to Goliath’s defeat, as we will see later on. Meanwhile, Jonathan, his son and a high ranking officer in Israel’s army, is on hand, and he observes David, his commitment to and trust in God, and his demeanor.


1Samuel 18:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nephesh (שפ נ) [pronounced NEH-fesh]

soul, life, living being, desire

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #5315 BDB #659

Yehôwnâthân (ןָטָנהי) [pronounced ye-hoh-naw-THAWN]

alternate spelling; transliterated Jonathan

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3083 (& #3129) BDB #220

There are two primary ways of spelling Jonathan: Yehôwnâthân (ןָטָנהי) [pronounced ye-hoh-naw-THAWN], which is found 83 times, and Yôwnâthân (ןָטָני) [pronounced yoh-naw-THAWN], which is found 42 times.

qâshar (ר-שָק) [pronounced kaw-SHAHR]

was bound, to be bound together; compacted [and therefore] finished

3rd person feminine singular, Niphal perfect

Strong’s #7194 BDB #905

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

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: ...that Jonathan’s soul was knit to the soul of David,.. David has reported to Saul, as Saul requested; and David, without bravado, speaks to Saul. Jonathan, Saul’s son is listening, possibly in attendance as part of Saul’s executive staff; and David’s bravery, spiritual perspective and honest modesty appeal to Jonathan. On at least one occasion, we have seen how incredibly brave Jonathan was, and that the basis of his confidence was trust in God. David is the one of the very few people that Jonathan knows who has the same divine perspective. Therefore, he feels an immediate kinship to David.


We have the exact same phrase (but a different stem) in Gen. 44:30, where the soul of Jacob is bound up or knit together with the soul of his son, Benjamin. The idea is that the happiness of one soul is tied to the other soul. The feelings of one soul are in close connection to the feelings of the other soul. However, the relationships were much different. With Jacob and Benjamin, the love was much more selfish, even though it was a father’s love for his youngest child. The happiness of his soul was very much tied to the soul of Benjamin, but it was the sort of love which takes. On the other hand, Jonathan’s soul was knit to David was different, as Jonathan had a great deal more character—therefore, his love was more giving.


1Samuel 18:1c

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

âhêb (ב ֵה ָא) [pronounced aw-HAYVB]

to desire, to breathe after; to love; to delight in

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #157 BDB #12

Yôwnâthân (ןָטָני) [pronounced yoh-naw-THAWN]

transliterated Jonathan

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3129 (& #3083) BDB #220

kaph or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately; combined with an infinitive, it can also take on the meaning as, often, when, as soon as

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

nephesh (שפ נ) [pronounced NEH-fesh]

soul, life, living being, desire

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #5315 BDB #659


Translation: and Jonathan loved him as [he loved] his own soul. Jonathan recognizes that David is a man of great spiritual character. Therefore, Jonathan loves David. Realize that there is no one else that Jonathan knew who had such a clear spiritual perspective of Israel as did David. In my early teens, I recognized a kid from school at two different places, far from our neighborhood, and places where I never expected to recognize anyone. Because we recognized one another, we eventually became very good friends (along with the help of another mutual friend). In retrospect, it is clear that I would never run into anyone else that I knew at either of those places; and the same is true for him.

 

Edersheim writes: The friendship between Jonathan and David, which dated from the victory over Goliath, and the modest, genuine bearing of the young conqueror, is the one point of light in a history which grows darker and darker as it proceeds. We can imagine how a spirit so generous as that of Jonathan would be drawn towards that unaffected, brave youth, so free from all self-consciousness or self-seeking, who would seem the very embodiment of Israelitish valour and piety. Footnote


One question which is raised by some is, were David and Jonathan homosexuals? We will deal with that question in 1Sam. 20:41.


One question which occurs to me is, why didn’t Jonathan face Goliath? He already exhibited staggering confidence in God in 1Sam. 14. I have one answer to that: it was God’s plan from eternity past for David to face Goliath. This was a battle which would be recalled for thousands of years. Most people who know little or nothing about Scripture still know about David and Goliath. Therefore, God saw to it that Jonathan would not fight Goliath. Now, on the human side, from our vantage point, why didn’t Jonathan volunteer to fight Goliath? Obviously, the best I can do is speculate. However, my educated guess is that Jonathan did volunteer, probably on several occasions, and on each occasion, Saul told him no. In the past, Jonathan has twice taken the initiative against the Philistines, without first consulting with his father. Even thought the results were good, Saul probably chewed him out for not following protocol. Undoubtedly, Saul made Jonathan give him his word that he would take no more offensive action without Saul’s approval first. Therefore, when Saul would not approve of Jonathan fighting Goliath, Jonathan was bound to observe Saul’s mandate.


A second possibility is that Jonathan was elsewhere during the challenge of Goliath, leading another army in another offensive. God saw to it that Jonathan was detained until David defeated Goliath. God also saw to it that Jonathan arrived in time for the post-fight interview.


And so takes him Saul in the day the that and would not give him to return [to] a house of his father.

1Samuel

18:2

So Saul took him [David] in that day and did not allow [lit., give] him to return to his father’s house.

On that day, Saul took David as part of his staff and did not allow him to return to his father’s house.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so takes him Saul in the day the that and would not give him to return [to] a house of his father.

Septuagint                             And Saul took him in that day, and did not suffer him to return to his father’s house.

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       From that time on, Saul kept David in his service and would not let David go back to his own family.

NAB                                       Saul laid claim to David that day and did not allow him to return to his father’s house.

NJB                                        Saul engaged him that very day and would not let him go home to his father.

NLT                                From that day on Saul kept David with him at the palace and wouldn’t let him return home.

REB                                       That same day, when Saul had finished talking with David, he kept him and would not let him return any more to his father’s house, for he saw that Jonathan had given his heart to David and had grown to love him as himself. [The REB combines vv. 1–2 and makes it sound as though Saul kept David in the palace because Jonathan loved him].


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         (From that day on Saul kept David └as his servant┘ and didn’t let him go back to his family.)

JPS (Tanakh)                        Saul took him [into his service] that day and would not let him return to his father’s house.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father’s house.

Young's Updated LT              And Saul takes him on that day, and did not permit him to turn back to the house of his father.


What is the gist of this verse? Given that David was the man who defeated Goliath, and given that he was able to soothe King Saul with his music, Saul no longer permitted David to return to his father’s house.


1Samuel 18:2a

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

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

to take, to take away, to take in marriage; to seize

3rd person singular, Qal imperfect with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

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]

day, today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

hûw (אה) [pronounced hoo]

that

masculine singular, demonstrative pronoun with a definite article

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214


Translation: So Saul took him [David] in that day... What this means is that David was taken by Saul into the palace as part of his permanent staff. It is probable that this actually refers back to 1Sam. 16:21b, which does not have to occur prior to David’s battle with Goliath (this is the passage where Saul makes David his armor bearer). This has already been discussed in excruciating detail.


1Samuel 18:2b

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

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

nâthan (ןַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

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

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

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

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 infinitive construct

Strong's #7725 BDB #996

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular construct

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

âb (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


Translation: ...and did not allow [lit., give] him to return to his father’s house. Prior to his battle with Goliath, David went back and forth between the palace and his father’s house. After all, David has shown himself the most distinguished warrior in Israel. In 1Sam. 14:52, we know that Saul took any man of miliary value and attached him to his army. This was, therefore, routine for Saul. We are told that David is made Saul’s armor bearer. This probably occurred at this time. Previously, David was the house musician, and, when Saul was at war, there was no reason for him to hang at the palace (hence his return to his father’s house in 1Sam. 17:15). However, here it is clear that David would not be going back and forth between the palace and his father’s house. As was discussed in 1Sam. 16, this verse is probably coterminous with 1Sam. 16:21b–22. That is, Saul made David his armor bearer and also sent a formal request to Saul to keep him on in public service at the palace. Prior to his victory over Goliath, David would to return home and split his work between home and the palace. Now, he is Saul’s armor bearer. You see, it makes the most sense if it is a result of David defeating Goliath in chapter 17; it makes less sense if Saul did this simply because he liked David a lot (1Sam. 16:21). We would expect Saul to make David an armor bearer as a result of doing something which is militarily impressive, like killing Goliath, rather than simply being a good musician.


The problem is that we of a Gentile mind, heavily influenced by Greek philosophy, tend to think in a chronological manner. Personally, I have been exegeting the Bible in a more or less chronological order (there are two Bibles, by the way, which place Scripture in chronological order). However, the Jewish mind did not think like this. Now, had I wrote the book of Samuel, then events in chapter 16 would naturally precede all events recorded in chapter 18. However, this is not necessarily how the Jewish mind thinks. David’s first two promotions are recorded in 1Sam. 16:21–22 because they come under the heading of promotion partially as a result of Saul’s love for him. However, this does not mean that David comes to the palace one day, plays some tunes, and Saul says, “You’re now the palace musician.” And then the next day, soothed tremendously by what David is playing, Saul say, “Heck yes, you’re also going to be my armorbearer.” David did receive those promotions in that order, and Saul did send a message home to his father—however, the events of the following chapter reasonably fall in between the two promotions.


Now, I need to point out that there is no contradiction that I am hoping to fix here; no problem passage that just doesn’t seem to fit. I am just adjusting what is recorded here so that the events are placed sequentially, rather than topically. It is not impossible that these events did occur in just this order as they are found in Scripture. The only problem with that is that the motivations involved (most of which are a matter of conjecture anyway) are more difficult to ascertain. What I need to do is to list the various events of these past several chapters as they occur in Scripture and then sequentially. In any case, there are no theological issues at stake here.


And so cuts Jonathan and David a covenant in a love of his [to] him as his soul.

1Samuel

18:3

So Jonathan and David cut a covenant when his love to him [was as his love for] his [own] soul.

Also at that time, David and Jonathan made a covenant to indicate that Jonathan loved David as his own soul.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so cuts Jonathan and David a covenant in a love of his [to] him as his soul.

Alexandrian Septuagint         And Jonathan and David made a covenant because he loved him as his own soul.

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Jonathan liked David so much that they promised to always be loyal friends.

NLT                                And Jonathan made a special vow to be David’s friend,...

REB                                       Jonathan and David made a solemn compact because each loved the other as dearly as himself.

TEV                                       Jonathan swore eternal friendship with David because of his deep affection for him.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         So Jonathan made a pledge of mutual loyalty with David because he loved him as much as └he loved┘ himself.

JPS (Tanakh)                        —Jonathan and David made a pact, because [Jonathan] loved him as himself.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Then Jonathan made a covenant with [lit., and] David because he loved him as himself.

Owen's Translation                Then Jonathan made with David a covenant because he loved him as his own soul.

Young's Updated LT              And Jonathan makes—also David—a covenant, because he loves him as his own soul,...


What is the gist of this verse? David and Jonathan enter into a pact because of Jonathan’s love for David.


1Samuel 18:3a

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

kârath (תַרָ) [pronounced kaw-RAHTH]

to cut off, to cut down; to kill, to destroy; to make a covenant

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3772 BDB #503

Yôwnâthân (ןָטָני) [pronounced yoh-naw-THAWN]

transliterated Jonathan

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3129 (& #3083) BDB #220

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

berîyth (תי.ר) [pronounced bereeth]

pact, alliance, treaty, alliance, covenant

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #1285 BDB #136


Translation: So Jonathan and David cut a covenant... Two things occurred almost simultaneously. Jonathan was a part of Saul’s staff not because he was Saul’s son, but because of the tremendous bravery which he exhibited in 1Sam. 14. So after David defeated Goliath, indicating with what he said that God was responsible, Jonathan knew that he had found himself a soul mate, someone with the same spiritual perspective. Saul, recognizing David’s abilities as a soldier, put him close by. Jonathan, recognizing David’s spiritual strength, decides to make a private alliance with him. We aren’t told here what was said, other than it was simply a pact that the two men made with one another. Who knows?—perhaps this agreement was a precursor of One for all and all for one.


1Samuel 18:3b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

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

âhêb (ב ֵה ָא) [pronounced aw-HAYVB]

to desire, to breathe after; to love; to delight in

Qal infinitive construct with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #157 BDB #12

The infinitive construct, when combined with the bêyth preposition, can often take on a temporal meaning and may be rendered when [such and such happens]. It can serve as a temporal marker that denotes an event which occurs simultaneously with the action of the main verb.

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object

affixed to 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84

kaph preposition or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately; combined with an infinitive, it can also take on the meaning as, often, when, as soon as

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

nephesh (שפ נ) [pronounced NEH-fesh]

soul, life, living being, desire

feminine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5315 BDB #659


Translation: ...when his love to him [was as his love for] his [own] soul. The bêyth preposition with an infinitive construct means that this covenant was made simultaneously (which would mean spontaneously). David recognized Jonathan’s great spiritual growth and Jonathan saw the same in David. This being understood between the two young men caused them to immediately make a personal pact with one another.


Jonathan’s relationship with David was the polar opposite of Saul’s. From the standpoint of human thinking, David is more of a threat to Jonathan and his potential inheritance of the throne; however, this is not an issue to Jonathan. His love for David is unconditional, and, as we will see in the next verse, it is possible that Jonathan even recognizes that David is the crown-prince. In any case, Jonathan does not stress over that possibility. Saul, on the other hand, will become obsessed with that possibility, which will account for most of the drama which will follow.


Allow me a divergence here: when men and women fall in love, their expectations belie the strength (or lack of) of their relationship. If the man is willing to die for his woman, that is love. If his love is simply based upon what she can potentially do for him, that is selfishness and manipulation. In Eph. 5, we men love the passage, Women obey your husband. We tend to be a little less enthusiastic about, Men, love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it. Men, if you ask a woman to marry you, and your thoughts are about your wedding night, a greater certainty of sex, perhaps an added income, perhaps children, then you are thinking about all the wrong things. If this is a woman whom you are willing to give your life for; if this is a woman that, should she become sick or unattractive, your soul is so knit to hers that these are not issues which would cause you to leave her, then you have a true and honorable love for her.


Jonathan’s love for David was along those lines. He felt as though this was a person that he could trust with his life; he would be the sort of person whom David could trust with his life (which he would on several occasions). He would be willing to give his life for David’s. His soul was knit together with the soul of David’s.


And so removed [from himself] Jonathan the robe which [was] upon him and so he gave him to David and his outer garments and as far as his sword and as far as his bow and as far as his belt.

1Samuel

18:4

So Jonathan removed the robe that he was wearing [lit., which (was) upon him] and he gave it to David, along with [lit., and] his outer garments, his sword, his bow and his belt.

So Jonathan removed the robe that he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his outer garments, his sword, his bow and his belt.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so removed [from himself] Jonathan the robe which [was] upon him and so he gave him to David and his outer garments and as far as his sword and as far as his bow and as far as his belt.

Alexandrian Septuagint         And Jonathan stripped himself of his upper garment, and gave it to David, and his mantle and all he had upon him, even to his sword and to his bow, and to his girdle [or, belt].

 

Significant differences:          The short phrase which was upon him has a different meaning in the Greek and Hebrew. In the Hebrew, it refers to Jonathan’s robe; in the Greek, we have the additional word all and it refers to everything else where Jonathan was wearing.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Jonathan took off the robe that he was wearing and gave it to David. He also gave him his military clothes, his sword, his bow and arrows, and his belt.

NAB                                       Jonathan divested himself of the mantle he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his military dress, and his sword, his bow and his belt.

NLT                                ...and he sealed the pact by giving him his robe, tunic, sword, bow, and belt.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Jonathan took off the coat he had on and gave it to David, along with his battle tunic, his sword, his bow, and his belt.

JPS (Tanakh)                        Jonathan took off the cloak and tunic he was wearing and gave them to David, together with his sword, bow, and belt.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt .

Young's Updated LT              ...and Jonathan strips himself of the upper robe which is upon him, and gives it to David, and his long robe, even unto his sword, and unto his bow, and unto his belt.


What is the gist of this verse? Jonathan gave his personal military equipment to David.


1Samuel 18:4a

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

pâshaţ (טַשָ) [pronounced paw-HAHT]

to remove one’s clothing, to remove some of one’s own clothing

3rd person masculine singular, Hithpael imperfect

Strong’s #6584 BDB #832

The Hithpael is the reflexive of the Piel (intensive stem). So this is some that he does to himself (and therefore, pâshaţ simply means to remove one’s own clothing or to remove some of one’s own clothing.

Yôwnâthân (ןָטָני) [pronounced yoh-naw-THAWN]

transliterated Jonathan

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3129 (& #3083) BDB #220

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

me׳îyl (לי.עמ) [pronounced meĢEEL]

robe, upper coat or cloak

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4598 BDB #591

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

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

preposition of proximity with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752


Translation: So Jonathan removed the robe that he was wearing [lit., which (was) upon him]... Jonathan has found a kindred spirit in David. In this verse, he gives what appears to be most or all of his military accouterments to David. You may wonder, what the heck is going on? Why is he doing this? David has just been hired on into full-time military service and David was a former shepherd. David has nothing by way of true military equipment. Jonathan recognizes this and gives David his own personal equipment.


In our army, the guy shows up, his head is shaved, he is put through rigorous training and given his uniform and weapons. In the ancient armies, whatever things a man brought with him were his weapons and uniform. David has his shepherd stuff—a staff and a sling. Jonathan is going to be the best equipped soldier next to Saul. Jonathan, without giving this s second thought, gives David all of his own military equipment.


1Samuel 18:4b

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

nâthan (ןַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

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

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

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

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

maddîym (םי. ַמ) [pronounced mahd-DEEM]

measure, cloth garment, outer garments; armored coat; carefully tailored clothing; a thick piece of cloth; a leather garment, a carpet

masculine plural noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #4055 BDB #551

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳ad (דַע) [pronounced ģahd]

as far as, even to, up to, until

preposition

Strong’s #5704 BDB #723

chereb (ב ר ח) [pronounced khe-REBV]

sword, knife, dagger; any sharp tool

feminine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #2719 BDB #352

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳ad (דַע) [pronounced ģahd]

as far as, even to, up to, until

preposition

Strong’s #5704 BDB #723

qesheth (תק) [pronounced KEH-sheth]

bow

feminine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #7198 BDB #905

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳ad (דַע) [pronounced ģahd]

as far as, even to, up to, until

preposition

Strong’s #5704 BDB #723

chăgôwr (רגֲח) [pronounced khuh-GOHR]

binding; a girdle, belt

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #2289 BDB #292


Translation: ...and he gave it to David, along with [lit., and] his outer garments, his sword, his bow and his belt. The items which Jonathan gave to David are the basic implements of war. This would suggest to me that the soldiers who were under Saul probably provided their own weapons and equipment.


The NIV Study Bible notes suggest that this act may have been a recognition of more than just a simple need on David’s part. Footnote Jonathan’s gift of these items to David may signify his realization and acceptance that David would be successor to the throne and not him (see 1Sam. 23:17). Gordon also suggests that this is a virtual abdication by Jonathan, the crown prince. Footnote Saul will make this connection probably in this chapter around v. 7; it is reasonable that his more spiritually aware son will recognize David’s royal personage before Saul would. Jonathan obviously had no crown to give, nor did he possess anything physical which designated him as crown-prince. However, he did have the uniform of his country’s military hierarchy, so to speak, and that he gave to David. Footnote At the very least, a transference of power is foreshadowed here—which is what I think is occurring here, rather than a conscience abdication of the throne by Jonathan.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


Israel Comes to Love David; Saul Begins to Fear and Despise David


And so goes out David in all that sends him Saul he is prudent. And so sets him Saul over men of the war and so he is good in [two] eyes all the people and also in [two] eyes of servants of Saul.

1Samuel

18:5

So David goes out and is prudent in all that Saul sends him [to do]. Therefore, Saul placed him over the men of war and [this] was good in the eyes of all the people and in the eyes of Saul’s servants.

So David functioned in Saul’s service and showed himself to be wise in all that Saul required him to do. Therefore, Saul set David over his men of war, and this was an intelligent choice in the opinions of the people and Saul’s army.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so goes out David in all that sends him Saul he is prudent. And so sets him Saul over men of the war and so he is good in [two] eyes all the people and also in [two] eyes of servants of Saul.

Alexandrian Septuagint         And David went out wherever Saul sent him, and he acted wisely, and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was pleasing in the eyes of all the people, and also in the eyes of the servants of Saul. [We will return to the text of LXX β with the next verse].

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       David was a success in everything that Saul sent him to do, and Saul made him a high officer in his army. That pleased everyone, including Saul’s other officers.

NJB                                        Wherever David was sent on a mission by Saul, he was successful, and Saul put him in command of the fighting men; all the people respect him and so did Saul’s staff.

NLT                                Whatever Saul asked David to do, David did it successfully. So Saul made him a commander in his army, an appointment that was applauded by the fighting men and officers alike.

REB                                       David succeeded so well in every venture on which Saul sent him that he was given command of the fighting forces, and his promotion pleased all ranks, even the officials round Saul.

TEV                                       David was successful in all the missions on which Saul sent him, and so Saul made him an officer in his army. This pleased all of Saul’s officers and men.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         David was successful wherever Sauls sent him. Saul put him in charge of the fighting men. This pleased all the people, including Saul’s officials.

JPS (Tanakh)                        David went out [with the troops], and he was successful in every mission on which Saul sent him, and Saul put him in command of all the soldiers; this pleased all the troops and Saul’s courtiers as well.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                And David went out wherever Saul sent him, and he prospered and behaved himself wisely; and Saul set him over the men of war, and it was satisfactory both to the people and to Saul’s servants.

NASB                                     So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and prospered; and Saul set him over the men of war. And it was pleasing in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.

NRSV                                    David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him; as a result, Saul set him over the army. And all the people, even the servants of Saul, approved.

Young's Updated LT              And David goes out wherever Saul sends him; he acts wisely, and Saul sets him over the men of war, and it is good in the eyes of all the people, and also in the eyes of the servants of Saul.


What is the gist of this verse? David was a military success, and soon promoted by Saul to a position of leadership. David was recognized as a good man in the eyes of Saul and all the people of Israel.


1Samuel 18:5a

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

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

kol (לָ) [pronounced kol]

the whole, totality, all, the entirety, every

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

shâlach (ח ַל ָש) [pronounced shaw-LAKH]

to send, to send for, to send forth, to send away, to dismiss, to deploy, to put forth

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #7971 BDB #1018

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

sâkal (ל-כָ) [pronounced saw-KAHL]

to look at, to attend to, to turn the mind to; to be or become understanding, to be prudent; to be successful, to act prosperously; to make prudent, to teach

3rd person singular, Hiphil perfect

Strong’s #7919 BDB #968


Translation: So David goes out and is prudent in all that Saul sends him [to do]. Although the word yâtsâ literally means to go out, to come out, it essentially refers to David acting in service to Saul. As a teacher, I would be called into early morning faculty meetings and at the end, we would be dismissed or sent out. We were not sent out to simply go home; we were sent out to work, to teach the students. This is how we should understand the use of this word in this context (it is often found to be used in this way).


Te result was that David was prudent and wise in all the assignments which Saul gave him. We may reasonably suppose that there were battles to be fought, and that David performed admirably; in fact, we may assume that David stood out from the other soldiers in his abilities.


In my opinion, what had occurred is that Saul pressed David into full-time service (v. 2), making him an armor bearer when Israel was at war, and a palace musician when Israel was not at war. However, David quickly rose in the ranks, as he apparently fought during these subsequent battles, to a position equal to that of Jonathan’s (which will be the next part of this verse).


By the way, just as it seems that Israel is forever at war with various Arab factions today, Israel also was at war almost constantly with the surrounding countries of that day. Probably what we are dealing with are a number of skirmishes with the Philistines, who appear to be among Israel’s most aggressive enemies.


1Samuel 18:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

The wâw consecutive can also be rendered so, that, yet, therefore. There are times when the wâw consecutive simply carries the action along and we do not need an English translation in order to indicate that.

sîym (םי ̣) [pronounced seem]; also spelled sûwm (ם) [pronounced soom]

to put, to place, to set, to make

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #7760 BDB #962

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

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

preposition of proximity with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

man, each, each one, everyone

masculine plural construct

Strong's #376 BDB #35

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: Therefore, Saul placed him over the men of war... We do not know how long David remained in the ranks of Saul’s army. My guess is less than a year. David was already notorious for defeating Goliath when no one else, including Jonathan, was willing to face him. Therefore, Saul gave David a position of authority, no doubt similar to Jonathan’s position of leadership.


Now, an interesting point is, why didn’t Jonathan face Goliath? We are not given any clue here; given Jonathan’s bravery evidenced in 1Sam. 14 and his unauthorized strike against the Philistines in 1Sam. 13:3, my guess is that Saul, even after congratulating his son, privately told him to make no moves of aggression of any sort without his personal authorization. My guess is that Saul would not allow his son to fight against Goliath. Again, this is purely speculation. Whatever occurred, God orchestrated it, because God’s man needed to fight Goliath.


David enjoyed a very quick rise to military power. He began as Saul’s palace musician, advancing to armor bearer, to being sent out along with the army, and finally, to being over the men of war (the latter two promotions probably occurred in rapid succession—that is, David was made an armor bearer after defeating Goliath, and then, placed in a position of great authority after the next battle, which is unrecorded). It appears in this verse that David has been given a position equal to that of Saul’s in military authority. Even though very little is said about this rise to power, there are several implications. First of all, Saul was able to recognize military bravery and savvy. He may have begun to succumb to demonic influence, but he had not lost it completely. Furthermore, even though there were certainly many men in the ranks of Israel’s army who would like to have advanced, what David consistently did was impressive enough to earn their respect, as the beginning and end of this verse indicate. I have worked with people who would backbite and jockey for positions in a place where such behavior was not necessarily conducive to an increase of authority or salary. So if such things go on where they don’t help one to advance, surely they occur where such things would help one to advance. However, men who had served longer than David approved of his rise to high military authority, and celebrated this as a victory for Israel.


Time-wise, I would place this promotion pretty much where it is found in Scripture—after the fight with Goliath, following the war with the Philistines (which apparently continued), and prior to this particular celebration of vv. 6–7 which caused Saul to become jealous of David.


1Samuel 18:5c

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

yâţabv (ב ַטָי) [pronounced yaw-TABV]

to be good, well, to be pleasing, to do good, to deal well, to make glad, to make a thing good

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3190 BDB #405

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

׳ayin (ן̣יַע) [pronounced ĢAH-yin]

spring, literal eye(s), spiritual eyes, spring

feminine dual construct

Strong’s #5869 (and #5871) BDB #744

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all of, the entirety of, all

masculine singular construct followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

׳am (ם ַע) [pronounced ģahm]

people

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

gam (ם ַ) [pronounced gahm]

also, furthermore, in addition to, even, moreover

adverb

Strong’s #1571 BDB #168

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

׳ayin (ן̣יַע) [pronounced ĢAH-yin]

spring, literal eye(s), spiritual eyes, spring

feminine dual construct

Strong’s #5869 (and #5871) BDB #744

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

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 [this] was good in the eyes of all the people and in the eyes of Saul’s servants. We know that there are some petty jealousies which erupt when Charlie Brown is promoted, but those who have been there as long as Charlie Brown are not. This was not the case. Saul’s decision to give David a position of great authority was supported by both the people of Israel and those who served under David (as well as the rest of Saul’s army—this is to whom Saul’s servants refer to).


And so he is in their coming in a returning of David from a striking of the Philistine, and so come out the women from all cities of Israel to sing and the dances to meet Saul the king in timbrels in joy and in three-stringed instruments.

1Samuel

18:6

And is was in their coming [and] as David returned from defeating the Philistine, that women from all the cities in Israel came out to sing and dance and to meet King Saul with timbrels, with [songs of] joy and with musical instruments.

Then, as the army returned from battle, along with David, after David’s defeat of the Philistine, that the women from all the cities of Israel came out to sing, to dance and to meet King Saul. They played various songs of happiness on timbrels and other musical instruments.


This and the next verse may appear at first to be confusing. It appears as though David has killed one Philistine, Goliath, and that the women are singing praises to him about killing tens of thousands of men. However, that is not the complete picture.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he is in their coming in a returning of David from a striking of the Philistine, and so come out the women from all cities of Israel to sing and the dances to meet Saul the king in timbrels in joy and in three-stringed instruments.

Septuagint                             And there came out women in dances to meet David out of all the cities of Israel, with timbrels, and with rejoicing, and with cymbals.

 

Significant differences:          The Masoretic text makes it seem as though, after David kills Goliath, women from all the cities of Israel come out to sing and dance (this could be understood to occur after any engagement with the Philistines). In the Greek, this appears to come about as David is promoted and travels with his army.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       David had killed Goliath, the battle was over, and the Israelite army set out for home. As the army went along, women came out of each Israelite town to welcome King Saul. They were singing happy songs and dancing to the music of tambourines and harps.

NLT                                But something happened when the victorious Israelite army was returning home after David had killed Goliath. Women came out from all the towns along the way to celebrate and to cheer for King Saul, and they sang and danced for joy with tambourines and cymbals [The type of instrument represented by the final word is uncertain].

TEV                                       As David was returning after killing Goliath and as the soldiers were coming back home, women from every town in Israel came out to meet King Saul. They were singing joyful songs, dancing, and playing tambourines and lyres.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         As they arrived, David was returning from a campaign against the Philistines. Women from all of Israel’s cities came to meet King Saul. They sang and danced, accompanied by tambourines, joyful music, and triangles [Hebrew meaning uncertain].

JPS (Tanakh)                        When the [troops] came home [and] David returned from killing the Philistine, the women of all the towns of Israel came out singing and dancing to greet King Saul [meaning of Hebrew uncertain; Septuagint reads “the dancing women came out to meet David from all the towns of Israel”] with timbrels, shouting, and sistrums [meaning of Hebrew uncertain].


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And it happened as they were coming, when David returned from killing the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy and with musical instruments [i.e., triangles or three-stringed instruments].

Young's Updated LT              And it comes to pass, in their coming in, in David’s returning from striking the Philistine, that the women come out form all the cities of Israel to sing—also the dancers—to meet Saul the king, with tabrets, with joy and with three-stringed instruments;...


What is the gist of this verse? There appears to have been a tradition which began when David killed Goliath—that the women of Israel would come out and celebrate military victories with singing and dancing. What is occurring here refers probably to a tradition which began, and there is one specific incident which will irritate Saul.


1Samuel 18:6a

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

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; without a specific subject and object, hâyâh can mean and it will come to be, and it will come to pass, then it came to pass (with the wâw consecutive)

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

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

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

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

Qal infinitive construct with a 3rd person masculine plural suffix

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

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 infinitive construct

Strong's #7725 BDB #996

The infinitive construct, when combined with the bêyth preposition, can often take on a temporal meaning and may be rendered when [such and such happens]. It can serve as a temporal marker that denotes an event which occurs simultaneously with the action of the main verb. You will note that we have two instances of that in this verse.

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

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

nâkâh (ה ָכ ָנ) [pronounced naw-KAWH]

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

Hiphil infinitive construct

Strong #5221 BDB #645

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

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


Translation: And is was in their coming [and] as David returned from defeating the Philistine,... The use of hâyâh in this verse simply indicates the actions which all took place at the same time. We often find this rendered and it came to pass or and so it was that... The Israelite army had pursued the Philistine army to their own cities (1Sam. 17:53) and were coming back into Israel (which is the masculine plural suffix with the Qal infinitive construct of to come, to come in). David is returning from killing the Philistine. The bêyth preposition with the Qal infinitive construct verbs indicate that these actions took place simultaneous with the women flocking to the armies with musical instruments. It is possible that someone read or heard Ex. 15:20–21, where Miriam leads the women of Israel in dance to celebrate God’s deliverance in the exodus.


What is reasonably possible is, this tradition began after David killed Goliath. That is, when word got around that David killed Goliath, the giant Philistine who threatened all Israel, many women came out to celebrate his victory when he came through town. This continued as David moved up in the army and became commander of Saul’s armies (which appears to be the case).


1Samuel 18:6b

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 feminine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3318 BDB #422

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine plural construct

Strong's #802 BDB #61

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

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

with a plural noun, it is rendered all of; any of

masculine singular construct with a masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

׳îyr (רי ̣ע) [pronounced ģeer]

encampment, city, town

feminine plural construct

Strong's #5892 BDB #746

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

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975


Translation: ...that women from all the cities in Israel came out... The scene is simply this: Israel, particularly the women of Israel, were in a very vulnerable position. If the Israeli army was defeated, then not only would the Philistines pillage Israel, but they would have taken the women and raped them and possibly taken them as slaves. So, quite obviously, the women are going to be particularly thrilled and thankful for what the army of Israel has done. Bear in mind that all that happened was reported back to the rest of Israel, so that these women know what has happened. They recognize that their freedom has been purchased on the battlefield, and that men had made the ultimate sacrifice on their behalf. Therefore, the women come out to the army of Israel in great celebration.


1Samuel 18:6c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

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

shîyr (רי ̣ש) [pronounced sheer]

to sing

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #7891 BDB #1010

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

mechôwlâh (הָלח מ) [pronounced mekhoh-LAW]

dances, dancing (which usually accompanies and celebrates a victory of some sort)

feminine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4246 BDB #298


Translation: ...to sing and dance and... Because Israel defeated the very formidable Philistine army, there was great celebration which took place, particularly on the part of the women, who are relatively helpless in this situation. The singing and dancing is simply the expression of their souls.


1Samuel 18:6d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

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

qârâ (א ָר ָק) [pronounced kaw-RAW]

to encounter, to befall, to meet

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #7122 & #7125 BDB #896

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

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

tôph (ףֹ) [pronounced tohf]

timbrel, tambourine; it is sort of a drum or tambourine and it is generally held in the hands of dancing women

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #8596 BDB #1074

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

simechâh (הָח מ ̣) [pronounced sime-KHAW],

joy, gladness, mirth

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #8057 BDB #970

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

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

shâlîysh (שי.לָש) [pronounced shaw-LEESH]

three-stringed, three-stringed instrument: three-barred, three-cornered; perhaps the musical instrument the triangle

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #7991 BDB #1026


Translation: ...to meet King Saul with timbrels, with [songs of] joy and with musical instruments. Although there is some confusion as to some of the words here, the general scenario is easy to understand. So that there is no confusion, the women are not flocking to meet King Saul personally. He is a metonym for the Israeli army. Certainly, he will be given his due and the recognition of these women; however, they are there to celebrate the victory of the entire army. There are two musical instruments mentioned (both in the plural): timbrels and triangles (or, three-stringed instruments). In between the naming of these musical instruments, we find that they are meeting Saul with joy—certainly, this could refer to songs of joy, but it just as reasonably refers to the condition of their souls—the women are celebrating Israel’s victory.


Saul was the king and the commander-in-chief; therefore, he is considered the victor against the Philistines, even if he never lifted up his sword. It would be impertinent for the text to read that the people went out to meet certain men in Saul’s army, although, no doubt, that is what some did. However, the people generally came out to celebrate Saul’s victory over the Philistines (whether or not, as I said, he ever lifted up his own sword). However, it will be clear that the people recognized the bona fide war hero in the midst of Saul’s army.


The key to understanding this passage is that this celebrating began after David defeated Goliath and the Israeli army routed the Philistine army. However, this was not a one-time event. It began a tradition which continues as David and the army of Israel continue on their campaigns against their enemies. Let’s see if I can substantiate this: David defeated Goliath (1Sam. 17:31–51), the Israeli army pursued the Philistines (1Sam. 18:52), while David met with Saul (1Sam. 17:58–18:1a). Jonathan gives David the proper equipment (1Sam. 18:4); the women come out and celebrate (1Sam. 18:6); and David prospers or is prudent wherever he goes (1Sam. 18:5). You see, it would make little sense to interpret these events as occurring in a different order even to agree with the order of the verses. V. 5 is a summation of David’s military career prior to Saul turning against him. Vv. 6–7 are a summation of the celebrations that the women of Israel held for the army of Israel. If you are able to grasp that v. 5 covers a period of time and is not just a reference to that one point in time immediately after the defeat of Goliath; then it is easy to grasp that vv. 6–7 also sum up a series of events which began after David’s defeat of Goliath, but continue on. Having this understanding will make help us to make sense of v. 7.


And so answer the women the laughing ones, and so they say:

“Has slain Saul in his thousands

and David in his ten thousands.”

1Samuel

18:7

The dancing women sang responsively, saying:

“Saul has slain his thousands

and David his tens of thousands.”

As a part of their celebration, the dancing women sang,

“Saul has killed thousands of our enemies;

and David has killed tens of thousands.”


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                         And the women sung as they played, and they said: Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands.

Masoretic Text                       And so answer the women the laughing ones, and so they say:

“Has slain Saul in his thousands

and David in his ten thousands.”

Peshitta                                 And the women sang as they played, and laughed, saying, “Saul has slain by thousands, and David by tens of thousands.”

Septuagint                             And the women began and said, “Saul has struck his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”

 

Significant differences:          The verse begins differently, although the Hebrew and Syriac are fairly similar.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       They sang:

Saul has killed a thousand enemies;

David has killed ten thousand enemies!


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         The women who were celebrating sang,

 

“Saul has defeated thousands

but David tens of thousands!”

JPS (Tanakh)                        The women sang as they danced, and they chanted:

Saul has slain his thousands;

David, his tens of thousands!


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                And the women responded, as they laughed and frolicked, saying, Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.

NASB                                     And the women sang as they played, and said,

“Saul has slain his thousands,

And David his ten thousands.”

NRSV                                    And the women sang to one another as they made merry,

“Saul has killed his thousands,

And David his ten thousands.”

Young's Updated LT              ...and the women answer—those playing, and say,

‘Saul has struck among his thousands,

And David among his myriads.’


What is the gist of this verse? After David had defeated Goliath, the armies were met by the women who sang about Saul killing thousands of men and David tens of thousands of men. As we will find out in the exegesis, this does not represent one event, but several.


1Samuel 18:7a

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

׳ânâh (ה ָנ ָע) [pronounced ģaw-NAWH]

to answer, to respond; to speak loudly, to speak up [in a public forum]; to testify; to sing, to chant, to sing responsively

3rd person feminine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6030 BDB #772

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine plural noun with the definite article

Strong's #802 BDB #61

sâchaq (ק ַח ָ) [pronounced saw-KHAHK]

to joke, to jest, to laugh repeatedly, to play, to amuse, to dance

feminine plural, Piel participle with the definite article

Strong’s #7832 BDB #965

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 feminine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55


Translation: The dancing women sang responsively, saying:... Although the first verb in this verse generally means to answer, to respond; in this context, it means to sing or to sing responsively. The idea is that there is a line sung by some of the women, and other women respond singing another similar line. In fact, BDB gives this verb a separate listing on p. 777 with that meaning. The Piel participle acts as an adjective to describe the women; they are dancing and celebrating, and this participle indicates that. Often, in both the Greek and the Hebrew, we again have a verb which indicates the content of what they are saying.


1Samuel 18:7b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

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

Strong #5221 BDB #645

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

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

eleph (ף ל א) pronounced EH-lef]

thousand, family, (500?); military unit

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #505 (and #504) BDB #48

Written thousand but read thousands. Footnote


Translation: ...“Saul has slain his thousands... The women first pay homage to Saul, who has been a great and practically fearless warrior (except with regards to Goliath; and even his son Jonathan did not stand up to Goliath). However, he did kill thousands of Israel’s enemies.


1Samuel 18:7c

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

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

rebâbâh (הָבָבר) [pronounced rebvaw-BVAW]

multitude, myriad, ten thousand

feminine plural noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #7233 BDB #914

Written thousand but read thousands.


Translation: ...and David his tens of thousands.” This is an interesting refrain, as this appears to have occurred after David returned from killing Goliath. What I would suppose is that there was a campaign to eradicate the Philistines from Israel from wherever else they might be, along with other enemies of Israel. That is, in time, v. 5 precedes this verse. What we have in the previous verse is not something which only occurred one time—that is, after David defeated Goliath, but after every campaign. The women would come out and celebrate the victories of Saul’s army. My reasoning here is this refrain which the women sing. This would not seem to be reasonable to sing after David kills one Philistine; however, it would be reasonable after David has been on many military campaigns. So, what we have in vv. 6–7 is a merging of several events. The women began to come out to celebrate Israel’s victories when David defeated Goliath and they continued to come out after other victories. At some point in time, they begin to sing this refrain, that “Saul has killed his thousands and David his tens of thousands.” In fact, this was probably done by separate groups of women. The first group would sing, “Saul has killed his thousands” and the second group would respond with, “And David his tens of thousands.” Footnote The women meant nothing by it. They were celebrating their two great war heroes. As you would no doubt suspect, this really pisses Saul off.


There are several other interpretations of this passage. It could be that we are on the day after David defeated Goliath, and that the destruction of the Philistines was significant. David himself did not kill tens of thousands of Philistines, but Israel, inspired by David’s defeat of Goliath, killed an inordinate amount of Philistines. Hence, the lyrics of this refrain. Another explanation is that the women were simply mistaken or that ascribing tens of thousands to David was just a song. It is also possible that David personally killed a great many men after defeating Goliath (the song lyrics would be exaggerations). In any case, I still lean toward this as being representative of several successful battles rather than just one after the killing of Goliath. Apparently, David, although not necessarily given a leadership position, assumed one in battle (if we go with my first theory of the events).


There is another reason to interpret this singing and dancing as a tradition which began at the killing of Goliath and continued for several years afterward. The Philistines will be aware of this song—it is mentioned twice again by Philistines, which would indicate that the singing of this song occurred on more than one occasion (1Sam. 21:11 29:5). It is highly unlikely that the Philistines would be aware of this song if it had been song only at the occasion of Goliath being killed (and, as I have already mentioned, this refrain was not sung at the time that Goliath was killed, but it eventually became a part of the celebration of Israeli victories).


Our problem is that we tend to see events as presented in a narrative as always been chronological and sequential. In Jewish writing, this is not always the case. They seem to think more topically. For this portion of the narrative to actually represent several occasions would be a very Jewish way of presentation. Footnote There are ways for us to interpret this passage as referring to single, consecutive events; but that raises as many problems as it solves. For instance, it appears in the end of 1Sam. 17 that David and Saul do not necessarily join in the attack upon the Philistines, who are retreating. It is possible that they did and that is left out of the narrative. However, recall that David is not a full-fledged soldier at the time of defeating Goliath, so that it would have been unnatural for him to join in the pursuit of the Philistines (especially since he only had a sling shot). An explanation of the song lyrics can be made, if we are speaking of only one victory parade after one battle, but I don’t see it as being a reasonable explanation.


You might think that I am making way too much of this chapter and tying it to the previous chapter; however, apparently others have struggled with this as well. In the two main Septuagint versions, we have an abbreviated approach to this chapter (LXX β) and we have the version which corresponds more closely to the Massoretic text (the Alexandrian Septuagint). The abbreviated version does not leave us without questions, nor does it solve the issues that I have raised here. We still have David victorious over Goliath, followed by women coming out and singing that refrain, followed by Saul being afraid of David and removing him to be a captain in his army. This leaves us with the problem, what about the refrain, And David has slain his tens of thousands?

 

Keil and Delitzsch have a rather lengthy footnote dealing specifically with the chronology of this portion of the book of Samuel, a small portion of which I will quote: Some supposed discrepancies...are founded upon the erroneous assumption that everything contained in these two chapters are to be regarded as strictly chronological. But the fact recorded in v. 2, namely that Saul took David to himself, and did not allow him to go back to his father’s house any more, occurred unquestionably some time earlier than those mentioned in vv. 6ff. with their consequences. Saul took David to himself immediately after the defeat of Goliath, and before the war had been brought to an end. But the celebration of the victory, in which the paean of the women excited jealousy in Saul’s mind, did not take place till the return of the people and of the king at the close of the war. How long the war lasted we do not know; but...it certainly follows that some days, if not weeks, must have elapsed between David’s victory over Goliath and the celebration of the triumph. Footnote My point is that several have commented on these two or three chapters alone pointing out that they are not laid out in strict, chronological order.


I should mention one more thing: the words thousands and ten thousands are often used in parallel in poetry (Deut. 32:30 Psalm 91:7 Micah 6:7). This does not mean that our general understanding of the meaning of this refrain should be adjusted and that we should have a poetic understanding of it (that is, to understand that this is simply a common parallelism which does not mean what we think it means). Certainly, it is possible that Saul and the men he personally commanded have killed thousands of men; and that David and the men under him have killed tens of thousands; however, it can just as reasonably be interpreted that David and his leadership are responsible for considerably more enemy deaths than Saul. In no way should we interpret this refrain as merely meaning that Saul and David have killed lots of men between the two of them. Saul did not understand it in that way, nor did the Philistines (1Sam. 21:11 29:5). If men of that era understood that this elevated David above Saul, then we should also understand it in that way. Footnote


What passes for fame in one generation does not necessarily hold up in the next. In my lifetime, I have never seen this sort of a turnout for a war heroes or for several war heroes (although there has been, on several occasions, a minor celebration for some war heroes. However, so that we might understand this, David was like the Beatles to his generation (although they were not completely out of control); or he was like a celebrity to the generation during which I write.


And so he burns to Saul exceedingly and so he is displeasing in his [two] eyes the word the this. And so he says, “They have given to David ten thousands and to me they have given the thousands; and still to him certainly the kingdom.”

1Samuel

18:8

This [lit., it] angered Saul exceedingly and this saying displeased him [lit., is displeasing in his eyes]. Therefore [lit., and], he said, “They have ascribed [lit., given] ten [of] thousands to David but they have [only] ascribed to me thousands. In addition, the kingdom [is] certainly his!”

Saul was furious; the song’s refrain strongly displeased him, so that he remarked to his aides, “These women have ascribed to David tens of thousands of enemies killed, but to me, only thousands. Next, they will want to make him king!”


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he burns to Saul exceedingly and so he is displeasing in his [two] eyes the word the this. And so he says, “They have given to David ten thousands and to me they have given the thousands; and still to him certainly the kingdom.”

Septuagint                             And it seemed evil in the eyes of Saul concerning this matter, and he said, “To David they have given ten thousands, and to me they have given thousands.” [The Alexandrian Septuagint adds: “And what more can he have but the kingdom?”]

 

Significant differences:          That Saul was burned up over this is not given in the Greek (but we do find this in the Hebrew, Latin and Syriac); the Alexandrian LXX does have the same final line of the Hebrew, although it appears to be more idiomatically stated (however, this final phrase is in agreement with the Syriac and the Latin, so maybe I have missed the idiom in the Hebrew?).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       This song made Saul very angry, and he thought, “They are saying that David has killed ten times more enemies than I ever did. Next they will want to make him king.”

NLT                                This made Saul very angry. “What’s this?” he said. “They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next they’ll be making him their king!”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Saul became very angry because he considered this saying to be insulting. “To David they credit tens of thousands,” he said, “but to me they credit └only┘ a few thousand. The only thing left for David is my kingdom.”

JPS (Tanakh)                        Saul was much distressed and greatly vexed about the matter. For he said, “To David they have given tens of thousands, and to me they have given thousands. All that he lacks is the kingship!”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him [lit., was evil in his eyes]; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands , but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?”

Young's Updated LT              And it is extremely displeasing to Saul and he says, “They have given to David myriads, and to me they have given the thousands; and more to him is only the kingdom.”


What is the gist of this verse? When the women of Israel began to ascribe to David greater victories than Saul, he became extremely angry. He apparently recognizes that David is his successor.


1Samuel 18:8a

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

chârâh (ח ָר ָה) [pronounced khaw-RAWH]

to burn, to kindle, to become angry, to evoke great emotion

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #2734 BDB #354

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

Saul is not the subject of the verb here because the name Saul is preceded by a preposition. The subject of the verb is the song sung by the women. This will be clear in the next phrase, which ends with the word the this, which refers back to that song (and is the subject of the verb).

meôd (דֹא  ׃מ) [pronounced me-ODE]

exceedingly, extremely, greatly, very

adverb

Strong’s #3966 BDB #547


Translation: This [lit., it] angered Saul exceedingly... The women came up with a harmless and accurate song; David was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of enemies and Saul was responsible for the deaths of thousands. This does not mean that David personally killed 20,000 men and Saul personally killed 2000 (or whatever). David led troops who they themselves were responsible for killing tens of thousands of men. It was a result of David’s bravery, leadership and tactics which allowed him to be victorious over all so many of the enemy.


1Samuel 18:8b

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

râ׳a׳ (ע ַע ָר) [pronounced raw-ĢAHĢ]

to make a loud noise; to be evil [from the idea of raging or being tumultuous]; to be bad, to displease; possibly to be unpleasant and embittering; to break, to shatter

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7489 BDB #949

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

׳ayin (ן̣יַע) [pronounced ĢAH-yin]

spring, literal eye(s), spiritual eyes, spring

feminine dual noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5869 (and #5871) BDB #744

bvâr (ר ָב ָ) [pronounced dawb-VAWR]

word, saying, doctrine, thing, matter, command

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #1697 BDB #182

zeh (ה ז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, thus

demonstrative adjective with a definite article

Strong’s #2063, 2088, 2090 BDB #260


Translation: ...and this saying displeased him [lit., is displeasing in his eyes]. As discussed in the table, the subject of the two verbs is this saying (or, this song); it was the song which angered and displeased Saul. Saul’s initial reaction was one of anger, but, when he thought about it further, the words of the song displeased him because of the possible repercussions of them. The idea was that the people thought more of David than they did of Saul. Up until this time, he had been Israel’s golden boy. Certainly, he had stumbled here and there, but much of that was outside the radar of Israel in general. However, his war record was public record, as was David’s, and he did not compare favorably to David.


1Samuel 18:8c

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

nâthan (ןַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

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

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

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

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

rebâbâh (הָבָבר) [pronounced rebvaw-BVAW]

multitude, myriad, ten thousand

feminine plural noun

Strong’s #7233 BDB #914

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, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

nâthan (ןַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

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

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

eleph (ף ל א) pronounced EH-lef]

thousand, family, (500?); military unit

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #505 (and #504) BDB #48


Translation: Therefore [lit., and], he said, “They have ascribed [lit., given] ten [of] thousands to David but they have [only] ascribed to me thousands. Saul apparently had a staff of men in whom he confided, and he first repeats to them the gist of this song. As already discussed, the men under David were actually the ones who killed tens of thousands of Israel’s enemies.


You may ponder, just who is Israel fighting? Israel was surrounded by enemies and there were enemies within her borders. Ever since the Jews returned to the land in 1947, there has been continual fighting. Because they are God’s people, Satan is going to inspire enemies to rise up against them. This is why antisemitism can continue to run rampant, even when Jews are almost fully assimilated into certain societies. The Philistines will continue to be thorns in the side of Israel even through the time that David is king (although there will be an uneasy coalition there for a short time). There are the Ammonites, the Edomites and the Moabites to the east and southeast of Israel. The Amalekites, who should have been completely wiped out by Saul, still remained in southern Judah. The Phœnicians were on the northern coast of Israel, although I don’t know when they arrived there or whether there were any acts of aggression toward Israel. There are also enemies to the north of Israel. Even given just the first four groups of enemies, that is enough to occupy Saul and his armies.


1Samuel 18:8d

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

׳ôwd (דע) [pronounced ģohd]

still, yet, again, besides, in addition to, even yet

adverb

Strong’s #5750 BDB #728

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

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

preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ake ( ַא) [pronounced ahke]

surely, certainly, no doubt, only, only this once

adverb of restriction, contrast, time, limitation, and exception. Also used as an affirmative particle

Strong’s #389 BDB #36

melûwkâh (הָכלמ) [pronounced meloo-KAW]

kingdom, kingship, kingly office, monarchy, royalty

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4410 BDB #574


Translation: In addition, the kingdom [is] certainly his!” Saul already knows that the kingdom has been taken from him, although the actual transfer of power has not come to pass yet. He probably did not realize who the next king would be until hearing the words the this song. Now he knows who the next king of Israel will be, and this has got him very disturbed. Recall what Samuel had said to Saul: Jehovah was rejected you from being king over Israel. He has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and He has given it to your friend who is greater than you.” (1Sam. 15:26b, 28b). Saul knew.


And so is Saul eyeing David from the day the that and beyond.

1Samuel

18:9

So Saul began [lit., is] eyeing David [or, regarding David with suspicion] from that day forward.

From that day forward, Saul began to eye David with suspicion.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:


 

Masoretic Text                       And so is Saul eyeing David from the day the that and beyond.

Alexandrian Septuagint         And Saul eyed David from that day and onward.

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Saul never again trusted David.

NLT                                So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.

TEV                                       And so he was jealous and suspicious of David from that day on.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        From that day on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on.

Young's Updated LT              And Saul is eyeing David from that day and from that time onward.


What is the gist of this verse? Saul, realizing that David was his successor, eyed him with suspicion and jealousy from that day forward.


1Samuel 18:9

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

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; without a specific subject and object, hâyâh can mean and it will come to be, and it will come to pass, then it came to pass (with the wâw consecutive)

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

gâvan (ןַוָע) [pronounced ģaw-VAHN]

to eye, to look at; to eye [enviously]; to look [askance] at

Qal active participle

Strong’s #5770 BDB #745

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

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

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day, today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

hûw (אה) [pronounced hoo]

that

masculine singular, demonstrative pronoun with a definite article

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hâleâh (ה ָא ׃ל ָה) [pronounced HAWLe-aw]

beyond, back, henceforth, hitherto, forward

adverb

Strong's #1973 BDB #229


Translation: So Saul began [lit., is] eyeing David [or, regarding David with suspicion] from that day forward. The verb found here is only used here, so that we cannot unequivocally determine its meaning. However, its noun cognate is eye, so we get what we need from its cognate and the context. Saul simply kept his eye on David from that day forward.


Saul knows that God has replaced him as king; however, he does not know that David has been anointed nor does he know the manner in which he will be replaced or the time frame. Saul has no idea that David’s patience and faith will be tested for several years and that he, Saul, is going to be the instrument of testing.

 

Edersheim describes Saul at this time: [The refrain of the women sufficed to kindle in Saul deep and revengeful envy. Following upon what the spirit of evil from the Lord had set before him as his own fate, sealed as it was by his solemn rejection from the kingdom and the conscious departure of the Spirit of God, the popular praise seemed to point out David as his rival. And every fresh success of David, betokening the manifest help of God, and every failure of his own attempts to rid himself o f this rival, would only deepen and embitter this feeling, and lead him onwards, from step to step, until the murderous passion became all engrossing, and made the king not only forgetful of Jehovah, and of what evidently was His purpose, but also wholly regardless of the means which he used. Thus Saul’s dark passions were ultimately concentrated in the one thought of murder. Footnote


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


Saul Begins to Make Attempts on David’s Life; Israel’s Love for David Grows


And so he is from the next day and so comes upon a spirit of God evil unto Saul. And so he prophesies in a midst of the house and David is playing in his hand as a day in a day and the spear [was] in a hand of Saul.

1Samuel

18:10

And it was on the next day that an evil spirit of God comes into Saul and Saul raved [lit., and he prophesies] in the midst of the house while David was playing [his instrument] with his hand; Saul [had] a spear in his hand.

The next day, and evil spirit from God came into Saul and he raved in the midst of the house while David was playing his stringed instrument. Saul had a spear in his hand.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he is from the next day and so comes upon a spirit of God evil unto Saul. And so he prophesies in a midst of the house and David is playing in his hand as a day in a day and the spear [was] in a hand of Saul.

Septuagint                             And it came to pass from the next day that an evil spirit from God fell upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of his house. And David was playing on the harp with his hand, according to his daily custom. And Saul’s spear was in his hand.

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       The next day the Lord let an evil spirit take control of Saul, and he began acting like a crazy man inside his house. David came to play the harp for Saul as usual, but this time Saul had a spear in his hand.

NAB                                       The next day an evil spirit from God came over Saul, and he raged in his house. David was in attendance, playing the harp as at other times, while Saul was holding his spear.

NLT                                The very next day, in fact, a tormenting spirit from God overwhelmed Saul, and he began to rave like a madman. David began to play the harp, as he did whenever this happened. But Saul, who had a spear in his hand,...

REB                                       The next day an evil spirit from God seized on Saul. He fell into a frenzy [or, prophetic rapture] in the house, and David played the lyre to him as he had done before. Saul had a spear in his hand,...

TEV                                       The next day an evil spirit from God suddenly took control of Saul, and he raved in his house like a madman. David was playing the harp, as he did everyday, and Saul was holding a spear.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         The next day an evil spirit from God seized Saul. He began to prophesy in his house while David strummed a tune on the lyre as he did every day. Now, Saul had a spear in his hand.

JPS (Tanakh)                        The next day an evil spirit of God gripped Saul and he began to rave in the house, while David was playing [the lyre], as he did daily. Saul had a spear in his hand,...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Now it came about on the next day that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul, and he raved in the midst of the house, while David was laying the harp with his hand, as usual [lit., day by day]; and a [lit., the] spear was in Saul’s hand.

Young's Updated LT              And it comes to pass, on the next day, that the spirit of sadness from God prospers over Saul, and he prophesies .


What is the gist of this verse? When Israel was not at war, it was David’s duty to play music in the king’s palace, which is what he is doing in this verse. Saul is seized by an evil spirit from God and he speaks apart from his own volition. At this time, Saul has a spear in his hand.


1Samuel 18:10a

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

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; without a specific subject and object, hâyâh can mean and it will come to be, and it will come to pass, then it came to pass (with the wâw consecutive)

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

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

mâchŏrâth (ת ָר ֳח ָמ) [pronounced moh-chŏ-RAWTH]

the morrow (the day following a past day), the next day, the following day

feminine singular noun/adverb

Strong’s #4283 BDB #564

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

tsâlach (חַל ָצ) [pronounced tsaw-LAHCH]

to come upon, to rush upon, to prosper, to be prosperous

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6743 BDB #852

rûwach (ַחר) [pronounced ROO-ahkh]

wind, breath, spirit, apparition

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #7307 BDB #924

ělôhîym (מי ̣הֹלֱא) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods or God; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun

Strong's #430 BDB #43

râ׳âh (הָעָר) [pronounced raw-ĢAW]

evil, misery, distress, disaster, injury, iniquity, aberration, that which is morally reprehensible

feminine singular adjective

Strong’s #7451 BDB #949

Because this adjective is a feminine singular, it modifies the noun spirit.

el (לא) [pronounced el]

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

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

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 it was on the next day that an evil spirit of God comes into Saul... The time frame is the next day after the women of Israel sang the song whose lyrics enraged Saul. He was used to being met by these women after a battle, but that particular song upset him tremendously. After hearing the song and thinking about it, Saul kept his eye on David.


On the very next day, God allowed Saul to be influenced by an evil spirit. We do not know the exact mechanics of this. Saul appears to be a believer, so the evil spirit would not have indwelt him; however, it could profoundly influence Saul’s behavior. It apparently had some control over his vocal cords, as we will see in v. 10b, as well as his volition.


We do have several issues to discuss. First of all, we have an evil spirit which is said to come from God (Elohim). I don’t know if there is any way around this. We could interpret this as an evil spirit from the gods; however, there is nothing in this context which really allows for us to interpret Elohim in that way (although this is the word used for gods in Deut. 6:14 7:4 Footnote ). God apparently restrains His angelic creation which has gone bad, but occasionally allows them, with specific limits, to harass certain individuals (Job is a perfect example of this—see Job 1–2). Given that, it is not unreasonable to imagine that there are demons who pester God to more fully involve themselves in the lives of certain believers. There are believers who perform magnificently under these pressures (Job), and there are those who do not (Saul). In the case of Saul, it was Saul’s volition which led to this point. He may be now considered under discipline, if not the sin unto death. God has clearly allowed evil throughout human history; he simply uses it to accomplish His own good purposes. Footnote

 

The NIV Study Bible has an excellent footnote on this subject: The removal of the Spirit from Saul and the giving of the Spirit to David (1Sa 16:13–14) determined the contrasting courses of their lives...This statement and similar ones in Scripture indicate that evil spirits are subject to God’s control and operate only within divinely determined boundaries (see Jdg 9:23; 1Ki 22:19–23; Job 1:12; 2:6; compare 2Sa 24:1 with 1Ch 21:1). Saul’s disobedience continued to be punished by the assaults of an evil spirit (1Sa 16:15–16, 23; 18:10; 19:9). Saul’s increasing tendencies to despondency, jealousy and violence were no doubt occasioned by his knowledge of his rejection as king (see 1Sa 13:13–14; 15:22–26; 18:9 20:30–33; 22:16–18) and his awareness of David’s growing popularity, but an evil spirit was also involved in these psychological aberrations (see 1Sa 18:10–12; 19:9–10). Footnote

 

Let me approach this question as Gleason Archer did. It is first important to recognize that Saul had knowingly and increasingly transgressed the clear mandates of God. He offered sacrifices himself, rather than waiting upon Samuel to administer them (1Sam. 13:12–13). He spared the life of Agag, even though God specifically told him not to. He also spared the cattle of the Amalekites again, in direct opposition to God’s clear directive (1Sam. 15:20–23). In our chapter, Saul because jealous of David, and develops distrust, suspicion and hatred for David—a cacophony of mental attitude sins, which are also in opposition to God’s plan. Archer: Insofar as God has established the spiritual laws of cause and effect, it is accurate to say that Saul’s disobedience cut him off from the guidance and communion of the Holy Spirit that he had formerly enjoyed and left him a prey to a malign spirit of depression and intense jealousy that drove him increasingly to irrational paranoia. Although he was doubtless acting as an agent of Satan, Saul’s evil bent was by the permission and plan of God. We must realize that in the last analysis all penal consequences for sin come from God, as the Author of the moral law and the one who always does what is right (Gen. 18:25). Footnote


Let me see if I can draw some sort of an analogy to better explain God allowing the evil spirit to torment Saul: in school, there are often a few tormentors and there are those who are tormented. A teacher may move a tormentor next to a person that he torments, but, as long as the teacher is there, nothing happens. However, when the teacher leaves the room, the tormentor begins to torment, restrained only by his own personal self interest (he obviously does not want to go to jail for killing the person he torments). There is apparently some actual relationship which we can have with demons—at one point in time, God apparently allowed even sexual intercourse between demons and women, resulting in a corrupt super-race (Gen. 6). This was completely outlawed later; however, God apparently does allow some interaction between demons and man, although it is not completely clear just what that interaction entails. However, it appears to be at least analogous to what the bully does when the teacher leaves the room.


A reasonable question: given what has happened up until this time, what is Saul’s correct move? The day before (for us, the previous couple verses), when Saul recognized that David was probably his replacement. The best thing that Saul could have done at that point would be to either give the crown to David or begin to groom David to assume his position. He should have said, “David, it is obvious that you are going to be the next king; and Samuel has already informed me that God has taken the kingdom from me. Therefore, it’s time for me to prepare you to take over my kingship.” Saul was not about to give up his power and the recognition that went with it.


By the way, if Saul groomed David to become king, and turned the crown over to David, Saul’s life would have been much easier. It is clear that there is a lot of frustration in Saul’s life as well as fear (which we will see near the end of his life). The difficult things which Saul endured (and especially the vicious things which he did to others) would not have come to pass had he simply recognized God’s authority. However, had Saul recognized God’s authority, he would not be having problems in the first place.


1Samuel 18:10b

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

nâbâ (אָבָנ) [pronounced nawb-VAW]

to prophesy, to speak divine viewpoint; to speak in an ecstatic state or frenzy; speaker can be true, false or heathen prophet

3rd person masculine singular, Hithpael imperfect

Strong’s #5012 BDB #612

This is not a word which requires us to assume that there is ecstasy, raving, or frenzy involved; the one speaking might be animated, but not necessarily out of his gourd. I included those definitions only because they were found in BDB. However, in the case of Saul, given the context, and in the case of the prophets of Baal (1Kings 18:29; see also 1Kings 22:22), we may reasonably assume that there was some lack of control (or some relinquishing of control) on his part.

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

tâveke (ו ָ) [pronounced taw-VEKE]

midst, among, middle

masculine singular construct

Strong's #8432 BDB #1063

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #1004 BDB #108


Translation: ...and Saul raved [lit., and he prophesies] in the midst of the house... The verb used here is the same as the verb to prophesy. The implication is that there are utterances which emanated from Saul that he did not originate.


This is another issue. It is apparently true that, if given the power, demonic spirits can have some control over the believer—the implication here is that the spirit that God sent spoke through Saul. You have seen the three year old boy who has discovered that he can speak and make noise with whatever toys he is given, and he will, for hours on end, babble incessantly and bang loudly on his toys. He is making sounds simply for the enjoyment of making sounds. To those around him, it may not be all that pleasant; however, to him, it’s the best thing in the world. We are dealing with a demon here who has not been allowed a voice on this earth for perhaps millions of years. Suddenly, he is given Saul’s vocal cords to play with, and the result is that Saul raves. This is not indwelling, nor, apparently, can this occur without God’s permission—however, it appears that control can be relinquished in the area of the tongue.


1Samuel 18:10c

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

nâgan (ן -גָנ) [pronounced naw-GAHN]

to touch, to play a stringed instrument, to strike strings

Piel participle

Strong’s #5059 BDB #618

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

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

kaph or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately; combined with an infinitive, it can also take on the meaning as, often, when, as soon as

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day, today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

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]

day, today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398


Translation: ...while David was playing [his instrument] with his hand;... David was also in the palace; one of his duties, when Israel was not at war, was to soothe Saul by playing music in the palace. David sort of provided some background music.


We already know that Saul has been sent an evil spirit and that his behavior had become quite distressing to his aides (1Sam. 16:14–16). David had been brought to the palace originally to help soothe Saul’s state of mind when he was tormented by this evil spirit. Therefore, if Saul is raving, it is David’s duty to begin to play music. So this is what is happening. Saul is obviously possessed by some spirit (and I use the term possessed in a non-technical sense) and David begins playing, as is his duty. What makes this instance different is that, the day before, David’s accomplishments as a war hero had eclipsed Saul’s, and Saul was enraged over this.


Let me theorize here: apparently, once a person’s volition has reached a certain point in terms of negative volition, God acts in a strongly disciplinary way. In the case of the exodus pharaoh, God allowed him to increase his negative volition past a point that apparently would have removed him from this world. Here, God allows an evil spirit to influence Saul (as He had allowed previously).


1Samuel 18:10d

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

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

spear

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #2595 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

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular construct

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982


Translation: ...Saul [had] a spear in his hand. While David was playing, Saul was speaking uncontrollably. Also, Saul was holding a spear in his hand. Saul is going through periods of raving. He looks at David with great disdain, as he realizes that David is his replacement. It is likely that Saul suffers paranoiac delusions, and saw David there as a personal threat. He sees that David has somehow gained entrance into the palace and stands poised to remove Saul’s power from him (which, in the ancient world, was generally accomplished by assassination). Saul is not merely jealous of David; he sees David as a personal and immediate threat to him in his paranoiac delusional state.


I do not have any idea as to how many delusional people are troubled by demons. I would guess that Satan has become more subtle in his ways over the past several centuries. However, we live in a world where mass murder and accompanying bizarre behavior occurs on a regular basis. It is not unreasonable to infer demonic influence in some (if not all) of these cases. By the claims of some murderers, they are urged to commit this murder (or murders) from what seems to be to them and outside force. There seems to be this bizarre influence over their lives, leading them to take the life of another. Given this passage, and assuming some truthfulness on the part of these murderers, and this gives us an idea of demonic influence.


And so hurls Saul the spear and so he says, “I will strike in David and in the wall.” And so turns [himself] David from his faces two times.

1Samuel

18:11

Saul threw the spear and said [to himself], “I will pin [lit., strike] David to the wall.” But David evaded him [lit., turned from his faces] twice.

Saul flung the spear, thinking to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” However, David twice evaded him.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                         And threw it, thinking to nail David to the wall: and David stepped aside out of his presence twice.

Masoretic Text                       And so hurls Saul the spear and so he says, “I will strike in David and in the wall.” And so turns [himself] David from his faces two times.

Septuagint                             And Saul took his spear and said, “I will strike David even to the wall.” But David escaped twice from his presence.

 

Significant differences:          In the Hebrew, Latin and Syriac (which agrees with the Hebrew), the spear is said to be thrown; in the LXX, Saul takes the spear in hand. The second sentence seems to agree in gist in all the translations.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Saul thought, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” He threw the spear at David twice, but David dodged and got away both times.

NJB                                        Saul brandished the spear; he said, ‘I will pin David to the wall!’ David evaded him twice.

NLT                                [But Saul, who had a spear in his hand,] suddenly hurled it at David, intending to pin him to the wall. But David jumped aside and escaped. This happened another time, too,... [v. 10d, in brackets, is included for context].

REB                                       [Saul had a spear in his hand,] and he hurled it at David, meaning to pin him to the wall; but twice David dodged aside. [v. 10d, in brackets, is included for context].


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         He raised the spear and thought, “I’ll nail David to the wall.” But David got away from him twice.

JPS (Tanakh)                        ...and Saul threw [Change of vocalization yields “raised.”] the spear, thinking to pin David to the wall. But David eluded him twice.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And Saul hurled the spear for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall [lit., strike David and the wall].” But David escaped [lit., turned about] from his presence twice.

Young's Updated LT              ...and Saul casts the javelin, and says, “I will strike through David, even through the wall.” And David turns round out of his presence twice.


What is the gist of this verse? Saul makes two overt attempts to kill David with his javelin. David moves out of the way on both occasions.


1Samuel 18:11a

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

ţûwl (לט) [pronounced tool]

to hurl, to cast, to throw; to cast out [of a country]; to throw down at length, to prostrate

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #2904 BDB #376

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

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

spear

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #2595 BDB #333


Translation: Saul threw the spear... Here is how one solves something using human viewpoint. Saul knows of David’s great popularity with the people; he knows that he has lost favor in God’s eyes; he has figured out that David will be the one to replace him. Therefore, his solution is to kill David. Saul isn’t sly about this. While David is in the palace, playing his musical instrument, Saul attempts to kill him. After all, he is king.


1Samuel 18:11b

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

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

I have added on the meaning to say [to onself], to think. Such a use is reasonably inferred here and in v. 18.

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 imperfect

Strong #5221 BDB #645

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

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

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

qîyr (רי .ק) [pronounced keer]

the wall [of a city], a wall; a place fortified with a wall [i.e., a fortress]; a side

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #7023 BDB #885


Translation: ...and said [to himself], “I will pin [lit., strike] David to the wall.” Since we do not know the extent to which the evil spirit influenced Saul, we don’t know exactly to what extent Saul’s behavior was influenced. Obviously, since David was God’s man, demons would look to kill him. However, I believe what we have here is Saul, thinking himself not as one who is subject to any law, willing to kill David from his own free will. Having the office of king made Saul realize that he could do pretty much whatever he wanted.

 

According to Freeman, if a slave was so threatened by his master, he was thereby absolved of all allegiance to this master, according to an ancient Asiatic custom. Thus Saul by his murderous fury gave complete liberty to David, whose subsequent acts of war against the king could not be considered rebellion. From that hour he was n longer a subject of King Saul. Footnote Obviously, David will remain loyal to Saul for a long time afterward; however, he will soon become a fugitive.


1Samuel 18:11c

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

çâbab (ב ַב ָס) [pronounced sawb-VAHBV]

to turn oneself, to go around, to surround, to encompass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #5437 BDB #685

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

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

pânîym (םי̣נ ָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM

face, faces

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular) with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, mipânîym mean from before your face, out from before your face, from one’s presence. However, together, they can also be a reference to the cause, whether near or remote, and can therefore be rendered because of, because that.

pa׳am (ם ַע ָ) [pronounced PAH-ģahm]

beat, foot, anvil, occurrence, time, steps; the connotation is the passage of time

feminine dual noun, pausal form

Strong’s #6471 BDB #821


Translation: But David evaded him [lit., turned from his faces] twice. The latter word is one of the more interesting of the Hebrew words. Just as old black and white films used to show the fluttering of a calendar or the fast movement of the hands on the clock to indicate a passage of time, we usually have the same sort of usage with the word. However, here, in the dual, it means that David moved out of the way of Saul’s flying spear two times out of two attempts. This will be the first time out of many that David will evade Saul’s attempt to kill him.


And so is afraid Saul from to faces of David for has been Yehowah with him and from with Saul he has turned aside.

1Samuel

18:12

So Saul was afraid from before David because Yehowah was with him and had turned away from Saul.

Saul became afraid of David because Jehovah was clearly with David, and had turned away from Saul.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:


 

Latin Vulgate                         And Saul feared David, because the Lord was with him, and was departed from Saul himself.

Masoretic Text                       And so is afraid Saul from to faces of David for has been Yehowah with him and from with Saul he has turned aside.

Septuagint                             And Saul was alarmed on account of David. [We are back with Septuagint β].

 

Significant differences:          This time, there is much less in the LXX than in the MT. The LXX only speaks of Saul being afraid or alarmed. As usual, the Syriac, Latin and Hebrew are all in agreement.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Saul was afraid fo David, because the Lord was helping David and was no longer helping him.

NAB                                       Saul then began to fear David, [because the Lord was with him, but had departed from Saul himself.] The NAB brackets that which is missing from LXX β, so that the reader can easily read the two different traditions by leaving out the bracketed portions. Although it is not really that easy to read the two different traditions, this was a reasonable attempt. Given the costs and restraints of printing, this was probably the best option. Furthermore, as far as I know, they are the only Bible to make this attempt.

NLT                                [This happened another time, too,] for Saul was afraid of him, and he was jealous because the Lord had left him and was now with David. [v. 11b was included for context].


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had left Saul.

JPS (Tanakh)                        Saul was afraid of David, for the Lord was with him and had turned away from Saul.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Now Saul was afraid of David, for the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul.

Young's Updated LT              And Saul is afraid of the presence of David, for Jehovah has been with him, and from Saul He has turned aside.


What is the gist of this verse? Saul, after two failed attempts on David’s life, recognizes that God is with David (which is logical, if God has chosen David to be Saul’s successor).


1Samuel 18:12a

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

yârê (א ֵר ָי) [pronounced yaw-RAY

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

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3372 BDB #431

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

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

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

pânîym (םי̣נ ָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM

face, faces

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, the two prepositions and pânîym mean from before, from the presence of, a from a position before a person or object, from before a place. However, this also expresses source or cause, and is also rendered because of, on account of.

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: So Saul was afraid from before David... Several times in this chapter, Saul will be said to be afraid of David (vv. 12, 15, 29). Saul had the power and the mental attitude to kill anyone that he chose to; however, in what should have been two simple attacks on David, Saul failed to kill him. It was clear from what David said and from his success that God was with him.


1Samuel 18:12b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; without a specific subject and object, hâyâh can mean and it will come to be, and it will come to pass, then it came to pass (with the wâw consecutive)

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

׳îm (ם ̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near

preposition of nearness and vicinity with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767


Translation: ...because Yehowah was with him... Several times, we will be told that Jehovah is with David (vv. 12, 14, 28). David, who was about two-thirds the size of Goliath, killed Goliath. After Saul had inducted David into the armed forces, and then promoted him, David’s continued successes made it clear that God was with him. What David said testified to his faith in God.


1Samuel 18:12c

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

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

׳îm (ם ̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near

preposition of nearness and vicinity

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767

Together, these prepositions mean: from with, beside, from being with, away from, far from, from among, from the possession of, from the custody of, from the house of, from the vicinity of, out of the power of, from the mind of.

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

çûwr (רס) [pronounced soor]

to turn aside, to depart, to go away

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #5493 (and #5494) BDB #693


Translation: ...and had turned away from Saul. We are told on several occasions that God the Holy Spirit deserted Saul: 1Sam. 16:14 18:12 28:15. Saul knew that he was clearly separate from God. He had experienced the power and guiding of he Holy Spirit previously, and now was influenced by a demonic spirit; so he knew things were not good. Furthermore, Saul had already made two attempts on David’s life, under circumstances which should have resulted in David’s death. However, David eluded Saul’s spear, making it even more apparent that God was with David. Furthermore, there are several incidents which indicate that Saul is still capable of rational thought (although he seems to drift in and out of rational thinking). He has probably deduced that David is his replacement; therefore, he would expect that any attempt on David’s life would be futile. His own experience bears this out.


I have a new theory concerning Old Testament spirituality: it appears possible that God the Holy Spirit did not generally empower several people at a time (the construction of the Tabernacle and its furniture would be an exception to this). He leaves Saul and is with David. Elisha asks for a double portion of the Spirit that Elijah had. I don’t know that I can fully support this position at this time, but it did occur to me. In any case, it is often that one man seems to stand out spiritually in any period of time.


And so caused to depart him Saul from with him and so he makes him for himself a commander of a thousand. And so he goes out and he comes in to faces of the people.

1Samuel

18:13

Saul also caused him to depart from with him by making him a commander over a thousand [lit., and so he makes him for himself a commander of a thousand]. Therefore he [David] went out and came in before the people.

Saul caused David to be removed from the palace by making him a commander over a thousand soldiers. As a result, David became a very public figure.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so caused to depart him Saul from with him and so he makes him for himself a commander of a thousand. And so he goes out and he comes in to faces of the people.

Septuagint                             And he removed him from him, and made him a captain of a thousand for himself; and he went out and came in before the people.

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Saul put David in charge of a thousand soldiers and sent him out to fight.

NAB                                       Accordingly, Saul removed him from his presence by appointing him a field officer. So David led the people on their military expeditions,...

NLT                                Finally, Saul banned him from his presence and appointed him commander over only a thousand men, but David faithfully led his troops into battle.

REB                                       He therefore removed David from his household and appointed him to the command of a thousand men. David led his men into action,...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         So he kept David away. He made David captain of a regiment. David led the troops out └to battle┘ and back again.

JPS (Tanakh)                        So Saul removed him from his presence and appointed him chief of a thousand, to march at the head of the troops [lit., and he went out and came in before the troops].


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Therefore Saul removed him from his presence, and appointed him as his commander of a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people.

Young's Updated LT              And Saul turns him aside from him, and appoints him to himself head of a thousand, and he goes out and comes in before the people.


What is the gist of this verse? Because Saul recognized that the Holy Spirit was now with David, he sent David out to war, in charge of a 1000 men. The latter half of this verse simply indicates that what David did thereafter was observed by the people of Israel.


1Samuel 18:13a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

The wâw consecutive can also be rendered so, that, yet, therefore. There are times when the wâw consecutive simply carries the action along and we do not need an English translation in order to indicate that.

çûwr (רס) [pronounced soor]

to cause to depart, to remove, to cause to go away; to turn away from

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #5493 (and #5494) BDB #693

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

I must point out here that what we have is somewhat of a play on words. In the previous verse, the Holy Spirit departed from Saul; here, Saul causes David to depart from him (and David is empowered by the Holy Spirit). The pairing of prepositions which follow also serve to continue this literary parallelism.

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

׳îm (ם ̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near

preposition of nearness and vicinity (with the 3rd person singular suffix)

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767

Together, these prepositions mean: from with, beside, from being with, away from, far from, from among, from the possession of, from the custody of, from the house of, from the vicinity of, out of the power of, from the mind of.


Translation: Saul also caused him to depart from with him... As was mentioned in the Hebrew table, this is a literary parallelism. David is empowered by the Holy Spirit; Saul, because of his negative volition toward God’s plan, has seen the Holy Spirit depart from him. Therefore, Saul caused David, who had the Holy Spirit, to depart from him.

 

Edersheim has an interesting take here: It deserves special notice, that Saul’s attempts against the life of David are in the sacred text never attributed to the influence of the spirit of evil from the Lord, although they were no doubt made when that spirit was upon him. For God never tempts man to sin; but he sins when he is drawn away by his own passion, and enticed by it. If proof were needed that the spirit whom God sent was not evil in himself, it would be found in this, that while formerly David’s music could soothe the king, that power was lost when Saul had given way to sin. On the first occasion of this kind, Saul, in a maniacal fit, twice poised against David the Javelin, which, as the symbol of royalty, he had by him (like the modern scepter); and twice “David turned (bent) aside from before him.” The failure of his purpose only strengthened the king’s conviction that, while God had forsaken him, He was with David. The result, however, was not repentance, but a feeling of fear, under which he removed David from his own presence, either to free himself of the temptation to murder, or in the hope, which he sacredly yet confessed to himself, that, promoted the command over a thousand men, David might fall in an engagement with the Philistines. How this also failed, or rather led to results the opposite of those which Saul had wished, is briefly marked in the text. Footnote


1Samuel 18:13b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

The wâw consecutive can also be rendered so, that, yet, therefore. There are times when the wâw consecutive simply carries the action along and we do not need an English translation in order to indicate that.

sîym (םי ̣) [pronounced seem]; also spelled sûwm (ם) [pronounced soom]

to put, to place, to set, to make

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #7760 BDB #962

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

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

preposition with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

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, family, (500?); military unit

masculine singular noun pausal form

Strong’s #505 (and #504) BDB #48


Translation: ...by making him a commander over a thousand [lit., and so he makes him for himself a commander of a thousand]. The easiest way for Saul to remove David from his presence was to place him in command of a reasonable sized division of Saul’s army. You might wonder, didn’t Saul just do this in v. 5? Saul did place David over some soldiers in v. 5—we don’t know exactly how many. Although, it is possible that this was a further promotion or that this is equivalent to v. 5, and that we are simply looking at two sides of the same coin; I believe that this represents a demotion, and one which intentionally places David’s life at risk (see vv. 17, 21, 25).


Again, the time frame is a little confusing. How is David sung about as a killer of tens of thousands of enemies if he is not a leader? For him to physically kill tens of thousands of men as an individual soldier would have been pretty difficult to do. To kill that many as the head of a large patrol (even a thousand), that would have taken some time. Back in v. 5, Saul is said to have put David over the men of war; it is here where David would have enjoyed the victories attributed to him. However, in this verse, he is said to be placed over a 1000 men. That is not as much of an honor. The New Living Testament may capture that concept, as it says that David was placed over only a thousand men (besides which, they footnote this as a demotion). Footnote So, here’s what I believe happened: David was placed over a much larger force originally, and, after a few battles, he achieved the recognition of the killer of tens of thousands of Israel’s enemies. During the downtime, he returned to the palace with Saul and continued to play music. Saul, in a state of paranoiac delusion, made two attempts on David’s life, and recognized that David was under the guardianship of God. Since Saul could not bear to be reminded that David was going to replace him, he placed David over a small, active force, which apparently moved throughout Israel, dealing with problems that a small military force could deal with, and putting David at great risk. So, in effect, Saul demoted him. Constant active military duty coupled with a smaller force to lead. However, there was an unintended result, to which the next portion of this verse alludes.


Now, I should point out that others have been left confused by this particular verse, in the light of v. 5. It is suggested that v. 13 represents a promotion; or that vv. 5 and 13 both look back upon the same event. Footnote I’m not saying that these ideas are not without merit, nor am I saying that they are absolutely, unequivocally false. I have stated the events as I see them—this verse is essentially a demotion; but I don’t cling to that viewpoint as sacred. I believe that what happened during the Philistine war (begun with the battle between David and Goliath), was that David was promoted from armor bearer to a leader of men in v. 5 (although it is not clear as to how many he led).


1Samuel 18:13c

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

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

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 construct (plural acts like English singular)

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.

׳am (ם ַע) [pronounced ģahm]

people

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766


Translation: Therefore he [David] went out and came in before the people. Going out and coming in before the people simply means that David had a very public position whose activities were observed by many (see also Num. 27:17 1Sam. 18:16 29:6 2Sam. 5:2). With David commanding over a 1000 men, he was before these men at all times, and had become familiar with them and their families. As we have seen, after some successful campaigns, groups of people would come out and celebrate the victory. Furthermore, it appears as though these 1000 men were on active duty, traveling throughout Israel, putting out fires here and there (so to speak). So, in this capacity, David became very well-known to all Israel. This is exactly what we would expect of a small fighting force that traveled throughout Israel and was always on active duty. Not only did David become well-known, but the unintended result of his being a public figure was great popularity among the people (vv. 14, 16, 30).


Application: If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you will have enemies. Two of the greatest men in Israel, Moses and David, always had enemies. Jews today look back at these two with almost universal respect, but throughout their lives, Moses and David faced many men who opposed them. Therefore, if you are a believer—especially if you are a growing believer—you will have enemies, and don’t be shocked if these enemies are fellow believers. In fact, if you live a life bereft of opposition and pressure, where you do not suffer any attacks from fellow believers, you should either thank God for this respite or look within to determine whether or not you are growing. If you are growing spiritually, you are a threat to Satan; if you are a threat to Satan, he will attack you; given Satan’s great genius, he will often attack via those closest to you. Part of your spiritual life is enduring attacks by Satan, often through other believers. It is a part of life just like eating and breathing. You may not like it, but that makes no difference whatsoever. It is a fact of life.


Application: Now, don’t mistake your own idiocy for spirituality. Most people, believers and unbelievers, are their own worst enemies. You will cause yourself more problems than will any other single person that you know. Furthermore, if your behavior is self-righteous, condescending, arrogant, then certainly there will be problems in your life that you have ultimately manufactured.


Application: Now let me give you the positive side, also taught to us by this passage: if you behave honorably in all that you do, then you will experience some success and, even though there will be short-sighted, spiritually lacking, Satan-influenced believers who attack you, there will also be a great many people who respect and love you. We find this over and over again in this one chapter with respect to David: 1Sam. 18:5, 13–14, 16, 20, 28, 30). The key to your life is to behave wisely and honorably in all that you do, whether you are promoted, demoted, or left in the same place for several years.


Application: Just as David does in this passage—no matter how high your authority goes (or if you have no authority whatsoever), you do your job as unto the Lord. It does not matter if things are unfair; it does not matter if you are promoted or demoted, it does not matter if the boss hates you and is the biggest jerk on the planet, wherever God places you, that is where you function in obedience to Him. David’s boss tried to kill him; so I am fairly certain that your boss is somewhat easier on you. If David could function with integrity, despite the problems that he face, and if David could continue to function honorably, giving deference to the office of the king, then I am sure you have got the ability to deal with your boss, who is no doubt a nicer guy than Saul.


And so is David to all his ways behaving wisely and Yehowah [was] with him.

1Samuel

18:14

In all ways, David behaved wisely; [clearly] Yehowah [was] with him.

David behaved wisely in every instance; it was clear that Jehovah was with him.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so is David to all his ways behaving wisely and Yehowah [was] with him.

Septuagint                             And David was prudent in all his ways, and the Lord was with him.

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       The Lord helped David, and he and his soldiers always won their battles.

NAB                                       ...and prospered in all his enterprises, for the Lord was with him.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        David was successful in all his undertakings, for the Lord was with him;...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And David was prospering [or, acting wisely] in all his ways for the Lord was with him.

Young's Updated LT              And David is in all his ways acting wisely, and Jehovah is with him.


What is the gist of this verse? The key here is that David behaved wisely in all that he did, which is important when you are a public figure. It was clear to Saul (and to most other people) that Jehovah was with him.


1Samuel 18:14a

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

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; without a specific subject and object, hâyâh can mean and it will come to be, and it will come to pass, then it came to pass (with the wâw consecutive)

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

with a plural noun, it is rendered all of; any of

masculine singular construct with a masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

dereke ( ר ) [pronounced DEH-reke]

way, distance, road, journey, manner, course

masculine plural noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #1870 BDB #202

Written way but read ways. The idea is that, the received manuscripts read way, and it is so copied in subsequent manuscripts, even though that does not really sound correct. However, it is traditionally read ways in the synagogues. This is one of the many examples of the accuracy of the transmission of the Sacred Text. Even though copyist after copyist has wanted to write ways as he copied this text, because one copyist in the past probably made an error in transcription, that error was perpetuated. The idea is, the Jews had so much regard for their Sacred Scriptures, that they were careful and prudent to copy the text exactly as they found it, even though they might disagree with the text on the basis of textual criticism (which was not a developed science in the 10th century a.d).

sâkal (ל-כָ) [pronounced saw-KAHL]

to look at, to attend to, to turn the mind to; to be or become understanding, to be prudent; to be successful, to act prosperously; to make prudent, to teach

masculine singular, Hiphil participle

Strong’s #7919 BDB #968


Translation: In all ways, David behaved wisely;... David was in the public eye when commanded these 1000 men—in fact, he appears to be more in the public eye than before. However, despite the fact that he was under constant surveillance, David behaved wisely. Many men in his position would have lusted after the power and authority of the crown. They would have been concerned for their own safety to be on active duty at all times. When commandeering this small of a force, David had, in effect, been given a demotion; however, he was faithful in his service to Saul, rendering it as his service to the Lord. This is how we need to perform in all of our positions. God places us in various positions and jobs, and we are to function in those positions as though we are working directly for Him. It does not matter if you have been demoted or if the position that you hold is demeaning in your own eyes. David, to be colloquial, got screwed. However, he still functions with great wisdom.


If I were in that position, and God had told me that the kingdom was mine, I just might be willing to take that power from Saul. I might decide that, to hell with this crappy job; I want what God has for me! David did not do that. He did not look upon his position with disdain; he did not shirk his new duties. He was faithful and honorable in what he did, so that all who observed him recognized the wisdom of his behavior.


Application: This is a repetition, but you need to act wisely, faithfully and honorably in whatever God places before you. Now, from whence do you gain this wisdom? From Bible doctrine. You aren’t born with wisdom and the amount which is imparted to you via your various mentors is based upon the amount of doctrine in their souls. If your parents, teachers, and coaches have a spiritual awareness gotten through exposure to God’s Word, then they can impart some of this to you. However, the key is that wisdom is obtained by divine viewpoint; divine viewpoint is found in God’s Word. You cannot behave wisely, faithfully or honorably apart from the teaching of God’s Word.


1Samuel 18:14b

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

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

׳îm (ם ̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near

preposition of nearness and vicinity (with the 3rd person singular suffix)

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767


Translation: ...[clearly] Yehowah [was] with him. There were two things which made it clear that God was with David. First of all, his own actions indicated that he functioned from a position of great wisdom. Secondly, God continued to prosper David, despite the fact that Saul had demoted him.


There is something which I want you to carefully note: David came from relative obscurity. He was unpopular in his own family; his father sent him out away from the home to watch their sheep. His brothers berated him. It would have been a reasonable expectation of David to spend his entire life separate from most of humanity, and watching over sheep in quiet, desolate fields. David was positioned in life to go nowhere. However, he apparently met just one man, who found him to be a skilled musician, a mighty man of valor, a warrior, one who is wise in speech [i.e., he did not put his foot in his mouth], who is handsome, and with whom is Jehovah God (1Sam. 16:18b). David did not do a damn thing to move up in life but put God first; and that is the key. If God be for us, then who can be against us? (Rom. 8:31b). Therefore I say to you, Do not be anxious for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Behold the birds of the air; for they sow not, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them; are you not much better than they are? Which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his stature? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They do not toil, nor do they spin, but I say to you that even Solomon in his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Therefore if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much rather clothe you, little-faiths? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, With what shall we be clothed? For the nations seek after all these things. For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you (Matt. 6:22–33).


Application: Your primary focus in life should be your spiritual life. You need to be filled with God the Holy Spirit and you need to grow by taking in doctrine. When you have a little doctrine, then you need to apply it to your life. All of these other things will take care of themselves.


And so sees Saul that he is being wise exceedingly and so he stands in awe from his faces.

1Samuel

18:15

When Saul sees that he is behaving wisely, he stands in awe because of him.

When Saul realized that David behaved wisely, he was in awe of David’s wisdom.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so sees Saul that he is being wise exceedingly and so he stands in awe from his faces.

Septuagint                             And Saul saw that he was very wise, and he was afraid of him.

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       This made Saul even more afraid of David.

NLT                                When Saul recognized this, he became even more afraid of him.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Saul noticed how very successful he was and became └even more┘ afraid of him.

JPS (Tanakh)                        ...and when Saul saw that he was successful, he dreaded him.



Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                When Saul saw how capable and successful David was, he stood in awe of him.

NASB                                     When Saul saw that he was prospering greatly [or, acting very wisely], he dreaded him.

Young's Updated LT              ...and Saul sees that he is acting very wisely, and is afraid of him,...


What is the gist of this verse? David acted intelligently, despite the fact that he had been reduced in rank and placed in constant active duty. Saul recognized that David was behaving wisely, and feared him all the more.


1Samuel 18:15a

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

rââh (ה ָא ָר) [pronounced raw-AWH]

to see, to look, to look at, to view, to behold; to perceive, to understand, to learn, to know

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #7200 BDB #906

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

hûw (אה) [pronounced hoo]

he, it

3rd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

sâkal (ל-כָ) [pronounced saw-KAHL]

to look at, to attend to, to turn the mind to; to be or become understanding, to be prudent; to be successful, to act prosperously; to make prudent, to teach

masculine singular, Hiphil participle

Strong’s #7919 BDB #968

meôd (דֹא  ׃מ) [pronounced me-ODE]

exceedingly, extremely, greatly, very

adverb

Strong’s #3966 BDB #547


Translation: When Saul sees that he is behaving wisely,... Saul has purposely demoted David, and he is surprised that David is still able to make intelligent choices. We have seen several times when Saul was in a jam or was told to do one thing, and he would freak out and do exactly what he was not supposed to do. David, under similar circumstances, did exactly what he should have done.


1Samuel 18:15b

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

gûwr (ר) [pronounced goor]

(1) to temporarily reside, to sojourn, to stay temporarily; (2) to stir up, to strive with, to quarrel with; and, (3) to dread, to be afraid of, to stand in awe of

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect (this verb is a homonym; all basic meanings are given)

Strong’s #1481 BDB #158

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

pânîym (םי̣נ ָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM

face, faces

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular) with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, mipânîym mean from before his face, out from before his face, from one’s presence. However, together, they can also be a reference to the cause, whether near or remote, and can therefore be rendered because of, because that.


Translation: ...he stands in awe because of him. Saul, expecting David to behave stupidly, expecting him to complain or to cause trouble, sees David do quite the opposite. He did exactly what he should do. For that reason, Saul began to be afraid of David. He was a man who could not no wrong.


And all Israel and Judah was delighting in David because he was going out and coming in to their faces.

1Samuel

18:16

All Israel and Judah delighted in David, for he went out and came in before them.

All of Judah and Israel delighted in David, because he was constantly before them.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And all Israel and Judah was delighting in David because he was going out and coming in to their faces.

Septuagint                             And all Israel and Juda loved David, because he came in and went out before the people.

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       But everyone else in Judah and Israel was loyal to David, because he led the army in battle.

NLT                                But all Israel and Judah loved David because he was so successful at leading his troops into battle.

REB                                       But all Israel and Judah loved David because he took the field at their head.

TEV                                       But everyone in Israel and Judah loved David because he was such a successful leader.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Everyone is Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in and out └of battle┘.

JPS (Tanakh)                        All Israel and Judah loved David, for he marched at their head.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     But all Israel and Judah loved David, and he went out and came in before them.

NRSV                                    But all Israel and Judah loved David; for it was he who marched out and came in leading them.

Young's Updated LT              ...and all Israel and Judah love David when he is going out and coming in before them.


What is the gist of this verse? David’s becoming very public resulted in the love and respect of all Israel.


1Samuel 18:16a

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

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

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

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

âhêb (ב ֵה ָא) [pronounced aw-HAYVB]

desiring, breathing after; loving; delighting in

Qal active participle

Strong’s #157 BDB #12

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: All Israel and Judah delighted in David,... Over the years, partially due to geography and partially because there had been no national leadership, Israel and Judah had already begun to act as two separate countries. Actually, this was probably influenced greatly by Satan. Satan recognized that God was the leader of one nation and one people, so he attempted to mess with that. Satan inspired Israel’s neighbors to hatred, and to attack and pillage. He also fostered a separatist movement, which would come to fruition in the not too distant future. In any case, here we have the seeds of that movement.


You may recall some of the geography which we have studied and how the Philistines, for instance, did not generally attack Israel from the west, in order to carve out larger chunks of property for themselves, but they often attacked Israel from the middle, sometimes going north, sometimes going south from whatever position that they took. However, in most cases, the Philistines tended to take a position between northern and southern Palestine, or, if you will, between Israel and Judah.


1Samuel 18:16b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

hûw (אה) [pronounced hoo]

he, it

3rd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

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

to go out, to come out, to come forth

Qal active participle

Strong's #3318 BDB #422

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

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

Qal active participle

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

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 construct (plural acts like English singular) with the 3rd person masculine plural 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: ...for he went out and came in before them. David was always in the public eye. Because Saul had put him in constant active duty, David had the opportunity to travel throughout all Israel, and to meet all the people, and to deliver them from various problems. Therefore, because of this, because of his success, and because of his wise behavior, the people began to have strong, positive feelings toward David. He was seen more as a national leader than Saul. He was always out there doing that which was right.


Note how this all flies in the face of human viewpoint: David rose out of relative obscurity. He did not network, he did not go out of his way to meet influential people, he did not send out his resume, he did not politic. David went from relative obscurity to being the most public figure in all of Israel. All David did was he knew Bible doctrine and he acted as though he knew Bible doctrine.


Application: What you are privately is what you will become publically. David as a shepherd, even though he was by himself with no one looking over his shoulder other than God, behaved with honor and integrity. When a bear and a lion attacked his flock, David went to the rescue. When David suddenly became a public figure, he acted no differently. He acted with wisdom and honor, and the people respected that and loved him for it. Because of his personal integrity, Saul did not stand a chance against David in the realm of public opinion. Saul may have been king and may have appeared to wield all the power, but God protected David, and his daily integrity impressed the people. In private, you should behave with wisdom and honor; it should be habitual. Then, whenever you come into public view, behaving with integrity is second nature.


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Saul Promises His Eldest Daughter to David in Marriage and Withdraws the Offer


And so says Saul unto David, “Behold my daughter, the greater, Merab; her I give to you to wife. Only be to me for a son of strength and fight wars of Yehowah.” And Saul had said, “Not is my hand against him and is against him a hand of Philistines.”

1Samuel

18:17

Saul said to David, “Here [is] my elder daughter, Merab; I will give her to you to wife. No doubt you will be a man [lit., a son] of valour for me and fight the wars of Yehowah.” But Saul was thinking [lit., Saul had said], “My hand will not be against him; instead, the hand of the Philistines will be against him.”

Saul then said to David, “This is my oldest daughter, Merab. I will give her to you as a wife as long as you show yourself to be a man of courage and integrity by fighting the wars of Jehovah for me.” But Saul was thinking, “I don’t have to lift a finger against him; the Philistines will kill him for me.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says Saul unto David, “Behold my daughter, the greater, Merab; her I give to you to wife. Only be to me for a son of strength and fight wars of Yehowah.” And Saul had said, “Not is my hand against him and is against him a hand of Philistines.”

Alexandrian Septuagint         And Saul said to David, “Behold my elder daughter Merob—I will give her to you to wife, only be to me a mighty man and fight the wars of the Lord.” And Saul said, “Let not my hand be upon him, but the hand of the Philistines will be upon him.”

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences. The phrase son of strength may not have been literally rendered into the Greek (I only have Brenton’s translation at this point).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       One day, Saul told David, “If you’ll be brave and fight the Lord’s battles for me, I’ll let you marry my oldest daughter Merab.” But Saul was really thinking, “I don’t want to kill David myself, so I’ll let the Philistines do it for me.”

NLT                                One day Saul said to David, “I am ready to give you my older daughter, Merab, as your wife. But first you must prove yourself to be a real warrior by fighting the Lord’s battles.” For Saul thought to himself, “I’ll send him out against the Philistines and let them kill him rather than doing it myself.”

REB                                       Saul said to David, ‘Here is my elder daughter Merab; I shall give her to you in marriage, but in return you must serve me valiantly and fight the Lord’s battles.’ For Saul meant David to meet his end not at his hands but at the hands of the Philistines.

TEV                                       Then Saul said to David, “here is my older daughter Merab. I will give her to you as your wife on condition that you serve me as a brave and loyal soldier, and fight the Lord’s battles.” (Saul was thinking that in this way the Philistines would kill David, and he would not have to do it himself.)


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Finally, Saul said to David, “Here is my oldest daughter Merab. I will give her to you as your wife if you prove yourself to be a warrior for me and fight the Lord’s battles.” (Saul thought, “I must not lay a hand on him. Let the Philistines do that.”)

JPS (Tanakh)                        Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter, Merab; I will give her to you in marriage; in return, you be my warrior and fight the battles of the Lord.” Saul thought: “Let not my hand strike him; let the hand of the Philistines strike him.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Then Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab; I will give her to you as a wife, only be a valiant man for me and fight the Lord’s battles.” For Saul thought “My hand shall not be against him, but let the hand of the Philistines be against him.”

Young's Updated LT              And Saul says unto David, “Behold, my elder daughter Merab—her I give to you for a wife; only, be to me for a son of valour, and fight the battles of Jehovah.” And Saul said, “Let not my hand be on him, but let the hand of the Philistines be upon him.”


What is the gist of this verse? Saul promises David to give him his eldest daughter as a wife. The condition is that David fight the Philistines. Saul is hoping that the Philistines will kill David.


Again, we tend to think entirely in a chronological manner. It is possible that this led up to David being put in charge of 1000 men. Saul was irritated with David, and he feared him. And he knew David was in line for his throne. So Saul offers David his daughter in marriage, except that David has to perform the duties of a great soldier first. This could have led to his assignment with the 1000 men. It is also possible that this occurred after being assigned to lead those 1000 men, and that this time they were sent into Philistine country.


1Samuel 18:17a

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; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

el (לא) [pronounced el]

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

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

hinnêh (הֵ ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

bath (ת ַ) [pronounced bahth]

daughter; village

feminine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #1323 BDB #123

gedôlôwth (תלֹד) [pronounced ge-doh-LOHTH]

great things, mighty things, immutable things, significant things, astonishing things; proud things, impious things

feminine singular adjective with the definite article

Strong’s #1419 BDB #152

mêrabv (ב-ר̤מ) [pronounced may-RAHBV]

transliterated Merab

proper noun

Strong’s #4764 BDB #597


Translation: Saul said to David, “Here [is] my elder daughter, Merab;... We covered Saul’s sons and daughters in 1Sam. 14:49. He had two daughters, Merab and Michal.


1Samuel 18:17b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object

affixed to 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84

nâthan (ןַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

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

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular noun

Strong's #802 BDB #61


Translation: ...I will give her to you to wife. Offering his daughter to David in marriage was a great honor. Such an honor actually put David (or his progeny) in line for the throne (although it would have been possibly been a long line).


1Samuel 18:17c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ake ( ַא) [pronounced ahke]

surely, certainly, no doubt, only, only this once

adverb of restriction, contrast, time, limitation, and exception. Also used as an affirmative particle

Strong’s #389 BDB #36

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; without a specific subject and object, hâyâh can mean and it will come to be, and it will come to pass, then it came to pass (with the wâw consecutive)

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

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

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

chayil (ל̣יַח) [pronounced CHAH-yil]

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

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #2428 BDB #298

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

2nd person masculine singular, Niphal imperative

Strong’s #3898 BDB #535

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

battle, war

feminine plural construct

Strong’s #4421 BDB #536

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: No doubt you will be a man [lit., a son] of valour for me and fight the wars of Yehowah.” If you will recall from the previous chapter, Saul had already offered this daughter to whoever killed Goliath (1Sam. 17:25). Had Saul been a man of his word, the nuptials would already be in progress. However, Saul was not. Saul possessed no personal integrity. This is why he was willing to use his daughter as a prize or as a tool of manipulation. Perhaps his reasoning was that, this previous offer was specifically made to his soldiers, and not to just some kid off the streets. Perhaps he even justified it in this manner to David: “I know that I had promised my daughter to whoever killed Goliath, but that was a promise that I had made to my enlisted men. Now, if you don’t mind functioning as a soldier and proving your bravery, as these men had, then certainly I will give Merab to you in marriage.” We are not privy to their entire conversation, but very likely Saul justified his position in that way (at least to himself). As we have seen before, Saul is a master at justifying his own behavior.


You will note that Saul here does not specify a dowry, and there is nothing which indicates the length of time that David must serve as a soldier to earn the hand of Saul’s daughter. However, apparently at some point, even during this conversation, a date was set for David to marry Merab, as we will see in v. 19. Saul’s plan, of course, was for David to be killed in battle since he will head a relatively small force.


You will note the phrase the wars of Jehovah. Saul couches his evil intent in holy language. It makes it sound as though Saul’s thoughts were upon the welfare of God’s kingdom of Israel; however, Saul’s thoughts were thoughts of jealousy, hatred and cunning; he saw this as the means to send David to his death.


1Samuel 18:17d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and; even; in particular, namely; when, since, seeing, though; then

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

With a voluntative, cohortative or jussive, the wâw conjunction means that, so that. It expresses intention. The wâw conjunction can express informal inference or consequence (so, then, therefore); especially at the beginning of a speech. The wâw conjunction can connect alternative cases or contrasting ideas and be properly rendered or, but, yet. The wâw conjunction can also be rendered for.

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

al (ל-א) [pronounced al]

not; nothing; none

adverb of negation; conjunction of prohibiting, dehorting, deprecating, desire that something not be done

Strong’s #408 BDB #39.

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; without a specific subject and object, hâyâh can mean and it will come to be, and it will come to pass, then it came to pass (with the wâw consecutive)

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

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 with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #none BDB #88


Translation: But Saul was thinking [lit., Saul had said], “My hand will not be against him;... This promise meant nothing to Saul, as his intention was not meant to control the Philistine aggression, but to be rid of David. He already was aware that he could not kill David; he had tried twice. So, rather than simply hand the crown over to David, Saul came up with another way to kill him.


1Samuel 18:17e

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

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; without a specific subject and object, hâyâh can mean and it will come to be, and it will come to pass, then it came to pass (with the wâw consecutive)

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

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 with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #none BDB #88

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular construct

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

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

transliterated Philistine

masculine plural gentilic adjective

Strong’s #6430 BDB #814


Translation: ...instead, the hand of the Philistines will be against him.” The Philistines were a vicious and brave people. The soldiers were almost unparalleled. If Saul assigned David to a small enough force, it would only be a matter of time before the Philistines killed him. Saul, not thinking clearly, figured this was the perfect solution. At no time did he ever feel as though he was obligated to give his daughter in marriage to David, as that was not the purpose of offering her. She was simply the bait.


This verse is not necessarily separate from the previous few verses. When David was put in charge of a thousand men and sent out, this was probably his assignment and the rationale for his assignment. He may have been concerned that he had only been placed in charge of 1000 men. However, Saul used this small, mobile force to attack the various outposts of Philistines, having given David the rationale that he was being offered Saul’s daughter. His successfulness, mentioned in vv. 15–16, would have actually occurred after v. 17.


And so says David unto Saul, “Who [am] I and who [are] my lives—a family of my father in Israel—that I am a son-in-law to the king?”

1Samuel

18:18

David responded to Saul, “Who [am] I and what is my [status in] life [or, who [are] my kinsfolk]—my father’s family—that I should be the king’s son-in-law?”

David then responded to Saul, asking, “Who am I and who are my relatives—my father’s family—that I should be the son-in-law of the king?”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says David unto Saul, “Who [am] I and who [are] my lives—a family of my father in Israel—that I am a son-in-law to the king?”

Alexandrian Septuagint         And David said to Saul, “Who am I and what is the life of my father’s family in Israel, that I should be the king’s son-in-law?”

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       David answered, “How could I possibly marry your daughter? I’m not very important and neither is my family.”

NJB                                        David replied to Saul, ‘Who am I and what is my lineage — and my father’s family — in Israel, for me to become the king’s son-in-law?”

REB                                       David answered Saul, ‘Who am I and what are my father’s people, my kinsfolk, in Israel, that I should become the king’s son-in-law?”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         “Who am I?” David asked Saul. “And how important are my relatives or my father’s family in Israel that I should be the king’s son-in-law?”

JPS (Tanakh)                        David replied to Saul, “Who am I and ̵what is my life̵ [meaning Hebrew uncertain. Change of vocalization yields “who are my kin.”] —my father’s family in Israel—that I should become Your Majesty’s son-in-law?”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     But David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my life or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be the king’s son-in-law?”

Young's Updated LT              And David says unto Saul, “Who am I and what my life—the family of my father in Israel—that I am son-in-law to the king?”


What is the gist of this verse? David acknowledges that his family has no standing compared to Saul’s family, which has become the royal family of Israel.


1Samuel 18:18a

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; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

el (לא) [pronounced el]

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

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

mîy (י ̣מ) [pronounced mee]

who; occasionally rendered how, in what way

pronominal interrogative

Strong’s #4310 BDB #566

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

I, me

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

Strong’s #595 BDB #59


Translation: David responded to Saul, “Who [am] I... David no doubt remembered the promise of Saul before to give him Merab as his wife, and, as I mentioned, Saul may have explained that away during this conversation. However, with the king, you don’t say, “Now just hold on a minute, buster, how many times are you going to promise me your daughter in marriage before you deliver?” David will instead ask, how could he fit into such a family; how could he be worthy to be a part of the royal family. This is known as polite deference (from teaching, I realize that there are those who have no clue that they don’t necessarily need to share every thought that rattles through their brains, even if it seems like a keeper).


1Samuel 18:18b

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

mîy (י ̣מ) [pronounced mee]

who; occasionally rendered how, in what way

pronominal interrogative

Strong’s #4310 BDB #566

chayyâh (הָ ַח) [pronounced khay-YAWH]

living thing, animal, organisms, life forms

masculine plural adjective with a 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #2416 BDB #312

According to Rotherham, who is following the lead of Gesenius, this word should be kinfolk (plural). Footnote The JPS tells us that a different vocalization results in my kin and this is how the REB renders this verse (see the translations above). However, I have been unable to unearth the other word that they claim this could be.


Edersheim comments, in opposition to this view: “my life” probably means my status in life. The rendering proposed by some, “my people,” is linguistically unsupported, and implies a needless repetition. Footnote Edersheim’s view results in the least damage to the text and is in agreement with the MT and the LXX.

mishpâchâh (ה ָח ָ ׃ש ̣מ) [pronounced mish-paw-KHAWH]

family, clan, sub-tribe, class (of people), species (of animals), or sort (of things)

feminine singular construct

Strong's #4940 BDB #1046

âbv (ב ָא,) [pronounced awbv]

father, both as the head of a household or clan

masculine singular noun with a 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #1 BDB #3

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 with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #none BDB #88

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

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975


Translation: ...and what is my [status in] life [or, who [are] my kinsfolk]—my father’s family—... As mentioned above, there is some disagreement as to the rendering of the second word in this part of the verse. David asks either who [are] my lives or who are my kinfolk? By vocalization, I assume the main difference are the vowel points; however, I have been unable to confirm that in any way. Edersheim, as mentioned in the Hebrew exegesis, says that there is no linguistic support for this notion. Furthermore, this is in agreement with the MT and the LXX. This yields a rather rocky translation, however. In any case, the overall meaning is clear—David is being humble. Saul is offering to make David a part of the royal family, and David is saying that there is nothing in his life or lineage to make him worthy of such an honor. To a rational king, this would have signified that David had no grandiose ideas of stealing the throne from him. However, Saul was not a rational king.


It is also likely that Saul recalls that he said substantially the same thing to Samuel, when Samuel informed him that God had chosen him to be king over Israel (1Sam. 9:21).


1Samuel 18:18c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

châthân (ן ָת ָח) [pronounced khaw-THAWN]

son-in-law, a daughter’s husband, a bridegroom

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #2860 BDB #368

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572


Translation: ...that I should be the king’s son-in-law?” David cannot see himself as being the king’s son-in-law. This could be politeness and it could be a result of his brothers’ treatment of him. More than likely, this is David’s actual humility showing through. He was just recently a shepherd boy, and essentially offered a place equivalent to the king’s son. His response to Saul here is the polar opposite of so many people today who feel that they deserve this or that.


Again, do not be confused by the time frame. This chapter, like much of Old Testament Scripture, is not in strict chronological order. Prior to David taking charge of a 1000 men and going in and out before the people, showing great personal integrity, Saul took him aside and said, “If you can command this small force of 1000 and do serious damage to the Philistines, then you can have my daughter in marriage.”


I need to point out, Saul has no intention of keeping this promise. Saul uses this as a carrot to get David to do what he wants him to do. Let me see if I can take you inside Saul’s head for a moment. David apparently had greater authority before—recall that women sang that he had killed his tens of thousands. This meant that David presided over a fairly large army. This sort of authority was in less physical danger than one who presided over a smaller force. Saul wants David over a smaller force to increase the chance that he might die in battle. Saul wants to be certain that, in every battle, David is fighting just like his men. The smaller the force, the more likely this will be. If David himself is involved in the actual combat, the chances of him dying increase with each battle. This is what Saul wants; he does not even consider that he might actually give Merab to David in marriage.


And so he is in a time, a giving of Merab, Saul’s daughter, to David and she was given to Adriel the Meholathite to wife.

1Samuel

18:19

When it was time to give Merab, Saul’s daughter, to David, she was [instead] given to Adriel the Meholathite as [his] wife.

When it came time for Saul to give his daughter Merab to David, he instead gave her in marriage to Adriel Meholathite.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he is in a time, a giving of Merab, Saul’s daughter, to David and she was given to Adriel the Meholathite to wife.

Alexandrian Septuagint         But it came to pass at the time when Merob, Saul’s daughter, should have been given to David, that she was given to Israel the Mothulathite to wife.

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       But when the time came for David to marry Saul’s daughter Merab, Saul told her to marry Adriel from the town of Meholah.

NLT                                So when the time came for the wedding, Saul gave Merab in marriage to Adriel, a man from Meholah.

REB                                       However, when the time came for Saul’s daughter Merab to be married to David, she had already been given to Adriel of Meholah.

TEV                                       But when the time came for Merab to be given to David, she was given instead to a man named Ariel from Meholah.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         But when the time came to give Saul’s daughter Merab to David, she was married to Adriel from Meholah.

JPS (Tanakh)                        But at the time that Merab, daughter of Saul, should have been given to David, she was given in marriage to Adriel the Meholathite.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     So it came about at the time when Merab, Saul’s daughter, should have been given to David, that she was given to Adriel the Meholathite for a wife.

Young's Updated LT              And it comes to pass, at the time of the giving of Merab, daughter of Saul, to David, that she had been given to Adriel the Meholathite for a wife.


What is the gist of this verse? When the time came for David to marry Merab, she became the wife of Adriel the Meholathite instead.


1Samuel 18:19a

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

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; without a specific subject and object, hâyâh can mean and it will come to be, and it will come to pass, then it came to pass (with the wâw consecutive)

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

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 with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #none BDB #88

׳êth (ת ֵע) [pronounced ģayth]

time, the right time, the proper time

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #6256 BDB #773

nâthan (ןַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

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

Qal infinitive construct

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

mêrabv (ב-ר̤מ) [pronounced may-RAHBV]

transliterated Merab

proper noun

Strong’s #4764 BDB #597

bath (ת ַ) [pronounced bahth]

daughter; village

feminine singular construct

Strong's #1323 BDB #123

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

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: When it was time to give Merab, Saul’s daughter, to David,... Although time is not the subject or the direct object, when it was time gives us a more up-to-date notion of how this verse begins. Saul had promised David twice to give him his daughter Merab; and this half of the verse indicates that a specific date had been set—either that, or what Saul had required of David had been accomplished.


1Samuel 18:19b

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

hîy (אי.ה) [pronounced hee]

she, it

3rd person feminine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to be give, to be delivered, to be given forth [as law]; to be made

3rd person feminine singular, Niphal perfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

׳aderîyêl (ל̤אי.רד-ע) [pronounced ĢAHDe-ree-ayl]

lacking in foolishness and is transliterated Adriel

masculine singular proper singular noun

Strong’s #5741 BDB #727

mechôlâthîy (י.תָלֹחמ) [pronounced mekhoh-law-THEE]

transliterated Meholathite

masculine singular proper singular noun

Strong’s #4259 BDB #563

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular noun

Strong's #802 BDB #61


Translation: ...she was [instead] given to Adriel the Meholathite as [his] wife. This was the end result; she was given to Adriel the Meholathite, instead. We don’t know the circumstances; we really know nothing about him; however, we can be assured that this was the most expedient thing for Saul to do. We do know this, however: it is very likely that both Merab and Adriel both knew that Saul had promised her to David. I doubt that this was a situation where she was in love, although that is possible and that Saul was being indulgent. Given what we know about Saul, it is more reasonable that this marriage fulfilled an obligation of some sort or had been a bribe (for instance, a large dowry may have been offered to him).


Return to Chapter Outline

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Saul Offers David His Youngest Daughter in Marriage for a Dowry of 100 Philistine Foreskins


And so desires Michal, Saul’s Daughter, David and so they make known to Saul and so is smooth the word in his [two] eyes.

1Samuel

18:20

Michal, Saul’s daughter, was in love with David. When they announced [this] to Saul, this thing [lit., the word] was pleasing in his sight [lit., in his eyes].

However, Michal, Saul’s younger daughter, had fallen in love with David. When they announced this to Saul, he was pleased, as it suited his purposes.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so desires Michal, Saul’s Daughter, David and so they make known to Saul and so is smooth the word in his [two] eyes.

Septuagint                             And Melchol the daughter of Saul loved David; and it was told Saul, and the thing was pleasing in his eyes.

 

Significant differences:          Some of the verbs are slightly different here, which may represent a reasonable rendering from the Hebrew into the Greek.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Saul had another daughter. Her name was Michal, and Saul found out that she was in love with David. This made Saul happy,...

NLT                                In the meantime, Saul’s daughter Michal had fallen in love with David, and Saul was delighted when he heard about it.

REB                                       But Michal, Saul’s other daughter, fell in love with David, and when Saul was told of this, he saw that it suited his plans.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         However, Saul’s daughter Michal fell in love with David. When Saul was told about it, the news pleased him.

JPS (Tanakh)                        Now Michal daughter of Saul had fallen in love with David; and when this was reported to Saul, he was pleased.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Now Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David. When they told Saul, the thing was agreeable to him [lit., in his sight].

Young's Updated LT              And Michal daughter of Saul loves David, and they declare to Saul, and the thing is right in his eyes,...


What is the gist of this verse? Saul’s youngest daughter, Michal, was in love with David and this was told to Saul (although it is not completely clear who told this to Saul, as the verb is in the plural).


1Samuel 18:20a

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

âhêb (ב ֵה ָא) [pronounced aw-HAYVB]

to desire, to breathe after; to love; to delight in

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #157 BDB #12

Mîykal (ל-כי.מ) [pronounced mee-KAHL]

possibly means brook or stream and is transliterated Michal

feminine proper noun

Strong’s #4324 BDB #568

bath (ת ַ) [pronounced bahth]

daughter; village

feminine singular construct

Strong's #1323 BDB #123

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

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

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: Michal, Saul’s daughter, was in love with David. Apparently, Merab was not in love with David; or, it is possible that Saul used her to fulfill some other promise or obligation. At the same time, David had not yet been killed in battle. Therefore, Saul was obligated to give Merab to David as his wife. However, as we saw in the previous verse, Saul gave her to someone else. However, it did turn out that Saul’s youngest daughter, Michal, was in love with David.


1Samuel 18:20b

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

nâgad (ד ַג ָנ) [pronounced naw-GAHD]

to make conspicuous, to make known, to expound, to explain, to declare, to inform, to confess, to make it pitifully obvious that

3rd person masculine plural, Hiphil imperfect

Strong's #5046 BDB #616

This verb is in the singular in the Greek.

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards 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: When they announced [this] to Saul,... According to the Hebrew, Michal did not go to her father Saul alone. It says here that they announced this news to Saul. At first, I though that this was Michal and David. However, the remainder of this chapter will indicate that it was not both of them. Therefore, it was either Michal and someone else (her personal servant or servants) or it could have been her servants who went on their own.


1Samuel 18:20c

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

yâshar (ר-שָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHR]

to be smooth, straight, right; figuratively, it means to be pleasing, agreeable, right (particularly when followed by in my eyes)

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3477 BDB #449

bvâr (ר ָב ָ) [pronounced dawb-VAWR]

word, saying, doctrine, thing, matter, command

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #1697 BDB #182

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 with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #none BDB #88

׳ayin (ן̣יַע) [pronounced ĢAH-yin]

spring, literal eye(s), spiritual eyes, spring

feminine dual noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5869 (and #5871) BDB #744


Translation: ...this thing [lit., the word] was pleasing in his sight [lit., in his eyes]. You will note that the Revised English Bible sounds rather nefarious here. Instead of saying that the news of his daughter’s love was pleasing, they say, because it suited his purpose. The context will indicate that this is how Saul felt. Although Barnes tells us that this partly relieved Saul from the charge of breaking his previous promise, Footnote I don’t think that was the sort of thing that would bother Saul. Saul was able to rationalize anything he did to anyone. Rationalizing one’s behavior requires some concentration and little by way of conscience. This person acts first, and then decides later how to explain that what he did was right. Here, Saul is pleased because he can work this love of Michal for David into his own plans to kill David.


Application: The proper approach is to think first, and then act, according to what is right.


And so says Saul, “I give her to him and she is to him for bait and is in him a hand of Philistines.” And so says Saul unto David in a second [time], “You are a son-in-law to me the day.”

1Samuel

18:21

And Saul thought, “I will give her to him and she is to him bait and the hand of the Philistines will be against him.” But he said to David a second time, “You will be my son-in-law today.”

And Saul thought to himself, “I will offer to give her to him and she will be a snare, so that the hand of the Philistines will be against him.” So Saul, for the second time, said to David, “Today, you are my son-in-law.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                         And Saul said, “I will give her to him, that she may be a stumbling block to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be upon him.” And Saul said to David, “In two things you will be my son in law this day.”

Masoretic Text                       And so says Saul, “I give her to him and she is to him for bait and is in him a hand of Philistines.” And so says Saul unto David in a second [time], “You are a son-in-law to me the day.”

Septuagint                             And Saul said, “I will give her to him and she will be a stumbling-block to him.” Now the hand of the Philistines was against Saul.

 

Significant differences:          The Greek has a different meaning attached to the second sentence; in it, the Philistines are against Saul in the Greek; however, in the Hebrew, Syriac and Latin, Saul is expecting for the hand of the Philistines to be against David. The final sentence is not found in the Greek.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       ...and he thought, “I’ll tell David he can marry Michal, but I’ll set it up so that the Philistines will kill him.” He told David, “I’m going to give you a second chance to marry one of my daughters.”

NJB                                        He thought, ‘Yes, I shall give her to him; she can be the snare for him, so that the Philistines will get him.’ (On two occasions, Saul told David, ‘Today, you shall be my son-in-law.’)

NLT                                “Here’s another chance to see him killed by the Philistines!” Saul said to himself. But to David he said, “I have a way for you to become my son-in-law after all!”

REB                                       He said to himself, ‘I will give her to him; let her be the bait that lures him to his death at the hands of the Philistines.’ So Saul proposed a second time to make David his son-in-law.

TEV                                       He said to himself, “I’ll give Michal to David; I will use her to trap him, and he will be killed by the Philistines.” So for the second time, Saul said to David, “You will be my son-n-law.”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Sal thought, “I’ll give her to David. She will trap him, and the Philistines will get him.” So he said to David a second time, “You will now be my son-in-law.”

JPS (Tanakh)                        Saul thought: “I will give her to him, and she can serve as a snare for him; so that the Philistines may kill him.” So Saul said to David, ̵“You can become my son-in-law even now through the second one.”̵ The meaning of the Hebrew of the final sentence is uncertain.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And Saul thought, “I will give her to him that she may become a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” Therefore Saul said to David, “For a second time you may be my son-in-law today.”

Young's Updated LT              ...and Saul says, “I give her to him, and she is to him for a snare, and the hand of the Philistines is on him.” And he says to David, “By the second—you do become my son-in-law today.”



What is the gist of this verse? Saul thinks to himself that he can use Michal as bait for David, to get him to face off the Philistines. Then Saul tells David (although possibly not directly) that he will be asked for the second time be become Saul’s son-in-law.


There are two very different scenarios that might be occurring here. When I first read this and the previous verse, I assumed that David and Michal approached Saul with the news that Michal loved David, and Saul thought about this and found it agreeable. So he tells David, “For the second time, I ask you to become my son-in-law.” The other approach is that Michal approached Saul with her personal servant (or servants) and made this known to him. This revelation pleases Saul, and, for the second time, he tells David (via his own servants) that he would like David to become his son-in-law. I believe that the second scenario is the more accurate.


1Samuel 18:21a

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; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

nâthan (ןַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

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

1st person singular, Qal imperfect with a 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; without a specific subject and object, hâyâh can mean and it will come to be, and it will come to pass, then it came to pass (with the wâw consecutive)

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)